Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A Small but oh-so-Mighty US Beauty Haul

Most girls might be tad disappointed when your fiancee comes home and tells you he’s heading to New York… without you. Me, I reach for the nearest pad and start making a list!

Before I share, can I just say NUMBER ONE on the list was the Lorac Pro Palette.I believe my words were “don’t come back without the Lorac Palette”. Guess what, he came back, a Lorac palette did not (insert angry face). Not for lack of trying (or so he tells me) but nowhere in Manhattan appear to sell Lorac?!?! Sephora, MACY’s, Barney’s, CVS – no, no, no and no. I sent him searching for Nordstrom but it was a sale store with no beauty. The nearest Ultra was in Glendale. US ladies, help me out here, what’s up with that?

Lorac rant aside he did come back with some lovely treats….

Wet n Wild Mega Last Lipsticks – Just peachy and Pink sugar $1.99 each 

If you’re heading to the US I can STRONGLY recommend picking up a Wet n Wild Lipsticks or two! I absolutely adore them and cannot believe they cost just a couple of dollars! If I lived in the US I doubt I’d need to buy another other lipstick brand. The pigmentation, the texture, the staying power – all phenomenal. I’m building up quite the collection of Wet n Wild Lipsticks – I can feel another post brewing. Just Peachy is a gorgeous peachy pink. Pink Sugar, despite the name, I’d describe as more of a peachy nude with a tiny hint of pink. You can pick up some shades in Amazon - they're still cheap, but they’re not as cheap.

Wet 'n Wild Eyeshadow Palette The Naked Truth $3.99

That’s a hella lotta eyeshadow for a couple of quid! A mixture of mattes, shimmers and satins, it’s the perfect neutral everyday palette. Just like the lipsticks the pigmentation, texture and staying power are fab – check out the swatches.

bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss Rebel $18

Sure you can get bareMinerals over here but it’s a fair bit cheaper across the pond. This was used on me at a bareMinerals masterclass and I luuuurved it - despite not being much of a lip gloss gal these days. But at the time I really couldn’t justify ANOTHER lip product (see, I can exercise SOME restraint). It’s a gorgeous rosey pink that give the lips a sexy luscious finish. There’s more than enough pigmentation to wear alone, it has a delicate minty scent and boy does it last.

Sephora collection Master Cleanse: Daily Brush Cleaner $8.50

A non-alcoholic solution to keep brushes clean and sanitized. A great piece for popping in my kit for on the spot cleaning.

Sephora collection Disposable Mascara Wands $7

Disposable Mascara Wands are an MUA must-have! It’s a cardinal sin to share mascara wands, but as we know much of the magic in a mascara lies in a wand. Generic disposable mascara wands are basically brow spooly’s, for me they don’t cut the mustard. Although these silicone ones are much more expensive, the results are MUCH better.

MAC 213 Fluff Brush $24

You know how much I love my 217, but sometimes you need something smaller that can navigate the eye with more precision. Step forward the 213 – a small, dense, dome shaped brush, ideal for shadow application and shading. Contrary to the name it’s not actually that fluffy. The bristles are soft, but I wouldn’t call it a blending brush persay. It works brilliantly alongside the 217. The 213 lays down the product, the 217 does the blending – I dare say you could create any look with these two in your arsenal.

MAC Lipstick Honeylove $16

There’s only one reason I asked for another MAC lipstick – they’re so much cheaper in the US. $16 is about £10… that’s a lot better than £15.50! Can you believe this is my first MAC Matte lipstick (aside from RiRi Woo which is retro Matte) I’m usually a cremesheen girl… understandably I’m blown away with their staying power. Full post on this one coming soon!

 So that’s my Lorac-free US haul… Work on an invite to the next trip has begun!


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Cheat Your Way to the Perfect Pout

Charlotte Tilbury - You vixen! Just when I thought I had my beauty splurge urges under control along you came with your miracle this, magic that and irresistible gold packaging. But resist I have… until now! And all you bought was a lip liner? This ain’t any lip liner. This is the most raved about lip liner of all time, heralded as one of Charlotte’s wonder products Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk £16 is the ultimate lip enhancer.

