A Jewellery Design Challenge: Win An Original Necklace Worth £500

smart meter design jewellerysmart meter design jewellery
Wearing the smart meter jewellery
As I mentioned in last weeks post, I recently designed a piece of jewellery with the team over at Smart Energy GB and some help from the very talented jewellers at Tomfoolery.

Today I've got a fantastic giveaway for you as you can win one of these charm necklaces for yourself! Only 6 have been made, so five lucky readers will be able to own something unique and unusual that you won't find anywhere else on the high street.

The necklace itself is all made from 9 carat gold, with a beautiful aquamarine stone set in it. You'd never think that the pieces were actually from the inside of an old electricity meter at first glance, but they were all taken from casts of the original parts and then turned into luxurious gold.

It has an RRP of £500, and I think would make a really lovely Christmas gift for someone special (or yourself, obviously!).

To enter simply answer the question on the Rafflecopter widget below. You can also gain extra entries for following my social channels or tweeting your entry.

The giveaway will run until 11.59pm on Sunday 18th December. It's open to residents of England, Scotland and Wales only.

More about smart meters...

Behind this project is a serious message about the roll out of smart meters. Smart meters are replacing the old analogue meters most of us have in our homes. Every household in Great Britain will be offered a smart meter by their energy supplier by 2020, at no extra cost.

Smart meters are available to all homes. If you are a renter you can still get a smart meter. If your name is on the bill you can just contact your energy supplier. If your landlord pays the bill they will need to speak to the energy supplier.

What are the benefits of smart meters?

Having smart meters installed means an end to estimated bills and no more phoning in manual meter readings.
Smart meters come with a handy in-home display. The smart meter in home display shows how much energy you are using and the cost in pounds and pence.

If you are a prepayment customer you will be able to top up your credit online, over the phone or as you do now by visiting your local shop.

So while I have been given the chance to create some stunning pieces of jewellery from the inner workings of an old analogue meter, by 2020 we can all be part of the smart meter revolution sweeping the country.

To upgrade to smart meters you should contact your energy supplier to find out when they will be able to fit them in your home.

Terms & Conditions:
1. The promoter is: Smart Metering Communications Body Limited (trading as Smart Energy GB), company no. 8455995 whose registered office is at 1 Alfred Mews, London W1T 7AA.
2. Employees of Smart Energy GB or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
3. The competition is open to residents of England, Scotland and Wales only.
4. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
5. Closing date for entry will be midnight on 18 December 2016. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
7. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
8. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
9. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable.
10. Winners will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter software.
11. The winner will be notified by email within 2 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
12. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
13. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
14. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
15. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law.
17. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
18. The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the promoters registered address.
19. If aged under 16 please ensure that you have parental permission for your data name and e-mail address to be supplied to the promoter.
20. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Soap & Glory Christmas Collection

Soap & Glory Christmas Gifts 2016
Soap & Glory Christmas Gifts 2016
I always look forward to see what Soap & Glory are bringing out for Christmas. They really bring some fun to gifting and their trademark pink certainly livens things up a little! This year there's the usual great line up, with prices starting at just £5.

Inside the Pink Pamper, you'll find six minis for face and body, including Face, Soap and Clarity Detox Face Wash, Hand Food Hand Cream, Heel Genius Foot Cream, Clean On Me Shower Gel, The Scrub Of Your Life Body Scrub and The Righteous Butter Body Butter. The triangular bag is also a fun one - it's an unusual shape for a toiletries bag but there's no reason why you can make it work! It's certainly generously sized enough to fit lots of goodies in.

My favourite of the two I have here to show you is the Foam and For-Tune musical tin. Again, this one has lots of minis of their favourite products inside, including Sugar Crush Body Cream, Body Scrub and Body Wash, plus Clean On Me Shower Gel, The Righteous Butter Body Butter and a 50ml The Scrub of Your Life.  The reusable tin also plays a very festive tune when you hit the little red button on top, but I won't spoil the surprise by telling you what it is! Just be warned it's quite loud when you set it off. £16

Other gifts I've seen in boots that look great at the Soaper Star, which is packed full of body treats (including three full-sized ones) and the Take Your Pink which is a great stocking filler.

I know lots of you will be waiting on their star gift that comes around every year (see last year's one here) and I'm waiting for a release date on this bad boy so I'll keep you updated with as much info as I can.

Are you a Soap & Glory fan?

*Contains PR samples


A Jewellery Design Challenge - the finished result!

Smart Meter Jewellery designed by Kat Clark, Taislany and Aftab
wearing smart meter jewellery
Kat Clark Smart Meter jewellery design
Kat Clark Smart Meter jewellery design
Kat Clark Smart Meter jewellery design
Kat Clark, Taislany and Aftab wearing their smart meter jewellery
A little while back I asked for your help with a jewellery design challenge. The team over at Smart Energy GB had asked me to design a piece of jewellery out of the parts of an old style electricity meter and it wasn't an easy task!

I've been working on a design that I thought matched up with my own style - I like my jewellery to be quite delicate and simple but with an unusual edge to it.

Today I get to show you the finished piece and I'd love to hear what you think.

My inspiration was a charm style necklace, with lots of little things layered up together. I chose three pieces in the end, which feature an unusual pronged part of the meter, plus a small size washer that held lots of the parts together. To add some extra interest, I added in a triangular aquamarine stone (also my birth stone) set in a gold band.

