28 December 2012

Pre-Winter Break Pamper

Before heading off to freezing climates and becoming knee-deep in snow, I decided to get moisturised to the max, booking myself in for a little pre-pamper. This is usually the case for me the night before any holiday, in the Summer I'm usually spreading on the fake tan and lacquering up my fingers and toes with the brightest shade possible but this time it was all about creating a make-shift spa with the most dreamy creams, miracle masks and a candle which sums up reelaxation just perfectly. 

First things first, I lit Diptyque's Figuier to set the scene which graced the bathroom with a fresh, fruity fragrance and in the tub went a few drops of Aromatherapy Associates Support Peppermint and Lavender, creating a calming dip. I smothered my locks with L'Occitane's Shine Mask for Dry & Damaged Hair, I then screwed it up in a top knot, slung on a shower cap (cling film does just the trick if not!) and tied on a turbie towel, making a little toasty wrap for the treatment to master its magic. In the following 20 minutes, I threw on REN's Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (hello skincare find of the year!) - fruit acids in this gently slough away at dead skin revealing radiant, glowy goodness. Whilst my skin was lapping it up, I popped on the WEI Eye Correcting Treatment Pads. These refreshing herb-soaked cushions sit perfectly over your peepers to diminish dark circles and prevent puffiness. After working their wonders, I peeled them off, rinsed a muslin cloth under warm tap water and buffed my complexion clean before a quick wash through my hair to remove the mask, followed by the usual shampoo and conditioner.

For a major scrub-athon, I reached for The Body Shop's Almond Scrub before locking in the luxury (and continue with the marzipan scented theme!) by smearing my arms and legs with L'Occitane's Milk Concentrate. This stuff will seriously leave your skin silky smooth and the almond-y trace lingers like no other. I then moved on to attack my brows and nothing does the job better than a pair of Tweezermans. A quick mani-pedi was next in order, the polish of choice on my toes being OPI's Malaga Wine, a true deep red and on fingers it was Essie It's Delicate, a milky pale pink. Lastly, I popped on a few drops of the Clarins Blue Orchid Facial Oil to tame dehydrated skin which sets me up for a deep sleep thanks to its heavenly spa-like smell, and that was my pre-pamper complete, the best start to a holiday in my personal opinion!

24 December 2012

Urban Decay NAKED Basics

Urban Decay have certainly made a name for themselves in the way of their palettes, NAKED's 1 and 2 especially stirred up quite the hype and I'm not sure I know any beauty obsessive who isn't a proud owner of at least one (the very first being my personal fave!) but now, a new member has joined their palette parade and with this latest offering they have well and truly stripped things down...

The NAKED Basics palette is one for the matte finish lovers, a much more wearable, daytime array of neutral-ness. Made up of six colours and arranged in order of application, the selection includes a highlight, several all-over-the-liders which also double up as harsh-line blending shades, a crease definer and a lash liner. Venus is the only pick with a slight satin finish but as an off-white it does the trick at giving a hint of sheen to the inner corner and brow bone. The biscuit shade of the bunch is Foxy, a simple base shade - as well as Walk of Shame, a pale pink. Another one for the lid is Naked 2, a pinky taupe, or as a subtle definer for the socket, followed by a blending of Faint, a warm medium brown, through the crease and outer corner. Lastly, Crave is the deepest dark brown, almost black which smudged into the upper lashes as a liner makes lashes look extra luscious and adds a bit of definition. Quality-wise, you can't ask for a lot more - pigmented, buttery and blend-able, just like any other UD shadow then!

A quick play about and a handful of dirty fluffy brushes later, I'd conjured up the ultimate every day eye. As always, I used a slick of Primer Potion for a base followed the routine as above, with Walk of Shame being my chosen lid colour. I do like to tone it down and sport more natural numbers on the eyes as an occasional bold lip wearer, so this palette is right up my alley, plus its dinky size makes it handbag and travel friendly!

The NAKED Basics can be found Urban Decay counters now and adding this to your palette pile will cost you £20, not too badly priced if you ask me. Expect to see this crop up in more raves and faves, I can see it's going to be very, very well loved - especially paired with my latest lip love, that's a whole other post!

18 December 2012

The Party Polishes

If you can't wear full-on glistening glitter nails for Christmas then I'm not really sure when you can. But if like me, you'd prefer to be a little more subtle with your sparkle then stick to the good old accent finger with a complimentary shade on your remaining nails. With the festive season only round the corner I had a good dig through my polish pile to decide which ones would soon be adorning my finger tips...

My first pick, Revlon Facets of Fuchsia speaks for itself, a deep purple base with fuchsia micro glitter amongst larger hexagonal pieces - paired over a black or aubergine shade it's a winner. With Nails Inc fast becoming on of my favourite varnish brands mainly thanks to Baker Street, how could one of their own not make the cut? Electric Avenue is a true silver glitter, definitely adding a touch of shimmer to any outfit. The latest to hit my stash is OPI The Living Daylights and was the only one to really grab my attention from the Skyfall Collection. A transparent base with silver, gold, burnt orange and teal hexagon shaped chunks which just 'polishes' off any look layered once over another shade or a double coat for ring finger perfection. Another pick had to be Deborah Lippmann's Razzle Dazzle, a deep raspberry filled to the brim with minuscule magenta specks and looks stunning on, not to mention these get an award for the cutest bottles!

