Monday, 3 December 2012

Eyeko

OK this is a brief post while the boys are out and I've actually got a moment to switch on my laptop, and it's definitely not going to do these mascara's and eyeliners justice but they would be fantastic Christmas presents so I wanted to get them on here as soon as I can.
Eyeko Fat Brush Mascara
Eyeko Fat Brush Mascara

Just before I gave birth I ordered some Eyeko Fat Brush mascara to cheer myself up, it actually arrived when I got home from the hospital so was perfect for making me look less pasty and dreadful. It is a completely amazing mascara, I loved it so much I bought the Skinny Brush mascara for my mum. They really do what they say - the Fat Brush makes my lashes look longer the Skinny brush makes sure every lash is coated and they are properly black. My only problem with them is they are quite tricky to remove but that's the price you pay for smudge proof mascara and a little extra time spent removing your makeup properly is probably a good thing where your skin is concerned (as long as you are using the right products - I use Bioderma).

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner
Eyeko Black Skinny Liquid Eyeliner
With each mascara you get a mini shield - basically a plectrum for those of you who are guitar savvy - you hold it behind the lashes on your lid and it means you can apply your mascara without fear of splodging it on your eyelid and ruining your makeup. A really great idea.

Eyeko are now doing fantastic Skinny Liquid Eyeliner pens, not only in black but in other really colours that are really intense, completely smudge proof and incredibly easy to use. Again I really can't fault them.

I'm desperately trying to resist buying the new Black Magic Mascara and the green eye pen. 
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Friday, 9 November 2012

Jemma Kidd - Friday Video


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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Maternity Leave

OK I will try and update here as much as possible... I am wearing makeup and trying things out but mostly I will be spending time with Ned who eventually turned up at 9.13 a week ago on 1st November a couple of days early.

Edward Atticus Harrod

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Monday, 29 October 2012

Anastasia Brow Whizz

In a world where you can now be over-whelmed by brow products its hard to know what format to choose let alone what colour. Powder? Pencil? Pen? Gel? in the last year brow products seem to have exploded onto the market. Not only is this confusing for the individual but as a makeup artist I could have an entire bag just filled with brow products, most of which I would never really need. I know that as long as I've got some good tweezers, some matt shadows and an angle brush I should be able to deal with any brow disaster that comes my way but recently there has been one thing in my kit which seems to work on everyone and has made my life a hundred times easier - Anastasia Brow Whizz in Medium Ash.

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow WhizzNow, this isn't the only thing I take with me when I go to work. I have a personalised quad of matt shadows from MAC (including wedge and omega) and an HD Brows palette as well as the fabulous Illamasqua Brow and Lash gel which holds everything in place but as I've mostly being doing bridal makeup recently (much more pregnancy friendly) the brow whizz has been the only thing I've need and the Medium Ash colour is so versatile, buildable for darker hair colours and blendable for paler skin tones. The brush on the end is perfect for making brows look more natural - no bride wants to come down the aisle looking like The Count from Sesame Street - that it makes the rather steep £15.50 price tag worth it.

Now I'm not suggesting you run out and buy this colour - choose the one that is right for you, but these pencils are definitely worth trying out if you struggle with your brow shape, have over-plucked and need them filling out a little or just want a bit more definition. I don't think I would be without this now.
 
What You Need to Know - Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Whizz
  • £15.50 
  • 10 colours available
  • Available in the UK from Cult Beauty,

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Friday, 26 October 2012

Alex Box - Friday Video

I wasn't going to do one today... but I could watch this woman all day so I think it's definitely worthy of being the Friday video


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Monday, 22 October 2012

MAC Matchmaster Foundations

MAC Matchmaster Foundation
MAC Matchmaster - 1.5, 4.0 and 9.0
I started using these on the recommendation of the lovely Stacey. I needed good products that would mix together well and work on most skin types - I had weddings coming up and a couple of photo shoots where I would need to be able to make-up different skin tones and have a medium coverage - good enough for photo shoots but not too thick for bridal.

The great thing about most MAC foundations (and a lot of other brands too) is they mix together well meaning you can get two or three colours and then mix them to match the skin tone you are working on therefore not breaking the bank and meaning you don't have something sitting in your kit that you've used once for one person and have never needed again. I got 1.5 (by mistake I meant to get 1.0 but so far so good) 4.0 and 9.0 and have yet to find a skin tone that I haven't been able to match. It also photographs well despite its SPF15.

The reason it is called Matchmaster is that it uses translucent pigments to match your skins undertone giving a demi-matte, line reducing finish and medium bendable coverage. Now I'm not sure if all that about translucent pigments is true but so far it has blended really well with all the skin tones I've tried it on which is impressive but I don't love the finish.

The colour blend is impressive but for me this is no competition for MAC's Face & Body.

What You Need to Know - MAC Matchmaster Foundation
  • £28 or US$35
  • 12 shades
  • Matching concealers available
  • Available in the UK from Debenhams and MAC
  • Available in the US from MAC
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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Origins Make a Difference +

Origins Make A Difference Plus moisturiserAlthough I like to rotate my moisturisers depending on what I'm trying out, what time of year it is and what my skin is doing, Origins Make a Difference Cream is one of my top 3 favourite moisturisers of all time. It was the first 'grown up' moisturiser I tried having seen an interview where Kylie Minogue raved about it and have been using it on and off ever since. Now Origins have released the Make a Difference + range - Make a Difference + rejuvenating moisturiser, Ultra-rich cream and rejuvenating treatment (all £33 for 50ml) something for every skin type. After just one application of Make a Difference + your skins moisture levels are clinically proven to surge 75%, it retains continuous moisture levels for 24 hours and it shows a clinical improvement in visible radiance (not sure what that last one means really). 
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Friday, 12 October 2012

Halloween Green Eye Make-up - Friday Video

I always seem to be buying green eye makeup and then never wearing it because it's often a bit full on for me everyday. This year for Halloween, however, I will be wearing a bright green smokey eye instead of a proper costume... no one wants to arrive at the labour ward in full on fancy dress but a bit of bright eye makeup is probably fine. Right?




