Latest in Beauty Heart Beauty Essentials box

Latest in Beauty’s current collaboration box with Heart radio is an absolute cracker. It’s very rare that I know I will use every single item from these kinds of boxes, but this one is jam-packed with some of my favourite brands, plus a few new ones I can’t wait to try!

As always, you know exactly what you’ll be getting with a Latest in Beauty box before you place your order, so while shades might differ very slightly for lipsticks/eye colours etc it’s a great way to decide whether or not you want to purchase that particular box.
Latest in Beauty Heart Beauty Essentials box
Latest in Beauty Heart Beauty Essentials box contents
Latest in Beauty Heart Beauty Essentials box contents
Latest in Beauty Heart Beauty Essentials box contents
The Heart Beauty Essentials box* contains a total of ten products, four of which are full-size and has a combined value of over £70. The price is just £17.99 plus postage (although keep reading for a special free postage code!) making it great value against the RRP.

They’ve crammed in products from well-known brands such as Philosophy, Rimmel, Nuxe and Dirty Works, as well as some from newer brands like Indeed Labs, Lola and Kitsch.

Full box contents:
Urban Veda Hydrating Toner
Rimmel Provacalips in Kiss Me You Fool
Bloom and Blossom Bath and Shower Gel
Dirty Works 4-in-1 Face Wipes
Roger & Gallet Lait Sortbet Bois D'Orange Body Lotion
Lola Electric Purple Nail Polish
Kitsch hair ties
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Face Mask
Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel
Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse Moisturising Cream

I’ve featured Kitsch a few times before as I absolutely love their quirky, cute, no snag hair ties. The Prima Ballerina design is a set of five ties all in pastel based colours (I believe every box gets the same design) and are easy to pop in your bag or wear on your wrist in case of hair related emergencies.

Lola are another fantastic brand that I don’t feel get enough press – they launched into M&S a few years ago and their nail polishes are seriously good. Electric Purple is a mid-toned purple polish with a high gloss finish, although it’s not nearly as bright as the name would suggest!

I’m looking forward to giving the Bloom and Blossom shower gel a try – it’s a natural brand that promises to be gentle, yet effective and this bottle is the perfect size for a long weekend away.

If you like the look of the Heart Beauty Essentials box, then the lovely team over at Latest in Beauty have given me a free postage code for you all – simply add HEARTBB15 to the checkout with your order to quality. It’s available now, so pop on over to their website and grab yours now!

What do you think of this box from Latest and Beauty and Heart?

*PR sample


September High End Makeup Haul

I thought I'd been pretty good with my purchases this month until I pulled them all together and realised it was pretty much  a total fail at 'not buying anything except essentials' (although can we agree Chanel is an essential?!).
Rather than do one big haul, which I think always seems a lot more obvious on the bank balance, I've bought a few high end beauty bits in September, spread out across the month.
High end beauty haul featuring Chantecaille, Too Faced, Chanel, Christian Louboutin
High end beauty haul featuring Chantecaille, Too Faced, Chanel, Christian Louboutin
After seeing the new line up of Christian Louboutin lipsticks, I knew I had to have one to add to my collection, despite the quite frankly, ridiculous price tag. The packaging screams 'luxury' and I made sure to choose a shade that I know I will get lots of wear from (hello hot pink).
Too Faced's Better than Sex mascara often proves hard to track down, so while in Debenhams on my Chanel mission, I saw they had some in stock for once and decided to pick up a back up ready for when mine runs out. It really is a fab mascara - I think it's probably stolen the top spot for me over my trusty YSL False Lash Effect.
I'd been given a Debenhams voucher, so obviously this was going to go on new makeup. Ahem. I don't believe you can ever have too many neutral palettes and after seeing Chanel's new autumn offering, I knew it had to have a home in my collection. Yes I probably have dozens of shadows like it, but it's Chanel. And that's a good enough reason for me.  
Last up is an accidental lunch time purchase from Chantecaille. I decided to kill some time on my lunch break one day last week by popping in for a Space NK browse to see what was new. Clearly I can't be trusted in there alone as in less than one minute, I'd discovered this beautiful limited edition wolf embossed blusher and was making my way to the till. A somewhat more expensive lunch than I'd initially planned!

As all of the Christmas launches start to hit the stores I know I will want about a dozen of them, but I'm trying to be good and limit myself to a maximum of three. Well, that's the plan at the moment any how...
Have you tried any of these products? What have you hauled lately? 



The high street beauty hot list

The high street is a good place to be beauty-wise at the moment. There are so many great launches popping up that I wanted to pull together a few of my favourites from the past few weeks. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new mascara or fancy a bit of a pamper session at home, I hope you’ll enjoy a few of my top picks.

High street beauty favourites September 2015
Collection #FaceTheDay palette* – Collection are launching several amazing palettes this autumn and I suspect that #FaceTheDay will be one of the most popular. It’s got a bit of everything in – eye shadows, blusher, bronzer and a highlighter, all with really good pigmentation and blendability. Yes, the cardboard packaging isn’t particularly travel friendly, but other than that, this palette is a total star. Plus it costs less than a Pret lunch (£5.99) so there’s really no excuse not to treat yourself to one. It hasn't hit the shelves yet, but keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks.

