31/03/2014

My evening skin care routine

I love a nosey inside other people's skin care routines - it's a great way to find new products and see what might work for me. I thought I'd give you a peak into the products I'm using at the moment in the evenings. I probably spend about 10 minutes at night on my routine, and while the brands I use may change from time to time, the types of products I use often stay the same.


First up, I remove my eye makeup using a bi-phase makeup remover. I wear a lot of eye liner and mascara every day, so to avoid getting it all over my face with my other cleansers, I remove it first with cotton wool. This Garnier eye makeup remover is quite gentle on the eyes and doesn't sting much, but it does take a little bit of time to get to work on breaking down the mascara. I bought it as a cheaper alternative to Lancome's Bi-Facil, and at around £3 is definitely doing a good job considering the price difference! 

My next step is a first cleanse with a cotton pad soaked in Bioderma's Hydrabio Micellar Water*. This gets off the majority of my foundation and any leftover eye makeup residue before I move on to cleansing with a balm. 

Then comes a proper cleanse with a balm cleanser - these are usually quite solid, but melt onto the skin and emulsify with water before being removed using a flannel and warm water. I'm using a Darphin aromatic cleansing balm* at the moment which is great for removing makeup and cleansing the skin but without making it feel dried out. It's very nourishing and quite rich, so you only need to use a small amount, but I do find that the strong smell is a bit much for me. It's very scented with essential oils, and I find that a bit off-putting as  I have slighlty sensitive skin, so I might not finish this tub before  I change to another cleanser. 

After cleansing, I apply a serum. This is usually for extra hydration, but at the moment I'm using Jurlique's Calendula Redness Rescue Serum* to help reduce the slight redness I experience. It's got a very silky texture, and sinks in easily - I apply two pumps and press gently into my skin before I move on to my eye cream.

I'm a bit obsessed with eye creams if I'm honest! I don't really suffer much from eye bags or pronounced dark circles, but i'm very keen to try and keep the fine lines at bay for as long as possible. Heal Gel Eye* is my latest skin care love - it has a very light texture, but makes the skin around my eyes feel very refreshed and hydrated, without being greasy. I apply a small amount around the eye bone area and allow to sink in before moving onto my moisturiser. 

Thoughout the winter, I've had to use facial oils most nights because my skin has been quite dehydrated from the weather. The past few weeks, I haven't needed this as much, so as the final step in my routine, I've been using REN's V-Cense night cream*, which is quite rich, so it's all I've been needing. I gently massage in about one pumps worth which is plenty. Since I've been using this several people have commented on my skin, saying how 'glowy' it looks, so I'm thinking about buying in bulk to keep that effect going, ha ha. 

And that's it! I'd love to know what you think about my night-time routine and what products/steps go into yours. 

*PR samples
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29/03/2014

L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire Liquid Lipsticks Review

Liquid lipsticks seem to be the hottest thing on the makeup market at the moment and L'Oreal have recently launched their version in the shape of the Colour Riche L'Extraodinaire Lipsticks. Combining the colour intensity of a lipstick, with the shine of a gloss and the smoothness of a balm, these are really trying to cover all the bases at once!

L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire liquid lipsticks

L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire liquid lipsticks

L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire liquid lipstick swatches

There are 9 different shades in the L'Extraordinaire range, including both nudes and brights, and come with a soft, doe foot style applicator wand. Each lipstick contains a mix of four oils (argan, lotus flower, camelia seed and rose canina fruit) to help moisturise and nourish lips while wearing the product and to give a high intensity shine when on the lips.

I really like the packaging of these lipsticks - it looks quite expensive and I love the fact there's a little window in each of the casings so you can get a really good idea of what the shade will be without needing to crack into the testers.

The pigmentation is good, although I would say these are more like highly pigmented glosses rather than full on lipsticks. I often wear matte finish lipsticks which always give a really good colour payoff, so while these aren't as pigmented as a matte lippie, you definitely get a good high-shine colour on the lips.

Because they are so shiny, I don't find them that long wearing - they do leave a slight stain behind, but if you're planning on eating or drinking much while wearing these, you'll definitely need to re-apply afterwards.

I'm not a massive fan of glossy lip products as I prefer a matte finish, but if gloss is more your thing, then these make a good budget version of the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Lip Stains. At £8.99 each, they're a lot cheaper than the YSL ones and although not an exact dupe, definitely provide a similar finish!

You can find the L'Extraordinaire lipsticks in Boots and Superdrug stores. Do you like the sound of liquid lipsticks?

*PR samples
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28/03/2014

A little charm story

Jewellery is one of those things that can make a perfect gift - whether for you or someone else. While I have a bit of a thing for statement necklaces, I also love the idea of being able to personalise your jewellery and my silver name necklace is one of the things I wear the most.



As someone who doesn't really wear bracelets, I've never been one for charm jewellery, but have always loved the idea of being able to create something truly unique, which can have a meaning behind it. Instead of a bracelet, I've started making my own silver charm necklace. I've got a few charms which I switch around a lot, sometimes wearing one, sometimes two or three together. My current favourites are an ice cream charm from Argento*, and a little bird in a cage from Links of London.

