Thursday, 30 May 2013

Astalift Intense Replumping Moisture Mask

I few months back I entered an Emerald Street twitter competition to win 1 of 10 new Astalift Intense Replumping Moisture Masks and win I did! I've been waiting to use this for ages & finally decided after a somewhat stressful week was taking its toll on my skin, now was the time for some TLC. 

Astalift flew onto the beauty scene in 2012 famed for its heritage as an off shoot from parent company Fujifilm and its magic key ingredient of super powerful, repairing and protective natural antioxidant, Astaxanthin. Each mask is infused with extremely high concentrations of Astaxanthin, nourishing Royal Jelly, skin-firming Elastin and three different types of collagen to moisturise and tighten skin.

The Intense Replumping Moisture Sheet Mask comes with 2 re-hydrating serum drenched fabric pieces that feel thick, luxurious and spa like (a world away from the other paper thin sheet masks in the business). After thoroughly cleansing my face I applied the bottom half of the sheet mask first (as instructed) positioning it over my mouth and lightly pulling the mask across the contours of my face in a slightly upward motion. I followed this promptly with the second half of the mask applying it over my eye area and then pulling it up to cover my forehead and smoothing across the rest of my face. The first thing I instantly noticed on application (aside from the perfectly pleasant smell) was the elasticity of the mask which provided the best possible fit and banished any feelings or worries of it falling off. 

I let the mask work its magic for 15 minutes and then gently removed it. The mask is infused with 35ml of serum which for a one time use provided more product than my skin could ever absorb! I was left with loads of residual serum on my face but not wanting to waste the wonder product I massaged the surplus into my face and neck area and left it to sink in. Although it does state on the pack not to use the mask repeatedly it's incredibly tempting as there was so much product left on the mask when I removed it. Between you & me, I've sealed them back up & will definitely be trying to get another use out of them! Anyway, 8 hours later (I applied the mask first thing on a day when leaving the house was not going to happen) the product had pretty much been absorbed but my skin did still feel very slightly tacky to the touch so I took a damp cotton wool pad and lightly wiped my skin clean. My face was left feeling incredibly soft, smooth & so moisturised! When applying make up later that evening it went on so beautifully. It seemed the tightening agent must have work too as my eye area seemed considerably more perky and awake than normal. Plus walking around the house looking like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre for 15 minutes was pretty amusing! FYI - I'd definitely recommend using the mask in the evening & then allowing the serum to sink into your skin overnight to get the most from the product.

At £10 for one mask this is undoubtedly a luxury product but definitely one I would recommend for special occasions. It would be a great mask to use the night before a big event (pre wedding pamper) when you want your skin at its absolute best the next day. It'd also be ideal after a long haul flight or as a much needed moisture surge during a holiday featuring some serious sunbathing. Personally this isn't something I would splash out on regularly but definitely something I'd treat myself to a few times a year!


Monday, 22 April 2013

Tommy Guns Hair Care

Being somewhat of an aficionado of beauty products you would be forgiven for thinking hair washing is a favourite part of my routine. Unfortunately you couldn't be more wrong. The laborious task that takes place every other evening couldn't be more of a chore for me. How much I wish I could click my fingers & it'd be squeaky clean! With this is mind, bath & hair products are what I look to to make this process more enjoyable! I should probably mention at this point, I LOVE BATHS (that really would be weird otherwise) it's literally just the hair washing I hate! I've been searching for a new shampoo & conditioner for a while (previous favourites were the John Frieda Luxurious Volume Shampoo & Conditioner - check out my review here) & when mooching past the toiletries aisle in Waitrose the other week I was taken in by the somewhat swanky packaging of a range of hair care that I was not familiar with, enter Tommy Guns.

Aside from the aforementioned swanky packaging & branding, they also smelt divine & I opted in for the 3 for 2 offer (they're normally approx £5 each). I went for 2 shampoos (as I tend to get through those quicker) & one conditioner; Pomegranate & Orange Flower Shampoo, Pomegranate, Orange Flower & Hemp Conditioner and finally, the Blueberry & Ginseng Shampoo which I think smells super fruity & a little tiny bit like Cheeky Vimto (a personal beverage favourite and cause of all bad decisions from my university days)...! I know that sounds like a incredibly weird choice of scent to want to wash your hair with but it just works.

