Monday, 22 December 2014

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas..

Christmas is easily my favourite time of the year. The hustle and bustle of everyone out shopping, the parties, the festive hats and jumpers, and of course not forgetting all the naughty and tasty food on offer. Yep Christmas is definitely not the time to worry about calorie intake!
If you're a sweet tooth person and like to indulge in the festive treats then this will be right up your street! The limited edition Gingerbread shower and bath gel* from Nspa is full of sweet and spicy goodness, that not only leaves you smelling like Christmas but instantly warms your heart and casts a relaxing wave over you.
Obviously if you're not into sweet fragrances then this certainly isn't going to be for you! This scent is as sweet as it gets with a rich spicy aroma that captures everything a gingerbread man should smell like. If ginger isn't you thing you could try other scents from the range like, Cranberry Chocolate, or more non Christmasy scents like Raspberry, Shea Butter and Honey.
If you're in need of a festive boost and pick me up then is certainly what the doctor ordered!
Available online and in store for £3.00 or 2 for £4.00
What's your favourite Christmas bath time scent?
*Pr Sample. All thoughts are of course my own.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Make your Christmas Sparkle

Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la-la la-laa, la la la laa.....and wear as much glitz and glam as possible! What more of an excuse do you need when the party season is upon was? When we can 'go all out' and 'dress to impress'. There are loads of products on the market to make us Christmas party ready, and these are a few of my picks guanteed to add a touch of sparkle into your life..

Festive Nails that Sparkle.
Introducing glitter to your nails is a super easy way to add a bit of razzle dazzle into your look without going the whole hog with glittery makeup. You can wear them on their own, on a accent nail, or even a gradient effect, either way it's one way to where glitter if you're not a glittery person. 
One word of warning though, glitter polishes can be a bugger to remove so I recommend a glitter base coat (OPI do one) or when removing them wrapping them in a soaked cotton pad wrapped with foil - it will make the removal process less time consuming.
When it comes to nail polish you can spend as little or as much as you like. Budget brands like W7* have some fab offerings, as well as your well known high-street brands such as Bourjois* and Essie

L-R Mac Copper Pigment, Joan Collins 'Gold' from the Moody Browns Eyeshadow Quad*, Bourjois Glitter 'pop shade' from the Smokey Stories palette*, Collection glitter liner in 'Dancing Queen' and 'Funk'.
Glitter liners.
Glitter liners are really fun way of adding that festive touch to your eye makeup. These ones from Collection are fantastic for the price and go on really easily without looking patchy and delivering just the right amount of glitter. You can wear them on their own or layer them over a black/coloured liner to intensify the glitter effect and make them stand out more.

Eye Shadows
I love a bit of sparkle on my lids and this can jazz up the simplist of make up looks. You can wear them in the inner corner for a sublte shimmer or pop them in the middle of the mobile lid to really draw attention to the eyes, and even go all out and wear them completely on their own - which is sure to inject some major festive sparkle!
Loose pigment glitters can also be mixed with nail polish to create your own unqiue shade, and lighter shades can act as an intense highlighter on the cheek bones - and look fab dabbed onto the cupid's bow to really make your lips stand out and even make the top lip appear a little bigger.

Will you be sparkling this Christmas?
*Pr Samples. All thoughts are of course my own.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Pre Christmas Skin Work Out.

Christmas Eve is a week away, and if like me you're feeling the strain already you may need to step up the skincare routine so you look your best for the big day.
Drinking too much and over indulging on the festive treats can play havoc with your skin so now is the time to prep your skin and tackle any problems you may have.

Glowing Clear Complexion
If your skin is looking dull and breaking out, a good way to combat this is with an acid toner to revitalize the skin and bring back the glow. Alpha H Liquid Gold is a fantastic Glycolic Acid based product that helps remove dead skin cells to reveal a fresher more glowing complexion. 
It can also help clear up blemishes by removing the dead skin that can block pores, and after continuous use can help fade pigmentation marks and scarring. This is designed to be used over night every 3 days to really see the results and improvement in your skin.
A cheaper alternative is the First Aid Beauty Radiance pads which gently and effectively help remove dead skin, and restore it back to it's youthful glowing self. These are ideal for daily use and for someone who is new to chemical exfoliants, or people with sensitive skin.