I picked the ice cream charm because I love spending time at the seaside (and the Mr Whippy that often accompanies it!), so this cheers me up in the dull winter months when the weather is looking pretty bleak outside. The bird in the cage charm is such a pretty design and reminds me that you need to look after the things you love.

I'm hoping to collect a few more charms over the next few months, and also want to start a charm necklace for my mum, who like me, doesn't really wear bracelets. I suspect a lot of mums will be getting charms this Mother's Day instead of the usual chocolates and flowers!

Do you have any charm jewellery? What's your favourite? 



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27/03/2014

A little bit of blog love - March

The sunny weather and a week off has got me feeling all chirpy, so I thought it was high time I shared a bit of blog love. You can find a list of blogs I regularly read here, but these are the posts I've been loving over the past few weeks.

Chambray and Curls - Style/Weekend Wear  - I love Laura's blog and she makes casual fashion look super simple with some gorgeous photos. After reading her recent Barcelona series, I need to plan a trip there, it looked beautiful!

Do Not Refreeze - Rita Ora for Rimmel London - This collection of polishes is totally perfect for summer and Leanne's nail art look makes me want to get out my WAH nails book and get creative.

Laura Lou Beauty - Easy 5 Step At Home Facial - The only woman I know who can pull off purple eye brows (seriously), i loved getting a bit of a sneak peak inside Laura's skin care routine.

Beauty Queen UK - The Haagen Dazs Easter Masterclass - This post will make you drool. Enough said.

The Sunday Girl - The £7.99 Sculpting and Contouring Bronzer - I'm testing lots of bronzing products at the moment for a post on contouring for fair skin, so this one really caught my eye.

Flutter and Sparkle - February Favs and Fails - A mix of favourite products and ones that didn't work well, this is one of my favourite types of posts to read.

Samsara Skin - How to Care For Sensitive Skin Video - As someone with sensitive skin, I found this video really useful. Jess and Andy are so knowledgeable about skincare, and it's great to get tips from the experts.

I hope you found a few new blogs to read and I'd love to hear about your favourite blogs/posts - please share in the comments below!
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25/03/2014

Trish McEvoy Azure Makeup Planner Review

A few weeks ago I had my first introduction to the Trish McEvoy makeup brand at the launch of her new Azure Makeup Planner Collection*. 

Trish McEvoy is an American makeup artist, famous for her easy 8 step makeup programme, and has created a series of makeup planners which contain everything you need to create your daily makeup (minus brows and base) in a handy kit.

The Azure planner is the latest launch, and is a bit like a makeup Filofax. It's jam-packed with products, containing everything from highlighter to eye primer, and still has lots of space inside to add your own foundation, brow pencil etc. At the launch event, we were lucky enough to meet Trish herself, who took great delight in emptying out my own makeup bag and adding it into the Azure planner to show how much space it had. There really is a lot of room - even with the products provided! 

Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner

Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner

Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner products

Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner products close up

Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner products close up

Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner eye shadow card and face palette

Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner products

Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner eye shadow swatches
Eye Shadow swatches: L-R Deep Aubergine, Rose Quartz, Tawny, Sorbet Peach, Emerald, Glamorous, Romance, Delicate Shell
Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner face palette swatches
Blusher, Highlighter and Bronzer
Trish McEvoy Azure collection makeup planner swatches
Gel Liner, Lip Colour, Instant Eye Lift and Eye Base swatches
Face of the day with Trish McEvoy Azure makeup planner products
Makeup look created using only Azure Planner products and tinted moisturiser

Inside each planner, you get:

- Eye Base Essentials Bare - full size
- Intense Gel Liner Black - luxury travel size
- Beauty Emergency Card for Eyes - eight shadows in a mix of finishes
- Lash Curling Mascara - full size
- Instant Eye Lift Shade 1 - full size
- Bronzer Golden - luxury travel size
- Face Shaper Highlight 1 
- Blush Natural
- Translucent finishing powder - luxury travel size
- Flawless Lip Colour Chic - full size

Out of the products in the planner, I think that the Instant Eye Lift has to be my favourite, although it's a pretty tough one to call! This is a fantastic under eye concealer, that will brighten dark circles and cover imperfections really easily. The Trish method of application is to draw the wand down in a V shape under the eye, and then blend in with a small brush or your finger. Set with a small amount of the Translucent Finishing Powder and you're good to go! 

The mascara is different from most other mascaras I've ever tried. It's a 'tubing mascara', which when applied, wraps around the lashes in teeny little tubes. This gives a very natural, but defined look, and also means it doesn't smudge or run, even during a sweaty exercise session. It does require a different type of removal, as you don't need to use any cleanser - simply run warm water over your lashes and rub gently to remove the mascara. This takes a bit of getting used too, as it comes off in little tubes and almost looks like your lashes are disappearing with it, but rest assured, it's just the mascara! 

I love the fact that you can create a lot of different looks with the products inside this planner. If I were looking to get a set of good makeup basics, this is definitely something I would purchase. It's also great if you're planning to go away on holiday, as you've got pretty much everything you need in one place. 

Trish McEvoy has a range of different planners which have slightly different products and shades in, however the Azure planner is limited edition for the spring/summer. You can find it at Selfridges and it costs £125. 