I opted for the Pomegranate & Orange Flower Shampoo (& Conditioner) because I wash my hair every other day and as this specified it was gentle enough for daily use I figured it'd be a good option! I love the citrus based scent but feel I should warn people it does smell rather sweet...but equally refreshing! It reminds me of cocktails & beaches. This shampoo gets my hair super clean but doesn't feel like it's stripping my hair of its essential oils too much which is lovely. It rinses off easily & doesn't take an age which again, is a massive added bonus for the hair washer hater over here! It just takes so long! 

Paired with his pal from above, I bought the Pomegranate Orange Flower & Hemp Conditioner to go hand in hand with the shampoo. Pretty much identical in scent, although the conditioner smells slightly creamier but just as divine! This leaves my hair nourished and smooth without weighing it down at all! As with all 3 of the Tommy Guns products I bought, the conditioner is free from silicone which is great & something I now always look for when shopping for hair care. 

Last but not least in my Tommy Guns trio, the lone ranger that is the Blueberry & Ginseng Shampoo! It just sounds perky doesn't it? That's exactly what it did to my hair! I felt like the scent of sweet blueberry goodness combined with herbal undertones (that'll be the ginseng) did wonders for my 'weak, limp, lifeless hair' (name that ad)! Again, this rinsed out so easily & I wasn't left feeling like there was a never ending amount of product in my hair but instead with squeaky clean uplifted locks!

Long story long, I'm such a fan & totally sold on Tommy Guns hair care! If sweet orange & cheeky vimto aren't your thing (God knows why!?) I know they've got quite a few other scents. I seriously can't wait to trawl the internet & see what other hair care products they have on offer. Where have you been all my life Tommy Guns? Who knows, dare I say it, maybe this is the pivotal moment in life where hair washing just doesn't seem so bad anymore...! Anyone else on the hair wash hating thing by the way? Or is it literally just me!? PS - yes I have duck grip stickers in my bath, it's ok to be jealous. 


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Stila Flower Power Lip Glaze Trio

Fairly early on in life me & lip gloss decided we were not going to be friends mainly due to my phobia (exaggerated dislike) of all things sticky. Since this (perhaps rather rash) decision was made I have generally avoided this nemesis lip product with the exception of a few that were just too pretty to resist. 2012 saw me fall in love with the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses and it looks like the lip gloss revival might just be here to stay! After perusing the Cult Beauty website (a recommendation I received direct from the lovely Olivia Inge on a photo shoot last week - her sister Alexia Inge is the co-founder of Cult Beauty) I discovered the Stila Flower Power Lip Glaze Trio & was instantly drawn to the gorgeous colour selection!

My package arrived promptly & I was delighted to see the colours were true to the pictures online! I love the packaging of the Stila Flower Power Lip Glaze Trio - floral & pink and reminiscent of Spring! I've always been a fan of the actual Stila lip gloss packaging too, I think it's quite unique!

Moving on to the gorgeous colour variety! First up from the Stila Flower Power Lip Glaze Trio we have Pink Orchid - a classic Fushia pink glaze filled with tiny holographic silver shimmer to ensure it sparkles on the lips! It's the kind of colour that reminds me of summer, holidays and cocktails. This looks best paired with a similar shade of lipstick for that extra je ne c'est quoi!

Next and by far my favourite of the 3, Peach Blossom (I've already checked to see if it's available in a full size, sadly it seems it's not). I put it on my lips with nothing else & instantly fell in love! As a very light peachy glaze packed with coral/pink shimmer it reflects the light beautifully and is so wearable. I think it looks best on its own or on top of a nude lipstick so the colour can speak for itself but think it might also look nice on top of a coral lipstick such as Costa Chic by Mac. I have no doubt that this will become a SS13 staple & will be used up in no time so if anyone knows any full size dupes please let me know! Bobbi Brown I'm looking at you.

Finally, the colour that initially drew me to the Flower Power Lip Glaze Trio in the first place, Lilac. Oh lilac (and/or Lavender). A huge obsession of mine at the moment! I'm sort of obsessed with lavender/lilac lipstick, no scrap that, just absolutely anything lavender coloured! So when I saw this purple glaze with lilac shimmer it HAD to be mine at once. The colour transfers to lips far more sheer than it appears in the tube (sadly) and is probably best worn over a more pastel lipstick - lilac or pink etc. Maybe I should try a fit the word lilac into this sentence once more for luck, lilac. 

As with all of the above, being lip glazes rather than lip gloss as such, they do appear rather sheer & I did initally think they would be more opaque. This isn't an issue with the Peach Blossom shade but with the other 2 they ideally need to be worn on top of another lip product to get the full effect but that doesn't take away from the fact that they really are gorgeous colours!

