Models Own Diamond Luxe nail polish collection

Diamonds are a girls best friend and Models Own have definitely applied this to their latest launch - the Diamond Luxe collection. Each polish actually contains real diamond dust to create a super high shine finish with just a hint of sparkle.

Models Own diamond luxe nail polishes

Models Own diamond luxe nail polish swatches
L-R Radiant Pink, Carat Coral and Pear Purple swatches
There are ten shades to choose from in the range, with a fantastic mix of brights and a couple of darks thrown in for good measure. I've been wearing Radiant Pink (a hot bubblegum pink) pretty much non-stop for the past few weeks and think this might be one of my favourite shades ever. It's super bright and while it's not obviously glittery, it does have a slight shimmer to it that just twinkles in the light a little. If you ever wanted a grown up glitter, then Radiant Pink is for you! 

The three shades I've tried are seriously glossy, and while they work best with two coats, you can probably get away with one if you're in a hurry. Wear time is also pretty good - I didn't get any real chips, just some tip wear after about 4 days. 

Some shades are more sparkly than others - although they're all infused with diamond dust, I didn't notice as much sign of this in the Carat Coral shade as I did Radiant Pink. 

Like all Models Own polishes these are only £4.99 each, so you don't have to worry about diamond prices for your diamond dust! I'm planning to pop a few of the darker shades in my basket next time I'm in Boots - I think the berry shades will be great for autumn as the slight sparkle makes them just a little bit different from your usual polishes. 

You can find the Diamond Luxe collection online from Models Own, in their bottleshops and on Models Own stands now. 

Do you like the look of this new collection from Models Own? 

*PR samples



Discovering Beauty's current beauty favourites

Hi, I'm Ayshe and I blog over at Discovering Beauty. Truth be told, I am a bit of a creature of habit (which is the nicer way of saying that I get stuck in a rut) and the only reason I haven't posted favourites in the past is that I don't switch up my skin and makeup products that often. But, being thrown into a new country where makeup melts off your face and the sun wreaks havoc with your skin, I've been forced to experiment again, which is actually a lot of fun.

current beauty favourites

So here are my current favourites.

Nars Creamy Concealer
Creamy goodness in a tube. I held off purchasing this for a long time, purely because of the price, but I know it is a concealer that I will be repurchasing. It conceals under the eye area without creasing or feeling dry and can be used on blemishes too. It lasts all day and doesn't oxidise, it's one of those products you are happy to slip into a rut with.

Urban Decay Naked Flushed
This palette has been my summer cheek combo, the colours work together so well and being all in one it is so convenient to use in a hurry, and carry around. The colours also work well with most lip and eye combinations, so not too much thinking needs to happen on those mornings when you are still applying your makeup half-asleep.

Bourjois 1,2,3 Perfect CC Cream
The texture of this is light and perfect for the hot weather here, as it actually lasts well throughout the day. It evens out my complexion and provides light coverage, looking natural at the same time. The application is also effortless, fingers, brushes and sponges work equally as well.

Elemis Pro-collagen Advanced Eye Treatment
I have another confession to make here, I'm not convinced by the use of eye products, which is why I have never properly committed to using one, but because this gel by Elemis has such a nice texture and absorbs quickly without leaving any sort of residue, I've been more inclined to use it regularly, and while I haven't noticed any immediate effects, hopefully it will do some good in the long term.

Sephora Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover
If you get to a Sephora store I recommend that you leave with a bottle of this. It is the best waterproof makeup remover I have ever used, taking off eye makeup in one sweep and it is also really good at removing lip stains. As an added bonus is it also really cheap, this bottle cost me about £8. I tend to sweep this all over my face as the first step of a cleansing routine so I know my skin is ready for a good cleanse.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire in Nude Ballet
The third and final confession, yes, I did buy this because it was Kim K's bridal lip, but in my defence, it is a really nice lip gloss and one I have been wearing almost exclusively since I purchased it last month. The colour is good nude for my skin tone and adds a nice subtle gloss. It isn't at all drying or sticky, and if I want to make it a bit more dramatic, I just use a lip liner underneath.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and a huge thank you to Kat for letting me hog some space on her blog. Please hop over to mine and say hi! You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram. I look forward to hearing from you.

A big thank you to Ayshe for guest posting - I hope you enjoy reading her blog, make sure you pop over for a read! Kat x



Recipe: american style chewy chocolate chip cookies

Baking is a bit of a hobby of mine - there's nothing quite like a home made cake fresh out of the oven! These cookies are American style - slightly crispy on the outside and super chewy on the inside and trust me when I say that one won't be enough. 

You can use pretty much any chocolate you like for these - I went for Lindt's new Raspberry Dream dark chocolate which isn't too sweet, but has a lovely raspberry flavour to it. I find dark chocolate works best against the sweet cookie, but if you prefer milk or white (or any of your favourite chocolate bars chopped up) then go for it. The key is not to over bake them - when they come out of the oven they need to be slightly golden but still really soft. They have to cool down properly before they harden up. 

To make around 24 cookies you'll need:

225g room temperature butter (salted works best and make it real butter, no margarine here!)
325g granulated sugar
100g soft dark brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg and 1 extra egg yolk
425g self-raising flour
200g chocolate of your choice, chopped into small pieces
water (as required) 
a couple of large baking sheets

american style chocolate chip cookie recipe

american style chocolate chip cookie mix

american style chocolate chip cookie mix

american style chocolate chip cookies fresh out the oven

american style chocolate chip cookies fresh out the oven

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together your butter and two types of sugar. If the butter is soft, this will make your life a LOT easier. 

3. Mix in the vanilla and egg/egg yolk. 

4. Add the flour a couple of spoons at a time, mixing well as you go. Repeat until all of the flour is gone. You'll end up with quite a stiff dough and may need to add a little water (1-2 tablespoons at a time) to help bind all the ingredients together nearer the end. 

