Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer and Cocoa Powder Foundation review

Makeup and  chocolate are two of my favourite things,  so it's safe to say I wasn't surprised when I fell in love with Too Faced's new Cocoa Powder Foundation and Chocolate Bronzer range. Like their infamous chocolate bar palette, the bronzers and foundation are infused with cocoa, and damn they smell good!

Too Faced cocoa powder foundation and soleil chocolate bronzers

Too Faced cocoa powder foundation and soleil chocolate bronzers compacts

Too Faced cocoa powder foundation and soleil chocolate bronzers

Too Faced cocoa powder foundation and soleil chocolate bronzer swatches
Foundation, Milk Chocolate Bronzer, Chocolate Bronzer swatches
There are two bronzers to choose from - Milk Chocolate Soleil is the lighter of the two and is perfect for paler skin tones. They're both matte, so are great for contouring and offer a build able depth of colour - you won't need to worry about orange faces here! The fact that they also smell good enough to eat is just a bonus, but the cocoa inside the formula is great for packing an antioxidant punch.

I'm not usually a fan of compact powder foundations as they can be slightly chalky, but I've been quite surprised by how much I like this one. The Cocoa Powder Foundation comes in a choice of eight shades (I have Fair which is the lightest one) and they've catered for a good mix of fair to medium skin tones.

Inside the compact is the foundation pan and underneath a little compartment for the applicator sponge. I have to be honest - I don't really like using the sponge as I find it makes application a little cakey so I tend to apply using a buffing brush in the same way I would a mineral powder foundation, building the coverage up from light to medium/full depending on how much you need. My favourite way to use this product is actually on top of a BB or CC cream, adding extra coverage where I need it around the nose and chin area and helping to set the BB cream in place.

Both the foundation and bronzers are pretty long wearing - you'll easily get 8 hours from each before needing a little top up, and while they might smell deliciously like chocolate in the pan, that smell doesn't linger when it's on your face. Slightly disappointing, but it's probably a good thing as if I could smell chocolate all day, I don't think I'd ever stop thinking about it!

Too Faced's Milk Chocolate Soleil and Chocolate Soleil Bronzers cost £25 each and the Cocoa Powder Foundation is £28. You can find them from all Too Faced stockists (Debenhams Oxford Street is my favourite!) and online from Beauty Bay and Boots. 

Do you like the sound of these chocolate infused products? 

*PR samples


The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Collection

Argan oil is an ingredient we’re all pretty familiar with – you’ll find it in lots of hair care products as it’s great for keeping hair looking soft, supple and super shiny. It’s also great when used on the skin – something the Body Shop have tapped into with their latest launch, the Wild Argan Oil collection*.

The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil collection

The new collection is made up of a range of eight bath and product products, all of which have been infused with Argan Oil which has been sourced from the remote Atlas mountains in Northern Morocco.  The oil in this range is all hand extracted by a cooperative of Berber woman using an age-old method - pressing the best Argan nut kernels, before filtering and allowing to settle for over 48 hours. 

My favourite product from the new range has to be the Wild Argan Radiant Oil. This is a dry oil that can be used on both your body and hair, and because it’s a dry oil, it doesn’t leave you feeling greasy for ages after you apply it. I like to use this after my morning shower – I only use a tiny bit on damp hair to help smooth it before blow drying, but it really helps keep the frizz at bay! £14 125ml.

Another favourite has to be the Wild Argan Miracle Solid Oil. This little tin is full of a solid balm and can be used for hydrating dry patches, massaging into your cuticles, or even smoothing down flyaway hairs. It’s a great multi-use product that’s perfect for popping in your handbag or travelling with as you won’t need lots of different moisturisers and hand creams. At £8 for a 50g tin, I think this is a great little product and will be keeping mine with me at all times! 

Also in the range are a body scrub, body butter, shower gel, lip balm, bubble bath and body lotion. All of the products are pretty reasonably priced and start at just £4, with the Radiant Oil being the most expensive at £14. The Argan Oil smell is quite distinctive – it’s a little bit spicy and definitely reminds me of something you might see in Morocco. 

The range is available now online and in Body Shop stores – do you like the sound of this range? 

*PR samples 



Skincare favourites for dry and sensitive skin

I'm a big believer in having a good skincare regime - if your skin looks good, you need less makeup, so it's generally a bonus all round. My skin often tends to be slightly oilier in the summer, but still suffers from dehydration and can be quite sensitive from time to time. 

I've been testing out lots of skincare over the past few months and wanted to share some of my favourites for anyone with dry, dehydrated or slightly sensitive skin. 

