Tarte Best Face Forward QVC TSV 1st June

Here's a quick heads up for all you Tarte fans - they've got an amazing QVC TSV (today's special value) happening tomorrow for one day only where you can pick up this fantastic 'Best Face Forward' discovery set for just £38.40.
QVC Tarte TSV Best Face Forward starter kit
QVC Tarte TSV Best Face Forward starter kit
I was pretty amazed when this arrived and I heard the price as inside they've  crammed in six items, all of which seems to be either full size or extremely generous travel sizes.
The Lights, Camera, Lashes is one on my top 3 mascaras ever, as it gives fantastic definition and volume without any clumps. I'm also loving the look of the Pink Bronze Colored Clay Bronzer Blush which is not only embossed with a beautiful design but it gives skin a fab glow at the same time.
There's a cute 'Ivory Little Thing' eye shadow quartet included within the set - these are 4 seriously wearable nude shades, making it the perfect every day palette. It's also small enough to pop in your handbag so a great travel companion.
For lips there's a vintage LipSurgence lip cream and for face a decent sized  Colored Clay CC Primer which I believe comes in different shades. Last but not least is a seriously soft double ended face brush and a cute little makeup bag to put everything in.
If you've not tried Tarte before or want to discover more of the brand then I think this is the perfect set to start with. It's on offer for just one day so make sure you order via QVC on 1st June in order not to miss out.
Do you like the look of this Tarte TSV?
*PR sample


Lifestyle: 7 delicious foody places to visit in central London

Now I know I’m normally all about the beauty on this blog but for those of you who know me (or just follow me on Pinterest), I really, really like food. London has so many amazing food places dotted around the capital so I thought I’d do a quick roundup of some of my favourites (all around the central W1 area). Whether you’re a veggie, staunch meat eater or just a massive cake lover, I’m hoping you’ll like something from the list below. It was originally meant to be a ‘top 5’ but two more snuck in. Ahem.
7 delicious foody place to visit in london
Ethos – this all vegetarian buffet style restaurant is one of my favourite places to go for lunch. You help yourself to a massive array of hot and cold dishes and pay at the counter by weight. It’s great if you like to have a bit of everything on your plate, as you can try lots of different things all at once. There’s a good mix of veggie and vegan dishes and I promise, that even meat lovers like myself won’t feel like they’re missing out!

Bobo Social – tucked away at the quieter end of Charlotte Street, Bobo Social is a relatively new place that serves a mix of burgers and small plates of tapas style dishes. The sweet potato fries are possibly the best I’ve ever had and look out for the monthly burger specials which change regularly. This month featured the Marmite burger, which combined rare breed beef, aged cheddar and Marmite and was insanely delicious.

Pizza Pilgrims – a good pizza isn’t hard to find in London but trust me when I say that these are really exceptional. They have a lovely thick outer crust with nice thin dough towards the middle and the truffled mushroom pizza is basically a mouth orgasm waiting to happen. Try their new Carnaby branch or head to the original one on Dean Street in Soho.

Charlotte Street Hotel afternoon tea – as somewhat of a cake obsessive, I’ve tried a lot of afternoon teas in London and can honestly say the Charlotte Street Hotel is one of the best for quality of food and general ambience. They have 2 different types of tea – a more traditional offering and a ‘Bloomsbury tea’ which is features some more adventurous sandwich choices and ‘posher’ looking cakes and is completely divine. Save room for the scones – these babies are crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Pile them high with cream and jam and enjoy! They’re also great if you’re attending on a special occasion – I took my mum as a 60th birthday treat and although we vaguely mentioned it was a birthday when we sat down I hadn’t asked for any special treatment. Despite that, they brought her out a little birthday cupcake with a ‘Happy Birthday’ message on which was a lovely touch.

Meat Liquor – I couldn’t resist including another burger place on this list as Meal Liquor really is about as far removed from Bobo Social as you can get! Don’t be put off by the dim lighting (you’ll need a flash to Instagram your burger!) and slaughterhouse inspired graffiti, their burgers can only be described as messy, but drool-worthy. There are no napkins here – just rolls of kitchen roll to mop up any burger related messes. Make sure you grab sides of onion rings and deep fried pickles. Oh. My. God. The cocktails are also fab.

Lantana – this is a tiny little café tucked away down a side street in Fitzrovia, but it’s well worth discovering for its delicious, fresh food that all has an Aussie influence. My top picks from the menu has to be the corn fritters with bacon, avocado and spinach, which is THE best brunch and also their maple French toast. *drools a little*

Wild Game Co. – for venison that makes your mouth water, make sure you head to the Wild Game Co. They do a mix of burgers and the most delicious venison steak frites, all of which you can feel guilt-free about as venison is actually lower in fat than a skinless chicken breast. Bonus. If you have veggie friends, you might have to leave them behind as this is a meat lover's paradise, but don’t feel too bad about it. These guys are currently only open at lunch times, but are moving to a new location in a few weeks and will be back open for lunch and dinner very soon.

Have you tried any of these places before? What’s your favourite place to eat in London?

Neve Cosmetics Elegantissimi nude shadow palette review

A girl can never have too many nude shadow palettes, right? And today's new addition to my collection is from a fantastic Italian brand - Neve Cosmetics.

The Elegantissimi palette features ten highly wearable shades of taupes, browns and beige shadows. There are a lot of matte or satin finish shades here - perfect if you don't always want a shimmery finish to your shadows. Imagine if someone stuck the best bits of the Naked 2 Basics palette and mixed it in with a few shimmery shades - this would be the end result.

Neve cosmetics Eleganitssimi palette review
Neve cosmetics Eleganitssimi palette review swatchesNeve cosmetics Eleganitssimi palette review swatches
I've been really impressed with the pigmentation of these shadows; you only need a small amount on the brush to get a decent level of coverage on the lid, even with the lighter shades. They blend like a dream and don't leave masses of fallout during application. They also wear well throughout the day - I get about 8-10 hours before any fading starts to occur. 