4. Mix in your chosen chopped up chocolate and stir into the dough so it's evenly distributed. 

5. Get your baking sheets and place balls of dough about the size of a tablespoon a couple of inches apart - try to make sure the chocolate is covered slightly by the dough to stop it burning. Don't underestimate the size of the gaps you need, they really spread out! I usually get 6-8 per sheet. 

6. Bake for around 10-12 minutes, keeping an eye on them after about 8 minutes. You want to take them out when they're slightly golden but not brown - they'll carry on cooking for a few minutes outside of the oven.

7. Allow to cool down until they firm up and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool down fully (or just eat one hot, they're amazing). 

8. Repeat the baking process until all of your dough is used up. 

9. Enjoy your cookies. Yum. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I adapted it slightly from the 'Eat Me' baking book, which is a definite must have if you're a bit of a cake fan like me! 



Beauty tips: ingredients to avoid

I'm heading off on holiday for a little while, so as well as a few posts from me, I'm also handing over the reins of the blog to some great guest posters for the next week or so. First up is fabulous Grace from All That Slap who's talking about some of the key ingredients you might like to avoid in your beauty products. Over to you Grace...

In recent years I have become increasingly aware of the ingredients in my beauty products and I try to avoid certain ones as much as possible. Just like food, reading the ingredients list on my beauty products has become second nature to me. The important thing to note is that anything we apply on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream in as little time as 14 seconds, depending on what it is! That is quicker than anything we eat…pretty scary when you think about it! With that in mind, here are a few “skin nasties” that I personally try and avoid...

1. Mineral Oil (and its derivatives)
This is also known as petrolatum or paraffinum liquidum, mineral oil jelly and mineral oil causes a lot of problems when used on the skin photosensitivity (i.e. promotes sun damage), and it tends to interfere with the body’s own natural moisturising mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping. It is essentially a product that creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate!! You find in in baby oil (why would you want to use this on babies??!), lip products in particular lip balms, face creams, makeup – you name it and its in there! Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap! There is no other reason its there. It is hideous and I try particularly hard to stay away from it. It creeps me out!

2. Parabens
The most common parabens are Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben — Used as preserve and extend shelf life of products. They are very widely used even though they are known to be toxic! Parabens can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes as well as potentially interfering with your hormones. What really bugs me is that some “natural” seeming brands like Liz Earle use parabens in almost all of their products…..sigh. That is all.

3. Sodium Laureth Sulphate (“SLS”)
This is used a lot in shampoos, hand washes, face wash and body washes etc for its detergent and foam-building abilities. It can cause eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff and allergic reactions. It can be extremely drying to the skin and I try to avoid it as much as possible, particularly in my shampoos and face washes. If a face wash contains this, I find my skin is super tight and dry after use – resulting in my skin to go into overdrive and produce loads of oil. Yuck!!

4. Propylene Glycol
This is often listed as PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol). Usually it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. It has been known to cause allergic and toxic reactions. It also penetrates below the surface, so it can deliver other nasties to deeper into the skin and into the bloodstream. Alarmingly its also the main ingredient in anti-freeze! Pretty gross, don’t you think?

I could have gone on and on with my list of nasty ingredients, but the ones above are the ones I avoid the most.

Thankfully there are more and more brands which are free from many of these ingredients and don’t cost an arm and a leg – some of them are listed below:
- Pai Skincare
- Naked Skincare
- Weleda
- Lavera
- Balance Me
- Yes to Carrots
- Elemis

My advice is always read the label!!

Thank you Kat for having me as a guest blogger! If you like this post, you can find me over at www.allthatslap.com
Thanks for reading!
Grace xx


The hand luggage essentials

Later this week I’m heading off on holiday and for the past two weeks (no exaggeration, I’m a planner), I’ve been whittling down what I’m going to pack in my hand luggage. I’m what you’d call an over-packer (that’s saying it lightly), so this time around I’ve been determined to be more sensible and just take the things I know I really need. I’ll be sharing some of my travelling essentials in a few days’ time, but for now, here’s what’s made the cut into my hand luggage.

hand luggage essentials

hand luggage essentials

The liquids bag – because I’m terrified of the airline losing my luggage, I tend to pack my makeup in my hand luggage, which means streamlining things to ensure it will all fit in that annoyingly small clear bag for security. This year I’m taking a clear wash bag with me that’s airline approved, and I’m packing in as many things as the space will allow. My must-haves are: DHC liquid liner, Max Factor Masterpiece Waterproof mascara, Smashbox BB Eyes, Nivea lip balm, Dermalogica primer, Too Faced mascara and Urban Decay lipstick. I’ve also managed to squeeze in some skincare in the shape of La Roche Posay SPF for my face, Elemis moisturiser, Dermalogica cleanser, and a must have face mist.

The ‘other’ makeup bag – luckily powders and brushes don’t have to go into the clear bag, so I’m taking another small makeup pouch with me that contains my makeup brushes, Surratt powder blusher, Burberry powder blusher/bronzer, Antipodes mineral foundation, DHC blotting papers, mirror, Kiko eye shadow palette, Invisibobbles and a YSL travel palette.

Face mist – the air on the plane is always really drying, so I’m planning to give myself a quick spritz of this Orico mist every so often throughout the flight to help stay hydrated and refreshed. It comes in a plastic 100ml bottle so is travel friendly, although I have had to cram it into the liquids bag with everything else!

Kindle – having time to sit and read for hours on end is one of my favourite parts of a holiday (along with the ice cream, ahem), so I’ve loaded up my kindle with lots of different books, ready for some serious reading by the pool.

Camera – I’m leaving my DSLR at home this holiday and relying on my trust little Nikon camera to capture some holiday memories. It’s much lighter to carry, and doesn’t take up make space, making it the perfect travelling companion.

