Christmas in July in pictures

Chrismtas in July is one of those weird times of year, where brands get together to showcase their new launches for the festive season, usually in the middle of a heatwave. Temperature clashes aside, it's an exciting time, as you get a sneak preview of lots of things that won't be hitting the shelves for several months to come, plus a chance to look at all the lovely gift sets that will pop up nearer the big day.

I'll be saving most of these launches for closer to the time, but wanted to share a quick photo roundup of some of my favourite picks from the Christmas press days so far. Prices/launch dates to be confirmed, but let me know if you see anything that will be making it's way onto your Christmas list!
Urban Decay Holiday palette / Diptyque Advent Calendar / Alphabet Bags Star Sign bags
Makeup Revolution Advent Calendar / Pineapple Christmas Tree Ornament / Bomb Cosmetics candle
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara tree decorations / House of Fraser Beauty Advent Calendar / Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick coffret 


Topshop Nude Eyes cream shadows - the best nude shadows EVER?

I'm a nude shadow obsessive. I cling to my trusty Naked palettes for dear life and there's no such thing as too many brown eye shadows in my book. Enter Topshop's creamy textured Nude Eyes shadows and a whole new level of obsession. If you like nude shades, you NEED these in your life.

Topshop is a brand I think sometimes get overlooked when it comes to makeup. Their own brand stuff is absolutely fantastic quality and at a really reasonable price point. Nude Eyes are a relatively new launch and one I'm hoping they will keep around for some time to come *buys all the back ups just in case*.
Topshop Nude Eye cream shadows
Topshop Nude Eye cream shadows
Topshop Nude Eye cream shadows swatches
Nude Eyes are an edited selection of five taupey/nude shadows that are perfect for every day use. The creamy texture makes them easy to layer up - you can apply lightly for a sheer wash of colour on the lids or add a little more product for a more intense colour.

They blend like a dream, but once they're set, these babies literally do not budge. At all. I'm talking a 16 hour day with no creasing, minimal fading and no need to reapply. And that's without a lid primer. Quite frankly, I'm amazed they haven't sold out already.

Naked for me is a fantastic all over lid shade - it's enough on it's own but could be used with Bare in the outer corner for a subtle nude smokey eye. They basically make you look like you've made an effort with your makeup, without having to spend ages doing it in the morning. Winner!

I've often stuck to powder shadows as creams can tend to be less reliable in terms of longevity and creasing, but trust me when I tell you that these are the best I've tried. Better than ones that cost 3 times the price.

The only *tiny* downside for me is that they are mostly matte formulas (although total bonus if you love matte shadows), so I've been adding a little hint of shimmer to the inner corner of my eye to stop them looking totally flat. Other than that, I have literally nothing bad to say about these. Yes, the pot is quite small (think Bobbi Brown gel liner) but creams have a nasty habit of drying out before you finish them (*shakes fist at Chanel*) so I don't think a smaller size is a bad thing.

Nude Eyes are available from all Topshop makeup stockists, priced £8 each. Do yourself a favour and buy one. Just make sure you save some for me...

Are you a nude shadow fan? Do you like the look of these shadows from Topshop?

*PR sample


3 cheap and easy ways to store and organise your makeup

Perfectly organised makeup features right near the top of my Pinterest life goals. There’s something so satisfying about having your makeup organised neatly, rather than my usual haphazard ‘throw it in a box approach’. While stack upon stack of Muji acrylic drawers might seem appealing, they’re not exactly cheap, so here are a few of my top ways to organise your collection on a budget.
cheap and easy ways to store and organise your makeup
Use empty boxes as drawer separators – subscribe to a beauty box? Your empty Glossybox/Birchbox/My Little Boxes make fantastic low cost drawer dividers. They’re deep enough for you to be able to stand up blushers/powders etc and also tend to fit inside most dressing table drawers without a struggle. Paperchase also do a good selection of cardboard gift boxes which would work equally well and cost around £3-£5 each depending on their size.

Ebay acrylic storage – Muji might be at the top of a lot of bloggers’ lists and I love it, but Ebay has some great dupes that are dirt cheap. This Ebay acrylic storage is perfect for displaying your favourite lipsticks and key products, while keeping them neat and tidy at the same time.

Mugs, jars and pots – when it comes to taller items, like pencils and brushes, I love to use a variety of mugs, jars and pots to store mine in. My flamingo print tumbler was a random Ikea purchase that now gets used to hold my favourite products of the week and my brushes get stored in a My Little Pony mug that the lovely All That Slap bought me for my birthday. H&M home has some great tall glass jars/pots that are between £5 and £10 each (just don’t say I didn’t warn you as their home stuff is addictive!) and TK Maxx is also another great place to look for less obvious choices than the cult white Ikea flower pot…

What are your favourite cheap ways to organise your makeup?


Lush Oxford Street Hauling

It’s been a long time since I stepped into a Lush. I always find them slightly overwhelming places because of all the amazing smelling products that seem to join together to form one sort of super product smell. Anyhow, scent-issues aside, they have just opened up a massive store on London’s Oxford Street, so I thought it was high time to head down and see what I’d been missing out on.

Lush Oxford Street has three floors, so it’s not somewhere to head to in a hurry unless you know exactly what you’re after. They have every Lush product you could think of, plus dozens of Oxford Street exclusives that you won’t find anywhere else.