Masks are great to use this time of year, whether your pores are looking clogged or your skin is lacking moisture, there is a mask out there to combat it.
If you're suffering with blemishes, a pore refining mask is going to help unclog pores and help heal existing spots. My favourite ones to use are the Ren Pore Detox Mask and a more budget friendly one is the Una Brennan Tea Flower Pore Purifying mask.
If your skin isn't coping with the changing temperatures by looking dehydrated, and you're suffering from dry patches, a hydrating mask will help restore the lost moisture and give skin the nourishment it needs. The Origins Drink Up Overnight mask is great for doing this. It can be used for 10 minutes or for a deep treatment can be worn overnight to really hydrate the driest of skin.

Up the water intake.
We should all be drinking at least 2 litres of water a day and I know I'm guilty of not doing this, but upping the H2O can really make a huge difference to the appearance of our skin. Not only will it keep it hydrated but can help reduce and rid the body of toxins which is going to result in a more glowing spot free complexion.

Get a good nights sleep.
Tired body means tired looking skin and even though this time of year is well known for its late nights partying, grabbing 40 winks when you can is not only going to make you feel better but also benefit your skin!

Lets not forget about the rest of our skin.
Get all your skin feeling silky soft and looking radiant by using an body scrub to buff away the dead skin cells. I personally love the Elemis Frangipani Monoi Salt Glow which not only smells amazing but does a fantastic job at making the skin feel soft as a babies bottom and giving it that healthy glow which it tends to lack this time of year.
In winter I like to use the Origins Ginger body creme which as you can imagine smells divine with its rich and spicy aroma, but also leaving my skin feeling hydrated and smooth.
A cheaper alternative is the Rich Body Butter* from Nspa. They come in a variety of scents and even in a gift set that would be a perfect stock filler for someone. They're really thick in texture and pack one hell of a punch when it comes to delivery moisture to the skin. My favourite scent has to be Clementine which is zesty and up lifting-which is just what you need in the dark gloomy mornings!

What are your fail safe products to use before a big event?
*Pr Sample. All thoughts are of course my own.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Christmas Red Lip

L-R Mac 'Red' Dior, 'Ange Bleu', Bourjois 'Hot Pepper', Mac 'Ruby Woo', Nars 'Cruella' and Rimmel 'Play with Fire'

Top L-R. Mac Red, Dior Ange Bleu
Middle. Boujois Hot Pepper, Mac Ruby Woo
Bottom. Nars Cruella, Rimmel Play with Fire
Christmas is all about the red lip, but with so many shades and variations out there which is the best one to go for? These here are my favourite shades and most are in my favourite type of finish - matte. When wearing a bold lip the safest option if you know you're going to be eating and drinking is to stick to matte, chances are it's going to stay in place and not get smeared all over your face! No one can pull off that look.
Mac 'Red' is your classic red shade, not too blue or orange toned and in a satin finish so it feels comfortable on the lips, offering a slight sheen that hangs around longer than Cremesheen and Luster finishes. A slightly brighter option is Dior's Ange Bleu from the Diorific collection. This is stunning in colour, finish and of course packaging! If you want something with a more orange hue Bourjois Hot Pepper* will be right up your street. This is matte and it actually takes a few layers to get it completely opaque so if you want to wear your reds slightly more subtle this would be a good option again.
There's no way I can talk about red lipstick without mentioning the classic and iconic Mac Ruby Woo. The matte formula isn't the best in the world as it can be a little tricky to apply and drying to wear, but the colour is just perfect.
If you like to wear your reds more on the vampy side these next too will interest you. Nars Cruella is slightly darker and has a hint of maroon going on in there, and the velvet matte formula is more comfortable to wear than the likes of Ruby Woo. A highstreet option is  Rimmel Provocalips 'Play with Fire' which is running along the same lines with the maroon undertones and long wearing formula.
What's your favourite lipstick to wear during the festive season?
*Pr Sample. All thoughts are of course my own.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Envy Root Volumiser | Big Hair's BFF

Envy Big Hair Root Volumiser

Big Hair. Who loves it but can't achieve it?

