Thursday, 17 April 2014

Toes out Time! Spring Series #3

IMG_5236

If your post-Winter feet are more hobbit than Cinderella, then this one’s for you… a little bit of effort can turn them around and have them looking presentable again. The key is to do this now rather than waiting until it’s warm enough to present them to the world. If budget allows, my top advice is to start with a professional pedi and then maintain the results, but there’s plenty you can do at home.

If tough skin is an issue, you’ll need to start by tackling that with something stronger than a cream. I’m still using my favourites from last year, the Scholl  Instant Hard Skin Remover followed by the Scholl Dual Action Callus File, though am considering the Micro Pedi (please let  me know if you’ve tried & recommend!). Then go in with the creams… I have three options here depending on what level of emergency your feet are at!

Dry to extremely dry feet need a heavy duty cream, such as Burt Bees Coconut Foot Cream. This is a rich emollient, almost like thick honey in texture and rather gloopy, so it’s one for a proper pampering session - or better still an overnighter under thin cotton socks. Made with coconut, rosemary and peppermint oils, It smells divine and intensely nourishes the feet: use this every night for a week for baby soft results and then once weekly for maintenance.

Dry chapped heels ain’t gonna look pretty in strappy sandals, so get slathering them with Soap & Glory Heel Genius. Still deeply moisturising but lighter in texture, this slightly waxy cream absorbs quickly. If you want to apply a thick layer, then pop your feet up on a towel or cover up with cotton socks. Heel Genius contains macadamia oil, menthol, fruit extracts and fruit acid smoothers to tackle tough skin.

If you’ve been looking after your feet and just want to add a blast of citrus scented moisture and soothing ingredients, Weleda Foot Balm feels heavenly. This is a good one to apply just before your shoes to give skin a lovely sheen - or after you remove those strappy heels!

Burt-Bees-Coconut-Foot-BalmSoap Glory-Heel-GeniusMavala-Foot-Cream   

All of these produce great results for me - it’s just a matter of which one best suits your needs. I have also been known to use them on my hands when extra dry!

Are your feet sandal ready yet - and can you rec any other products worth a try? Please leave a comment below!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Space NK Got It:Want It (£10 off code)

Space NK Got It

It’s not every day that Space NK offers across the board discount, so with the chance to nab £10 off a £40 spend, I thought I’d offer a helping hand with a guide to my Top 5 Space NK Got It & Want It lists: products already in my stash, and those in my wish list, aka basket!

Got It
  1. Laura Mercier Fresh Fig EDT here - the most complimented perfume I’ve ever worn, this skin scent is sexy, sultry and perfect for Summer.
  2. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush here - one of this year’s biggest launches, I can’t deny that I’m still hankering over Dim Light for days when I’m not in the Radiant Magenta zone. Essentially, this belongs in both Got It & Want It lists.
  3. Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base here - an eyeshadow primer that holds colour in place all day. I’m talking will.not.budge until removed.
  4. Lipstick Queen Pinky Nude here - another long term staple, this moisturising, creamy nude is perfect for pretty, yet unobtrusive lips. Great with Spring make-up or a smokey eye.
  5. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Deluxe Travel size here - helps make-up apply more smoothly and stops it from wearing off so fast. This has been a staple in my stash for years and lasts so long that this cheaper travel size is a genius idea. I’d also like to try the Radiance version - let me know if you have & recommend adding to my Want It list!

Space NK want it

Want It
  1. Nars Creamy Concealer here - The Perfect Concealer is my holy grail. Find it and you need less of everything else is my theory. This one gets a lot of love and it’s time it became mine.
  2. By Terry Ombre Blackstar here - I’ve been after this in the Bronze Moon shade for its acclaimed magic powers in creating a softly smokey, metallic eye - either as a liner or right over the lid. I’ve swooned over the swatches for long enough now…
  3. Omorovicza Instant Plumping set here - This is truly the stuff of daydreams and ended up on my list as Space NK didn’t have the Queen of Hungary Mist on its own. This set includes minis of the Instant Plumping Cream & Gold Rescue Cream. Proper pampering.
  4. Shu Uemura Eye Palette here - I’m loving these super wearable Spring shades for day to evening looks and know that Shu eye shadows are amazing quality.
  5. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial here - this highly acclaimed cult skincare product has been on my wishlist for a while, for its ability to turn skin around as we sleep. Gotta get me some of that.
How could I forget? I’m gonna sneak another MUCH WANTED product onto this list: By Terry’s newest foundation and serum hybrid, Terrybly Densillis here.  Extortionately priced and shall most likely remain on the Want It list, but a girl can dream…

Use the code 'DISCOVER20' to receive £10 off when you spend more than £40 at Space NK until Wed 16 April 2014. Happy shopping - seeya at the till!


