Bank holiday blog sale

I've been attempting to cull some of my ever growing makeup collection over the past few weeks, so have put together a quick blog sale for some high end items that need loving new homes. Photos and descriptions are all below, but please google for swatches to see the exact colours and shades if unsure.
  • Leave a comment with which items you'd like, items will be sold on a first come, first served basis.
  • I will email you a total cost including postage, along with Paypal details. Please pay within 24 hours to secure your items. If payment isn't received within 24 hours, the items may be released to the next interested person.
  • Postage will cost £2.80 for second class UK delivery for as many items as you like. If you'd prefer a recorded delivery instead, this will be an extra £1, and please let me know in the comments.
  • I am happy to ship overseas, please contact me for details on postage costs. These will be considerably higher than UK costs, so please bear this in mind when ordering.
  • I am not responsible for any lost parcels, however I will do my utmost to ensure everything is received promptly (it will also be bubble wrapped within an inch of it's life!)
Laura Mercier Artist's Palette (animal print cover) - swatched - £25 - sold
Bobbi Brown Ultra Nudes palette - used 2-3 times - £20 - pending

MAC Wash and Dry Highlighter - v.lightly swatched - £25
NARS Dual Intensity Blusher in Craving - used x2 - £18
Ben Nye Powder - used x2 - £4 - sold
Illamasqua Peaked Velvet Blusher - used x2 (small dent in product from a fingernail fail) - £8

NARS travel sized Satin lip pencil in Descanso - swatched - £6
NARS travel sized Satin lip pencil in Torres Del Paine - swatched - £6
Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Bright Raspberry - used x3 - £10
NARS Christopher Kane Violet Atom Illuminating Multiple - used x2 - £15 - sold
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight Champagne Gold - swatched - £6

Urban Decay Naked on the Run set - mascara brand new, shadows used 5-6 times, lipstick/eye liner/blusher swatched - £20 - sold

Urban Decay Vice 2 - some shadows swatched, others used 4-5 times - £25



7 ways to de-stress in 10 mins or less

Feeling stressed can be a nasty thing and something that can spring up at anytime, virtually anywhere. I've put together a few of my most effective ways to try and de-stress quickly - whether your having a bad day at the office, stuck on sweaty public transport, or just need to take a few minutes away from everyone else at home.

Try a deep breathing technique – for those days at work where you want to kill someone, head off to the toilets and practice this breathing technique: breathe in slowly for four seconds and then out slowly for four. Repeat for a few minutes and you’ll feel a little calmer and less likely to call your boss a massive d*ck in the middle of the office.

Yoga salute to the sun – the salute to the sun is a great yoga sequence if you’re limited on time, but just need to take a few moments to centre yourself and mentally chill out. It’s also easy to follow, even for yoga beginners (and you don't need to be bendy to do it!). This tutorial is a great one to follow.

Face mask pamper – sometimes taking a few minutes for yourself is all that you really need and a face mask is a great way to set aside a little time for yourself. If you’ve got longer than ten minutes, you could even try a mini facial at home – exfoliate, mask, moisturise and massage and I bet after a little of that, you’ll feel much less stressed!

Make a mug cake – sugar isn’t always the answer to a stressful moment, but there are times when all you really want is something delicious and comforting without the long hassle of baking. Mug cakes are the perfect answer as they can be made in a matter of minutes and only need a mug and a microwave to ‘bake’ it in. Try one of these recipes. Chocolate for the win!

Phone a friend – despite being constantly attached to our phones, a lot of us seem to avoid actually phoning someone, preferring to rely on social media and What’s App instead. If you’re having a bad day, give a friend a call. Whether it’s to have a rant for a few minutes or just have a general chat, actually talking, rather than typing will make such a difference.

Step away from your mobile phone – we’re often attached to our phones almost 24/7 but turning it off for a bit or even just hiding it in a different room so you don’t constantly hear/see notifications and emails add day will really help give you a mental break from digital overload.

Keep an essential oil balm in your bag – the right blend of essential oils can be so helpful when you need to just take a moment during a stressful day. I love these Scentered stick balms* as they’re easy to keep in your handbag, and a quick application and inhale really works when you’re feeling a bit frazzled.

What are your top ways to de-stress quickly?


Emma Lomax SOS Emergency Kits

There might be ten lipsticks in my handbag (and then some) but when it comes to hunting down a hair grip or emergency tampon, I'm usually a massive fail. Enter Emma Lomax's SOS kits which are basically AMAZING if like me, you're always in need of those little essentials but never have any to hand.
Emma Lomax Red and Gold Heart SOS kit
There are several different sized kits to choose from, each with their own choice of extremely cute Emma Lomax branded bags. The Gold Heart* is a medium sized kit, and comes complete with:
  • nail polish remove pad
  • antibacterial wipe
  • antiperspirant wipe
  • no-snag hair tie
  • hair grips
  • mini sewing kit
  • tampon
  • tweezers
  • hair brush
  • mirror
  • nail file
  • plaster
  • lip balm
Most of the items included are single use, but for something to keep in your handbag for emergencies, or to pop in your hand luggage while travelling, I think it's an absolute lifesaver! The bag itself can be reused time and time again, so you can always restock your kit if you want to keep it going (or use it as a makeup bag as I intend to!).
These would also make lovely gifts - Emma has recently put together emergency kits for weddings, the gym and aeroplanes, so whatever the scenario, there's a kit for it.
Prices start from £14 for a mini kit and go up to £30 for a large kit, which I think is pretty good value given the range of contents and the lovely bags they come in. They can be ordered directly from the Emma Lomax website, along with her super cute range of personalised makeup bags (you'll want them all, trust me!).
What do you think of the SOS kits from Emma Lomax? What are you always in need of in your handbag?
*PR sample



3 to try: new foundation launches

Finding the right foundation can be such a massive confidence booster, but often it’s like seeking a needle in a haystack. Over the next month, I’ll be putting a LOT to the test to get to the bottom of which ones are best for different skin types, tones and budgets. Today I’m taking a look at three new high end launches – each is very different but equally fabulous for different people.

