Monday, February 28, 2011

Benefit Hoola!

Benefit Hoola is a product that has been out for a very long time now, but I wanted to swatch it anyway for you. My swatches show 2 fairly light swipes of product – a lot heavier than I would wear it but I wanted to show you just how pigmented it is.

All with flash, in different lights:

The colour is neither warm nor cool; it’s the perfect shade for a bronzer in my opinion (although I'm not sure my camera was 100% accurate, hence why I've shown a few different photo's) as I find that some tend to lean towards orange, which isn’t really a look that I want to be rocking. Hoola is also a great powder to use when contouring as it’s matte and when using at least a half decent brush (I’ll explain more about that in a minute) it creates a very natural looking contour.

No flash (on a very dull day):

I’ve had my box of Hoola for a long time now and it’s probably my favourite bronzer... now that I’ve learned the best way for me to use it. You see I bought it after having it used on me by a sales assistant on a benefit counter, however when I got it home I found that I could never get it to apply quite as well as it is quite pigmented, and whilst I’m not as pale as say Nicola Roberts, I’m certainly not anywhere near the same shade as the Hoola itself.

My first problem seemed to be that I was too heavy handed in application, I quickly learned that less is more where Hoola is concerned – this is probably due to the fact that I was used to using lesser pigmented bronzers prior to Hoola. My other problem was that I was using the wrong brushes; I (stupidly) tried using the brush that came with it but very quickly learned that this was no good at all and only achieved an uneven, striped effect on my face – not a good look.

I then used an ordinary (and cheap) powder brush that was too hard, even when I used the product sparingly I found that it placed the powder too heavily in one area which I had to work hard to try to blend on my face – it was actually around this time that I started to invest a little more in brushes, realising that they actually made a difference to how my makeup applied. I bought a set of Smashbox brushes and have used the powder brush ever since as it’s soft, but not overly so which helps me to apply Hoola with a lot more ease, and better results.

It’s available for around £23.50, but for that you get a huge amount of product that will last an age – especially if you are like me and use it sparingly for a more natural finish.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sponsored Post: Spa Breaks.

Wouldn’t you just love to spend a day (or night/ weekend) being pampered in a spa with beautiful surroundings? Me too! Although I always assumed that spa visits were very expensive and that I’d never be able to justify spending excessive amounts of money on one, not whilst saving for a wedding anyway – especially if the experience was tainted by guilty spending feelings.

Luckily I’ve just found that there are spa experiences that won’t break my bank after browsing lusting over the Spa Breaks website, their spa weekend special offers page to be precise and I’ve found some offers that I actually wouldn’t feel guilty buying – I’ve listed a few below.

Overnight stay:

Bannatyne Charlton House

From £269 you could go on a romantic break for 2 people (price is per couple, not per person and I know it says from, but a lot of dates are showing at that price, even through to summer) at the Bannatyne Charlton House. The price includes 1 night’s bed, breakfast, a three course candlelit dinner, a 55 minute treatment each, half a bottle of champagne to share and an indulgent afternoon tea... plus the use of their thermal facilities. To me this represents quite good value as firstly it looks amazing (don’t you think?) and secondly the amount of things you get included with this offer seem well worth the price per person.

Spa days:

Macdonald’s Marine Hotel

For £165 per couple until the end of March, Macdonald’s Marine Hotel in Scotland is offering a spa day for 2 which includes a healthy lunch in the sea view bar lounge, hot volcanic stones massage including a warming foot relief treatment and Decleor Time Precious Facial with unlimited use of all their leisure facilities... plus use of a robe, slippers and towels to boot. The Decleor facial sounds gorgeous (I do love their products) and the hot stones massage devine... I’d certainly pay £82.50 for this if it was closer to me.

Various Bannatyne Spa Venues

Bannatyne Spa in many areas also do a special offer for a 2 person spa day costing just £65 (for 2 people, not each) where you get the choice of a Swedish back, neck & shoulder massage or Elemis 30 minute facial plus full use of the health club facilities. It also mentions something about a scalp massage but I can’t quite work out if that’s another option to choose from or if it’s an additional treatment... but for £32.50 each, even just the one treatment plus use of the facilities is good value. I’ve linked to the Milton Keynes page, however if you search the special offers page then you’ll find all participating locations.

