5 things to buy: the £5 and under edit

The high street is a good place to be at the moment - there are so many great budget beauty ranges around. I've covered a lot of budget makeup before, so I wanted to share a few of my top recommendations for skincare and body care that won't break the bank.
£5 and under top beauty products
Essence Nail Care Oil Sponge* - forget nail polish remover pots, this bad boy is a whole other level! If like me your cuticles have seen better days, grab yourself one of these pots from Essence and keep it on your desk. The sponge has been infused with a blend of hydrating oils, so a quick dip and swirl will get your cuticles back into shape in seconds. £2  

Lavera lip balms* – I am a little bit obsessed with Lavera’s lip balms at the moment. The stick format is so easy to use and much more hygienic than the traditional pots that you have to keep sticking your fingers in. That, combined with the shea butter, beeswax and hydrating oil base mean your lips will stay lovely and soft, even during the depths of winter. I like the original one as it’s scentless and non-tinted, but they also do a lovely rose one which has just a touch of pink to it. £3.50ish

Good Things Manuka Honey Bath Soak – when it’s cold outside, there’s nothing quite like a nice hot bath to make you feel all cosy. I love the fact that Good Things products are affordable, so you get a lovely treat for just a few pounds and they're also free of mineral oil, parabens and SLS, so are much kinder to skin that a lot of budget options. This coconut and vanilla bath soak smells AMAZING and the combination of manuka honey, shea butter and sweet almond oil will leave your skin feeling super soft post-bath. £3.49

I love... hand sanitizers* - when they can make an alcohol gel smell good enough to eat, you know there's something good going on. Pick one of these handy hand gels up in 4 fruity flavours and I promise you won't regret it. The Mango & Papaya one is my favourite - I just love the tropical fruit smell! £1.25

Pure Essentials Micellar Water* – when you need to remove makeup in a hurry, a micellar water is a great place to start and Lloyds Pharmacy’s own brand version is a bit of a surprise hit for me! I tend to stick to Bioderma or B. but I’ve been really impressed with how gentle this feels on the skin and how effective it is at removing makeup in just a few swipes. Plus at £2.49 it’s a bit of a bargain!

What are your current favourite budget beauty products? 


Palette London create your own nail paint kit

Palette London's new 'create your own' nail paint kits* remind me a little of an art class at school. It's all about getting creative and experimenting with colour to create your own custom shades of polish. Unlike my experiments at school though, when it comes to mixing up colours with these kits, you won't end up with a sludgy brown colour every time.

Palette London Create your own nail polish kit
Palette London Create your own nail polish kit contents
Palette London Create your own nail polish kit mixing shades
Inside each kit you'll find five base shades of polish, some plastic droppers and a set of empty bottles ready for your creations. There's also a set of guidelines for a few starter colours, so if you're not quite sure where to start, you can use one of their ideas as a first try.

It's a really simple kit to use - decide what sort of colour you want to make and then add the correct base colours to one of your empty bottles. Shake it up for 2 minutes and your finished colour is ready to go!

It can get a bit messy, so I'd recommend you do it on a plastic tray or a surface you can clean nail polish from without damaging it, just in case of any spillages.

I made a medium lilac shade out of the blue, red and white pots and was really pleased with how my first attempt turned out. There are literally thousands of shades you could make out of this kit, so it really just comes down to your imagination! The polishes themselves seem to last well on the nails, but will benefit from a nice glossy top coat to add a high shine finish. 

While I absolutely love the ideas of these kits, I'm not quite so keen on the price tag. There are 2 sizes available - £25 will get you a kit that will make 2 polishes and the £50 kit will make 5. It's quite a premium price tag, especially given the fact that the polish packaging itself seems quite basic. I'd love to see it made a little bit more affordable, especially as I think it would appeal to a younger audience who are unlikely to spend that much on a nail polish kit.

You can find the Palette London kits online via their website and also in selected larger Boots stores.

What do you think of this concept? Is it something you'd like to try?

*PR sample


3 to try: cleansing oils

A decent cleanser is one of the most important parts of a good skincare routine – there’s no point piling on the lotions and potions if you’ve still got a layer of crap on your face, after all. Cleansing oils seem to be a big trend for autumn/winter, with lots of the big brands launching new ones over the past month or two. I love a cleansing oil as they’re generally more gentle to skin and that little bit richer, so work really well throughout the colder months when your skin needs that bit more moisture. I’ve picked out three of my favourites from the recent launches, catering for budget, medium and higher end budgets.

