Saturday, 31 May 2014

Summer Home Scents

Neom-Cocooning-Candle, Boujies-Earl-Grey-diffuser, NorthBurn-Bluebell Bergamot-scented-candle-I’m drawn to lighter, brighter home scents in Summer in the same way as I am with perfumes.  In Winter it’s all about vanilla, spice and woody, smoky scents, whereas in Summer I like to be surrounded by fresher, outdoorsy fragrances. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere so warm that you don’t want to introduce extra heat from a candle, then diffusers are a great option. I normally light my scented candles for an hour or two in the evening, enough to fill the room with fragrance and then blow them out or replace them with an unscented one. Right now I’m loving these three scents…

NorthburN Bluebell & Bergamot, £20 here

NorthburN is a relative newcomer to the candle market, with candles hand poured and finished with 100% natural wax in Northumberland. Their creator wanted to fill her home with scents that were beautiful, without being overpowering, which is exactly how I’d describe Bluebell & Bergamot: floral, fresh and gentle:  “A blend of bluebell, jasmine and freesia sits beautifully with crisp green leaves, marine notes and is rounded by white musk and a sensual amber.”  NorthburN’s range is also available in tins, travel sizes, wax melts and tea lights, priced from £5, making them accessible to most people and a great way to trial the scents. The very lovely lady who runs this business has kindly offered a 10% discount for my readers throughout June using the code StrawbryBlonde1 here… I think Lime & Coconut is next on my list!

Boujies Earl Grey Diffuser, £19 here

Boujies is an independent English perfumer with a range of luxury, nature-inspired fragrances. Earl Grey is a crisp, green scent, which literally smells like a breath of fresh air and reminds me of walking through a forest on a dewy morning. While I’m completely smitten with the embossed silver tin, I’d recommend investing in the larger weighty glass packaging, or storing the tin on a high shelf where you’re not likely to brush past the reeds. It’s lightweight - and let’s just say I learned this the hard way!

Neom Cocooning Candle, £39.50 here (15% off first orders if you subscribe to newsletter)

Ylang ylang, Lavender and Camomile make this soft floral the perfect option for chilling out on Summer evenings. As the name ‘Cocooning’ suggests, this is a soothing scent, containing essential oils, which act as a treatment as well as smelling good - and you can see from the pic just how much I’ve been burning this one recently! If like me, you like to use candles to unwind, this is one for you. And if you need a little extra help chilling out, I found Neom’s stress-free tips really useful here.

Boujies-Earl-Grey-scented-diffuserNeom-Cocooning-Scented-Candle NorthBurn-Bluebell Bergamot-scented-candle

What kind of scents do you enjoy in Summer?

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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Body Skincare Solutions

Healgel-Body,Mio-Skintight,Aromatherapy-Assoc-Roland-Mauret-Body-Serum,Sanctuary-Spa-7day-moisture-miracle-Balm.

Most of us have a daily skincare routine of sorts, addressing very specific requirements with eye cream, serum, moisturiser, primer, and so on, but how much attention do you pay to the specific needs of the much larger area of skin on your body? Body lotion, hand cream, maybe a drop of cuticle oil if you’re feeling virtuous? It’s something we’re all guilty of neglecting, meaning that most of us greet Summer limbs with a sense of doom. (dramatic, much?)

An increasing number of skincare companies are creating products designed to give bodies as much tlc as our faces - and the good news is, some of them work! I’ve picked four favourites to share with you today…

HealGel Body £39.50 here

The latest launch from a skincare brand I trust implicitly, this is not one for slathering over your body on a daily basis (unless you’re minted), but is brilliant for treating areas of agitated skin in need of soothing. Its cooling, gel-like texture sinks in quickly to calm and nourish, without stickiness. I’m a fan of the entire range and have been using the original HealGel Intensive formula to minimise the scarring effects of my little boy’s recent bout of chicken pox - and do think it’s reducing the redness.

Mio Skin Tight, £35 here (free delivery)

Mio isn’t a new brand, but is new to me, and I’ve been using Skin Tight tightening body serum on specific areas I’d like to be, err… tighter for just over a month. I recently noticed that the sun damaged skin on my décolleté was looking smoother than usual - and was perplexed as to why, until I realised it must be this. I’m as cynical as the next person when it comes to this kind of thing, so positive results tend to take me unawares, but I haven’t used any other new products in this area and the difference was marked. Mio uses facial peel technology and intense moisturisation to plump and tone skin on the body, from tummies to knees! Just like a facial serum, this can be used as a base treatment under body lotion and I do find that I still needed a moisturising body product on top… Rituals Honey Touch is my current go to as it’s so rich and moisturising.