Lush Oxford Street hauling
After a quick browse of the shelves, I decided to pop a little tub of Dream Cream in my basket as lots of you lovely people on Twitter told me it was a really good all round body moisturiser. I like the fact it’s got a light texture to it, but still seems to pack a punch in terms of hydration *goodbye horrible flaky skin bits*

Bath bombs aren't really my thing, but I liked the idea of their Bubbleroons as it seems like much better value for money (although without the fun fizzing action). Yuzu and Cocoa is a mix of sweet cocoa and fruity Yuzu and has a very chocolate orange smell to it. I decided I liked this scent so much that I’d also grab a little bottle of the shower cream in a matching scent, so I can smell good enough to eat in the mornings too.

My last purchase was a bit of a random one that I grabbed on the way to the tills – a lime bath oil ball. This looks like a teeny little bath bomb, but apparently dissolves to give the same effect as a liquid bath oil would do. It’s slightly squidgy, has the most amazing zesty lime scent and if they weren’t £2 each I’d probably buy them ALL THE TIME.

I can safely say I’ll definitely be heading back to Lush again soon – I love the scale of this store and the amazing variety of products they have. It’s definitely worth a trip next time you’re in central London. Just be prepared to lose an hour in there browsing away!

I’d love to know what your Lush favourites are – is there something else I should look out for next time I go hauling?


Nails Inc QVC TSV 30th July

When this upcoming Nails Inc TSV (Today's Special Value) set landed on my doorstep the other day, I actually let out an audible squeal of excitement. QVC's TSVs are legendary when it comes to being good value and when you combine that with my *slight* obsession with nail polish, it's pretty much  a double win.

If you're a nail polish/Nails Inc fan, make sure you're tuned in to QVC from midnight on 30th July, when they launch this amazing set for just 24 hours. It will no doubt be a super quick sell out, so try to get in early on the day if you can as there will be a limited number available.

Nails Inc QVC TSV 30th July 2015
Inside this special value set are seven Nails Inc products, including several exclusives that won't be available anywhere else until later in the year. You'll receive:

Gel Effect Star Street - pastel peach
Gel Effect Great Queen Place - hot pink
Multivitamin Primrose Hill - mink
Multivitamin Kingsway - blue-grey pastel
Nailkale illuminator Bright Street - iridescent pearly white
Nailkale Superfood base coat - clear base coat
Topcoat William IV Street - exclusive mink, grey and white dotty special effect top coat

Together this set has a combined value of £102, however this will be on sale for just £36 on 30th July!

I love the Gel Effect shades that they've chosen for this TSV, they're perfect for summer, but are also classic shades that you'll get lots of wear out of. The new Multivitamin polishes also look fab - they're infused with a complex of Vitamin B5, Vitamin C and Vitamin E and help to aid keratin production, hydrate and nourish your nails while you wear them. Both of these shades are a QVC exclusive until later in August, and I predict that Kingsway will be a seriously big seller!

It's great to see such a wearable selection of polishes all wrapped up in one collection - I think they've picked out some fab shades that will suit everyone, without being too samey in colour. The addition of the Nailkale treatment is also a nice touch; my nails take a bit of a battering, so I'm looking forward to putting this to the test!

Like all TSVs, this one is only on sale for 24 hours (or less if they sell out fast), so make sure you set a reminder on 30th July to place your order if you like the look of this offer.

Are you a fan of Nails Inc polishes? Will you be ordering this QVC TSV?

*PR sample


Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation

Laura Mercier was one of the first high end brands I ever bought foundation from - they always seemed to have a great range of finishes and shades that match all skin tones. I'm still a big fan of their tinted moisturizer nearly a decade later but have recently been giving their Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation* a whirl.

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation
The Photo Edition Foundation (had to shorten it a bit as it's such a mouthful!) is a medium to full coverage foundation that gives a semi matte but very natural finish. It's been designed to work well in photography or film situations, where a more dewy look can leave you looking a bit shiny. It also boasts up to 12 hours wear time without needing any touch ups.

The oil free formula is great if you have combination or oilier skin but I've also found it also sits really well on my dehydrated patches - it doesn't seem to rest on the surface like other heavier, more matte foundations I've tried.

One of the things I love about Laura Mercier foundations is that they offer a really good range of shades. There are 12 to choose from in this particular product. As per the norm, I'm the lightest shade (Rose Ivory, which has cool undertones) but I think pretty much all skin tones should find a decent match here.

For the most flawless finish, I use a buffing brush and apply a small amount from the centre of my face outwards. Most of us can get away with less product as we move out towards the edges of the face, so this gives a really polished look that still looks natural at the same time.

I've been testing this during peak hay fever season, so have ignored the fact it went slightly patchy around my nose area (due to sneezing into a tissue every five mins) as I don't think this is down to the product itself. Other than that, it lasted exceptionally well throughout the day, lasting a whole day at work without slipping or fading.

If you're on the hunt for a fuller coverage base then I'd definitely recommend popping down to a counter and getting colour matched. I think it's a fab formula and definitely worth a purchase.
You can find it on all Laura Mercier counters priced £35 for 30ml.

Are you a fan of Laura Mercier foundations?

