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26 Jun 2016

This Blog Has Moved to a New Home xx

The time has come for my lovely little blog to find a new, more suitable home.  Please click this link to visit my new (and improved, fingers crossed) site.  It has been up and running for a about a month, I hope you like it.






4 Apr 2016

Miller Harris - Perfume for the discerning

If you're a little bored of celebrity fragrances and generic designer scents then perhaps it's time to try something a little more special. I was delighted to spend some time perusing the shelves at Miller Harris' Mayfair store on Bruton Street as it is a such a special treat.  When you enter it is so serene,  after the hustle of Berkeley Square. It feels like a chinese tea room or a library, it is somewhere you would go to appreciate carefully curated items.



Miller Harris is British brand which was created by Lyn Harris and named after her father.  Harris trained for 5 years in Paris before relocating to Grasse (the world famous home of fragrance) to train for a further 5 years.  She has an amazing "nose" an can identify 1000 different fragrances by smell alone. Miller Harris has grown quickly since it first came on the scene and has become known for it's grown up fragrances.  The perfumiers is a favourite of Kristen Scott-Thomas, Madonna and Sophia Copolla.

Miller Harris started with just a core collection of 4 fragrances but has since expanded to over 30. There is something for everyone and each is tied to a story such as an afternoon in Southern France or a morning cup of tea, if you read the description of each perfume on the website you can learn what inspired each fragrance.



Miller Harris works hard to ensure they only gets the most premium ingredients for their perfumes and wait months for just the right batch.  The perfumes aren't cheap but neither are they especially expensive at around £60 per 50ml of Eau de Parfum.  I was pleased to learn that they don't do Eau de Toilette, which I think is fantastic because who wants a watered down perfume, what's the point?

We were there to sample the new fragrance called Vetiver Insolent which is a bold fragrance for either men or women.  It is a truly distinctive smell and goes beautifully with so many of my other fragrances.  I use it as a long lasting base note upon which to layer more sweet and sharp top notes.  It smells of Vetiver, Lavender, Amber and Cardamon. For anyone who is as clueless as me, vetiver is the root of an exotic grass and has a distinctive smell often found in high-end male fragrances.  It is a smoky, woody, incense like smell, but also a little like mown grass and patchouli, that 70's hippy fave.  Vetiver Insolent is the creation of Perfumer Mathieu Nardin and I was delighted to learn that all  3 of the fragrances I liked best were his creations.

We were lucky enough to smell the myriad of fragrances on offer and my absolute favorites were Tea Tonique

Like hearing a captivating story for the first time, Tea Tonique’s energy infuses your surroundings without overwhelming them. Beguiling and cultured, it engages its audience with musical tones and an unpredictable nature. With an infusion of Italian Bergamot suggesting smoky birch tar, it is equally at home in the English countryside or a London cafĂ©, rejoicing in the many-layered characteristics of an aromatic tea.

and Rose Silence.
The week is gone, the room is your own. A beam of light streams in through the curtains and you wake slowly, breathing the scent of a fresh white pillow. An unexpected embrace: faint, fresh rose with undertones of sandalwood and patchouli, untouchable yet crisp, possessing an intoxicating magic. An intimate, thrilling moment.

The one things all the bloggers noticed was just how different the perfumes smelled on each of us.  Our personal PH, the food we had eaten and the level of oils in our skin, changed the smell of the perfume on each of us dramatically.  Never again will I just buy a perfume by smelling a tester strip.



I loved the personal hand engraved bottles we each received, it is such a beautiful touch.

Miller Harris fragrances can be bought online here, but I would definitely visit the store if you live near by so you can try the fragrances on and get a real sense of what works for you.  It feels like such a treat visiting them store in person and everyone we met was insanely knowledgeable about fragrance.




10 Mar 2016

How cute are these!  


I don't know about you but I'm the laziest Mum ever when it comes to name labelling my children's school clothes.  With 3 children, it is pretty much laundry marker all the way for me, that is till I found these adorable name tags, that require NO sewing, NO ironing and stick to most anything.  I have heard of My Nametags before, but never gotten around to ordering anything from them.  These arrived within 1 day of placing the order which is fantastic if you're in a rush.