Sanctuary Spa 7 Day Moisture Miracle Oil Balm, £7.50 here

This little tube of intense moisture is great for on the go… I tend to keep it in my handbag as it’s pretty dinky and I much prefer balms in tubes than pots. It’s great for everything from dry elbows and ankles to an intensely moisturising hand treatment and smells similar to the rest of the Sanctuary Spa range - warm and comforting.

Aromatherapy Associates Final Finish Body Serum, £48 here (free delivery)

This body serum from Aromatherapy Associates is part of a collaboration with fashion designer, Roland Mouret. Definitely an indulgent body treatment, it’s perfect for adding an extra glow to skin on special occasions or accentuating tan on sunny holiday evenings. The opaque glass bottle contains a moisturising body serum shot with light reflecting gold particles, which add a sophisticated sheen to skin. Like all Aromatherapy Associates products, this smells divine, thanks to jasmine, neroli, soothing vetivert, balancing geranium and ylang ylang, with hints of rose, vanilla and tuberose. Lovely swept across the décolleté and shoulders or along shins to catch the light.

Do you pay the skin on your body as much attention as you do your face?

ps you can find 3 of these products (all except Sanctuary) at Space NK, which is currently offering free UK delivery here.

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Monday, 26 May 2014

Gel Effect Nail Polish: Sleek, Avon & Models Own HyperGel Top Coat

 Sleek-Gel-Polish-Trance-Purplesque-CoffeeTeaorMe Sleek-gel-polish-swatches-Trance-Purplesque-CoffeeTeaorMe

It seems people can’t get enough of the high-shine lasting finish of gel effect polishes, as more brands release new collections and colours. The latest newcomers include Sleek Makeup Loves Gel Nails, Avon Gel Finish and a Gel Effect Top Coat from Models Own HyperGel. All of these apply like regular nail polish and don’t require curing with a UV/LED lamp or soaking in acetone to remove.

Sleek Loves Gel Nails

Swatched above in Trance - grey toned navy, Purplesque - rich berry and Coffee, Tea or Me - dark nude with mauve undertones. Not particularly Summery I know, but there are pastel shades in the collection too.  Coffee Tea or Me is my favourite from this trio, a sophisticated, pale-skin-flattering nude. Trance is the kind of dark shade I love, but was thinner and less gel-like in consistency than the other two, which are almost opaque in one coat. I was impressed with the finish and wear time of these.

Sleek Loves Gel Nails: £4.99 each at Sleek and in-store at selected Boots and Superdrug (heads up: 3 for 2 on all cosmetics in-store & online!).

Avon-Gel-Polish-Royal-Vendetta,Perfectly-Plum Avon-Gel-Polish-swatches-Royal-Vendetta,Perfectly-Plum

Avon Gel Finish

Swatches: Royal Vendetta - royal blue and Perfectly Plum - blackened purple. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous Perfectly Plum looks in the bottle… the petrolesque effect doesn’t carry through to my nails, but it’s still a gorgeous vampy shade and was opaque in two coats. Royal Vendetta is thinner in consistency and I used four coats for this swatch. Perfectly Plum is much more gel-like in application and finish. Avon’s formula is described as base, colour and top coat in one, but I always prefer to use a base coat to avoid staining (ORLY Bonder is my current fave).

Avon Gel Finish: rrp £7, currently half price at Avon online.

Models-Own-HyperGel-Gel-Effect-Top-coat

Models Own HyperGel Gel Effect Top Coat

Already got plenty of colour you adore but want that glossy gel finish? Save your cash and opt for this clever new top coat from Models Own HyperGel. Other brands have done this, from Nails Inc to Dior, but this one is the best value for money I’ve come across. Applied over a completely dry base coat, it adds a mega glossy salon shine in one sweep with a lovely wide, curved end brush.

Models Own HyperGel Gel Effect Top Coat, £8 at modelsownit will be in Superdrug from July 30th.

