Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Release Seventeen Mega Matte Lipsticks

Seventeen Mega Matte Lipsticks

Matte lipsticks are everywhere and whilst my collection tends to lean more towards Liquid Lipsticks from the likes of Maybelline and Revlon I don’t own very many straight forward matte lipsticks. Enter the new Seventeen Mega Matte Lipsticks* and their twelve strong line of shades which I was lucky enough to pick three favourites from to try.

Seventeen Mega Matte Lipsticks promise to glide on smoothly providing a bold and intense matte lip, with a non-drying and creamy formula which will last up to 13 hours. The question is, for £3.49 each does this budget friendly matte lip meet these claims?

The first shade I tried was, Roses Are Red* and I was overwhelmed with how pigmented it was. I have found each of the shades a little stiff and dry when I first applied but on the lips I’m not experiencing any dryness. I won’t go so far to say it’s ‘creamy’ but there are definitely not drying. In comparison I’ve found them to be less drying that the SephoraMatte Lip Creams. The shade of red was just what I like, true red and there’s nothing I like more than a matte red lip. As for wear time I’ll site my usual disclaimer. I’m a smoker so you can always discount longevity on the lips as a factor in my reviews although compared to many other products I did find that it stuck around on my lips a lot longer and wore in the middle slower than I’m used.

Seventeen Mega Matte Lipstick Swatches

A deeper shade of red and one for those who love the look of ‘red wine lips’ is Rioja Your World*. I’ve tried this only to see how it looks on and love it. Being such a deeper shade I will be putting this on hold to wear come Autumn. The shade getting most attention from me at the moment is Coral of the Story*. This reminds me a lot of RimmelEast End Snob Lip Liner and is not what I’d call a coral but simple ‘pink’. It’s the perfect matte pink shade that can be worn with anything. I’m slightly more cautious with the lighter shades in matte form although I have found this to be very wearable and if I feel like I want some shine I add my NYXButter Gloss in Éclair.

Seventeen helpfully provide some ‘instructions’ on how to get the most out of your Mega Matte Lipsticks which include the obvious steps of exfoliating your lips, using a liner and apply with a lip brush which I’m definitely keen to try for the darker shades. I always struggle with lipsticks when they’re flat and round, whilst these are perfect size for the bow of my lips I find it’s quite awkward to apply than the typical bullet shape so I think working with a liner and brush will help achieve a perfect application.

Are you a matte lip fan? 

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Worth The Hype? | URBAN DECAY Alice through the looking glass eyeshadow palette

Alice in Wonderland Urban Decay Palette

Alice in Wonderland Urban Decay Palette

As an fan of Alice in Wonderland and a beauty blogger it was a no brainer that I would succumb and purchase Urban Decay's Alice Through The Looking Glass Eyeshadow Palette. I pretended that I was merely sharing an interest when I swanned past the Urban Decay stand at my local House of Fraser but one look and I was sold. But was it worth that's the question I'm asking myself today.

In short the answer is yes and no. Did I love it when I purchased it, certainly but since then has it been shown the love and become a favourite product I couldn't be without? Not really. But it's 'Alice in Wonderland' you cry. Well to be honest even that factor hasn't been enjoyed to it's full advantage.

The packaging of this palette is what drew me in, whimsical, three dimensional but in truth my love for Alice tends to stem from the Disney character and a more quirkier image, in fact I haven't even seen the film that sparked this collaboration. Instead it's boxed shape fits neatly on top of my dressing table and the pull out draw makes it easier to access the eyeshadows when I use them. Which I do.

Alice in Wonderland Urban Decay Palette

Alice in Wonderland Urban Decay Palette

The eyeshadows themselves, all twenty of them were apparently 'brand new' although I did not own any previously to compare or double up on them so they would always be new to me. It's a jumbled 'Mad Hatter' of a palette which appealed. I'm not exactly sporting green or pink eyeshadow on a regular basis but would this be the palette to change that? Not so far.

So what have I loved about this palette? Well the answer is there a few shades that I do reach for on a regular basis when I don't really want to think about what I'm doing. As I've said this sits permanently on top of my dressing table and I simply pull the draw out and away I go.

The shades I've enjoyed using are the obviously more wearable of the bunch and I really can't fault them for texture, pigmentation and they work well.

Duchess is my safe bet, a peachy pink shade with a frosted finish that works well all over the lid and usually paired with Dormouse your medium brown matte shade in the crease. If I'm feeling a little bit 'crazy' then I'll use Paradox on the lid which is another frost in orange tones.
Kingdom is another frost finish in a pinky brown shade that gets the all over the lid treatment and if I'm daring then Chronosophere the frosted deeper version smokes things out and finally there's Cheesboard a darker brown which works for me as a liner.

Alice in Wonderland Urban Decay Palette

Obviously that's quite a fair yet safe combo of colours I've been working with but a least I'm putting the palette to use. Lately I've been catching the eye of Salazen Grum, a frosted red that reminds me of a more muted Mac Cranberry and will be perfect for some Autumnal experimentation along with Cake a a pinky purple shade.

