Tuesday, June 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEW | The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry

Tasmina Perry

Tasmina Perry is one of my favourite authors and I always add her new releases to my wishlist the minute I hear one is due. I didn't love The Last Kiss Goodbye as I started to read as much as I feel I have others which is a little disappointing. It took me far longer to read than any of her other books, or those I have enjoyed recently

Everyone remembers their first kiss. But what about the last?

1961. Journalist Rosamund Bailey is ready to change the world. When she meets explorer and man about town Dominic Blake, she realises she has found the love of her life. Just as happiness is in their grasp, the worst happens, and their future is snatched away.

2014. Deep in the vaults of a museum, archivist Abby Gordon stumbles upon a breathtaking find. A faded photograph of a man saying goodbye to the woman he loves. Looking for a way to escape her own heartache, Abby becomes obsessed with the story, little realising that behind the image frozen in time lies a secret altogether more extraordinary. 

I didn't particularly to warm to the story or the characters and felt it was a very drawn out story that ran through the past and modern threads. Chapters would go in from one or other viewpoint although it just felt like it was changed to add something different to the story, and whilst necessary and the plot when you returned to the other you'd almost forgot about them. Nothing felt fully explored, more snippets here and there.

Despite the promise of Russian spies and forgotten love it didn't spark any joy with me which was very disappointing. Might you enjoy it, is it an easy read? Yes it is but not one I'd recommend you'd rush to add to your reading list.

*this post contains affiliate links

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Friday, June 24, 2016

High End Beauty Expectations

One of the reasons I changed the direction of my blog and started blogging about beauty was because I wanted to know what products were worth purchasing. Back in the day I didn't wear make up daily, I worshiped at the ground of Mac eyeshadows, lived for YSL mascaras and the only base product I wore was the now discontinued Benefit You Rebel Tinted Moisturiser.

Often I'd find myself in the local supermarket and think to myself I'd like to treat myself to something, just a 'cheap' lipstick or similar and would become blinded by choice and walk out empty handed and then there was the shopping trips with mum where we'd swoon at high end beauty counters and treat ourselves to whatever caught our eye. My obsession with Chanel Nail Polishes has already been well documented.

Nostalgic ramblings aside bring me to the point of today's post. High End expectations. I've certainly discovered a love for drugstore products in recent years and whatever your preferences it's safe to say there are some great products available for 'affordable' prices but that has led to my expectations of those more expensive luxe products being much higher.

Whilst I'm not against picking up a drugstore product or two when I treat myself to a new make up product it's often from a higher end brand, particularly when their limited edition collections can be so hard to come by.

Therein is the first problem. Chanel's Rouge Noir Collection for example, we're subjected to various images and reviews in advance of launch dates and being lusting over the the collection, mentally listing what pieces we want to purchase. Then launch date arrives and if you don't hit the store on opening there is a distinct possibility you will miss out. How often have you missed a Mac collection despite being online line at 10.01 and adding things into the basket.

After all that effort if you are lucky enough to nab the item you wanted there's a hit of euphoria. You post on instagram with a little smugness as others share their tale of woe that they missed out and if you're a blogger it'll remain untouched, stared at and stroked until you take the necessary photos and write a blog post.

Next you are finally about to add to your make up routine and after all that build up, effort you, or certainly I have some pretty high expectations. If you're anything like me you'll often have designed in your mind the perfect justification for why you 'needed' such a product. Take the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette. When this was covered by bloggers I decided this palette would change my life despite not being that familiar with the Nars brand. A large selection of eyeshadows in neutral shades this would be my go to eyeshadow palette. All I would need. One step away from bringing peace to the world. It wasn't cheap but it was worth it, I just knew it. Unfortunately I dithered and missed out on it's first run which as is often the case when you can't have something, you want it more so when it's next release occurred I was ready.

I phoned Selfridges, had one put aside and dragged myself from bed and into London to purchase. I was happy. Euphoric. Life was good. But some time later would I purchase it again? I don't think so. Are the eyeshadows good, yes there are? But is the palette more loved than my Bourjois Smokey Eye Quad? Probably not.

It was a similar story with the Chanel Entrelacs Eyeshadow Palette, again it was going to change my life, all I would need but unfortunately the pigmentation was just a little off and it's paled in comparison to other products in my collection.