Bikini – call me a panic packer, but I tend to always put one of my bikini’s in my hand luggage just in case (yes, I am that person). It doesn’t hurt to be prepared, right?!

Magazines/puzzle book – I tend to pick up a few magazines and a puzzle book at the airport just before we leave. The magazines are great for flicking through on the plane and the puzzle book is great for those moments when you fancy a bit of brain stimulation. Just don’t ask me to finish the cryptic crosswords alone.

Empty space – I’m leaving a little extra room for a few cheeky duty free purchases at the airport. I love the exclusive beauty sets and palettes they always have, so I’m hoping to buy one or two and tuck them away in my hand baggage.

What are your hand luggage essentials?


Beauty book - 1 woman, 100 faces

Reading beauty books is one of my favourite ways to spend an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon - they're a great source of inspiration and instruction. The latest book in my collection is the new 'One Woman, 100 Faces', which is a collection of makeup looks created by Francesca Tolot - aka Beyonce's makeup artist. 

Inside the massive book are 100 different makeup looks, all created by Francesca and modelled by Mitzi Martin over the space of two decades. It features some absolutely stunning photos. You won't find step by step instructions in this book, but what you will get are beautiful photos, breathtaking makeup and some great ideas to think about trying at home. 

It's definitely a coffee table must-have for any makeup lover - I've taken a few of my favourite shots and shared them below, but there are a hundred different ones in the book - enough to keep you going for hours. There's also a lovely foreword by Beyonce herself.

one woman, 100 faces makeup book

one woman, 100 faces makeup book

one woman, 100 faces makeup book

one woman, 100 faces makeup book

one woman, 100 faces makeup book

One Woman, 100 Faces costs £30 and can be found online from Amazon and in major book shops. 

Do you like the look of this book?



The makeup addict tag

As a beauty blogger, I'm a self-confessed beauty product addict and I thought it would be fun to set up a tag that delves a little deeper into our makeup addictions!

I'd love for you to take part in the tag - please link me up in the comments below if you decide to do it; I can't wait to see your answers (and if you can give me a little mention as the creator, I'd really appreciate it).

the makeup addict tag
Feel free to use this image if you decide to take part in the tag
1. Which product do you still keep buying more of despite having plenty in your collection?
Hot pink lipsticks. I have them from loads of different brands, but somehow justify a new one by telling myself it's a slightly different shade or formula. I'm getting really good at justifications...

2. What's the one product you couldn't live without?
Mascara. Preferably Too Faced's Better Than Sex mascara. I have totally blonde eye lashes so look really odd without any mascara and I don't think I've left the house without it in about ten years. I'll quite happily go without any other makeup, but mascara has to happen!

3. Favourite makeup brand?
Ooh, now that's a tricky one! I tend to like certain products from certain brands, but if I had to pick just one I would probably say Urban Decay. I've had a long term love for their palettes and eye liner pencils and the Revolution lipsticks are a must-try if you haven't before!

4. How big is your makeup collection?
Umm...probably too big! I dread to think how many pieces there would be if I added them all together.

5. And how do you like to store it? 
I have an IKEA Alex unit that I store a lot of my makeup, nail polish and skincare in and then also use the drawers in my vintage dressing table. The dressing table drawers are divided with old Birchbox/Glossybox boxes that I keep lip products, blushers and eye liners/shadows in. It helps keep me organised!

6. How many items of makeup have you got in your handbag at the moment?
I've currently got 9 - DHC liquid liner, Trish McEvoy concealer, Nivea Lip Balm, Pur Minerals pressed foundation mini, Urban Decay lipstick, Revlon balm stain, YSL mascara, By Terry eye shadow stick and MAC Snob lipstick. Oh and Paul and Joe blotting papers - do they count?

7. If you could raid another blogger's stash, who would it be?
I think it would have to be Jane from British Beauty Blogger. I once saw a display of some of her limited edition palettes in Harvey Nichols Beauty Mart and got a little bit over excited. I'd love to have a rifle through her makeup drawers!

8. How long does your usual makeup routine take and how many products do you use?
My every day routine usually takes about 10 minutes or so. I have the timings down to a fine art! In total, I use nine products on a daily basis - I usually focus on my eyes and go for a simple base with a bit of blusher and a tiny bit of bronzer.

9. Have you ever bought makeup knowing you wouldn't use it?
*Raise hand*. I'm slightly ashamed to say that yes I have! There are a few things I've bought with designs embossed in them that I just can't bring myself to use in case it wears the pattern away. There aren't many of them, but the MAC Simpsons blusher is the latest addition to the 'not to be used' collection. I want to keep Marge's face visible forever.

10. Tag a few other makeup addicts to do the tag! 
I'm tagging Grace from All That Slap, Vanessa from The Other VW, Sheenie from Just Nice Things, Rachel from Beauty Queen UK and Leanne from Do Not Refreeze, plus anyone else who'd like to take part.

I hope you enjoy this tag - I can't wait to read your answers!



The Daily Exfoliators

Exfoliation is one of the most important parts of a good skincare regime. By removing the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, you help the fresh ones to come through, making for a more even, radiant complexion.

I like to make exfoliation a weekly task and while I normally either use a chemical exfoliator mask (like REN's Glycolatic Face Mask) or a more traditional skin scrub, I've recently switched to something less harsh that can be used on a more regular basis.

Daily exfoliators have been designed to work in a similar way to a traditional face scrub, but are a lot less harsh and can be used several times a week, or if required, even daily. I've tried out three different brands and have to admit I love them all! The fine texture means my skin gets a very gentle exfoliation, but still looks lovely and bright after use.

the daily exfoliators

Each product comes as a fine powder that's designed to be mixed with a small amount of water and then applied to the skin and massaged in. You can mix up your chosen consistency with the powder and water - ideally you want a thickish paste. Simply pour out about a teaspoon's worth onto the palm of your hand and add a few drops of water, adding more until you get to your chosen consistency. They're also great for travelling - as they're powder products they're a good addition to your hand luggage!