(L to R: Pink Orchid, Peach Blossom, Lilac)

The formulation of the Stila lip glazes are rather sticky sadly but then I guess that really saying something if I love the colours that much that I'm willing to put my phobia aside...! They don't dry out my lips & have fairly good staying power though you will need to reapply. 

If I had to have one negative it would probably be the price - not of the Flower Power Lip Glaze Trio as a whole which retails at a fair £12 working out at £4 per 1.5ml lip glaze but of full size Stila glosses! When scanning to see if there was a full size of the Peach Blossom available I saw that the full size lip glazes retail at £15 for 2.4ml of product which seems like an awful lot when you're not even getting double the product of the trio sizes but yet being charged nearly 4 times the price!? That said, I guess more fool me as I'd still fork out for a full size of Peach Blossom but perhaps luckily for me & my purse, it's yet to exist!

All in all? I think the Stila Lip Glazes are where it's at as it's a great way to sample their colour range. I'll definitely be checking out the other trio sets of which there are quite a few! Pleased as punch with my new finds & strongly advise you to check these out along with the Cult Beauty website if you haven't already!


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Perhaps it's just me but I feel each year as I get older, I really need to up the ante on this Mother's Day malarkey. The email that arrived in my inbox last week from Apple suggesting I treat my mum to an iPad assured me, if nothing else, that gone are the days where a home made card with a paper doili on the front & a bunch of flowers from Tesco's would suffice. All joking aside though, one thing is for sure, I do feel that with every year I appreciate even more the things that she does for me & how lucky I am just to have her around! So for me Mother's Day is just about saying a big old fashioned THANK YOU but it's nice to give her a little something for her troubles too so here's my definitive Mother's Day Gift Guide (covering a variety of price points)!

1) Why buy an overpriced bunch of flowers that won't last more than a week when you can gift the scent of them for months! This gorgeous 'Flowers' candle from The White Company costs just £20, smells divine & is the bouquet that just keeps on giving!

2) If nothing else, Mother's Day should be about catching up & spending some quality time with your mum so why not book an afternoon tea treat for you both? There are plenty of offers available through Last Minute & loads of places to choose from.

3) This little trinket jar is adorable & perfect for the bathroom or to sit on a dressing table. It's the ideal place to store jewellery or hair accessories etc & is available from Not On The High Street for £8.

4) As much as I love switching up my phone covers with the seasons, mums aren't necessarily so fickle! Treat her to a stylish phone protector from Mulberry for £80. 

5) Buying your mum anti ageing products (unless on request) doesn't always go down well (a lesson I learnt the hard way in my teens) so if you're looking to gift the ultimate skincare product this Mother's Day treat her to the infamous Creme de La Mer & you'll be in her good books until March 2014! Mind the hefty price tag though at £100 for 30ml. 

6) If you'd rather splash your cash on giving your mum a time out from it all (but can't quite afford that all expenses paid trip to Barbados) then a spa voucher is ideal. Go with her or let her spend the day relaxing & enjoying her own company! The Sanctuary Spa experience comes highly recommended though again, Last Minute & similar companies often have deals on!

7) I love this idea! The personalised front door sketch is a perfect reminder of where it all began (so to speak) whether you've moved or are still living in the same house full of memories I think the front door sketch is ultimate keepsake at £35 (unframed). You can even add a beautifully hand written personalized message free of charge.

8) Super cute & perfect if it's only pocket money you've got to spare at just £5.99. This lovely embroidered key ring is the perfect size to help her find her keys in her bottomless bag & a gentle reminder of just how fab you think she is! 

9) Why not surprise her with your baking skills (or maybe leave it to the professionals)? Treat her to this delicious box of personalised Mother's Day cupcakes from Lola's Cupcakes for just £15.60. Delivery available depending on your post code.


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sleek Corrector & Concealer Palette

Although I've been in a serious long term relationship with my collection 2000 concealer recently I've started to get a little bored with it & was intrigued to see in there was anything else on the market that would take my fancy. I've been really keen to try the Laura Mercier Undercover Pot but pay day seemed a little too far away for me to splash out on a £30 concealer. Hence why I was so pleased when I spotted Sleek's inexpensive version of the 3-in-1 concealer!

 In traditional Sleek slimline packaging with a large mirror (making it perfect for travelling & on the go touch ups) the palette holds (L-R) a correcter, a concealer & a setting powder to brighten, conceal & set your eye area. It may seem like a minor detail but I love that this palette has a mirror & a decent sized one at that! More often that not when I'm on the go one of the key things I'll be looking to touch up is any areas where my foundation may have started to 'wear' so any blemishes, redness or even smudged eye make up. This palette & mirror allows me to attend to all & any of these with ease!

