Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My Top Beauty Picks of 2013.

Well it's here, the end of the year! I could say, " wow, hasn't it gone quick" but I won't bore with that, you're here to find out what products have "floated my boat" in 2013, so here they are, my picks of the best. Products I have found and loved in 2013...

Alpha H Liquid Gold. - For regular readers this will be no shocker, I love it and it has changed my skin no end. A Glycolic treatment that is worn over night a few times a week. The skin is left with a healthy glow and over time the skin tone appears more even and fresh with a youthful radiance. I'm nearly running out and this is definitely on the top of my re-purchase list for next year. Read my full HERE

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara is another of my most raved about products. This mascara is the only one I wear that doesn't smudge or result in panda eyes after a few hours wear. I absolutely love it and am on my third one now! The tiny wand makes applying mascara a doddle and you can get every tiny hair with ease.

Nars Laguna Bronzer - This bronzer has changed the way I do my make up. I use it mainly for contouring by applying it in the hollows of my cheeks, on my temples, along my jaw line and sometimes down the sides of my nose.
The colour is just  perfect for creating a natural shadow on the skin, along with the matte formula which is easily blended this product is much deserving of it's cult status.

Real Techniques Buffing Brush. I use this every day to apply my foundation, the brush blends and buffs like a dream, creating the perfect canvas for the rest of my make up.  The brush fans out which means it distributes  the foundation  evenly, making it look natural and delivering a flawless finish.

Bobbi Brown Corrector is another product I can't live without. It conceals and neutralises dark circles under the eyes leaving you looking fresh eyed and bushy tailed. Read my full review HERE

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo is where it all started with me, before find this I didn't really have much of a skincare routine. I had heard so much about it and the brand that I decided to give it a go. The gel like cream has reduced blemishes and evened out my skin tone. I have always got a tube of this in my cupboard to prevent break outs and manage them.

Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm. This year it was all about the cleansing balms, something that I hadn't really heard of before. I was hooked on the whole concept. A balm that removes all make up while leaving the skin hydrated and squeaky clean. I originally bought the Elemis Cleansing Balm but that was knocked off the shelf by this little baby. I did a review of them both HERE

Origins Super Spot Remover is my favourite product for healing those pesky spots quickly. You can bet your bottom dollar if you have a special night out planned you are bound to get a visit from Mr Pimple! This will reduce the size and take the redness down without overly drying out your skin too much. I can't live without it!

Milkshake 12 Effects leave in conditioner is a recent find but never the less deserves its place in this line up. I have tried loads of leave in conditioners in my time and this has to be the best a of the bunch. The thick consistency coats every strand,  leaving my hair feeling silky soft, easy to comb and nourished.   Find out all about it HERE

What products have "floated your boat" this year?

Happy New Year Everyone!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

If you're reading this then its Christmas eve! Yay its finally here!!!
You have either finished work for the festive period or its your last day, never the less only a few more hours to go and the big fat man in the red suit will be making he's way down your chimney, to deliver you an array of Christmas delights.

If you're like me then the run up to Christmas is stressful but in some way I enjoy it. Fighting in crowded shops to find the perfect present is all part of the fun. As you read this I will probably still be at work, making every bodies hair Christmas ready and finishing up those festive highlights, all dressed up my in my elf costume with the carols playing in the back ground.

I'm doing Christmas dinner at mine this year and just hope I don't poison anyone! I can't wait to see Archie's face tomorrow morning when he sees all the presents under the tree, and of course I cant wait to see what Santa has bought me! hehe

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I hope you all receive those lovely gifts on your wish lists and enjoy spending the time with your family and friends.
What are your plans for Christmas? Are you cooking for everyone, or are you lucky enough to be cooked for?

Merry Christmas everyone!
lots of love

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Vichy DermaBlend Foundation

The Swatch
Blended. Photo taken in natural light.
My skin has been playing up something chronic lately so I've been after something to cover up those pesky spots. While hunting through my make up stash I found this little gem, Vichy Derma Blend. Advertised as a corrective foundation for scars, acne and imperfect skin, I thought I would give it ago.
The  foundation is surprisingly lighter than I thought it would be, the texture is thin and easily blended, I was imaging a heavy, cakey foundation that would look unnatural and give my skin an almost "drag queen" appearance, but it didn't.  As a foundation is was great, but obviously not as light as your run of the mill foundation. It is full coverage with a matte finish, covering imperfections in a non mask like way.
The reason I wanted to talk to you about this today is because I have been using it a  concealer and found it works wonders! My problem area is around my chin and month and the rest of my skin is clear, so I found myself not wanting to put this all over but just on the areas of concern.
I used my regular  foundation, which is Laura Mercier crème silk and dabbed a tiny bit of the Derma Blend on the blemishes. With the high coverage and matte finish there was no need to powder or set the "concealer" in place, the spots were concealed perfectly and the results lasted all day without the need for touch ups. By doing my make up this way I've found my skin looks a lot more natural and clearer.
Vichy Dermablend can easily be picked up in most Boots stores for £15.50 (considering I'm only using it as a concealer the tube will last ages!). The only problem I found was there wasn't a fantastic shade range, I think I could only find 3-4 different shades which isn't great but it could have  just been my store.
If you're in the need for a good cover up I would definitely recommend this, it has been a life saver these last few weeks!
Have you tried this? What are your favourite concealers to use?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light // Review and Swatches.

