Sunday, 30 June 2013

Where to find me!

Bloglovin’

StrawberryBlondeBeautyBloglovin 

Bloglovin’ has always been my favourite place to read blogs in a stylish, magazine format that allows me to skim through posts or click for the full story.  I tend to visit a few times a week for a big catch ups with my subscriptions, which I’ve divided into Must Reads, Beauty, Fashion etc for easy navigation.  With Google Reader closing tomorrow, I’ve been moving all my subscriptions across to Bloglovin’ and I’d love you to follow me there, especially if you’re a previous Google Reader reader! 

Here is a link to Strawberry Blonde Beauty on Bloglovin’ - it would make my day if you follow me there!  Click here for a simple way to import all your blog subscriptions from Google Reader to Bloglovin’. 

Instagram

StrawbryBlondeInstagram

I’m loving Instagram even more than Twitter recently and when I’m short on time to blog you’ll usually find me posting updates on my day, hauls, products I’m testing or make-up looks.

Instagram link: @StrawbryBlonde

 

Facebook

StrawberryBlondeBeautyFacebook

I’ve had a blog page on Facebook for around six months now - it’s a handy place to keep up with posts, updates and random musings if you don’t fancy subscribing directly.

Facebook link: Strawberry Blonde

 

Twitter

 Strawbry_BlondeTwitter 

I tweet way too much, or I used to - I just don’t have as much time any more but do try!  It’s a great place to get to know other bloggers and brands and the support I’ve received there has been amazing, plus it’s great fun!

Twitter link: @Strawbry_Blonde

You can also subscribe to my blog by good old fashioned email by clicking in the subscription box on my right hand menu.

The most important thing for me is that I don’t lose touch with a single one of you, so I do hope you’ll stay in touch wherever you choose to hang out!

Much love and thank you for reading, Nic xx

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Burberry Lip Glow: Flash Giveaway!

 Burberry-Pink-Sweet-Pea-Lip_Glow-blog-giveaway-competition  Burberry-Pink-Sweet-Pea-Lip_Glow

So many of you loved the Limited Edition Burberry Lip Glow in Pink Sweet Pea, featured in my recent Summer Lip Gloss post (click to see pics & swatches) and Instagram, so I’ve decided to treat one of you to your own, as a little thank you for reading my blog!

Pink Sweet Pea is the most gorgeous fuchsia which can be worn in a thin layer as a silky tint or built up to opaque hot pink with a glass-like shine…. my ultimate Summer lip gloss!

Burberry-Pink-Sweet-Pea-Lip_Glow-swatch-photo

This giveaway is open to new and existing subscribers, worldwide. 

For your chance to win, subscribe to Strawberry Blonde Beauty updates by Bloglovin’ or email, using the Rafflecopter below. 

The prize is one Burberry Lip Glow in Pink Sweet Pea (purchased with my own pennies)

This is a Flash Giveaway, so don’t hang about - good luck!

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, 28 June 2013

Affiliate Links

I didn’t start blogging to make money - I just wanted to write about the things I love.  Two years down the line, I’m spending around half of my day on the blog, sometimes more.  It’s what I love doing most and things have reached a stage where I feel the need to justify the time I spend on it.  As many of you know, I’m self employed (copywriting, social media management and blogging for others), so time spent not charging clients is something I need to consider seriously.  I don’t want to stop blogging, so I have to find a way around this.

For you, nothing will change, but in the spirit of openness and transparency, I thought you’d like to know that I’ve signed up to an affiliate programme.  This means that if you make a purchase via some of my links (not all), I will receive a small percentage in return - I’m talking a few pence in most cases (& obviously you’re not obliged to purchase via my links!).

This should enable me to invest time on my blog guilt-free and buy more lovely products to blog about… which I hope is cool with you!  :)

Nic x

ps Obviously I already have a few ads on my blog and use Skimlinks (which I may cancel), but in all honesty I barely make enough to buy a takeaway each month from this!

