17 spring homewares you need in your life right now

17 spring homewares you need in your life
I have literally no idea if we're even in spring any more as it's already rained, hailed and had blinding sunshine today, but regardless of weather woes, it's a good excuse to buy some new stuff (YAY PAY DAY).

I've trawled through lots of the latest homeware launches to pull out 17 of what I think are the best bits and all easily affordable (with one exception) for a cheeky pay day treat. There's also only 2 pineapple themed items out of the lot, which I think I deserve a medal for as you know how I feel about pineapples themed things...

Right, I'm off to buy myself a glass tea pot and Instagram the sh*t out of it #basic.



The face: Dolce & Gabbana summer collection

Dolce and Gabanna summer makeup reviewed swatches on pale skin
Dolce and Gabanna summer makeup reviewed swatches on pale skin
Dolce and Gabanna summer makeup reviewed swatches on pale skin blusher close up
Dolce and Gabanna summer makeup reviewed swatches on pale skin lipstick close up
Dolce and Gabanna summer makeup reviewed swatches on pale skin
Dolce and Gabanna summer makeup reviewed swatches on pale skin
My initial thought when the new collection from Dolce & Gabbana arrived was 'holy crap that blusher is bright!' And to be fair, it really, really is. Orange blusher fears aside, this collection is a bit of a stunner and one that I'm loving for being a bit different from the norm.

Dolce & Gabbana makeup isn't the easiest of stuff to track down (you can find it in Harrods in the UK) so I wanted to give you a closer look at how the products actually perform and see them actually on my face, rather than via my normal swatches,

The Perfect Mono Eyeshadow creams have to be the highlight of this collection for me. The turquoise shade is so, so summery, while the deeper blue and lemon shades add light and definition for an alternative smokier, blended look.

You only need the lightest touch to pick up a decent amount of product here, so be gentle when you dip your brush in the pot. I only used a smidgen of the turquoise shade to create this look and it's surprisingly striking! The cream formula sets to a powder finish and lasts for absolutely hours with no fading or creasing. If you have very oily lids, I'd recommend a primer to keep them in place throughout the day, but otherwise they really aren't budging until you take them off.

Also on my eyes is a little of the Crayon Intense Eyeliner in Blue 8, which is a rich, royal blue shade that adds a nice bit of shape around the lash line. I found the pencil to be a little hard initially, but once it warms up a bit you can get a good, close line right at the base of the lashes without too much dragging. The smudger on the other end works nicely to blend it out and stops it looking too harsh.

The Blush in Orange initially scared me a bit as I'm really not one for bold cheek colours and this little beauty is RIDICULOUSLY pigmented. The barest touch of the brush on the blusher is enough to give a warm wash of colour to the cheeks  - do not under any circumstances swirl your brush it in and apply unless you want your cheeks the same shade as the product. That said, while it might be a bit bold for very fair complexions, if you tan during the summer or have a deeper skin tone, I think this will look absolutely stunning.

I ended up leaving my lips pretty nude as the blue lids were quite strong, but there are two new lipstick shades in the summer collection: Orange 440 and Cyclamen 258 (pictured) which would look lovely with a more neutral eye. The formula of these is very creamy, with a decent amount of pigment and a semi-matte finish. They last for hours on the lips, but do benefit from a lip liner to stop any feathering as the shades are quite bright.

As you'd expect, the prices are all pretty premium, with nail polishes at £19.50, lipsticks and eye shadows at £25 and the blusher at £31.50. If you only buy one thing, I'd definitely make it the Perfect Mono Eyeshadows as they really are the hero piece for me, but the lipsticks would definitely come in a close second!

There's also a beautiful bronzer for the summer collection (you can see more about this on Ree's blog) which has stunning packaging. This one is limited edition and will no doubt sell out quickly, so move fast if you need it in your life!

You can find Dolce & Gabbana makeup in store and online from Harrods. The summer collection will be hitting the counter on 1st May.

*contains PR samples



8 budget beauty buys I'm loving right now

The best high street beauty products
The best high street beauty products
I'm guilty of often being the high end enabler (#sorrynotsorry) so today I thought I'd change things up a little and highlight a few of my current high street heroes. Good beauty products don't have to be expensive after all!

Nivea Double Effect Eye Makeup Remover – this stuff manages to melt away even the heaviest of mascaras and doesn’t sting or leave my eyes with that horrid filmy feel. It’s one of the few budget eye makeup removers I’ve found that I go back to time and time again and that fact that it’s usually on offer somewhere is music to my ears. £3.89

L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo – I reviewed the full Extraordinary Clay collection a few weeks ago and have since repurchased the dry shampoo at least twice (a girl’s got to have a backup). It’s lightweight, smells lovely and does a great job at refreshing my roots without leaving that tell-tale powdery look. £3.99

Berocca – ok, so not quite your traditional beauty purchase, but I have been feeling like crap lately and a daily Berocca has really helped me to shift those germs and not fall asleep at my desk. If you’re flying long haul anywhere, take a tube with you and have one every morning. I swear this was the key to my jet lag survival in New York (that and doughnuts, obvs)! £4.49ish

Kitsch summer hair ties – despite what the weather is currently telling me (it’s raining hard as I write this post), I’m all about summer at the moment and I’m convinced my optimism will help bring on some much needed sunshine. Just in case it doesn’t these summer-themed hair ties from Kitsch are my backup plan. After all, it’s hard to feel grumpy when your hair bobble has BANANAS on it. £7.50

Bath & Body Works Pocket Bac – one of my New York regrets (other than only eating one doughnut) is not buying ALL the pocket bacs from Bath & Body Works. For some reason I thought 5 would be enough. I was wrong. These super cute bottles of hand sanitzer smells about 1453278 times better than any I’ve found in the UK and cost just over a dollar each when you bulk buy. If you’re headed to the US soon or live somewhere that Bath & Body Works actually ship to, BUY THEM ALL. $1.75

Garnier Moisture Bomb Day Cream – this one is lovely if you have dehydrated skin but can’t handle a crap ton of heavy moisturiser. The day cream is very lightweight, but super hydrating and sinks in quickly to leave nice plump skin. When the summer actually arrives and we all turn to lighter moisturisers, this one will literally fly off the shelves, so get in early and feel smug. £7.99

Lavera lip balms - I'm a self-confessed lip balm addict so usually have at least two floating around in my bag at any one time. Lavera are one of my favourites - they offer a natural way to hydrate the lips and have a lovely selection of tinted and non-tinted balms, all for around £4 each. The Rose one is great for adding a soft touch of colour to the lips, although I'm never far away from the Classic version!