3 new foundations from Makeup Forever, Bare Minerals and Too Faced
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD* – if you’ve previously tried MUFE’s HD foundation, then you’ll know it gives a flawless finish to the skin, without looking like you’ve got a layer of makeup on. Ultra HD is an enhanced version of this and I am fully in love with the formula. Ultra HD has been designed to look completely natural both in real-life and on screen and was created to deal with the amazing detail the new 4K TV technology can go into. This gives a nice medium coverage, comes in 18 shades and honestly looks almost invisible once applied. Oilier skins will benefit from a little setting powder over the top, but in general, this should work with pretty much every skin type. It doesn’t add a ‘glow’ to your skin as this can look unnatural on camera, but instead will give an even, flawless complexion that will make you want to stock up on multiple bottles. Buy it from Debenhams, priced £29.

Bare Minerals Blemish Remedy* – Blemish Remedy is the latest launch from Bare Minerals and has been targeted for those with oily or spot prone skin. It’s been formulated to minimise the appearance of blemishes, redness and pore size and contains Aspen bark and tea tree oil to help promote clearer skin. It gives a light-medium coverage that’s easily built up in areas that need it. The loose mineral powder formula can take a little getting used to if you’ve not used one before; grab a buffing brush and apply a little at a time, buffing in using a circular motion. I think this definitely benefits from a primer to help in terms of longevity as it doesn’t tend to last as long as some liquid formulas, but you should get a very natural, non-cakey finish. There are 10 shades to choose from, priced £26.

Too Faced Born This Way*  - every time I see the name of this foundation, I want to break out into the Lady GaGa song, but I suspect that might just be me, Ahem. This is Too Faced’s biggest foundation launch for a seriously long time (I can’t even remember much of a foundation lineup from them before) and offers medium-full coverage, in a choice of 12 shades. It’s oil free, but still hydrates skin as you wear it, thanks to the hyaluronic acid and coconut water in the formula. If you have extremely dry or highly oily skin, then I think you’ll struggle with this formula – it seems best suited to those somewhere in the middle. It definitely gives a ‘my skin but better’ look, without looking too made up and for me, it wears well throughout the day with a hydrating primer on my cheeks and a bit of powder on my nose. I have to be honest and say I struggled a little to get the perfect shade for my skin, as despite having so many shades available, they all seem pretty yellow-toned. Porcelain was listed as a pink-toned porcelain, but I’m really not getting any hint of that when it’s used on my face! If you can find the right shade match, then I suspect this will be a winner for most people, sadly it’s just not quite right for me. It’s available now at Debenhams, priced £29

Have you tried any of these new foundations? Which ones will be going on your wishlist?

*PR samples



London: Thai Square Spa Ritual Massage

A decent massage comes pretty close to the number one spot in my list of ways to treat myself; there's something so special about taking an hour out to relax and have all your knotty muscles rubbed away.

A few days ago, I headed down to the Thai Square Spa in London's Covent Garden to try out their Ritual Massage*, and after a stressful few days beforehand, my muscles were well prepped for some therapy!

Thai Square Spa Covent Garden
The Thai Square spa is situated right in the heart of Covent Garden on Shelton Street, just up from the Belgo Belgian restaurant. The shop front might look small from the outside, however it's like a tranquil tardis once you actually go through the front door, with several floors of treatment rooms, a relaxation area and a product shop, where you can take home some of the products they use during your treatment if you fall in love with them.

The Ritual Massage lasts for either one or two hours (I had the one hour treatment) and begins with a ritual washing of the feet using rose petal infused water and some lovely oils. After a sweaty day in London, this came as an unexpected treat and made for a much more relaxing treatment as I wasn't worried about the poor therapist having to look at my end of day manky London feet. Ahem.

After your feet are washed, they get you to hop up onto the massage bed face down and the massage begins. Before they start, the therapist will ask you what sort of pressure you like, so you can have it tailored to you. I like my massages to be very firm, as bad posture and a desk job = crunchy shoulder muscles but if you prefer a gentler version, just let them know.

The massage itself covers you pretty much from head to toe - starting with the back/shoulder area, then the legs, feet, arms, hands and head. For everything but your head, the beautifully scented rachawadee oil is used which really adds to the spa feel and relaxation element.

I pretty much floated off the bed at the end of the hour and was lead out to a relaxation area with comfy chair-beds and the offer of some water or tea. It's lovely that they don't rush you out of the spa after your treatment and give you that extra bit of time to relax once you're done.

The Ritual Massage costs £75 for a one hour treatment and I can honestly say it was the best massage I've ever had. I'm already planning to treat myself to another one after pay day comes around. I'd highly recommend the Thai Square Spa if you're looking for somewhere central for a treat, just be warned, it may become a bit of an addiction!

What's your favourite type of spa treatment?

*Treatment provided free of charge, all views my own


House of Fraser Estee Lauder gift with purchase

I think we all love a good freebie, so I had to give you a heads up on a fantastic gift with purchase offer that's just started on Estee Lauder products over at House of Fraser.
When you buy any two products (one to be skincare or a foundation), you'll get this fantastic Estee Lauder gift, packed full of skincare and makeup minis, all packed in a limited edition Opening Ceremony makeup bag.
 Estee Lauder AW15 gift with purchase at House of Fraser
The gift contains:
  • Advanced Night Repair Eye
  • Advanced Night Repair
  • Revitalising Supreme anti-ageing cream
  • Pure Colour Lip Gloss
  • Pure Colour Nail Lacquer
  • Perfectly Cleanser Cleanser or Purifying Mask
  • 3 minute beauty technique card (includes single use lipstick/concealer samples)
It's great to see so many cult products all packed in to one gift - the Advanced Night Repair Eye is pretty much my favourite eye cream on the planet, so I'm going to be all over this travel sized pot.
The gloss and nail lacquer are really wearable shades that should suit everyone - it's not often you see a nail polish in a gift with purchase, so I think this is a lovely touch.
The gift is available both in store and online, so there's no need to miss out if you're not close to a counter. It runs until 5th September, or while stocks last.
Will you be making an Estee Lauder purchase soon? What do you think of this freebie?
*PR sample 




Ciate South Beach Socialite nail polish collection

The weather in England can only be described as depressing right now. Summer seems to have passed us by entirely, however I’m refusing to give in so quickly! In the spirit of summer, I’ve been obsessing over Ciate’s South Beach Socialite* polish collection, which brings together shades of white, rose gold and a coconut scented top coat. 