The necklace is made out of 9 carat gold and was created by taking casts of the original metal parts and transforming them into precious gold pieces. You can actually see the part number on the golden pronged piece if you look really closely.

I'm so pleased with how they've turned out and I'm really excited to be able to give 5 of you the chance to win one for yourself. The giveaway will launch early next week, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

You can also see what my fellow bloggers Aftab and Taislany created as part of the challenge over on their blogs.

Behind this project is a serious message about the rollout of smart meters. Smart meters are replacing the old analogue meters most of us have in our homes. Every household in Great Britain will be offered a smart meter by their energy supplier by 2020, at no extra cost.

Smart meters are available to all homes. If you are a renter you can still get a smart meter. If your name is on the bill you can just contact your energy supplier. If your landlord pays the bill they will need to speak to the energy supplier.

What are the benefits of smart meters?

Having smart meters installed means an end to estimated bills and no more phoning in manual meter readings
Smart meters come with a handy in-home display. The smart meter in home display shows how much energy you are using and the cost in pounds and pence
If you are a prepayment customer you will be able to top up your credit online, over the phone or as you do now by visiting your local shop

So while I have been given the chance to create some stunning pieces of jewellery from the inner workings of an old analogue meter, by 2020 we can all be part of the smart meter revolution sweeping the country.

To upgrade to smart meters you should contact your energy supplier to find out when they will be able to fit them in your home.

Make sure you enter my giveaway when it launches next week!

*written in collaboration with Smart Energy GB


Christmas Gift Guide for Makeup Lovers

Christmas gift guide for makeup lovers
Christmas gift guide for makeup lovers
Christmas gift guide for makeup lovers
Finding gift ideas for makeup addicts is pretty easy - the hardest bit is narrowing it down to just a few to show off some of my favourites! I've tried to pick out a selection from a range of brands and across lots of different price points, so there's something here for everyone.

You'll be able to see my skincare gift guide next week, along with some stocking filler ideas. If you're hunting for gifts for a foodie, then you need to check out this post over here... But without further ado, onto the makeup! 

Burt’s Bees Nature’s Kiss lip set – Burt’s Bees lip balm are such a handbag staple, so it’s lovely to see them mixing things up a little with this duo of lip colours. Inside is a Sedona Sands Lip Crayon and a Peony Lip Shimmer. The crayons are fully pigmented, whereas the Lip Shimmers give more of a sheen with a hint of colour. Both work equally well alone, but also look fab layered together! £9.99

PS Strobe Crayons – at only £3, this kit is such a bargain! You’ll find three different highlighter crayons inside Primark’s handy kit, which are perfect for popping in your handbag for use on the go. They also have a similar set for contouring so why not combine the two for the ultimate sculpting set!
OPI Breakfastat Tiffany’s minis set – OPI mini sets are my favourite. Not only does it allow you to try multiple shades for around the same price as one of their full-size polishes, it also means you might actually finish one! These four shades all come from the recent Breakfast at Tiffany’s collection: I Believe in Manicures, Apartment For Two, Rich & Brazilian and Got The Mean Reds. The set is usually £14.95 but Just My Look have it for less than £10. 

Pixiwoo FACE book – YouTube sensations Sam and Nic Chapman have released their first every beauty book and I think they’ve done a really great job with this! It mingles a lot of top tips and mini tutorials, alongside some great diagrams and how to’s. It’s split into different sections of the face, so if you’re looking for how to create the perfect base, or want to perfect the ultimate smoky eye, it’s all there and beautifully presented. Although they might be famous for their video content, I think they’ve done a great job at translating that into a written format and everything is very easy to follow. You can also link up to an interactive app for more detail, which is a nice touch. £9 Christmas gift guide for makeup lovers
Christmas gift guide for makeup lovers
Christmas gift guide for makeup lovers Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Crystal Mirror   - this is everything you’d expect a product from Joan Collins to be – blingy, gold and fab-u-lous. It’s surprisingly heavy, and feels very good quality. The black velvet pouch it comes wrapped in also means it will stay nicely protected in your handbag. £33

PUR Mascara Trifecta – is there such a thing as too much mascara? I think not. PUR have pulled together three of their fab formulas in one gift set, giving you the chance to try them all for yourself and see which one you like the best. There’s a Big Look, Triple Threat and Fully Charged Magnetic Mascara included, so whether you like lots of volume or long fluttery lashes, they’ve got you covered. £15

Laura Geller Gilded Honey Illuminator – a few weeks ago I head the pleasure of meeting one of the top Laura Geller makeup trainers when she came to visit their new UK counter. Apparently Gilded Honey is one of their top sellers EVER and after trying it out, I can fully see why. The baked highlighter gives a beautiful sheen and the shade will work with virtually every complexion. Any beauty lover will love this in their stocking, but I’d recommend buying one for yourself too! £21

Leighton Denny Keepsake Collection Minis – M&S’s beauty section is such a good place to go for gifts right now. I could have filled an entire gift guide with options from them! Leighton Denny are often a brand I overlook in favour of OPI or Essie, but the quality is great and the shade selection really good. This gift set has five mini bottles with a mix of colours and top coats and will save you £5 on buying them separately. £20  

Real Techniques Bold Metals collection – a huge amount of my makeup brushes come from Real Techniques as they’re such good quality and an affordable price point. Bold Metals is their more premium range, with metallic handles, the softest bristles and the same cruelty-free approach you’d expect from the brand. This kit features three of their best sellers for eyes and face, plus a cute little brush roll to keep them in. 

Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit – this ginormous palette is full of everything you need to contour, highlight and create all kinds of eye looks. It has an impressive 40 eye shadows/brow shades, 3 highlighters, 2 bronzers, 2 blushers and a contour shade. I’d say that the face products are best suited to a light to medium skin tone, but the shadows are pretty universal and have a lovely selection of matte and shimmer finishes to them. At £28, this is incredible value for money and a great choice for beauty addicts of all ages.  

Lottie London Best of Brushes  - more brushes! These Lottie London ones are a bright, fun twist on the metallic trend that’s around at the moment. They’re cruelty free, vegan and super soft to the touch. My favourite is the flat contour brush, but the hot pink eye shadow brush is also a keeper! It’s a Superdrug exclusive gift set, so head over to their website to track this baby down. £27.99

Guerlain Meteorites – Guerlain’s Christmas collections are always hot property and often sell out pretty quickly but are well worth tracking down. This year they’ve gone for Shalimar-inspired packaging, which is just crying out to be displayed on a dressing table. The pearls themselves are very similar to the standard ones (with an extra bit of shimmer), but the beautiful tin really does make it so much more giftable. £48

Too Faced NaughtyKisses & Sweet Cheeks – I love the concept of this gift from Too Faced! Inside the big box are three little boxes, each with a mini Love Flush Blusher and a Lip Injection Lip Gloss. If you’re feeling generous, you can gift the larger box as a whole or you could split it up into three smaller gifts instead (and maybe keep one for yourself!). The shades included are all very wearable and the heart-shaped blushers deserve a very special ‘cute’ prize. £28

Urban Decay Naked Illuminated Trio – Most beauty addicts I know would love an Urban Decay palette under the tree this year, but I wanted to pull out their new Illuminating Trio as I think this is something less people will already have (although, Naked palettes are life). You get three baked highlighter powders in this special set: one gold-champagne, one pink and one frosted taupe. They’re beautifully shimmery without too much heavy glitter and will last for absolutely ages! £29

Will any of these be on your list this year?

*contains PR samples


Black Friday Deals You Need

Black Friday deals
 I hadn't planned to do a Black Friday post but the deals coming into my inbox all seem so good that I tonight I'd better change my mind!

These are just a few for you to choose from - I've tried to pick the ones that I think are the best offers, but you can guarantee most websites will have their own deal if you're after something specific.

20% off all full size products, plus all proceeds will be donated to Evelina Children's Hospital (from 6pm 24th through to 23:59 25th Nov)

20% off EVERYTHING with the code GOGOGO

10% off beauty and 20% off everything else with code SELFCCE

25% off site wide excluding Luna Play and Christmas sets (25th - 28th Nov)

25% off everything (from 7pm 24th through to Monday 28th Nov) using the code BLACKPAIDAY. Pai hardly ever do offers, so this one is pretty amazeballs.

Elemental Herbology
20% off everything (to 28th Nov)

20% off when you buy two or more products
Deciem Black Friday offers
Deciem THE BIG SET – Black Friday Price: £100 Regular Price: £225 (from midnight on 25th Nov)
Chemistry Brand, Hand Chemistry, 100ml
Stemm, Density Stimuli, 60ml
HIF, Volume Support, 180ml
Hylamide, Hydra-Density Mist, 120ml
NIOD, Photography Fluid 12% Opacity, 20ml
Hylamide, SubQ Anti-Age, 30ml
Hylamide, SubQ Eyes, 15ml
NIOD Flavanone Mud, 50ml
Inhibitif, Face Serum 30ml

Look Fantastic
18% off everything with the code RUSH 

Cult Beauty
Lots of money off depending on your spend. £5 off £50 with code Black5, £15 off £100 with code Black15 and £30 off £150 with code Black30.

Happy shopping!


Urban Decay Blackmail Vice Lipstick Palette

Urban Decay Blackmail Vice lipstick palette review
Urban Decay Blackmail Vice lipstick palette reviewUrban Decay Blackmail Vice lipstick palette review
I know, I know, another Urban Decay palette! But this time around they've switched it up and launched two lipstick palettes instead of their usual eye shadows.

I can't get enough of Urban Decay at the moment - their Ultimate Basics is one of my favourites and the Illuminated Trio is just sooooo good. It's really nice to see them switching things up for Christmas with two Vice lipstick palettes that feature twelve shades each, all packaged up into a hardy plastic case.

These are a limited edition, so I suspect won't stay on the shelves for too long. They give a really great way to trial their different Vice lipstick formulas as all six of these are covered inside each of the palettes.

I have the Blackmail palette which mingles a really good selection of pink, nude and bolder shades; a couple are probably a bit out there for me (Big Bang and Conspiracy for example), but they could definitely work for an ombré lip look or for anyone that's confident enough to try something different.

Full shade list:
Sheer Shame (Sheer) berry
Firebird (Cream) deep fuchsia
Big Bang (Metallized) bright pink sparkle
Disobedient (Cream) medium pink
EZ (Cream) bright red-orange
714 (Mega Matte) bright red
Vanished (Sheer) pale neutral nude
1993 (Comfort Matte) medium brown
Ex-Girlfriend (Sheer Shimmer) nude-rose w/pink shimmer
Amulet (Metallized) metallic brick rose
Conspiracy (Metallized) plum-bronze shimmer
Blackmail (Comfort Matte) deep berry wine

The pan sizes are pretty decent and the retractable lip brush that's included means it's easy to use on the go. Urban Decay have also added a little lip to each of the pans to allow you to wipe any excess of on which is a nice little touch. There's also a plastic cover to protect the pans inside the compact, making it a great option to keep in your handbag.