Argan+ Cleansing Oil - my skincare shelf is is mostly made up of higher end products, but this is one high street product that I can't bear to be without. It removes every single trace of makeup without stripping the skin, and doesn't leave behind any oily residue like some oil cleansers can. It's also free of any crappy filler oils, instead relying on olive, rosehip and argan to do all the hard work. Find it at Waitrose (totally a good excuse to stock up on yummy snacks at the same time). £10.99

Have you tried any of these before? What are your favourite high street products?

*contains PR samples 


Is social media making us hate ourselves?

Kat from Tales of a Pale Face at the beach
If there’s one thing we women are REALLY good at, it’s criticising ourselves. I mean, how many times have you looked in the mirror/seen a photo of yourself/looked down at your cankles (note: you don’t have cankles) and thought something along the lines of ‘god, I look like shit/I’m so fat/I hate my spots etc. etc’? All these things that shitty little voice in your head tells you day in and day out that you’d never dream of saying to your best mate, but somehow feel it’s ok to say to yourself.

I had a moment over the weekend where my boyfriend had very kindly agreed to be my photographer (apparently bribing him with burgers is the key) and take some shots of me for this here blog. Cue hours of me reviewing the photos, critiquing every single one and hating them all because I thought I spotted the slight hint of a double chin and that my crooked teeth looked more hideous than usual. What had been a really fun and lovely day out in the sunshine suddenly turned into something that made me feel even worse about myself and those little voices inside my head just wouldn’t go away.

Social media is a huge part of my life, but I often question if it’s making us hate ourselves. We see those shiny pictures our favourite Instagrammers post and wonder why we don’t look like that, or are stuck in our office while they’re off on a beach somewhere drinking pina coladas. I KNOW these aren’t a real representation of what life is like all of the time (not to mention how much some of them get filtered) but it doesn’t stop those feelings of self-critique from poking through.

We’re encouraged to be online, be social, be creative and yet I feel sometimes that it’s not always healthy to be so connected. But I’m really not ready to pull the plug on my social accounts either.

Instead, I’m trying to ignore those little voices inside my head and just go for it – put myself out there a bit more instead of hiding away behind the camera and sticking to what feels safe. All those little flaws that we point out to ourselves when we look in the mirror are ones that other people don’t even notice. I posted one of the photos onto Instagram from the weekend and unsurprisingly, no-one made any nasty comments about double chins or crooked teeth – instead, there were some really lovely ones about having a beautiful smile (thank you for that).

I keep saying I’ll post some outfit posts once I lose some weight, but you know what, I’m not waiting any more. Yes, I might feel hideously self-conscious, but I doubt that will change even if I do drop 20lbs. Self-love and confidence shouldn't be about a number on the scales and I want to make my part of the internet (literally hate that phrase but whatevs) a positive place. It’s time to ignore all the self-negativity and just do it. End of.

*And if anyone wants to volunteer to help take some outfit pics so I don’t have to keep bribing my boyfriend with burgers I will be eternally grateful…*


Elizabeth Arden House of Fraser gift with purchase

Elizabeth Arden House of Fraser gift with purchase April 2016Elizabeth Arden House of Fraser gift with purchase April 2016
House of Fraser have got a cracking gift with purchase deal at the moment, so if you're a fan of Elizabeth Arden, then you need to get yourself down there pronto.

When you buy two Elizabeth Arden products (one to be skincare), you'll receive a gift full of trial sizes completely free of charge.

Inside every gift is the new Grand Entrance mascara, which gives buildable, fluttery lashes (full review in this post), a travel sized bottle of their 8 Hour All-Over Miracle Oil and a brightly coloured makeup bag that's perfect for the holiday season,  On top of that, you get to choose a three piece skincare set from either the Prevage range or a two piece set from the Ceramide range (including the incredible Ceramide capsules).

If you're really stocking up and purchase three items, then you'll also get a bonus gift of a full-sized Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick SPF 15. I'm a bit addicted to these as they make such good lip balms for the summer, so I'm very tempted to make a cheeky order!

The gift runs between 21st April and 7th May and is exclusive to House of Fraser. If you're not sure what to buy, or fancy trying something new, the Miracle Oil is a definite favourite of mine and the new Skin Illuminating Retexturising Pads are great for dull skin that needs some added radiance.

Are you a fan of Elizabeth Arden? What do you think of this gift with purchase?

*contains PR samples


On no longer being precious with makeup

Blog post on no longer being precious with makeup
Confession time: I currently have a drawer full of makeup that has never, ever been used. In fact, many were bought with the intention of never using them. The thing is, I’ve long had an obsession with limited edition products and super pretty pieces, so very often, they end up hidden in a drawer, waiting to be stared at, sighed at and then put away again. But not anymore.

I’ve decided it’s time to stop being such an idiot and use all those lovely things I never thought I would. After all, what’s the point in spending good money on something if it never actually makes it onto your face? I might as well set fire to a £20 note.

Beauty products aren’t something that are meant to be kept for ‘best’. They’re there to be used. To be loved. To make us feel better. They have expiry dates and kept long enough, will happily go off, so that even once you’ve decided you’re ok with using them, you actually can’t as they smell a bit funky and no longer do what their supposed to do.

I’m not saying you’ve got to dive in and suddenly start piling on everything in your collection but don’t keep it hidden away. I’ve had friends tell me that they only use certain moisturisers before a night out as it feels like a treat. Girls – your skin needs deserves a treat every damn day. And to be honest, it needs weeks of decent routine before it will start looking it’s best.

