Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 2016 | Beauty Favourites

Essence Mascara, Barry M, Revlon Lip Products, Natural Collection Make Up

Another month passes and it seems to have gone by so quickly that my favourites have been more of a case of products I could reach for without thinking about them. So much so that in my hungover state yesterday I have picked out two products that featured in last month's favourites post! You'll also see an empties post later this week that shows how I'm still working my through my stash to streamline it rather than add to it.

I am dreadful at dragging out mascara's far long than necessary and as I try to whittle them down I've rediscovered Essence's I Love Extreme Mascara. I forgot how much I love this, long, thick and voluminous lashes appear after a few coats of this high street favourite. I know Essence have an extensive range of mascara's so I think I need to visit a counter and investigate some more of their offerings. And stock up on another of these.

During one of my spring clean sessions last year I put aside a make up bag of 'Summer' nail polishes which I rediscovered hunting through a cupboard. Straight away I reached for Barry M nail polish in Greenberry and my toe nails were painted. I've been relying on my nudes and reds on nails a lot lately so it was nice to find something a little more fun to play with.

Revlon lip products have have been my go to of late, similar colours but very different formula. The Revlon Lip Lacquer in Rose Quartz compliments any outfit when I want a glossy finish. For days when I want to play things down a little it's Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Devotion. Once an almost every day red lip wearer I'm enjoying changing things up a little with these two favourites.

Blogging allows me to test a lot of skincare so I love it when I can settle with a product long enough that it's used in it's entirety. F.O.Y Moisturising Day Cream* has been a surprise hit with me. Initially judging the packaging and thinking it was 'nothing special' I can only say that my skin has loved this moisturiser and I feel like my skin is really good shape at the moment. I find that my make up applies evenly and skin isn't crying out for hydration. If further prove that I was a fan of this product is need, often I'll rotate products as I get bored but it wasn't the case here.

Finally the two base products I've been reaching for on a daily basis, a second appearance for Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer and Natural Collection Tinted Moisturiser*. Really I should've included the Natural Collection Bronzer* too as its those three products and the aforementioned mascara and lipsticks that allow me to get out of the door in the mornings, quickly and with minimal effort.

You can read a full review of the Natural Collection range but in short this is a product that once again proved my preconceived ideas wrong. I cannot believe for £1.99 I have found a product that rivals my 'holy grail' Chanel Healthy Glow Fluid and again, the fact that I haven't immediately swapped out after testing and am reaching for it daily shows that it's a product I'll be using again and again.

What have you been loving this month?

*this post contains press samples

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Natural Collection Beauty Review

Natural Collection, despite 25 years on the shelves of Boots seems to be very much an underrated and overlooked brand. Even in today's beauty blogging peak it's a brand you don't often hear crop up, compared to the others such as Seventeen and No 7. I vaguely remember seeing one of the eyeshadow colours recently featured on one or two blogs being a great transition shade but otherwise it's tumbleweed.

I too haven't given the Natural Collection range so much as cursory glance in store as in honesty it's not the most enticing of brands with it's simple packaging and its 'natural' appearance, is it perhaps too boring for today's beauty fans? This said I did used to use their clear mascara for my eyebrows 'back in the day'.

Luckily for me Boots got in touch and asked if I'd like to try some products from the range and I thought it was a great opportunity to see if I was missing out on Natural Collections offering or was it perhaps right that they have been so overlooked?

When I first glanced inside the box of Natural Collection products I made some typical judgements. The packaging isn't exciting inoffensive although there's something about the products that's a little beige. This in itself is a ridiculous statement as I'm hardly rocking blue lips and bright pink eyeshadow on a regular basis.

I have to say I need to eat my words and learn not to judge a book by it's cover because I've been enjoying the products I've been able to test. Did anyone else know that everything in the range is priced at £1.99. That's amazing. I think the thing that is missed with Natural Collection is that they're all about creating a natural make up look by keeping things simple. Even us beauty bloggers struggle wondering is it bronzing or contouring and what the difference between highlighting and strobing is?