3 to try: new cleansing oils from Caudalie, b and Elizabeth Arden
B. Micellar Cleansing Oil* – B. are such a great brand when it comes to affordable, quality skincare. Their new Micellar Cleansing Oil is really great at removing all traces of makeup without stripping the skin and is a total bargain at just £6.99. It’s packed full of chia seed oil, vitamin e and pomegranate seed oil and like all B. products is vegan and Leaping Bunny certified. This is one of the few cleansers I’ve been happy to use on my eyes (I normally use a separate remover for mascara and liner), although if you use a lot of eye makeup like me I’d recommend a double cleanse. 

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil* – I’ve yet to find a Caudalie product that I don’t like and their new cleansing oil is no exception! This has a very gentle scent to it (it’s almost unperfumed) and uses a mix of sunflower seed oil, sweet almond oil and castor seed oil to get rid of grime and makeup. Use 2-3 pumps, massage into the skin and then emulsify with warm water and rinse off. It doesn’t have an overly oily texture to it, so I think it’d work well with virtually all skin types and it leaves skin feeling super soft, even before you moisturise. £18 100ml

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Replenishing Cleansing Oil* – The Ceramide range has just celebrated its 25th birthday and what better way to mark the occasion than a new cleanser! I love the fact that this comes in a mega bottle, so it will keep you going for months and the formula whips away the dirt of the day in just a few minutes. It feels quite oily (duh) when it goes on, but after being rinsed away I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how soft your skin feels, without any hidden traces of greasiness. £25 200ml

Are you a fan of cleansing oils? Which ones are your favourites?

*PR samples 



Sleek Makeup 24k Gold collection review

Sleek’s new launches pretty much scream CHRISTMAS at me. The collection is aptly called 24K gold and makes the most of high shine, metallic finishes in a series of precious metal inspired shades.

Sleek 24k gold collection review
Sleek 24k gold collection i-lust eye palette
Sleek 24k gold collection highlighter palette
Sleek 24k gold collection highlighter palette swatches
They’ve taken a step away from their normal i-divine palettes with this range and created a slightly smaller, slimmer ‘Gold Standard’ i-lust palette which features six shades in a mix of cream and powder formulas. Each shade has been inspired by a famous fashion designer (say hello to Coco, Vera, Louis et al) and covers a complete spectrum of shades from a soft champagne right through to the most beautiful coppers and bronzes.

As always, I’ve been really impressed with the pigmentation of these shades – Sleek just seem to get it so right when it comes to eye shadows! The cream textured ones do crease a bit, so I’d recommend adding a primer under these to help even them out, but that does tend to happen with a lot of cream based formulas. Other than that, they all blend beautifully and last well over 8 hours before any fading starts to happen.

The Midas Touch highlight palette features one cream shade and three powders, all of which are surprisingly pigmented (use a very light hand here). This isn’t your ordinary set of highlighter shades – yes, you’ve got the champagne that seems to be universally flattering, but they’ve also added one which has a blue base and is something I’ve never seen before in a highlighter. On me, it looks a bit weird, however I reckon on darker skins it would look absolutely stunning. For the moment, I’ll be using this as an eye shadow instead and sticking with the safer shades in the palette, but I’d be interested to see this used on different skin tones.

Last up, there are three lip glosses to choose from – all are pretty sheer, but have a seriously high shine finish to them without being overly sticky. There are also little flecks of glitter/gold in them which adds a different dimension to them and at around £5 each, are incredibly affordable for the party season.

One thing I’d love Sleek to do a little more would be to experiment a little more with the outer packaging. It’d be great to see a break away from their matte black for seasonal collections like this and go to town on something more creative. That *tiny* moan aside, I think this is a fab collection and I’d highly recommend adding at least one of the palettes to your shopping basket asap.

The 24K Gold collection can be found on Sleek counters at Boots and Superdrug, plus online via their websites.

Do you like the look of the new products from Sleek?

*PR samples


Food: a Christmas hamper breakfast with Selfridges

Selfridges pastries and breakfast
Selfridges Christmas hamper
Selfridges Christmas hamper
Selfridges Christmas hamper panettoneKat from Tales of a Pale Face having breakfast at Selfridges
Selfridges Christmas hamper
Selfridges Christmas panettone
Selfridges Christmas breakfast with yoghurt and pastries
Selfridges Christmas hamper hatbox
If you're a regular reader, you've probably gathered by now that I really like food. And Christmas. And Selfridges. So when their team asked if I wanted to come along to for breakfast and take a peek at their hamper selection this year, you can imagine my response.

Christmas is all about the food (and family, mostly food) as far as I'm concerned and hampers can be beautiful gifts for any foodies you might have to buy for, or maybe even a family treat to crack out on Boxing day with a massive platter of cheese.

Selfridges food halls are pretty epic - I've spent many an hour in there lusting over cheese and 17 different types of chocolate, so their hamper range was always going to be pretty special.

