Beauty Offers!

I have three great beauty deals to share with you today - from Sheer Cover, Proactiv, Escentual & Clinique. None of these are affiliate links, nor am I paid to tell you about them. I just like a beauty bargain as much as the next girl - and it’s nice to share, right?

Sheer Cover

Sheer Cover Introductory Kit

The Deal: Sheer Cover Mineral Makeup: £10 off kits 2-17 March

One of the world’s most loved mineral makeup brands, Sheer Cover is new to the UK and now available to purchase online. If you’d like to be one of the first to try it, a selection of kits are available at various prices with £10 discount from 2-17 March 2013.

Introductory, Deluxe and VIP kits are all available here in Light, Medium, Tan or Dark to suit your skin tone. The Introductory kit (pictured above), usually £29.99 is available for £19.99 plus p&p (some products are mini sizes).



Proactiv-4-Piece Core System

The Deal: half price Proactiv skincare kits 2-10 March

Proactiv® Solution is a range of skincare products designed to help clear blemishes and prevent future breakouts.  Introductory skincare kits are half price from 2-10 March; best seller, the 4-Piece Core Kit (above), usually £39.98, will be available for £19.99 plus P&P.  Also available are a bodycare system, luxury deluxe skincare set and a deluxe oil control system. All kits are available here.


Escentual French Pharmacy Offer


The Deal: Up to 1/3 off selected French brands during March at

Escentual’s French pharmacy promotion returns tomorrow (1 March) and includes an exciting French fancy – the UK launch of Bioderma. I’ve been imploring Escentual to stock this forever, so am thrilled to hear it will be on their shelves, especially with 10% off rrp - use the code BIODERMA10 at checkout for 10% off Bioderma.

Above are some of the products I’ve tried and loved: Caudalie Cleansing Water, La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 (review here) and Bioderma Sensibio (post here).  You can shop for French Fancies from tomorrow here.




The Deal: 3 limited edition moisturisers for £20 each.

A great way to try one of Clinique’s best selling moisturiser in limited edition 30ml pots, at £20 each.  Which to go for?

  • Age Prevention: Superdefense SPF25 Age Defense Moisturiser for Dry/Combination skin
  • Dry Skin: Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator - Very Dry to Dry combination
  • Lines & Wrinkles: Youth Surge SPF15 Age Decelerating Moisturizer- Dry/Combination

Offer applies to 30ml sizes, while stocks last - available in selected UK Boots stores and (exc Ireland, boo - please share your offers here too Clinique!)


Bobbi Brown Lilac Rose Collection


I may have audibly gasped on first sight of Bobbi Brown’s Lilac Rose Collection.  Make-up this pretty, yet still utterly wearable doesn’t happen every day and I for one can not wait to check out this range.

     Bobbi-Brown-Lilac-Rose-eye-shadow-palette       Bobbi-Brown-Lilac-Rose-Lipgloss     Bobbi-Brown-Lilac-Rose-Blush

No doubt the Shimmer Brick will be the star of the show (see Beauty Look Book’s pretty swatches here), but my favourites are the eye shadow palette, lipgloss and blush. Swoontastic.


Kiko Cosmetics Celebration Lacquer: Pearly Pink Iguana


Kiko Cosmetics is an Italian brand, new to UK shores, with a glorious range of sophisticated brights, including the limited edition Celebration Nail Lacquers in ten Spring like shades. Nail friendly, with built in strengthening and hardening action, these polishes are free of Toluene, Camphor, DBP and Formaldehyde.


                                                   Kiko Celebration Lacquer in Pearly Pink Iguana

‘Special resins facilitate the adherence of the pigments to the nail, creating a strong, elastic layer that enhances the shine and brilliance of the colour. Citral, a natural active ingredient with strengthening and hardening properties, seals and protects the nails, creating an unscratchable surface of light.’


I have to admit that looking at the other shades, the fuchsia ‘Pearly Pink Iguana’ would not have been my first choice, yet as soon as I applied it I adored it!  It has quite an iridescent finish with a lot of depth and a deep purpley shimmer in the light. The colour is vibrant, the texture amazingly smooth and my favourite kind of wide, flat brush meant the whole process was done while I waited for the kettle to boil!  It feels way more expensive than its £4.90 price tag and the entire range has 20% off until 3 March.  Pearly Siren, Pearly Peacock and Blush are all calling my name - find them here.