Got2B All Star 10 in 1 hair treatment* – multiple use hair products usually fall pretty flat for me, but this one is really living up to its All Star name. I like to use a little on damp hair pre-styling to help smooth and add shine, plus it helps to stop a frizz bomb happening on those autumn rainy days. £4.19

L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes Feline* – I’m notoriously fussy when it comes to mascaras but I am fully loving this new one from L’Oreal. The smaller sized, curved brush makes it easy to get in to even the smallest of lashes, but it also adds great volume in just a couple of coats. I love the fact that this formula is buildable so you can tailor it to different lash looks and it doesn’t flake or fade over a 12 hour day at work. £9.99

Maybelline Color Sensational Matte Lipsticks* – five new shades and a matte formula that doesn’t require two hours of lip prep before you apply one. BINGO. I am fully obsessed with the 940 Rose Blush candy pink shade but they’ve also got reds and nudes well covered. The packaging also feels nice and study which I think often lacks a bit with high street lippies and at £6.99 each, these are a ‘it’s Wednesday’ treat that won’t break the bank.

Dove DermaSpa Goodness3 hand treatment* – winter is coming and with it scaly dry hands (soz). Dove’s new DermaSpa range not only smells divine but it’s packed full of omega oil to help hydrate even the driest of hands. Pop a tube of this in your handbag and apply at will. £5.99

Collection Gorgeous Glow Block* – three words. Bobbi. Brown. Dupe. Seriously, save yourself £25 and just go straight for this fantastic Collection dupe. It gives skin a lovely shimmery glow to it without being disco sprinkles and comes in two different shades - one for bronzing and the other as a light blusher/highlighter. £4.19

Seventeen Gel Colour polish in Irish Coffee* – nude nails have been a huge trend for years and this purse-friendly polish from Seventeen is such a wearable shade. It has a high-gloss finish to it and although it won’t last as long as a full gel mani, it dries quickly so you won’t have to hang around for ages once applied. £3.99

What are your current high street favourites at the moment?

*PR samples


Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardamom

Jo Malone colognes have long been a favourite in my fragrance collection – there’s something extra special about them that makes them feel a real treat when you wear them. Mimosa & Cardamom is the latest scent to hit the shelves and has to be one of my favourites to date. 

Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardadom cologne and scented candle review
It’s an odd one, as it seems to cover all the bases – it’s warm and yet has a fresh, floral note to it that makes you wish you were sat on a beach somewhere sunny. For some reason, I always think of cocktails, rather than florals when I see the word ‘Mimosa’, but that’s probably just my Friends addiction (and the fact I wish it were Friday already) showing through.

To start with, you get a lovely burst of cool cardamom, swiftly followed up by the warm Mimosa in the heart of the fragrance. Underneath it all, there’s a hint of vanilla-y Tonka Bean at the base, which really gives the fragrance that ‘warm’ feeling. 

I’m not usually one for floral based scents, but I love the fact this one is so far away from the norm. It’s not overpowering and heady; it feels like something you’ll want to wear every day (especially on horrible grey days in London). Like all of the Jo Malone colognes, this one can be layered with others to create your own custom scent. I’d recommend giving it a try with a little English Pear & Freesia for a brighter scent, or Wood Sage & Sea Salt for a really warm, deep scent. 

Now, as amazing as the cologne is, it doesn’t even some close to how amazing this fragrance is as a scented candle. Believe me when I tell you, it is AMAZING. I want to buy about 20 of these to dot all around my house (this is the dream people). For me, in a home fragrance this almost becomes somewhat wintery – it makes your living room feel like a lovely snug place to be without any of your typical ‘winter/Christmas’ scents. If you had to choose between the cologne and the candle, I’d say go for the candle; or maybe just ask for both from Santa and be really, really good until December. 

Mimosa & Cardamom is available now from Jo Malone boutiques/online, House of Fraser and other Jo Malone stockists. Prices start at £42 for a 30ml cologne and the scented candle and go up to £85 for a 100ml fragrance. 

Do you like the sound of the new scent from Jo Malone? 

*PR samples 



Fashion: win an exclusive Becksondergaard cape

I might be alone here, but I am so pleased it’s autumn! Roll on those sunny, chilly days where it means you can pop on a snuggly jumper and some ankles boots and head out for a walk in the fresh air. Bliss. Now, I know these types of days can be few and far between (thank you London rain), but when they do arrive, it’s amazing. And I fully plan on making the most of it with cosy jumpers and patterned capes.

If you fancy channeling a little of this season's 70s style, as well as winning an exclusive garment not available to buy in the UK, then read on; I’ve teamed up with Danish fashion brand Becksondergaard to give away one of these gorgeous woollen capes to one lucky reader.

Becksondergaard cape giveaway

The T-Ethnic print cape has been specially created to feature in the new ‘Miss You Already’ film which stars Drew Barrymore and Toni Colette. The film launches in the UK tomorrow (Friday 25th) and tells the story of two lifelong best friends, their journey together through life and how that changes when Milly (Toni Colette) discovers she has breast cancer. I suspect this is a film to go see with your BFF with plenty of tissues and a massive bag of pick n mix. Well, that’s my plan anyway!

I’ve been happily swishing around in my cape this week and can confirm that it’s not only beautifully warm, but feels incredibly well made and could even be worm over a larger coat when things get REALLY cold outside (it’s also one-size, so will look fabulous on pretty much everyone).

Win a Becksondergaard cape 

To enter the competition, simply complete your chosen entries via the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open to UK entries only and will close at 11.59pm UK time on Sunday 11th October. One winner will be picked at random shortly afterwards and contacted to claim their prize.

Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway


Must have makeup: The Balm Manizer Sisters palette

This autumn sees the launch of some amazing new palette launches, kicked off by this one from cult favourite The Balm.
The Balm Manizer Sisters holiday palette 2015
The Balm Manizer Sisters holiday palette 2015
The Balm Manizer Sisters holiday palette 2015 swatches on pale skin
The Manizer Sisters palette* brings together their three best-selling luminzers, all in one very cute, handbag-sized compact. Inside, you'll find:

Mary-Lou Manizer - AKA 'The Luminzer'
Cindy-Lou Manizer - AKA 'The Con-Tour Artist'
Betty-Lou Manizer - AKA 'The Bronzing Bandit'

I've taken some pretty heavy swatches of these to give you an idea of the depth of colour you can achieve if you like, but these also blend out beautifully across the skin, giving just the right amount of colour when applied with a nice fluffy brush.