So I’m throwing caution to the wind, cracking out my brushes and going for it. No more ‘oooh it’s too pretty to use’. If it’s that pretty, it deserves to be on my face. End of.



NYX Sculpt and Highlight Face Duo

NYX sculpt and highlight sticks review and swatches
NYX sculpt and highlight sticks review and swatches
NYX sculpt and highlight sticks review and swatches shades one and two
NYX sculpt and highlight sticks review and swatches shades three and four
Top photo shows swatches for shades one and two and the bottom photo is shades three and four
 I have got so much NYX newness to show you that's it's hard to know where to start! So I picked out these handy 'Sculpt and Highlight' contouring sticks, as they seem like the perfect handbag companion. Perfect for sleepy mornings on the train when you’re having to do your makeup in front of 2365 other commuters while they try to judge watch you out of the corner of their eye.

Each one features both a contour shade and a highlighter in a double-ended wand format. There are eight shades in the line, starting at Taupe Ivory which is the shade I'm currently using, going right up to Espresso Honey which will work for very deep skin tones.

Both the contour and highlight are cream formula and are surprisingly pigmented; a few dots added where you need to sculpt and a few more for highlighting and you're all ready to blend.  DO NOT just swipe this stuff on straight from the wand – you’ll end up with a giant stripe down your face that is impossible to blend out. I know, because I tried. It really only needs a smidge to get those cheekbones you’ve always wanted.

I've found that the contour shade especially benefits from a blending brush rather than doing this with your fingers - it stops it spreading out to far and potentially giving you a muddy-looking face. The highlighter however, works really well when used with your fingers and gives skin that dewy looking finish that gently catches the light.

Cream products often have a tendency to wear off quicker than some powers, but I got a good ten hours out of these before I noticed any fading. If you have very oily cheeks then a *tiny* bit of translucent powder over the contour shade will stop it slipping, but try to avoid any on the highlighter or you’ll lose the beautiful glow it gives the skin.

These are a bit of a bargain at £9 each and have just launched onto the Boots website.

More NYX to come very soon! And make sure you enter my giveaway to win a whole load of new NYX launches.

*contains PR samples



Jo Malone Orris and Sandalwood Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Cologne Intense Orris & Sandalwood review
You know a fragrance is going to be good when it comes in a Jo Malone box. It’s pretty much a given. That said, I was less than impressed when I took my new bottle of Orris & Sandalwood home and my boyfriend tried to steal it. Yes, it smells that good. And pretty unisex to be fair. But just because it is, doesn’t mean I want to share.

Orris & Sandalwood is part of the new Cologne Intense lineup. It’s that little bit more powerful than their traditional colognes, and mingles warm, slightly spicy notes with just the right amount of freshness. If you’re more into sharing than me, it can definitely be worn by either sex – somehow it mingles with your skin to become that little bit more woody on men and slightly floral on the ladies.

As the name would suggest, it features plenty of sandalwood at the base of the fragrance, violet top notes and orris in the heart. You might be wondering exactly what Orris is (I certainly was) and a quick Google tells me it’s the ‘fragrant rootstock of an Iris’. It definitely has that woody feel, but with a few floral notes to help lift it and stop it being too overpowering.

It’s the first Cologne Intense that I’ve tried and I have to say, I’m definitely going to check out the others in the range. They’re a little more expensive than the regular colognes at £105 for a 100ml bottle (there aren’t any of the smaller 30ml bottles available in these scents), but the unusual combinations and striking black bottles definitely makes them worth the investment. I suspect they’ll be less suited to the fragrance layering that Jo Malone is so famous for, but there’s definitely no reason not to give it a try!

You can find Orris & Sandalwood at all Jo Malone boutiques and department store stockists now.

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

*contains PR samples


Re-learning to relax (and my top de-stressing tips)

10 years ago if I had a quiet afternoon, you’d have found me curled up on the sofa with a book, a bar of chocolate and a really big smile on my face. There might also have been a cheeky, guilt-free afternoon nap once the sugar high wore off. Nowadays I seem to have completely lost that ability. A quiet hour leads to panicked thoughts of ‘shit, I should probably be dusting or something instead of sitting here’. Or more normally, I check my phone for two minutes, only to find that 37 minutes later I’m still stalking people on Instagram and accidentally liked a photo of theirs from 2 years ago. Epic fail.

Basically, I suck at chilling out. The 22 year old carefree me has been overtaken with grown up stuff like polishing skirting boards and other really fun stuff (note, really not fun stuff) and has lost the ability to sit and do nothing.

So over the past few weeks I’ve been attempting to get back into it, to turn off my brain and to really enjoy a bit of me time. I thought I’d share a few of my top tips for a successful de-stress. Especially if like me, it doesn’t exactly come naturally.

1. Turn off your phone. Like, actually power the damn thing off, shove it in a different room and pretend it’s not there for an hour. Don’t waste your valuable me time on Twitter updates and photos of other people’s babies/cats on Facebook. You’ve got 23 other hours in the day to do that.

2. Pick one activity and stick to it. Don’t flit around doing little bits of everything, you’ll end up accomplishing nothing. Do one thing, move on to the next.

3. Portion up your time. So you’ve got 2.5 hours spare. Take an hour for yourself (whether that’s Netflix, a pamper sesh or your favourite book), 30 minutes to do a quick tidy up, 30 minutes to make a tasty snack and 30 minutes for whatever else is playing on your mind. That way you can focus on one task at a time without the usual guilt that you should be doing something else instead of sitting on the sofa in your Moomin PJs.

4. Get outside. Fresh air can literally work wonders when you’re stressed out. Whether it’s a quick walk around the block, a trip to the local park, or a stroll at the seaside, get out there and do it. The seaside is my happy place, so I like to spend as much time there as I can. There’s something so calming about the sound of the waves and the wind in your face (massive cliché, but IDGAF). The ice creams also help nicely.