Lastly, with Christmas written all over it is Nails Inc Chelsea Embankment, the gold version of Electric Avenue. It looks amazing worn one every nail without being too much of a glittery overkill. All of this glimmering goodness may make you want to run a mile regarding the removal process, but with a base or colour underneath and with the help of the Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover it should be a bit more of a breeze!

6 December 2012

November Favourites

With a few new beauty products gracing my supply recently, I have been completely in my element pampering, primping and preening. Some have made more regular outings than others, earning themselves a firm place in my November favourites (some may even be making it to my yearly beauty round up - Oooo!) but these include another new foundation love, a mask which has knocked previous contenders off the top spot and possibly the only product which turns my dry, chapped lips from drab to fab!

It's a very scary thought that we'll probably be into the new year before my next 'favourites' arrives, swiftly followed by a whole video dedicated to the selected products which have wowed me over the past 12 months - a lot of beauty related ramblings are coming your way!

Have you tried any of the products which made it to my November Favourites?

25 November 2012

Aromatherapy Associates Rose Hydrating Mask

I believe I currently hoard a face mask for every complexion crisis, from detoxifying for when my skin is misbehaving, to radiance renewing for when it's in need of a little boost. For me it's the ultimate once-weekly pamper and to have a selection to choose from seems to make it all the more luxurious. My recent addition is one for dry/dehydrated skins, a treat for the upcoming Winter months especially. The Aromatherapy Associates Rose Hydrating Mask contains aloe vera and damask rose water, a combination to restore vital moisture and radiance to the skin. Now, I'm not usually the biggest fan of gel textured masks but this is by far an exception (plus the fact that its clear means you can use it on a long haul flight and your fellow passengers will be none the wiser!). The scent is beyond heavenly, sweet rose water as opposed to 'floral grandma'. 

I use a pea size amount to slather over my face and with that comes an instant cooling, refreshing effect. For a quick fix you can apply and remove after the standard 10 minutes, however, the beauty of this product is that it can be applied and left on overnight to tame even the driest complexions. My skin literally slurps this up and I wake up to juicier, plump skin - dry, flaky patches, be gone! If I really want to crank it up a notch, I'll apply a facial oil underneath first, my product of choice? Clarins Blue Orchid Facial Oil, together it creates the ideal moisture concoction! 

I can tell it's definitely become a staple in my mask stash, a very luxurious one at that for £34.50 so if you're on the hunt for a little less costly option but still something very similar, Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask might be a strong contender (although slightly more fruity!). I'm loving overnight skincare and who knows, a dedicated post may be on its way - is there anything else you can recommend?

23 November 2012

Muji to Go

Most of my staple beauty products come in miniature form, but not all. I always seem to be scrabbling about at the last minute before a holiday or trip away trying to find empty pots and bottles that I can divide my larger lotions and potions into. On a recent trip to Muji, I made an instant dash for their travel section, arms up in the air flapping around. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a field day with what they had to offer and could have quite easily come home with one of everything but instead just grabbed a few travel necessities.

The first thing I laid eyes on was the Airport Pouch in Medium, to take over my previous hand-luggage sandwich-like bag which stretch, break and get pretty grubby so this replacement should be a lot more long lasting and sturdy, plus it's wipe-able if anything spills - oh I've been there with product explosions mid-air, it ain't pretty. Then for my suitcase toiletry bag, I threw two squeezy flip top bottles in my basket, one for shampoo and one for conditioner, and I also got a medium size for shower gel. I never seem to have any small clean containers so I got a clear acrylic pot and a tiny spray bottle, either for hair or body oil. Since browsing the Muji site, I've realised those three plastic tools are actually a perfume atomiser kit but I thought they'd do the job at transferring products from one bottle to another, and the pippet, for getting small amounts of liquid product out instead ending up pouring out more than you need. 

It's definitely worth a snoop next time you swing by a Muji store, they sure cater for all of your travel beauty accessory needs. It's very easy to go a little wild in there but these especially were extremely cheap and it's jazzed up both my hand luggage and toiletry bag a treat! Next on my list is the Kardashian-esque acrylic makeup storage..

22 November 2012

Winter Saviours: Body, Hands & Nails

Following my Winter Skincare Saviours post, I thought I'd continue the theme with some of my body, hand and nail rescues. There seems to be no better feeling than a long soak in the tub, followed by a slathering of my favourite lotions and potions before snuggling down for the night..

My latest go-to bath products are the Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oils. I've got four miniatures from the Essential Travel Oils but both Revive Evening and Relax Deep set me up for a deep sleep, plus only two capfuls is enough to create a heavenly, moisturising dip and fill your bathroom with glorious scents. Showers are just as luxurious thanks to the L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil which just whiffs of cherry bakewells. It lathers up into a milky consistency and instantly transforms flaky skin from drab to fab!