When the palette first arrived, I was quite shocked at how big the actual shadows were (3g each) - maybe I'm too used to my Naked palettes, but these are massive! That's not a bad thing of course, as when a palette is this wearable, you're going to get a LOT of use out of it. It just makes it seem incredible value given the £21.95 price tag. 

All of Neve's shadows are completely cruelty free and vegan and contain no parabens, silicones or mineral oils. They're also easy to pop out of the pan and rearrange if you like - the palette itself is magnetic, so if you buy several of their shadow palettes and fancy mixing and matching the shades within them, then it's really easy to do so.

I love using the bottom row to create a bronze smokey eye, or using some of the lighter top row shades for day time looks or to highlight the inner corner or my lids.

I can't honestly think of a bad thing to say about this palette, in fact, I'm already planning to purchase another one of their palettes in slightly bolder shades as I think the formula is amazing!

You can find the Elegantissimi palette online from cutecosmetics.co.uk.

Have you tried anything from Neve cosmetics before? What do you think of this palette?

*PR sample


Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne review

Jo Malone is one of those brands that I absolutely adore. A trip to one of their shops is usually met with a seriously long wish list and if I’m lucky, a new scent to add to my collection. 

The latest in my Jo Malone lineup is the Wood Sage and Sea Salt cologne*. I was initially a little confused by the name of this one – after all, sea salt doesn’t really have a ‘smell’, but once I tried it, it quickly went to the top of my summer perfumes list. 

Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt cologne review
Wood Sage and Sea Salt is a light, fresh fragrance that mixes ambrette seeds as a top note, sea salt as a heart note and earthy sage as its base note. Together, these create something quite unusual – it’s light and airy, but without the usual citrus overtones you get from fresher fragrances. Imagine taking a walk along a beach with the sea in front of you and a delicate herb garden behind you and you’ll be sort of on the right path (I hope I’m not putting you off with that slightly odd description!). 

Like all Jo Malone fragrances, this one can be worn on its own or layered up with others to create your own custom scent. It falls into their ‘woody’ category, so it might work nicely with a ‘light floral’ such as French Lime Blossom or maybe even the more citrusy Earl Grey and Cucumber. I’d definitely recommend having a spritzing session at one of their counters to see which combination is your favourite. 

Wood Sage and Sea Salt comes in both 30ml and 100ml bottles (£40 and £82 respectively) plus selected products in their matching bath and body ranges. There’s also a scented candle in this fragrance which is going straight to the top of my ‘oh my god I need this’ list – I have a feeling this scent will work amazingly well as a home fragrance. 

You can find Jo Malone products at their standalone boutiques, as well as stockists such as House of Fraser, Harrods, Selfridges and John Lewis. 

Are you a fan of Jo Malone Colognes? Which one is your favourite?

*PR sample



Latest in Beauty - Heart Beauty Essentials box review

Latest in Beauty’s newest beauty box is an absolute cracker. They’ve teamed up with Heart Radio to put together a box of their favourite beauty essentials from a range of high street and high end brands.

Like all LIB boxes, there are no surprises with the contents – you know exactly what you’re getting before you order, so it’s great if you’ve felt the surprise element of other beauty boxes isn’t really for you.

Inside this box are 13 products from the likes of Philosophy, Nails Inc, Dove and Green People, with a combined value of over £70. The box itself is just £15 plus postage, so a fantastic saving. There are a few full-sized products in the box along with some decent travel sizes and I think it’s a box that pretty much all ages will love.

Latest in Beauty Heart Beauty essentials box contents

Box contents:
Dove Youthful Vitality Shampoo and Conditioner
Philosophy Purity Cleanser
Vichy Idealia Life Serum
Kneipp Devil's Claw Herbal Bath
Nails Inc Gel Effect nail polish in Hyde Park Place
Balance Me Radiance Face Mask
Bare Mineral Complexion Rescue
Heart shaped face cloth
Green People SPF15 with tan accelerator
Wild About Beauty eye shadow
Le Couvent des Minimes Cloisters hand cream
Amie Hydrating Daily Moisturiser
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

My top pick from the box has to be the full-sized Nails Inc Gel Effect polish in Hyde Park Place, which is a lovely neutral grey shade that should suit almost everyone. The formula of these are super glossy and while they don’t last as long as a real gel manicure, they give a fantastic dupe effect.

Another great item is the Amie Morning Light Daily Hydrating Moisturiser (again, another full size product), which is perfect for oilier skins or those who don’t like to use a heavy moisturiser in the warmer months. It’s also a bit of a bargain at £4.99, so if you find yourself falling in love with it, it won’t break the bank if you need to repurchase.

Makeup wise, the Wild About Beauty eye shadows are really soft in terms of formula and blend amazingly well. I received the shade Jody which is a deeper grey but I believe there are a selection of different shades included within the box so you might receive an alternative. These usually retail at £13 - I told you this box was a bargain!

All in all I think this is a fantastic box and well worth the £15! The only disappointing inclusion for me is a small sachet of Bare Minerals new Complexion Rescue - this is a great lightweight base product but the tiny sachet and limited shade selection means it’s more of a single use product (or no use if you don’t colour match with one of the two shades included).

You can purchase the Heart Beauty Essentials Box from the Latest in Beauty website, while stocks last.

Do you like the look of this box?

*PR sample


3 to try: cleansers

Cleansing is one of the most important parts of a good skincare regime – not only does it remove your daily make up and grime from the skin but it helps prepare it to receive all those lovely serums and moisturisers we like to slap on afterwards.

I’ve picked out three of my current favourite cleansers that I think will work for almost any type of skin and any length of routine. So whatever your cleansing habits, there’s no excuse for not doing it! (and throw out those face wipes while you’re at it!)

