Friday, 30 January 2015

Top 5 Lip Liners

Lip liner, aka the comeback kid. In a serious turnaround, the trend’s gone from retro to on fleek! Taking inspiration from Kylie Jenner faux-full lips (that’s faux-full, not awful), we’re taking to lip liner in our droves. But it’s not all about the over lining trend,  lip liners can enhance the colour and shape of the lips, prevent bleed, stop lipstick from feathering and used all over the lips, give lipstick something to cling to – which means it lasts, AND LASTS.

The concealer lips....

MAC Lip Pencil Naked £12.50 Debenhams

My go-to when I’m channelling the classic smokey eye, nude lips looks. It’s the perfect partner of my fave nude lipstick, MAC Creme d’nude. It’s also perfect for blocking out lip colour if you’re going for a bright lipstick and need to neutralise your base. It’s creamy, very pigmented and long lasting.

The bargain liner!

Collection Lip Liner Mulberry £1.99 Boots

Natural Collection Lip Lines in Mulberry is a wonderful red wine colour – dark plum with a hint of pink. I bought this to go with MAC Rebel and it’s a pretty good match. It applies easily with no drag and to my surprise, is not at all drying. See it in action here.

The good by itself liner...

NYX Slim Lip Pencil Sand Pink £3.50 NYX

A medium, blue toned pink, it has a real brightening effect on my lips. I pair it with any medium to bright pinks, or wear alone and add a touch of glossy for a glossy pink pout. The formula I find is very similar to MAC’s lip pencils and a snip of the price!

The tawny one...

L'Oréal Contour Parfait Lip Liner 656 Honey

A pinky, browny nude. If I was going for the Kylie Jenner look, this would be my weapon of choice. I was going to buy MAC’s In Synch liner when I realised this was basically a dupe. This is my most used liner, the my-lips-but-better shade. Very smooth, glides on easily and it’s long lasting, without being drying, even when used all over the lips. I love this one. It just makes my lips look define and done, but no one would ever know I was wearing lip liner. 

The Lisa Eldridge endorse one..

No7 Precision Lip Liner Nude £6.75 Boots

What’s good enough for Lisa...  It’s a light browny pink, similar to the L'Oréal one but slightly browner. Another good candidate for the 90s fawny lip trend. It’s a twisty up pencil, rather than a sharpener. This makes it less precise but a little creamier and just as long lasting.

To line or not to line?


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Beating the January blues one purchase at a time

Firstly, apologies for the quality of these pictures. Have you seen the daylight lately? No, me neither.

January, it’s probably the one month of the year you shouldn’t shop. We’ve overspent in December and we’re stocked up form Christmas but there’s something about this miserable month that makes me want need to shop! It’s also the perfect month to spend those loyalty points “earned” Christmas shopping for others and weigh in the Christmas gift cards.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage SC3 £26 here

There’s a reason this features in every makeup artists’ kit and I’m about to find out why! It’s been on my lust-list for a long time thanks to Queen Lisa (Eldridge) who used this in just about all of her makeup tutorials, so I weighed in my Birchbox loyalty points, which by the way are easy build up if you complete the monthly surveys. I’ve had a quick play with it and the texture is very stiff/solid, which is strange but man, do they pack a punch. As if by magic I developed a nasty spot on my chin the next day and with this and a bit of pin-point concealer – spot be gone! A full low down will follow soon.

OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil to Go £9.60 here

So this ended up in the same Birchbox order because I had £30 of points to redeem. I’m a big fan of OPI Avoplex but it is a tad annoying the way the oil runs down the fingers. The on the go version has more of a gel like texture which is applied with a handy pointed brush. In the handbag it goes!

Liz Earle Botanical Fragrance  No 15 £49 John Lewis

I have wanted this perfume since the minute I smelt it. The girl at the Liz Earle counter was smelling ah-maz-ing and I thought it was Tom Ford Vanille and Tobacco (which I adore but could never justify the £145 price tag). When I asked her, turns out it was Botanical Fragrance No15. I decided then and there I’d save my points up and go back when I had enough. Fast forward around 6 months and I finally had the points I needed, £50.02 to be precise. I will say I’m a little confused. The bottle in the store is cream and opaque, but when I opened my box the bottle is clear? Still, it smells exactly the same, which is wonderful and intense and sexy and... yep, I love it. I don’t however love having 102 Boots points.