Bioderma Anti-Redness Care Moisturiser- a non-scented, lightweight moisturiser, I found this great for use in the day time when you need some hydration but don't want anything too heavy. It's lack of perfume makes it great for more sensitive skins and while it's aimed at calming redness in skin, I think it's a great bet for anyone who has issues with perfumed products. I did find out (virtually at the end of my tube) that it contains mineral oil, which is an ingredient I usually try to avoid, however I've had no issues at all with it in this product. Mineral oil is designed to stop moisture escaping from the skin, but does have a reputation as a bit of a pore blocker, so if you know you don't get on with that ingredient, it's probably best to avoid this one. £16

Aromatherapy Associates Hydrating Rose Cleanser* - I'm totally obsessed with the hydrating mask from this range, which my skin literally vacums up, so it was great to see that the cleanser is just as good! It's quite a rich, creamy textured cleanser that smells divine (good rose smell, not old granny rose smell) and I find it best used massaged into dry skin and removed with a warm flannel. If you have oily skin, this will be too heavy for you, but I love to use it at night as my second cleanse to get skin completely clean, but with no dried out feeling. £25

Bee Good Honey & Propolis 2 in 1 Cleanser* - Bee Good skincare is a natural brand that harnesses the healing powers of beeswax, honey and propolis to create products that really make a difference to your skin. This is a rich, creamy cleanser that's great for cleansing without stripping and leaves skin feeling super clean and really soft at the same time. It's best used with a muslin cloth or flannel for removal, and is one of my favourite products to use in the evenings. At £11.50 for a 100ml tube, it's also great value.

Heal Gel Face* - fear not, the tiny tube in the photo is just a sample size that I am currently rationing until I can order my next full sized-bottle (I've already used one!). HealGel Face is one of those amazing all-rounder products. It works for pretty much every skin type, and can be used by even super sensitive skins as it was originally created with post-plastic surgey patients in mind. The texture is very lightweight and yet hydrating at the same time - two pumps should be enough for most skins in place of your usual morning moisturiser. If you're very dry, you might need to top up with an oil or a richer cream, but I'd definitely recommend giving this a try. £48

Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser* - This lightweight gel texture cleanser from Dermalogica is amazing at removing makeup and cleansing your skin without any harsh feeling at all. I love to use it in the mornings - massaging into my skin and then removing with a warm flannel. It's unscented and aims to help reduce redness in the skin, something which I've definitely noticed over the past few months. This is something i'm quite susceptible to, and i've definitely noticed a reduction in redness in my cheeks. Massive thumbs up Dermalogica. £26.90

Have you tried any of these products before? What's your top tip for dry or sensitive skins?

*PR samples


Flamingo Candles Lemon Lime Mojito Scented Candle review

If you’re on the hunt for an eco-friendly scented candle that smells UH-MAZING, look no further and let me introduce you to Flamingo Candles. 

Flamingo Candles are a British brand based in South Wales. They hand make each of their candles using eco-friendly soybean oil and natural cotton wicks and offer a fantastic array of scents. 

Flamingo candles lemon lime mojito

Lemon Lime Mojito was just one of the candles on my top ten list to try – not only did the name of it sound mouth-wateringly good, but the cute acrylic flamingo on the front of the glass jar made it the perfect quirky accessory for my coffee table. 

I usually find I have to burn candles for a good few hours before really noticing the scent, but after only 20 minutes, my living room was already smelling pretty darn good (even my Dad noticed on a recent visit). I’m a big fan of citrusy scents and Lemon Lime Mojito is a really fresh, zesty scent that’s great to get rid of any afternoon sofa slumps. 

Each of the standard sized glass jar candles will burn for up to 50 hours and at only £12 each, I think these are a great alternative to higher priced candles such as Diptique. There are over 30 different scents to choose from, so whatever your preference of smell, they’re pretty much bound to have one - they’d also make lovely gifts if you can bear to part with them! 

You can find the whole range of Flamingo Candles online on their website, from ASOS, Joy, Amazon and many more independent stockists. Next on my list to try is the Thai Lime and Mango – I hope it smells as good as this one! 

Have you tried Flamingo Candles before? What do you think of the packaging? 

*PR sample


Debate: are high end products better than high street?

The high end vs high street debate has been a long running one in the beauty world. I’ve tested hundreds of products and know that more expensive doesn't always equal better quality, so why do we still bother with high end products?

High end or high street mascaras

I recently spent £36 on a Christian Louboutin nail polish (yes, I know this is a ridiculous amount). When I heard it was launching I knew I had to have it. It wasn’t because I thought the polish would be any better quality than that of a high street one, but I felt like I was able to finally buy a piece of the Louboutin brand, without having to re-mortgage my house. That, and the fact it was going to look pretty special on my dressing table.

When it comes to makeup, there are often very small variations in the formulas of the actual products. A lipstick is usually made of the same base ingredients no matter the price, and while there might be small variations, there’s nothing really there to justify the £20 price difference.

To me, the lure of the high end cosmetics comes as an overall package – you’re buying into the brand name, the luxury packaging and quite frankly, helping to pay for the massive marketing campaigns these brands use. In contrast to this, there are some seriously competitive low-cost brands cropping up at the moment that offer products from as little as £1. You won’t find them in a department store or gracing the ad pages of the glossy magazines, but they’re providing decent quality products at rock bottom prices. They might not look as pretty for a public lippie top up, but they provide an attractive alternative to people looking for a cheap alternative.

My makeup bag is a complete mix of high end and high street products and I love finding a great product on the high street. There are so many amazing ones to choose from, and when you consider that the lower end brands are owned by the same parent companies that make their more expensive sisters, it’s not hard to see why there’s often an overlap in terms of products all the time. If something launches onto the high end market, it’s not long before the high street brands follow (Chanel/Bourjois cream blushers anyone… *ahem*).