First up is the Natural Collection Tinted Moisturiser* which is available in 3 shades; Natural, Fair and Beige. I have Natural. Packaging is a clear tube, with the simple Natural Collection Daisy, perfect for travel and knowing how much product you have left. Natural Collection say it will give your face 'a natural glow and sheer coverage' and for those who want to look natural and not overly made up. I was surprised at how thick the tinted moisturiser was and actually found I was wiping more off my hand than needing for my face so I imagine this tube will last some time. In texture it reminded me surprisingly of my favourite Make Up Forever HD Foundation. For me I found it applied seamlessly and was a fuller coverage than I expected although medium, one of those your skin but better. In fact I was quite impressed and once I went in with my concealer I felt like I had a normal base on. I've been wearing this daily and find it's perfect for 'every day' and saves some of my more affordable foundations whilst not compromising on quality and appearance.

It wore well throughout the day and it was only a little shine that came through towards the of the day. Thankfully I had Natural Collection Pressed Powder* in Warm to hand. I did use this once or twice to set my concealer and I do prefer my Chanel Les Beiges but this is a worthy and far more affordable alternative. Available in three shades; warm, neutral and cool you this is such a silky powder and not at all what I expected. If you're a fan of Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder and want to find something even cheaper than that check your Natural Collection counter.

Again there were more pre-conceived ideas with Natural Collection Suntint Bronzing Powder* in the shade Suntint. Drugstore bronzers are often known to be on the orange side and filled with sparkle and it is true to say there is a glint to Natural Collection's offering hence my assumption I wouldn't like it. It's certainly not one for contouring as such but as I applied it made a lovely bronze look and I can forgo wearing blusher for the more natural look that Natural Collection are aiming for.

Finally is the Natural Collection Blushed Cheers Blusher* in Pink Cloud which is a pretty inoffensive pink to wear. I'm something of a blush addict so I'm not sure it's going to compete with those I favour, nor is it swaying me from bronzing powder at the moment but that is more personal preference than issue with the product.

Without a doubt, and if were not obvious, my two favourite products are the Tinted Moisturiser and Bronzing Powder which will definitely remain in my make up collection. I'm enjoying the ease of applying, not having to reach for multiple bronzers and blushes as I really like the warmth the blusher gives me.

There's very little we can get for £1.99 these days and the fact that there is this unsung brand on our doorstep I'm kicking myself. I think I might have to explore the Natural Collection stand next time I'm in Boots and see what other gems I can find.

Have you ever used Natural Collection cosmetics?

*this post contains press samples

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Travel Essentials | Apple World Travel Adapter Kit

One of the best purchases I've ever made is my Apple World Travel Adaptor Kit. It literally takes the hassle out of travelling, well ok maybe that's a stretch but when it comes to charging my iPhone and other Apple products it's so handy.

If like me your are fully immersed in the Apple bubble with your iPhone, iPad and Macbook and take them on your travels then the World Travel Adapter Kit is for you. Containing a set of seven plugs to fit wherever you may be in the world from Europe to American and even further afield like Australia and Hong Kong never do you need to worry about being unable to charge your phone. I mean god forbid we're unable to Instagram the sunrise on the beach.

You might rightly wonder why you need this in addition to a regular adaptor plug but the beauty of these plugs designed for Apple products is that you plug directly into the power socket of whatever destination you find yourself in using the regular USB port cable linked to your device.

I picked this kit up in the airport when travelling abroad a few years ago and fearful that I would suffer the repeated fate of my US adaptor plug not working properly with my usual charger and it's been well used ever since.

I actually rarely take a separate plug adaptor now as it is often only my Apple products that require charging during my trips which cuts down on luggage - anyone else find normal travel plugs so bulky?

If you're an Apple user and travel a lot I think £25 for this kit is a bargain, even if like me so far you've only used the US and European adaptors.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Birthday Wishes and Champagne Kisses

Last month it was my birthday so it was the perfect time to receive some gifts from I Just Love It*. Of course these were treats I picked out for myself but nonetheless they were well received.