So maybe the greens and blue shades may never get a look in and I don't regret the purchase at all as I am putting it to use but perhaps it wasn't worth my impulsiveness and I should've admired from afar.

Did you pick up this palette or are sorry you missed out on it?

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

High End US Beauty Haul

When my BFF Rose announced she was moving to America I should’ve been distraught. And of course I was that she would no longer be a short drive away when we wanted to catch up but on the other hand I was over the moon that I now had a ‘US Beauty Shopper’. Any beauty product that I would previously lust after longingly could now be mine without the costly expensive of an international fight or worries about customs charges. Fantastic news!

I must say in the time that Rose has been living in the US she has been amazing at helping me tick items off my US Beauty Wishlist and recently I put in some requests for two ‘must have’ products, one of which I certainly would’ve struggled to get hold of had it not been for her US mailing address. That is of course the Lorac Pro 3 Palette. Which you will have had a teaser for in last months favourites.

I’m lucky enough to have all three of the Lorac Pro Eyeshadow Palettes thank to my lovely American dwelling friends. Rose sent me the Lorac Pro Palette for my birthday and Grace was kind enough to send the Lorac Pro Palette 2 as an act of kindness last year. I mused whether the lust and love for the Lorac Pro Palette is as much for them being so hard to get hold of. As more and more US brands are accessible to us Brits, Ulta the stockist of Lorac still does not ship to the UK, nor does the brand itself and the stores are typically in locations outside of the usual tourist shopping malls.

As soon as I saw the Lorac Pro Palette 3 I put Rose on standby and she went above and beyond when she received an email from Ulta advising her that she was able to take advantage of an early release date. Yay for me. As I said in my favourites videos this palette is no different in format to the previous two. Slim, sturdy packaging that makes them ideal for travel, in fact this is currently on holiday with me in Italy. You have sixteen shades, eight mattes, eight shimmers and there are so many ways of wearing them that even an eyeshadow amateur such as myself can do great things.  

Admittedly when this palette arrived I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be as I thought it was a little boring but those initial reservations have long gone. This is the ‘little black dress’ of make up palettes, the perfect selection of neutrals, the comfy black pants you’re wearing under that killer outfit. As I’ve said I chose to take this on holiday with me as one of the reasons for my trip is a christening. So whilst many of the days away will be spent ‘casually’ I wanted to ensure I had the make up to make a little more effort for the special occasion and this is just the ticket with its pigmented and buttery formula. Any novice can go to work with these shadows with minimal mistakes.

The Sephora Lip Cream in the shade Strawberry Kiss was actually a gift from my sister-in-law when she visited the US for work and was a request after enjoying Always Red and wanting to add another to my collection. I really love this shade and it’s a great alternative to red when I still want a bright lip but some pinks look a little garish on me. I was so happy with the colour I actually gave space to it in my make up bag when I went to Menorca last month and wore it often. I do find that after prolonged wear by the end of the day my lips can be suffering a little and this is perhaps one of the worst lip products that I can be left with nothing but a stark ‘lip liner’ look if I’m not careful but that doesn’t stop me loving them.

Finally in my small ‘haul’ is the much hyped product, the BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette, a brand/YoutTuber collaboration that has sparked much controversy but nonetheless has lot of love and hype around. I’m not really a highlighter person, or when I say that it’s an area that is so very new to me I’m only just finding my feet. If I were to walk into the office with a beam of light coming off my cheeks I’m sure my colleagues would question my sanity but highlighters are a product I’m growing to love and are becoming part of my everyday make up look.

When Champagne Pop was first released the blogging world went crazy and everyone was praising how amazing it was but for my aforementioned reasons I was happy to hold back. If I’d been in the US and stumbled across a Sephora I’m sure it would’ve made its way home with me but it wasn’t something I was desperate for and when it was made available in the UK I was worried about the delicate nature of it leading to many smashed pans and the fact I’m not really one for online beauty shopping.

Fast forward to the palettes’ release and I decided now was the time to jump on the bandwagon. It made sense, not just the ‘famous’ Champagne Pop but three blushes and a new highlighter shade all encased in some pretty amazing packaging. A side note on this packaging it was very luxurious but weighty. I did have in mind that this would make a perfect travel accessory but I’d be cautious now due to its size.

We’ll start by saying that I’m not overly enamored with this palette. It’s nice, and I don’t know if I can blame the hype, the controversy or my make up skills but I’m just not feeling the love. As many have reviewed the powders in this palette are dryer than the individual pans and I’m so used to hearing Jaclyn Hill talk about how ‘buttery’ her highlighters are I’m a little disappointed.

If you’re a fan of the palette or have investigate thoroughly you will know that there are five shades for you to play with, two highlighters and three blushes. The two highlighters are the famous Champagne Pop and the newer Prosecco Pop, both shades of gold the former with orange undertones and the later yellow. For me, an amateur MUA at best, there isn’t enough of a difference between these two highlighters to make me go ‘wow’ and where gold highlighters are concerned my preference is Mac Magnetic Appeal and the yellow tones would be Charlotte Tilbury’s Bar of Gold Highlighter.

