31/03/2015

Blog inspiration - creating a mood board

Some days inspiration for new blog posts seems to be never ending - ideas flow and the copy virtually writes itself. Other days, it's not so much a glass half empty situation but a 'trying to find a drop left in the glass'. On days like that, I know it's time to pull out my pritt stick and scissors and start making a mood board.


Mood boards are great ways to get inspired, sometimes about things you didn't even know you liked! Essentially it's a bit collage of words and images you've liked the look of or that resonate at that moment, all stuck on a bit of card. Think of it like a real life Pinterest board but better.

I tend to gather up a stack of magazines and flick through them, cutting out any images, photos and phrases that speak to me at the time. It could be a pair of red lips or a beautiful stack of books - it changes each and every time I make one.

After a while, I grab all my clippings and stick them on my board, grouping them into themes as I go. It's then you can start to see the makings of ideas and how they might translate into blog posts.

I love the fact that these kinds of mood boards are tangible too - I love me a bit of Pinterest but there's something so nice about keeping a solid reminder and it's easy to pop on your desk if you want to come back to it later and use it again.

If you're not one for cutting and pasting, then a private Pinterest board can also work really well. This way you can gather up all your thoughts and ideas in one place, minus the need for craft materials. Be warned that it's easy to get distracted by images of beautiful cakes though!

Have you ever used mood boards for inspiration?
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Life: another year older

This weekend I celebrated turning another year older and while it wasn’t a major milestone birthday (that happened last year), for some reason 31 seemed a lot more scary than 30 did. Like you should have some sort of life plan by now. Which I don't.

Anyhow, after having a bit of a meltdown, I had a word with myself and decided that instead of panicking about what I thought I *should* be doing, instead I was going to spend this year focusing on the things I loved doing and that made me happy. I don’t feel that we should spend our lives doing what makes other people happy, or on those things we think we *ought* to do, because society seems to infer that at a certain age you should be doing them.

I don’t generally make new year’s resolutions as I know I’m rubbish at keeping them, so instead I’ve decided to set myself a few goals for the next twelve months, to keep me on track and to focus my mind on all the positives.

Say yes more often – as I’ve got older I’ve got a lot less adventurous and that’s something I want to reverse. I want to make the most of new opportunities that come up, even if they’re out of my usual comfort zone and instead focus on saying yes to more things.

Stop tracking the numbers – whether it’s my age or my weight, it’s easy to get obsessed over the movement of a number. Over the past couple of years I’ve put on weight and become increasingly unhappy about that, to the point where my moods are often based on which way the scales are swinging. Instead of getting hung up on the numbers, I want to focus on getting fit and making better food choices and shift my focus onto my overall health, rather than just to see if my backside is shrinking.

Learn to cook – the kitchen really isn’t my friend and while I can just about feed myself, I’d love to learn to cook more things and improve my skills in the kitchen. It would be great to whip up tasty meals without spending hours poring over a recipe book and panicking that it is going to come out wrong!

Save more – sometimes you just have to give in to the fact that you’re a grown up and be slightly more responsible. Although I’m not sure I can ever see myself buying a house and settling in one place forever, I want to at least know that might be an option one day. So I’m setting myself a savings goal each month to squirrel away for a possible deposit. Or holiday. Just not makeup!

Take a photography course – one of the things I’d love to develop more skill at is my photography. While I know I’ve improved a lot over the past few years, it’s turned from something I’ve been doing for necessity for the blog into a hobby that I really enjoy and something I’d like to do more of. I’m looking into short courses at the moment – if you know of any good ones, please let me know!

Have you set yourself any goals for the year?
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30/03/2015

This Works Energy Bank range

I’m the first one to admit that I’m really not a morning person. Getting up can often prove to be a bit of a struggle and as someone who doesn’t drink tea or coffee, finding something to help perk you up first thing is an ongoing struggle.

This Works’ new Energy Bank range* has proved to be an bit of a game changer for me. Designed to give you a boost of energy and to help stimulate your energy levels, it’s the perfect thing if you need a helping hand to get going in the mornings, or for those dreaded afternoon slumps when your first thought is to hit the chocolate.

This Works Energy Bank range

Energy Bank features six products for bath and body, all of which have been infused with a high level of essential oils that are aimed at targeted your energy levels. Rather than using a heavy citrus blend like a lot of ‘energising’ products do, This Works have focused on geranium, rosemary and ylang-ylang which all help to naturally increase your energy and vitality.

I’ve been using the shower gel from this range every morning for the past week and it’s definitely helped me to perk up more quickly than I normally would do. It’s also sulphate-free so is gentle to skin and is something I will definitely be repurchasing when my bottle runs out.

The stand out product of the range for me has to be the Energy Bank Breathe In rollerball which is a small vial of concentrated oils which can be rolled on to your pulse points any time you need an energy boost. Just a small amount applied to your wrists really does the trick – I’ve been using this during the afternoon when my energy levels start to flag. Normally I’d reach for some sort of sugary snack to give me a bit of a boost (oops), but taking a few minutes out to apply the oil and take a few deep breaths is giving me the same effect, without the need for anything artificial. £18

Other products in the range are a rich hand cream (I’m keeping mine in my handbag!), a non-scented tinted lip treatment, body oil and tinted Sun Flash Facial. Prices start at £15 for the tinted lip treatment and go up to £32 for the Body Makeover body oil.

I think Energy Bank is definitely a range many of us could use and will fall in love with. It launches into Space NK and other This Works stockists in early April. Get yourself down to your local store if you can and have a good sniff. I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

Do you like the sound of this new range from This Works?

*PR samples
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27/03/2015

Crownbrush new makeup launches

I've raved about Crownbrush's makeup brushes many times on this blog - they're great quality, super affordable and have pretty much every brush you can think of. So I was really excited to see that they've recently launched a whole new makeup collection which also focuses on affordability but that also packs in a massive range of shades and some really good formulas. 

Crownbrush new makeup swatches
L-R Chubby eye pencils, chubby lip pencils, lip/eye liners, sunkissed bronzer, 3 in 1 bronzer palette
My favourite product from the new ranges has to be the massive 3 in 1 Blush, Bronze, Illuminate. This palette packs in a pink-toned blusher, champagne  highlighter and a mid-toned bronzer, making it the perfect thing to pop in your makeup bag. The palette is surprisingly big - you can see a standard sized bronzer at the bottom left of this photo and this is almost double the size in comparison. Shade-wise this is probably best suited to light-medium skin tones as the bronzer will be a little too light to contour on darker skins but the highlighter and blusher are pretty universal shades. All three are really easy to customise the depth of pigment with - use a fluffy brush and a light hand and build up the colour as you go. £19.99

For those that prefer a more shimmery finish, then give the Sun Kissed Bronzer a try. Although Crownbrush refer to this as a bronzer, I think it's probably a bit light to use it as this for the majority of people, but it will give your skin a lovely radiant finish when used across the cheekbones. £6.99

There are two different types of pencils that Crownbrush have introduced - chubby eye/lip pencils and then the more traditional slim lip/eye liners. 