To seal the scent on my skin even longer, I've been reaching for the L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil - spritz it on, skin drinks it up! It sinks in so quickly without leaving a slick surface residue and keeps skin moisturised for the longest time possible. I prefer to apply this before bed so it's able to work it's magic through the night. My hands seem to get it the worst this time of year and so Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream is currently keeping my mitts moisturised. It sits on my desk during the day then transfers to my bedside at night when I coat it on before I sleep. Lastly, a drop of OPI Avoplex Nail & Cuticle Replenishing Oil is rubbed into my finger tips - cracked, breaking, flaking nails, it's an ongoing dilemma during the colder months but this helps keeps my talons strong and my cuticles soft. 

These hydration wonders will keep me going until Spring is upon us, which quite frankly couldn't come soon enough but in the meantime I'll be well and truly oiled up for a while! 

What are your dry skin saviours?

20 November 2012

Winter Saviours: Skincare

Dry, dull, flat and far from plump, my complexion suffers the effects of Winter big time - cue my skincare BFF's for the cooler months, or when it's generally feeling all of the above. It's worth noting that a good chunk of these products are for taming dehydrated skin, but hibernating under a layer of hydration won't harm anyone, especially this time of year. Me? My skin is quite well behaved usually, normal I'd say but it does get dry in areas, more so in Winter yet it shows characteristics of dehydrated skin too, not forgetting the odd under-the-skin-lurker!

Now I don't use all of these products together but some of them I pair up and I make sure to give them all a fair rotation. First off is Neal's Yard Wild Rose Balman all rounder and a facial in a pot. It cleanses, exfoliates with the help of a muslin cloth and deeply moisturises, apply it a  little thicker and you have yourself a mask too. I've been putting Hydraluron to the test over the past couple of weeks and it's starting to live up to it's 'moisture boost' promises. A light layer of this before I slather on a moisturiser and my skin has began to look a little less parched, dry patches slowly making a disappearance. The latest addition to my skincare stash is the Aromatherapy Associates Rose Hydrating Mask (post to come!). Leave it on for a quick hydration hit or overnight if your skin is feeling worse for wear and to really go all out, layer it over a facial oil. I've been reaching for Clarins Blue Orchid Face Oil which my skin quite willingly gulps up, not to mention it smells divine - think spa but in the space of your own bedroom. Lip balm never goes a miss and Nuxe Reve De Miel has found a happy place on my bedside table - I think the fact that one is sold every 28 seconds worldwide sums this product up! It's thick, nourishing and smells like chocolate orange, couldn't ask for more!  

Winter is definitely my least favourite time of the year but I have to say I'm enjoying giving my skin a little extra TLC. And it's not just my face that endures cold weather damage - body, hands and nails get an equal amount so keep an eye out for my favourite products to tackle those. Hint: Things are gonna get oily! 

17 November 2012

The All-in-One Beauty Balm

Since getting a taste for beauty balms, my skin seems to have developed a craving for more (Emma Hardie, you're next on the list). However, my latest offering, Neal's Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm can quite simply be described as your entire facial routine in a pot, but it has multiple individual purposes too. Intrigued? Keep reading..

The fact that it suits all skin types ticks the first box. It's main job is to nurture and revitalise, and with high levels of the wonder ingredient that is rosehip oil, it definitely quenches dry or dehydrated skin. The consistency is that of a typical balm, quite thick but a small amount warmed up between your fingers and applied to damp skin, it soon turns into an oil. Sure enough, it literally melts away your makeup when used as a cleanser and so to further exfoliate it comes paired with an organic cotton muslin cloth, with gentle buffing movements it'll remove the balm (and slough away at that dead skin!). It can also be used as a nourishing moisturiser, concentrating on areas that are suffering most (this does take a while for the skin to slurp up, mind you). Of course, these steps can be used on their own but put together creates the ultimate deeply de-congesting, radiance restoring, full whack facial.

And it doesn't stop there. I've heard it can be used as a face mask, a rescue for rosacea sufferers and it sorts out dry, chapped lips a treat if left on overnight. Definitely one to reach for in the Winter months is this, it's an absolute pleasure to use and did I forget to mention the heavenly smell? Nothing like rose however, more geranium so if you're not a herbal scent lover, this might not be for you. It is on the pricey side of things at roughly £36 a pot, from Boots, Neal's Yard or lookfantasic, but it sure stretches for miles. Plus, for trips away or overnight stays, a pot of this is all you'll need. Take note ladies, it's one to be added to your skincare stash, if it hasn't been already, that is!

7 November 2012

October Favourites

Some of the past months product favourites are rather relevant with Winter on its way. They include a bath oil which just whiffs of luxury, a well and truly hunted-down lip balm and a keyring attachable nail file to sort out those dry, breaking nails on the go. Of course that's not all, there's also some miracle makeup finds, more skincare to join my stash and two very different nail polishes in the way of colour, so hear me having a good ol' ramble about my latest loves just click on the video above! Have you tried any of these products? I'd love to know your thoughts!

5 November 2012

Eye Brightening Essentials

Now that Winter draws closer and those crisp, dull mornings are creeping up on us I'm rather partial to spending an extra few minutes snuggled up, luckily for me though there are some wonder products which work in my favour to disguise tired peepers, leaving me looking bright eyed and bushy tailed for the day ahead.

