Primark PS...Pro Oval Blending Makeup Brushes - an affordable Artis dupe?

Primark Oval blending brushes Artis Dupe - review
Primark Oval blending brushes Artis Dupe - review
Primark Oval blending brushes Artis Dupe - review
Primark Oval blending brushes Artis Dupe - review
Primark on top, Artis on the bottom
Primark’s upcoming beauty launches are serious on point. A recent visit to their Autumn/Winter press day left me absolutely buzzing – not just because of ALL the amazing fashion items (I’m looking at you leopard print coat of dreams) but because they had some super exciting new makeup brushes that I knew you guys would love.

My mum still likes to remind me of my absolute refusal to enter a Primark when they first launched into the UK 15+ years ago, which considering my love for them now is hard to believe. Although they weren’t quite so fashion forward back then as they are now!

The new range of oval-shaped makeup brushes from PS…Pro are a definite dupe for high-end brand Artis (see my review of one of their brushes over here), but come in at less than a tenth of the cost. Prices start at just £2.50 and go up to around £4, making them a seriously affordable alternative on the high street.

First impressions are really good. The synthetic bristles are nice and dense, feel super soft and do a great job at effortlessly buffing in makeup for a seamless finish. They work equally well with both powder and liquid products, although you may find you need to use a little more product as they tend to suck up quite a bit into the bristles.

I’ve been testing out three of the sizes – the smallest of which is great for eye shadow blending, concealer or smaller areas around the nose. The medium sized one is virtually a perfect dupe for Artis’ Oval 6, making it the most multi-purpose brush of the lot. I like to use this for foundation, but it’s equally good for blusher, highlighter or your contouring products. At £3 each, it’s well worth buying several of these so you can use them for everything without having to be constantly washing your brush.

The largest-sized is best for overall foundation blending or for a big wash of bronzer across the skin. I prefer the slightly smaller brush for my foundation as I find it more precise, but this one works really well if you’re in a hurry and just want a quick finish.

Although I’ve only washed these once so far, I have to say they definitely retain their softness post-shampoo. Like the Artis ones, they do tend to grab onto product, so you need to be very thorough when you wash them, especially if you’ve used them for liquid foundation. One shampoo might not be enough, so be prepared to put a bit of effort it. It’s also best to let them dry with the bristles facing the floor so water doesn’t run into the glue – it should help them last much longer this way.

From a comparison point of view, the Primark offering is VERY similar to the Artis brushes. The handles feel a little more cheap and I suspect there aren't *quite* as many bristles used per brush head (I'm not counting them, ha ha), but the difference when you use them is very minimal.

All in all I’m very impressed with this new range of brushes from Primark. They're hitting stores as we speak, so keep an eye out as I suspect they will sell out pretty fast!

Do you like the look of the new brushes from Primark? Will you be tempted to buy some of these high end dupes?

*contains PR samples


Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks Review

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick collection review and swatches on pale skin
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick collection review and swatches on pale skin
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick collection review and swatches on pale skin
L-R Backtalk, Big Bang, 714, Firebird, Pandemonium
It’s not often a brand decides to launch 100 lipsticks on one day, but of course, there aren’t many brands like Urban Decay.

The new Vice lipstick collection sees a mix of new shades with some cult favourites, in a variety of 6 different finishes. They’ve covered off everything from a Sheer Shimmer to a Mega Matte and it’s safe to say, I’m loving them.

While the new bullet-inspired design of the casing is a bit questionable considering recent events, I’ve been trying to ignore this and instead focus on the product inside. The lipsticks themselves really do deliver in terms of pigment, shade range and ease of use – it’s going to be hard to pick out just one favourite shade, so prepare yourself for wanting LOTS of these babies.

I’ve been playing with a selection of different shades across the six types of finish and so far I think my favourite formula is the Comfort Matte. You get a decent matte finish with these, but they leave your lips feeling nice and hydrated and don’t require lots of prep for your lips before application. Backtalk is a dusty pink Comfort Matte that I’ve been wearing all week and I suspect it will turn out to be one of the more wearable hero shades.

I don’t think some of the Metallized shades will be everyone’s cup of tea – I’ve been trying out Big Bang and on me it just looks bit glitter Barbie lips, but that’s really just personal preference. That said, it’s surprisingly pigmented on the lips, something which is nice to see for a lipstick with a more shiny finish.

The five shades I have here are: Backtalk (Comfort Matte), Big Bang (Metallized), 714 (Mega Matte), Firebird (Cream) and Pandemonium (Mega Matte). I believe that 714 is a re-issue from a recent Gwen Stefani range and Big Bang has been given a new lease of life with a Metallized finish.

I've found the Mega Mattes are the only ones that need a few swipes from the bullet to get a decent colour payoff - they are SUPER matte in finish so need a bit of warming up, but once they're on the lips, they're really not budging!

You could have hours of fun swatching these at a counter, but to make life easier, Urban Decay have come up with a really fun app where you can ‘try on’ the lipsticks virtually, using a photo of yourself to see how they might look. I had a lot of fun with this one evening and it was good to see some of the shades that initially looked pretty scary were actually reasonably wearable given the right makeup. And filter. Ahem.

The Vice lipstick range is available online and in Urban Decay stores/counters now, priced £15 each. There’s also a huge range of 50 new lip pencils that match up with many of the shades so you can find an exact match with no problems.

Are you a fan of Urban Decay lipsticks? What do you think of this new collection?

