Sunday, 30 March 2014

March Favourites

Spring is finally here! That said, I can't believe its almost April. This year has gone so quickly and I've found quite a few must haves since it begun. This month I've actually got a bit of a mix rather than my usual makeup-filled loves.

I absolutely love stacking rings. I usually head towards silver jewellery but lately I've been mixing things up with a bit of gold. I bought several sets of rings from H&M earlier in the month and I've really enjoyed playing with a different colour. I think they look pretty cool paired with silver.
I also have a soft spot for a defined brow and usually don't veer far away from my much loved Kevyn Aucoin pencil. There was lots of hype around Benefit Gimme Brow when it hit counters recently, and suffice to say its justified. I wont dwell on this too long as I intend to do a full review on this soon. It gives a lovely natural effect and keeps those pesky hairs in place.

I always have a lip product (or three) floating around in my bag and I'm loving the Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine at the moment. It's a light pink tinted balm that smells amazing and feels great on the lips. The colour doesn't come out too much but I think its a great everyday balm when you need some hydration but want to skip sticky glosses. They've got a few different colours/flavours in the range so I might try a more red shade next.
Next on my list is the Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara. I've been eyeing this up (pun intended) for a while now and finally bit the bullet, even though I already have about a years worth of mascara to plough through. I'm so glad I got it though, its super black and gives an lot of length and volume which is really buildable. This is the perfect all occasion offering whether you like a quite natural look or head towards a false lash effect.
I'm a big fan of La Roche Posey and haven't been let down by them yet. On one of many Boots 3 for 2 sprees recently, I picked up the Tolerine Riche moisturiser. Its really hydrating but not at all heavy or sticky. My skin just loves it and I'm already on my second tube.

I coveted the Nars Crime of Passion Palette for a long time and was only to order it for them to run out of stock and send me a refund. I was then super happy to finally receive it when they got more stock in early this month. This is from the Guy Bourdin collection and I absolutely love it. It literally does everything, including lips and its really compact which is great when you're on the go. It contains a three eye shadows, Deepthroat blush, Laguna bronzer and a little diddy Deepthroat lip gloss. This has not left my makeup bag all month.
Lastly there's the Clinique Take The Day Off Balm which I've been using for just over a week and am in love with already. I really like both the Emma Hardie and Elemis cleansing balms but this is really worth looking at too. Its quite a hard balm compared to the others but has virtually no scent and makes short work of liquid liner and mascara. I was hesitant about balms to begin with but they really soothe my skin and leave it soft and hydrated.
So here's to another month. What have you been loving lately?


Monday, 24 March 2014

The fad: Alphabet creams

They've been around for a few years now but BB creams seem to be quite misunderstood it would seem. A conversation with friends a couple of week's ago has spurred me to put my thoughts down on this makeup-skincare hybrid.
BB or blemish/beauty balms originally came from Korea, a formulation put together by a German dermatologist to help heal and provide coverage for patients that had undergone surgery or skin peels. A tinted moisturiser with skincare benefits basically. 
Needless to say, this took off pretty massively and made its way West. Now pretty much every brand has their own BB offering and since then its created quite a marketing buzz worldwide. We're now seeing a further evolution of 'alphabet creams' hitting counters. But what do they all do and do you need one of each?
First things first, what do they claim to do?
BB - Blemish/beauty balm
The original suped-up tinted moisturiser aims to provide a one-stop shop to flawless skin by replacing your serum, moisturiser, SPF and foundation. Pretty amazing claim huh?
CC - Colour Correcting
Next in line was the CC cream. Again, it aims to provide coverage as well as evening out skin tone and cancelling out redness and sallowness. CC creams generally provide a little less coverage than BB creams and are often a light whipped formula. Essentially its a new and improved BB cream.
DD - Dynamic Do-all/Daily Defence
Still with me? Cropping up last year came the DD. Add anti-ageing and pore shrinking to the above list of claims and we have the newest kid on the block. Again, a further instalment to the alphabet cream saga.
Now this double-lettered phenomena has taken the beauty market by storm and has extended into eye creams (hello Dior), hair products and body creams, but do you need one of each? Absolutely not. This is marketing at its finest. Find a formulation that offers the coverage and shade range that is suitable for you, just like you would a foundation. If your skin benefits from it in the long run then great.
Now that we're heading into spring I know I am looking for a lighter base and whilst my skin is on it's best behaviour I am going to take advantage. The shade ranges of these creams are pretty limited and I've found that CC creams do tend to have a more yellow tone due to their redness cancellation which isn't for me sadly.
I prefer BB creams as I like a bit more coverage, and the above two by Dior are well loved. Weirdly Dior Nude has a more pink undertone that suits by skin a bit better than its dew giving Hydra Life sibling. But hey, you can't have everything now.
Have you delved into the alphabet madness and will you be queuing for an EE cream? (yes its coming!).