George-ASDA-gel-polish-Nude-Beige George-ASDA-gel-polish-swatch-Nude-Beige

George at ASDA Gel Pro

If you’d like to try gel effect polish at the lowest price I’ve found, pop a bottle of George at ASDA Gel Pro into your trolley. This range includes lots of seriously cute Summer brights, but I’m quite partial to the chic, pearlised finish of Nude Beige. Although slightly thinner in consistency than the other formulas, at £3 a pop, I’m not complaining. 

George at ASDA Gel Pro £3 at ASDA

NB All of these collections include more Summery alternatives, so don’t be put off by the rather Autumnal tones I was sent for review. And if you’re after mega bright or pastel shades, check out my post on Barry M Summer Gellys and Models Own HyperGel polishes.

 

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Saturday, 24 May 2014

New Skincare Finds I’m loving

Bee-Good-Cream-Cleaneser' Indeed-Labs-Exfoliator,Bobbi-Brown-Extra,Merumaya-Iconic-Serum

I test a lot of skincare, most of which doesn’t make it to my bathroom shelf, let alone these pages, so I get a bit excited when I discover new (or new to me) products that are both a total pleasure to use - and deliver. Take a bow, fabulous foursome.

Bee Good Honey & Propolis 2 in 1 Cream Cleanser is one of the most gorgeous (and well priced) skincare products I’ve ever tried. If I didn’t do what I do, I’d quite happily use this every day, forever. Bee Good is run by a British beekeeper and his wife, who believe in the ancient healing powers of local honey, propolis and beeswax. I’m not sure what the 2 in 1 element is, but am guessing cleansing and hydrating as the cleanser has a rich, creamy texture that leaves my skin super clean yet nourished at the same time. I think most skin types would love this, but dry or dehydrated skins who find many cleansers drying or stripping will appreciate it more than others. The Honey & Wild Flax daily moisturiser from the same range didn’t wow me to the same extent, but don’t let that put you off - it’s still a lovely product that’s quickly absorbed and works well under make-up.

Indeed-Labs-Exfoliator-powder

Indeed Labs Facial Powder Exfoliator reminds me of a Kanebo product that began my love affair with skin care many moons ago. This one is a lot more affordable and just as effective. If you’re wary of using physical exfoliants (ie gritty, scrubby ones) on your face (as I am), then I think you’ll love this. Can you see how fine those grains are? And most of them dissolve into creaminess when mixed with water. The bottle contains a fine powder, which you dispense straight into your palm and mix with a little water into a creamy paste, before massaging onto damp skin and rinsing off. This is brilliant at removing those horrible little flaky bits guilty of causing make-up to look crusty and grim. I’m particularly prone to these on my forehead and around my nose and have been known to remove make-up, use this product and reapply - it works so well.

Bobbi-Brown-Extra-hydrating-skincare-texture 

I’m not sure how long Bobbi Brown Extra Treatment Lotion has been around, but I was hooked after a Bobbi MUA applied it as the first step of skin prep before a recent makeover. The texture is half way between water and serum; a clear liquid which I press into skin with my palms... it’s soothing, fast-drying and non sticky. Extra acts like a hydrating drink for your skin, helping the serum and moisturiser that follow to perform more effectively - and is such a pleasure to use that I never mind the 30 second extra step.

Like many others, I’ve raved about Merumaya Cleansing Balm before and have since been introduced to the Iconic Youth Serum (much nicer name than anti-ageing serum, don’t you think?). This rich serum feels luxuriously silky on my skin and contains 10 clinically tested active ingredients to address radiance, moisture, elasticity and lines. Some say it doesn’t matter how a product feels on the skin or what it’s like to use as it’s all about results; personally I prefer both boxes to be ticked, which this does.

I could say the same about all four of these products, which is why I enjoy using them so much. What are your current skincare favourites? Please leave a comment below - it makes me happy when I realise I’m not talking to myself… xx

ps I’m giving away a Liz Earle skincare set on my Facebook page HERE!

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Jo Malone Michael Angove Collection

Jo-Malone-Michael-Angove-Collection-Orange-Flower-Diffuser

Much as I love soft, atmospheric candle light, I can’t resist the lingering fragrance of a good quality diffuser. I love being hit with a waft of lovely scent when I open the door - and on a practical note, I get a lot more hours, weeks and months of enjoyment from them than I do with a candle (cost per sniff?). Fine artist, Michael Angove’s bespoke designs for Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay and Orange Blossom home fragrances mean the products now look as good as they smell.

