Thursday, September 30, 2010

Accessorize To Launch Dazzling Cosmetics Range!

Accessorize are expanding their treasure trove of high street fashion accessories on include cosmetics and I have to say that I am very excited about this news. The new range of beauty must-haves consists of five unique themes to choose from and as you can see below, they look gorgeous.

Release your inner rebel with edgy ‘Rock Star’

Stand out from the crowd with ‘Exotic Brights’

Go cute and classic by opting for ‘With Love’

If you’re style is playful glamour then go for ‘Illusion’

Or romanticise yourself with the ‘Je t’aime’ collection

They are due to launch at the end of September and one of the best things is that nothing I have seen costs more than £10, with most around the £5 mark. I’ll be sure to swatch when I receive mine.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Burt's Bees Balms!

Burt’s Bees have something of a cult following and after trying out their fabulous 2 new lip balms I can now see why. These lip balms are their ‘Nourishing Lip Balm With Mango Butter’ and their ‘Rejuvenating Lip Balm With Acai Berry’ and they are stunning. They’re fabulously fruity without being sickly sweet which makes a nice change, I do love sweet scents but it’s just nice to mix it up a little.

I love the ethics of this company, they use 100% natural ingredients so there’s no worry of any nasties causing problems, and more importantly they’re not tested on animals (product OR ingredient) which more companies should take note of.

Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter

“Hydrate and soften lips naturally with this nourishing 100% natural lip balm. Specially formulated with Mango Butter, this replenishing lip balm moisturises and protects to reveal smooth, healthy lips. Lips will love its lush, fruity flavour and the soft, moisturised feeling it leaves behind.”

More information on Mango Butter is available at this website that I found to be both interesting and informative.

Rejuvenating Lip Balm with Acai Berry

“Leave lips feeling renewed, moisturised and healthy wit hthis 100% natural lip balm. Superfruit, Acai Berries, provide free radical fighting antioxidants and Vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as healthy Omega Oils, giving your lips a rejuvenating experience with a rich, sweet flavour. We call that one super balm!

The Acai Berry is a deep purple berry that grows wild in the Brazilian Rainforests. This small berry contains antioxidants, vitamins and healthy Omega Oils. Acai Berries have 15 times more antioxidants than red grapes.”

 I find that I always struggle with pots of lip products because I do have fairly long nails that can make it difficult to get the product out of the pot, and whilst I have come up with a bit of a solution by using the back of my nail, I still find that it’s a pain in the bum to use them like this – especially on the move.

This is not the case with Burt’s balms as they are in an easy to use screw up tube that makes it super quick and easy to apply the product straight to my lips with one effortless swipe, and then pop the lid back on – perfect! Even if you don’t have longer nails, this method is so much better than having to deal with a sticky finger after application.

On the lips this stuff is gorgeous and velvety, not slimy or sticky in the slightest. In fact, if it wasn’t for the lack of dry lips whilst wearing it, you’d barely know you had it on at all. The look of the balm on my lips was neutral and healthy – no colour, however my lips had a lovely soft sheen that looked very natural.

I have used both balms to excess over the last week, with the Mango Butter variety holding a firm place in my handbag and the Acai Berry taking pride of place on my desk so that I always have one to hand whenever my lips are in need of moisture. I’m surprised at how well they have lasted though as I have really used both of them quite a lot and they still look almost unused, so I feel quite confident that they will last me a good while, which is good for the bank balance as we hurtle towards Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, these would make fantastic stocking filler gifts – perfect for winter months where chapped and dry lips can be at their worst and they won’t break the bank at only £3.49 each.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Models Own 'The Car Key Collection' - Chanel Khaki Dupe?

Models Own have brought out yet more affordable alternatives to coveted high-end products. This time it’s their ‘Car Key Collection’ which is a cheeky nod to the collection that they are emulating, Chanel’s exceptionally popular ‘Khaki Collection’ – geddit?

The collection consists of 3 shades - Grace Green, a mossy pastel green; Becca’s Brown, a dusky beige hue and Purple Ash, a vintage dusky rose (potential dupes of Chanel Khaki Vert, Khaki Brun, Khaki Rose respectively).

I love that Models Own acknowledge that not everybody who wants to keep up with the latest colour trends is able to afford to do so with all the high-end products, so I am really looking forward to seeing these once they arrive here.

They’re available to buy in Boots stores from October at just £5 each.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Scoop On... Kettlebells, A Fantastic Way To Burn Fat!

I first became aware of kettlebells about 5 years ago after seeing them on The Biggest Loser UK; I found them really intriguing and was amazed by their weight loss results that I saw on the show. I knew that I just had to buy one, and so began my love of kettlebells. They’re kind of like a cannon ball with a handle and are available in a variety of weights, they’re becoming more and more popular and it seems that they’re now even being used by many celebrities (J’Lo, Katherine Heigl, Kim Cattrall, Jennifer Aniston, and Penelope Cruz to name but a few).

You’d normally associate weight lifting with men and building bulk, but this is not the case with kettlebells. They are fantastic for women and fat burning, burning up to 1500 calories per hour and they sculpt the body brilliantly in the process. Normally you’d need to do separate cardio and toning exercises, but with these, you get both – and at the same time too. This is because your whole body has to move to swing the bell around and stabilise it, giving your core a fantastic workout, now if that’s not good news then I don’t know what is.

