Thursday, 31 January 2013

ncLA Life is a Beach Spring 2013: Don’t Call Me Peachy! & As If!

ncLA-SS13-pastels-peach-lilac-collection-AS-IF-Dont-call-me-peachy

ncLA Spring 2013 Nail Lacquer collection, Life is a Beach launches tomorrow with a range of pastels that strike the perfect balance in my eyes.  No sickly sweetness or chalkiness, just classy, pretty tones that I think will be very wearable with most skintones including previous pastel dodgers!

ncLA-SS13-AS-IF-Dont-call-me-peachy-swatches

Say hello to Don’t call me Peachy! & As If!

NCLA_AM_BeautySleep_PM_ShoppingSpree NCLA_TennisAnyone2

The other two shades in the Life is a Beach collection are AM: Beauty Sleep, PM: Shopping Spree - a light mint crème and Tennis Anyone? - one of the most gorgeous pale yellow pastel crèmes I’ve seen.

ncLA-SS13-AS-IF-Dont-call-me-peachy

Don’t Call me Peachy! is a soft apricot toned peach crème.  Like neons, pastels are infuriatingly streaky on the first coat. I applied 4 here, but really 3 would have done the job.  My main tip is don’t hide from the streaks or be tempted to lay it on thick… stick to thin layers for a seamless finish.

ncLA-SS-2013-AS-IF-Dont-call-me-peachy

As If! is a delicate lavender crème which I love way more than I expected to. Some lavenders can be grey, ghostly or overtly sugary; this one is cool and sophisticated. It applies beautifully, finer in texture than the peach and only took 2 coats to look immaculate.

ncLA-Spring-Summer-2013-AS-IF-Dont-call-me-peachy

NCLA Life Is A Beach! non-toxic, 5-Free Nail Lacquers are available from 1st February (tomorrow) in the UK at www.cutecosmetics.co.uk for £12.50 or overseas at www.shopncla.com 

Will you be heading to the beach in one of these?

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A-England She Walks in Beauty: Rose Gold Glitter Polish

A-England-She-Walks-in-Beauty-Rose-Gold-Pink-Glitter

I’m such a magpie when it comes to glitter nail polishes. I must buy them even though I rarely wear them. Not only are they OTT for everyday wear, there’s the whole faff of removal.  One of my favourite colour combinations is pink and gold. Pink+gold+glitter = swoonsome.  Add a name like ‘She Walks in Beauty’ and there’s no hope for me at all. 

So anyway, I had to have this polish, one of two I purchased from A-England, a brand that I’ve heard nothing but praise for and drooled over many swatches of online.  I still think it’s gorgeous, but just not quite what I had in mind… have a look and tell me what you think.

A-England-She-Walks-in-Beauty-Rose-Gold-Pink-Glitter-swatch

I’m wearing it here over OPI Sparrow me the Drama, to provide more of a pink feel to it.  You see I thought it would be gold glitter in a pink base, or equal pink & gold glitter, but it’s actually a dense fine gold glitter base with chunks of big gold glitter and a smattering of big pink glitter. The pink in Sparrow me the Drama is very similar, so they work well together. My pinkie shows how dense two coats look; the rest just have one coat of glitter.

A-England-She-Walks-in-Beauty-Rose-Gold-Pink-Glitter-pic-review

A quick look from another angle in today’s fleeting sunshine (please 'scuse the tipwear as I actually painted them yesterday - in a hurry and didn’t use topcoat. Tsk.)

I do think She Walks in Beauty is gorgeous; it’s just not what I’d hoped for in that twinkly corner of my head...

Thoughts?

ps isn't the bottle just gorgeous?!

pps if you fancy a closer look at more pics of OPI Sparrow me the Drama, I reviewed it here - it’s a gorgeous pink.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Orla Kiely Geranium Handwash

Orla-Keily-Geranium-Handwash-review-pics

As someone who washes her hands a ridiculous number of times per day (I’m not OCD; I have two small children & work from home) I’ve got into the habit of keeping a posh handwash on the kitchen windowsill. A welcome step up from the dregs of a fairy liquid bottle, it’s made this most mundane of tasks feel like a semi treat and makes me smile when I’m near the kitchen window.