First was the 'Birthday Wishes & Champagne Kisses' Candle* which comes complete with it's own tin and would make an ideal birthday gift for anyone I think. It looks far more expensive than it's £19.99 price tag. A soy wax blend the candles scent is Toasted Marshmallow and whilst it might not necessarily be that time of year I'm really enjoy this candle at the moment. The scent fills the room even when unlit and once it's finished this is one I'll be cleaning out and re-purposing.

Sadly it does appear to be currently out of stock online at the moment but never fear I Just Love It have a large range of alternative candles, for any occasion not just birthdays. I have my eye on the Bellini Candle next.

Long term followers will know that my blogs origins lay in a love of vintage homewares so I could resist the Let's Get Warm & Toast Butter Knife*. I really enjoy and smile to myself when I use this and its definitely a gift that would make someone smile and remember you when they used it. I Just Love It has a great range of various vintage items stamped whether for Father Day or the recently married so do check them out. It's a little something different without being too over sentimental.

If you're not a fan of myself a quick look round the site will show you there is an extensive ranges of gifts for everyone and every occasion whatever your price range. It's definitely somewhere I will turn to in future when I have an event coming up and I want something that I won't fear another guest turning up with.

What item would you pick?

Please note items were gifted for the purposes of this review but no additional payment was made by I Just Love It for the review itself.

*this post contains press samples

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tarantella Tomatoes and a Slimming World Recipe

If you'd asked me a year or two ago about my eating habits I would've told you that I eat most things but fish, pasta and tomatoes were deal breakers. Today I would reply that fish still remains but somewhere along the road I've discovered a love for pasta and for the most part tomatoes.

I'm still not so much as a fan of the basic tomato having to hide them with other foods but I do love things like a good old Spaghetti Bolognaise or Chilli lately. Recently I've started dabbling with Slimming World, and I do mean dabbling. If you've seen my Snapchat you'll know I'm not the healthiest of eaters but there are certain dishes I try to do the Slimming World way, and Spag Bol is one of them.

Slimming World's Spaghetti Bolognaise recipe calls for one tin of chopped tomatoes so enter Tarantella* tomato products; passata, chopped and paste which are all 100% organic. And before you worry about having to hunt them down from some far flung small independent shop, you simply need to seek them out at your local supermarket such as Morrisons or ASDA.

Despite organic tomatoes used in Tarantella products being smaller than their counterparts they actually have been proven to contain 55% more vitamin c. There are many other positive findings to organic tomatoes that increase their health-giving properties even so far as regular consumption of tomatoes can help prevent burning to the skin and signs of ageing caused to by the sun (don't forget your SPF though!)

Whilst I'm still not able to get past the thought of drinking tomato juice, everyone tells me a Bloody Mary is the best hangover cure!

What is your fave way to use chopped tomatoes?

*this post contains press samples

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Superdrug Beauty 3 for 2 Haul

Despite my 'use what I have' mantra for 2016 I couldn't help treating myself during the recent Superdrug 3 for 2 promotion. I'd seen the Revlon Ultra HD Lip Lacquer's doing the rounds and knowing there were easier to get hold of than fighting on the Kylie Cosmetics website I thought I'd stick with the high street.

The shade that had caught my attention was Smokey Topaz and was top of my list and started the buying process. It swatched beautifully as did Rose Quartz and I dithered, did I really want two of the same product. Did I need two new lip glosses or lacquers as they're known? Of course not but both came home and I'm so pleased they did. Why? Because Smokey Topaz did not work for me but Rose Quartz on the other hand is a favourite at the moment.

Smokey Topaz is just too pale and sheer for me and my dalliance with nudes recently has told me that my lips are naturally too pink so I need to ensure I pick the colours more wisely. Rose Quartz though is a subtle but pigmented shade of pink which to use a cliche is 'my lips but better'. As mentioned it's very much like melted lipstick, glossy but not sticky. I've noticed also that I prefer the brush application than a doe foot applicator. The packaging is pleasing, even the jewel in the top of the applicator doesn't look cheap or tacky as one would suspect.