5. Be indulgent. Take that hour long bath with your Lush bath bomb (use a whole one and feel super extravagant and also slightly fizzy), get your favourite treat, make your ‘OMG it’s Friday’ drink – whatever it takes. You deserve it.

6. Smell nice things. I am a huge fan of pulse point oil things (there is probs a more technical term for these, but whatever). I’ve got ones for de-stressing and ones for a mood boost when I need perking up. This Works/Aromatherapy Associates are total winners in these stakes. A good scented candle is also a bonus – doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive, just one that makes you smile when you give it a sniff.

What are your top tips for relaxing and de-stressing?



Giveaway: NYX Spring Launches

NYX spring 2016 launches giveaway prizeNYX spring 2016 launches giveaway prize
NYX have an amazing amount of new launches hitting the shelves as we speak and I was lucky enough to get a sneaky peek of what was coming up last week. I've got lots of reviews coming up with some of my favourites, but I wanted you to be able to try them too, so have pulled together a giveaway with some very exciting new bits.

One reader will win all of the items above - I've tried to pick out shades that I think will work for everyone, but if you're very light/dark-skinned or really love super bright shades, let me know and I'll update the gift prize a little.

Up for grabs is a Contouring Palette, Ombre Blusher, Vivid Bright Eye Liner, Butter Lipstick, Intense Butter Gloss, Soft Matte Lip Cream and a Glitter Pot. These are all brand new spring launches and updated shades and have just started to filter through onto the Boots website this week (I'm still so happy that we can now get NYX from Boots!).

To enter, simply complete your chosen entry methods via the Rafflecopter widget below. One winner will be picked at random shortly after the giveaway closes and contacted directly to claim their prize. The prize is open internationally and will close at 11.59pm GMT on Wednesday 27th April 2016.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The very best highlighters that'll give you cheekbones of joy

The very best high end skin highlighters and illuminators
The very best high end skin highlighters and illuminators
The very best high end skin highlighters and illuminators
The very best high end skin highlighters and illuminators
I don't really think there's such a thing as too much highlighter - I know I certainly take that approach in the mornings, so forgive me if I blind you with my glistening cheekbones. I've tried a LOT of highlighters that wear off throughout the day and just leave giant bits of glitter behind, as well as some that don't seem to do much no matter how much product you slap on. So here are my top recommendations that will give you cheekbones of joy. Promise.

Bare Minerals Lovescape Ready Colour Boost - I think Bare Minerals have really upped their game over the past few years and the new collection is one of my favourites. The Lovescape highlighter is a two-toned powder that adds a very summery glow to the skin, without going down the traditional bronzing route. Both shades are large enough to use alone if you want to, but my preference is to swirl them both together with a big fluffy brush and apply all over. It's limited edition, so track one down asap while you still can. £24

Chantecaille Liquid Lumiere - as you'd expect from a Chantecaille product, it's seriously good. The gold tone almost disappears on the skin and just leaves behind the most amazing glow you could ask for. I think we can all agree that it's not an every day product at this price, but it's well worth the investment if you're feeling flush or have a special occasion coming up. It also works incredibly well when added to your foundation for 'lit from within' skin finish. Apologies for the enable. £33

Charlotte Tilbury Bar of Gold - this is probably the closest I'll get to holding an actual gold bar, but that's ok as this one is pretty special in it's own right. As the name would suggest, it's a very gold toned highlighter, so if you prefer something more pearly it's not for you. That said, it's not too warm, so works well on all skin tones and has *just* the right amount of shimmer in it to retain a natural glow. £32

Perricone No Highlighter Highlighter - the name is a bit misleading as this is very clearly a highlighter, but it's one that looks incredibly natural on the skin, rather than one that's like 'HI, LOOK AT MY SHINY HIGHLIGHTING SKILLS'. Dab a little on straight from the bottle, blend with your fingers and ta da! You're all set to go. Super simple, super effective and although the bottle looks tiny, it goes a really long way. £29

Kiko Generation Next Mosaic Highlighter - I don't think this is available any more as it was part of a limited edition range a while back, but safe to say, if they make another one like it, buy two. It's the closest thing I've found on the high street to a Guerlain dupe and although it's not super intense in terms of highlighting, it diffuses the skin and gives a soft, gentle finish that can be used all over.

Christian Dior Diorific State of Gold Golden Light compact - there are two shades available in the Dior State of Gold range, both of which come in these super luxe gold compacts. The powder is very finely milled and has an iridescent finish to it - nothing glittery here! Sumptuous Pink (shown above)  is a better fit for cooler skins due to the pink tones and Luxurious Beige's gold tinge looks beautiful on warmer toned skin. £40

Too Faced Candlelight Glow Rosy Glow - Candlelight Glow has been a big Too Faced seller for a long time now, but they've recently launched some new shades which  are a much better fit for different skin tones. You'll get a soft, ethereal light to the skin, just don't be too heavy handed as it can look a teensy bit glittery if you do. £21

What are your favourite highlighters?

*contains PR samples



3 Spring Lipstick Launches You Need In Your Life

3 spring lipstick launches from Burberry, Kiko and Sleek
3 spring lipstick launches from Burberry, Kiko and Sleek
3 spring lipstick launches from Burberry, Kiko and Sleek
I really like lipstick. Probs a little too much, but whatever. There’s no such thing as too many lipsticks, right?

Anyhow, my makeup testing pile seems to have a whole load of new lip launches in at the moment, so I’ve taken one for the team and picked out the top three that need to make it into your makeup bags. Maybe just make it an easy choice and buy one of each.

Kiko Gossamer Emotion Creamy Lipsticks
First up, the packaging on these is amazing. It’s golden, heavy and you’d never think it came off of the high street. The clicky lids did take me a minute to figure out, but after that it was all fun and games and like a 5 year old, I wanted to keep playing with it. Ahem. The lipsticks themselves are super rich, and only need a single swipe for a seriously good-looking pout. They have a slight shine to them which makes them very flattering for all ages and the creamy texture stops them drying your lips out throughout the day.