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Summer 2013 Lip Gloss: My Picks

Summer-2013-Lip-Glosses-New-Lipgloss

For 8 months of the year, my heart lies with lipstick, but come Summer, I’m a glossy girl!  A flawless complexion is the beauty trend this Summer - and nothing enhances this more than a slick of gloss.  Spoilt for choice with a string of shiny new releases, these are my top picks…

The Brights

Burberry-Pink-Sweet-Pea-Lip-Glow-Estee-Lauder-Plexi-Pink-Vitage-Coral-Dream-4641-

From top: Burberry Lip Glow - Pink Sweet Pea; Estee Lauder - Plexi Pink & Vitage - Coral Dream

Vitage-Coral-Dream-Estee-Lauder-Plexi-Pink-Burberry-Pink-Sweet-Pea-Lip-Glow

Here is Pink Sweet Pea on my lips, photographed in direct sunlight (wearing a layer of Xen Tan Moroccan - review coming soon!).

Burberry-Lip-Glow-Pink-Sweet-Pea-Lipgloss-20-swatch

Burberry Lip Glow in Pink Sweet Pea, £18.50 link is unlike any lip gloss I’ve ever tried and I may as well ’fess up from the start that it’s my fave.  Make-up doesn’t get much more gorgeous than this glamorous hot pink bullet. The colour is proper fuchsia: cool, bright, blue toned pink with purple-violet iridescent undertones in a texture that builds from a sheer wash up to full on glamour (my preference of course!).  Wearing off like a lipstick… the gloss reduces and lips are left coated with an even, slightly softer wash of bright pink. Yup, I’m besotted. (These claims are not made lightly, coming from someone who once deemed lip gloss as not worth more than a fiver!)

 

Estee-Lauder-Plexi-Pink-Lip-Gloss-swatch-photo

Estee Lauder Plexi Pink, £18 link is both pretty and wearable in equal measures.  The perfect everyday pink when I want to brighten up my look without looking too in your face.  Slightly thicker in texture than the Burberry, this has more of a traditional lip gloss consistency, presented in a glamorous gold lidded wand that deserves to be whipped out at every opportunity.  I posted about it on Instagram here.

Vitage Natural Lip Lustre Mineral Lip Gloss in Coral Dream, £11.20 link is a vivid red toned coral with discreet silver shimmer.  It has a fine texture, good pigmentation and feels moisturising on the lips - a great option for an easy-to-wear everyday bright lip that makes me feel so Summery every time I wear it!  This is the kind of colour I reach for when I’m going for a BB cream, mascara and quick lip look - it makes me feel polished with little effort.

The Nudes

Stila-Hibiscus-Clarins-Lip-Perfector-Candy-Shimmer-Bare-Minerals-Moxie-Maverick-Aerin-Sunset-lip-gloss

From left: Stila Hibiscus, Clarins Candy Shimmer, Bare Minerals Maverick and Aerin Sunset.

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I really wanted to include Stila’s new Festival of Colour Lip Glaze trios in this post as they’re so cute and such great value but they seem to have been a sell out (please leave a comment below if you’ve spotted them anywhere!).  Hibiscus is here in their place as the Stila Lip Glaze formula holds a special place in my heart… I wore a raspberry pink shade on my wedding day! Hibiscus is a mauve toned brown with cool shimmer.  The texture of these is sheer and allows your own lip colour to shine through, so they look slightly different on everyone.  Most colours are reduced to £11.25 at Escentual right now. 

Bare Minerals Maverick, £13.60 link is part of the new Marvellous Moxie Collection and totally up my street. I love a brown toned nude with good depth of colour and this one really suits my skin tone - great for days when I want a nude lip that won’t wash me out!  The texture is beautiful, really fine and more like a lip sheen than a gloss. The doe applicator is bigger than usual and sits at an angle, which makes application really easy - and the gloss leaves a light peppermint fragrance and slight tingle which I love!  I thought I had a swatch of this but can not find it, so will include in another post soon.

 

Aerin-Sunset-lip-gloss-swatch-photo-applied-Summer-2013  

Aerin Lip Gloss in Sunset, £22 link is a perfect nude shade that I’ve been wearing a lot. I’m quite pale in this pic and must admit it looks even better with a light layer of self tan.  A warm peachy beige, it dresses the lips without being too ‘look at me’ and works beautifully with a smoky eye…. brilliant for any occasion from an everyday ‘quiet’ lip to a glammed up evening look.  This is the first Aerin product I’ve tried; I love the simple elegance of this capsule range by Estee Lauder’s daughter and will definitely be back for more! ps packaging = perfection!