*PR sample


The best dry shampoos for all budgets

Dry shampoo has literally been a life-changer for me. Gone are the days of having to do a daily hair wash just to get a non-greasy fringe. All I need now is a can of dry shampoo and a few minutes and I'm good to go.

There are some incredibly good dry shampoos on the market right now, and some that will leave even grey hair looking like it had a fight with some talcum powder. Bad times. I've been putting a selection to the test to find the ones that will leave you with clean, nice smelling hair, without that tell-tale 'ghosting' some leave behind. 

N.B all dry shampoos will leave some residue if you spray them on 2 inches away from your hair. Hold the can about 8-12 inches away and spray in a fine mist for the best results.

the best dry shampoos for all budgets
Swell Dry Shampoo* - Swell products were designed with fine or thinning hair in mind, but I'd recommend this dry shampoo to pretty much everyone! It's the only non-aerosol of the three featured here. Instead, it uses a manually powered pump to spray a fine mist of product where needed. I love the fact this adds a bit of volume, while also making my hair feel incredibly clean and soft at the same time. As it's non-aerosol, it's in a much smaller bottle than the others, however easily packs in a good month or two of product and it's a great option if you're looking for something more travel-friendly. £20 

Touch of Silver* - don't be fooled by the brand name, while they might make certain products for grey/blonde hair, this dry shampoo will work fantastically on any colour. It's virtually invisible once sprayed into the hair and you only need a small amount to refresh roots and fringes. This is also a great styling product as it adds a bit of lift when used around the crown, but won't leave you with horribly tangled hair. £2.29

CoLab - the original CoLab formula is amazing at giving hair a quick refresh, adding a hint of volume and making hair feel lovely and clean without loads of powdery residue. Stay clear of the Extreme Volume version as it tends to look very powdery and make hair knotty, but the original stuff is fantastic! The choice of fragrances is also really good - my favourite is the fruity New York scent - and at about £3 per can, it's great value.

What's your favourite dry shampoo?

*PR samples



Budget beauty: Essence The Gel Nail Polish review

When this Essence Gel Nail Shelfie* turned up on my doorstep the other week, I got so excited I did a little dance. I’m a massive nail polish lover, so the lure of a huge amount of new shades, all presented in their very cool shelf was all a bit much.

Essence are one of those brands that I’ve seen a lot every time I pop into my local Wilko store to stock up on cotton pads and toothpaste, but other than a few random purchases, I’ve never tried much from. They’ve got some seriously low price points, even for a high street brand so completely wrongly, I thought the quality might not be that great.

Essence Gel effect nail polish review
Essence Gel effect nail polish reviewEssence Gel effect nail polish review
Their Gel nail polishes come in at less than £2 per bottle and promise a high shine finish with a plumped up look that mimics a gel manicure. Since the Shelfie arrived, I’ve been trying to test out as many of the shades as I can and put them through their paces to see how well they last on the nails.

My favourite shade so far is 39 Blue Bubble di Blue which is a mid-toned sky blue shade that to me, feels perfect for the summer months. Overall most of the polishes only need two coats of polish, however some of the lighter shades might benefit from a third for that truly ‘gel’ finish. There’s a massive range of shades to choose from and I love the fact they’ve also included a few glittery shades, as these often get overlooked with gel effect ranges.

Wear time is also pretty good. I’ve been sealing each polish in with the Essence Gel top coat, rather than my usual Seche Vite and overall I get about a 3 day wear time before any chips start to happen. This was sped up a little by some serious bathroom scrubbing, so if you’re planning to do your nails for a night out, save the cleaning until another day.

They also seem to dry really quickly which is great – I’ve tried other gel effect polishes in the past which seem to be a bit slower than normal polishes, but I felt quite happy getting on with my life after allowing about 15-20 minutes for them to dry properly.

I’ve been really impressed with these polishes – they definitely out perform a lot more expensive brands that I’ve tried, so if you’re thinking of giving them a try, definitely pick one (or three!) up next time you head into Wilko.

Have you tried anything from Essence before? What are your favourite products from the brand?

*PR samples


Elemis British Botanicals QVC TSV July 2015

When Elemis and QVC put together a TSV (Today’s Special Value) deal, they really know how to do it. The upcoming British Botanicals Face and Body Experience* will be available for just 24 hours, and it’s going to be one you’ll want to set your alarm clocks for!

Inside the TSV are six of Elemis’ ‘Best of British’ products, which are together worth more than £180! QVC haven’t released the exact price yet, but I’ve had it confirmed that it will be under £55, which is insanely good value considering the overall cost of the product.

Elemis British Botanicals QVC TSV
As well as a botanical themed tote bag that’s been beautifully designed by illustrator Amanda Ross, you’ll find:

Pro Collagen Marine Cream or Ultra-Rich 30ml, special size (worth £50)
Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser 150ml, full size (worth £29.50)
Papaya Enzyme Peel 50ml, full size (worth £32)
Soothing Apricot Toner 200ml, full size (worth £22.50)
British Botanicals Shower Cream 200ml, full size (worth £24)
British Botanicals Body Cream 200ml, full-size (worth £25) – exclusive to this collection

The British Botanicals Body Cream will be exclusive to this collection, so if you’ve previously fallen in love with the Shower Cream, then you’ll love this hydrating cream with the same scent (trust me, it’s gorgeous!).