There are 30, yes 30, shades available, which I think is absolutely incredible given the fact this is a high street brand. The brighter shades will definitely benefit from a lip liner to stop any feathering, but the lighter ones are very much a swipe and go. At £10.90 each, you get a really high end feel, with a much more affordable price.

Burberry Full Kisses
There’s something about Burberry makeup that always makes me really happy. Maybe it’s the slightly understated feel that somehow just feels incredibly special. Who knows. But whatever it is, I promise you that buying some of it will make you feel better, whatever the situation. Especially the new Full Kisses lipsticks which *might* have just pipped my all-time favourite lipsticks (the standard Burberry Kisses) to the top post in my heart. High praise indeed.

If you’ve tried the original Kisses formulas but wanted something a little more pigmented, Full Kisses are essentially the answer to all your prayers. They’re creamy, highly pigmented and have an easy to wear satin finish. Burberry say that the bullet has been shaped for fool-proof application, so I fully plan on testing these after several gins and with no mirror to see how that turns out. They do hug the lip line very nicely, so unless you’re particularly anal about precision, you don’t need a brush and the long line casing makes them really easy to hold.

There are 14 shades to choose from, each inspired by recent Burberry runway shows. My favourite is English Rose, which is a lovely pink-toned nude, but Military Red is also calling my name. They’re £24 each.

Sleek Lip VIP
Sleek have managed to make one of the best high street formula lipsticks going with these little lipstick wonders. You'd be forgiven for thinking they were MAC once they're on the lips, but the £5.49 price tag means you can buy 3 Lip VIPs for the price of 1 MAC lippie. The vitamin E, shea butter and coconut oil make them super hydrating and the semi-matte finish means they last for hours on the lips (just top up after any main meals).

I love the fact they have clear lids so you can see which shade you're picking up - it makes life much easier when you've got loads of black, matte-cased lipsticks at home to sort through! There are six shades available, including a browny nude, fire engine red and a cute coral. Very Important Pouts indeed!

*contains PR samples


FOREO Luna 2 - the cleansing device tailored for your skin type

FOREO Luna 2 cleansing device review
FOREO Luna 2 cleansing device review
FOREO Luna 2 cleansing device review
I have a couple of posts coming up about cleansing devices over the next few weeks, but I wanted to kick things off with the new Luna 2 from FOREO as I think these guys have really done a great job with tailoring a brush that can work with pretty much every skin type. Which let’s face it, isn’t easy to do.

Luna 2, as the name suggests, is the upgraded version of their original Luna cleansing device. Like an iPhone 6S if you will. Lunas look a lot different to your standard cleansing brushes – they’re made of silicone for a start and they don’t have any bristles. Instead, they have a whole load of little nobbly rubbery bits that gently clean your skin using sonic vibrations, giving you a really thorough cleanse.

I’ve mentioned my Luna Mini before, which is the perfect travel buddy (it lasts for over 200 uses on a single charge!). The Luna 2 is like the big sister to the mini – it’s much larger, has an anti-ageing side which can be used to help firm and lift the skin and is totally waterproof, so you can easily use it in the shower or bath. It lasts an impressive 450 uses on a single charge and has a timer to ensure you use it for the recommend 1 minute per cleanse (you really don’t need any more than that).

The best bit about the Luna 2 is that they’ve created four different versions, each aimed at specific skin types, so you can get a really personalised experience with your brush. Choose from: Oily, Combination, Normal or Sensitive. The cleansing surface on each one is slightly different – sensitive has more of the smaller nobbly bits for example, so is gentler on the skin. Each one is colour coded, which makes them really fun to keep out in your bathroom, but I have to say, it’d be nice to have a choice of shades in each type as not everyone with normal skin will want a bright pink one!

My personal preference is the Sensitive Luna 2 (the white one) as I’m prone to redness and my skin gets easily irritated and I’ve experienced none of that while using this device. I did give the oily one (the green one) a try and loved how clean my skin felt afterwards, but long term it would be too much for me to use on a daily basis, so I’ll be sticking to the Sensitive one instead.

You can use them with any sort of gel, liquid or creamy cleanser – the only one they won’t perform so well with is a balm as the oils don’t give enough lubrication for the device to work effectively.

If you’ve tried brushes before but haven’t gotten on with them, I’d highly recommend giving a Luna 2 a try. They’re at the top end of the market at £149 each, but I honestly believe that they’re worth the investment. You don’t have to buy replacement brush heads, so there’s no additional cost involved and due to the silicone design, are 35 times more hygienic than your traditional cleansing brush. So no more blemishes due to dirty brush heads.

You can find FOREO at Look Fantastic, the FOREO website and Selfridges.

Do you like the look of the new Luna 2?

*contains PR samples


Nars Tahiti Summer Bronzing Collection

NARS tahiti summer bronzing collection featuring NARS liquid laguna
NARS tahiti summer bronzing collection review Monoi body glow NARS tahiti summer bronzing collection featuring NARS liquid laguna NARS’ Laguna bronzer is probably one of the most popular bronzers out there. It's hard to escape it at times, yet its universally flattering shade and matte texture make it a dream to use for virtually all complexions.

This summer they've gone one step further and turned their much loved shade into a liquid bronzer. Yup you heard right, a liquid bronzer. It mixes the original Laguna pigment with a touch of shimmer and a liquid base, that’s basically love in a bottle.

I've sometimes found the powder version of Laguna to appear slightly muddy on my extra pale skin, but somehow the liquid version has none of that effect. A little goes a long way and it's quite runny in texture, so be careful when pressing down the pump or you may find yourself wasting quite a lot of product.

I apply mine using my fingers as I find it best for a targeted application, but if you prefer a warmer, all over glow then a medium to large fluffy brush will work like a dream. The liquid dries to a powder finish with a very slight shimmer (think glow, not glitter) and lasts really well throughout the day, with an average of 10 hours wear on my skin. When summer really starts getting going, I’ll be adding a drop or two of this into my foundation to try and fool people that I’ve caught the sun in that really subtle ‘just glowy, slightly bronzed’ way instead of my usual red face and freckles.

