I got the Cobalt Blues


I know I’m not alone in my obsession of all things cobalt blue and am excited to see more of it appear on shelves every time I go shopping. This dreamy Morgan Taylor nail polish in ‘Making Waves’ has fuelled my hunt for cobalt shoes and accessories… I’d also love a top - and maybe a dress, though would probably only wear one of the above at a time. I’ve only got as far as shoes so far…

Kurt Geiger Nina Cobalt Blue Sandals

I’ve had my eye on these Kurt Geiger Nina sandals since I spotted them in the window last month and was transfixed by the almost electric shade of cobalt. I can imagine wearing these with pretty much everything - jeans, pencil skirt or a dress - the perfect way to add a pop of colour to an outfit.


Kurt Geiger Cobalt blue sandals

Fans of a slightly higher heel might prefer the Carvela Kurt Geige Carly, also lovely but a bit high for everyday wear for me… I’m tall-ish and a bit of a wuss. 



Dune Hydro blue sandals

For more dressy evening style these strappy Dune Hydro sandals are elegant and not unfeasibly high.   


Dune Barmy shoes blue

Of course my search for mid heels led me to these totally impractical Dune Barmy beauties, out of stock online but possibly available in-store. I should probably take this as a sign that I should stick with my original favourites, the Kurt Geiger Ninas (top) - and no I can’t have both!

FYI get 25% off at Kurt Geiger with the code KGMARCH25 until midnight Monday HERE!


Are you a fan of cobalt? Suggestions for a statement necklace and dressy-ish top in this hue are very welcome!


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Big Night Out: Get Ready With Me!


Every now and then a special occasion comes along which calls for more preparation than your average night out - or in my case, any preparation at all! Last Saturday a blogging friend and I were invited to the IN! Magazine Awards in Belfast City Hall, where we were both finalists for the Online Personality of the Year. Get ready with me as I prep for the red carpet...

One month before… The Dress
I bought a dress. I’d been told the theme was Gatsby (it actually turned out to be Old Hollywood Glamour, but hey…) so I googled Flapper Dress on Shopstyle.co.uk (brilliant site), found a black fringed and sequinned one with great reviews (seen behind the make-up above), ordered and loved it. Sorted. I also picked up green suede peeptoe heels from Zara, thinking I’d pair them with a large clutch, cuff and dress ring. Little did I know that my son would come down with chicken pox the week before the event and I’d actually have one hour to find all of the above; I ended up with accessories that I didn’t love, but still added a pop of colour - a Monsoon glass bead necklace and green New Look bag.

A few days before… Brows & Nails
I got my monthly brow grooming session with Dee from Studio D in Belfast, who I’ve been going to for a year now. She is a fabulous brow obsessive who many of my friends also frequent for brow and lash wonder working. Dee has just introduced Bio Sculpture Gel Nails and gave me a gorgeous red mani for the occasion. I was so pleased with the glossy results from this treatment which actually nourishes your nails… Dee was so meticulous in her prep and application - I loved watching her work and being pampered!

I also began my tanning regime at this stage, though will cover that in a separate post or we’ll be here all day!

Bio Sculpture Studio D Belfast

On the day… The Hair
I’d booked in to Paul Stafford Hair for a colour and cut with Aidan and Erin, who both did an amazing job - I’m one of those people who could happily go to the hairdressers every week if I could - I just love the whole experience! After blow drying my hair, Erin added big curls at the ends with a wide barrel tong before brushing them through for a smooth, wavy finish - and backcombed the crown a little to add volume. I’m definitely going to try this at home.

One hour before… The Make-up
Yes, I had one hour to do my make-up and get my glad rags on before the taxi arrived, so I stuck to foolproof products that I knew would last the evening.

For my base, I used Dermalogica Primer, Laura Mercier Creme Smooth foundation and Make-up Atelier concealer, before camouflaging under eyes circles with Bare Minerals Stroke of Light (I swear this stuff has magic powers). I set my make-up with Jurlique Rose Silk Powder and added a little contour and highlight using my beloved Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette and applied Clinique Cheek Pops in Plum Pop with the Kiko Flat Top Face Brush (great for a whisper of colour).