 

Clarins-Lip-Perfector-Candy-Shimmer

Clarins Natural Light Lip Perfector, £11.25 (usually £17!) link has been a staple in my make-up bag for years and Candy Shimmer is such a pretty new shade for Summer 2013.  The gloss looks quite deep in colour here; at other times it’s a barely there pale, milky shell pink that works well alone or over a lipstick.  It doubles up as a lip moisturiser and I love the idea of a treatment and gloss in one… the little sponge applicator is lovely to use and the tube is light and handbag friendly.

Brights & Nudes

Summer-2013-Lipgloss-Swatches 

A perfect bright and nude lip menu if ever I saw one, I think this line up includes at least one perfect shade for everyone. The two pinks and the two lightest nudes have been on my lips most days… I’m loving Lip Gloss season!

Are you a glossy girl?

 

 

samples inc

This post includes a couple of affiliate links, which I’m trialling on the blog

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Bumble Invisible Oil & Curl Spray

Bumble-Invisible-Oil-Bumble-Curl-Reactivating-Mist 

When the weather gets a little milder, I tend to ditch the styling tools and let my hair go au naturel a lot of the time.  This is where styling products come into their own and this Bumble & Bumble duo has been cutting it for me: Invisible Oil and Curl Conscious Reactivating Mist.  I’ve used these products in lots of different ways and both work well on both wet and dry hair, before and after styling (if you have more time/patience than me and choose to style!).

My current routine goes something like this:

  • Wash & condition hair
  • Towel dry
  • Spritz with Curl Conscious Reactivating Mist
  • Rough dry with hairdryer for approx 2 mins
  • Warm a little Invisible Oil in my palms and scrunch into lower third of hair, skimming any extra over surface frizzies
  • Allow to dry naturally

Which results in something like this…

Wavy-hair-Bumble 

NB this wasn’t an intentional ‘hair pic’ - I just happen to have used this combo on this occasion, so please excuse the slightly dishevelled (shoulda made more effort) finish!

If needed, I’ll add a little more oil on the ends a couple of hours later when my hair is completely dry - and use the Curl Conscious spray the next day to inject a little more oomph into slept-on curls.  I love how both of these add definition without weighing my hair down at all - and smell sensational!

Anyone else change their styling routine in Summer?

  • Bumble Invisible Hair Oil, £30 here
  • Bumble Curl Conscious Reactivating Mist, £19 here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Natural Beauty: June Beauteco

Beautebox June 2013

I know people have mixed feelings on beauty boxes (me included) and many have had their fingers burnt, but I’m genuinely impressed with this one.  There is no tat. Every single one of these products are lovely. Organic Surge, Balance Me and Headline Colors are all brands that I already rate. Amie is one I’ve heard great things about, so this is a great chance to try it - and I’m a great believer in supplements so Inner Me Lustrous Locks is a welcome edition!  I love having a choice of which items to include in my box and these will all be used up.  My only teeny gripe about is that the nail polish isn’t really a shade I’d normally choose, but I do love the Headline Colors formula and the other boxes contain different shades, so this was my oversight.

Here’s a round up of the contents from the latest box…

June Beauteco Box contents

Have you tried any of these brands?

Beauteco Box costs £10 + p&p per month and you can find out more here.

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Friday, 21 June 2013

John Frieda Giveaway Winners

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Congrats to the winners of my giveaway with John Frieda, who will each receive a set of 5 Full Repair products.

The winners are…

Jenny G

&

Heather A

Congrats girls - please email your address details to strawberryblondebeauty@gmail.com

Thanks so much to everyone that entered - if you still fancy trying the products, I particularly love the deep conditioner & flyaway tamer!

