Wednesday, 29 January 2014

My 2013 Favourites || ETC

So this is the last of my 2013 favorites and its a collection of random beauty favorites. I think its no secret that I'm a complete fan girl of Blanx White Shock(*) (click here for full review). Its the only whitening toothpaste that has worked for me, and actually helps my sensitive teeth! Another miracle find is the St Tropez Gradual Tan Mousse(*) (click here for full review). I like a really natural looking fake tan, but because I'm pale, its practically impossible to find a good match. I was kindly sent St Tropez's Gradual Tan, and its honestly changed my view on fake tan for the better. I've already mentioned Derma V10 in my skincare favorites and their Chocolate Body Butter(*) is the only body butter (see full review here) I have used consistently. It smells divine and is so cheap, definitely worth trying! Talking about amazing scents, this Anne Semonin Shower Gel(*) (click here for full review) is like liquid sherbet lemons! Lastly I have loved using this Boots Foot Scrub. Sadly I think its been discontinued, but it's very similar to this Sanctuary one, and really helps to get your feet smooth and soft.

I don't think I could ever be without my H. Gillerman Sinus Remedy that I discovered this year after a impulse buy from Liberty. I'm allergic to tree spores so I get really bad hay-fever symptoms in Spring and Autumn and to top it off, I have bad sinus' so I suffer in winter from colds. This has saved my life this winter and is worth its weight in gold. Another thing I can't live without is the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (click here to see a full review). Its a lavender spray that you use on your pillow and is great if your mind goes into overdrive the moment you want to sleep. Finally my last favorite of 2013 is the milk_shake whipped cream (*) (click here for full review). If you need a light-weight product to hep tame your locks this is it. A lot of leave-in products make my hair greasy virtually straight-away but this has the complete opposite effect. The fact that this smells like the most delicious milkshake is just a plus!

So those are all my 2013 favorites. If you missed the previous two (make-up & nails, and skincare) make sure you check them out. Whats products did you swear by? Do you love any of the ones I mentioned?


Friday, 24 January 2014

MUA Luxe Pretty Edgy Eye Palette

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Top Left: Antique, Bow, Toile
Bottom Left: Ruffle, Flounce, Lace
Starting from the bottom: Sinful, Gothic, Wrath, Envy
MUA Luxe Pretty Edgy Eye Palette - £8

The latest branch of the MUA brand is MUA Luxe, offering statement products to satisfy those of you who like to try out the latest beauty trends from the catwalks, but prefer to save some of your hard earned change. 

Rather than the usual plastic packaging with a clear top, its a fully black plastic casing with studs. I quite like the idea of this, it does feel and look more luxe, with more attention to detail than the usual drugstore offerings. In practice though its not amazing. The studs are bulky which causes some issues for storage, especially if you line palettes up in Ikea Alex draws like I do. I do like the new addition of the large mirror featuring in this packaging though, making it very handy for touch ups. I would have preferred to seen a minute double ended make up brush rather than the applicator. For me applicators are only ever good for pigments and loose glitter, so in this palette its rather redundant. Again, that's just down to personal preference and as this palette is only £8, its nothing that should deter you from trying this palette.

Down to the shades. In the palette you get 6 shimmer and 4 matte shades, all staying on the side of a purple smokey eye look. Its particularly good if you want to have a play with Pantone's colour of the year, Radiant Orchid. I think the shades are more suited to evening looks, but it is capable of creating some romantic daytime smokey eyed looks keeping it relatively versatile. As you can see in the swatches, they are all pretty much true to pan and I'm actually impressed with the colour payoff from the shimmers. The shades to note and the ones that will be getting the most use by me are definitely Toile, Ruffle, Sinful and Gothic. All are extremely bendable, there is hardly any fallout and the wear time is around 5-6 hours.

Overall this is another winner from the team at MUA. They definitely know what they are doing when it comes to putting together drugstore palettes and as long as they keep making them, I no doubt will be buying them. 

Have you tried this palette? 


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Elisha Francis London

Show-stopping earrings can transform an outfit. You could be wearing the most simple dress, but paired with the right earrings, it can be the most sophisticated and glamorous outfit. As soon as you put them on they make you feel more confident and special and that can only ever be a good thing. I'm a massive fan of earrings, especially statement pieces as they take the fuss out of accessorising; their plenty on their own. 

My new favorites are these from London-based designer Elisha Francis. Inspired by vintage glamour, Elisha's designs are elegant and classic. The presentation of the jewelry is beautiful and would make a perfect gift, especially as Valentine's Day is just round the corner. These are the Aziza Onyx Gold Tassle Earrings(*) from the Precious collection and really have a 1920's Great Gatsby-esque vibe. Featuring black onyx gemstones and gold plated chain they will compliment everything from formal evening dresses to summer day outfits. Simply beautiful.

