Jemma Kidd Make-Up Secrets: Book Review


Jemma Kidd has written a new book called Make-Up Secrets, filled with inspirational looks and practical beauty tips illustrated with stunning photography.  I’ve never been one to get excited about beauty books, assuming that they will date before I have a chance to finish reading them, but I’ve found this one really useful and enjoy dipping in and out of it.

If you’re reading this, then like me, you glean lots of beauty info from blogs, magazines and YouTube - but sometimes it’s nice to have a book in your hands and this one is so luxurious it feels like a treat to read.  Plus the ‘secrets’ within will never date.

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I’ve found the features on how to recreate iconic beauty looks and catwalk trends really inspirational and am so going to give some of these a go… how exquisite is that Grace Kelly look - and her hair is utterly dreamy too.

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I also love the tutorials on creating different smoky eye looks and think it’s great that the book addresses practical issues such as how to make up different eye and lip shapes, look after ageing skin and do facial massage.  I think there’s something for everyone in here and I’m definitely learning a lot from it… I’ll post some of the looks I learn after I have a bit of practice!

Jemma Kidd Make-Up Secrets, published by Jacqui Small RRP £25, though I found it on Amazon for £14.25

Do you think you’d enjoy a book like this? (besides it looking pretty on your coffee table!)


Gentle Physical Exfoliators for the Face: LYS, Dr Lewinn’s & Pukka


In the past year I’ve pretty much switched from physical exfoliators to chemical ones, but there are times when it feels good to have a bit of a scrub - and I know lots of you like to use them - so I thought I’d mention a few I’ve enjoyed using recently.

Physical vs Chemical Exfoliants

Incase I’m getting a bit jargony for some people, I’ll give a quick overview of the difference between the two: physical exfoliators contain abrasive grains or beads that slough away dead skin cells through literally scrubbing the surface of the skin. Chemical exfoliants contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as lactic and salicylic acid, retinol and enzymes, which work at a deeper level, weakening the bonds between cells at the skin’s surface. This process is a little slower, but in the long term, very effective on a deeper level. 

Ultimately both leave the skin looking and feeling brighter, smoother and more refined.  I also find that exfoliating helps both my skincare and makeup perform better, probably because they’re working on a smoother canvas and not fighting their way through a tough outer layer.  I’m personally cautious of both physical and chemical methods incase of over working the skin - and wouldn’t recommend use more than twice a week.

These are three of the most gentle physical exfoliants I’ve tried, which is why I’m happy to recommend them…

Love Your Skin Cleanse & Smooth Exfoliating Wash, £22.99

Half way between an exfoliator and cleanser, this gel comes in a pump bottle for easy use - great for in the shower.  It contains Rosemary & Willow Bark and has teeny little beads suspended in the gel, which exfoliate so gently you can barely feel them. Luxuriously creamy when massaged into the skin, it leaves skin feeling smooth and comfortable.  A great one for mature or sensitive skins.

Dr Lewinn’s Facial Polishing Gel, £18.50

My favourite of the three, this is just beautiful to use.  It smells fresh, feels gentle on my skin, yet creates that lovely instant softness that makes exfoliating feel so satisfying!  Enriched with Vitamin C and Orange, it contains Jojoba beads to gently polish the skin’s surface.  Everything I’ve tried so far from Dr Lewinn’s has been super impressive.  Varies in price from £18.50 (Feel Unique) to £26, so shop around!

Pukka Nourishing Brightener, £13

I was absolutely intrigued to try this product, which is unlike anything I’ve come across before.  It is literally a jar of freshly ground organic bilberries, almond, Amla and gotu kola - and literally looks and smells like a jar of dried herbs when you open it.  You just mix around one teaspoonful with a little water in your palm and massage into the face.  I must admit this was amazing to use… it felt so pure, as if I was massaging the goodness into my skin while sloughing off the dead cells.  This one is recommended for oily to normal skins.

Do you prefer physical or chemical exfoliants?






Killer Nail Polish Rebrands as Headline Colors

Headline Colors range shot

New nail polish brand, Killer Colours is rebranding as Headline Colors in preparation for a global launch.  Following a fantastic response from stylists, bloggers and nail polish fans since its September launch, the young brand already has an exciting opportunity to go global.