They all have a touch of shimmer in them, which stops them looking flat against the skin. However this does make them a little tricky to use as contour shades as the shimmer looks a little unnatural used in that way. Depending on your skin tone, I think you'll find a great highlighter shade across these three and for pale-medium skins, Cindy-Lou and Betty-Lou would also make lovely bronzers when used with a light touch.

The packaging is typical tongue in cheek, which is what I love about The Balm. They make fantastic quality products and give it that 'something special' with their quirky shade names and bold branding. Like many of their palettes, this one is made out or sturdy cardboard, with a decent -sized mirror in the lid. It's got a magnetic clasp, so won't open up accidentally in your bag and is slim enough to fit into even the smallest of clutches.

If you haven't got one of the 'Manizer' shades already in your collection, I'd highly recommend adding this one to your 'must-have' list. It's a great way to try all three at a fraction of the cost they normally would do.

The Manizer palette launches into Debenhams on 1st October and costs £24.

Do you like the look of this new palette from The Balm?

*PR sample


L'Oreal La Vie En Rose lipstick collection review and swatches

L'Oreal have managed to hit the nail on the head again with their latest set of celebrity inspired lipstick launches. We've had the red collection, then the nudes and now they've pulled together the perfect set of pinks.

LOreal La Vie En Rose lipstick collection
LOreal La Vie En Rose lipstick collection - Blake's shade on the lips
Wearing Blake's shade
Like the previous collections, La Vie En Rose features five new shades, each tied into a top celebrity. You can choose from:
Helen - nude pink, a pale, iridescent shade for fair skin tones
Blake - orangey pink, adds a healthy glow to fair skin tones
Liya - Grenadian pink, rich and luminous, for deeper skin tones
Eva - peach pink with slight yellow pigment, complements skin with warm undertones
Naomi - mauve tea pink, gives freshness to fair skin tones
While each one has been tailored to work best against a specific skin tone (i.e. go for Blake if you have cool undertones and fairer skin), I think these actually work really well across all skin tones and hair colours. There's a great mix of bold and more muted pink shades and each will look slightly different on everyone.
The formula has a satin finish very similar in texture to their earlier collection of reds. It's rich and creamy and not drying on the lips, even after a full day's wear. You'll get an average of four hours wear before needing to top up, although if you're eating or drinking a lot, I'd recommend reapplying afterwards.
Blake's shade definitely has to be my favourite but I'm also loving Helen's for an every day shade. Helen's is definitely the sheerest out of all the shades, but gives a lovely soft sheen on the lips - it's 'my lips but better'.
At £6.99 each, I think these are a great high street buy and I'd definitely recommend heading down to your local Boots or Superdrug for a swatching session. They'll be launching onto L'Oreal shelves on 1st October so keep an eye out in your local store!
Are you a fan of L'Oreal lipsticks? Which shade would be your favourite out of these?
*PR samples



Hair: a colour at John Frieda Mayfair

There are few names in hairdressing more recognisable than John Frieda. Whether you're a Frizz Ease convert or love a bit of Full Repair I reckon we've all tried at least one product from the brand.

I was recently invited down to the John Frieda flagship salon on Alford Street in London's Mayfair, for a bit of a hair makeover. 

Before a colour at John Frieda Alford StreetGetting a colour at John Frieda Mayfair
The finished colour at John Frieda Mayfair
And after!
The finished colour at John Frieda Mayfair
The salon itself is tucked away just off Mount Street, and is a buzzy, yet somehow very relaxed environment from the minute you step through the door.

The stylists at John Frieda all specialise in either colour or cuts, so if you go in for both, you'll have one person looking after your colour and another the cut. It's a great approach - you feel like each stylist is a real expert in that particular area rather than having a split focus.

I sat down with Philippa to discuss what I wanted to achieve with my colour. Being a natural ginge, I wanted to go a bit deeper but to keep it a natural looking shade rather than a move to a more obvious red. After a few minutes with my ginger hair pinterest board, Philippa had mixed up the colour and started to apply an all over colour wash.  Once that was finished and rinsed out, she balayaged part of the hair to give it natural looking highlights and to stop it from being all one flat colour. This only took about 10 minutes but the difference to my hair was well worth it!

She also used the new Olaplex treatment, which is a three stage conditioning treatment designed to help your colour last longer and help condition and heal damaged hair while you have your colour. It leaves hair feeling silky soft and super conditioned and I'd highly recommend adding this as part of your colour process if you get the chance. 

After all the dye had been washed off, I had a lovely blow dry from a stylist called Kasun - he really listened to how I like my hair to look and gave it that salon shine which I can never do at home. I left the salon swishing my hair around happily, praying the rain would hold off until I made it home!

I've literally never been so happy with how a colour appointment has turned out and cannot recommend John Frieda and Philippa highly enough.  The salon definitely falls into the high end price range but it's so so worth it.

You can see the full range of stylists and treatments available over on the John Frieda salon website.

Are you a fan of John Frieda products? Have you visited this salon before?

*appointment provided for review purposes, all views my own


Olivia Palermo x Ciate autumn nail and makeup launches

Olivia Palermo’s autumn collection for Ciate is quite frankly, a total winner. Apologise to your bank balances now, as the range has expanded since the initial launches and now features lipsticks, new polish shades and THE most pretty looking palette ever (ok, well almost ever).

