Thursday, July 21, 2016

Clarins Gift With Purchase at Debenhams

Whether you're a brand devotee or a beauty blogger looking for an excuse opportunity to try some new products there is nothing better than a gift with purchase offer. Right now Clarins has a rather fabulous gift with purchase online at Debenhams*. until Sunday 7th August.

As is typical with such offers you're required to make a purchase of two or more Clarin's products before you receive your bag of goodies, at least one from their range of skincare - my pick would be Clarins Beauty Flash Balm which you'll have recently seen in my monthly favourites.

Your Clarins Gift with Purchase includes, and is held within a pretty beauty bag which is the perfect size for holding all your Clarins products ready for any forthcoming holidays. Inside you'll find Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser 50ml* which is a deliciously orange scented product. This cleanser made it's way in my Empties way back in 2014. It's a gritty gel like texture which is ideal if like me you can be lax with your skincare regime, skipped a mask or two and need something to freshen up the skin. It's perfect for holidays if you are a fan of tanning and need to ensure any dead skin is sloughed away - just remember SPF. I've been enjoying this recently targeted around my nose where blackheads tend to gather, especially from wearing sunglasses since the sun has appeared in the UK.

Next you'll find a 15ml size of Clarins HydraQuench Cream* which I'm tucking away for my next long haul flight as this will be perfect to ensure my skin stays hydrated during the flight so I can arrive to my desitination looking radiant even if jetlag is starting to kick in. It's worth exploring the HydraQuench range to make up your qualifying purchases whether it's the Clarins HydraQuench Cream Mask which I enjoy using overnight, especially when I'm hungover or Clarins HydraQuench Replenishing Lip Balm which Lupita Nyong'o had to hand the night she won her Oscar.

Your final two products are for that extra bit of pampering, Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion* and a Mini Instant Light Lip Comfort* the latter being the product I'm keen to try once I rid myself of a pesky cold sore. The lip treatment has a non-sticky, lip plumping formula which has made itself rather popular on other blogs.

If you're keen for some more suggestions on what to buy from Clarin's then another favourite of mine is the Clarins Bronzing Duo; this is a product I actually hit pan on and repurchased which says alot! See it in action here.

If you want to pick to take advantage of this offer you can order online at Debenhams right now.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Duty Free Haul

I’m sure the reason I love airports so much is that they usually involve going on holiday and if that’s the first then the second is Duty Free. Once I’m through security I’m like a woman possessed acting like someone with a Khardashians bank balance, throwing anything and everything into my basket. Please tell me I’m not alone in thinking that Duty Free spending isn’t like ‘real life’ spending.

When I hit Duty Free last month the top item on my list was Estee Lauders Bronze Goddess. This is a very clichéd Summer fragrance but in defence of jumping on the bandwagon I did resist for a long time as this scent is wheeled out every year and bloggers rave about ‘summer in a bottle’. I must have given Bronze Goddess a sniff on many occasions over the years and decided it wasn’t for me. I tend to favour heavy scents so it’s no surprising this ‘eau fraiche’, the most diluted version of a fragrance didn’t spark any joy… until now. A few weeks ago I was strolling through House of Fraser and gave it the cursory spray and wandered off once again unimpressed. Hours later I would keep getting wafts of the scent and realised how much I loved it. Interesting Ben turned his nose up when I was making my purchase but later in the holiday he commented on how he actually now liked it so if you haven’t found love in first spritz do try it on your own skin and see how it settles later in the day.

There’s little I can tell you that every other blogger and fan has; sun, sea, sand, coconut, memories of laying on a beach, yes it is all true and all there. It’s a whooping 100ml, glass bottle which makes me wonder would they not have been more successful bringing this out in a more travel friendly option such as the Chanel Purse sprays. It was the perfect scent to wear on my Menorca trip but I’ll be slightly reluctant taking it to Italy with me next month due to my luggage allowances.

And if one bottle wasn’t enough my mum has just returned from holiday and given me another bottle, not realising I had already purchased for myself. Clearly I mentioned this a lot recently. At least I’m stocked up now for the next couple of Summers.

Elizabeth Arden Eight House Cream Lip Protectant was one of my most used and repurchased items years ago. If I was travelling through Duty Free I would pick up this and an YSL mascara but as my beauty blogging grew and I discovered other products this little ritual disappeared. Did I need another lip balm, and certainly a pricey one at that not really but sometimes you just think why not.