I prepped my eyes with NARS Smudge Proof eye shadow base before using the lightest and darkest shades from the Bobbi Brown Nectar & Nude Eye Palette, pressing the golden bronze over the centre of my lid for a little sparkle. I then lined my eyes with Eyeko Liquid Metal liner in Black Onyx, black with a subtle gold sheen and easy to apply, even for a liquid liner scaredy cat like me. My hands were literally trembling as I applied false lashes (Ardell Demi Wispies), not least because I had minutes to spare and was still in my jeans! It worked… and they even stayed on all night (I brought the lash glue with me just in case - been there before!). I added a teensy bit of grey eyeliner on the outer corners of my lower lashline and a slick of Kiko mascara, which is flipping amazing. Brows were filled in with my trusty Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde, as per.

Lips had been prepped with balm while I was doing all of the above, to which I added Bourjois Rouge Velvet in Hot Pepper.

By this point the taxi was outside, the kids were hanging onto my ankles and yep, stress city. Standard.

Accessory decisions were cast aside as I threw everything on and promptly tripped and fell down the first set of 4 stairs - too cool, still got the bruises. The following pic (thanks Stephen Potter!) was taken approx 15 mins later after Avril and I made a mad dash over cobble stones through the wind and rain…

In Mag Awards 2014

Big night out makeup

Coats off and a quickie selfie before the cocktail reception… we had the best night ever in the incredible surroundings of Belfast City Hall followed by an after party at Zen - the whole event was super glam. Avril looked completely stunning in her full length twinkling gold dress - please go visit her blog to read her side of the story with a transformation from School Gate Style to Old Hollywood Glamour HERE.

Thanks to IN! Magazine for an amazing night and congrats to the very deserving winner in our category, Neil, NI Gossip Guy.

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Mavala Moisturising Lipsticks

Mavala Style Lipstick swatches

If tinted lip balms don’t quite cut it and you’d like a brighter pop of colour with that same balmy feeling, check out Mavala’s Style Lipstick Collection.  Made with shea butter, vitamin E and aloe, these are designed to nourish the lips as well as look pretty.  While Mystic Violet (deep purple) is the one that makes my heart sing, I may have been known to keep the Powder Rose nude shade (top swatch) at my desk side purely for moisturising my lips... it feels that comfortable on. 

Mavala makeup

These lipsticks - available in six shades - are great for everyday, apply straight from the bullet use and negate the need for an additional balm.

Mavala Lipsticks cost £11.95 each - find out more at mavala.co.uk


Mother’s Day Luxury Beauty Gifts


It wasn’t until I became a mum that I realised quite how important it is to say thank you to my own - to an extent that I hadn’t comprehended before. Of course we shouldn’t restrict our appreciation to Mother’s Day, but it’s a good reminder. As my two are still little, my heartwarming gifts tend to be handmade with great enthusiasm (the very best kind!). If you’d like to spoil your mum and are stuck for gift inspiration (10 days to go), these ideas might help…

On the left is a necklace I recently treated myself to from my friend’s shop, Alice’s Wonders. She stocks lots of brightly coloured statement necklaces at great prices, most less than £10 - I’ve just spotted the Bright Pink Solitaire, which is next on my list!  The little floral pink tin next to this is ‘Precious’ Steam Cream, a multi-purpose moisturiser with cocoa butter and jojoba oil in a pretty limited edition tin, suitable for hands, face and body. I keep this by my bed and apply it to my hands at night… the tins come in lots of (collectable!) designs and make a really sweet gift.

If you think your mum would benefit from a long, relaxing soak then I don’t think you’ll find better than these two incredible bath oils… on the far left, REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil smells like bathing in rose petals and leaves the skin super soft. My personalised bottle was one of my favourite Christmas gifts and REN have cleverly come up a bottle labelled Mum’s just for Mother’s Day!  For the ultimate in relaxation, look no further than Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath Oil. This + the matching scent in my oil burner = so chilled I’m almost horizontal, followed by the best night’s sleep ever! On nights when I don’t have time for this luxuriating (that’ll be most nights) I often lift this bottle and inhale deeply en route to bed - I can literally feel my shoulders relax from doing just that!

Finding the perfect home scent is no easy feat, but NEOM have it down with their luxury organic diffusers. There are 12 scents available and this one is Moroccan Rose Blush; my favourite is Enchantment, which smells of bluebell woods. The packaging of these is just out of this world… I held onto the glossy rose print box for weeks, but someone binned it before I got to take this pic!