After giving my face its morning cleanse, I dab on a small amount of Origins GinZing eye cream which is packed with coffee bean caffeine and panax ginseng to de-puff and refresh. It also contains 'natural optic brighteners', in other words, it has a slight sheen to it making your under eye area look wide awake so I make sure it's taken into the inner tear duct area too. On top of that goes YSL Touche Éclat, one click and few strategically placed strokes of this adds light and radiance, and also slightly tones down the eye cream shimmer. I'm fairly sure I discovered this luminizing magic wand at the young age of 16 (not that I had any dark circles to worry about back then!) and my makeup bag hasn't been without one of these since. Last but not least, I give my waterline a quick run over with the 3 Custom Color Light Clarifying Pencil, you may remember me sing its praises in this post. It's basically a flesh coloured liner which neutralises any redness on the inner rim of the eye, instantly making them appear bigger and brighter.

So there we have it, three simple steps which instantly make me look like I've had a whole 10 hours sleep. Of course, I have a whole other routine which I rely on to prevent puffiness and banish bags, this I quite simply call 'The Soothing Eye Facial' - I'll make sure to conjure up a post but in the meantime, what are your eye brightening secrets?

30 October 2012

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors

I'm really not one for lip gloss, the slightest gust of wind and your freshly washed locks become tangled up in the stickiness on the front of your face, I'm much more of a lippy or tinted balm kinda gal. I can count on one hand the amount of glosses I've tried which don't leave a gloopy residue that I actually don't mind wearing and I think I may have just found another to add to that small bunch..

I've had my eye on the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors for a little while - somewhere in between a gloss and a balm, they protect, nourish and repair the lips whilst also giving them a luscious, smooth shine. They come in a squeezy tube with a sponge applicator makeing them incredibly easy to apply, a quick swipe on the lips and you're good to go. Available in 3 natural shades, Pink, Apricot and Nude, they can be worn over the top of lipstick or alone. What is described as a 3D shimmer in them isn't all that noticeable, but in fact quite subtle, not to mention they smell amazing too (think candy floss or crème caramel. Mmm...)

My lips are naturally quite pigmented so the difference between each shade is only slightly noticeable. They're equally as beautiful as each other (although I think Apricot Shimmer tugs at my heart strings slightly more!). Non-sticky, wearable and moisturising, they tick all my boxes, a great lip product which my makeup bag has quite happily welcomed with open arms. The Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors can be found at Clarins counters or slightly cheaper online at feelunique.com for £14.40 each. And yes, you do need all three!

26 October 2012

Nails on the Go

Nails are the one thing that gets left until last for me when I'm getting ready, purely to avoid smudging whilst trying to do everything else, but more often than not I'm running late and end up doing them either in the car, on the plane.. you name it, I've probably attempted it! I'm currently in London for a three day stay and used the two hour train journey as a good excuse to give myself a mini mani. All the bits I brought were travel friendly size, popped in a smaller pouch inside my makeup bag. It also meant I had them in case of any nail emergencies while I'm away (a gal's gotta think of these things!).

I started off with a generous amount of the Liz Earle Hand Repair. An easy way to remove old nail polish on the move is with Deborah Lippmann's The Stripper To Go lavender lacquer remover mitt. The mini mitt fits over one finger and cleans all 10 nails, it has a really fresh scent, prevents dehydration and keeps cuticles soft. Alternatively, Boots do polish remover pads in a small pot. Something which I always have to hand is the Stylfile Emergency File as it attaches to your keyring. It's a baby version of the original S-file and S-buffer combined and is protected by a spiral casing to stop it getting scratched or scratching other things. I also had a mini cuticle pusher to neaten up around my cuticles before applying a polish.

For a base I used a mini OPI Nail Envy, which works wonders at strengthening weak, flaky nails. My colour of choice was Nails Inc. Baker Street, a solid cobalt blue - I adore this shade (plus the London street name is quite appropriate!). To finish off, again in a miniature version, I applied the OPI Rapidry Top Coat which hardens almost instantly allowing me to jump straight off the train and hit the shops..

What are your quick fix nail tips?

22 October 2012

Inside my Makeup Bag: London Edition

Of course the first and utmost important thing to be planned for trip away is what makeup I'll be taking with me (that'd be the beauty junkie in me!). I'm heading off to London for a couple of days and my usual over-packing self has had to tone it down and learn to travel light, although being a minimalist (I think?) when it comes to makeup this wasn't so much of a problem. In all honestly, my makeup bag can't squeeze a lot in anyway but I've crammed in some miniatures and a palette to give me a little variety. As there's a lot to do in a short space of time, I'm going for more of a natural face but I also want the products I've chosen to last well, and be quick and easy enough to use for touching up on the go if needed.