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Monday, 14 April 2014

Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster

Clarins-Radiance-Plus-Golden-Glow-Booster

Finding the perfect facial self tan has always been a challenge and Clarins is the brand I tend to return to as I find their facial formulas don’t block pores, leave a greasy film or cause breakouts. If like me, you can add *not pale enough* to that list of challenges, then you’ll love Clarins’ latest self tanning release: Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster - a truly prescriptive, ‘made to measure’ self tan for your face.

Here’s how it works… mix a drop or two, or a few, of golden liquid from this dinky little bottle into a blob of your current moisturiser (any brand), blend the two, apply to your face before bed, wake up with a golden glow. I prefer to do this at night so that the process doesn’t interfere with my make-up. It’s that easy!

photo 1

Get Golden:
  1. Put some of your regular moisturiser onto the back of your hand
  2. Add a drop of Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster (1 drop is enough to give me subtle warmth; 2 makes me look lightly tanned; I haven’t braved 3 yet!)
  3. Blend the two products together
  4. Massage into face and neck evenly, taking care to blend well around hairline and brows
  5. Wash hands
  6. Go to sleep and wake up looking lightly sunkissed.

Clarins-self-tan-for-face-new-2014 

I repeat this around twice a week, or any time I self tan my body, though will probably use it more in Summer. I love that the process can be adapted to suit any colouring at any time of year, genius little product. I also find that this works well on hands and feet, where I prefer to use a lighter colour for more realistic, streak-free results.  NB you press the rubber base of the bottle to release each drop.

The bottle is small because the contents are so concentrated - you can see how little mine has gone down after several weeks of use and I imagine this one will last me until the end of Summer.

Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster rrp £18, currently on offer for £15.80 at Escentual.

Do you like the idea of this?



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Friday, 11 April 2014

Subtle Self Tanning: Spring Series #2

Spring Tanning

Another reason for the tanning and defuzzing in my Spring Mini Series #1 was making way for a perfect application of self tan. I don’t know about you, but I feel a heck of a lot better with a little bit of colour on my pasty limbs - and my first seasonal application of self tan gives me a real confidence boost. 

There are Rules when it comes to Spring tanning. We’re not talking a two week tropical holiday tan; we’re talking an is-she-or-isn’t-she golden whisper and a subtle healthy glow - yup I know tanning isn’t healthy, but a bit of colour makes me look and feel more healthy - fact. I’ve tried and tested many formulas and focused only on my top picks.

MOISTURISING: As far as moisturising goes, stick with your usual the night before tanning. Do this after exfoliating, but avoid freshly waxed or shaved limbs to reduce the risk of stinging or irritation. My current go-to for this is Origins Gloomaway Body Soufflé, which is super moisturising, sinks in quickly and lifts my spirits with its zingy grapefruit scent.

Immediately prior to tanning I either avoid body moisturiser completely or stick to a simple formula like Aveeno Cream - currently 1/3 off the lotion at Superdrug - I always have a bottle of this handy as it’s the best thing I’ve found to keep my little boy’s eczema at bay. I only use this on extra dry areas - feet, ankles, knees, elbows and hands.

BODY: I like my upper body to be lighter in colour than my legs, to avoid a dramatic difference between my face and body and have been enjoying a recent discovery by a tanning brand called Unreal, which specialises in pale skins. Unreal offers personalised tanning, in that you choose exactly how much DHA (tanning ingredient) is in the product, from 6% (very light) to 12%. I think this is a genius idea and chose 8% for a subtle colour, which is perfect for me. Overall, this is one of the best self tanning formulas I’ve tried - it’s so easy to use and gives an incredibly natural colour that won’t irritate sensitive skin. NB the Unreal tanning mitt is perfection - velvety smooth and doesn’t absorb too much product.

LEGS: On my legs I opted for St Tropez Self Tan Sensitive Bronzing Mousse. Mousse is my favourite tanning formula as I find it the smoothest and easiest to apply - and this was no exception. Again this gives me a lovely light golden glow, just a touch deeper than the Unreal, which is exactly what I was looking for. You can see pictures of me with both of these products applied here; despite the flash photography, you can see that I’m definitely not over-tanned.

