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!