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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Top Five: Best Facial Sunscreens

Facial Sunscreen-This-Works-Clarins-Anti-Wrinkle-La-Roche-Posay_Anthelios-Clinique-City-Block-review

So we all know we’re supposed to wear sunscreen all year around, but as the weather (slowly) heats up, it’s obligatory in my book.  I’ve exposed my poor face to enough sun damage in my youth and while I can’t backpedal, I can certainly take 30 seconds out of my day to slap on a quick layer that will help prevent further damage.  If you’re young, count yourself lucky that we’re so much more clued up these days and start now.  Don’t put your skin at risk just for a bit of colour on your face, reach for James Read Tan or Clarins facial self tans instead - both are brilliant. 

Choosing the best sun screen can be a bit of a minefield and with so many formulas available now, it’s difficult to know where to start - I’ve been testing different formulas on your behalf and these are my Top Five. 

My SPF Musts

  • provide adequate protection for day to day use in the UK Summer (higher SPF may be required in hotter climates or on holiday)
  • a relatively light texture that’s quickly absorbed and easy to apply
  • not leave a white cast on my face
  • not leave a tacky residue
  • work well under make-up
  • not break me out

Incase anyone is wondering, I like to use a separate SPF for face as they tend to be non comedogenic (won’t block pores), a lighter texture to work under make-up and offer higher protection.  Oh and while I remember, always extend your facial sunscreen down your neck and décolleté - both of which are very delicate and equally prone to sun damage. I add any excess to the backs of my hands or mix a drop in with hand cream.

This Works In Transit Skin Defence SPF30 here - essentially a moisturiser with built in SPF, this is one of the few formulas which in my opinion meet both criteria adequately. Most moisturiser/SPF combos either aren’t moisturising enough for my liking or contain too small a percentage of SPF.  This has a beautiful texture, I love the handbag-friendly packaging and as the name suggests, it works.

Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Cream for Face, SPF30 here - I’ve always rated Clarins sunscreen highly and was thrilled to snap this up at half price in my local chemist (Medicare for any local girls reading). I also picked up the body formula and both are excellent.  Although slightly richer in consistency than the others, this still sinks in quickly, smells like Summer and has added anti-ageing properties - what’s not to love?

La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ here - I’ve been faithful to La Roche Posay sunscreen for a couple of years now and this new formula is easier to use than ever; a dry touch cream gel, it absorbs instantly with no white marks.  If you’re very pale skinned, going on holiday or just looking for the ultimate protection from an SPF, then this is for you.  Despite the high factor, it’s a very lightweight lotion that sinks straight in to the skin and was the only thing that prevented me from burning in Singapore’s soaring temperatures.

Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25 here - So many people have raved about this over the years and I’ve finally got around to trying it.  The lightly tinted formula provides a lovely base for make-up and as the name suggests, blends out to a sheer finish. I’d describe it as slightly camouflaging minor imperfections, but with less coverage than a tinted moisturiser, don’t depend on it for that.  I love the light texture of this and it’s a great everyday essential.

Swatches

IMG_1841

Yup, I know it’s a bit weird to include sunscreen swatches, but the consistency is important to some so I thought it may be helpful.  This Works is the lightest texture, followed by La Roche Posay, Clinique and the more creamy Clarins.

SPF on the go

Mini-sunscreen-face-Bioderma-Anthelios-spf30

A quick ode to these minis which I keep in my bag for unexpected sunny spells or alfresco lunch! La Roche Posay Anthelios in SPF30 and Bioderma SPF30 also come in full size and I rate both highly.

Brush-on SPF

 Susan-Posnick-Brush-On-Sunscreen Susan-Posnick-Brush-On-Sunscreen-pic 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I want to give you a closer look at my fifth recommendation as it’s difficult to imagine how brush on SPF works until you’ve tried it. Susan Posnick’s Brush on Block SPF30 here is the newest formula I’ve tried - and while I don’t tend to apply it as part of my daily routine, it’s become a handbag essential both for top-ups and the reasons mentioned above.  Similar in size to a standard blusher brush, it’s lightweight and really easy to use. 