The Chubby Eye Pencils come in 13 shades and I was really impressed with the pigmentation of these. The crayon format makes them really easy to apply - give your lids a quick swipe, blend and you're ready to go. These benefit from a primer underneath them to help to keep them from creasing but they last well throughout the day and don't fade for hours. At £3.99 each, I think these are a bit of a bargain. 

I wasn't quite so keen on the Chubby Lip Pencils as these felt a little drying on my lips, but they did seem to last well and had some seriously good pigmentation. There are 10 shades to choose from, covering everything from an electric pink, through to your basic nude shades. Again, these are £3.99 each, so very well priced, but I would recommend sticking a bit of lip balm underneath before you apply. 

The slimmer pencils are best used as traditional lip and eye liners rather than all over colour, but they do work really well when used in conjunction with the Chubby Pencils as the shades match up quite nicely. Both the lip and eye liners give great pigmentation, although I did find the eye liners to be a little bit hard, so need a bit of encouragement to transfer over to the lids. £2.99 each. 

All in all I think there are some great products in the new range and at good value for money prices. You can find the full range of shades online from Crownbrush, along with all of their fantastic brushes.

Do you like the look of these new products from Crownbrush? 
 
*PR samples

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26/03/2015

Elizabeth Arden Sunkissed Pearls SS15 makeup review

While Elizabeth Arden might be best know for their iconic 8 Hour Cream range, take a bit of a detour this season and make sure you check out their SS15 makeup range. 

Sunkissed Pearls* is a capsule range that focuses on glowing radiance and pearl highlights, making it easy to achieve that 'glow' that we're always hunting for. 

Elizabeth Arden Sunkissed pearls ss15 makeup range
Elizabeth Arden Sunkissed pearls ss15 makeup range

I'm a complete sucker for a pretty looking product and the Sunkissed Pearls Bronzer and Highlighter definitely falls into that category. The embossed design divides up the three powder products - two shades of bronzer and a soft pink-toned highlighter - and almost makes it look too good to use. 

The highlighter gives just the right amount of radiance to skin without adding loads of glitter and I love the fact that the two different bronzers give you a range of looks without needing lots of different products. You could quite easily pop this little palette in your bag and you'd have everything you needed for contouring, highlighting and adding radiance. This comes in two different shades - Warm Pearl (pictured) for light to medium skin tones and Deep Pearl for medium to dark skins. £28

For lip gloss lovers, the Sunkissed Pearls Lip Gloss Trio (£28) add moisture to the lips while giving a sheer wash of colour and a high sheen finish. Inside the set are Pink Pearl, Coral Pearl and Berry Pearl which all look pretty bold in the tubes, but actually provide a lovely subtle colour to the lips. These can be used alone or added over a lipstick in a similar shade for a bolder look. I'm not a massive lip gloss user, but I was surprised at how nice the formula on these was. It's not overly sticky and the mango and shea butters in the formula helps hydrate your lips while you wear them.

Also in the range is a Sunkissed Pearls Gel Liner (£17) which for me is a slightly odd addition. This is a deep black shade and I think for a summer range something a little brighter would've been a better fit. That said, the formula is pretty good, although I'd recommend using a better brush than the one provided in the box as I don't think this does the product justice. 

There are also three lovely looking cream eye shadow crayons available, in champagne, bronze and teal tones. These are designed to offer a buildable colour and will work well used alone or all together. £19 each. 

The Sunkissed Pearls range is currently available on all Elizabeth Arden Counters and from Elizabeth Arden stockists online. 

What do you think of this new makeup range from Elizabeth Arden? 

*PR samples 

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25/03/2015

Introducing:My Showcase - the new way to shop for beauty

If you’re looking for a new way to shop for beauty, then listen up – you’re going to love My Showcase. The brainchild of Nancy Cruickshank (who founded Handbag.com), My Showcase mixes up the old school ‘party’ style sales format but brings with it over 30 amazing brands that are less easy to find on the high street. It’s kind of a mix between an Avon party and having Space NK visiting your living room or office.

Among the brands on offer from My Showcase are Aurelia Skincare, Face Stockholm, S5, Elizabeth's Daughter, Dr Lipp, Antonia Burrell  - the list could go on forever. Each brand has personally been picked by Telegraph Magazine Beauty Editor (and My Showcase co-founder) Kate Shapland for being something a little different to the norm.

my showcase beauty products
my showcase beauty book

As well as offering a ‘showcase’ (party) with one of their stylists (this is what they call the salespeople) you can also buy products directly via the website, so if you’re looking to just make a purchase then it’s really easy to do so. That said, I think the showcases are a great idea – it’s not often you get someone coming to you that can talk through so many brands and so many different products, rather than just trying to sell you everything from a single brand. A lot of these brands are often only available online, so it’s a nice way to get to try them out at home with a group of friends and a few glasses of wine.

My Showcase kindly sent me a few pieces from their brands and I have to say I’ve loved everything I’ve tried. If you’ve not come across Andrea Garland’s lip balms before then you definitely need to rectify this! These natural balms come presented in the cutest vintage style pillboxes with different illustrations on the front. They keep your lips hydrated and smooth as well as looking seriously pretty when you get it out of your handbag for a quick top up. At around £15 each, they make a lovely gift idea, or a nice pay day treat for yourself.

Face Stockholm is a brand that I’d seen in Fenwick on Bond Street before but had never really tried myself. They have such a massive range of makeup and nail polish and come in at mid-range prices. I have my eye on a few neon shades from the nail polish line – they’re some of the brightest ones I’ve seen in a long time!

I’m also loving the roll on perfume from Sage. It’s quite pricey (£30) but is a pure mix of perfume oils so the smallest amount leaves you with a beautiful subtle scent for hours on end. The fact that the packaging is seriously pretty is also an added bonus!

My Showcase are adding lots of new brands and products to their lineup for spring/summer including Jane Scrivner, Mio, Vita Liberata and much more. All in all, I’ve really enjoyed my experience with them and I’m looking into holding a showcase in my office one lunchtime as I know a lot of the people I work with would love the brands they look after!

You can find all the information on booking a showcase, the brands and make purchase via the My Showcase website.

Do you like the idea of My Showcase?

*PR samples
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24/03/2015

ecoTOOLS - Complexion Collection brushes review

ecoTOOLS are one of my favourite high street brush brands – not only are they great value for money, but they’re also eco-friendly and completely cruelty-free. For spring, ecoTOOLS are launching four brand new brushes to their range, which together make up the ‘complexion collection’.