Ciate South Beach Socialite nail polishes
Ciate South Beach Socialite nail polish swatches
Scented top coats have always been something I’ve stayed clear of as they tend to still smell quite strongly of nail polish, but somehow Ciate have cracked it with this one as it really stays true to a coconut scent. The scent is only there one the polish is dry, so don’t be tempted to give it a sniff from the bottle, but a quick coat over the top of any other polish is all you need! You’ll end up with a very pleasant coconut smell that survives a day or two’s hand washing, but after that I’d recommend adding an extra coat on top if you want to refresh the scent.  

Polish-wise, there’s a white (White Heat), a luxe rose gold (Deco Delight) and a gold glitter top coat (Putting On The Ritz) to choose from, all of which look gorgeous worn alone or combined together in a nail art design. 

White Heat has seriously impressed me. White polish can sometimes be a bit wishy washy in terms of pigment, but this one only needs two coats to be completely opaque and wears for almost 5 days on me without chipping. Almost a personal best!

If you’ve got a holiday tan, Deco Delight will look stunning set against it (it’s not quite right against my porcelain, pink toned skin). Again, this needs two coats for the best effect, and it doesn’t go streaky like a lot of metallic polishes can do. 

Each polish is available separately for £9, or if you fancy giving them all a try, there’s a set of minis which contains each of the four shades (£22). If you only buy one thing, I’d make it the Coconut Top Coat. I’ll be wearing mine well into winter, trying to pretend I’m on a Caribbean island somewhere sipping a cocktail!  

You can find the South Beach Socialite collection online from Ciate. 

Are you a fan of scented top coats? What would be your favourite shade from this collection? 

*PR samples 



Dupe: Lorac Pro Palette v Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1

Makeup Revolution have become *the* brand to go to when you’re after a dupe for a high end product. Whether it’s beautiful blushers or the perfect nude eye shadow palette, you can pretty much guarantee they’ll have one and at a price your bank balance will love.

My trusty Lorac Pro palette has become a permanent fixture in my makeup bag, but the US brand isn’t exactly easy to get hold of in the UK. Enter Makeup Revolution’s Iconic Pro 1, which can only be described as the perfect dupe and one you can easily get in your local Superdrug.

Lorac Pro palette and Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 palette dupe comparison
Lorac Pro palette and Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 palette dupe comparison
Lorac Pro palette and Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 palette dupe comparison swatches
Top row comparison - Makeup Revolution on top, Lorac on bottom
Lorac Pro palette and Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 palette dupe comparison swatches
Bottom row comparison - Makeup Revolution on top, Lorac on bottom
When it comes to a shade comparison, both palettes look pretty much identical in the pan. When swatched, there are some very slight differences in a few shades, however I don’t think this is going to make a huge amount of difference once used on the lids. Makeup Revolution has done a fantastic dupe of Taupe, Pewter and Garnet - there's hardly anything to tell them apart from the Lorac shades.

Both brands last incredibly well, even on oilier lids and if I’m being completely honest, a few of the MUR shadows actually have a better texture to them than those of the Lorac version (sorry Lorac). They’re slightly softer, making them just that little bit easier to work with. That being said, Lorac’s matte shadows are definitely the winner out of the two palettes as they’re more pigmented and don’t feel quite so chalky; matte shades can be quite hard to get right, especially for more budget brands.

When it comes to packaging, I do prefer the Lorac case, purely as the plain black of MUR looks a bit basic, but I really am being picky here! Do yourself a favour though and invest in a good brush to use with either palette – Lorac doesn’t include one and the Makeup Revolution brush that’s included is pretty average. Grab a Real Techniques or Zoeva brush and blend, blend, blend!

For a purse-friendly version of the Lorac Pro palette, I really don’t think you can beat MUR’s Iconic Pro 1. At just £6,99 it’s a total bargain and so much easier to find if you’re based in the UK.

You can find Makeup Revolution in larger Superdrug stores and online and Lorac via Ulta in the US.

Have you tried either of these palettes? What's your favourite palette dupe?



QVC Beauty Excellence Awards - who would you pick?

It’s beauty award season over at QVC, where they’re on the hunt for the your favourite products in their Beauty Excellence Awards. The awards are broken down into 14 categories, covering everything from Best Beauty Innovation to Best Men’s Grooming Product and Best New Brand through to Best Foundation.

QVC want you to cast your vote for your favourite products - the awards are all decided by your votes, so they're a real reflection of which products people love. Voting closes on 21st August, with the winners being announced on air at 9pm on Friday 28th August.

QVC beauty excellence awards, best night time product
I’ve been trialling the products from the Best Beauty Night Product category* and let me tell you, it’s a tough competition. There are five products to select from:
  • Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial
  • This Works Sleeping Partners duo (Deep Sleep Night Oil and Deep Sleep Pillow Spray)
  • AD Synergy Nourishing Night Treatment Oil
  • Decleor Aromessence Iris Night Balm
  • Lulu’s Timebomb Flashback Night Cream
All five are absolutely fantastic, but for me, the winner has to be the This Works Sleeping Partners Duo. The Deep Sleep Pillow Spray works wonders spritzed over your bed covers – a few squirts of this and I literally can’t keep my eyes open! When you combine it with the Night Oil, it becomes the perfect duo for anyone looking for a way to relax before bed and to drift off into a lovely deep sleep. Just make sure you set your alarm before you use them, they really do get to work quickly!

If I had to pick a runner up, then I’d definitely be awarding this to Sarah Chapman’s Overnight Facial. I’d heard such good things about this overnight skincare treatment and after trialling it over the past week or two, I can definitely confirm it lives up to all the hype! Just a couple of pumps at night will leave you with fresher, plumper looking skin in the morning. If you have very dry skin, I’d recommend adding an extra moisturiser on top for a bit of added hydration, but for younger or oilier skins, Overnight Facial should work perfectly used alone.

I’ve also voted for my favourites across the other categories on the QVC website; make sure you get your votes in by 21st August if you’d like to take part!

Which product/brand would win first prize for you?

*PR samples


5 ways to save money while you shop

My shopping addiction has been well documented across this blog, but over the past few months I’ve been trying to get a lot more savvy about where and how I spend my money to make it go that little bit further. I’ve put together a few of my top tips on how to bag the best deals and discounts, both in store and online.