When it comes to skincare and hair care, this is when being ingredient savvy can be a huge benefit. There are some extremely expensive hair brands that use incredibly cheap ingredients in their products for example. While I might be able to justify buying a Tom Ford lipstick because of gorgeous packaging, the same doesn’t really apply for me when it comes to my shampoo. If the ingredients are the same as a £1.99 shampoo, what’s the point in paying more? I buy these products based on the ingredients in them, and while I’m not an expert, there are certain things I look to avoid and refuse to pay a high price point if a particular brand uses them. Yes, there are some that justify the higher price tag as they’re actually packed with beneficial ingredients, but that’s definitely not always the case.

For me, there will always be products I’m happier to invest more money in, or certain brands that I honestly feel are worth spending more money on, but this is very much a personal thing. How do you feel about high end and high street products? What is it that makes you spend more on certain things but not on others? I’d love to know your thoughts.



Life: Notting Hill Carnival 2014

This weekend I paid a visit to the annual Notting Hill Carnival in London. Thankfully the weather was pretty sunny, so no rain coat was needed and Grace from All That Slap and I made a day of it, watching the amazing costumes and dancers, having a little boogie to the music and stocking up on delicious food. 

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite photos from the day – it really is a riot of colour, loud music and delicious smells (which are hard to capture on a camera!) and I hope you enjoy them. I was travelling pretty light, so left my DSLR at home and took all of these photos on my LG G3* phone camera.  Despite getting a bit snap happy, I was really impressed at how well the battery lasted throughout the day – my old iPhone wouldn’t have stood a chance! I’ll definitely be using it again for ‘on the go’ blog photography – it’s one of the best phone cameras I’ve used in a long time!

Here are a few of my favourite moments from the Carnival:

Notting Hill Carnival coconuts

Notting Hill Carnival makeup

Notting Hill Carnival costumes

Notting Hill Carnival costumes

Notting Hill Carnival costumes

Notting Hill Carnival jerk chicken

Notting Hill Carnival costumes

Notting Hill Carnival costumes

Notting Hill Carnival selfie with Grace

Notting Hill Carnival costumes

Notting Hill Carnival costumes

Notting Hill Carnival steel drums

Notting Hill CArnival tuk tuk

Have you been to the Notting Hill Carnival before? What’s your favourite part of the weekend?


Beauty offers roundup #1

Let’s face it, we all love a bargain – especially when it involves our favourite beauty products! This is the first of a regular series of posts where I’ll be rounding up the best offers from across the web, helping you haul and save money at the same time.

beauty offers from steamcream, the balm and nails inc
Yup, you heard me right – free STEAMCREAM! The lovely team over at STEAMCREAM are running a bit of a challenge – they’re looking for 100 people to try STEAMCREAM for just 7 days to see what difference it can make to your skin. Simply complete the form on their website and if chosen, you’ll be sent a super cute 25ml mini tin free of charge.

20% off all beauty at M&S
The M&S beauty halls are home to some amazing brands and at the moment everything has 20% off online and in stores until Monday 25th August. This is the perfect time to stock up on brands such as REN, Leighton Denny, Stila, GlamGlow and many more – they have a seriously impressive range to choose from!

Nails Inc Feathers Collection
This super cute set from Nails Inc has been reduced to just £10! Considering that it only costs £10 and contains four full sized polishes (including a feather effect one), this is cheaper than buying a single polish on its own. Bargain!

theBalm Balm Jovi palette
Cult brand theBalm can usually be quite pricey, however you can grab 20% off their infamous Balm Jovi palette in the Feel Unique sale. It’s packed full of 12 eye shadows, a highlighter, a matte blusher and two lip cheek tints so it perfect for popping in your handbag. It’s reduced to £27.40, so grab one quickly while it’s still in stock!

Balance Me vintage sale
From Sunday 24th August, you'll be able to grab some of your favourite Balance Me products in vintage packaging at up to 70% off. There will also be some great bundles on offer, including an anti-ageing duo (facial expression filler and wonder eye cream) worth £33 for just £15 and a Super Toning Hamper for just £9.  Visit their website for full details.



What's in my handbag - the carnival edition

This weekend I'm paying a visit to the annual Notting Hill Carnival, where I'm planning to soak up the atmosphere and check out the amazing costumes, performers and food. It's been a few years since I last went, so I'm really excited to be heading down. The Carnival is usually heaving with people, so I'm planning to travel light and pack my bag full of essentials for the day.

Top of my list is my camera! There are so many amazing things to take photos of at the carnival (in between eating the food) but I'm leaving my DSLR at home this time so I can use a much smaller handbag. Instead, I'll be relying on my LG G3 phone* to capture memories of the day - it's got a great camera and battery life, so I'm hoping it will do me proud.

I'll also be taking plenty of tissues and hand sanitzer. Not exactly the most glam of items, but Carnival is a bit like festivals - it's best to go prepared! My Body Shop Grapefruit Hand Sanitizer* smells amazing and is a good size to pop in your bag for emergencies.