WEAR: These two products wear well on me with no patchiness and are perfect for this time of year. I’ve tried both with two coats, which does give extra depth of colour, so they’ll carry me through until Summer when I reach for deeper formulas. If you’re a fan of gradual tan, there are lots of great options out there for all budgets, but Xen-Tan Transform is the one I keep coming back to for its perfect golden hue.

What’s your favourite self tan?



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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Kiko Life in Rio Collection

KIKO-Life-in-Rio-Collection

KIKO’s Life in Rio collection is perfect for introducing a pop of colour to our make-up stash in time for Summer. The packaging and presentation of the products is so feel-good and I really like the gold as a change from their usual silver.

KIKO-Life-in-Rio

These are my personal favourites from the collection: a huge bronzer marbled with gold; peach blush laced with bronze and coral; the best budget nude lipstick I’ve tried and a taupe eye shadow pencil that smudges out beautifully for a quick smokey eye. Some people will love that the powder products smell very strongly of vanilla, especially the bronzer… I’m not a personal fan but it doesn’t linger post application.

KIKO-Life-in-Rio-blush Kiko-Life-in-Rio-bronzer

KIKO-Life-in-Rio-swatches

From left: eye shadow pencils, liquid liners, lipsticks and at the top, blush & bronze.

KIKO-Life-in-Rio-liquid-liner KIKO-Life-in-Rio-nails-lipstickIMG_5121 IMG_5147

This sunny orange nail polish is shot with gold and has a flash of fuchsia in some lights - you can see a hint of it in the bottom right hand corner of the bottle above. Can’t wait to wear this with a tan!

My top Life in Rio picks are the Exotic Shine nude pink lipstick and that gorgeous taupe eyeshadow pencil… I need to find out if KIKO do a regular eyeshadow in the same shade as I’ve been searching for this exact tone forever. I’ve really been enjoying the products and will instagram a pic of me wearing them in the next few days - you can follow me on Instagram here.

Life in Rio launches in the Oxford Street, Westfield stores and online this month.

Anything catch your eye?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Body Smooth: Spring Series #1

Argan5-Skin-Renenwal-Body-Scrub,Sanctuary-Smoothing-Silk-Polish,Soap&Glory-Breakfast-Scrub,NADS-Sensitive-Hair-Removal-Creme-Cream 

It’s the first warm day of the year… you consider flashing an ankle, wonder about baring a calf and glance down at neglected toes. Then you take a deep gulp and remember… said limbs have been enveloped in multiple layers for months… pasty, fuzzy, dryza bone. What’s a girl to do?

Hands up if you’ve been there? This is no time to faff about - we’re talking quick fixes. Welcome to the first of a mini series featuring speedy solutions as we prepare to bare. Take a deep breath - we can do this - first up, exfoliate and defuzz…

Exfoliate

I’ve written odes to fancy pants exfoliators on here before, but really - lovely as they are - it’s not essential to spend big bucks and today’s options all come in under a tenner. I’m not a fan of coarse exfoliators as I find them too harsh on my skin, so I’ve lined up three options which I’d class as superfine, fine and medium. 

Why do it? If you’re new to exfoliating, it’s all about applying slightly abrasive products to remove dry and dead cells from the surface of the skin. This leaves skin feeling instantly softer and smoother to the touch (so satisfying), enables moisturisers to absorb and function more efficiently, and ensures that self tan applies smoothly and evenly. More tips on the latter to follow in this series… 

Superfine - Smoothing Silk Polish, £8.00 is part of the Sanctuary Spa Sleep range and has a lovely relaxing scent thanks to Ylang Ylang, Frankincense and Patchouli. This is literally the finest, silkiest exfoliator I’ve tried. It’s really rich and moisturising with very fine grains set in sweet almond oil and shea butter, making it perfect for sensitive areas such as the décolleté area.

Fine - Argan 5+ Skin Renewal Body Scrub, £7.99 contains finely crushed olive stones and pumice in Moroccan Argan Oil, with four other nourishing oils to ensure that skin is well nourished as you scrub. The grains aren’t at all scratchy and like the other products I’ve tried in this range, its smells divine and feels more expensive than it is.