Loyalty cards for the win - many stores now offer a loyalty card programme where you can build up points on the purchases you make, which can later on be exchanged for other goodies in store. Some are more generous than others, but over time, the points really do build up. Whip out your loyalty cards for even the smallest of purchases – for example, anything over £1 will give you points in Boots – they will add up quicker than you think! I made the most of my Debenhams Beauty Club points recently for a post-pay day treat – I’d saved up my points to the point where I was able to buy a YSL eye shadow I’d had my eye on for the grand total of £3. Bargain!

Use cashback sites for online shopping – cashback sites are a great way to earn a little money back while doing your normal online shopping. Topcashback and Quidco are all pretty popular and will pay out a percentage/amount of cashback for different retailers when going via links from their site. Now, the cashback can take several months to clear through so it’s not exactly speedy, but if you’re planning to do an ASOS order, you can earn anywhere up to 10% cashback! Hello free money.

Make the most of the freebies – if you’re a Lush fan, or a MAC addict, save all those used up products as you can take them back to the store in exchange for a free one! Swap 5 full-size black Lush pots for a free fresh face mask, or 6 finished full-size MAC products for a free lipstick.

Sign up for newsletters – brands will often reward you with discount codes in exchange for your email address. I’ve set up a designated email account for newsletters to avoid my regular inbox being clogged up with junk, but it’s well worth the hassle of an extra email log in for 2 for 1 food deals, beauty discounts and bargain shoes.

Step away from the store cards – store cards definitely shouldn’t be confused with loyalty/points cards; in fact, they’re little more than a high interest credit card and are far too easy to get. You might be offered a lovely discount on your shopping at the till in exchange for signing up for an in-store credit card, but if you don’t pay the balance off at the end of the month, there are usually high interest charges which can stack up quickly. My advice would be to always say no to these when offered, but if you have been stung by one, consider transferring your outstanding balance to a 0% credit card instead. That way you’ll have time to pay off the monies owed, without racking up lots of extra interest.

And one more for luck…

Abandon that shopping basket – this one is a little bit sneaky, but always worth a try! Online retailers hate it when you put lots of stuff in your shopping basket and then leave their website. Some of them will try to entice you back to finish your purchases with a spur of the moment discount code if they happen to have your email address. It’s not fool-proof, but well worth a try on items you aren’t worried are going to sell out in the next 5 minutes!

What are your top tips for saving money while you shop?

*Written in collaboration with TSB



Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette review and giveaway

Just when you thought your eye shadow palette collection was complete, Urban Decay come along and release Naked Smoky. And you realise you could probably squeeze another one in. *all the heart emoji eyes*

Naked Smoky is the dream palette when it comes to creating a range of smoky eye looks. There are nine brand new shades included, plus three re-issues; with a colour palette that covers everything from shimmering bronze to a smoldering plum.

Urban Decay Naked Smoky eye shadow palette review
Urban Decay Naked Smoky eye shadow palette review
Urban Decay Naked Smoky eye shadow palette review
Urban Decay Naked Smoky eye shadow palette review
Urban Decay Naked Smoky eye shadow palette review and swatches
Urban Decay Naked Smoky eye shadow palette review and swatches

Full shade list:
High (champagne shimmer w/micro-glitter)
Dirtysweet (medium bronze)
Radar (metallic taupe w/iridescent micro-glitter)
Armor (metallic silver-taupe w/tonal sparkle)
Slanted (light metallic gray)
Dagger (medium charcoal w/micro-shimmer)
Black Market (jet-black satin)
Smolder (deep plum-taupe)
Password (cool taupe matte)
Whiskey (rich brown matte)
Combust (soft pink-taupe)
Thirteen (light beige satin)

I’m a massive fan of Urban Decay’s eye shadow formula; it’s very rarely bettered in my eyes. Like its other Naked counterparts, Naked Smoky definitely delivers in terms of pigmentation. You only need a small amount to get a good wash of colour on the lids and all shades last for a good 10 hours before any fading starts to occur.  Other than Thirteen which was a tiny bit chalky, every single shadow applies like a dream. They all blend well together, making it easy to remove any harsh lines in your smoky eye.

Urban Decay have totally switched things up in terms of packaging for this palette, using a thick plastic casing that feels seriously sturdy and yet lightweight enough to carry around in your bag on a daily basis. It’s also so much easier to clean, which is probably a very boring comment, but I hate dusty palettes knocking around in my makeup bag! The double-ended brush is also pretty decent quality, although I’d recommend using a separate, fluffier brush for any blending you want to do.

I am all over Dirtysweet and Radar, typically being a neutrals fan, but I think all of these shadows are really wearable. In the spirit of being more adventurous, I’ve also been using Dagger a lot to help add depth around the crease area and Smolder works really well used along the lower lash line for a more sultry edge.

For me, this is like the slightly more glam, ‘night out’ version of the trusty Naked palettes and I think it will no doubt be another big hit for Urban Decay. It might not be the palette you wear to work every day, but for more intense looks, then this will definitely be your new BFF.

You can buy Naked Smoky now from House of Fraser, priced £38.

Win your own Naked Smoky palette

To celebrate the launch of Naked Smoky, the lovely team at House of Fraser have given me a palette to give away to one lucky reader. Simply complete your chosen Rafflecopter entries using the widget below to enter.

One winner will be picked at random after the competition closes (entries close 11.59pm, Sunday 6th September) and contacted shortly afterwards. The giveaway is open internationally.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Flamingo Candles Melt Crowd August box

This month’s Melt Crowd box* from Flamingo Candles pretty much hits you in the face with the smell of Circus Doughnuts the second you open it. Yes, you heard me right, somehow the evil geniuses in their candle creator laboratory have managed to replicate the hot, sweet smell of dirty fairground doughnuts in a wax tart. Oh. My. God. 

Flamingo Candles Melt Crowd August box contents and review
With that spoiler out of the way, I have to say I’m loving the rest of the contents of this box! There are the usual 8 scent melts, but because it’s my third box, they’ve also included a special little gift in the form of some scent eggs. These look like mini scent melts, and can be used alone or combined with another scent to create your own bespoke smell. 

As always, there’s a good mix of fresh and fruity scents included in the box, although the Circus Doughnuts one is by far the most potent. I also have a feeling it will be a bit of a Marmite fragrance, but if you happen to love it, the good news is it’s not a box exclusive and will be launching onto their website very soon. Phew!  