It's not all bad and you could argue I should research more, investigate the product at counters but as I've already mentioned sometimes you don't have the luxury of time. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is a favourite amongst bloggers and I remember the high when I managed to purchase in the US, despite it not being on the counter at Sephora one of the assistants checked out back and they'd been released and then it fell to the back of my collection. Recently I've been using this product and starting to love it but it's definitely been a slow burn.

In contrast if I buy a lipstick from Collection or Rimmel and it doesn't favour well I'll happily cast aside without another thought but it's the high end items I have the higher expectations of. Do you think that's fair? What are your thoughts?

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Superdrug Simply Pure Skincare Range

UK Budget Skincare

Having recently tried the Natural Collection Make Up range where every product is priced at £1.99 I thought it was time to see what affordable skincare options they are. Superdrug heard my plea and sent three products from the Superdrug Simply Pure Skincare Range where everything is £2.69 - and currently on offer for buy one get one half price.

First up to try is Superdrug Simply Pure Micellar Water* a mild, gentle and fragrance free product - as are all the Simply Pure products. Nothing fancy about the packaging but it's clear which always gets the thumbs up from me. Is it the best micellar water I've tried? I'm afraid not but as a first step for removing make up before going in with a cleanser I'm able to make use of it. Despite that it does remove make up well, I often remove eye make up with a micellar water first and then go in with a cleanser and I don't find any remaining product on the flannel so it's doing it's job.

Next is a product made famous by Sali Hughes causing it to sell out and Superdrug struggling to keep up with demand. That product is Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum*I find that serums are where I like to spend my money and at 37 years old I like to invest in a little more higher end purchases but who knows when my purse could feel the pinch and I might to rethinking my spending. The packaging is once again pretty simple although comes with a pump which I like. It's a typical serum texture somewhere between and a gel and applies nicely to the skin. I have been using this as a morning step in my routine and find that it sinks in and make up sits well on top. It's not so much bells and whistles but does the job if you're looking for something simple and basic.  It's not the best serum I own but for the price and perhaps if you're just looking for a hydration boost occasionally this is worth having to hand.

Finally is Superdrug Simply Pure Light Moisturiser* which is surprisingly good although my least favourite from the range of products I tried. This is a ridiculous thing to say but there's something about the tube I don't like and I'm sure if it was in a nice pot I'd take to the product much better. Packaging issues aside it's a pretty good moisturiser and I've found make up sitting on top nicely and it absorbs into the skin although I do find I'm a little tighter by the end of the day than I might be with other more expensive offerings. It has a slight tackiness which is perhaps why my make up applies on top nicely and I find that if I'm continually using this my skin errs more on the side of being dryer but if you have oily skin this could well be handy to use.

Has this budget brand convinced me to stop spending on luxury skincare, the honest answer is no. That said if I was looking to pick up some skincare items in a hurry, on the go then I would definitely reach for these. If you're a student looking to save some money or perhaps a little younger than I am then this is worth trying out.

What budget skincare items would you recommend?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Max Factor, An Introduction

Max Factor Make Up

A couple of months back I was invited along to a launch event for Max Factor Voluptuous False Lash Effect Mascara* and whilst it's not the done thing for bloggers to express excitement about goodie bags we come home with and be rather blase about the contents I was pleased for the opportunity to sample not just the mascara but more from Max Factor.

Does anyone else overlook Max Factor or is it just me? From my recent sampling I won't be overlooking them in future as I've really enjoyed the products.

Max Factor Mascara

The new Voluptuous False Lash Effect Mascara* is going to give you fuller, more lifted lashes thanks to an innovative brush wand with alternating fins and bristles to ensure all your lashes are gripped and coated with product. It's even been designed noting the typical length of lashes and allowing a 360 degree application. Believe me it was all very scientific.

At the end is a 'boost tip' designed for your bottom lashes although I don't fair too well with this and it's worth noting this is a big brush so it's not one to apply on the go or in a hurry.

Max Factor Marilyn Monroe Red Lipstick

I'm not sure how I missed the Max Factor Marilyn Monroe Lipstick Collection as it's right up my street combing too of my loves. Everyone woman should be able to find a red lipstick to suit them and this collection is there to help them. I received a couple of shades to try which I found both to be creamy and moisturising. In today's world well we're all loving liquid lipsticks and matte formulas it was nice to return to a more traditional formula.