Using the products in the order they appear, first I use the lighter correcter colour to brighten & lift the appearance of my eye area by banishing any dark circles. The second darker colour is your concealer which I apply on top of the corrector to neutralise any colour differences & add more coverage to my eye area. The concealer is quite dark for me I tend to mix the 2 colours for my perfect day-to-day shade! I opted for the palette in '02' (available in 5 shades) which is probably why the concealer is a bit too dark. So a tip for when opting for your shade - you want the middle palette colour is be similar to your foundation colour to avoid too much colour difference. I don't know who this pasty English girl thought she was kidding when she opted for '02'...!

Finally, I apply the setting powder if I feel its needed. I have a separate Shiseido setting powder which I use all over my face so I only tend to use a little of this powder if I'm on the go. I tend to avoid using a targeted setting powder as I think it can dry out the creamy consistency of the concealers. Although primarily an eye palette as with most concealing products I also use this on blemishes & it works just fine. 

As for staying powder this is pretty good, no nothing special but it'll do especially for touch ups. It does crease slightly under eye but nothing drastic and I do find this the case to some extent with most under eye concealers I use. At £7.99 it sits happily in my daily travel make up bag and no doubt will do for the foreseeable future!


Monday, 18 February 2013

No7 Cleansing Brush

The infamous rotating electronic cleansing brush that is the Clarisonic shook up the skin care world last year with promises of radiant deeply cleansed skin in minutes. Snatched up by all those who could afford it & lusted after by all those who couldn't (myself included)! I just couldn't quite bring myself to splash over £100 on a product that may have still just been riding the hype bus especially with complaints & compliments beginning to rise at an equal measure. Still, always being one keen to make up my own mind, it's been on my 'products to buy' list for coming up to a year! So you can imagine my excitement when I strolled past this nifty device in Boots last week, a full on double take ensued. A potential dupe for the Clarisonic for £15 (normally £25 but currently on introductory offer)!? I snatched up the last one on the display (the beaut gods were on my side) & headed straight to the No7 counter to double check my eyes weren't deceiving me!

As we've established I don't have a Clarisonic so this isn't really a comparison but what I can give you is my run down of the new competition in town. The No7 Cleansing Brush has 2 settings; one slower, one faster (I rarely feel the need to use the second speed setting) & you just click the button to flick between the 2 settings/off. This brush is fully oscillating & does spin rather fast, that said my skin is moderately sensitive & it doesn't bother me at all (except for on the apples of my cheeks slightly) but I do opt to use this every other night rather than daily. The bristles are incredibly soft & non abrasive so there's nothing to worry about there. All that said, if you have dry or overly sensitive skin then this product probably isn't for you. 

Unfortunately the handset isn't waterproof, it does have a liquid protective seal around the battery compartment but I think this is more splash/rinse proof than anything else. Yes, it's battery operated unlike the Clarisonic which is chargeable - if this bothers you then just grab some rechargeable batteries & voila! Problem solved!

Most importantly? As expected this leaves my skin feeling deeply cleansed & super smooth. Even after I've used my Bioderma the No 7 Cleansing Brush together with the Vichy Purete Thermale Foaming Water still appears to remove even more 'dirt' that definitely isn't visable to the human eye! I know some people actually use these cleansing brushes to remove their make up but I'm just not keen on the idea of actually working my make up into my skin so instead I use this as the last step in my skin cleansing routine. 

Moving on, the No. 7 doesn't have a cap like the Clarisonic which is a disadvantage & would be preferable for travelling etc. Like with the Clarisonic the brush head is removable though (replacements will soon be available in Boots - approx £8 for 2) which is great as they can always be stored separately when it comes to travelling in addition the fact that your able to replace the brush head as soon as it starts to see a bit of wear & tear! 

As mentioned, I also picked up the Vichy Purete Thermale Foaming Water to use with the No 7 Cleansing Brush. I wanted to use a brand that I knew is infamous for quality skin care as I was initially worried about how many skin would react to such an intensive clean & definitely didn't want to be working a product I didn't trust into my skin. This was the perfect product! It smells gorgeous, it doesn't dry out my skin at all & lathers up really well! It's ideal for sensitive skin too!