The name is slightly misleading as these are all sold separately rather than as a set, but together they form a fantastic group of brushes that will see you through pretty much any kind of base makeup, whether it’s foundation, powder, concealer and even a bit of highlighting/contouring.

ecotools complexion collection makeup brushes
ecotools complexion collection makeup brushes

In the range are:

Correcting Concealer Brush – for liquid/powder concealers and a precise application
Eye Perfecting Brush – perfectly shaped to use around the eye area to cover dark circles
Skin Perfecting Brush – for liquid products such as bb/cc creams and foundations
Mattifying Finish Brush – loose powders, bronzers

My favourite out of the four has to be the Skin Perfecting Brush which is aimed at giving a flawless finish with bb/cc creams but I find it works just as well with a normal liquid foundation. The bristles in this brush are quite dense, making it easy to get the desired coverage using quite a small amount of product. Because of its size, it also fits nicely into the areas around your nose which I sometimes find a bit tricky with a regular shaped foundation brush and if you only pick one brush from the collection, this would be my top choice.

The Mattifying Finish Brush is lovely and soft and just the right size – not too big and not too small (someone tell Goldilocks I’m stealing her lines. Ahem.). It picks up a decent amount of product without overloading and will work well with most kinds of loose and pressed powders.

If you suffer from blemishes, then the Correcting Concealer Brush is definitely going to be your new brush BFF. This small brush might look unassuming, but it works amazingly well at covering spots and blemishes – just a small amount of product dabbed on with the brush will cover and conceal most things, and the dense nature of the bristles means you won’t need to use loads of product to achieve the desired affect.

While the Complexion Collection might feature the usual bamboo handles and good quality synthetic bristles, I love the new designs they’ve used on the brush ferules. It adds something a little different to a range which might look a *tiny* bit bland otherwise and for me it makes them look so much more appealing.

The Complexion Collection launches into Boots in April and will range in price from £4.99 to £7.99.

Do you like the look of these new brushes from ecoTOOLS?

*PR samples
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23/03/2015

Bourjois Magic Nail Care review

Bourjois' One Second nail polish remover pot has been a high street favourite for years. It's such an easy way to remove your polish without all the usual faff and this spring they're adding an exciting new addition to their nail care line up - the Magic Nail Care* pot.
 
Bourjois Magic Nail Care pot
 
Magic Nail Care is designed to help nourish your cuticles and nails, using a jojoba oil based formula. It uses a similar sponge style application method as the One Second Remover - you simply pop a finger into the hole in the sponge, give it a quick twist and then repeat.
 
It's a really quick and effective way of looking after your cuticles - I'm terrible at remembering to use cuticle oils and treatments so something this simple means there's no excuse not to. You can also use it on painted nails without any issues.
 
Magic Nail Care is currently exclusive to Beauty Mart but will be launching onto all Bourjois counters in April. It costs £5.99 and I definitely recommend picking one up (especially when there's a 3 for 2 offer on!).
 
Does this sound like something you'd introduce into your nail care routine?
 
*PR sample
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20/03/2015

Budget busting beauty dupes

As my spending ban progresses (not as well as it should be, I might add) I've been making it my mission to track down some budget-friendly dupes for some of my favourite high end products. It's amazing what the high street has to offer - there really are some amazing dupes out there! So many in fact, that I might have to do a second post on a few more to stop this one becoming an essay...


Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stains - dupe for Clinique Chubby Sticks
Stick style lip products are super easy to use and definitely a handbag hero. Revlon's version is very similar to the Clinique Chubby Stick although with slightly fewer shades to choose from. They're both hydrating and easy to wear plus can be customised in terms of pigmentation - they can be built up to a deeper shade by applying several layers.

The Body Shop Waterproof eye makeup remover - dupe for Lancome Bi Facil
The Body Shop's Chamomile waterproof eye makeup remover is pretty amazing. It will dissolve even the blackest of mascaras in seconds and won't leave a greasy residue behind after use. As much as I loved Lancôme's Bi Facil remover, there was no going back for me once I found The Body Shop alternative. The £13 price difference is also an extra incentive!  

Max Factor Creme Puff blusher - dupe for Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush
I know I keep harping on about these Max Factor blushers, but they really are fantastic. They give the same ethereal glow to your skin as Hourglass' cult Ambient Lighting Blush, with just the right hint of colour. The fact that you can buy three Max Factor blushers for the price of just one Hourglass one is also an added bonus!

I Heart Makeup Naked Chocolate palette - dupe for Too Faced's Chocolate Bar palette
Makeup Revolution/I Heart Makeup have quickly become the 'dupe queens' of the makeup world. You want a budget friendly dupe for something, they've probably got one. Their dupe for Too Faced's iconic Chocolate Bar palette might be lacking in the delicious cocoa smell, but the shadow selection is incredibly similar. The quality of many of the shadows seems pretty identical, although there are one or two where I think Too Faced still comes out on top. That said, at £7.99 this is a much more purse-friendly option!

Barry M Gelly nail polish - dupe for Nails Inc gel effect polishes
Both of these polishes give a high shine, plumped up effect designed to mimic gel nails but Barry M definitely wins for me on shade range and price. At just £3.99 each you could buy 4 of these for the price of one Nails Inc polish.  The Barry M ones also seem to chip less quickly than the more expensive version making it a bit of a no brainer.

Kiko Long Lasting Eye Shadow Sticks - dupe for By Terry Ombre Blackstar eye shadow sticks
Eye shadow sticks are the perfect solution for anyone who wants an easy life when it comes to their eye makeup. Give your lids a quick swipe with the stick, blend a little and you're good to go. Kiko's version doesn't have the fancy gold packaging that By Terry does, but the formula inside is just as good. Maybe slightly better if I'm being honest! There are 32 shades to choose from in the Kiko range, including a few matte options and at just £6.90 I'd highly recommend ordering yourself a few of these.

What are your favourite beauty dupes?
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19/03/2015

Beauty freebies: M&S beauty gift with purchase offers

I feel like it's gift with purchase season at the moment - there are so many great deals around! M&S beauty is one of my favourite places to shop for all things beauty - not only have they packed in several of their own ranges, but they're also home to brands such as Nuxe, Philip Kingsley, REN and many many more.

To celebrate spring, they've got some great free gift offers running at the moment, giving you the chance to get full-sized products or mini trial kits free of charge when you buy a product or two from certain ranges. The offers are all available in store and online, so if you're not near an M&S with a beauty hall, there's no reason to miss out.

I've listed all the gifts below and I think there are some amazing offers there. I might have to use this as a good excuse to stock up on some favourites from REN, Philip Kingsley and Leighton Denny. It almost seems rude not to!

The offers all run until 29th March, while stocks last.