If you would like to see more beautiful designs by Elisha Francis, check out her website here


Monday, 20 January 2014

My 2013 Favourites || Skincare

This year has been a bit of a learning curve in terms of skincare. I discovered my skin type has actually changed from oily combination to dry. Who knew?! Armed with this I've now started working out what I like and what suits me and found quite a few products that I want to stick with. I've done a review of these face creams here, but I still love the Derma V10 Q10 Day and Night Creams. For such a cheap face cream, these are ridiculously good and work better than some high end ones I've tried! Speaking of good cheap products, I tried out the Loreal Micealler Water and think its a great dupe for Bioderma, but half the price and more readily available. I've also been really into face oils, and the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil(*) is a great one to try. This is the mini size, lasts ages and leaves your face feeling clean and nourished. Lastly, something I'm using very sparingly because I don't want it to run out is the Elemis Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash(*). This is the best face wash I've ever used, and has done wonders for my dull, dry skin. I urge you to try it. Even though it is a little pricey for a face wash, using it twice a week, the change in your skin is worth every single penny.

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I had to be quite strict with myself when choosing masks, serums and treatments because they are my weakness. For masks, the Glam Glow Youth Mud is the perfect instant gratification mask. I do begrudge how expensive it is, but I like the think of it as an investment in my skin. It's a spa-quality facial in a pot that will give you a Hollywood glow. I don't think I'm ready to be without it yet, regardless of the price. If you do want to try it, I believe you can now buy sampler packs too from here. A mask that has a similar effect but for longer and a lower price is the Dead Sea Spa Magik Algimud Active Seaweed Mask. One sachet lasts for about 4/5 masks and it can clear up some major breakouts. It's quite hard to get hold of so I tend to order it from Holland and Barrett's online when they have their 1p sales.

The Caudalie Vinosourse SOS Serum is a miracle product for me. When I'm stressed I get a huge painful dry rash on my neck (so attractive) and nothing will help, not even E45. Since I discovered this I've used it one night a week and I've never experienced said rash since (touch wood). If you have dry skin, invest now, thank me later. Another serum discovery was the ESPA Essential Protective Serum(*). This A/W we seem to have had such strong winds in the UK, and that type of climate can really effect your skin. This serum has been a lifesaver and I've only seen a change for the better through its protection from harsh environmental factors. It's also a really good price for a high end serum at £25. Finally, I could not do my skincare favourites without including the mother of all spot treatments, Skinetica(*). When I was younger I wished their was a product like this that would get rid of angry spots overnight; my confidence would have been so much better. I use it as both a spot treatment and a super toner if my skin is really bad. The results are simply magic. Now that I've found it, its another product I refuse to be without, so much so I have two in back-up.

What skincare items did you swear by last year?


Friday, 17 January 2014

Lush Camo Scarf

Camo Scarf - £24.99
Does anyone else tend to buy things in phases? One month you'll be obsessed with shoes but then won't buy any for an absolute age? I have no idea what's going on with me but I simply cannot get enough accessories at the moment. I suppose that's not a dreadful thing though as it really does help to maximize your wardrobe and add the finishing touches to any outfit. I'm not trying to convince myself at all ...

I wanted this scarf before Christmas but it was sold out so I put aside some money and waited (not so) patiently for it to come back in stock. Not to be confused with the beauty brand, Lush Scarves is a relatively new site specialising in the most amazing scarfs. They have actually collaborated with Look Magazine, which is a favorite of mine (proud subscriber) and have a range of 6 scarfs as well as other ranges covering designer, brocade, classic and embroidery. There is definitely something to suit everyone. 

I just want to note how good the packaging is for your order. I just expected the usual plastic bag like you would get from other clothes stores, but with Lush you actually get a huge box with flower petals in. This was the standard delivery. I can't think of anywhere else that would go to this much effort, and it really made me feel like I was getting something special.

The scarf itself is huge. I've never owned or even seen a scarf so big before, and for those of you interested in the actual measurements, its 45" by 70".  Its ridiculously smooth and soft, and just feels like such a high quality product. Being quite a girly girl, and with a more classic style, camo print has never been on my radar (apart form the odd fancy dress) but I think adding a scarf is the perfect way to try something new whilst keeping to my style. 

Have you had a look at Lush Scarves? How do you incorporate new things into your style?


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Neal & Wolf Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo and Conditioner

Daily Cleansing Shampoo(*) - £11.50
Daily Conditioner(*) - £12.50
Being a beauty addict you'd think I'd have every aspect of my regime well and truly mastered. I have a confession. I haven't.