I’m not going to say that using kettlebells is an easy option; they’re not a miracle treatment that requires no effort. You still need to eat well and work hard with them, they’re heavy and it’s tiring – well it is exercise, isn’t it; but they are worth it. The results you can get when you put the effort in are nothing short of awe inspiring. Take my mate Jodie Prenger for instance, the results she achieved by incorporating kettlebells into her healthy eating and exercise regime were gobsmacking and if you don’t believe me then you should take a look at this before and after photo:

Kettlebells come in all different colours and designs; you can get fully cast iron ones, cast iron ones with a vinyl base, acrylic handle bells with a vinyl or neoprene base, ones made from rubber, kettlebells that can be filled and adjustable ones too. Personally I would go for one with an acrylic or chrome handle as I find them to have less friction, which means less chance of getting any blisters on your hands from the friction; but it’s a personal choice as to which one you think works best for you!

For a female beginner I would suggest something around the 4-8kg mark as a starting kettlebell weight, as you’re not looking to build up muscle (although this is possible if this is what you are aiming for, as a male or female by using a heavier weight) probably building up to about 12kg as you get fitter. To look at the price of kettlebells, they vary greatly depending on what kind you get and also what weight (which is why I won’t go into costs as it would take forever), but if you compare them to gym memberships or other cardio and toning equipment for the home then you can see that they’re actually quite good value. Below are a few places that I’ve found online that would be worth a look on your kettlebell search.

If you’re a member of a gym then they may have kettlebell classes there, and you should definitely enquire because it’s obviously safer to have somebody there as you start learning how to use the bells both safely and effectively. However if they don’t do classes, or you’re not a member of a gym then don’t let that put you off as there are some good instructional DVDs available to purchase online such as:

Kettlebells, The Iron Core Way (3 Volumes available by drop down menu) -

Kettleworx (You get a light weight kettlebell 2.25kg approx included in the price here) -

PLEASE do NOT be tempted by this DVD (10 Minute Solution - Ultimate Kettleball Fat Burner - Andrea Ambandos), it has nothing to do with kettlebells other than the cover of the DVD, they don’t even use a kettlebell in the workout on there; and quite frankly, some of the exercises that they do with their DUMBELL would be very dangerous to do with a kettlebell.

The other alternative would be to hire a personal kettlebell trainer – and they can teach you, help you, keep you motivated and generally kick your bottom if you’re lagging; but they are much more expensive so I wouldn’t suggest this as your only option as I know that not everybody has the funds spare to do this. If you are looking for one to one training then you won’t go far wrong booking somebody like Angie Dowds, if she can fit you in and if you are in or can get to London. She is the queen of kettlebells and her website and contact details are here:

EDIT - 23rd November 2011 - I never ever thought I would have to edit this post for this tragic reason. Unfortunately Angie Dowds is no longer with us - I'm sure you'll have all read it in the papers or online, so I won't go into those details. Such a huge loss to the world, but it was a pleasure and an honour to have known and trained with her in the past! RIP Angie. xx

I really need to get back to using mine as I stopped because I was poorly, so doing this post has inspired me to dig out my bell and start using it again – even just a little bit, to ease myself into it again. This is the only downside with doing kettlebells at home; motivating yourself, but this happens with a lot of ‘at home’ exercise equipment, and a lot of the time even gym memberships away from the home go unused, so don’t let it put you off if you’re considering giving it a go.

Please note, I have no affiliation to any of the websites mentioned above. I have an Amazon search box that you are free to use, but none of my links or recommendations to them are connected to this.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tweezerman Limited Edition Polka Dot Swarovski® Tweezers!

“Bring on the glamour and show off some Bling. Being truly fabulous means never sacrificing quality — luckily you don’t have to choose: outfit your beauty kit with the unparalleled, award-winning function and brilliant style of our world-famous Slant® with these Special Edition Swarovski® Crystal bejeweled tweezers. Stainless steel with enamel colour finishes.”

I couldn’t help myself when I saw this special edition pair of Tweezerman tweezers, they totally satisfy my magpie urges as they are littered with Swarovski crystals. At their RRP of around £26 you may think they’re pointless and that an ordinary, cheaper pair of Tweezermans would do the job just the same and to some degree, you’d be correct. 

Just look at them though, they’re so pretty and sparkly that it begs the question who WOULDN’T want to use them and then see them looking so pretty on their dressing table? Plus, they’re an investment, they will survive the test of time (providing they don’t get dropped) and they also benefit from the free sharpening for life deal that Tweezerman offers, as per the rest of the range. Not to mention that if we all went for functionality over looks/style then there would be no fashion or beauty industries to start with, and probably no use for tweezers at all for that matter *shudder*.

They're available in 3 colours, but I chose black.

Directions for use:

• Always tweeze one hair at a time in direction of hair growth.
• For expert brow shaping, use the broad side of the Slant for general tweezing and flip tweezer to use the tip of the higher side of the edge for precision work.
• Clean only the tweezer tips with an alcohol-moistened pad after each use.
• Clean crystals by rubbing lightly with a clean, smooth cloth.
• Do not soak tweezer body in water/solution or heat-sterilise.
• As with any fine crystal, handle with care.
• When not in use, keep in case to avoid dulling or breaking by scratching against or dropping on hard surfaces.

TIP: If you can, try to tweeze AFTER a bath or after steaming your face as it should hurt less because your pores are already open from the heat! Whilst I am aware that it’s fairly well known fact, I thought it worth a mention anyway – just in case there was somebody who was unaware of this.

You know you want to... (I felt like Keith Lemon on that Celebrity Juice advert then, ha) x

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Korres Autumn Winter 2010 Colour Collection!