It’s the little things…

I’m a great believer in this theory, because for me it’s true.

Every other sink in the house has regular Dove, Carex or M&S at a push, but I’m the only one who uses the.posh.kitchen.sink.soap.  My children can’t reach it.  My husband is scared to touch my potions as he’s never quite sure what they’re for.

Orla-Keily-Geranium-Handwash-review

This pretty Orla Kiely bottle will last me for several months and its fresh floral fragrance is as lovely as the packaging suggests. (Plus the colours kind of match my kitchen tiles).  One of my favourite local gift shops, Urban Orchard in Holywood, stock Orla Kiely, or it’s available in numerous places online.

Anyone else treat themselves to the odd little thing that they enjoy using every single day?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Home Detox Spa: Malin+Goetz, Neom, & Miss Patisserie

Neom_Luxury_Exfoliator_Patisserie_bath_Eden_heavenly_detox_body_butter

It’s freezing outside, not much on the tv and there’s a pile of beauty treatments in the bathroom - what’s a girl to do?  Candlelit mini home spa session anyone?  The detox word is bandied about a lot early every January when I’m still in a festive fog with a stash of chocolate, snacks & vino calling my name from the cupboard.  A few weeks in and I’m starting to replace all of that with a healthy dose of fruit, veg and water, while working on restoring my skin, which has definitely shown the ‘neglect effect’. 

This is where a mini detox disguised as major pampering kicked in…

Malin_and_Goetz_Detox_Face_Mask

While running a bath filled with a generous handful of Kneipp Lavender Balancing Mineral Bath Salts (post here), I applied the Malin+Goetz Detox Face Mask, which I’m more than a little besotted with.  Unlike any face mask I’ve used before, this creamy mousse almost fizzes on my skin - it’s the most amazing tingling sensation as it gets to work. Amino acids, almond extract, vitamins C&E and soy protein purify, sooth and firm, deep cleansing pores and sealing in hydration.  There’s none of that squeaky tightness, just lovely soft, clean skin. I could get addicted to this.

Reluctantly I rinse it off, feeling rather chilled with the Kneipp lavender vapours filling the room and turned my attention to these pretties…

Neom_Luxury_Exfoliator_Patisserie_bath_Eden_body_butter

How sweet are these candy coloured Miss Patisserie French Monaco Macaroon Bath Bombs, topped with real pressed flowers?!  Before getting in, I popped one into the bath and watched it fizz, creating my own heavenly scented, cocoa butter enriched mini spa…

Patisserie_bath_fizz

I have a pink floral bath mat… the bath bombs don’t turn the water pink, sadly. I do love a candlelit bath, but am not one to languor all evening, much as I love the idea, so I soon got to work with my Neom body scrub…

Neom_Luxury_Exfoliator_Patisserie_bath_Eden_detox_body_butter

I’m a long term lover of Neom, but this was my first dabbling with its Real Luxury fragrance filled with pure essential oils of lavender, jasmine and Brazilian Rosewood in an organic sugar base. Neom’s new hero product, the scrub is made with 97% certified organic ingredients and leaves skin ridiculously soft, moisturised and pampered. 

So much so in fact that I postponed using the Jardins D’Eden Detox Heavenly Butter until the next morning.  The Neom does leave a light coating of oil on the skin (in a nice way!), so is best saved for evening use to allow it to soak into your skin as you sleep. I’ve already raved about the Jardin D’Eden here - it was great for an invigorating early morning wake up call after a deep night’s sleep from all that pampering!

Do you ever take time out to really chill and pamper yourself?  This was a particularly indulgent experience for me… a few drops of lavender oil and an Ikea tea light or two is all it really takes!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Priti NYC Cotton Sprig - After the Snow #NOTD

Priti NYC Cotton Sprig

I’ve had Cotton Sprig from Priti NYC’s appropriately named After the Snow collection in my stash for a while and not worn it as I was a little unsure of the tone, which I’m delighted turned out to be the most lush chocolate brown and perfect for this time of year,

Priti NYC Cotton Sprig Priti NYC Cotton Sprig

Even better, it is one of the hardest wearing polishes I’ve ever tried. I’m now on day 4 and it still looks great which is seriously a miracle for me. I’ll remove it tomorrow as I’m heading out to a party and want something that will work with my LBD (any suggestions?).