Are words even needed? Look at the difference it's made to the size and shape of my lips! Plump, voluptuous, sexy lips with zero effort. Creamier than your average lip pencil, it glides on effortlessly with absolutely no dragging or need to press down hard. In Pillow Talk she’s perfectly captured that my lips but better shade. A light-medium neutral pink with a touch of brown, it's a fantastically universal shade that will go with most lip colours... but c'mon, does it even need a lipstick? This one holds its own! My lips, like most, are faded around the outer edges, Lip Cheat fills in the gaps and creates the illusion of fuller-fatter-va va voom lips. The best thing is, it's a totally non-drying velvety formula. Full-on staying power without drying, feathering or fading. Case in point - the swatch I did on my arm stayed put for 20 hours. Okay your arm doesn't eat, drink and talk shi*e but wear time on my lips is an equally impressive 4-5 hours! I'm almost disappointed I don't need to touch up!

I'm not normally a lip liner gal but seeing the difference this makes I'd be mad to skip it. My lips definitely look more naturally full. I knew once I’d popped my Charlotte Tilbury cherry I’d be wanting more… and I do. It helps that she hasn’t made it this far North yet, but I’m saving myself for a big blow out when she does (Fenwick Newcastle… hurry it up).  

What's your favourite Charlotte Tilbury product?


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

FOTD - The Wedding Guest Make Up

Sorry about the rollers - note to self, take pictures post-hair.

It’s been a while since I shared a face of the day. Truth is, I haven’t been rocking too many share-worthy faces lately... Too busy beautifying other people to bother with myself. What better excuse to spruce up than a wedding! A couple of weeks ago I went to a lovely wedding on one of the HOTtest days of the year. There was some serious melting happening whilst I was getting ready so I decided to keep it a fairly low-key – Glam but not too OTT. Bronzey, glowy, a strong, but not-too-heavy eye and a simple, low maintenance lip and the whole thing had to last all day and withstand the heat.

Product roll please….


Had to start with Benefit poreFessional Primer. A great primer when there’s heat/humidity in the mix. As well as providing a smooth base it also has a mattifying/anti-shine effect.

I cracked out one of my all time faves, but recently cast aside (in place of bareMinerals complexion rescue) Chanel Vitalumiere Foundation shade 30. Yes it’s a glowy foundation, but it doesn’t oxidise or cause a dreaded shine after a few hours.

I used Armani Maestro liquid bronzer, partly because it’s the dogs cahoonas (review here) but also I wanted to avoid too many layers of powder. I’m obsessed with this stuff, it gives the most radiant bronzy glow.

I’m not always powders biggest fan but if you want you make up to last all day, especially in the heat, you’ve got to dust on the dry stuff. I used a mixture of MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural Medium Plus and bareMinerals Mineral Veil Original – why? Well I’m greedy, I love them both and I can’t decide which is best. I did a light dusting of Mineral Veil followed by a dab of Skinfinish Natural around my nose and forehead – aka the worst offenders.

I added a little flush of colour to the cheeks with MAC Desert Rose Blush and a subtle highlight with Laura Mercier Radiance Matte Highlighting Powder. If ever there was a day to crack this baby out, that was it! I was already a tad too sheeny, but I wouldn’t feel done without a teeny tiny bit of highlight on the high points – this one adds the highlight without the shine.


Double trouble on the eye base - Urban Decay Primer Potion AND MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot Soft Ochre. Shadow – you’re going nowhere!

For shadow I used a mixture of my love-you-long-time Naked palette and new love, NUDE’tude palette. Laid down the crease with Naked and Buck from the Naked Palette and deepened the outer half with Seductive and Sultry from NUDE’tude. From that palette I added a little extra depth and lower lash liner smoke with Sophisted and finished with Snobby for an inner highlight.

Bobbi Brown Gel Liner – there was no other choice, heat or not! If you want bullet-proof staying power, this is where you go! Chanel le Volume de Chanel Mascara – I toyed with going waterproof but this is my favourite special occasion mascara plus it doesn’t smudge and I didn’t cry.


Standard brow routine - HD Brow Palette applied with my trusted Liz Earle Eye & Brow Brush and set with Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel.


Dead simple – I lined and filled the entire lip area with MAC Lip Pencil in Naked for a long-lasting, budge-proof base and dabbed over a little YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick Peach Passion for a soft pop of peachiness.