Marks and Spencer logo
REN – Free Discovery Bag worth £34 when you buy 2 REN products. Includes: Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk, V-Cense Day Cream & Night Cream and a KYAB Beauty Shot

DR HAUSCHKA– Free Mini Kit worth £21 when you buy 2 Dr Hauschka products Includes a Cleansing Milk, Facial Toner, Revitalising Day Cream, Lip Care Stick and a Rose Day Cream Sachet

NUXE – Free Prodigious Pouch worth £50 when you buy 2 NUXE products Includes a Gentle Exfoliating Gel with Rose Petals, Hydrating Mask and a Nuxellence mini

SKYN ICELAND – Free Icelandic Relief Eye Pen worth £17.50 when you buy 1 Skyn Iceland product.

FILORGA – Free Time Filler Eyes worth £44 when you buy 1 Filorga product

RITUALS – Free Body Cream worth £17 when you buy 2 Rituals products

ROGER & GALLET – Free fragrance discovery kit worth £9.60 when you buy 1 Roger & Gallet product

BLISS – Free Triple Oxygen set worth £42 when you buy 2 Bliss products. Includes a Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Cleansing Foam, Instant Energizing Mask, Instant Energizing Eye Gel, Ex-glow-sion, +C Energizing Cream and a polka dot cosmetics bag

PHILIP KINGSLEY – Free Elasticizer kit worth £38 when you buy 2 Philip Kingsley products. Includes a limited edition elasticizer and a white towel

L’OCCITANE – Free Hand Cream set worth £15 when you buy 2 L’Occitane products. Includes a Shea Butter Hand Cream, Shea Butter Foot Cream, Roses et Reines Hand Cream, Verbena Hand Cream Gel and a Nail File

LEIGHTON DENNY – Free goodie bag worth £26 when you buy 2 Leighton Denny products. Includes a Miracle Mist, Essential Remover and Wrap It Up.

Will you be making the most of these gifts with purchase? 
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The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea bath and body range

We all know that green tea is meant to be really good for us, but if like me you're not really a fan of the taste, green tea inspired products might not really be top of your list of things to try. Oh how wrong was I!
 
The Body Shop's latest bath and body launch has to be my favourite for quite some time. Fuji Green Tea is the perfect scent for spring/summer - it's a super fresh, green tea infused scent that will not only invigorate you in the mornings but will also help you relax at the end of the day.
 
the body shop fuji green tea bath and body range
It's been inspired by the ancient Japanese ritual of the tea ceremony; traditionally a time to take a few moments to reflect and relax, detoxing both mind and body.
 
There are nine products in the range, including their cult body butters, body scrubs and body lotions, plus a few new items which I think you will love. The products themselves are all infused with green tea harvested from the Mount Fuji region of Japan, lending it's name to the new range.
 
For me, the standout piece from this collection has to be the Bath Tea*. Housed within a silver tea caddy, these bath salts combine the fresh scent of the Body Shop Fuji Green Tea fragrance with real pieces of green tea. You simply scatter a handful into a running bath, allow them to dissolve and then hop in and relax. In keeping with the tea theme, they've also created a Bath Infuser, which looks a lot like a loose tea leaf holder. This can also be used in conjunction with the Bath Tea - instead of putting the salts straight into your water, you can pop some into the Bath Infuser and dangle it under your tap as you fill the bath. I think this is a really fun idea and the Bath Tea and Infuser would make a lovely gift packaged up together, especially if you have a tea lover in your household!
 
The Eau de Cologne is a lovely scent for summer as it's light, fresh and has just the right amount of citrus notes to it. It mingles green tea, bergamot, lemon, mandarin, violet and camellia notes and is great if you like a fresh, slightly floral scent. As it's a cologne, it doesn't last that long on the skin, but you get a generous sized bottle for £16, so it's one you can keep topping up without worrying about spending too much money.
 
Fuji Green Tea is hitting the shelves later this month and ranges from £4 to £16.
 
What do you think of this new range from The Body Shop?
 
*PR samples
 

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18/03/2015

Glossybox March 2015 review

For the past few months I've felt a bit 'meh' about the contents of my Glossyboxes, so wasn't overly excited when the March one* arrived earlier this week. It turns out I was wrong to pre-judge, as I think this is one of the best boxes I've had in months!

Inside this month's box are four full-sized products, plus two decent travel sizes of shampoo and conditioner.

Glossybox UK contents March 2015
I've never heard of Naobay before, but apparently it's a Spanish eco-brand and I love the idea behind this Moisturizing Peeling milk. It's an exfoliating product that uses particles from the acai tree to help remove dull skin cells and brighten the complexion and I'm looking forward to giving this a try. It's a full-size product and is worth £13.71 for the 100ml tube.

Essence launched into the UK a little while ago and I've been impressed with their budget friendly makeup and nail polishes. I haven't yet tried the Lash Princess Volume Mascara that's inside my Glossybox, but anything that promises to give length and volume is a winner in my book. At £3.30 this is definitely a bargain mascara - I just hope it lives up to it's claims!

Every time I spot a nail polish in a beauty subscription box I get a bit over excited. This full-size ncLA polish is a super bright pastel orange shade that I will definitely get a lot of use out of during the summer; I really love these kinds of shades. ncLA is a premium nail polish brand and each bottle normally retails at £13.

Another great product in this month's box is a Sleek Pout Paint. These are fantastic dupes for OCC's cult Lip Tars and like the originals, Pout Paints can either be worn alone, or mixed together to create your own custom lip shade. You really only need a teeny amount of this to get a bold lip look, so believe me when I say start small and add more if you need to. These usually retail at £4.99 each. I have the shade Port (a deep berry) but I have a feeling there might be a couple of different colours floating around in the boxes this month.

Last up are the travel sizes of Dove's Youthful Vitality Shampoo and Conditioner, which are designed to help hydrate brittle or ageing hair. These are 50ml tubes so enough for a good few washes - I'll be saving mine up for a weekend trip away as they're the perfect size for my travel bag.

All in all I think this is a great box - I really like the mix of skincare, haircare, makeup and nail polish that they've packed in and I hope future boxes keep up the good work.

Glossybox costs £10 per month (plus postage) and can be ordered via the Glossybox website.

What do you think of this box? Are you pleased with the contents of yours this month?

*PR sample
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17/03/2015

Panasonic EW-DE92 compact toothbrush review

About 18 months ago I made the switch to using an electric toothbrush after realising that it was time to take better care of what's actually inside of my mouth rather than just what shade of lipstick sits on the outside.

I initially went with a pretty basic brush to start with, but a few months ago the lovely people at Panasonic offered me a chance to road test what is essentially the Rolls Royce of toothbrushes so in the interests of dental hygiene I decided to give it a whirl.