My favourite shades are Firebird as I love a good fuschia and Disobedient as they're both cream formula and last for ages on the lips without drying them out. Blackmail, which is the deepest shade in the palette, is also one I'm loving for winter and the Comfort Matte formula gives a good matte finish with a more hydrating edge.

You can find the new lipstick palettes at Urban Decay stores and via their website. They'll be hitting the UK very soon so keep your eyes peeled! Each one is £31.50.

What do you think of these new palettes from Urban Decay?

*Contains PR samples


Christmas Gift Guide For Foodies

Christmas gift guide for foodies
Christmas gift guide for foodies
Christmas gift guide for foodies
One of my favourite things about Christmas is the food. I'm a self-confessed chocoholic, so any time of year that gives you an excuse to sit down with  a tub of Celebrations and follow it up with a cheese platter is alright with me. I thought I'd pull together a few gift ideas for all the foodies out there - whether you're into your cocktails, love chocolate or just need to find a good gift for your friend who has EVERYTHING. 

Hotel Chocolat is always my first stop when it comes to Christmas chocolates as they have such a great selection to choose from and it feels a bit 'nicer' than your standard box of Thorntons or Heroes. They do a really good job at catering for all budgets, so whether you just want a little stocking filler or a giant £50 truffle platter, they've got you covered. 

A few of my favourites this year are their Christmas Gingerbread Men, which are gently spiced milk chocolate (they taste very Christmasy!); the miniature wreaths, which come in milk, white and dark, and also the Festive Baubles which have a mix of truffles. These are all around the £10 mark and would make great gift options for all ages I think. 

If you're after something less full on Christmas, then check our their Rare and Vintage section in the selector packets (which are about £3.95 each). These are all solid bars of single origin chocolate, but come in various different cocoa strengths and from lots of different producers worldwide. A few of these stacked up and tied together with a big bow would be lovely for someone who really loves their chocolate and wants to know more about the different types. 

For all you cocktail lovers out there, I'd highly recommend Rocktails, which are a non-alcoholic mixer that you bung in the freezer and turn into a delicious sounding slush puppy. Choose from flavours like The Mockito and Sunset Sling or pick up a special gift box with all four in from QVC (£15ish) who have these as part of the Great Taste Awards. They taste great with or without alcohol, so make a good party piece if you're trying to please both audiences, but I do love them with a healthy shot of gin or vodka thrown in - it is Christmas after all! 
Christmas gift guide for foodies
I had no idea about this, but Hotel Chocolat also have their own Gin and Vodka range. The Vodka is Salted Caramel flavour and unbelievably delicous and the Gin is made with the shells of cocoa beans, so has an interesting flavour to it, but doesn't taste like chocolate (like I had initially hoped, ha ha). 

If you want to add something extra to your drinks gifts, then Oliver Bonas have some great cocktail glasses and swizzle sticks, including the infamous copper pineapple goblets. A bundle of one of these, a bottle of their favourite spirit and a package of Rocktails will definitely go down a treat. 

I've become a bit obsessed with the Bluebird Tea Co since I tried their Spiced Pumpkin Pie tea a little while ago. They have some lovely gift ideas for both tea and non-tea lovers. My favourite has to be the Mulled Cider Cocktail Kit (£7.50) as I LOVE mulled cider at this time of year. You can either gift the bottle as it is, or make up the cider, cool and repackage in the bottle to give as a complete gift. It would also do really well with warm apple juice if you prefer a non-alcoholic alternative. 

Their Gingerbread Chai tea bauble (£7) would make a great stocking filler - it comes with ten tea bags inside, which are a limited edition blend created especially for Christmas.

Now, all of these drinks need to be washed down with something, so why not accompany them with a pot of gourmet pork scratchings from the Snaffling Pig Company? These are another entrant into the Great Taste Awards with QVC and I can fully confirm, taste absolutely delicious. 

For something sweeter, Crabtree & Evelyn's Shortbread Biscuit Star Tin comes top of the list. It's packed full of mini shortbread stars (yum) which are buttery, delicious and I could probably eat a whole tin to myself. A package of these and the Gingerbread Chai Tea Bauble would be a really lovely combo. 

I'll have lots more gift ideas coming up next week, so keep your eyes peeled for lots of beauty gifting, stocking fillers and of course, the men's! 

*contains PR samples 



Blogging Tips: What Are Follow and NoFollow Links and When Should You Use Them

Follow v NoFollow links and when you should use them
There’s been a lot of talk about Follow and NoFollow links in the blogging community of late, so I thought I’d write a quick post to help try to clear things up a little. While I wouldn’t call myself an SEO expert, my day job does involves working in the digital marketing field and I work closely alongside a specialist SEO agency day to day. I’ve asked a friend at the agency to check all of this from a technical point of view to make sure I’m being accurate, rather than just presenting my own opinion on the two different link styles and what impact they can have.