The make up did a pretty good job of going the distance and by 5pm my face didn’t resemble an oil slick, although once the jägers came out…. you know the rest. I did however manage to snap a dodgy bathroom selfie a few hours in...

What are your occasion make up go-tos?


Monday, 20 July 2015

Nude Palette with Serious ATTI'tude

Step aside naked palette, there's a new dude in town. Okay, technically not new (I think this has been kicking around for a few years in the US) but the San Fran based brand is much lesser known here in the UK and it's only recently that it's crept its way across the pond. The Balm Cosmetics has attitude – it’s fun, sassy and classy, and if the nude tude palette is anything to go by… qual-a-taaay!

The 12 shades are a great mixture of warm and neutral tones. There’s quite a lot of frost/shimmers, which I love and a few sexy satin and mattes.

Sassy is a frosted white with great colour payoff and a buttery, smooth texture. A great base or brow bone highlight.
Snobby is a shimmery gold/yellow. It doesn’t show up great in the photos because it’s similar to my skin tone, but it makes a great inner eye highlight.
Stubborn is a light-medium peach pink with a soft frost finish.
Stand-offish is a pinky bronze shimmer with a frost-metallic finish. It’s smooth with a decent colour payoff. Reminds me of X in the Naked paltette
Selfish is a frosted taupe – I love this one. Reminds me a little of MAC Satin Taupe, but lighter. Great pigmentation and buttery soft.
Sultry is a warmed-up, medium brown with a satin finish. It has a very soft texture and is super easy to blend. A great one-wash shade, similar to MAC Soba.
Sophisticated is a dark, cool toned brown with a very subtle bronze shimmer.
Schitzo is a warm, golden bronze-brown with a soft, satin/frost finish. Anpther of my favourites, it’s great for a bronze smokey eye and has incredibly pigmentation.
Sexy is rich burgundy with hints of red and brown with a sexy matte finish.
Silly is a red-tinted brown with flecks of copper sparkle. It’s a beautiful shade but it doesn’t have the best colour payoff – fairly soft and sheer.
Serious is a medium-dark black with a matte finish. A great smudge out shade – pigmentation is fantastic and being a matte it’s incredibly long lasting. I smudge this one along my lash lines.
Sleek is a dark black-brown with a matte finish. It’s less dramatic, warmer than Serious, but with the same amazing colour pay off.

I’ve been using this palette for months and only just realised all the shades start  with “S”. Any significance? Who knows? What I do know is this palette is fantastic. The powders are satiny smooth, have amazing pigmentation and blend incredibly. For a so-called “nude” palette there’s actually quite a lot of colour in there, it’s not just 12 variations of brown. My personal faves are Selfish, Sophisticated and Seductive, the only disappointing shade - Silly - poor pigmentation. The packaging is cute and sassy – sexy ladies, their modesty protected by the shadows. I generally prefer hard case shells – easier to clean and stack, but the cardboard outer is slim and light-weight, and still includes a mirror.

A comparison to Urban Decay’s Naked palette is natural – they both have a nude/naked theme and they’re both palettes, but there’s actually not much overlap when it comes to shades. They’re similar, but not too similar that you can’t have both. I actually find the two work really well together.

The Nude Tude Palette retails for £30, Feel Unique and Superdrug, but I actually found it on Amazon for £19.75. At either price point it’s well worth it and now I'm being greedy and want to try Nude Dude - like i need another eyeshadow palette! 

What's your favourite shade? 


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Benefit They're Real! in Sexy Killer Colours

They're Real Mascara Beyond Brown with Push Up Liner Beyond Blue

As a They’re Real FAN-atic, news that they were launching the best-selling-award-winning mascara and slightly lesser loved but equally talked about Push-Up Liner in new killer colours evoked a big whoop, whoop from me. Here’s the deal…

They’re Real Mascara is now available in Beyond Black, Beyond Blue and Beyond Brown. They’re real! push-up eyeliner now comes in five rocking shades - Beyond Black, Blue, Brown, Purple and Green.