If candles are more your thing, this little beauty by Circaroma is my new daytime favourite… yes I know it’s a bit decadent to burn scented candles by day, but I work from home and the invigorating Pink Grapefruit & Lemongrass helps me defy the afternoon slump. I love the pretty frosted glass jar of this feel good gift.
Speaking of feel good, spot my current favourite scent nestled at the back here. Michael Kors Sporty Citrus is one of the few light, zesty scents I’ve tried and is totally getting me in the mood for Spring. I think it’s the hint of woods among the mandarin and orange flower that give this a lovely soft, rounded edge - and the glam heavy glass and gold bottle make it a pleasure to use.

Luxury make-up gifts are always winners in my eyes, so I had to include a current favourite, the AERIN Kaleidolight Palette. I won’t go into rave mode again, but this is a beauty - you can read my full review here.

One more great gift idea that deserves a mention is my trust at-home gel mani kit - The SensatioNail Scarlet Starter Kit - currently on offer at Boots online for just £45 (usually £69.99). This is super easy to use for a professional style gel mani at home - and when you consider that you get everything you need for 10 manis and still have the LED lamp, it’s a complete bargain (£4.50 a pop fellow number dodgers).

So that’s my Mother’s Day beauty gift round-up - anything take your fancy?


Evening Skincare Routine


It’s been a while since I shared an update on my evening skincare routine, so here’s a round up of what I’ve been reaching for recently…

The Staples

I always begin with make-up removal using my old faithful Bioderma and a cotton pad before moving on to the main cleanse. For this, I’ve recently been loving Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm, which gets gold stars from lots of my favourite beauty buffs. If you’re new to balms and fancy trying one, this is a great place to start - it’s a bit lighter than some, making it easy to use (less gloop!), is well priced and comes in a convenient lightweight tube. It leaves my skin feeling completely clean and comfortable. I like this lots!  

I then pat in a dot of DMK Eye Tone with my ring finger. This is unusual as it’s designed for all around the eye area, not just the orbital bone where I’d usually apply. It leaves my eye area feeling soft and well hydrated - not sure about the wrinkle reduction bit just yet but I’ll report back!

Enter the star of the show…

REN V-cense Revitalising Night Cream is the new name for REN’s much loved (re-packaged and re-named) Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream. I’m a complete convert to this product. I’ve tried other REN moisturisers that weren’t quite nourishing enough for me, but this one is perfect in every way. It smells divine (hello frankincense), feels deeply nourishing and leaves my skin feeling amazing. I may have been known to use it in the day time too, though it’s probably a bit rich for that - really must pick up the matching day cream!


The Extras

Sometimes regular style toners just don’t feel like enough and when my skin needs a deep down, massage-in drink, I reach for Living Nature Extra Hydrating Toning Gel. Specifically designed to meet the needs of dehydrated, mature skin - tick tick - I find this super soothing and refreshing.

A few nights a week I’ll give my skin a top up with a layer of Circaroma Rose Otto Skin Gentle Facial Serum under my moisturiser.  Although labelled a serum, this is actually more of an oil-like consistency due to rose otto, frankincense and patchouli essential oils alongside hydrating apricot, jojoba and rosehip seed. When you wake up in the morning, stroke your cheek and think ohhh velvety… you’re onto a good thing.

I recently learned that beauty products containing collagen are unable to offer long term benefits as the collagen molecule is too large to penetrate the skin, so when we cleanse, it’s gone. Ever innovative, Dr Murad has discovered a way to break collagen down into its components of amino acids which can penetrate skin and the result is Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion… I’ve only tried minis of this product (it doesn’t come cheap), but so far - I’m impressed!

If I had to pare this lot down to just two items, Merumaya and REN would be the ones!

Have you tried any of these products?


Tarte Cosmetics UK launch & wishlist!

tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick Trio 205117 £20.00 

In ten days time, cult US beauty brand, Tarte Cosmetics will finally be available on UK shores: credit cards at the ready, beauty buffs! The eco-chic cruelty and paraben-free range features natural ingredients such as nourishing Amazonian Clay, Maracuja oil (from passion fruit) and plant extracts. I’m so looking forward to trying the products I’ve heard other bloggers and You Tubers rave about for years… will they be worth the hype? The packaging is pretty and in keeping with the brand’s natural ethos, especially these cute Amazonian Butter floral lipsticks. As I couldn’t make the London launch I’ve been drafting a wishlist from a far - and here’s what’s on it...