The brush itself is protected and kept clean with a plastic shield below the lid (pic 1), which you slide down to release the bristles, twist the base of the tube and tap on your hand to release product up into the brush.  Pic 2 shows the amount of product that ‘puffs’ into the brush before sweeping onto the skin.  Although ever so slightly tinted, the powder really isn’t noticeable on my skin, certainly not to the extent that it would interfere with make-up, which I’ve tried to show in pic 3 (would have helped if I’d put the pics in order, huh?!). Described as a family product, this is suitable for use on children too, though in my case this may mean tarnishing my brush with ice-cream residue et al! ;)

Round Up

So that’s my Top Five Facial Sunscreens. I really hope this has been helpful. Personally I tend to use This Works and Clinique City Block most days, saving Clarins and La Roche Posay for days when it’s extra hot, I’m outdoors a lot or doing a rare spot of sunbathing.  The minis and Susan Posnick stay in my various handbags for on the go top-ups, speaking of which… none of these sunscreens last all day and do need to be topped up every 2-3 hours. This isn’t ideal with a full face of make-up, which is where brush-on SPF is your friend.  If you’re looking for one that does last the distance with just one application, Ultrasun is fantastic (both face & body) - and would have been included here if I could have found my bottle!

I really hope this has been helpful in choosing the right formula for you.  Which is your favourite facial sunscreen?

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Sunday, 16 June 2013

John Frieda Full Repair: Giveaway!

John_Frieda_Full-Repair_Shampoo_Deep_Conditioner_OilJohn_Frieda_Full-Repair_Flyaway_Tamer  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John_Frieda_Full-Repair_Flyaway_Tamer-review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve teamed up with John Frieda with two sets of their new Full Repair damage reverse products to give away to my readers. The hydrating formula with Inca Inchi Oil, rich in Omega 3, is designed to undo damage by nourishing hair with a lightweight formula for restoring softness and shine without weighing hair down.  I’ve been using these products myself and am seriously impressed – they behave like much more expensive products and really do make my hair very soft and smooth.

For me the hero product is the Touch Up Flyaway Tamer, above right, which I sweep over those pesky little fluffy bits of frizz and baby hair on the surface of my crown.  If you’re a fan of up dos, this is amazing for achieving a super smooth finish and only a tiny amount is needed.

The Prize

John_Frieda_Full-Repair_Shampoo_Deep_Conditioner_Oil_Flyaway_Tamer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You could win: John Frieda Full Repair Shampoo, Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, Repairing Oil Elixir and Flyaway Tamer.

 

Enter via the Rafflecopter below – only one step is necessary!

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, 14 June 2013

Essie Cascade Cool: Lavender Pink

 Essie-Cascade-Cool 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I purchased Essie Cascade Cool on a bit of a whim, not quite sure how it would look when it arrived – and it’s turned out to be one of my favourite polishes ever.  A lavender toned pink; it’s neither pink nor lilac, but hovers somewhere in between.  It’s a difficult one to capture on camera and is more definite, less wishy washy, in real life.

 

Essie-Cascade-Cool-review-swatch-photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with all Essie formulas, this applies beautifully – it’s a crème with a smidge of iridescence and would look lovely against tanned or darker skins.

 

Essie-Cascade-Cool-Lilac-Pink-Nail-Polish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wear time is good too – I generally get an extra couple of days from Essie polishes, partly why they’re one of my favourite formulas.

I bought Cascade Cool from Fragrance Direct, which switches up its shade regularly. If you’d prefer to see it in person, you can also pick up Essie at Boots and Superdrug.

What’s on your nails at the moment?

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Thursday, 13 June 2013

May Beauty Favourites

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I did have these pics all ready to go on 1st May, but life got in the way… better late than never and all that!  I was rudely interrupted yesterday when I popped out on a 5 minute errand and a woman with blinkers on pulled out of a side street and drove into my car.  No-one was hurt; my five year old was with me and got the biggest cuddle of his life afterwards. Driving would be so much more pleasant without other drivers.

Back to beauty…

I wandered around the house gathering up my favourite products, (yep, pretty much every surface houses a beauty product to my husband’s delight) thinking there weren’t that many - and somehow ended up with what looks like an awful lot – but these are the goodies I really enjoyed using throughout May.  At least half of them made their way into my routine on a daily basis.

Make-up

Jurlique-Rose-Silk-Powder 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Bronze eye crayon – a brilliant budget find that I swooped on while waiting for a prescription in the chemist – sweep it on as liner, layer it up as the basis of a quick smokey eye or blend out with a finger for a subtle wash of colour.  Need more colours, pronto!