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant* - a cult favourite, Dermalogica's offering is a rice-based exfoliating powder that activates when mixed with water. It contains Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to remove dead skin cells and leave skin looking brighter. I like to use this every 2-3 days, which is enough for my slighlty sensitive skin. £41.30 75g

One Love Organics Brand New Day* - the first thing that hits you with this exfoliator is the smell - it's just like pineapples! It actually contains a pineapple enzyme as well as organic sweet pea flour to help exfoliate the skin. You can also use this as a brightening face mask if you want - simply make the consistency of the paste a little runnier and leave on the skin for around 10 minutes. Rinse off and you'll be left with refreshed, radiant skin. £9 for a travel sized 0.5oz pot

Indeed Labs Facial Powdered Exfoliator* - the latest addition to the bunch, this is a very fine paste with tiny little exfoliator particles added in. It contains five key active ingredients to gently polish skin while still adding moisture, and it's a great option for drier skin types. As well as bamboo extract, rice bran and Okinawa red algae, you'll also find Hyaluronic Acid - helping hydration levels and collagen production. At £18.99 for 75g this is the cheapest of the bunch, and can be found in larger Boots stores.

What are your thoughts on these daily exfoliator powders? What's your favourite way to exfoliate?

*PR samples



An introduction to: Color Wow

Color Wow initially popped up on my radar about a year ago, when I was given a sample of their One Minute Transformation Styling Cream in a goody bag. Since then, the styling cream has become a must-have in my daily hair routine, so I was excited to be introduced to the rest of their range and test it out. 

Color Wow is the brainchild  of Gail Federici, who is the co-founder of John Frieda's haircare company and the woman behind the formulas for their frizzy and blonde hair care ranges. While the products suggest that they're designed for coloured hair, (which is definitely true in some cases), there are a variety of styling products in the range which can be used by anyone, and with fantastic results. I've picked out my top three products below (but trust me, all of the range is pretty good!).

The One Minute Transformation Styling Cream is a firm favourite of mine and when used on dry hair, helps to tame frizz and keep your style in place all day. My hair is quite fine but tends to fluff up a lot (damn you humidity), so this is a must-have for me to stop looking like a ginger fuzz-ball. A pea-sized amount is plenty for my medium length hair - I apply using my fingers and then comb through for an even finish. £16.50

Another cult product from the range is the Root Cover Up. This is a tinted powder which is designed to help touch up your roots, making it possible to go a little longer before your next trip to the salon. Once applied, this stuff isn't budging until you shampoo it, so don't panic about getting caught in the rain. There are six shades to choose from, each of which seems to blend well with a variety of hair shades, even highlighted styles. £28.50

The Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac is another great product - it adds a seriously glossy effect to hair without making it look greasy, so if like me, you've been blessed with fine hair, you're still able to use this to your heart's content. Bonus. You can use it on wet or dry hair and one pump of this is all I need for my shoulder length, fine hair. £14

There are about a dozen products in total in the Color Wow range, all of which can be found in store and online from Space NK and Feel Unique. If you haven't got coloured hair, don't be put off by the name - the styling products can be used by all hair types, and the shampoo is SLS free making it a great option for coloured hair and more sensitive scalps. While the products are a little pricey, my tube of One Minute Transformation has lasted almost a year, so despite the initial cost, it's been pretty good value overall!

Have you tried anything from Color Wow before? Do you like the look of this range?

*PR samples


The Body Shop Makeup Brushes review

When you think of The Body Shop, it’s probably about one of their fab smelling body butters or a great bath product, right? Well my absolute favourite of theirs is something that not many people talk about and I think that needs to change. So let me introduce you to The Body Shop makeup brushes.

Now, makeup brushes probably aren’t high on your list of things to buy from The Body Shop, but these are super soft, long wearing and in my mind, rival a lot of the more expensive brands. There are 13 brushes in the range to choose from, and cover everything from powder to foundation and eyes to lips.

The Body Shop make up brushes

All of the brushes are made with cruelty-free synthetic fibres and are seriously soft against the skin. I use their eye shadow brush daily (I have about 3 of these for different shades!) and it’s great for applying a wash of colour across the lid, or using the flat end to apply a bit of a darker shade to the eye crease.

Another favourite of mine is the larger Blusher Brush. It’s the perfect size for dusting blusher over the apples of your cheeks and also works really well with powder highlighters.

The brushes range in prices from £9 for the eye shadow brush up to £16 for the Slanted Kabuki Brush, however there are often special brush kits available to buy at a massively reduced price. Make sure you look out for these in the run up to Christmas – last year I was able to get 8 brushes for just £45 which was almost half the cost of buying them individually. They also wear really well. I’ve been using a set of brushes for over a year now and despite daily use and regular washing, the bristles are still in great shape, with no signs of shedding.

I’d love to see a few more brushes added to The Body Shop range – it’d be great to have a nice fluffy buffing brush and maybe an angled face brush to help create a soft contoured look.  

You can find the full Body Shop makeup brush range both online and in store – why not pick one up next time you’re visiting and give them a try!

Have you tried The Body Shop makeup brushes before?

*PR sample


The Autumn Tag

Autumn is my favourite season of the year - those perfect crisp sunny days with beautiful leaves all around make up for the mist, drizzle and associated hair issues you often associate with the season! Today I'm taking part in the Autumn Tag, created by the lovely Georgina from Makeup-Pixi3 (image credit also to Georgina). I'd love to see your answers to this tag, so please link me up in the comments if you've taken part.  