Moving on to the blushes which again don’t spark any joy unfortunately. I have enjoyed using Rose Spritz a little but in comparison to my newly purchased Make Up Revolution Rose Gold Lights it leaves me wanting. I don’t find there’s enough variation in this palette to make it something I can’t live without nor are the products achieving anything I can’t find elsewhere and with more pleasing results. I will continue to play with this palette as I’m sure I just need to find the way it can work for me but if I had the opportunity again I don’t think I would’ve hit ‘buy now’.

A mixed bag from this US Beauty Haul but us beauty fans must take the good with the bad. Have you tried any of these products from the US?

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Monday, August 22, 2016

My First Chanel | The Chanel Cambon Pouchette

Chanel Cambon Pouchette

Today I’m revisiting my handbag collection series to share with you my first purchase from Chanel, the quilted Chanel Cambon Pouchette. I’d like to tell you that angels sung when I made this purchase of what is a rather lovely bag and my first Chanel at thay but it was a little bit disappointing. Until its purchase sometime in the early 2000’s I had of course lusted after the classic Chanel bags which at the time (and more so now for that matter!) were out of my price range.

During a shopping trip to Harrods I spotted this cute little bag for the 'bargain price' of £550, well that seemed achievable. And whilst I look back now, and the reason for my regret was why I didn't just think let's save a little bit more money and buy the bag I really wanted. Clarly the impatient gal I am got the better for me and buying 'any Chanel' seemed like a great idea and I can’t deny that the bag has treated me well. I had this in my possession at a time when I was out all night partying and I wouldn't treat it particularly kindly.

In fact it actually ended up with the zip pull breaking and the lining all torn in the inside which was actually a blessing as I lost it one night in my local nightspot. When I called the next morning to enquire whether it had been handed in they confirmed it had but my camera had been taken. Note the camera was decidedly cheaper than the bag. Obviously this was not a time when everyone had a designer label hanging off their arm whether it was Michael Kors or YSL so it would seem that whoever stumbled across the discarded bag was ignorant to the beauty of Chanel and even if they were decided that this was clearly a fake and not worth their time.

Chanel Bag £550

As bag for nights out this bag was very handy. It was the more 'sophisticated' version of my Louis Vuitton Accessories Pouch and being black would 'go with anything'. It's a fair size that would hold my camera, the larger mobile phones of it's time, sufficient cigarettes to take me through a night out and some make up for touch ups.  

As life changed and different bags and my occasions for a night out differed I cannot tell you the last time I used this bag which is a shame. Today I prefer a crossbody bag for nights out or perhaps a clutch and there's something about the strap which isn't long enough to sit too comfortable under the arm, in fact the bag will literally sit in my armpit and it's feel quite bulky. For whatever reason I don't find myself reaching for it very often although as I type this post I think I need to change that, especially as it's not a style that Chanel make any longer and you'll only be able to find a preloved one now if it's something you wanted.

I mentioned earlier in this post how I didn't treat the bag too kindly and as I've watched the recent YouTube videos of peoples handbag collections and how well they treat their bags I decided to show my Chanel Cambon Pouchette some love. I took myself to the Bond Street Chanel Store and sought out having it repaired. 

Chanel Cambon Pouchette

That is the beauty of spending an obscene amount of money on a bag that repairs will be done, and often free of charge. The lining in my bag was replaced, not with the exact same bright pink lining but a different one which makes this bag 'an original' of sorts. They replaced the broken zipper and it is 'good as new'. Another pro for making an expense purchase is that this bag has lasted without a spot of damage other than what I mentioned and now it's had it's make up it is really as good as new.

If there is any lesson to be learned if there is a bag you desire, save up for it. The price of designer handbags is rapidly rising so I'd argue the longer you put off buying the bag you want the more expensive it'll become. I am lucky enough to own two additional Chanel bags, the Classic I so lusted after which I will share with you in another post but I can tell you it was purchased for not much more than the Chanel Wallet on a Chain I brought earlier this year. If I were looking into it's purchase now I really don't think I would be able to justify it's purchase.

Are you a Chanel handbag fan?

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Friday, August 19, 2016


It's Summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele - a wife, mother, teacher - it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socialising with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn't know she'd been missing. Real lift, and the person she used to be, beings to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realising, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

Typically I read your average length book during my week long commute. If I really love the book it’ll be a matter of days as I not only reach for the book on the train but dip in and out at home or binge the last few chapters as I seek to know how the story will end. The Swimming Pool byLouise Candlish took me two weeks to read which will tell you very simply it was not for me.

I had high hopes for this ‘gripping’ tale wanting a return to darker tale but quite frankly I was utterly bored, disappointed and I’m baffled at what I have missed. Whenever I do not enjoy a book I turn to the more positive book reviews to try and see if it’s simply me that is missing something but I am at a loss.

The opening prologue sets a scene of sorts that you know something has gone amiss and have a slight intrigue wondering who was ‘it’ but after that it just felt like a never ending and boring attempt at dropping hints and attempting to create tension. In fact I like many of the other negative reviewers I’ve found skim read a lot of this book. As I’ve said it took me twice as long to read this as any other book as I just didn’t have enough interest to want to pick up and turn the page instead of refreshing my Twitter feed for the hundredth time.