Unlike the rest of the collection, I've heard that this one is going to be a permanent edition to the Laguna lineup, so if you fall in love with it, you should be able to repurchase long after the summer has been and gone.

A staple item in NARS’ summer launches is always the Monoi Body Glow. It comes in two shades and mixes a dry-oil with a hint of bronzer which can be applied all over for a very subtle, shimmery glow. It’s stopped my legs blinding people with their whiteness on multiple occasions, although try to avoid wearing with anything white as the pigment can transfer a little.

The Monoi de Tahiti oil used within the body oils is native to the South Pacific and mixes pure coconut extract with the bud of the tiare flower (a Tahitian type of gardenia). Safe to say, this combination smells AMAZING. I’m talking WANTING TO LICK YOURSELF AS YOU SMELL SO DAMN GOOD amazing. I think it’s a bit pricey at £44 for a 75ml bottle, but the smell is probably enough to sway me.

If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also launched a limited edition Monoi candle that has the same scent as the body oil. OH. MY. GOD. Not only does it smell like the most delicious thing ever, it’s also huge (270g), so you’ll get hours upon hours of happy smells from it, especially if you keep the wick nice and trimmed and burn it correctly. £38.

You can find the Tahiti bronze collection at NARS stockists now.

*contains PR samples



Look Fantastic Blooms April Beauty Box

Look Fantastic LF Blooms beauty box April 2016 contents and review
As the months go on, I become less and less enamoured with beauty boxes. While many of them are great value for money, it’s not often I find one that makes me think it’s honestly worth subscribing to. That said, this month’s Look Fantastic box (the Look Fantastic Blooms box) not only has a lovely, spring theme to it, but it’s full of generously sized products that make it feel really good value for money.

As well as the latest edition of Elle magazine, my box contains seven products, which have a natural/organic/eco beauty focus.

The Rituals Miracle Hand Scrub and Elemis British Botanical Hand and Nail Butter are the perfect duo – one to get rid of any rough, dry skin and the other to leave your hands super soft and supple. The British Botanical range from Elemis is one of my favourites (I’m currently using the shower cream) as the herby-floral scent really appeals to me. The hand cream is just the right size for keeping in your handbag (20ml), and sinks in easily to the skin without leaving behind any greasy residue.

I’m not familiar with Briogeo, but I like the sound of this organic gel to oil overnight repair hair treatment. Perfect for anyone whose locks need a bit of TLC. It’s probably enough for one or two applications, depending on your hair length, so more of a sample size, but it’s definitely an intriguing idea.

For a summery theme, Balance Me’s Super Toning Body Polish and Tanworx Tan Maintainer will work really well together (a little like to hand scrub and hand lotion!). You can't go far wrong as far as Balance Me is concerned, and although I’m not really a tanner, I know someone who is so the Tanworx will be headed over in their direction.

I’ll be saving up this hand travel size of Bloom and Blossom’s bath and shower gel for a weekend away – I’ve tried the brand before and the sulphate free formula is so lovely and gentle on the skin.

Last up were a tube of Myvitamins soluble vitamins which don’t quite fit in with the theme, but are something that I will definitely use nonetheless. These sorts of things tend to sit on my desk and get brought out whenever there’s a cold going around the office!

At £11.25 per month plus postage, I think this is a really decent box. The makeup hoarder in me would’ve loved to have seen something from an eco makeup brand, but I know that these are a little more tricky to find at affordable prices compared to skin and body care.

You can purchase this box as a one-off or subscribe for regular boxes via the Look Fantastic website.

What do you think of this box?

*contains PR samples


L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Vernis a L’Huile nail polishes

L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Vernis a L’Huile nail polishes review and swatches
L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Vernis a L’Huile nail polishes review and swatches
L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Vernis a L’Huile nail polishes review and swatches
L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Vernis a L’Huile nail polishes review and swatches
A lot of amazing nail launches have dropped through my letterbox over the past couple of weeks, so expect a hell of a lot of nail related goodness coming your way. I’m kicking things off with the new Colour Riche Le Vernis a L’Huile polishes from L’Oreal, which immediately won my heart with their luxe looking bottles and perfectly edited shades.

Roughly translated, their name means ‘polish with oil’, which is exactly what these bad boys are. I’ve never come across a nail polish infused with oil before – it almost seems a bit counter-intuitive to what is normally quite a dry finish for lacquer.

There are a blend of oils added to a highly pigmented formula which promise to nourish your nails while you wear the polish. I suspect you’d need to wear these long term before the oils made a huge difference, but I’ve definitely found the formula applies very smoothly (the wide brush is great for this) and leaves my nails looking hydrated after removal.

You’ve got 22 shades to choose from, covering virtually everything from a very sheer, very natural pink, right through to an incredibly rich plum. There’s a good mix of neutrals and brights and even a couple of metallic shades thrown in for good measure.

All of the ones I tried definitely benefit from two coats, with the lightest shades needing three for a really good, opaque finish. That said, they do dry pretty quickly so it’s not an arduous process, but if you’re looking for a one-coat wonder, these aren’t the one.

Wear time is pretty average – about 2-3 days for me – although I know some of my friends manage to get their polish to last for a week without chipping. I have no idea how.

The cut glass bottles look much more expensive than the £4.99 price tag and you get an impressive 14ml inside, so you won’t run out any time soon.

I’m really pleased to see L’Oreal doing something a little different with their polish lineup. It’s good to see something new, away from the usual glitter shades and nail toppers that cropped up so often in previous seasons.

You can find the entire range of Colour Riche Le Vernis a L’Huile in store and online from Boots, priced £4.99 each.

Do you like the look of this new nail range from L’Oreal?

*contains PR samples



The essential: Jurlique hand creams

Jurlique complete range of moisturising hand creams
Jurlique complete range of moisturising hand creams
It’s safe to say, I’m never more than about 2 feet away from a hand cream. I have them stashed all over the house: in virtually every handbag and at least one on top of my desk at all times. Without a regular top up, my hands end up looking grim AF pretty damn quickly, often drying out so badly that my knuckles end up cracking. Get your tiny violins out.