Jo-Malone-Michael-Angove-Orange-Flower-Diffuser Jo-Malone-Michael-Angove-Scent-Surround-Orange-Flower-Diffuser 

“Clementine flower sparkles over a heart of orange blossom

and water lily, with warm undertones of orris and balsamic vetiver.”

Orange Blossom makes me think of walking through lush, wild gardens after a sun shower… an uplifting, fresh and dewy scent that’s perfect for Summer. The packaging is exquisite and I like how the thick black sticks both look good and radiate more perfume than the usual thinner style. I’ve tried cheaper diffusers and had to bin them as they smelt so synthetic, so I really do think it’s worth investing in a good one if you can (or adding it to a birthday wish list!).

The two fragrances in the Michael Angove limited edition designs are also available as candles, soaps and scented sachets. I’ve been hanging the Blackberry & Bay sachets in the wardrobe to fragrance my clothes - an alternative way to layer scent and a good option for anyone who doesn’t like to wear perfume (I can’t actually imagine anyone not liking it, but am thinking of a friend who is allergic to perfume).

I could only find the Orange Blossom diffuser online at Brown Thomas, so it’s worth checking in-store  at Jo Malone, House of Fraser or John Lewis if you fancy these, as they’re being snapped up fast!

Anyone else like citrus home scents?

 

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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

WOW: The Best Hair De-Frizzer

Colour-Wow-One-Minute-Transformation-Styling-Cream-de-frizz-hair

It’s not often I devote an entire blog post to one product, so when I do, you know I mean business.

Fighting frizz is my greatest hair challenge and I’ve recently discovered the best de-frizzer and smoother I’ve ever tried: One Minute Transformation Styling Cream by Colour Wow.  My hair tends to look fine when I’ve just styled it… I can look in the mirror and feel quite smug at the smoothness my blow drying has achieved. An hour later, I’ll nonchalantly stroll past a mirror and recoil in horror at the frizz fest on my head.

I’m not sure exactly how this product works so much better than others, but it does: “A lightweight blend of humectants penetrates hair to replace natural oils lost to chemical treatments, blow-drying and daily stress”

The texture of the product feels thick and creamy, like a regular conditioner… I warm it in my hands and comb it through with my fingers, concentrating on the mid lengths to ends of my hair, then lightly sweep any excess over the rest of my hair surface, including crown and fringe. If you wish, you can then go on to re-blow dry your hair for extra smoothness (I imagine a little more product is required for this). I haven’t felt the need to do so as the product alone just fixes my hair, removing any puffy, bouffy bits, calming frizz and making my mane look smooth and well behaved again. It doesn’t weigh it down (my usual bug bear) or make it feel sticky - and it smells delicious - that lovely fresh salon hair scent.

I don’t think I can say any more, except that if you’ve got the frizz, you need this in your life.

Colour Wow One Minute Transformation Styling Cream costs £16.99 at Feel Unique HERE, with a free 30ml travel size & free delivery.

 

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Colour Wow One Minute Transformation

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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Natural Make-up Look: Clinique CC Cream Compact & Studio 10

Natural-Make-up-look

As much as I love experimenting with make-up, a natural look is my daily go-to. This week I used some new product discoveries to create such a look and thought I’d share the results, as promised in my post on Studio 10.

Clinique-CC-Cream-compact, Studio10-makeup 
For my base I used Clinique’s new Moisture Surge CC Cream Compact in Very Light, which I’m enjoying so much more than the original formula in a tube. The creamy compact formula gives much more coverage, has a matte-but-not-flat finish and is so handy for touch ups. I prefer to apply this with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush for a more subtle finish than the sponge that comes with it. Don’t be put off if this looks a bit matte on initial application - it really softens after around half an hour (on me anyway). 

Using the Studio 10 Visible Lift Definer, I added a little contour in the hollow of my cheekbones, along jaw line and around my hairline. I also used the contour powder as bronzer, dusting a little colour onto temples and on the high points of cheek bones.  I added a little colour to my cheeks by tapping on the cream blush with the flat of my forefinger and middle finger, blending it out around the edges to avoid any harsh lines. The final step for my base was to add a little glow with the creamy highlight, patting a tiny amount on tops of cheek bones, brow bones and cupid’s bow. I’ve also tried this on my lids as it’s such a pretty shade, but found it creased there as it’s so dewy (may be worth a go with primer).