Despite not having tried Trish McEvoy products before, I can feel myself becoming a convert - they're high end products, but the quality is fantastic and I will definitely be investing in more over the next few months.

Have you tried any Trish McEvoy products before? Do you like the idea of a makeup planner? 

*PR sample
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24/03/2014

Micellar waters - what's all the fuss about?

Micellar waters have seen a massive increase in popularity over the past few years. Once a bit of a French pharmacy secret, you can now find dozens to choose from on the High Street. So what’s all the fuss about?

A Micellar Water is also often referred to as a cleansing water. designed to be an effective makeup remover, they look a lot like water and are often scentless. Most are a mix of oil and water, which need to be shaken together gently to activate the formula. They’re best used on a cotton pad, which when swept over skin, will remove your makeup easily – almost lifting it away from the skin. 

Bioderma and Garnier micellar waters

I love micellar waters – they feature in my nightly skincare routine as a first cleanse. I use mine to get rid of my makeup first, then following up with a proper cleanse with a balm or oil cleanser. Don’t be fooled – just because a micellar water takes your makeup off, doesn’t mean your skin is clean. Use a cleanser with a white flannel afterwards and you’ll be surprised (and slightly freaked out) at how much stuff still appears! They’re also really great for cleaning up between swatching makeup photos – nothing else gets lippie off your arm like a good micellar water! 

Bioderma are probably the brand that have had the most press since launching into the UK just over a year ago. There are three versions – one for oily skin (green lid), one for sensitive skin (pink lid) and one for dehydrated skin (blue lid). My favourite has to be the Hydrabio* (blue lid) version, which is designed for drier, dehydrated skins. I’d used the Sensibo (pink) bottle before and found it a little bit drying, whereas this leaves skin makeup free and still hydrated. At £9.99 for 250ml, it's one of the more pricey options, but incredibly effective and lasts a good 6-8 weeks per bottle. The only downside to Bioderma is that it's a bit tricky to track down as it's not in Boots or Superdrug, but lots of pharmacies stock it, as well as being online at places like Escentual and Feel Unique. 

There are also a lot of high street micellar waters that have launched recently - I've been using Garnier's for the past week and find it does a good job a makeup removal, and at around £4 a bottle, is a great budget version. L'Oreal also have a version which seems to be quite popular, although I've not tested it myself yet. 

I think a micellar water is a great addition to your cleansing routine - just make sure it's not the only one you use!

Do you use micellar waters? Which one is your favourite?

*PR sample



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21/03/2014

Video: Illamasqua tutorial for pale skin

Finding the right products for pale skin can be a minefield, so I was really excited when Illamasqua said they were going to do a tutorial on how to use their products on pale skin. They kindly asked if I would be their model for the video and the fantastic Clare, who is one of their trainers, used a whole heap of Illamasqua products to create an easy day time look for those with fairer skin tones.

I hope you enjoy it!


video


What Clare used:
Hydra Veil: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/hydra-veil
Skinbase Foundation in 3.5: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/skin-base-foundation-in-3-5
Skin Base Lift in Light 1: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/skin-base-lift-light-1
Cream Pigment in Hollow: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/hollow-cream-pigment
Loose Powder in 010: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/loose-powder-lp-010
Eyebrow Cake in Peek: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/peek-eye-brow-cake
Reflection Palette: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/reflection-palette
Powder Eyeshadow in Bronx: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/bronx-powder-eye-shadow
Powder Eyeshadow in Vernau: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/powder-eye-shadow-in-vernau
Precision Gel Liner: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/precision-gel-liner
Masquara: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/raven-masquara
Sculpting Duo: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/sculpting-powder-duo-lumos-heliopolis
Velvet Blusher in Sleek: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/velvet-blusher-sleek
Lip Colouring Pencil in Spell: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/lip-colouring-pencil-in-spell
Glamore Lipstick in Soaked: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/satin-lipstick-soaked
Lip Colouring Pencil in Temptress: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/lip-colouring-pencil-in-temptress Glamore Lipstick in Glissade: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/satin-lipstick-glissade
Lip Colouring Pencil in Indecent: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/lip-colouring-pencil-in-indecent
Glamore Lipstick in Luster: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/satin-lipstick-luster

Brushes Used: 
Foundation Brush: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/foundation-brush
Highlighter Brush: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/highlighter-brush
Contour Brush: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/contour-brush
Angled Brush: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/angled-brush
Blending Brush: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/blending-brush
Eyeshadow Brush: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/eye-shadow-brush
Lip Brush: http://www.illamasqua.com/shop/lip-brush-with-cover

Will you be trying out this look at home?
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20/03/2014

GOSH SS14 new launches

GOSH are one of my favourite high street makeup brands – not only do they make foundations pale enough for me, they also bring out a fab range of new products every season. This Spring, they’ve launched a cracking set of new releases*, all of which are filtering into Superdrug stores as we speak.

