My NYE Skin Prep, Hair & Makeup


Most Moist Water-Max Sleeping MaskFilorga Hyal Defence Serum 30ml

Skin Prep

After over indulging more than a little the past week, my skin was in need of some serious tlc before I began my makeup…

Dr Jart+ Most Moist Water Max Sleeping Mask has been a godsend to me over the holiday period… I’ve been using it every couple of nights and as the name suggests, it literally feels like a drink for the skin, allowing me to wake up looking much more well rested than I deserve and without that greasy layer that I get with dehydrated skin.  [edit: I’ve just noticed Dr Jart is on 3 for 2 at Boots… maybe time for me to try the Premium BB Cream!]

Filorga Hyal Defence complete protective hyaluronic acid serum® is a beautifully light gel which has been locking in a serious dose of moisture by day with generous quantities of my favourite ingredient, hyaluronic acid. Not only does it contain lots of the good stuff, it also prevents its breakdown and plumps up the skin.

Multi award winning Temple Spa Skin Truffle is so much more than a moisturiser with a host of gleaming NYE worthy ingredients! Illuminating diamond powder, gold and silk sit alongside black truffles, grape seed champagne, strawberries and cocoa butter. The texture is rich and silky; it feels expensive (it is!) and my skin loves it!

I’ve also fallen for Eysilix Instant Eye Rescue by Indeed Labs.  I must admit I was sceptical, but this little number most definitely softens the shadows and fine lines around my eyes.  Its instant effects are brilliant both before a night out and the morning after. I haven’t been using it long enough to assess the longterm results, but am really happy with it so far!



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I chose products that I find the most skin flattering and know go the distance: Laura Mercier Crème Smooth foundation in Warm Ivory (full review) and my current perfecting duo of choice: Liz Earle concealer and highlighting pen - both fabulous. I’ll swatch these when I have more time to give you an idea of colour and texture, but both are great for pale skins (I used the lightest tones). 

I dusted a little Laura Mercier Stardust powder on cheek and brow bones as a final touch, for a gentle shimmering glow that catches the light.  A little goes a long way with this product; I’ve had mine for several years and it still looks almost full.

I like to keep my blusher quite soft and natural when I go for a strong lip, for which Green People in Rose is perfect.  This has a very gentle sheen and is difficult to overdo - great for pale skins and an absolute bargain as it’s very generously sized.


Mercier-Colour-to-go-warm-neutrals-paletteFaux Lash Mascara

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I’ve been reaching for Laura Mercier’s Colour to Go Warm Palette almost every day lately… the colours are so wearable, flattering, soft and easily buildable for day to evening use. Plus they last really well, especially the cake liner in Espresso - a really cool brown (zero red undertone), which I find much more flattering than black.

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I used the bronze all over the lid, the pale pinky nude on my brow bone and the darker brown in the crease and around the liner for a gently smokey effect. 

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I then skimmed over the top with the gold shade from Clarins Odyssey Eye Quartet for a touch of sparkle and finished with Laura Mercier Faux Lash Mascara, the best I’ve tried for full on lashes in a long time!  This has consoled me no end after the horror of having my lash extensions removed before Christmas!



I’ve already talked about my NYE lips in yesterday’s post, but had to include a gratuitous shot of the gorgeous Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick in Gracey - love it!


4-004 - Copy Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Oil Miracle Golden Shimmer Treatment 150ml

I had a few surface highlights just before Christmas and have been showing my locks some tlc with Schwarzkopf Professional’s BC Gold Shimmer Treatment.  Worked into freshly washed hair as a 5 minute mask, this deliciously scented pot of liquid gold provides deep nourishment and shine to help my highlights stand out. (currently reduced at Escentual - I’ve linked it from the product name)

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year everyone… wherever you are, whoever you’re with and whatever you’re doing, thank you for stopping by - it truly humbles me that you do.  I wish you much happiness, hope and peace in 2013.

Nic xxx


My NYE Lips & a #DareToKiss Challenge from Nivea

Have you planned what makeup look you’ll be wearing this New Year’s Eve?  Mine will feature a current favourite lipstick - and as with all makeup, the secret of sumptuous looking lips is all about preparation!

Lip Butter  Caramel Cream

NIVEA Lip Butter helps ensure lips are moisturised to the max and ready for kissing… the rich buttery balm melts instantly into lips leaving them feeling soft and smooth.  Once a week, I gently exfoliate my lips with a small amount of balm and a baby toothbrush to avoid build up of dry skin, then apply it several times a day, especially before heading out in the cold or going to sleep at night.