*contains PR samples



A Bicester Village haul

Bicester Village luxury handbag haul
Bicester Village luxury handbag haul
Bicester Village luxury handbag haul
Bicester Village luxury handbag haul
Last Monday I made the most of a cheeky long weekend and set off for my annual Bicester Village trip with my blog wife, Grace (allthatslap). We’re both very partial to a luxury leather handbag or two, so after an early start and some M&S chocolate twists for the drive, we set off in the rain for the drive towards Oxford.

Being a Monday with biblical downpours (Bicester is all outside), we’d naively assumed it’d be quite empty, but I can assure you that was not the case! The coach parties were clearly out in force, shopping till they dropped.

Anyhow, we started off with our usual route through the village, starting at one end and working our way through to the other. I found a leopard print Karen Millen coat reduced from £225 to just £60 which fit like a glove. It’s too warm to wear it at the moment, so I’ll be keeping this bad boy back until autumn, when I’ll be happily wrapping up in my new bargain coat.

My next purchase was a beautiful grey leather bucket bag from Furla, who also had some incredible discounts on. I’d been looking at bucket style bags for a while now and the buttery soft leather on this one and dual strap options totally sold it to me. I’d initially thought about getting the pale pink one instead of the grey, but my practical side won out and the grey won. It was around 45% off of the usual retail price (£169 from £315), although they had some even better discounts on some of the sale lines.

We popped into Michael Kors where Grace found a really lovely light blue bag (might have to borrow this one!) and I picked up a cute little pouch style clutch for just £39. These normally retail for £80+, so it was a really good saving on the usual price.

My last purchase of the day (other than a Lola’s cupcake, yum) was a small Marc by Marc Jacobs cross body bag in grey with a neon yellow trim. I’d originally seen this in Selfridges a while back but couldn’t justify the purchase at the time. But on the day we went it was reduced from £175 to just £79 so I handed over my bank card quicker than I’d care to admit.

Most of the stores at Bicester are never going to be bargainous in the true sense of the word, but if you’re on the hunt for a designer item and love a good discount, I’d always recommend a visit.

If you can avoid going at the weekend, then do yourself a favour and go midweek – traffic, parking and general volume of people on a Saturday or Sunday is just unpleasant. I’ve previously made a bit of a ‘trip’ out of it by travelling up on the Sunday afternoon and staying at the Premier Inn 2 minutes’ drive away. This way you miss most of the traffic and can head into the Village bright and early on the Monday morning feeling pretty smug. If you book in advance, the Sunday nights seem to be super cheap (I think we paid £39 for the room last time) so if you’re going with a friend, it’s a cheap and cheerful way to make a bit of an event out of it.

The stock is always changing at Bicester as new lines come in and old ones get discounted more heavily so they can clear them out, so you’ll never quite know what you’ll find, but most of the stores are very helpful over the phone if you want to see what’s in stock before you go. Also bear in mind that returns can be a bit tricky if you live a long way away as most stores will only accept them to an outlet store (and many only offer a credit note), so do be sure of your purchase before handing over your card.

That’s definitely my handbag splurge over and done with for a while now. Well, at least until Christmas!



QVC Find a Beauty Brand 2016

QVC Find a beauty brand competition 2016
Calling all beauty brands! It's that time of year again where QVC start their hunt for an undiscovered beauty brand. The annual competition began in 2014 and since it launched has found amazing brands like Soapsmith, NIOD and Little Ondine.

The prize is pretty special - one lucky brand will get to bypass all the usual routes for getting onto QVC and will get three guaranteed appearances on the live QVC Channel, a one hour show on QVC Beauty, plus a stand at the 2018 QVC Customer Beauty Event attended by over 5,000 of QVC's customers. There's also mentoring from QVC and the CEW (who are acting as partner for the competition), CEW membership and a place at the 2018 CEW Beauty Awards.

It's not often an opportunity like this comes up, so if you know anyone with a beauty brand that you think the world needs to discover, please, please please, send them in the direction of the QVC Find a Beauty Brand website. QVC have had over a million satisfied customers according to recent stats, so it's a huge, beauty-loving audience you have the potential to reach.

Both NIOD and Little Ondine were winners from last year (apparently it was too hard to choose just one winner!) and I don't think they could've picked better brands. NIOD are such an interesting company - their very science based but come with hugely popular ideas -  their Photography Fluid is one of my favourite EVER products. I think I might actually be addicted. Little Ondine have made a huge success in turning peel-off nail polish into an adult-focused brand. I introduced a friend who works in a hospital to them and she absolutely loves them - the no smell, quick to dry, peel-off formula means she can now paint her nails for a night out and peel it off on the way to work the next day!

To enter the competition, brands need to visit the website and submit an entry form, along with a product sample. Entries close on 19th August, with shortlisted brands being contacted by 26th August.

You can get all the dates and details over on the QVC website, but please spread the word to anyone that you think might like to enter. It really isn't something you want to miss!

*written in collaboration with QVC



Zoella Life is Sweet bath and body collection

Zoella Life is Sweet bath and body collection review
Zoella Life is Sweet bath and body collection review
Zoella Life is Sweet bath and body collection review
I never really had myself down as a Zoella beauty fan as I'm probably double the age of most of her fans! So it was a very pleasant surprise when the latest collection arrived earlier in the week and after a quick sniff, I fell a little in love.

The Life Is Sweet collection features a small range of bath and body products, all with scents inspired by french patisseries. It's sweet and sugary but without being sickly and the almondy, macaroony smell really does seem good enough to eat.