Panasonic EW-DE92 compact toothbrush
Panasonic EW-DE92 compact toothbrush
The EW-DE92 is an ionic powdered toothbrush, so instead of rotating like many traditional electric toothbrushes it cleans your teeth using gentle electric pulses (31,000 brush strokes per minute to be precise). This is a slightly odd sensation that takes a little while to get used to but after a week or so you'll forget what a rotating brush was like!

The brush comes with three different heads - a standard shape, a gum cleaner and a pointed brush. There are also four modes on the brush that cater for whitening, sensitivity, gentle brushing and an extra gum health setting.

I've used all of the settings over the past few months and can safely say they really do the trick. The whitening setting is the most powerful and is great at removing surface stains from your teeth, helping to restore them to a naturally whiter shade.

As my teeth can be quite sensitive I've used the brush mainly on the sensitive setting, which is nice and gentle, but after two minutes you still feel like you've had a really good clean.

The brush has a two minute timer built in which buzzes every 30 seconds to let you know it's time to move on to the next section of your mouth. This comes in really handy - I always knew 2 minutes was the optimum cleaning time but this way it ensures all areas of your mouth get an equal clean.

To use the brush you simply move it gently across your teeth - there's no need to scrub like you would do normally with a traditional brush and this does take a bit of getting used to. I found myself wanting to make more movements than I needed to but I think that's just out of habit.

This is a rechargeable brush and unlike others I've tried, it lasts for almost a month on a single charge. This is great if you're heading away on holiday as you won't need to pack the charger making it simple to slip in your suitcase. When the battery is running low, you get a warning light flash to indicate it's time to charge it up. A full charge takes hours, so I'd recommend putting it on overnight to avoid having to charge it up too often. 

The only thing missing from the brush that I'd have liked to have had was some sort of pressure gauge. My cheaper toothbrush flashes red when I was brushing too hard which was really helpful to see and at this sort of price I'd have liked something similar here. After all, brushing too hard can be bad for your gums and it seems a shame to undo all the good work you're doing with the brush.

The EW-DE92 brush retails at £199.99 so it's definitely an investment buy, but it's one I'd recommend. After all, we all spend a lot of money on makeup and skincare, so it makes sense to me to invest in the one set of teeth we get as an adult. That said, make sure you keep an eye on the Boots website (they have the exclusive on this brush) as they very often have half price deals and if you can get this for under £100 snap it up quickly!

Are you a fan of electric toothbrushes? Would you spend £200 on one?

*PR sample
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16/03/2015

Lancome gift with purchase at House of Fraser

I love a good gift with purchase - I think they're great ways to try new products from brands you might not have tried before, or bargain ways to get travel sizes of your favourites that are perfect for holidays.

Lancôme have currently got a fab gift with purchase at House of Fraser at the moment - simply purchase any two products and you get a pack of eight Lancôme favourites free.
Lancome gift with purcahse at House of Fraser March 2015
contents shown may differ from the current gift
Inside the gift you'll find:
Hypnose Mascara mini
Absolue BX Night Cream 
Advanced Genefique serum
Galateis Douceur 125ml 
Absolue BX Day Cream
La Vie Est Belle Eau De Parfum
Rouge in Love Lipstick mini
Le Crayon Khol 1.8g 

All of these add up to over £100 in value, so it's a great time to stock up on your Lancôme favourites! You'll also receive 500 Bonus House of Fraser Recognition points.

The gift with purchase is available between 11th March and 29th March both online and in store at House of Fraser. My top recommendations would have to be their Hypnose mascara range and the super effective Bi Facil eye makeup remover.

Will you be making the most of this gift with purchase from Lancôme? 

*PR sample
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15/03/2015

Sew Lomax custom makeup bags

I initially discovered Sew Lomax makeup bags about a year ago when their cute designs starred popping up in some of the weekly magazines. Their bags feature designs every beauty lover will adore - from lipstick prints, nail polish bottles and hair grips, in a wide range of colours.

Now they're taking it a step further and are offering a custom makeup bag design service. Via the website, you can create your dream bag, picking the shape, colour, design and even adding a message that will be sewn on.

Sew Lomax custom makeup bag
There are a ridiculous amount of combinations you could try - I sat down for hours in front of the screen playing around with different ideas and colour combinations. As well as the shape and colour of the bag itself, you can pick which designs you'd like sewn onto the bag, choose what thread colour you'd like each one to be and then place them in position exactly where you'd like them to appear on the finished product.

You can also choose a message or slogan that will be sewn into the bag if you like - great if you're ordering one as a gift for someone special or maybe just to let everyone know it's your makeup bag and to keep their hands off!

Once you've finalised your design and are happy with it, you purchase the bag and submit your design. A few weeks later the finished thing will drop through the letterbox. As it's a completely custom product this can take a little while, so do plan well in advance of you're planning to buy one as a gift.

At £30 each I think these are really good value. It might seem a bit pricey initially but the bags themselves are great quality plus you get the custom design so all in all its a price I'm more than happy to pay.

You can design your own bag via the Sew Lomax website. Do you like this idea? Is this something you'd like to do?

*PR sample
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14/03/2015

Giveaway: win a Lorac Pocket Pro palette

During my recent US beauty haul I had a serious spend up in the Lorac section of the Ulta website. One of the things I ordered was the super cute Pocket Pro palette as I thought this would make a lovely giveaway prize for one of you.

The Pocket Pro is a scaled down version of the full-sized Pro palette and features three nude shades in a handbag sized palette. I think it'll be one of those eye shadow palettes you always find yourself reaching for!

This giveaway is open internationally and runs until Sunday 5th April. To enter, simply complete your chosen entries via the Rafflecopter widget below - one winner will be picked at random and contacted after the giveaway closes.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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13/03/2015

Beauty routines on public transport – where do you draw the line?

We all been there. Those mornings when you’re running late/have a hangover/need ten more minutes in bed and have to do an emergency makeup session on the bus/tube/train. Or a quick touch up on the way home before an evening out. I don’t think anyone begrudges a bit of makeup application on public transport so long as you’re not flicking your powder onto the person sitting next to you, but where should we be drawing the line?

I commute to work every day via public transport and on my trains recently I’ve been seeing things I really wish I could block out of my mind. There’s been the woman who has spent the entire 40 minute train journey meticulously filing every single one of her nails, another who did a full-on eye brow pluck and possibly worst of all, the spot squeezer. Vom.

Commuting isn’t exactly what you’d call a fun process, but it only gets worse when you’re stuck in a train carriage breathing in other people’s nail dust (which let’s face it, is actually a part of their body that we’re all having to inhale) or watching them flick their unwanted brow hairs onto the floor after they pluck them out.

For me, there are some clear lines that really don’t need crossing – yes, pop a bit of slap on if you have to, but filing, plucking, and the rest should be kept to your bathroom. Not on a packed train with hundreds of other people who are sat there giving you evils. Surely it’s a slippery slope to be on – one day you’re filing down your nails and before you know it, you’re sat there with a face mask on in your pyjamas.