Jurlique’s range of hand creams not only smell DIVINE, but come in a 40ml tube which is the perfect size for storing pretty much anywhere. The formula is rich and creamy, yet absorbs into the hand super quickly, meaning you can get on with your day without standing around for ages waiting for your hands to dry.

There are four different scents available: Rose, Lavender, Jasmine and Citrus. My personal favourite has to be the rose one (Jurlique rose products are literally the BEST) as it manages to do a rose scent without a hint of powdery old lady, but a close second would have to be the zesty citrus. Like all Jurlique products, they use a high quality mix of natural and botanical ingredients, with a strong sustainability ethic.

Although they’re a little pricier than my normal hand creams at £18 per tube, a little goes a long way and I’ve yet to finish one up despite several months of daily application. The pastel boxes also make them a lovely gift idea if you’re on the hunt for a skin-treat for someone who’s not really that into facial stuff.

You can find the full range of hand creams via the Jurlique website, or from stockists such as Feel Unique, Sephora and Marks & Spencer.

*contains PR samples


Blogging tips: simple SEO for bloggers

A cheeky cocktail with Laura discussing the ins and outs of domain authority inspired me to write up this post. There's a whole load of stuff you can do to help optimise your blog for search engines that it can sometimes be a bit of a minefield knowing where to start.

My day job involves managing the website for a large, multinational company, so SEO is one thing we have to pay close attention to. I've pulled out a few of my key tips for optimising your blog but if there's anything else you've got questions on or would like ro see covered, please just let me know!

Keywords are the basis for virtually all SEO work as they identify which words you’re trying to optimise your page for. Keywords and phrases are the terms that you’d expect someone to enter into Google to find your piece of content. They are page specific, and for the most part, you will only ever need to have one or two key phrases per page.

Most of the time, your keywords will be quite obvious – if you’re writing a review of a specific product (a Nivea Lip Butter review for example) then the keyword/phrase will probably be ‘Nivea Lip Butter review’. If you’re writing a roundup style post, ‘5 of the best budget mascaras’, then your keyword/phrase is ‘best budget mascaras’.

Because of the high competition for single words, most SEOs will use short key phrases to help target their content as the competition for the same terms is much lower. Aim for two to three words per phrase.

If you know your audience, and are writing content targeted to that audience, finding the correct keywords should hopefully be pretty easy.

Where to place your keywords:
Google will look at several places to try to identify what your page is about. The URL is a key one, so always make sure your key phrase forms part of the URL (this is automatically created by your post title in Blogger, however you can customise this using the ‘permalink’ section on the right-hand side of each post).

Wherever possible, also use the key phrase in the post title – this helps to re-enforce the message. It’s usually coded in to your template to be the H1 tag (aka Heading 1) which is a primary source of information for Google.

Then, use it sparingly throughout the blog post content itself. Ideally this would be somewhere in your first paragraph of text and then maybe two other times throughout a decent length piece. Add it where it’s relevant – you don’t want it to look spammy – decently written content should take priority.

Meta Descriptions:
Writing a decent Meta Description is a bit of an art form but is a great way to try and boost your ranking for a particular page.

The Meta Description is the piece of text that you see underneath a link when you do a Google search. It’s limited to 155 characters, should hold your page keywords and essentially be the ‘marketing text’ for that particular page. Ideally it should also contain a call to action, such as ‘find out more’ to entice the reader to click through onto your page.

You can add this in to Blogger posts via the ‘search description' field. If you don’t add a custom one, Google will generate one for you, usually from the first paragraph of your copy.

Meta Description example:
Screenshot of a meta title and meta description example
Keyword tools:
If you want to get REALLY into your keyword research, there are a few things you can do. First, Google the term you plan to use as your key phrase for the blog post. This will give you an idea of other sites you might be competing against and whether or not you need to tailor/adapt your key phrase a little.

Google Trends is also great for looking at rough search volumes for your particular key phrase – again, if no-one seems to be hunting for it, then maybe it’s better to adjust it for something similar that is more popular.

Domain authority
Domain authority (DA) is essentially a measure of how authoritative Google believes your site to be on a scale of 1-99 (99 being the best). You can check your domain authority via: https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/ which gets updated every few months.

There are a whole load of things that can affect your DA – how long you’ve had the domain for, the number of quality links that are coming into your site, whether the site is seen as spammy, for example.

Many SEO agencies will look at DA as a measure when choosing bloggers to work with for certain campaigns, so it’s definitely beneficial to be aware of what yours is and take steps to try to improve it. Many stick to bloggers with a DA of 20+, but this tends to vary from agency to agency.

The first step to building your DA is to buy your own domain. If your current blog url reads something like: myblogisawesome.blogspot.co.uk then you don’t own your domain and all authority associated with your blog actually belongs to Blogger (if you check your DA via the site above and get a result of 90-something, it’s almost definitely going to be because you don’t have your own domain and it’s actually showing Blogger’s DA rating).

You can purchase your own domain from about £10 per year via a site like Go Daddy, which is very simple to do.

Once you have your own domain, look for quality opportunities for links to your blog. If a brand has featured you on their website/blog for example, ask if they would mind linking back to your site.

Leaving links on other blogs (via the comments) is also another way to help increase your link profile, however please always be respectful to the blogger – we all know how much a good comment means, so make it something worthwhile and include one link (no more) if you choose to.

Linking internally and externally
As well as links into your site, the way YOU choose to link can have a positive impact on your overall SEO ranking. Google likes sites that are helpful, so only link where it’s really relevant and always, always, always try to link on relevant keywords rather than on something like ‘read more here’.

Linking to external sites is helpful for showing readers relevant articles or places they can buy certain products, but if the product has been sent to you as a PR sample, or part of a paid campaign, these should be marked as No Follow (more on that in a minute).

Wherever possible, link out on the keywords that match the web page you’ll be linking to. For example, if you’re sending the link to the Boots website for a Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara, you’d ideally link on the words ‘Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara’ within your blog post. This helps Google identify where you’re sending people – linking on ‘my favourite mascara’ isn’t as helpful and doesn’t signpost things as well.