Maybe I'm clouded by the amazing bargain I feel I just received but I have to say, I waiting to see where the £100 + difference between the No 7 Cleansing Brush & the Clarisonic can be justified. I'll pass on a plastic cap for that amount of money thanks very much! I know that the main difference between these 2 devices is that the No 7 brush oscillates fully whereas the Clarisonic seems to rotate side to side. This is yet to bother me, my skin or my purse! If you want this beauty for £15 then you better be quick! I'm pretty sure the brush is reverting back to it's normal price of £25 on the 20th February! I say that like it's the end of the world, it's still a total steal!


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Nivea Raspberry Rose Lip Butter

It's around this time of year that I'm always keen to try out new nourishing lip products. There's nothing worse than dry lips as aside from the fact that they just feel horrible, it makes applying any kind of lip colour a total nightmare. I also have an awful winter habit of biting my lips when they're dry so moisturising balms etc are always high on my product priority list especially at this time of year! As a result, I couldn't resist picking up one of the new Nivea Lip Butters when I was in Superdrug recently. Oops?

The Nivea Lip Butters are available in 3 scents; Raspberry Rose, Caramel Cream & Original. I picked up the Raspberry Rose straight away & didn't even both smelling the others, I was instantly sold! It's a lovely creamy, sugary, berry scent - aka delicious. The scent alone makes me want to apply this 24/7 & I'm willing to bet the Caramel Cream is just as dreamy.

The circular tin is super slimline making it the perfect on-the-go size & the lid removes easily enough (invokes memories of my school days when those infamous Vaseline pots seemed impossible to prise open & appeared to be surgically attached to every girl in my year)!

  The product itself is just as fabulous as the packaging & scent. The pink colour doesn't transfer onto lips (although might be nice if a hint of it did) but it does look rather pretty in the tin. It isn't at all sticky which I love (this is my one gripe with the Korres Lip Butters, thought I'll make an exception for their stickiness due to the lovely colour pay off). It instantly feels rich & moisturising on the lips (that'll be the shea butter & almond oil) & you can feel it slowly sinking in opposed to sitting on your lips forever like some other products. I also adore that this doesn't leave your lips looking overly shiny (cough - Vaseline) but still carries a hint of glossiness.

I'm well & truely sold on the Nivea Lip Butters & at £1.49 who can argue with them!? They have the properties of pricey counterparts but are one of the cheapest lip products on the UK market at the moment! Hats off Nivea. A job very well done indeed.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Beauty Favourites of 2012

As I'm sure you can imagine, in a year, I haul through A LOT of beauty products. Month in, month out, I continually opt to splash my cash & buy in to the latest innovations in skin care, the newest craze in the nail world, those must-have-this-minute make up items & of course, any life altering hair care products! Some initially favoured products can come & go as quickly as you heard about them but I like to think that if I'm still banging on about something from 2012 in 2013 then it's a winner. Yep, all of the products I'm about to share with you have passed the test & made it into my firm favourites from 2012 - congratulations! Out of everything the beauty world has given to me in the last 12 months these are the products that given half the chance, I'd be willing to put my name to!

Starting with foundation, my firm ally throughout the past year has been the Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation. It's undeniable that one of the main selling points of this foundation is its staying powder which is good because if I'm at work all day & then going out afterwards I want something that is going to last! In addition to this it gives great coverage (medium), feels weightless on the skin & considering its staying power, isn't particularly drying. In short the Shiseido Sun Protection seems to have it all! So if you're looking for a foundation that will not budge off your face until you tell it to (come rain or excessive shine) then I highly recommended giving this wonder foundation a full on whirl!

I shan't rant about how much I adore the Real Techniques Face Expert Brush for applying any & every type of foundation perfectly. I shall just send you forth into the beauty abyss that is my blog & you can read all about me going nuts over it right here

Raved about & loved by beauty addicts across the land, this next product needs no introduction, but I'll give it one anyway, the Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer. Out doing most high end alternatives it delivers high coverage, it doesn't dry out & most importantly, it stays put. I've been using this for over a year & at such great value (only £3.50) I can't see it being replaced anytime soon.

The other bright spark in this dynamic concealing duo is the Garnier Tinted Eye Roll On. The cold silver applicator helps reduce puffy morning eyes & the concealing cream brightens the under eye area while hiding any signs of bags! Its a great 3 in 1 product that delivers amazing results! 