This is probably my favourite Elemis TSV for a while – I love the fact there’s a good mix of skincare and body products, plus the products they’ve included mix some skincare heroes with some newer launches.

You can buy this special set via QVC from midnight on 26th July for one day only. Set your reminder now!

Are you tempted by this new TSV from Elemis?

*PR sample


QVC Find a Beauty Brand Competition plus WIN Soapsmith goodies

I'm a massive fan of QVC - they have such an amazing array of brands on offer, plus their daily TSV deals are often too good to say no to! This summer, they're launching a new competition in collaboration with CEW (the professional organisation for people in the beauty industry) to find an undiscovered beauty brand and launch them straight onto QVC.

QVC logo
Calling all beauty brands!

This will be the second year they've run the 'Find a Beauty Brand' competition. Last year's winner was the natural bath and body range Soapsmith, who were created in 2009 by founder Samantha Jameson. I've featured a few Soapsmith products before (their Christmas Pudding soap was fab for the festive season!) and loved them all. It seems like QVC customers did too as they sold out during their second show and are just about to be launched onto German QVC!

It's not often small brands get given the opportunity to launch onto such a massive platform like QVC, so if you have your own brand or know someone that does, make sure you let them know about this! The winner can look forward to live appearances on QVC, mentoring from the QVC team and CEW and lots lots more. Entries close on 14th August and full details on how to enter can be found online via the QVC Find a Beauty Brand site.

Win Soapsmith goodies

To celebrate the launch of the 'Find a Beauty Brand' competition, the team over at QVC have given me an incredible bundle of Soapsmith goodies to giveaway to one reader. You'll win a selection of products from across their nine different scent ranges.

Soapsmith products
To enter, simply complete your chosen entries via the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to UK only entries and will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 2nd August. One winner will be picked at random after the competition closes and notified shortly afterwards.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*sponsored post - all views my own as usual!


A beauty blogger's guide to camping

A tent is not my natural environment. Far from it in fact. Give me a comfy bed, a nice little spa break and an en-suite bathroom and I’m a happy lady. My boyfriend on the other hand is Mr. Outdoors and loves a good camping trip, so once every couple of years, I take one for the team and agree to a week in a tent.

Having just arrived back from a week in Cornwall under canvas, I’ve been putting together some of my top tips for camping trips – whether you’re heading off to a festival, or simply taking a break from it all al fresco style.

Beauty blogger's guide to camping
Always go heavy on the SPF - England isn't always the sunniest of places, and it's easy to think that you won't burn, especially when it's cloudy and not that hot. Wrong! You'll be spending a lot of time outside when you camp, so even if you think it's not very sunny, always protect yourself. Pack a decent SPF for your face and one for your body - Bioderma and La Roche Posay do fantastic ones that won't break the bank.

Bring layers - tents are their own weird little micro-climates; they can get super hot in the day time and freezing cold at night. Bring plenty of layers and expect to sleep with your winter PJs on. Oh, and then have to fling them off at 6am when the sun comes up and starts to turn your tent into a sauna. 

Pack multi-purpose products - space in a tent is limited, so make the most of it by packing products that can be used for lots of different things. Trilogy, Lanolips and 1001 Remedies all have fab multi-purpose balms that can be used on dry patches, for smoothing fluffy tent hair and soothing insect bites (plus a lot more uses!). I'd also recommend saving up your travel-sized products and taking them camping - you won't have to lug around a massive toiletry bag this way, which is a definite bonus when the nearest bathroom is a good five minute walk away. 

Take ear plugs and/or an eye mask - it's never 100% dark when you're camping and there are lots of strange noises around, so ear plugs and an eye mask can be a lifesaver at bed time. It always takes me a night or two to get used to sleeping outdoors, and I've found both of these really help give a restful night's sleep.

Plan your bathroom trips - most camp sites have full shower/toilet facilities, but that doesn't mean they're always near your tent! If you're lazy like me, you'll want to minimise your trips to the shower/toilet block, so try to combine trips to the loo with your morning shower or when you brush your teeth. And when you have a good five minute walk in order to pee, you'll never take your toilet at home for granted again! 

Use skincare that doesn't need water - depending on your camp site/festival, you might not be that close to a bathroom (see above). I'd recommend taking skincare that you can use without the need for running water or a flannel as it's not always convenient to just 'pop down' to the bathroom. Avoid face wipes if you can and stick to something gentle like La Roche Posay's Toleriane cleanser which works just as well when used with some cotton pads.

Most of all, just enjoy it! Camping can be great fun, even if you're normally an indoors person like me. There's nothing quite like sitting outside your tent, watching a gorgeous sunset and sipping on a (lukewarm) gin. Just make sure you go prepared!

Are you a fan of camping? What are your top camping tips? 


Glossybox July 2015 review

I'm loving the French theme that this month's Glossybox has got going on! French skincare is hailed as some of the best in the world, so I was looking forward to seeing which products they'd choose for this specially themed box.

The exterior of the box has been designed by fashion illustrator Jamie Lee Reardin with some iconic French landmarks and a hint of the traditional blue, red and white colour scheme. I normally throw my boxes out each month, but I'll definitely be keeping this one to use as makeup storage as it's too pretty to get rid of!

Inside the box is a bit of a mixed bag. As you'd expect, it's heavy on the French skincare, which isn't a bad thing, although I'm not familiar with three of the four brands they've included.

The Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Cream is a great moisturiser for the summer months as it's lightweight but hydrating at the same time. This is a decent travel-sized pot (around a third of a full size) so should easily last around a month with daily use.

I don't think you can ever have too many lip balms, so I'm looking forward to giving Lollipops Lip Balm Delicieuse a try. It's packed with vitamin E and antioxidants to help hydrate the lips and also protect them from UV damage. This is a full-size product and worth £4.15.

Noxidoxi is a new brand to me, but I'm loving the sound of this 'enhancing serum base'. Glossybox say that it hydrates both the surface layers and deeper layers of the skin and uses a cocktail of anti-imflammatories and antioxidants to protect. This is another good travel size tube with enough for a few weeks' use.

The fourth product in the box is from Teoxane Cosmeceuticals and is an interesting mix between a glycolic exfoliating treatment and a hydrator. It features 10% glycolic acid (expect a tingle when you use it!) to refine the skin, plus hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate. I've not come across a product that does both things at once before, so this is an interesting hybrid. It's quite pricey at £70 for a full-size, so this travel size is a good introduction.

Glossybox have also included an illustrated travel pouch within the box which I think is a lovely touch, and perfect for the summer holiday season. If I'm being picky, I'd have preferred another product in the box and the pouch as an added extra, but I'm greedy!

All in all I think this is one of the better boxes I've seen from them in the past few months - it's great to get some new brands in the lineup and I think the illustrated box is a really lovely touch.

You can subscribe to Glossybox for £10 per month (plus postage) via their website.

What do you think of this month's box?

*PR sample


The best bronzers for pale skin - 2015 edit

Finding a decent bronzer when you've got pale skin can be a bit like finding low-fat cake that tastes nice - it ain't easy! So I've been putting a lot to the test over the past few months to pick out the ones that will leave you looking sun-kissed without that horrible orange effect. As always, it's best to start light and build up the colour as you go - grab a big fluffy brush and glow, glow, glow.

Too Faced Soul Mates Blushing Bronzer Ross and Rachel* - ok, this bronzer would be in here whatever as it's amazing, but the shade name wins it serious extra brownie points from me as a mega Friends fan (there's also a 'Carrie & Big' shade that's a bit darker). This comes with a very cute built-in blusher which can be used alone, or together with the bronzer. The bronzer itself has a very slight shimmer which isn't particularly obvious, and it's a great shade to add all over colour where you'd usually catch the sun (or in my case, where you would like to!). £28

Maybelline Master Sculpt* - if you're after a budget contouring option, this new launch from Maybelline is a definite must-have. It features a matte contour shade which looks incredibly natural on pale skin, plus a smaller highlighter which has a slight shimmer. I love the fact this is an all in one palette (it even has a little brush included that's hidden under the compact) so it's great for keeping in your makeup bag. The contour shade is warm, but not orange and could be used for all over warmth if you're after something non-shimmery. There are 2 shades available - the light one is great for pale skins. £6.99

Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzer* - Too Faced are coming up trumps in the bronzer stakes at the moment, especially when it comes to options for pale skin tones! Pink Leopard is possibly the prettiest bronzer I've seen and the leopard print patterns almost sells the product on look alone. This is a shimmery bronzer, so isn't one for contouring, but it provides a lovely warm glow when dusted across the skin. It's the perfect summer glow, without being too obvious. £25

NYX matte bronzer - this has been a longtime favourite of mine as the lightest shade is the perfect contour shade for lighter skin tones. It's totally matte, and the powder formula allow you to build up coverage to the desired pigmentation. NYX can be a bit tricky to track down, but it trust me that this will be worth the effort! £8

Physician's Formula New York Bronzer - I've thrown in a cheeky US brand here as this bronzer from Physician's Formula is just so good! It's quite cool-toned, making a great contour shade and is really buildable, so a great option to start with if you're a bit of a bronzer newbie. It comes with a built in SPF30 and promises anti-dullness and anti-ageing benefits. It's not readily available in the UK, but you can sometimes find PF in TK Maxx if you keep your eyes peeled. $14.95

Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion* - MUFE has only just launched in the UK (thank you Debenhams!) but their new Pro Bronze Fusion has quickly become a makeup must have for me. The lightest shade, Honey, gives pale skin a beautiful natural colour and can be used all over for a natural glow or in the hollows of the cheekbones as a great contour shade. It's water resistant, so lasts absolutely forever on the skin and doesn't look at all powdery - it just gives a really natural finish. There are six shades in total, so there's a great choice, whatever your skin tone. £28

What's your favourite bronzer?

*PR sample



Models Own Chrome Liquid Metal Eye Shadow Palette

Models Own are usually a brand most of us associate with nail polish, but did you know they also have an impressive range of affordable makeup too? I think this part of the brand often gets a bit overlooked as they have so many beautiful shades of polish to choose from, but it's definitely worth a look next time you're near a Models Own stockist.

The Chrome Eyeshadow palette* is the latest edition to their makeup line up and features six metallic finish cream shadows, all encased in on-trend rose gold packaging. The shadows have a molten metal finish, giving a metallic, shimmery look to the lids.