Heavily Swatched

Dim Light is from the Hourglass Ambient Lighting series, a finishing powder designed to add a soft focused effect to the skin. 
This is the least shimmery of all the Ambient Lighting Powders and the best one I think suited to my skin type,  one I would get the most wear out of. I don't like anything too shimmery on my face as it emphasises my pores too much ( one of my main areas of concern). 
It warms up the skin slightly giving a "dim" light effect to your complexion, blurring fine lines and pores in a soft focus way, making the skin silky soft with a radiant (not sparkly) sheen. I would say it takes my foundation level down 1/2 a shade, great in summer for adding a bit more depth to your usual foundation. It does add a blurred veil across the skin almost like a Instagram filter, nothing ground breaking but natural and a nice addition to my make up collection to defuse my problem areas. 
The texture is buttery soft and the finely milled powder doesn't cake or look heavy on the skin. 
As a finishing powder I've found it doesn't control shine or oil, so if this is a problem for you I would recommend something else to keep the shine at bay, (Rimmel stay matte powder is perfect for that). It does feel luxurious, manly because of the gorgeous packaging and high end price tag!
Do I think its worth the £38.00 pound price tag? Possible not, it's all relative. If you're going to
starve for a week just to be able to purchase this, then no its  not. If you've had your eye on it for a while and have some spare cash, then go for it. I'm glad its in my collection and the powder will last ages but I'm not sure if I would run out and re-purchase when it does eventually hit pan. I'm waiting for the high street to bring out their own version, as they normally do with cult products. Bourjois Java Rice powder ( Anna from On the Dressing Table and Katie from SugarFixx Beauty both have great reviews) is a good dupe for Luminous Light, but I'm yet to find one that matches Dim Light.  If this was around the £15-£20 mark I wouldn't think twice about popping it in basket!
Have you tried any of the Ambient Lighting Powders? Have you got any good dupes for Dim Light? Leave me a comment below telling me your thoughts ;0)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Perfect Cosy Christmas Night in.

Christmas is nearly here and I'm buzzing with excitement! The thought of waking up on Christmas morning, seeing the faces of my son and husband as they open their presents, carols playing in the background and bucks frizz bubbling away.

As with most people I love going out over the festive period, but what I love even more are cosy nights in, The Christmas tree twinkling in the corner, the heating turned up to full power, an alcoholic beverage and delving into the chocolates meant for Christmas day.
Above is my perfect Christmas night in, Mulled wine, Cosy onesie, Hot water bottle, Plenty to watch on the box, the room smelling of  Christmas and feeling rather sick at the amount of choccy's that have passed my lips!...that to me is perfection!

What is your ideal Christmas night in?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas Shopping Trip to London (photo heavy)

Monday was spent in London doing some Christmas shopping, I had planed on visiting Winter Wonderland but ran out of time, I did however manage to pick up a few things for Christmas and a present or two for myself!
The day was kicked off by the bloggers mandatory Costa stop and the FOTD/OOTD selfies.

Once in London my first port of call was Covent Garden and SpaceNk, were I picked up the Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask, something to sort out my skin because it has been awful this last 2 weeks or so. A present for a friend and one for the Bloggers Secret Santa, organised by Gemma from Miss Makeup Magpie and Laura from Tease Flutter Pout.
Next up was Mac where I purchased Ruby Woo and the Prep and Prime highlighter, these were for me! Christmas wouldn't be the same without a cheeky gift for yourself! ;)