RMK cleansing balm* – cleansing balms are my favourite way to cleanse at night. I normally take the majority of my makeup off with a swipe of micellar water and a cotton pad and then get in there with a cleansing balm for a seriously good clean. RMK’s balm is lovely and soft in texture and almost melts into the skin as you use it. It’s really great if you wanted to avoid anything too heavily scented – it uses Damascus Rose Oil so has a light rose scent and hydrates skin while it works. A little bit goes a long way, so take a small amount and massage into dry skin. Then add a little water to ‘emulsify’ the product – this turns it into a milk-type texture which can then be rinsed away or removed with a warm, wet flannel. £29 100ml

Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser – this gel texture cleanser has been a staple in my bathroom for a few years now. It’s super mild, but incredibly effective, making it suitable for even really sensitive skins. It’s easy to use both morning and night and is really refreshing in the summer when a heavier, oil-based cleanser might overload the skin. Apply a little to dry skin, massage in and remove with a warm flannel. You could also wipe away with a cotton pad if you’re in a rush, but this won’t be quite as effective! £27.20

Institut Esthederm Deep Pore Cleanser* – I normally avoid ‘deep cleansers’ like the plague as they have a habit of stripping skin of all signs of moisture, but this one from Institut Esthederm manages to give a fantastically good cleanse and leave you with soft, supple skin at the same time. The brand believes that skin is an ecosystem and works with it in order to get the best results over time. To use the Deep Pore Cleanser, apply a little in dabs across dry skin and massage in until you feel the product change in texture (it will go thick and stop being easy to massage) then rinse well. What I love about this is that depending on your skin type, they suggest a different level of useage – around 1-2 times per month for sensitive skins, once a week for normal skin and up to 2 times a week for oily or blemish prone skins. £26.50

Have you tried any of these cleansers before? What’s your favourite?

*PR samples


Introducing: Prismologie

Next time you're browsing the shelves of Space NK, make sure you have a look at the new bath and body brand on the block: Prismologie.

Prismologie* is a luxury bath and body brand that have literally just launched in the UK. It's all based around the idea of colour therapy, and how we can use colour to complement our daily lives to uplift, enhance and inspire.

The products all focus on colour and link to how you want to feel at that particular moment. For example, the Green Epoch collection is designed to create serenity, equilibruim and a balanced mind, with notes of vetiver, whereas The Red Hour is aimed more at giving a boost of go-getting energy and uses scent of cedarwood to do so. Each colour range has also been infused with a specific crystal which is said to have complementary properties to both the colour and the scent of the products. There are six different colours in total, which can carry you through from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. 

I love the concept behind this brand - very often you're confronted by products that seem to slot you into one particular range - enlivening for example - whereas Prismologie recognises thst we all want to feel different ways throughout the day and throughout the seasons, so you can pick and mix the products best suited to you at any point. They've also steered clear of creating the same products for each colour range - each colour has a unique set of products that blends well with the feelings they're trying to invoke.

My current favourites from the range are the White Hour Rich Body Cream and the Indigo Interlude Foot Cream. I love to use the White Hour body cream in the evenings after a shower as it's super hydrating and the fresh scent is absolutely divine. I was a bit wary of the Indigo Interlude Foot Cream initially as I'm not the world's biggest fan of touching my feet, but it really is fab at preparing them ready for summer sandals and the oud scent makes the whole process feel incredibly pampering. 

I think they've done a great job at creating a luxury range that really delivers both in terms of performance and look and feel.

The products range from £30 to £55 so are at the higher end of the spectrum but they would make a fab pamper gift to yourself or a special someone. The products are all pretty unisex too which is great, although that does mean I'll have to hide mine from my boyfriend to stop him slathering on my White Hour body cream!

You can find Prismologie exclusively in Space NK stores and via their website.

Do you like the sound of this new range?

*PR sample


Debate: are you ever too old to be a beauty blogger?

I was asked the other day if there was going to be a point when I decided I was too old to carry on with beauty blogging. After my initial outrage calmed down a little, I started to wonder whether they had a valid point - is there an age that beauty bloggers stop being relevant?

Ageing is one of those things that no matter how hard you try, it's impossible to escape. Billions are spent on anti-ageing products and treatments every year, but at the crux of it, none of these will ever truly hold back the clock. But just because we age on the outside, does it really mean that inside we become different people?

For me it's really important that there are bloggers to represent all ages - you don't suddenly stop being interested in beauty products just because you pass a certain birthday. My 85 year old Nan still likes to make sure her hair looks nice and gets it styled once a week despite having dementia, so if that doesn't stop her I don't think anything will!

We need honest reviews on products that are aimed at all ages - not just on the latest lip colours and body products, but tips on how to use them whatever your age. My mum often steers clear of certain things because she feels they no longer work for her as she’s become more mature (shimmery eye shadows for one) and it’s those types of things I think it’d be great to have more of a focus on, as well as more reviews on skincare products for more mature skins.

I've been blogging for about 3 years now and over that period, I've been asked about my age several times. There was even a comment made on a gossip site about how old I looked in my photos (sad times) – I’m not sure what people expect but I'm 31. I have a few wrinkles. I don’t pretend that I don’t, but I don’t think for one minute that stops me having an opinion on how well a certain eye liner performs.

20-something bloggers will always have their place, but we all need bloggers we can relate to, whether you're 21 or 61. I think it's really important that as we grow older we don't stop blogging - after all, our audiences are getting older with us, so where would that leave them if there was suddenly no one left for them to identify with?

How do you feel about blogging and ageing? Is it a big deal?


YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick trio - World Duty Free exclusive

A trip to World Duty Free is one of my favourite things about planning a holiday. 1. Because it means you’re in the airport and your holiday is about to start and 2. Because of the amazing exclusives they have that you can’t find anywhere else (the tax free part is also a nice bonus!). I’ve got a few of their summer exclusives to show you over the next few weeks, but I had to get started with this fantastic trio of lipsticks from YSL.

YSL lippies always scream luxury purchase to me and their cult Rouge Pur Couture formula is creamy, highly pigmented and easy to wear all day. This travel set puts together three of the most popular bright shades: No.1 Le Rouge (a blue-based red), No.13 Le Orange (orangey coral red), and No.27 Fuchsia Innocent a blue-based hot pink. Now, just because it’s a travel exclusive doesn’t mean you’re getting a smaller product – these are full-sized lipsticks, each of which is individually packaged within the outer box. This might make it a great gift if you’re planning on treating a friend from duty free – one for her, one for you and oh wait, another one for you…

Until now, I’d always stuck to the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Lip Stain formulas as I thought they’d be more wearable but I absolutely love these! I can easily see myself using No.27 on a regular basis as I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with hot pink lipsticks and No.1 is such a classic red shade that should work with pretty much all skin tones.