Once I'd decided on my lip lacquers I needed that third product and I decided to pick up Elegant Touch Nails in Constellation. I am really into false nails at the moment finding them perfect for weekend occasions and then wiping them off so I'm able to hold a pen, type or apply eye creams without danger of blinding myself. I found these particularly pretty and if we're going to love the rose gold trend lets pop it on our nails too.

As it happened the outfit I planned to wear these with changed so I went for another option but I'm looking forward to bringing these out for an event soon.

Finally with all purchases you got a nifty little make up bag. I need more make up bags like a hole in the head but it's cute nonetheless and I'm sure my niece will be very happy to use it on my behalf.

What have you been treating yourself to recently?

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Products I've used up | April 2016

A small selection of products to talk through today starting with the Scruples Pearl Complete Recovery Treatment Masque*.  A treatment to be worked into clean damp hair and left for between 1 - 10 minutes before rinsing or 1-10 minutes depending on how intensive a treatment you would like.

It both smells lovely and will aid dry and dull hair. Ironically I used this prior to colour treating my hair so I can't speak for how well it would work on that. But as a regular hair treatment even on my natural colour ensured that hair was in a healthy condition.

GLAMGLOW Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment was one of my first 'blogger influenced' purchases and reviewed way back in 2013. Whilst this mask has a cult status and is a great product I'm still not sure, as I was three years ago whether it's worth the huge price tag. GLAMGLOW share a list of fantastic benefits for it's use, 'glowing complexion in just 10 minutes' to 'tighten, tone and lift the skin' and I can't deny that it does provide those. That said I find similar results from many of my clay masks, not least the more affordable Mask of Magnaminty from Lush. Complaints about price point aside the biggest bug bear for me is the 'debris' in this mask that just slips of skin and makes a mess everywhere.

Two perfumes climbed into my empties pile this month, Britney Spears Rocker Femme Fantasy* and Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Britney's fragrance was a surprise hit as I had the usual judgements in advance of using it. The perfect scent for summer with it's fruity mix with a musky edge it's worth having a sniff if you come across it. You'll also find it on The Fragrance Shop half price at the moment and with a free gift as well.

It's oh so cliche but Chanel Coco Mademoiselle is one of my favourite and signature scents which I won't apologise for. I often have moments when I want to 'try something new' but it's always this I return to this. Will I repurchase? I already had one on standby!

Next is not so much an empty as a dried up. Often the case with these gel type top coats I went to use eyeCANDY Gel Top Coat* one day and the lid came off but the rest was set in stone in the bottle. Often you don't find out how good something really is until you use other products (I previously claimed it was better than Seche Vite) and the topcoats I've turned to recently have made me miss this. The others don't seem to have the same shine nor the extra added wear I need constantly typing in the office if not at home on the laptop. I think I'm lucky enough to have another in my stash but otherwise I will repurchase.

A product I'm sad to see reach it's end was the Limited Edition Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish in Sweet Orange and Mint. Why oh why did I not buy more of these or at least this in it's larger size? Regrets, I've had a few... melodramatic of course but it was a favourite to use. My 'use what I have mantra' for 2016 means I must first use the cleansers I already own but I know I will be returning to Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish one day soon.

Ending with another skincare item, Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+* a lovely oil to fit into your skincare that's certified organic an 100% natural. Plenty of ingredients that do wonderful things for the skin and if you're worried about sunspots try this out - especially if they're telling on the hands. Find out more in my original review here

*this post contains press samples

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Friday, May 13, 2016

My Current Hair Styling Favourites

As I've mentioned once and twice I recently spent four hours in the hairdressers having my hair cut and coloured. Whist I rarely bothered with my hair in the past, my new cut and style means I've needed to pay a little more attention to styling. Thankfully I have received a number of new products recently to test and trial which have made the job fair easier.