Liz Earle Brow Brush & Liner Brush £12.50 John Lewis

I didn’t go looking for another brush; it just caught my eye whilst I was paying for the perfume. I’ve nailed my Dipbrow application – Anastasia Brush no.12 is perfection, but I’ve been struggling for a powder counterpart. The MAC 266 brush used to do the job but lately it hasn't been giving me the precision I've needed. I wanted something smaller – step forward Liz Earle Eye & Brow Brush, which is smaller and has firmer bristles.

Rapid Brow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum £37 Boots

I may have been growing my eyebrows back for what feels like an eternity, but no matter how hard I try, some stubborn patches will not grow back. Praying, PRAYING this works! Will report back... in up to 6 weeks!

L’Oreal Elnett Heat Protecting Spray Volume £3.99 on promo Boots

Confession time, until now I have not been protecting my hair from heat. I know, bad beauty blogger! I also cane the mousse as it’s the only thing that really adds the oomph. I picked this up in the hope it would do both. To really put it to the test I used it without the mousse and it definitely added plenty of volume. Next time around I used it before the mousse and wow, full on volume PLUS heat protection. Winner, winner, hair aint getting thinner! 

The good news is, only a few days of January left. Have you been shopping through the January Blues?


Monday, 26 January 2015

The Intoxicating Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot Candle

Smell-o-vision. What happened to that? Surely by 2015 it was going to be widespread, right? Anyway I wish it was so I could share with you the wondrousness of the Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot Candle.

I’m no perfumer but this stuff is simply intoxicating. Jo describes it as “hypnotic and alluring”, it’s certainly an intense fragrance with woody notes (get me). This was actually a Christmas present but I could smell it before I even opened that box and frankly, for that kind of money, that’s exactly what I’d expect. It’s not overpowering, but reassuringly intoxicating like a good fragrance should be. As soon as I sniffed it I loved it, and immediately thought this would make an amazing fragrance! Which of course they do, but it costs a fortune (£100 here). Cult candles– Diptyque, Jo Malone, Neom et al are having a real moment. I know they’re crazy expensive, and like my boyfriend says, it’s like burning money, but everything about this candle is luxurious and indulgent! The packaging (which can be recycled as a makeup brush holder) looks classic and stylish on any coffee table, the scent fills the house for hours, even days after it’s been burnt, and with the lid off you can smell this one without even burning it and they do last ages! I burnt this for a few hours on last night, in an attempt to beat the Sunday night blues; it barely went down and smelt heavenly. If I could afford it, I’d fill the house with luxurious candles... but for now, this one’s doing a good job, all by itself.   

Intoxicating Jo Malone Oud &Bergamot Candle £48 Jo Malone | John Lewis | House of Fraser

Luxurious Candles, are you sold?


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Good as Gold! Zoeva Rose Gold Makeup Brush Set

This set is downright divine. It’s every inch as good as it looks in the photos – in fact, it’s better. The Zoeva Rose Golden Brush Set features eight exquisite face and eye brushes. Talk about luxe – expertly crafted with natural and synthetic bristles and designed with a symphony of rose golden ferrules and matte black handles. They’re simply stunning and guaranteed to PIMP any dressing table. Even the free clutch bag it comes with is classic and sleek. Most brushes are vegan friendly and all are wonderfully soft.

The Full Lowdown....


106 Powder: “Apply loose and pressed powder”

Oh my dream, THIS BRUSH! It’s my favourite of the set, possibly my favourite brush EVER. It’s super duper soft, beautifully shaped and feels like velvet on the skin. I’m using mine to apply my MAC Skinfinish powder, the large shape makes it perfect for all over the face and creates a really natural finish – good for bronzer too. 

102 Silk Finish: "Apply and blend foundation"

This is the brush that everyone raves about and I can see why. The silky soft, densely packed bristles make it a perfect liquid foundation brush. A similar style to Real Techniques Expert Face Brush but a million times softer and more rounded which means it navigates around the hard-to-reach areas with ease. Doesn’t seem to drink up too much foundation or have a mattifying effect like some – I’m a dewy gal and this doesn’t change that.

110 Face Shape: "Contour the face shape with cream and powder products"

I haven’t found much use for this one yet but like the others it’s of exquisite quality. It’s billed as a contour brush, but it’s too small and firm for powder contouring (I tried, it looked HARSH), definitely better suited to cream contouring. Would make a decent cream blush applicator too.