They’re Real Mascara - Beyond Brown* £19.50 here

There’s a reason They’re Real is the UK's No.1 best-selling mascara… it’s simply ah-mazing! Va, va,VOOM lashes every time! I wear this and people ask if I’m wearing falsies (full review here). Which is great, BUT there are days when I want to look less done, i.e work days. Could Beyond Brown be the answer? Forget what you think you know about brown mascara. It’s not dull and it’s not just for the over 60s. This isn’t any brown, it’s Beyond Brown! It’s a really striking, rich, milk chocolate brown and unlike other brown mascaras, that basically just look like a soft black, this one goes on brown and stays brown. For me this is a great every day mascara – the same kick-ass volume and curves, but with a softer, more wearable edge.

They’re real! push-up eyeliner Beyond Blue* £18.50 here

I can’t remember a beauty product generating as much pre-sale buzz and anticipation as Benefit’s gel-pen-liner. However it turned out the nifty little liner wasn’t so, er, nifty. Mixed reviews and a shaky test at the Benefit counter put me off this the first time around. But I’ve surprised myself with how easily I’ve got the hang of it. I can’t lie – my first attempt was a disaster. I removed the orange stopper, twisted the pen until the product appeared, wiped off the excess, and proceeded to draw a squiggly line half way up my lid, which I then tried to fix by making it thicker, and THICKER – we’ve all been there! Don’t apply this like a normal liner, it’s NOT a normal liner. I watched this video and hey presto, my second attempt was spot on. It’s actually pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. Don’t attempt to do one perfect, straight line. I did the outer half, then the inner half. I love how the AccuFlex tip hugs the lash line allowing you to get right to the root. It dries quick so no time to hang around and it lasts all day, and night! Let’s talk colour. I actually love blue eye liner… this isn’t my first. For some it may still conjure up thoughts of the 80s, to that I say Get.Over.It! Blue liner has moved on. It’s actually a great eye brightener and gives a more wide awake look. Beyond Blue is a sexy midnight blue, bordering on navy, making it subtle, totally wearable and very pretty. In the pictures above I’m wearing a thin, everyday line, but you can go as thick as you like or up the impact with pretty blue cat flicks.

I'm embracing the colour. Are you? 


Friday, 10 July 2015

The Prom Make Up

Prom. When did they become so BIG?! When I was at school it was a disco, black dress from Topshop, a slick of lipgloss and the job was done. These days it's like the flipping Oscars and only full on glamour will do. Last week it was my sisters "Big Day" and luckily for her she didn't have to look far for a make up artist. I shared some pics on Instagram last week and got lots of requests to share the products I used. So here goes it....


Georgia has amazing, almond shaped eyes with a generous lid area so there was plenty to play with. She wanted a dark, dramatic eye and that's what she got!

MAC Paint Pot Soft Ocre - £16 here
Eyeko Fat Eye Stick in Smoke, up to and just passed the crease
Urban Decay Naked Palette - Half Baked pressed into the lids, smog on the outer part
The Balm NudeTude Palette - Sassy and Snobby inner highlight | Sophisticate, Sleek & Serious to build up the outer crease
Bella Pierre Shimmer Stack (copper shade) pressed wet (MAC Fix +) into the middle of lids
Bobbi Brown Gel Liner Black Ink - £17 here
Benefit Roller Lash Mascara - £19 here
Elf Lashes


Gerogia's like me, she won't let anyone else do her brows so I can take no credit for her arches.

HD Brow Palette - £25 here
Liz Earle Brow and Eye Brush - £12.50 here
Anastasia Beverly hills Clear Brow Gel - £16.50 here


Benefit PoreFessional Primer - £24.50 here
bareMinerals bareskin foundation bare porcelain £20.80 here
bareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener Luminous 1 £22 here
bareMinerals Mineral Veil £16 here
Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder on the contours - £23.50 here
MAC Desert Rose Blush
Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder - £25 here


Those LIPS! Man I missed out in the lip stakes! That amazing cupids bow needs no accentuation!

l'Oreal Infallible Lip Liner Always Toasted - £5.10 here
MAC Lipstick Faux - £15.50 here

I may be slightly bias, but she looked HAWT! 


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Worth the Hype? St.Tropez In Shower Tanning Lotion

Whilst the beauty World went into over drive buzzing about the new St Tropez Gradual in shower tanning lotion £14.50, I deliberately stood back and decided I’d let the others do the testing and the reviews do the talking. Problem is, there’s been no general consensus! We’re not raving or hating! But the curiosity was killing me and just as I was about to buy a bottle, inStyle Magazine came out with a freebie on the cover!!!  