These normally retail for £26 each, but the travel set is £59.35, making it a really good saving. If you don’t have any of these shades in your lipstick collection but want to start with the classics, then this is definitely the way to go.

Sadly it’s only available from World Duty Free shops, but it’s a good excuse to plan a little trip, or add it to your summer holiday shopping list!

What do you normally stock up on at World Duty Free?

*PR sample


Cohorted beauty box review - May 2015

Just when you thought the beauty box market couldn’t get any bigger, Cohorted came along and created one that’s got everyone talking. Despite only launching a few months ago, this is one seriously popular box – there are a limited number each month and previous box contents have looked really impressive, so I thought it was time to see what all of the fuss was about. 

When the May box* landed on my doorstep last week, I ripped it open rather excitedly (think 3 year old at Christmas) and actually let out an audible ‘oooooooh’ when I saw what was inside. Not only was it all makeup/nails focused, but all the products were full-sized and from high end brands I’d never normally expect to see in a beauty box. 

cohorted may 2015 beauty box contents
The Cargo Vintage Escapes palette normally retails for around £35, so given the fact that the Cohorted box costs £19.99 plus postage, it's a bit of a winner all round. I have a couple of Cargo palettes at home and they’re always great in terms of shade range and pigmentation and Vintage Escapes is no different. If you’re not a fan of the more nude shadows (um, who are you people?!) then it might be a little dull for you, but for a brown shadow lover like myself, it’s pretty much heaven in a palette. 

Next up is a Dolce & Gabanna Lace nail lacquer in Perfection, which is a taupey nude polish that I think will suit pretty much everyone. This is my first taste of D&G beauty, so I’m intrigued to see how it performs against other brands in my collection. £19 

I was a *tiny* but disappointed to see another eye shadow in my box in the form of Too Faced’s single Poison Orchid eye shadow. Not because Too Faced make bad eye shadows (they’re pretty fab to be honest) but due to the Cargo palette mentioned above. That said, the shade I received will probably appeal to a different audience than the Vintage Escapes palette as it’s a bolder purple shade shot through with a duochrome glitter. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but not something I will get much use out of, so I will probably pass this on to a friend. £15

Last, but definitely not least, is a full-sized Michael Kors lipstick in the shade Dame. This looks like a really deep plum/berry shade in the tube, but it’s almost semi-sheer when applied to the lips so is a lot less scary than it initially appears. It’s also very moisturising and easy to wear, so definitely something you could wear all day. I’ve been wanting to try the Michael Kors beauty range for a while now, so this was a fantastic surprise to find in the box. £23.50 

I can completely see why there’s so much fuss being made over the Cohorted beauty boxes now – if next month’s is anything like this then there will be some very happy people indeed! 

If you like the look of this box, then make sure you visit the Cohorted website and sign up to pre-order their future boxes. They operate on a per box basis rather than a monthly subscription and you’ll need to be quick when they release the pre-orders to ensure you get one, but it’s definitely worth the effort! 

Have you tried the Cohorted beauty box before? Are you impressed with this month’s contents? 

*PR sample 



Skincare: 5 lesser know brands you really need to try

Sometimes it's easy to focus on the products from brands that we all know and love but there are some absolute gems out there that don't always get the exposure they deserve. I've picked put five skincare brands I think you really need to try - they might require a little more effort to track down, but trust me it will be worth it!

5 lesser know skincare brands you need to try
S5 skincare - for skincare that blends some seriously good scientific results with a strong natural ethos, S5 are a must have in my books. They were founded by team who originally worked on the Nude skincare range before moving on to create S5. Their serums give fantastic results and are each targeted at different skin concerns rather than skin types which makes it easy to mix and match. If you suffer from redness or sensitivity, make sure you try the Calm range - it soothes stressed skin and adds moisture without overloading it. The Nourish Cleanser is also fantastic for anyone with dry skin as it helps to protect the natural skin barrier and won't strip moisture away. Find them in Selfridges and from various online stockists. 

B. – I feel like B.’s skincare never gets nearly enough coverage, especially given the affordable price tag and decent results. The micellar water is an absolute must-have in my book – it gently removes makeup without drying out the skin and is suitable for pretty much every skin type going. The brand is a Superdrug exclusive and also makes fantastic makeup (give the lipsticks and cream shadows a try). With prices from just £4.99, it’s a purse friendly option that also doesn’t use loads of crappy ingredients. It’s also often on offer, so look out for special deals and stock up. I certainly do when the micellar water is reduced to £2.50!

Antonia Burrell – created by the infamous facialist, this range of skincare is small but perfectly formed. It’s naturally based and features organic ingredients that really get to work on your skin concerns. I adore the Crème Supreme Moisturiser, which is fantastic for oilier or combination skins and the Pure Therapy Facial Oil, which balances and calms skin, while gently hydrating.

Skyn Iceland – as the name suggest, Skyn Iceland are inspired by the natural resources of Iceland and use its rich mineral waters, berries, mosses and algaes to create products that nourish and reduce the impact that daily stresses can have on our skin. Try their Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels to work on dark cicles, puffiness and fine lines around the eyes or their Antidote Daily Cooling Lotion which works wonders on redness, irritated or acne-prone skin. Find them in M&S beauty halls and online stockists.

One Love Organics – I was introduced to these guys last summer and have been a massive fan ever since. Their products are hand made and focus on good quality, organic skincare. Give the Brand New Day exfoliating powder a try – this transforms into a gentle exfoliating paste when mixed with a little water and will leave you with fresh-looking skin in under a minute. It also smells like pineapples due to the enzymes they use in the formula. Yum. The Skin Saviour Waterless Beauty Balm is also fantastic as it can be used as both a cleansing balm or a rich mask to add moisture to drier skins.

Have you tried any of these brands before? What are your favourite lesser known skincare brands? 