Of course you could go all out and go somewhere for a week, or to much more expensive venues which will indeed cost a lot more (of which there are some available on the Spa Breaks website, which includes Spa Days) but I know that times can be hard for a lot of people so I wanted to show that you can treat yourself to a little bit of luxury and pampering without the guilt (or risk of bankruptcy).

So what do you think about spa breaks, would you go on one? Have you been on one? I definitely think I’m in need of one very soon!

Sponsored post.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Boots & FrontCover Rainbow Eyes Reborn Offer!

Frontcover Cosmetics’ hugely popular Rainbow Eyes set has been reborn (as you may or may not have already known) due to its instant success back in 2008. The set contains 25 ‘directional colours’ of which 20 are their baked formula that can be used wet to create amazing looks with fantastic depth. Also included are new and improved applicators and Shadowline – that’s the product that turns any of your eyeshadows into eyeliner.

Sound good? Well something that might just make it sound even better is that it’s now back on offer at Boots for a limited time only (from today until 19th April) for just £15, half its usual price – a total bargain if you ask me.

I expect that this may sell out at this fabulous price, so don’t hesitate if you want one as you may find yourself with empty hands (and sad eyes).
Also whilst browsing the Boots website for this link, I noticed that the FrontCover To Go set was available for just £5 - I'm sure this is the one that was £35? Anyway, go look!

Avon Luxe Lace SuperShock Mascara!

I was so wowed by the gel eyeliner in the Avon SuperShock collection that I got all caught up in trying that out and posting about it that I completely forgot about the mascara that I was also sent at the same time.

Well, I’ve now taken the time to try it out (many times) and it’s a good job I did as I was missing out on a fantastic product by letting it slip under the radar. The brush is rather big, which at first I thought would make it difficult to use but actually does a perfect job of applying the product to my lashes evenly and without clumping; which leads me to the formula which is equally as fabulous, thickening and separating my lashes even with just one coat. Lovely.

The mascara lasts brilliantly, I’ve never found myself with panda eyes when wearing it and actually on the one night that I rather naughtily (and shamefully... and quite possibly drunkenly) fell asleep before I’d taken my makeup off (including the mascara), I woke up to find my mascara fully intact – very impressive.

This is available for £8.50 at the Avon website... or your local Avon lady but I’ve also noticed that there’s another SuperShock mascara on the Avon website without the Luxe Lace packaging that could quite possibly be the same formula for £5.25 at the moment.

Jennifer Aniston Bob - What Do You Think?

So Jennifer Aniston has gone and had her hair chopped off (and lightened), and it’s getting a lot of attention all over the internet, but what do you think of it?

I have to say, I quite like it. I kind of prefer her old hair but I do like her new ‘do all the same, but what I can’t quite decide on is if it ages her or makes her look younger?! Is that weird?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lanolips Rose Balm Intense For Very Dry Hands & Nails!

I got given this as a birthday present and I felt I just had to post about it sooner rather than later because I’ve been rather impressed by it already. I know it was only my birthday on Monday, but I’ve been using it ever since the weekend (I got given it early) twice per day so feel like I’ve given it a decent amount of usage to be able to form an opinion. Now I am not a fan of rose scents at all, they always remind me of hair removal creams for some reason and some actually make me gag... not good.

So why did I decide to ask for Lanolips ROSE balm intense on my birthday list? Well purely because it said that it was an intense balm for very dry hands (and nails) and this seemed like it could be exactly what I needed as my hands get so dry that I just had to ignore my intense dislike of rose scented products to give it a try. I have been pleasantly surprised by the scent to be honest, I don’t love it but then it doesn’t have me gagging either which is half the battle already won for me. As you can see in the picture below that shows the amount I usually use for both my hands - and that's me being generous with it.

The balm IS very heavy and thick and it does take a bit of working to get it all over my hands but when it does, I just love the silky velvety feeling that I’m left with. Now this isn’t something that is suitable for everybody, if your hands are not in need of massive hydration then I suggest you get the lesser intense cream instead as it does also sit very heavily on the hands after application, even on my hands that are incredibly dry at times, so I tend to use it when I know I don’t really need to do or touch anything for a while, just to give it a chance to soak in.

The results? Well it hasn’t cured me of all my ills but it has left my hands a lot more moisturised and nourished and not just in the moments after using it either like a lot of other hand creams. I’ve gone from applying hand cream quite constantly throughout the day to just twice with this stuff (once in the morning and once before bed) so I will definitely continue to use it – although I will still use other hand creams, because I WANT to, not because I HAVE to which will be lovely.