127 Luxe Sheer Cheek: "Apply powder blush"

An exquisite blusher brush – this one is probably my second favourite of the set. The angled shape makes it ideal for ultra-soft contouring and shading, however I’m favouring it for blush application. Made from premium quality natural Goat Hair, this is one of the softest of the bunch and yields the most flawless coverage. I often find blusher brushes can be a bit harsh, the way they dump all of the product in one place, this one distributes it seamlessly, almost kissing the skin.

142 Concealer Buffer: "Apply and blend concealer"

An innovative makeup tool which flawlessly applies and blends concealer. It dabs concealer onto the area then buffs for an airbrushed effect. Soft enough for the oh so delicate under eye area too.


227 Soft Definer: "Softly blend and smooth eyeshadow"

This one’s remarkably similar to the MAC 217 brush – aka the best eyeshadow brush in the World, just slightly smaller. The flat sides make it perfect for eyeshadow application and a oveal head blends seamlessly.

231 Petit Crease: "Accentuating and blending in the crease"

I don’t have any brushes in my collection like this one. It’s beautifully tapered with a pointed tip making it perfect for accentuating the crease and deepening the look of a smokey eye. Also fantastic for smudging liner/shadow around the lash line.

317 Wing Liner: "Detailed eyeliner strokes and a perfect wing"

The only one in the set I’m not getting along with. The bristles are a little too long and soft to apply liner with much precision. The brush head is thin, which allows you to get really close to the lash line, but it’s not thick enough to have much of an impact.

And breathe.

I’m running out of superlatives to describe my love for these brushes. If only they’d been made years ago before I spent a small fortune on MAC brushes. They’re better quality and at an average price of £7.11 per brush, significantly cheaper.

UK £56.95 from Beauty Bay and LoveMakeup | Europe 65 Euros Zoeva 


Monday, 19 January 2015

Hit Refresh with January's Birchbox

I normally break my neck to share with you the latest Birchbox. But this month, aside from the jazzy “Women’s Health” design, there wasn’t much that excited me.... at least not at first! Fast forward a week and I’ve had the chance to use the products I’ve decided this month’s box is a grower! The ‘Hit Refresh’ box in partnership with Women’s Health, has the products you need to will help you start the year with your best foot forward.

Stila Lip Glaze Full Size Product £15.00

It’s Stila, and it’s full size, so yeah, a big thumbs up, BUT I’m not much of a gloss wearer these days. Maybe this one can tempt me back? The sheer pink-toned gloss is universally flattering and the built-in vitamin A, C and E keep lips from drying out.

Philip Kingsley Body Building Conditioner 20ml Sample | Full Size 250ml £19.00

YESSS! A product for volume. Just what I need. As soon as I sampled this it gave my hair an immediate plumpness. “Enhanced with keratin proteins and natural cellulose, it improves the hair's strength and condition as well as thickening the appearance of each strand”.  I’m tempted to buy the shampoo to go with it now!

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask 10ml Sample | Full Size £30.00

Radiance in a tube! This bioactive peel mask renews the complexion in minutes with a cocktail of natural fruit extracts (passion fruit, pineapple, lemon and grape no less!) gently sloughing away dead skin cells to renew the complexion and remove impurities (blackheads begone!). Papaya extracts also work to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and smooth the skin’s surface.

HealGel Intensive 5ml Sample | Full Size £37.50

I had no idea what this skinny little tube was until a little googling revealed its cult status. Created by a team of leading British plastic and cosmetic surgeons, HealGel Intensive is a scientifically designed, multipurpose, skin rescue gel. Did you say collagen-boosting? I’m in! Also works as a great primer.

Activbod Cooling Finish Lotion Sample | Full Size £12.00 100ml

“If there’s one thing we want to do quickly post-workout, it’s cool down! Thankfully, this menthol-packed lotion from activbod delivers an instant cooling sensation to the skin with its menthol-packed formula. As well as bringing the temperature down, vitamin E helps to moisturise and repair dry skin”. I think this product’s a bit pointless. All I want to do post-workout is get home, have a shower and EAT!