I used a long term favourite and one of the most flattering eyeliners for blue-grey eyes I’ve tried on my upper lash line: Anastasia Covet Waterproof Eyeliner in Astral and Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof liner in Taupe on the outer third of my lower lash line. This is a recent purchase after a long search for a good taupe liner - I really like how it gives subtle definition without looking harsh or overdone. 

Lashes were defined with Clinique Lash Power Feathering Mascara, which as the name suggests, gives well defined feathery lashes. This can be built up for more drama (it even got lash compliments on my Instagram pic here), but be prepared to commit patience to repeat coats for such an effect. Personally, I much prefer this for an am-I-or-aren’t-I mascara look. It’s also long lasting, humidity-defying and easily removed.

For brows, I’ve been forgoing my beloved Anastasia Brow Wiz for a quick slick of Eyeko Brow Gel. This is a genius product, which actually deserves an ode of its own - and a better showcase than several days before a brow tidy at Studio D. It’s a tinted gel with a teeny mascara-like wand, which you just sweep through brows and you’re done. It also helps hold them in place without feeling at all hard or crusty. In the pic below it looks like I’ve completely skipped the brow on the right, which I think (hope!) is just the lighting! The left brow is a much more accurate representation of how this product performs - you can also see it in action in the Instagram pic I linked to above.

I coated lips with a layer of my favourite ESPA balm before defining the outer edges with the nude end of Studio 10 Age Reverse Perfecting Lip Definer and filling in the lips with the pink end. This pencil really is the ultimate naturally enhancing shade and I love how it looks alone or paired with pretty much any lipstick shade.

That sounds like a whole lotta work for a natural look, but was really quite quick and easy, 10 mins tops. Here’s the finished look, which is all about natural looking definition: enhancing what you’ve got and looking naturally glowy rather than ‘made up’.

 Natural-Make-up-look (3)  

Here’s a closer look at the products in order of application…

Clinique-Moisture-Surge-CC-cream-compactStudio-10-Visible-Lift-DefinerStudio10-Lip-Definer,Rimmel-taupe-eyeliner,Anastasia-Covet-Eyeliner   Eyeko-Brow-Definer,Clinique-Feathering-mascara

Are you a fan of natural look make-up - and if so, have you tried any of these products?

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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Do you know your skin type? Beauty Pro HydraTest

Beauty-Pro-Hydratest-review

Do you know your skin type? It can be tricky to figure out, but important to know before selecting the best skincare and make-up to address particular issues. For example, dry skin will need a richer moisturiser and oily skin will benefit from oil-free foundation and powder to set make-up. I tend to vary between normal-dry in winter and normal-dehydrated in Summer, so switch up my products according to the time of year.

A new high-tech device - akin to those used by professionals - is now available to remove the guess work and help us discover our skin type at home. HydraTest uses bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to detect the skin’s moisture levels. You basically hold it against the skin, press a button and 3-5 seconds later it beeps and displays a digital reading on oil and hydration levels.

Beauty-Pro-Hydratest-hydration oil-levels

This basic guide interprets the readings, which I decided to test before and after using skincare.

Before:

Beauty-Pro-Collagen-Face-Mask

My reading from the centre of my cheek was Oil: 1 bar = low, Hydration: 29% = dehydrated. I applied a 15 minute Collagen Infused sheet mask and re-tested…

After:

Beauty-Pro-Collagen-Face-Mask-review

Sorry it’s a bit blurry, but you can see that oil levels had risen to 5 bars - Oily (!!) and Hydration: 40% = Normal.

I’m not sure why the oil levels had risen so much, but was more interested in the fact that hydration had increased by 11% and gone up two levels. My skin definitely looked brighter and felt better too. I’ve had a rotten cold all week, so it was in need of a boost!  ps this was a sheet mask - hence the white ‘sheet’ with eye, nose and mouth holes!

I did test the device on different areas of my face and body and the results were consistent. Dry ankles had a very low rating (nice) and my nose, the only place I get oiliness, had higher levels than elsewhere.

I was sent the HydraTest for review and enjoyed my little experiment - it will be useful to me as I’m constantly testing new skincare products, which this should allow me to do with more accuracy. I think it’s a device that will appeal most to beauty professionals - and while the average person might be intrigued to try it occasionally, a lower price point would make it a more feasible purchase.