There are two Melt Crowd exclusives inside this box – Dahlia and Fresh Cotton – and I’m hoping Fresh Cotton makes it into the permanent line up at Flamingo Candles as this is such a lovely soft, light scent. 

Ginger & Lime is warm and zesty with a little hint of spice and Green Apples reminds me a little of my favourite Fruitella sweets – juicy and delicious! 

Pomegranate Cider, Strawberries & Champagne and Kir Royale all take the best bits of their alcoholic drink counterparts, but without the boozy overtone, so your house will smell lovely and fruity. 

Each scent melt should last for up to 20 hours, so you get an impressive 160 hours burn time per box for just £10. 

If you’ve not tried Flamingo Candles before, I’d highly recommend giving this subscription box a try. It’s a fantastic way to test out lots of different home fragrance scents and with a really reasonable price. 

You can sign up to the Melt Crowd over on the Flamingo Candles website, with the next box shipping out on 1st September. 

Are you a member of the Melt Crowd? Do you like the look of this monthly subscription box?

*PR sample 



Soap and Glory handbag body sprays

Summer is lovely, but sweaty tubes and hot days do not make for the best combination when you’re hoping to turn up to a meeting smelling nice. While they won’t do much for your sweat patches, Soap & Glory’s new handbag sized body sprays are the perfect solution to freshen up on the go, without breaking the bank, 

Soap and Glory handbag sized body sprays
These travel friendly bottles are an absolute bargain at just £4 per 100ml bottle and come in a choice of 5 scents, all based on iconic Soap & Glory products. You can choose from:

Original Pink – a fresh scent, with green bergamot, mandarin and musk
Fruitigo – citrus based, with grapefruit, lime, peppermint oil and wild fig
Mist You Madly – oriental floral, with bergamot, patchouli, freesia and sandalwood
Orangegasm – fresh and fruity, with orange, mandarin and geranium
Sugar Crush – sweet with a fruity lime twist, with lemon oil, sweet lime, ginger and vanilla musk

My favourite of the five has to be Fruitigo as I love the fresh, fruity smell. I’ve been spritzing away with this all week and can quite happily see myself buying another one when this bottle runs out. If you prefer your scents a little sweeter, then give Sugar Crush a try; it’s a much sweeter scent that’s seriously easy to wear and isn’t too overpowering.

These last a good couple of hours on the skin, so while they’re not going to replace your regular perfume, they are fantastic as a budget friendly scent to keep in your handbag. I love the fact you can also match up your fragrance with your favourite body product – Orangegasm body wash followed by a quick fragrance spritz maybe? 

You can find the body spray range from Boots stores, priced £4 each. 

Are you a Soap & Glory fan? Which scent is your favourite? 

*PR samples 



Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette review

When a new eye shadow palette pops up, I get excited. Even more so when it's jam packed with neutral shades and it smells like chocolate.

Too Faced's Semi-Sweet palette* is the brand new addition to their chocolate bar range and features 16 shades of chocolate inspired powder shadows that are also antioxidant-rich and cocoa-infused.
Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette review
Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette review, shadow close up
Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette review, shadow close up
Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette review - swatches
Liquorice, Cocoa Chilli, Rum Raisin, Caramel, Blueberry and Peanut Butter swatches
The original Chocolate Bar palette has become one of the most used in my collection and I have a feeling that Semi-Sweet will be swiftly becoming another firm favourite.

There's a good mix of matte and shimmer shades included and I love the fact that they've used larger pans for the lighter shadows. These often get used up quite quickly as base shadows, so having a pan that's double the size should mean you won't run out of your favourite too quickly.

The shadows in Semi-Sweet are slightly warmer than those of the original Chocolate Bar, so if you tend to suit the original Urban Decay Naked palette over the Naked 2, then I think you will love these ones!

While most of the shadows centre around a taupe/gold/brown palette, there are a few shades thrown in that really make this palette stand out from the rest. Blueberry, for example, is a beautiful deep blue shimmer which works really well as a liner or as a flash of colour in the inner corner of the eye. It works surprising well against the gold and bronze shades and adds an extra depth to all the nudes.

A couple of the lighter shades are a *teeny* bit chalky but work well used all over the lids as a base colour for some of the bolder ones on top. Weirdly, they swatch up lighter in terms of pigmentation than they do when used on the lids, so you really can get a bold punch of colour if you want to.

Wear time is pretty good - around 8 hours without a primer and 10 with so you shouldn't need to top up throughout the day. That said, the metal case makes this a great portable palette as it really protects the shadows within it, so if you're hunting for a good travel palette then this will be a great choice.

For me this is an incredibly wearable palette. And the fact it smells like chocolate is also an added bonus!

The Semi-Sweet palette will be hitting the shelves in Debenhams later this month priced £34, however you can order it via the Too Faced website now if you just can't wait to get your hands on it!

Do you like the look of the new palette from Too Faced?

*PR sample


Kiko Rebel Romantic collection review

If you haven’t discovered the makeup joy that is Kiko yet, you’re missing out. Their latest limited edition launch, Rebel Romantic*, is a Pinterester’s dream, featuring trendy rose gold packaging and some beautiful shades.

Kiko Rebel Romantic collection
Kiko Rebel Romantic collection
Kiko Rebel Romantic collection swatches
I think the highlights of the collection for me have to be the bronzing/blusher products, not only from a packaging point of view but for ease of use and overall performance.

The Contouring Pencil Set is an absolute steal at £9.90 and comes in a choice of two shades; light to medium and medium to dark. These offer a no-fuss way to apply a cream contour and highlight product, without the need for brushes. You can simply apply it straight from the crayon and then blend out with a finger for a natural finish. The point on these is quite thin which I like as it means you can get a really precise application, so I think these would be good for any contouring newbies that want to give it a try. The contour shade in the light set is a tad on the warm side, but it should work well with most complexions.