There have been a lot of brands that have brought in celebrity ‘guest creative’ that have often felt little like the supposed people behind them, but I really think you get a lot of Ms. P’s involvement in the products and shades developed. And let’s face it, I’m all for chanelling a bit of the Palermo.

Olivia Palermo x Ciate AW15 makeup and nail collection
Olivia Palermo x Ciate AW15 lipsticks
Olivia Palermo x Ciate AW15 lipsticks swatches
There are two new polish launches for autumn – New England Fall, which is a stunning deep blue shade and Napa Valley, a glossy cherry red. The formula of Napa Valley is absolutely spot on; highly glossy, opaque in two coats and really long-lasting on the nails. New England Fall needs a little more encouragement and careful application to get the best effect, but after three coats, I promise you it’ll be  worth it. They are more expensive that the usual Ciate Paint Pots (£17 instead of £9), so definitely a luxury treat, but the stingray inspired boxes and gold accent lids definitely make them feel super luxe.

I’ve been trialling the satin finish lipsticks for the past few weeks and can safely say they have a fantastic formula (please make more shades *puppy eyes*). They're rich in colour, semi-matte but don’t dry out the lips, even after a full day’s wear. Shade-wise, choose from:

Cashmere - true nude
Praline - rich, deep nude
Truffle - pink nude
Velveteen - a deep cherry red

I’m currently torn between Truffle and Velveteen as my favourite shade. Velveteen is such a wearable bold cherry red and a shade I think will suit pretty much everyone. Truffle is a pale person’s friend – it’s one step up from the traditional nude shades, so adds a bit of warmth to the complexion, delivering that ‘my lips but better’ colour it’s so hard to find.

All four shades come in reassuringly heavy gold-toned cases that all have a very satisfying ‘click’ when you close them. The price tag might be up there with some high end favourites (£19) but for me, they do really well at competing against other brands in the same price bracket.

The new Olivia Palermo collection has just arrived on the Ciate website, so hop on over quick before it sells out! All products are limited edition, so won’t stick around for long…

What do you think of this new collection from Olivia Palermo and Ciate?

*PR samples


7 things to consider before dyeing your hair red

So you're thinking of joining the ginge crew. Having been a member for 31 years now, I can fully confirm that going red is a totally great decision. I've recently enhanced my naturally strawberry blonde locks with a fantastic colour session at John Frieda (full post on that to come shortly) and couldn't be happier. However before you go red, there are a few things to bear in mind, and a few products I'd recommend purchasing to ensure your new hair stays looking lovely for as long as possible. 

products to help protect red hair
1. It doesn't suit everyone - have an honest chat with your hairdresser. While you might dream of flowing auburn locks, it might be that there's a better shade suited to your complexion instead. 

2. It washes out faster than any other colour - for some reason red pigment is the quickest to fade and wash out, so try to steer clear of daily washing and stick to gentle shampoos aimed at coloured hair. 

3. So be prepared to spend a lot of time/money/both on upkeep. We're talking every 4 weeks people. 

4. Sulfate-free shampoo will become your BFF. It's much more gentle than the regular stuff, so won't strip out your colour so quickly. Try the Maria Nila range*, which is fantastic for all types of coloured hair or Balance Me's Protect and Shine range* for added radiance and shine. 

4. You'll struggle to wear bright pink lipstick any more without looking like a massive colour clash - sounds like a small problem, except for when over 50% of your lipsticks are variations on fuschia pink. 

5. Roots are a bitch. Whether you're naturally lighter or darker than the red shade you've chosen, trust me when I say root growth is OBVIOUS and rarely in that lovely 'oh look at my natural ombre' look. Color Wow Root Cover Up* will be a lifesaver when it comes to blending in regrowth in between colours - the new red shade miraculously covers up any root growth and is completely inconspicous. It's also water-resistant so won't run down your face if you get caught in the rain. 

6. Dry shampoo designed for red hair is generally rubbish. The few I've tried don't seem to work as well as the uncoloured stuff and generally leave a trail of fine red powder on everything it touches. My hair brush actually changed colour after a few days of use; not exactly ideal. 

7. You may need a new wardrobe. Colours that looked amazing on you as a blonde/brunette might not look quite so lovely once you go red. And vice versa - there are ones that you never thought you could wear that now look the bomb. All in all, it's a great excuse to go shopping. 

Have you ever dyed your hair red? What would be your top tip for maintaining your colour? 


Fashion: Jord Cora Zebrawood and Turquoise wood watch

When it comes to fashion, I'm always on the hunt for something a little different. Whether it's a vintage dress that no-one else might have, a pair of one of a kind shoes or a hand made set of earrings. Jord's wood watches appealed to me for the same reason - they have that something extra special to them that you don't often find on the high street.

Jord Wood Watch Cora Zebrawood and Turquoise
Jord Wood Watch Cora Zebrawood and Turquoise
beautiful kent countryside
Jord Wood Watch Cora Zebrawood and Turquoise
Jord Wood Watch Cora Zebrawood and Turquoise
Jord are an American brand that have created a line of watches out of different types of wood. Each one is slightly different as the grains of the wood and the colour shades all vary from watch to watch, giving them a very distinctive edge. The lovely team at Jord kindly sent me over a Cora watch in Zebrawood and Turquoise*, which I have completely fallen in love with.

The turquoise face and zebrawood strap complement each other perfectly and I love the fact it features an automatic movement inside it, so you never have to worry about batteries running out as it charges itself while you wear it. If you don't wear the watch for a few days, you'll need to reset the time as it will run out of power (it charges itself based on your own natural body movements), but this is very quick and easy to do.