GOSH prime and set primer and mattifying powder

GOSH forever eye shadow sticks

GOSH forever eye shadow sticks

GOSH forever eye shadow stick swatches
L-R Light Copper, Brown, Beige, Grey
GOSH ss14 nail polishes

GOSH lip lacquers

GOSH lip lacquer swtches
L-R Flirty Lips, Sweet Lips, Crispy Lips, Hot Lips, Dangerous Lips
GOSH velvet touch lipsticks

GOSH velvet touch lipstick swatches
L-R Nude, Sweetheart, Romance, Innocent, Yours Forever
Top of my list has to be the Prime and Set primer and mattifying powder. A 2 in 1 product, this very fine, translucent powder works to prime skin before your makeup by minimising pores, fines lines, redness and imperfections. It can also be used on top of your makeup to set it in place and keep shine away throughout the day. It has a very light consistency, and blends into skin easily with a fluffy brush. The sifter pot is a little messy, and I did have a mini explosion the first time I opened this, but the product inside is fab. If you have a darker skin tone, I’d recommend testing this in store before buying it in case it’s a little chalky, but for paler skin tones, it disappears easily.

Next up are the Forever Eyeshadow Sticks. These are crayon style shadow sticks, that can be applied directly to your lids and blended together for a custom shade with a brush. They’re very pigmented, so don’t use a heavy hand when applying, but they really do last all day without fading! They come in eight shades at the moment, covering the gold/bronze spectrum very well and also throwing in a bit of colour with blue, green and plum shades. £5.99 each.

I’m a big fan of GOSH’s nail polishes, and for SS14, they’ve launched 5 new shades in their Frosted polish collection. These are all designed to be opaque glitter shades, and dry to a matte finish. I think the Soft Coral will be a big hit for the summer, and at £4.99 each, these are a very good buy.

GOSH have also launched a set of eight Lip Lacquers. These are a glossy, long-lasting lip product that falls somewhere between a lipstick and a gloss. They’re enriched with argan oil and vitamin E to help nourish lips while you wear them, and last reasonably well considering their glossy finish. Some shades are more pigmented than others, but none quite match up to the full pigment of a lipstick. I wasn’t expecting to like these if I’m honest, as the glossy texture isn’t really my thing, but they aren’t sticky, and work well layered over the top of a matte lipstick to help hydrate lips and give a bit of shine. £5.99 each

Last, but definitely not least, is the addition of eight new shades to their Velvet Touch Lipsticks. These are all very creamy and non-drying but also last well on the lips. There are a lot of soft nudes and pinks in the new colour spectrum, as well as a few brights, so there’s definitely something here for everyone. £6.49 each.

Which of the new GOSH launches catch your eye?

*PR samples








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19/03/2014

Birchbox special offer - 3 free samples

This is just a quick post to let you know about a special offer the lovely team at Birchbox have given me to share with you all. If you sign up before the end of March using the code below, you'll receive an extra trio of sample products completely free.

What is Birchbox?
Birchbox are a monthly beauty subscription service that send out a surprise box of goodies each month. You'll often get a mix of sample, travel and full-size products, and it costs £10 per month plus postage.

What free sample products will I get?
You'll receive:
Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Conditioner
Model Co Party Proof Lipstick - Kitty
Vasanti Detox Nutrient Rich Purifying Facial Cleanser

What code do I use:
Use: BBXPALEFACE - this is valid until 31st March 2014. Sign up on the Birchbox website.

I hope you enjoy your Birchbox if you decide to sign up!
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18/03/2014

Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules Limited Edition Duo

If you're on the hunt for the perfect Mother's Day gift, then look no further than the limited edition Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsule Set*.

Created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules*, Elemis have put together a luxury gift set, containing a two month supply of both the day and night capsules (60 of each), that comes in a really pretty box, as well as two travel pots which allow you to take your capsules with you wherever you go.

Elemis Cellular Recovery skin bliss capsule set

Elemis Cellular Recovery skin bliss capsule set

Elemis Cellular Recovery skin bliss capsule set close up

The capsules are designed so that you use one of each coloured capsule per day - the pink ones are Rose, and are designed to hydrate and soften the skin during the day, and the green are Lavender, which helps to restore cell metabolism and maximise cell repair overnight.

Both capsules use Moringa Oil, which as been proven to be up to 1700% more powerful than other cosmetic oils. It helps to repair the signs of ageing (yay!) by ridding skin of toxins and allowing nutrients to be absorbed more effectively.

I really like the idea of these capsules, as it takes away any guesswork on how much of a product you should be using. So often when I use face oils, I tend to end up with more than I should, which can lead to a bit of a greasy face while it sinks in. They are aimed at more mature skin, but I find the night-time lavender capsules to be a lovely treat a few times a week, especially in colder months when my skin is a little drier.

The super size duo is currently on sale for £79.50, but has a combined value of £140.70, so it's definitely a bit of a bargain if you're already a fan of this product. If you've not tried it before, there's also a seven day supply available to buy for £16.70, which will give you a good introduction to the capsules and let you decide whether or not you want to go super size!

What will you be buying your mum for mother's day?

*PR sample

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17/03/2014

Percy and Reed Wonder Balm Elle Freebie

We all love a good magazine freebie, and Elle this month have teamed up with Percy and Reed to offer something a little extra special. On the front of this month's issue, you'll find a full-size version of their new Wonder Balm hair primer worth £18!