HydraTest rrp £59 from Harvey Nichols or hydratest.com

What do you think - would you consider using something like this?

Beauty-Pro-Hydratest  

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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Studio 10 Make-up: Contour, Conceal & Glow

Studio-10-makeup 

In late teens and early twenties, pretty much anything goes when it comes to make-up… from layering up concealer and powder a la Kardashians  to heavy glitter, matt lips and sharply defined eyes. As we get older, less is definitely more and we need to get clever with finer textures, light-reflecting formulas and a moisturising wash of colour. It’s all about enhancing, which is exactly what Studio 10 achieves with a range of make-up and skincare created especially for older skin: think firming, moisturising and glow-inducing.

I imagine that fans of the natural make-up look and anyone with dry or dehydrated skin will also enjoy these products.

Studio-10-Visible-Lift-Definer

I’ve been loving the Visible Lift Definer, complete with the most perfect contour powder I’ve tried. Super finely milled, this has ZERO orange tones, yet isn’t grey or muddy either, making it perfect for subtle enhancement of cheekbones or even a sweep of bronze. The cream blush leaves a dewy finish on my cheeks, either patted on with a finger or applied with a stippling brush. Although it looks quite deep in colour, the sheer texture means it isn’t at all scary, more of a natural blush shade. I don’t usually go for a gold toned highlight, but this one is a very pale champagne gold, which leaves a subtle sheen on the tops of cheekbones and brow bones - very flattering and daytime friendly, this isn’t at all OTT (not a speck of glitter in sight).

Studio-10-Age-Defy-Skin-Perfector

The Age Defy Skin Perfector includes a creamy primer (left), 2 correctors (right) and two concealer shades. The latter are too deep for my skin colour (this palette is medium-dark) but the correctors work well at counteracting redness (the green one) and dark circles (the peachy shade). These are fine, creamy and quite sheer in texture, designed for use under the concealer.

I’ve been using the Visible Lift Definer and Age Reverse Perfecting Lip Definer (top pic) regularly. The nude end of the lip pencil redefines the outer lip contour, helps avoid feathering and gives the impressed of volume, while the pink end adds a natural flush of colour and works well alone over a balm or under any lipstick.

Overall, I’m impressed - and have heard good things about the rest of this small, but perfectly formed range. There is no powder as it’s all about the glow and avoiding dry, powdery finishes, but personally I did feel the need to use one to set my T-zone. If you’re looking for a flattering finishing powder, I can’t recommend Jurlique Rose Silk Powder highly enough. I’ll share a natural make-up look using Studio 10 products this weekend, so you can see how they look applied.

Studio 10 prices start at £22 and the range is available at Cult Beauty HERE.

Does the idea of perfecting and defining products appeal to you?

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Barry M Summer Gellys: Lights & Brights

Barry-M-Summer-Gellys-Gelly-Coconut-Almond-Olive-Elderberry   Barry M’s latest selection of Gellys is the best I’ve tried yet. With a smoother formula and more sophisticated colour palette than last year’s line up, this set of seven lights and brights have been fighting for attention on my nails recently. For only a few quid each, I think they’re a brilliant budget buy - you could easily spend 5 times that on a polish and be hard pushed to find better colour and quality.

The Lights

BarryM-Summer-Gelly-pastels-2014Barry-M-Summer-Gellys-Gelly-Coconut-Almond-Olive-Elderberry-swatchesBarry-M-Summer-Gellys-Gelly-swatches-Coconut-Almond-Olive-Elderberry

I’ve nicknamed coconut, almond, olive and elderberry the ‘Farrow & Ball’ of nail polish colours, in honour of their sophisticated tones (I quite fancy that blue for my front door).

  • Coconut - a cool cream, much easier to wear and more forgiving than white. More skin flattering than many nude tones and best of all, opaque in two coats (unusual for such a pale shade).
  • Almond - a pastel taupe nude with slight mauve undertone. This doesn’t really work with my skintone, though I love the actual colour.
  • Olive - a pastel version of an olive and pistachio cross. Prettier on than it looks in the bottle, this would look great with deeper skin tones or a tan.
  • Elderberry - a dusky denim blue, much softer than Blueberry from the original Gelly collection. 