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum

I've been a fan of hair oils since first discovering Moroccanoil a couple of years ago. I have quite fine hair and year's of dyeing it have left it seeing better days. I had a fair amount chopped off at the end of last year so its in much better condition but still needs a bit of a moisture and shine boost.
Since using up my last bottle of Moroccanoil I've been on the hunt for something a bit more purse friendly and, quite frankly, nothing from the aisles of Boots has so far fit the bill.
Enter Original Mineral Frizzy Logic Shine Serum*. This is a new brand to the UK which launched in Selfridges a few weeks ago. Of Austalian roots, Original Mineral has a focus on excluding nasties and using the most effective yet natural ingredients where possible. In fact, their ingredients list focuses on what's left out, not what's included.
Fizzy Logic aims to reduce frizz whilst taming the hair, protect from humidity and most importantly from my point of view, give a healthy injection of shine and softness. I've been using this for over a month now and its really made a difference to the texture of my hair. It includes a blend of cold-pressed certified organic Argan oil and Macadamia oil which smell amazing! I do warn that it's pretty addictive stuff and you only need a tiny amount so resist the urge to pile it on.
I apply it to the ends of my hair after towel drying and it actually speeds up the whole drying process a little bit - a bonus for those that hate to faff around like me. I quite like putting it on dry day 2 hair as I find dry shampoo a bit, well,  drying. It costs £20 for a 50ml bottle which might sound a bit expensive, but it lasts for ages. I'm pretty impressed with this little bottle so far and whilst swishing my now shiny locks about I'll be investigating the rest of the brand for sure.
If you want to check it out you can find it at Selfridges.
Have you tired anything from Original Mineral?
*PR sample


Saturday, 15 March 2014

In the pink with Topshop Makeup

Topshop blusher and lip crayon in pink

Being pale I always struggle to find the right pink make up. Generally it just highlights any redness in my skin so I tend to steer towards more peachy tones. Kate has been singing the praises of these two pink beauties from Topshop for a while now and I eventually crumbled and bought them both. They are the Cream Blush in Afternoon Tea (£7) and the Lip Bullet in Back In The Game (£8).
I dabble in cream blushes from time to time but powder has my heart if I'm honest. The consistency of this blush however, is amazing. Its a cream to powder formulation, which doesn't go patchy and is both long-wearing and pigmented. Whilst its also pretty bright in the pan it builds up quite gently so you can go for a nice subtle flush of colour for the day or layer it up for a more vivid night time look.

When I first swatched the lip bullet I thought there was no way I could carry this off in the day, but once layered over my beloved Nuxe Reve de Miel the colour waters down a bit but still lasts quite a long time. Its easy to apply and you don't have the fear that its going to move all around your face which can sometimes happen with more vivid colours.

Left: Topshop Lip Bullet in Back in The Game, Right: Topshop Cream Blush in Afternoon Tea.
These are my first purchases from Topshop's makeup line, but I'm certainly going to be investigating further. These are also great value for money.
Have you tried Topshop makeup and do you have any recommendations from the range for me?

Monday, 10 March 2014

Making time to relax

I am a firm believer in making time to wind down and relax once in a while. Life can get a bit much at times if we're all honest with ourselves, and sometimes its easy to spend too much time sweating the small stuff and stressing out unnecessarily. We all have busy schedules, both at work and often at home, and its important to down tools and do something calming that you enjoy now and then. Whether it be reading, painting, going for a walk; there's nothing more energising than taking a bit of 'me' time.
My outlet comes not only as part of this here blog, but I am quite partial to a spa treat once in a while. This Sunday I took an hour out to go to Bannatyne's Spa in Ashford. Its only a 15 minute drive away and is a really nice and affordable spa. 