It’s well worth the £8.99 price tag (for 50ml) to me and is available at Victoria Health and also I believe is now stocked in Boots too (although priced at £9.18 there)!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

OPI Pirates Of The Caribbean Swatches, Part 2: Mermaid's Tears & Stranger Tides!

A little later than I had hoped, and also less photos than I wanted to do (none with the bottle done outside as it was so, so cold that my hands could take no more – you may be able to tell from the pictures) but I think these show the colours fairly well anyway. Excuse the manicure; it’s not the greatest as I hadn’t tidied up after painting them.

The polish scent reminded me a bit of pear drops – weird! Anyway I found that I needed 3 coats with each of these shades, but gave 4 to be on the safe side. Out of the 2 I think Mermaid's Tears was probably the more opaque one, even though they had the same amount of coats in the end – I just think you could possibly get away with 2 thicker coats if you were in a rush with this.

Drying time was very reasonable and they do seem to last well on the nail – even without topcoat! Also I’d say that whilst the photos show quite true to colour, they’re possibly just a little murkier in real life... nothing too drastic though, in my opinion.

L-R Mermaid's Tears, Stranger Tides (With flash):

 No flash:

 L-R Mermaid's Tears, Stranger Tides, Planks A Lot, Sparrow Me The Drama (With flash):

Disclosure: PR Sample

Speed Reviews: Korres Spring 2011 Fragrances.

Korres new fragrance collection for spring 2011 contains 4 new fragrances (all free from synthetic rubbish and nasties); 2 for the laydeees and 2 that are unisex. I have the 2 lady ones and I’ve got to say, they’re both absolutely gorgeous. Now I know fragrance is very personal so I thought I’d just give you my quick opinion on these perfumes (and their fragrance notes) from Korres.

Paeonia, vanilla, amber, pear.

This is fruity but with a bit of a tang and freshness, rather than being overly sweet. I thought that the vanilla might be the predominant note in this but it’s not at all, in fact my nose barely picks it up!

When sprayed my initial hit was possibly the pear but it does settle and becomes more complex after a short time, when it kind of turns it into a clean smelling scent - think of beautiful freshly washed clothing but still keeping the fruity, tangy yet slightly sweet edge to it. I can only really liken it to a less sweet, less full on Nina by Nina Ricci. I think this is my favourite, it’s beautiful!

"TOP NOTES: pear, apple, bergamot
HEART NOTES: peony, jasmine, rose, patchouli, sage, peach
DRY OUT: amber, musk, sandalwood, vanilla
CHARACTER: intensely feminine, distinct character"

50ml, RRP £24

White tea, bergamot and freesia.

I immediately picked up on the freesia when I read about this (I love the smell of freesia flowers), however I’m not entirely sure it comes through so much in the fragrance; it does still smell kinda musky (not overly, kind of oriental I guess) floral, but the white tea comes through very much so in my opinion, and violet ever so slightly. It’s lovely.

It actually reminds me of something, but I can’t place my finger on it – something is telling me that it could be from when I lived in Ibiza, maybe Armani Elle (hmm yes, actually it could be that)... anyway I’m still not entirely sure but I just hate it when I can’t think of something, yet still feel like it’s on the tip of my tongue. Sorry for taking you through my entire thought process there.

"TOP NOTES: bergamot, mandarin, neroli, cyclamen
HEART: freesia, jasmine, white tea accord, violet
DRY OUT: white musk, cedarwood, moss
CHARACTER: floral, fresh"

50ml, RRP £24.

Disclosure: PR Sample

Monday, February 21, 2011

OPI Pirates Of The Caribbean Swatches, Part 1: Planks A Lot & Sparrow Me The Drama!

Happy birthday to me! I’m 30 today – not particularly loving the fact that I have now officially left my twenties, but I’m still planning on having a bloody good day to make something about this birthday happy.

Anyway moving onto the real reason for this post... which is that I’ve now got my hands on 4 of the OPI Pirates of the Caribbean collection (which I have been very excited about) so can now swatch them for you; although I’ve decided to do the swatches of the shades I have from this collection in 2 separate posts.