Links to and from your website play an important part in the way that Google decides its search engine rankings. No-one knows exactly how their algorithm works, but it’s safe to say that having good quality websites linking to you is a definite plus point, as is providing links from your site to other reputable websites (as well as linking within your site to your own relevant content).

Follow and NoFollow are simple ways to indicate to Google whether or not they should pay attention to a link. While they want people to link to relevant sites, they don’t like people being able to skew the search results by purchasing lots of links or spamming sites with them – they want linking to be as natural and as helpful as possible.

Follow is the default state for most links. If you add a link to another website into your blog, chances are it will automatically be set to a Follow link. This says to Google, ‘Hey, this is a really great link to a site I trust. I’m happy to pass on my own Domain Authority to it’.

NoFollow links normally need a small piece of code added to them (or you can add via the linking widget in Blogger for example, by clicking the ‘rel=NoFollow’ box when you add a link). This just tells Google not to pay attention to the link when it’s calculating its search results. So if you linked out to a retailer website, they wouldn’t receive any positive benefit from that link being there (they also won’t receive any negative benefit either).

Google really doesn’t like people to use Follow links for anything paid (it goes against their guidelines). So if you have written sponsored posts, all links should be marked as ‘NoFollow’ to keep in line with their guidelines. It’s also recommend to do the same for any PR samples you might have received and are linking to, as they can be seen as payment (in a way) for coverage/links.

You can read the full Google guidelines here and here.

Now, Google guidelines are just that, guidelines. However, they can, and do, sometimes penalise people for breaking these by removing them from their search results for a time. If you don’t have a huge amount of traffic that comes to you via search, then this might not be a huge issue, but if you do experience a lot of traffic via Google, then it’s not something you want to happen. It might not happen that often, but it does happen and is a risk you need to consider.

A lot of SEO agencies that pay for sponsored posts will ask for a Follow link, despite it going against Google guidelines. This is because they have been tasked with creating more positive links for their clients and Follow links are seen to be more beneficial from that point of view. A blog post about a brand with a NoFollow link will still have value – you’re featuring them to your audience and helping to raise their profile; it just doesn’t have the same impact from a traditional SEO point of view.

I hope that this has been helpful – if you have any questions, please just let me know.


7 Must-Have Christmas Palettes To Add To Your Gift List This Year

7 must have christmas palettes from Clarins, Autograph, Lime Crime, Manny MUA, Makeup Geek, Urban Decay, Pur
7 must have christmas palettes from Clarins, Autograph, Lime Crime, Manny MUA, Makeup Geek, Urban Decay, Pur, RMK
7 must have christmas palettes from Clarins, Autograph, Lime Crime, Manny MUA, Makeup Geek, Urban Decay, Pur, RMK
7 must have christmas palettes from Clarins, Autograph, Lime Crime, Manny MUA, Makeup Geek, Urban Decay, Pur, RMK
7 must have christmas palettes from Clarins, Autograph, Lime Crime, Manny MUA, Makeup Geek, Urban Decay, Pur, RMK
7 must have christmas palettes from Clarins, Autograph, Lime Crime, Manny MUA, Makeup Geek, Urban Decay, Pur, RMK
If you can’t use Christmas as a good excuse to expand your palette collection, when can you?! Every year I swear the selection gets better and better, which makes it harder to whittle it down to just a few that might make it onto your Christmas wish list.

I’ve picked out a few of my favourites that I think you’re going to love. I’ve attempted to cover off every colour possible so it’s not just a whole load of neutrals (although this girl does love a good taupe), so let me know which of these catches your eye!

Clarins Festive Palette – This isn’t the first year Clarins have released their Festive palette and it probably won’t be the last, but I think this is a really great all-rounder for anyone who loves a good nude. You’ve got a nice mix of shimmers and mattes, a few deeper shades for an evening look and there’s not a single shadow included that wouldn’t get regular usage. My favourite shade of them all is number 4, as I really love a gold shadow! £35

Manny MUA x Makeup Geek – I met Manny at a recent BeautyBay event and I have to be honest, I had a mini fan girl moment. Mostly over his palette, but he was also very lovely to chat too and had some EXCELLENT brows going on. He collaborated with the team over at Makeup Geek (see my review on some of their shadows here) to develop a nine shadow palette that has three of Manny’s favourite MUG shades, plus six that are exclusive to this palette. It’s designed to work with all skin tones and mingles shimmer, matte and foiled shades in warm tones. The duochrome foil in the bottom right (Insomnia) makes this worth the purchase alone – I’ve never found anything quite like it! Full review and swatches coming on this baby very soon. £56, via BeautyBay

Urban Decay Ultimate Basics – The matte formula from Urban Decay is really second to none – they get it right where so many other brands just miss the mark by a smidge. It features 12 new mattes, so if you already own the other two Basics palettes then you’re not repeating and it essentially the palette of dreams for all matte lovers. It reminds me a lot of the original Naked palette minus the shimmer, although I definitely prefer the hard case of this one. Pigmentation-wise the shadows are great, not chalky and with very minimal fall out. It’s £38.50 and can be found at all Urban Decay stockists.

Lime Crime Venus – who knew that Lime Crime are now available at ASOS?! Yup, all the unicorn goodness is now in a much easier place. Their eye shadows don’t get as much coverage as their lip products (or their drama, to be fair) but are well worth a look. Venus is full of warm, rich shades that are perfect for this time of year. The pinks are out of my usual comfort zone, but I know plenty of ladies that would love this one. The outer packaging is also a beaut – a bit different from the norm with its religious iconography and bold colours.