Celtic Sheepskin jumper

I think it looks really nice from a distance - dark and glossy - and works well with a cosy jumper. This one is from Celtic Sheepskin, which fellow long armed girls will be delighted to know seem to specialise in extra long sleeves - win!! (This is seriously exciting if you’re used to them being half way up your arm!)

Priti NYC Cotton Sprig

Cotton Sprig actually has a very subtle fine shimmer, which I couldn’t capture in the nail pics, so here it is in the bottle. It just adds to the glossiness rather than looking shimmery, unless in direct light - or sunlight I imagine - hopefully I’ll get to test that theory sooner rather than later!

It’s a lighter brown than Nubar Swiss Chocolate, seen in my Minstrel Nails post, but deeper and richer than Essie Very Structured, post here.

Priti NYC polishes are available at CutECOsmetics for £8.95 each

Are you a fan of chocolatey brown nails?

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Intense Skincare Solutions: Winter Snow

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While I’ve been using skincare for many years, there are some products that I didn’t really get until I needed them personally.  eg I didn’t need body lotion as my skin was soft anyway and those little balm things that everyone raves about - just why!?!  Until now. Or until the past year or so to be precise.  My skincare always needs moved up a notch in Winter, but when temperatures plummet below zero and central heating soars, the regime goes into overdrive. 

I have a few posts planned along similar lines, but today I want to focus on specialised skincare saviours for truly parched skin, all of which have been a godsend to me lately.

Jardins D’Eden - Detox Heavenly Butter

This my friends is a whole new level of body butter.  It comes exquisitely packaged in a gold ribboned box and reminds me of a little tub of solid balm for serious moisture on little dry patches, except you get a whole jar of it, so you’re allowed to apply it all over! 

D'Eden_Detox_Heavenly_Body_Butter

It is solid in the jar as I hope this illustrates - and requires warming between the hands to melt it into a nourishing oil.  The solidity comes from the high percentage of natural ingredients - organic unrefined Shea butter, unrefined Cocoa butter, Mango butter, Kukui butter and Jojoba, Rosehip and Vitamin E oils.  I’m usually happy if a product contains one of these, so to get them all in one jar is pure luxury… and even better - natural luxury.

A little goes a long way and the fragrance is divine, infused with detoxifying Juniperberry, lymphatic-boosting Grapefruit, astringent Cypress and toning Lemongrass.  So up my street!

LEMONGRASS & MANDARIN AROMATHERAPY CANDLE

Next on my wishlist from D’Eden is this Lemongrass & Mandarin aromatherapy candle - the perfect combination for a gorgeous smell and uplifting effect.

Weleda Skin Food

This multi award winning cult product has been used and loved by celebrities and supermodels for years.  For me, it provides an invisible pair of gloves below my leather ones before I head out in the cold, as well as nourishing my hands while I sleep.  I also apply it on my little boy’s cheeks before school as he is prone to eczema in extreme temperatures - and so far they have remained baby soft.  

Weleda is one of a number of beauty products now certified with the Natrue kitemark, set up to help consumers identify products from 100+ brands that are genuinely organic and natural. The whole ‘just how natural is your natural skincare’ debate is such a topical issue at the moment that I think this concept will be embraced by many more.

eos Lip Balm

I’ve had a love affair with this for the past year since I picked it up at cutecosmetics.co.uk (yes it IS available in the UK!) and a string of fabulous ingredients mean it soothes my lips like nothing else does.  Not to mention its cute squatness and lovely aroma. I’ve reviewed it in full here if you’d like more info and the new Pomegranate Raspberry flavour is next on my list (it does seem to go on forever though!).