My favourite item from the collection has to be the Life Is Sweet fragranced body mist - it's a lightly scented body spray in a very cute glass bottle. Although it doesn't last that long on the skin, at £8, it doesn't break the bank so I don't feel too guilty at spritzing loads of this on throughout the day.

The Sugar Dip bath salts and Double Creme body lotion make a very sweet combo. The bath salts have enough product for around 3-4 decent baths; just don't use them when you're hungry as you'll end up sat in the bath wishing you had a plate of cake next to you. Ahem. £6 each.

I think the Life Is Sweet cosmetic purse is something all Zoella fans will absolutely love - the lilac shade is also very macaron inspired, keeping with the overall theme of the collection. It's not particularly big, so for me if more of a coin purse size, but if you only carry around a lippie or two, then it will more than do the job.

For me, it's been really nice to discover the Zoella range. While I definitely think it's aimed at younger people, I've really enjoyed using the products I received. It's also good to see that prices are reasonably low, making it accessible to a younger audience.

You can find the full Zoella range exclusively at Superdrug, with prices starting at £5.

Have you tried any Zoella products? What are your thoughts on the range?

*contains PR samples


6 fragrances that smell like summer

6 fragrances that smell like summer
6 fragrances that smell like summer
6 fragrances that smell like summer
I'm having a bit of a fragrance obsession at the moment. With the weather changing constantly, I seem to be doing the same with my perfumes! I wanted to share a few that are currently on rotation that all evoke summery vibes. I've yet to find one that smells like the beach in a bottle, so if you know of one, please let me know!

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Nectarine Blossom - fruity nectarines are always a delicious summer treat and this new launch from Elizabeth Arden really helps to lift the spirits. It takes their classic Green Tea scent as a base and mingles it with notes of peach, apricot, nectarine and fresh bergamot. Yum. It's light, it's fruity and it's absolutely perfect to wear all the way through the summer. The 100ml EDT costs £30 and there's also a giant 500ml bottle of shower gel (£14.99) in the same fragrance so you can carry it right the way through your daily regime.

Molton Brown Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise - when I saw this one from Molton Brown, I knew it'd be a HUGE hit with my mum who adores anything Lily of the Valley scented. These delicate little flowers give off a beautifully floral aroma and Molton Brown have paired this up with notes of green mandarin, peony and sandalwood. If you love floral scents that aren't too heady, then give yourself a spritz of this and you'll be hooked. £39 50ml

Malin + Goetz Citron Vert - one of the great things about Malin + Goetz scents is that they're all designed to be unisex, so blend with your individual scent to create something unique. Citron Vert is a great example of this - the fresh, zesty notes of lime and grapefruit come out really strongly on me, whereas on my boyfriend the basil and amber is more intense. I absolutely adore citrus-based scents and I have a feeling that this little beaut is going to get every last drop squeezed out of it. I recently went to their new stand-alone store in Covent Garden (which is amazing BTW) and smothered myself head to toe in Citron Vert after a particularly humid tube journey there and left smelling seriously good instead of seriously sweaty #win. £110 100ml

Jo Malone Nashi Blossom - first up, can we all agree at just how beautiful the bottle is for this limited edition Jo Malone scent? Inspired by the Nashi Blossoms, which have a beautiful white flower with a jet black stamen, this bottle really is a keeper. It features top notes of lemon, with Nashi Blossom at the heart and white musk at the base. It's light, zesty and with a decent hint of floral and I think it's possibly my favourite Jo Malone scent to date. They recommend layering it up with either the Nectarine Blossom & Honey cologne for a fruity scent or the Dark Amber & Ginger Lily for something more woody. Like all of their limited editions, once it's gone it's gone, so make sure you stock up now if you fall in love with it! From £40.

Escentric Molecules Escentric 02 - this was initially pitched to me as smelling a bit like a gin and tonic and I'm happy to confirm that it really does! Well, minus the alcohol. Escentric Molecules are an amazing brand and make scents that really adapt to each individual. Their Molecule 01 scent is pretty iconic and often can't actually be smelled by the person wearing it, however Molecule 02 is a little more complex compared to it's single note predecessor. It mingles ambroxan with vetiver and muscone (a type of nature-identical musk) for a crisp, fresh scent that dries down to something quite warm. It's one of those scents that feels a bit 'sexy'. From £27

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue - I really like Dolce & Gabbana's fragrances; each one they create seems to be very distinct, so it's very easy to find a true favourite. Light Blue is one of mine - it's a light, fruity-floral mix that mingles notes of Sicilian citron, apples, freesia, musk and amber. The initial burst of freshness wears down to a warm, slightly musky finish. The frosted glass bottle comes with a Mediterranean-inspired light blue lid, giving a nod to the brand's Italian heritage. £69 100ml

What are your favourite summer fragrances?

*contains PR samples


Kylie Jenner SinfulColors Nail Polish Collection

Kylie Jenner SinfulColors nail polish collaboration review and swatches
Kylie Jenner SinfulColors nail polish collaboration review and swatches
I'm SO pleased to see that SinfulColors are making a re-appearance on the UK market. And their making a bit of a splash with their comeback by teaming up with Kylie Jenner to create a range of eight limited edition nail polish shades, all with a Pure Velvet Matte theme.

If you're not familiar with SinfulColors, these are seriously budget friendly, with their regular lines costing just £2 per bottle. The Kylie Jenner range is slightly more expensive at £3 each, but they really won't break the bank.

