I've been a Benefit convert ever since I wandered into John Lewis on my dinner hour and was some how talked into a free make up tutorial. 45 minutes later I was walking back to work with a bag full of products and a makeover that looked like I was ready to hit the town not the photocopier!!?? After a stop off at the toilet to tone down my smokie eyes and red lip gloss I noticed that the products were really flattering. That night I tried out different looks just like the sales assistant had shown me (with maybe a little less bronzer and a little more restraint with the eyeliner!).
Since then I have always used Benefit for my eye make up. My favorite products to date are:
Big Beautiful Eyes = £24
Big Beautiful Eyes has been in my make up bag for as long as I can remember and it's my daily go to for eyebrow fixes and a neutral eye shadow appropriate for work. Its great to keep in your bag with its handy mirror and concealer built in - just incase! There is also a darker eye shadow for when you decide to go for after work drinks. The price is on the expensive side but for all the quick fixes inside it is well worth is and lasts longer than any other product in my makeup bag.
Smokin Eyes = £28.50
Smokin Eyes is slightly more expensive but again lasts and is great for helping get the smokie eye effect that can be tricky! The kit comes with a step by step pull out showing exactly how to achieve great coverage and tips and tricks to ensure you look glamorously smokie eyed and not knocked out by the door smokie eyed! : )
I've found most of the Benefit products in my make up from the amazing kits bought for me by my mum for Christmas and Birthday presents. The kits are mini testers of products to help fix every beauty need from concealer to bronzing! They also come in colourful bright and funky boxes that look great on your make up table. Here are just a few I have collected:
For more information on Benefit products: http://www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk/
My first experience of Amore and Baci was my 21st birthday when my mum and dad wanted to buy me something special but current.
With their funky beads and colourful jewels it was love at first sight and I've worn it ever since. What I was most impressed with was how versatile the bracelet is! The beads are removable with a simple twist and you can add or remove as you see fit. So depending on my outfit, nail or hair colour I could accessorise in the knowledge that I wouldn't have to buy a new bangle or bracelet to match each dress, I can simply twist and swap! And after 3 years the bracelet and beads are as good as new, each having a different meaning from loved ones as presents for Christmas', Birthday's and everything inbetween.
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I'm an avid reader of anything fashion and beauty related, I love to read the reviews and write ups of the seasons new products and this is my way of keeping my hand out of my purse and firmly by my side when I pass Boots! Yes I love to spend............ what girl doesn't?? But after each new purchase I found that once the packaging had been thrown in the bin and I had ooo'd and aarrr'd at it a few times they would all inevitably end up at the bottom of my wardrobe or bathroom cabinet.
So to break this cycle I decided to only ever buy a product or fashion trend that had been tried and tested and that I had actual proof that it would reduce dark circles or knock off those extra inches at the waist! Gone where my spare of the moment splurges in the Debenhams beauty concessions (I now walk quickly and I do not make eye contact with anyone in a uniform with a name badge!)
I know it would be impossible to totally rid myself of bad purchases, there will always be those very few products that everyone raves about and when I buy them and get them home I spend a few hours scratching my head and scowling while I scrub at the supper sticky gunk on my leg that the shop assistant assured me was the best waxing kit I would ever purchase! REALLY!?!
With all of this in mind I had the idea to create my own A-Z of beauty and fashion finds that I had tried, tested and loved. So here goes......... A.
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So from beauty to books, and in keeping with my new years resolution, my first read of the year was Jill Mansells Millies Fling.
I really enjoy Jill Mansell books and this one was on my book shelf from last summer that I didn’t get round to reading. The story is light and fun and the characters are likeable but it wasn’t my favourite?? (If I had to choose my favourite would be Falling for You which if you get the chance to read it!!) But something was missing from this book and after a 2 ½ hour train journey to York I was beginning to lose patience with it. It won’t discourage me from reading Jill Mansell books in the future but I don’t think I’ll read it a second time round.