 205305 Amazonian clay 8-shadow palette- Sultry Sunset_open £24.00

Amazonian Clay 8 shadow palette, £24 - ideally I’d prefer a few more mattes in here, but I’m all over the neutral tones and think this is a really pretty palette. I think the central duo would double up as great blush and contour shades.

Amazonian clay 12-hour blush 2014 flush

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 hour blush, £26 - probably the most talked about Tarte product ever - and as a total blush fanatic, I’d most like to get my hands on a few of these. I’m shocked at the price (they cost $26 in the US) as I’d expected it to be half of that. £28 is the most I’ve ever spent on a blusher (Hourglass, review here), so my daydreams of owning several of these are evaporating, which is a pity as they do some great pale gal shades.


205118 Amazonian clay 12 hour foundation light sand £24.60

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour full coverage foundation, £24.60 - I’ve heard great things about the longwearing natural finish of this foundation and am really curious to try it. While I don't normally buy foundation without trying it in person, this could be a more justifiable expense than the blusher, perhaps?


A selection of Tarte make-up and skincare products will be exclusive to QVC in the UK from 28 March, with live shows at 2pm & 6pm GMT.

Will you be Tarte-ing around on launch date - and which products would you most like to try? If you have any recommendations I’m all ears - notebook at the ready! 




Alterna Caviar CC Cream: the do-it-all hair product


CC Cream for hair? Yep, for real. From any other brand I may have scoffed at such an idea, but Alterna hasn’t disappointed me to date and I knew this was worth a go. The CC in this case stands for Complete Correction aka do-it-all and I’m happy to report that I found this claim to be absolutely fair: low maintenance hair care fans, listen up! Suitable for use on wet or dry hair as a treatment, primer or polisher I’ve used this as an intense leave-in hair mask for an hour before shampooing, a styling cream and a finishing product.

Free of sulphates and parabens and enriched with conditioning vitamins, caviar, natural oils and antioxidants, the 10-in-1 benefits are:

• Moisture • Heat Protection
• Shine • Light Hold
• Smoothness • UV Protection
• Softness • Manageability
• Anti-Breakage • Strength

I can’t really measure anti-breakage or UV protection, but am nodding along to the others. This is the styling and finishing product I reach for more than any other, especially when I need my hair to look good and don’t want to take any chances. It’s lightweight, smells beautiful and leaves my hair soft, smooth and non-sticky… I can’t ask for much more than that.

Alterna Caviar CC Cream rrp £24.95 here


Barry M Hi Shine Gelly Lips & Pastel Gelly Nails


Until this week, nail polish was the only Barry M product I’d tried. The Spring line up from this on trend budget brand includes some great make-up launches and my favourites are the Hi Shine lip pencils: Gelly Lips. Five well pigmented colours that glide onto lips comfortably in shades including neutrals, brights and a vampy dark.




#1 Vega - a dark vampy wine

#2 Alpha - bright orange red

#4 Sirius - deep reddish pink

#3 Electra - bright fuchsia (brighter than it looks here & my fave!)

#5 Capella - soft rose pink

I didn’t swatch these in numerical order (though coincidentally was pretty close!) but have included the numbers as shades aren’t printed on the actual pencils once you remove the outer seal. The market is flooded with these kind of pencils and my favourite is the Kiko Wet Look Creamy Lip Gloss, but these are a really impressive budget option at just £4.99 each. The finish is quite balmy at first before setting slightly and has a subtle shine (not gloss).

Barry M Gelly Lips are £4.99 each with free delivery here.


Spring Pastel Gelly Nails


While Summer tends to makes me reach for the brightest polishes I can get my mitts on, Spring is all about the pastels: meet new Barry M Gelly Hi Shine polishes in pretty pastel tones. I defy anyone not to fall for at least one of the three new shades: Sugar Apple (mint green), Huckleberry (baby blue) and Rose Hip (baby pink). Huckleberry and Rose Hip are very pale, delicate tones while Sugar Apple is a little brighter on the nails. I used 3 coats of the pink and 2 of the other shades, which I found applied the most smoothly and evenly.  While these don’t make heart race like the Aquarium Collection, I do think they’re really pretty and as good as any other pastels I’ve tried. My favourite is the pale blue Huckleberry.

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint pastels are £3.99 each with free delivery here.