Models Own Chome eye shadow paletteModels Own Chome eye shadow palette swatches
All six shades seem to be incredibly pigmented - the swatches I've done were a single swipe and this pigmentation definitely transfers over onto the lids. They're also really easy shades to wear, with a mix of silvers, golds and bronzes that will suit all skin tones. The lighter shades are quite glittery, but these work nicely used as a highlighter on a coppery smokey eye with the fifth and sixth shades in the palette.

As with most cream textured shadows, you'll benefit from wearing a primer underneath these to help keep them from creasing and to improve staying power. That said, these last pretty well on their own - you'd easily get about 6 hours out of them before needing to do a touch up, making them perfect for a night out.

For the best pigmentation, apply these with either your fingers, or using the sponge applicator included within the set. Normally I suggest throwing away these sponges, but it actually works well at packing on the pigment to the lids, although if you want to do a lot of blending, you'll need a good brush to help with that.

The Chrome Eyeshadow Palette costs just £5.99, making it an absolute bargain in my eyes and it's a great dupe for Illamasqua's Liquid Metals at just a fraction of the cost. You can find it at Superdrug and at Models Own Bottleshops now.

What do you think of this budget friendly palette? Have you tried Models Own makeup before?

*PR samples



The £1 beauty essentials

You'll often see me talking about my favourite high end products on this blog, but beauty really needn't be expensive. There are some fantastic bargains to be had out there (check out my recent post on creating an entire skincare regime for less than £50 for example!) with prices starting from just a few pence. I've pulled together a few favourites that will set you back no more than £1 each. Yup, just a single shiny gold coin.

£1 beauty essentials
Nivea Essential Care Lip Balm - lip balm is a serious life essential as far as I'm concerned and you can guarantee there'll be at least one of these blue Nivea lip balms floating around in my bag at any one time. I love the fact they're really reasonably priced, but also aren't made up of mineral oil, so they actually help to hydrate long term.

Cuticura Hand Sanitizer - if you've got any festivals coming up, then hand sanitizer is a must-have in my books! These cute little bottles from Cuticura are just £1 each at Primark and come in lovely fruity scents that will leave you feeling clean and fresh, without the harsh alcohol scent some hand gels leave behind.

Wilko large cotton pads - cotton pads are a dull, but essential part of most beauty regimes but since discovering these ones from Wilko, I refuse to purchase the more expensive ones from Boots and Superdrug any more! These are a really generous size and are great for removing eye makeup or using with some micellar water for a first cleanse. At just 65p for 50, it's worth stocking up.

Makeup Revolution single eye shadows - there's not many makeup products you can find for £1, but I'd highly recommend picking up some solo eye shadows from Makeup Revolution next time you're near a stand. These are seriously pigmented, blend like a dream and if you didn't know the price, you'd think they were a lot more expensive!

Primark nail files - some cheap nail files can be a bit rubbish, but I've found Primark's to be pretty good quality and really budget friendly. You get three for £1 in a pack, meaning you can pop one in your handbag for emergencies and keep the others at home for a pamper session. I'm loving the summery flamingo print of these too!

Make it yourself body scrub - home made body scrubs are super simple to make and can be done for just a few pence. Mix a bit of coarse sea salt or granulated sugar with some olive oil and you've got the perfect cheap body scrub. If you want to get extra fancy, drop in a few drops of your favourite essential oil for added benefits.

What are your favourite beauty bargains?


Burberry Lip and Cheek Bloom review

I’m having a bit of a love affair with Burberry makeup at the moment. There are a few products that have become permanent fixtures in my makeup bag, the most recent one being their latest launch – Lip and Cheek Bloom*.

The Lip and Cheek Blooms are a multi-use product that’s designed to give a soft wash of colour that works on both lips and cheeks. It’s a very creamy formula that works best dabbed on with your fingertips and blended out for a soft, subtle finish.

Burberry Lip and Cheek Bloom review 09 Poppy
Burberry Lip and Cheek Bloom review 09 Poppy
Burberry Lip and Cheek Bloom 09 Poppy swatch
They come in Burberry’s luxurious packaging, with a clear glass base and a heavy silver lid which has a subtle Burberry check pattern on the top. These might be high end products, but you really feel like you’re getting your money’s worth out of them and that you’re buying a luxury product. Something which is a must for me with the more expensive brands.

There are six shades in the range to choose from, ranging from 01 Rose, which is a soft pale pink, through to 09 Poppy, a bright red. I was slightly scared about Poppy when I initially opened up the packaging – I thought I’d be happy to use this on my lips but that it would be going nowhere near my cheeks as it looks so bright in the pan! That assumption was proved totally wrong though – the product might look bright, but applies as a gentle flush of colour that manages to look natural even on my pasty skin. You can build these up for more depth if you want, but I love the gentle finish these give.

Despite being cream products, these don’t slip and slide off the skin. Once it’s on, it stays in place for hours at a time. Lasting power is obviously a bit better on the cheeks than the lips, but in both areas it acts as a slight stain, leaving you with a hint of colour for hours on end.

If you’re previously stayed away from cream blushers for fear of overdoing it, then definitely give these a try – they’re honestly so simple to use!

Burberry Lip and Cheek Blooms cost £24 each and can be found from Harrods and in Burberry beauty boutiques.

Do you like the look of these new Blooms from Burberry?