Bourjois Cream Blush in Rose Tender 03 – I’ve raved about this before with a full post here. I’m still loving it, lots.

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Mascara – If you don’t mind a fat mascara wand and fancy big lashes on a small budget, this is worth a go as the results are impressive: long lasting volume with no fall out. I always end up with mascara on my lid, so clean-up with a drop of Bioderma on a cotton bud is essential, but if you’re less cack handed, go for it!

YSL Touche Éclat foundation – Another ongoing rave of mine and my current foundation of choice for medium coverage that doesn’t accentuate pores or fine lines and leaves a glowy, natural finish.  I’m wearing it in this post.

Jurlique Rose Silk powder – All credit to one of my favourite MUAs, Kenneth Soh for this discovery – he has been raving to me about it for so long I just had to find out for myself! A fine, delicate powder that leaves an invisible veil, slight soft focus and sets my make-up with zero dry cakey-ness. I may give this an ode all of its own another day – it’s an absolute beauty. If you’d like to see it in action, check out this post on Kenneth’s blog – and do subscribe – he is such an inspiration and a gentleman in the true sense of the word.

Skincare

Apivita-Serum-Stila-Under-Cover-Toner-Vichy-Eye-Serum-Hyaluspot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vichy Normaderm Hyaluspot – I don’t know if it’s the hyaluronic acid, but I think this stuff has magical powers!  It claims to reduce the appearance of spots in a couple of hours and got rid of a stubborn one that had been lingering on my face for a month (yes really!) almost overnight. Amazing stuff. Available here.

Stila Undercover Conditioning Toner & Moisture Prep – I only discovered recently that Stila do skincare and this is my first product from the range – brimming with more of my favourite hydrator, hyaluronic acid.  It’s a toner that adds more than it takes away in my experience. The consistency is almost like a liquid gel and I prefer to use it by patting it onto skin then swiping off any excess with a cotton pad. Sometimes I just pat it on and leave it there (pre moisturiser) as it feels so good. It definitely makes my skin feel more hydrated and is beautifully soothing. Importantly, it’s alcohol free so won’t dry or tighten skin.

Apivita Natural Serum Lifting – can you see how little is left in this bottle?  I have a confession. I rarely finish a skincare product, for one of two reasons – either I’ve (often reluctantly) moved on to trial a new product for my blog or I want to eek it out as I love it so much. This one, I could not get enough of. I practically wanted to inhale it. It’s an anti aging serum designed to improve firmness and elasticity and contains rose, sandalwood and myrrh essential oils as well as numerous (pure) ingredients with fancy names – and is free of all parabens and nasties.  Apivita is a beautiful brand, well worth exploring if you haven’t already – love a little play every time I’m in M&S beauty hall, also online here!

VIchy Liftactiv Serum 10 here – this cooling serum is so soothing to use all around the eye area for an instantly lifted, illuminated look and nourished lashes. I’m not sure about the long term benefits but love using this in the morning before make-up as it feels so good has adds a subtle wash of light.

Hair & Body

Apivita-Shampoo-Bumble-Curls-GHD-Styling-Cream-Organic-Surge-Mint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Defining Creme – curl definition minus the sticky heavy feeling – gorgeous! Plus it comes in such a huge bottle I can imagine it lasting me for at least a year. Great for scrunching into hair on days when I leave it to dry naturally.

Organic Surge Citrus Mint Shower Gel – more minty than citrus, this is most definitely invigorating and an absolute godsend on mornings when I’m feeling a little foggy (that’ll be most days then!). It’s quite unisex and I suspect my husband may have been helping himself too!

GHD Straight & Tame Cream – this is one of the best styling creams I’ve tried and I’ve been using this on the days when I’ve had the time and inclination to blow dry my hair properly, which I do less in milder weather. It leaves a really sleek finish on both straight and wavy hair and smells like vanilla – yum! Find it here.

Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment – designed to repair and smooth even the most damaged hair, I’ve been using this as a once weekly treatment. Deeply nourishing, it leaves my hair really soft and easy to style. During the week I use the matching shampoo and conditioner duo, also gorgeous, but love to use the intensive treatment after this little number…

Apivita Propoline Shampoo with Citrus & Honey – I have to admit the biggest selling point of this is the smell, which is out of this world gorgeous (so much so, I may have used it as a shower gel on occasion – it’s all natural so I figured it’s ok!).  I just happened to try it in conjunction with the Aveda one day and it worked, so I stuck to it. After using this duo my hair behaves itself without any styling products, which is a small miracle.

 

Do you fancy trying any of these products?

 

 

 

samples inc

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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Beauty Wish List

On my right is a bowl of my May favourites, waiting to be written about. Instead I’m browsing beauty products, mouth agog, making a mental wish list of things I (genuinely) don’t need but (genuinely) do want. It would be rude of me not to share, right?

 

Laura-Mercier-matt-radiance-baked-powder 

Dior-Hydra-Life-BB-Creme         DIOR Hydra Life B.B Eye Crème - Enhancing Eye Illuminator 6ml  Little Black Dress Palette

From top left:

1. Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder – I just spotted this online today – how on earth did I miss it? A bronzer that looks perfect for pale skins, also available in a highlighter. Need!

2. Dior Hydra Life BB Crème – I swatched this when I was in France and tried a little on one cheek. It gave the most beautiful, dewy coverage – and would be awesome underneath the Laura Mercier bronzer!

3. Dior Hydra Life BB Crème for Eyes – just spotted this evening on Escentual.com and if it’s anything like the face version, I want it!

4. Hourglass Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Ballet – a pigmented, matte look, non drying lipstick with great staying power. Swoon!

5. Jouer Cosmetics Little Black Dress Palette – blush, eye & lip product in an interlocking system. This brand is totally on my radar and this looks like a great place to start!

6. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – this has been around forever and while I’m not sure that it would be right for me, I’m SO curious to try it and find out – if only we had a local counter.  Think I’ll be on the train to Dublin sooner than later!

7. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask – the world and its wife rave about this and I can’t resist much longer. My dehydrated skin would just love a gulp of this!

What do you think of my choices? 1,2, 4 & 5 are highest on my list right now. If only I didn’t have such darned expensive taste *sigh*

What’s on your beauty wishlist – anything I should add to mine?!

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Monday, 10 June 2013

Victoria Perfume by Victorinox

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I’m not sure how the transition from knives to fragrance came about (stay fresh while camping perhaps?), but makers of Swiss Army Brand, Victorinox, have created a new perfume, Victoria.  To coincide with its launch, they have developed a micro site where people can send digital bouquets and try a complimentary sample.

With fruity top notes of freesia, plum and blackcurrant and a base of sandalwood and white musk, Victoria is a heady, intense scent. While not to my taste, I do appreciate its complexity and am sure it will have its fans!

To try a sample of the perfume, or send one to a friend, visit the Victorianox micro site, where you can create a virtual bouquet that will be printed on a mini postcard and sent with the sample of Victoria, rrp £51. Find it here.

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Sunday, 9 June 2013

My Top 3: Heat Protectors for Hair

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Confession: I’ve only been using heat protectors on my hair for a couple of years now. I never use straighteners and hot rollers, tongs et al only put in an occasional appearance, so I didn’t really feel the need.  For two years I’ve switched between GHD Air Hairdryer and Babyliss Big Hair, sometimes both in one sitting. The heat from this duo is pretty intense and made me realise I better step up to it and guard my locks.  Of the formulas I’ve tried, these three have really stood out for me…

GHD Style Heat Protect Spray, £8.95 here – I assumed this would be good as it’s designed to work with uber hot ghd straighteners. People this stuff is amazing and if you haven’t tried it, you must. A fine mist of spray that coats but doesn’t soak hair, a gorgeous sweet scent and a very reasonable price. It doesn’t interfere with styling, just does its job and does it beautifully – I feel really confident that my hair is protected when I use this.

Lee Stafford Argan Oil Heat Defence, £12.99 (or 3 for £20) here – another delicously scented, fine mist spray that doesn’t wear down hair. I feel that this one adds a spritz of moisture to my hair, probably due to the oil, and have been known to use it as a finishing spray or between washes to tame that annoying layer of surface frizz. This is a long term love, originally reviewed here.