Organic Surge - Million Dollar Anywhere Balm

Organic_Surge_Million_Dollar_Balm

This does a similar job to D’Eden Heavenly Butter, but comes in a dinky little portable jar that I can bring everywhere with me for soothing on the go! Cuticles, lips elbows and those pesky little dry itchy patches that seem to appear from nowhere all get soothed by this concoction of cocoa, shea butter and sweet almond oil. Again it’s a solid, firmer in texture than the D’Eden and melts into a balm rather than an oil.

For every purchase from the Million Dollar range, Organic Surge will donate $1 towards a $1 million target for Kenya Children’s Home Baby Care Unit and Orphanage.

CND Solar Oil

Last but most definitely not least is this teeny little bottle of heroic proportions.  I got this on eBay for a few pounds last year, loved it, then forgot about it & moved on to something else (beautybloggeritus). Around 10 days ago I was actually despairing at the cuticles on my right hand. They were red, sore, thickened, cracked - you name it - I genuinely didn’t think anything would fix them.  I applied this before going to sleep one night and next morning, before even opening my eyes, noticed the skin around my nails felt softer.  They’re not quite perfect yet, but cracked, red, sore swollen skin has gone. And I put it down to this product. I’ve just discovered that Cult Beauty has full sized bottles and will totally be getting one as soon as this mini runs out.

What are your favourites for keeping your skin happy in this weather?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Clinique Kiss it Better supports Great Ormond St Hospital Charity

Clinique-kiss-it-better-Superbalm-gloss

Treat yourself or a loved one with this limited edition set of Clinique Superbalms for £24 during February and 50% will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity for the KISS IT BETTER appeal - raising money to fund research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancer.

The set features the best selling shades of Clinique’s iconic Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss, antioxidant loaded lipbalm with a sheer wash of colour (usual rrp £14.50 each).

Available only at Clinique online or at House of Fraser, the charity will actually receive £12 from every purchase; £6 each from Clinique and House of Fraser.  So often these kind of campaigns seem to be more about companies being seen to give than the actual giving.  It’s lovely to see a beauty brand really getting behind a cause it believes in, now in its sixth year running - big kudos to Clinique.

Kiss it Better Superbalm set (£24) available exclusively at House of Fraser Clinique counters nationwide (excluding Ireland) and online at Clinique.co.uk during February 2013.  For further information and ways to donate, visit www.gosh.org/kissitbetter

Sunday, 20 January 2013

LVX Prussian with Topshop Ashes & Fire

LVX-Prussian_Topshop-Ashes-and-Fire

When you discover an amazing new nail colour and just can’t stop staring at your nails? That…  LVX in Prussian and Topshop Ashes & Fire are doing it for me this weekend - and they’re not just pretty polishes either.  This was the first time I’d used either brand on my nails…

LVX_Prussian_nail-polish-5-free

LVX 5-free

I’ll start with an official intro to LVX, as it’s new to me and I’m guessing some of you too.  In a nutshell the US brand produces seasonal fashion-led yet classic colours in a luxury formula which is also vegan and five free (so no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, toluene or camphor). ie it’s glamorous and nail friendly.  Quite a few parallels with Headline Colors (formerly Killer Colours), which I wrote about here.

LVX-Fall-2012LVX_Winter_Resort_2013

Above left is the Fall 2012 collection and right, Winter Resort 2013, from which I’m absolutely loving that deep blue, lavender and grey.

I was curious to try this brand. What I didn’t expect was to be so blown away by the formula that I think it may be the best I’ve tried to date. Ever. And I try (& own) a lot of nail polishes!  Smooth, thick enough to give great coverage yet not gloopy. Extremely pigmented - the above pic above shows just one coat. One!! Not only does this make application quicker and easier; it makes the polish itself rather economical. It’s not uber cheap at £10.99 a bottle and I’m first to admit that budget polishes have come a long way (NYC is a current love), but this is uber impressive and if you fancy a shade or two, I’d really recommend you give it a go (and I don’t say that lightly!).