A bold lippie is a must when it comes to carnival - I know it won't be much competition against some of the costumes, but it will definitely add a bit of colour to my overall look. I'll be using MAC's Happy Go Lucky, which is really long lasting, meaning I won't need to reapply too often throughout the day.

I'm hoping the weather will be good, so I'm taking my sunglasses with me. I bought these Dior glasses at Bicester Designer Outlet a few months ago for my birthday and I haven't worn any others since! I'm just hoping I won't need a rain poncho instead...

Last but not least is cash! I'm looking forward to sampling lots of street food during the day, so will need to make sure I'm armed with cash as most places don't take cards.

I'll be sharing some photos from the carnival after the weekend and if you're heading down there, let me know, it would be great to see you!

What are your carnival/festival handbag essentials?

*PR samples


GOSH AW14 new launches

As much as I hate thinking about autumn when it's still August, I do get excited when the new A/W makeup starts filtering through! High street brand GOSH have come up with another amazing collection and for the first time are introducing some larger scale eye shadow palettes along with lots of other great products!

GOSH AW14 new launches

GOSH to enjoy in New York eye shadow palette

GOSH to enjoy in New York eye shadow palette swatches

The palettes are something I think almost everyone will be drawn to. There are three to choose from and each one has been themed around a particular American city. 001 To enjoy in New York is a mix of 9 neutral shades in browns and soft purples; 002 To have fun in LA features aquas and lilacs and 003 To play with in Vegas is a bold mix of tropical brights that are definitely inspired by those of Las Vegas.

The palettes themselves are good sturdy plastic and feature a massive mirror inside to make application easy. I've been testing out the neutral New York palette and was really impressed with the colour payoff on the shades. Some of the lighter ones were a tiny bit glittery, but they all work well together to create a massive amount of looks. At £9.99 each, these palettes are amazing value and despite being a scaredy cat when it comes to colourful eye makeup, I'm tempted to buy the other two and get experimental!

I'm also loving the new Giant Blush sticks, which are a bit like giant chubby crayons made out of cream blusher. There are three shades to choose from and can either be applied straight from the stick, or using a finger. They're quite sheer, so you can build up the depth of colour you're after and wear well throughout the day. The only thing you need to be careful of is not to twist them up too high - I made this mistake and plopped out the entire blusher bit onto the floor. Massive fail on my part. £6.99 each.

GOSH are also launching their first mineral powder foundation, which I think will be a welcome addition to the high street - it's hard to find a good budget version of these. I haven't tested this one fully as the colour is too dark, but I love the special brush they've launched to go with it - it's super soft and great for buffing in mineral powder foundations. The Mineral Powder is available in 4 shades (I have the 04 Natural, 02 Ivory is the lightest) and costs £9.99. The Mineral Powder Brush will cost £7.99.

One thing that hasn't left my makeup bag since the launch is the new Defining Brow Gel. I'm horrifically lazy with my brows and very rarely colour them in. This has all changed since receiving this brow gel - the mascara-like wand makes application super quick and while you won't get a boldly shaped brow from this, what you will get is a naturally enhanced one. The gel only sits on top of hairs that are already there, so it's great for anyone after a bit of help to define their brows, without wanting to create a Cara Delevigne style look. There are 3 shades to choose from: 001 Brown is a warmer shade of brown; 002 Brown/Grey is the shade I've been using and is much cooler - great for blondes; 003 Black is the darkest of them all and is suited for naturally dark browns. At £4.99 I think this is a total bargain and I'm already planning to purchase a backup for mine in case it runs out!

Also in the new launches are five sparkling effect nail polishes in different shades of grey, eight new shades of their fantastic Velvet Touch Lipsticks and two new mascaras.

I definitely recommend a trip down to your local Superdrug to check these new launches out. All of them should now be in store and online.

Do you like the look of these new launches from GOSH? What's your favourite?

*PR samples


Antonia Burrell facial review

Facials have to be the ultimate in skincare treats – and up until recently, I was a facial virgin. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had mini treatments that lasted about 15 minutes, but for some reason I’d never made the jump to full facial. This all changed however, when I made my first ever visit to iconic facialist Antonia Burrell’s treatment room in the Urban Bliss rooms in Notting Hill.

Antonia Burrell is not only queen of the holistic facial scene, she’s also developed her own range of skin loving products which are all chemical-free, and 100% natural. She uses a mixture of her own products and a selection of other key ingredients during her facial treatments, ensuring your skin gets exactly what it needs. Each facial is personalised to the individual, so even if you choose a specific type from her treatment menu, you’ll still get a slightly different experience to someone with a different skin type.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from my first facial treatment*, but Antonia was really reassuring and talked me through the process as we went. She aims to treat skin complaints as well as the overall aesthetic of skin, and created the much coveted ‘Natural Face Lift Facial’technique.

Antonia Burrell

Antonia Burrell skincare
My facial started with a serious amount of cleansing, steaming and facial massage. I found the steaming part a little uncomfortable – not due to the heat, more just due to it being an unusual sensation and not something I’m used to. The cleansing part was lovely – this wasn’t your at home quick cleanse, but a luxurious process that got skin super clean, and yet relaxed at the same time.