In these situations I’m never quite sure what to do – do you ask that person to stop? Give them some serious evil eye from across the aisle? I’m sure they must be able to sense people glaring at them but just choose to ignore it. I was recently sat next to someone who got out nail polish and started painting their nails – I’m all for beautification, but the smell of nail polish in an enclosed space is suffocating. I had to move carriages because I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Public transport is just that – public. And as such, I feel like we need to be a bit more considerate of the other people in the train. You’re not at home, or in a toilet somewhere. Chances are, if you spray half a can of dry shampoo in your hair (I have also seen this), other people are going to be stuck inhaling it. So maybe keep that kind of stuff for when you’re alone. Or at least in a situation where it’s not affecting other people.

What do you think? Is there a line you wouldn’t cross when it comes to doing your beauty treatments in public? What’s the worst thing you’ve seen people doing on public transport?

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12/03/2015

His and Hers - Hugo Boss Fragrance

I love it when you stumble across a new perfume that immediately says to you ‘this one’s for me’ and that’s exactly what happened when I tested out the new Hugo Boss Woman perfume a few weeks ago.

Hugo Boss Woman and Hugo Boss Man fragrances

Hugo Boss Woman* is the latest in their impressive lineup of fragrances and sits nicely alongside the men’s version – Hugo Boss Man. The ladies scent is floral and fruity, but with a few more unusual notes added in. They’ve actually included Indian black tea, cedar and sandalwood – things that are more often found in men’s fragrances - which while aren't overpowering, they stop it from becoming overly sweet and give it a nice edge.

I love a fresh, fruity fragrance, especially for spring and this is the perfect solution. It feels like more of a day time scent to me, as it’s light and summery and will definitely be getting a lot of use from me over the next few months.

If you like the idea of wearing a similar fragrance to your boyfriend/husband/man friend, but with a feminine twist, then this is definitely the one to go for. Hugo Boss Man has been around for years so it’s nice to see a ladies fragrance to compliment it.

Hugo Boss Man has been hovering around my bathroom for years (not the same bottle may I add) as it’s my boyfriend’s favourite scent and now I’m quite pleased to have my own version to sit alongside it. I kind of wish they’d used the same bottle design though – it’s be nice to see them sat snugly together.

Hugo Boss Woman costs £35 for 30ml and can be found at The Fragrance Shop.

Are you a fan of Hugo Boss scents?

*PR samples
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11/03/2015

Models Own Icing Collection Review

Spring is all about pastel nails for me – as soon as the sun starts popping out, I put away my dark shades and start slapping on the pastels like they’re going out of fashion. Models Own’s latest launch – the ‘Icing’ collection* - is a must-have if you like a pastel nail. 

The range is made up of five pastel shades, covering everything from a sugary pink to a colour-popping mint. Now, you’re probably thinking ‘but I already have loads of pastels, do I need any more?’. And the answer would be yes. Yes you do. These really are that good.

Models Own Icing nail polish collection
Models Own Icing nail polish collection swatches

The line up shade-wise left to right is: Lilac Icing, Peach Icing, Nude Icing, Mint Icing and Pink Icing.

My favourites by a mile have to be Lilac Icing and Mint Icing. These somehow seem to be both pastel shades and yet bright at the same time, a little reminiscent of my favourite ‘pastel neon’ shades from US brand Color Club (which makes me really happy, as those are a nightmare to track down in the UK). The other three shades are more typical of your pastel line up, and all five work well worn alone or together - pastel nail rainbow anyone? 

The formula with these looks a little streaky with the first coat, so two coats is definitely a must. They dry pretty quickly and have a lovely high-shine finish to them, so you could get away without a top coat if you were pushed for time. The lasting power is about average – I chip polish quite easily but these lasted around three days before my first chips appeared.

You can find the Icing collection online from Models Own, in their bottle shops and from Superdrug now, priced £4.99 each.

What do you think of these new pastel shades from Models Own? 

*PR samples



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10/03/2015

Currently loving: high street favourites

As I’m meant to be on a spending ban, I’ve been trying to make the effort to discover more beauty gems from the high street. There are hundreds to choose from, but these are a few current favourites of mine, with most of them costing less than £10 each.

high street beauty favourites

Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Bronze palette* - 6 neutral eye shadows for under £4 (on offer for £2.99 at Boots at the moment!). Good pigmentation, easy to blend and currently my daily eye shadow staple. Throw out the sponge applicator and use a decent brush and you’ve got yourself a seriously good palette.

2true Pro Bright Touch Concealer* - this liquid concealer is perfect for covering up dark under eye circles. It has surprisingly good coverage for a liquid product but still manages to illuminate the area at the same time. Brush a little on, blend with a finger and you're good to go. It also comes in two different shades (I use the light one). £5

Vichy Waterproof eye makeup remover* – a bi-phase formula, you’ll need to give this a good shake to mix the two liquids in order to get the best results. Use a small amount on a cotton pad and hold it against your eye makeup to dissolve it in minutes. It won’t leave your eye area feeling greasy after use and is suitable for sensitive eyes. £11

Max Factor Creme Puff blusher* – looking for a dupe of Hourglass’ famed Ambient Light Blushers? Well you need these Max Factor blushers in your life. I’ve got a full review over here, but be rest assured they give the perfect glow and just the right amount of colour. £8.99

Barry M Contour palette* – there have been a lot of contour palettes cropping up over the past few month but most are pretty pricey. For a budget alternative, Barry M is a great place to start. There are two powder contour shades (one slightly darker than the other) plus a highlighter included and at just £6.49 it’s a great budget buy.

L'Oreal Blake's Red lipstick* – finding the perfect red lipstick seemed like an impossible dream until I tried this one from L’Oreal. The formula is rich and creamy, with a semi-matte finish, making it easy to wear all day. There are four different shades in this range with each targeted at a different skin tone (see this post for a full review), so you might find your perfect red too. £6.99

Barry M Jelly polish Sky Blue shade* – now that spring is finally here, I can finally get my pastel nail polish shades out with no second thoughts. Sky Blue is a new shade for 2015 from Barry M in their Jelly formula, so it’s high shine and gel-like in appearance with the usual great formula.

What are your current high street favourites?

*PR samples

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09/03/2015

Illamasqua To Be Alive collection review

Illamasqua has always been a brand known for their bold looks and wide colour palette, but after a few seasons of more natural-toned products, we were all beginning to wonder if maybe they were changing their ways. But not any more. The new collection ‘To Be Alive’ is exciting. It’s bold. And oh my god, it’s blue.

To Be Alive is inspired by the spirit of colour and a raw state of movement, feeling, spirit and emotion. Creative director Alex Box says of the collection: 'Blue is the colour of pure mind, healing clarity and stillness that gives way to movement and spirit, the authentic self and true gesture.'