After a delicious breakfast of pastries, fruit and mint tea, it was time to take a closer look at some of the hampers available this Christmas. Prices start at £45 for a gorgeous hat box packed full of mini treats and go all the way up to £2000 which contains pretty much every type of food and drink you could ever want. The Classic Christmas Hamper would make a lovely gift and features a bit of everything you need for Christmas day (wine, brandy butter, Christmas pudding etc) and at £100 is reasonably affordable for a bunch of seriously tasty treats. 

If you don't fancy one of the pre-chosen hampers, you can also visit one of the food concierge team in store and create your own bespoke hamper containing your choice of food and drink from their massive range. My top picks would have to involve their shortbread selection (OMG so good), some Christmas spiced tea and a sneaky bottle of Bathtub Gin from the wines and spirits hall. Would it be wrong to make one for yourself (asking for a friend, obviously... *ahem*)?

The full hamper range can be ordered via the Selfridges website and delivered at a date nearer the time, so you don't have to worry about it arriving too early and munching through the lot before we even hit December. Phew!

What are your favourite Christmas foods? Will you be treating yourself to a hamper this Christmas?


The Foundation Free Week Challenge

Our skin is the largest organ on our body and one that the beauty industry spends billions of pounds a year on marketing products that will help us achieve 'better-looking skin'. Foundation is one of the key products in many women's makeup bags and promises to help cover our imperfections, give skin a flawless finish and even out those areas we might not like.
Tales of a Pale Face wearing a lot of foundation
Wearing a whole lotta foundation here...
I've been wearing foundation daily for many years now and in that time I've started to wonder how it's affecting my skin. Before it became a must-have product for me, I'd happily prance around bare-faced, just relying on a bit of eye makeup and a touch of under-eye concealer on a daily basis. Looking back on old photos has reveal super clear, bright looking skin that quite honestly didn't need any foundation to make it look better and that holy grail is something I'd pay seriously good money to get again.

So I'm setting myself a challenge to go foundation free for one week and see if it makes a difference. I'll still be wearing eye makeup as I'm REALLY not ready to go completely makeup free (and I don't want to scare anyone), but I'll be staying away from all base products for a week. No doubt the initial days will be a bit weird, so I'm weaning myself off at the moment by using tinted moisturiser for a few days before the big challenge gets started, and then that will be it for a while. 

I'll report back on my experiment at the end of the week, but I'd love to see if any of you want to join me and see if going foundation-free for a week makes any positive/negative changes to your skin. 

How would you feel about binning your foundation for a week? 


Liz Earle QVC TSV 25th October

This Sunday not only sees the clocks going back (aka an extra hour in bed, woooooo) but there is also an EPIC Liz Earle TSV popping up on QVC. I know a lot of you are Liz Earle fans, so trust me when I say, you won’t want to miss this one.

Liz Earle QVC TSV October 2015
Inside this very special TSV offer, you’ll find seven products, six of which are full-sized and one which is a mini sample of their lovely new Botanical Essence No.20 fragrance.

If you’re a fan of the iconic Cleanse and Polish cleanser, you’ll be kept well-stocked for months as there’s a huge 200ml tube included, which comes packaged in a special edition Christmas tin. There’s also full-sizes of Instant Boost Skin Tonic, Eye Bright and Skin Repair Moisturiser, plus a huge 500ml bottle of Orange Flower Botanical Boy Wash and a matching 200ml body lotion. I’m rarely without a bottle of Skin Tonic as it leaves my skin feeling so refreshed (the spritz bottle is also amazing in the summer) and I’m totally loving the orange flower scent of the body wash and lotion.

Together these items normally retail for almost £120, but on 25th October, they’ll be on sale for the amazing price of £49.96. It’s an incredible saving and a great way to stock up on some favourites or perfect as a Christmas gift for a big Liz Earle fan.

I suspect these will sell out quickly, so do set your alarm clocks if you’re really keen to grab one. They go on sale at QVC on 25th October for one day only, while stocks last.

Will you be ordering one of these gift sets?

*PR sample



Current Lancome favourites and a fantastic gift with purchase

Lancôme are one of those brands that I suspect we’ve all tried at least one product from – whether it’s one of their huge range of mascaras or a skincare favourite. I’m a massive fan of the brand and seem to have at least one product from them constantly in rotation in my beauty regime. 