For my base I'm taking YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat, yes it's bulky, heavy and takes up most of the space but it's light in consistency, it lasts and looks second-skin like. For banishing dark circles and hiding blemishes, it's MAC Studio Finish Concealer and MAC MSF Natural will be with me at all times for a quick dusting whilst out and about. Urban Decay Primer Potion is always a makeup bag staple, then for eyes I'm taking the Classic Evening Palette from Bobbi Brown which contains a light beige, great as a base, for blending and highlighting, a medium brown, the perfect crease colour and a dark plum brown with gold shimmer, oh and eyebrows, they're going au natural. In the same palette is Desert Rose blush a dusky pink shade which can be built up for evenings too and for a little shimmer, I'm taking a mini Nars Orgasm Illuminator. Mascara wise, it's Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear, as hence the name, it lasts well and to keep me looking bright eyed, I'm taking my Custom 3 Colour Light Clarifying Pencil for the waterline. 

Finally, for lips I'm taking Dior Addict lipstick in 'Diorkiss' and I'm throwing in a Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector for good measure! For brushes it's the usual culprits, the Real Techniques Buffing and Contour, mini Dior kabuki and a couple of eye shadow blending brushes too, all of this fitting snug in my MAC feline felt pouch. And there we have it, not too excessive at all in my opinion.. but I'll let you be the judge of that!

20 October 2012

Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy

Ojon have recently released something quite stunning in the way of a new hair oil. The Rare Blend Oil Total Therapy is made up of 6 natural oils combined with pure Ojon Oil, known as the 500 year old rainforest beauty secret. Not only does it boost moisture, it also claims to nourish to repair, tame frizz, protect against heat damage and leave your locks with a glossy shine, now that's a whole lotta promises in one little bottle. 

It sits in all it's glory in 3 different layers, fading up from a orangey red, to clear, to a vibrant yellow and once shaken to blend and activate, it becomes a beautiful shade of coral. Two drops is all you'll need run through the very ends of damp hair revealing healthy, soft tips, any more than that though and you can look a little 'slick'. The scent reminds me very much of the Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment, although a lot lighter in texture which I prefer as it tends not to weigh the hair down. It does however, have one negative for the fact that it's without a pump, making it extremely difficult to control and you end up pouring out a lot more than you need, although I feel I may have solved this slight problem with the help of a plastic, disposable pipette by dipping it into the oil, taking what you need and anything that's left can be put straight back in. Simples.

For my first taste of Ojon, I'm rather impressed and my strands have been left thirsty for more. A pretty teeny 45ml bottle will cost you a smooth £29 and can be found at any Ojon counter or on their site. Speaking of Ojon counters.. rumour has it that on November 8th Ojon are having a trade-in day. Take along an empty bottle of any, yes any, branded shampoo to your nearest participating store and receive a full size Dry Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner duo worth £41.50. I know my alarm will be set early for that morning so I'm front of the line, it's a deal not to be missed!

Can you recommend any other Ojon products for me to try?

13 October 2012

Top 5: Beauty Bibles

Before my real obsession with anything beauty related began, I would spend hours cutting out parts of magazines which contained makeup tips and DIY beauty treatments. I'd print page after page off the internet and write up notes from books I borrowed, all of which were entered into a scrapbook so that I could work my way through trying each one (it occasionally gets pulled out even now!). Over the past couple of years, I've discovered a handful of books which I now spend a lot more time flicking through for inspiration (and just to generally swoon over if I'm honest!). I highly recommend them if you are thinking about entering the industry or even just have a passion for all things beauty which you'd like to take to the next level yourself, they also make great presents for girly girls too!

Jemma Kidd Make-up Masterclass
International makeup artist Jemma Kidd aims to teach women of all ages how to apply cosmetics like a professional using the best techniques and formulations via her very own beauty bible. She shares her 'Beauty Basics' which cover essential makeup tools, skincare and how to identify colours and products to specifically suit you. The 'Makeup Masterclass' gives you a guide to application, different effects, how to experiment with colour and the 'Get the Look' section provides day and night looks which can be recreated following the simple step-by-step instructions. I could evil eye the flawless bases and structured faces for hours on end, the visuals in this book are incredible! Available to buy here for £15.75.

The Anti-ageing Beauty Bible
Believe it or not, you should start using anti-ageing products from the age of 25 in order to help prevent pre-mature ageing and this book offers everything you need to know. Beauty experts Jo Fairley and Sarah Stacey reveal their award winning products, from teeth whitening to foot treats to hair masks. There are also makeup secrets from pro's such as Trish McEvoy and Laura Mercier, tips on better beauty sleep and the nutritional supplements that benefit your skin. It literally covers it all, there's an answer for any of your beauty woes, a definite must have for £16.99 here.

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual
'For everyone from beginner to pro' this book (above) is one of four from the lady herself, Bobbi Brown. With 25+ years in the industry, Bobbi guides you into skincare basics, tools of the trade, choosing the right shades and colours of makeup and so much more. She also advices aspiring makeup artists how to break into the business, how to create a portfolio and working with others on shoots. Again, the photos are phenomenal, this is probably my most reached for book out of them all. It's available here for £14 

Lauren Conrad Style
This gal is one of my favourite style icons, she always looks amazing and her makeup is just so classic. Even though this book is mainly directed at style, there is a whole section on beauty written by Lauren's favourite makeup artist, Amy Nadine. Amy shares her tips and tricks, how to apply products properly and looks which are suitable for daytime and special occasions. It only covers the topic very briefly, but for beginners it goes over all the basics you need to know. It's available to buy here and rumour has it she's releasing a book entirely based on beauty, so that's one to keep an eye out for!