It's lovely and light, yet feels quite substantial on the wrist. I think this is the perfect size face if you want a medium sized ladies watch - they do have larger styles if you prefer something a little more chunky, but for me this works well as a statement piece without being overbearing on my small wrist. The wood finish also is very unusual and I've had lots of compliments while wearing this out and about over the past few weeks - I love the fact it's something a little different from the norm.

The strap itself can be easily resized with a little patience and a few tools, but the team at Jord can also do this for you for an extra $10 if you send them your wrist measurement when you purchase a watch. I think this is a great service as adding in/taking out links can be a little tricky, so sometimes it's best to leave this to the experts!

This style also comes with a rose gold face, which I think would look stunning and they also have many other ladies', unisex and men's styles available. Mens Wooden Watches

I think these would make a fantastic gift idea (I'm not mentioning the 'C' word yet, but it doesn't hurt to plan early!). Prices start at $120 and go up to $275 for my Zebrawood and Turquoise Cora automatic model. Jord will happily ship worldwide for a small fee and you shouldn't encounter any extra customs fees if you're ordering in to the UK.

Have you ever thought about wearing a wooden watch? Do you like the look of the range from Jord?

*I took my watch for a little wander in the Kent countryside to take these photos (thank goodness for a sunny day!) on my Olympus Pen EPL7; aka my new lovechild.*

*PR sample



Clarins Gift With Purchase and Giveaway

There have been so many great gift with purchases around lately, but I couldn’t resist sharing one more with you! There’s also a chance for you to win one further down the page, so make sure you keep reading…

House of Fraser have teamed up with Clarins to offer a super generous GWP. When you purchase 2 Clarins products, 1 to be skincare, you receive this lovely set of three Clarins classics for face and body.
Inside the gift you’ll find:

Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment 50ml
Clarins Tonic body Balm 100ml
Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel 50ml

Together they’re worth over £30 on a cost per ml basis, so it really is great value if you’ve planned a bit of a Clarins shop. I’ve been loving the Hand and Nail Treatment – it’s lovely and hydrating but doesn’t feel greasy and I have a feeling it will be a firm handbag favourite for some time to come.

The Tonic Body Balm is also really uplifting and perfect to use in the mornings and the rosemary and ginseng extracts not only smell amazing, but are great for energising and hydrating the skin.

The gift with purchase offer runs in store and online until 19th September.

Win a Clarins trio

The team at House of Fraser have very kindly given me one of these fab gift with purchases sets to giveaway. To enter, simply complete your chosen entry methods via the Rafflecopter widget below.

The giveaway is open internationally and will close at 11.59pm UK time on Sunday 4th October. One winner will be picked at random shortly afterwards and contacted directly to claim their prize.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Elemis Pro Collagen Visible Results QVC TSV 12 September

I wanted to give you an advanced warning about this upcoming Elemis deal, as the TSVs on QVC have a serious habit of selling out quickly! The Pro Collagen Visible Results collection launches TOMORROW (12th September) for one day only, so get ready for a bargain!

Elemis Pro Collagen QVC TSV 12 September 2015 contents
This four piece set will be on sale for just £59 and has a total retail value of over £195 (it’s a ridiculously huge saving!). As well as must-haves from the Pro Collagen range including an eye treatment, serum and night cream, they’ve also included the brand new Pro Collagen Neck and Décolleté Balm which won’t be available anywhere else until early next year.

The product sizes here are very generous – the Eye Treatment and Super Serum are both full sized products and the Night Cream and Neck and Decollete Balm are both very generous travel sizes (worth over £40 each based on cost per ml).

If you’ve already started thinking about Christmas, then I think this would make a lovely gift idea. Because of the anti-ageing products included, it’s probably best suited to those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, so if you’re after something for younger skins, try the FreshSkin range which is brilliant for those of you still in your teens and early twenties.

I suspect this won't stick around for long (the Elemis TSVs always sell out quickly!) but if you want to get ahead of the crowds and order today, the lovely team have given me a sneaky early access link for you all. You can buy the Pro Collagen Visible Results collection via the QVC website right now!

Will you be ordering this TSV?

*PR sample



House of Fraser Beauty Confidential September 2015

It's that time of year again, where the lovely people at House of Fraser are giving you the chance to take £10 off one of their favourite beauty products, when you buy one of yours.

Simply purchase any item from across the brands in their beauty halls and you can purchase one of 30 cult favourites and new launches with a £10 discount.

Whether you've wanted to try the latest Benefit Roller Lash mascara or fancy stocking up on your favourite 8 Hour Cream from Elizabeth Arden, I think this is definitely the time to do it!

I've popped the full list of Beauty Confidential products below, and I think you'll definitely find at least one of there which might prompt you to make a purchase!

Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream 30ml £108
Guerlain Kiss Kiss Lipstick £26.50
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion 125ml £30
Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF40 £39
Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder £35.50
Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation 30ml £31.50
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF10 30ml £30
Estée Lauder New Dimension Shape + Fill Expert Serum 30ml £62
Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate 15ml £54
Shiseido Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate 15ml £48
Lancôme La Base Pro Perfecting Make Up Primer 25ml £28.50
Elizabeth Arden Superstart Skin Renewal Booster 30ml £45
Clinique Beyond Perfecting 2-In-1 Foundation + Concealer 30ml £25
Urban Decay Naked Palettes (all, including Smoky) £38
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Recovery Complex II 50ml £70
Decléor Hydra Floral Multi Protection Light Cream 50ml £39.50
Lancôme Visionnaire Nuit Beauty Sleep Protector £60
Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate Oil 30ml £36
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation 30ml £36.50
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch £25
Laura Mercier Foundation Primers £29
Clarins Double Serum 50ml £69
Nars Audacious Lipstick £24
Clarins Perfecting Touch 15ml £26.50
Clinique Smart Custom Serum 50ml £68
Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick £34
bareMinerals Get Started Complexion Kit £39
Lancôme Volume à Porter Mascara £22.50
Benefit Roller Lash £19.50
Nars Blush £23

Beauty Confidential runs from Monday 7th September to Tuesday 22nd September and is available both in store and online. There will also be lots of in-store events popping up throughout the period where you can get expert advice, a glass of bubbly and the chance to check out all of the products available in the offer.