And finally to the book I am reading at the minute – Mr Maybe by Jane Green
I chose this book as I had read Jemima J by J Green a while ago and loved it! Mr Maybe so far is funny and really well written, my only problem is I don’t particularly like the main character Libby, which when you are reading about this person’s life it is a little bit of a problem but I have a sneaky feeling she may turn out to realise that she is in the wrong and who knows I may change my mind about her, I’ll keep you posted! x
I think from a young age I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong era. I love 80s music anything from Fleetwood Mac to Whitney Huston and the fashion that came with it! My obsession with the 80s and early 90s comes from my mum, with Whitney always playing when I was young, my mum was the original big hair and big earrings girl. With her naturally thick curly hair she always had to tame her curls and most of my childhood memories of her are big rollers and hairspray : ) every time I smell hair spray I’m 5 again helping her get ready and sitting still while she finally gives in and puts lipstick on me and sprays me with perfume! To me my mum is the most glamorous person I know, she always wore amazing clothes and had endless pairs of shoes. My favourite thing to do when her and my dad went out of a weekend was to sneak a peak in her jewellery box, bangles and shiny rings galore and earrings the size of my fist. I think most of her bangles are in my collection now after years of me sneaking them out of her room into mine.
I love to go to town with her shopping because even now she know exactly what to wear and can pick out an outfit that I wouldn’t dream of putting together and somehow look amazing in them? I always though daughters were supposed to be the advisers when it came to fashion but for me there is no one I trust more when it comes to fashion than my mum.
I have inevitably inherited her hair and as my dad has straight hair I ended up somewhere in the middle with thick waves. After years of ghd straightening it I’m starting to go back to the natural way of hair spray and mouse. I love to watch Pretty Woman and see Julia Roberts with her long wavy hair and I somehow feel at home.
So naturally I have tried a few different products along the way and found these to be the best at separating the waves from the frizz:
VO5 Give Me Texture Tousled Style Spray = £3.36 from Boots
VO5 Mega Hold Gel Spray = £2.85 from Boots
I wouldn’t waste your money on expensive products like Frizz Ease as most of the time I felt it made my hair go a little greasy and lifeless.
Here are some celebs who have embraced their waves:
Kate Hudson, Jessie J and Jennifer Aniston have all opted for the natural look here.
25 books in 12 months! I could do that? It was 2 days before New Years and along with getting the apartment in a clean tidy order for our New Years eve party I was also trying to think of my resolutions. As I brushed, mopped and polished I made a mental note for 2012.
- to read 25 books in 12 months (all mostly chick lit)
- to keep up with a night time beauty regime I had been trying for the past few weeks – cleanse, tone, and moisturise - trust me it seems easy but when its 11pm and all’s you want to do is sleep beauty takes a turn to lazy town!
- to get my own cup of tea and biscuit and not to ask others (mainly my boyfriend) to get them for me, along with anything else I want that I don’t really want to move to get!
As I hovered I checked over my mental list and stuck with those 3, I mean how hard could that be?
So we are now 2 months into the New Year and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s pretty hard! 2 books down and I’ve realised I’m a much slower reader than thought as I should be 4 books down by now. My beauty regime is more of a dictatorship and well as for number 3 well I did try!?
The good news is my New Years resolutions have introduced me to some really great products.
The first being Bio Oil:
I read about this on a website after googling good moisturisers and as this had some great feedback I went with it. A word of warning is that like all great things it’s comes at a cost to your bank account! Bio Oil offers three sizes, small, medium and large and ranges in price from £8.99 – £19.99 but it is worth it. Less is more with this product and 2 months in I’ve only used a ¼ of the large bottle so it’s not as costly as I expected. My skin is soft and I found putting a small amount on my face evened out my skin tone.
My second find was Clarins Eye contour Gel:
I’ve tried everything to reduce dark circles under my eyes and with this being my number one reason for very rarely going make up free for fear of scaring small children, I was slightly sceptical that Clarins could do the trick but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the gel cooling and non-sticky it worked! I used it after my skin regime before bed and woke up feeling much fresher and looking less tired. The down side as always is cost at £26.50 it does seem pricy but I always buy it from Boots to boost up my Advantage Card points.
In the past I’ve always believed in DIY tanning. After one too many dodgy spray tans I decided that my own handy work was best when it came to a nice, NATURAL tan. Then much like the start of a cheesy true life story in a trashy women’s own magazine Xen Tan came into my life!!