The new name has been necessary due to trademark availability in some countries and will now be Headline Colors across all markets. Personally I much prefer the new name and think the branding looks great! 

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A quick reminder of how good it looks on the nails… my full review is here.


Clinique Sweet Treats


Clinique is running a sweet little promotion next week, with a different exclusive beauty treat available with online purchases each day from 3-7 December 2012.  The contents are a secret for now; to find out what they are, visit from Monday to find out the purchase qualifier and offer code… I’m guessing there will be a minimum spend, or a need to purchase certain products (eg skincare) in order to receive the free gift.

Here are a few sweet treat teasers of what to expect on each of the five days…

Monday BadgeA treat to make the eyes flutter during the party season

Tuesday BadgeLet your eyes do the sparkling

Wednesday BadgeTreats all around

Thursday badgeEverything you need for party perfection

Friday badgeGet them before they’re gone

Available exclusively at from 3-7 December 2012.  One free gift per client while stocks last, so get checking early each morning to avoid missing out!


ncLA Nail Polish now in UK: Miss Sunset Strip & Call Me for the After Party


ncLA Nails is a US brand, now available in the UK and a hot favourite of celebs like Miley Cyrus & Jessie J. Paraben-free, cruelty-free and vegan friendly, the brand produces glamorous catwalk inspired polishes and luxury nail wraps. 

‘All our nail lacquers are 100% free of DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Camphor and never tested on animals. Ever.’

I had planned to swatch these two shades separately until I realised how beautifully they go together… 

  • Miss Sunset Strip is a purple based glitter set in a clear jelly like base which suspends & distributes the particles evenly.
  • Call Me for the After Party is a sophisticated rich navy with a sapphire hue, metallic finish and the most gorgeous shine.

Call Me for the After Party

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I wore this out last night with a black based outfit and loved admiring my nails as we nibbled on the most amazing seafood tapas at the Oyster Bar (above Mourne Seafood for any locals reading - love it!).  I like the sleek, squared off bottle shape and this polish applied super smoothly in two coats.


Today I pimped it up a bit, painting an accent finger with the gorgeous Miss Sunset Strip.  This includes a fine dusting of silver, hot pink and blue glitter, with larger pieces of royal purple & silver -  believe me, it’s SO much more dazzling in real life… the best quality glitter polish I’ve tried.

So of course I didn’t stop there… are you kidding?!

Miss Sunset Strip

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The clear base means this works beautifully as a glitter gradient… sometimes when a polish contains dense glitter, you get a thick layer rather than the lovely gradual build up that this creates. I finished with a layer of Seche Vite top coat for a smooth finish, but the polish is actually super shiny on its own.

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The flash highlights the galaxy of colours in the glitter (I’ve just noticed red and green in there too!) and the lovely sapphire blue when Call Me for the After Party catches the light.

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One more peek… don’t even ask how many pics I binned - I’ve been at this all afternoon - a labour of love!  And excuse my dry cuticles after misplacing my Pai Cuticle Balm this week, now happily reunited (post here).

NCLA nail polishes* and wraps are now available at CutECOsmetics… and I’ll definitely be back for more. Without Me There’s No VIP (metallic plummy shade with fine shimmer) and Rock Solid (slate grey with a sprinkling of silver) are both calling me name, though to be honest I think it would be hard to go wrong. 

These are not cheap at £12.50 each and I’m the first to admit cheaper polishes are often great quality these days, but for a special treat I genuinely do think these are quite exceptional. The fact that they contain zero chemical nasties is of course a huge bonus and important to someone who changes colours as often as I do!

Do you care about wearing nail-friendly polishes - and do you like the look of these ones?


MeMeMe Metallic Nail Collection

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Metallic nails are big this season and this set by MeMeMe includes four super glam shades in deep red, black-gold, mauve and dark green.

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The collection comes in a cute little box, great for storage or a gift.  I was impressed with the quality of the polish, which is almost opaque in one coat.  I love wide brushes like these as I find they make application so much quicker and easier, plus the blunt end allows for an accurate finish.


Here’s how they look when applied - this is two coats and no topcoat - impressively glossy finish for metallic polishes!  I love all of the colours, but the green is my favourite - here’s a closer look…

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MeMeMe Metallic Nail Polish Collection* costs a very reasonable £14.99 at findmeagift - a perfect pressie as a set, or you could split it up and give one to different friends or use as stocking fillers.