Selfridges is where I spent the most amount of time, their Christmas displays are gorgeous and I got swept up in the moment looking at all the beautiful items they had to offer. I purchased some toys for Archie, some perfume for my Mum from Jo Malone ( Peony and Blush) and another present which isn't featured on here as the person I was buying it for may take a look and I don't want to spoil the surprise.
While in Selfridges I perused the stands of Kate Spade, quickly walking away before I did some serious damage to my bank balance! 
My hubby  was swooning over a £30,000 toy car (which was just ridiculous) , I quickly ushered him away and got on to some serious shopping. The beauty hall was stunning, the Charlotte Tilbury stand was in my grasps, but I resisted and vowed to stop there another day, the day was meant for buying presents for other people, not me!. Next to the Charlotte Tilbury stand was the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb display, hundreds of flowers covering a photo both which was packed full of people, all having a giggle and admiring the display.  
My Haul!!
Archie's Christmas Presents
Ren Detox Mask, Starbucks Coffee Cup, SpaceNk presents and gifts for myself from Mac
 Mac Ruby Woo and Prep + Prime highlighter
By the time all this had been accomplished it was time to head home and pick Archie up. We managed to get back to the car quite quickly apart from an unscheduled delay which was caused by me! I managed to get a very "dewy" glow from suggesting we walked up the stairs rather than waiting for the lift at Holborn station, so we walked up the stairs, all 175 of them!!! My god I thought I was going to have a heart attack, NEVER again!! lol
On the way home ( after I'd caught my breath) I made my last purchase of the day at Starbucks, firstly a Toffee Nut Latte and then a Christmas gift for Jason who had his eye on one of the thermal coffee cups. I got it as a  stocking filler for Christmas, I wanted him to have the rose gold one but he wouldn't, apparently its too girly....... that puts a stop to me borrowing it then!
All in all a great day was has and a few gifts crossed off the list. How's everyone else getting on with their Christmas shopping?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Dear Santa....

I have written a letter to Santa this year. I have been an excedinly good girl ;) It's not the biggest list in the world, I find it really hard to decide on what I really want.  Each year it gets harder and harder, I'm a really impatient person and if I want something I normally just go out and buy it. So here are some goodies that I've had my eye on.

Michael Kors rose gold watch £210.00. I'm sure I'm not the only person with this on their Christmas list this year! I lost my watch a couple of months ago and have not replaced it yet due to the fact that these have caught my eye and my bank balance has not allowed my to buy one! I'm hopping this is under the tree on Christmas morning....fingers crossed!

Origins Morning to Midnight gift set £40.00 I haven't really tried that many products from Origins. Their super spot remover is one of  my holy grail items and I really want to try more from the range. The Morning to Midnight set includes..GinZing Refreshing eye cream 15ml,  Drink Up Intensive Overnight hydrating mask 50ml, GinZing Energy Boosting moisturizer 30ml and High-Potency Night-A-Mins Renewal Cream 50ml.

Jo Malone Candle in Pomegranate Noir £39.00. I recently received the gift set which included the Bath wash, Body crème and cologne and have fallen in love with the scent. I have found myself wearing it every day and would love this as an addition to the set.

The last item on my list is one that I receive every year and it would not be Christmas without their occurrence. I'm talking about Christmas slippers! There's something so comforting about popping on new slippers on Christmas day, they're always so spongy as they haven't been broken on yet and I just love that feeling. This to me is Christmas! I haven't posted a picture of ones that I would like because really any would do, as long as they are new and cosy, I'll be happy! :0)

What is on your list this year?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Christmas Shopping Tips for Men.

It's that time of year again when most men break out into cold sweats, the thought of what to buy their wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters becomes too much to bare and they end up getting them something inappropriate or damn right useless! Well worry no more, I'm going to outline some very simple tips on buying presents for the ladies in your life.

First of all, please do not and I repeat do not go shopping on Christmas Eve unless you have a list of exactly what to buy! There is nothing like seeing a man wondering around department stores at 5pm on Christmas Eve with the look of dread and utter bewilderness in his eyes. No wonderful present was ever bought this way and in no way enter a garage and think, "Yeah she'd love a CD that's 10 years old or a magic tree air freshener!!"  All this will do is ruin both your Christmas's!........ You have been warned!

Every women likes perfume, its not something many of us buy ourselves throughout the year so this is a good place to start. Finding a scent she will like can be tricky, we all have different tastes, so a good way of finding out what she likes is to have a peek though her perfume cupboard (or ask someone to do it for you).
See what perfumes she has and make a note of at least 4 of them, all to be a least half empty so we know she likes them. Take this list to your local department or perfume store, find a lovely assistant and ask them for help. If you find this alone a daunting task worry not,  I'm sure she will be more than happy to help you out rather than see you looking like a lost child in a supermarket, overwhelmed by all the different brands and scents on sale. She can advice you on perfume's within the same category as the ones you have given her. All you need to do then is pick the one you like the smell of the most. Picking a perfume you like the smell of will show that you have given some thought to the present. You can tell her why you liked it and I'm sure this alone will impress her as you have choosen it yourself.