Medium - my main challenge in using Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub, £8 is resisting the temptation to eat it. This smells so good! Sweet and caramelly but not sickly sweet (my pet hate). Although I’ve put this in the medium grain category it’s not at all harsh, but made with slightly bigger grains than the others and is my leg exfoliant of choice. This is thick and gloopy, whereas the others are liquid, so requires scooping out and slathering on, making me feel like a small child doing something I shouldn’t. (NB Mine is the old tub - the link leads to the new design, now part of the Smoothie Star range - pssst it’s also on 3 for 2!)

User Tips - I tend to use a finer exfoliant on my upper body, especially my décolleté, and a coarser one on my legs, but that’s just personal preference and I’m not suggesting that anyone needs to go out and buy two. All of these can be used on dry skin before you switch on the shower (If you choose to do this I recommend standing inside the shower, to avoid exfoliating the bathroom floor). I don’t normally dry exfoliate unless I have particularly dry patches on my ankles, knees and shins - as again I’m cautious of being too harsh with my skin. Oh and there’s no need to use extra pressure - gentle circular movements on damp skin work best - let the scrubs do the scrubbing!

Argan5-Skin-Renenwal-Body-Scrub,Sanctuary-Smoothing-Silk-Polish,Soap&Glory-Breakfast-Scrub,NADS-Sensitive-Hair-Removal-Creme-Cream-review 

Defuzz

Dead skin cells and flaky bits out of the way, it’s time to move onto hair removal, which can now be more easily, er… removed. I am a total and utter wuss with a pain threshold around minus 10, so pain free hair removal works best for me. I *will* get back into epilating once Summer arrives, but not until heat and sunshine make a regular appearance.

Lately I’ve been using Nad’s Sensitive Hair Removal Crème, which is really easy to use and doesn’t irritate the (sensitive) skin on my legs. I just apply an even layer with my hands, leave it for 10 mins and rinse off. It doesn’t smell good, but none of these formulas do. The little pink oval nestled into a groove on the front of the bottle is actually a removable sponge, which I thought was a bit of a gimmick until I tried it. The pink side is quite coarse and brilliant for removing every last stubborn hair that rinsing sometimes doesn’t catch.

This cream can also be used in other sensitive areas, so one bottle does all. I stick to a razor for underarms (sorry husband) as I don’t like standing with my arms in the air and have very little hair there anyway. NB if you’ve already tanned or need to defuzz daily, I wouldn’t use a hair removal cream as it may interfere with the colour. I only need to do this once a week, so it’s easy to combine with topping up self tan.

Let’s get smoothing… next up, moisturising and tanning!

This is the part when you leave a comment to tell me you’ve already done all of the above and I’m the only one still hiding her ankles…

Monday, 7 April 2014

Too Faced Melted: Coral & Nude

Too-Faced-Melted 

Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks launch late April. It’s great to see brands coming up very wearable liquid lipstick formulas - nothing to be scared of here as these swipe on easily and pack a well pigmented pop of creamy colour. The colours match the tubes exactly, making them easy to identify if you choose to collect a few!

Too-Faced-Melted-Coral-Nude-swatchesToo-Faced-Melted-Coral-on-lipsToo-Faced-Melted-Coral

The two colours I have to test are Nude and Coral. Nude is a tan shade which doesn’t suit my pale complexion, but I’m loving Coral. This is a bright orangey coral, perfect for those who fancy an orange lip that isn’t too in your face. I find that these work best applied in two thin layers… the product is released by squeezing the tube gently and the velvety, angled applicator is easy to use. The finish is semi matte with a little bit of slip; these don’t completely set on my lips. On me, they last longer than a regular lipstick, but don’t stain my lips or last as long as the likes of Bourjois Rouge Velvet. On the plus side, this means I can wear them more regularly, as the formula doesn’t dry out my lips - and I’d be happy to whip out that cute packaging anywhere!

Too Faced Melted, rrp £19 will be available in 6 shades at Debenhams from 21 April 2014.

Are you a liquid lipstick lover?

Thursday, 3 April 2014

House of Holland Kitty Kitsch Easter Nails

 House-of-Holland-Kitty-Kitsch-Easter-Nails-Mani If you fancy a cute-as-a-button Easter mani and nail art isn’t your thing, fear not: Elegant Touch has nailed it with these House of Holland Kitty Kitsch press-on Easter nails. Emblazoned with adorable chicks, lambs, bunnies and kittens, kitsch doesn’t come much more sugary sweet than this!
House-of-Holland-Kitty-Kitsch
You get a set of 10 different designs in the kit, which includes glue, a nail file to create your desired shape and full application instructions (easy peasy I’ve been told!). Perfect for a full set or a pretty accent nail with a pastel mani.