I've put mine on lunch boxes, shoes, pencils, clothes, coats and even Kindle's. I waited for a few washes to see if they stood up to the wear and tear of real life use and I'm glad to report they do, they even survived the dishwasher!

I think these would be ideal for nursery or reception children who struggle to read their name, as they are so easily recognisable for them.  My daughter is 9 and still loves these though, so defiantly not just for little ones.  My only slight gripe is that you can peel them off if you want to, which could be good if you are handing down clothes to friends, but is a pain when unscrupulous mum's pull the tag out of items of uniform then just re-label it as their's, grrrr!


See them here, they are just £14.95 for 56 which should do even the largest uniform and still have plenty left over.



*sample provided for review purposes.

4 Feb 2016

Face Camp Before and After Review

I'm sure you'll remember that I started a course at treatments  at Face Camp with Face Gym at Selfridges the week before last see original post here.  I promised to keep you updated as to how it went and here are the shots.

Can you see any difference?


Both taken first thing before applying any makeup - arggghh!

I'll let you decide whether my skin looks any better as I try to be as objective as possible.  The "work" I had done was on my jawline, with the main aim of reducing puffiness.  I also was hoping for a more even skin tone.  It was ridiculously hard to get 2 identical pictures as the light has changed since 2 weeks ago and also I have re-highlighted my hair, even pulling the same face was really hard!

I have worn a lot less foundation since I started the treatment, really only using concealer under the eyes and around my nose.  I feel that my jawline has definitely improved.  I think this is something you would need to get done regularly for the results to be maintained though.  Here is a makeup shot so you can see what I looked like after the treatments (I wear makeup most days)




What were the food suggestions like?




I was given a detailed plan of food and drinks to consume between appointments and I am sorry to say I mostly failed on this.  The main guidelines were to avoid gluten, dairy, caffeine and alcohol which I think is too tall an order for a dedicated french style eater like me.  I love all things bread, cheese, coffee and wine, so I was pretty much going to fail no matter what.  I did however manage to triple the amount of fruit and veg I consumed.  Here are a few of the lunches I ate, please excuse the photography, I am not a food blogger for good reason.


Ha Ha! luckily this feta, courgette & mint frittata tasted a lot better than it looked.


Ultra-predicatble avo on toast with egg & pink pickled onions (look at my very un-instagram friendly bread)

Roasted Butternut Squash, Sunblush Tomatoes, Red onion, Avocado, Feta and Rocket Salad.


Overall I liked the recipes in provided, but I really wasn't a fan of the smoothies and juices as I only really drink water, coffee and wine in my "normal" life, so anything sloppy and sweet are not my thing. It all reminds me too much of baby food so I stuck to the eating my vege's and fruits whole as nature intended.  I must also mention the no alcohol was a complete fail.

Would I go back for more treatment, and which would you choose?


I would definitely return if I had a big event coming up.  I left the treatment without any redness and so it's ideal as it can be done on the same day as an important event.  I think the Radio Frequency has the biggest effect on my skin and so I would go mainly for that and the massage, I would also try something new just to see what it's like.  I would probably go for the Front Row Face as it includes a super deep cleanse and a peel, I like that it's only £120 too.

I was overall very impressed with the treatments and the 2 ladies who provided them  It was a lovely relaxing experience and it helped me raise my game with regards to what I eat and thinking about it in terms of my skin not just my health and waist.  I am very happy with results and will be bearing it in mind for when I next need a pick me up.  I really liked the convenience of it and that it was non invasive.




29 Jan 2016

Which Exfoliator is Right For You? A Guide to Acids.

If there is one step in your skincare routine that makes the biggest difference, then it's exfoliation. 

The regular removal of dead skin cells makes skin look brighter and more fresh.  It helps keep spots at bay by keeping our pores clear and can also help absorption of creams & serums. I'm a convert as you can tell, and now that there are so many ways to effectivly remove those dead skin cells, there is a good option for most budgets and skin types.  The only word of caution would be those with very sensitive skin or who have severe acne who should consult a GP or derm before starting using exfoliators.



If you're a Exfoliator Virgin you should start with the gentlest formulations and a lower frequency, say every other day or on nights only.  This gives your skin time to adjust and should stop any adverse reactions.

There is such a wealth of exfoliators available now that it can be slightly overwhelming, there are primarily two types,


  • BHA also called Beta Hydroxy Acid and there is only one of them called Salicylic Acid which is a derivative of Aspirin.
  • AHA's or Alpha Hydroxy Acid's, the most talked about are Glycolic acid and Lactic acid.


BHA's are best at removing trapped dirt deep down in the pores, as it has a smaller molecular size.  They are great for blemish prone and oily skin.  AHA's are best at improving brightness as they work on the upper layers. They work by dissolving the binding agent in your skin which releases the top layer of dead skin more quickly that it would naturally, which reveals the brighter skin beneath.  The skin takes this as an "attack" and therefore produces more collagen which helps thicken & protect the skin making it look younger.

So basically BHA's for spots and oil, and AHA's for ageing.

This still leaves an enormous section out there, so here are a few I have personally used and can recommend.

Beginner Acid Exfoliators


The safest ones to start with are staples such as Pixi Glow Tonic £18.00 or Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix £6.45 on offer. These can be used from your twenties onwards and are gentle enough for using both morning or night. Both of these are based around glycolic acids and are good for brightening up your complexion and increasing cell turnover.  They are also both under £20 so ideal if you just want to dip in your toes.


Intermediate Acid Exfoliators


You can then up the game to something a little stronger like Nip+Fab Extreme Glycolic Fix £7.45 on offer or Skinceuticals Resurfacing Activator £35.00.  The Nip+Fab Extreme contains Glycolic and Salicylic acids which make it a perfect choice for those of us prone to breakouts and clogged pores. The Skinceuticals Resurfacing serum is a unique formula using hydroxyethyl urea which is an excellent exfoliator and humectant (traps moisture) it also contains hyaluronic acid to further promote moisture retention in the skin.  I really like that the Skinceutical's formula can be used both day and night, it sinks straight in and makeup can be applied immediately.


For a complete bargain a super cheap and easy exfoliating mask can be made using 2 dispersible aspirin dissolved in a tbsp of water and smoothed into the skin.  You leave it for 5 mins and voila! A bright, fresh complexion for about 10p.

Masters Acid Exfoliators


For those who have been using exfoliations for a while or need something stronger to slough away their skin I would recommend Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength £57. These are a 2 step process and you can feel them working straight away. As the name suggests, they contains both AHA's and BHA's. I keep these for the day before special occasions, so that my skin gets maximum effect.  For those willing to go the extra mile then Biologique RecherchĂ© P50 is the undisputed queen of exfoliators but is only available through salon stockists as they like to know people are using it correctly and at the right strength for their personal needs.  This sounds like a bit too much to be honest, just a few lines on the box about proper use would do.

Hopefully this has helped you feel more confident about giving acid's a go, or if your already use them about upping your exfoliating game.

Does anyone have any other acid's to recommend?  I am coming to the end of the Dennis Gross which I will definitely will repurchase and would like to try something similar so recommendation definitely appreciated.




21 Jan 2016

Spa Review - Face Camp by Spa Junkie

What is Face Camp, it sounds painful?


I must say this was my first thought when I heard about it, I envisaged a Barry's Bootcamp style face pummelling and I was a little scared, but fear not.  Face Camp is a series of treatments along with dietary advice with the aim to make a noticeable change to your face in 1 week.

Face camp was invented by Inge Theron who used to write for the FT's, How To Spend It supplement under the pseudonym Spa Junkie  She traveled the world trialling spas and reviewing them, so she knows juts a little about what works and what doesn't.  She then wisely decided to use her knowledge of such a vast array of treatments to set up her own service, offering skincare without the injectables, fillers and botox.

Face-Gym-Camp-Selfridges


What does it involve?  


There are 5 different Face Camps on offer, aimed at targeting some of the common complaints that we have about our skin.  I originally opted to try the Sugar Face, as I'm not well known for being a teetotaller but when I asked the therapists advice, she recommended the Fat Face (how rude, yet completely accurate) This diagnosis of my facial worries includes jowls and puffy skin and was just what I needed.  The other options are Frow Face (tired, wrinkly) Phone Face (double chin, forehead creases and tension) and Winter Face (dark circles, creepy skin.)

Face-Gym-Camp-Selfridges


Where can I get it?


Face Gym is exclusively available in the truly stunning and innovative Beauty Workshop area of Selfridges.  They are the first UK service to offer this completely unique treatment.  The Beauty Workshop also offer a Daniel Hersheson's 15 min Blow Dry's, Nail's Inc manicures, Blink eyebrow shaping and St Tropez tans.

Photo courtesy of Uxus who designed this beautiful space


What can I expect from my first treatment?


I will get straight in there and say, it isn't painful.  There are definitely some weird sensations particularly the Pure Lift which uses electrical waves to stimulate the muscles, but none of it hurt.

As with all treatments I was asked a series of health questions to start with and also whether I use botox (hell no!) or Retinol (hell yes!)  I was also given a glass of water to help keep my hydrated. The lovely Ana took a photo of my face before any treatments began so that I could see the changes after.  I would share this with you, but under those harsh lights I think it's best not to.

Firstly I was given a thorough cleanse with the most divine of cleansers by Royal Fern which was then towelled off.  This left my skin feeling fresh and not at all tight.

Next an oil was applied ( a lot of oil!) which is used alongside the Radio Frequency unit.  The RF unit heats your skin, which in turn turns on the mechanism to restructure the elastin and collagen, resulting in tighter more even skin.  I was warned it may feel rather hot, but to be honest it was just really nice, soothing and relaxing, the heat is akin to a warm bath.

Next was a the Pure Lift electrical muscle stimulation.  This is a wand like instrument that emits a micro current which activates the muscles beneath your skin and help them tighten in areas that are difficult to exercise yourself.  This felt kind of like a massive magnet pulling your face and was a very odd sensation, though not painful.  Think of it as you would a Slendertone for the face, you must remember those stomach tightening machine from the 80's where an electrical current made your stomach do a mini crunch, but less intense.

Pure-Lift-Facial-Electrical
I promise you that is a face massager!


After this it was onto the impact part.  My lovely facialist Ana (who is also a Sports Masseuse and has had the joy of massage Luis Figo no less!) applied coconut oil and then started about massaging my face to further promote muscle tone. There was definitely some strange moves but all in all it was still super-relaxing.

After the massage came the rollers.  The first was a gold derma roller (insert pic) which was bumpy and is designed to stimulate blood flow to the skin, the second was a jade roller which helps cool the skin.  These both felt great, though I did sit there wondering whether you could apply foundation with the jade one, similar to painting your walls with emulsion.  I decided that this would not be a wise plan and may result in a look closer to Jordan than Audrey Hepburn.

Lastly my under eye are was treated with Dr Levy Intense Eye Booster serum, which uses plant stem cells.  This was impacted (driven deep into the epidermis) with a ultrasonic device that sounded like what I imagine bats hear when they are having a party, a little like when your phone scrambles. It was a very odd noise but a perfectly relaxing sensation.

How long did it take?


All in all I was with Ana for 90 mins, though it flew by and left me feeling very relaxed. Another photo was taken at the end so I could compare the results of the treatment and there were some obvious instant results.   The most clear difference was that my skin had a glow that it had been sadly lacking. I could also see a reduction in my jowls and less dark circles!  The next morning my skin tone looked much more even and my chin area was more defined, Hurrah!  I will post the before and after pictures once I have finished the full treatment plan.

What comes next?


I was given some recipes and food ideas which I need to try follow over the following week and then I return for the same treatment in one weeks time.  Stay posted for updates as I intend to write about the food (no alcohol, sugar, dairy, gluten or caffeine!!!!) and the eventual results.













*This treatment package was offered to me for the purposes of a review, the opinions expressed remain unbiased.




10 Jan 2016

New Year - New Skincare Routine - Giveaway

What better way to start the new year than with a giveaway?
Is one of your new years resolutions to start a new skincare regime?  Then this is the giveaway for you.
Over £70 of great products to help get your skincare routine back on target.



To Cleanse:

Nip & Fab Clean Fix Gel - 120ml -£10.25

This is a double whammy of a deep cleanser and mild exfoliator with glycol acid.  It makes light work of makeup and leaves you skin feel fresh & comfortable

To Tone:

La Roche Posay Serozinc 150ml  £8.50*

The cult beauty mist from La Roche Posay - Ideal on oily or spot prone skin to keep blemishes at bay.  It is also amazing at setting makeup.

To Exfoliate:

Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Pads £12.99

These contain glycolic acid to gently exfoliate and leave fresher looking skin, salicylic acid to unclog pores and hyaluronic acid to help plump your skin.

Serum

Prai  - Radiant Gemstone Caviar Triple Matrixyl Serum - £19.99 exclusive to QVC*

This is the daddy of peptide serums, great for wrinkle busting & boosting collagen. It leaves skin looking glowing and super smooth.

To Moisturise:

Avene - Physiolift Smoothing Day Cream £25*

Smooths, moisturises and tightens using hylauronic acid and pre-tocopheryl ( a powerful antioxidant.)  This a serious day cream for keeping your skin looking plump and keeping free radicals at bay.


This is worth more than £70!  And should contain something for every type of skin.

If this looks like at the skincare bundle for you then enter using the rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck! xxx

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 *This giveaway contains some press samples and some things bought with my own money because they are just good products.




17 Dec 2015

Everything you wanted to know about Hyaluronic Acid but were too afraid to ask.

What is Hyalronic Acid and why on earth would I want to apply it to my skin?


Our skin is acidic by nature with a PH of 5.5. Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in your skin and helps it retain moisture and look plumped.  As we age, our ability to produce more hylauronic acid readily for use in our skin and body decreases.  This decrease can be seen in less firm skin that looks drier.

Hylauronic acid's secondary function is to help protect your skin by improving it's barrier.  Your skins barrier is like it's protection and can help protect from sun damage and other environmental damage like free radicals.



That sounds great! How can I get some of that?


There are 2 prongs of atatck that can be taken.  You can either apply it topically to your skin or take an oral supplement.

The most common way it is used is in lightweight serums that can be applied morning or night before your moisturiser.  The main thing to be careful to look for is the molecule size.  Hylauronic acid can be formulated in several different molecular sizes and they have different functions.  The larger molecules sit on the skin and help keep moisture locked in, the smaller molecules (listed as Sodium Hyaluronate) are absorbed deeper and plump the skin from within so can help reduce the appearance of fine lines.

I've listsed a few of my personal favorite formulas that give good results whatever the budget.

Budget
Balance - Hylauronic Acid


This is super cheap and feels just like water on your skin. The applicator is just a dropper that you dispense a couple of drops from and rub into the skin.  You then apply your normal moisturiser as usual.  It is a really easy and cheap way to add the benefits of hylauronic acid to your routine and is a great entry level product.

Mid Range
La Roche Posay - Hydraphase Intense Serum - £18 here (bargain)


This is a very lightweight serum that you can feel the benefit from immediately.  It provides small molecule hyaluronic acid that penetrates the skin to provide plumping of fine lines and day long moisture control.  I really like this as it is great for those of us with oily skin, as it can be worn under makeup without making your skin too slippy.  The packaging is gorgeous, it is a sleek metal cylinder with a pump that lets you dispense just the right amount.  This feels much more high-end than the price suggests and I will definitely be repurchasing.

Avene Physiolift Night Smoothing Regenrating Balm - £19.50 here usually £26


This is a super moisturising very intense cream.  It feels like it is doing good even as your apply it.  I only use it every other day as it is too rich for nightly use on my skin, but for those of you with dry skin, it's a godsend. It contains retinol and antioxidants (vitamin E) along with a host of other moisturising ingredients.  The whole Physiolift range (day, night & eye cream along with wrinkle filler) is really good if you suffer with sensitive skin as they are formulated by pharmacists to avoid irritation.

Top End
Fillerina - Night Cream - Grade 2 - £69 here


Fillerina is marketed as the no surgery alternative to dermal fillers.  It obviously can't provide the exact same level of results as real fillers or it would then be subject to pharamceutical controls, but the results are still pretty impressive.  Fillerina contains 6 different forms of hyaluronic acid at a variety of molecular weights, that means that you get the full spectrum of benefits.  The packaging is very medical and reminds me of the creams I get for my psoriasis, but I don't mind as this is the real deal when it comes to hyaluronic action.  I really like this cream, it is very rich so I just use it on my eyes and forehead and at night only.  It gives a lovely sheen and really lasts all day.  It's also a whopping 50ml which is 60% more than the standard 30ml offering you get from most serums, which makes the £69 price tag more reasonable.  This also comes in a grade 3 version for those wanting hardcore plumping and smoothing.

Supplements

Solgar Hyaluronic Acid Complex £10 here - usually £29


Hyaluronic acid supplements are well know to benefit people with joint problems as it helps keep moisture in your joints.   I am not aware of any studies proving the efficacy of supplements for increasing the presence of HA in the skin, but I take a daily dose of Hylauronic acid complex as I suffer with back pain cause by degenerated discs, so I figure that it can't do me any harm. Since I have been taking these I have noticed a definate improvement in my skin, but then again, I have also been using the Fillerina too.

Have you tried any hyaluronic acid products yet, how did you find them?




4 Dec 2015

Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation Review



Vichy Dermablend _£18 *

So everyone's favourite budget longwear foundation, Revlon Colorstay, has had it's formulation changed.  You could stump up the cash and swap to Estee Lauder Doublewear or you could try something new.  That is what I did.  A makeup artist used this on me recently and the finish was perfect.  I liked it straight away but what I liked more was that 6 hours later it looked barely any different.

I can find that many long wear formulas can be a little too matte and leave you looking slightly chalky (which I find preferable to greasy so I have always put up with.)  It is very hard to find good foundations that last when you have oily skin. The natural oils that your skin produces have the same effect as makeup remover oil, and can dissolve your base well before you are ready to go makeup free.  I have found using Effaclar Duo and Serozinc really reduces my oil production but I still need something with a bit more oomph if I want my makeup to last.

Any beauty addict has heard of Dermablend, it is well known for using to cover severe scarring or tattoos.  What I wasn't aware of was how natural it looks on and it's staying power.  I had always assumed that it would be too heavy coverage for everyday wear and that it would feel heavy on the skin.  I'm glad to say I was wrong.  I use the foundation with a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush  and buff it iinto my skin to help blend the foundation into my fine lines and also to sheer it out a bit.

This photo was taken in Rome with my Husband, and is just shade 35

It's priced mid-way between Colorstay & Doublewear and at £18 I think it's good value and can be found on 3 for 2's at Boots pretty regularly.  The finish is more dewy looking that Colorstay, which I like as I find the end result of of both Colorstay and Double wear to be too one dimensional. It also glides on much more easily too, you have more time to work the foundation in and so can get a flawless look more easily.  The shade selection has also been increased, so that now even those of us with pale and darker skin will find a shade to suit. It has an SPF of 35 which I love as it allows me to forgo sunscreen in winter entirely when I'm using this.

Ooooo Look, I'm wearing it again, in fact I'm wearing it in every picture of me since September!  This is shade 25 with the setting powder also.


 I originally had this foundation in shade #25 but it was just too light for me. Regardless I still wore it most days but I had to darken down my face to match my neck with bronzer.  Luckily Vichy sent me my correct shade which is #35 Sand and it's a just perfect on.  It is more yellow toned than 25 which I like as I have pink tones to my skin that I like to cancel out.  I was also sent the Dermablend setting powder to try.  I was a bit dubious at first as it is a white loose powder in the container and I was concerned that it would lighten up the foundation when applied.  I shouldn't have been.  This powder leaves absolutely no trace except a matting down of the foundation on the areas you choose to apply it to.  It is super lightweight and a little goes a really long way, but most importantly it increases the staying power.  This is a great alternative to the Makeup Forever HD setting powder and is only £15 compared to £22.

Overall - I'm in love.  I have worn this everday since I got it as it's very buildable and so you can adjust the look you are going for.  I think it good value for money for such a high end product.  The only slight downside is the lack of a pump applicator.  This shouldn't be a problem with good hygiene practises, but I always prefer a pump where possible.

Has anyone else tried Dermablend?

This post contains PR Samples.




26 Nov 2015

What to buy in Kiko

If you ever happen to find yourself in a Kiko store and you're not sure what to buy, then this is the post for you.

I recently found myself staying right next to a Kiko store in Rome and hadn't a clue what were the best products to get.  I knew they have a cult following and can be hard to get hold of, or expensive in the UK, so I had a good old trawl around the beauty blogs and found the products with the most mentions.  I then went in armed with my uber-list and bought it all!  It was only £30 for all 9 products  (it would be more like £50 in the UK)



Ultra Tech Curve Mascara - £7.90

This was a steal. It really does curl the lashes and gives some decent length and volume too.  The wand is a small plastic curved affair and works perfectly.  You need a few strokes of the wand to get the kind of coverage I like.  It was on offer when bought it, and was only 3.90 euros, which is less that £3 so I bought 4!



Double Glam Eyeliner £6.90

This was recommend as a dupe for the Urban Decay 24/7 liners that are reknowned for their stay-put-ability.  I swatched this shade on my hand and the blue glittery end is just beautiful, it is such a deep blue and has a jewel tone to it.  Both ends are equally smooth and glide without any drag.  I do find the black end to be a little soft and so is better for a full on smoky eye rather than a daytime look.  Both ends have some serious staying power, I just swatched them in the shop end then had a shower and washed my hands twice, it still didn't budge.  I ended up having to use eye makeup remover to get it off my hand.

Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow - £6.90

I bought these in 2 shades as I couldn't make up my mind.  The first one is a bronze golden shadow (06 Golden Brown) and the second a shimmery navy (17 Midnight Blue.)  Both are a stick format and are super pigmented.  I apply them to the lid and then blend them out with a brush as they are too dark for my eyes on their own.  I would use them a s a thick eyeliner without smudging.  These again have great staying power.  The bronze is definitely my favourite.  It gives a nice sheen and some depth.  I like the navy, but it is a shade too dark and so looks more grey on application.


From Top - blue eyeliner, navy eyeshadow stick, golden eyeshadow stick and purple super colour liner

Mixing Solution

I have been trying to get one of these for a years, but I refuse to spend £15+ for the privilege of MAC's offering.  When I saw this for £3ish, I jumped at the chance.   It is designed to be used with a loose eyeshadow like MAC Paint Pots or Barry M Dazzle Dust as it gives the powder something to adhere too and makes the colours more vibrant.  The main reason I bought it was for intensifying eyeshadows to use as smudgy lines.  I have been using saline drops so far, which works well, but I wanted to know what the proper version would be like. I must say, so far so good.  I don't think it is necessarily much different than using saline, but it does add a little more staying power and the dropper is handy.

Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush £7.90

I have always wanted a NARS multiple but the price has put me off.  What happens if I spend £30 and the shade isn't quite right!  I decided to try one of these as they are often touted as a good dupe.  I really like the blend ability of these, You just dot the colour on and you can either rub it in with your finger or a buff in with a blending brush.  I went for the shade 06 Geranium as it has a more dusky colour to it.  It is a dark, peachy rose, if that makes sense, and is super natural on my skin.  It has no shimmer at all, which is exactly as I wanted it.  There is however other shades with a sheen if that is what you are looking for.  I have enough highlighting products at the moment so stared away from the glitter, and they can be a bit tough to get right on older skin.

Super Colour Eyeliner in 110 Pearly Regal Purple - £6.90

Love, Love, Love this.  It has the nicest wand and the colour is just sublime, it a vibrant deep purple and is shot through with fine glitter. It is great to add some shine to your eyes and looks perfect with hazel eyes.  I would just as happily use this on the school run as for a Christmas Party.  The applicator is excellent as it has just the right amount of give and so is a doddle to get a nice tight line along the lashes.



Nail Varnishes

I bought 2 of these as they were about £1.40 each!   These are just their standard formula. Both are great neutral rose colours that you could wear all week and they would go with whatever you choose to wear.  I got 486 Tea Rose and 375 Bois de Rose.  They have good coverage, a decent high shine finish and last as long as any other nail varnish does on me.  I found the brush wide enough to coat the nail in one go, which is my standard test for ease of application.  They don't necessarily need 2 coats either. Result!


If you fancy trying any of the above, Kiko now offer free delivery in the UK.  It can take about 7 days to arrive, as it comes from Italy.  But for those of you not lucky enough to live near Westfield or Oxford Street, it 's ideal.  The prices in the UK are identical to Italy's Euro price which means that you pay a slight premium as the fx rate is around 1.4 euros to our pound at present.  It is still great value for money though and easily on parr with brands such as Bourgeois and Revlon.


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