Brand focus: Fresh

If you’ve not come across Fresh! Before, then don’t panic – they’re not all that well known in the UK but I really think that needs to change! The brain child of Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, Fresh originally hail from the USA and focus on making quality products that combine natural ingredients and modern technology.

Fresh skincare products
Fresh Marylebone perfume bar
The new fragrance bar at their London store
You may have heard of their cult Lip Sugar tinted balms, which up until recently were really the only thing I’d tried from the brand. That all changed after a trip to their revamped Marylebone store in London where I discovered there was so much more to Fresh than I originally imagined – and set out in such a beautiful way that you might not want to ever leave the shop.

One of the highlights of the new store for me was their perfume bar, which features all of the different scents that Fresh produce. They’ve got something for every kind of preference – whether you’re drawn to fruity, floral, spicy or a mix of all three, I think you’ll easily find at least one you like from the dozens on offer. I fell head over heels for their Sugar Lychee EDP* which is a fruity scent with just a touch of floral and is going to be my scent of the summer. I’ve had to start rationing myself until I can get back down to the shop – I have a feeling I’ll be buying a 100ml size next time around to keep me fully stocked up!

For skincare lovers there are ranges which are aimed at different ages but also for different skin concerns. The Rose range is an absolute must if you have dry or dehydrated skin – I’ve been using the Rose Face Mask* over the past couple of weeks and have been so impressed. It hydrates the skin without overloading it and leaves it feeling soft, supple and plumped up. It also contains natural pieces of rose, so do prepare for a bit of a bumpy finish when you apply it, although I think it’s quite nice to actually see evidence of some of the ingredients they use within the products!

If you haven’t tried them before, then you need to add at least one Lip Sugar to your wishlist. These are super hydrating balms that come with a hint of colour to them – there are several different shades to choose from, and although they might seem a little pricey at the £15 mark, they really do make a lovely treat to yourself. Or someone else if you’re feeling generous.

While Fresh don’t have a UK website at the moment (although I have it on good authority they are working on it for later this year), if you contact the shop they will happily mail out products to you and give you advice on which ones might be best suited to your skin type. If you’re London-based or paying a visit any time soon then I’d highly recommend going down to the shop – it really is a beauty lover’s paradise in there. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you when you come out with a bag full of products and a somewhat lighter bank account…

Have you tried anything from Fresh before?

*PR samples


5 things to buy: May

May is looking to be an exciting month in terms of new launches, with new products galore and a much awaited brand finally coming to the UK. I've picked out 5 of my top buys for this month, which are all available now (or very, very soon!)

Make Up For Ever - it's the launch we've all been waiting for - Make Up For Ever are finally hitting the mainstream in the UK and will be available from Debenhams from 19th May. My current top picks have to be the HD foundation, Aqua Creams and the new Artist Plexi Gloss. I fully expect a sell out over the first few days so I hope you've got lots of stock at the ready Debenhams!

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 dry skin moisturiser* - I think this skincare range from Caudalie is amazing as it really does give you brighter looking skin in no time at all. They've just added an extra moisturiser to the range designed for dry skins and it packs a serious punch in terms of hydration without leaving skin feeling greasy. It also smells amazing! £29

1001 Remedies Magic Skin* - everyone needs a good multi purpose product and this 97% natural balm from 1001 Remedies is packed full of Immortelle and Myrrh essential oils, plus Aloe Vera to get to work on all those chapped bits of skin, spots, and even bruises. I've been using it on my lizard skin knuckles and it's made such a difference. Pop a tube in your handbag ready for all eventualities and dab a small amount on where needed. 

Ghost Whisper Rain perfume* - Ghost's new launch is light, fresh and perfect for the warmer months. It's a crisp, floral scent and features notes of bergamot, clementine, magnolia, freesia and a hint of musk and I love the fact it's so different to their last couple of launches. The bottle is also going to look great on your dressing table with its pearlescent finish. £46.50 100ml

Dior Tie Dye collection - I'm a sucker for a limited edition collection, especially when it's as good as Dior's new Tie Dye summer launch! If you're a blush lover, get to a counter pronto and pick up one of the new Nude Tan Tie Dye Blushers which are a collector's items if ever I've seen one. These have just launched across Dior counters nationwide so pop down pronto if you have your eye on one as I have a feeling they'll sell out very quickly. 

Will you be putting any of these on your list to try this month?

*PR samples



Blogging tips: 5 photography hacks that will make your life a LOT easier

Photography has become a massive part of blogs and I think readers often expect higher and higher quality images from the blogs that they read. I've been learning a few tips and tricks over the past couple of years that I thought I'd share with you - whether you're a blogger or just a keen photographer, I hope these come in useful!

blogging tips: 5 photography hacks to make your life much easier

Avoid using flash - wherever possible, always stick to natural light when taking your product photos. Using the flash can distort the natural colour balance in your shots and lead to you ending up with a swatch that doesn't resemble how it looks in real life. Try to use daylight wherever possible - find the spots in your house that give you the best light and move around if you have to! I usually set up position by the window in my bedroom as it has the best light in the house for the longest amount of time in the day.

Edit your pictures - when I first started my blog I never used to do anything to my photos. I'd snap away on my iPhone, upload them straight into blogger and that was me done. Nowadays I spend a little time editing my photos before I upload them - making them a little brighter, crisper and easier on the eye. You don't need to spend a fortune on Photoshop - free software like Pic Monkey will be perfectly good for simple editing. Brighten the exposure settings, reduce the shadows and play around with the colour balance and you'll be amazed at the difference.

Stock up on blue tack (well, actually the white version!) - Blue/White Tack is a blogger's best friend. I'd never be able to get a decent 'flat lay' image without the help of this! Pop a small piece underneath anything you think might roll around when laid flat and you'll have a perfect shot every time. It also helps to put something firm underneath any magazines/paper you might be using as background as this will give a better surface for your products to lay on.

Have a range of different backgrounds - this helps to keep your photos looking fresh and gives your blog an interesting look when people scroll through your posts. Get creative - adverts in magazines, wallpaper samples, your garden and countless others can make great backdrops for your photos. Using props can also help break up a large background space - think pretty dishes, makeup brushes, perfume bottles, candles, flowers and even food.