1.  Ok we're talking coffee's - what's your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks/Costa/Cafe Nero etc?
I know this is controversial, but I don't actually like tea or coffee (sorry), so all those lovely sounding latte's have never crossed my lips. That said, I did enjoy a Hot spiced apple drink from Costa last year - it reminded me a lot of mulled cider and was absolutely delicious!

2.  Accessories - what do you opt for, scarf, boots, gloves?
I like to stick my boots on pretty much as soon as September starts, so I'm already in ankle boots as we speak! Scarves are another must-have for me - I have about 10 different ones that I rotate throughout the colder weather. I'm also loving the fact that cardigan style capes are back in fashion - it's like being able to legitimately wear a blanket and not get looked at weirdly.

3.  Music - what's your favourite music to listen to during Autumn?
My music taste doesn't really change much throughout the seasons - I tend to just play what I enjoy! Always a lot of Fleetwood Mac, whatever else might be included in the mix.

4.  Perfume - what's your favourite scent for this time of year?
My perfume tends to change more on my mood rather than the seasons, but I do like something slightly spicy for an autumnal evening. My current favourite is Reiss Black Oudh.

5.  Candles - what scents will you be burning this season?
I absolutely adored the Diptique pine scented candle they brought out for Christmas last year, and I have a travel sized version of that which i'm saving up for cosy nights in.

6.  What do you love most about Autumn?
Those perfect autumnal days where it's chilly outside but the sun is still shining. To me, those are the perfect kind of day and I like to spend them outside, preferably walking along the beach, wrapped up in a nice warm coat and scarf.

7.  Favourite makeup look?
It's got to be berry nails and a berry lip. Pretty standard for A/W but definitely a classic.

8.  What are you looking forward to most in Autumn?
My holiday (yay!) and then hopefully coming back to some crisp autumnal weather so I can crack out my scarves and head down to the seaside.

What's your favourite thing about autumn?


REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial review

If I told you it was possible to get brighter looking skin in just one minute, would you believe me? Well this us exactly what REN ' S new Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial promises.

I had a sneak preview of this wonder product a few months ago, and even though I only used it once was really impressed.  Fast forward several impatient months of waiting and the Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial is now available to buy and I've been using my tube ever since!

REN Flash Rinse one minute facial

Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial is a treatment product that's packed with a serious dose of vitamin c (among other things) which works to brighten skin, make it look more luminous and give a great effect in just one minute. It's fantastic for getting rid of that dull look working or living in a city can give you and it's suitable for pretty much every skin type, except for people that suffer with Rosacea - so whether you're dry or oily-skinned, you should definitely see benefits from this product.

It's simple to use - apply around a large pea sized amount to your entire (dry) face, add a small amount of water (just a few drops) and massage in to the skin a little. You should feel the texture of the product change slightly once the water has been applied - this means it's now become active and you need to set the one minute timer on your stopwatch! Once your minute is up, rinse the product off with lots of water and then carry on with your normal skincare routine.

I noticed a definite difference in my skin after just one use - it really did look a lot brighter and had a great glow to it.  You'll need to use your standard moisturisers after the flash rinse - it's not a hydrating treatment, and I did find it slightly drying until I added moisturiser.

You can use the flash rinse once every three days (no more than that!), or if you prefer, save it up for a pre-treatment before big events or nights out. It's been designed to offer immediate results as well as long term ones, making it a great skincare staple.

I can definitely see this becoming a regular repurchase in my skincare routine. It costs £32 for a 75ml tube, which is a little pricey, however you should get at least 20 treatments out of each tube, so works out to be pretty good value.

You can find Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial online from REN and in store at REN concessions in Space NK, Selfridges, Marks and Spencer and more.

Do you like the sound of this new product from REN?

*PR sample



Topshop Metallic Makeup collection

Topshop's new metallics makeup collection might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I've fallen hard for a few key pieces from the new collection. Rather than go down the traditional route of metallic eye shadows, Topshop are instead focusing on luxe shades of lipsticks and blushers, all infused with a soft metallic sheen.

Topshop metallic makeup - Drive lipstick and pulse blusher

Topshop metallic makeup - Drive lipstick and pulse blusher swatches

The cream blushers are fantastic as always - Topshop make some amazing formula blushers and if you've not tried one before I really urge you to do so. This shade is called Pulse and is a soft peachy shade infused with golden highlights. It's quite sheer on application and almost enters highlighter territory rather than traditional blusher, but a quick swipe of this on cheekbones will leave you with a natural sheen with just a hint of shimmer. 

The lipsticks also live up to expectations - this gorgeous plum shade called Drive is perfect for autumn and the metallic sheen to it is less reminiscent of 90s Heather Shimmer and more high end satin. The colour looks pretty bold in the tube but can be dabbed on to create a soft stain or layered up into a serious pop of colour. The formula is long-wearing and non-drying and is something that can easily be worn all day long.

Both items are under £10 each - the lipstick is £8 and blusher £7. There are a couple of other shades of lipsticks and blushers in the collection to choose from, as well as 4 metallic nail polishes at just £5 each. 

The Metallics are a limited edition collection, and can be found online from Topshop and in beauty sections of their larger stores. I'm always really impressed every time I use Topshop makeup and if you've not tried it before, why not treat yourself next time you're popping in. I promise you won't regret it! 

Have you tried Topshop makeup before? What do you think of these metallic shades? 

*PR samples 


Fabulous facial mists

I am currently OBSESSED with facial mists. Not only were they the best solution for keeping cool in the heat over our (brief) summer, but many are now infused with lots of lovely skincare benefits to perk your complexion up at the same time. I currently have one on my desk, one in my bag and about 5 on my dressing table at home and the love affair sees no sign of ending soon. Here are my top picks for all budgets:

Facial mists

Pur Minerals Miracle Mist* - the biggest bottle of them all, Miracle Mist is packed full of over 70 essential minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants and amino acids to help revive tired skin and add extra moisture. This is a pump action spray bottle, so I'd recommend spraying away from your face the first time you pump it - it tends to take a few pumps to get a really fine mist. It leaves my skin feeling really refreshed, and gets rid of any dehydrated feeling in my cheeks which I often experience mid-afternoon. £15 240ml.