If you kept just one shade for yourself, which would it be?


Smokey Eyes & Nude Lips: Clarins Odyssey Eyes & Burberry Nude Cashmere


Finding the right nude lipstick is a bit like trying to find the perfect red (or the perfect jeans!) - an absolute minefield.  I remember when there was so little choice it was exasperating… now it’s gone to the opposite extreme, which is fabulous, but sometimes difficult to know where to start! 

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I was on the hunt for a quiet, yet not invisible, nude lip to wear with a smokey eye - and Burberry Nude Cashmere No26 fitted the bill perfectly.  The texture is smooth and creamy with a delicate sheen… it feels very comfortable on my lips and wears evenly with pretty good lasting power.  And I just LOVE how the embossed bullet slots into its lid with a satisfying magnetic clink!

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Nude Cashmere is the first Burberry lipstick I’ve tried - and has left me wanting for more.  The brand’s natural shade range is amazing right across the board; the beautiful new eyeshadow palettes are next on my wishlist.

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Nude Cashmere swatched with single and double pass - and on the lips.  This is the coolest (literally), beige-toned nude lipstick I’ve tried… I think it’s slightly cooler in real life than it appears on my lips here.  I do normally go for something a little warmer, so this is as light as I go - and I can only carry it off when combined with a flawless base and strong eye.


The Smokey Eye

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A while ago I created a natural look with Clarins Odyssey Palette (here) and said I’d be back with a stronger, evening eye look, incorporating the gorgeous gold shade, so here it is…

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The pics above illustrate how well this palette can transform a look from day to evening, with the addition of the gold shadow and a little definition with the darkest brown. 

I used Too Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner in Perfect Espresso along my upper lashline - a gorgeously creamy liner which stays soft long enough to smudge it out, then stays put.  I went over this with the darkest brown, smoked it out towards the corners and blended a little into the crease. I then pressed on the gold using a dampened pointed applicator from the palette, pressing and rolling it onto the lid, focusing on the centre of the lid for an almost gold leaf effect.


I used Mac Power Surge on my waterline, the Odyssey mid brown eyeshadow on lower lashline and a little of the palest shade on my browbone.


Smokey Eyes & Nude Lips


So here is the final smokey eyed, nude lip look.  When I started this it was sunny with blue skies… but typically, the sky turned almost black minutes later.  Not an intentionally moody shot - I did have smiley ones but this one just caught the colours best given the low light! 

What do you think of this look? And what’s your holy grail nude lip? (I’m still looking for a slightly deeper mid brown toned everyday nude)

Check out the full range of Burberry lipsticks here… I really do think they have the perfect shade for everyone!


Pai Sea Buckthorn Hand & Nail and Black Friday Offers!

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The Sea Buckthorn Hand & Nail Collection is one of Pai Skincare’s Limited Edition Christmas gift sets, which ticks both the pampering + useful boxes for me.  Plus it’s flipping gorgeous - and it works! 


It comes beautifully presented in a lilac, silver & white slide out box.

‘Rich in rare forms of natural Vitamin A and Omega 7, Sea Buckthorn nourishes and restores skin to its natural radiance.  The high level of antioxidants protect hands from environmental damage and premature ageing.’

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Inside is one of Pai’s bestsellers, Fragonia & Sea Buckthorn Instant Hand Therapy cream, paired with a brand new product, Sea Buckthorn Cuticle Balm.  I’ve been keeping these on my desk (if I don’t do this, I forget to use them) and love how I can apply them while working on the laptop.  They smell light, fresh and lovely - no sickly sweet yuckiness - and leave my skin soft and glowing but not sticky!

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The handcream is a pale primrose yellow… I love the cute little chunky bottle, pump dispenser and the glow it leaves on my skin.  The cuticle balm is quite firm in consistency, which makes mess-free application a breeze. 

I do have thicker creams and oils, strictly for night time use, but this one is brilliant for during the day.  I’ve had horrifically dry cuticles brought on by cold weather lately and hand on heart they are almost back to normal after using this combo for two weeks. I only wish I’d taken a before pic to show you, but to be honest they were so bad I was ashamed.