There are a few main contenders in the bronzing world. One being my personal favourite from 2011 (& many years prior) Hoola from Benefit, another being Nars Laguna Bronzer, my favourite for 2012 (& the foreseeable future)! I definitely think I prefer Nars Laguna now. Although it looks particularly muddy & dark in the pan, it goes on sparingly so you can build up coverage depend accordance with skin tone. It also has the most subtle shimmer in it. Initially I thought I might have a problem with this as don't like looking like a glitter bug but again it's so subtle it gives you the most incredibly natural glow. I use this all year round & have loved it all year long!

Obsessed. That is the only word I can use to describe my unhealthy addiction to Mac's Springsheen Blush. I've got a draw full of gorgeous blushers all of which I love, but since I discovered this last summer, well, I haven't look back! You know that gorgeous natural pinky glow you have when you're on holiday & you've been in the sun all day & it's given your face that kind of golden 'sun kissed' slightly rouged look? Sounds crazy but this blusher gives you that peachy pink golden holiday cheeks glow & I adore it! If that doesn't make sense then you're just gonna have to try it for yourself! Btw colour is totally distorted in image below (please see far right swatch here). 

If there's one quad that hasn't left my side this year it's the Soap & Glory Lid Stuff in What's Nude. If I'm at work or going for a low key day look I tend to opt for subtle matte shades of which this palette has 2 light - Vanilla, Pink T & 1 darker one Mudhoney (perfect for creating a smokey eye or lining the lash line). If I'm going out & want a more glitzy look then adding a touch of the darker brown shimmer in Aubersheen is perfect! This is a small compact palette & is literally ideal for every occasion which is why it's without a doubt my favourite eye shadow palette of 2012!

I've always been a fan of dusting a very light shimmer around the inner corner of my eyes as it instantly opens them up & brightens the eye area. I like this to look as natural as possible though &finding the perfect shade isn't easy but someone gots to do it & I have! Pixi's Fairy Dust in Moonlight Luster is perfect (aside from the applicator, I wish it was just packaged like Mac pigments). It's a lovely eye shadow that gives a beautiful golden iridescent shimmer to the eye. Even when I'm having a low eye make up day, I find a touch of this works wonders.

I really don't know where I'd be without eyeliner. It was the first make up product my 14 year old self discovered & probably the only one I was allowed to wear for the longest time...! I'm a big fan of liquid liner, in fact it's probably in my top 3 desert island products. I'm very particular with my liquid liner preferences when it come to brush type. I don't get along with the pens or thick nibs, it has to be a thin brush for me! The Boots No 7 Stay Precise Black Liquid Liner/Amazing Eyes Liner (it seems to keep changing its name) has the perfect brush, applies well (it doesn't pick up too much product - I think perhaps the liquid is slightly thicker than others) and it stays put. It's cheap as chips, especially if you have a No 7 voucher. Feel free to have a gander at my slightly longer review here

When it comes to lining my eyes another 2012 favourite has to be the Bourjois Paris Intuitive Liner (a much cheaper version of the Clarins 3 Dot Liner). I love this for a low key day look. When I hit the liquid eyeliner I tend to hit it fairly hard (don't worry we're not talking Amy Winehouse wings) & I'll always take time to create symmetrical winged looks but I love that the 3 dot allows you to line your eyes & thicken up your lash line quickly & easily while still maintaining a very natural look! I've also always thought this would be a great product for people who struggle with lining their tight line. I'm happy to do mine with a pencil and then add this for extra definition but if lining that area is something you struggle with then this is a great easy to use product that isn't going to break the bank! 

First I found the YSL False Lash Effect, then I discovered the YSL Shocking Mascara & I haven't looked back since. This mascara gives you length & volume & generally thickens out your lashes. I do have some other mascara loves but this was definitely top of the pops for 2012!

As much as I love the look of lipgloss it's never been a product that I've really invested much love in mainly because I can't stand the stickiness! After hearing a rave about the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss on Twitter I thought I'd give it a whirl & opted for Peach Petal which is a gorgeous glossy nude & the colour I knew I'd get the most use out of. I love how opaque it is! It really is almost like a liquid lipstick but just as thick & glossy as any other lipgloss while also managing not to be overly sticky or at all drying (which is often the case with products that claim to actually be liquid lipsticks). I then ended up ordering it in Lilac Pastelle from the US as they don't sell the gorgeous pastel purple shade here!? Sort it out Revlon. 

I've confessed my lack of patience and therefore love of Skincare products before but 2012 definitely saw a change in this. My interest grew & developed into 3 main official skin care staples, the Bioderma Micellaire Solution, Caudalie Beauty Elixir & Clinique Drastically Different Moisturising Lotion. Bioderma has taken the beauty world by storm over the last 12 months. Its winning formula of intense cleansing that removes every scrap of make up with no scrubbing combined with the fact that its incredibly kind to skin has made it a huge success for make up artists & beauty fanatics around the world (myself included). 