My hair used to get neglected. I say used to as this year I'm on the search for the best products to cater to my short hair's needs. Neal and Wolf is a brand I've only had the briefest encounters with, trying their divine Shine Spray. After having such an amazing experience, it was a complete pleasure to be able to try their Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo and Conditioner. 

I think where I struggle is that I feel like hair care is just a bit boring and dull. I have short hair so I'm somewhat limited in what I can do, and if I'm honest I've probably just got myself stuck in a rut. The Ritual range aims to add a bit of glamour into your normal routine, letting you indulge in quality products on a daily basis. The packaging is simple and sophisticated whilst remaining practical. It really reminds me of spa products and if we're judging from looks alone, I was expecting great things when I first set my eyes on the duo.

The first thing that hits you when using the products is the most amazing scent. Created in a perfumery, the fragrance instantly reminds me of luxury treatments. Extremely hard to describe, its neither fully floral or fruity but some sort of hybrid musk which would be universally appealing regardless of your usual preferences. 

The shampoo is thick and clear with the perfect consistency so only the smallest amount is needed to achieve a great lather. With liquid shea extract and, silk and milk proteins the salon experience is brought into your bathroom. I've never thought I suffered from product buildup, but after using this for a week my hair has never felt cleaner or healthier. 

To prolong this indulgence for as long as possible I then applied the conditioner for 30 seconds before rinsing. I don't normally use a conditioner daily as 99% of the ones I've tried weigh my hair down, but this was different. After blow drying my hair felt smoother and softer. Flyaways were reduced and my hair was generally more manageable and easier to style. Its also got the added bonus of having sunscreens in its ingredients to protect from environmental damage, a necessity all year round!

If you haven't guessed it, I'm head over heels with this duo (no pun intended). Could it be I've found my daily dream team in the first month of the year?! For anyone needing an injection of glamour into their daily routine or some TLC I would recommend you take a look at the Ritual range from Neal and Wolf. 

Available from Neal & Wolf's websiteBeauty Bay, and selected Salons.

Have you tried Neal and Wolf before? 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Rebecca Minkoff Hudson Moto Mini

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Alternative titles for this post: What one girl will do for a bag; Desperate Bag Lady. This was my Christmas present from my parents. I've been looking for a smallish black body bag for a long time, and then I saw this and fell in love. My mum and dad said it could be my Christmas present straight away but didn't go to order it for a couple of weeks from Selfridges. That's when the issues started. The amount of work I put in to actually get this was ridiculous. 
When I went to order it, it was added to my basket as normal, but then wouldn't let me check out. Because it was sold out. I then decided to phone up Selfridges in Manchester and see if I could picked one up but they don't sell Rebecca Minkoff up here. I then got diverted to London and they said they would not be getting anymore in. I was still calm at this point. I went onto the Rebecca Minkoff website, but they didn't have this design available and this was my favorite. Any other just didn't seem just right. I then began to search the internet. I attempted to ship it from America, but when I went to checkout they wouldn't let me ship it. I found one other store that sold this design and would ship to the UK but it was £100 more and I didn't want my parents to pay that for a Christmas present. I then decided to try one more time on the Selfridges website. Just once more for luck. And suddenly one became available. Someone must have added it to there basket and timed out. Well I think I checked out in under a minute. Even when the confirmation was e-mailed I couldn't believe it until I had it. It was the last one. Since then Selfridges have stopped selling it.

And then more problems happened. It didn't arrive when it said it would. Two weeks passed and I was having a slight panic attack. Its a lot of money NOT to arrive, especially when you have tried so hard to get hold of it. Then randomly one night the door bell went. Apparently someone delivered it to a neighbor even though we were in and hadn't pushed a card through our door to let us know where it was. To add to the confusion we were having our path paved at the time so the cars weren't on the drive, making the neighbor think we were away. I have never been more relieved to receive a parcel in all my life. 

Now that I have it, I can't stop looking at it. The smell of the leather. How amazingly soft it is. How practical it is. How much stuff it will go with. Its exactly what I wanted. The inside is ideal if your bag eats your belongings. There's two main compartments, a zip pocket and a mobile phone pocket plus an additional section on the outside of the bag. Its an organised persons dream encased in a butter-soft black leather body bag. I thought the catch might annoy me, but its not a problem at all. It just ticks all the boxes for me. Can you tell I'm a little bit smitten?

Have you got anything from Rebecca Minkoff? How far would you go to get something you'd fallen in love with?