Barry M Aquarium Nail Polish Collection: review & swatches


I’ve always had a bit of a thing for mermaids and anything mermaidesque, so there may have been an audible gasp when I opened the new Barry M Aquarium Collection. Four duo-chrome metallics and two glitters make up the set… Beach Babe mani & pedi, sorted!

BarryM-Aquarium-Nail-polish-Collection  BarryM-Aquarium-Caspian-Arabian-nail-swatches BarryM-Aquarium-Meditteranean-Pacific-nail-swatches  

Duo Chrome Colours

  • Caspian - gold with a pink sheen
  • Arabian - green with gold & purple sheen
  • Mediterranean - Copper with pink & gold sheen
  • Pacific - blue with green sheen

Duo chrome (two tone) polishes are notoriously difficult to photograph and you can see the effect better above on the bottles than the nail swatches. On the nails it shows up best in the gold/copper tones: Caspian and Mediterranean. It’s much more subtle in the green and blue Pacific and Arabian, though is enhanced by the addition of Mermaid glitter.

The Glitters

 BarryM-Aquarium-Mermaid-blue-green-glitter-Nail-polish- BarryM-Aquarium-Treasure-Chest-gold-pink-glitter-Nail-polish-BarryM-Aquarium-swatches 

The glitters are chunky and full-on with large gritty shards of foil set in a clear base - and of course, complement the other colours beautifully.  Mermaid is green, blue and gold; Treasure Chest is gold and pink. The top swatches show two layers, so as you can see, it’s easy to create a dense effect with these. I’ve applied different amounts over the metallics to show how they can be worn: gradient tips, fine layer and double layers.


The colours look so thick and molten in the bottle that I expected them to look instantly opaque - and they aren’t. Don’t be disheartened by the first wishy washy coat as they are opaque in two, though I think three gives greater depth to the duo chrome effect.  I love them all, but think Mediterranean is the most unique and Pacific (blue) is just gorgeous.

Barry M Aquarium nail polishes are just £3.99 each HERE


Bourjois Rouge Velvet: Review & Swatches


Bourjois Rouge Velvet liquid lipsticks are one of the most exciting High Street beauty releases I’ve seen in a long time - due to hit shelves in April. Think an intense pop of vibrant, mesmerising colour, lightweight texture and insane lasting power with a matte finish. These will make your lips the main focus of your face and work best with a subtle make-up look that allows them to take centre stage. Bad hair day or tired eyes: pop this on and no-one will notice! 

It’s breaking my heart a little bit that I haven’t been able to capture just how sumptuous these are on camera - all that lovely sunshine disappeared and the sky darkened just as I was photographing them. As I write, I’m not sure if I’ll publish this tonight or re-take the pics tomorrow… I’ve used the best of my (minimal) editing skills to capture the colours as accurately as possible, but believe me, they’re better in real life.

I don’t know how Bourjois have done it, but these do actually look like plush velvet on the lips. Not in a weird way, but they have that rich, intense jewel coloured plush effect of expensive velvet and seem to make lips look fuller and softer.

What are they?

Rouge Velvet are highly pigmented liquid lipsticks, which apply like an opaque gloss and dry almost matte, with a teensy bit of slip, just enough to prevent lips feeling uncomfortable - or like the surface might crack (an unpleasant sensation I’ve experienced with similar formulas). Despite the strong pigment and serious lasting power, they apply as easily as a standard gloss or lipstick and then set slightly: once they do so, they feel so lightweight it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them. Daily use probably would leave lips a little dry - and after two days of constant testing mine could use a bit of balm - but it’s nothing major and I’ve definitely experienced more dryness after just a few hours wearing other liquid lipsticks.



The colours are flipping gorgeous, as you can see. There are 8 in total and I’ve been testing four (as pictured left to right above):

  • 07 Nude-ist - a deep rosewood in a much deeper tone than I expected. Maybe it’s too close to my own lip colour, but I expected this one to be quite subtle and it’s not. I don’t dislike it; I’d just prefer it to be slightly lighter for a more nude effect.
  • 03 Hot Pepper - an orange toned, Marilyn-esque tomato red. Shades + this = the only make-up you need on sunny days.
  • 05 Ole Flamingo! - raspberry toned hot pink that nestles between pink and red. This is much more wearable than Pink Pong and probably my favourite.
  • 06 Pink Pong - in-your-face, verging on neon magenta, this is not for the faint hearted. I’ve worn it all day and it’s a bit much for daytime - I did get some looks. I do love it though!