I wanted to let you know about a lovely gift with purchase offer they’re launching later this week, as well as highlight a few of my top product picks from their recent launches. So if you fancy grabbing one of these gorgeous GWPs but aren’t sure what to buy, then I’d highly recommend adding one of these to your basket! 
Lancome Debenhams gift with purchase October 2015
Lancome Debenhams gift with purchase October 2015
The Gift With Purchase
Lancôme are partnering with Debenhams to offer an eight piece gift with purchase, which is free when you purchase two Lancome products or one Clarisonic device. You’ll receive travel sizes of Advanced Genefique serum, eye liner, Hypnose mascara and a really pretty pink blusher, plus your choice of moisturiser and lip product. There’s also a full-sized blusher brush included, which is super soft and great for powder blushers. All of this gets packed up into a good-sized lip-print makeup bag. It’s running between the 22nd October and 15th November and would make a lovely Christmas gift for any Lancôme fan. 

My Three Top Product Picks 
There are so many great Lancôme products that it’s quite hard to pick only three, so I’ve chosen my favourites from their recent launches. 
Lancome Visionnaire Nuit review

Hypnose Volume a Porter Mascara* – you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘not another Hypnose mascara’ as there are already lots in the range, but I love the curved brush on this one as it makes it so easy to get to all your lashes, even the smallest ones at the inner corners of the eye. It’s perfect for layering up – I managed to get to about 4 coats before any clumps started happening. Although it’s not one for huuuuge lashes immediately, it allows you to apply one or two coats for a more subtle day time look, but to also layer it up for maximum volume at night. It also doesn’t flake or fade throughout the day, so a complete winner in my books. £22.50

Visionnaire Nuit Beauty Sleep Perfector* – I love a product that gets to work while I sleep, especially if it requires minimal effort on my part (yes, I’m lazy). Visionnaire Nuit is designed to help skin look rested and fresh, even if you’re not getting enough sleep. Inspired by the ‘sleeping pack’ trend in Korea, it refreshes, plumps up the skin and improves radiance, all in a lightweight, gel textured formula. The texture is a ‘gel in oil’ formula, which feels super lightweight on the skin but packs a serious punch in terms of hydration. Use a small amount to start with an add more if you need it. The first time I used it I got a bit over excited and slapped it on and looked a bit (ok, a lot) greasy afterwards, but used sparingly it actually works really well, even on oilier skins. And if you tend to get dehydrated over the winter, then this will be a great product to add to your routine. £60 

Advanced Genefique Yeux Light Pearl* – the skin around your eyes is thinner than pretty much any other place, so I’d always recommend using a specific product tailored to that area. This lightweight eye serum from Lancome is lightweight and hydrating and gets to work on fine lines, dark circles and puffiness. It has a slightly odd, ball-shaped applicator which gives your eye contour area a mini massage as you apply it. I like to use this under makeup in the mornings as the texture sinks in really quickly, but still leaves a good base for concealer to go over the top. £46

What are your favourite products from Lancome?

*PR samples 


Flamingo Candles Melt Crowd October Box

This month sees a special edition of the Flamingo Candles Melt Crowd box in support of The Pink Ribbon Foundation (a charity who specialise in supporting UK charities that help people affected by breast cancer).

Flamingo Candles Melt Crowd October box
As well as featuring a special edition Pink Ribbon Scent Melt, £2 from each box will be donated to the charity, at no extra cost to subscribers. You'll receive 7 other scent melts alongside the Pink Ribbon one and I think this is a lovely idea in support of a great charity.

The Pink Ribbon scent melt smells absolutely divine, with a mix of fruity cranberry, raspberry and strawberry notes. I shall be saving this one for a sunny winter day to try and fool myself it's still warm outside!

Other box highlights for me are the Pomegrante & White Fig melt and the Applecurrant Crumble melt, both of which are good enough to eat. Nutmeg and Ginger is a great one for Halloween or maybe even Christmas as it has a slightly spicy, warm scent to it and Bubblegum is super sweet without being too over powering.

The only one I wasn't keen on this month was the 'Thunderstorm' melt, as it was too strong for me. I tend to prefer floral or fruity scents and this one is definitely neither of those!

I love the variety you get with each of these boxes and although you might find one or two melts you're not keen on, it's a great way to get introduced to Flamingo Candles and their amazing variety of scents.

The Melt Crowd costs £10 per month and can be ordered directly via the Flamingo Candles website.

*PR sample


Personalised gifting with I Just Love It plus win £50 of gifts for yourself!

Christmas might be a couple of months away yet, but if the rest of the year is anything to go by, it will fly by in what feels like 2 minutes. Finding gifts for certain people can be a NIGHTMARE (I’m looking at you Dad), so I’ll be pulling together lots of gift guides over the coming weeks to help you with some inspiration.

A personalised gift is one thing that always really appeals to me – it’s so lovely to receive an item specially created for you. They do take a little bit more time to order (hence the early post), but the extra time and planning will be well worth it once you see the finished product.