Elle Magazine and Percy and Reed Wonder Balm free gift

The Wonder Balm is an unusual product - they call it a primer for your hair. It can be used on both damp and dry hair, and works with your regular styling products to make them easier to use, and be more effective. It adds gentle hold and definition to hair and can be used alone, or alongside your other products
if preferred.

It has a really light, creamy texture to it, and a pea-sized amount on damp hair is enough for my medium length, fine hair. I've also used it on dry hair to add a bit of definition and to smooth down flyaway hairs. I'm looking forward to testing this out a bit more when the weather becomes more humid, to see if it can finally be the product that stops the dreaded heat frizz that usually appears!

The Wonder Balm is on sale now for £18, but I highly recommend spending £4 on Elle instead and testing it out virtually free.

Have you tried the Wonder Balm? What do you think?
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16/03/2014

Tarte UK product launches

It's that time we've all been waiting for - US eco-brand Tarte are launching into the UK onto QVC! There's not long left to wait for the launch - products will be online and on your TV from 28th March, with two special shows at 2pm and 6pm.

There will be 11 products launching initially - including both items from their makeup and skincare ranges. All Tarte products are cruelty-free, and packed full of lots of vitamins, minerals, essential oils and naturally derived ingredients. You won't find any mineral oil, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate or gluten.

Tarte QVC launches

Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick trio

Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick trio

Tarte Amazonian Clay blusher

Tarte Amazonian Clay blusher and amazonian butter lipstick swatches
L-R Blusher and Lipstick Trio swatches

Now, onto the exciting bit - which products will you be able to find on QVC?

Amazonian Butter Lipsticks* (pictured)- £20 - a trio of soft, semi-gloss lipsticks in beautiful printed packaging. They are very sheer, so expect a wash of colour, but incredibly moisturising when worn.

Lights, Camera, Lashes 4 in 1 mascara* (pictured) - £14.40 - a mascara that lengthens, curls, volumises and conditions. This is possibly my favourite mascara ever. I love it more than my trusty YSL false lash effect, which says a lot. It gives great volume without a spidery effect, and lasts all say without smudging.

Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush* (pictured) - £26.50 - one of Tarte's most coveted products, I know this will be popular with the UK audience! The shades are very natural and give a cheeks a natural glow that lasts all day. The price is a little higher than I expected, but the formula really is fab.

Maracuja Oil* (pictured) - £29.16 - one of Tarte's hero skincare products, this face oil helps to moisturise, firm and brighten the skin.

Amazonian Clay 12-Hour full coverage foundation - £27.36 - a full-coverage foundation infused with Amazonian clay, this offers 12-hour wear, and a matte coverage.

BB Perfecting Liquid Foundation - £29.50 - a liquid base with the benefits of a BB cream and the coverage of a foundation. This also comes with it's own applicator brush.

Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation with Brush - £27.34 - a loose powder foundation, this gives a long-lasting natural coverage.

Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner and Double-Ended Brush - £18.50 - a clay-infused, budgeproof cream liner.

Sultry Sunset Amazonian Clay 8 Shadow Palette - £24 - top of my wishlist, this contains 8 eye shadows in a range of earthy shades.

Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse - £16.20 - a creamy brow mousse, this promises to fill in brows with no waxy buildup or harsh lines.

Maracuja C-brighter Eye Treatment - £25 - a refreshing treatment for eyes packed with the power of the maracuja fruit, this hydrates, firms and brightens the eye area.

I'm not sure how many shades will be available of each product, but keep your eyes on QVC online for all the updates. I can't wait to get my order in for one of the eye shadow palettes - the formula felt really smooth at the press launch and I think it's a really good price point, especially compared to some of the other items.

What's on your Tarte wishlist?

*PR samples

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15/03/2014

Guest post: anti-ageing tips

It is said that with age comes wisdom; but if that’s the case, why as we get older are we not better able to combat the pesky fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and dark spots that nature bestows upon us? It seems unfair, but the unfortunate truth is that the harm is already done by the time our skin’s damage reveals itself.

wrinkly sharpei puppies
Not all wrinkles are bad...
In fact, did you know the signs of ageing skin that start to appear in your 40s actually began when you were a small child? Skin damage occurs every day, no matter what you do to further it, or how much you try to prevent it. Whether it’s due to smoking, skin type, genetics, or environmental factors like the sun and toxins, nobody is immune to aged and damaged skin. While you can’t time travel back to the younger version of yourself – the one who used baby oil to tan – to give yourself a good talking to, there are some very simple tricks and tips which you can begin using now to help reverse the damage that is already done.

Nowadays, one of the most popular methods for treating aged and damaged skin is with an anti-aging cream, serum or gel which we will explore below; however, this type of treatment can take weeks to months for results to show. So what can you do day-to-day to disguise spots, hide fine lines and wrinkles, and give your under-eyes or chin a lift?

Daily Care

Chances are you’ve heard this advice before: Drink lots of water! An overwhelming 50% of the global population is subject to chronic dehydration, which is an obvious and easy fix. The processes of the cells which make up your complexion are dependent upon water, and if you don’t get enough of it, your cells can’t replenish themselves and create their natural oils. Depending on your weight, a recommended 6-12 glasses of water per day will bring about numerous health benefits, including a nourished and supple complexion.