It’s worth pointing out that the colour and boldness of these are slightly buildable. One thin layer will give the most subtle effect. Pat it on over lip balm for an even softer result (though this will reduce lasting power). Most lipsticks have a short wear time on me… I’m impressed if they pass an hour. These survived 4-5 hours of meetings, lunch, coffee and even a quick smooch. They weren’t immaculate after all this, but they were still *there* - and literally stayed until I removed them at bedtime with Bioderma - still leaving a slight stain.

Bourjois-Rouge-Velvet-03-Hot-Pepper                      Bourjois-Rouge-Velvet-06-Pink-Pong 

In these pics I’m wearing Hot Pepper (left, way more vibrant in real life) and Pink Pong. My pics of the other shades really didn’t do them justice, so I didn’t feel it was fair to include them.


The packaging is stylish and practical and even the doe foot applicator looks and feels velvety.

Application Tips

  • To moisturise your lips without interfering with the formula, use a balm while you apply other makeup, then blot off any excess with a tissue before using Rouge Velvet.
  • Use an invisible lip liner to avoid colour smudging over the edges of your lips, especially if you plan to eat.
  • Use a regular lip liner in a similar shade pre application for a neat edge. This isn’t essential as the applicator works well on its own, but if you’re not used to such a bright shade it will give you more confidence while applying.
  • Because the colour is so strong and hangs around for so long, soften any harsh lines where the colour stops on the inside edges of your lips, by sweeping the clean wand (or a finger) over them before the product sets. This just gives a more natural looking finish.
  • If the product is wearing off and you’re not in a situation where you can top it up, apply lip balm and work it into any excess product left on your lips for a more even look.

Four additional shades include a deep peach, burgundy, crimson and deep pink. Bourjois Rouge Velvet are available now at £8.99 each HERE. They look and perform as if they cost at least twice that.





Which CC Cream? Soap & Glory, Bourjois, Sleek & Cargo


Tired of BB creams or were never really inspired by them? Time to sit up as brands are releasing a new wave of CC creams which take things up a notch and might just offer what you’re looking for.

So what are CC creams?… what do they do?… and who are they for? The answers to all of these questions vary according to brand. In general terms, where BB stood for Blemish Balm (officially; some labelled it Beauty Balm), CC stands for Colour Corrector - which means addressing redness, sallowness and so on - for a more even toned complexion. To achieve this, most CC creams contain skincare ingredients and SPF with varying degrees of coverage, from tinted moisturiser level to a potential replacement for your foundation.

Here’s the lowdown on four of the latest formulas - and which ones I think are worth trying out. 

Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful CC Superfluid SPF15, £14 HERE

The most sheer, tinted moisturiser-esque formula of the bunch, this contains antioxidants, vitamins and brighteners to illuminate and soften the skin. I’m really impressed by the texture and radiance inducing powers of this and although I’m not brave enough to wear it alone, I’ve been using it as a base - either under foundation or one of the other CC formulas. It seems to give my skin that little extra something that makes me look more glowy and awake.

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream SPF15, £9.99 HERE

Bourjois CC Cream contains 3 colour correcting pigments to address tired, red and pigmented skin. It’s oil-free, hydrating and comes in 4 shades. This one offers me enough coverage to wear in place of foundation and I’d describe it as light-medium coverage: it gives me a fresh, even finish without looking overly made up. The creamy liquid texture is a pleasure to apply and feels really comfortable on my skin. You can watch Lisa Eldridge apply it on Sophie Dahl in this video - the one that piqued my initial interest.

Sleek CC Cream SPF29, £8.99 HERE

Sleek CC Cream is described as a complexion correction cream, designed to treat, correct and conceal imperfections. The highest coverage of any CC cream I’ve tried, this is definitely on a par with foundations - and unlike some CC creams, which are designed to be worn under foundation, this one definitely stands up on its own. The texture is a thick cream (reminds me of Laura Mercier Crème Smooth) and applies well with fingers or a brush. I absolutely love this one - Fair is a great colour match for me and I really like the rich, creamy texture and even coverage it gives.