There is a huge range of nail polishes on the site, varying in (bargainous) price, but the Celebration Lacquers are Limited Edition, so snap them up while you can! I have a few more Kiko samples to share with you, but this one is by far my favourite find.

You like?


Headline Colors SS 2013: Catwalk Inspired Nails


Headline Colors today launched a second capsule collection of limited edition catwalk-inspired nail polishes for Spring Summer 2013.  I’m always surprised when makeup fanatics aren’t into fashion and vice versa, as to my mind the two go hand in hand, so the Headline ethos makes total sense to me.

Catwalk Inspired Colour

Catwalk - Russian red skimmed the limbs of models at Rochas, Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.

Centerfold - the 70s themed SS13 shows saw tan skin tones in New York, beige suedes in Paris and nude tassels in Milan. Balmain and Balenciaga picked soft sandy tones for their fabrics.

Poolside Party - ripples of Aqua coloured fabric wafted down the runway at Gucci and turquoise blue eyes flashed with Swarovski crystals at Dior. 

Glamour - SS13 welcomes gold with a purpose, a structured metallic with an architectural feel.

Spotlight - a reflection of this season’s high tech, futuristic trend. Perfect as a topcoat over brights or alone as a subtle sheen.

I’m still wearing Quicksand and Cement from the first collection, initially branded Killer Colors (my swatches) and am really impressed by the quality of these polishes.

Which is your favourite of the new shades?


Murad Resurgence Firming Mask & Rejuvenating Lift


Meet Murad’s new Resurgence anti-ageing duo to hydrate, firm and nourish skin nourish skin: Age-Diffusing Firming Mask and Rejuvenating Lift for Neck and Décolleté.  The Resurgence line addresses signs of hormonal ageing… difficult to say for sure when exactly that begins, but personally I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone younger than 35ish. Not that they would do any harm; I just don’t think younger skins need or benefit from full on anti ageing skincare and would never advocate unnecessary expense.

*Adjusts twin-set and hair net*…

Age-Diffusing Firming Mask

This Firming Mask is a rich, skin firming booster that moisturises dull, dry skin, enhances elasticity and promotes instant firming.  Yep, I said instant firming - admittedly the most exciting element for me.

Ingredients & Results

Murad achieves this instant firming and lifting effect with FirmQ2 - (aka magic powers) that instantly firm, lift and restore skin's glow. Other ingredients include Golden Seaweed to restore resilience, Brazilian Fruit Extracts to promote skin-plumping collagen production and Shea Butter to hydrate and soften.

I love the pump bottle (all beauty products should come with a pump!), the mask feels thick, rich and smooth with a fresh, fruity fragrance. The Shea content is obvious as it really does feel nourishing.  A thick layer should be applied for ten minutes, then rinsed off, which I was most reluctant to do as it felt soooo good and I was scared of washing away any benefits!

Clearly, there’s only so much instant effect any product can achieve and not being a scientist I can only measure results with my naked eye, but my skin does feel lovely after use and a little bit perked up, with a slight blurring of fine lines = happy me. 


I hope you can see the difference in texture from these swatches… the Firming Mask is rich and dense while the Rejuvenating Lift is more like halfway between a serum and lotion. 

Rejuvenating Lift for neck & décolleté

Rejuvenating Lift helps to improve elasticity and retexture skin to diminish thinness and sagging (eugh), while helping to reducing the appearance of age spots.  I did a lot of damage to the fine skin on my neck and décolleté through underuse of SPF in my youth and deeply regret this now.  It’s true what they say: these areas (& hands) are first to show the signs of ageing and the time to prevent this is when you’re young.  There just wasn’t the same awareness of anti ageing and SPF when I was in my teens and twenties and (with regret) I am paying the price for it now. So thank heavens for products like this, but please do what you can to avoid needing them if you still have that option!

Stats (pretty mind blowing ones)

This product has been clinically proven to increase skin firmness by 42% after just one application.