Embrace Matcha Green Tea 1 Sachet | Full Size  £24.99/30 bags

If there’s one thing I do tend to embrace is January, it’s herbal teas... so this was a welcome extra. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients (up to 10 times more than a regular cup of green tea!) matcha is a superfood that packs a punch.

Lifestyle Extra – Birchbox & Women’s Health Pilates Band Worth £7.99

This stretch little resistance band is perfect for improving your strength and muscle endurance. Incorporate into your exercise regime, if you have one. If not, hang it round your ankles and extend your legs whilst you watch Big Brother!

Now I’ve had a chance to use and research the products, I think this is a really strong box – good work Birch! If you fancy subscribing to Birchbox, use my friends referral link and we’ll both get some bonus points to spend in the Birchbox shop.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

MAC Desert Rose - The Misunderstood Blush

Never judge a blush by its cover! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve over looked this blush. Never, in all of my visits to MAC counters have I ever been tempted to buy this blush on account of two things. 1) MAC describes this as a reddish burgundy, 2) It has a matte finish. BUT THEN, I was on a makeup course pre-Christmas and without looking at the name, applied it to my cheeks and was immediately loved up. Imagine my incredulity when I took it out the palette to reveal its true identity... Desert Rose. Turns out MAC are colour blind because this blush is neither red nor burgundy and I’m stupid to assume all matte blushers are dull, flat and drying... this one is anything but!

MAC Desert Rose Blush £18 in my eyes is a beautiful dusky rose pink with slight mauve undertones. It’s a grown up pink, no dolly or pastel here and fits perfectly in the 90s make up trend – yep, works with the Kylie Jenner style nudey/brown lips. It’s a great neutral too,  not overly pink, not too warm.

This blush has a lot of pigment and stays true to the pan colour. A little goes a long way so no need for a heavy hand and it lasts, and lasts without ending up patchy. “Matte’s” have had a bad rep for far too long but I’m starting to see that matte doesn’t equal flat! The blush has a lovely texture that blends wonderfully on the skin. It adds an immediate glow and warmth to the face without being shimmery or highlighty, making it a great everyday blush. The proof in the pudding is I’ve reached for it nearly every day since buying it. It’s definitely sitting top of the blush list!

What’s your favourite MAC Blush?  


Monday, 12 January 2015

Larsson & Jennings: Classic + Chic Timepiece

Something that definitely falls into the “chic” category of beauty and le chic. My new Larsson & Jennings watch. Beautiful, simple and classic... it’s arm candy without the candy.

Anglo-Swedish watch label Larsson& Jennings are dedicated to minimal designs and maximum quality.  The unisex Lãder series pays homage to the classic British dress watch. The clean lines and statement face combined with luxury Italian & British leather straps creates the ultimate subtle and sophisticated fashion piece. The 40 mm Swiss made watch houses a Ronda 762 Swiss movement (I’ve got no idea what that means either but it sounds impressive), gold plated bezel n buckle and durable crystal sapphire glass face.

The LBW (little black watch) goes with anything and thanks to the stunning gold features it really stands out from the crowd. That’s what I love about it; it’s striking without being too in your face. At £205 it’s at the more affordable end of timepieces and it will definitely stand the test of time.... no pun intended

Larsson & Jennings Lader watch £205 available from Larsson & Jennings | Liberty | Net a Porter 


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Beauty Blender = FLAWLESS

Sometimes I can be a bit stubborn. If everyone is raving about a product, I'll try to avoid it. For that reason I deliberately swerved the whole “egg” sponge craze. I thought I didn’t need another beauty tool... WRONG! The little gizmo creates the most flawless, airbrushed finish I’ve ever experienced. I’ll spare you the selfie. You know the deal with me by now, I’m all about that base and if you’ve seen a picture of my in the last few months, chances are I applied my favourite foundation with this!

I doubt you need me to tell you the hype surrounding this little pink sponge. The original beauty blender is an ingenious egg-shaped makeup sponge that ensures flawless makeup application. It's reusable and openly endorsed by Hollywood heavies like Oprah, Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Shakira, Katherine Heigl and many more.

But still, I’ve dabbled with sponges in the past, wasn’t convinced... until one, literally, landed on my doorstep courtesy of Birchbox. Secretly, I was thrilled to see it there and from first application, I WAS SOLD!

What’s so special?