1001 Little Beauty Miracles by Esme Floyd
Such a great little book if you're into natural remedies, DIY's and beauty on a budget covering any situation you could possibly think of including pregnancy, on holiday, in-flight and more, there really is 1001 tips and tricks! This one was actually exclusive to Marks & Spencer but I've managed to find a new and improved version here for £6.99 (The little illustrations and captions make it extra cute!).

What is your holy 'beauty' bible?

11 October 2012

Diorskin Nude Shimmer Instant Illuminating Powder

I believe I may have suffered a small panic attack when rumours arose over Dior Amber Diamond Skin Shimmer becoming discontinued as it had been on my beauty wishlist for little while, however, those were soon cleared up and apparently the infamous highlighting powder was here to stay. Even the thought of it being taken away made me lust after it even more, so off I trotted to the Dior counter only to be told Rose Diamond was all they had left. A couple of weeks later, I headed back with everything crossed, but again was struck with disappointment when I was told it had in fact been discontinued (even the tester had been removed from the display stand, yet it's still available online?). Doing what a makeup counter saleswoman does best, I was lured into it's replacement product which I, very willingly caved into.

Diorskin Nude Shimmer Instant Illuminating Powder is part of the Diorskin Nude collection released in August. The pigments used in Diorskin supposedly mimic the natural composition of the skin, compliment different skin shades and are photo-sensitive enhancing a natural glow. This powder is described as 'a subtle combination of fine mother-of-pearl in a transparent base' and applied to the cheekbones, brow bone, bridge of the nose and inner tear duct gives a delicate sheen. In contrast to the Amber Diamond standard, blue packaging, it is in cased in a clear acrylic palette with mirror faced front. The one disappointment for me is the sponge applicator, it barely picks up any product and is generally awkward to use, instead, I've found a swipe with the ring finger works best, brush wise - the Real Techniques Contour Brush does a fair job too. I'm not sure whether it truly 'replaces' Amber Diamond, I much preferred the blend of different shades it had, but this is definitely a beaut nonetheless.

It'll set you back a naughty £32, but I guarantee you, once swatched you won't want to walk away without it. And while you're there, have a swoon over what else there is to offer, if Natalie Portman, the flawless face of the collection can't persuade you, I'm not sure what will..

Have you tried anything from this collection?

9 October 2012

September Favourites


September for me was the month of experimenting with a few shiny new things, some of which have stood out a lot more than others, hence securing a firm place in my latest monthly favourites. There was also a rediscovery of an absolute gem, the product in question being the Tresemme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo, it blows Batiste completely out of the water (won't be letting this one get away again too easily!). I can't deny I've become a bit of a This Works fan girl and I've really been loving their Tired Eye Serum and Perfect Hands hand cream which both came as part of the Perfect Skin set (post here), update to come on their Perfect Cleavage Firming Lotion though, to say I'm curious on this one would be an understatement..

The final few include a lip love trio, one of the only polishes I will ever repurchase and a spa smelling facial oil (there's something about products with pipettes which make them feel extra special, agree?), so for my complete September beauty round up just click on the video above and don't forget to leave me any recommendations for the best places to shop in London, that way I can blame you lot for any purchases I make ;-)

What products have you been loving recently?

30 September 2012

Aromatherapy Associates Essential Travel Oils

There's no doubt about it, I enjoy a good old bath come cold Winter months but gone are the days where I'd throw in a LUSH bomb or pour in some bubbles, oh yes, I've now developed a taste for a much more indulgent treat, in the way of bath oils. 

Aromatherapy Associates is a brand I've wanted to delve into for a while, but the hefty price tags sent me elsewhere. However, I did take the recent feelunique.com sale as a perfect excuse to cave in and give myself a cheeky treat. Their selection of Bath & Shower Oils come in beautifully packaged glass bottles, each with different properties, but to make the ultimate gift (to myself in this case!) they also offer a variety of different sets containing miniature testers of the oils. The Essential Travel Oils set holds 4 bottles in Deep Relax, a sense of peace and tranquillity, Revive Morning which invigorates and energises both body and mind, Revive Evening to revive and uplift your senses and Support Lavender and Peppermint, a gentle and caring blend, all in-cased in the sweetest box with magnetic lid. This particular set is ideal for holidays and trips away as it deals 'the upheaval of travel', but it's also a great way to discover the brand and sample more than one of their oils. Each bottle contains 7.5ml, enough for 3 baths each, a total of 12, which works out less than £2 a bath (if my mathematics are correct!). To create your very own spa experience in the space of your own bathroom, you just add two capfuls of an oil into a full bath, and for showers, apply the oil directly to the body before jumping in. I have to say, I prefer using them in baths over showers as it does create a slippery surface and if you're as clumsy as me, you could end up pulling muscles instead of soothing them. The scents aren't overpowering, but are enough  to fill the room with a delicate aroma and so out of the four, my favourites have to be the Revive Evening and the Support Lavender and Peppermint, instant relaxation in a single whiff!