RMK Holiday Palette – this little baby forms part of RMK’s Chrsitmas gift set this year, which at £55 for the palette, nail polish, lip gloss and a makeup bag is seriously good value when you consider the cost of the products on their own. RMK are a Japanese brand, so all about washes of colour and plenty of shimmer (especially at Christmas!). There are four shadows included and a decent sized blusher – the blusher will work best for paler skins but the shadows themselves are pretty universal. I think this would be a really lovely gifting idea - it launches on 4th December at Selfridges.

M&S Autograph Day to Night – this pocket-friendly palette is a bit of a hidden gem from M&S. They’ve packed in ten shades, which although are reasonably small pan sizes, give you plenty of choice for your money. If you’re after a more budget-friendly gift idea (it’s £15) that still feels expensive, then definitely consider this one. The shade choice is excellent, taking you through from soft neutrals to more intense smokey shades and there’s a wealth of different looks that can be created with minimal effort.

Pur Strobe Palette – Highlight hard or go home is my motto. Pur’s highlighter palette definitely offers up a way to do this with three shades of gold, pink champagne and bronze. They’re a creamy formula, so work best when dotted on with your fingers or a really fine stippling brush and give cheekbones a seriously good gleam. They aren’t overly shimmery but give more of a sheen and look incredibly natural on the skin. You could also blend your own custom shade by combining several of them together. The slim compact makes it really travel-friendly, but it feels great quality at the same time. £22

Will any of these be going on your wishlist this year?

*contains PR samples



Decleor Christmas QVC TSV

Decleor Christmas 2016 QVC Skincare TSV
Decleor Christmas 2016 QVC Skincare TSV
You’ll have to forgive all the recent posts about upcoming QVC TSVs, but a girl’s gotta share a good bargain when she sees one and they’ve been so good recently I had to do it! Decleor are a brand that don’t often do big sales, but when they do, they really know how to do it!

Decleor are a French spa brand, with a key focus on aromatherapy and essential oils. I’m a big fan of their Hydra Floral range which is great for dehydrated skin in need of some extra moisture.

For one day only, they’re launching a special 6-piece gift set on QVC that contains some of their hero products for both face and body, along with a choice of two different serums and eye creams.

Inside the gift you’ll find: Hydra Floral Rich Cream, Aroma Cleanse Micellar Water, Intense Nutrition Lip Balm and Alguaromes Shower Gel, plus a choice of either a Aromessence Iris Oil Serum and Prolagene Lift Eye Cream OR the new OrExcellence Oil Serum and Eye Contour Cream. The products are all full-size and worth an impressive £182.50, but will be on sale for just £66.96 for the day on 19th November.

If you’ve not tried the brand before, this is an amazing way to get to know it a little bit better – I’ve been using the Micellar Water this week and absolutely love its gentle but effective formula and light rose scent. The Hydra Floral Rich Cream is great for anyone with dry or dehydrated skin; perfect for this time of year when the cold tends to strip out a lot of your natural oils (it also works well as a face mask for oilier or combination skin).

This would make a bumper gift idea for any skincare fans, but would also work equally well split up into several gift sets. The Alugaromes Shower Gel has a very unisex scent to it that makes it a nice treat for both men and women and much of the skincare isn’t what I’d think of as traditionally male or female in terms of packaging or scent – it’s just really, really good!

You can find the Decleor TSV via the QVC website and on their shopping channel for 24 hours only, on 19th November. Will you be adding one to your basket?

*contains PR samples



The New Must-Have: Makeup Geek Eyeshadows

Makeup Geek eye shadow review and swatches
Makeup Geek eye shadow review and swatches
Makeup Geek eye shadow review and swatches
Sin City, Gold Digger, Creme Brulee, Bitten, Legend, Flame Thrower, Untamed, I'm Peachless
Makeup Geek eye shadows have always been on my ‘to try’ list but the huge amount of shades and different finishes meant I never knew quite where to start. A recent Beauty Bay event changed all that and after spending *quite* a lot of time poring over the different shadows and swatching until my hand resembled Joseph’s amazing technicolour dream coat, I found a few (ok a lot) that I knew I had to get my hands on.

The brand is US based and is currently only available via Beauty Bay for us UK peeps at the moment. They’re pretty budget friendly, with prices starting at £6 for a single eye shadow pan but come with a quality that makes them seem a whole lot more expensive than that.

In total, there are over 140 different shades across several different formulas – they’ve covered everything off from matte to shimmer and satin to foil. Everything is sold in single pans, so you’ll need to have a Z palette or something similar to keep them in; there’s no fancy packaging here folks!

Out of all the shadows I’ve been testing, my favourites by far are the three foiled shades. These are super pigmented, with an incredible shimmery finish to them. It’s a little like a liquid metal for your lids! Flame Thrower is a stunning copper shade, with Untamed being my second favourite of the ones I have here. You really only need a small amount of these to get amazing pigmentation on the lids, so use a light hand if you’re not looking for a bold swipe of colour. They’re slightly more expensive for some reason at £9.25 per pan compared to £6 for the other formulas, but after using them solidly for two weeks, I would happily pay it.

The Duochrome shadows have some interesting shades – I went for one of the palest, I'm Peach Less, which is a peachy shade with a pink shift to it. It’s probably one of the easiest to wear day in day out, and would look great used to highlight the inner corners of the eye. There are 12 duochromes in the range, some of which are pretty dramatic! Like the Foiled shadows, these have great pigmentation and are buttery soft, blending well on the lids.