In fact, application while your skin is still damp allows the moisturiser to soak into your skin, plumping it up and smoothing it out. Many of us, in attempts to hide fine lines and blemishes, tend to overuse cosmetics to disguise imperfections; but this can actually have the opposite effect. As the day goes on, your makeup begins to cake and will eventually draw attention to your lines rather than hide them, which oftentimes leads to continuous application throughout the day. Best practice advises that we should start with a moisturiser as your base to protect your skin from the chemicals found in most cosmetics, and then to keep it light and simple.

Makeup Tricks

While serums and moisturisers can work to hide lines and wrinkles, how can you lift your skin without surgical treatment? Well, it isn’t really about lifting the skin itself, but instead making your skin appear less saggy with some simple application techniques. You can fake a “lift” and hide blemishes using a combination of darker and lighter shades of cream foundation – hello contouring. Apply a foundation that is one to two shades darker than your usual makeup to the areas you wish to lift, and it will appear as though the skin is more taught. Continue by brushing a translucent powder over the darker foundation. To work the same magic on any dark spots, use a foundation that is one to two shades lighter than usual. For blemishes or dark circles under the eyes, apply a lighter foundation, followed by concealer and loose powder.

To brighten dull skin, you may want to start with an exfoliating wash or an age-defying at home microdermabrasion scrub like those sold here – followed, of course, by a moisturiser for primer. Once you’ve applied your foundation, try using softer colors like pastels to compliment your skin. It is still appropriate to use black mascara and eyeliner, but for grey or lighter hair colors, it is recommended to use a fairer shade, like charcoal grey, brown or navy blue.

At the end of every day, it is of utmost importance to get into the habit of removing all make-up and cleansing your skin thoroughly. Doing so twice a day will allow your skin to breath and regenerate properly, which helps to maintain firmness and elasticity.

Anti-Ageing Skin Care Products

As mentioned above, there are also many specific products that may be used daily or nightly to help treat and prevent ageing and damaged skin long-term. These products can be prescribed as well as purchased over the counter, and neither requires surgical treatment. These are the types of products you want to exercise most caution with, as not all will work best on your unique complexion. It’s important before purchasing any product to do the proper research and read customer reviews.

The most common offender is a product that is advertised to “reduce the appearance of fine lines.” While this sounds great in print, what you are generally getting is an over the counter moisturiser or facial cleanser that will hide fine lines and wrinkles, but will not permanently erase them. Not all moisturisers and gels have to be a temporary fix. For results that last, you want to look for the active ingredients glycolic, ascorbic or retinoic acid.

This last ingredient, retinoic acid – also known as retinol or retinoid in OTC products like those found here – is often the most popular and highly recommended nonsurgical product. Why? Products containing retinoic acid or retinol will actually long-term treat and prevent wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, and blemishes. Retinoid products are known to hasten the turnover of skin cells and cause them to die rapidly without thinning out your skin. This not only keeps your skin looking healthy, but helps to lighten blemishes by ridding of the darker pigment melanin that causes dark spots and slows melanin’s production. These same gels and creams are also efficient in slowing the collagen breakdown to promote elasticity and reinforce thickness.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can reverse 100% of aging or prevent it forever – but then again, with age also comes beauty, right?

Guest post by Jenna Hasselbach
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14/03/2014

Butter London spring polish picks

The last few days of sunshine have got me feeling all spring like, and after wearing OPI’s Black Cherry Chutney polish for the last week, my nails are in need of brightening up!

Butter London are an English brand that make a wide range cruelty-free nail polishes, all with their trusty 3-free formula. I’ve picked out a few shades* that I think will brighten up any nails and would lovely worn alone, or all together in a nail art design.

Butter London nail polishes

Butter London nail polish swatches

Top of the list is Fiver, a fresh mint green that will work with almost any skin tone. It goes on opaque and streak free in two coats (something which is quite hard to get from a pastel green polish) and dries quickly to a high shine finish.

Molly Coddles is a pastel lavender shade, which when paired with Fiver reminds me a bit of an alternative mint humbug colour combination. Again, it only needs two coats to be fully opaque and is super easy to apply using Butter London’s medium width brush.

Now, my last choice might not be a pastel, but I love a hot pink nail polish and this one really lives up to expectations. Primrose Hill Picnic is a blue based bright pink and really only needs one thick, or two thin coats. I’ve got lots of polishes in similar shades, but couldn't resist adding one more to my collection!

The only downside for me is that I don’t find that Butter London polishes last as well as some other brands. I chip polish quite easily, but only got 2 days out of any of these before I needed to remove it and start again. That’s not a massive issue for me as I change my nail polish a lot, but they wouldn't be the brand I’d choose if I was going away and needed it to last.

Butter London polishes are £12 each, so are at the top price point, but have some gorgeous shades to choose from. You can see a wider range online from The Hut, or in store if you’re near a large Boots.

What do you think of Butter London? What’s your favourite shade for spring?

*PR samples
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13/03/2014

Gemporia jewellery review

When it comes to jewellery, I have to say I'm a bit of a magpie. I love statement pieces, but often opt for cheaper costume jewellery as the real deal is usually pretty expensive. I was recently introduced to Gemporia - a website dedicated to jewellery made with all kinds of gemstones, which are ethically sourced and at some seriously good prices.