The Rebel Bouncy Blushers are an interesting take on the new ‘cushion’ trend that’s popped up recently. These are an odd cross between a liquid and a powder, but apply with a matte finish to the skin. I think this works best when applied using your fingers – the blusher is quite pigmented, so this helps to get a really natural flush of colour to the cheeks without it being over the top. There are four shades to choose from and the little rose gold compact it comes it in seriously pretty! £9.90

For all you Charlotte Tilbury fans out there, I’d highly recommend giving the Perfecting Bronzers a try (#dupealert!). These come in two shades and feature a bronzing powder with a smaller perfecting powder in the middle. Out of all the products in the range, these are what attracted me the most visually and if I’m completely honest, the embossed powder design makes me not want to use it! £12.90

For the lips, the Intensely Lavish Lipsticks are creamy, pigmented and easy to wear and the rose gold packaging is something I’d expect on a much more expensive brand (these are just £6.90 each!). There are also matching lip liner shades for each lipstick, which apply easily without dragging and work just as well used all over the lips as a primer for your lippie as they do to create an outline to fill in. 

If you’re a liquid liner addict like me, then you seriously need to get your hands on one of the new Liquid Intense Liners. There are four shades to choose from and once applied, they literally do not budge. I applied a swatch to my hand (as well as my lids) and it lasted for over 48 hours, despite me washing my hands about 25 times in that time. They last just as well on the lids and won’t smudge or flake throughout the day.

I’m a little bit ‘meh’ about the eye shadow palettes in this range – Kiko do much better eye products to be honest (get the creamy shadow sticks, totally amazing!). Instead, I’d stick with the Metallic Shine cream shadows from this range as these have a lovely soft formula and work really well alone, or blended together for a high sheen finish.

Rebel Romantic is available now at Kiko stores and from Kiko online. They do have quite a high minimum purchase amount for free shipping, but they have so many great products that I really do recommend placing an order if you’re not near a store!

Do you like the look of this new collection from Kiko?
*PR samples 


How to travel light - hand luggage tips for beauty addicts

I'm going to admit this up front. I'm not good at packing light. But expensive flights and budget airlines have been a good lesson in what REALLY needs to come with you, especially if you're heading away with hand luggage only. Those pesky clear bags for liquids and a 100ml limit can be testing for even the lightest packers, so here are a few top tips on making the most of that precious space.

hot dog legs on the beach in Turkey
Buy a clear makeup bag that meets airport guidelines – this means you can pack it at home and cram as much in as possible without then having to go through the pain of those horrible plastic bags at customs. Grab one that meets the legal size limit (1 litre) and so as long as everything is under 100ml inside it, you’ll be good to go!

Save your sample sachets and trial sizes – I keep a separate drawer of sachets and minis that all get saved for weekends away and hand luggage bags. You can squash plenty of these in to your hand luggage allowance and still have space to spare for that extra concealer. Look out for travel kits and sample sets that can also be bought for a few pounds - Weleda do some great ones that have all the essentials and will last for about a week.

Buy smaller plastic travel bottles and decant – we’ve all got a few must-have products that we can’t bear to leave behind, but large bottles, glass containers and big sizes can make them a nightmare to pack in your hand luggage. Superdrug do some handy travel bottles that are great for decanting just enough product for your trip and can be reused over and over again. Empty contact lens cases are also great to put small amounts of eye cream or serum in for a few days – just make sure you do them up tightly to avoid leakage.

Think powders – powder products don’t have to go into your liquids bag, so wherever possible, take powder blushers, highlighters, eye shadows etc to save space for your skincare regime and shower gel. The same goes for things like brushes, blotting papers and mirrors. I tend to take two bags in my hand luggage – one clear one that needs to be security checked and then a second for all the stuff not affected by the customs regulations.

Buy it when you get there – sometimes it makes sense to leave a few things at home and purchase them at your destination or even at Boots/World Duty Free in the airport. After you go through customs, the liquid allowance no longer matters, so buy cheaper things like shower gel, toothpaste etc airside and save yourself some extra space in your travel bag. Just remember it will all have to fit in on the way home, so buy small sizes or cheaper products you don’t mind leaving behind.

What are your top tips for travelling light?

*PR samples


Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare review

‘No makeup makeup’ has been one of those beauty trends that we've all tried. Very often, it takes more makeup to achieve that look than it would do for a full on vampy one, which never seems to make much sense to me.

Perricone MD have had the perfect solution to this with their No Makeup Skincare line which has recently hit the shelves in Selfridges and the perriconemd.co.uk website and is proving to be a big hit so far.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare review
No Makeup Skincare is an extension (and a bit of a rebrand) of their small makeup line. You might've heard of their 'No Foundation Foundation' or 'No Concealer Concealer' before, both of which were designed to make you look fresh and glowy, without it being obvious you've got makeup on.

They’ve recently extended the line to include everything from mascara to bronzer, so if you’re after products that will help you look like you, but a little bit better, then you’re going to love these. They’ve also infused the makeup with some of the anti-ageing elements of their skincare, so for once you’ll actually be able to wear makeup that benefits your skin. Double bonus.

For an effortless wash of colour to the cheeks, try the No Blush Blush. This is a one shade suits all product, that really does seem to work on everyone I’ve seen it on. The soft rose shade blends into the skin to add a healthy, natural glow. You only need a tiny bit of this liquid blusher and I find it best applied with your fingertips – put a small amount on the back of your hand and then gently press on to the apple of your cheeks.

No Bronzer Bronzer is also great for adding warmth to your complexion. Again, a little goes a long way (especially for lighter skins like mine), but it adds a lovely sunkissed appearance when dotted across the areas you’d naturally catch the sun. I’d love to see this made in a couple of extra shades to allow dark and very very pale skin tones to be able to use it. At the moment it’s probably a little too dark for some people and not dark enough for others!

No Foundation Foundation is one of those cult products that has really earned its reputation as it’s fantastic for evening out your skin tone without looking like you’re wearing much in the way of base products. This now comes in two shades – regular and fair, so if you’re on the paler side of the spectrum, stick to the fair shade as the regular definitely falls into that medium beige camp. Texture-wise it feels incredibly lightweight on the skin and is my perfect weekend product when I want a little coverage but not a whole face of makeup. If you have oilier skin, dust a little powder over the top to set it and it should last a good 8-10 hours.

They've also released a No Foundation Foundation Serum, which blurs the lines between skincare and makeup even more. This feels like a tinted serum to me – it’s very lightweight, and gives just a hint of coverage to the skin. It can be used alone, or layered up with the No Foundation Foundation for increased coverage. Sadly this only comes in one shade, which is too dark for me, but if you have medium toned skin, then it will be a great match for you.

