Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Models Own Polish for Tans – Beach Bag

Caution, this nail polish requires sunglasses it’s that BRIGHT. Models Own have launched the first-ever collection designed to enhance and compliment a natural tan. Like a moth to the flame I was drawn in as soon as I spotted them in the aisles of Boots.
Believe it or not, of the five shades, Beach Bag is the least eye watering! A stunning orangey peach shade, it somehow manages to be pastel and neon at the same time. It has a beautiful crème gloss finish, my favourite kind. I read on one review that it’s better to apply one thin coat, followed by a thicker layer – I did this but still didn’t have full coverage. I was disappointed it needed a third layer, especially for a polish so pigmented. Hey ho, what it lacks in formula, it makes up in finish and colour.
As for its ability to enhance a tan – oh my word did it! My hands looked incredibly tanned, and trust me; they’re so NOT tanned right now! It’s a long time since we’ve had any sun in the UK and my hands are about as pasty as they get. Now I’ve got to say, in the cold light of day I did feel a bit self conscious about my neon talons – People couldn’t take their eye off them! Beach bag is a proper summer shade, I look forward to trying it again when I actually DO have a tan.  

Models Own Polish for Tans 

Superdrug 2 for £8, Boots 3 for 2 here

What’d you think? Too bright or just right? 


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Make Up... If I had to start from scratch

I remember back in my Uni days when my entire makeup collection still fit into one makeup bag, sure it was a rather large bag, but nonetheless it was still containable. However this one time I went home for the weekend and left said makeup bag AT HOME. Imagine my horror on Monday morning when I discovered I had NO makeup. Not a stitch. Was I going to go to class sans Make up? Of course not. I did what every self respecting student would do.... I skipped class and hot-footed it to Boots (wearing scabby bits of cobbled together makeup from my house mates). So it made me think, should such a catastrophe occur again (okay, it’s unlikely I’d lose my entire dressing table, but humour me) and I had to start from scratch, what would I start with?
HD Brow Palette From £25 here. This one’s non-negotiable. If I only had one item in my makeup bag, this would be it. My holy grail brow product, plus it triples as an eyeliner/eyeshadow and includes a brush, result!
L’Oreal Lumi Magique Foundation £9.35 here. The perfect every day foundation. It’s natural and glowy, yet still gives enough coverage to conceal little imperfections. Plus I’m starting from scratch so I can’t afford to fork out £30+ on one item.
Collection Concealer £4.19 here This is one the list, not because of its purse friendly price tag, although that helps when you’re starting from scratch, but because it’s one of the best concealers out there, FULL STOP! Thick, creamy and long lasting and of course. I tend to use it on blemishes and around the sides of my nose. I prefer MAC Highlighter in Light Boost for my under eye bags, but if I was on a budget, collection concealer can do it all! 
Sleek Contour Face Form Medium £9.99 here this is the smart choice – bronzer/contour/highlighter in one. I love this product, if I’m travelling I always take it with me. The high quality powders blend seamlessly and it’s available in a range of shades to suit different skin tones. Full review here.
A Maybelline or L’Oreal Mascara – you can’t go wrong with either of these brands. If I had to choose just one I’d probably go with L’Oreal False Lash Telescopic Mascara. The magic lash catching wand scoops the lashes and drags them to new heights (full review here). Retails for £10.99, found it on Fragrance Direct £4.50 here.
Blush, okay it’s not necessarily an essential, but when I forget to wear blush I feel kinda neckid. If I was starting from scratch I’d defo head to Sleek! I wish I’d discovered the power of Sleek blush before I forked out a fortune on MAC ones. Rose gold is always a popular choice, but personally I love suede. Such an unsung hero. Looks boring in the pan but transforms to bronzey peach that adds a pretty warmth to the face. £4.49, review and pictures here.   
Lips – again, not exactly essential, but if I could have just one lip product, I’d start with a Revlon Lip Butter £7.99 here. The colour and power of lipstick, with the slick feel of a balm. There’s always one in my handbag or kicking around my desk – Strawberry Shortcake is my favourite. Also love Crème Brule and Sweet Tart.

Shop smart and the whole “starter kit” would cost around £50, not too bad! Over to you, if you had to start again, what would be on your list?