Try using manual focus - I recently bought a 50mm lens for my DSLR as I wanted to improve the depth of field within some of my photos (this gives you the blurred out background effect). I found these never came out quite as sharp as I wanted when using the auto focus on my lens, so I switched it off and have never looked back. Manual focus means you have complete control over the focus of the picture - you can adjust it (usually using a small ring around the outside of the lens) in tiny increments until you get the exact kind of focus you're after. You do need a steady hand when in manual focus mode, so a tripod might also come in handy if you tend to be a bit wobbly.

What's you top blog photography tip? Will you be trying any of these out?



Too Faced Selfie Powders palette review

With a reported 17 million selfies uploaded to social media every week, it’s safe to say that we’re all probably familiar with the flattering glow of an Instagram filter every now and again. Too Faced’s new Selfie Powders* promise to translate those filter effects into real life, giving a light-fragmenting, photo filter effect to the skin.

Inside the palette are three different finishing powders: yellow for brightening, bronze for adding warmth and a lilac shade for a cool, ethereal glow. The powders can be used alone or layered up for a custom finish and have a lightweight texture that feels almost invisible on the skin.

Too Faced Selfie Powders palette
Too Faced Selfie Powders palette
Too Faced Selfie Powders palette close up

I absolutely love the idea of this palette – it’s definitely an unusual concept that Too Faced have come up with, but I’d probably exercise a *tiny* bit of caution with your expectations when you use it. It’s not going to give the exact same results as a filter on your phone, but instead helps to diffuse light around the face and give your skin a glow. I tried swatching them to show you in the photos above, but unless you go OTT, these really don't show up on the skin the same as the colours in the pan, they just add the right amount of warmth and luminescence.

The powders are all very sheer, with the bronze toned 'Totally Toasted' being the most pigmented of the three. This works well used all over the face for a touch of warmth or could also be used to contour around the cheekbones/nose/chin.

I’ve been loving the lilac toned 'Moon River' powder as it seems to work very well with my pale skin. Used all over, it gives a good ‘glow’ to the skin that reminds me a bit of Hourglass’ Ethereal Light powder – something to add luminosity without looking like you’re wearing a crap ton of makeup. It also pairs nicely with a little of the yellow 'Sunrise' powder to help brighten the complexion.

These work best when applied with a large fluffy brush (I’ve been using my Real Techniques Bold Metals Arched Powder) and dusted lightly over the skin. With the exception of the bronze toned powder I’d be surprised if you can see the actual colour on your skin – unless you’re very heavy handed! Add a little at a time and I think you’ll be really pleased with the final finish you get.

Too Faced Selfie Powders are priced at £25 and can be found online from Too Faced (and in Debehams stores).

What do you think of this new launch from Too Faced?

*PR sample



MoYou Nail Stamping kits - review and giveaway

Nail art – it looks so pretty but holy cr*p it’s tricky to do. Despite my best efforts, I always end up with one hand that looks reasonably good and the other that looks like a child was let loose with a Sharpie so it’s not something I do very often. MoYou’s nail stamping kits* are pretty much the perfect solution if like me, you long for pretty nails but need a helping hand in the design department.

Nail stamping is a really clever idea – it uses nail polish and an etched design on metal plates, that using a special technique, you can transfer over onto your nails to get the type of nail art you’ve always wanted but have never managed to do.

MoYou nail stamping kit
MoYou nail stamping kit close up
MoYou nail stamping kit tutorial
Cover your chosen design with a thick layer of polish
MoYou nail stamping kit tutorial
Scrape off the excess polish at a 45 degree angle
Using a gentle rolling motion, use your stamper to transfer the design from the plate onto the stamper and then roll onto your nail

MoYou specialise in nail stamping and their kits are a great place to start if you fancy giving it a try. Each kit comes complete with three polishes, a couple of design plates (these vary depending on the kit you choose), a scraping card and your nail stamper. There are a huge amount of design plates you can choose from, with designs that cover everything from Alice in Wonderland through to rainforests, geometric patterns and slogans.

The method is reasonably simple – prep your nails and make sure any base colour polish is completely dry before you begin. Take your chosen plate and cover the design in a decent layer of polish. Quickly scrape off the excess at a 45 degree angle using the plastic card provided and then using a rolling motion, take your rubber stamper and roll it over the remaining polish. This will transfer the design onto the bottom of the stamper and it’s now ready to be rolled onto your chosen nail (again, do it in a smooth rolling motion to avoid smudging). Seal the design in with a top coat and you’re good to go!

It takes a few goes to get used to the process, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s amazing at how quickly you can do both sets of nails and because there’s no complicated drawing process, it’s easy to do on your non-dominant hand.

The stamped designed should last as long as your regular polish once sealed with a top coat, just make sure to give the rubber stamp and plastic scraper card a clean after each use to stop product build up that might transfer onto your next try.

MoYou kits cost £29.99 each and extra stamping plates are £4.99 each and can be bought online via their website.

Win a MoYou stamping kit 

If you fancy having a try yourself, they’ve kindly given me a set to give away which includes everything you need to get started, plus a few extra design plates to keep you going for the next few months. Simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and complete your chosen entries. A winner will be picked at random once the competition closes on 31st May. Due to the fact it contains nail polish and that means postage restrictions (boo), this will be a UK only giveaway.

Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway


Aurelia Skincare: an introduction

Over the past year or two I've heard many good things about Aurelia Probiotic Skincare but up until recently I'd not had the pleasure of trying it for myself. And when I say pleasure, I really do mean it as these are some seriously good products.

Aurelia are a fantastic mix of science led results and natural ingredients, which I think is often quite unusual in the beauty world. They use ethically sourced 100% BioOrganic botanical formulations which are free from parabens, mineral oils, silicones, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and whole host of other less desirable ingredients. I've been testing out a couple of the key products from the range and I've been seriously impressed.

aurelia probiotic skincare review

The Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser* is a lightly scented, rich textured night cream which uses Boabab, Borage oil and Mongongo oil to help skin renew and revitalise the skin while you're resting overnight. Despite the rich feel, it absorbs into the skin quickly and every time I've used this, I've woken up with super soft, hydrated skin that looks like I've had a really good night's sleep. Even when I haven't.  If you have very oily skin then it might be a little heavy for you but for anyone with dry, dehydrated skin, you need this in your life. A little goes a long way, so start small and add more if you need it.  I honestly thought this would be more expensive given the quality of the product and the size of the pot (60ml) so the £42 price tag is quite a nice surprise. 