If you like a low key lash look, then I’d definitely recommend giving the No Mascara Mascara a try. It adds colour and depth to the lashes while still looking very natural. For me, it’s not *quite* enough as I tend to prefer a false lash effect, but I know a lot of my friends who will love this one. It lasts really well throughout the day without smudging or flaking, and the small brush means you can get in to every lash without poking yourself in the eye (this happens to me A LOT with the big, fat brushes!).

Prices range from £25 for the mascara, through to £45 for the No Foundation Foundations.

Do you like the sound of these new makeup launches from Perricone MD?

*PR samples



4000 Bloglovin follower giveaway

Earlier this week I hit a big milestone over on Bloglovin and wanted to run a giveaway to say thank you to everyone who reads  my blog. Over 4,000 of you have signed up to follow my posts via Bloglovin which is crazy, and I'm so, so grateful for all of your support.

To celebrate, I'm running an international giveaway to win a £25 gift card for the beauty shop of your choice. It could be Boots, Selfridges, Space NK or one of many others - you get to choose! The only stipulations are that I can buy the gift card in the UK and that your chosen store will ship to your location.

To enter, simply complete your chosen entries via the Rafflecopter widget below. Entries are open worldwide and will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 30th August.

I'd love to know if there's anything you'd love to see more/less of on Tales of a Pale Face, so please do let me know in the comments section!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


New in: nails

There are so many great nail related releases around at the moment, I thought I'd pick out a few of my must haves. Whether you're after nail treatments, tools or new polish shades, these will have you covered.

New summer nail launches from Elegant Touch, Butter London, LIz Earle and Stylfile
Elegant Touch's new Nail Apothecary range is a must have for problem nails. There are six products to choose from, all designed to target a specific nail concern. I've been loving the 24k gold ridge filler*, which is fantastic if you have uneven textured nails or ridges that need to be filled in before you apply polish. It gives a really even surface to the nails and also contains Lingonberry seed oil to hydrate the nails at the same time. The Toughflex base coat* is also great for priming your nails before using polish as it create a bond between your nail bed and the polish on top. It also contains keratin to help toughen up weak nails and help to prevent against chipping. From £6.95

The Stylfile has come a long way since its days on the Apprentice and they've recently added a few new files to their ever expanding range. For a manicure on the go, pop the Mani Pro* in your handbag as it combines a 4 way buffer file with a cuticle pusher tool, so has everything you need enclosed in one handy nail file. The Stylfile Infuse allows you to treat your cuticles as well as file your nails and includes a little cuticle oil sponge that offers a quick treatment without the need for lots of extra products. From £8.99

Liz Earle are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, so as part of the celebrations, they've released a limited edition nail colour* in the iconic blue of their brand. This looks absolutely stunning on the nails and is the perfect summer shade if you fancy something a little bit different. Like all of the Liz Earle polishes, the formula is incredibly smooth and glossy. I've been wearing this all week and love it! £8.50

Butter London  have launched a new nail colour range in the form of their Patent Shine 10x polishes*. With 14 shades to choose from, these promise a plumped up, extremely high shine finish that looks absolutely gorgeous on the nails. They're a 7-free formula, so without too many nasties, and also help to prevent breakage and peeling nails while you wear them. £15 each

Do you like the look of any of these new launches? What's you current must-have nail product?

*PR samples


GOSH new makeup and nail launches

I'm so impressed with the latest launches from GOSH. This high street brand has really stepped it's game up over the past few years and I always look forward to seeing what they'll be bringing out next. This new crop of products* have literally just hit the shelves in Superdrug, so if you like what you see, then pop down to your local store pronto!

GOSH autumn 2015 makeup and nail launches
GOSH autumn 2015 makeup and nail launches
GOSH boombastic swirl mascara wand close up
Wearing the new GOSH foundation drops and boombastic mascara
Wearing the 002 Foundation Drops and Boombastic Swirl mascara
The highlight of the new launches for me has to be the liquid Foundation Drops. These offer a medium coverage foundation in a choice of five shades. The texture is that of a runny liquid (give it a good shake before you dispense some), although the formula itself is water free. It has a very silky texture to it and once applied it gives skin a flawless finish without looking as though you're wearing any makeup. I got a good 8 hours wear out of this before it went a little patchy around my nose, but a little touch up fixed any noticeable issues. I'd love to see this in more shades; I'm 002 Ivory, which is the lightest, but at the moment they only really cater for light to medium skin tones. £12.99

I do love a GOSH mascara and the Boombastic Swirl is no different! This features a spiral shaped wand with a ball on the end, so you can get maximum volume, even for the smaller lashes which are normally quite hard to reach. The wand takes a little getting used to as to get the best effect, you need to spin it slightly as you apply the mascara, but after a few tries, you'll be left with luscious looking lashes with good volume and length. It's been infused with argan oil and bamboo extract to help condition and strengthen lashes while you wear it and it has a lovely soft texture to it - no crispy lashes here! I prefer this mascara to a lot of high end ones and at £8.49 I think it's a great buy.

There are also a few new nail care launches from GOSH. Their Fast Dry Drops are a great dupe for OPI Drip Dry Drops and will help to dry your polish in just 60 seconds. There's also a Nail & Cuticle Oil which has been created from almond oil, argan oil and coconut oil; a 2 in 1 Nail Hardener and a Gel Look Top Coat. All of these are just £4.99 each, which I think is fantastic value for money.

Do you like the sound of any of these new launches from GOSH?

*PR samples


Lifestyle: pineapple homewares

The obsession is real. I can’t get enough of pineapple shaped home things. It all started about 5 or 6 years ago with a vintage tiki trinket dish that was lined with mother of pearl and shaped like a pineapple. Since then, I’ve been steadily adding to my collection and thanks to the fact that everyone now seems to love a pineapple, it’s been made a lot easier!

PIneapple shaped homewares candles and jars
PIneapple shaped homewares candles and jars
PIneapple shaped homewares
 I discovered this giant rose gold pineapple money box in a little independent shop near my house (although I’m reliably informed Amazon also have something similar) and pretty much ran in and claimed it from the window. I doubt I will ever save enough coins to fill it as it’s larger than a real pineapple, but let’s face it, I didn’t buy it for practical savings reasons. Ahem.