Personalised pencils from ijustloveit.co.uk
Personalised wooden crate from ijustloveit.co.uk
I’ve teamed up with ijustloveit.co.uk who offer a huge variety of gift ideas (many of which can be personalised) to offer one reader £50 of credit to spend with them this Christmas. They have so many great gifts available – from pretty jewellery right through to retro jars of sweets. They kindly sent me a selection of gifts from the site to try out and I’ve been so impressed. The delivery was really quick considering they’re personalised items and the pieces themselves feel really good quality.

If you’ve got a stationery addict in your household, I reckon these pretty pencil sets might be the perfect solution, especially as you can virtually any message you like printed on them. I’m also loving the idea of these personalised beer gifts – it’s something a bit different from the normal ‘Dad’ present ideas, plus you can pop his name on it to make sure nobody else drinks them while he isn’t watching! My personalised wooden crate will be getting a lot of use - it's the perfect size for storing some favourite beauty products!

The website itself is really easy to use – they’ve sorted it out into gift ideas for her/him/kids etc, making it easy to find a selection of ideas for the different people you have to buy for. There’s even a section for personalised Christmas decorations and stockings, which would make a lovely early gift (or one to yourself!).

Win £50 to spend at ijustloveit.co.uk

To enter the competition all you have to do is complete your chosen entries via the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is UK only due to postage restrictions and will close at 11.59pm on 1st November 2015. The winner will be contacted shortly afterwards and have 30 days to claim their prize.

The LED wall lights are excluded as potential prize choices, however there are lots of other lovely gifts you can choose from! Your details will be passed to the ijustloveit.co.uk team who will arrange the ordering/processing of your chosen gifts.

Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway


Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Brush Gel review

Hands up who’s washed their makeup brushes this week? Ok, you get to feel smug. Brush washing is one of those things I hate (I have extra brushes so I can avoid it for longer) but it’s a necessary evil of wearing makeup. Clean brushes not only help your makeup go on a lot easier (and smoother) but they also have much less bacteria on them than dirty ones, often meaning less spots and blemishes. 

About half of my brushes come from high street favourite Real Techniques, so when I saw they were launching a brush deep cleanser, it seemed like the perfect pairing! The Deep Cleansing Brush Gel* has literally just launched and at £7.99 for a 150ml bottle, offers a budget-friendly way to give your brushes a deep clean. 

It’s really easy to use – simply wet your brush, pop a few drops of the brush cleanser into the palm of your hand and swirl the brush around in the cleanser until you get a soft lather. Rinse well and repeat if needed (you might need to do it twice for foundation brushes), until the water runs totally clear. Leave your brushes to lie flat on a towel to dry and you’re done! 

The Real Techniques brush cleanser has a very gentle scent, so isn’t overpowering and does a great job at lifting dirt out of brushes, without drying the bristles out. It seemed to get to work more quickly than other brush cleaners I’ve tried too, cutting down on how many times I needed to lather and rinse each brush. The bottle is also huge, so will last you FOREVER, even if you do have dozens to get through. 

I’ve only tested this on synthetic bristle brushes, so I can’t comment on how it might fare if you have natural fibre ones, but I suspect it should be fine. 

You can find it now in larger Boots stores and from Boots online (currently out of stock, but hopefully back soon!). 

What do you normally use to clean your makeup brushes? Will you be giving this new cleanser from Real Techniques a try? 

*PR sample



The autumn beauty essentials

Welcome to autumn. When the leaves are turning beautiful colours; crisp, sunny mornings are a treat and we can legitimately start thinking about Christmas without feeling guilty. It’s also  time for dry patches, dull-looking skin and general grumpiness at getting up in the dark every day to go to work. Lovely. I’ve pulled together a few of my autumn essentials to help survive the changes in weather and generally just stay fabulous whatever the season.
MOA Green Bath Potion* – MOA’s original green balm has been a cult favourite for years and their new Bath Potion is absolutely divine. I absolutely love the packaging and bottle design – it feels a little bit magical and mysterious to me (very potion-like!). The peppermint scent might be a bit of a Marmite one as it’s quite strong, but a few drops of this herbal blend will help invigorate, ease aching muscles and soften the skin. It’s also 100% natural, so a great one if you want to avoid any ‘nasties’ in your products. £27.50

Elemental Herbology Cell Food* – this stuff will literally be a life saver for anyone suffering with dull winter skin. It’s packed full of antioxidants, proteins and vitamins and a few drops a day (apply pre-moisturiser) will get your glow back in just a few weeks. £45

Deborah Lippmann She Wolf polish* – I love a good grey polish in autumn and She Wolf is definitely one that will see you all the way through the year. It’s part of the new collection from Deborah Lippmann and is a mid-toned grey with just a touch of beige to it that I think will be flattering to virtually every skin tone. The formula is great, it lasts well and the huge bottle size should keep you going for months! £16