Melvita Organic Rose Beauty Mist* - if you like rose scented things, you will absolutely love this little can from Melvita. It's a super refreshing mist infused with rose floral water and will help to hydrate skin throughout the day, freshen up makeup and is even ECOCERT certified. £10

Orico Streetwise Coco Spritz* - this lightly scented Orico mist comes in a pump action bottle that I was initially worried might leave me with running makeup, but actually disperses a lovely fine mist all over the face. It's been infused with coconut water and cocoa seed to help hydrate dehydrated skin and contains papaya, mango fruit and orange flower water to brighten and nourish skin. It's a little pricer than some of the other mists, but it really does leave skin looking fresher and brighter and for me is the perfect thing to spritz on at my desk for a quick refresher. £18 100ml

Vichy Eau Thermale spray - yes this might just be a fancy way to package what is essentially mineral water, but this little can is perfect for popping in your handbag and refreshing yourself with throughout the day. It's non-scented, and there's nothing in it but water so even the most sensitive of skins should be fine to use it. I love a quick spritz of this to help refresh my face after a sweaty tube journey, and will be packing a massive can of this for my holiday to Turkey in a few weeks times. £7 150ml

Are you a fan of face mists? Which are your favourites?

*PR samples


Beauty tips: 3 alternative uses for sponge eye shadow applicators

Love them or hate them, those little sponge applicators you often find in eye shadow palettes can certainly come in pretty useful. I have to admit, I no longer use mine for applying eye shadow – they just don’t work as well as a makeup brush. I had been throwing these away for a few years when I realised that they were great for a lot of things – just not eye shadow application! Here are my top three tips for what you can do with those unwanted sponge applicators:

1. Nail Art – the sponge tip is great for a quick and easy ombre nail art look. Apply your base colour and wait for it to dry. Grab your sponge applicator and dab a contrasting colour nail polish on, starting from about a third of the way up your nail (lighter initially, building up colour depth toward the fingertip).

2. Makeup clean up – so you’ve just done a smokey eye, but now need to get rid of the excess shadow that’s currently making you look slightly raccoon-like. Get your sponge applicator and add a few drops of micellar water, before sweeping around the eye area. This should remove any fall out or excess product without needing to rub or smudge the rest of your makeup.

3. Turn lipstick into a lip stain – I’ve often used my fingers to pat just a hint of lipstick onto my lips to create a soft, stained effect, but this can get a bit messy and to be honest be a bit unhygienic. The sponge applicators work just as well as your finger for a soft, stained effect, but do it minus the mess. Bonus!

Are you a fan of sponge applicators? What do you use yours for?



Beauty offers: House of Fraser Beauty Confidential

It's not often a shop gives you £10 off some of the cult favourites of their beauty hall, but that's exactly what House of Fraser are doing with their fantastic Beauty Confidential offer.

Simply buy one of your favourite products in their beauty hall and you'll be able to get £10 off of one of  House of Fraser's! There are 30 handpicked products to choose from, including some cult favourites and a few exciting new launches. I'm more than a little bit excited to see things like the Urban Decay Electric palette and Lancome Advanced Genifique Serum on the list - it's not often you get such a good discount on products like that!

House of Fraser beauty confidential products

Buy any beauty product and receive £10 off any one of the products below:

1. ELIZABETH ARDEN Ceramide Lift and Firming Cream
2. BARE MINERALS Get Started Kits - All shades
4. BOBBI BROWN Brightening Finishing Powder
5. BOBBI BROWN Extra SPF25 Tinted Moisturising Balm
6. CRÈME DE LA MER 30ml - All varieties
7. CLARINS Double Serum 30ml & 50ml
8. CLARINS Extra-Firming Eye Lifting Cream
9. CLARINS Hydra Quench Moisturizer
10. CLARISONIC Lancome Set
11. CLINIQUE Superdefense SPF 20 Daily Defense Moisturizer 50ml
12. CLINIQUE Smart Serum
13. CLINIQUE Repair Wear Laser Focus Serum
14. DECLEOR Hydra Floral Multi Protection Face Cream
15. DIOR DiorSkin Nude Tan Bloom Powder
16. DIOR 5 Couleurs Designer Eye Palette
17. ESTEE LAUDER Perfectionist Youth Infused Makeup
18. ESTEE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum 15ml
19. ESTEE LAUDER Daywear Sheer Tinted SPF
20. GUERLAIN Meteorites Pearls Powder
21. KIEHL’S Midnight Recovery Concentrate
22. LANCOME Advanced Genifique 50ml
23. LANCOME Visionniare Serum
24. LANCOME Miracle Teint Visionnaire
25. ORIGINS Plantsciption Powerful Lifting Cream 50ml
26. ORIGINS Plantsciption Serum 50ml
27. URBAN DECAY Electric Palette
28. URBAN DECAY Naked Palettes
29. YSL BB Primer SPF 25
30. YSL Fusion Ink Foundation

If you've always had your eye on an Urban Decay Naked palette, or fancy giving YSL's new Fusion Ink Foundation a try, this is probably the perfect time to give it a try! I'll be stocking up on my usual YSL False Lash Effect Mascara and spending my £10 off on a Dior eye palette I've had my eye on for quite a while.

Beauty Confidential runs between 8th September and 23rd September and will be available both in stores and online.

What do you think of this offer from House of Fraser? Will you be using it to buy something on your wishlist?


Urban Decay Pulp Fiction collection review

When I heard that Urban Decay were creating a limited edition Pulp Fiction collection to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film, my initial reaction was ‘be cool hunny bunny’. The thought of one of my favourite films being epitomised in makeup by one of my favourite brands was almost a little bit too much excitement to handle. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to be Mrs Mia Wallace at some point in their life?