Sunday, 12 January 2014

My 2013 Favourites || Make-Up and Nails

Last year I really expanded my beauty knowledge thanks to working with some amazing brands and reading some equally fabulous blogs. I feel like I understand what I like in a product so much more now that I've stepped out of my comfort zone and want to carry on the work by trying more new things this year. Saying that, there are some products that I kept returning back to because they were just so darn good. 

If I can get my base right, everything else goes right, and these four products really do deliver. When I'm in a rush (which is most of the time) I do struggle with the "paint brush" style flat foundation brushes. I feel like they give me way too much coverage and just make my face look extremely cakey. The Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is unbelievable. Whatever you want it to do, it will do. I think it works best with liquid or cream products but would also be ideal for contouring. Next, one I'm not going to talk about too much as I've already done a review (click here), is the Body Shop Matte It Skin Primer. I feel like this is never talked about but it is so good. I don't need powder when I wear this at all, so I'd really consider it if your prone to a bit of shine. Speaking of oil (beautiful), I do think my eyelids are quite bad, eyeshadow creases on me pretty easily so a primer is needed. On a night out I stick with my fail safe Urban Decay combo but its pricey for everyday wear. The MUA Eye Primer (now with different packaging) has such a good formula and has never let me down so far, even in London when I was on the tube for an hour in a heat wave. Impressive. Another budget buy is my own YSL dupe, the Lacura concealer pen in Cashmere from Aldi which I'm planning on doing a more in-depth review on. It's nearly identical to the cult product for a fraction of the price and really lightens up your eyes. 

I am a lip product junkie. There is nothing better and easier than to wear the right shade; it just instantly gives you confidence. I tend to go for darker shades and reds rather than pinks, say that I am in love with the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien. Its just me perfect my lips but better shade. A slightly darker version is Rimmel Apocalips in Eclipse. I have such an obsession with Apocalips. I know quite a lot of people don't like them but the shades suit me so perfectly and the formula is incredible. My Two most worn reds are the OCC Lip Tar in NSFW and Lime Crime Velvetines in Red Velvet . Both are quite bold reds, with Lime Crime being a bit more vibrant.

I've kind of stuck to the same nail shades throughout the entire year. I've really had a thing for green nails. I have no idea why but I'm really drawn to them, with my most used shades being OPI Uh-Oh Roll Down The Window and Models Own Absinthe. Like most people I've been playing around with Matte nails, and rather than splashing out on separate matte polishes, the Rimmel Matte Finish Top Coat transforms everyone you own. I couldn't mention nails and not mention & Other Stories polishes. They are honestly the best I have ever used. This shade is Damask Rose; click here to read my full review.

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Lastly, there are two eye products that I've relied on day after day. The L'oreal Paris Super Liner Ultra Precision is so easy to use it makes doing liquid eyeliner simple. Not only that but its an intense black which stays all day. So far its to only liquid eyeliner I've repurchased and I'm actually really reluctant to try another through fear of it not being as good. The Drug Store dupe for one of my favorite high end eye products the MAC Paint Pots. This Maybelline Color Tattoo in Pink Gold is so beautiful. It create a soft romantic eye and makes a great base for a pink/grey smokey eye. 

What are your make-up favorites?


Saturday, 11 January 2014

Sale Part 3 || Topshop & H&M

Last in my Sales Haul Trilogy is what I picked up from Topshop and H&M. I do apoligise how late these posts are. Like I said in previous posts I did actually order them relatively early into the sales and they have only just arrived the beginning of this week. If the product's still in stock, I have linked it, but because of the shipping delay one of two things are sold out. If you want to get hold of them, check in your local store.


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Did you pick anything nice up? Let me know


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Sales Haul Part 2 || Lush

I love Lush. My nose is treated to one Lush bath product every week as a little reward. You may have seen that in October I had my bathroom re-done (click here) and I now have the biggest bath I've ever had the pleasure of relaxing in. Rather than buying me a Lush gift set full price, my parents gave me money towards the sale so I could get more for the money, and I'd saved up a little too. This year the Lush sale was absolutely amazing and they were selling all their Christmas (and some non-Christmas) goodies half price so I had to have a major splash out and stock up. I was so impressed the site didn't crash like it has done in previous years, and the range of product was 100% better than last year. Its great to see a company listening to feedback from their customers. Excuse the plastic wrappings still on in the photographs, my bounty is going to be kept in a box whilst I slowly make my merry way through them. Needless to say my relaxing baths are in no danger of stopping anytime soon.