The Elizabeth Arden Lip Protectant is £20 on the high street (£16.65 in Duty Free) and available in clear, my preference, and sheer tinted versions which I’ve never tried but would perhaps lend themselves well to current trends. It has the same properties as the Eight Hour Classic products and if like me you don’t like to apply product with your fingers to lips then this is a better choice. Containing skin softeners, sunscreen and Vitamin E it works from Summer to Winter. Whether you need to protect lips from sun exposure or dry and chapped lips this product will see you through. I’ve really enjoyed this rediscovery and am questioning why I ever stopped using it, it really is one of the best products and is saving the day when wearing matte lip products.

No trip to Duty Free is complete without swinging past the Mac Counter, my usual purchases are make up brushes, often adding to my stash of Mac 217 and 239. This time I needed to replace my 266 Small Angled Brush which for some reason is the brush I’m forever loosing. I always have a list of lipsticks and eyeshadows that I’m keen to investigate but depending on time and how many others have the same goal plays a part in whether I explore further. Continuing with the blogger clichés my list included Velvet Teddy, the lipstick that received notoriety when it was rumoured that Kylie Jenner was a fan. I also had Whirl and Soar Lip Liners on my list. I asked the sales assistant which she thought was a better match. After confirming I preferred a pink rather than brown nude she suggested Soar.

I’m still ‘new’ to nude lip colours and I’m definitely finding that the more pinks suit me better than browns and Velvet Teddy is definitely on the browner side and it’s matte finish, whilst with a creamy edge, isn’t the most flattering I own. I also found that Soar was very similar to the shade Dervish which I already own and perhaps are brown liner would’ve been a more complementing match. I’m still experimenting with it and I’m glad it’s in my collection, just perhaps Summer isn’t the right time for it to come out to play.

Finally I returned home with a new perfume, YSL Black Opium which was available for an additional 20% discount on my Easyjet flight. I think the discount and lack of exiting Duty Free purchases on my outbound journey meant I was easy prey. Admittedly I had seen this scent doing the rounds on blogs and it was ingrained in memory after smelling in store and enjoy it’s scent. This is more of my traditional style of fragrance than Bronze Goddess with a sweeter hit for Summer. I can’t deny I love the look of the bottle too.

Rather a nice little Duty Free haul there for me, I just need to decided what I’ll be buying on my next trip now. What do you recommend and do you have any traditional duty free purchases you make?

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Monthly Favourites June 2016 | Holiday Edition

Whilst I was only on holiday for a week, and for just a week at the that my favourites for this month were all from my recent trip. June as a whole was one of those months were I wish I had a YouTube channel as there was so much I could’ve talked about. Instead additional loves such as OrlyScenic Route or mysecond day hair duo were mentioned in their own reviews.

Speaking of hair duos a new one appears in this favourites line up; Bumble& Bumble Surf Spray and AVEDASun Care Protective Hair Veil. Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray is a much talked about favourite for many and I’m surprised that I’ve not shared this in a favourites post before as I’m pretty sure it’s my second bottle as I like to pick up the Bumble & Bumble Surf SprayTravel Set during Summer months. Admittedly my hair requires less assistance from salt sprays currently due to it already being dryer from the colouring process but I still wanted to have it on hand and would spritz a little in before hitting the pool to add some texture to the unruly, post sleep bedhead. My friend who I was holidaying with was glad I had it to hand as he loves a little salt spray and forgot his – beauty blogger to the rescue.

My hair has always been something of an afterthought where sun protection is concerned but with blonder highlighters I wanted to avoid any sun damage and fears that I’d wake one morning with green hair! I had a little search around and stumbled on the AVEDA Hair Veil and thought that’s something new to try. A simple spray bottle that ‘forms an invisible screen’ which protects hair from sun exposure for up to 16 hours and will minimise colour fading, damage and dryness. I was quite surprised that my hair remained in such good condition which I put down in part to AVEDA’s hair veil, wearing a hat and rediscovering Bumbleand Bumble Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner.  

My routine of a morning was to dampen my hair a little with the AVEDA Veil, brush out my hair and spray some salt spray, pop on my hat and then take up residence on a sun lounger – perfect. The AVEDA Veil is a little expensive than what I would usually pay at £21.50 for 100ml – I even thought I’d discovered a travel size when I picked it up in store and was shocked at how much it cost – but it’s hand luggage friendly and a little goes a long way. I’ll be able to use this spray on my forthcoming tips to Italy next month and Las Vegas later in the year.

Another favourite for my friends and I in Menorca was Vichy Ideal Solei Double Usage After Sun Oil* (what a name!). I had been using during the trip and a couple of days in when my friend commented on his peeling skin I passed him the bottle. By the end of the week everyone was stopping by to use it and as you can see from the usage it’s barely made a dent.