After four weeks of using Rejuvenating Lift for Neck and Décolleté:*
- 95% of study participants saw an improvement in fine lines
- 92% reported an overall more youthful appearance in the neck and décolleté
- 88% experienced improved texture
*Individual results may vary. Study results on file.

Ingredients & Results

A comprehensive set of ingredients from a plumping Brazilian Botanical Blend to cell accelerating Retinyl Palmitate, work together to retexture skin and reduce crepiness.  I’ve been using this for a month now and in the last week have started to notice a genuine difference to the skin in this area, which to my amazement looks and feels quite a lot smoother.

I have a lot of confidence in Murad products - I really believe in them and know they’re not just faddy nonsense, but the result of impressive scientific research combined with genuine quality ingredients. I hope their positive effects will continue over time.  If you’re not sure where to begin, the What’s Right for Me? mini questionnaire on their website is really useful.

Age Diffusing Firming Mask rrp £59.50 for 50ml; Rejuvenating Lift for Neck & Décolleté rrp £63.50 for 50ml* at leading spas, salons and selected House of Fraser, Debenhams and M&S Your Beauty stores.


Butter London Starkers Spring 2013 Collection: Crumpet, Shandy, Tea & Toast Swatches



Butter London Starkers is a bespoke trio of nude nail lacquers that does for fingers what nude shoes do for legs: elongate with understated elegance.  The natural look nail has been huge on Spring 2013 catwalks and an inspiration for this collection, which claims to work with every skin tone.

I'm drawn to the slightly warmer than the norm tones as I don’t find very cool beige nudes work well on my pale skin, yet I can totally imagine these looking amazing on the darkest of skins and reckon at least one of the three will work on most of those in between.

When wet, they remind me of foundation shades - and on my nails, of the swirls in a creamy, frothy coffee.

  • Shandy is the lightest of the three - (above left) a pale, slightly peachy toned crème
  • Crumpet is a warm caramel crème (centre) and my favourite of the three
  • Tea & Toast is a rich, tan crème (above right)


Butter-London-Starkers-Spring-2013-Collection-nude-nails-Crumpet-Shandy-Tea Toast-swatches Butter-London-Starkers-Crumpet-Shandy-Tea Toast-swatches  Butter-London-Starkers-Spring-2013-Collection-swatches-Crumpet-Shandy-Tea Toast 1-027

I included the last shot, taken in evening shade, to show just how much the light affects the depth of colour and tone in these polishes; the difference between each colour also looks much more dramatic in this pic.  I’d day the colours in pic 2 are the most true to how they appear in daylight on my nails.

Pale crèmes like this can be as tricky as darks to apply, though the Butter London formula is as smooth as ever.  A bit streaky on coat one, these colours look fine in two coats, although I used 3 for photographic scrutiny!  Butter London brushes are quite fine compared to some other brands, which takes a bit of getting used to for me, though the little easy-grip lid below the chunky square one definitely helps!

I tend to go through real phases when it comes to nail colour, rotating brights, darks and nudes - and know I’ll be reaching for Shandy & Crumpet a lot in the months ahead.  I’ll think they’ll be perfect for the ‘New French,’ accented with coloured tips and a great base for nail art, as well as the simplicity of their stand alone elegance.

Due in March at Harvey Nichols and Butter London, Starkers is online now at, rrp £12 each. Two complementary lipglosses & a liquid lipstick are also available.

Will you be going Starkers this Spring?


Benefit’s Women’s Aid Uni Tour: coming to Belfast!



It’s a sad truth that 1 in 5 women in Ireland over the age of 18 has experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse. To help to raise money for those affected, Benefit is running a week-long University campus tour of Ireland in the run up to International Women’s Day (March 9).  Benebabes will tour the country on the pink Benebus, stopping at five universities, offering complimentary goodies, make-uppers and activities to raise funds for Women’s Aid.


Queens University, Belfast: Thursday 7th March

The Benetour concludes at my local uni, QUB in Belfast, where guests will be treated to make-uppers, brow services, photos, games and giveaways at the impossible-to-miss pink Benebus from 10am-4pm.

The evening event (aka big pink party!) will take place in ‘The Space’ at Queens Student Union from 6.30-8pm.  Women’s Aid will give a short presentation on issues highly pertinent to young women before more make-uppers, games and cupcakes!