My facial moisturiser of choice is Clinique's Drastically Different Moisturising Lotion - this guy has stuck with me through thick & thin & must be declared a life long favourite as well! It sinks in super quick, smells nice, isn't at all greasy all the while leaving my face feeling soft & nourished. 

Last but not least in the category of things that go on my face - the Caudalie Beauty Elixir! I resisted the hype unleashed via Victoria Beckham for the longest time until intrigue eventually got the better of me. I've had this by my side all throughout 2012. If you want to hear why I think you should treat yourself if you haven't already, you can read my full review here. I've got on so well with these products & now I'm definitely falling for skincare in a big way. In fact I'm pretty certain 2013 will be the year of the skin care junkie for me!

It was definitely the scent of the Bliss Blood Orange & White Cracked Pepper Maximum Moisture Cream that first got me to try it & now I can't put it down! I adore the fresh citrus scent made richer & given more depth by the cracked pepper! It lingers on your skin & while it appears to be really thick giving the illusion that it would take a full on year to sink into the skin, it doesn't. It's sunk in in a matter of moments but doesn't compromise on leaving your skin feeling silky soft! 

There are a few different favourite in the hair care category for moi but my love of the VO5 Miracle Concentrate Hair Elixir has been long time. You simply run a small amount through clean towel dried hair and it conditions, hydrates and smooths leaving your hair soft and shiny once you've blow dried it! It also acts as a heat protector and claims to reduce drying time (I'm not quite show how, but it actually does)! It's the perfect 'does it all' hair product that smells delicious.

I'm a scent stealer. I'm not going to beat around the bush. I'll hold my hands up & admit it. It seems my friend Becky & me have identical noses because when it comes to perfumes we love all the same ones, the only difference is she always manages to sniff them out first! Pun intended. So my scent of 2012 is the Victoria's Secret Sexy Little Things Noir Body Mist. Becky initially got hers over in America in 2011 (we were sharing a flat at the time & I probably used 50% - sorry Bec) so as soon as VS opened over here, I stocked up (disregarding the extortionate price). One of these delights is constantly living in my handbag! Apparently a 'blend of sparkling nectarine, amber and cattelaya orchid'.

There was a time when I didn't think we'd get here but we have! My final beauty favourite of 2012 is the Rimmel Pro Lycra Nail Polish in Urban Purple. I'm nail polished obsessed so choosing one was next to possible but I've decided to opt for the shade that I go back to most often. I think it's because it works equally in summer & in winter and is as equally a fun colour as it is a classy one. This is definitely the polish I reach for when I'm in a rush and not sure what one to choose & the one I know I'll be repurchasing as soon as it runs out!

That, ladies & gents are my beauty favourites of 2012! My ultimate 'recommends to a friend' if you will. I hope you enjoyed & congratulations to making it to the end! Maybe you've discovered a couple of products that you fancy giving a whirl? I'm sure you won't regret if you do. If you have any 2012 favourite products that you think I should test run in 2013 then let me know in the comments section below!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

What I Got For Christmas (2012)

Just wanted to start with a quick apology for being so slack with my posts throughout December! Christmas is a time for friends & family which (in between work) is what I've spent the last 31 or so days indulging in so please excuse any absence! Normal service will now resume & I'll start by saying I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and equally wonderful New Year!

I love 'What I Got For Christmas' posts for no other reason than the fact that I'm incredibly nosy! Plus I always like to see if there are any products that I fancying searching the sales for in hope of a post Christmas bargain! So with that in mind I thought I'd share with you some of the amazing gifts I received this year while also taking the opportunity to thank everyone profusely for them! I feel very lucky & am incredibly grateful. 