LVX-Prussian-teal-nailpolish_Topshop-Ashes-and-Fire

Lovely as Prussian looks on its own, I felt like adding a bit of bling before heading out to crack open the Prosecco with the girls last night - and couldn’t help noticing how beautifully Topshop Ashes & Fire complemented it. The silver base with fine blue, green and red rainbow glitter looked like it was made to match and I could not resist. The flash has made the glitter look plain silver above; it’s not at all - check the colours in the bottle - that’s how it actually looks on. Better pics below…

LVX-Prussian_Topshop-Ashes-and-Fire-glitter LVX-Prussian_Topshop-Ashes-and-Fire-swatch

The pic above left without flash shows Prussian at its most true, a rich teal crème. Note the multiple colours in Topshop’s Ashes & Fire on my thumb nail in particular - isn’t it pretty?

LVX, £10.99 is available in the UK and Ireland at Cloud10Beauty, which I’m REALLY hoping will stock the Winter Resort collection soon! Topshop polishes are available at the instore or online beauty section, with glitters at £6 each.

Do you like? And does it matter to you if your polishes are nail friendly… do you look out for 3-free or 5-free?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Instyler Hair Styling Tool: Review - Purple V2 32mm

InStyler 32mm Rotating Iron Purple V2

The InStyler is a new hair styling tool that can be used to straighten, wave or curl dry hair using a rotating heated cylinder and brush bristles.  Hair is held between the brush and heated metal barrel as in spins, polishing the hair for added shine.

It took me a few goes to get the hang of how it works… unless you have fine or straight hair to begin with, you’ll need to blow dry it quite smooth before use and work with small sections at a time.  My Babyliss Big Hair brushes through the hair, smoothing as it spins, whereas the brush on this is really just to hold the hair in place as the barrel spins - and obviously the barrel isn’t going through your hair, just polishing the surface.  The movement is supposed to be more gentle than the constant heat of a regular straightener, though I’m not completely convinced on that, perhaps because I burned my forehead quite badly the first time I used it. There are 3 heat settings, so it’s best to start with the lowest and see how you go… and be more careful than me!

I can see how this would add volume, though would be reluctant to hold the barrel at my roots to achieve it (due to the heat) as I do with my Big Hair

Instyler-hair-curling-tool

Here’s how my hair looked after blow drying it smooth-ish, then twisting small sections around the metal barrel, clamping them still with the brush side and spinning for around 30 seconds until they curl.  I like these kind of relaxed, twisty curls, which look quite natural and not too overdone, so was pleased with the results.

Instyler-after

Please excuse the bad pic - I’m not orange, believe me - it was just the light!  I just wanted to show how my hair looked a couple of hours later when I was going out… as you can see the curls had dropped quite a bit leaving loose waves. I was a bit disappointed but to be fair hadn’t used a styling product as I wanted to see how they’d fare on their own, so the moral is, finish with hair spray to make curls last!

I was sent this product for review and to be honest have mixed feelings on it, as outlined above, though YouTube is full of rave reviews so perhaps I just need a little more practice.  I used the new Purple V2 with a 32mm rotating iron; shorter or finer styles would probably be better with the smaller barrel - the full range is available at instyler.co.uk. The product retails for £99, but LookFantasic currently has it for £75.

Have you tried the InStyler - and if not, do you like the idea of it?  I really think my Babyliss Big Hair is a hard act to follow!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

New: Ted Baker Beauty Tools & Golden Girl Nail polish

Ted-Baker-Duty-to-Beauty-manicure-set

Ted Baker has launched a new range of golden beauty tools to make everyday preening a more glamorous affair!  As soon as my pretty package arrived I set to work with the cute gold nail scissors, clippers and floral emery boards, prepping my nails for Ted’s Golden Girl glitter polish duo.

Ted-Baker-nail-clippers-scissors-file

Even the emery boards are decorated with pretty foxgloves and I love how the polish bottles bear more than a passing resemblance to those embossed with a double C.  The packaging is quality too - I think this set would make such a lovely gift… lash curlers and tweezers are also available in coordinating designs.

Ted-Baker-Manicure-Nail-Scissors

I love attention to detail like this Ted Baker signature.