The Urban Decay Pulp Fiction collection is small but perfectly formed. In it, you’ll find five items – all inspired by colours from the film and Uma Thurman’s iconic Mrs Mia Wallace character.

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction makeup collection

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction makeup collection

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction eye shadow palette

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction eye shadow palette

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction eye shadow palette, mrs mia wallace lipstick and liner swatches

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction mrs mia wallace lipstick and liner swatches on lips
Wearing the Mrs. Mia Wallace lipstick and liner
Top of my list has to be the eye shadow palette. Urban Decay palettes are often pretty large, but this one has been kept nice and small, with 5 complementary nude colours inside. More nudes I hear you cry?! Yes. But these are pretty darn good nudes that can be used day or night (there’s even a black for a smokey look) and it’s possibly the best travel palette I’ve seen for a while. Inside the palette there’s:

Righteous - light cream matte
Tyranny - warm brown matte
Vengance - deep taupe/brown matte-satin
Furious - white satin
Anger - black satin

As you’d expect from Urban Decay, the formula of these is really good – easy to blend with minimal fall out and very long lasting, even when used without a primer. Yes, they might not be ground-breaking shades, but they definitely work for that 90s Uma Thurman look as well as being great for an every day look. The palette is also a lot cheaper than their usual offerings, coming in at just £17.50. Bargain.

For the lips, there’s a blood red lipstick and matching liner, both named Mrs. Mia Wallace. In the tube the lipstick looks a little too dark to be friendly to pale skin tones, but once applied, it lightens up slightly and for me, is a really good true red lipstick that should suit almost anyone. It’s got a hint of a blue base so it won’t make your teeth look yellow and the formula of these is just amazing. I honestly don’t know why Urban Decay’s Revolution lipsticks don’t get more attention – they’re much better than most other high end lipsticks I’ve tried! They’re semi-matte, but non-drying and will last absolutely hours. I wore mine to a screening of the film and despite shovelling in popcorn and pizza, still walked out at the end of the night with a respectable red lip. The liner costs £13 and lipstick is £15.

There’s also a Mrs. Mia Wallace nail polish – another blood red shade that’s shot with a very subtle gold shimmer. I found this a little tricky to apply as the brush is pretty thin, but the polish itself is worth the patience you need to get a good finish. It lasts well, is super glossy and for me is the perfect shade for autumn. £10.

Last but not least is a Heavy Metal Glitter Liner in Gunmetal, which is a clear base filled with flecks of silver and black glitter. Probably not my first choice of eye liner, but it looks lovely layered over a traditional black liner flick for something a little different, or for adding a subtle hint of sparkle into a smokey eye using the eye shadow palette. £14.

All in all, I love this collection! The packaging really sums up the film (and some of it even features one of the famous movie quotes) and it’s great to see this type of collaboration coming from Urban Decay. The Pulp Fiction collection is a limited edition one, so don’t delay too long before making your purchases – it’s in store at Urban Decay counters and online from Urban Decay, Debenhams and House of Fraser now.

What do you think of this new collection from Urban Decay?

*PR samples



L'Oreal Pure Reds Lipstick collection review

Red lipstick. you either love it or you hate it. In truth, I think a lot of us fear red lipstick as it's a pretty bold makeup statement and the wrong shade can leave you looking washed out with yellow teeth. Not exactly a good look.

L'Oreal's upcoming collection of perfect reds is designed to put a stop to all of those worries. They've designed a range of reds to complement all skin tones, and in the same way as their nude lipsticks from last year, have matched up shades to celebrities of all skin tones to help you chose the best colour match. 

In the UK launch there will be four shades to choose from - Julianne's Red, Blake's Red, Eva's Red and Liya's Red.

L'Oreal pure reds lipsticks

L'Oreal pure reds julianne's red, liya's red, eva's red and blake's red swatches
Julianne's Red, Liya's Red, Eva's Red and Blake's red
L'Oreal pure reds, Blake's Red swatch on lips
Wearing Blake's Red
All of them are slightly different shades that work with the different undertones of the skin, complementing you perfectly. I was initially drawn to Julianne's Red as a sister ginger and can report back that this is a lovely shade that on me looks very slightly pink, but helps warm up my complexion no end. I'm also loving Blake's Red (and who doesn't love Blake Lively...), which is a slightly more blue-toned red, so is perfect for those of you with cooler or neutral skin tones. 

For the warmer toned and darker skinned ladies, I recommend giving Eva's Red or Liya's Red a try - I've swatched these up on my arm to give you an idea of colour, however they will look a bit different on each individual. 

The lipstick formula itself is a satin finish, so is super long-lasting. I'd recommend using a lip liner with these just to get a really clean finish and pop a bit of lip balm underneath to prevent any dry feeling at the end of a day's wear. They've been infused with jojoba to stop them from being really drying (a la MAC Russian Red) and you can easily wear one all day with minimal top ups required. 

I have a feeling that these are going to be seriously popular when they launch - at £6.99 each they're a bit of a bargain and I can definitely see myself getting a lot of use out of both Julianne's Red and Blake's Red. 

The Pure Reds collection will be launching onto L'Oreal stands later this month. Do you like the look of these reds? What's your favourite red lipstick?

*PR samples


Reflection: advice I'd love to give my younger self

If you could go back in time and give your younger self some advice, what would it be? My teenage years (like a lot of people’s) were filled with lots of angry hormones, worries that I would never find a boyfriend and bad fake tan episodes. I’ve been thinking of a few things I’d love to be able tell my younger, angst-filled self – it’s easier in hindsight to realise that things you thought were the end of the world really weren’t even close!