There are four shades; Marilyn Ruby Red the original shade Marilyn was found of wearing and is your true red. If you're pale skinned and like to wear a red lip and winged liner then this is for you. Another for paler ladies is Marilyn Berry which is more of a pink toned red.

If you're looking for an orangey red then Marilyn Sunset Red is for you and is another favourite of mine. As a frequent red lip wearer but wanting to give a nod to the summer (even if the UK is barely showing any signs of the season!). And the final shade is a deeper red called Marilyn Cabernet
perhaps my least favourite shade but certainly one I'd look at wearing more in the Winter months.

I'm not really a fan of pink shades but I was happy to give Max Factor Masterpiece Nude Palette in Rose Nudes* a try. Whilst Max Factor isn't a brand I reach for and is perhaps stuck in my mind as a more traditional brand, perhaps for 'older woman' it's a shame the packaging gives a bad image. It's very cheap and plastic and why oh why are we still seeing these sponge applicators. The eye shadows themselves are nice, nothing too exciting (which is more personal preference) but with a fair pigmentation and range that you can create a number of looks from.

If you're planning to visit a Max Factor my picks would be the mascara and lipsticks but do share your favourites.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Review | Strictly Between Us

Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon was a book I really enjoyed reading and polished off in a matter of days. I found it fell into a 'grown up chick lit' category with a somewhat sinister edge.

Tamsin and her best friend Michelle have been inseparable since they were teenagers. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle's handsome husband.

So when Tamsin hears a rumour that Patrick is having an affair, she is furious. Unwilling to ignore it, Tamsin plots a scheme to catch Patrick in the act, using her assistant Bea as live-bait. It should be fool proof. After all, Tamsin can trust Bea with anything. From her daily coffee order to fetching her dry-cleaning, writing reports and doing all the filing - Bea does everything with a smile on her face. 

Except Tamsin never considered Bea might have her own agenda. And if she does, then Tamsin really needs to watch her back....

I enjoyed the way the story was shared, it felt like listening to a friend over a glass of wine telling the tale of someone they knew. Tamsin was telling you the story, it was written as if it you were being spoke directly to and I almost wanted to ask questions and often found myself smiling or nodding and at the very least understanding how often curiosity can kill the cat.

Tamsin was an intelligent successful woman but flawed and we all like to think we're not so naive until we find ourselves in a situation slapping our head against the wall. Some will naturally earmark the villains and one in particularly is extremely vile with no remorse for their actions whilst others are scrabbling around trying to protect themselves.  It's interesting to see the workplace relationships unfolding and something I could relate to on some levels.

This was the first book I'd read by Jane Fallon but I'll certainly be exploring some more.

*this post contains affiliate links

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Travel Essentials | Gillette Venus Snap

Apologies in advance but I'm off on holiday this week and I shall be insufferable. Forewarning that blog posts and social media coverage will be non-stop holiday talk starting today with a travel essential.

The Gillette Venus Snap Razor* launched with much fanfare last year and prior to it's UK release it was on of 'those' products that beauty enthusiasts would 'snap up' on their trips to the USA but fear not it is now available on your local high street.

Admittedly I don't know if any razor isn't exactly portable and often I choose a disposable razor to travel with but who doesn't love something in a smaller form, complete with its handy case to avoid cutting your hand on blades in your toiletry bag.

Don't be fooled by its petite size, the razor head is full sized, with refills available and the small handle is designed for easy grip and doesn't stop you gliding over knobbly knees or boney ankles.

Not just for travel it's ideal for storing in your desk drawer for those spontaneous nights out or keeping to hand in your gym bag.

I received a giftset that was put together for Christmas so had an opportunity to try Gillette Venus Satin Care Shave Gel* which I took to Florida with me earlier in the year. I actually used this frequently back in the day but lately my shower gels serve the purpose and in honesty it's not a product I would repurchase as I don't find it does any better a job. I haven't quite found the right measured amount but it lathers up a storm and it is good to see where you're actually shaving so it's great to avoid missing bits.