There's a great mix of soft pastel shades and punchy vibrants to choose from - my favourites from the four shades I have here are Kurtsey (the pastel grey blue) and V.I.Peach (peach with a slight shimmer), but Krushed (aubergine) and Silhouette (lilac) some a very close second.

All of the shades, with the exception of V.I.Peach only needed two coats for a really opaque, quality finish - V.I.Peach would definitely benefit from a  third coat if you have time. The brush on these is medium-sized, so works well to cover the nails in three strokes, and they dry nice and quickly in between coats.

While the collection might have been named 'Pure Velvet Matte', the polishes themselves have a glossy finish and tend to wear for three days on me before chipping, which is about average.

There are going to be four limited edition collections in total (this is the second of four), with one launching each month, so keep your eyes peeled over July and August for news of what else is coming up.

All in all I'm really impressed with these. Nail polish has always been my little treat when I feel I need a pick me up and it's so good to see another affordable brand back on the high street.

You can find SinfulColors exclusively at Superdrug.

Do you like the look of the new SinfulColors/Kylie Jenner collaboration?

*contains PR samples


3 summer makeup collections you need in your life

Kiko, Elizabeth Arden and Smith & Cult limited edition summer products
Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze bronzer review
Kiko, Elizabeth Arden and Smith & Cult limited edition summer products
Smith & Cult The Tainted lip stains review
Kiko, Elizabeth Arden and Smith & Cult limited edition summer products
 It's been pissing it down for the last week, so although we might be well into June, I'm not exactly feeling many summery vibes. So rather than rely on the weather to provide all the summer feels, I've picked out a few new makeup launches that will really make you feel like summer is here.

Kiko's current limited edition collection is all about the glowing skin. The Desert Moon Highlighter is a seriously good Guerlain dupe - gently swipe your brush over the highlighter pearls and apply to anywhere that naturally catches the light. Hello Miss Glow. At £13.90, you really, really, really need a set of these in your life. Another great product from the range is the Desert Dunes Trio Baked Blush. These tri-tone baked blushers give a hint of warmth to the skin and can be built up for a deeper flush of colour. There are three shades to choose from (I have Impulsive Mauve) and they last for absolutely hours once on the skin. Do be a bit gentle with these though as my first once smashed into tiny pieces, so I'd recommend using them at home rather than keeping them in your makeup bag.

I always love the summer collections from Elizabeth Arden, they make such easy to wear shades and always in beautiful packaging. This year is no different with their Sunset Bronze collection. The hero product for me has to be the Sunset Bronze Prismatic Bronzing Powder - this multi-tone bronzer adds just the right amount of colour and doesn't have any orange hue to it. It's got a lovely shimmer effect, so works well dusted over the decollete area too. £28  For the lips, the Prismatic Lip Glosses really are something else. I've never seen something with such an unusual finish to it that's still really wearable. These are almost holographic in finish - the deeper shades look lovely worn alone, whereas Moonlight Kiss looks amazing dotted over the top of a bright lip in an ombre finish. £18

I've featured Smith & Cult's nail polishes several times before, but I wanted to draw attention to their new The Tainted. These are lightly glossy, tinted lip stains that have a very natural finish to them. If you're hunting for a bold, matte effect, these won't be up your street, however I love them for a daytime lip look. They really enhance your natural lip shade and the glossy effect lasts for absolutely hours. The packaging is also very luxe feeling, giving a nod to their iconic heavy lidded polishes. £20

Do you like the look of these new collections? Which one's your favourite?


Introducing MixNature - custom beauty products on a budget

MixNature custom skincare review
MixNature custom skincare review
MixNature custom skincare review
While I might love the idea of homemade beauty products, it’s not often that I actually ever get around to doing it. Back in the day, I was a super-efficient ‘perfume’ maker courtesy of my grandad’s rose garden and a big pot of water. Sadly my skills haven’t moved on much from the age of 7, so I tend to leave it to the experts where beauty products are concerned.

MixNature have come up with an innovative hybrid – they create the basic products and then give you the ability to customise them yourself. Their capsule range of skin, body and hair care comes targeted at different needs (e.g. dry skin or coloured hair), but then you have the option to customise each one with up to six ingredients from a list of 50. So if you fancy having your moisturiser with an uplifting grapefruit oil or adding some hyaluronic acid for extra moisture, it’s really easy to do so.

There are thousands of different combinations you could develop, but to help make life a bit easier, MixNature categorise all of the added ingredients by type and need and also include some basic information about the properties and best uses. This makes it really easy to see all of the ingredients that might be good for spot-prone skin for example or for those that prefer a bit of help with pigmentation issues. You’re guided through the process in a really simple way, but with enough information to allow you to choose exactly what’s right for you. I think this might be a great option for anyone with allergies to certain essential oils or product ingredients.

I found the products to be decent quality and surprisingly affordable. A 50ml face cream costs £9.40 for example and then any extra ingredients you add are around 40p each (this can fluctuate a little depending on the offers they have running).

The products are all natural, vegan and freshly created – they also manage to ship out pretty quickly given the fact you can customise each one - my order arrived within 3 days.  Everything I’ve tried so far has been great – the face cream for dry skin is a great night moisturiser for me and the hand cream is hydrating and soothing without being overly oily. My one small grumble is that the packaging for the hand cream is a bit fiddly – I’d much prefer a squeezy tube to a standard pot.

You can find MixNature exclusively online via their website. If you love natural products, or have always fancied mixing up your own shampoo recipe, then I’d highly recommend giving them a try.