I choose an Indian head massage to really soothe and relax me, and boy did it! I'm sure I nodded off in my 45 minute treatment, but what better way to relax? I particularly like this spa as the staff are lovely and they offer a wide selection of Elemis treatments. Elemis is my long-standing favourite brand of all time and their treatments are out of this world.
I'm actually going back in a couple of week's for an Elemis facial and deep tissue massage (its been a while since I really indulged, I promise!), and I think that I'm going to try and book in for every couple of months or so. That way I can guarantee an appointment (its always booked up weeks in advance), and also I can have something to look forward to - light at the end of the tunnel when it all gets a bit much.
Have you been to a Bannatyne spa and what's your favourite 'me' time activity?

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The dupe: Laura Mercier Radiance Primer

I can't imagine life without primers now. They really help smooth over the skin and create a great base for foundation. My skin is quite dry, dull and blemish prone so I have been reaching for the Laura Mercier Radiance Primer daily.
It gives a lovely lit from within glow plus a bit of moisture and I find my foundation lasts longer with this. The only thing I don't like about it is how the outer lid always comes off after a while and of course the price. Pictured above is the travel size which is perfect for me as I apply my makeup on the train to work. This size comes in at about £18.
Step forth Revlon, who have created a much more affordable dupe in the form of their Photoready SkinLight in Bare Light. The range consists of four different shades, each of which give a wonderful shimmery glow to the skin. I have both of the lighter two, and I think Bare Light has put a stop to me buying the Laura Mercier version from now on. It costs around £11 and is easier to get your hands on from Boots so definitely a winner!

Left: Revlon Photoready Skinlights in Bare Light, Right: Laura Mercier Radiance Primer

The only difference that I can find is the consistency of the Revlon primer is more liquid than the Laura Mercier. It gives the same glow to the skin and lasts just as long. What's more, the other colours in the range are really nice too. I also have the more pinky shade which doubles as a lovely highlighter.

Somebody wanted her picture taken whilst I was swatching these! My Persian kitten, Aeris, just had to be involved. She's totally crazy and really affectionate and often sits with me when I'm blogging. The rest of the time she can be found bossing her two big brothers around. I taught her well.
Have you tried the Revlon Photoready Skinlights?


Sunday, 2 March 2014

Didn't feel the love

I've decided to move my weekly favourite posts to monthly in order to make it a bit more interesting and mix things up a little on this here blog. I'm finding that not all weeks are met with things I love so I'd rather wait and give you a proper monthly roundup of what really made my heart skip a beat.
On the subject of mixing things up, its worth noting that it's not always love at first sight. Sometimes it takes a while to get the most out of a new product and other times it just doesn't work out. That's ok though.
When my beloved Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm reached an end...sob...,  I plumped for the Elemental Herbology Bio-Cellular Super Cleanse. I'm a massive fan of cream cleansers and wanted to try a new one. The EH cleanser receives a lot of love in the blogsphere, but it didn't get any from me. The thing that first struck me about it is the overpowering scent. I was really worried it would break me out and irritate my skin with continued use. I stuck with it to give it a proper trial but it didn't remove all of my make up and I just couldn't put up with the fragrance.
I'm going to be very unpopular here, but I just don't get the hype over the Hourglass Brow Sculpting Pencil. It has quite a thick slanted end and no matter how I try to apply this it looks awful and way overdone. Its just not fine enough for drawing on small individual hairs for me. Back to Kevyn Aucoin I go.
Lastly, I have always been very impressed with every product I've tried from Bumble and Bumble, but the deep hair mask made my hair feel really dirty and not at all moisturised and healthy.
Every time I've used it I've had to use a conditioner afterwards to remove the horrible straw like feeling it left behind. Kinda defeats the object, non?
Are there any products that have left you feeling a little underwhelmed?

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