They kindly sent me a piece to review from their massive range, and after hours of poring over their site, I finally chose this gold flash sterling silver and black diamond ring*. I love the simple shape of it, and think that the black diamonds give it a really unusual look. Black diamonds are sister stones to regular diamonds, but instead of that super sparkly finish, they have a sort of metallic shimmer which makes them very distinctive (and also a lot cheaper!). 

This ring retails at £40, which I think is a great price - it's nice to have something that looks quite expensive, but at a price I can actually afford myself. All of the pieces are made in limited numbers, so while it won't be a one off, you know that you're unlikely to see someone else wearing the same piece. I have a feeling I'll be steering my family in the direction of Gemporia for potential birthday presents too! 

What's your favourite type of jewellery?

*PR sample

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11/03/2014

30th birthday giveaway

At the end of the month, I'll be celebrating growing another year older and entering a new decade - my 30s. I thought it would be nice to spread a bit of birthday cheer with you all, and so I'm giving away a big bundle of beauty goodies - 30 to be exact. Some of the are featured in the photo, and there will be a few surprises for the lucky winner. 

30th birthday giveaway prize

This giveaway is open internationally (prize may be tailored slightly dependent on the winners location and postage restrictions) and closes on 5th April. Just complete your chosen Rafflecopter entries to take part. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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10/03/2014

The spring switchover

After so many months of dismal weather, it finally seems like spring is here. This makes it the perfect time for a bit of a product switch up! Here are some of the things I’ll be introducing into my routine over the next few weeks...

the spring switchover

White nails – a far cry from the days of painting nails white with tippex at school, this season’s key nail trends involve a lot of white, and barely there pastels. Why not combine the two with Essie’s Blanc* and a feature nail in Mint Candy Apple for maximum impact. Essie are 3 for 2 at Boots at the moment, so it's a good time to buy!

SPF – we all know we should wear SPF throughout the year to help protect against wrinkles, but sometimes when it’s dark and dingy outside it’s easy to forget. For a light-feeling SPF, Susan Posnick’s Brush on Block is the perfect thing as the mineral powder goes on invisibly over the top of makeup (and can be worn under it), but still gives great SPF30 protection from the sun.

Feet – if like me, your feet haven’t seen the outside of a sock for the past 5 months, chances are they’re looking rather grim right now. I’ll be cracking out my Micropedi* to get rid of some of the dead stuff, and having a mini-pedi at home. It looks (and feels) a bit like an electric sander, but combined with a mini foot massage and some body butter, you’ll be wishing it’s sandal time already.

Fragrance – spring always makes me think of fresh, citrusy smells, and to me there’s nothing more perfect for this time of year than Jo Malone’s iconic Lime, Basil and Mandarin cologne. It’s a really light, refreshing fragrance, and although the lasting power isn't great, a little spritz on a clear sunny morning is enough to make me smile.

What will you be adding into your product mix this spring?

*PR samples
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09/03/2014

The Camouflage Company makeup bag collection

My name is Kat and I’m a makeup bag addict. Ok, so my bag obsession reaches far beyond makeup bags, but I do love a nice little pouch for my makeup. My current favourites comes from the Camouflage Company, a brand who have recently launched onto QVC.

Camouflage company makeup bags

Camouflage company makeup bags

The blue and white broken china design is something completely different from other bags I’ve had before, and the set of three make the perfect travel companion. The smallest of the three bags is perfect handbag size, and I’ve been using this to cart around all my essentials on a day to day basis. It’s big enough to fit mascaras and eye pencils without any issue and you can even get a small palette in here (like Urban Decay’s Naked Basics) without too much of a stretch.

The medium size stays at home and acts as my regular makeup kit, which I switch around on a weekly basis to make myself experiment with more products from my stash (seriously, if I don’t do it regularly, I will end up using the same blusher for about 3 months...).

If you’re off on holiday, then the largest of the three bags is a great size for your suitcase, as it has secure compartments for anything that might leak, as well as loads of space for shoving in cotton wool, flannels and other essentials.

All of the bags are lined in an easy to clean fabric, which has been a bit of saviour for me following a loose powder explosion last week, which left everything inside the bag looking like it had been covered in a pale pink volcanic dust cloud.

If I was being picky, I’d maybe like a mini mirror included in one of the two smaller bags, but I guess you can’t have everything! The set of three costs £26.28 and is currently exclusive to QVC. If you’re not keen on this pattern, the Camouflage Company also have lots of other designs to choose from over on their website.

What do you use to carry your makeup around in?

*PR samples
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07/03/2014

Mavala Metropolitan nail polish collection review

The Metropolitan collection* is the latest release from Mavala, and has to be one of my favourites! It features six, multi-tonal polishes, in a range of gorgeous metallic shades. 

Mavala Metropolitan collection nail polishes

Mavala Metropolitan collection nail polish swatches

The range features (L-R in swatches above): 

Gold Bronze - gold base with bronze undertones
Copper Violet - violet with copper accents
Emerald Gold - green with gold undertones
Silver Chrome - molten silver
Pink Gold - a rose gold hue
Metallic Blue - ultra violet metallic blue

Each of the polishes reflects in the light, showing off their duochrome finishes. All needed two coats to be opaque, and went on pretty smoothly. I did find that Silver Chrome was a tiny bit streaky, but that's often the way with metallic silver polishes. Just use a little extra care when applying it, and you should be fine. 

