Last week I took a trip into town with the objective of stocking up on Lush products. I love Lush! I love the idea behind fresh handmade products that I feel I can trust and know that there will be nothing nasty in there. I have always enjoyed the same products time and time again but lately I have been slipping into the world of the unknown and trying a couple of products I have never tried. It all started round Christmas when my mum bought me the Stardust gift set which gravitated around the Snow Fairy theme and for the past couple of years I have loved that!!
It got me thinking about products that I maybe haven't given a chance? I always stick to the sweet smelling side to Lush but as with anything taste changes over time and I feel like Snow Fairy has so many links to my youth that now its time for a new scent. SO this trip was an hour long stroll around the dozens of shelves packed with colorful and sparkly bubble bars and bath bombs! The feel of Lush is really relaxed and I felt at ease wondering round with the helpful assistants asking me if I was okay and needed any help. They all seem full of energy and high on life (or is it the constant strong smell of the shop that gives them the crazed smiles and wide eyes!) which ever it is I like the relaxed, easy going feel. I'm no stranger to shop assistants and the beauty counter assistants in the big department stors can be a little 'forceful' in their approach and someone like me with the backbone of a squid often feels intimidated in that environment! But not at Lush.....Lush is my safe haven (they definitely put something in the air in there!)
I started small and picked up a couple of bath bombs. This quickly got out of control and resulted in this.....
So as you can see I blew the budget and went the whole hog. My first surprise purchase was a new Shampoo and Conditioner. I have heard great things about Lush hair care and my everyday shampoo has lately left me feeling uughh?? So I went for BIG sea salt Shampoo (£11.50 which smells.....beautiful!) and conditioner bar (9.72 - this is sold by weight so price can change depending on how much you buy). I also picked up a Sea Salt Spray (£9.95) and a Bubble Gum lip scrub (£5.50) as well as a fair few bath bombs. I'm yet to try all my lovely new purchases but plan to work my way through them soon so I promise to post reviews for all of them. Hope everyone loves Lush as much as I do and if you would like to check out their website for some goodies here is the link - happy shopping! x
After weeks of trawling the department stores and researching YouTube I decided to take the plunge and purchase Nars Sheer Glow Foundation. My main reason for changing foundation was curiosity! I have used Clinique Superbalance Foundation for the past few years and love it. Recently I noticed my skin has changed and my foundation wasn't lasting as long! I also found that the shade was getting a little dark for my complexion so this was the perfect opportunity for me to try something new.
Nars seems to be everywhere at the minute with lots of reviews raving about their products. The next step in my foundation quest was the dreaded trip to the consession counter to see what all the fuss was about. Standing outside Harvey Nichols Beauty Bizarre sheltering from the rain and preparing to make a dash for the heavy expensive doors I got that stomach churning moment I always get when approaching beauty consultants. My mind tried to shake the image of the look in their eyes when they see the neon light above my head flashing "push over"! But no I wasn't going to be coherst into buying anything other than the foundation....nope....not happening!! Half an hour later I walked out of the heavy expensive doors £55 lighter and trying not to mentally shout at the impulsive voice in my head that decided to scream "you need that bronzer" at the top of her voice while I was handing over my bank card!
So I bought a bronzer!!! The one beauty product I fear the most. Maybe it was that phase in high school, when glittery orange bronzers were rife and tan lines were a status thing, that gave me a cold shiver? But I had promised myself i was going to be more adventurous and take leaps of faith with beauty products so I gave it a go! I'm so glad I did because I haven't regretted my impulse buy.
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation and Bronzing Powder are a great combination when achieving a flawless glow with a hint of summer shine. I was a little nervous about the shade of Sheer Glow as I have really fair skin and in the past I found some foundations to be too dark but not this. Sheer Glow gives a medium coverage that can be built up if you are wanting a little more coverage. I was color matched to Mont Blanc which is perfect and feels like an extension to my own skin, in no way cakey but enough coverage that I don't feel self conscious about some acne scaring I have.
I still use a concealer but that is just my personal preference you could get away with just the foundation and powder to set. My only negative, and its a small one, is having to pour the foundation out as there is no pump but if this is something that could cause you problems you can buy a pump for a few extra pounds.
The Bronzing Power is in the shade Laguna which looks dark in the pan but with a light hand just adds a little color on days when you are feeling a little on the pale side (which for my anemic skin is most days!).
So as you can see from my gushing review I am really pleased with my new make up base. So pleased that I am making another trip tomorrow to Harvey Nichols to pick up a couple more products that I have had my eye on. Once I have tried these out I'll add more reviews and let you know my thoughts.
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Foundation is like a good coat.....Its one of many out there, you spent an age finding the right one and it protects you from the cold world (in more ways than one!). From time to time you get the feeling that maybe its time to branch out and discover worlds new so to speak! So I done my research and was still non the wiser?? Then I discovered YouTube! I know this is old news now and maybe I'm getting more like my mum as the years go by but I have never 'gotten' YouTube? Yeah its great at 1 am after a bottle of wine to search for old cheesy songs that you sing along to while jumping up and down out of breath. But this eventually ends in a scene from Bridget Jones when the sad songs start and you find yourself slumped on the floor gulping wine while you sing about misty water colored memories!
So you can see my surprise when a friend told me about Pixiwoo, and so came the dark circled eyes and coffee induced mornings from staying up far to late watching every video I could find! Pixiwoo was created by two sisters Samantha and Nicola Chapman. Both make up artists who came up with the simple but great idea of recording make up tutorials and product reviews. You can find their videos here.... Pixiwoo... but be warned! you will reach a point of obsession, leading to the iPad being taken away just so you get some sleep before work!
I am a creature of habit and lately I have forced myself to take some chances with my skin care and make up. With the help of Pixiwoo I have found stepping into the world of department stores and Superdrug shelves less intimidating. Another strand to their success is the development of some amazing make up brushes called Real Techniques which are also featured on a YouTube channel, Real Techniques, this is a great help when finding the best brushes for you and the techniques you can use to get the most out of your make up.
As you can see my collection is growing and I love them all!
A couple of other great beauty channels I have stumbled upon are:
So after lots of video watching and product reviews I have decided to give Nars Sheer Glow Foundation a go. I will let you know how it goes and what I think of this foundation. But for now I think a cup of tea and a YouTube catch up is in order x
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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