Amika is a rather funky packaged range of products from New York. I was sent the the Bombshell Blowout Spray* and Haute Mess Texture Gel* the latter of which I'll be sharing with you today. When I had short hair years ago I would use a wax that's now discontinued and with my choppier style I would need something that ensure the style was tousled and textured so I needed to find something new. Gels scare me as I'm still scarred by the 80s versions that would leave hair in a crisp solid mess. And of course no one wants sticky fingers. Ibliphica Oil and Grapefruit add flexibility to your hair whilst still aiding your styling. You can use on damp or dry hair, damp being my preference and it works a treat. Safe for colour treated hair and free of parabens and the like this is a kind product that I now use regularly. And the stickiest - I can't believe it but there's none of that left on hands once it's run through your hair.

I would moan regularly about how greasy my hair was but I never fully appreciated how the lack of colour treatments led to it's good condition and natural oils. There are of course plus sides to my hair being on the dryer side now and that is of course experiencing the pleasure of second and third day hair - a complete new concept to me. I still want to retain the appearance of healthy hair so a luxurious product I've been using to achieve that is the Nexxus Infinite Nourishing Hair Oil*. Infused with oils including African Marula Oil which is renowned for its healing properties this is a nourishing product that has saved my hair. I've used this more commonly on dry hair to tame any obvious frizz caused from my hair dryer and make things appear smoother and sleek without banishing volume and texture.

Revlon UNIQ ONE 10-in-1 Coconut Fragrance Hair Treatment* has been part of my hair line up for some time and apart it's wonderful smell it's a great product to use that protects against heat, stops detangling and prevents split ends among its many other claims. I think I saw on someones Snapchat or similar that it's popping up in one of the beauty boxes this month so if  you'll be pleased with this product. I simply apply after I've washed my hair and I found even in my brunette days that it wouldn't leave any heaviness in my hair.

I'm a big fan of the Batiste Dry Shampoo range (even more so these days as I don't have to wash hair so frequently) so I was excited to see how their new styling range would work for me. The stand out product for me, and for only a few pounds is Batiste Oomph My Locks XXL Volume*, a worthy competitor to it's higher end counterparts. In fact everyone I talk to mentions this product so I can report back that it's not just me. A blend on Keratin and Inca Inchi oil help to strengthen and care for your hair whilst giving a backcomb in a bottle so you can avoid tugging at hair with a comb. Once I have styled my hair I apply to the roots and then have a good massage to create hair that no longer sits flat to my head.

As someone who isn't adept with hairstyling products that help me achieve the look I want with ease and speed make such a difference. My new hairdo has led to quite a few new products being tested recently which some additional favourites I'll be sharing with you soon so do stay tuned.

*this post contains press samples

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

When Italians make coffee

Many years ago I went on my first trip to New York, my first trip in fact to America. Among the things I wanted to do such as climb to the top of the Empire State Building and shop in Bloomingdales was drink coffee 'like an American'. I blame Ally McBeal.

I'm sure that sounds strange to those of you used to having a choice of coffee shops on every corner, but without making myself sound too old 'in my day' this was not the case. In fact it was more greasy spoon cafes serving a cup of instant if you were lucky. And once again this is not the instant we're used to today, or in fact the one I am sharing with you today from Lavazza*.

There was one problem to my 'coffee drinking plan'. I didn't actually like coffee, but I persevered and perhaps the offering from Dunkin' Donut's wasn't the best starting point but now many years and coffee's later I have something of handle on what makes a good or bad cup of coffee.

I've dabbled with coffee machines which serve a purpose for lattes and the like but whether it's for calorie counting reasons or not I often prefer a simple white coffee or Americano as it's more commonly known. I had got into a very lazy and inelegant habit of purchasing a cup of Nescafe Instant from the station of a morning (likely started after a particularly late night and accompanying hangover). At a cost of £1.30 per day it was starting to add up especially for a cheap cup of instant. I took myself to Primark, purchased a couple of their travel coffee mugs and started making my coffee at home.