'Korres, set up in 1996, is a Greek skincare brand with roots in Athens’ first ever Homeopathic Pharmacy. Based on its pharmacy experience in over 3,000 homeopathic remedies of herbal origin, Korres is focusing on primary and applied research regarding natural ingredients and formulae. The company today offers a natural and certified organic skin & hair care range, a make-up line as well as suncare products and herbal preparations.'

I’ve been lucky enough to have their colour collection products for their Autumn/Winter 2010 'look' sent to me recently and I have to say I am very impressed. My initial thought is that the collection is a very classy affair; no outrageous colours here, but make no mistake this does not mean boring. The colours are very wearable and versatile easily moving from a natural daytime look into a more dramatic evening look, just by increasing the intensity of the layers and making the eyes even smokier!

First up we have three of their eye shadows, these are priced at a very reasonable £11 each an are created with Sunflower and Evening Primrose Oil so they care for the delicate eye area whilst also creating a stunning visual!

Below is a quote from their press statement that outlines what they want to achieve with their AW10 eye selection.

“With defined eyes rapidly taking centre stage this season, KORRES pushes boundaries to reinvent winter’s inevitability - smoky eyes – based on natural metallic brown and golden tones.”

The textures of the eye shadows are beautiful; the 2 browns (28 and 36) are quite metallic, but not in a trashy way and more importantly they are long lasting.

The mid brown shade (28) actually has a slight bronze/deep gold hue to it and in my opinion is the more metallic out of the 2 browns, stunning.

The darker brown (36) actually looks like deliciously dark chocolate with the slightest hint of a metallic shimmer, perfect.

Then there’s the ‘Nude 15’ shade which to me is perfect for applying as your base colour if you’re looking for something natural as it seems more matte than the other 2 – but not cakey at all.

These shadows can both be applied as subtly or as strongly as you desire, you just layer them up to your desired intensity as the pigment in these product allows for this perfectly. Using an eye shadow brush (especially with slightly longer bristles) gives a much finer layer I have found, but if you’re looking for a stronger colour then maybe use either a sponge tipped applicator, or a brush with shorter bristles that gives a more dense, pigmented colour.

Applying them was made easy by their rich velvety texture too, and I loved that when using these there didn’t seem to be much product dropping onto the rest of my face – bonus!

The Korres ‘Provitamin B5 and Rice Bran Mascara’ (£14.00) in brown (2) promises to lengthen your lashes whilst giving volume and deep colour to your lashes and it really does, I loved the look of my lashes with this on them. I would usually wear black mascara as a lot of brown mascaras don’t have the deep rich colour that I require, but not so with this product. I now feel I can wear a brown mascara without it looking wishy washy.

Their eyeliner (‘brown 2’ £7.00) is a revelation to me, it goes on smoothly is able to be smudged into a softer, smokier finish but then stays put. In the past I have found eyeliners to either stay put, but not be soft enough to smudge or to smudge but then not stay put. It was always the case that I could have one but not the other, so this is a fantastic find for me.
The liner also has antioxidant protection in the form of macadamia nut oil and vitamin E and revitalising properties from Meadowfoam seed oil. I love this as it gives the liner dual purpose, meaning that not only does it look good; it’s also good for the eye area and whilst this doesn’t mean you should go ahead and throw out all your eye care products, it does mean that you may not feel so guilty for wearing it a lot, or even if you do the unthinkable and fall asleep in your makeup. Come on; we’ve all done it, haven’t we?

Zea Mays Powder Blush (‘Natural 15’ £16.50) is a velvety blush with corn starch powder particles, for a luminous effect and a smooth and even finish. I admit that when I opened this I didn’t think it looked anything special but after putting it on my face I found that it made my skin glow beautifully, in a really natural, healthy way. It wasn’t heavy, didn’t clog and even more importantly lasted for a whole day of shopping.

Last but by no means least we have their chosen lipstick for AW10 is ‘Nude 34’ (£15), a light beige with a slight hint of pink. It’s the kind of colour you should be wearing if you want to try out nude lips but are worried the full on nude look may not suit you. This is, in my opinion, because of that very slight hint of pink that just makes it that bit more wearable for the average person. It’s not glossy, it is very creamy though so it’s not totally matte either, this means it is longer lasting when being worn and again, more wearable in my opinion.

I adore that pretty much all their products not only have their primary function in making your face look fab, but also that they all appear to have some kind of benefit to the condition of the area it is intended for. There’s the Sunflower and evening primrose that care for the delicate eye area in the eye shadows, Provitamin B5 in the mascara that strengthens lashes and guava extract in the lipstick that offers yet more antioxidant protection. They seem to do all this without compromising the products main functions, as makeup.

One thing I can say for sure is that this selection from Korres is a total triumph in my book.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chanel 509 'Paradoxal' Le Vernis Nail Colour!

I think most people have at least heard of the Chanel 509 ‘Paradoxal’ nail polish, and if you haven’t then you have come to the right place at the right time, as you need this in your life. I finally got my hands on some and it is bloody lovely. It’s a grey-violet/purple hue, and looks quite shimmery in the bottle but much of that actually disappears once applied on the nail; don’t let that put you off though, as the colour holds its own perfectly without the need for all the shimmer, in my opinion.

You do need to use at least 2 normal coats, or one very generous layer (if you don’t have much time to spare) to get an opaque finish as it can appear quite sheer if you only apply a thin coat.

I would also stress that unless you have a dedicated nail dryer that dries your polish very quickly, that you will need to leave this polish to dry for a longer amount of time than usual before doing *anything* that may damage it.