Illamasqua to be alive collection
Illamasqua to be alive collection wearing vendetta blue lipstick
Illamasqua to be alive collection eye shadow palette
Blue lipstick is something I have to admit, I never thought I’d try, but I’ve been surprised at how wearable Vendetta is. It comes in the Glamore formula, so is semi-matte but very creamy and is easy to wear all day without getting dry lips. The colour seems to look slightly different on everyone, but suits most skin tones. You’ve just got to be bold enough to try it. Once applied, it’s initially a bit of a shock, but after a few minutes it becomes a bold statement and one that I’d happily wear. The blue tones are also quite cool, meaning you end up with whiter looking teeth, which is an added bonus. The only small downside to Vendatta is that you do need to re-apply regularly to keep the colour looking fresh and bold. If you let it fade slightly it becomes more washed out and a lot less flattering, so keep it with you for touch ups throughout the day. £18.50

Iridesce is a great introduction to the range if you’re a bit scared to go full-on blue. This clear lip gloss has multi-tonal pigments inside, with subtle blue tones. It can be worn alone or over any colour lipstick – I’d recommend it over a blue-toned fuchsia pink as it really helps to make the colour pop. The gloss itself isn’t too sticky and the brush applicator makes it easy to apply on the run. £18

Also in the collection is a stunning eye shadow palette that feature four blue-toned powder shadows that can be worn together for a deep azure eye or used singly for a wash of colour. The palette feature a beautiful iridescent white shade called 'Cascade' which I am seriously lusting over, plus three different tones of blue. Blue eye shadow always used to make me think of the 80s (and not in a good way), but I think these present a really modern way to wear a shade that is often perceived as being very retro. £34

Last but not least is Prismatic - a two-tone nail polish that shifts colour in the light. This is an aqua shade that is perfect for spring and although I find Illamasqua polishes to be a bit pricey at £14.50, it might have to be a little pay day splurge!

To Be Alive launches in May, so it's a little while off, but I definitely recommend picking up at least one item from this collection.

What do you think of To Be Alive? Will you be wearing blue lipstick come May?

*PR samples


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Tales From The Earth Silver Life necklace - Mother's Day gift idea

If you're on the hunt for pretty silver jewellery, you really can't go wrong with Tales From The Earth. I've previously shown off one of their gorgeous bracelets, but if you're on the hunt for something a little different, then I think you will love their Silver Life necklace.

Tales From The Earth Silver Life necklace

The Silver Life necklace* features a smooth silver chain, with three small silver rings on. Each ring has been inscribed with a different word - love, laughter, adventure and together they make up a great inspirational motto.

I've loved wearing mine over the past few weeks - I have a habit of fiddling with my jewellery all the time, and every time I've done it with this piece I've been reminded of the words within the circles and it's prompted me to take a positive outlook on things.

The smooth chain is also a major plus point for me with this piece. I know that might sound a bit odd, but I've lost count of the amount of times my hair gets snagged in link-style chains, so having a completely smooth one is a bit of a revelation!

If you're on the hunt for a gift for Mother's Day (15th March), then I think Tales From The Earth would be a great place to look. They have a massive range of beautiful silver jewellery to choose from in lots of different styles.

They've also kindly given me a discount code for 25% off all purchases, simply input the code: MUMBLOG at the checkout. It's valid until 15th March, so there's time to sneak in a gift for your mum (or yourself!).

What do you think of this necklace from Tales From The Earth?

*PR sample
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08/03/2015

Max Factor Creme Puff Blusher Review - aka the £9 Hourglass dupe

Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Blushers were one of the most coveted products of 2014, with beauty addicts everywhere virtually salivating over their launch (me included). But now there’s a high street dupe which has taken pride of place in my makeup bag, relegating Hourglass to second place. And it’s all down to Max Factor. 

Max Factor Creme Puff blusher in Lovely Pink
Max Factor Creme Puff blusher in Lovely Pink
Max Factor Creme Puff blusher swatch in Lovely Pink

The new Creme Puff Blushers* from Max Factor are what I’d call highlighter blushers – they have a light amount of pigment that you’d expect from a blusher but they’re interwoven with highlighting powder to give your skin the most beautiful radiant glow when you wear them.

The name is slighlty misleading, as these are a baked, powder formula and I find they work best when applied with a large fluffy brush, focusing mainly on the apples on my cheeks. I do add a little bit of extra highlighter (Clinique Chubby Highlight) on top of my cheekbones as I’m greedy, but you really don’t need it day to day.  

They might not looks quite as exciting in the pan as the Hourglass version, but don’t let that fool you. I’ve become slightly obsessed with mine over the past couple of weeks – I think I might have to buy a backup in case I actually hit pan on it. Which quite frankly is unheard of for me. 

There are six shades in the range to choose from, each of which has been targeted at slightly different skin tones. I really like this idea as it makes it nice and simple to see which one might be the best fit for your natural colouring, although of course there’s no reason you can try them all and see which one you prefer. 

Choose from:

Lovely Pink (shown above) – fair skin
Nude Mauve - fair to medium skin
Seductive Pink - fair to medium skin
Lavish Mauve - fair to medium skin
Alluring Rose - medium to dark skin
Gorgeous Berries - dark skin

Max Factor Creme Puff Blushers are on counters now and retail at £8.99 each. Go grab one before I buy them all!

What do you think of this blusher dupe from Max Factor?

*PR sample 
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06/03/2015

Debate: so what REALLY makes a good beauty box?

Over the past few years, beauty subscription boxes have become a massive market. Getting a box of treats through the post every month might sound like a great idea, but is it one that translates in real life? Some beauty boxes seem to be flavour of the month, whereas others fall in and out of favour. And it got me thinking: so what REALLY makes a good beauty box?


The whole principle of them for me is about discovering things that you might not do normally. Whether it's a trial size of a new mascara, or a wonder product from Korea, the excitement of finding something you’re previously not tested is always exciting.

Good value for money is also important - most of the boxes available at the moment retail around the £10 (plus postage) mark. Is a collection of unknown products worth the investment? £10 might not seem like a huge amount, but it can easily add up if you receive a box or two that you don't like the contents of. Would it be better to save your money instead and use that money to buy a single item of slightly higher value that you know you really want? There have been too many boxes I’ve received that have had very small samples of things (including perfume vials you can get for free) which is a massive disappointment.

Another thing that often crops up near the top of the ‘irritation list’ is the repetition of brands and products. I’ve lost count of the number of Jelly Pong Pong/So Susan products and Benefit Porefessional samples I’ve seen over the years, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. For me, the variety of content is what makes these things interesting and when beauty box companies seem to have a set rosta of brands they work with, things get very dull, very quickly.