Cargo HD Picture Perfect CC Cream SPF20, £26 HERE (launches 17 March)

Designed to correct redness and pigmentation, Cargo’s offering contains vitamins, antioxidants, hydrators and natural skin calmers, such as Green Tea and Chamomile Extract. The coverage level is similar to a natural look, light coverage foundation - slightly less than the Bourjois. As you’ll see in the swatches below, this is a pearly colour when squeezed from the tube, then blends to skin colour when massaged into the skin. I’ve used this quite a lot over the past month for natural make-up days and find it comfortable and hydrating on my skin.


Cargo is pearlised and blends out to skin colour when massaged in.



Swatches straight from the tubes. Soap & Glory and Bourjois are the most liquid in formula. Sleek is a thicker cream texture and Cargo is quite liquid until massaged in, when it becomes creamy (see above). 

Shades swatched:

  • Soap & Glory - Good Light, a golden natural tan that’s a touch too deep for me now but will suit me in Summer. Mixes well with other shades.
  • Bourjois - Ivory, a slightly yellow/peach toned fair shade which suits my current skin tone, but will be too pale for me in Summer
  • Sleek - Fair, a neutral beige and the best colour match for me out of these four
  • Cargo - Light, a yellow toned light tan shade



CC cream

I really like the packaging of all four products. The Soap & Glory is the prettiest and most functional with a pump and a clear window to show how much product is left, but all of them are very practical, hygienic, lightweight and easy to use.

While I can find a use for all of these, I know the Bourjois and Sleek will be used up first as they give me enough cover to replace foundation. If you’re blessed with great skin or prefer a very natural/ no make-up look, then Soap & Glory or Cargo are better bets for you. I need a moisturiser under all of them, though could get away without it under glowy Soap & Glory. Bourjois comes second in the glowy stakes while Sleek and Cargo have more of a matte finish.   

Do you need a CC cream in your life? No. This is not a make-up or skincare must-have in addition to your current foundation or tinted moisturiser. What these do offer are great alternatives to your foundation/tinted moisturiser for a make-up base or light wash of skincare-injected colour that’s perfect for Spring/Summer weather.

Do CC Creams turn you on?


3 French Skincare Favourites you can buy in the UK

Darphin-Intral-Toner,La-Roche-Posay-Serozinc, Bioderma-Sensibio-Crealine-h20-Micellar

For years beauty lovers have stalked French pharmacies and returned to the UK with a stash of French skincare in their suitcase - been there, done that. Much to my delight, an increasing number of these highly acclaimed products are now available in the UK. Today I thought I’d share the lowdown on three of my favourites, why I love them and where you can get hold of them without jetting to Paris.

Darphin Intral Toner £18.83 here

This soothing and calming toner with chamomile is specifically targeted at sensitive skins. It smells beautiful - like roses, though it isn’t. It should probably be applied with a cotton wool pad, but not wanting to waste a drop, I just pour it into my palm and splash/press onto my face before moisturising. I find this particularly soothing when my skin feels stressed or during occasional bouts of rosacea, though I really don’t need an excuse to use it every day. It came highly recommended by Caroline Hirons when my rosacea began.  

La Roche Posay Serozinc £8.55 here

La Roche Posay Serozinc has received much love  by beauty bloggers and it’s one of those products that you need to try for yourself to understand its benefits. I bought my first bottle in France last year and was gutted when it ran out, so was over the moon to hear that it now has an official UK stockist, Farmaline. This is a spray toner with zinc sulphate to soothe minor skin irritations. I use this slightly differently than the Darphin Intral, though I guess their roles overlap slightly. It’s antibacterial, so works well on minor breakouts or irritated skin, which for me are often the result of testing too many products (beauty bloggeritus). It just feels lovely and is so quick and easy to use.

Bioderma Sensibio H20 £4.50-£9.99 here

A long term favourite, Bioderma is one of my most repurchased beauty products.  In the past I’ve picked it up on eBay or in bulk while in France, but it’s now quite widely available in the UK. I often use this as a first step cleanser to remove make-up, but it’s also my go-to eye make-up remover. It’s so gentle, yet literally removes make-up in one swipe, with no tugging or rubbing at the skin. It’s a make-up artist and model favourite for good reason. NB I do not recommend using this as your only daily cleanser: it’s great, but does not deep clean pores like a proper cleanser.

I really think every woman could benefit from these products in her skincare stash. We all have days when our skin feels in need of soothing and late nights when a quick and easy cleanse is a godsend.