As the name suggests you can use one of two ways; apply directly to dry skin or in the shower to wet skin. I used both ways, for speed the shower worked well and stopped that slightly oily slip you get on hands with any oil products but if I wanted to give my skin something of a sheen and had a little more time and was not worried about any oil on clothing then it was post shower.

I mentioned the oily slip although this is not greasy, nor unpleasant, and only a bother on the hands. On the skin itself, legs, arms and the like it gave a lovely finish and skin drank it up after a day in the sun and felt supple and moisturised. Whilst I was using SPFs and I’m not something of a sun worshipper I had a little ‘burn’ from a morning out on the open seas but I can report that I didn’t peel at all nor experience that tingly tight skin which often occurs on holidays. I’ve packed this away ready for my trip to Italy next month.

It’s over two years since Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara appeared in a favourites post and here it is again, my second tube at that, making it fight for ‘holy grail’ status. Back in 2014 I said that this mascara made me want to ‘throw out all others I own’ and I feel no different now. This is the mascara at which I’ll benchmark all other mascara’s. It was the one I chose to pack for my holiday knowing that my lashes would look long, thick and volumised. I love it.

On our first night on holiday my friend commented how nice my make up looked (yay me!) and from that night on would join me to get ready and rummage through my make up bag to try out what I had. The two products she liked in particular were L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush and Mac Extra Dimension Skin Finish in Magnetic Appeal and I agree she made good choices. I jumped on the L’Oreal Infallible hype when it did the blogger rounds and was able to pick up Amber Rush, a US exclusive during one of my trips. It’s had on and off usage and it was only the past couple of months whilst decluttering my make up that I realised how much I loved this make up. My eyelids aren’t my best feature so I need to be careful of heavily glittered lids but the infallible formula is heavily pigmented enough to work for me. I remember wearing to work one day and a colleague walked into find me admiring my eyeshadow as I had forgotten, or at best not fully appreciated how good this looks. Whilst I add some definition to the crease and liner when wearing Amber Rush it works just as well on its own making it a time saving for nights out when you’re in a rush. Amber Rush is a dupe of Mac’s Tan Pigment, and whilst I’ve never used that myself I’d still say buy the high street version. Mac Pigments last forever and they’re not the most travel friendly compared to the L’Oreal pressed pigments. This renewed love means I’m going to have to add a few more of these little beauty’s to my collection.

Magnetic Appeal is a limited edition product from the Magnetic Nude Collection that I picked up on something of a whim after seeing Jaclyn Hill raving about it way back in 2013. It was more ‘I love the look of that’ rather than knowing exactly how or when I would wear it and it has had sporadic use over the years. When it does come into its own is when I’m holidaying and I’m offering a darker skintone that lends itself better to the product. Like Mac Mineralise Skinfinishes this can be used as a highlight, blusher or bronzer depending on your skintone and Magnetic Appeal is certainly on the bronzer side for me. I use this as something of a do it all on my cheeks when on holiday and whilst it initially scared me using a lighter hand and blending it does look fantastic and will really make the skin glow which is just what we’re looking for on holiday.

Finally another unloved MAC product, Girl About Town Amplified lipstick. I’m pretty sure this was one of my first MAC lipstick purchases but I’ve been off bright pinks, this is a ‘bright fuchsia’, and it’s sat in my draw for I don’t know how long. Yes, yes it’s probably well past its use by date. It was Stacey I think I saw wearing this on Snapchat and thought that looks great, I have that and dug it out. I decided to take it on holiday knowing that much of my clothing for the trip would lend itself well to the colour. If you apply heavily this is very pigmented as the finish suggests but there’s a nice sheen to each which makes a change from the matte lipsticks everyone is tending to favour these days. I don’t normally bother with make up ‘round the pool’ but on the odd day where I wanted to liven my face up or perhaps we were heading to lunch I’d press this on to create a more muted stain which worked perfectly.

Well that wasn't quite the 'shorter' post I had intended, top marks if you reached the end!

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

HEMA Beauty Range Review

High Street Beauty Secrets

As high street beauty ranges creep up in price I'm always keen to seek out alternatives for a more affordable price point and see whether there are some hidden gems beyond the usual suspects. HEMA Beauty might be one of those brands worth exploring more.

I hadn't heard of HEMA until they got in touch and invited me to an event which unfortunately I was unable to make. They kindly sent me a few products to try which I can share with you today. HEMA reminds me of Tiger with only six stores across the UK, including Stanstead Airport, a branch I'll be checking out in August when I head off on my next trip. Take a look at their website and I'm sure you'll have one or two 'oooh I need that moments'. They even sell acrylic storage.