Bioderma Cleanser
Pro Makeup Shop Brush Cleaner
Origins Make a Difference +
Sleek Makeup Primer Palette
Collection Colour Intense Solo (in 15 Love and Money)
Barry M Fine Glitter Dust (in 2)
Benefit Shimmer Powder (in Pistachio)
Prestige Cosmetics Let Loose Shadow (in Show Off)
MAC eye shadow (in Green Smoke)
Barry M Super Soft Eye Crayon (in No 3)
L'Oreal Superliner (in black)
Smooch Mascara (in black lash)
MAC eye kohl (in Tarnish)
Sleek Makeup Contour Kit (in light)
Chanel Vitalumier Aqua (in 10 beige)
Benefit Sugarbomb
Cover FX Setting Powder (in light)
No 7 lip liner (in Nude)
Nuxe Lip Balm
Butter London Nail Varnish (in Snog)
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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Phyto 7 Hydrating Day Cream for Hair

Phyto 7 Hair TreatmentAnother product recommended in one of Lisa Eldridges videos that I've wanted to try out for a while and which I found (cheaper) in France on my last visit there in September is Phyto Phyto 7 Cream . As constant battle to find something that makes my hair look less frizzy I wanted to try this out as you can use it on damp or dry hair and it's incredibly lightweight.

The 7 stands for the 7 plants it contains - mallow, calendula, sage, burdock, willow, rosemary and soybean - and is formulated to absorb into the hair to maintain the optimum hydration. I've used it on both damp and dry hair and I do really like it - it's not a wonder-cure for dry hair but I'm not sure there actually is one - but it really does help the frizz and softens my hair especially when I smooth it on when it's dry and sad a day after washing and it genuinely feels like there's nothing on there but make sure you only use a pea-sized amount.

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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Jelly Pong Pong Lip Frosting

Jelly Pong Pong Lip FrostingThere is something rather frivolous about this product but I am still completely in love with it. I have to confess that I had completely forgotten about Jelly Pong Pong until their Lip Frosting arrived in my July GlossyBox and after just one use I was reminded how I loved their other products I had tried quite a while a go. Not only is the colour beautiful and unusual, but the packaging and reasonable price make this the perfect package. The reason I say it's slightly frivolous is that it tastes so good ( Irish cream pavlova flavour) that really, you are going to chew this off within the first 10 minutes of wearing it. But I don't care - the residual colour still looks lovely and that's good enough for me.

This swatch does not do it justice
The colour is gorgeous, really unusual I think and although initially quite scary to imagine using on your cheeks as well does give a lovely glowing bit of colour even if it is a bit sticky. You have to apply this with your finger which is great because I often hate the applicators that lip glosses come with but does make the whole thing a bit messy (which is why its worth trying it out on your cheeks... use them as portable hand wipes!). I'm not the only one who loves it - it has been sold out on their website for the last couple of times I've had a look. If you manage not to chew it all off it soaks into the lips a bit and feels wonderfully moisturising and smooth and all Jelly Pong Pong products are guaranteed to not contain anything bad - no ammonia, sulphates, pthalates, or alcohol and they are against animal testing.

Not only am I going to buy a tube of this Lip Frosting to keep in my kit (if a model is chewing it off I can dash in and reapply) but I'm going to buy a whole load of their other products to try out. I hope the colours are as gorgeous as this.
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Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday Video

Have been in the country all week looking after my mum's dogs so I haven't had a chance to edit a video so here is this amazing cover of Gotye instead...


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Friday, 28 September 2012

French Pharmacy Shopping - Friday Video

Due to a horrific cold I decided I sounded to awful to do a tutorial when I got back from my lovely holiday in France (cold arrived the day we got back!) so this is just a quickie to show what I spent all my money on while I was there. I look ill...


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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Lavera Soft Eyeliner

I don't spend enough time researching and using 'green' makeup and beauty products. If I'm honest I usually assume that the quality isn't as good and therefore spend my money on products I know and trust. Makeup isn't cheap and there's nothing worse than buying something that turns out to be crap and as a makeup artist once I've found something that works, is long lasting and that works well on a lot of peoples skin I tend to stick with that product.

Recently I was sent a couple of products to try from biggreensmile.com so I've been testing them out one at a time and the first one I've been using I'm really loving. Lavera soft eyeliner has the staying power of eyeliner but the blendability of kohl - you get a lot of product for your £8.95 and it's suitable for vegans, contact lens wearers and is Natrue certified. It comes with a smudger at one end so it is a great, quick way to get smokey eyes and is available in black, brown and grey.

What is great about biggreensmile.com is you can see all the ingredients for the product so if there is anything you are allergic to you can tell right away and anything you are not sure about you can research it before buying. I personally don't find the website that appealing to use but I'm going to save it to my bookmarks and try, once I've tested out their other products, try and reorder from there as much as I can - they don't only do makeup but hair care, deodorants, cleaning and baby products and stocks a couple of well known brands like Neals Yard, Burts Bees and Dr Hauschka.