Every skincare routine needs a good mask and the Cell Revitalise Rose Mask adds moisture to the skin while helping to brighten and improve radiance. It works fantastically to combat dehydration and also soothes redness or stressed out skin. Pop on a thin layer and relax for 10 minutes before removing any excess with a soft flannel. Don't rise it away - you want to keep as much of the goodness on your skin as you can! Use once or twice a week and your skin will really thank you for it. £65 60ml

You can find Aurelia skincare online from their website, My Showcase, and Cult Beauty, plus in store and online from Space NK and Liberty London.

Do you like the sound of Aurelia?

*PR samples


Lancome Shine Lover Lipstick review

I love a bright pop of colour on my lips, but often find normal lipsticks to be a bit drying if worn regularly so I often stick with tinted balms during the week. Since discovering Lancôme’s new Shine Lover lipsticks however, this has all gone out of the window and I’ve been wearing them pretty much every day!

The Shine Lover lipsticks* offer up a perfect mix of colour with some serious hydration. These moisture-rich lipsticks have all been infused with hyaluronic acid and rose bush oil to help keep lips nice and soft while you wear them, making them easy to wear all day, every day.

Lancome Shine Lover lipsticks review
Lancome Shine Lover lipsticks swatches
314 Spontanee and 323 Effortless Pink

As the name suggests, these are designed to look a little shiny, however when applied to the lips, I’d say it’s definitely more of a soft sheen rather than the shine you’d get with a lip gloss. It’s like having the best bits of a lip balm and a lipstick all rolled into one, just don’t expect a seriously glossy finish.

The formula is about medium when it comes to pigmentation – you don’t get the same full on look you would with a matte finish lipstick, but you get more colour than you would with a tinted balm or lip gloss. This seems to make even the brightest shades much more wearable and you still get a good 3-4 hours out of these without needing a top up (you’ll definitely need one after eating).

With 20 shades to choose from in the range I think it’ll be easy for pretty much everyone to find a new handbag favourite. Lancôme have grouped them into three distinct colourways – reds, pinks and nudes, which makes it easier to find a shade you might like without having to swatch them all (although that might be quite fun). I’m currently loving 323 Effortless Pink, which is a hot pink but I also like the look of 310 Dare To Pink, so that might have to be a pay day treat to myself.

The only thing I find a little disappointing about these is the packaging. It’s quite plain and doesn’t have that ‘high end’ feel to it that I’d like to see given the price point. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just feels a little generic when I compare it to others in the pricier end of my lippie collection.

Shine Lover lipsticks are £21 each and available now across Lancôme counters.

Do you like the sound of these new lipsticks from Lancome?

*PR samples


Lipsticks: five ultimate nudes

For years I thought i would never find the perfect nude lipstick. They were either too brown, too pale or just made me look like I was even paler than I actually am (which is pretty impressive!). It seems like the lipstick gods answered my prayers though, as in the past couple of months, I've found five shades that really are the ultimate nude.

the best nude lipsticks

Elizabeth Arden Matte Nude* – I usually avoid the more brown toned nude lipsticks as they can leave pale skins washed out and looking like a bad Kylie Jenner impression but I love this one from Elizabeth Arden. It has a creamy, satin finish to it, so is semi-matte rather than ‘oh god my lips are dry’ matte and falls just on the right side of nude for paler skin tones. £21

Max Factor Colour Elixir Simply Nude* – this has to be one of the best high street nudes I’ve found this year. It falls onto the pink side of the nude spectrum but it’s incredibly flattering to wear, even on paler skins. The formula is nice and creamy, so easy to wear all day and it’s less than £10 so a winner all round.

Burberry Kisses 033 Rose Pink* – I’m a little bit obsessed with this lipstick from Burberry. The formula is super easy to wear, with just the right amount of pigmentation and Rose Pink is basically my dream pink-toned nude shade. If you want something that’s a ‘my lips but better’, buy this now - I’m already planning a repurchase. They might be pricey (£25) but it’s by far the best high end lipstick I’ve tried in months.

By Terry Hyaluronic Sheer Nude Hydra Balm – for those days when you just want the slightest hint of colour on your lips, By Terry’s new Hyaluronic Sheer Nudes are your BFF. Bare Balm is a light pink shade in the tube but this translates to a barely there (and I mean, barely there) hint of colour on the lips. It’s more like a lip balm with a touch of colour in it, so you can apply it on the go without needing a mirror and still feel like you’ve got a bit of lippie on. It’s seriously moisturising too, so you can justify the £26 price tag by telling yourself it’s really a 2 for 1 product. Ahem.

MAC Snob – I couldn’t have a nude lipsticks post without including this shade from MAC! Snob is one of those pink shades that seems to look different on different people so I’d recommend giving it a try it at MAC counter if you can. On me, it’s a nice, slightly candy pink that looks very natural, but that can also be layered up for a more intense finish. It’s more cool-toned than some of the others in this list and has a long-wearing satin/matte finish that will stay on for hours.

What are you favourite nude lipstick shades?

*PR samples



Kiko Modern Tribes Summer 15 Collection review

Another week and anther fantastic new launch from Kiko! Their latest limited edition collection – Modern Tribes – is all about a feminine, modern take on earthy, bold colours and tribal inspired designs.

Kiko Modern Tribes summer 2015 makeup collection

This is quite a large collection but with some absolute must-haves within it – the Tri-Bal Soul Baked blusher being one of them. This baked powder blusher combines three shades that can either be used alone or swirled together for a buildable flush of colour. I abolsutely love the wooden packaging to these – it’s so distinctive and really seems to fit the ‘tribal’ inspired theme of the collection. It does make them a little bulky, so these are probably an ‘at-home’ blusher rather than a handbag one, but trust me, you’re going to need at least one of the shades in your life!