I say this as about 1 and a half hours after applying mine, I still managed to accidently make a small dent in it with another of my nails. Thankfully, it’s not completely ruined as the polish seems to have disguised it well; but it is worth noting that you should take more care with this, especially if you have taken a lot of time and effort to apply it.

I got a smooth finish (other than my stupid clumsy dent) with no streaks, even though I was very quick with my application of the polish and probably did not take as much care as I usually would. I did however use base coat (Chanel ‘Beauté Des Ongles Base Lissante’ which is their ridge filling base coat) and top coat (Chanel ‘Beauté Des Ongles Laque Brilliance Extreme’ which is their extreme shine nail lacquer) in order to make it last longer.

Even after all the extra effort, I still adore this stuff and it’s totally worth sticking with it as my nails are now a beautifully dark and glossy slightly dusky purple – perfect for autumn and the impending winter months!

For those of you who just can’t justify the hefty price tag then fear not as The Swatchaholic has discovered an almost identical dupe, and guess what? It only costs a fiver. The dupe is ‘Models Own – Purple Grey’ and is available from the Models Own website, but I have a feeling this may sell out so if you want this, then get yourself over there to buy it asap.

Apologies for my terrible photos (excluding the perfect pictures done by The Swatchaholic and Models Own) – my camera battery doesn’t seem to be working so I have photographed on my phone, and this is the end result. Hopefully better service will be resumed shortly.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Denman - Brilliant British Brushes!

I remember when I first heard about Denman brushes; it must have been about 18 or so years ago when I was just starting high school. An older friend at the time was training to become a hairdresser and introduced me to the brand and I convinced my mum to buy one that we shared.

It seems that these days we’re getting more used to things not being built to last like they used to, so I was curious to see if their brushes were still of the same quality that they were all those years ago.

The Denman brand is synonymous with being the hairdressers’ choice of brush and I feel this is because of the quality of the products on offer; the fact that the brushes have stood the test of time, that they are still classed as some of the best brushes available today speaks volumes.

They have many varieties of their brushes available these days too, a brush for any occasion you might say; but the thing that stays constant, is the confidence in the Denman brand.

Their first brush (the D3) is still available, but has now also been released in a few new pimped up styles. This particular makeover of the brush has a change of colour which is generally expected when being made over I guess, but also includes the addition of scent to the brush; yes that’s right, scent.

I have the strawberry scented brush and it’s quite cute. The smell isn’t overpowering, and actually reminds me of the smell of the strawberry shortcake doll I had as a little girl, I don’t know if many (or in fact any) of you know what I mean by this, but it does.

It’s quite a novel idea really, although it doesn’t appear to have a specific purpose that I’ve noticed as the scent doesn’t transfer to your hair (well not in my experience anyway), but you can smell it when you use the brush with a hairdryer which is quite nice, but still ultimately pointless.

None the less I do like it, it does make the range stand out above other brushes available and I think would be a great little stocking filler gift at Christmas. As a standalone brush it holds up very well, it's anti static because of the rubber cushioning and it also holds the hair firmly in place whilst styling which makes it easier to control where the hair goes!

There are 5 different ‘flavours’ available in the aptly named ‘Tutti Frutti’ range:

  • Strawberry - red rubber pad and fruit prints
  • Green apple – green pad and fruit prints
  • Lemon sherbet – yellow pad and fruit prints
  • Wild dewberry – Purple (as above) – intriguing as dewberry was my favourite Body Shop scent when I was much younger
  • Coconut – there are 2 different styles for this scent, one with a plastic handle as matching with the rest of the range and one that has a beech wood handle (and is a couple of pounds more expensive as a result).

These are priced from £7.16 to £9.45 (for the wooden one) and available from the Denman shop.

The D14 appears to be a handbag sized version of the D3, but this one has added bling in the form of diamantes embedded into the handle and back of the brush that the magpie in me instantly loved. I'm glad they sunk the diamantes into the brush as this way they have the benefit of looking nice, but don’t dig into your hand when in use, which is a winner all round!

There are 3 colours available (black, red and gold) and these are also available in the D3 brush, with an extra addition of a turquoise one in the D3 diamante range.

The size is a good size for handbags that aren’t *too* small but I think for smaller bags and clutches, this brush would be too big to go in if you still needed get other essentials in there too.

I don’t think the brush suffers too much with being a smaller size as I've found it works just as well as the larger one, but I wouldn’t use it to fully style my hair as although I have no doubt that it would do the job, I just think on my longer hair that it would take too much longer to do so. If you have shorter hair, this would be brilliant for using on that in my opinion.

These brushes are again available at the Denman website and are priced at £12.21 each. The larger D3 brushes in this style are £15.28 and £18.91 (for the turquoise one).

Moving on to the smallest of Denman brushes (that I'm aware of) we have the D7. This is a very small brush and mirror that fold in together, and to be honest I didn’t think it would be any use as it is so small. Couple that with the fact that you have to pop it out to use the brush in it I really didn’t think it would be strong or big enough to go through my hair and tidy it up.

So imagine my surprise when I found that it does actually do a very good job of neatening hair whilst on the move and as with the brush above, whilst I wouldn’t use it for styling it I would definitely use it if I was out and only had a small bag or clutch to carry it in, as this would be perfect for that.

Obviously you can’t look in the mirror whilst using the brush bit so you’d need to brush and check, or get in front of a larger mirror but it’s a bonus that it does double as a compact that you can use to touch up your makeup too.