Admission is free & evening tickets are available at the day event - perfect excuse to get glammed up in support of an incredibly important cause.

    Women’s Aid Ireland 1800 341 900   

Women’s Aid UK 0808 2000 247


Fruity Beauty


When people talk about fruity beauty products I instantly think of sugary sweet strawberry, banana and lime style shower gels, wafts of which make me gag a little every time I walk past a certain (much loved by others) store.  For this reason, I’ve always been a bit anti-fruity, when faced with a choice of scents, but recently have come to love a certain type that exudes freshness and vitality - and not a sickly sweet note in sight (or scent)!

When it comes to fruity fragrances I definitely lean towards the citrus variety, especially when softened with other scents in the mix…


Espa Zesty Lemon Ylang Ylang & Crushed Tonka Beans Hand Wash & Lotion is the perfect example of a perfectly balanced fruit fragrance. This freshly fragranced duo is a pleasure to use for an instant lemon hit to the senses and a lingering softness. Made with 100% natural essential oils, this leaves my hands feeling luxuriously moisturised and refreshed.

Neal’s Yard Geranium & Orange Shower Gel - once again, a fruit combined with a freshly scent floral. I’ve heard people rave about this product for years and I now know why. I’ve raced through this bottle faster than any other shower gel ever, which says it all really. Beautifully refreshing in the morning it’s the perfect wake up call, but not in a screaming get out of bed way, more in an I’m here to pamper you way!

Roger & Gallet Eau des Bienfaits Fragrant Body Mist is a long term love of mine. Previously raved about here it incudes mandarin, bergamot, lemon & orange blossom in a moisturising treatment for the skin and the senses.  Whether I’m bleary eyed or full of the joys of Spring, this gives me a real boost!

Korres Fig Body Butter - I wrote about the accompanying shower gel to this product just a few days ago… the butter is light, easily absorbed and unlike heavier body butters,  is great for morning use. The smell is so gentle it’s just as lovely for evening, but it’s my current morning go-to.


Laura Mercier Fresh Fig perfume is another long term love and one of my favourite fragrances ever.  It is sweet, but in a gorgeously sensual way, that I’ve described in detail here (in one of my earliest posts, which comes across rather clumsy looking back!).

Are you a fan of fruity scents - and if so, which are your favourites?


Lovely’s Vintage Emporium


I’ve had my eye on Lovely’s Vintage Emporium since the day it opened and through it, gleaned a new curiosity for the world of vintage.  I’ve finally dipped a toe in - and have a feeling I’m hooked!

Lovely’s Vintage is run by magazine fashion & beauty director, editor and stylist, Lynnette Peck Bateman - nicknamed 'Lovely' by her friends... and not without good reason.


I treated myself to this pretty 1980s pendant necklace a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share it with you. I must say it was a pleasure to photograph jewellery rather than make-up for a change!

Lovely's_Vintage_Emporium_jewelryLovely's_Vintage_Emporium review

I did take a pic of me wearing my new pearl locket on a night out last weekend, but as usual was in such a rush out at the time, I twisted it with the angle I held the camera at.  I’ll take another one soon and maybe create a vintage make-up look to accompany it.

Lovely's_Vintage_Emporium (2)

I may even be tempted to buy a new frock to match its elegance!

I think I’d go for something like this 1950s floral midi dress (previously on Lovely’s Vintage), which sadly I’ve missed out on…

Do check out Lovely’s Vintage Emporium and follow Lynette on twitter - she is so approachable and lovely to chat with about vintage, fashion and of course beauty!

I’d love to hear about any vintage purchases you’ve made - or the kinds of things you’d like to buy?


Face the World Overnight Skin Booster Serum


In this post my skincare fanatic sister shares her thoughts on Face the World Overnight Skin Booster Serum, designed to beautify as we sleep!  (Just noticed pic in background of me holding my baby girl on her first birthday… aww)

Over to big sis…

I thought this was a lovely serum, it made the skin feel so peachy and velvety on contact, and felt deeply nourishing.

I found that it worked best when massaged into my skin. The first time I used it, I just spread it on gently, and didn't think it was that great, but when I rubbed it in, I loved it.  After several weeks of use, could see a noticeable improvement and more radiant look to my face. I also love the branding, and how serious and dedicated this brand is about bringing quality, ethical products to the market.