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

MAC Dreaming Dahlia Lipstick

All those guilty of buying MAC lipsticks on a whim, wearing them once or twice, then watching them collect dust on their dresser, say I. IIIIIIIIIIII. At least I used to, these days I’m far more selective. It takes a lot to catch my eye (and pennies) but Dreaming Dehlia is a stunner I couldn’t resist.
Dreaming Dehlia Lipstick is a limited edition shade from A Fantasy of Flowers Collection. Described as a “sheer red-coral” with a Lustre finish. On me it comes out more of a juicy coral with a touch of orangey/pink.  It applies smoothly and has a creamy and slightly glossy finish. In terms of coverage it’s semi sheer –so it doesn’t come out as bright as it is in the bullet, but it is buildable. Lustre finish isn’t my favourite MAC finish, I much prefer cremesheen, but what they lack in staying power, they do make up in finish – glossy, polished and kinda sexy.
I tried it on in the shop and I had one of those moments – it was like I’d found MY shade.  I normally gravitate towards nudes and pale pinks so I’ve no idea what made me pick this up, but as soon as I tried I knew I’d HAVE to have it. I mean look at it, it’s a stunner! Reds often wash me out, but the orange undertones of Dreaming Dahlia seem to really workl for my skintone. A gorgeous summery shade – gives that perfect pop of colour without being too in-yer-face.

MAC Lipstick £15 (recent price hike, used to be £13.50) Debenhams here.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

March/April Beauty Favourites

Another month has passed (actually two, but who’s counting?) so here’s a bumper favourites to make up for it.

Liz Earle Superskin Hand Serum £17.50/75ml here
Your face may look 22, but your hands always give you away! It may be a little premature to start stressing about this, but it's never too soon to look after your skin... especially on hard working hands. Liz Earle Superskin Hand Serum is a luxurious treatment packed full of goodies - organic rosehip oil, pomegranate extract and Vit E, to name just a few, that visibly plump and smooth the skin. I've been slapping this on at night and popping over some cotton gloves and I swear I've noticed the difference. Hands be young again! 

Benefit Gimme Brow £17.50 here
A firm favourite these last few weeks. I won't bore you with all the details again (you can read the full review here) but I continue to be amazed at how it can create brows, even where there's no hair!

Liz Earle Daily Eye Repair from £7.75 here
I was going to buy the eye tonic, but my friend Katie (fanatical Liz Earle devotee) said this was the best Liz eye product, in fact one of her best products full stop! It's so good it deserves its own post, but for now I’ll just say this – she wasn’t wrong! This little wonder brightens and soothes pesky eye bags and the light reflective particles help make me look awake, even when I'm secretly asleep.
Bobbi Brown Gel Liner Chocolate Shimmer £17.50 here
I scored this from my little sister. Thankfully she’s not interested in brown liner – her loss, my gain. Ya’ll know how much I love brown eye liner by now; I go on about it enough. For some reason I’ve never used a gel brown. No surprises Bobbi Brown, queen of the gels doesn’t disappoint. Formula, opacity, longevity – all top notch. The colour is just beautiful – dark chocolate brown with very subtle golden shimmer. What I love about it is the way it shimmers in the sunlight and the colour really brings out the green in my eyes.

Nuxe Reve de Meil Baume £7.60 here

You know I lurve EOS but I've been enjoying using this Nuxe lip balm I picked up in Paris. It’s a super rich and luscious lip balm. It stays on the lips for ages and has a natural matte finish, which makes a nice change from the glossy, shiny kind... plus it smells like lemon curd.

Revlon Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel £6.49 here

Props to Revlon for bringing a touch of 1920's style Hollywood glamour to present day. Surf Spray is an aqua jelly style polish with pretty blue micro glitter. What it lacks in opacity (it's a four-coater) it makes up in style -  a pretty vivid blue that smells ocean fresh.

Sleep in Rollers £17.95 here
Used these for the first time in a while (been cheating on them with Enrapture Heated Rollers) and I’d forgotten how much I love them. Let’s be clear, I can’t sleep in them, except maybe 2 or 3 around the crown. Tried that once, never again. I just pop them in whilst I’m getting ready, set them with the hair dryer or wear them in the house when I’ve got nothing better to do. The results – big, bouncy, long lasting volume.  

What have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

I Woke up Like This

You wake up, flawless. Post up, flawless. Ride round in it, flawless. Flossin on that, flawless. This diamond. My diamond. This rock. My rock. I woke up like this... I WOKE UP LIKE THIS! If you love Beyoncé, ya’ll know what am talkin about! If you don’t, please leave my blog immediately! I jest – but seriously, why not? Anyway this is all about the Beyoncé inspired “it” T-shirt – I WOKE UP LIKE THIS. It’s the kick-ass, attitude-filled line from Flawless, featured on Beyoncé’s self titled album...