Ted-Baker-Golden-Girl-Glitter-Nail-polish-duo-swatch (2) 

Naturally I couldn’t wait to apply the twinkly polishes… above in natural light and below, with flash.

Ted-Baker-Golden-Girl-Glitter-Nail-polish-duo-swatch 

The pale, champagne-toned gold is very wearable for daytime or can be blinged up for evening with glitter. As you can see above, the glitter also looks great over a dark polish. It’s quite dense and applies evenly - this is just one coat over the navy and two coats over the gold on my pinkie.  Ok so my post Christmas objection to nail bling was short lived! ;)

Have you tried anything from Ted Baker’s beauty range?

Available at Boots or Ted Baker.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Anastasia Covet Waterproof Eyeliners: Review & Swatches

3-024Covet Eyeliners Anastasia_Covet_Waterproof_Eyeliner

If you like long lasting eyeliners in rich, sultry colours, which apply smoothly and last all day, then you’ll love these.  Anastasia Beverley Hills is a cult US brand making big waves in the UK right now, primarily for its brow products (of which there were 26 at my last count!). 

Anastasia-Covet-Waterproof-liner-swatches

Covet Waterproof Eyeliners come in 5 shades:

Steel - dark matt cool grey with a slight lavender undertone, which works well with blue eyes.

Noir -  matt black, can be applied softly or built up to a charcoal black. Difficult to describe but this somehow retains a certain softness and isn’t as harsh or cold as some.

Astral - metallic blue-green pewter, which I think would work with all eye colours.

Vert - metallic gold tinged khaki, very light reflective & shimmery on the eye

Azure - matt indigo based navy blue.

Application & Texture

All apply with ease and are buttery soft in texture, so zero dragging. All work on the waterline and at a push I’d say the two metallics: Vert & Astral are my favourites, though I’ve loved using Azure and Steel for a smoky eye. You get a little bit of time to smudge them before they set, but not a lot.  I rarely wear black liner as I normally find it too harsh for my colouring; Noir was surprisingly wearable but I wouldn’t wear it every day.  I’m a fan of the twist up action and colour coded bases on the pencils make the correct shade easy to find, as well as containing built in sharpeners (the pencils are SO soft I’d recommend chilling them in the fridge before sharpening to avoid breakage).  As you can see above, a tapered rubber grip really helps with precise hold and application.  As always, Anastasia really has thought of everything.

Wear time

I found these lasted longer on my eyes than Urban Decay 24/7; perhaps not quite as long as NARS Larger than Life Longwear liners, though I’m splitting hairs and there’s really very little in it. Plus I’ve only tried two of the NARS (one matt & one metallic).  The Pixiwoos have been raving about these pencils, the wear time and how exceptionally well they work on the waterline - I know a lot of you trust their judgement.  Oh any for other hooded eye peeps, these don’t transfer for me at all. Win!

Swatches

Anastasia-Covet-Waterproof-liner-swatches (2)

Above in natural light; below in direct sunlight. The wriggly line is a single pass and the heavier line, a double pass (more for the Azure).

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I’ve been wearing these constantly since I was sent them and will continue to do so - all other eyeliners have been abandoned for now! 

If you haven’t tried Anastasia before, it’s seriously worth investigating. The only stockist I’ve found is Cult Beauty… I wish others would hurry up and get in on the act!  Do check out another favourite from the brand, Brow Wiz, which I reviewed here.

What’s your favourite eyeliner?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Lancôme & Lanvin create makeup collection

Lancôme_Lanvin_x_Alber_Elbaz

Lancôme and Lanvin.  Rolls off the tongue rather nicely, no? 

Lancôme and Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz have developed a makeup collection due to launch early this Summer (June 15), in the latest beauty and fashion collaboration.  I’m already loving the pink & orange of Lancôme's Spring collection (my favourite colour combo), so look forward to seeing what this new range holds in store.

I’ll share more details as soon as they’re available…. in the meantime, here’s a little teaser!

Lancome & Lanvin

I wonder if the bright colour pops on these cartoon characters will translate to the actual products - turquoise, lavender and green eyes with fuchsia or red lips?  Sounds pretty cute to me!

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