I’d never heard of Xen Tan before and with out a trip to Infinity Beauty salon I still would be none the wiser. I got talking to one of the beauticians while she done my pedicure and she raved about a new tan that rivalled St Tropez. After I’d composed myself from the initial shock I laughed at the idea that there was anything to rival St Tropez, but she was sure of it and even challenged me to try it. This was a few months ago and each time I’ve done my tan the thought to try Xen Tan had crossed my mind but then immediately followed by that dread of try out a new tan. The flashbacks of me standing half naked in a freezing cold shower cubical while a Lara Croft lookalike sprayed me from head to toe, all the time insisting I didn’t inhale (which I would fail miserably at and end up with a lung full of tan and brown nostrils!) NO I couldn’t do it I’d just do my own St Tropez that night and be done with it, but as I was thinking this my hand had reached for my phone and dialled Infinity Beauty for a 3pm appointment. So as I walked to the salon I was nervous, excited and a little intrigued to see if Xen Tan actually worked.
As soon as I arrived my mind was put at easy by the lovely figure flattering lighting in the tanning room (not the harsh florescent type lights but the soft warm…..okay dull lighting!) So as the beautician asked me to step onto some sticky feet pads to stop my soles turning the colour of mahogany I instantly had a good feeling about Xen-Tan. Within 10 minutes I had two coats of an olive completion which for typically pale English girl is an achievement in itself! The treatment cost £20 which is a bargan considering the salon was warm and welcoming and the beautician even cleaned my nails and hands to stop the dreaded tan stains.
I was even more surprised that I looked normal and didn’t smell of bourbon biscuits! As I walked the 10 minutes back to the flat I didn’t get one side glance at passers by and didn’t feel the colour of a traffic cone. The tan was slightly sticky but apart from that I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all.
Here are some celebrities who share the love of Xen Tan:
One tip is to have dark sheets as the tan did rub onto the bed cover but was easily washed out. I was glad that I went to sleep looking nice and tanned as appose to looking like I had spent a few days in the wilderness at and SAS training camp with mud smeared face and patchy arms.
Xen Tan washed off lovely and left an event cover all over with out looking dark and obvious. As much as admitting it pains me it has topped St Tropez and my favourite tan proven by the fact that I’m booked in again tomorrow to have a top up! So happy tanning and let me know if you have had similar results with Xen Tan x
December 2011 Cosmopolitan issue is now out and cover girl this month is Jessie J.
This months edition is spreading Christmas cheer with a bumper pack of freebies which include a cute new lip gloss, the new addition Cadbury Fabulous Fingers to enjoy while you read, a Body Shop discount card which contains a discount from £3 up to £100 for something lovely for Christmas, a his and hers Christmas gift idea glossy and a book of discounts which include some top beauty brands. All in all a fab edition for any Cosmo follower.
Freebies picture courtesy of Maxine Meighan's fab beauty blog "Beauty to the Max"
When I look at my calendar and see the entry highlighting a friends wedding is approaching I immediately think of three things…..Dress, hair and tan! With these three criteria covered I was strangely calm about the looming nuptials that will inevitably mean a sheer rush and panic on the morning of the wedding due to a malfunction of either or all of these things. Either my hair won’t sit right, my tan will look streaky or hasn’t took and my dress which fitted perfectly the night before has some how shrunk and I am re-enacting the scene from the Incredible Hulk where Dr Bruce Banners clothes begin to tear apart due to brute force! On this occasion however all of the above seemed to be doing as they were told and my hair was staying in place my tan was a nice glow and my dress was actually loose! As I let out a sigh of relief my mind was taken back to 24 hours prior when disaster struck early in the form of Gel Nails!
So it wasn’t the morning of the wedding it was 2 days before and I was getting my hair highlighted when I notice a girl in the corner set up to do nails. My first though was a nice Shellac nail colour that would last for the wedding and hopefully the following week when I had another wedding to go to. So as I sat down to get them done I managed to some how agree to getting gel nails, anyone who knows me will vouch for how easily taken in I am and will agree to anything when I hear a sales pitch (hence my trip to Halifax bank to pay off my over drafted ended 20 minutes later with my overdraft still unpaid and a new credit card in hand) I don’t know how it happens I just can’t seem to say no!