If you're off on holiday soon feel free to share the excitement with me.

*this post contains press samples

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque

Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque* is the newest release from the brand and clay or charcoal masks being my favourite type I was quite happy to give it a try.

So what does this new masque from Dermalogica say it can do? Well it's packed with ingredients to draw out excess oil and impurities, refine pores, calm redness, improve the skins texture and smoothness in addition to addressing skin ageing, dullness, breakouts and sensitivity. Yes all that in one tube. One use of this masque will instantly detoxify and brighten your skin - it's the perfect pre-night out treatment - although be wary if you're acne prone!

There's no surprises in it's application, apply to clean skin and leave for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, (you won't find this as drying or flaky as other masks of its type) wet your hands and gently massage the skin so that the exfoliation process can kick in. I often find clay masks something of a faff and things get a little messy but I'm doing well with this one, although make no mistake it's still a clay product. The exfoliation aspect also helps as you're not going straight in with a cloth to remove the product.

Dermalogica say that you can use this product up to four times a week, I myself tend to only dip in once a week but it's not to say I won't be reaching for it more frequently if my skin needs it.

After using the Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque I find that my skin looks bright and glowing, so much it's a shame I'm only heading to bed and no one will feel the benefit of my silky smooth skin. It's priced at £34 so it's pricey than your usual offerings but worth treating yourself if your skin needs some TLC.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Boots Beauty Box

Boots Beauty Box

I was sent a beauty box from Boots last December but too much festive spirit prevented me from sharing the contents with you then. The products have still made up my beauty kit and Christmas isn't the only time we like to party so I thought it was still appropriate to share.

Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette* has come to the attention even more recently when Jaclyn Hill raved about it on her channel. Unlike Sleeks usual black packing they've emphasised the 'highlighting' elements by using rose gold packaging, thus appealing to every blogger across the land.

Sleek Highlighting Palette

Inside the palette you will find four highlighting products; one cream and three powders, two of which are baked. The cream is Ecliptic, a shimmery rose beige and Hemisphere is a baked highlighter in lilac which gives a frosty finish. Subsolar is pale gold and finally is Equinox in a more peach tone.

I find that I use Hemisphere the least and I like Subsolar for more of a blush to add some warmth to my skin but all shades can be used to that luminous sheen we're all looking for during Summer - especially when the sun isn't actually shining for us!

If you're off on your travels and trying to keep your products to a minimum this is perfect as it'll give you multiple options in Sleek (see what I did there!) packaging - and the mirror comes in handy too.

Barry M Contour Kit

Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit* doesn't come in the fanciest of packaging but £6.49 isn't a bad price for the product inside. Three powders; a highlighter, and two shades of brown, medium and dark. The highlighting shade isn't for me, especially when paired alongside the Sleek palette but the contour shades work well and actually blend quite nicely. The high street is certainly upping their game where contouring is concerned. I tend to use the middle shade most frequently so whether I'd actually purchase this for just that one product is another matter.

Collection Eyeshadow Palette

I had a great experience with the Collection Little Mix Eyeshadow palettes so it wasn't a surprise that the Collection #YouStyleYourMood Eyeshadow Palette* was a success also. The price of eyeshadow palettes is sky rocketing it seems so it's great to find one under £10 on the high street. The only downside for me is the lack of mattes to use as transition shades and of course the packaging is a little blah but otherwise it's perfect for creating a number of looks.

Unfortunately there was a disappointment in the Boots Beauty Box and that was the Nail Apothecary Gel Effect Top Coat by Elegant Touch*. Unfortunately I've found this doesn't give a glossy finish and if anything dulls the look of my polish. I also found the brush too long that it was fiddly to work with. On a positive note it did help with avoiding chipping and nails did last a good few days but the finish spoiled it for me.

And the final product I haven't had an opportunity to use and they are limited edition so even you won't be able to try them out is the Eyelure Party Lashes Frozen Beauty*. These are amazing and I do hope that I will have an excuse and opportunity to wear them one day. Lashes interspersed with silver ribbons these are made for a special occasions.

*this post contains press sample and affiliate links

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DHC Beauty Lift Skincare Review

The joy of being a beauty blogger is always finding new products and ranges to test and try and one of those has been DHC, a Japanese skincare brand. I was sent DHC Beauty Lift Collection which is designed to hydrate and smooth your skin so you've left with a lifted appearance. Sounds good to me.