Without providing spoilers the book does have an interesting attempt at showing how even adults can be swept along with wanting to be friends with the ‘cool kids’ and how even as an adult you have moments of madness in which you let your usual moral standards slip.

I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likeable and rather two dimensional if I’m honest. They were to me the generic versions of their type and in fact the ‘dark sides’ people refer to and lead to chills felt rather tame to me. I couldn’t relate in anyway or have any investment in what was happening, I could understand to a point but it felt so obvious how the story was told that it was as if I’d heard it all before.

The one saving grace for me and was almost worth reading in its entirety was there was a nugget of the story which had another breadcrumb dropped on the last few pages which had an eyebrow raised and provided something to go ‘aha so…’ and allow for my own conclusions.

Do let me know if you’ve read The Swimming Pool and what you made of the story. 

*this post contains affiliate links

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Rose Gold Beauty Haul

Rose Gold Beauty

As bloggers we’re well versed in the justification for our spending being ‘but it’s for the blog’ although I learnt long ago that I had neither the means or ability to keep up with every new beauty release. That said every so often one or two products slip through this invisible net especially when paired with the other excuse that ‘the blogger made me do it’ and today’s post is showcasing those.

It’s only fair to start with the product that started my small spending spree, Monsoon Rose Gold Perfume* which ironically as my asterix tells you was a gifted product. My parents are kind enough to take delivery of my press samples (my dad doesn’t quite understand and believes I have some sort of online shopping addiction) and even nicer is that my mum will drop them off throughout the week so I can admire then when I arrive home from work. Monsoon Rose Gold Perfume was one of those products she had delivered for me and it’s rather beautiful packaging, a white and rose gold box sat atop my desk waiting for its photo shoot at the weekend whilst I enjoyed a spritz here and there.

Monsoon Rose Gold

I had always considered myself a perfume snob in so much as my favourite perfumes are often from the well-known brands such as Chanel but having tried the 007 Fragrance for Women I knew that was no longer justifiable so I was keen to sample Monsoons offering as well as giving them a pat on the back for playing on the trend for rose gold.

The fragrance is more floral than what I would usually lean towards but light enough that I have enjoyed wearing it. I find it’s more suited to day and reminds me of Liz Earle No 20 Botanical Essence. It’s combination of top notes such as rose, tuberose, neroli and cyclamen combined with the base notes of Eastern woods, vanilla, mosses, musk and balsamic amber create a feminine fragrance which belongs in the modern world. In fact I took into work with me yesterday to share with a friend who immediately commented positively and said she too isn’t a lover of floral scents but finds this one to be appealing.

Moving on it is often the case with products I receive throughout the week I will spend my time musing about how I will feature these on Florence and Mary. Will it be an individual review? Do I have any other products that will compliment and create a feature and on it goes. On a trip to Superdrug which I will explain my reasons for later I stumbled across the newly installed Make Up Revolution stand. Top tip for London dwellers, if you want to look at beauty products without dirty stands and testers hit branches in the City area as they tend to be better kept than West End branches. My eyes were immediately drawn to the Vivid Baked Highlighter in Rose Gold Lights. Did I need it? Of course not and having just purchased the Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Palette it was hardly necessary but then I thought oh what about a ‘Rose Gold Beauty Haul’… for the blog.. featuring this and the aforementioned perfume. Job done and the highlighter was mine. And I’m oh so glad I parted with that mere £3 because I’m a lot in love with this product.

It does look a little scary in the pan but do not be afraid because Rose Gold Lights is a beauty. I have a post on my highlighter collection coming up soon and it’s still an area I’m learning about and find myself leaning more towards blushers with a satin finish or a little shimmer for my cheeks. This fits the bill perfectly and is ideal for wearing to work and not blinding anyone with highlight in my meetings. So taken am I with this product I’ve text all my friends immediately and shared the love as I did on Instagram yesterday. Whilst this is not a dupe for Rose Spritz in the Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Palette if it is a shade you’ve been lusting over and want something more affordable I would recommend you check this out.

I alluded earlier in my post that there was a reason for my jaunt to Superdrug and that I was already armed with the excuse ‘the blogger made me do it’ and that blogger was Lydia Elise Millen. I along with many saw her Snapchat on how she was creating a ‘false lash effect’ with two mascaras; L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes So Couture Mascara and L’Oreal Paris False Lash Sculpt Mascara. which you can see on my Instagram today. I wanted to investigate for myself knowing I was already a fan of the L’Oreal Superstar Mascara and its ‘false lash effect’. I can confirm that this mascara duo is a good one although I feel like I need to put in a little more practice but as someone who lacks the time or inclination for false eye lash application this is a worthy alternative. On first use I really appreciate how long my lashes appeared and using the Lash Sculpt meant you could see ‘individual’ lashes rather than a more clumped appearance that others would give.

L'Oreal Make Up Gold Obsession

Of course the photo tells you that I didn’t stop at L’Oreal mascara and in fact took advantage of the 2 for 3 offer in Superdrug on L’Oreal Make up and came home with a rather lovely new red lipstick. Once again did I need another red lipstick? Of course not but something drew me away from the L’Oreal Sexy Balms I originally had in mind to the Gold Obsession Collection.