Face-the-World-Serum-review    Face-the-World-Serum

Face-the-World-Serum-ingredients     Face-the-World-Serum (2)

Thanks for your thoughts Paloma!

Although I only tried this product briefly while swatching for pics, I love the hygienic pump bottle and silky texture, speckled with opalescence for instant radiance. Ingredients include Rosehip, Evening Primrose and Wheatgerm Oils, Vitamins and Shea Butter.

You can read more about Face the World here.

Do you use a serum - and if so, which is your favourite?


Behind the Scenes: Sneak Peek inside my Makeup Bag


Fancy a sneak peek inside my makeup bag? Read all about it in the first of a new Blogger Make up Bag Series on Skin Deep Blog.  Written by a (very sweet) professional beauty writer, Skin Deep is one of my favourites and well worth a read, so do have a look around the blog and YouTube channel while you’re there!

Enjoy! :)


Nip+Fab CC Cream and Eye Fix in Light: Review & Swatches

Nip Fab-CC-Cream-CC-Eye-Fix

So just as we’ve finally got our heads around BB Creams, CC Creams are being rolled out by numerous brands.  Nip+Fab’s is the first I’ve tried.  So what’s the difference?

  • BB stands for Blemish Balm - a skin base with similar (or slightly more) coverage to a tinted moisturiser, with skin benefiting properties - usually including SPF.
  • CC (usually) stands for Colour Control - supposedly providing better coverage and higher SPF than BB creams, alongside the existing skin benefits.
  • In Nip+Fab’s case, CC stands for Complexion Corrector cream, which sounds even better - and more appealing, as who doesn’t want a great complexion?!

Still with me?  Of course this is just a guideline and will vary from brand to brand. So let’s look at Nip+Fab’s offering…


Nip Fab-CC-Cream-Eye-Fix Nip Fab-CC-Cream-Eye-Fix-swatchesNip Fab-CC-Cream-Eye-Fix-review Nip Fab-CC-Cream-Eye-Fix-pics


The Light shade is perfect for me. It only comes in two shades: Light & Dark, supposedly best used blended together to find the perfect shade and adapt according to certain times of year.  Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to find that one of them suits you perfectly as few of us want to purchase twice. The Eye Fix comes in Light & Medium - mine was light, which again worked well for me.


The CC Cream has a coverage similar to that at the light end of a light-to-medium foundation, certainly more than most BB creams I’ve tried… I found it applied best with a brush for an even more flawless finish. The Eye Fix is quite peachy toned, which works well to address shadows, but is definitely more of a corrector and highlighter, so I found I needed to use this along with a concealer for optimum results. The clicky pen and brush style packaging works well and I really like the packaging of the CC Cream too. 

Low Down

The downside of all this is that although it gave good coverage, the product didn’t leave my skin dewy as expected from the ‘light diffusing pigments’. I do have dry-ish skin, but if you look at the final swatch in direct light, you can probably see just how mattifying this product is, even on my arm - there’s a slight chalkiness to the finish which just didn’t work for me.  In my view, this would work much better for oily skins and the SPF30 is of course a bonus, particularly as Spring approaches (it is, honest).

Nip+Fab CC Cream rrp £14.95, Eye Fix rrp £9.95*

So are you a BB girl or have you moved on to CCs? Or are you sticking with AAs (ohhh I remember the distant days of AAs!)


Body Skincare: Organic Surge Body Polish, Forest Secrets iRejuvenate & Korres Fig


These three items are residing in my bathroom as current bodycare favourites: Organic Surge Million Dollar Brown Sugar Body Polish, Korres Fig Shower gel and Forest Secrets iRejuvenate Cream of Wonders. This is the order I use them in and why I’m enjoying them so much…

Korres Fig Shower Gel

I’d heard so many people rave about Korres products I eventually had to succumb and treat myself… I adore fig scents anyway so my first choice was a no brainer.  The scent is slightly sweet, but more fresh than anything and quite unisex. 90%+ natural, it’s packed with good stuff like aloe, vitamins and antioxidants. This was part of a set from Feel Unique and I’m now tempted by this little trio of guava, fig & basil lemon minis, perfect for holidays!