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some beauty products for me to obsess over & Santa didn't fail to deliver! I've been lusting after a bottle of the YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat Foundation ever since I finished the 7 day tester I had! My friend Becky generously treated me to this & I've been using it pretty much every day since I got it! Naked by Urban Decay is undoubtedly one of my favourite eye shadow palettes but my only complaint has always been that they didn't have enough matte shades in it. The UD team answered my prayers with the release of the Naked Basics palette which contains 6 gorgeous matte shades. My mum doesn't miss a trick & had this waiting for me on Christmas morn! Mac pigments have always intrigued me but I've never got round to buying one which is why I was over the moon when my brother & his girlfriend bought me my first Mac Pigment in 'Tan' - a gorgeous shimmery copper gold colour! This looks stunning packed onto the eye & is perfect for a glitzy evening look! Thanks guys :) Next up was this cute mini Benefit Besties Duo from my friend Lucy - it contains 2 travel size Benefit favourites - 'That Girl' brightening primer & 'Some Kinda Gorgeous' which is an lovely cream to powder foundation. This was perfectly timed as I was off to France with her a few days later for New Years & I was able to leave my full size primer at home! It's also a good excuse to test out these sample size products to see if I'd be interested in buying the full size!

I was delighted to receive the Chanel Collections & Creations book as had been eyeing it up in Selfridges for a while prior to Christmas. Chanel is undoubtedly one of my favourite designers together with Mulberry, Marc Jacobs, McQueen & Vivienne Westwood. This book is an absolutely stunning testament to all the various collections that the label has created over the years. It features everything from jewellery and fashion to make up and artwork from some of their very first advertisements. Something to flick through on a rainy day or just when you're in need of a bit of inspiration. The ultimate in coffee table books! 

Moving on to nails! The Essie Winter 2012 Collection was my Secret Santa present at work & I love it. The colours are gorgeous (particularly the dark berry glitter) and as always with Essie polishes they last for ever without chipping or wearing much. The copious amount of Woo Woo Nail Wraps (there are 12 designs in all) are also from Lucy (in addition to the benefit duo) & they couldn't have come at a better time as I've been obsessing over nail wraps pretty much ever since I had my gel nails removed (I'm currently wearing the left middle ones). They're easy to put on, they look great & although they don't last an age (average 5 days) they are great for creating a fun look for an event or night out etc. I'm stocked up til Summer 13! 

It was love at first smell with Jo Malone's Blackberry & Bay Cologne. I've been lusting after this for an age & was so pleased to find my mum had it wrapped up beautifully under the tree waiting for me! Combining 2 of the best things in life - Jo Malone & scented candles my friend Abi hit the nail on the head when she gave me their gorgeous Red Roses Candle. I think it'll be a good year before I actually allow myself to light this! Last but not least in the divine smelling department & also from Abi - a gorgeous Rose & Geranium Bath Melt filled with essential oils! I'm a big bath product fan so can't wait to use this!

The hands down winner of my most thoughtful Christmas gift of 2012 has to go to my brother & his girlfriend. Not only have they month spent the last couple of months helping me redesign my blog but I was next to speechless when I unwrapped my present from them! They had designed & ordered approx 300 personalised Business Cards from Moo for my blog. They'd even gone as far as to make sure the colour identically matched the background of my blog & that the font used was the same. My friends wallets are already stocked! I adore these & even more so them for such a great Christmas present!

From the girl who keeps on giving! Abi treated me to my other personalised Christmas present of 2012 - this cute little Travel Mirror with it's own pouch. It's gots my names on it! Everyone needs a mirror in their bag for when they're on the go & having my name on it just makes it that extra bit special. There also happens to be another (rather weird) reason why I love this. Y'know when you're a kid & you go into ANY kind of gift shop they always have those random products with your name on? Like key rings  bookmarks, mugs, pens etc. Well, don't get me wrong, I love my name & would never change it but they NEVER EVER had my name :( Caroline yes, Carol yes, Charlotte yup, even Carly but never Carla! So there really aren't many keepsakes in my life with my name on so basically this little mirror probably means a lot more than it was ever intended to!

Ah last but never least. The pièce de résistance. Enter the Mulberry Oversized Taylor. This was by far the star on top of my Christmas tree this year. I won't bore on about how long I've wanted a Mulberry bag for. Just times my excitement from when I got Mulberry purse by a million (see here). I adore Mulberry bags but there has only ever been about 3 that I have absolutely fallen in love with & this is definitely one of them. I love the simplicity of it. It's not garish, it's just effortlessly classic. I love that you can wear it 3 different ways - as a shoulder bag, a long messenger bag or in the crook of your arm. I love the unique design & zip detail and don't get me started on the softness of the leather! It's the kind of bag that I know I will use for years to come & it will go with pretty much anything. In short, I love it & am overwhelmed by my parents generosity. I definitely don't take getting a gift of this scale lightly & I feel very privileged. I must have been on Santa's nice list this year ;)

I hope you all received some lovely presents, had an amazing Christmas & New Year and are looking forward to seeing what 2013 throws at you - I know I am!