I had no prior knowledge about this collection and I cannot find much online since, aside from a sneakpeek from Really Ree nor any links to Rouge Gold the shade I chose. Ree mentioned this was a collection launching in the US this month and it appears one or two products have snuck their way into UK stores and I’m pretty happy to have discovered them. There was a gorgeous purple shade which I have my eye on for the Autumn season but from what I can see of the nude and pink shades I would love to try them out too.

I don’t believe I’ve had much experience of L’Oreal lipsticks before but I want to change that after this experience. Rouge Gold is a traditional bright red with a shot of gold shimmer running through that makes lips glisten rather than glitter. It’s something I would look at on paper and think it’s not for me but it translates so well. It’s perfect for the Summer but will translate so nicely to cooler months and I can’t wait to rock this at Christmas parties. I also tend to ignore any thought towards longevity on the lips because as a smoker I expect my lipstick to disappear quickly and require regular application but I’ve found myself impressed on this occasion. I managed to arrive at work after my morning cigarette and commuter coffee with the lipstick still intact which is almost unheard of.

And that brings my small, but successful rose gold haul to a close. What do you think of my purchases.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Quiz Clothing in Menorca

Quiz Blue Maxi Dress Size 16

Quiz Clothing was not a brand I had shopped with before. Their online presence not as dominant in the blogosphere as say BooHoo and when I'd pass the branch during my frequent trips to Westfield I wrote it off as being one of those shops girls somewhat younger than myself purchase from. In fact my most overriding 'memory' of Quiz Clothing was my friends and I being fascinated that they had a branch in The Dubai Mall. That is until recently when they got in touch and asked if I'd like to review something from their new Occasion Wear line.

Whilst I am always interested in trying something new I was a little apprehensive. I am not a fashion blogger, although keen to explore the opportunity but more importantly I was concerned my curvy figure can make picking the right clothing size problematic. And then of course would I like the clothing based on my previous misconceptions?

Whilst there were some fabulous looking evening dresses available I did not have any such occasion on the horizon but my trip to Menorca was looming so I chose the Aqua Flower Print Chiffon Maxi Dress* which I thought would be perfect for my trip.

I ordered in a size 16 which is my 'typical' size and it was a perfect fit and I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it on at how the dress felt in quality and appearance. I thought to myself how appropriate it would be for my holiday when I'd be indulging in food and drink and it's loose fit meant that I'd have some 'breathing room' for any extra holiday pounds I gained.

For travel it was ideal, the chiffon fabric did not crease and I was able to simply roll and pop into my suitcase safe in the knowledge there would be no need for an iron on arrival. Even better was the evening I put this on as we headed to the town of Binibeca my friends asked if the dress was Ted Baker. At £29.99 (although you can grab this at the sale price of £14.99) it was as far removed from the price of Ted Baker but I was quite pleased to note that on appearance it gave the impression it was.

I paired the dress with a chunky necklace in a peachy orange shade that complimented my Michael Kors pouch (my holiday essential!). I did try to investigate a belt to draw in my waist a little and in hindsight I wish I'd looked into a rope style as I think that would've worked although I was keen not to have too much going on.

In summary my first experience of Quiz Clothing has been positive. I often find that being a size 16 and have lumps and bumps to conceal that I need to spend a little more on my clothes to ensure thicker fabrics cover my sins but it has been proved this is not the case. In fact so taken am I with this dress I'm already eyeing up the Navy and Red option currently available. I think it's time to step into that Quiz branch at Westfield.

Have you shopped with Quiz before?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bed Head by TIGI Volume Range Review

I'm surprised it's taken me so long to share with you my thoughts on the new Bed Head by TIGI volume range as it's one I'm loving. In fact I'm pretty sure the reason it's been omitted from my favourites is because I love each product from the range and it was waiting on this very post especially as all my friends have been told how they must get these products so it's only fair I share them with you.

My introduction to the range started when I was invited down to a hairdressers in Soho where I met with one of their stylists who talked me through the range and showed the products in action on my own hair. I must admit I can be a little skeptical about these types of events where a skilled stylist plumps and preens, I walk out looking fabulous but with no possibility of recreating the style myself. In this instance my skepticism was unfounded as I found the stylist talked me through what she was applying, how, why and gave me tips and tricks I could try at home on a relatable level.

As with any new hair range we start with the TIGI Bed Head Fully Loaded Massive Volume Shampoo* and Conditioner* which smell amazing. If you're a fan of sweet scents you'll love lathering this up in the shower. TIGI Bed Head Fully Loaded Massive Volume Shampoo says it will eliminate impurities and product build up which I do find apparent. Since bleaching my hair I've been reluctant to reach for my Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo since Zoe mentioned it can be stripping on dyed hair but I'm not finding my hair is typical weighed down or heavy as it would be usually.

Apparently you should see instant 'va-va-voom' which I don't think is the case when I leave my hair to air dry (which I'm doing a lot at the moment) but when I blast it with the hairdryer it certainly gives me more volume than I would expect. Likewise the TIGI Bed Head Fully Loaded Massive Volume Conditioner says will plump and thicken which I agree with more than the shampoo's claims. I do find it's jelly texture can weigh my hair down if I'm having a 'bad hair day' but that's more to do with my hairs quirks than the product.