I really recommend checking out this site and the Lavera eyeliner for those of you who have sensitive eyes or want more eco-friendly products.

What You Need to Know - Lavera  Soft Eyeliner
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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Revlon Grown Luscious Mascara

I feel bad returning from holiday and writing a bad review - I will post a video of my french purchases as soon as my disastrous post-holiday cold passes. But until then... I've been wanting to try out new mascaras for ages as I always stick to the ones I know I like and there are thousands out there. I've heard some good things about Revlon's Grow Luscious Mascara and thought it may be the solution to my stumpy eyelashes. I have to say after a couple of months I'm not that impressed.
Not even worthy of a better photo...

My eyelashes don't seem to have changed at all and it's really hard work getting a good effect. You have to really rock it backwards and forwards and do a lot of layers to get any impact at all. It does feel nice once it's on but I caught sight of myself in a mirror when I'd just bunged one layer on before going to the shops and I looked like I didn't really have any lashes at all. Much, much prefer Max Factor Masterpiece or L'Oreal Telescopic False Lash effect and will be sticking to those as my high street purchases in the future.

I'm determined to persevere until it's finished in case I suddenly wake up with amazing long Bambi lashes but I'm not optimistic...
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Friday, 14 September 2012

Creative with Pixiwoo - Friday Video

Still on holiday and assuming (maybe slightly hoping...) that it's raining in England so surely the best time to stay in and play about with makeup. I love this one from Sam at Pixiwoo



You should subscribe to their videos
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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Em-J Company

Since becoming a full time makeup artist I've found it quite hard to track down really nice, professional size and quality tool wraps and bags. There are shops like PAM, Charles Fox, Cocktail Cosmetics and Guru (all of which I love) but they sometimes don't have what I want and a suitably sized brush wrap was impossible to find.

Brush roll
Thank goodness then for EMJ - beautiful, professional quality products for makeup artists, hair stylists and other creatives. When I found the website I went a little crazy and immediately ordered a roll-up mat and a classic tool roll. Then for my birthday I asked my sister for the Jimany Cricket set bag and then all my prayers were answered and they started producing brush rolls.

There are many different designs available - for the most part I really like the plain black, faux leather, classic look. The roll-up mat (£17) is incredibly useful if you are used to having to set up and work wherever you can. Easily cleanable with wipes or water you can unroll this mat and lay your makeup out so that everything is accessible and you don't have to worry about getting spills on carpets or table tops. The tool roll (£15) is great for storing all those annoying bits and pieces that end up in the bottom of your bag - mascaras, disposables, polos, scissors - and it rolls up so neatly it doesn't take up too much room in your kit.

Jimany Cricket set bag
The new brush rolls are pretty spectacular. I originally ordered the deluxe brush wrap (£58), as I wanted as much room as possible, and it is gorgeous and perfect for professional makeup artists. However, a bit too big for me when often I work with my brushes loose in a pot or in my set bag. It has room for 50 brushes and has lots of pockets for other tools and essentials. I exchanged it for the classic brush wrap (£38) which holds 26 brushes. Both are easy to clean and look fabulous - I only wish they had the same ties on them as the other rolls and mats. I'm so glad I didn't settle for any of the other wraps I've found.

My favourite product of theirs (that I've tried) is my Jimany Cricket set bag (£40). Although I usually go for the classic black I'm a real sucker for green and there's no missing this bag - I'll know it's mine and with set bags its best to get them either clear or coloured so you can see things in it... nothing worse than rummaging around in the bottom of a black hole trying to find that illusive eyeliner you just dropped. Its a great size - big enough to fit things in but small enough that you don't get tempted to over pack it and make it too heavy. It has fantastic pockets on the outside in different sizes and a zip top that you can open completely for easy access. With long handles so you can hang it up when necessary and made from oil cloth it's easy to keep clean. I love it more every time I see it.

These products are incredibly well thought out, well made, fun and practical and EMJ will be my first port of call when I need any new wraps and rolls. I really hope that they start making brush storage pots.. there are so few available and at ridiculous prices - we are crying out for an EMJ one.
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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

MAC Heavenly Creatures Fire Sign Lipstick

I seem to have gone a little lipstick crazy recently, still trying to find my perfect every day colour I suppose. I went into MAC to buy a birthday present for Miss F and accidentally came away with Fire Sign one of the new colours from the Heavenly Creatures collection. I had intended to try (and buy) Pleasureseeker, which I did love, but Fire Sign, the reddish-pink suited me more so that's what I came away with. It's really wearable and glamorous. It also wears off nicely which is something I always look for in redder lip colours. There's nothing worse than red rimmed lips... not a sophisticated look.

I really love the Heavenly Creatures collection - beautiful lip colours (great for bridal colours), and lovely mineralized blushers in really wearable mixed shades. The next thing I want to try out are the mineralized eye shadows, four colours mixed together in one pan ranging from the white, lavender and gold to amazing cobalt blues and golds. There are a lot of baked eye shadows on the market at the moment and many of them are much cheaper than these ones but the range and pigment of the colours are so appealing I just have to try them.
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Friday, 24 August 2012

Lisa Eldridge Shopping in France - Friday Video

I'm going on holiday to France for the first two weeks in September and one of the things I'm really looking forward to is going to the French pharmacies to get some great products - stocking up on Bioderma and Embroylisse and trying out some new ones as recommended by the great Lisa Eldridge...