Elegant Touch House of Holland Kitty Kitsch Nails rrp £7.99
HERE


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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner Pencils

Bobbi-Brown-Perfectly-Defined-Gel-Eyeliner-pencil 
Bobbi Brown has taken her best known, multi-award winning product - gel eyeliner - and reformulated it into a retractable pencil: meet Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner. Think glide-on, velvety soft colour in six shades that last. And last. And last. The formula is water, sweat and humidity proof… certainly rubbing with water or regular cleanser didn’t shift them, though they came off easily with Bioderma (my unofficial eye make-up remover of choice).

Swatches
Bobbi-Brown-Perfectly-Defined-Gel-Eyeliner-PitchBlack-Sapphire-Violet-Night-Steel-Grey-swatches-swatched   

L to R: Pitch Black, Violet Night, Sapphire and Steel Grey
  • Pitch Black - as you’d expect, quite charcoal-y and not the blackest black I’ve seen, but that’s a plus point for me as I don’t like a harsh black.
  • Violet Night - my favourite of these four. Black with little flecks of shimmering violet throughout, this is daytime friendly but a little more interesting than your standard liner.
  • Sapphire - a beautiful midnight blue, somewhere between royal and navy, with a subtle metallic finish. The formula of this one is slightly softer than Violet Night, so it didn’t remain 100% intact for quite as long.
  • Steel Grey - very dark, slightly metallic grey. A softer alternative to black that still adds great definition.

Although grey is my go-to eyeliner shade, the more colourful options are much more interesting and my pick from this quartet is definitely Violet Night for its unique finish. I do love Sapphire too and have pairing it with my Eyeko Midnight Blue Black Magic Mascara for a really wearable way to add colour to the eyes without looking like an 80s throwback. The other two shades available are Chocolate Truffle - dark brown and Scotch - bronze, the latter to be checked out asap!

Bobbi-Brown-Perfectly-Defined-Gel-Eyeliner-pencilsBobbi-Brown-Perfectly-Defined-Gel-Eyeliner-Violet-Night-applied

I’m wearing Violet Night in this pic, which doesn’t show the colour particularly well, but I wanted to illustrate just how wearable it is… you can hopefully see that it’s not black or grey - but just has a little somethin’. I don’t use eyeliner in my waterline, so haven’t tested that, but these do work well for tight lining.

Bobbi-Brown-self-sharpening-eyeliner BobbiBrown-built-in-sharpener
Admittedly I’m a bit of an eyeliner obsessive, but can’t deal with the faff of little pots and brushes of gel colour for every day use. In fact I can’t even deal with pencils that require sharpening. Retractable, aka twist-up (Pop-a-point if you can remember that far back) is where it’s at. Add a built-in mini sharpener and I’m all yours. The very end of this pencil pops off (left) and works as a sharpener for the very tip of the ‘lead’ (right) - not actual lead - you know what I mean! Top tip: don’t twist it up too far when sharpening or you’ll lose some - the formula isn’t overly sturdy.
Fans of eyeliner that’s quick and easy to apply, doesn’t tug or drag at skin, yet lasts all day will love these.

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner pencils rrp £18 HERE

 

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The BOPS Awards: Best Beauty Read Nominee

BOPS_Badge

The BOPS. What a cute name… and no, it’s not an embarrassing dancing technique. This is the first year of The BOPS - The Blog and Online Publishing Awards - and I’m excited to have been nominated in the Best Beauty Read category.

Best Beauty Read nominees:

Fluff and Fripperies

Not Just Inside

Lovely Girlie Bits

Strawberry Blonde Beauty Blog

Viva Adonis

Makeup & Beauty

Makeup Monster

Love, Life and Makeup

CherrySue, Doin' the Do

I’m honoured to be in such amazing company as these are regular reads of mine and have been for years, pretty much since I started blogging myself.

The awards are organised by PR Slides in association with Littlewoods Ireland you can nominate your favourite read in each category or just one: Fashion, Beauty, Tech, Motoring, Travel, Food, Wedding, Business & Corporate, News & Current Affairs, Lifestyle & Family.

Voting is open now until April 11 2014 and the award ceremony takes place in Dublin on April 24. As far as I know, I’m the only Northern Ireland nominee, so will have to decide if I’m brave enough to head down on the train on my own! Thank you so much to whoever nominated me - please come clean so that I can thank you properly! :)

If you’d like to vote, you can do so here.

 

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