Moving on to the styling products which are my favourite. The one I use most frequently is TIGI Bed Head Big Head Volume Boosting Foam* and I reach for it on a near daily basis. I use mousses or foams a lot more these days than I did having overcome my fear of scrunch drying resulting in crispy curls and the TIGI Bed Head Big Head Volume Boosting Foam is perfect for daily use whether you're blasting with the hairdryer with head upside down or being more intricate with your styling.

A small amount of the foam is run through hair and any residue on my hands tackles the roots to avoid them becoming greasy. The Volume Boosting Foam is lightweight but gives the desired volume and oomph to my hair. It is not sticky or heavy on the hair and I can simply apply this and go and even throughout the day a quick ruffle at the roots picks things back up

A tip from my stylist at the event was so common sense I was embarrassed it hadn't occurred to me before is to blow dry hair at the root, pushing the hair onto the other side of where it will hang to create volume. It's so simple and really works and is a trick I'm using constantly which in conjunction with the styling products looks like I've been teasing my hair for hours.

Finally is TIGI Bed Head Full Of It Volume Finishing Spray* which should come with a warning 'extreme volume'. This product is not forgiving and is most definitely the product that stands up to the 'va-va-voom' claims. They say 'without greasy residue or stiffness' and that it will 'deliver firm hold that remains flexible' which is mostly true. I find this to be quite sticky on my hands, I like to spray on them and then run through my hair, but it doesn't translate to stickiness on the hair.

One thing to be mindful of is as I've alluded to is that this product really does work so be careful. I sprayed some in my hair, tipped it over and blasted with my hairdryer and I resembled Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary. This certainly gives you volume and hold although it's flexible. It will take some figuring out how you like to use this product and what works best for you and your hairstyle but once you do you'll love it as much as I.

If you're craving volume in your hair I can't recommend these products enough.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Monthly Beauty Favourites | July 2016

Beauty Blender Red

Each month I refer to the list I’ve made over the weeks or take a look around my bathroom at what products I’ve enjoyed and will make ‘the favourites post’. July was easy and I’d go so far to say that most of the products are not simply ‘favourites’ they are ones I am loving and still using well into August. In fact I'm so late posting this by the unwritten blogger rules for monthly favourites I could've renamed this 'August Favourites' and it would have happily applied.

First up has to be Estee LauderBronze Goddess perfume which I picked up in my last trip through Duty Free. Yes it’s all the clichés, ‘Summer in a bottle’ and oh so basic but I’m ok with that because I’ve been spraying this with abandon and enjoying every second. My only concern at this point is that I won’t be able to justify packing such a weighty bottle when I travel to Italy at the end of the month. Once again I make the plea that next Summer they’ll release a travel friendly purse spray.

The next item I’m expressing my love for is the Lorac Pro Palette 3 which I realise I’m not quite sharing with you beyond its outer packaging. The Lorac Pro Palettes are much coveted for their buttery eyeshadows and inability to get hold of them in the UK. Even if you're lucky to visit the USA their locations are not found in the usual tourist destinations or in shopping malls so they can be rather coveted. Luckily for me I have a friend living in the US who was able to place the order for me and send it over when it went on early release at Ulta. In short this is the expected Lorac Pro Palette formula of eight shimmers and eight mattes that are pigmented and a joy to apply. Whilst on first appearance I was left thinking this was a little boring and bland compared to Palettes 2 and 3 I’ve been using this frequently and loving what I come up with. The shades are fabulous for the time of year and I’m keen to take on holiday and view in the sunshine. Shades of brown and rose golds make for a pleasing neutral eyeshadow look that you can deepen as you see fit. I am often overwhelmed when I open eyeshadow palettes and unsure where to start but this offering inspires confidence rather fear.

Lorac Pro 3 Palette Review

Paired with my Lorac Pro Palette has been Benefits Air Patrol which is a sample size I think I received through the post during one of their promotions. We all know that Benefit are renowned for their press packages bloggers receive but I have to say I'm more impressed that whenever new products are launched there are an abundance of samples available to try whether from counters, applying online or as freebies with magazines.

I'm picky with my eye primers and usually find I'm let down, but not by Benefit Air Patrol Eye Primer I'm pleased to say. Whilst I expect Lorac eyeshadows to stick around longer than most I have tried this with others in my collection and it's done it's job well. I'll be popping this small tube aside so it can accompany me on holiday next month. 

Without sounding like I’m hard to please and despite being a fan of La Roche Posay when their infamous Serozinc* finally launched into the UK I was bemused at what made fans practically swim the channel to get hold of a can. Essentially a facial mist toner, yet featuring Zinc Sulphate (the key ingredient) I found it didn’t do anything particularly amazing for me and it fell to the back of the drawer. As I work through my stash I pulled it out to show it a little love and it has ticked a box quite nicely.