Afterwards, Antonia popped on a face mask and while that was getting to work, she gave me a mini neck and shoulder massage. At one point I was slightly worried I’d nodded off as it was so relaxing (no-one wants to be the snorer on the spa bed…!) Once the mask was taken off, a moisturiser was applied and that was me all done!

The entire treatment took about an hour, and I honestly don’t know why I left it so long to have a full facial. I will definitely be booking another in the not too distant future. I left completely makeup free with slightly pink skin from all the massaging, but my whole face looked brighter and much more ‘awake’; the effects of which continued for several days after. My boss even commented on the fact my skin was glowing the next day, so it definitely must have done the trick!

After my treatment, I got the chance to ask Antonia a few skincare related questions. During my consultation she’d told me I had an oily skin type, which is something that surprised me as my skin is always dehydrated. She explained that really most skins are either oily, normal or dry, but things like dehydration are skin issues, rather than skin types, so can be fixed through proper nutrition and skincare treatments. Dehydration, for example, can occur through a lot of factors – environmental, lack of water, hot/cold weather etc.  and treated by re-hydrating the body, and also the skin.

Since my treatment, I’ve been using Antonia’s Pure Therapy facial serum*, which is a potent mix of natural oils designed to help balance irritated or reactive skin and give it a natural glow. The bottle is quite small, but this is really rich stuff, so a little bit goes a long way! I use one pump at night and press gently into my skin before adding a moisturiser on top. I think this has really helped my face to continue to see the benefits of the facial, but would also be great for anyone with slightly oily skin. It sinks in very quickly and every time I use it, I wake up to supple feeling, glowing skin. You can buy this, along with all of Antonia's skincare range from her website. The Pure Therapy serum costs £58.80 for 15ml.

Have you tried anything from Antonia Burrell before? What's your favourite facial treatment?

*PR samples


Bargain beauty: Collection Little Mix Loves palette review

Bargain beauty brand Collection have launched their latest collaboration with girl band Little Mix in the form of a cracking neutral eye shadow palette. 

No matter if you're a fan of the band or not, I think this palette is going to appeal to a massive audience - the shade range makes it wearable by anyone and the £3.19 price tag means it's affordable to even their younger fans.

Collection Little Mix loves eye shadow palette

Collection Little Mix loves eye shadow palette

Collection Little Mix loves eye shadow palette swatches

Inside the palette you'll find 6 complimentary shadows in a mix of mattes and shimmers.  They're a good mix of neutrals - an ivory base colour, some nice browns and even a super pigmented orangey bronze.

The formula tends to vary by shadow - I found the lighter ones to be a bit chalky and less vibrant in terms of colour payoff but some of the shimmers are packed full of pigment and are amazingly long wearing throughout the day. All of the shadows have a slight shimmer, so if you're a matte shadow lover this one won't be for you.

The packaging is made from cardboard so is a little flimsy (don't keep this one in your handbag!) but at this price point I'm not going to complain too much!

All in all I think this is a great little palette - it's got everything you need for several day tine looks and can be built up for a more smokey evening look if you want to.

The Little Mix Loves palette can be found on larger Collection stands and costs £3.19. Do you like the look of this palette?

*PR sample


My unicorn wishlist

I may have turned 30 earlier this year, but in my head, I swear I'm still about 19. Whatever your age though, unicorns seem to be a big hit - I've recently just bought a unicorn print dress and can't wait for a good occasion to wear it! I've been putting together a bit of a unicorn wishlist over the past few weeks - here are some of my favourite items...

unicorn wishlist

Unicorn clutch bag - ok, how can anyone not want a unicorn clutch bag?! I saw a few of these early this year from Th White Pepper and I'm now kicking myself for not buying one. This little beauty is from an American site and costs $39, but I'm soooo tempted to place an order!

Bad Ass Unicorn print - Unicorns are usually seen as a bit soft and fluffy, but not this one! Bad Ass Unicorn comes in a choice of four colours - I'm leaning towards the pink, but have considered buying one of each and creating a unicorn feature wall; not quite sure what my boyfriend might say to that though. £20 each.

Lime Crime Lipsticks - I recently bought my first ever Lime Crime lippie at the recent IMATS show in London. I can't lie, as much as I love their amazing shade range, the unicorn packaging just seals the deal for me. There are tons of shades to choose from - my favourite is Countessa Flourescent, which is a matte hot pink. You can buy Lime Crime online from Cocktail Cosmetics in the UK and the lipsticks cost £12.50 each.

ASOS Unicorn Tshirt - ok, so this*might* have crept into my ASOS basket over the past few days and is now taking pride of place in my wardrobe. It's quite a simple design and the fit is nice and relaxed, so it's perfect for lounging in at the weekend. At £14, it's also a bit of a bargain!

This is just a handful of unicorn related things I've found - it's amazing how many there are out there! I've also got my eye on a slogan printed coin purse from It's Not Me It's You, but they've run out of the colour I wanted. *cries*.

Are you a unicorn fan? What's top of your wishlist at the moment?



2000 Bloglovin follower giveaway

I recently hit a big follower milestone and to say thank you, I'm running a giveaway. To make things a little more fun, I wanted to give the winner a choice of prize, so I'm offering one winner the choice of any eye shadow palette (that's available to buy in the UK) up to a cost of £50.

high end eye shadow palettes
If you've been longing for the Naked 3 palette forever, or fancy Too Faced's Chocolate bar palette, the choice will be yours! All you need to do is complete your chosen entries via the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway is open internationally, and one winner be be picked at random one entries have closed.