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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Maybelline BB Cream

Regular readers will know how I feel about BB creams (to summarise they are pretty good as a cheap tinted moisturiser/light foundation but they do not get rid of blemishes or having any of the attributes of the original Asian BB creams...) but I still use them pretty much most days because there are just so many on the market that I want to try them all to see if I can find the perfect alternative to a more expensive tinted moisturiser, especially when it's hot and I don't really want to be wearing anything on my skin at all.

A lot of the BB creams I've tried have been ok but I've found one that I love and have been wearing everyday and will definitely be coming on holiday with me (and to the hospital when I have the baby). For me the new Maybelline Dream Fresh BB cream knocks all of the others out of the competition. It's a reasonable £7.99 for 30ml and rather than focusing on the the 'blemish' in BB it offers an 8 promises that I actually agree with. Imperfections look blurred (yes they do but the coverage is light enough that my freckles still mostly show through), a natural looking glow (very natural but not too glowy like the Garnier one), fresh feel (yes), compliments skin tone (well I've so far only tried the Light on me but it does match well), skin looks smooth (yes), hydrates (not the most hydrating by definitely not drying), protects with SPF 30 (which is the minimum I want on my face in the summer), oil free and non-greasy (incredibly smooth and light).

OK so only a few of those really match the whole BB ethos and the others are just positive attributes but I'd rather that to a massive lie about how it's going to sort my skin out. It's smooth, light finish is what really does it for me. My red patches are covered pretty well but it doesn't feel heavy and is quick to apply. If you go onto their website now you can order a free sample so you can try it for yourself.
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Friday, 17 August 2012

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stain

I've been desperate to try out the new Clinique Chubby Sticks but I'm trying to be good as I have quite enough lipsticks and babies aren't cheap but I couldn't resist the new Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stain which looks pretty much the same but is a fraction of the price at £5.99 (Chubby Sticks are £16). Revlon do another Lip Balm Stain which comes with a stain pen at one end and a balm at the other but I noticed that quite a few of the balms had snapped off so I went for the big stick instead.

I really love it - it's easy to apply, the colour I chose (Honey) is gorgeous and quite natural and really non-drying on the lips. I wouldn't call it is a stain though, I have always needed to reapply when I've worn it, but maybe a little less often than a lipstick but the stick format makes it so easy to carry around and apply that it really doesn't matter and it wears off evenly so nothing to worry about on that front.

I definitely want to get this in other colours just because they are such good value for money and so easy to use but I'm also thinking I should maybe get a Clinique Chubby Stick too... just for a comparison. I used this all last week whilst working on a film set and could quickly re-apply without a mirror and be sure that it looked good.
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Monday, 6 August 2012

The New Jergens® Moisturiser Range - Marie Clare Competition

I've just received the following information from  Jergens® about a new competition... I haven't tried their products yet but I'm going to...
To celebrate the launch of its new range of moisturisers, Jergens® is giving you the chance to visibly enhance your skin and showcase its radiance in Marie Claire.

When skin has a gorgeous radiance you can’t help but show it off. Jergens® is giving you the chance to make a beautiful difference to your skin and see it at its most stunning in a fabulous Marie Claire spread.
Jergens® Facebook fans are being invited to sign-up for the chance to visibly transform and showcase their skin, with the ‘Style Your Skin’ application over at Facebook www.facebook.com/JergensUK.
Three lucky Jergens® fans will be chosen to enrich their skin with Jergens® unique and new moisturisers, before being beautifully styled and professionally shot in their own photo shoot.  As a result these winners will end up enjoying the opportunity to show off their new radiance for everyone to admire in the pages of Marie Claire.
Jergens® body moisturisers are uniquely created to make a beautiful difference for your skin – a difference you can actually see, feel and experience. That’s because it’s not enough for your skin to feel its best – it should look its best too!  As beautiful skin is the foundation for any outfit – everything else is mere accessory!
The NEW Jergens® Range consists of:
·        Jergens Daily Moisture – For 24 hour hydration, enriched with Silk Proteins and a citrus extract blend. Transforms dry, rough skin into smooth, visibly healthy skin.
·        Jergens Ultra Healing – A deeply hydrating moisturiser with Vitamins C, E and B5. Penetrates below the surface of extra dry skin, making it looked quenched and moisturised.
·        Jergens Soothing Aloe – With Aloe and Cucumber, this fast-absorbing moisturiser quickly replenishes moisture and soothes dry skin caused by the elements, leaving skin looking and feeling beautifully refreshed.
·        Jergens Skin Firming – Go beyond mositurisation with visibly firmer skin. With its exclusive Firm Perfecting™ complex, containing collagen and elastin, this moisturiser tightens skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite.
·        Jergens Cocoa Butter – A rich Cocoa Butter body moisturiser that gives your dry, dull skin a radiant sheen that makes it look and feel instantly more beautiful.
·        Jergens Original Beauty Lotion – This classic Cherry-Almond scent lotion moisturises dry skin, leaving it looking and feeling softer for 24 hours resulting in skin that is beautifully soft.
To take your first step to showcasing your beautiful skin in your own photo shoot appearing on the pages of Marie Claire, simply head to www.facebook.com/JergensUK upload a full length photo of yourself and tell us which part of your body (arms, leg or shoulders) you are most proud of and why? Submit your answers and details and you’ll be in with a chance of winning! – Good Luck.