Best of all, their products are formulated using only the highest quality precious oils and active botanical extracts - the natural, the better I say! You can find the Essential Travel Oils set for £21.95, along with all of their other goodies at feelunique. Have you tried any oils from Aromatherapy Associates? What's your favourite bath product?

27 September 2012

Essie for Elemis FreshSkin

If two of my favourite beauty brands were to come together and make a baby, they would produce something quite exclusive - and that's exactly what they've gone and done! Elemis FreshSkin and Essie have teamed up to create a one-off nail polish designed and based on this skincare range. The FreshSkin line by Elemis was launched last year and is targeted at teens or girls in their early twenties helping to prevent signs of premature ageing, skin damage, boost elasticity and keeps the skin looking brighter, healthier and younger for longer. 

As part of their range they offer the Discovery Kit containing 5 FreshSkin favourites in mini sizes, a great way to introduce you to the brand. It includes the Peachy Perfect Gentle Face Wash, Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash, Softly Softly Daily Moisturiser, Dreamy Sleep Night-time Moisturiser and three sachets of their Deep Clean Purifying Face Mask. 

The main colour of the brand and most of their product packaging is a bright pink-y purple, it stands out and is instantly recognisable. The shade they've come up with together with Essie is quite similar to this, although I'd say it's practically twinsies with Essie's Big Spender which is described as a red-violet cream. Good work team Essiemis, this isn't one I'd usually reach for to paint my fingers with, but it's definitely a winning one for the toes! The Elemis FreshSkin range can be found here and Essie FreshSkin exclusively here

What d'ya think gals? Will this be one you're adding to your collection?

24 September 2012

Top 5: Autumn Nail Polishes

Now that there is officially a chill in the air, I'm reluctantly gathering up my pink and coral polishes ready for their hibernation until next Summer. In replacement, I'm bringing out the Autumn shades, five of which I know I'll be rotating regularly over the next couple of months, some oldies, some newbies..

 The most recent addition to my collection is Chanel Le Vernes in Frenzy, one of three in their Autumn range (and the first to my collection may I add!). In the bottle it looks the perfect shade of 'greige', although it pulls through lilac tones once applied on the nails. The comments about the durability have made me steer clear of these polishes before and I have to say after the first day, the edges started to wear, after three, the chipping began, but I'm willing to forgive it because it really is too beautiful to resist. Then there's China Glaze Winter Berry, the name may relate to next season but I find myself time after time reaching for a classic red this time of year, it's so elegant. Bourjois 1 Seconde Gel polish in Beige Distinction isn't anything out of the ordinary, but a nude beige is pretty standard and this works really well with my skin tone. I only discovered Essie Angora Cardi earlier this year, but every time I saw swatches of it, it never failed to amaze me. It's described as a 'deep dusty rose' and I think it sums up Autumn in a bottle so well! Last but not least, how could I not include OPI Lincoln Park After Dark as one of my top five? This is OPI's best selling nail polish, loved by celebs such as Twiggy and Micha Barton. It's a solid midnight purple, which isn't only ideal for Autumn but the perfect transition colour into Winter as well. 

I'd love to know what colours will be adorning your nails this Autumn! There might just be a few more need adding to my collection, any excuse, eh?!

11 September 2012

Before & After: Peptalash Lash Growth Serum

Not wanting to blow my own trumpet, but I do feel I have been blessed with naturally long lashes, to the point where I've actually been asked on several occasions what brand of falsies I'm wearing! I have to admit I've experimented in the past with anything and everything which, myth or truth, is said to lengthen lashes, olive oil, Vaseline, you name it - I've tried it, whether that has contributed or not though I can't really say. Obviously with lashings of mascara (excuse the pun!) they look a lot fuller, but au natural they are very fine and also light at the roots giving the illusion they're quite sparse. 

I've never tried any lash growth treatments or serums before and always curious of a gimmick, I did decide to give one of the latest products on the market a try. Peptalash by indeed labs (Snoxin, Nanoblur and Hydraluron may ring a bell!) is an advanced combination of 3 clinically-proven peptides which work together to make lashes appear thicker, fuller and longer in as little as 2 weeks. The applicator is very similar to a liquid liner brush whereas other lash growth products I've seen before are in wand form which you use to apply as you would mascara. The product should be applied across the upper lash line, as close to the roots as possible, every morning and night. 

Top: Before, Bottom: After
Left: Before, Right: After

Bar a couple of odd mornings where my brain was still asleep, I applied Peptalash twice a day, everyday for the duration of six weeks and I have to say I've noticed considerable results. I wasn't expecting a miracle and I was aware it wouldn't have much of an effect on my already long lashes, but possible thicker and fuller results was what I was hoping to see and especially within the last two weeks, usually when its come to removing my eye makeup and the point of face inspection, I've seen a change. As you can see by the difference in the after photo, the bases of my lashes look much fuller also making them appear a lot darker compared to the before photo (I assure you the only makeup I'm wearing in both is foundation!). I can't say I agree with some reviews which say your lashes shrink back to normal after use but I also don't expect them to thicken or grow any more now that I've stopped using it. I'd recommend this if you have naturally short or sparse lashes, or they've been damaged by lash extensions (trust me, it happens!). All in all, I think it's worth the £24.99 price tag, it may not look much but it will last you a good few months - with continued use comes best results!