Thank you again to everyone who reads my blog - your support really means a lot. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Latest in Beauty - the Beauty Bible Loves box

Latest in Beauty are probably my favourite beauty box on the market at the moment. They come up with some cracking boxes and while there’s no surprise element (you can see the contents of the box before you order it), they have great collaborations and fantastic contents.

Their latest collaboration is with the founders of the Beauty Bible – Jo Fairley and Sarah Stacey. These two ladies know their beauty stuff, and have handpicked some of their favourite products to feature in the ‘Beauty Bible Loves’ Latest in Beauty box.

Latest in Beauty Beauty Bible loves box contents

The contents of this box are mostly focused around natural brands and while the box is slightly more expensive than your regular monthly subscription box at £19.95 (plus p & p), the contents are worth a massive £70 making it great value for money.

Inside the box you’ll find:

Bella Pierre Volumizing mascara (9ml)
Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena & Lavender Hand Therapy (25g)
Dr Organic Dead Sea Mineral Bio-Plasma Mud Mask (100ml) (full size)
Essential Care Creamy Coconut Cleanser (30ml)
John Masters Organics Lavender Rosemary Shampoo (30ml)
John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler (30ml)
Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm (2ml)
PitROK Crystal Deodorant Wipes (20 wipes)
RITUALS Miracle Scrub Ginseng & Ginkgo Biloba Ultra Softening Hand Scrub (75ml)

I’m quite excited to see the BellaPierre mascara in there – over the years I’ve tested hundreds of different ones with varying successes so the chance to try another at a bargain price is always a good thing. This one promises to give long-lasting volume to lashes and is super black in colour – fingers crossed it’s a good one!

Another favourite of mine from the box has to be the John Masters Organics Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve used these a few years ago and while the conditioner isn’t quite enough for my now bleached hair, the shampoo is lovely and great for anyone looking for a more natural alternative.

I’ve heard great things about the Dr Organic Dead Sea range, so will be slapping the mask on over the weekend and reporting back (stay tuned to instagram for a scary face mask selfie). This is another full sized product that usually retails at £7.99 and I think it makes a great addition to the box.

The only thing out of this box I won’t be using is the travel sized bottle of Essential Care’s Creamy Coconut Cleanser. I know there are loads of people that love this gentle but effective cleanser but for some reason it breaks me out virtually instantly, so it’s something I’ll be passing on to a friend instead.

The Beauty Bible Loves box is available now on the Latest In Beauty website. It’s a limited edition, so if you like what you see, I recommend placing your order asap before they sell out!

Do you like the look of this LIB box?

*PR sample



Food: pulled beef and spicy avocado lettuce wraps

I love a recipe post, so after getting a good reception to my recent dinner on Instagram, I thought I'd share with my simple to make low carb pulled beef and spicy avocado lettuce wraps. 

I'm by no means a chef (far from it in fact!) so usually avoid the kitchen at all costs, but since going on a bit of a health kick I've been inspired to make some new recipes that even a novice like me can make. This one is super simple - you just need to allow plenty of time for the beef to cook. 

pulled beef and spicy avocado low carb lettuce wraps

To make the pulled beef:
- Grab a generously sized joint of beef. I used about 1kg of brisket as it's cheap and perfect to slow cook.

- Because I'm impatient, I cut my joint into two slightly smaller pieces prior to cooking to help speed up the process a little. This is completely optional, but you'll get your beef a bit quicker.

- While the oven is heating up (set it to 170C), brown the beef on all sides in a hot frying pan with a little bit of oil (this helps seal it and keep it moist while it's cooking)

- Once browned, pop the beef into a large casserole dish and cover with beef stock. I used about 1 litre.

- Add a chopped onion to the pot, a couple of cloves of garlic and a bit of chilli powder - this infuses the stock and helps add a little more flavour to the beef

- Pop the lid on the casserole dish and then chuck in the oven for about 3-4 hours (depending on the size of the joint of beef)

- Once the beef is finished, remove it from the cooking liquid and place on a plate. Using two forks, shred the beef up into yummy bite-sized pieces. If the beef doesn't shred easily, you may need to cook it a bit longer - it should break apart pretty easily with just the forks. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking liquid to the beef to moisten it up slightly (freeze the rest as a future stock).

- Layer up your shredded beef on some lettuce leaves (or tortillas if you're not cutting carbs) along with some chopped tomatoes, cucumber and other salad of your choice, before topping with some spicy avocado. I also added some jerk bbq sauce which I found in the supermarket at the weekend. Not truly low-carb but damn it was tasty.

- Hide the rest of your beef from your boyfriend who will try to eat it all and give himself the meat sweats (obviously optional, but this is what happened to me!). 

Spicy avocado:
This is a super simple mix of mushed avocado, lime juice and as much chilli as you like. I've used cayenne powder purely as that's what I had in the cupboard, but a chopped up fresh chilli would be much better. I tend to use half a lime per avocado, but again it's all down to personal taste. Yum. 