Guerlain Rouge G Gracey

My NYE lipstick of choice is Guerlain Rouge-G in Gracey, a lovely, wearable berry red.  I coat my lips with a thick layer of Lip Butter while doing the rest of my makeup so that they’re really well moisturised and plumped up, then remove excess with a tissue just before applying the lipstick. This also helps my lipstick go on really smoothly and feel extra comfortable.


Here is Rouge-G Gracey applied to well prepped lips!


NIVEA Lip TinsNivea

This New Year’s Eve, NIVEA are attempting to break a record with the longest kissing chain on Twitter… to be part of a record-breaking kiss, follow @niveauk !

What lipstick will you be wearing on NYE?  Please tell me in the comments below or even better, tweet me @Strawbry_Blonde with a pic of your NYE lips & the #DareToKiss hashtag! 

The most kissable lips will win a gorgeous set of Nivea Lip Butters in Raspberry Rose, Original and my favourite, Caramel Cream, so don’t forget to leave a contact email in the comments! This giveaway closes at midnight on 1st January and the winner will be announced on 2nd Jan 2013.

Happy New Year everyone - MMmwaahh!

*This is a sponsored post


Hair How to: Big Blow Out with Lauren’s Way Dream Rollers & Ojon


I’ve fallen quite hard for Ojon since discovering the brand a couple of months ago - it now forms a large part of my hair stash and I’m still totally hooked on the Damage Reverse Shampoo & Conditioner (post here).  These were part of my toolkit for this look, along with Lauren’s Way Dream Rollers, a wide toothed comb and hair grips, Ojon Volume Advance Thickening Spray for volumising root action and Super Sleek Blowout Perfector for a smooth, non frizzy finish.

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Dream Rollers are designed for sleeping in, hence the pliable barrel and soft spongy centre. As you can see, when squeezed they flatten a lot, theoretically making them comfortable enough to lay on your pillow.  Some may manage to do this and wake up with beautiful curls; personally I wouldn’t even attempt it - I just know I couldn’t sleep with them in. That doesn’t stop them doing their job though!

Ojon Stylist, Erminio Fiocca recommends velcro rollers for softer results and heated rollers for more body and I definitely agree.  I’ve used both Sleep Rollers and Lauren’s Way Dream Rollers and both produce very similar results.  Although I can not sleep in either, I find them lighter and easier to use than traditional velcro rollers.  (If anyone would find it useful I’ll do a separate post comparing the two - just leave me a comment below.)

The Big Blow Out

I was aiming for soft glamorous waves rather than defined curls, with volume at the roots - here’s what I did:

1. I applied Ojon Super Sleek Restorative Blowout Perfector on damp hair for texture, before flipping my head upside down and blow drying to give my roots a boost (I start every style this way). 

2. I then applied a few pumps of Volume Advance Thickening Spray for more body, parting my hair in the middle, sides and across the back and only spraying the roots. For me this is what makes the difference between glamorous ‘big hair’ and Dallas Hair - I aim for the former!  In the past I’ve used root boost products all through my hair (I know, doh!) and ended up looking poodletastic.

3. I then continued to blow dry until my hair was almost dry before using the rollers. 

4. Starting at the front and working backwards, I placed the velcro rollers in roughly 2 inch sections of hair. Too much hair and the roller will fall; too little and I run out of rollers!

5. I spritzed my roots and surface hair of the roller with Osis Freeze to help hold the curl.

I’ll be honest… I haven’t really a clue about ‘Velcro Roller Rules’… I just put them in whatever way I could.

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If you don’t have time for the whole shebang, you could just pop a few rollers on the top of your head for 20mins or so while you potter around getting ready and doing your makeup.

I ended up leaving mine in for at least an hour while I sat and watched TV: this was the outcome…


1: Side Volume - Immediately after removal, my hair sat naturally over to one side - I think it could look quite nice like this, back combed a bit and maybe loosely pinned to one side.

2: Rock Chic - I shook my head upside down to loosen the curls and parted my hair in the middle - a bit rough and ready (aka messy!) but I liked the big separated curls. Again this could look good with the front bits pinned back and a bit of quiff action or a pretty hair band.

3: Big Blow Out - This is the look that I was aiming for - soft, volumised waves. I gently smoothed through the curls and roots with a wide toothed comb to create loose waves. I think this look is my favourite - sorry that it’s a blurry mirror shot.

What do you think of these looks? Have you tried velcro rollers - and can you sleep in them?!