Serozinc is part of the Effaclar range and is designed to target oily, blemish prone skin of which I don’t really have so is perhaps why it never set of any sparks for me. But one of its other qualities is that it can be used either as a toner or to mattify skin. This element is what has been working for me. I always claim my skin becomes oily in warmer months and that is true but it would seem the skincare I’m using at the moment is making it less so, Serozinc being one of those products.  

Whilst talking skincare it seems appropriate to mention another aimed at oily skin, Caudalie VinosourceMoisturising Sorbet*. Unlike Bronze Goddess this moisturiser is travel friendly in its pretty pink tube and I’ve been reaching for it daily. Whilst I like a lighter moisturiser in the Summer to avoid additional oiliness I still need to ensure my skin is hydrated and this is a moisturiser that ticks both boxes. 

Caudalie have a whole Vinosource range 'powered by the grape' and you'll see some sample tubes of the serum popping up in my empties post this month. Caudalie say that this cream will turn into a patch of water on contact with the skin and soothes, moisturises and strengthens. I'm not sure about the 'patch of water' claims but I can agree with the later. It is a gel-cream formula which is light enough at this time of year without compromising hydration. Skin looks fresh and dewy and I've found my foundations sit nicely on top and I look than I might feel.

Caudalie Powered by the Grape

I'm having a 'can't be bothered' with my nails moment since discovering a new nail salon had opened locally. Instead of giving myself at home manicures I've been enjoying the luxury of letting the professionals do their work. Unfortunately those professionals ticked me off about the state of my cuticles and how dry they are, which considering how much hand cream I apply throughout the day means I needed to give them some extra attention. Buried deep in a draw somewhere was OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil to save the day. Luckily I had a couple of bottles so one sits in my bedside draw and another in my 'sofa beauty draw' so that I can tick the job off my list at least once a day. I really must find another to leave on my desk at work.

Finally the Beauty Blender, a product I've been scared of for so long but now I've finally faced my fear and used mine there is no going back. During multiple trips to the US I'd always bypassed the Beauty Blender. Despite the rave reviews I didn't think it was for me, wasn't sure how to use it and still had the voice in the back of my head telling me to 'put that cosmetic sponge down'.

Of course this beauty sponge is very different to the ones I remember and it applies foundation fabulously. As I put make up on in my bedroom I was concerned about the dampening element but I've been using my Pixi Hydration Mist for the job and it works perfectly. I feel somewhere between silly and a MUA pro as I bounce foundation into my skin but it's worth the effort. I was concerned that applying my foundation would take longer with the Beauty Blender, and admittedly it does take a little longer and not something I reach for if I'm in a rush but it's a matter of an extra couple of minutes.

Whilst I love the flawless finish of my foundation, concealer too blenders so nicely with the Beauty Blender. The only area I'm finding fiddly and I was to resort to blending rather than bouncing is around the jawline and down the neck as it feels unnatural but practice makes perfect. I've already talked to friends about how they must get one a Beauty Blender and if you've not tried one yet I think you should too!

What have you been enjoying recently?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Products I've used up | June 2016

As empties time rolls around I always think it's time to sit in front of the camera and give YouTube a try. Until then you have a number of posts as I catch up on my bag full of beauty trash.

An old faithful is Radox Muscle Therapy Bath Soak although I have to question why this is 'for men'. That said it does have and I do like it's 'manly smell' and I find I can pour it in abundance and sink into a bath full of bubbles. It's a repurchase for sure although I have been thinking I'd like to try out some other products.

Whenever a body lotion appears in my empties pile I always feel like I want an award of some description. Firstly for moisturising my body and secondly for actually moisturising my body to such a point that I used up a body lotion. It's no surprise that I was happy using Roger & Gallet Gingembre Sorbet Body Lotion* because I love their products and the pump dispenser. The bottle sits nicely on top of my dressing table and is easily reached for. The formula is nice for the warmer months as it isn't too heavy and it's far more frequent use lately has been due to hastily shaved legs of a morning as I have to leave behind the tights in the warmer weather.

I have inherited much from my mother, unfortunately one affliction is psoriasis. I'm lucky it isn't too bad and concentrated on my elbows and largely stress related so I decided to pick up E45 Moisturising Cream to pop in my bedside drawer and tackle the problem. As usual my usage was sporadic and it didn't do anything to dramatically diminish the problems but it did keep it moisturised and stop it from becoming sore.

A staple in my bathroom is a body scrub, especially during Summer months when tackling faux tans.
Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub was purchased as a Summer alternative to the Breakfast Scrub which I do prefer but it's nice at this time of year to have a little sweet treat at bath times. There's nothing new I can share with you on the Soap & Glory scrubs, they are thick without being too abrasive whilst keeping skin regularly exfoliated.

Two products seen in my current hair styling favourites were Batiste XXL Oomph My Locks Volume Spray* and Revlon UNIQ ONE 10-in-1 Coconut Fragrance Hair Treatment* and whilst they haven't been repurchased whilst I test and trial other alternative products I've come along I can recommend both. If you're looking for a high street product to give your hair some volume I can't recommend the Batiste Volume Spray enough.