Luckily for me Lavazza decided to send me to ensure I didn't slip into bad coffee habits and sent me their Lavazza Prontissimo! range, a premium instant coffee 'with an authentic Italian taste'. Lavazza Prontissimo! Medio* and Intenso* instant coffees are made using 100% Columbian Arabica beans, containing 'micro-granules' that ensure you drink a rich and full bodied cup of coffee in a matter of minutes.

I've found that in the morning I prefer the dark roast blend of Intenso which is well balance with notes of caramel which is perhaps why I favour it as I do love caramel in my coffee. The sweeter Medio has a low acidity and I find I prefer that particularly after a meal or perhaps with a chocolate treat later in the day.

Who needs fancy coffee shops or machines when you can have a good cup of coffee first thing in the morning in an instant care of the Italians.

*this post contains press samples

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

F.O.Y Fountain of Youth Skincare Review

There's been a lot of skincare testing going on for me lately and one of those brands is F.O.Y or Fountain of Youth. To make it clear from the onset this is a high end brand, or at least an expensive one and more suited to those with mature skins. Gulp - is that me now?

You also won't find F.O.Y in your local department store as it's currently only available from these London stockists but if today's post wets your appetite they will be found online very soon.

Who are F.O.Y? Originally the products found in the range were developed to provide post-operative treatment for patients undergoing surgery and non-invasive, aesthetic procedures. They were developed to provide patients with a range that allowed them to prolong the results of the aforementioned treatments at home.

Once F.O.Y realised that positive feedback from their clients including skin that felt renewed, smooth, supple and radiant they decided to allow those who were not seeking treatments to benefit from the products available.

My first thoughts when I saw the products was that it all seemed very minimalist in terms of packaging (if I was to compare to a more well known brand I'd think Clinque) and for a mature skincare range it was kept very simple.

Diving straight into the product as micellar waters go F.O.Y Cleansing Micellar Water* this a pricey one at £28.50. The claims listed are 'purifying and deep cleansing', 'moisturising and soothes the skin' and 'acts as a revitalising tonic'.  Unlike micellar waters I've used in the past this has a gel texture which I enjoyed but I still can't get away from wanting to do a 'proper' cleansing routine. Of course if you've undergone surgery you may not want, nor be able to get to the bathroom and complete such a routine so this might be wear it steps up. Likewise if you are going to rely solely on a micellar water is it worth spending the extra few pounds? I'll leave you to decide.

Containing Panthenol which is renowned for it's moisturising capabilities, increasing hydration, improving elasticity as well as chamomile, ginseng and marigold extras to sooth and calm skin. Finally there is rose water to soothe any irritated skin which would make it useful for anyone who suffered sunburn over the weekend.

You will have spotted F.O.Y Revitalsing Eye Gel* in my April Favourites which speaks for itself. A revitalising gel to target wrinkles around the eye which claims to firm and tighten the skin. I always wonder how explicitly I can say a product worked in preventing wrinkles without knowing how many 'you were due' but what I can say without contest is that I have found no creasing in my concealer since I've been using this product which speaks for itself.

As I mentioned in my favourites post it will be perfect for itchy eyes due to Echinacea extract and I plan to move this into my fridge for some added cooling benefits.

I wasn't particularly enamored by the F.O.Y Moisturising Day Cream* on first sight but I've almost used it all up so clearly it's doing something right. The F.O.Y range is unscented as you'd expect and I think I can often be lead to favour pretty packaging or scents but it was good to use a product where I was able to put those judgements aside.

Interestingly this is a product that feels both thick yet lightweight at the same time. I hope that will make some sense. By this I mean it feels heavy on application and it is good to allow the advised 1 - 2 mins to allow the cream to absorb in as I find even the smallest bit appears evident at first on the skin. After those couple of minutes it sinks into skin and its left feeling plump and hydrated without weighing down. Even when the weather has racked up the temperature and London Underground commuting makes things humid I haven't found make up sliding off my face and the odd dry patch I experience here and there has been none-existent which I put down to the inclusion of jojoba which balances oil production.