This set costs £25*, but if you fancy buying more than one or trying something else from Pai Skincare, now is the time to do it as their Black Friday & Cyber Monday offers launch tomorrow!

From 12pm GMT Thursday 22 Nov 2012 (9am EST) until 7pm GMT Monday 26 Nov 2012 (Midnight EST) the following offers will be available to all Pai customers, worldwide. No code is required - free gifts will be added automatically as follows...

1. Spend £40 ($60/€50) & get a FREE Sea Buckthorn Hand & Nail Collection

2. Spend £70 ($100/€80) & get a FREE Rosehip 3-Step Facial Set

3. Spend £100 ($140/€120) & get both for FREE

Gift wrapping is free on all orders when you enter the code 'WRAPPEDUP' at checkout.  What are you waiting for?!



Fresh Faced Autumn Makeup #FOTD

2-Dr Jart Water Fuse

I thought I’d share my quick Autumn makeup look for a fresh faced healthy glow… this is my go to when I don’t have much time to spend on makeup or want to look like I’ve made a bit of an effort, but not too much!

These are the products I’ve been using…


I start with Dr Jart+ Beauty Balm in Water Fuse - usually applied over moisturiser & eye cream, though this holds its own if I don’t have time. One of my favourite concealers, Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Concealer, is great for giving good lasting coverage without heaviness - and works well with a lighter base.  Personally I’d much rather have a light base touched up with concealer than a full on makeup mask!

I then sweep on some coral blush from my Neve Blushissimi palette (top right shade) and add a slick of Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid Eyeliner in Graphite & Clinique Lash Power Mascara. I frame my eyes with a light application of Anastasia Brow Wiz and complete the look with a slick of gorgeously creamy Mavala lipstick in a winter coral shade, which makes a lovely alternative to red for a daytime bright lip.

All of this takes approximately 5 mins and I’m out the door!

If you like to read about any of these products in more detail, here are links to those I’ve reviewed:

Ps apologies for the state of my hair in this pic - it’s always makeup before hair for me… I’m guessing this is quite unusual?


Liz Earle Advent Calendar 2012

Liz Earle Advent Calendar 201224 days of Christmas with Liz Earle Advent Calendar, £100

December is creeping up fast and I imagine these will sell out quickly, so if you’re a loyal Liz Earle fan or have always wanted to try the brand, here’s the lowdown on its first ever Advent Calendar!

This generously sized, luxury Advent Calendar has been beautifully produced with no expense spared… there is not one item within which I would not love to use (though I may have to tackle my sister for them!).  Most items contain enough product to last a month or two - or at least allow you to experience them properly - for example you get 15ml of Superskin Moisturiser and 50ml of Instant Boost Skin Tonic.

If you have the patience to open these one day at a time (clearly I had to open mine for the purpose of sharing with you!), I think it would be absolutely lovely to pamper your way through the festive season, ready to spend Christmas day looking radiant and glossy!

I won’t say any more about the contents incase I spoil anyone’s surprise, but a full list of contents is on Liz Earle’s website, along with lots of other Christmas gift ideas here.  I was very lucky to be gifted this one, but there are lots of products to suit most budgets - personally I’d head straight to the makeup section if you’re looking for stocking filler ideas!

If you need to drop some heavy hints to your loved ones, head over to Liz Earle’s Facebook page to create your own wishlist and you could win a deluxe hamper worth almost £200!

Are you tempted by Beauty Advent Calendars or do you prefer to choose full sizes of your favourite products?


Fairy Kissmas from Clinique…

As always, Clinique has collated some pretty Christmas gift sets featuring makeup, skincare, bodycare & fragrance.  Here a few of my favourites that will keep your lips feeling as good as they look!

clinique mix it up kisses

Mix it up Kisses… Keep your favourites securely in one place with this sweet set ,containing Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss in Lilac & Grapefruit, Long Last Glosswear SPF15 in Juicy Apple & Whisper, Different Lipstick in Raspberry Glace & Glazed Berry £25


Whole Lotta Colour…. five of the most popular Chubby Stick shades all in one box! £30


Chubby Stick Intense… personally I’d swap all of the above for a couple of these… Grandest Grape & Broadest Berry  look lush and the combination of balm + intense colour = perfection in my eyes!  (Macaroons included of course!) £16 each

Would you like to find any of these under your Christmas tree?

All available at

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