My order was:
1 x 250g Tea Tree Toner Water
2 x 100g Smaragadine Retro Bubble Bath
1 x 250g Snow Fairy Shower Gel
1 x The Christmas Penguin
2 x Magic Wand Bubble Bar
1 x Melting Snowman
3 x Secret Santa Ballistic
2 x Golden Wonder Bath Bomb
1 x Star Light, Star Bright
1 x Shoot for the Stars Ballistic
1 x Snowman
1 x So White Bath Bomb
1 x Pumpkin
2 x Ma Bar Bubble Bar
2 x Fizzy O'Therapy Retro Bath Bomb
2 x Haagenbath
Total: An absolutely amazing £50

I'm a complete Lush addict and would love to know what your favorite product is!


Monday, 6 January 2014

The Party's Over

Judging by the cyber tears on twitter I'm guessing everyone is feeling the January Blues; I know I am. Taking down Christmas decorations must be the single most depressing thing about Winter. That amount of joy and sparkle is not meant to be stuffed in a box to be placed out of sight and mind in the loft for 11 months. It's just wrong. With my obvious Christmas withdrawal going quite badly, I need some TLC now more than ever to get the 2014 show safely on the road and get back into the swing on my normal routine. Of course being a beauty junkie, I head straight to my stash ...

Too many late nights, too much bad food and too much fun have lead to my skin becoming dull and quite frankly traumatised. Go hard or go home is only great for so long before your skin has a breakdown, or breaks out. Elemis FreshSkin Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash(*) is perfect for scrubbing away everything you'd wish was left behind in 2014. It smells sweet like Mandarins and helps to stimulate your skin and get your glow back. Once your pores are open, draw out all the gunk clogging your skin with the Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask. Although the marzipan scent is a love/hate affair, it works like a treat, gently warming up on contact with your skin to give you a deep cleanse. One area of skin most people forget to pay special attention to are you hands. They suffer the harshest climates yet don't get any of the care. I use balance Me Super moisturising hand cream(*) at night to keep the soft and prevent the skin from being damaged.

When your hair has seen extreme backcombing and has a product overdose, you need to use Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Treatment(*). Aimed to repairing and moisturise hair after too much styling, a 50p sized amount of this treatment before shampooing your hair will inject shine and bounce for healthy looking locks. 

Whilst I've been off University and work I've been loving watching late night films. But with all these late nights I've been having lovely lie-ins and my body clock has slowly become warped. Trying to get back into a routine the last couple of days has been tricky so I've relied on a small handful of the Himalayan Detox Salts by Therapie(*) to cure my insomnia. Said to re-balance energy flows and even absord radiation from computer and mobile phone use(!), these salts instantly relaxed me after a 20 minute soak, giving me the most peaceful sleep I've had in a long time. 

After all this pampering, I'm ready to start back at University. January is such a stressful month for me at University with lots of assessments and prep work to be done. Now more than ever, you should make sure you take time to look after yourself and relax. Have you got any hero products that might help me? 


Friday, 3 January 2014

Sales Haul Part 1 || ASOS, New Look & Zara

When do you know you have a problem?
Is it when you get buyer's regret or when it becomes awkward when the Post Man rings the door bell for the fourth day in a row?

I think this ship sailed quite a while ago with me. But as I've never even set foot into my overdraft (touch wood), I'm living within my means. Just. From June the future is a little bit uncertain for me. Sounds scary but its true. I finish my post-graduate course and for the first time ever, will be getting a full-time job. I don't know where I'll be living (maybe still at home, maybe on my own, maybe even in a new city) and I don't know what I'll be doing. I'd like to think this was rather exciting, but as one of the World's Worriers I like to have a slight cushion, even if it only gives me a months safety-net for rent and bills. Call it getting older and getting all the not so lovely responsibilities that accompany the ever-increasing figure, but I've decided to try and cut-out daft spending for a while. You know, the £4 hot chocolate (I hate coffee and tea), 4 of a monthly magazine to collect the freebie that you will most likely never use. That kind of stuff. I'm still going to treat myself, but just more sensibly and planned. 

With that in mind, I went a bit crazy in the sales. Like every year I saved up prior knowing I wanted to pick some bits up. I even made a list of things I actually needed (well, things I'd wanted for a while) to get so I was at least going to use my bargains. And then the flu hit me, and things got a little wild. I shockingly stayed within budget and only got stuff I planned to get, but I think that was mainly down to the fact there are some good offers around and I have quite a few vouchers collect throughout the year. Rather than one post, this is one of three. 

As ever, where the products are still available online, I'll link them, but as I actually ordered most of these on Christmas Eve, (they've only just come with Christmas post), the vast majority are sold out. If you really want it, I'd go and have a check in-store.

I hope you enjoy shopping vicariously through me.



New Look

Have you picked up anything nice?

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