To set your expectations this is a luxury skincare brand with the products I'm sharing today ranging from £34 - £41. The packaging meets the price points expectations has sat very nicely atop my dressing table.

Starting with DHC Beauty Lift Lotion*, a hydrating lifting toner. This is an eye watering £34 for a product many consider to be fancy water. The price is somewhat justified in that it has a formula which will moisturise your skin and minimise fine lines and wrinkles thus giving you a smoother complexion. That said, and whether I'd pay to replace it, I really did enjoy using this and my skin has looked better for it in combination with the other products from the range.

For just £1 more you can find the DHC Beauty Lift Essence* which is a 'silky soft lifting serum' and we are used to paying a little more serums. Promoting firm, lifted looking skin it's another unique formula to minimise those lines and wrinkles, you'll see a theme going here. It's typical 'serum' formula in that the pump dispenses a gel like formula which absorbs into the skin nicely ready for your next step.

The next step in my morning routine was DHC Beauty Lift Milk* which contains pentapeptide-18 to help reduce the look of wrinkles and oat kernel extract to help sooth the skin. I found I was able to use this as my day moisturiser as the DHC Beauty Lift Intensive Lifting Cream* could be too rich for everyday use. The latter once again ticks all the boxes for promoting that firmer skin and will deeply hydrate your skin so it's perfect if you've had a long day. It really does feel luxurious to apply, perfect for adding something special to your evening skincare regime. If you have very dry skin you'll love this.

Overall my experience with DHC has been positive. I've been using and testing a lot of skincare over the recent months (not all at the same time obviously!) and my skin is really thanking me for it. Dry patches that plagued me during winter have disappeared and despite being another year old I don't think I've too many additional lines and wrinkles to hide!

Have you tried DHC products before? I'd love to hear your recommendations.

*this post contains press samples

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book Review | Mile High, Rebecca Chance

Rebecca Chance Mile High Book Review

I've talked before how my reading tastes are jumping all over the place these days. Whilst once I was a devoted 'chick lit' reader now I'm dabbling in dystopian worlds and journeying down darker paths. I still have a place for Rebecca Chance in my life. The books are perhaps tamer than your Jackie Collins novel but they still sit in that genre.

I often reach for this type of book when I'm going on holiday and want an enjoyable and easy read that I can pick up and put down as I see fit. It also says something that Mile High by Rebecca Chance
was purchased rather than borrowed from my local library.

Pure Air's new LuxeLiner is flying from London to LA - its inaugural journey - with a first class cabin packed with A-list celebrities. As the feuding crew compete to impress their famous passengers, the handsome pilot tries to win the attention of a pretty young stewardess.

But one VIP singer is battling something seriously sinister, watching her every steps is a very determined stalker, someone who will go to any lengths to get the star to satisfy their desires. At thirty thousand feet there is nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide....

Whilst this isn't in dark thriller territory there are still twists and turns and whilst I thought I had the suspect nailed, I was wrong. It's not my favourite book from Rebecca and perhaps could've been better suited to a shorter novella. That said I was happy with my purchase, enjoyed the peek into how the 'other half flies' and will be looking out for the next release.

*this post contains affiliate links

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Clif Bars Review

CLIF Cereal Bars

Commuting into London daily on the London Underground can be something of a chore and there's nothing worse than a rumbling stomach, especially when the trains are delayed. As well as taking a cup of coffee for my journey you'll always find a cereal bar of some description to ward of any hunger pangs.

As such I was more than happy for the America brand Clif Bar when they asked if I'd like to sample a selection of their products, including the latest release for Summer CLIF Bar Coconut Chocolate Chip*.

You'll find CLIF Bars in Holland & Barrett and depending on your lifestyle or diet will depend on how they can fit into your eating regime but whatever your taste I'm sure you'll find a flavour you'll love.

I started my trial on a Sunday evening and found that unlike a typical cereal bar I could eat in a couple of bits this is quite large and I was satisfied after eating half. They reminded me of flapjacks with their rolled oats.