By far the largest selection of colours comes in their standard range, which mixes up mattes, shimmers, satins and more. I found that the matte shadows I have are slightly too soft – they product quite a lot of fallout actually in the pan, but last well once on the lids. They’re also quite light in terms of pigmentation when compared to the other formulas; for me, Urban Decay do mattes a little bit better but at a slightly higher price tag.

The shimmers on the other hand offer great pigmentation and have minimal fallout, and are some of the best that I’ve tried. They don’t crease for hours (and I mean, HOURS) and the selection of shades is just unbelievable.

I’ve swatched everything with a single swipe so you can see the pigmentation and depth of colour in each – the foiled shades really do jump out for me!

After trying all of these, I’m already thinking of which shades I need to order next. I’ll try to move out of my bronze/gold/brown comfort zone and try a few other colours – let me know if you have any favourites!

Are you a fan of Makeup Geek eye shadows?

*contains PR samples



4 Budget-Friendly Beauty Advent Calendars For £15 Or Less

Budget friendly beauty advent calendars for £15 or less
Budget friendly beauty advent calendars for £15 or less
Budget friendly beauty advent calendars for £15 or less
Budget friendly beauty advent calendars for £15 or less
I'm all about the advent calendars this week. Whether it's M&S's Christmas Tree version, or one of my top ten choices for all budgets, there are plenty to choose from! But I know not all of you want to spend £50+ on one, so I thought I'd do a quick roundup of some of the more budget-friendly ones available this year. A couple would also work really well for a younger audience, so there's definitely something for everyone!

Studio 12 Days of Christmas – if you love nail polish, you need this little beauty from Studio! It’s much more affordable than Ciate’s Mini Mani Month and contains 12 different polishes. There are eight regular shades and four glitter toppers, so plenty of choice to create lots of different looks over Christmas and beyond. It’s half price in Superdrug at the moment at just £8, so track one down quickly if you like the look of this one!

Dirty Works Beauty Calendar – You get 24 different treats with the Dirty Works calendar, so it will carry you all the way through December, right up to Christmas Eve. There’s a mix of mini bath and body favourites, beauty tools and even a nail polish included, giving a great selection of products. It’s £15 and available from Sainsbury’s – well worth popping in your trolley with your food shop!

Flutter Beauty Advent Calendar – I love the cute packaging on this one! Flutter is a Superdrug brand that does have a bit of a younger feel to it, but to be honest, who’s not going to love an advent calendar covered in cute puppies and kittens?! There are 24 doors to open, each of which hides a mini beauty treat. Inside there are 8 eye shadows, 4 lip glosses, 4 lip balms, 4 eye applicators and 4 lip applicators. The packaging on the products themselves are pretty basic, but for £8, it’s a really lovely treat.

Sweet Snuggles 12 Days of Christmas – While this one isn’t so much of a traditional calendar as you can see the products inside, I think it’s a really well executed idea. It has 12 mini treats that are all scented with a vanilla or Christmas cookie scent and it mixes up bath fizzers, lip balm, body scrub, shower gel, body lotion and a few mini beauty tools. It’s another Superdrug only calendar (they seem to have a great mix of budget-friendly ones) and is also on offer for £8.

Have you got yourself a beauty advent calendar this year? Which one did you go for?

*contains PR samples


This week's favourites #3

Weekly favourites for early November
Weekly favourites for early November
So, it’s officially November now and that means I can unleash ALL the Christmas excitement and not feel guilty at all about it. Other than London suddenly getting ball-freezingly cold in the past few days and not being prepared for it (totally time to go coat shopping!) I am loving the autumnal weather. Although I realise I will probably live to regret this statement when it starts drizzling and my hair doubles in size, but for now, I can cope.

A walk by a local lake and out into the countryside the other day left me with enough Instagram fodder to spam you all for weeks on end – there’s something just so special about all of the colours that this time of year produces. I also tried to give myself a weekend off from wearing my ‘trademark’ liquid liner as to be honest I’ve kind of forgotten what I look like without it, so that was an interesting adjustment.

Top of the beauty pile this week has been the new Moondust Liquid Eyeshadows from Urban Decay. These are super glittery liquid shadows that dry down quite quickly and once dry, really do fix in place. I used a couple of the deeper shades (Magnetic and Vega) to create part of my Halloween look this year and was really impressed at the pigmentation level and minimal glitter fallout throughout the evening. They’re not an everyday product for me, but will definitely make a re-appearance throughout party season for a bit of sparkle.

Shavata’s Defining Pencil has also been a life-saver after my trusty Anastasia Brow Wiz died on me mid-brow the other day and I think I might actually prefer the blonde shade from Shavata as it looks slightly less warm than the Anastasia one. I do feel a *tiny* bit like I’m cheating on my staple product though. Oops.

I also can’t put down this rainbow highlighter from Phee’s Makeup Shop. I’ve raved about her indie brand before, but this one is just a whole new level. The sheen it gives is ridiculous and the colours give THE most beautiful highlight. I’ll have another review coming up of some of her new items, but if you only buy one, make it this one!

It’s been Christmas coffee cup week, so I couldn’t resist getting a couple of wintery drinks to keep me (and Instagram) company. The Café Nero one is super cute this year and although I’m not a big coffee drinker, they work just as well with a nice cup of tea in! And a biscuit to dunk inside, obviously.