So let's talk make up and how my experience with HEMA Beauty was. The first two products I dismissed quickly, although as is often the case my initial thoughts were unfair. Foundation Brush No 13* is the 'old style' flat paint brush which we don't see anyone using, myself included. Instead I found this is perfect for applying face masks and made the whole process so much easier and less messy. It now sits in my bathroom to reach for with ease. Next was the Clear Eyebrow Gel No 31 something I just expected not to have any need for it as I like my coloured brow products. I threw it in my holiday make up bag nonetheless and found it handy to tidy my unruly brows for a day at the beach. It doesn't leave brows crispy so I'll definitely be trying when I'm just using eyebrow pencils.

Disappointing was the Coverstick in Shade 05* as for me it is too drying and stiff to work with. I have given it some good use and on initial application it covers nicely but after some time it starts to settle. I'm not giving up completely and may play around a little more but I think I prefer a more liquid formula.

Blushers and Bronzers have always been my favourite beauty products and at the moment I'm loving a lazy approach with using more natural, 'shimmery' shades as blush that both warm up the skin and highlight in one swipe. If it's shimmer you're after than the Wet and Dry Blusher Powder in 54* is gorgeous. A warmer version of Milani Luminoso this gives a lovely glow to the skin. The shimmer is not chunky and I'm reaching for this often especially now I have a tan. My favourite blush of all time is Mac Peaches and Cream from the Osbournes Collection which has a satin sheen to it so I'm always looking for similar products, would HEMA's Satin Blush Powder* be it? Shade 01 I have is perhaps a little light for a replication but it's a nice subtle blush if you're wearing heavy eyes or lips and want to keep cheeks neutral. I'm definitely keen to experiment with some more colours.

Moving on to lip products and these were a great success and even when I shared an Instagram post on the brand a friend commented how she loved the Soft Matt Lip Balms* and found them better than Mac. And I'm inclined to agree. The first thing I love about these products is their twist up design. I will always choose the product I don't have to sharpen, especially when holidaying. I have shades No 8 and No 11 which are both lovely, No 8 a pinky berry that will be great when we transition from Summer to Autumn (assuming we have a Summer!) and 11 gives that 90s brown nude lip that I'm still clinging on to. Nice but nothing special is the Fabulous Fluid Lipstick in 01*. The shade is a little too peach to suit me although it works dabbed on with nude lip colours. As for the formula it's a little chalky for my taste whilst being creamy and feels comfortable.

Finally are two products I'm still yet to try; the Metallic Eyeshadow in 06* (which is more purple than it appears online) and the Long Lasting Nail Polish in Shade 814*. Swatching the eyeshadow I didn't find the 'metallic high gloss' finish they mention on the website and it did appear patchy but I will hold of judgement until I've tested properly. Likewise I need to find out if the nail polish deserves it's 'long lasting' name.

Final mention goes to this little travel pouch* which I used on my recent holiday. It's one of those papery pouches or pencil case as HEMA calls it and was ideal for storing my work iPhone and portable charger whilst travelling or hitting the beach. My friends were frequently borrowing it whenever their batteries were waning so it was perfect to reach in and know where to find it whilst ensuring it wasn't covered in sand.

Have you heard of HEMA before?

*this post contains press samples

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

HEMPZ | The Perfect Summer Body Lotion

Moisturising my body is the one aspect of my beauty routine I'm lacking, although I think that's often the case for most of us. That said I tend to up my game when I have a pump dispenser as it seems to make things easier for me. As one of my Roger & Gallet Body Sorbets reached it's end enter Hempz Triple Moisturiser Body Creme*.

Hempz is a brand I had not heard about nor seen on the shelves but one sniff of the Grapefruit and Peach scent and I was sold. It's a large 500ml size bottle which thanks to a pleasing minty blue colour looks pleasing on the dressing table. And of course there's the pump.

Rich in Vitamin E, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6, Hemp Seed Oil is in all Hempz products - there's everything from body scrubs to tanning lotions - to maintain healthy skin and help give skin a radiant glow and I certainly know, especially with my light holiday tan that using body lotion helps maintain that just stepped out of the sun look.

It's not a sticky body lotion, the worst trait in warmer months, especially for us in the UK that seem to be subjected to limited sunshine but humid temperatures. I can pop this on as I'm getting ready in the morning and add clothes soon after.

You'll also find that Hempz products are Gluten and Paraben Free and 100% Vegan something I note is becoming more and more important.

What body lotion are you enjoying at the moment?

*this post contains press samples

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