Aveda Brilliant Damage Control, £15 here (subscribe to newsletter for free delivery) – more than just a heat protector, this beauty is described as a pre-styling tool to protect hair from breakage through combing and styling. It guards against UV damage (hello holiday season!), detangles and seems to add a little body to my hair. Infused with moisturising aloe, the aroma is so good I’d happily use it daily!

Do you use a heat protector? If so, which is your favourite? If I had to choose just one from this trio, it would be the GHD. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Kiko Light Legs Crackling Mousse

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Kiko Light Legs Crackling Mousse could not have come into my life at a better time… after several hours spent traipsing around a hot farm with squillions of 5 year olds (school trip), I arrived home feeling more than a little weary.  I removed the metallic purple can from its (rather lovely) packaging, not quite sure what to expect… 

It is ICE cold.  And it actually crackles, like sherbet fizz in mousse form. On your legs, not in your mouth.  As you massage it in, it makes a fizzing, crackling sound that makes me giggle like a big child.  It smells of lemons, hence the pic above, though I’m now chuckling to myself as it actually contains blueberry and liquorice (oops!).  Anyway, it’s fresh and cool, so much fun to use (the crackles!!) – oh and yes, it did feel sooo good on my hot weary legs! 

Definitely a treat for Summer legs and would be perfect on holidays after a day’s sightseeing (or lying on a hot beach I’d imagine!).  Post-workout gym bunnies, avid shoppers and anyone who works on their feet all day would appreciate this too.  The citrus scent is very unisex (tried & tested) so it could even pass as a Father’s Day treat.

Light Legs Crackling Mousse contains active ingredients to stimulate microcirculation, soothe skin and invigorate the legs. It costs £12.90 at www.kikocosmetics.com

Do you need it? Probably not, but I reckon you’ll love using it as much as I do! 

 

 

ps Four days isn’t a long gap between blog posts, but has felt like an eternity to me as I normally post daily. I have a tendency to prioritise my blog over a lot of things (purely because I’m passionate about it) – and this week I chose to prioritise other life stuff.  I could probably have pumped out a few quick posts, but doing it out of habit or obligation didn’t sit well with me, as I think it shows when I don’t write from the heart.  Anyway, it’s helped me gain a little perspective - and while I doubt if anyone was bothered or even noticed, I just thought I’d share my thoughts.   Nic  xx

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

This Works: Perfect Cleavage

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Perfect Cleavage in a bottle, say what? 

Today has been the first properly warm, sunny day we’ve had this year – as in, warm enough for vest tops and shorts – if you’re so inclined.  Annually, this stirs niggling insecurities in me. I get over it after a couple of weeks but it’s always the same at the beginning of Summer.  I won’t bore you with a full list, but one of these is the sun damage to my décolleté, after years of subjecting it to extreme sun, unprotected (in my youth I hasten to add – I don’t do this now!).  The sun took its toll and I now have perma-creases in the cleavage zone, which is nice.

So of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try This Works Perfect Cleavage Firming Lotion.  It comes in an sleek, elegant bottle and smells like fresh cut flowers, or grass, or something equally fresh… which I just adore. It’s a lightweight lotion that sinks in quickly, moisturises and feels super refreshing on the skin, leaving a lovely (non sticky) sheen. 

The award-winning formula contains a nourishing blend of essential oils and plant extracts designed to combat lines and firm the delicate skin of the décolleté.

“Carefully blended with Larch extract, proven to firm and tighten; vitamin-rich Algae, Tonka bean and Frankincense to reduce fine lines, as well as nourishing Rose and Pomegranate oils.”

That’ll be why it smells so good then!

Did I really expect it to make a difference? Not really if I’m honest, but I did hope. I always hope, otherwise I wouldn’t be here, doing this. After slathering on Perfect Cleavage religiously (on my neck too) for several weeks I swear those creases are becoming less visible. Will the effects stop if I quit applying it? Who knows… I don’t intend to find out.

This Works Perfect Cleavage costs £38 – ouchy I know, but worth the investment in my view.  The full range is available at Boots.

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