The Brights

BarryM-Gellys-Kiwi-Damson-PinkPunchBarryM-Gellys-Kiwi-Damson-PinkPunch (2)  BarryM-Gellys-Summer-2014-Kiwi-green-Damson-blue-PinkPunchBarryM-Gellys-Kiwi-Damson-PinkPunch-swatches

If bright colours are more up your street, look this way… I tend to steer away from darks in Spring/Summer, but vary between pastels and brights, so offering the choice of both in this collection was a clever move.

  • Pink Punch is a bright strawberry pink and was my first pick for a mani.
  • Kiwi falls somewhere between jade green and emerald, leaning more towards the former. Zero resemblance to kiwi fruit, but hey - the name is cute.
  • Damson is my pick of the brights, a proper cobalt blue, closer to the colour in my bottle pics above. It looks more turquoise-y on my nails above, but doesn’t in real life. I’ve been wearing this on my toes and it makes me smile every morning in the shower. 

If you’re into nail art or like an accent nail, some of these brights work beautifully alongside the pastels. For example the cobalt blue Damson & cream Coconut; or bright Pink Punch and dusky Elderberry blue.

Barry M Summer Gellys cost £3.99 each and are available at Boots.

If I had to choose just two, I’d go for Damson and Coconut. Which are your faves?

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Friday, 9 May 2014

Real Techniques Modern Natural Makeup kit: International Giveaway!

Real-Techniques-Modern-Natural-makeup-palette (2)

Real Techniques does make-up - how exciting! I guess it was only a matter of time until make-up maestros, Sam & Nic of Pixiwoo fame extended their Real Techniques brush line into cosmetics. It took me approximately 5 minutes from hearing the news last week to ordering the Modern Naturals Makeupkit from the US - and a further 30 seconds to decide that this would make a gorgeous giveaway prize for one of my readers.

The kit includes 4 powder eye shadows in neutral, bronze and brown tones, 1 brown gel eyeliner, a peachy powder blush, champagne gold creamy highlighter and two lip glosses in gold and shimmery peach. AKA everything you need for an everyday makeup look that can easily be smoked up for evening. There’s nothing scary in there - the colours are all very natural as the name suggests and would suit most complexions. The kit itself is made from cardboard with a magnetic closing and plastic insert, pretty basic but lightweight and great for travel.

Here’s a closer look…

Real-Techniques-makeup-blusher-highlighter Real-Techniques-Modern-Natural-eye-shadow-makeupReal-Techniques-Modern-Natural-eye-shadow-gel-eyeliner   Real-Techniques-Modern-Natural-swatches
                            Eye shadow swatches by the Pixiwoos - click pic to view more.
Real-Techniques-Modern-Natural-makeup-palette


Giveaway Time!

For a chance to win this Real Techniques Modern Natural Kit, please enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget below. You can select one option or all - each one counts as an additional entry. This giveaway is open internationally & will close in 2 weeks when I will select a winner at random and and contact them directly via email or twitter - good luck!



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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Nails Inc Latex

Nails Inc Latex

Nails Inc has bottled the latex look with four new polishes for a super smooth matt mani. The polish applies glossy but dries into a waxy finish that looks and feels just like latex.

I imagine this will be a total marmite launch that people will love or loathe. Personally, I like the look of the polishes and the idea of how they might feel to the touch - but think the latter will be the clincher. I’m guessing that anyone squeamish about - or allergic to - latex will steer clear. Speaking of which, I had an alarming experience this week when a lady next to us in a cafe became very anxious as my son’s balloon almost touched her and she had a latex allergy, eek! I have huge empathy for anyone with an allergy as my son has several (inc peanuts). As far as I know, the formula of these polishes contain no actual latex, so no cause for concern there.

The pale pink and aqua shades are my favourite as the finish of these offers a less girly way to wear pastels, which I think would look great with a tan…

Portobello Road (1) Bermondsey Street Shoreditch High Street Campden Passage

This formula should be applied in two even coats (leaving a few mins dry time in between) with no topcoat, which would hide the latex effect. The four shades available are:

  • Portobello Road - petal pink
  • Bermondsey Street - aqua
  • Shoreditch High Street - hot pink
  • Camden Passage - nude

Nails Inc Latex Effect Nail Polish, £12 is available now HERE

 

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Nail Inc Latex

 

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