CLIF Bars are a balanced energy bar to be used as a source of protein and fibre and 11 vitamins all contributing to the normal release of energy for use in the body. I am often judged for my choice of cereal bar being packed full of sugar although you'll find CLIF Bars are Carbohydrate rich so better used by the more active among us. When I mentioned these to my brother he said he was a fan and then chastised me for not letting him have them!

I had a look how CLIF bars would be received both Weight Watchers and Slimming World fans and they don't stand up too well, although perhaps if you were able to halve them you'd find a better balance and benefit. I did find that eating one would stop me snacking so again, it depends on how you like to eat. Forgoing the packet of crisps or Caramel Latte at 11am was a positive step in my book.

CLIF bars come in a range of flavours such as Blueberry Crisp and Crunchy Peanut Butter to name a few and are priced at around £1.70 and perfect for on the go.

What is your favourite grab and go snack?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Friday, June 10, 2016

An affordable on the go iphone charger

If you're an iPhone user I'm sure you've smiled to yourself at the meme that does the round suggesting that an iPhone needs to be charged so frequently it's practically a landline. iPhone batteries are notoriously bad for holding any charge and with the current Snapchat trend ensuring batteries are drained are at an even more rapid rate when I headed to Florida earlier in the year a portable charger was something of a must have.

I cannot tell you how many chargers I've had to buy over the years due to impromptu nights or similar when that moment of fear kicked in at 'low battery'. I had dabbled with a Juicy Cube charger which was useless. I would charge it, carry it around in my bag but every time I'd go to use it there would be no charge left in it. I'm not sure if I had a faulty one but it made me skeptical of other offerings.

Taking to Twitter I had lot's of 'I'm interested to know this too' when I pleaded for recommendations but none were forthcoming. The one or two I found on my investigations seemed expensive and I wasn't sure I wanted, nor was it necessary to spend so much. As much as I've need chargers on my travels on a typical basis I'm stuck in an office so can easily charge up at my desk.

I can't remember if it was a recommendation from someone or I stumbled across the EasyAcc Portable Charger on Amazon, nonetheless after reading the reviews it seemed liked the best option being both lightweight and affordable at less than £20. Departing for Florida in a matter of days I placed the order and hoped for the best.

I'm pleased to report my gamble paid off and this charger saved many a low battery situation during my trip. I used my iPhone as a camera during my trip and found that for a full day I only had to recharge early afternoon and I could go the rest of the day. Plugging in to charge is simple using the yellow lead which is long enough to make holding both units easy but not too long you're tangled in wired.

A Nokia / Blackberry charger is used for the Power Bank so it does mean two different plug socket chargers are required but it's a small price to pay. I now keep the Power Bank in my handbag at all times and it's saved many a low battery situation without having to hunt down a supermarket or similar and buy another charger. Dramatic, but it's been a life saver!

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

PRO:VOKE Liquid Blonde Range

PRO:VOKE are a hair brand I wasn't really familiar with until recently due to being a brunette but you might know them for their Touch of Silver range if you need to keep your blonde hair free from brassiness.

Recently I lightened my hair and it was timed rather nicely with the new release of the Liquid Blonde range designed to meet the needs of those of us with highlighted or multi-toned blonde hair. By using Liquid Blonde we can enhance the colour and prolong, what I'm discovering is very costly visits to the hairdresser.

The first two products from the range are the Liquid Blonde Colour Activating Treatment Shampoo* and Liquid Blonde Intense Shine Conditioner* which are to be used once or twice a week to freshen your colour, with best results when you leave in for the advised 3 - 5 minutes. The shampoo contains Golden Blonde Pigments which tone and treat highlighted blonde shades. This is perfect to use before a big night out if you're looking to boost your colour.

When using the conditioner ensure you apply a generous amount and your hair will be left glossy with shine as I'm realising that my colour treated hair can very quickly look dry or lackluster.

To prevent any colour build up in between the aforementioned treatments I am using the Liquid Blonde Colour Care Shampoo and Conditioner*. Both protects work to protect against environmental pollution, boost shine and their light reflecting particles ensure your colour stays vibrant

I went to the salon for a touch up on my colour last weekend and the hairdresser even commented on how well my hair was reacting to the colour and it wasn't looking damaged so thank you Liquid Blonde.