Let me know your thoughts if you have tried these products - and please leave your French skincare recs below!




Aerin Essentials: Kaleidolight Palette & Rose Balm Lipstick


The new AERIN Essentials Spring Collection has just launched, featuring the Kaleidolight Palette, Rose Balm, Rose Balm Lipsticks and lots more. I’ve admired this brand from afar since it launched in 2012 and am so pleased to finally get up close and personal with the products. If you’re not familiar with AERIN, created by Estee Lauder’s granddaughter of the same name, it’s all about an edited capsule collection of streamlined beauty products. Glamorous, but not fussy… this is classy, grown-up make-up.

I’m often disappointed with new releases when I meet them face to face - and admittedly would have glossed over the Kaleidolight Palette had I seen it online, but in real life, this is weak-at-the-knees gorgeous and so wearable.  Here’s a closer look…

Aerin Kaleidolight Palette

Swirl a large fluffy brush around the whole palette to add a subtle glow to your complexion: all five shades of bronze, nude, pink and lavender blend beautifully. You can also pick out individual tones for precise application with the colours you like best - and the two lightest sections (in same shade) can be mixed with the other colours to soften them.

My preferred method is to use each colour - or group of colours - individually, and the palette is large enough to allow for this. For example, I’ll sweep a brush across the three bronze/nude tones to the right and use them as bronzer, perfect for this time of year when I want to warm my complexion a little without looking full-on tanned. I then add a little pop of the pink as blush on the apples of my cheeks and a whisper of the dark shade as contour in the hollows of my cheekbones.

Lavender is often used as a corrector to brighten skin and cancel out yellow or sallow tones: don’t be put off by its inclusion - your face will not look lilac! All of these colours can also be used on the eyes - and I’m surprised how much I enjoy wearing a hint of the lilac on my lids with the darkest contour shade in the crease. I’ve strayed out of my comfort zone and I like it.


Aerin-Kaleidolight-swatchesAerin-Kaleidolight-swatches (2)

As you can see from the swatches there is quite a variety in the tones, though they do work together - and blended, give a subtle golden wash of colour which will I think will work best on light to medium skins. According to AERIN, the palette will work on all skin tones, but I imagine the effect will be quite different according to the individual. I find Kaleidolight adds warmth, subtle colour and radiance to my pale face - and I use it in place of bronzer and powder. On deeper skin tones, I imagine that it will have more of a skin flattering and evening effect, along the lines of Chanel Les Beiges (minus the coverage). The inclusion of pink, lilac and the deepest bronze give this palette the edge, extending its capabilities and the number of looks that can be created with it. Neither matte nor shimmery, it adds a slight radiance and the texture is super soft and buttery with perfect colour payoff and no fall out.

Rose Balm Lipstick


A semi matte-look lipstick that feels creamy on the lips: utter genius. Rose Balm Lipsticks are formulated with a base of the new AERIN Rose Balm (made with 350+ rose petals, swoon) to add colour while helping smooth and plump lips. I’m on an eternal hunt for The Perfect Nude Lipstick and I think this could be The One. Have you any idea what a huge deal this is?! This shade is even called Perfect Nude - it’s a sign! If you’re into nude tones, there are lots more in this collection.

The chunky, vintage-esque packaging of these lipsticks is divine - and yes, it’s even got that satisfying magnetic clunk closure goin’ on.

On my Face


All products applied on lips, cheeks and eyes, as described above. Man I love this lipstick. I included the palette in this pic as I realised I hadn’t shown the scale of it - and it’s pretty generous as you can see. I adore the vintage packaging, shiny trim and matte no-fingerprints lid (happy dance).

Note the once-in-a-blue-moon nude nails - trying to give them a rest & absolutely craving colour.

Aerin packaging     

Check out that blush suede pouch with gold lettering. Every ‘i’ has been dotted and ‘t’ crossed in this collection - and best of all, the quality and performance of the products equate their beauty. These have become instant everyday essentials for me - and that doesn’t happen every day.

ps Dear AERIN, please come to Belfast so we can meet the whole range. Everyone here will love you, promise.

AERIN Kaleidolight Palette (£40), Rose Balm Lipstick and the AERIN Essentials Collection are available now at Harrods. They will also be at Selfridges and selected John Lewis stores, but Harrods is the only place I can find them online.

Have you tried Aerin and do any of these appeal to you?

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