Will you be making the most of this fab offer?


Illamasqua Earth collection review

It would’ve been far too easy for a collection called ‘Earth’ to be one full of browns, but Illamasqua’s new launches have managed to be seriously wearable, exciting and without a brown shade in sight.

Alex Box, creative director, describes the collection as being inspired by the nomads of the desert, with rich shades of burnt orange and soft green, all of which are designed to be layered and layered to create washes of colour that will work for everyone.

Illamasqua Earth collection
Illamasqua Earth collection Nomadic palette swatches on pale skin
The second I saw the Nomadic palette* at the launch, my eyes lit up. I don’t often leave the safe territory of my Naked palettes, but hot damn, that orange shade was calling my name. The palette features four powder shades in earthy green, burnt orange, a slate metallic grey and a light griege. The orange looks a little scary in the pan, but it can be used lightly across the lids for a flash of warm colour, or more intensely for a brighter pop.

They all seem to work well together and the long-lasting formula means that they’ll stay on the lids all day without creasing or fading. If I had to pick one thing from this collection that I think you really NEED, it’d be this one.

For all you pigment lovers, Illamasqua have launched two limited edition loose pigments as part of the Earth collection. There’s Ara, a soft pewter shade and Draco, a gentle grey-green. These are both shot through with the loveliest shimmer finish – a little of these layered over the matte shadows of the palette looks absolutely stunning. Expect a little fallout during application, but I think that’s pretty much the norm when it comes to loose powders.

For the lips, there’s Kin, a rich, deep red that somehow seemed to work on every skin tone that tries it. It’s lovely and warm, but without a heavy orange over tone, and I have a feeling this will be an incredibly popular shade throughout the autumn.

Last up is Element, a pewter polish that looks stunning on the nails and one of the only metallic formulas I've seen that doesn't look streaky. Whoooo!

Prices range from £14.50 for the nail polish and go up to £34 for the palette. You can find the range now, online and in store at Illamasqua.

What do you think of the new collection from Illamasqua?

*PR samples


5 things to buy - the September edit

September is a funny old month. You’ve got London Fashion Week showcasing SS16, a whole world of rain related hair issues and the stealthy launch of a few Christmas releases. On top of all of those there are some absolutely cracking products I feel that need to make their way on to your monthly wish lists. Apologies to your bank balances in advance.

5 things to buy - the September edit
5 things to buy - the September edit, Christian Louboutin lipstick close up
Christian Louboutin lipsticks – we’ve had the Loubie nail polishes and now it’s time for the lipsticks! These can only be described as little works of art (with a price tag to match). With three different finishes to choose from, and over 35 shades, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with at least one. I’m loving the Silky Satin formula, which is semi-matte with a very slight sheen, long lasting and so comfortable on the lips. Yes you’ll cry as you hand over your card to pay for it, but even after the lipstick has all gone, you’ll want to keep the packaging forever. £60.

L’Oreal La Palette Nude Beige* – I’m never one to shy away from a neutral palette and it’s great to see more and more cropping up on the high street. L’Oreal’s La Palette Nude Beige features 12 incredibly wearable shades in a mix of matte and shimmer finishes. The packaging is nice and slim, so will easily pack into your handbag, making it a more portable version of the cult Urban Decay palettes. £14.99 (but look out for 3 for 2 offers).

Lanolips 101 Fruities* – Lanolips is one of the few lip balms that really does the trick for me. It’s so hydrating and works wonders on chapped lips and dry patches alike. These new balms have gorgeous fruity scents that will have you wanting to lick your lips constantly! Peach is my favourite, but there’s also Strawberry and Apple to choose from. £7.99

1001 Remedies Pur Air* – as autumn quickly approaches, so do all the horrible sneezing, coughing people on public transport. 1001 Remedies Pur Air is a potent purifying room mist that has been infused with a mix of essential oils that all have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. Spritz a little of this around your work space or your home to help freshen the air.

Hugo Boss Runway Edition Fragrances* – I couldn’t let fashion week season pass by without including these gorgeous limited edition fragrances from Hugo Boss. Three of their key fragrances has been given a special ‘runway’ makeover and features sketches from Womenswear Creative Director Jason Wu’s debut collection. Choose from 50ml bottles of Boss Jour Pour Femme (my personal fave), Boss Ma Vie Pour Femme and Boss Nuit Pour Femme. Find them in stores nationwide, priced £50 each.

Will you be adding any of these to your shopping basket this month?

*PR samples


Foreo Luna Mini review

I’ve tested out a few cleansing brushes over the past few years (with several more to come!) but I’ve never tried anything quite like the Foreo Luna Mini*. These brightly coloured, silicone devices are designed to gently deep clean your skin, leaving it looking healthier, brighter and less prone to blemishes. Plus they come in a choice of 5 shades, including hot pink, which pretty much won them over to me straight away.

Foreo Luna Mini in light pink
As the name suggests, the Luna mini is the little sister of the larger Luna device. The Luna Mini virtually fits in the palm of my hand, but don’t let the small size fool you into thinking it’s not as good; this is a fantastic cleansing device that’s perfect for both home and travel.