At Home Anti Ageing Skincare Kits: Skin Renewal

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Ours was really lovely and we’re now planning my children’s birthdays tomorrow and next week (planned that well didn’t we?!), so I have a pile of pressies to wrap when I finish writing this post.  If you’re anything like me you’ll have overindulged a little/lot the past few days and need a little skincare tlc and pepping up before New Year’s Eve - or to kick start your New Year healthy living regime!

If you’re short on time, want your money’s worth and effective results, these three at-home kits might just be what you’re looking for!

Philosophy Miracle Worker miraculous anti-ageing retinoid pads


If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you’ll have heard me rave about this already - and if you’re looking for a quick fix before that big New Year’s Eve party, this is it.  In my experience, it does what it says on the tin.  The effects are cumulative but I noticed a difference in days. NB sunscreen must be used each morning after treatment due to retinol content.

To use: The bottle above is poured into the tub of pads, soaking them in the miracle working solution.  One pad is swiped over a cleansed face each evening before bed. That’s it!

The effects? It’s difficult to measure the precise effects of skincare… in clinical tests, special technology measure minute changes in wrinkle depth, pore size etc etc. I can’t do all of that… I can only tell you that since using Miracle Worker, on numerous occasions I’ve looked in the mirror and thought wow, I can’t believe how good my skin looks.  Scientific? No. True? Yes.  The only product I’ve experienced this with in such a dramatic way is Alpha H Liquid Gold. This does all of the same things but also seems to make my lines look less noticeable - and with the birthday I ‘celebrated’ a few weeks ago, this is pretty major in my eyes.

Philosophy Miracle Worker £62 here


Murad Complete Renewal Kit


Described as a 30 day age defying skincare set, this kit features Murad’s new anti aging regimen, the Complete Reform with Glyco Firming Complex.  My sister tested this out on my behalf… reluctantly I admit, but a girl only has one face and I’d rather a product was tested thoroughly than half test everything myself.  She adored it… noticed a real brightness in her skin and said the lines around her eyes both looked and felt finer - she even had compliments on how well she looked.  Murad is a brand which has seriously impressed me in 2012. 

Murad Complete Renewal Kit £36.80 here (worth £100+)


Monu Resurface & Peel Homecare System


By encouraging cell renewal this kit helps create a more luminous skin texture and can be used alone or to enhance and prolong the effects of professional treatments. Suitable for all but the most extreme sensitive skins, it addresses numerous concerns from acne, scarring, pigmentation and age spots, to reducing wrinkle depth.  

To use: Massage in paste for two mins, add lotion & work in with fan brush for two mins; rinse off. The kit includes a full sized moisturiser with SPF15. Personally I’d prefer a higher rating but some protection is essential for at least several days after use.

Using this product feels super luxurious and a real treat to my skin, plus the essential citrus oils mean it smells amazing!  It leaves my skin feeling super clean (but not tight) and looking noticeably brighter.  I didn’t use it more than once a week, but it can be used a maximum of twice weekly.

Monu Resurface & Peel Homecare System £55 here



Last chance: Christmas beauty gifts you can find in-store!

It’s almost Christmas Eve… and I will be one of many braving the crowds on a last minute gift run. I may moan about it, but secretly I quite like the thrill of the challenge!  Here’s a few ideas for beauty gifts you can get your hands on in-store.

First up, 3 fragrances to suit very different tastes…

Roger & Gallet Eau Sublime Gold

Roger-&-Gallet-Gold Roger-&-Gallet-Gold (2)3-029 4-032

A slightly softer version of the Bois D’Orange I’ve raved about on here before, this one is laced with a subtle gold shimmer. A light spritz and it adds a barely there is-it-or-isn’t-it gleam; a heavier spritz and your skin will be laced with still subtle teeny flecks of gold that sparkle when they catch the light.  Layer over the Golden Shimmer Body Cream for beautifully moisturised glowing skin with a fragrance that lasts all evening.

Sublime Gold Shimmer Fragrant Water, £32. Gold Shimmer Body Cream £15


Chloe Eau de Parfum

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My current fragrance of choice, I’ll review this in more detail another time as I think it has a tendency to be overlooked - and really shouldn’t be. For now, I’ll just say that it smells as elegant and ladylike as it looks and while I certainly don’t think it’s run of the mill, I do imagine that most women would love to receive a bottle of this perfume.  Its blend of gentle florals, woods and amber is soft, sensual and sophisticated. £39.50 for 30ml at Debenhams or House of Fraser


Lady Gaga Fame Fragrance Collection

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A giant leap to a different spectrum - and possibly planet - is Lady Gaga’s Fame fragrance collection, shown here with the body wash, lotion and soap.  I’ve had this for a while and to be honest struggled to make my mind up about it.  Initially I find the perfume quite overpowering and too sweet for my taste, though it does settle to something much softer.  There’s a lot of vanilla and fruitiness in there…  it’s definitely different and fun and would make a great gift for the right person. The products are all black, though become transparent on application to the skin.