Yes To Coconut Hydrating Balm* – cold weather means dry patches, so keep this tin of Hydrating Balm close at hand ready to apply at a moment’s notice. It’s super hydrating, without leaving a greasy residue, and the coconut scent means it smells so good you’ll want to eat it. Probably don’t though. £13.99

Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream* – this hand cream has become my absolute saviour, as it’s one of the few things that keeps that horrible dry, winter lizard skin at bay. I’m getting in early this year and slapping it on at regular intervals in the hope it might stop the inevitable dry bits! It’s packed full of shea butter, lanolin and kukui nut oil and a tiny bit will moisturise even the driest of hands. £14.50

Elizabeth Arden Smoky Plum lipstick* – if you’ve always liked the look of the berry lip trend but find it a bit too dark, then Smoky Plum is the perfect way to pop a toe in the water. It’s almost a mauve toned nude that’s incredibly easy to wear, and while it will add a lovely autumnal feel to your lips, it’s not as bright or as bold as the traditional berry shades. The formula is also creamy and kind to the lips, making it the perfect autumn lippie! £21

Malin + Goetz Peppermint body scrub* – this minty scrub is the perfect morning pick me up as it’s fresh scent is lovely an invigorating. It’s gentle on the skin, but still effective at sloughing away dead skin cells. Add it to your body care routine once or twice a week and follow up with the Yes To Coconut balm above. Yum. £24.50

What are your autumn essentials?

*PR samples


3rd blog birthday giveaway

This year has literally flown by, and I am slightly in shock that I’ve been writing this blog for almost 3 years to the day now! When I first started it, I had no idea what it would turn into and I definitely didn’t have any long term plans, so this feels like a big milestone to me.

I want to say thank you to all of you for popping over and reading my blog posts, without you lot, it really would just be one makeup addicted woman’s random musings, so thank you for all of your lovely comments and tweets over the past few years.

It wouldn’t be a birthday without a celebration, so while I will be having my own one with some cake and a large gin, I wanted to celebrate with you all with a giveaway.

3rd blog birthday prize
3rd blog birthday prize
Some very lovely brands have contributed prizes to this amazing bundle of goodies, so thank you very much to Flamingo Candles, Real Techniques, Elemis, Sweet EaseEco Tools and RapidBrow. There will also be a few surprises added to the winner’s prize package, which I really hope you will enjoy.

To enter, you simply need to complete your chosen entry methods via the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open internationally (will be tailored for international postage requirements if needed) and will close on Sunday 8th November at 11.59pm UK time.

Good luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


M&S beauty gift with purchase - in store only

Since M&S launched their beauty halls, they've gone from strength to strength, offering brands such as REN, Philip Kingsley and dozens more. At the moment, they have an amazing gift with purchase offer running and the best part is, you only have to spend £25 to qualify for it. Yup, you read that right, £25!

Marks and Spencer beauty gift with purchase October 2015
The gift itself is worth over £60 and features products from Eyelure, Diego Dalla Palma, Autograph, Stila, Lola, Pixi By Petra and Pur Minerals. I love the fact that all of the products are in easy to wear shades, so I reckon this is one gift that will appeal to pretty much everyone. As a bonus, it all comes packaged up in a lovely sized wash bag, which will be perfect for weekends away.

Unsurprisingly, this has been a super popular offer so has unfortunately sold out online, but you can still find it in stores until 27th October (or while stocks last).

If you're planning to stock up on a few essentials, or fancy giving your Christmas shopping an early start then make sure you grab one of these gifts at the same time. It'd make a nice gift on it's own (well, that's if you fancy sharing!).

*PR sample



Molton Brown Gingerlily bath and body range

Molton Brown were one of the first high end brands I ever bought and they’ve remained a constant feature in my bathroom ever since. The brand was originally created in London in 1973 and has a lovely way of making you feel like you’re getting that luxurious spa pamper at home.

Molton Brown Heavenly Gingerlily range review
My favourite fragrance from them tends to vary throughout the year with the seasons, but as autumn hits us, I’m fully loving the Gingerlily bath and body range*. Gingerlily is a gorgeously warm scent, mingling tropical flowers with exotic spices in a blend that makes you wish you were sat on a tropical island. Exactly what we need in England in winter, basically!

The body wash and body lotion make the perfect shower combo. You only need a small amount of the body wash per use, and the fragrance lingers lightly on the skin all day, especially if you use the matching body lotion afterwards.

Molton Brown have just added to many of their bath and body collections with their new Body Polishers. I’ve been giving the Heavenly Gingerlily one a try and have to say I absolutely love it. It uses Tahitian volcanic sand to give your skin a gentle scrub, plus tamanu nut oil to help hydrate it at the same time. I like to use mine once or twice a week and then follow up with the body lotion afterwards for an extra hydration boost (hello winter dry patches).