The shape! Beautyblender’s patent-pending, elliptical-shape fits perfectly to the contours of the face. The fatter “side” of the sponge is great for the larger areas and the point gets right in the nooks and crannies. The sponge’s surface creates an air-brushed finish which means it can be used all over the face with all types of liquid makeup – foundation, concealer, highlighter, it’s got it covered. There’s no beginning, no end, which means there’s none of the lines or streaks often experienced with a brush, just 100% flawless, seamless makeup application.

It’s easy to use too. Simply dampen the Beautyblender with water, squeeze out any excess then it’s good to go. I like to place a dollop of foundation on the back on my hand and dab in the sponge as I go, using a stippling/rolling action on my face. There’s absolutely no need to blend your make up, the sponge is that good, makeup is blended the minute it comes into contact with the skin. Application is pretty quick and completely seamless.


  • Seamless, flawless application every time
  • No need to blend
  • No edges, lines or streaks
  • Easy to use
  • Latex-free, non-irritating, non-allergenic and odourless
  • Long-lasting and easily washable
  • Adds a dewy finish

Any Negatives?

  • If I’m being picky, it’s a little more time consuming than using your fingers or grabbing your nearest stippling brush. I tend not to bother Monday-Friday. But, evenings and weekends, it’s my go-to.
  • The Price? £16 each, but if you care for it and wash it properly, it’ll last a while.

The Original Beauty Blender £16 Cult Beauty. Also available with Blender Solid Cleanser £26 BirchboxFor a cheaper alternative, check out Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge £5.99 Boots... I hear it’s very good!



Monday, 5 January 2015


Happy New Year! I don’t know about you but I’m not quite ready to embrace the new year. I’m still in Christmas mode. As I write this I’m wearing joggers, watching Only Fools and Horses and eating mince pies... It’s the good life and I ain’t sick of it yet. So before 2015 really kicks and I’m forced to leave my joggers (for good) I thought I’d start with a rundown of 2014's best beauty bits, the cream of the crop... the class of 2014.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade £15 Cult Beauty

My single most loved/used/can’t-live-without product of 2014, DipBrow is basically brow perfection. I’ve gone from pencil, to powder and now I’m pretty sold on gel. The easy to use formula gives on point brows every time. Full review here.

Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara £9.99 Feel Unique

The mascara of the year! Currently in my top two, just behind Chanel Le Volume, and no one minds being 2nd to Chanel. It coats lashes with a generous amount of formula and scoops them to new heights, fast. It fans the lashes perfectly, thickens and gives a good ol’ curl. Full review and results here.

Liz Earle Superskin Hand Serum £18.75 John Lewis

This stuff is off the scale amazing! In a nut shell Liz Earle does a skincare range called Superskin, which basically smells like heaven! An aromatic blend of 100% pure plant oils including argan, rosehip, neroli, lavender and chamomile, it’s superfood for your hands. A suped-up serum/hand cream leaves my hands visibly softer and plumper.

Benefit Gimme Brow £14.04 QVC

Keeping the BROW GAME STRONG, Gimme Brow gives wow brows and fast. It magics brows where they don’t even exist, ideal if yours are skinny or patchy. A couple sweeps back and forth and my brows look much fuller. Great by itself for a casual brow or paired with a powder or gel for full on va va voom brows. Read all about it here.

Chanel Vitalumière Foundation £36 Debenhams

2014 was the year I finally splurged on the foundation I’ve been listing after. Luminosity in a bottle, I rarely reach for anything else now. Full review here.

L’Oreal Fibrology from £1.99 Boots

Hands down the hair care product of the year. The hair god’s at L’Oreal have taken my wish list – volume, bounce, body, thickness and bottled it for a mere £1.99. And what really sets Fibrology aside... the results last and LAST. X months in and I’m still hooked. Read the low down here.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Luminous Light £38 Space NK

I wrestled my conscience over this one because of the steep price tag, but the reviews were so strong I did eventually cave (plus I got it cheaper in the US). Best described as a finishing powder, it’s able to manipulate how your skin looks under different lighting – highlighting and blurring at the same time. In short, it’s like being in soft focus!!! It’s my “pull out the big guns” product. Review here.

Parlux 3200 Compact Hairdryer £60.50 Lookfantastic

A birthday present back in February, this was a hair game changer. A salon worthy blow out every time and in record time! Never say never, but I doubt I’ll ever use another dryer again. Review here.

What were your stars of 2014?

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