Beyoncé obsession aside it’s such an easy T-shirt to wear. Oversized and very flattering. Looks great teamed with ripped jeans. Blazer, bomber... whatever you fancy. I got this one form eBay £9.49 here, available in seven colours. It’s good quality, heavy cotton, good sizing (FYI I got a small – ideal for size 8-10) and washes really well too - no shrinking or mis-shaping. 

I did laugh at myself whilst "rocking" the T-shirt at Charles de Gaulle airport at 7am. Buying macaroons from a rather dashing Frenchman, when he says to me "Mademoiselle, can I ask you what your T-shirt says", to which I reply (with attitude and a little bounce) "I woke up like dis!" He looks down at my make up-free, pastry-fueled, half asleep face and says "okay!" Maybe it doesn't have the same effect when you really have just woke up... but it made me laugh.

Here it is in action in Paris....

Glasses - Rayban, Blazer - New Look, Jeans - Topshop, Bag - Mulberry

All together –  We flawless, ladies we're flawless. Say I look so good tonight. God damn, God damn, GOD DAAAMN!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Introducing my new hair hero... The Parlux 3200 Compact Hairdryer

Hands up if you've heard of Parlux. No, me neither. Not until the Instyle Beauty Award 2014 (right about the same time my old dryer conked out) and guess what won the best hairdryer category... Yep, the Parlux 3200 Compact hairdryer. Apparently the Rolls Royce of the hairdryer world.. who knew?
The Parlux 3200 Compact Hairdryer is without doubt, the most widely used professional hairdryer on the market today. With a K-Lamination professional 1900 watts motor (I don’t know what that means but it sounds impressive, right?) the dryer has an airflow of 69 cubic mtrs/hour, which makes the Parlux 3200 compact one of the most powerful hairdryers on the market. Not only does it have incredible power, but it only weighs in at 490 grams and measures a just 20cm. And did I mention is comes in six sexy colours! SOLD!
After a false start ordering from Amazon (it came with an EU 2 prong plug and had to be sent back) I ordered mine from Lookfantastic. I was going to go with the classic black but the pink went better with my bedroom... don’t judge! Don’t be put off by the box, my mum thought I’d be sent a fake it’s that bad... but it’s what’s inside that counts. As soon as I had it in my hands I knew it was high quality. Despite being a “compact” version, it’s reassuringly weighty and substantial. It’s not small, but it’s not bulky either and I love the retro design. Nothing could prepare me for the power; it’s like a little rocket! I thought it might blow my fine hair off my head it’s that powerful! It’s in a different class to anything I’ve used in the past. It dries my hair much faster than before and as cliché as it sounds, I’m getting salon results AT HOME. Drying my hair in sections, using a nozzle, I’m getting serious va va voom volume! And even when I’m pushed for time and I just give it a rough dry, I’m still getting bigger, better results than before.

It has four heat and two speed settings and comes with two styling nozzles meaning you can find the bespoke settings for your hair. Plus a 3 metre cable, which is great for me as I like to wonder around the room. Yes, it’s more expensive than the usual high street hairdryers but it’s a worthwhile investment and much cheaper than salon blow drys.

Parlux 3200 Compact Hairdryer £62.95 from Lookfantastic. Any Parlux lovers out there?

Friday, 11 April 2014

The Friday Night Face

Last Friday night, Yeah we danced on tabletops, and we took too many shots, think we kissed but I forgot. Okay, Katy Perry moment over. This was a bit of a thrown together look and I did that skanky make up on top of make up thing – I know, I know, you should always cleanse and start again, but after a boozy lunch and the need for a quick turn around, I didn’t much care. I’d been to MAC that afternoon where my friend Polly had her make up expertly done by the lovely Rubey (there’s a pic on my instagram) and I was inspired by the bronzed skin and strong eye.

Eyes first. I already had MAC Satin Taupe on the lids, I went over with a medium brown to add some more definition then dusted half baked from the Naked palette all over the lid and along the lower lash line give a beautiful bronzy eye. I wanted strong, precise liner so I reached for Bobbi Brown Gel Liner Black Ink and MAC 266 angled brush. I did a strong upper line from the inner to the outer lash line, with a tiny flicks, then smudged the excess along the lower lash. Lashings of Chanel Volume de Chanel (review here) to finish off.