Although Molton Brown might be a premium brand, they come up with some amazing gift boxes and special offers over Christmas, so I’d definitely recommend grabbing one (or adding one to your Christmas list) over the next couple of months. If you fancy giving Gingerlily a try, then the Caressing Body Gift Set will be right up your street, as it contains all three products for £45, a saving of £8 on the individual purchase prices.

You can find Molton Brown in larger department stores such as John Lewis and House of Fraser as well as via their website.

Are you a fan of Molton Brown? Which is your favourite range?

*PR samples 



The pale skin foundation library

Finding good foundations for pale skin is quite frankly a minefield and recommendations for brands that make decent light shades is one of the questions I get asked the most. To help you make a decision on what the right brand/shade might be for you, I'm pulling together a foundation library with as many swatches as possible. 

You'll be able to find a variety of different priced foundations, as well as all sorts of formulas. I'll be adding to this post on an ongoing basis, so if there's a brand you think I need to feature or a shade that i've missed, please let me know and I'll do my best to include it. I've also added a mini write up of each one to give you an idea of shade range and formula, but if you'd like full reviews of any in particular, let me know and I will get to work! 

HD Brows Fluid Foundation R0001 Ivory - liquid formula, semi-matte finish, medium to full coverage, 9 shades in total.

Vichy Dermablend 05 Porcelain - liquid formula, slight yellow tone, full coverage (also great for covering blemishes/dark circles/redness etc), avoid if you have very dry skin as may go patchy, 6 shades in total. 

Urban Decay Naked Skin 0.5 - pink toned/Urban Decay Naked Skin 1.0 - v.slightly yellow toned - both have a liquid formula with a medium coverage. They look very natural once applied to the skin, not obviously like foundation. Works well for most skin types, oily skins will benefit from a bit of powder on top. 18 shades. 

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Finish Foundation - slight pink tones, liquid formula, medium to full coverage. Satin/matte finish, looks great in photos. Good for normal, oily or combination skins. 10 shades to choose from. 

Max Factor Skin Luminizer Light Ivory - liquid formula, neutral toned, medium coverage. Benefits from a touch of powder over the top to help set it. 6 shades in total. 

GOSH Foundation Drops 002 - v.liquid formula, needs shaking before use, slight yellow tone. Good for normal to dry skin as feels quite hydrating. 5 shades to choose from. 

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Foundation Porcelain - liquid formula, slight pink tones, impressively pale for the high street! Light-medium coverage, good for normal/combination/slightly dry skin, would avoid if very dry. 8 shades in the range. 

L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Matte 10 Porcelain - liquid formula, matte finish, with neutral undertones. Looks darker than the non-matte version in the same shade, Good for oilier skins. Medium coverage, avoid if you have very dry skin as can look patchy. 6 shades to choose from.

L'Oreal True Match Foundation N1 Ivory - liquid formula, slight pink undertones, very pale. Light to medium coverage, hydrating formula, good for normal to dry skins. 18 shades in total.

B.Radiant Illuminating Foundation in 010 Linen/020 Rose Ivory/030 Beige - liquid formula with a slight 'glowy' finish. works well for normal to dry skins. 010 Linen oxidized badly on me but has neutral undertones, 020 is pink toned and 030 more yellow. 5 shades in total. 

B.Even Oil Control Foundation in 010 Linen/030 Beige - liquid formula with a matte finish, aimed at oilier skins so avoid if dry. Again, some oxidisation on me - I would recommend a swatch in store if you can. Both shades I have are yellow based, but there are 8 in total.

Too Faced Born This Way Porcelain - liquid formula, medium to full coverage, satin finish. works best with normal skin, avoid if very dry or very oily. The lighter shades seem quite yellow toned. 12 shades to choose from. 

NARS Sheer Glow Light 1 Siberia - medium coverage, semi-matte finish (looks very natural on the skin). Very pale with yellow undertones. 20 shades to choose from.

NARS Sheer Glow Light 2 Mont Blanc - medium coverage, semi-matte finish (looks very natural on the skin). Very pale with pink undertones. My holy grail shade and formula. 20 shades to choose from.

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Light 1 Siberia - v.liquid formula, yellow toned, medium coverage. Works well on most skin types, oil-free, would need a touch of powder if combination/oily. 20 shades available. 

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD shade R210 - liquid formula, very natural on the skin, medium coverage but can be built up, great for all skin types (although prep v.dry skin with a hydrating primer). Fantastic for photos or film work (or weddings) as designed to work with HD technology. 18 shades to choose from.  

Liz Earle Signature Foundation 01 Porcelain - liquid formula, medium to full coverage, yellow undertones, quite dark for the lightest shade available. Good texture, sits well on combination to slightly dry skin. 3 shades. 