*PR sample


Summery home fragrance

I am fully obsessed with home fragrance at the moment. Wander through my house and you’ll find candles dotted in most rooms and the odd reed diffuser for good measure. There’s something so nice about having a lovely smelling home and for me, summer is all about picking some fresher scents that seem to echo the sunshine and warmer weather. These are a few of my current favourites.

summery home fragrance ideas
summery home fragrance ideas
Kiss Air Candles Ice Cream Parlour Collection* – if you’re on a diet, I’d recommend staying away from these candles as they smell absolutely AMAZING. Each one in the range has been inspired by an ice cream flavour – from Salted Caramel (Oh. My. God), to Mango Sorbet. You only need a few hours of burn time to get the most delicious fragrances coming from them and each candle should last about 30 hours when burnt correctly. They’re also a fantastic budget option as they’re just £8.50 each.

Orla Kiely Sicilian Lemon Reed Diffuser* – I’m a big lover of citrus smells and the new Sicilian Lemons range from Orla Kiely is just up my street. The reeds manage to fragrance an entire room really easily and the fresh scent makes it perfect for placing in the living room/kitchen for a refreshing scent. I’d avoid popping this particular scent in your bedroom as it might be a bit too invigorating, but they’ve also created Fig Tree, Orange Rind and Lavender, as well as candles in each scent. I love the fact they’ve incorporated the Orla Kiely print across the diffuser base – it’s such a nice touch. £32

Timothy Dunn Grecian Lime Candle* – luxury candles are a bit of a weakness of mine and Timothy Dunn is definitely a brand to check out if you’ve not tried them before. The range was created by Timothy, who wanted to share the scents and memories he’d experienced through his travels, and did so by creating his home fragrance range. My favourite so far is the Grecian Lime, which is zesty and fresh and makes the entire downstairs of my house smell like a sunny citrus field. Yum. Other scents in the range include Arabian Fig, Tiger Eye and Azure, all of which are making me dream of sunshine holidays right now. £36 each

Flamingo Candles Scent Melts* – I wrote about the new Melt Crowd subscription box from Flamingo Candles a few weeks ago and I’m still loving the range of scent melts from my first box. The Melts are used with a scent burner and as the wax melts, they let off an amazing perfume that lasts for hours. I’d highly recommend signing up for the Melt Crowd monthly box as it’s great value, but if you fancy trying a range of Scent Melts in the meantime, they’re just £2 each. There’s over 35 scents to choose from, including Mango & Dragonfruit, Daisy and Kir Royale.

What are your favourite summer home fragrances?

*PR samples


ColourPop makeup giveaway

After posting a cheeky ColourPop haul the other week, there were lots of you saying you wished you could get your hands on some of the amazing value, cruelty-free makeup from the brand. ColourPop makeup is so, so good, but doesn't ship worldwide at the moment, so my very lovely friend in the US is sending over a few surprise goodies as a prize for one of you lovely people.

Colourpop makeup giveaway
To enter, all you have to do is complete your chosen entries via the Rafflecopter widget below. Simple! This giveaway is open internationally and will run until 11.59pm (UK time) on Sunday 2nd August, with one winner being selected at random shortly afterwards.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The summer bases

It’s around this time of year I find myself swapping things around in my makeup bag. Out go the heavier, fuller coverage foundations and in come the lighter textured, dewier coverage bases. They feel a lot nicer on the skin and help add to that ‘summer glow’ rather nicely. These are a few of my current favourites for all budgets.

GOSH CC cream – this is one of the few high street products available in a shade pale enough for me! It’s got a lovely light consistency that covers imperfections but still shows your skin through underneath, giving a natural finish. It will benefit from a tiny amount of powder in oilier areas, and once set, should last all day. £8.99

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Tinted Moisturiser* – if you’re worried about dark spots or pigmentation, then this new launch from Caudalie will be your new BFF. It’s part of their Vinoperfect range which gets to work on pigmentation issues, and provides skincare benefits as well as a light coverage of colour for flawless looking skin. While it might only come in two shades (light and medium) it adapts well to your natural tone (I’m fine with the light shade), however darker skinned ladies will struggle. It’s oil-free, non-drying and also contains an SPF20. £27

Inika Mineral Foundation Powder* – for a lightweight, vegan, organic choice, Inika has to be the top of the list. I love this foundation in summer – it gives skin a flawless finish without looking like you’ve piled on the product. You can build it up in certain areas if you feel you need a little more coverage, and the shade range is absolutely fantastic! If you’re prone to oiliness, add a touch of primer underneath to help it last all day, or blot and reapply mid-afternoon for a quick top up. £27.50

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue* – for the lightest of coverages, Complexion Rescue is an absolute must-have. It evens out the skin, while making it look (and feel) like you’re not wearing any base product at all. It also gives a lovely luminous look, and helps to minimise any redness in the skin. It comes in ten shades – I’m Opal, the lightest. £26

Antipodes Mineral Foundation* – I have yet to find another mineral foundation that gives the same sort of ‘glow’ to skin that Antipodes does. It looks incredibly natural on the skin and can be built up to give more or less coverage as you need it. It only comes in four shades which is a bit of a nightmare – the lightest is a tiny bit dark for me, so I tend to save it for the summer months when I don’t mind a warmer look to my skin. £23.45

What are your favourite lightweight bases?