The new Jergens range of Moistuirsers are available from supermarkets and high street chemists nationwide from July 2012, with prices starting from £3.49(RRP)

To find out more about Jergens®, go to www.facebook.com/JergensUK
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Friday, 3 August 2012

Spring Wedding Guest Make-up - Friday Video

This is a summer wedding guest makeup look that I did on my sister recently when she was off to a daytime wedding in typically English summer weather. She doesn't like being filmed so it was very nice of her to agree to do it. I used a mixture of what was in her makeup bag and what was in mine as we were both staying with my mother for the weekend and I wasn't planning to film a video. I found everything I needed which made me wonder slightly why I heave my heavy kit around everywhere!



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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Noble Isle

I realised when I went to put labels on this post (which I do at the start to stop myself forgetting at the end) that I never really write about bath products (I didn't even have a label) mostly because I have to say I'm never that fussy about what I put in my bath. I usually use Sainsburys own brand which is perfectly fine and occasionally treat myself with some Florris bath oil I got as a birthday present. When I received this Noble Isle bath and shower gel in my GlossyBox I nearly gave it away as a little house gift but at the last minute decided it was the perfect size (the GlossyBox smaller size) for my swimming bag so in it went.

For two weeks running we must have sounded like a (bad) tv advert for Noble Isle. Firstly, Libby and I oohed and ahhhed about how lovely smelling it was and the week after when my sister joined us she commented on the gorgeous smell and we said 'that's just what we thought!' The smell is Summer Rising Cornish Hedgerows - a quite masculine mix of elderflower and gooseberry with 'clean notes' of moss, orange blossom and cut grass.

It's the strength of smell I love about this, something which I find is often lacking from bath and shower gels aimed at a unisex or female market. And yet when you've used this its not overpowering on your skin - and this has been approved by three pregnant women with oversensitive senses of smell. For £20 I think this is incredibly well priced - cheaper than Jo Malone or other higher-end competitors but I think that Summer Rising is every bit as yummy smelling and therefore a great, and patriotic (all their fragrances are inspired by the British Isles), option for a lovely house gift for someone. I like it so much I might buy it for myself - from someone saving for a baby and spending any spare money on makeup that really is saying something.
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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ciate Nails

I've heard some great things about Ciate (pronounced see-are-tay) nail polishes and seen them worn by lots of different people include Lisa Eldridge and the girls at Pixiwoo all of whom I trust when it comes to great products but when I tried out the Ciate nail varnish in Boudoir I wasn't blown away.

It's more to do with the colour, which after two coats was still not as solid as I would have liked, or expected. The varnish itself had quite good staying power, being wearable but with a few chips for nearly a week (and probably longer if professionally applied) and was very easy to apply and reasonably quite drying. I'm sure with another coat the colour would have been better but I really think two coats should be enough with any colour.

That being said I would love to try their new Bottled Sunshine Colleciton which look beautiful and I'd be interested to know whether the colour coverage is better with these shades - maybe Boudoir was just a one off.

I'm definitely going to persevere with Ciate colours however as. not only is the packaging lovely but they are certified 3 Free which means there is nothing nasty in their varnishes.
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Friday, 27 July 2012

Pixiwoo Friday Video

I love the finished look on this...


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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Return to Glory

It's rare to find anything at a fantastic price in London and I was dreading booking myself in for a pregnancy massage because I knew that if I enjoyed it I'd want more and we'd be bankrupt before the baby even arrived. But a bit of googling led to me Return to Glory 'London's leading mobile massage and beauty service' who not only offer pregnancy massage but four different pregnancy treatments including reflexology. And they do so many other treatments for the non-knocked up - deep tissue massage, couples massage, Swedish and Thai yoga massage, dance, salsa and Pilate's private lessons, facials, make overs, a whole range of treatments for men and even events for offices and parties.

The fact that you can get whatever treatment in your own home is fantastic but especially if you are in London and want a massage - the thought of being that relaxed and then having to schlep home on public transport thus undoing all the relaxation is what really swung it for me. As I wanted it asap I booked over the phone (0845 485 1195) but you get a 10% discount for booking online so it's definitely worth doing that. I couldn't believe that for £65 someone was going to come to my house with all the equipment and give me a massage.

Agnes appeared at 5 mins to the allotted time and set up quickly even though our room is tiny. She'd bought soothing music (which helped drown out  the noise of upstairs builders) and helped me get my bulk into a towel (which she kept helping me rearrange so I didn't feel like meat on a slab - all exposed). She also explained exactly what was going to happen which was nice - I knew they wouldn't offer or do any treatments that weren't safe but my husband was anxious about me getting a massage which had transferred to me a little so it was nice to have it all talked through before hand. I was getting their Signature Pregnancy Massage and I'd read a bit on the website but what I hadn't taken in was that everything gets rubbed. Your back, legs, feet, arms, face and head. IT IS AMAZING.

Obviously it depends on your therapist but the amount of pressure was just perfect - I was worried that pregnancy massage would be a bit light - and the timing great, nothing was hurried and I definitely got my full hours worth. How can this be just £65. As soon as she left - leaving me in my dressing gown beaming - I re-booked for a months time. I then called my pregnant sister and pregnant buddy and told them they have to try it out. It is really worth giving Return to Glory a go - they are incredibly helpful so if you are not sure what you need give them a call - I'm sure they will have the treatment for you.  