This is firstly because I didn’t want to overload one post with lots of pictures of all 4 shades, and also because I had difficulty getting the colours to show accurately on the pictures, so I’m going to have to redo the greens (Stranger Tides & Mermaid’s Tears) later on, or tomorrow, but up first we have ‘Planks A Lot’ (purple-y) and ‘Sparrow Me The Drama’ (pink). Please excuse my cuticles, they’re not in the greatest condition, nor is my manicure the best I've ever done - but we're not looking at that anyway as it's the colours that are of interest here, non? :-)

No Flash:


Actually, even though I have redone these photos I still think that ‘Planks A Lot’ especially isn’t showing true to colour in some of the pictures; it is actually a little bit darker, and with slightly less of a blue tinge to it than the photos show it to have. If pushed I guess I’d describe it as a grape-y grurple. I found that this needed 3 coats (not too thick) but I gave it 4 to be on the safe side.

No Flash:


Also, ‘Sparrow Me The Drama’ is again slightly darker than the photos show and a little duskier too. This was pretty opaque at 2 coats, but I gave it 3 just to be sure. It looks a bit patchy in the pictures but I think that’s just the way the light/flash is reflecting off it as it doesn’t look like that now, and it didn’t when I was taking the pictures either.

I love both these shades; they’re girly but still have an edginess to them that stops them from being overly pink and fluffy. I can’t wait to try the Silver Shatter over the top of them.

Available from May, priced £10.50 each at

Disclosure: PR Sample

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Slightly Speechless Sunday - NYFW Beauty!

A few photo’s from NYFW in Stylist Magazine that grabbed my attention:

Bobbi Brown make-up station - I would love all this:

Bobbi Brown/Halston Worksheet - very pretty:

Caramel with black (or very dark blue) half moon nails, and a new take on smoky eyes at Narcisco Rodriguez:
 What do you think about the eyes/nails?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bourjois 'Smoky Eyes' Eye Shadow Trio - 01 Gris Dandy!

You may or may not have realised that I haven’t blogged in a few days so just in case you were wondering, it’s mostly because I went to London and was not organised enough to schedule posts for the days I was away (I’ve also been trying to organise my birthday celebrations, 30 on Monday – eek), but also because I fell over whilst in London so have been mostly sat away from the computer with my foot up, although I do still suspect I’ve broken or fractured it.

Anyway, now I’ve waffled on about all that I really want to show you some swatches of the Bourjois Smoky Eyes Trio that I got on Wednesday whilst in London. I really love this little set; it was an instant hit with me as I do love a smoky eye, and these silvery/deep grey/gunmetal colours really are perfect to create fabulous smoky eye looks - which, incidentally there is a guide for on the bottom of the pot - always handy!

It’s also a set that I would happily take on a short trip away as it would be a brilliant space saver in my bag(s) which is great for me as I fail (constantly) at travelling light. Apparently these last 8 hours on the eye, something I've not had the chance to put to the test yet.

They're baked shadows and I've swatched them both wet and dry (labelled in the first photo), but I think that they apply (and look) much better when wet (in terms of pigmentation) which is pretty standard with most baked eye shadows anyway! I've also tried to show the swatches when reflecting the light differently; they're actually quite metallic in some lights, which I love.

These are available in 6 other colour variations, all of which look equally as lovely (and hopefully many of which will also make their way to my makeup bag) and cost around £7.50 each, which I think is very reasonable for 3 eye shadows.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Swatched: Models Own Black Swirl (Chanel Black Pearl Dupe?)!

This is another of the Models own spring/summer collection, Black Swirl... I think that this is (quite obviously) another cheeky name twist on yet another Chanel nail polish (Black Pearl) and some have described it as a dupe for it; however all the swatches I’ve seen of Black Pearl seem to show it having a tinge of teal/green whereas Black Swirl does not... so no, it's not really a dupe but still a lovely colour in its own right.

The swatches mostly show 4 coats, apart from the first (above) which shows 3 and seems to have a lot more brush strokes, hence why I added another which seems to have helped; I thought it should still be shown though.

The polish is actually a lot sheerer than I thought it would be, and I think even without the brush strokes I would have gone for the 4 coats, possibly even 5... but this dried fairly quickly so it didn’t really add much time onto the application.

I really quite like the colour, it’s quite dark and glossy at a glance but when you look closer you get to see the light reflecting off it to show more of a darn gun metal grey rather than a black.

What do you think? Do you like it?

Disclosure: PR Sample
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