Do share how you look after your blonde hair, especially any tips for protecting it in the sun.

*this post contains press samples

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Favourite Make Up Brushes

Make up brushes, the tools of the trade and the product that can make or break any make up look. Hmmm perhaps that is a little to over enthusiastic but there's something to be said for a decent make up brush aiding someone who is wanting to learn and hone their skills.

To say I was always a fan of make up brushes is a stretch but I did enjoy the process of buying, my early collection came from The Body Shop and in recent years US trips saw me stocking up on Sonia Kashuk. I also shouldn't tell you my old method of washing them would be rinsing under the tap and then dumping in a jug of water for a few hours/days. Thankfully now my current brush cleaning method is far more effective.

Ramblings over let's actually talk about what my favourite make up brushes and why starting with the foundation brushes. It'll be no surprise that first up is the Real Techniques Buffing Brush which annoyingly can only be purchased inside the Real Techniques Core Collection. I've tried the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and even the Bold Metals 101 Triangle Foundation Brush but neither compare to the Buffing Brush for me.

This is the closest I get to an airbrushed finish without that Snapchat filter and I find it works well with all types of foundation I own. Even if I'm rushed with my make up application I still get good results, and when working at my leisure even better.

Sephora's Pro Airbrush 55 brush is definitely one I use when I have more time on my hands as I find the longer bristles make hasty application a little harder. I typically have used this in the past with my beloved Make Up Forever HD Foundation and it is a beautiful partnership. I was even able to pick up a smaller handled travel size which I will be testing out this month when I'm off on holiday.

New to me is Brush Works Multi Tasking Brush* from MakeUpBrushes.co.uk. This website features a lot of familiar make up brush brands, with fast dispatch and free first class delivery. I was able to take a look round the website and pick a brush or to try, the Multi Tasking brush being one of them. I was keen to see how it would fair against my favoured Buffing Brush and it's a hit. I have a pile of make up brushes sitting in my kitchen waiting for cleaning so I've been able to give the Brush Works Multi Tasking Brush a through testing and I'm pleased with what I'm seeing. Dense fibres create the perfect conditions for blending my foundations and for £6.99 I'm happy.

I'm not very adventurous with my eye make up but I find that a trio of brushes from Mac really help make my life easier. Eyeshadow colours are packed on with the Mac 239 Eye Shader Brush, I pick up a new Mac 217 Blending Brush from Duty Free whenever I travel, it really is worth the hype. And a new addition is the Mac 219 pencil brush which I dip in and out of using depending on the look.

Of course these aren't the cheapest of brushes and it seems like Real Techniques, the typical high street make up offering don't provide a good selection of make up brushes. That's where Zoeva fit in. I have the Zoeva Rose Gold 227 Luxe Soft Definer Brush* and I might even love it a little more than the Mac 217. I use this a lot during the week when I'm just reaching for a single eyeshadow and it blends it beautiful. Often the proof is in the cleaning and this cleans up a treat with no shedding to speak of. I definitely think it's time I added a few more Zoeva brushes to my collection - send me your recommendations.

I was also sent the So Eco Eye Brush Set* from MakeUpBrushes.co.uk which contains a concealer brush, eye shading brush, angled eye liner brush and finally a lash and brow comb which I have to ask why we are still be subjected to these - does anyone use them? Although the spooly is a greatyly appreciated.

My two top picks from the list are the eye shading brush and angled eye liner. Wider than the Mac 239 it allows for packing on those one colours without needing too much detail. I'm usually loyal the to the Mac 266 Small Angled Brush but I don't know what it is about it, I keep losing them! Luckily I have had the So Eco version to hand to play with. It's thicker than the Mac version so not ideal for detailed work but it's serving me well until I hit duty free and great to have in the collection for use between washing or if I want to go a little thicker with my liner (I use powders typically).

If I have one or two of these brushes to hand I can apply my make up with ease. What are your favourite brushes?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Travel Essentials

What's that we see in the sky? Could it be the sun? Yes the past two days have been glorious sunshine and whilst there may be rain on the horizon I thought I'd jump in quickly and share with you a few Summer essentials whether you'll be chasing the UK sun or travelling abroad like I am in two weeks time.