When buying jewellery look again at pieces she wears often. Does she wear silver, gold, rose gold? This will give you a starting point. Next is to decide whether to buy earrings, a bracelet, a necklace, a watch or even a ring? If its a ring you will need to take along one that she already owns to make sure the sizing is right. Look at the design of the pieces she already wears, are they bold and chunky or delicate and under stated? Look at pieces within these areas. Note that earrings are normally non returnable so if you decide on them make sure you know she'll like them, I find diamonds always help, no women would turn down some diamond studs! lol

Home Made Pamper Hamper
I love a good pamper session and no one is complete without candles and luxurious bath products. There are loads on the market and making a your own gift hamper can be really simple. All you need is a basket or pretty box, some shredded paper and a few of her favourite bath and shower products. Boots do some great products from Soap and Glory and the Sancturary range, which include bath, body and candles to add to your basket, all reasonably priced. Jo Malone, Neom and Miller Harris are a few of the higher end brands (you could always mix and match). As a finishing touch add a bottle of champagne or her favourite wine to make it even more special.

Now this is a no go area unless you are 100% sure of her size. No one what's a gift that is A. too big or B. worst, too small! Opt for clothing like pyjama and sleep wear which normally come in in between sizes like 10/12 12/14  14/16 etc, so not to offend anyone or upset them on Christmas day. Scarves, hats and gloves are universal so this would be another option. If you know her style well treat her to a new pair or shoes or boots, ask friends and family if she has her eye on anything.

Pamper Days and Treats
Treating someone to a pamper day at a hotel or spa is a great gift if you're not sure what to get them. Most ladies loved to be pampered, make sure to get two tickets though so she could take someone along with her.
If this is not in your budget find a local salon near you, most offer vouchers so she can pick a treatment herself to have throughout the year. Another option is to book her in for a manicure or pedicure as a pre Christmas treat or between Christmas and New Year as a pamper session  before the New Years Eve party
Theatre tickets are also a good idea if she likes going to shows.  Find out her favourite, or one she will be the most interested in and make a day of it with dinner or even an overnight stay.
Weekend away for you and your partner without the kids (if you have any). Get a family member to babysit. This is also a great gift  for your mother and father, sister and boyfriend and combines two gifts into one!

A few tips on what NOT to buy her, unless she has specifically asked for them!
  •  Anything for the Kitchen,
  •  Garden,
  •  Car,
  •  anything that involves the day to day running of the house i.e. Hover, Iron or frying pan!
  •  Football tickets, 
  • Anything Electrical,.......no she doesn't want that Black and Decker power tool!! 
If you're still really stuck on what to get, ask a friend or family member to do some detective work on your behalf, there must be something that she wants this year!?

So there you have it, some tips that will hopefully see you through Christmas unscathed! I hope this guide has helped, let me know what you're buying that special someone this year. ;)

Monday, 2 December 2013

Nars Guy Bourdin Promiscuous Lip Crayon set

£30.00 from SpaceNK  ( L-R)
New Lover Velvet Gloss lip pencil, Never say Never Velvet Matte lip pencil, Sex Machine Velvet Matte, Dolce Vita Velvet Matte, Cruella Velvet Matte.
I love Nars, their Blushers are one of the best I've tried and Nars Laguna is my all time favourite  bronzer for contouring. Weird though that I've never tried any of their lip crayons but thanks to the recent SpaceNk offer it is no longer the case.
The Promiscuous lip set is in collaboration with Guy Bourdin, a famous photographer and exclusive to SpaceNk, is made up of 5 lip crayons ( 4 matte and 1 gloss) all displayed and housed in a funky lip pout make up bag, perfect as a gift to yourself or for someone this Christmas.
Top to bottom
New Lover velvet gloss lip pencil - a pink with gold shimmer.
Never say never velvet matte lip pencil - a soft lilac/plum.
Sex Machine velvet matte lip - a dusky rose with a hint of lilac.
Dolce Vita velvet matte -  a nude lip with orange and peach undertones.
Cruella velvet matte lip - a deep red, berry shade.
The matte crayons are not as drying as I first thought and definitely give a bit more moisture than some matte lipsticks I have tried. My favourite out of the collection is Cruella, a deep crimson red berry shade that is so fluttering and perfect for Christmas day along with Christmas novelty jumper and buck frizz!
If you weren't lucky enough to get your hands on the Guy Bourdin blusher pallet the lip set is the next best thing in my opinion. The set is a great starter piece for someone (like me) that has not tried anything from the Nars lip line, but I have a sneaky feeling that it has sold out online!! :( You may still be able to pick it up in store or you could opt for the Nars Fling Lip Kit (£30.00) which comprises of 2 lip crayons, 2 lipsticks and  Lacquered Lip make up bag?
In any case, I for one will definitely be keeping an eye out for other shades in the lip crayon family from Nars, I'm quite obsessed with them at the moment and been wearing them none stop since I got them!
pssst.......Have you entered my Christmas Giveaway yet? Win Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Charmisa!!!!!