*contains PR samples



NYX Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipsticks

NYX lip lingerie liquid lipsticks
NYX lip lingerie liquid lipsticks
NYX lip lingerie liquid lipsticks swatches
NYX lip lingerie liquid lipsticks lip swatches
It’s taken me a while, but I think I’ve done it. I’ve finally found ‘The One’. The perfect liquid lipstick that lasts for absolutely hours but doesn’t leave you with lips that look like you’ve just spent 2 weeks in Death Valley minus the lip balm. Say hello to NYX Lip Lingerie.

There’s been a lot of hype about the Lip Lingerie collection from NYX since their recent launch, but I have to say, they definitely live up to it. These creamy liquid lipsticks dry down to a matte finish that really doesn’t budge once dry, have a very even finish and 12 shades of nude inspired shades. There’s very much a Kylie Jenner lip theme happening with these little beauts, which is something I’ve stayed clear of previously (brown lipstick doesn’t work for me) but there are a couple of shades that haven’t left my handbag since I got my grubby mitts on them.

My favourite shade of them all is Exotic. It’s got a reddy tone to it that help warm up pale skin and doesn’t leave me looking like a corpse in the same way that shade Lace Detail did (this one is NOT my friend). Don’t let the red put you off though, it’s still incredibly wearable and isn’t too bold to put you off wearing it all day, every day. It also made it through a rather epic birthday bash last weekend, surviving several hours of gin and tonics, a giant plate of jerk chicken AND a piece of birthday cake before needing a tiny top up. And even then, I probably could’ve gotten away with it as the colour had faded nice and evenly, instead of leaving what looked like a giant lip liner ring (which has happened to me with so many other products before).

At £6.50, you really, really, really need at least one Lip Lingerie in your life. They’re not the most hydrating of products, which tends to go with the matte lippie theme, but you need minimal lip prep before you apply. I usually just add a tiny hint of balm, blot off the excess and then add a thin coat all over my lips. The doe foot applicator is nice and precise, so you can get a decent lip shape without the need for brushes.

You can find the full NYX Lingerie collection via Boots, the NYX website and at Selfridges.

Have you tried these liquid lipsticks from NYX?

*contains PR samples



Last-Minute Father's Day Gift Guide

Father's Day gift guide
Father's Day gift guide
Father's Day gift guide
Ok folks, it’s one week to Father’s Day and that means gift guide time. Yes it’s last minute, yes that was (mostly) intentional and yes, you might want a few of these goodies for yourselves. My Dad is my hero, but an awkward person to buy gifts for, mostly because he never wants anything more exotic than a CD. Last year I took him to see The Who in Hyde Park which we both loved and made a really nice day out for a father/daughter bonding session.

What that does mean is that this year might be a little less exciting in terms of his present – it’s currently looking like a giant box of Hotel Chocolate Turkish Delight, some aftershave and a super spicy lunch at his favourite thai restaurant.

So here are a few of my top ‘Dad gift’ picks if you’re still hunting around for ideas for the big day. I’ve tried to cater for all budgets, and let’s face it, most Dads just want to spend a day with their child (especially if you’re grown up and no longer live at home, ha ha) so a homemade meal and a giant hug often go further than any shop bought gift.

Aftershave – it’s a classic gift idea but one that I think most Dad’s will appreciate. Dolce & Gabbana’s The One smells warm and spicy without being overpowering. The grapefruit, basil and coriander top notes help to lift the cedarwood and tobacco base notes and the heavy, smoked glass bottle looks really expensive. 30ml EDT starts at £40, but if you can push the budget a bit, then a 100ml bottle is £66ish, making it much better value. On the other hand, the new Mr. Burberry scent is more of a classic fragrance for men, but one that manages to be both light and warm at the same time. Again, there’s hints of grapefruit notes at the top, with vetiver and smokey guiac wood at the base. It’s a similar price to The One – 30ml is £40 and 100ml is £65.

Gig tickets/music gifts – musical gifts always seem to go down well with my family – I have my parents to thank for my obsession with 60s and 70s rock bands! Tickets to see their favourite band will always be a special treat, but if there’s nothing coming up you think your Dad might like, an autobiography of their favourite artist would also be a great pick.

A family photo – for a really meaningful gift on a small budget, a framed family photo can be a lovely gift. It could be one taken from a recent event, when you were little or even taken especially for the occasion. Grab your photo, pick out a nice frame (TK Maxx and Wilko do great budget ones) and you’re all set to go.

Pamper kit – more and more men seem to be up for a bit of a pamper session, so why not treat Dad to a massage voucher at a local spa or a really good haircut somewhere? The Bomb have got some cute gift sets for men this Father’s Day. Inside the ‘Distinguished Gentleman’ kit features five products that have been created especially for men, for just £12.99. There’s the Dapper Chap Soap, Wave Hello Shower Gel, The Distinguished Gentleman Body Lotion, Man Grenade and The Big Blue Soap. It comes ready gift wrapped, so there’s minimal effort on your part!

Chocolate/sweets – if your Dad is anything like mine, he will say that he doesn’t have a sweet tooth but will quite happily munch his way through a bag of pic n mix if you leave it lying around (I did this once and came home after work to find what had been a very full bag with only 2 white chocolate mice left in it). Hotel Chocolat has some great options for all budgets and tastes – from my Dad’s favourite Turkish Delight, right through to some spicy dark chocolate chilli chocolate that will certainly liven things up a bit!