Finally we have the shampoo and conditioner from the NEXUSS Emergence range which I decided to test in their travel size before I committed to taking on holiday with me. The testing period was a success because they didn't even make it on holiday with me and instead were used daily at home. Targeting damaged and sensitised hair they were a welcome treat due to the colouring my hair had endured.

What products have you used up recently?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Testing for the Beach

I've had a few products come my way recently that I've been putting to the test or at least earmarking for my forthcoming holidays, first up is NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi Use Dry Oil*. As my legs having been making more of an eau natural appearance in recent weeks I’ve been loving using the oil to make them appear more attractive. I’m always conscious that oils will be greasy and worse in the current humid conditions, sweaty but I can report back Nuxe have created something rather wonderful. Yes things are a little ‘slippery’ if I try to cross my legs but that’s to be expected otherwise my legs are moisturised way past office closing hours.

To be negative for a moment I do find the spray a bit of a faff as it’s a very fine mist that comes out and I do find I’m repeatedly spraying for coverage of larger areas. That said it means there are no spillages and I can actually manage my usage. I like to take the residue on my hands and run through the ends of my hair which works well for me.

The bottle is gorgeous (and keep eyes peeled for special limited edition versions if you’re a fan of such things) and looks decadent atop my dressing table but glass is never that travel friendly so that is something to bear in mind. This product has definitely been a hit for me but I think if I were to repurchase I’d choose the Shimmering Dry Oil option and keep it just as a body oil. As for this bottle I must expand its usage as despite my regular use I can see this bottle lasting me forever!

Next up is the Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer, the product making such waves across the blogging and YouTuber communities that even I hit ‘buy now’ unable to wait and either ask my friend to send over for me or wait till I was next in the US. Perhaps all that hype is why I’m left a little disappointed. Interestingly one of my ‘favourite’ bronzers is from Physicians Formula, The Glow-Booster so I thought this paired with all the fabulous reviews meant this had to be a shoe in. Katie pointed me in the right direction of where I could make the purchase in the UK, The Vitamin Shop and I made the order.

Now I must start by saying there is nothing particularly wrong with this bronzer, in fact it's rather a nice product but it just left me feeling a little lacklustre after the effort I put in. Firstly the smell, which seems to be what most people are raving about was not pleasant for me. I don't consider myself to have a particularly strong sense of smell but this is quite overpowering when you give it a sniff. That said when you apply it's not too much of a bother and it's not something I pick up on and seems more of a gimmick but one that does not really warrant the attention. 

The next thing that confuses me as to why it's so popular is this is very much a subtle bronzer, if you can even call it that. I liken it to my Chanel Les Beige in it's finish, it really is a finely milled powder that glides onto the skin but doesn't give much of a bronzed look, more a warmth and a beachy glow of sorts. I don't consider myself to be of a particularly dark skin tone but it's certainly not a product that adds a bronzed look like other products in my collection.

Of course if you're pale skinned and struggle to find bronzers that suit this might be just the thing for you. My complaints aside the packaging is fun and adds a bit of Summer fun to my current make up line up and I have to admit I've been using this a lot on days when I 'can't really be bothered' and am relying on a red lip to look like I've made an effort. 

2016 is being very kind to me with regards to holidays and I finally feel like I'm making a dent in my stash of travel minis. My next trip is to Italy in August and I think it's time to test some
 Ren Skincare. When I travel I'm always conscious of whether I should take reliable favourites or test out the samples I've gathered through the year but in this instance I know where I am with Ren. Even better some products I might not have worried about taking with me on my travels, such as Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask will accompany me in their small size.

A perfect addition to the Summer skincare line up whilst sunning myself is Ren Micro Polish Cleanser*. I mentioned in my exfoliating toner post last week that I don't tend to worry too much about acid toning on holiday but all that sun and a few too many cocktails can leave skin needing a little more attention. Using this cleanser once or twice during your holiday will help keep things looking radiant throughout your trip.

New to me is Ren Satin Perfection BB Cream* which might very well be perfect for sightseeing days when I want a little coverage. Silicone free and with a non-oily satin finish should hopefully save my selfies from scaring anyone on social media.

If you're looking for some luxury branded travel sized toiletries take a look at Marks and Spencer here because small doesn't have to mean budget.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Dr. Paw Paw Tinted Balms

My first experience with Dr. PawPaw was the original balm formula. Made with papaya and fragrance free the original is a complete wonder product that could be used in all manner of ways whether on the lips or to nourish cuticles. It is a very handy in flight essential

There are now two new additions to the Dr. PawPaw line up in either a peach or red tint. These additional bursts of colour mean that they can be used as a blush or lip colour.

My instant reaction was I would love the red tint but it's actually the peach that has caught my attention. It's a lovely subtle colour to the lips and as a blush it's perfect and would be ideal if you don't want to go onto the beach without some make up on.

The red is of course fantastic and I prefer as a blush to a lip colour. It's more of a stain but I loved it for the flush of colour it gave to my cheeks and is handy to have in the desk draw if you're starting to flag and need an impromptu pick me up. 

QVC have a set of all three balms available here which would make a great gift for a friend or yourself. If short on time, heading off on travels or simply just to treat yourself this could be just the thing. 

*this post contains press samples

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