Base. I was in need of some colour and didn't have time to tan, so I cheated with Chanel Soleil Tan bronzing make up base. Rubey used Studio Sculpt Foundation on Polly, which I haven’t used for a while and every time I do, I forget how much I love it. Some people find it heavy, but it’s super creamy and luminous, and used only where it’s needed, it doesn’t look at all cakey.  I did a quick highlight/contour using MAC Pro Sculping Cream in Pure Sculpture beneath the cheek bones, underneath the chin and the sides of my nose and added a highlight with MAC Prep & Prime Highlighter in Light Boost to foreheard, bridge of the nose, under and around the eyes etc. I set the base with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish and my new favourite brush, Sephora Mineral Brush (review here). I wanted a bit more colour so I went back over with Guerlain Four Seasons bronzer... and looking at these pics, maybe I was a little heavy handed... oh well! Finished off with a pop of colour to the cheeks in the form of Nars D**p Throat.
Brows. It’s all about the brows!  I filled in the spare patches with HD Brow Palette and thickened and set them with my new, and much loved Benefit Gimme Brow (review here).

Lips. Looking at these pictures I should have gone with a nude lip, instead I picked up a trusted pale pink – Wet n Wild Think Pink. I lined my lips first with MAC Naked Liner so it would last longer... and boy did it!
I added a boost of radiance with a good old spritz of Caudalie Beauty Elixir and I was good to go dance the night away with Jocelyn Brown. Video link for those too young remember... and a treat for those old enough to know. TURN.IT.UP!


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Mini Sephora Haul... including the best brush EVER

How could I visit Paris without frequenting the original French beauty store? Even a bomb scare in the Latin Quarter couldn’t stop me –no joke, I walked for what seemed like miles to reach the Boulevard St-Germain store and the police had the road cornered off!!!  After a mini tantrum and a maxi diversion, I made it to the Champs Élysées store. It’s way bigger than any of the New York Sephora’s... busier too. A myriad of beauty products and counters, it attracts more than 6 million people a year!
Sadly, after all that hype, I haven’t got much to show you. Unlike New York’s Sephora’s, it isn’t cheaper than the UK, in fact most products, even French brands like Dior and Chanel were actually more expensive in Paris than they are in the UK and American brands like Urban Decay and Benefit... forget about it! It’s probably down to the exchange rate, but the only brand that was reasonable was Sephora’s own. 
Sephora Classic Mineral Powder Brush #45 - 17.95 euros
J'adore this brush! I’ve had my beady little eye on it for some time. Its plump shape complements the circular movements needed for applying mineral powders, but you can use it for any kind of powder or liquid applications. The bristles are super, super soft and densely packed in, a little like a kabuki brush. I’m using it to apply MAC Mineralise Skinfinish powder to set my foundation. It’s the perfect size for me, not too big, not too small, and ideal for navigating around the nose and between the brows. I’ve also heard some people use it as a foundation brush and because the bristles are so densely packed it gives a flawless, no streak finish. It’s a great buffing brush too... in fact it’s a do-it-all kinda brush.

Sephora Blush Apricot Sheen 02 - 10.90 euros
I bought a Sephora blusher from NYC last year (see it here) and was really impressed the quality, so I stood in the Champs Élysées store swatching every shade to find another I could love. I side stepped the pinks (for a change) and ended up with Apricot Sheen – I nearly went for Coral Crush but the shimmer was too glittery for me. Described as a medium orangey brown with gold shimmer, Apricot Sheen is unlike any other blush in my collection, and that’s why I picked it. It’s a peachy apricot shade that will work perfectly with a tan (roll on summer). It does have a gold shimmer, but it’s not too strong and overall the blush applies lightly so you can work it up to your desired level.

I’m sure you know already, but just in case... The GOOD NEWS is, Sephora now ships to the UK. $10 shipping on orders over $75 here.