Looks wise, on the mirror side it looks like a regular compact mirror, but flip it over and it looks like what I can only describe as a spotted ladies diaphragm (sorry). However once the sides are together it’s perfectly fine, it just looks like a normal compact mirror.

This brush is £2.50 each and worth every penny.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blinc Heated Lash Curler!

I remember the days when curling your eyelashes meant holding a scissor-like clamp right on your lashes and *squeeeezing* them firmly to make sure they curled. I also remember the fear I felt that I may actually catch the eyelid with said clamp and really hurt myself; hence I didn’t really use them that much. Not to mention that the pressure used can actually damage the lashes, and that is not good news really. I am sure many other people got on perfectly well with them, but for me I was just not confident enough to use them regularly on myself.

Things have moved on a little since then and thankfully there is now a style of eyelash curler that I feel confident and comfortable using, all hail the heated lash curler. It seems like the obvious choice really, as we use heated appliances to curl and straighten the hair on our heads; so why not use heat to do our eyelashes too!

There are heated clamp style curlers available for those who are comfortable with that style, but also want the added benefit of heat to help ‘set’ the lashes but personally I feel like they’re double the danger for me.

The blinc heated lash curler in particular is a bit like a wand with a little comb head, and even though you don’t have the clamping action I feel you still get a decent curl from it. It uses a single AAA battery (included) and only takes 20-30 seconds maximum to heat up; you can see when they’re ready to use as the red indicator window at the back of the head of the wand turns to yellow.

To get a lovely curl that will last, all you have to do is ‘brush’ the comb up the lash whilst gently forcing the lashes back and then hold for a few seconds to 'set' them in place; start with the middle and then do the side lashes - it's as simple as that.

There is a safety guard that prevents the heat from being too close to the eye area, and the wand also delivers the ‘precise amount of heat that can set a long lasting curl without damaging your lashes’ so there’s no fear of singed eyelashes, thankfully.

The first curler that I was sent had a loose battery fitting (so the connection to connect the electrical circuit wasn’t able to be made, thus no worky) so that had to be replaced with another one that has worked perfectly. I am only mentioning this as it is something to consider when purchasing this product; it’s not something that I would say should stop you buying it as it is easily rectified as you can check right after purchase/delivery (depending how you buy it) and ask for it to be replaced if it is a unit with a dodgy connection.

This may not be for everybody, but personally I love it and will be using this heated wand from now on.

The blinc heated lash curler is available from Harvey Nichols and at its official retail price of £18, or from having a quick glance on google I see you can get it cheaper at HQHair for £14.50 and BeautyBay for £15.75 so it’s worth having a shop around before you buy it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More Victoria Beckham Recommendations!

Victoria Beckham took to twitter again on September 10th to recommend more products to us mere mortals, this time in the form of nail polish; Chanel ‘Les Khakis De Chanel’ nail polish range in all colours Khaki Vert, Khaki Rose, and Khaki Brun, to be precise.

I’ve seen a lot of people loving this collection so far, so it was no surprise to see her recommending it. I have my eye on the ‘Khaki Vert’, personally.

There’s been yet another Twitter recommendation as of approximately 1 hour ago from Mrs Beckham. This time it’s for ‘Lancôme Teint Miracle foundation SPF 15’ foundation, and from a quick rummage around on the web it seems that this is an illuminating foundation, one that I am quite interested to try.

The sales blurb goes as follows:

  • "Light emanates from the most beautiful skin. We can reproduce it.
  • 10 years of research, 7 international patents pending.
  • With Aura-Inside™ technology, Lancôme invents its 1st foundation that recreates the true natural light of perfect skin.
  • Instantly, complexion appears lit-from-within. Bare sensation, visibly flawless.
  • 18 hour hydration and soothing rose extract.
  • Oil-free, Non-comedogenic, Suitable for sensitive skin. Dermatologist-Tested.
  • Available in 20 shades.
  • Natural light Creator and bare skin perfection.
  • Breakthrough AURA technology, with 10 times less fillers and SPF 15.
  • 12H longwear.
  • A nude, immaculate and flawless complexion as a result."

The foundation is available at a reasonably priced £25 from places like Debenhams, Selfridges and House of Fraser.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lush Limited Edition Creamy Candy Body Lotion!

Today I treated myself to 2 pots of Lush’s very limited edition ‘Creamy Candy’ body lotions and I have to say I am very pleased with them. Not only do they smell delightful but they are actually good moisturisers too – which isn’t always the case with heavily fragranced lotions.

The scent in the pot and when first applied is just like the Lush Creamy Candy bubble bar that it is based on. This may seem weird to mention as this is what you’d fully expect as standard but fragrance oils (especially the more natural ones) can change scent depending on what kind of product you put them into; for instance a bubble bar and a body lotion are 2 different chemical compositions so the fragrance, although the exact same fragrance can end up smelling totally different from product to product and this is why I thought it would be a good idea for me to mention this.

Application is easy and although the product has a pink hue to it, it does not make your skin pink in the process, thankfully. It’s also very quick to soak into my skin and did not make it feel tacky either, which I was very pleased to find out as although I like a good lounge around every now and then, I don’t like it forced upon me just because my moisturiser refuses to soak in so I was pleased to find that this lotion didn’t take half the day to do so.

The scent is quite strong and lasted for a good few hours on my skin, which I find to be fairly acceptable as I’ve not found that many lotions that smell strongly for the whole day, unfortunately. It didn't disappear completely, I should add.