I also took a lunchbox of leftovers to work the next day, but instead of piling everything on top of the lettuce as wraps, I shredded the lettuce and had it as more of a traditional salad. 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe - let me know if you try it at home, I'd love to know what you think! 



Birchbox manithon for CoppaFeel

On Friday 29th August, beauty box aficionados Birchbox are teaming up with breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel to help raise money for the charity with a massive manithon in London's Soho Square.

For a minimum donation of £5, you can get a mini manicure at one of over 20 manicure stations that will be set up around the square and all proceeds will be given to CoppaFeel. 

Birchbox manithon

I lost my granddad to breast cancer (it affects men too although it's much less common), so this is a charity close to my own heart and will be popping down for a manicure on the day. If you'd like to take part, you can book your slot via the Birchbox website

There's also a specially designed t-shirt been created by illustrator Sally Faye Cotterill available to purchase at for £12 from the Birchbox website - again, all proceeds will go towards CoppaFeel. 

I'd love to see you there - make sure to tweet a photo of your nails on the day using the #BirchboxManithon!


DHC premium lipsticks review

My love for DHC’s liquid liner is well known (I’m on a mission to convert everyone to using it; it’s the best thing EVER), so when I heard they were releasing some new Premium Lipsticks*, I got excited. I was hoping they would be like the lipstick version of their eye liner. So when they dropped through my letterbox a few weeks ago, I ignored standard blogging code of waiting to take photographs before using them and immediately started swatching and slapping them on my lips.

If you’ve not heard of DHC before, they’re a Japanese brand that hit the UK several years ago with the launch of their cult product – the Deep Cleansing Oil. Since then, they’ve expanded the range that’s available in the UK massively, and it now includes everything from pore minimising skincare to foundations.

DHC premium lipsticks

DHC premium lipsticks close up

DHC premium lipstick swatches

The Premium Lipsticks are a new launch from DHC and come in 6 easy to wear shades (L-R shown above):

Petal Pink (PK102)

Rich Raspberry (RS107)

Bold Persimmon (OR112)

Velvety Red (RD109)

Rose Gold (BE111)

First Blush (RS105)

The formula is creamy, soft and a little bit sheer and you can easily wear them all day without feeling like your lips are drying out. Each lipstick has been infused with a hydrating mix of macadamia nut oil, sodium hyaluronate and olive oil (plus a whole host of other ingredients!) to help moisturise and plump out your lips while you wear them. Initially I thought they all looked a bit samey shadewise, but once on the lips, they are all revealed as easy to wear colours that should suit most complexions.

My favourite shade is Petal Pink, which is a soft pink colour. This for me is a ‘my lips but better’ shade. I’ve been struggling to find a good nude shade for years and I think I might have finally done it with this.

The packaging is super cute – it feels very premium and has a lovely design printed onto the lipstick tube which makes it feel that little bit more special than some of my other lippies. Each one costs £13, so is a little bit pricer than your usual high street lipstick, but still cheaper than MAC!

DHC isn’t the easiest of brands to track down in the UK, but you can order them direct from their website, or if you’re based in London, Beauty Mart are a big stockist of some of their key products, as is Selfridges and Fenwick Bond Street.

If you’re a lipstick lover, I definitely recommend you try one of these babies out. And while you’re at it, order the liquid liner too – you won’t regret it.

*PR samples


Try before you buy: the L'Oreal Makeup Genius app

How many times have you bought a piece of makeup only to get it home and realise the shade isn't quite right for you? I know I've wasted a lot of money over the years on that!

L'Oreal are set to launch a seriously exciting new app that should not only stop that from happening again  but should also make it easier to get more adventurous with makeup.

Makeup Genius is a super clever app that allows you to apply every L'Oreal own brand beauty product onto your face and see how it looks. You're able to test out single items of makeup or complete looks and the app is capable of following your facial movements so you can see exactly how it will look in real life .

With the app there's no more need for playing with chewed up manky testers in store - instead you can see exactly what that shade of lippie is going to look like on your own lips and then decide if you want to buy it or not.

I spent a long time playing with the app at the recent launch - it's totally addictive! In the photos here I'm not wearing lipstick - that cheeky pout is actually the app following my lip shape and displaying my chosen hot pink colour.

I really think this will be a massive hit - not only do you get to try before you buy but you can also test out looks you might never have done before and it's surprising how nice some of them look. I'm half tempted to buy some blue liners after trying one out here.

The app will be completely free and available  to download from iTunes in early September.  I'm hoping they also bring out an Android version soon so will keep you posted on that!

Do you like the sound of this app? Is it something you'd use?



Giveaway: SkinChemists Bee Venom Skincare

Bee venom has been a hot ingredient in skincare this year, offering a botox-like effect without the need for any injections. SkinChemists are one of the leading producers of Bee Venom based skincare. I’ve been testing out their Bee Venom eye serum and have been really impressed – it’s great for firming and tightening the skin around the eye area and makes you look really awake.

Skin Chemists Bee venom skincare giveaway prize

They’ve kindly given me a set of two Bee Venom products to give away – Bee Venom Facial Serum and Bee Venom Moisturiser. This duo retails for almost £200 so it’s a great way to try a premium brand that offers great results.