Experience days – there are tons of vouchers you can buy online right up to the last minute, covering everything from Ferrari race days through to parachute jumps. You could also make your own voucher for something really personal to your dad. Maybe there’s a brewery or vineyard nearby that does tours you could take him on, or the promise of his favourite meal cooked for him – pick something that appeals to his hobbies and you can’t go far wrong.

What will you be buying your Dad this Father’s Day?

*contains PR samples


Glossybox June 2016 review

Glossybox UK June 2016 review and contents
Glossybox UK June 2016 review and contents
Glossybox UK June 2016 review and contents
It’s been a while since I reviewed a beauty box as to be completely honest, for the past few months, I think they’ve been a bit rubbish. However, this month’s Glossybox arrived the other day and I’m pleased to say it’s miles ahead of others I’ve come across recently.

There’s a very big summer theme going on with the contents, and a good mixture of well known and less obvious brands.

The star product from my box is a travel-sized tube of Origins Gin-Zing Moisturiser. I believe there are four different Origins products available, so you might get a slightly different one, but it’s a treat to get a high end skincare brand in a size that’ll actually last for a few weeks. This zesty pick-me-up for your skin will be getting safely stowed away in my holiday bag  - it’s the perfect size to take away!

Another great item for the summer has to be the Ladival Sun Protection Spray SPF15. This is a full-size bottle worth almost £20 and offers a non-greasy SPF for the body. It’s perfume free, so good for sensitive skins and gives protection against four types of UV rays.  Although I normally stick to a SPF30 and over, this’ll be a great product for my boyfriend who tans within 30 seconds of going out into the sun.

Carrying on the suncare theme is a cute little tube of De Bruyere After Sun Lotion. It’s another full-size product, but it’s still small enough to be hand luggage friendly. The exotic Monoi scent and hydrating vitamin E are the perfect combination of soothing and calming. Trust me when I say that this smells AMAZING.

Konjac sponges have become really popular over the past few years and are very big over in Japan. They offer a gentler way to cleanse and exfoliate and are made from the natural fibres of konjac, a type of Asian root vegetable. The one in the box normally retails for £6.99 and can be used over and over again in your daily cleansing routine.

The last proper item in my box is a full-sized lip and cheek tint from Emite Makeup, who I must admit, I’ve never heard of before. The deep red shade is a bit bold for me to use on my cheeks, but I’ll definitely give it a try on my lips! Glossybox list its retail value as £12.50. There’s also a single use sachet of Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner (rrp £1.99) which is a nice added extra. If you’re going away on holiday soon, shove this in your beach bag and pop on after a day in the sun to help calm and condition frazzled hair.

All in all I think this is a really good box and great value for money. Fingers crossed next month’s continues that theme! Glossybox costs £10 per month plus postage.

What do you think of this month’s Glossybox?

*contains PR samples


My body and me: a change of mind set

Playing on the swings
Lunch salads at the detox kitchen in London
Today’s post is a bit of a personal one, but it’s one I’ve wanted to share for a while now. I’ve talked a little in the past about my relationship with my body and the ups and downs of my weight and if I’m honest, it’s something that’s never very far from my mind.

A random post on Facebook this morning prompted me to actually sit down and put my thoughts to paper, so to speak. It was focussed on ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods and why ‘clean’ eating was the way forward. And it made me angry. Really f**king angry.

For years and years, my attitude has always been that certain foods are ‘bad’ and should be avoided, or heaven forbid if they get eaten, then they come with a massive portion of guilt afterwards. A feeling of disgust at myself for eating that bit of cake or ploughing through a bag of peanut butter M&Ms and a total hatred for the way I look.

What I’ve finally realised (and quite recently), is that there’s no good or bad when it comes to food. Food is just food. It’s something to fuel our bodies with and make sure it runs properly. All of the positive and negative connotations that come with eating certain things are all created by ourselves. A blueberry doesn’t see itself as a ‘good’ food, much as a Mars bar doesn’t see itself as ‘bad’. We may feel slimmer, lighter, more healthy when we focus on eating more fresh fruit and veg, but that doesn’t mean that we should punish ourselves for eating a pizza or tucking into our favourite chocolately treat. I think that the whole good/bad thing completely skews our own perceptions of ourselves.

We (I do, at the very least) end up with lower self-worth because we feel guilty about eating certain things, which not only leads to a negative body image but often sets ourselves up for failure in the long run. How many times have you tried to lose weight, eaten something ‘off plan’ and then decided you might as well give up that day as you’ve ruined it already. And then face plant a tear and share chocolate twist (with absolutely no sharing involved).

This summer I’ve decided it’s time to change my attitude completely. For me, there are no more ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, but instead I’m focusing on eating to nourish my body. Giving it the protein, healthy fats, carbs and lots of nutritious fruit and veggies that it needs. That doesn’t mean that I’m cutting out cheese or gluten or chocolate – far from it. Instead, these are just another type of food. One I’ll attempt to eat a bit less of, purely from a health point of view, but no longer because they are seen as evil diet saboteurs.

I’m making a commitment to exercise. One that’s actually achievable and (mostly) enjoyable. I’ve joined an online personal training programme (Frank Personal Training - not sponsored in any way!) where positivity and accountability are both encouraged. It’s a total mind set change for me as I’ve been all about the self-hate for so long that it’s hard to stop those thoughts, but I really am trying. And I’m trying hard to make it less about a number on the scale and more about a feeling of health, fitness and (hopefully) smaller trousers. Where I pat myself on the back for being able to do 5 press ups instead of half of one (true story).