On a recent trip to Paperchase I found a small, white ceramic trinket tray that you might’ve seen popping up in lots of blog photos. Well it got even better when I went back (I’m an addict, what can I say…) the other day and saw they had a matching big brother for it, so obviously that had to come home with me.

This spangly Christmas tree bauble comes courtesy of house of Fraser and their recent Christmas in July press day. I pretty much screamed ‘oh my god you have pineapple tree decorations’ at the top of my voice (sorry to Anna, who was showing me around and is probably deaf now) and to my excitement there was one in my goody bag as I left. YAY! It’s too early for this bad boy to go anywhere near a Christmas tree, so until then, it’s helping to decorate my dressing table. I'm tempted to just buy loads near Christmas and go all out pineapple on the tree. Not sure how the boyfriend would feel about that...

I found this orange glass pineapple in Joy one week while browsing on my lunch break and it’s been pride of place on my bedside table ever since. It's big enough to fit hair grips and ties in, so I use it to keep a stash in ready for when I do my hair in the mornings.

Last, but not least are a couple of H&M home pineapple candles that I have intention of ever burning. Well, maybe one of them. These were a nightmare to track down as everyone seems to have bought them all, so I figured buying a backup was a safe bet. Plus at £4.99 each, they’re a bit of a bargain.

The hunt for more pineapple things continues. Let me know if you’ve spotted any good ones!


Vitamin C Skincare - get glowing skin

We’ve all been there. One too many late nights, early mornings and a somewhat exhausted feeling. Out comes the Berrocca and 20 minutes later you’re *hopefully* feeling a bit perkier and ready to get on with your day (Berrocca wee issues aside).

Vitamin C has long been hailed as a hero supplement and it’s great at offering antioxidant protection, helping to protect your cells and keep them healthy. But the benefits don’t just stop internally – when used effectively in skincare, vitamin C can help boost radiance, protect against potentially damaging free radicals and reduce inflammation and irritation in the skin. Basically it’s an all-round hero!

There are some great skincare ranges on the market that are packed full of vitamin C goodness, so I’ve selected two of my favourites that I think you’ll love.

vitamin c based skincare from the Body Shop and Ole Henriksen
Ole Henricksen Truth Serum* – when I first started using this serum, I noticed an improvement in my skin in a matter of days. It helps to add radiance, support your skin’s natural collagen production and gets to work on fine lines. It’s oil-free, paraben free and contains sodium hyaluronate to help add moisture to the skin. I like to use this underneath my moisturiser both in the morning and at night, especially on days when I feel like it need that extra boost. Half a pump should be plenty for a single use – take care when pushing the pump down as it gives out a LOT of product if you do a whole pump! £47 30ml

The Body Shop Glow Boosting Moisturiser* – this lightweight moisturiser is packed full of vitamin C and is great for reviving tired or dull skin. It’s perfect for oilier skin types as it has a gel-like texture to it and absorbs into the skin really quickly. Slap this on in the mornings for more refreshed, awake looking skin. If you have drier skin, I’d recommend adding a layer of hydrating serum underneath as this might be a little light used on its own. I think this is a fantastic summer product as it doesn’t overload the skin. The fact that it smells amazing is also an added bonus! If you’ve been hunting around for a dupe to Origins Gin-Zing moisturiser, then I think this will be a great alternative buy.  £16 50ml

Are you a fan of vitamin C based skincare?

*PR samples


5 high end mascaras you need in your life

Mascara is the one item of makeup I won’t leave the house without, and it’s safe to say that over the years I’ve tried a LOT. Out of hundreds that have worked their way through my makeup bag, these are the four that continually make the repeat purchase list, plus an exciting new launch that was too good not to include!
5 high end mascaras you need in your life
5 high end mascaras you need in your life
 Ciate Triple Shot* – for long, fluttery lashes, a couple of coats of Ciate’s best-selling mascara is a total winner. This reminds me a little of Benefit’s They’re Real, but without the pain in the bum removal process. I found this was at its best a week or two after opening as it’s quite wet when fresh, but overall it gives great length, good volume and minimal clumping. It also holds a fantastic curl in the lashes, even without using a lash curler beforehand. £19.50

Too Faced Better Than Sex – are those false lashes or are you just pleased to see me? All jokes aside, this mascara is the best one I’ve ever come across for getting huge, non-spidery lashes in just two coats. It packs on the volume, is ultra-black and doesn’t smudge in the hot weather. I’ve been asked several times about my lashes when I wear Better Than Sex, and it’s a constant feature in my makeup bag. It’s been so popular that stockists have trouble keeping up with the demand, so buy several at once if you fall in love to ensure a constant supply (this is my tactic anyhow…). £19

YSL False Lash Effect reformulated – this is another great mascara for adding volume and length and it allows you to build up coat upon coat without going all clumpy. The old formula used to be a nightmare at drying out 3-4 weeks after being opened, but they’ve recently reformulated it and it’s so much better! The lash effect is still the same, but your tube should now easily last you up to the 3 month window you’re meant to keep open mascaras (or less if you use it every day like me and manage to use it up!). £25

Daniel Sandler Intense Volume* - this mascara has been a long time in the making (Daniel is a bit of a perfectionist!), but oh my, was it worth the wait! This super black formula adds volume to lashes without no sign of clumps, even after multiple coats. I got to four before I gave up trying; it really is non-clumpy! While you don't get the instant, intense volume of say, Too Faced's Better Than Sex, what you do get is natural looking volume - like you've just got fantastically good lashes. It's also super soft to the touch once applied; there's no sign of hard, crispy lashes. In fact, it almost feels like you aren't wearing any mascara. Use the flat side of the brush at the base of the lashes to add volume and then comb through with the more traditional brush side of the wand to separate the lashes. £18.50

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes* – since Tarte launched into the UK a year or so ago, they’ve proved to be a massive hit. Lights, Camera, Lashes is a great all round mascara – it adds volume, a little length and works well as both a daytime and night out mascara as it’s easy to build up. The brush is on the smaller side of things, but for me this works really well at getting to the root of the lashes to add a bit of curl and also stops me poking myself in the eye with it, which usually happens with those jumbo wands. No lie. £21.50

Have you tried any of these mascaras before? What are your high end favourites?

*PR samples
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