After a while when the scent does mellow on the skin it still smells a lot like Creamy Candy as it did on application, but I do also detect a subtle hint of the Comforter lotion (based on the pink and white comforter bubble bar) which is still very lovely, sweet and slightly fruity. You may find this different on your own skin as scents are very personal things and are subject to change from person to person.

This is available at Lush stores throughout September (or until they run out, which I think is very likely so if you do want to purchase this then I would advise you to call your local store to make sure they have it in stock as it really is VERY limited edition) and is priced at £12 for a 225g pot.

As you can see from the picture below, this is suitable for vegans, but not for people who are allergic to parabens.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Victoria Beckhams 'Must Have Lip Glosses'

According to Victoria Beckham on 1 hour ago, these 2 lip glosses are apparently must haves in your makeup bags.

They are Burberry Lip Glow glosses No. 9 and No. 10 and below are sample images taken from the Burberry website to show you what they look like, but first the blurb from the Harrods website:

"Plump, moisturise and add a hint of fresh colour with Burberry Lip Glow. This natural lip gloss has a ceramide complex formula that fills fine lines from within, leaving lips supple, and glowing with natural highlights.
  • Natural lip gloss
  • Creamy, adherent texture
  • Light oils and spherical powders give fluidity and comfort
  • Reflects light to create illusion of plumper, fuller lips
  • Ceramide complex recreates the intercellular cement
  • Hydrating formula keeps lips replenished
  • Fine lines are filled from within
  • Foam tip applicator
  • 6ml"

No. 9 (Nude Beige)

No. 10 (Nutmeg)

I think I might have to get my paws on these as they look lurrrvley from the pictures above, and if they're good enough for VB then they're good enough for little old me haha. If you want to purchase one for yourself they retail at £18 each (haven't found anywhere cheaper as they appear to be sold exclusively at Harrods and on the official Burberry website), and here are the all important links.,burberry-lips/p/lip_glow

Lovely Lashes - Clinique Lash Building Primer!

If you’re looking for full, long lashes then stop right here as I have found just the product you need, Clinique’s Lash Building Primer. The blurb on the Clinique website states that this product ‘boosts the benefits of Clinique Mascara as it conditions and protects lashes’ but what it doesn’t tell you is that it offers so much more than just nourishment and protection. It volumises and lengthens them whilst also helping to hold the curl longer and doesn’t make your lashes clump together at all – in fact they look more separated than ever before.

For me, it has given a true false lash effect (without the need to be ‘styled with inserts’) with all mascaras I have tried with it, not just Clinique’s. I also found that it seems to keep my mascara in place for a lot longer; even non-waterproof types, as demonstrated at V Festival when my mascara lasted the whole day with no smudging, running or disappearing into thin air. My lashes looked exactly as they did when I applied my makeup.

The product itself is a fairly runny white fluid that is easily applied with a wand, just like you would a normal mascara; once applied you'll also notice that the lashes immediately look longer and more separated and whilst it does go on ever so slightly white, it is a lot less opaque than it seems in the tube. I would still say that you need to apply some kind of mascara over the top of it to disguise this if you’re heading out though, as it’s not a hugely flattering look when left without.

You may be expecting this product to cost a fortune, being that it works so well and that it’s made by Clinique but I bought this at the surprisingly low price of just £10 from Boots. It might be worth noting that it’s currently being sold for £9 in Debenhams in their 10% new season sale and also John Lewis (a price reduction that seems to have come off the back of the Debenhams sale) so if you hurry you may get it even cheaper than I did.

All in all, I can’t recommend this product enough as it has completely excelled my expectations and will have a permanent (or at least very long term) place in my makeup bag.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Essie Autumn 2010 Collection Has Landed Here!

My Essie Autumn 2010 polishes have arrived and I have got to say, they are every bit as gorgeous as I thought (and hoped) they would be. However, I appear to have misplaced my nail polish remover so cannot take any photo’s right now, but I will be putting pictures up soon so be sure to check back.

They are currently on sale at Asos, priced £9.50 each (Merino Cool doesn't appear there currently) or you can do what I did and go on eBay and buy them from America as they work out cheaper. ;-)

 Swatches posted! Click me!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Urban Decay Ammo Shadowbox.

This set was released as part of Urban Decay's 10th birthday celebrations and it is just perfect.

The box is very slim which means it’s easy to pack in a fairly small makeup or hand bag, and light so it can easily be taken with you when you’re travelling or even going out for the night - if you wanted to do some touch ups and it has a strong magnetic clasp which means that it stays shut; so no danger of it coming open and the shadows getting ruined which is a big plus point in my experience. It is purple with a foil and velvet design on that consists of flowers, leaves, and hearts to skulls and even fish – but it looks lovely and feels nice to touch because of the velvet.

Upon opening the case I notice a decent sized mirror, again with a surrounding foil design that matches the outside of the box. It’s quite decadent looking, and so are the shadows it contains.

Each shadow measures approximately 1.5cm x 2cm and whilst this doesn’t sound very big, I have found that they actually last very well. Because the pigment in them is quite strong, I have found that you don’t need to apply a huge amount to get the coverage and depth you need, even if you want to wear the colours strong and opaque.

The hues contained are beautiful, 10 different colours that are said to be arranged in 5 matching duos, running the gamut from subtle to all out sexy. I actually find that whilst these are arranged into ‘matching colours’ these shadows can be mixed and matched with each other very easily to create a number of different looks suitable for any occasion. Below is a quick rundown of the colours from my perspective.