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Sugarbomb by Benefit

One of the many makeup goodies my sister has bought for me over the years from the massive list I give her every birthday and Christmas. This was on the same list as Bella Bamba, another Benefit product I wanted to try but she was advised that Sugarbomb is more versatile as it contains more colours you get a more multi-dimensional colour - more bang for your buck. At first I wasn't convinced that this product was as good as the shop assistant had billed it to be. It seemed incredibly pale but the more I used it the more I loved it and now wear it most days as it really is the perfect mix of colours for a natural, glowing, slightly rosy look with buildable colour. And I'm not the only one who loves it - it was given the Readers Kiss of Approval Ultimate Blusher award at the recent Cosmopolitan Beauty and Fragrance Awards.


I seem to float around Benefit in phases, loving them sometimes and at others wondering if their products are really worth what you pay for them, there are also some quite good dupes around for their block blushers for half the price. No matter how I'm feeling about the brand however,there are some of their products that I am always using - Hoola as a contour and now, Sugarbomb as a great versatile cheek colour. And it seems I'm not the only one to love it - it's getting a 4.7 out of 5 rating from the 125 reviews on their website. It definitely won't work on all skin tones but the colours - peach, soft plum, pink and rose - are incredibly subtle and natural and should work on most people, although you may have to build it up a little. It's like having four blushers in one xx
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Friday, 20 July 2012

The Morning After the Night Before Make-up - Friday Video

This is called The Morning After the Night Before based on those nights where you accidentally don't go home and need to do your makeup with what you've got in  your bag the next day. There could be a whole series of these as the contents of my makeup bag is always changing although this doesn't really happen to me anymore. If this is something that happens to you a lot you can adjust your makeup bag accordingly with makeup and moisturiser samples, small face wipes and little brushes. From previous experience I usually compensate for a massive hangover and pasty complexion with big flicks with my liquid eyeliner but I refrained in this video...


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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cover FX Skin Prep

There seem to be quite a few primers coming out on the high street at the moment (some of which I'm in the process of trying out) and I love that there are more reasonably priced products on offer. However, I think some products are worth spending a bit of money on and a great primer is one of those things. I'm a huge fan of Laura Mercier's Foundation Primer and it has a regular place in my professional kit but it has some competition.

Cover FX do three primers but the Skin Prep is the most versatile. Incredibly matifying I think this would be a great alternative primer for those with oily skin, it really smooths the skin and provides a lovely base for foundation. I've also found that you need less of your foundation because this primer optimises coverage to make it go much further. You can use it as an anti-ageing serum as it helps reduce the sign of fine lines (which I've yet to see... I don't have that many yet) and does reduce pores.

I've tried a lot of primers and this really does make a visible difference and is even lovely on it's own with a bit of concealer where necessary. My only problem with it is the price - £44 for 30ml is a lot of money even for a product as good as this. I'm going to keep it in my pro-kit with the Laura Mercier (a more reasonable £28 and nearly as good) to use as and when I need it and, if you have money to spend, this is a great product but I'm wondering how much better it will be compared to the cheaper alternatives appearing on the high street. I'll have to let you know.
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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Cosmopolitan Beauty and Fragrance Awards 2012

For entirely self-absorbed reasons I was slightly dreading the Cosmo beauty and Fragrance awards. When you are only able to fit into skinny maternity jeans and t-shirts going anywhere remotely fashionable can be incredibly daunting. The chic venue (One Marylebone) and early start (8.30am) didn't help but it was definitely the most fun I've had at an event for a long time.

Emma Scott, Garnier and Inge van Lotringen Cosmo Beauty Director
One Marylebone is a gorgeous venue and with huge vases of beautiful flowers everywhere, soft lighting and incredibly delicious food and drinks (soft!) on offer. It created the perfect atmosphere for an event that could have been full of bitchy fashionistas but was instead buzzing with friendly people, excited chatter and expectation. As a blogger these parties can sometimes be a bit tricky when you don't know anyone but the lovely Cosmo ladies would swoop in for a chat if they saw you standing alone (I was often edging my way towards another mini smoked salmon bagel). My only complaint would be that the winners were allowed to take their awards straight after the speeches, which is fine, but it meant the products were left with no markers for what they had won.

As for the awards themselves I was impressed with the incredible variety of brands that were included which really shows the dedication of the beauty team and the 13 judges (who included makeup artist Liz Purgh, perfume expert James Craven and beauty journalist Alice Hart-Davis). It would be easy to hand out awards to the more high-end products but there's a great range in these awards which is something I've always thought Cosmopolitan does very well.  Now of course you can't be expected to agree with all of them but, for the most part, I think the awards were pretty accurate and there are definitely some products that I'm going to try out - leave a comment and let me know what you think.