So as the beautician applied the acrylic and then the gel top coat (which was pink and sparkly! This being the reason why I was easily swayed when two of my favorite things were combined into one!)
I began to convince myself that I am 23 years of age, living away from home and have a professional job so surely I can manage with acrylic nails!! How hard can it be?......the answer VERY!! Not only was I walking around like Edward Scissor hands I couldn’t even zip up my coat or count out the change for a very disgruntled bus driver!
Fast-forward 24 hours and I was sitting in a nail salon in the city center with my hands in a bowl of acetone and thinking how I am the only person who would willingly pay to have gel nails applied only to then have to pay 24 hours later to have them soaked off again. Needless to say I learnt my lesson when it comes to false nails, just stick to good old OPI!
Here are some celebrities who can pull off the trend:
Jessie J perfects techno nails while Beyonce combins the multi coloured and gel nail look! With Rhianna's sporting some fab nail art.
If you are able to manage with acrylics then defiantly try the gel nails they are fabulous and for someone who can cope will make your nails look amazing. Just make sure you can cope before getting them stuck on because trust me an acetone soak is not for a faint hearted! x
It’s that time of year already when I look at my bank balance with a frown, how is it possible? Okay so my saving plan never took effect and the spreadsheet I created to track my savings from May never really panned out but how did time go so fast!? It happened this morning as I checked my account and realisation hit that actually there is only 2 more paydays until Christmas!! As usual my financial capabilities are slightly warped and those purchases I made over the weekend are looking less shiny and needed.
Time for drastic action in the form of project christmas! Realistically money is always tight over the festive season but I don’t want to compromise of having a good time either, hence my brain wave of an idea with the help of my best friend, the buy one, make one rule. I’ve always loved being creative but never seem to put it to good use. This thought gave me the idea to make some of my Christmas presents this year, and if I bought a small present with in a certain price bracket I could then also make and accompanying gift for that person.
So with my note pad in hand I’ve been scouring the internet in search of inspiration and found some great ways to save over the holiday with out too much penny pinching:
1. Boots 3 for 2 - This is a tried and tested money saver. I love this scheme and it also means you end up being able to treat yourself to the spare present! One tip I would give you is to bunch your presented into sets of 3 so the lower priced presents pay for separate to the more expensive christmas presents. I made this mistake and only made a small saving on 3 items for £3.50 each!! If you work it properly and have bought 3 things for £30 each you will get all three for £60! So my warning is to do small batches of similar prices to maximise your savings! And we must forget the tons of advantage card points you will earn to spend on something lovely for you. Here is more information on the advantage card in case you are new to the world of point collection http://www.boots.com/en/Advantage-Card/
2. Costco it! If you are lucky to be able to own a Costco card or you know someone who does then clear an afternoon out of your calendar and get down to your nearest warehouse in the run up to Christmas. There are so many saving to be had as you can buy in bulk and although you may not feel the need to have 10 turkeys you may change that thought when you know that you can get 10 bottles of wine in a box!! The prices may seem steep when you are wandering the aisles with your huge trolley but if you take the time to work it all out then you will see that bulk buying is the way to do Christmas! For more information on joining for a Costco membership click on the link to their website.
3. Do it yourself! If you decide that you want to give making some christmas presents a go then the best place to go to is Hobbycraft! If you don’t live nearby then they also offer online shopping. You’ll find everything from fabrics to photo frames, and they also have an ideas library if you’re struggling for inspiration. Something may seem expensive but you’ll find you can get lots of christmas presents out of the kits and it will also mean you’ve taken time to make something by adding a special touch to a Christmas gift for your nearest and dearest! If you find craft difficult then YouTube has some fab craft videos just type in your idea and you’ll find step by step tutorials galore!
Christmas is always the best time to get creative and hopefully this post will help you to make the most of what you can afford to spend this Christmas while you have some fun with it at the same time!
I’ll keep you updated with some of my home made presents and feel free to share some of yours! Good luck and happy crafting! : ) x