First up is MonuPlus Beauty Balm* which I've been enjoying on my no make up days at weekends. The MonuPlus Beauty Balm is designed to 'energise and awaken the complexion' with Orange and Neroli Essential Oils to calm redness and broken capillaries - so perfect if you've enjoyed two many margaritas and late nights on your holiday.

Applied after your moisturiser this is perfect for smoothing out the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles so a great addition before heading to the beach if you need a little more confidence. You can even apply a thick layer and leave for 15 minutes creating a mask that leaves skin looking it's best if you have a big night out on your holiday when you know lot's of selfies will be taken.

If you're travelling long haul on your holiday or staying in an air conditioned apartment then keeping your skin hydrated will be important. Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream* is from an Australian brand using 100% natural ingredients such as Chamomile and Green Tea (to soothe and calm) and Pomegranate (to promote skin elasticity).

The perfect natural moisturiser which protects against dehydrating environmental effects it is easily absorbed in the skin and makes it the perfect addition to your in flight beauty kit.

When I am heading on holiday you could almost say I enjoy the packing and planning process more than the holiday itself. I love nothing more than putting together check lists and one of the things I always used to include was some sort of first aid kit. The reality was that beyond a few plasters and paracetamol for those hangovers the other bumph would be taking up unnecessary space.

That said I'm quite keen to make space for NatraSan First Aid Spray* in it's handy travel buddy size as I have a feeling it will come in handy. Whether you're backpacking or relaxing in a luxurious beach resort I think you'll find a use for this new first aid spray.

NatraSan First Aid Spray contains pure hypochlorous acid which is the body's own antiseptic. And what does that do? Helps our body to kill all manner of germs that can be found in planes (tray tables are apparently harbouring more bacteria than the toilets - yuk!) but its also effective against pesky bites, minor burns from that Summer BBQ.

This handy 100ml size is perfect to check the box for having something to tackle the chance of a bite but more importantly having a sanitiser on hand. Anything that says it kills 99.9999% of germs gets the thumbs up in my book. I'll be testing more thoroughly in a couple of weeks so stay tuned.

This Works is a brand that is far much more than their famous Deep Sleep Pillow Spray and recently I've had the opportunity to try out This Works Energy Bank Skin Glow*. Marketed as a 'battery pack in a bottle' this all in one serum and skin luminiser is great for those of us that find sleeping a challenge or perhaps are exhausted and sleep deprived with jet lag.

You can use This Works Energy Bank Skin Glow* in place of or in addition to moisturiser so it makes a suitable companion for the Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream* or MonuPlus Beauty Balm*. If you're looking to maximise your products on holiday and find those that can achieve multiple uses then why not try adding to your foundation or as an illuminating primer step.

Perhaps you're travelling for business and need to boost your mental and physical alertness then this formula that contains Ylang Ylang ticks the box as well as balancing Geranium and revitalising Rosemary. All these ingredients are there to uplift and leave your radiant for any day ahead even if it's just battling tourists on your City Break.

Another product from the brand is This Works Skin Deep Beauty Oil* which comes in a travel friendly rollerball. Applied to pulse points as either a fragrance or mood booster, thanks to the plant oil ingredients, during your flight or simply as on the go boost of hydration to your skin this is very much a handbag essential. It's a simple way to add a little first class luxury in even the smallest economy sized seat.

Moving on to more intimate products and the travel sized Femfresh Daily Intimate Wash* which I've blogged about in it's more traditional size here. No one wants their holiday spoiled by discomfort and irritation and all that sea and sand can cause havoc. Designed especially for 'down there' it's well worth sticking to your routine if you find regular shower gels lead to issues. I traveled with Femfresh Wipes* when I went to Florida earlier in the year and they really came in handy if you found yourself in a bathroom without toilet paper - and even for any handy cleans ups from sticky ice cream .

Finally it'll be no surprise that if I'm heading to warmer climates I'll be armed with Sure Maximum Protection* my everyday must-have essential. Yes I could find a smaller, more travel friendly deodorant but I'd rather not take the chance and like to stick with what I know. I might not be the most active person on holiday (I'll be watching beach volleyball rather than participating) I still like to ensure that the walk from the hotel to that beachside cocktail bar doesn't leave me a sweaty mess.

What are your Summer Holiday essentials?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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