With a wedding on the horizon I decided to slap it straight on. If I was quick there was time for three applications – I’d heard it was a slow burner/tanner. And to really see the difference it made, I decided to tan one arm and leave the other – the things I do for you!

How to use…

By now, you know the script. Shower as normal, do what you gotta do and rinse off your suds. Turn the shower off and apply the St Tropez lotion all over your damp body. Wait three minutes. Stick the shower back on. Rinse off. Pat dry. Easy peasy!

This is an application I can get on board with. Okay standing in the shower for three minutes ringing wet isn’t my favourite past time, but it’s a hella lot quicker and less of a faff-on than covering your body in a tar-like product and waiting all day for it to take effect. There was no tell-tail biscuit/chicken skin scent and no brown stains on the bed sheets. So far, so good.

The Results….

Looking at the picture above, could you guess which arm has been St Tropez’d? The difference AFTER THREE APPLICATIONS is pretty negligible, if anything the arm I didn’t tan actually looks darker! I’m not suggesting St Tropez in shower tanning lotion actually lightens your skin – that would be outrageous, but on my arms it’s had zero tanning effect. After the third application I started to see a tiny bit more colour on my legs, which haven’t seen much natural sun this year, but also a little build up on my knees.

No danger of me sitting on the fence - St Tropez in shower lotion, in my experience is a major fail. I stood cold and wet in the shower for a combined 9 minutes and came out lighter than I went in… except on my knees. If you’re really fair or incredibly patient, I think this could be worth a try. For me, I’m just pleased I got to test it before buying a full bottle.

If I haven’t completely put you off, Grab a free sample of St Tropez In Shower Tanning Lotion with August’s InStyle Magazine… out now! 


Friday, 3 July 2015

Giorgio Armani Maestro Bronzer… Next Level Bronzing

Cheat that post-holiday glow with the most radiant, skin-kissed bronzer ever.

Last year, Giorgio Armani (Kim, that’s GI-orgio) launched the limited edition Maestro Bronzer Liquid Summer N°100. It went down an absolute storm, so much so, it’s back, with a lighter and darker sister, and this time around, it’s permanent.

I came across this earlier in the year at a Giorgio Armani masterclass. I’ll admit, I was a little dubious when I looked at the bottle, it airs on the Tan-tasic side and I wasn’t after the Donetella look, but as soon as it touched my skin I was SOLD. In just seconds I had that much coveted post-holiday glow.

Maestro Liquid Summer is infused with golden micro-pearls that leave a veil of sunlight. Now available in three shades N°90, N°100 and N°110, I was matched to the middle shade. It’s a warm, golden-hued brown with a very fine golden shimmer. Although it looks very dark in the bottle, it does sheer out on application.

It’s my first liquid bronzer and I am surprised by how easy it is to apply. It can be dabbed on the high planes and contours and blended for a naturally bronzed look or added to a moisturiser or foundation for all-over kiss of colour. Personally I prefer applying it to the contours with Real Techniques Sculpting Brush. Give the bottle a good old shake, dispense 1 or 2 drops on the back of your hand, dab in the brush and sweep along the jawline, cheekbones, temples, hairline etc. Then using the same brush, buff and blend to sheer out the product. At the Armani counter they applied it with a flat-edged foundation brush so it’s pretty versatile. I haven’t tried it yet but I’d imagine a beauty blender would also work well. The practically weightless fluid boosts the natural tones in your skin to make you feel all golden-goddess-y. It’s sublimely bendable, it practically melts into your skin, leaving behind absolutely NO harsh tan lines. One application is enough for me, but you can seamlessly build it up to your desired depth. There’s a noticeable shimmer in the bottle but on the face this translates to a beautiful, healthy sheen.

Let’s talk price, Giorgio Armani doesn’t do budget. At £39.50 (Debenhams - here) it’s at the top price point, but I honestly think it’s a real wonder product and I don’t regret a single pound. One bottle contains a whole vat of bronzer.. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to the bottom of it… but I’ll look beautifully bronzed trying.

What's your favourite bronzer?

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