Finally is the product I've reached for least out of the four the F.O.Y Rejuvenating Night Cream*. This is not specifically down to the product more my lax attention to a night time regime and this sitting in a different draw, unlike others which sit in my bedside. I like night creams to have a scent and this doesn't so it may appeal to others but for me it was something I missed.

Again this is a personal taste issue rather than fault to the product itself because when I have used it's worked a treat. There's a whole host of ingredients which have benefits to the skin from fighting signs of ageing to stimulating collagen synthesis.

Keep your eyes peeled for when F.O.Y is released online, if you have the budget it's worth exploring.

*this post contains press samples

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Monday, May 9, 2016

April 2016 | Beauty Favourites

It's a very make up heavy favourites post today as I  reverted to something of a lazy make up routine the past month and all these items tick the box for that. First up I'll start with some products you may recognise from my Superdrug Haul.

Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer is making waves in the beauty community and I jumped straight on that bandwagon and can say that for me the hype is deserved. I've never been one to just conceal and go but on weekends when I'm even less inclined to wear make up but want to make something of an event I've been sweeping this on, adding some Chanel Les Beiges Powder and I'm good to go. It doesn't crease under the eyes, far outweighing others I've tried and lasts all day. Another plus is it looks far more higher end and is less messy than other offerings in my collection.

The Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipstick in Devotion has been a big hit, as has the formula of this product. I did return to Superdrug to look at other shades but none sparked any excitement as Devotion did so I left empty handed and stuck with this favourite. A subtle shade of pink but not too subtle that it looks like I haven't bothered at all it goes with almost every outfit. The slightly chalky feeling texture goes on like silk and dries down without drying lips out so I'm crying for lip balm later. I can reapply throughout the day without fear of cracked lips although this is certainly a longer lasting product compared to others. It's definitely worth checking out if there's a shade that you like.

Next is L'Oreal's Brow Artist Plumper which has quickly replaced my former love of the Maybelline BrowDrama. With a much more sensible, smaller brush this is far easier to brush my brows out and fill in any gaps very quickly. It dries quickly and is far hardier against my annoying habit of stroking my eyebrows and definitely requires more effort to displace and ruin my efforts.

Carrying on my lazy make up theme I've been reaching for the Seventeen Mono Eyeshadow in Rose Quartz on a daily basis with my Zoeva 227 Definer Brush* for a quick eye make up look. Again I've never been a one lid colour and go kind of girl, even with my simple eye make up routines I'd always add something into the crease, outer corners and some sort of liner, until now. The Zoeva 227 is a worthy contender for Mac's famous 217 of which I have many but it's the 227 I've reached for. Blending out Rose Quartz on my lids and some mascara I'm happy enough with my make up to be seen in the office. The Mono Eyeshadows are compact, pigmented and last a day in the office which often is all I'm looking for.

As I continue my make up declutter I've pulled out Covergirl Blush in Pretty Peach that has been sitting in the draw for ages following a US Beauty Haul.  Hailed as a dupe for Mac Melba Blush it's become a firm favourite if not for the cheap and unpleasant packaging. I've been reaching for this a lot as the sun shines and it gives a nice soft glow.

Painting my nails is a chore I don't enjoy and I'm always torn between painting with normal polish multiple times or wearing gels and having the chore of removing to reapply. First world problems of course but I've settled on painting for nails as it feels like an easier process at times. Another Covergirl product and this is the red polish they brought out in their Star Wars range. It's your standard shade of red but applies nicely, if the brush is a little small for my liking. I get a good few days out of this before any wear starts to show.

Finally I'm throwing a skincare item in which has become a big hit as we hit hayfever season. I've recently been testing some products from F.O.Y and the stand out for me at the moment is the Revitalising Eye Gel*. This is very much a gel and I think I need to start keeping in the fridge for some extra cooling properties to soothe my itchy eyes. The packging is rather luxe for an eye cream and whilst it's not the ideal travel companion it's nice sitting atop my dressing table.