I feel slightly odd calling it a ‘brush’ as it really doesn’t look like a brush in any typical sense of the word. Instead, it’s made up of small silicone nodules that help massage and cleanse the skin. The ‘brush’ is two-sided – one side for regular cleansing and another for a deeper clean. There are also slightly smaller bits at the top of the brush to help cleanse around the nose area, making it really simple to target what is often an oilier area for many people.

There are two different cleansing speeds (one is more intense than the other) each of which uses up to 8,000 sonic pulses per minute. This makes it easy to opt for a gentler clean if like me, you have slightly sensitive skin. That said, the Luna Mini has to be the gentlest cleansing brush I’ve come across. I’ve found some brushes to be a little harsh before, but this one feels so gentle on the skin, but offers a really good cleanse at the same time.

Foreo recommend using the Luna Mini for one minute, twice a day. It’s completely waterproof, so you can use it in the shower if you like (hello time saving) and it also lasts an impressive 300 uses per charge. The brush itself never needs replacing, so once you buy the Luna Mini, you won’t have to shell out for replacement brush heads every other month. And the design itself has been made so that it’s over 35 times more hygienic than traditional cleansing brushes - perfect if you suffer with blemishes, as it won’t be adding lots of bacteria back onto the skin.

I love to use mine with both cream based and foaming cleansers and find it works really well with either. The only thing I’d recommend avoiding are balm textured cleansers as the texture of these won’t work very well with the brush.

I absolutely love my little Luna Mini and would highly recommend it if you've been hunting for a gentler (but still super effective) solution the traditional cleansing brushes.

The Foreo Luna Mini retails at £99 and can be found online from Boots, Feel Unique and Amazon, as well as in store in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

Have you tried a Luna device before?

*PR sample


Bioderma now available at Boots

Happy times Bioderma lovers; you can now find the cult French skincare brand at Boots!
Bioderma Sensibo range
Currently it's only stocked in four stores (list below) but the majority of the range is also available online via the Boots website. And the best part is it's included in their current 3 for 2 skincare offer! So. Many. Excited. Exclamation. Marks.

You can find Bioderma in store at:

Boots Sedley Place - 361 Oxford street, London, W1C 2JL
Boots London Piccadilly Circus - 44-46 Regent Street, London,  W1B 5RA
Boots Derby: Shopping Centre, intu Derby, North Mall, Derby DE1 2PG
Boots Melton: 1-2 Cheapside - Melton Mowbray,  Leicestershire LE13 0TP

If you've not tried the brand before, then this is the perfect excuse to do it, all while earning some extra Advantage Points. I for one will be stocking up on Micellar Water and the fabulous Hydrabio Serum (amazing for dehydrated skin), but they've got lots to choose from for every skin type.

Happy shopping!


Life: self-acceptance and learning to be nice

‘God you look so fat’. ‘I’m not sure you should wear that dress – people will start asking if you’re pregnant’. ‘Hello fat ass’. For years, this has been the daily dialogue I have with myself over and over and over.

Like a lot of women, I’ve never had the most positive relationship with my body. My weight goes up and down, but my confidence levels never really change. And that’s something I’m determined to change.
Women can be unbelievably harsh on themselves. Things you would never dream of saying to a close friend, we often tell ourselves every morning when we take a look in the mirror. And that’s just plain wrong. We should be our greatest advocates, not that horrible little voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, or too fat, or just plain ugly. Don’t believe that voice – it’s all lies.

Over the past few months, I’ve been taking steps to feel better about myself. I’ve started taking regular exercise classes – not just because of those wobbly bits that plague me, but because I love how they make my body feel strong and for the endorphin hit that comes afterwards. I started spin classes and almost vommed in the first one (thanks One Rebel), but a few weeks on and I actively look forward to that 45 minutes of sweatiness. It does a whole lot more for my mental health than it does for just the physical side. It’s about re-building confidence in myself and knowing I CAN do it, even if I leave looking like a very sweaty ginger tomato.

Feeling positive about yourself isn’t all down to healthy foods and lifestyle choices (or at least, it shouldn’t be). For me, it’s about squashing those horrible little gremlins in the back of your mind that say ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you’re not good enough’. Don’t listen to them – you can do anything you set your mind to. It won’t always be easy, but I’m a firm believer in the power of positivity. Don’t waste your energy putting yourself down, instead channel it into things that make you feel truly awesome, whatever that may be. And if you catch yourself thinking things about yourself you'd be horrified saying to your best friend, give yourself a mental slap and move on. Don’t let yourself be your own worst enemy.

You are awesome, you can do it and yes, you deserve it. <3


Skincare: the overnighters

I’m going to hold my hands up and admit that I’m quite lazy when it comes to my beauty regime. This might be an odd confession from a beauty blogger, but if there’s a way to speed up the time spent applying products, or things that have multi-purposes, then I’m all over them like a rash.

Enter the ‘night time wonders’. AKA products that get to work while you sleep. You simply slap them on before bed and wake up looking better with minimal effort involved. People, this is basically LIVING THE DREAM.
Overnight skincare treatments from REN, Oskia, Sarah Chapman, Sunday Riley and Vichy
I’ve picked out a few of my favourite over-nighters that really do the trick. And I’d love to know what your favourites are too – make sure you let me know in the comments!