As for all the self-hatred about the way I look, I’m trying to be kinder to myself. A couple of extra inches around the waist isn’t the be all and end all of life and there’s far more to me than just that. It’s time to give myself a break, stop looking in the mirror and throwing hateful words at myself. I worry that one day I’ll get older and look back on these days and see what a waste of an opportunity it’s all been. I spend so much time telling myself I’ll wear ‘this’ when I get back down to a certain weight, but what if that day never comes? I don’t want to wait any more. I want to be free. To feel happy and to love myself a bit more.

So it’s time for a change. A change for the better and a change for the happier.



Bare Minerals Skinsorials Skincare Range

Bare Minerals Skinsorials skincare range review
When Bare Minerals invited me to the launch of their new skincare collection, I must admit I was intrigued. I’ve been using their foundations on and off for around 8 years now, so was excited to see how they’d tackle a skincare range. It can sometimes be a bit hit and miss when it comes to skincare from cosmetics brands but I’m so pleased to say that Bare Minerals have really hit the nail on the head with their new products.

It’s a capsule collection of cleansers, moisturisers and a treatment serum, with different ranges targeted for different skin needs. They’ve carried through their brand philosophy of promoting skin health, good ingredients and helping women to feel beautiful into the skincare range, with a clear focus on healthy, glowing skin.

The Skinlongevity Vital Infusion is the hero product from the range and one that can really be used by any age or any skin type. It features a key ingredient called ‘Long Life Herb’, which comes from the Japanese Island of Okinawa. The women of Okinawa live longer than anywhere else in the world and it’s something they put down to their daily intake of the ‘Long Life Herb’. The potent extract from the herb has been used in the Skinlongevity Vital Infusion to help add vitality and radiance to the skin and after using it for a few weeks, I’ve been really impressed with the overall effect on my skin. It has much higher mineral and vitamin content than superfoods like kale and spinach, so you can see why the ladies of Okinawa love it so much!

Another favourite of mine from the range is  the Total Cleansing Oil. This is a really lovely, soothing oil-based cleanser that removes all traces of makeup without stripping the skin. It’s packed full of bilberry, borage and cucumber oils (who knew that cucumber had an oil?!) and has a very gentle herbal scent to it. I tend to use it at night to get rid of the dirt of the day and then layer up the Skin Longevity Vital Infusion serum and whatever face oil I’m using on top.

The Clay Chameleon cleanser is also an interesting one. It changes from a clay to a cream consistency when mixed with a little water and really helps to draw out any impurities in the skin for a super deep cleanse. As my skin isn’t overly oily, I’ve been using it a couple of times a week for a deep cleansing treatment which has worked really well for me, but you could easily use it more often if you suffer from a more congested complexion.

There are four different moisturisers in the range, each with a different texture and consistency that are targeted at different skin types. True Oasis is the lightest in texture and is an oil-free moisturiser best for oily/combination skins, whereas Butter Drench is the richest and works best for very dry skins. I fall somewhere in the middle so have been using Bare Haven for when my skin is a bit dehydrated or verging on the drier side, but will switch up to Smart Combination in the summer as it’s a bit lighter in texture and hydration.

Products start from £17 and go up to £45 for the Skinlongevity serum. You can find the range exclusively at Debenhams at the moment, both online and in store.

What do you think of this new range from Bare Minerals?

*contains PR samples



YSL Vinyl Couture Mascaras Review

YSL Vinyl Couture mascaras review
YSL Vinyl Couture mascaras review
YSL Vinyl Couture mascaras review
YSL Vinyl Couture mascaras review
The thought of coloured mascara has often given me flashbacks to dodgy school discos in the 90s where I went all out blue. Blue lahes, blue eye shadow and blue hair mascara. Sexy. Anyhow, YSL have managed to completely overhaul the coloured mascara trend and bring it right back on point. Just in time for festival season.

The new Vinyl Couture Mascara range sees nine new mascaras launching. There’s your classic black, gold and silver top coats, some serious brights and a couple of wearable, more muted shades.

At first glance, some of these look a *tiny* bit scary (I’m looking at you hot pink mascara). And believe me when I say that the colour pay off on these is insanely good. The electric blue and bright pink really do translate onto the lashes thanks to the innovative high impact, lacquer-like formula YSL have used for these. It’s removed the need for any sort of white base that often comes with coloured mascaras and instead allows you to go straight onto your lashes for a really bold look.

I quite like the blue shade as an alternative summer look and while the pink is pushing it too far for me, I think this would make a fantastic contrast against deeper skin tones. They’d also work nicely used on the lower lashes with black on top for a cheeky pop of colour, making it much more wearable than an all over look.

In contrast, the aubergine ('I'm the Unpredictable') and green ('I'm the Excitement') shades are a lot more subtle, but so much less stark than traditional black. As part of the launch event I trialled the aubergine shade on my lashes and while it didn’t look overtly purple, it provided a really nice change of tone and was very flattering on everyone that tried it.

The glittery shades are a whole other ball game – they’re billed as topcoats, so you can customise your lash look with hints of glitter. Perfect for party season, or just those days when you feel the need for a bit of glitter. I'm the Storm has a black base to it with pewter glitter flecked through it, whereas I'm the Fire is gold, gold, gold. There’s a look on the YSL website showing Cara Delevigne with the gold shade packed onto her lower lashes and it looks absolutely stunning. I’d highly recommend buying at least one of the glittery shades to add to your mascara wardrobe – they really add something a bit different and the glitter stays on your lashes, not on your cheeks or in your eyes.