You should also link to other posts within your own blog wherever possible (and relevant) as this helps to keep people within your own site and shows that you’re authoritative across different subjects. Again, link on keyword specific phrases if you can (e.g. ‘My New York Haul’ would link to a post on my New York haul) as this helps to indicate the content people can expect to find on the next page and will keep your bounce rates low.  

Follow vs no follow links
There are two types of links – Follow and No Follow.

Follow links tell Google that you really trust this site and you’re happy to pass on your website’s authority to it. It means that they will pay attention to this link and potentially use it when calculating which websites they should be showing in the search results for certain keywords.

No Follow indicates to Google that while you’re happy to link to the website, you’d rather not pass on your own domain authority to it. It also means that they won’t pay any attention to this link when calculating their search results. It can also indicate a paid for link. Google recently updated their guidelines to include product samples within this – it doesn’t want companies to be able to skew the search results by sending out hundreds of products, each of which then generate links in blog posts in a close period of time. So for any PR samples you receive or paid for content, ALL links should be marked as No Follow.

To make a link a No Follow, there’s a box you can tick when adding your link called ‘Add rel=’nofollow’ attribute’ which will then add the right piece of code to your link for you.

There’s a whole section of Google related to image searches, ironic considering that Google can’t actually see your pictures, only the text associated with them.

It’s really important to name your images. Don’t just leave them as the default number code (e.g. DSC001258) that your camera gives it. Re-name it to something keyword friendly that describes the image. Be specific – if you’re showing swatches of something, make sure you name it that. Or if it’s a shot of the packaging, then use that phrase. For example ‘YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipsticks new spring shades swatches on pale skin’.

When you upload them to your blog, ALWAYS make sure you give them an Alt Tag – this is what Google uses to understand what your image is of. Be literal, it should be a text description of what the image shows, ideally in around 10 words or less.

Alt Tags are also used by those with sight difficulties that use screen reading software that will read out the description of your image. I use this as my sense check for Alt Tags – does it describe my picture well enough that someone who can’t see it could get a decent idea of what it’s of? If you don’t add Alt Tags, you can be penalised by Google, so it’s well worth taking a few minutes to complete this.

Go social
More and more, social media is playing a part in the Google algorithm. It’s very much a guess and see effort at the moment, but content that gets shared on social in a big way is more likely to have a positive impact on your search profile. It’s not an exact science, just something to be aware of. Make your content easy to share by adding the Pinterest button to your blog, share blog post links across your social channels and try to create content that you think others might like to share.

Webmaster Tools
These are probably something for another post (this one is pretty long as it is!) as this is great for anyone looking to get more involved in the technical side of SEO and the more complex stuff. Webmaster Tools is another Google platform that allows you to check the overall health of your website, look for things like broken links, how your site appears to Google Bots and if there are any issues that need fixing. It will also tell you how you can fix them, so it’s a really useful to spend a few hours/days with.

It’s free to set up your account – if you already have Google Analytics installed then you will just need to link the accounts together and you’ll be good to go!

Apologies for the massive essay – thank you for reading if you made it all the way to the end! And if you have any questions/other things you’d like me to cover, please just let me know in the comments.



Healthy eating in London: Roots Juicery

Roots Juicery juice bar Fitzrovia London review
Roots Juicery juice bar Fitzrovia London review
Roots Juicery juice bar Fitzrovia London review - healthy snacks
Roots Juicery juice bar Fitzrovia London review - healthy snacks
Working in central London can be both a blessing and a bit of a curse when you’re on a healthy eating mission. There are loads of lovely places to choose from, but the temptation of burgers on every corner and Konditor and Cook brownies on the next street can sometimes make it a bit of a challenge! I mentioned adding in a few more lifestyle pieces to the blog in this post, and wanted to kick things off with some of my new healthier eating discoveries.

Juicing has been oh so trendy for a while now, with juice bars popping up left, right and centre. Roots Juicery are a new addition to the Fitzrovia area, sitting just on the corner of Goodge Street and Goodge Place (about 2 mins off Tottenham Court Road). All of their juices are cold pressed, raw, organic and unbelievably fresh. They make them in very small batches to ensure the freshness, and have a selection of 8 juices to choose from.

What’s great about these guys is that all of their juices are largely vegetables (around 70-80%), with just enough fruit to stop you gagging on the taste of liquefied kale. I tried a couple of their juices – number 2, 'The Big Cleanse', is a mix of pineapple, cucumber, apple, lemon, celery, leafy greens and romaine. It has a very light, slightly pineapple taste that would be super refreshing for a warm day. It's also super hydrating, alkalising and de-bloating.

Number 7, 'Pip Me Up',  is beetroot based with apple, carrot, beetroot, celery and parsely (don’t drink this wearing a white top) and is absolutely delicious. It’s a little earthy from the beetroot, with a touch of sweetness and one that I could easily drink every day. It's a really good immune booster, so definitely one to pick out if you're feeling a bit under the weather.

Alongside their range of ready-made juices, they also have a smoothie menu, which are blended freshly to order and a couple of nut milks that looked incredibly thick and creamy (thanks to their 25% nut content!). If you’re feeling peckish, make sure you check out the snacks – they have a range of raw and baked sweet treats that are all packed with good for you ingredients like chia seeds, quinoa and raw cacao. I took home a raw blondie (yum) which was instantly claimed by my boyfriend. He doesn’t really ‘do’ healthy cakes, so the fact that he absolutely annihilated it is testimony to how yummy it really is!

If you’re in the area, or visiting London and looking for a healthy place for a pit stop, I’d definitely recommend a trip to Roots Juicery. They’re hoping to expand out into sandwiches and salads over the next couple of months, so with any luck, it’ll be the perfect place for a summer lunch. They also do coffee, so you can get your caffeine fix alongside your juice.

Prices start at around £4.80 for a juice and £2ish for the healthier treats.

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