Getting body into flat limp hair is a girls ( or boys) hair nightmare. We all know how we want it to look, but actually achieving it is a different matter. When I received Envy Big Hair Root Volumiser* I had in my mind that is was going to be one of two things.
A. It would be completely useless offering nothing more than the slightest of hold.
or B. Be crispy and gel like in the hair making it a nightmare to work with.
I have come across quite a few of these types of "volumising sprays" in my time, and as a hairdresser I want a product that does what it's meant to do without leaving the hair caked in product and a birds nest at the end of a good nights sleep.
So with this in mind I picked up the bottle and took it to work with me to try on unsuspecting clients. And the results? pretty damn good.

The spray firstly smells amazing, fruity and fresh with hints of grapefruit, and much like the Envy Dual Fix 12 treatment I recently reviewed. When sprayed evenly in to the roots of the hair, it didn't leave a tacky or sticky film - so we're off to a good start already.
As I started to dry the hair I noticed that there was more grip to it, making the style I was creating easier to mould and shape. It's almost like a thickening agent that gives the hair texture and makes it more cooperative, and it definitely added volume and bounce. What was better more was after I had blow dried it  there was no trace of it left behind in the hair, apart from the hair looking and feeling a lot thicker.
I had clients coming back to me saying "my hair had so much body" "it really thickened it up!"
If you're looking for a new styling product that will help achieve body and thickness I can definitely recommend this!
Available online priced at £14.95

What's your Big Hair Hero product? Have you tried this?
*Pr Sample. All thoughts are of course my own

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Yankee Candle | Candy Cane Lane

Yankee Candle Candy Cane Lane

Yankee Candle - 'Candy Cane Lane' £16.99* ( Medium Jar)

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas.... and that's all thanks to Yankee Candles 'Candy Cane Lane'.
This to me is different from all the other festive candles that are around. If you're after a heavy spicy and sweet infusion then this isn't for you (try Christmas Memories or Gingerbread). This is fresh and minty with an almost frosty feel to it and is a nice change from all the spiced candles that I have.

"A favourite Christmas place where delicious dream are made with tingly peppermint, sweet cookies and creamy vanilla icing." Yankee Candle

Candy Cane Lane is a great subtle fragrance that is not too overpowering and will be perfect in a room of any size, as the gentle scent adds freshness to your home without being heavy or sickly. The peppermint cleanses the room with its freshness, while the cookies and vanilla gently soften it to add a gentle sweetness which is comforting and homely.
Think fresh winter mornings with icicles hanging from roof tops and you have this.

If you're after this or maybe another Yankee Candle scent, they have some great offers in the run up to Christmas so make sure to check out their site!

What is your favourite Christmas candle scent?
*Pr Sample. All thoughts are of course my own.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Luxury Gift Guide

This gift guide contains presents that are bound to wow any lady in your life. They are on the more pricey side but I think any women would be more than happy to receive them. If you're looking for more budget friendly gifts you can check out my stocking fillers gift guide and gifts under £35.00.

Pomegranate Noir Candle |  £40.00 from Jo Malone
I personally love a good candle and even though you don't need to spend the earth this one is well worth the price tag. Pomegranate Noir is an absolutely stunning fragrance and captures the very essence of Christmas with its warm spicy aroma that fills the room adding a cosy festive vibe.

GHD Curve Soft Curl Set* | £110.00 from GHD
These curlers are ideal from any woman who likes to change up her hair style. The 32inch barrel is just the right size to create loose bouncy curls in below shoulder length hair, and they also do smaller a barrel ( great for shorter hair or tighter curls) and two curling wands that create different curls, all presented in a limited edition rose gold roll bag.

Gucci Silver Necklace | £170.00 from Gucci
For anyone that loves their designer labels this necklace would perfect. A silver chain which is fastened by the interlocking GG symbols and a T-Bar clasp with Gucci engraving,  all wrapped up in the signature Gucci logo velvet pouch.