Gordon’s Chemist in N.Ireland has a great gift set with fragrance & showergel for £32 (while stocks last) and I believe Superdrug has 30ml of the perfume for £19. Also available at Boots and the usual outlets.


A few random beauties…

M&S Limited Collection polish set £9.50


Benefit_Look_the_Best_Light Benefit_Christmas_gifts

Benefit’s How to Look the Best at Everything is just one of a range of gift sets priced around £20-35 at department store beauty counters.  Too Faced also has some gorgeous gift sets

Space NK is another safe bet for beauty gifts, and I’d definitely be hitting the new Beauty Mart or Burberry Beauty Department if I was in London.  I’ll finish with pearls of wisdom from my best friend today… 3 words: Chanel Limited Edition.  Don’t think any of us would argue with that!

Happy shopping and try not to sweat it… I’m hoping to be there and back by midday - and then the real fun begins!

Merry Christmas everyone and thank you for reading, commenting, chatting and being there! Nic xxx




Hair How to: Sleek & Smooth with Toni & Guy and Ojon

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I don’t often wear my hair straight as I think a natural wave suits me better, but sometimes it’s just nice to have swishy hair!  I tend to think of it as smoothing rather than straightening… I like a slight curve to my hair rather than it hanging like curtains.  As I don’t own straighteners, I always blow dry it for this style, which is pretty easy using my GHD Air (review here) - it’s so powerful it dries and smooths my hair much faster than a traditional hairdryer.

Here’s my quick guide to smooth hair the traditional way! …


1. I started by washing my hair with Ojon Damage Reverse Shampoo & Conditioner which I got free with an online purchase from the Ojon website last month and am absolutely loving - best duo I’ve tried in a long time. Smells amazing, detangles and leaves my hair so soft and easy to style, particularly good for a straight look like this.

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2. For an ultra sleek finish, I added Toni & Guy Classic Smoothing Lotion* to towel dried hair… great for taming flyaways, reducing frizz and achieving a soft silky finish - I really noticed a difference when using this.

3. I blow dried my hair using a ceramic barrel brush with the GHD Air, rolling the hair around the brush and holding it at the root to add a little bit of volume rather than a poker straight finish, which I’m not a fan of.  I’m not sure if the Toni & Guy Smoothing Lotion was supposed to help with this, but it did seem to - it was easier to create the volume than usual. 

The lotion can also be applied to dry hair for a perfect finish… looking at the pics I probably should have done this, though in my defence this was done two days before getting my hair cut, so the ends were a bit awol.

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Sorry that these pics aren’t great… it’s really hard photographing the side & back of your own hair, even with a mirror!  I’d often wear some of my hair tied back to add a little interest when it’s straight, pathetically demonstrated here with my fingers as I couldn’t find a bobble at the time! (where do they all go?!)

Toni & Guy Smoothing Lotion is £7.19 at Boots

Ojon Damage Reverse Shampoo & Conditioner are around £21 each at

Am I the only person in the world who doesn’t use straighteners? I’m actually quite curious to try them!


James Read Gradual Tan for Face in Light


If you’re bronzing up for Christmas parties, don’t forget to make sure your face tones in with your body by applying a subtle self tanning product.  I’m loving James Read Gradual Tan for Face in Light - perfect for this time of year and works really well on pale skins.  I don’t want to look tanned, just to remove the ghostly blue grey glare and look a little more, well… awake!


The Formula

I always struggle to find a facial self tanner with a good formula and this is one of the best I’ve tried… here’s why:

  • I love the cute squat packaging and pump mechanism - quick, easy & hygienic
  • The liquid is super light and totally non sticky
  • It applies smoothly, easily and sinks in very quickly
  • Makeup can be applied pretty much immediately afterwards (though prob wise to wait a little while if you can)

The Colour

Perfect for pale skins at any time of year, the lotion applies white and develops into a light golden wash… I really don’t look tanned (though I guess it could be layered up) - I just look less pale and washed out if that makes sense?  This is a good thing for the morning after, which I’m just coming round from now after the Christmas party of the year last night. Hence my blog post at almost midnight. The colour wears off gradually and can be reapplied every few days to maintain.

Do you use self tan at this time of year?


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