All you need to do to enter is to complete your chosen entries on the Rafflecopter widget below.  Due to postage restrictions, this will be a UK only giveaway (international one launching soon!). Entries close on 25th August and one winner will be chosen at random.

Please note that these products do contain real bee venom, so are not suitable for people with an allergy to bee or wasp stings.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Too Faced Cat Eyes Palette review

Quirky US makeup brand Too Faced have got a lot of exciting new launches coming out this month (more on those soon) but my absolute favourite of these is the new Cat Eyes eye shadow palette*. 

Formed of 9 complementary eye shadows, the Cat Eyes palette is aimed at creating really easy cats eye style looks with minimal fuss. I'm a massive fan of a feline black liner flick (and leopard print) so this palette is right up my street!

Too Faced Cat Eyes shadow palette tin

Too Faced Cat Eyes shadow palette eye shadows

Too Faced Cat Eyes shadow palette eye shadows
Too Faced Cat Eyes shadow palette eye shadows swatches
Day shadow swatches
Too Faced Cat Eyes shadow palette eye shadows swatches
Classic shadow swatches
Too Faced Cat Eyes shadow palette eye shadows swatches
Fashion shadow swatches

The shadows are broken down into three main looks: day, classic and fashion.  With each look there's one shadow designed to be used wet or dry which can double up as an eye liner. Obviously you don't have to stick to the set combinations they've suggested - they all mix and match really well. I love the names they've given to the shadows - they're all cat inspired, keeping with the overall theme of the palette.

Inside the palette they've included a quick guide to the three looks and how to create them yourself.  I think this is a great idea - it makes it a lot easier to know which shade should go where for the best effect! 

The day time shades are probably my favourites from the palette. I know I'm not exactly being imaginative here but the soft cream and bronze shadows are really lovely and while they might not be ground breaking they're perfect for an every day look.

If you are a bit more adventurous then try out the fashion shadows - these are quite usual for a cats eye style look so I think will be quite fun if you're braver than me when it comes to colour!

The shadows themselves are mostly shimmery and have a lovely soft texture and very pigmented finish.  You don't need a lot in order to get a good depth of colour and they blend together really well.  

I'd recommend using an eyelid primer underneath these as they do seem to fade quite quickly during the day without one, but I have it on good authority from Grace from All That Slap that Too Faced's Shadow Insurance primer will stop any eye shadow from moving! 

The Cat Eyes palette launches in mid-August and costs £32.  Do you like the look of this palette? 

*PR sample



Introducing: My Little Box

I’m a big fan of beauty boxes – getting a box of surprises drop through your letterbox is always exciting. That said, some of the recent offerings have been less than inspiring, but I think that’s about to change with the arrival of an exciting new box called ‘My Little Box’.

My Little Box originally hails from France where it’s been wowing the Paris crowd for some time. It works on the same sort of principle as Birchbox, Glossybox et al, where for a small fee (£14.95) you receive a parcel each month that’s packed full of exciting things to try out.

Where My Little Box differs is that each month the boxes are very clearly themed. You might receive ‘My Little Holiday Box’ (pictured), filled with items that are perfect for taking away on holiday with you. Previous editions have seen My Little British box, My Little Dolce Vita box and My Little Weekend Box.

Inside the box, you receive a mixture of beauty products and fashion accessories, making it something that appeals to a wide audience. The beauty samples are usually either good travel sizes or full-sized, so there’s none of that ‘oh good, it’s a sachet’ disappointment.

My little box beauty box

My little box beauty box

My little box beauty box holiday box contents

My little box beauty box beauty products

My little box beauty box fashion accessories

My little box beauty box magazine

Inside the ‘My Little Holiday Box’, I received a full sized bottle of Davines shampoo for dry/damaged hair (good for post-beach), a bottle of cleansing water, a travel sized bottle of bath and shower gel, a hot pink waterproof tablet cover (to allow you to watch movies/read at the beach without worrying about it getting wet) and a giant sized illustrated canvas beach bag.

I think that this is a great mix of products and everything I received I would definitely use. I’ve looked through previous month’s boxes on their website and saw some at a recent press day, and have to admit, I didn’t see a single one I’d have been disappointed to pay for.

They often team up with brands to collaborate on products – I saw a Sephora nail polish in a previous box, plus some very pretty tortoiseshell sunglasses. They also always include one beauty product of their own brand – in this case it’s the cleansing water.

There’s also a great magazine included with every box. This really feels like a proper mini magazine – there are lots of articles on simple ‘make at home’ ideas, beauty and hair styling looks, plus other interesting bits and pieces. The best thing about it is the fact that all of the content has been written by bloggers! And don’t panic – our version will be in English!

I have a feeling My Little Box will be very popular when they launch into the UK in September. At the moment their UK site isn’t finished, however you can register your email to receive updates of when it launches and be one of the first to subscribe. I definitely plan to subscribe post-launch. I’m hoping the Sephora collaborations make it over the channel and end up in one of the first UK boxes!

What do you think of this new beauty/fashion box? Is it something that appeals to you?

*PR sample

© Tales of a Pale Face | UK beauty blog | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig