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Showing posts with label Beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beauty. Show all posts

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.

25 Aug 2015

11 Products You Need To Take On Holiday With You

Holidays require completely different makeup products than usual Most of my everyday products won’t stand up to the rigors of heat and water, nor do I want to wear a full face of makeup when spending my day by the pool.

A lot of products that advertise themselves as being waterproof or long wear really don’t live up to the claims. Very few products last 12 hours even in normal English conditions, so they don’t even stand a hope in 35 degree heat and constant dunkings in the water. I am not one of those women who sits next to the pool with perfect hair and makeup, I dive in head first and then spend the rest of the day alternating between drying off and jumping in. This means that I need products that are genuinely waterproof.

When I'm applying makeup to go down to the pool, I just usually wear a sunscreen, a bit of under eye concealer and a heap of mascara and that's it. I don't like the look of lots of makeup nor the feel. When you're wearing so few clothes, wearing a ton of makeup seems silly.
I try to concentrate on getting the evenest skin tone for both face and body rather than smoky eyes or dramatic lips.

I don’t use foundation on holiday as it feels too heavy over a high SPF facial sunscreens. I usually just take a few longwear concealers in varying shades to cover any dark circles and calm down any post-sun redness. The 3 (yes I bought 3!) that made it in to my bag this year are;

This is a new addition to my makeup bag and it lights up the undereye area beautifully and doesn’t crease ever. This is great news when you are starting to get fine lines under your eyes and are under no intention of accentuating them. I have this concealer in the shade, 02 medium which is my summer colour but still too light for my holiday colour so this is being used for just the first few days. The only thing that stops this being my holy grail concealer is the packaging, it is in a tube and you have to squeeze it out which can result in you being left with more than you needed.

This beauty blogger favourite is always in my makeup collection and because it is so cheap, around £4, you can buy it in your darkest shade and not mind that it will only be used for a few weeks. It can crease and definitely will wear off over the day but it is yellow toned so is good for muting sun frazzled skin and the wand applicator makes it quick to apply. I have it in the shade Dark 4 for holiday use and in 2 and 3 for usual use.

The best concealer for ease of application, it has sponge like head that you click product into by turning the base and then you just dot it where needed. Again this is yellow toned, I use the nude shade (the light shade is more pink toned) and is very light on the skin, it feels like you have nothing on and gives good buildable coverage.

I looked online to buy this for the holiday recently and found out it has been discontinued! The good side of this was that I could get it for £6 on eBay instead of £10 as usual, but it also means that I am now of the look out for a lengthening waterproof mascara that actually works, I've heard the L'oreal Shocking Extensions is exactly the same just rebranded. This has a slim plastic wand which is great for detail work, the lower lashes which can be a pain to coat are covered easily with this. It is a full on waterproof mascara and so needs a full strength oil-based eye makeup remover to get it off, but it really lasts, all day if needs be, and it never smears. I have oily skin and this even stay put on me. Because it is so “strong” it can cause breakage if you try to rub it off or pull at it, so fingers off whilst your wearing it.

I first bought this after a back-of-the-hand test in Superdrug, I went up and down the makeup stands swatching liquid liners on the back of my hand and then wiped them all at the same time to see which one stayed on. Bizarrely it was this cheapy number that refused to budge. I prefer a flexible fine tip brush applicator on a liquid eyeliner whereas this has a felt tip end but it has some serious staying power. I buy it in brown as the black looks too harsh against my skin.

I can't imagine there is anything left to be said about these, in case your late to the party they are easy to apply, super moisturising and this particular variation seems to be universally flattering.
These Chubby Stick dupes has a knock off from every major brand, from top end to bargain basement, but the Revlon ones I feel give the most bang for their buck, there's no need for a separate lip balm.

This was supposed to be a primer, and my intention was to use it to stop oil break through on an everyday basis. It unfortunately is a shade too dark for wearing at home, and it is nothing special when it comes to oil production either. What it can do though is blur lines and pores well. It's powdery silicone formula glides over your skin and feel completely weightless, it provides air brushing without the heavy layers needed. It doesn't last amazingly but it is enough when you just want a light touch.

I cannot recommend this highly enough, it is the easiest way ever to get natural looking filled in brows. It isn't cheap, but I got mine from my Mum for my Birthday back in February and 6 months later it's still going strong. It is a waxy, very fine pointed, dial up pencil. It doesn't need to be sharpened and the wax remains solid in the heat so it can be used whatever the weather.
I like that you can draw in individual hairs or just stroke it though to increase the volume in sparse areas. The colour choice is great too, I have ash brown which is a nice ashy medium brown and a near perfect match for my eyebrows, I want to get another shade that is a tad lighter to be able to achieve a bit more dimension, but it may have to wait till Christmas as I have spent enough recently.

I got this in a blogger goody bag recently and it is absolutely perfect for holidays. The colour is a bronzey coral with a gorgeous shimmer, I layer it over a pinky base such as the Revlon one above and it gives the most beautiful effect. I tried to capture it on camera but the sheen doesn't show up well. It doesn't look that promising in the tube, but when you open it up the wand applicator and lovely summery smell win you over. It glides on beautifully and is not at all sticky, so it feels very comfortable. It doesn’t last that well though, which is normal in a gloss, but that is a minor issue.

The original and in my opinion the best, what more can be said about this, it's a classic for a reason. I like the bronzey, goldy colours for evening as they look really pretty against a tan. My favourite colours are Half-baked (a true gold) and Smog (a dirty bronzey colour heavy on the sheen) I use the mattes to smooth the lids first then just a slick of a glitter over the lids and into the crease with a Real Techniques Shadow brush. Then I finish by rubbing some of Darkhorse (a grungey deep brown) through the lash line with my Laura Mercier smudge brush.

This is always in my makeup kit as I have the world's roundest face coupled with podgy cheeks so I need definition. I don't contour per se, more like just rub a little of the darker shade into what small amount of hollow I have beneath my cheekbones to give some attempt at bone structure to my face. I also use the high sheen blush as a highlighter and rub it from along the top of my cheekbones and back to the hair line to gibe a pretty flushed sheen. I also like the big mirror on this.

What I'm not taking on Holiday

Tinted Moisturiser

Hate this stuff, what's the point? If I want coverage I use foundation, if I want moisture, I use moisturiser. I find that having the two pre-blended means that neither is ever quite at the right level. Seen as I have oily skin anyway, moisturiser is never at the top of products that I turn too, I tend to find my serum or sunscreen provide enough protection and slip to make my skin feel comfortable so tinted moisturiser is a waste of time for me.


When your away you want to look sun-kissed and fresh, like you've just stepped off the yacht rather than heavy and try-hard like a TOWIE extra. Rosie from The Londoner, does this look best. She has freckles which she shows in all their glory whilst still looking picture perfect and the image of health.

What do you take on holiday? Is there any tricks I'm missing?

12 Aug 2015

Looking After Your Skin on Holiday

Only a few days to go till I fly off into the sun and so I merrily started my cosmetics packing today.  I imagine I am not alone in enjoying the process way too much!  I had a good search around in my drawers for all my current skincare faves and then combined them with a few more specific products to deal with sun exposure and dryness which inevitably come with 3 weeks abroad. Here is what I am packing...

Serozinc - £8.50 here

I am taking this with me as a cooling spray that should hopefully help keep breakouts at bay too.  It is lovely and cooling and sometimes the change in climate and products mean I can breakout so I am hoping this will help a bit. The mist on this is super fine and it also doubles as a toner keeping my vanity case weight down (it needs all the help it can get!) Another bonus is that it can be used to help heel minor cuts, bites etc.. a zinc is used in hospitals to speed up heeling time.

Effaclar Duo - £15.50 here

I use this at least once a day as a serum anyway as it is great for pigmentation which isalways an increased issue for me when in the sun.  It is so lightweight yet packed with a plethora of treats for the skin, such as ceramides, salicylic acid, niacinamide and LHA.  I love this product and can never be without it.

Lancome Eau Micellaire - This is actually Garnier Micellar water in disguise (shhhh) £1.99 here

For removing the copious amounts of waterproof mascara I shall be wearing.

Indeed Labs - Retinol Reface - £14.99 here (bargain)

A must for sun damaged skin, I use this on my neck and decollete too to try slow down any damage done by the sun.  I am not the biggest fan of the silcones in this as I find them a bit unnerving texture wise, but the pump dispenser makes this perfect for travel.

La Roche Posay - Anthelios XL Ultralight* - £16.50 here

I received a sample of this at a La Roche Posay event at Christmas and I have used it every day since, I am still on the same bottle and I have about a quarter left. This is the bomb when it comes to facial sun screen, it sinks in so well with no white residue. It's tiny ,so easy to pack, it's SPF 50+ so nothing is getting through this baby and it's cheap for such a high quality product. I have already bought a back up, in case I am ever without it. I have heard that they do a matte SPF 30 version that I can't wait to try.

Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix - £12.99 here

These pads are a cheaper version of the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads, I think I paid around £5 for them when they were half price at Superdrug.  I really like these as they are more portable than the Pixi Glow Tonic (which is another excellent chemical exfoliator.) I need a good exfoliatior more than usual on holiday as the elements tend to make my skin more rougher than normal and so any help I can get in removing dead skin cells is greatly appreciated.  I am not a fan of physical scrubs at the best of times but particularly not when when I have been out in the sun all day (ouch!!)

Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep * £26.50 here

I am pretty new to this product, but so far so good.  I use this after retinol before bed and it is an excellent moisturiser for thirsty skin.  It's aim is to counter the effects of sun, poor nights sleep and bad nutrition choices (which is a pretty steep claim tbh) but it does leave my skin feeling baby soft and the pigmentation more even.  I think this will be the perfect things to combat the late nights, excess alcohol intake and sun that I am certain to encounter on holiday.

Body Skin Care

The most obvious concern when on holiday is sun damage, I use to not take this very seriously as I tan easily and aging seemed forever away.  Now I'm 36, I use full precautions.  I sit in the shade anyway, as I like to read on holiday and the glare is too annoying.  I have recently found some amazing sun screens that feel feather-light on the skin, and even improve the look of it, without that greasy gloopy white smeary mess you used to get.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Comfort Protective Oil SPF50+ £18.00 here

The original and the best, comes in the very distinct clear pump bottle.  The smell is divine and I challenge anyone not to be in the holiday mood after catching a whiff of this.  The texture is similar to a serum or oil and it sinks in very quickly leaving a lovely skin enhancing sheen behind.   The slight colour means that it also enhances your natural colouring too.  It's not cheap but it works every time.

Reiman P20 SPF50+ £24.99 here

This is for our eldest not me.  She burns so easily in the sun but as she's getting older she hates having sun cream applied to her but isn't diligent enough to make sure she has done a good job herself.  P20 is applied just once a day and is fully waterproof. You need to wait a bit for it to dry but it really works.  No burn no matter how long you're in the sun for.  This is also great if you accidentally got burnt the day before as it stops any more sun damage in it's tracks.

Malibu Continuous Spray Dry Oil SPF's 15 and 10 £3 here

This comes as a lotion and an oil spray, I don't like the lotion one as it is white and needs quite a bit of rubbing in.  This however is glorious, you just mist yourself all over and you're left with a lovely sheen and light sun protection.  This is for the end of the holiday only, as it's SPF is pretty low, though you can get it in a SPF 30 but I couldn't find any this year.  This is a real bargain too, you can regularly pick it up for £4.

Dove Summer Glow in Fair to Medium £2.62 here

This is a summer staple and I have been using it for years.  I love the classic dove smell, it's very moisturising but more importantly it helps even out a patchy tan.  I use this on strap marks, paler-than-the-rest-of-me-legs and as a tan prolonger.  My husband is the biggest fan of this, even though I have to buy it.  I think I got this for £2 in Beauty Savers.

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Scrub - £8 here

Great texture, not too grainy nor too smooth.  The smell is divine, like key lime pie (which I am sure is too teenagery for most but I love it.)I will be using this on my upper arms and shins to get lovely smooth limbs. I like all the Soap & Glory scrubs so any would have done.

Body Shop Vanilla Sugar Body Butter - no longer available online

Again, like the scrub, this could be any body butter from the Body Shop as I love them all equally.  Basically this was the only one I had left in a travel size. Lovely vanillery scent coupled with heavy duty moisture for parched dried out skin. I imagine this will be used on my feet most days as all that flip flop wearing takes it toll.

Seems like a lot, doesn't it?  But it is only part of the cosmetics collection that I am taking with me.  There are obvious multiple bottles of the sun creams, as there are 5 of us and 17 days.  I will try and post my holiday makeup and hair kits, but with only a few days to go and a gazillion jobs still waiting in the wings, I'm not sure when I will get the time.

What are your must-have Summer Savers?

*PR Sample received for review purposes

5 Feb 2015

Anti Ageing Skincare Routine Cheat Sheet - Over 30's

Do you know what I love more than Caroline Hirons site and her amazing advice?  I love infographics.   I have spent an age on Caroline's site trying to make sense of all the endless skincare advice on there and the one thing I wish it had is a nice easy printable guide.   So here its is, my version of her crazily good advice with a few changes to make it more achievable for us mere mortals.  You can print this off to keep in your dresser and get you in the habit or as a rough shopping guide.

click to enlarge

I spent days pouring over Mrs Hirons site, the lovely Paula Begoun's site, Makeup Alley reviews and numerous skincare awards lists and came up with this.  It's what I reckon is the best of both guru's skincare advice along with products that are widely well received in the industry.

I found Caroline's 7 step morning routine far to excessive for me and my hectic attempts at herding children out of the house, so I have eliminated everything I felt was optional, and stuck with the core idea of her routines.  I then researched which products she recommends, cross referenced them with Paula Begoun's suggestions and my own experience to leave me with an achievable routine that can work at different price points.  I really wanted to include the magical P50 lotion in here but seen as it is nearly impossible to track down, I figured it was pointless to add it to the list.

I have written this as a guide for over 30's as girls in their twenties would require some changes to the routine (mainly in the serum/treatment area.)

Now I know that the total of all the products is expensive but, stay with me here, seen as it is best to only switch in one new skincare items per month to determine if you are having any detrimental reactions to it, then you could just buy just 1 new skincare treat per month and go from there. I have tried to include some lower priced alternatives in there for those who prefer to keep their money for something more high minded than smeary stuff for your face.

 An important point to note is that I do slightly disagree with Caroline about her hatred of foaming cleansers.  The reasoning behind her dislike is that (most) foaming cleanser are alkali and when you wash your face with them it makes your skins PH move further away from the acid zone that helps it fight blemishes.

I'll let Dermalogica put it more lucidly -
"On a scale from 1 to 14, a neutral pH is 7. The skin's normal pH level is between a 4 and a 5 (acidic). The majority of soaps are made from lye or potassium hydroxide: alkaline ingredients that can reach in the opposite direction, all the way up to 14 on the pH scale. Using soaps that are high in alkalinity take skin from an acidic state to an alkaline state and strip natural lipids from our skin. This accounts for the tight, pulled feeling you may have experienced after cleansing with soap. While you may interpret this feeling as "cleanliness," it is actually your skin suffering from a loss of lipids!"
The reasons I disagree with Madame Hirons are three-fold;

  • You follow your cleanse with an acid toner and therefore the toner puts your skin straight back in balance, just seconds after you have washed it.  
  • Water has a neutral PH and so would upset the balance anyway.  
  • A lot of foaming washes are PH neutral or with an acid base now.

Here are just a few of the best PH balanced foaming cleansers for those of you who still love to foam.

Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser £7
Neutrogena Visibly Clear Oil Free Facial Wash £5
REN Rosa Centrifolia Foaming Cleanser £14

I also found this handy guide to facial cleansers and their PH's on this Reddit thread, very few of them are actually alkali.

I have included balm cleansers too in the evening part of the routine, as they are definitely superior when it comes to removing makeup and SPF, but as the good ones are usually pretty pricey too, I feel that they are unnecessary on a morning when your skin should only have a light sheen from last nights sleep and the remnants of the evenings skincare products.

One last point regarding Treatments.  I use retinol creams every night see here for my favourites, but some people would prefer to spend their sleeping hours having a mild peel or luxuriating in facial oils, so I have left this section pretty open as all our skins have differing needs from week to week and so different night treatments are normally needed to combat whatever is causing you a skincare headache.

I hope this is of help to anyone else struggling to put all the great advice out there in to a realistic routine.  Feel free to pin it and if you want to receive more of my waffling sign up via Bloglovin here

21 Jan 2015

Packing Beauty Products for Travel

I am an obsessive organiser, there is nothing I like better than a good re-organise, which is lucky as I have a whole load of c*** that usually needs it.



Last weekend I set about sorting out my ever-expanding travel wash bag.  It started quite small but as always has grown out of all recognition.  I needed something that would work when I staying away from home and had versions of all my favourites products that are easily accessible.  The problem with my old set-up was that I would have to take the whole wash bag into the bathroom to have a shower and then dig around in it just to find the showering essentials, I would then have to bring it back out again to start on my skincare and makeup.  Hardly the end of the world, I know, but still less than ideal.

I re-purposed this vanity case which is sadly no longer available, it has a carry handle and a strap if I want to go hands-free (more likely hold a child's hand).  Inside I have 5 separate pouches that hold each main subgroup of my beauty products (how sad that I have sub-grouped my beauty paraphernalia)

  1. Shower/Bath - this is the home of all the "wet products" so shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, toothbrush etc..
  2. Skincare - contains miniatures of all my AM & PM beauty routine essentials.
  3. Hair care - This is post-wash, so volumiser, hair oil, hairspray etc...
  4. Emergency - needle and thread, ear plugs, ibuprofen and lady products
  5. Nail Care - obvious really, polish, files, remover

Bath/Shower - the B-Refined face wash is dire by the way.

Skincare - travel size-tastic!

Haircare - The polish tin actually has bobbles and clips in it.


Nailcare - I always leave nails to the last minute!

I have another gold makeup pouch that I take too, but the contents of this are in constant flux and so I opted against taking a photo of it.  It doesn't always reside in my travel case anyway as I often keep it in my handbag so technically it would have been classified incorrectly!

There are also a couple of bits that don't fit well in the pods and live in the bottom of the bag, they are; deodorant, perfume, a paddle brush and a fold up mirror.


I like this system because I can see at a glance what I ned to stock up on, I can put different "pods" in different places around where I am staying, and it keeps neatly together for travelling and storing.  The pouches are from Asda and the slim ones are just clear pencil cases.

Anyone else out there with such an OTT travel bag for the loves of their life?

8 Jan 2015

7 Products I Used More Than Anything Else in 2014

These are the products that kept finding there way back to the top of my makeup drawer.  I have 3 to 4 versions of each product (say lip glosses or face washes) and these are the one I keep repurchasing and using regardless of new fads and trends.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Eye & Lip Cream - £26 
Surprise find of 2014, I got this in a beauty box and immediately fell in love.  It is light yet deeply moisturising.  You only need a little for it to work and it helps to keep fine lines at bay and keep your lips in top condition.  I have had zero crapped lips this winter (so far) and I think this is the main reason why.  I have mentioned before (here) that this has Matrixyl 3000 in which is a very high end ingredient usually only found in £50+ Eye creams.  It costs £30 for 15 ml which would last me, with daily use, around 6-9 months.  I get mine from the Caudalie site as you can collect points towards future freebies, and you get a little sample set each time you shop which I think is genius as you can try out other items and have handy travel sizes for your wash bag.


La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo - £15
LOVE this lightweight skin clearing moisturiser, this is perfection for helping keep oily skin clear and soft without being greasy or not moisturising enough.  It costs £15ish for 40 ml which usually lasts me 3-4 months  which I think is pretty good value, particularly if you buy it on Boots 3 for 2's.

OPI Private Jet - £7
New for 2014, but it became my go-to nail varnish for whenever I was going out.  It is such a versatile colour that it can be worn with most everything and is appropriate for all but the most formal of occasions ( I wouldn't necessarily wear it to a wedding.)  I looks good on short or long nails so can be worn no matter where you are in your nail growing cycle.  I always top coat with Seche Vite for added shine, but then I top coat everything ever.

Botanics Face Wash - £1.99 at the moment!
I know Caroline Hirons would kill me for this, but I am going to stick my neck out there and say, "Caroline you are wrong" there I did it.  The idea that foaming facial washes are a bad thing is widely banded about the blogosphere with the rationale that all foaming solutions are alkali which strips the acid mantle of your skin and upsets the balance which can aggravate acne.  Now thinking of basic chemistry I am certain that water is PH 7 which is neutral and no where near acidic and as we all use water on our faces to no ill effects, I cannot see how this theory can stand up.  In addition I always follow with an acid toner which resets the ph balance anyway and therefore I much prefer the ease of cleaning with facial washes.

Now enough about acid v alkali and onto this particular brand,  I like that the ingredient list isn't a list of poly whats-its-names and ethyl-thing-ummy-bobs.  It has a sprinkling of real ingredients which always please me.  But most importantly it doesn't feel stripping yet leaves my skin feel super clean afterwards.  I love that you can regularly pick this little beauty up for just £2 so I can have stashes of it everywhere (bath, sink, shower, kids bathroom, travel bag) which stops me having an excuse for not washing my makeup off before bed.

Real Techniques Face Brush - £9.99
I wasn't sure if I would get on with this when I first ordered it, as I like the stippling brush by RT but I don't love it (in fact I now only use it about once a month.)  This however is a completely different creature.  It has tightly packed super soft bristles that are excellent for buffing foundation into the skin creating a pore free look.  I also love that the size is just right for contouring too, I have their contour brush which I find better as a under eye powder brush (specific much)  I can also use this to apply powder to the t-zone and blusher of needs be, it is all amazing at applying mineral foundation instead of the old kabuki style brushes.  It is really a brush that gives a lot.  I wish I had another of these but I can't justify any more brush purchases for about 7 years so I will have to make do with what I have.

From L-R - Buffing Brush, Stippling Brush, Top Blusher Brush, Bottom Expert Face Brush, Contour Brush

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On-and-On Bronze- £4.99
How much do I love thee, let me count the ways...  If there are ever a decree made that all eyeshadows except one were to be discontinued, then this would have to be my keeper.  It is such a subtle colour with just one sweep that it is my everyday goto shade, yet for nights out you can layer this thick and get a truly metallic look that works great with hazel eyes.  I like how easy it is too apply it calends a dream and I can even use my fingers if I have no clean brushes.  I often smoke this up with the aid of Urban Decay's dark horse.  It is super cheap too at just £5 so when it starts to dry out (take about a year) it is no big drama to replace. Below I have swatted it next to Urban Decay Smog from the Naked I palette for reference as it is a good dupe with better staying power and a nicer sheen. Last thing, I promise, the same formula in "Permanent Taupe" is great for eyebrows if you have darkish hair.

L- Colour Tattoo on-and-on bronze R- Urban Decay Smog

Benefit Browzings - £22 
I believe this was one of the first brow kits on the market and I have had this for years.  It just keep on going and does such a good job.  I have it in the colour medium and I love that you can use the wax to shape and the powder to fill or, as I do, add both to the brush nd get a double effect.  I use my own brush for application rather than the twitchy one that comes with it, but if I'm away then it more than does the job.  This isn't cheap but considering I ahem had this at least 5 years then it works out as a bragin.  There is no need to worry about bacteria either as powders are a poor host for bacteria as are waxes.The packaging is also great as it is really tough yet sleek enough for bathroom touch ups. It also has a handy mirror.

26 Nov 2014

November Empties

I love a good empties post, it's when you get to see whether something perfomed past the first flush of infatuation and into it's twilight years.

Here is what I saved from the bin for your viewing pleasure this month.


The Best

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash 

This is a firm favourite in my house, everyone likes using it, including my Husband.  Silky and moisturising with a fresh sweet lime cheesecake scent.  Only slight downside is the price but if it's on 3 for 2 then it only works out at £4.30 per bottle.  This last me about 3 months as the pump stops you using too much.  The empty bottle can also be repurposed for shampoo/conditioner holders for the kids so they don't use a third of a bottle every time they wash their hair.

Botanics Cleansing Foam Wash

You have seen me using this before, I know your not supposed to use foaming washes, but this one is so gentle and effective, it doesn't break me out and is a dream on oily skin. The best part is it's only £4 but often they have half price so you can pick it up for £2!

Retinol Reface by Indeed Labs

I have a whole post on this over here.  I love this silky retinol treatment for the face.  It is a bit siliconey which may not be everyone's taste but it doesn't leave me greasy and can be layered with other face products easily.  The price isn't too shabby either at £19.99 and it's regularly on 3 for 2. I already have another one in my backup drawer waiting for my to finish my ROC Deep Wrinkle Night Cream.

MAC Fluidline in Dipdown

I actually got to within 10% of finishing this baby before it went dry which, I'm sure you'll agree, is a miracle with gel eyeliners.  The colour is lovely and can be worn on a daily basis without being too dramatic, you can build it up for evening looks too so you can go all dramatic without having to wear black.  This really lasts and is on my re-buy list now. £15.50

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction

I have re-bought this already as it is only £4.  A your-lips-but-better neutral colour.  It glides on nicely and is retractable so no sharpening needed.  It lasts well, though not amazingly.  I use this as a lip colour when I don't know what to wear.  Then I just layer on a coloured gloss or balm to give more depth. Another good colour in this range and not as dark is East End Snob, I hate the name but a good mid tone pink for everyday wear.

The Meh

Tres Semme Liquid Gold

This used to be my go-to hair serum, that is till I tried the Organix version that smells divine and is identical.  I don't believe the Moroccan Oil hype as it's first few ingredients are all silicones so the amount of Argan Oil left will be negligible.  See more detailed post here.  I do think that this is a good serum when it's on offer I bought mine at Superdrug and it was on offer so was £2.99 (usually 6.99) which is great for a decent quality serum with a pump.

Victor and Rolf Flowerbomb

I really wanted to love this but it just didn't have the sillage or the depth that makes a great scent for me.  I found it good as a Spring/Summer everyday perfume but nothing truly amazing.  Luckily it was a gift from Duty Free as I would have been gutted if I had paid for it.

The Dreadful

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish

What was all the hype about! Seriously this stuff strips your skin and leaves it red and I have very robust skin that very rarely reacts to anything.  It gave me a lovely collection of blemishes within days of using it.  I discontinued use and then tried again with the same results.  I definite no for me, maybe better for others *I doubt it*

Scholl Cuticle and Nail Cream

Dull, boring, ineffective...  I didn't even finish it (and I had owned it for about 5 years) I'm going to stick with Sweet Almond Oil in future decanted into the cute little Solar Oil bottles which is pretty much what Solar Oil is anyway.

Aussie 3 Min Miracle Light Deep Treatment Mousse

I am the biggest fan of their original 3 Minute Miracle and have been using it for about 15 years, I love the smell, the feel of it and the result I get.  It's even a good price.  But this... Oh dear... I can't even brush it through my hair it has no "slip" so you can't comb it through your hair to evenly spread it and detangle.  I ended up using a handful about the size of a hedgehog to get any detangling going on at all.  Then, if I wasn't unimpressed enough, it decided to constantly dispense the remainder of the container down my shower walls for the next 3 hours until it was completely empty.  Definitely wins award for Biggest Let Down of 2014.

Offending article on the left :(

So there you have it, a trawl through my trash.

22 Oct 2014

Autumnal Nails with Revlon and OPI

I am not a big fan of Summer nail polishes, apart from the coral pink ones, they without fail, look dreadful on me, I don't think my skin is made for such bright colours.

Now Autumn colours is a completely different matter.  These are just the colours I have worn in the last week, I reckon I could list about 20 colours that I love for Autumn.

OPI My Private Jet Revlon Mischievous Revlon Smoky Canvas

As you can see from the pictures above, the colour in the bottle is somewhat different than the colour once applied.  All of these are 2 coats and no top coat.

Revlon Smoky Canvas- Review

Smoky Canvas is such an easy to wear everyday colour, it is a kind of a mushroom colour and looks great on the days where you just want to wear black.  I like that this one is good at hiding chips too.  It is obviously not quite on the same chip-hiding scale as Nude polishes but it's not bad either.  It is nice and opaque after 2 coats and has a reasonable glossy finish.  It seems to have been discontinued now but Bare Bones by the same brands is just a slightly warmer version.

OPI - My Private Jet - Review

I adore this colour and had been after it for about a year when I eventually needed a top up product to get a deal on a purchase of a steam mop (oh the glamour) and so I got this.  I want to wear this everyday, obviously this is not possible, but I still wish I could.  For those of you in-the-know out there, this is the non-holographic version, but I like its subtle sparkle as I am not a big bling fan.

Revlon Mischievous - Review

I have had this a couple of years now and it is a lovely muted purple.  It as actually closer to the colour in the bottle than the photos I took, but I couldn't get it to show up well at all.  In case you haven't gathered I am am a serious Revlon nail polish fan.  Their formulas are so heavily pigmented and the bottle is larger at the bottom which helps me to not knock it over whilst applying it.  I also really like the brushes that come with them.  I often buy these when they are 2 for £10 in Superdrug.  They last for ever and I rarely get to the end of one. Again this one has been discontinued but here is an almost identical shade from Barry M called Cappucino £2.99.

What are your favourite colours to wear in Autumn?

10 Oct 2014

Lush and Body Shop Blogger Meetup at Victoria Place

I was so excited when the latest Beauty Blogger meet up was at Victoria Place in Victoria Train Station.  Firstly because I could actually go for once, and secondly because I love Lush and Bodyshop products.

The first hurdle was the obvious matter of what to wear.  I knew we would be walking around and stood up for a while so I jettisoned the heels in favour of some comfy flat brown knee high boots I had got from Clarkes via Very and the went for a tunic dress with sheerish tights.

I had just bought the classic OPI shade called My Private Jet so I painted my nails with that and the ubiquitous top coat of Seche Vite.  For make up I decided that if there was one time I could wear a full face of makeup, then a beauty blogger meet up would have to be it.  So I went of everything, all at once!

Please excuse laundry basket and bits of random wood in shot, I was rushing.
Brown Boots - Clarkes at Very £99
Black Wool Tunic Dress - La Redoute £29
OPI My Private Jet - Very £11


First off we visited Lush which is on the same level as the train platforms and I have walked past on many occasions, but always at full throttle on my way to catch a train.  I doubt this will happen again, as there was so many great well-priced products that I will most definitely be visiting this convenient little gem more often.

We were given a demonstration of many of there new christmas products and then we got to make our own Big Blue bath bomb.  My favourite products were the reusable bubble bar and the shower jelly snowman.  I was also very impressed with the snow glitter powder that I KNOW my girls will go crazy for at christmas.  They very kindly gave a sweet little bag with a couple of sample products and our bath bomb to take home.

Erica from Makeupfun making a Big Blue bathbomb.

Top 3 Lush Products

On my shopping list for future shops are;

Reusable Bubble Bar £5.25- such a great idea and very affordable, the amount of bubbles and the scent was incredible for such a small amount of product.
Snowman Jelly £3.50 - this is such a cute idea.  A snowman shaped jelly that comes folded up in a pot, when you open him up you just rub in a little water for a great smelling (lemon and bergamot)shower gel
First Snow Powder £4.75 - the kids will adore wearing this at christmas it has a lovely sheen, kind of like a highlighter but in powder form, plus it smells divine too.


We then visited Bodyshop where we were introduced to there new Drops of Youth Eye Concentrate and the original best selling Drops Of Youth Serum.  Both products felt lovely on the skin and sell like hotcakes.  The serum has amazing reviews but I doubt their efficacy as I have seen no compelling evidence for the ingredients being used to formulate them, having any particular anti-ageing properties, it just seems like a well packaged form of glycerin to me.  Luckily they gave us some samples of the serum to try so we will see if there is anything to the claims.
The lovely staff also makeover a couple of the braver amongst us.

On a more positive note the makeup counter has been completely over-hauled and they have bought back nail varnishes,Yay!  The colour burst lipsticks also looked gorgeous and glided on really smoothly.

Top 3 Bodyshop Products

My favourite things i tried on the night were;

Smoky 2 in 1 gel eye liner in brown £10  This has an inbuilt brush, I am not sure I will find the length of the brush a problem, but the liner itself left a lovely soft finish that would be ideal for everyday wear. Best of all it can be used on brows too, for £10 it is very reasonably priced.
The new Argan Oil Range £13, this smelt very top end and felt super smooth and nourishing, I didn't like the idea of the solid lip oil but the body butter smelt divine. I will definitely be getting this when I have voucher as at £13 it is a bit steep.
Mango Hand Gel £2.50 - this smelt gorgeous , a cute product to pop in your handbag for those times when the public convinces are less than sparkling.

Cafe Rouge

We were then treated to a glass of champagne and a Planche Rustique (rustic plank) for starters at Cafe Rouge.  I like the old fashioned French feel of the restaurant and the menu looked amazing, I would have chosen and main course and been happy.  I went for the chicken breast in a cream, mushroom, leek, courgette and wine sauce with buttery mash which was divine although not in any way a healthy choice.

The Christmas Lunch Menu looked fantastic and included creme brûlée gateau which would be so perfect for a group night out. The staff were incredibly welcoming and made a real effort to treat us all.

Thank you so much Becs from Biteable Beauty and Rebecca from Carousel PR for organising the event.  It was a lovely evening and I will most defiantly be visiting Victoria place for a spot of shopping next time I have a wait at Victoria on the way home.  I didn't even know there were shops upstairs until that night.  I also spotted a fantastic looking shop called Hema which is really big in Europe, this is their first UK shop and it sells a arrange of cute storage, stationary, beauty products  and health foods, it's a bit like Tiger or Muji.  What really attracted me was the prices, everything seemed so cheap!

It was so lovely to meet some other bloggers, feel free to check out their blogs/vlogs below.

Becs - Biteable Beauty
Juliana - Buzzing Trends
Erika - Makeup Fun
Yaroslava - Slavabeautytips
Nadja - Throw Me Something Beautiful
Natasha - A London Thing
Olivia - Beauty from the Fjord

30 Sep 2014

Minimal Makeup

This is what I take when I am going to meet my Husband for lunch after making use of the gym near his office.  Quick and easy makeup must-haves.

Laura Mercier - Foundation Primer - does not budge
Revlon Colorstay - 180 Sand Beige - super matte
Bourjois 1 Seconde Volume - waterproof - lasts and lengthens
Lancome - Flash Retouche - banishes dark circles without looking white
Rimmel - Glam Eyes Liner - gets close to lashes
L'Oreal - True Match Powder in Golden Ivory - nice yellow undertones in a high street powder
Benefit - Browzings in Medium - had for 5 years and still going strong
Daniel Sandler - Watercolour Blush in Cherub - natural and long-lasting
Maybelline - Color Tattoo in On-and-on Bronze - everyday essential in my house
Maybelline Colour Sens Nude in Tantalising Taupe - moisturising, lets the eyes stand out.

18 Sep 2014

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 review

If like me you love a bargain then this is the post for you. This is one of the best deals I have seen for a while. I have mentioned in a previous post that I love Latest in Beauty’s Boxes.  I like knowing what I am getting in advance and so they are ideal for people like me who are far too fussy about products to spend £10 on what is essentially a lucky dip.  The first one I ordered contained 3 decent sized samples of Caudalie's Polyphenol range for £9.95 inc P&P, the contents are worth around £30!

Here's what I got for my money.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 sample reviews latest in Beauty
Look how cute the mini pipette bottle is, that is going to go in my collection of "things to repurpose for travelling" which inevitably get forgotten when I actually travel.

Full price for 30mls is £35 so works out at £11ish.

Caroline Hirons rates this, which is always a plus for me, as everything she reviews I agree with (except using flannels not muslins).  I really like this serum, I am alternating it with Soap and Glory's Make Yourself Youthful Rejuvenating Serum and it is great.  The glass bottle with pipette is a really nice touch and give it a sciencey feel along with making it feel like a quality product.  The texture is nice and silky, yet it sinks in almost immediately.  It is packed full of antioxidants such as polyphenols and stabilised vitamin C which are supposed to zap all the nasty free radicals created by suns and pollution damage. I will have to wait a couple of years to see whether this truly works, but it does seem to plump fine lines, which I guess is the hyaluronic acid at work. Overall a really nice product which I will repurchase when I have enough money to spend on nonessential skincare items.

Full price for 15 mls is £26 so works out at £8ish.

This is the real star of the box.  It can be worn under makeup and feels lovely on, not tacky or overly slippy.  It contains Matrixyl 3000 which is one of those ingredients you usually only get in top-end anti-wrinkle creams. This, along with Retinol, is one of the few proven ingredients that can reduce signs of ageing. I apply this both morning and night and it really smooths the lips ready for lip products.  I am definitely getting this again, it seems to be lasting really well, as you only need the tiniest amount.  For £26 for 15ml this seems pretty good value for the quality of the ingrediants.

Full price for 40ml is £29 so works out at £11ish

I like the idea of this, as it supposedly protects skin while smoothing and hydrating. I have a sneaky feeling that, like most SPF's, it breaks me out.  I am pretty gutted about this as I thought this was perfect to wear when going out for a run (trudge around the park) as it is light yet protects me from the sun.  I will however try again in couple of weeks time when it is a different time of the month (ahem!) Currently not re-purchasing due to bumpy skin.

I am really happy with this box and will definitely repurchase the Eye and Lip Cream, and probably the Serum.  I have even considered just buying another box as it works out cheaper than buying them full price!  I have been using them for 2 weeks now and have not got even vaguely close to using them up.

Has anyone else had any luck with this range.  It's aimed at those who are 30+ and I can see myself trying more and more from their lovely looking arsenal of anti-ageing products. I always avoided them in the past as they seemed like one of those organic/ineffective companies but I will eat my words.  I like Caudalie.  Now I just need to learn how to say it, good job I'm a blogger not a Youtuber.

16 Sep 2014

At Last - A Beauty Box that isn't a Rip Off

I don't know where I first heard of Latest in Beauty (LIB), beauty boxes, but what made me look twice was the unique idea, that you got to see what was in it before you paid.  Now I'm sure this spoils the fun for a lot of you, but for me it was a godsend.  I hate the idea of handing over money for a pile of tat I could get in the Poundshop for less, but just wrapped in a pretty box.

LIB is different to other beauty boxes because they list all the products that the box contains and you just buy it the same way as you buy anything else.  I think this is great as it inspires them to keep creating great boxes and also means that they will get lots of repeat customers as they will hopefully like the contents seen as they already know what they are getting. My favourite part is that I can research the products and see whether they are likely to be useful to me or suitable for my skin/hair.  You can even create your own box if you like, I wasn't so keen on this part though as the products were a little less exciting.

I started off with the Caudalie Ployphenol C15 box for £9.95 inc P&P! I did a quick price comparrison and the products work out as worth around £30. I had been wanted to try Caudalie products for a while as wanted to incorporate a really good antioxidant and skin protector into my routine.  The prices had however put me off, the last thing I need is another unsuitable beauty product remonstrating me from my dressing table.

I enjoyed my first foray into the world of Beauty Boxes so much that I have already purchased their latest offering.  It is called the Glamour Beauty Power List 2014 and has a host of 5 star products that I had been interested in trying for just £16 inc P&P. I even had a 10% off code so it cost just over £14 all in.  This was such a good deal I bought two, one for me and one for a giveaway  as they look so good.  It has Liz Earle, Laura Mercier and Bourjois to name a few, it also includes a whole years subscription to Glamour magazine on your iPad.

See my post here for a full review of the Caudalie Polyphenol goodies I got.  I will also be posting the giveaway soon after I receive the Glamour Box, so keep your eyes peeled.

Latest in Beauty have not sponsored this post, nor do I receive any commission from my links, this is just something great I wanted share.

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