There are several boxes on the scene that now allow you to choose items from a set list of products, which I think is a great idea. This way you get to try things you're most interested in, rather than receiving a random assortment. Yes, it might take away the surprise element, but at least you’ll have a higher chance of enjoying what’s inside your box.

My Little Box is also an interesting one - it's been around on the French market for a long time but recently hit the UK and the mix of lifestyle items and beauty products seems to be drawing people in and justifying its slightly higher price tag. Yes, they might put own brand items in each box, but I’ve also seen the likes of By Terry, Nails Inc and Cowshed popping up in just the few months they’ve been available in the UK.

For me, I think this is the year when beauty box brands either need to up their game or get out of the kitchen. People are no longer happy to receive average boxes; we expect so much more. Perhaps it's time to think about quality of box rather than quantity. Would a better box less often be more attractive? Or a slightly higher price to guarantee full size products or more expensive brands?

What are your thoughts?
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05/03/2015

Illamasqua Brow course with Three Mobile

Brows. They're definitely having their moment but have long been one of the areas of makeup I feel less confident about.  So a few weeks ago I headed down to the Illamasqua school of makeup in London for a brow masterclass, designed to ensure I never had bad brows again. 

The lovely people at Three had organised a private brow masterclass for us with the Illamasqua training team, looking at everything from picking the right brow colour right through to an out-there coloured brow look. We also got to try out the new Samsung Galaxy Alpha for the evening to take our photos on, which I think turned out pretty well!

Illamasqua brow course
Illamasqua brow course
Illamasqua brow course
Illamasqua brow course coloured brows
Illamasqua brow course coloured brows

We started off with the basics - getting your brow shape right. It's easy to end up with wonky looking brows when you fill them in, but by following the lines of your brow you can achieve an even look. To map out the three key points of your brow, grab a makeup brush and using the handle end:

- follow the line from the inner corner of your eye upwards. This is where the brow should start. 
- tilt the handle about 45 degrees out from the inner corner of your eye and follow it upwards to see where the high point of the brow is. 
- move the handle to the outer corner of you eye and follow the line upwards - this is where the brow should end

Once we'd got an idea of our individual brow shapes, we moved on to the defining stage. Initially we tried a very soft look that just added a little colour to our natural brow. We used Illamasqua's brow cakes and a brush for this, but used a very light touch to make sure there were no scouse brows in the room! 

Next up was a ombre style look, which is more defined, but still natural-looking. It involves making the outer two-thirds of your brow a little darker, but leaving the inner third slightly lighter. Apparently this is a good one if you like extra definition but don't want to look completely made over. 

The third look was a heavily defined brow, created using a lot more product, and with a thicker shape added to it. I have to admit, at this point I felt a bit brow heavy - my natural brows are almost invisible, so anything other than the lightest touch of colour always feels a bit weird for me, but the rest of the girls looked fab! 

Last but not least were coloured brows, something which I've seen a lot on the lovely Laura Lou but a thing I've never been brave enough to try. Until now! I went for green brows, which I created using Illamasqua powder eye shadows, and although it's not something I'd wear on a regular basis, I would definitely try different colours for fancy dress evenings and feel more confident doing it. 

2 hours completely whizzed by and while I might have removed my green brows before heading off to catch my train home, I really enjoyed the course and over the past few weeks have been practising my brows at home. 

If you like the sound of this course, Illamasqua run 2 hour workshops throughout the year on all kinds of makeup tips and tricks and I'd highly recommend booking in for one. You can find full details on the Illamasqua short courses over on their website and more information on the Samsung Galaxy Alpha here

*PR sample
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04/03/2015

Introducing: Lottie London

It’s not often completely new beauty brands pop onto the scene, and when they’re as pretty as Lottie London, it’s time to get excited.

Lottie London are the new kids on the block and have created a key range of beauty tools (think brushes, tweezers, mirrors, nail files etc.) plus a massive range of more than 60 nail polishes in pretty much every colour you could think of.

Lottie London beauty tools
Lottie London beauty tools
Lottie London makeup brushes

The brand is *technically* aimed at a slightly younger audience than me (16-24 year olds) but I don’t care; us 30-somethings are allowed to like pretty pastels and cute slogans too.

I’ve been testing out a few products from the range and I’ve definitely liked what I’ve seen. The makeup brushes are incredibly soft to the touch and seem to be decent quality, despite the lower price scale. There was a tiny bit of shedding during washing, but at around £5 each or £20 for a set, I think these are really good value. The pastel coloured handles are also super pretty – I don’t have anything similar in my collection and LOVE it. They’re also vegan, so perfect for anyone who likes to avoid natural hair brushes.

The nail polishes are also around the £5 mark and while I don’t have any to show you at the moment, the range of shades at the press launch was pretty impressive. They’ve got everything from nudes right through to full on glitter explosions and are at a price a lot of people won’t mind paying to trial a new brand. To take all that nail polish off, there's a sponge pot polish remover which works nicely, although I'd recommend only using it for non-glitter polishes to avoid immediate sponge destruction.

There are some rather cute handbag mirrors and nail files that also for part of the range - these give a nice pop of colour and a fun slogan to look at and I think they’ve definitely hit their target market with the ones they’ve picked.

All in all I think it’s a lovely range and one that will definitely appeal to a wide market. You’ll be able to find Lottie London online at Superdrug from 11th March and at ASOS from April.

What do you think of this new brand?

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03/03/2015

Versace Eros Pour Femme fragrance review and giveaway

Whenever I think of Versace, I always think of bold colours and distinctive styles. For me, it’s a luxury brand that always stands out from the rest. Their latest fragrance offering for women, Eros Pour Femme, definitely fits into the theme of the brand – it’s bold, distinctive and powerful, yet with a seriously wearable edge. 



Eros Pour Femme* is the follow up to their successful Eros fragrance for men and I think that it will appeal to a wide audience. The scent itself has a lovely mix of citrus top notes, jasmine and peony heart notes and sandalwood and musk base notes, which might not sound like they should all work together, but somehow they just do. To me this definitely feels like more of an evening fragrance – it’s quite complex and a bit of a statement, but I’ve honestly been surprised at how much I love it. 

The bottle is a real stand out from the others in my perfume collection. It features a mixture of glass and polished metal, with a Greek inspired design on the front, as well as the head of Eros, who is traditionally the god of love in Greek mythology. 

Eros Pour Femme costs £50 for a 30ml bottle of EDP and can be found online and in store at House of Fraser now.

Win a bottle of Eros Pour Femme! 

The lovely people at House of Fraser have also given me a bottle to giveaway to one reader – simply complete your chosen entries via the Rafflecopter widget below. 

Due to Royal Mail restrictions, this will be a UK only giveaway and one reader will be picked at random after the competition closes on Sunday 22nd March. 

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*PR sample
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