Other things I’ve been loving this week include Wentworth on Amazon Instant Video – I was looking for something I could watch on my commute to work and have now been totally sucked in to it! It’s nice to see the officers and the prisoners given equal billing, with a focus on life in and outside the prison – it definitely helps to give it an extra dimension to the plot. Add into that my cosy Ugg ballet pump style slippers (gotta love a Bicester Village bargain),  some fresh Primark PJs and a Hotel Chocolat selector pack and it’s basically my ideal night in right now. #livingthedream

Next week I’m going to be heading into full Christmas mode, so expect lots of good gift ideas (for you and other people), some cosy night in essentials and a little bit of food related content. Because blog posts are really the only way I like to share food.

What have you been loving this week?

*Contains PR samples


Marks & Spencer Beauty Advent Calendar 2016

Marks & Spencer beauty advent calendar 2016 review and contents
Marks & Spencer beauty advent calendar 2016 review and contents
Marks & Spencer beauty advent calendar 2016 review and contents
Marks & Spencer beauty advent calendar 2016 review and contents
The beauty world has gone advent calendar crazy this year, with dozens of different brands all pulling together some superb offerings. It's such a nice treat throughout December to have something to open every day and while I don't think you can go wrong with an old school chocolate version, us beauty addicts definitely won't mind that little bit extra!

I've previously showcased my top ten beauty calendars for all budgets, but you'll have noticed that this little beauty from M&S wasn't included. Well, that's because I wanted to give it its own special blog post as it really is amazing! It also launches later this week, so you've got a few days advance warning before they go on sale.

This year M&S have gone for a very festive red-themed Christmas tree shaped calendar, with pull-out drawers for all of the products. It's very sturdy and could easily be re-used again next year - I think the drawer format is a really lovely idea as it gives you lots of freedom to what you can pop inside.

There are 25 drawers to open, each filled with a mini or full-size treat from one of the brands M&S stock in their fab beauty halls. You've got everything from Filorga to L'Occitane and Leighton Denny to Alpha H. There's a good mix of skincare, makeup, hair and nail targeted products and I don't think there's a disappointing selection included.

I won't spoil the surprise by listing out everything that's inside, but I've opened a couple of the doors to show you a few of the products you'll receive. There are also minis of my favourite REN Evercalm Moisturiser, Philip Kingsley Elasticiser and a full-size Burt's Bees lip balm. Yay!

The total value of the contents is over £250, but it will be on sale for just £35, when you spend £35 on fashion, home or beauty. You can order online or pick one up in store and the lovely team at M&S have told me they've ordered extra this year to cope with demand as they sold out very quickly last year!

You can find it in store and online from 10th November - don't hang around too long if you plan to get one as they are always popular, even with the extra stock this year.

Have you got yourself a beauty calendar this year? What do you think of the M&S offering?

*contains PR samples


Zoeva Plaisir Chocolate Box Palette Collection

Zoeva Plaisir Chocolate Box palette collection review
Zoeva Plaisir Chocolate Box palette collection review
Zoeva Plaisir Chocolate Box palette collection review
Zoeva Plaisir Chocolate Box palette collection review
Zoeva Plaisir Chocolate Box palette collection review
I know some of you will be thinking that it’s far too early to be thinking about Christmas (I would disagree, ha ha!), but it’s cold outside, I’m wearing tights and that’s a good enough excuse for me! I also couldn’t wait to show you the Plaisir Christmas gift set from Zoeva – trust me when I say that you need to get this in your life.

Zoeva are probably best known for their brushes, but their makeup range is an absolute joy. I bought the Nude Spectrum palette a few months ago and have used it virtually every day since, which given the number of eye shadows I own is seriously unusual!

The Plaisir box, contains three chocolate inspired palettes – Blanc Fusion, Caramel Melange and Cocoa Blend - all packaged up in a collector's edition box. It’s very much a ‘white, milk and dark chocolate’ approach that I absolutely love – even the outer packaging reminds me of some of the prints and decorations used in fine chocolate truffles.

Each palette contains ten shadows, all with chocolate inspired shade names. Think 'Single Origin', 'Liquid Center' and 'Pure Ganache'. There are a mix of shimmer, satin, glitter and matte shadows within each palette, as well as plenty of selection across light, medium and dark shades.

Zoeva make some of the best formula eye shadows I've ever come across, so it's safe to say that these follow suit on previous palettes I've tried. They're super pigmented and only need a light touch with a brush to get a decent wash of colour. They also blend really well - they're very soft and buttery so can have a little fall out during application, but it's not a huge issue for me.

If I had to pick one favourite out of the three palettes it would probably be the Blanc Fusion (with the cream packaging) as I've become a bit obsessed with the top row shades. Visions of Gold and Late Bloomer look beautiful against blue eyes and the Single Origin shade is perfect for an every day look. That said, I think all three are great and each one offers something a little different to the next.

You can buy all of the palettes separately for £18 each, however the Plaisir is £48, so a small saving of £6 overall. It’s the sort of treat I think any beauty lover will want this Christmas. I can’t say this often enough, but YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY NUDE COLOURED EYE SHADOWS!

Zoeva is available online via Beauty Bay and Selfridges.

Are you a fan of their products? Which ones are your favourites?

*contains PR samples
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