Organic Surge Million Dollar Brown Sugar Body Polish

037Organic-Surge-Million-Dollar-Exfoliating-Scrub-review Organic-Surge-Million-Dollar-Exfoliating-Scrub

I adore the packaging of this scrub in a traditional kilner jar, but the best thing about it is the scent. Bergamot and sweet orange essential oils are among its natural ingredients - and to me, the most thrilling thing about it… in fact if I could bottle the scent I’d wear this as a perfume every day!  Of course these oils are great for your skin as well as incredibly uplifting to smell… I may have been known to use this on my hands between showers just to get my fragrant fix! 

In the second pic you can see the high percentage of oils in this product, which requires swirling with fingers before use to blend the oils with the brown sugar.  I’d describe it as medium coarse and it definitely leaves my skin silky soft and well moisturised. Such high quality ingredients don’t come cheap… this will set you back £32, a lot for a body scrub, though it really is a skin treatment and puts a lot more in than it scrubs off! 

Forest Secrets iRejuvenate Cream of Wonders


Most women invest a lot of time, money and effort on looking after the skin on their faces, while slapping any old thing (if anything!) on their bodies.  As I get older I’m determined not to neglect the skin below neck level - and intrigued to find out if lotions and potions can really make a difference to its quality.

iRejuvenate Cream of Wonders (fabulous name!) is made from botanical actives to help improve skin elasticity and regenerate collagen. It feels silky smooth and non greasy, absorbs quickly and has a lovely fresh, clean smell. I really like the mechanism - just twist the silver lid, squeeze the bottle and it pops out the top. Forest Secrets juxtapose science and nature to an unusual extent…. impressive. 

Forest Secrets have offered a 10% discount code for any readers who would like to try the Cream of Wonders, rrp £25. The code is strawberryblondeFS12 and you can purchase it here.

Do you look after the skin on your body?


Burberry Gold Pearl No.26 Eye Shadow: Spring Summer Makeup 2013



Gold Pearl No.26 is the only eye shadow in the Burberry Spring Summer 2013 Makeup Collection, part of a look described as ‘effortlessly seductive’, with a siren red lip, sheer glowing complexion and almost bare eyes, leaving the lips in focus.  I adore this style of makeup, which I think will work beautifully with some of the red lipsticks in yesterday’s post, particularly the cool toned Kate Moss for Rimmel shade.


When I first swatched this eye shadow I thought it was a seriously bare, wash of pale yellow gold that brightened the lid. It wasn’t until later, under direct light, that I noticed the sparkle or pearl element of Gold Pearl.  It’s not particularly noticeable in the pan and difficult to capture in a photograph, but morphs into a micro sparkle (I wouldn’t even call it glitter) that’s wearable for daytime in my opinion.


You can just about make out the sparkle here when the sun came out… interestingly it looks more obvious the less product you apply, or the more you blend it into the skin. I did the first heavier swatch using the foam applicator in an attempt to make the product more visible. The one above was applied with a fluffy brush (my new MAC 217 which I’m loving!).


Can you make out the ever so slight sparkle in this pic?  It’s more obvious in real life, especially in direct sunlight or under electric light.  Gold Pearl is applied all over my lid, with a little Clarins dark brown eye shadow in the socket and along the lash line. When I took these pics, I didn’t realise Burberry’s SS 2013 Look featured a red lip, or of course I’d have gone for that too… I might try to recreate that another time.

Dark shadows courtesy of my 5 year old son who wanted cuddles at 5am this morning (and was soon ushered back to bed when I realised what time it was!)

Worn alone, Gold Pearl has an instant overall brightening effect on the eye and would look pretty paired with pastel shades for day or smoky for evening… I think it would look lovely with grey or aubergine tones.  There is a little fall out from the sparkle, though a primer and loose powder may help reign this in - didn’t bother me as it’s quite pretty, but may irritate some.  

Is this colour for you or do you prefer deeper tones?  Next on my list is the Pink Taupe Eye Quartet and a Spring-friendly lipstick… any recs, or any other Burberry makeup products you love? We don’t have a local counter so I’d love some suggestions to order online.

Burberry Eye Shadow in Gold Pearl No26 is available now rrp £22.50* here.

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