What have you been loving this month?

*this post contains press samples

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Top Tanning Tips

As the sun is starting to show it's face I'm having to start showing some skin and this year I need to up my tanning regime but it does scare me a little. How do you prep the skin? What do you do to keep the tan looking even or long lasting? Hopefully if you're in the same boat as me today's post should help a little.

24 hours before tanning your skin it's time to exfoliate so your skin is prepped and leaves a smooth surface for your tanning product. My current body scrub is the Seascape Sea Salt Body Scrub* and my word this smells amazing. It's not the most practical of products in a heavy glass jar but it does make for a little bit of luxury which I am enjoying. Containing pure sea salt to nourish your skin, unclog pores and help remove dead skin cells it's a thick scrub which isn't abrasive to skin whilst still carrying out the task in hand. I like that it's thick enough to scoop up and massage into skin without lumps dropping into the bath or shower and being wasted.

The next step is one I always think I shouldn't do and probably where I'm going wrong. Leading up to and on the day you apply your tan use a body lotion to ensure your skin is soft and supple ready to absorb your tanning products. Don't forget to keep yourself hydrated by drinking 2 litres of water. Before tanning I make sure to pay attention to dry areas like elbows, knees and heels applying LDN:SKINS Moisturising Lotion* which is another product that smells amazing with a zesty scent.

Now it's the scary part, applying your chosen self tan. I have been using LDN:SKINS Tone 2 Self Tan Lotion* which comes in handy pump, a mitt for application and does not leave an unpleasant fake tan smell. It's important to take your time applying self-tan and find a routine that works for you to avoid streaks. The general rule is working upwards from your feet to ensure no crease marks appear on arms or stomach. If you become a real pro with your tanning you can even apply more coverage and contour specific areas but I think that's a stretch too far for me at this stage!

Of course if you're still not confident to go straight in with a self-tanner then you can always try mixing with your regular moisturiser (as long as it's oil-free) that leaves a lighter finish.

Finally it's aftercare. Your tan is on, it's developed and look like you've been on holiday in the sun for a week (not dodging hail stones as I was only last week) so what's next? Admittedly I usually tan for a party or specific event so I don't give aftercare another thought but if you've put in all that effort and can extend your tans life why wouldn't you? Tanworx Tan Maintainer* is formulated with carrot oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil to moisturise your skin and help you maintain your sunkissed glow whilst also aiding it to fade evenly.

I hope those tanning tips will be useful, if you have any others do let me know. My next one to try is the paint roller trick for my back.

*this post contains press samples

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Naturtint Permanent Hair Colours

Last month I spent four hours sitting in the hairdressers drinking numerous cups of coffee as I had my hair coloured. If you have a little less time on your hands then you might prefer to check out Naturtint*.

Admittedly this recent hairdressers visit was for a more 'dramatic' hair colour change but prior to this I would often throw on a box of Naturtint to cover my greys. It was a rather frustrating task as it wasn't a case of having a head of grey hair but more those I had would show against my darker hair colour. For that reason I wanted to ensure that I was using the gentlest hair colour available of which Naturtint was.

Naturtint comes in the familar boxed packaging and is free from ammonia, parabins, SLS, silicones and the like yet enriched with natural and organic plant and seed oils to gently care for your hair and scalp.  Inside your box you'll find your chosen colour, colour developer, shampoo and condition and the newest addition, a Leave In Anti-Ageing CC cream which has seven benefits including strengthening, enhancing shine and nourishing. If you have dry or weak hair lacking gloss and shine often a symptom of ageing hair.

Naturtint is available in 30 shades from Ebony Black to Light Dawn Blonde (note you should only ever try to dye hair two shades lighter/darker with at home treatments) and is available at Holland & Barrett, selected Waitrose stores and independent health food shops.

Now it's time to 'fess up - are you colouring your hair to cover up the grey!

*this post contains press samples

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