There are three shades to choose from (I have 02 Mysterious Earth) so there’s something for all skintones to choose from. They’re quite light in terms of pigmentation, so you can build up colour quite easily and I find them best applied with a large fluffy brush. £14.90 each

If you fancy something a little more unusual to apply your makeup with, then the new Modern Tribe Face Brush will be right up your street. This ergonomically shaped brush fits in perfectly with the contours of your face and can be used for all kinds of powder products. It’s made up of synthetic bristles and is super soft and is something I can see becoming a firm staple in my makeup bag for the next few months. £14.90

The Free Spirit Lips and Cheeks pencils are also lovely – creamy formula pencils that can be used as both lip and cheek colours. I found these a lot easier to use on my lips than my cheeks – they’re quite hard to blend – but on the lips they give a really nice, semi-matte finish with good pigmentation. There are six shades to choose from and each comes with its own chubby pencil sharpener, so there’s no need to scrabble around trying to find one that fits! Nice touch Kiko. £8.90 each

Other bits in the new collection include some lovely creamy eye liners (the turquoise is amazing!!), rollerball fragrances, powder and cream foundations and a rather tasty looking baked bronzer. Prices range from £5.90 for the eye liners up to £17.90 for the baked bronzer so it’s all pretty affordable and I’d highlighy recommend picking up a few pieces from the collection, especially if you’ve not tried Kiko before!

Modern Tribes is available online from Kiko and in Kiko stores now.

Do you like the look of this collection?

*PR samples


May Beauty and Fashion blog sale

It's been a while since my last blog sale, but I'm trying to be good and cut down on the amount of makeup I have so this one is a bit of a bumper one! I've also included a few handbags in the sale as they are currently not being used and need good homes to go to!

To help everything run smoothly, I've set up a few guidelines which I've detailed below.

- If you'd like to make a purchase, please leave a comment on this post, stating which item(s) you'd like, along with an email address.

- Items are sold on a first come, first served basis - if multiple people are interested in the same item, I'll contact you in order of your comments.

- I'll send you an email with a total item cost that includes postage. Payments should be made via PayPal within 24 hours.

- Postage for beauty items (one lot of postage per order) will cost £2.80 for 2nd Class delivery inside the UK. If you'd like your items to be sent 1st Class/recorded delivery, please let me know and I will calculate the extra cost. For the handbags, postage costs will be included within the sale price and these will be sent via a tracked, insured method.

- I'm not responsible for any missing/lost parcels, however I will do my best to help if a parcel goes missing.

- I'm happy to post items overseas - please let me know where you're based in your comment and I'll calculate a postage cost.

Happy shopping!

Blog sale red Michael Kors handbag
Blog sale red Michael Kors handbag
Blog sale red Michael Kors handbag interior
Blog sale red Michael Kors handbag
Blog sale red Michael Kors handbag  logo close up
Blog sale red Michael Kors handbag interior
Blog sale red Michael Kors handbag close up
Michael: Michael Kors Chain Handle Tangerine Red Slouchy Bag - bought from Selfridges approx. 2 years ago and used around 25 times. This is a lovely soft leather bag with a long, cross body strap (not removable) and two short chain handles. It's a soft, squishy style - the chain handles help pull the bag closed. Inside there are several phone sized pockets, a zip compartment and a front compartment that opens with a popper. It's lined with the MK logo and has a good, clean interior. The exterior is in good condition - there are a few small areas which have gone slightly dark from where it has rubbed up against a darker item of clothing. These should remove with a leather cleaner but the price reflects these. I don't think they are particularly noticeable unless you're actively looking for them! Measurements are approx: 34cm wide, 29cm high, 11cm deep (excluding all handles).
£130 including postage. Comes with dust bag.

Blog sale Zatchels black crocodile satchel
Blog sale Zatchels black crocodile satchelBlog sale Zatchels black crocodile satchel close up
Blog sale Zatchels black crocodile satchel close up
Zatchels 13.5 inch black patent crocodile style leather satchel. Used 2 times. Has long, detatchable strap as well as the short handle. V.good condition. Has a raw leather interior and comes with Zatchels certificate of authenticity. £50 including postage.

May fashion and beauty blog sale - MAC, Marc Jacbos, NARS
 MAC Holiday 2014 Keepsakes Natural Face Palette - Swatched - £25
NARS Orgasm Illuminator 30ml - used x3 - £15
Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.7 The Lolita eye shadow palette - used x3 - SOLD

May fashion and beauty blog sale - Clarins, Daniel Sandler, Illamasqua
Makeup Revolution Go! palette - new - £3
Illamasqua Liquid Metals palette - used x5 - £12
Clarins Splendours eye shadow palette - swatched - £10 - pending
Daniel Sandler Beyond Sunset eyeshadow quad - used x3 - £10
Cartrice Smokey Eyes set - new, sealed - £2

May fashion and beauty blog sale - Lancome, NARS, By Terry

Lancôme travel exclusive Ideal Sculpt palette - new, sealed - £25
By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder - used x3 - SOLD
NARS Albatross/Orgasm Duo - used 3-4 times - SOLD
NARS Pandora eye shadow duo - swatched - £10

May fashion and beauty blog sale - YSL, MAC, NARS, By Terry
By Terry Baume De Rose Nutri Coluer 2.3g - shades 5, 3, 6 - swatched - SOLD
YSL Rouge Volupte Perle shade 107 - used x2 - SOLD
MAC Candy Yum Yum - used x4 - SOLD
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Sex Machine - used x2 - SOLD

May fashion and beauty blog sale - Dior, OCC, REvlon, NYX
DiorBlush Cheek Crème 'Capri' - used x10 (this has hardly used any) - £10
Revlon ColourStay Moisture Stain in '020 Rio Rush' and '010 LA Exclusive' - new, sealed - SOLD
OCC Stained Gloss Lip Tar 'Hedonist' - used x2 - £6
NYX Macaron lipstick - swatched - £2
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil Pure Gold - new, sealed - £3
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil Baby Blue - swatched - £2
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