The Beauty Awards:

The Cosmo Beauty Director's Breakthrough product:
Garnier Skin naturals Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-In-One BB Cream

The Cosmo Beauty Directors Cosmo classic award:
Dior 5 Couleurs


Lips:
Best budget lipstick - Max Factor Colour Elizir lipstick
Best premium lipstick - Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour
Best lip balm - Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick
Best lip stain - Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres Glossy Stain
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Lipstick - MAC lipstick

Eyes:
Best mascara - Dior Diorshow New Look Mascara
Best eyeshadow - Chanel Illusion d'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow
Best eye-colour palette - Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couteurs Eyeshadows
Best eyeliner - Maybelline New York Master Drama Kohl Liner
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Mascara - Maybelline The Falsies mascara

Cleansing:
Best cleanser - Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Best facial refresher - L'Occitane Angelica Hydration Face Mist
Best eye-makeup remover - Clinique Rinse-Off Eye Makeup Solvent
Best face scrub - Olay Regenerist Daily Thermal Skin Polisher
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Cleansing Wipes - Simple Kind to Skin Facial Wipes

Face:
Best budget foundation - Rimmel London Wake Me Up Foundation
Best premium foundation - Lancome teint Idole Ultra 24hr
Best blemish concealer - Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer
Best tinted moisturiser - Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturiser SPF15
Best face powder - Bare Minerals Ready SPF15 Touch Up Veil
Best blusher - Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush
Best bronzer - Clarins Bronzing Duo SPF15 Mineral Powder Compact
Best under-eye brightener - Rimmel London Wake Me Up Concealer
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate foundation - Rimmel Lasting Finish 25hr Foundation
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate blusher - Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb

Skincare:
Best budget everyday moisturiser - Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Skin-Brightening Moisturiser
Best premium everyday moisturiser - Clarins Hyrdraquench Cream
Best face mask - Philosophy Keep the Peace Super Soothing Instant Relief Mask
Best blemish buster - Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Cream
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Moisturiser - Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser

Anti-Ageing
Best anti-ageing moisturiser - Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Relaxing Complex
Best age-busting night cream - Dior Capture XP Nuit Night Creame
Best age-defying serum - Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex
Best line-fading eye cream - Origins Plantscription Anti-ageing Eye Treatment
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Anti-Ageing Moisturiser - Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser

Body:
Best body cleanser - Elemis Skin Nourishing Shower Cream
Best body scrub - Soap & Glory The Breakfast Scrub
Best bath treat - Aveda Stress Fix Bath Salts
Best body-firming potion - Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Body Butter
Best body moisturiser - La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP Body Balm
Best hair removal product - Veet Easywax Electrical Roll-on Kit
Best deodorant - Garnier Invisi Mineral 48hr Double Action Deoderant
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Body Lotion - The Body Shop Mango Body Butter
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate hair-removal product - Gilette Venus Spa Breeze

Hair:
Best hairspray - L'Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Normal Hold Hairspray
Best volumiser - Mark Hill Love Big Hair! Big Blow! Thicker Fuller Volume Spray
Best frizz controller - Pantene 24hr Frizz Fighter Anti Frizz Smooth Cream
Best home colourant - John Frieda Precision Foam Colour Salon Blends Collection
Best shampoo - L'Oreal Everpure Colour Care & Colume Shampoo
Best conditioner - V05 Gloss Me Smoothly Conditioner
Best leave-in treatment - Moroccanoil Treatment Oil
Best hair mask - Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Hair Colourant - L'Oreal Paris Casting Creme Gloss
Readers' Kiss of Approval  Ultimate Shampoo and Conditioner - Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo and Conditioner

Tool Kit:
Best hairbrush - Shu Uemura Art of Hair Paddle Brush
Best makeup brushes - Suqqu
Best heat styler - Babyliss Big Hair
Best beauty gadget - Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Hairstyling Gadget - GHD Gold Classic Styler

Suncare:
Best budget facial sun protection - Vichy Capital Soleil Anti-Shine Dry Touch SPF50
Best premium facial sun protection - Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Sunscreen Sun Indulgence Lotion for Face SPF15
Best all-over sun protection - Nivea Sun Pure & Sensitive Sun Spray SPF30
Best aftersun - Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Touch After Sun
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Sun Lotion - Nivea Sun Invisible Protection Spray SPF30

Self-Tanning and Bronzing:
Best facial self-tan - Lancome Flash Bronzer Self-Tanning Face Gel
Best body self-tan - St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse
Best gradual self-tan - Dove Summer Glow Beauty Body Lotion
Best wash-off body tanner - L'OReal Paris Sublime Bronze One Day
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Self-Tanner - St Tropez Selt Tan Bronzing Mousse

Men:
Best men's hair product - Wella Shockwaves Re-Create Styling Putty
Best men's face cream - Lab Series Skin Care for Men Age-Less Face Cream
Best men's shaving product - Clinique Skin Supplies For Men M Shave Aloe Gel
Best men's eye cream - Lancome Genific HD Eye Cream
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Aftershave - Boss by Hugo Boss Aftershave Lotion

Hands and Feet:
Best nail polish - Revlon Nail Enamel
Best hand cream - Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Best foot treat - Scholl Dry Skin Instant Recovery Cream
Best nail rescuer - Dr Lewinn's Renunail Nail Strengthener
Best Nail Art Innovation - Ciate Caviar Manicure
Readers' Kiss of Approval Ultimate Nail Polish - Barry M Nail Paint

Fragrance Awards:

The Cosmo Beauty Director's Special Award Most Cosmo Fragrance of the Year - Roberto Cavalli

Best bottle design for women - Valentino Valentina
Best celebrity fragrance for women - Kim Kardashian
Most romantic fragrance for women - Thierry Mugler Angel Eau de Toilette
Sexiest fragrance for women - Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude
Most delicious fragrance bath and body line - Elie Saab Le Parfum
Freshest fragrance for women - Chanel No19 Poudre
Best classic fragrance for women - Yves Saint Laurent La Collection Nu
Best bottle design for men - Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb
Sexiest fragrance for men - Paco rabanne Black XS L'Exces
Best classic fragrance for men - Yves Saint Laurent La Collection M7
Best niche fragrance for women - Miller Harris La Pluie
Best bottle design for women Readers' Award -  Marc Jacobs Daisy
Best celebrity fragrance for women Readers' Award - Britney Spears Fantasy
Sexiest fragrance for women Readers' Award - Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
Freshest fragrance for women - DKNY Be Delicious
Freshest fragrance for men Readers' Award - Davidoff Cool Water
Sexiest fragrance for men Readers' Award - Boss Hugo Boss
Best bottle design for men Readers' Award - Diesel Only the Brave