*PR samples


Magazine freebies - July 2015

The August issues of the monthly magazines are just starting to hit the shleves and with them comes yet another amazing month of freebies on the front covers! They've got everything from high end skincare through to nail polish covered this month, so the hardest part will be trying to decide which ones to buy (or just buy them all, I say!).

InStyle UK - there's a 50ml version of the new St. Tropez In Shower Gradual tan included with the new InStyle which I think is fantastic! This has only just launched, so if you weren't sure whether or not to buy the full-sized product (like me), then this is a great way to try it as there should be plenty for a couple of applications out of this tube.

Elle - you get three trial sized products from the Organic Pharmacy on the front cover of Elle - a moisturiser, cleanser and lip balm. This is a high end brand, so while the sizes aren't huge, you get enough to trial it to see if you might enjoy the full-size. These minis are also great for travel, so I'll be keeping a set ready for weekend breaks later on in the year.

Marie Claire - if you're a nail polish lover, you'll want to grab at least one copy of Marie Claire this month as it features a mini  Ciate polish duo with a top coat and a coloured shade. There are six different shades available, so hunt around for your favourite. I also spotted this for just £2.50 in WH Smith last night, so track one down there if you can for an even bigger bargain!

Red - yet more nail polish, this time from Red magazine. Choose from four summery shades of Jessica nail polish, all of which are full-size and usually retail for about £10 each.

Cosmopolitan - completing the freebie line up is a choice of New CID makeup items on the front of Cosmo this month. I spotted a few lip glosses and lip sticks, but I believe there are four different products to choose from.

Will you be picking up any of these magazine freebies this month?


Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream Sun Defence Stick

Summer in England is notoriously unreliable.  One minute it's raining and the next is beaming hot sunshine with no warning at all.

I'm all over the SPF at the merest hint of sun but there are still those moments when you can easily get caught out and for that, Elizabeth Arden's  8 hour Targeted Sun Defence Stick* is the perfect solution.
Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour cream targeted sun defence stick
The Targeted Sun Defence Stick offers an SPF50 and combines the moisturising benefits of Elizabeth Arden's cult 8 Hour Cream with easy to apply, high quality sun protection.

The twist up tube is really tiny, meaning it will fit in to pretty much any sized handbag going, and even your pocket if needs must (so there's no excuse not to have it on hand!). It also makes application easy as you can put it on straight from the tube, without any need to get your hands covered in lotion. As it's oil-free, it won't leave you feeling sticky and it's non-comedogenic, so won't block your pores. There's also no white residue to worry about as it applies to the skin clear, meaning you don't even need a mirror to use it.

It's great for protecting those bits we often forget about - our ears, noses and even our lips. These are all delicate areas that burn so easily and are far too easy to forget about. I also like to use this carefully applied to my hair parting (get someone else to do it if you can so you don't end up with it all over you head) and it's been a total saviour on hot days when I don't have a hat with me.

It might seem like a pricey product for such a small tube (£15), but I think that it's definitely worth the investment. The sun is a wonderful thing, but lobster burn, sun induced wrinkles and god forbid, skin cancer are things we all want to avoid. So pop this in your bag and whip it out whenever you need it. I know I will be!

*PR sample 


Nails: top top coats and the best bases

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I REALLY like nail polish – I probably have about 300 of them at home – but there are very few base/top coats that really make the cut for me. A decent base coat and top coat can make all the difference to your manicure, often helping it to last longer, while protecting your nails from staining and even strengthening them while you wear it. I’ve picked out a few favourites that for me really do the trick.
OPI Matte Nail Envy – for stronger nails, you need some Nail Envy. I like to use this as a bit of a treatment when my nails are in need of some TLC. It contains calcium to help harden nails and used over several weeks will enable your nails to grow without peeling or splitting. This matte version is great as a base coat for regular polish, but also works well for men or those that don’t want a treatment product with a shiny finish to it.

Deborah Lippmann All About That Base* – this beige coloured base coat looks more like a nail polish than a traditional base coat, but it applies very sheerly. A single coat gives nails a flawless looking, matte finish and it also hydrates and strengthens nails at the same time. It’s a great all-rounder!

Mavala Nail Hardener treatment – if you’ve been overdoing the polish and you’re suffering from dry, peeling nails then this little bad boy is the answer. It might be a tiny bottle, but inside is a seriously good strengthener. Think of this like a weekly treatment for your nails – apply once or twice a week for the best results.

Seche Vite quick dry top coat – I’m never without a bottle of Seche Vite’s quick dry top coat and it’s the only one I’ve found that really does live up to its name! A thin coat of this will make your nails touch dry in just a few minutes and will speed up the full drying process to about 10 minutes. It also gives a high shine finish which lasts for days. Double win.

Mavala Gel Finish Top coat* – Mavala’s new top coat will give you the super glossy, plumped up look of gel nails, minus the commitment and painful removal method. There might be a lot of ‘gel effect’ top coats around at the moment, but this is one of the best I’ve found!

Diego Dalla Palma Hardening Base* - DDP's base coat helps strengthen nails and provides a good base to apply polish to, while also looking great used alone on a naked nail. If you find your nails get a bit soft in the warmer weather, I'd definitely recommend investing in a bottle of this stuff, it's great!

What are your favourite top and base coats?

*PR samples
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