Have you tried Peptalash, or any other lash growth treatments?

9 September 2012

Products I've Used Up in August

Yet another month has been and gone, and another box of empty products has been filled! Quite a few Summer related items have made their way into the video this month, including MAC Fix +, a skin refresher/makeup finishing spray which has been a handbag staple recently due to the warmer weather - it really is great to use to cool down or even on days where I feel my makeup is looking a little cakey/blotchy and is in need of a little sprouse up! There are couple of fragrances in there too, two of Soap & Glory body sprays and Nina by Nina Ricci perfume, all quite fresh, fruity scents perfect for this time of year. As previously promised, there will be a full review to come on the Peptalash serum, not wanting to give too much away but I do feel it has done something. My lashes have looked exceptionally longer with the help of Daniel Sandler Jumbo Jet Mascara which probably needed to be chucked a while ago but I always feel reluctant to after only 3 months. 

Other products I'm saying goodbye to this month are a few things from Liz Earle, even more Elemis and OPI (shock horror!), but you'll have to take a look at the video above if you want to know more!

Which products have come to an end for you this month?

4 September 2012

August Favourites


Some products in this months favourites may have been a bit predictable seeing as I've already declared my love for them in recent videos and posts (Liquid Gold, I'm talking to you!), however, there are some I haven't spoken a word of yet but certainly have a worthy place in this months round up! 

Pretty much every item I mentioned in my skincare haul video has won me over. I regret not getting Bioderma any sooner, I now want to try everything else that REN have to offer and as I say, the Alpha H Liquid Gold is such a wonder product. I really enjoyed using every last drop of the Elemis Frangipani Monoi Moisture Melt, it's lasted me such a long time and truly smells incredible - I love the concept of it too, it feels so luxurious to use. The Fekkai Glossing Cream has been applied to the ends of my hair pretty much after every wash this month, I find it works better in damp hair as opposed to dry as it can tend to make it look a little greasy. 

Adorning my finger nails this month has been Essie Fiji, goes with anything and with the new formulation and brush it only takes 2 coats to achieve the perfect mani. On my toes the entire month has been OPI Cajun Shrimp, one of my all time favourite Summer colours, I literally can't stop staring at my feet when I'm wearing this, is that weird? One of my newest purchases, the Diorskin Nude Bronzer has most definitely lived up to expectations. I tried this in store the day they were released and I knew it wouldn't be long until it was mine! I was unsure if the mini kabuki would work with this or not, but it's so soft and distributes the perfect amount of product so you're able to give yourself a natural glow. 

Last but not least, a non beauty favourite but something I always associate with treatments and pampering, is the Neom Sensuous Travel Candle. Not gonna lie, this is a first for me from Neom and to say I'm in love would be an understatement. The smell is divine, lasts in my room for days after without being overpowering and it's safe to say that the 3 wick will be on its way to me once this has gone!

Are we really into September now? Gulp.. What have been your favourites of the month?

29 August 2012

Beauty Bargains: thisworks, Fekkai & Essie

I always get quite nervous walking into TK Maxx (TJ Maxx if you're American!) purely because I'm unaware how much it's going to affect my bank balance. Their beauty and hair section has been on top form lately, a few months ago I couldn't believe my luck when I discovered 3 Essie polishes for £10 so I had high hopes when I made a trip more recently. 

I stumbled across a whole section of Frederick Fekkai hair products and before I knew it the Glossing Cream had made its way into my basket. I've heard great things about it, mainly from Ameila and Fleur, and for less than half the original rrp, it was a complete bargain at £9.99. I've found it works best applied to the ends of damp hair and once blow dried it leaves your locks feeling soft, smooth and sleek (I realise it's packed with silicones galore, but that still didn't stop me!). The purchase I was most chuffed with, was the This Works: Perfect Skin set as I've wanted to try something from their line for a while now. Inside is the Perfect Hands hand cream, Tired Eyes Serum and Perfect Cleavage (a tightening and toning serum for the chest and neck, something I feel I don't need as of yet but as I turn 22 tomorrow, it might not be too much longer before this is put to use!) Reduced from £22, to £12, it immediately joined the Glossing Cream in my basket without a second thought! I'm in need of a new eye product as I'm almost out of my Origins Ginzing and so the other two products were bonuses! Last but not least, I headed over to see what other Essie goodies they had to offer and as well as the polishes, there were many other nail treatments. I picked up the Smooth Trick Deep-Conditioning Cuticle Oil - it has a little rubber point which fills with product when the tube is squeezed, really quick and easy to use! At only £3.99 I was also extremely tempted to pick up a strengthening nail treatment for the same price but a sense of self-control took over!

It's safe to say I left the store that day with a huge Cheshire cat grin spread across my face and I certainly felt quite pleased with myself - it's the little things, eh?!

Have you picked up any bargains recently?
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