Best celebrity fragrance for men Readers' Award - David Beckham Instinct

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Friday, 13 July 2012

Rae Morris - Friday Video

A great video from Rae Morris


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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Benefit Speed Brow

There's a lot going on with brows at the moment. Boyfriend brows are popular, big, bushy and often quite dark but having your brows 'natural' is even more trendy looking slightly ungroomed and unplucked whilst actually being groomed and plucked. Some people have brows that need filling in, mine have a few holes that are easily fixed with either pencil or powders while friends of mine need them really shaped and styled to make them stand out.

This is all very well if you are going out, going to a job interview or on a date and want to look your absolute best. Sometimes however I just want them to look good with minimal amount of effort. Usually a bit of grooming with a brow brush (I love this Real Techniques one) will do but recently I've been using Speed Brow by Benefit and find this a fantastic way to get groomed, yet natural brows that stay in the same place all day.

It is a brush on gel in a neutral shade to suit most people, that dries really quickly and has a small brush so it's just fantastically easy to use. If you need to add a lot of colour to bring your brows out everyday then this may not be the product for you - you should probably try something by Anastasia or MAC - but for a quick even out and set this is great. My only problem is that the tube is quite small for £12 so it really won't last too long - I'm hoping that they'll bring out more colours too. I'm hoping they'll fix this!
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Friday, 6 July 2012

Everyday Lana del Ray Inspired - Friday Video

I really loved this look in Vogue (March 2012) - it's not dissimilar to how I often do my makeup anyway but with a bit of a pinky twist. I've left the lashes off to make this more everyday wearable but this look would look great with Eyelure intense lashes or any corner lashes you can find. So this isn't a tutorial on how to do the makeup exactly... this is just the picture that inspired it...



Products used:

Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream
Chanel Vitalumier Aqua foundation (in 10 beige)
Sleek Makeup Eye Palette in Oh So Special
Marks and Spencer Limited Collection Bronzing powder (in Light)
Prestige Cosmetics liquid liner (in black)
DiorShow Extase Mascara (in black)
Bobbi Brown Corrector (in Light Bisque)
Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer (in 03 Medium)
MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy
MAC blush in Pink Swoon
Cover FX translucent setting powder
No 7 Lip Pencil (in Nude)
MAC tinted lip conditioner in Petting Pink

Nail Varnish is Pillar Box Red by Butter London





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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

MW Nails

Unless its a birthday treat with Miss F, I usually don't frequent fancy nail salons. It is incredibly hard to find somewhere that incorporates high standards, great atmosphere and somewhere you can go with a friend and feel pampered without having to get into a bathrobe. MW Nails have just opened a new nail bar in Spitalfields that makes no apologies for what it is. Whether you are going in for the 101 minute Mile High treatment or a quick Shanghai Shape you are guaranteed a little bit, or a whole lot, of luxury.

Themed like an airline from the 1970's complete with real first class seats for pedicures and old fashioned announcement board showing all the treatments a visit to MW Nails is an experience. Intriguing decor and staff uniforms aside there are some serious pluses to this salon. The sheer range of treatments is fantastic - everything you could want for hands or feet is catered for; shaping, shellacing, gel, acryllic and take the worry about whether you will get a massage or not, you can add one to your treatment for £15.

Not just pretty on paper - I noticed a weird silver funnel on the nail desks and assumed, wrongly, that these were just for show. I couldn't work out what they were - they are actually for filtering the air so are fewer noxious smells in the salon. It really works - I arrived at 3pm and rather than the air being filled with the rather heady smell of varnishes there was barely any smell at all.

For those of us used to going to the slightly scary, damp nail parlor on our road the prices are a little higher but, I belive, very much worth it. I had a Perfect Panama, their signature manicure, shaped and buffed nails, and incredible massage, moisturise, hot towels and gorgeous colour for £29. MW Nails only use Essie and OPI varnishes (usually about £10 each) which have a fantastic range of colours and are great quality.

These are great to book for treats for friends too - for anyone being a maid of honour the Bridal package is a fantastic treat for both of you and, unlike a lot of salons I've been too, you can sit next to each other in first class chairs and have a good old gossip while getting your treatments. I also fancy trying the Caribbean Combo which is a luxurious mani/pedi combo for under £50 and would very much appreciate this as a present since getting pregnant being rubbed is the best experience ever without wanting to sound to weird but everything hurts more and is more sensitive. I was particularly pleased because my knuckles have just got too big for my engagement and wedding rings so a bit of pampering is what my old sausage fingers needed.Stuck for what to get a preggers friend - a voucher for here would be perfect and looks cool too.
This picture doesn't do the nails justice - colour is Tangerine by Essie

What I loved about MW Nails, apart from the fantastic result (thanks Mia!) was that this was an experience in itself. I wasn't dashing in guiltily to get my nails done, I felt relaxed and pampered, without being there for hours and really as if I was getting my moniesworth and that is what I think is lacking from many nail bars at the moment - MW Nails have filled the aching void between guilty secret and OTT luxury and I love it.
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