Weirdly, the only shade out of the whole lot that I’d give a miss was the black one. While it’s a very vivid black, I found it a bit of a wet formula and it clumped quite a lot on my lashes. I’d stick to their False Lash effect mascara if you’re after a black one, but do check out the coloured shades (and buy at least one!), you won’t regret it.

YSL Vinyl Couture Mascaras cost £25 each and can be found across YSL counters.

*contains PR samples



June 2016 magazine freebies

Magazine Freebies June 2016
A lunchtime walk yesterday confirmed that it's well and truly magazine freebie season again. The past few months have been a bit crap in terms of beauty freebies, but it seems as though virtually every magazine has got something on the cover!

The highlight for me has to be Elle Magazine as it includes an exclusive Benefit brow product that has yet to be released. The Goof Proof Brow Pencil promises to be quick and easy to use and pretty foolproof. It's a decent mini size, so good for trialling and deciding if you want to purchase the full-size version once it launches later this month.

The only downside is that you can't see which shade you're going to get as the product is hidden behind opaque promotional packaging. I ended up with shade 6, which appears to be the darkest one they do, so I have no chance of being able to use this. *sad face* They've also thrown in a free brow wax at Debenhams which is a nice touch, although you do have to pay for one wax first and will then get your second trip for free.

Other freebies include:

InStyle: One of 5 EYEKO products, including Fat Liner, skinny liner, mascara and brow gel. They're worth £12 each.

Tatler - a choice of three pairs of sunglasses (perfect for holiday season!)

Marie Claire - 15ml tubes of either Elemis Hydra Boost Day Cream or Hydra Nourish Night Cream

I'm hoping Glamour might also have a freebie on the cover as it's been a while since they did one, so I'll update this post if I spot anything. My newsagent didn't seem to have the latest issue yet...

What do you think of this month's freebies? Will you be buying any of these magazines this month?


M&S Summer Beauty Box

M&S summer beauty box contents and review
M&S summer beauty box contents and review
Beauty gifts with purchase are a sure fire way of getting me to part with my money, even if my current stash is at maximum levels. To celebrate the Queen’s birthday in June, M&S have got an absolute cracker of a beauty box, which can be purchased for just £10 when you spend £40 or more on clothing, beauty or home.

The contents of the box are worth over £120, so it’s well worth adding to your basket if you’re planning a cheeky shopping session. It will be available both online and in-store between 9th and 13th June, so there’s no risk of missing out if you’re not able to get to a shop in person between those dates.

Inside the box is a mix of full-size products and really good travel sizes, making it perfect for any summer trips your got coming up. I’ve listed the full contents below, but my top picks from the box would have to be the Island Escape EDT which smells AMAZING and the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (everyone needs a bottle of this in their lives). The Ultrasun Face is also the perfect size to keep in your handbag for emergency top ups on sunny days (just don’t manage to miss a tiny bit of your forehead like I did last weekend and end up with a very sexy burnt strip. FAIL.).

Full box contents:

Swell Ultimate Protect & Renew Serum – travel mini
Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Tonic – travel mini
Philip Kingsley Citrus Sunshine Swimcap – travel mini
Pure Instant Radiance Hot Cloth Cleanser – travel mini
REN Instant Firming Beauty Shot – travel mini
Island Escape Eau de Toilette
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse – trial size
Ultrasun Face SPF30 – travel mini
Pur Correcting Primer Illuminate & Glow – travel mini
M&S Sun Smart Sun Lotion SPF30 – travel mini
Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Quick Dry Top Coat – full-size
Stila Lip Glaze Raspberry – full-size
Nails Inc Gel One Coat Nail Polish – full-size
Percy & Reed Volumising No Oil Oil – travel mini

What do you think of this limited edition beauty box from M&S? Will you be adding one to your shopping basket?

*contains PR samples



A Summery Primark Haul

Summer Primark fashion haul
Summer Primark fashion haul
Summer Primark fashion haul
Summer Primark fashion haul
Summer Primark fashion haul
You know how the story goes. You pop into Primark for socks and before you know it you're leaving with a giant bag of stuff and a much lighter wallet. Oops.

A recent lunchtime sock expedition  to Primark saw me being sucked into three floors of summery goodness and it's safe to say a haul was in order. It felt a bit like supermarket sweep as there was so much to cover in an hour lunch break but I'm pretty happy with my purchases. Although I fully regret not getting the Little Mermaid PJs. *runs back to Primark*

Slogan sun hats are a big thing right now thanks to designers like Eugenia Kim, but Primark have done us all a favour and made an oversized floppy straw hat with 'Hello Summer' written on it for a fiver. Yup. Five English pounds.

While perusing the accessories, the straw beach bag of dreams caught my eye, winking at me with its two tone pink pom poms from across the room. At the moment I feel like this might be the best £9 I've ever spent on a bag - I just hope the handles are strong enough to cope with being lugged around all day as I kind of want to use it as a real bag and not just delegate it to the beach.

Speaking of bags, I somehow managed to buy another one, this time in the form of a heavily embellished cotton bucket bag. I love the colour scheme and detailing on it and you'd never think it came for Prinark for under a tenner.

I also picked up a tasseled statement necklace in similar tones as my bag - I think I was having a bit of a pink day that day! Two embroidered summer tops and some Wonder Woman socks later and that was me done.

I ran out of time to look at the shoes and home sections so I reckon I might have to pay another trip next week to see what I missed.

Have you found any good buys in Primark lately?

Also see: my thoughts on the new PS...Pro makeup range from Primark 
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