Me aged 2
- Embrace the ginger – yes you might’ve been bullied for it when you’re younger, but as you grow older you’ll realise just how fabulous it is.

- NEVER get highlights that have been done with a rubber cap. Ever. Why on earth were those things even allowed in hairdresser's?! 

- Following on from that, avoid the 90’s Victoria Beckham ‘long at the sides and cropped at the back’ hair cut. You looked like an idiot (especially when combined with the rubber cap highlights).

- Don’t worry about not fitting in all of the time – being individual is great.

- Mascara will literally change your life. Buy it earlier. And buy it in bulk.

- When your friend’s mum offers to fake tan you at age 15, say no. You’ll look like you’ve been covered in creosote.

- Tell your parents you love them more often – let’s face it, you’re a bit of a grumpy b**ch to them

- Don’t start smoking. It doesn’t make you look cool and it will be an absolute nightmare to give up in your 20s. Plus it gives you wrinkles.

- Enjoy yourself - one day you'll get to 30 and enjoy looking back on all of the fun things you did. 

What advice would you love to give to your younger self? 



Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Skincare Review

For a long time, my only experience of Elizabeth Arden was their cult 8 Hour Cream. I always felt it was a bit too ‘mature’ for me so never really paid them much attention (sorry EA!). That all changed recently however, with the launch of their new Flawless Future skincare range, which has been designed for people in their late 20s/early 30s who want to help prevent early signs of ageing and protect their skin for the future.

The Flawless Future range* is designed to help manage the effects that stress can have on our skins. I know that when I’m stressed out and feeling tired, my skin is the first thing to show it, and over time this can lead to increased ageing on our delicate skins.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future skincare

Flawless Future targets the three main causes of stress-induced ageing using a trio of active ingredients. There’s a ‘Ceramide Skin Identical Matrix’ (bit of a mouthful) that provides an optimal amount of ceramides to help replenish those lost in the skin through stress and ageing; Telosense – a protective protein technology that helps minimize the signs of early ageing and Liquorice Extract to soothe irritated skin.

The range is nice and compact with just three products to choose from: a serum, eye gel and moisturiser. I’ve been testing these out over the past month or so and have been impressed with the effects so far.

The Ceramide Eye Gel is definitely my favourite of the three products – it’s lightweight enough to use both morning and night and definitely helps my eye area to feel hydrated and I feel like my fine lines are less obvious. It’s also nice and cooling – definitely a bonus if you suffer with puffiness around the eye area.

The Caplet Serum is also great – I have to admit, I love the fact you can see the little caplets inside the bottle that seem to burst when you pump out the product. This is quite a lightweight serum that absorbs really quickly into the skin. One pump is enough for my slightly oily skin, however you might like to use a little more if yours is a bit drier. While I haven’t noticed a massive difference in wrinkles (most of mine are around my eyes), I have definitely noticed my skin looking brighter and less tired, despite a few late nights!

The Ceramide Moisture Cream is another lightweight product and I’d say it’s great for combination to oily skins. It leaves skin feeling soft and supple and while it’s not my favourite moisturiser of all time, it definitely does a good job. It’s also got an SPF30 in it, so provides a little extra protection from the sun.

The products are at the pricer end of the spectrum: the serum is £48, moisturiser £40 and Eye Gel £35. They’re pretty generous sizes though, so should last you a good few months.

If you’re in your late 20s/early 30s I’d definitely recommend giving this range a try – I’m really pleased to have discovered another side to Elizabeth Arden. It’s no longer something I’ll bypass on my way to other counters in the beauty halls and I can see the Ceramide Eye Gel becoming a firm fixture in my daily routine.

Do you like the sound of this new range from Elizabeth Arden? Have you tried anything from them before?

*PR samples


Introducing: Surratt makeup

When it comes to the beauty world, there's not much that excites me more than new makeup brands launching. Especially when they've been created by a legendary makeup artist like Troy Surratt. 

Surratt is the brand-spanking new makeup line from Troy Surratt, who has worked on pretty much every famous face and then some. The makeup itself is all Japanese inspired with sleek packaging, quality formulas and shades that everyone can get on board with. 

Surratt makeup

Surratt makeup

Surratt makeup swatches
L-R lip gloss, smokey eye baton, concealer, blusher
If you're a blusher fan, I highly recommend checking out the range that Surratt has to offer. I've been using Guimauve, which is a soft pink powder shade that looks lovely on paler skin tones. The blusher feels super soft to the touch and blends really well on the cheeks. I find this best applied with a nice fluffy brush for a gentle sweep of colour over the apples of the cheeks.

What I love about this is the packaging - while every Surratt blusher, bronzer and eye shadow comes packaged individually, you can also buy larger empty cases to create your own custom palette. They've been designed so you can put eye shadows and blushers in the same case, so you're able to build up your own dream travel palette without any fuss at all.

The smokey eye batons are also a great invention. One end features a crayon style liner and the other has a little pot of eyeshadow (and applicator) in a matching shade so that you can smudge out the product and get a very quick but effective smokey eye. I've been using the black version which is extremely pigmented and I can't wait to see if they have this in a bronze colour for an alternative take on the smokey eye.

I'm also loving the Surrealiste Skin Concealer - it's rare to find the perfect shade for me, so this was a lovely surprise! It's really creamy and doesn't look cakey when applied, but still manages to wear well throughout the day. I'd say this formula is best for covering spots or adding extra coverage to areas around the nose/chin etc, rather than under the eyes as it might be slightly heavy in that area.

At the moment Surratt is exclusive to Liberty London and can be found in their beauty hall and on their website. The prices are pretty much what you'd expect from a high end brand - blushers are £23, the concealer is £36 and the smokey eye batons £26. I'm definitely going to be heading to Liberty for a major swatchfest on some of the other products in the range - I'm hooked!

Do you like the look of this new range from Surratt?

*PR samples
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