All of the polishes use Mavala's trusty '5-free' formula, and last a good couple of days without any chipping. Each bottle is 5ml and costs £4.75. You can find Mavala in John Lewis, larger Boots stores and online. 

I think this is a fab collection and the range of colours makes it something that will work throughout spring and summer, right through to the autumn. 

What's your favourite shade from this collection? 

*PR samples

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05/03/2014

50 shades of beige

Forgive the mid-week rant, but this is a topic that's been bugging me for a long time!

Finding the perfect foundation is a hit like finding the perfect partner - you have to hunt hard to find one that's exactly right for you. I often find that trying to find my perfect shade is a bit like navigating a large, beige wall. It seems like some companies are very much focused on a certain colour range and if you fall out of the bracket it's pretty much tough luck.



For those happy to spend £20 and up, the shade range is a bit better, but if you've ever tried to source a pink tinged, porcelain foundation on the high street, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Looking like an oompa loompa is not my desired look no matter how much I'm told that the bronzed look is in, and don't even get me started on the finding a formula that agrees with my skin type. 

It's not just the pale end of the spectrum that seems to have been forgotten about - the darker end seems to suffer just as much. Why is it that large brands can come up with 50 shades of beige and yet they can't expand things a little? I know the shelf space isn't never ending but it would be nice to have a little more choice! 

Trial and error (seriously orange errors in some cases) has led me to always abide by these tips:

1. Know your brands - GOSH make some good paler shades in their bases and won't break the bank. Illamasqua also make a white foundation, so if you're really struggling to make one match, mix a little in and create a custom shade.

2. Avoid any counter assistant who looks like they've been tangoed or has an obvious foundation line. If they can't match themselves properly, they aren't going to do any better on you.

3. Take your time - you wouldn't expect to create a life long relationship with your boyfriend in seconds so don't expect the same from your foundation. Research, test and try lots on before making a purchase. It will save you money in the long run. 

Mini rant over... But brands, if you're reading this, please widen your shade range a little, we promise to buy them! 
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04/03/2014

Beauty news in brief - March

I'm going to cut straight to the chase with this week's first item - Sephora are now shipping to the UK! It's not quite the same as opening up a store on UK shores, but  hey, it's one step closer! They promise a flat delivery fee if you spend over a certain amount, but do be aware of certain restrictions and sales taxes which can bump up the cost of your order. Jane from British Beauty Blogger made a short YouTube video which covers some of the restrictions and is definitely worth a watch.

Something which caught my eye is the super cute Delores makeup bag (above) which will be launching exclusively onto MyShowcase at the start of April. It's a great size for if you're travelling, and I think the face design is just adorable. Delores will be on sale for £19.95 and launches on 1st April.

Another exciting thing this month sees fashion designer Lulu Guinness partner with Birchbox for their March edition. I'm not sure of the contents, however the photos of the packaging I've seen look worth subscribing for on their own! There's still time to sign up for the March box, so if you like the sound of this one, I'd get on the Birchbox website pronto!


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03/03/2014

Spring makeup launches from Collection

Collection are one of my favourite budget brands. With most of their products coming in at less than £4 each, their stand is a definite must visit on a trip to Boots! They've got some really exciting new launches coming out over the next few weeks, as well as a few rebrands of some old favourites. 

Collection spring makeup launches

Collection eyebrow kit

Collection work the colour nail polishes

Collection work the colour nail polish swatches


I think the stand out product from the new lines is going to be the eye brow kit*. Inside the portable sized palette, you'll find three different shades of brow powder, applicator brush and a clear gel to set brows in place once finished. The range of shades in the powders means it's pretty universal and all three can be blended with each other to create a custom shade that's perfect for you. At £3.99, this is a total bargain and I have a feeling it will be very popular on launch. It launches into Boots on 9th April and Superdrug on 16th April. 

Next up is the re-brand of their Work The Colour nail polishes*. These have been given a slick new look, and come in a range of 24 fashion forward colours. There's everything from brights to pastels and all the way through to darker berry shades and will still remain a bargain at £1.99 each. These launch into Superdrug on 9th April and in Boots on 16th April. 

There's also a range of bronzers* launching in March, coming in matte, shimmer and mosaic finishes. It's great to see a matte bronzer as part of the collection as so often they have a lot of shimmer in, making it perfect for contouring if you have a medium skin tone. The bronzing range will be £2.99 each. 

Collection have also launched a few things recently which you can buy now, including the fab Smokey Eye palettes*. Coming in a choice of four different shades, these offer 9 shadows in complementary shades, which all work well together. Choose from smokey, nude, purple or blue, or considering they're £3.99 each, maybe grab a couple! 

The Lasting Perfection foundation and concealer range* has also been given a packaging face lift. The removal of these from the shelves did cause a bit of a panic in the beauty community as so many people love them! Fear not, they were just being given a  bit of a makeover and you should start to see them filtering back onto shelves as we speak. 

I really think that Collection are upping their game this year - what do you think of the new launches? 

*PR samples





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