Smog – A deep coppery bronze, lovely in the eye socket.

Maui Wowie – This is a cool medium gold that has a bit of glitter in it; not over the top though. This is one of my personal favourites.

Mildew – A deep, dirty green. This has the perfect name but is a gorgeous colour, despite the name.

Shattered – A turquoise like hue that edges more to the blue, a classy blue – if you will.

Oil Slick – Black, with glitter. I love this; it’s perfect for smoky eyes with a little bit of fun added because of the very slight glittery particles.

Polyester Bride – White with silver glitter. This is great for brightening the inside of the eyes.

Last Call – ‘Plum punch’ A beautiful medium-light plum colour which nods to a more pink plum hue than full on purple, that will blend beautifully with a number of other colours from this set.

Grifter – Sheer lavender with lots of ‘microglitter’ – a very light colour, but a very lovely one all the same.

Chopper – A coppery fawn hue with silver ‘microglitter’ in.

Sin – A nude champagne hue with probably the least amount of shimmer out of all the shadows included in this set, but this doesn’t make it any less noticeable in my opinion.

All the colours have a sheen/shimmer to them and whilst this would make it seem like these shadows could only be for evening wear, you would be wrong to think this true. These shadows are never overly glittery, and all of the colours can be built up and adapted to suit daytime use as you wish. I personally love using smog and maui wowie or sin together for daytime usage – I just use very thin layers of each of them.

The shadow is very good quality and stays put once applied, even without the use of a primer – which is much better than many others that I have tried previously.  It’s also easy to apply, it blends well and I find it doesn’t dust all over my face when applying like some other shadows have been prone to doing. It has also never caused any irritation with my eyes, and although they’re not particularly sensitive to most things, this is still a plus for me.

It has become a regularly used product in my makeup bag, both when on the move and at home and I would have no hesitation to replace it when the time comes, either with the same set or with the individual colours contained in the set (if the set is no longer available to buy). The set costs £22.50, although I am sure it could be found cheaper if you were to shop around but it’s worth every penny, even at full price.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy 25th Birthday, Elle Magazine!

It's Elle's 25th birthday this month and I thought it only right that I feature their stunning celebratory front cover, featuring the gorgeous Kate Hudson on there. Happy birthday Elle and here’s to the next 25 years of more fabulous features at the forefront of fashion and beauty. Chin chin!

If you don't already subscribe to Elle, I have just noticed a fantastic offer that gives you the opportunity to dip your toes into the subscription pool without havingn to dive straight in. You get 6 months for just £6 PLUS a fantastic free gift just for signing up, consisting of Elizabeth Arden goodies:

  • Eight Hour Lip Protectant,
  • Eight Hour Skin Protectant,
  • Eight Hour Intensive Daily Moisturiser.

Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover!

Advantages: Removes eye makeup easily but gently.
Disadvantages: A little oily.
Removing eye makeup can be a pain in the bottom at times, especially when you're wearing waterproof products. I love my eye makeup but nothing I ever used would get the stuff off without a big struggle, rubbing away at the eye area it went red through doing so (this is really not good for the ultra sensitive skin around the eye) - not until I found out about this treat of a product anyway!

Bi-Facil is an eye makeup remover from Lancôme that is designed to remove even the most stubborn of eye makeup without a struggle and without damaging the eye area. It is suitable for even the most sensitive of eyes and those who wear contacts and is ophthalmologist tested for safety.

The product comes in a clear bottle with Lancôme branding and product information written in white on it. You can clearly see the two-tone liquid that is inside the bottle which consists of an oil based part and a water based part, which is why it continues to stay separated in there (to put it simply without going into science mode by giving a complete chemical breakdown of why the molecules do not combine).

To use it you need to shake the bottle to combine the 2 fluids and then drip a little onto a cotton wool ball or pad; you don't need to use too much I have found as it is so effective at removing the makeup that a little really does go a long way. Once you have done this, it is just a simple case of sweeping the cotton wool with the product on it over your eyes, basically anywhere that you have eye makeup applied; and the product will work its magic and lift it right off. After using it my eyes feel fresh and clean and most of all do not look red or irritated, and this has continued to be the case in the whole time of using it.

The product claims that it will:

Remove all traces of eye makeup, including waterproof - Well there's no argument from me on this one, as this product has always removed my eye makeup easily and without any real effort on my part.

Leave no oily residue - I disagree with this a bit if I am completely honest, as I do find that there is a slight oily residue left after using this product; although it doesn't bother me so much as the product does as it says it will when it comes to removing my mascara etc and it hasn't made the skin around my eye permanently oily after using it.

According to Google translate (since my French is very rusty after not using it for more years than I care to remember, or admit) the French to English translation for Bi Facil is 'Two Easy' which I would say it quite apt as it is definitely two toned and most definitely easy to use and easy to remove the makeup too.

The price of this product is currently £19.50 for a 125ml bottle but luckily for me so far, I haven't actually paid for a bottle of this as I keep getting it as a free gift (or as part of a free gift) when I buy Lancôme products from various department stores - usually offers such as getting it free when you buy 2 or more items from the range etc; however I would be prepared to buy this if this stopped being available as a free gift, even at full price as I think it's well worth the money.
Summary: Worth buying, does the job!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wax On, Wax Ooof - My Thoughts On The Rio Complete Wax Kit!