Return to Tiffany Bracelet | £245.00 from Tiffanys
No one does luxury jewellery gifts like Tiffany and the iconic blue and white packaging will have any girlfriend or wife screaching for joy when she see's it. The classic Return to Tiffany disc pendent and chunky linked chain is ideal for anyone into their silver jewellery and a great piece to own.

Which is your favourite from the Luxury Gift Guide?
*Pr Sample. All thoughts are of course my own.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Gift Guide | Under £35.00

The gifts in todays guide are more in the mid range price bracket and there's something for everyone. From the fashion conscious to your beauty addicts, and even something for the men. If you're looking for stocking fillers and gifts under £15 check out this post.

 Jo Malone Cracker | £32.99
This is a great gift for any perfume or Jo Malone lover. The iconic Jo Malone style wrapping encases three miniature gifts which you can see more closely here.

The Handbag | New Look £34.99
The wardrobe staple of every women. This one from New Look is not only seasonal appropriate with the warm contrasting colours, but also practical for everyday use with it's large size and gold clasp opening.

Perfume and Aftershave  |  Prices from £22.00 - £33.00 from Feel Unique
Aftershave has to be the easiest option when it comes to buying gifts for men. These two are a firm favourite of mine and would suit men of all ages. Perfume is another great and easy option for women as it's very rare that we treat ourselves and I'm sure if you buy some for the lady in your life it will be greatly received.  Feel Unique also have an offer on at the moment which is £10 off any £50 spent on perfume and aftershave.

Tartan Wrap | New Look £19.99
Tartan is all this season and what better gift to get someone than to big wrap that will keep them warm and looking stylish. What I love about these so mush is they can be worn two ways - like  a conventional wrap, or a big oversized scarf, and perfect for women of all ages.

Magic Wands Brush Set* | Pur Minerals $28.88 ( £17.87) worth $102.00
Any makeup lover would appreciate good quality brushes and this gift set has everything you need to create any make up look. The brushes are super soft, and the eye catching white and pink bristles make them different from any others I have seen before.

One for the Lip Addict | Mac Objects of  Affection Nude/Red Lipglass £26.00
Now I wasn't sure whether to include this as it's selling out fast, but if you do manage to see it in store grab it quick! This contains 4 Mac Lip glosses in different finishes and all of a nude or red hue. Perfect for any beauty addict and Mac lover!

Treasure the Memories | Bleach Scrap Book and Disposable Camera* £16.00
This is a really cute gift for anyone that has some important events coming up, whether its a trip, an important birthday or even a new chapter in their life. This gift contains everything to document the occasion and a great keep sake.

Dermalogica Gift set* | £33.10 (currently on sale)
This is a perfect gift for anyone just getting into skincare and ideal for teenagers who haven't mastered a proper skincare routine yet. It contains everything you need to get your skin looking great. Pre-cleanse - an oil busting emulsifier that removes makeup and impurities.
Multi-Active Toner -  hydrates and refreshes.
Skin Hydrating Booster - Hydrating fluid concentrate relieves dryness and fine lines
Gentle Cream Exfoliant - Exfoliating mask helps improve skins texture
Skin Perfect Primer SPF 30 - Illuminating makeup prep that brightens and primes for flawless skin.

Has anything caught your eye? What's on your Christmas list this year?

I hope this has given you some inspiration, what would be your top picks?
* Pr Samples. All thoughts are of course my own.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Gift Guide | Stocking Fillers and Gifts Under £15

Unless you're one of those people that had their Christmas shopping all done and dusted by mid July, you might be in need a bit of inspiration to get you going, and today's post is here to do just that. I've compiled a gift guide to suit every budget, from the inexpensive to the super indulgent and luxury. I hope you find something here that will neither help you find the perfect gift or inspire you towards your own perfect Christmas gift that you'd like to receive.
Today's post is focused on the more inexpensive gifts and stocking fillers..

Aromatherapy Associates Little Star | £10.00 from Space NK
This cute tree decoration contains one of their best sellers - the bath and shower oil. These oils are fantastic, they smell a-mazing and full the bathroom and even the whole house with their essential oils and relaxing properties. I think this is great as a secret Santa gift, for anyone that needs a bit more 'me' time. Lets face it we could all do with a bit more of that!

Baylis and Harding Black Pepper and Ginseng gift set*| £6.00 from Asda and Asda Direct
I always think smellies are a fail safe idea for men. The chances are they neven buy them for themselves and suit any age range. This one for Baylis and Harding contains everything a man would need to have them smelling fresh and looking great. The set includes, two shower gels, a face wash and after shave balm.

For the phone addict | Personalised phone case. £12.00 from Photobox
This gift would suit men, women, teenagers and a great stocking filler. You can personalise it with any photo's you like and even make a collage of all their favourite pictures.

For the Hair Addict | Bleach Bauble* £5.00
Bleach London have some fantastic gifts that would be perfect for teenagers and sticking fillers. The Bleach Bauble contains one of their besting selling temporary colours in a choice of two shades as well as a retro scrunchie. 

Photo Snow-Globe | Bleach Picture Dome* £5.00
For anyone that likes taking pictures this snow-globe allows you to customise it with any picture you want, and once shaken creates a holographic heart snow scene.

The Statement Necklace | Prices from £6.50
These are a fab gift for anyone into fashion and even better -you don't have to know their size!
Statement jewellery is all in at the moment and many places have a wide selection to choose from. You can spend as little as £5.00 all the way up to £20+, so you're bound to find a piece that's in your price range. These are from New Look and I think they look a lot more expensive than what they actually were.

Slippers and Pamper treats | Made with Love Slipper Sock set* £10.00 from Asda
Who doesn't love new slippers at Christmas? There's nothing like popping on a new pair Christmas morning, and that cushion foamy feeling of walking on air that they have when they're brand new. These are a great find, at only £10 you get the bootie cosy slippers and some foot/bath pamper time treats that I think would be perfect for women of all ages.

This is a super cute gift with a Phone Case, Keyring and fun stickers that would please any youngster who is into their hair and looks.

Have you found any stocking filler ideas?

*Pr samples. All thoughts are of course my own.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Bourjois Smokey Stories Eye Shadow Palettes

L-R 'Rock This Khaki', 'Good Nude', 'Grey and Night' and 'Over Rose'

Top - 'Good Nude'    Bottom - 'Overly Rose' All £7.99
Eye shadow palettes from the "drug store" I find tend to be a little hit and miss. When I first saw these Smokey Stories Palettes I immediately thought  "they look pretty, are they gonna be any good?"
The NEW Smokey Stories Palettes* from Bourjois come in 8 different shades and are formulated with a cream-powder texture that feels buttery soft and well made, a far cry from some high street offerings. They also come with a bonus of a built in primer being integrated within the shadows to help intensify the colours and make them adhere longer. I think this is a genius idea, bravo Bourjois, bravo.
Each palette comes with four shadows inside.  A light shade to highlight or use all over the lid, a medium shade and then a liner shade which can be used at the lash line or to further define the crease. What makes these different from other palettes out there is the addition of the "light touch" shade - a highly concentrated faceted glitter which adds a transparent veil of sparkle across the lid. If you're familiar with the Charlotte Tilbury eye shadow palettes, where you have a glittery  "pop" colour, this is of the same suit, and is best used with fingertips to place the shadow in the centre of the lid to add that touch of sparkle.  
My two favourite shades are 'Good Nude' and 'Over Rose'. Both are well pigmented and easily blended to create a soft natural makeup look or a full out glam look complete with the glitter "pop". The glittery shadow is quite chunky and a definite glitter as oppose to a subtle shimmer, but I think that was the idea behind them, and they're definitely best applied with fingertips to minimise the amount of fall out.  
I think for the price and what you get these are a great find. There's a palette out there for everyone in an array of  tones from greens to purples, to the classic greys and the soft browns . All put together to help you smoke out any eye look and add that touch of festive sparkle.
What do you think to these? Will they be gracing your dressing table this Christmas?
*Pr samples. All thoughts are of course my own.