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint Bare 01 - v.liquid formula, light coverage, more like tinted moisturiser. Blends out well but benefits from a touch of powder to help it set. Yellow undertones. 3 shades available.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder 1 Fair - liquid formula, needs a good shake before dispensing to mix the foundation and serum. Neutral undertones, light to medium coverage. Works well for most skin types, 10 shades to choose from.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin 24HR Alabaster 01 - liquid formula, full coverage, with matte finish. Pink undertones, works well for oily skins, long-lasting. 10 shades. 

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Nude Alabaster - liquid formula, yellow undertones, medium to full coverage. Good for most skin types, 18 shades. 



Too Faced Love palette review

Just when I thought Too Faced couldn't top the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette, they've only gone and done it with the ridiculously pretty Love palette*.

The Love palette features fifteen eye shadows in three colour themes, which all work together perfectly. There's also a black eye liner pencil, which can be used to add a bit of drama to your eye makeup.

Too Faced Love palette review
Too Faced Love palette review
Too Faced Love palette review - palette close up
Too Faced Love palette review - palette swatches
While this might look like yet another brown/gold based palette at first glance, don't be fooled by it's initial appearance. The middle set of shadows have some beautiful lilac and muted purple shades and the emerald green (Darling) in the third mini palette looks stunning used as a pop of colour at the inner corners of the eye. There are one or two matte shadows in the palette, but most of these have a shimmer or glittery finish to them, so if you prefer mattes, then this palette probably won't be for you.

I've had a few Too Faced eye shadows that lacked a bit in pigmentation before, but I'm happy to say that every single one of these is not only packed full of pigment but is velvety soft and really ease to blend. Lasting power is also impressive as these little beauties made it through a 10 hour day with no creasing and minimal fading.

As black liners go, this one is super soft and applies easily across the lid without any dragging. It also smudges out nicely if you fancy going for a bit of a smokey eye.

I love the flexibility of this palette; there are so many different looks you could create! Too Faced have included three different 'get the look' cards to showcase their favourites, which are great if you're on the hunt for a bit of inspiration.

Whether you're a Too Faced newbie or a brand addict like me, I'd definitely recommend adding this palette to your collection. It's something a little different from the norm, but still one you'd definitely get lots of use out of.

The Love palette is on sale for £35 and can be found online from toofaced.com.

Do you like the look of the Love palette?

*PR sample



Food: Dirty Bones Kensington

Dirty Bones Kensington review - interior
Dirty Bones Kensington review interior sign
Dirty Bones Kensington review interior
Dirty Bones Kensington review Dirty Mac burger
Dirty Bones Kensington review Dirty Mac burger close up
Dirty Bones Kensington review Chicken and waffles
Dirty Bones Kensington review coffee and doughnuts
Tucked away in a basement in Kensington lies the home of southern inspired food heaven. Dirty Bones are a small (they have two locations) but perfectly formed set of restaurants that serve up meat to make your mouth drool alongside some American favourites with a twist. It's a carnivore's paradise, so I popped along with my meat loving pal Leanne to check out the delights of the menu.

There's a fantastic choice of burgers, hot dogs and my new favourite combination - fried chicken and waffles. We couldn't quite decide on one dish, so decide to share a couple as we were both drooling over the sound of the Mac Daddy burger and the Chicken/Waffle combo.

The Mac Daddy features a delicious combo of a generous beef patty, topped with slow cooked pulled beef and a generous spoonful of Mac and Cheese. Yup, you read that right; they put mac and cheese in your burger. And holy crap was it good. The pickles of the side help to cut through all that meat nicely and have just the right amount of tartness and crunch.

When it comes down to chicken and waffles, trust me when I say you need to try this. The waffles are crispy on the outside and lovely and soft in the middle and the fried chicken is probably the best I've tasted. We're far away from KFC now people. The shot of syrup on the side brings it all together nicely without being ridiculously sweet and I'm already planning to go back just to get a whole plate to myself. 

We decided to power on through and order dessert (go hard or go home as far as I'm concerned) and although we went in at lunchtime so they were offering their brunch menu, there were still several choices to go for.

I picked the coffee and doughnuts, which was some delicious coffee flavoured gelato with a hot, sugared doughnut on the side. Yum. Leanne decided to choose the Milk and Frosties option which turned out to be a large vanilla panna cotta, with a shot of raspberry sauce and a mini box of Frosties cereal on the side. It looked super cute and I'm reliably informed it was absolutely delicious.

Dirty Bones have just opened up their second branch in Kingly Court in Carnaby Street, so if you're headed into central London I'd highly recommend a visit, just for the chicken and waffles!

Have you tried Dirty Bones before?
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