REN Wake Up Wonderful – this is brand-spanking new from REN, but trust me when I say you’re going to need it. Wake Up Wonderful works a little like their Glycolactic face mask – it uses gentle acids and enzymes to exfoliate the skin, glycogen and magnesium to boost skin vitality and sodium lactate to gently raise the PH balance of the skin, leaving it looking radiant. Apply one or two pumps to freshly cleansed skin before bed, pop your regular moisturiser on over the top and leave it to work overnight. The immediate difference isn’t jaw-dropping, but used 1-2 times per week over a few weeks will really make a difference. My skin looks brighter, fresher and super healthy! £32

Oskia Super 16 Pro-Collagen serum – the key to this product is pretty much given in the name – it really is super! Oskia are a British brand that pride themselves on creating nutritional skincare that is not only 98% natural, but only uses ingredients proven for their effectiveness. The Super 16 Serum combines 16 super nutrients and bio-actives to increase collagen synthesis and get to work on fine lines. It also packs a serious hydration punch. Oskia have included Bakuchiol as a key ingredient in this serum - derived from Indian Babchi seeds, this is a natural equivalent to retinol. If you've previously found traditional retinol based products a little harsh, I'd urge you to give this one a try - it's gentle but incredibly effective. While you could use this morning and night, I like to save it for before bed as it’s quite rich. Used daily (well, nightly) this will make you wish they did a version that could be used top to toe – it really is that good! £80

Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep - if you're not getting enough sleep, it often shows up first in your skin. Vichy's new Skin Sleep is designed to help combat the look of dull, fatigued skin, making it look like you got a good night's sleep even if you were really up until 3am. It's quite a rich cream that tends to work best massaged gently into the skin, and a little bit goes a long way. I've been using this on and off over the past few weeks and can definitely notice a difference, especially after a few days of minimal sleep! £26.50 

Sunday Riley Luna - I've harped on about this wonder oil before (full review here) but it's safe to say that despite the £85 price tag, it's one you need in your night time regime. It combines a gentle retinol with a face oil, so it gets to work on fine lines and wrinkles while you sleep. I saw results the first time I used it and have been increasingly impressed ever since.  

Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial - designed to give you a facial while you sleep, Overnight Facial is packed full of omega oils, antioxidants and vitamins. It has a texture somewhere in between a serum and an oil and a couple of pumps pressed into skin before bed should have you waking up glowing. It also uses vitamin A to help the anti-ageing process and calms stressed out skin with a mix of jasmine, rose and tuberose oils. if your skin is very dry, I'd recommend adding a little extra night cream over the top, but for all other skin types, this should be fine used alone. £46 

Have you tried any of these before?

*PR samples



Treatment: Universal Contour Wrap at the HydroHealing Spa Notting Hill

I’ve always been fascinated by different types of beauty treatments. It’s amazing what we put ourselves through for a bit of hair removal or better looking skin. One treatment that’s been on the top of my ‘must-try’ list for years in the Universal Contour Wrap, or as I like to call it ‘looking like a mummy in the pursuit of trimming down a few inches’.

The UCW is pretty impressive when you look at it on paper. It guarantees a minimum loss of 6 inches from the treatment and promises what you’ll keep these off for up to 30 days, so long as you don’t actually put any weight on in that time. My sceptical brain thought that this was probably a bit of a marketing gimmick, but in the interests of research, I decided to give it a try for myself.

HydroHealing Spa Notting Hill
universal contour wrap in progress
Wrapped up and ready to go!
I popped along to the HydroHealing Spa in London’s Notting Hill, which is tucked away just moments away from the famous Portobello Road. HydroHealing offer a wide range of treatments, from the usual mani/pedis, right through to colonic irrigations. The spa itself is very clean, warm and full of lovely staff. The UCW doesn’t really allow for much modesty, so having a therapist that makes you feel comfortable while you stand in front of her naked bar a paper thong while she rubs clay all over you is really quite important!

The wrap itself is a multi-stage process. First up, you have to strip down to the aforementioned paper thong, don a hair cap and get ready to be measured EVERYWHERE. They measure you in over a dozen places across your body, marking each one with a pen, so they can perform accurate ‘after’ measurements after the treatment is finished.

Next up, a thin layer of mineral infused clay is rubbed all over your body, and then you’re wrapped up in clay soaked bandages everywhere from the neck down. The bandages themselves are applied pretty tightly, so if you are incredibly claustrophobic, I don’t think this treatment will be for you, but it’s not tight to the point of being uncomfortable.

Once you’ve been mummified, you don a highly attractive plastic space suit and then the therapist helps you to hop up onto the treatment bed before covering you over with lovely warm towels. HydroHealing offer a mini facial as part of the UCW, which is a really nice treat (especially as they use REN products to do it!) and once that’s finished, you’re left to relax for around half an hour until it’s time for the bandages to come off.

You get measured again post-bandage removal and all the measurements are totted up to give an overall total. I lost 7 inches from across my body, with an entire inch from my waist and almost another whole one from around my bum. Now, I know it’s not going to be a miracle worker long term, but I was quite impressed with how ‘flat’ everything felt, especially around my tummy area.

One small downside (and one I hadn’t realised beforehand) was that even after the bandages come off, they leave the residual clay on your skin and recommend you leave it on for as long as possible (i.e. don’t shower for over 24 hours). As I had made plans to meet a friend straight afterwards, I had to brush quite a lot of it off so I didn’t look like I had some sort of skin disease when I left, which was a bit of a shame. If you plan to have one of these treatments, aim to do it at a time when you can just go home and chill out, so you can get the maximum benefits from having it done.

Several weeks on, I have remeasured myself and been really impressed with the results. I have stayed the same weight, and my waist measurement has remained almost exactly the same as it was post-treatment.

If you have a big event coming up, or want to try and de-bloat before a holiday, then I would definitely recommend having a UCW at HydroHealing a few days before. I’ve been so impressed with the overall results and will definitely be going back in future for another wrap just before a friend’s wedding.

The Universal Contour Wrap costs £105 (including mini facial) and lasts for approximately two hours.

You can find the full range of treatments available at the HydroHealing spa via their website.

Have you ever tried a body wrap treatment?

*treatment provided for review purposes, all opinions my own
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