Advantages: Smooth hair free skin, Save money, Convenient, Easy, works well, Easy & cheap for replacement bits

Disadvantages: A little painful (you get used to it), Have to let hair grow to wax it off  

Thinking about body hair reminded me of a fantastic piece of kit that I have owned for the last few years; it’s the Rio Complete Wax Kit and it’s for use at home. I had never heard of this until I was given it as a present a few Christmases ago because my sister had sworn by it ever since she had owned one herself and knew I would make good use of it.

The box contains a number of items that have various uses:

  • 1 black and silver unit with a dial on it and a mains lead to plug it in, this is the main item that is used to heat the wax that you use (as it’s a warm wax system) and the dial enables you to control the temperature of the wax and also turn the unit off. This is quite quick to heat up, so you don’t have to spend ages sitting and waiting for your wax to even start to melt.

  • 2 silver mini saucepan-type cups with black handles,  these are what hold the wax to heat it up in the unit and also are fully transportable to wherever you are waxing so that there’s less chance of wax getting stuck to everything in-between the unit and your skin. Although you should still keep the heating unit nearby as the wax does cool down if you leave it out too long and can become harder to use, not to mention more painful.

  • Spatulas – a number of these (I haven’t counted, but there’s quite a few) and these are for applying the wax to your skin. I have found that whilst these are decent for most areas, they feel a bit too big for my eyebrows and I am not confident using them in that area for fear of ripping out too much hair. For this reason I went to eBay and found some smaller ones for a reasonable price.

  • Wax equipment cleaner – to remove waxy residue from bits from equipment that it should not be on, or to try and help to clean any accidental spillages. It says it is effective to use on all surfaces, including plastic and natural fibres – although I haven’t really had any major spillages in the time that I have owned this product *touch wood*.

  • A tub of soft wax – this is the most common kind of wax that you’re used to that gets applied with the spatula and then removed using a waxing strip. It’s decent quality and does the job; it’s cheap to replace too, which is a bonus – I’d recommend replacing it with tea tree wax when the time comes as tea tree helps to soothe the skin.

  • Hard wax – This used to come in blocks that you broke into quarters but these days comes in flakes in a sealed plastic bag, this is easier to use as you don’t have to break fingers/nails to get the ‘portion’ you require into the cup so it can be heated. It doesn’t need wax strips to remove the wax from the body, but you do have to wait for it to cool down and set/get hard (which traps the hair in the wax) before you can peel the edge a little and then rip it off and the hair will come out along with it. This is said to be better for more sensitive areas and will cause less skin irritation than normal soft wax with no interference with the lymphatic flow, it’s also less sticky than soft wax. Obviously because it has to go hard and set first, it does take a little bit longer (and more patience) but it is definitely worth using.

  • Waxing Strips – To remove the soft wax, along with the hair from your body; these can be folded once one side has been used and reused (all be it being a little shorter, but still very useable). This means that you don’t have to buy replacements quite so quickly; although I have found they are quite cheap to replace anyway, but it’s also more environmentally friendly to do it this way which is another incentive to do it. You can also cut the strips into smaller strips for use around the eyebrows or any other smaller/more intricate waxing areas.

  • Instruction book – Pretty self explanatory really, and definitely worth reading.

  • A DVD – This may or may not come with it, my sister got one and I did not – apparently this has guides for the more ‘troublesome’ areas of the body (bikini, underarms etc), but I have never thought ‘oh I could really do with a DVD to watch for this bit’ so I don’t think it is essential really.

Application of the wax is easy, dip the spatula into the wax (whichever one you’re using) and coat it with a small amount for the soft wax and enough to make a thick coat for the hard wax - make sure you don’t have any wax ready to drip as you move it away from the cup (just for neatness really) and smooth it over your skin following the direction of the hair. Another tip for neatness is to dedicate an old towel to the task and have it under the body part being waxed so if any wax does drip, it drips on something that you don’t mind getting ruined.

Removal of the wax is an easy action in itself, however the pain you anticipate will make it the most difficult thing you could think of doing to yourself. Whilst I’m not saying that it’s not painful, it isn’t anywhere near as painful as it is if you hesitate and end up pulling the skin so like they say for plasters, do it quick and in one go if you can. Pull the skin taut too as this will stop the skin being pulled as much and can help lessen the pain. The action to remove the wax is to either put the wax strip over and smooth over it and then pull AGAINST the direction of the hair (ie opposite to the way you smoothed the wax on) for the soft wax, or once the hard wax has set peel a little bit up at the edge and then rip that up in the same way as mentioned for the soft wax.

You may also find that you need help with hard to reach areas and bikini line etc, but I usually find my fella is more than happy to help on these occasions. I have saved a HUGE amount in salon costs in the time I have had mine so finding somebody help is a small price to pay.

This product is available in many places, most notably Tesco online and Amazon, priced around the £39 mark which is a fantastic price for such a brilliant product that WILL save you money if you replace your salon visits with it, and will save you the embarrassment of stubbly bits from shaving, or hairy bits from not doing anything (haha)!

Rio manufactures in the UK, which is brilliant for economy and environment alike. They have a page dedicated to their environmental actions and aims for the future here:

Body Hair - Grooming?!

So, Julia’s recently been snapped again with her (hairy) arms in the air, waving (well lifting) them like she just don’t care! I truly believe that she doesn’t care at all; because anybody who is willing to lift their arms up without having first defuzzed them is very, very brave. It's even more brave (or stupid - however you wish to look at it) when the world's paparazzi are nearby watching and taking photos. I salute her for having the guts to do it, but really could not imagine being as bold as to do it myself; in fact I will be getting mine lasered off soon.

What do you guys make of it?
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