Monday, 7 April 2014

Benefit Gimme Brow... Brow Dreams Full-Filled


When Gimme Brow started popping up on, what seemed like EVERY beauty blog, I was adamant I wouldn’t fall for the hype. Surely it was just another version of Benefit Speed Brow or Maybelline Brow Drama that I didn’t need, right? WRONG! When I found myself delayed at the airport last week, what was a girl to do but hot foot it to duty free to play with make up. Then before I know it I’m at Benefit falling in love with the very product I was avoiding.
Gimme Brow is different. It doesn’t just tint brows or comb them in place. It magics brows where they don’t even exist. The innovative brush-on fibre-gel adheres to skin and hair, filling sparse patches and thickening brows naturally. The tapered brush is tinie-tiny and absolutely perfect for precision shaping and filling the hard to reach gaps. The formula is thick, pigmented and has a natural matte finish. I thought I had my brow routine down, but this has changed things. I can wear this alone on low maintenance days as it gives just enough coverage to fill and disguise stubborn gaps and comb unruly hairs into place, I can also use it in conjunction with my HD Brow palette – the two together give va va voom brows! The natural finish is buildable and lasts all day.

Available in two shades light/medium and medium/dark. The darker of the two works perfectly for me, in fact I’d say it matches my natural brow colour perfectly. At £17.50/3g (£14.85 duty free) I did think it was on the pricey side, especially given how small it is, but you can’t put a price on perfect luscious arches... at least that’s what I tell myself.

Benefit Gimme Brow £17.50/3g, available at Boots, Debenhams and Feel Unique.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

City Pharma... A Beauty Junkie’s Mecca

Bonjour! My list places to visit in Paris went like this 1) Eiffel Tower, 2) The Lourve, 3) Any and every pharmacy I can find! It may sounds odd, but Parisian pharmacies are the holy grail for affordable beauty... and they’re practically on every corner. Top of the pharmacy hit list is City pharma – the biggest and cheapest pharmacy in Pareeee. Be warned it’s not for the faint hearted. Ensure you’re fed, watered and without men folk (they couldn’t handle it, mine lasted 30 seconds).  Packed to the rafters with tourists and locals alike, the aisles are narrow and the shelves are stacked... but trust me, the pushing and shoving is so worth it. Browsing inside the beauty emporium isn’t easy, but it is do-able. I did a little research in advance but I didn’t go armed with a list of products... I decided to let my gut (and the crowds) guide me. This is what I got...

Bioderma Crealine H2O Micelle Solution 14.24 euros/1000ml
This purchase was never in doubt. Arguably the Rolls Royce of micellar cleansers, it’s a favourite of makeup artists the world over. The good news is you can buy this in the UK now, but it’s so much cheaper in France. Two large 500ml bottles in City Pharma cost little more than one 250ml bottle in the UK. UK Price £9.99/250ml Escentual here

Klorane Oatmilk Gentle Dry Shampoo Spray7.50 euros/150ml

A celebrity favourite – the bouffant don himself, Karl Lagerfeld even uses it! Klorane’s was one of the original dry shampoos, and many think it’s still the best. Formulated with protective oatmilk extract, corn and rice starch it’s the kindest dry shampoo out there. Dirt, oil and odour are eliminated, and the hair regains volume and freshness in minutes. UK Price £7.50 Escentual here
NUXE Reve de Miel Baume6.90 euros/15ml
This one was a bit of an impulse purchase. I recognised the packaging and vaguely remember some blogger buzz around this last year. I’m soooooo glad I did! It’s a super rich and luscious lip balm. It stays on the lips for ages and has a natural matte finish, which makes a nice change from the glossy, shiny kind... plus it smells like lemon curd. UK Price £10 SpakeNK here

Avène Eau Thermale Thermal Water Spray1.99 euro/50ml
I wasn’t in the market for another facial mist but everyone in there seemed to be picking one up, so in true sheep style... I followed. There were some supersize bottles that offered massive savings but I played it safe with this handbag friendly size. I’ll give it a go and get back to you. UK price from £3.15 Boots here
Vichy Normaderm Purifying Gel Cleanser – 8.50 euro/400ml
I was chuffed to say the least when I spotted this BIG green beauty. I’ve been paying a tenner for the 200ml bottle from Boots for a couple years now, so getting lots more for less... score! This gentle foaming cleanser is great for removing makeup and keeping spots at bay. Plus the 500ml pump bottle will last for ages! Read more here. UK price £10.50 Boots here
Caudalie Hand Cream – 1.99 euro/30ml

I picked this up this little hand cream as a little gift for my mum, shhhh don’t tell her it was only 2 euros. I should have bought some more. UK price £6 Look fantastic here 

Total spend 41 euros – approx. 33 English pounds!

City Pharma 26 Rue du Four, 75006 Paris (St-Germain Quarter)
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