Monday, 22 August 2011

Summer Scents

So this summer I have tried and bought some gorgeous perfumes and thought I would share my favourites with you! I love trying new scents and finding a new signature scent every season but I never stick to just one as there are far too many lovely options available. I usually buy my perfumes at duty free before or after my holidays or receive them for my birthday/christmas as gifts. With designers constantly bringing out new fragrances I am constantly changing my mind on what my ultimate favourite is but over the past few months I have been using 4 of my current top scents. I find it quite difficult to define and describe scents so I will tell you what I believe it smells like and what occasion I like to use each one for!

So lets start with my everyday go to scent:

Hugo Boss Orange Woman £35

I think that this fragrance is perfect for easy everyday wear. This is the scent I will go for if i'm getting ready for work or a day out shopping or going out for lunch with the boyfriend. It smells woody but slightly sweet with a hint of floral and so it is not at all overpowering. It settles nicely into the skin which means that from the moment you spray it on, it immediately smells perfectly balanced. The scent is suitable for all ages, in fact I bought this fragrance after loving the scent on my mum. I think it is a great price considering you only need a small amount to get the full effect of the scent and the bottle is a great shape and looks gorgeous on my dressing table. The orange colour of the bottle makes it feel even more summery and appropriate for sunny days!

Now onto something a little sweeter......

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb £51

This is probably my favourite bottle and name of my perfumes because I love the concept. The scent is of course floral as the name would suggest and is very sweet and feminine. This fragrance is perfect if you like your scents girly and flirty and is perfect for summer evenings. I usually like to wear this scent at night for drinks with friends or going out for dinner because despite being a sweet scent it is heavier than my others and is a little too strong for daytime in my opinion. The bottle is in the shape of a grenade hence the name flowerbomb and this is certainly the sensation you feel when wearing the scent, as if a cloud of flowers exploded onto your skin (but in a nice way)! I would recommend this for young women as many older women I know find the scent a little too sickly sweet however it is worth trying out as my mum decided to purchase this after smelling it on me. This perfume is more expensive and therefore I would probably ask for this as a present rather than re purchasing myself and because of the higher price tag I would recommend trying before you buy because you may not love it like I do!

Next is a classic favourite and its floral younger sister.......

Top: Chloe EDP Rose edition (Limited Edition) £52
Bottom: Chloe EDP (Original) £52

My first of the two was the original which I received as a birthday gift last year after smelling it at duty free and falling in love with it! I would describe the Chloe EDP as classic, elegant and feminine. It is floral and girly but not very sweet. I like to wear it for pretty much any occasion! It is soft enough for daytime, chic enough for evenings and summery enough for holidays. The bottle is a lovely classic shape with bow detail and looks simple and elegant on my table.
The Chloe EDP Rose edition is my newest perfume and I extremely excited to hear about this limited edition version of one of my favourites! My boyfriend bought this for me whilst he was in Paris after I mentioned that I had heard about it (brownie points for the purchase) :)
The first thing I noticed was the bright pink bow and slightly darker colour of the fragrance. I knew that the scent would be floral and roses would be the main feature of the scent because of the name however it was even more beautiful than I imagined! It is stronger than the original with a real warmth to it. I would wear this on any occasion like the original however I would definitely go to this one first for an evening event or night out with friends because of its staying power on the skin and its deeper floral notes. The bottle is exactly the same as the original apart from the different coloured bow and this is a reflection of the similarities in the fragrance itself. It is similar enough to the original to know that it belongs to the same perfume family however it is different enough to warrant buying it alongside the original. I would always recommend trying fragrances before you buy however I am yet to find anyone who dislikes these fragrances. The classic is elegant and clean and the rose edition is girly with a sultry twist.

My final scents are not perfumes but body sprays. Sometimes on a warm lazy day or a day at the beach on holiday I don't feel the need to use a perfume because it feels too heavy or because I don't want to waste expensive product when I'm in the house or sunbathing and so I like to purchase body sprays which give me a light fragrance. I like to use the spray all over the body or sometimes spritz just in the hair for a softer fragrance.

These are my two summer body sprays this year:

Left: Hollister Laguna Beach Body Mist £10
Right: Gilly Hicks Poppy Belle Body Mist £11

The first thing which makes these perfect for holidays and lazy days is the price. I am much happier using a £10 product on a day at the beach than a £50 perfume! The price is great considering how much product you get in each bottle and the scent really does last on the skin all day. Both sprays are sweet  with the Hollister boasting notes of peach and freesia developing into a sweet and refreshing scent while the Gilly Hicks mist smells floral and musky with the white amber creating a really clean and soft finish. 

So there you have it! My favourite scents of the summer this year! I have quite a few perfumes on my wish list at the moment so if I manage to purchase them at duty free before my holiday I will post a review :) 
Check out my favourites online and go into your local stores and try them out or if your feeling brave order online but perfumes are about personal taste so I would strongly recommend trying out in stores on your own skin before you buy. Something which smells great on a friend might just not suit your own skin and you do not want to spend £35 plus on a scent you will never wear! I am always looking for inspiration for my next perfume purchase so let me know your favourite summer scents and keep my fragrance addiction going.....!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

I love my neutrals!

I think its time for some make up! 
I am an absolute make up addict and nothing excites me more than finding new products that I love or repurchasing my all time favourites when i run out. You will often find me browsing the make up counters or online looking at new products and I love reading other blogs and YouTube reviews from fellow make up addicts to get advice on whats worth trying and what just does not live up to the hype.

One brand which I am never disappointed in is MAC Cosmetics, especially when it comes to eye colours. I  do not believe in buying eyeshadows from only one brand as I think you can find some great colours and pigment in lower priced brands. However the texture and pay off with MAC eyeshadows always impresses me and my quad palette of neutrals is one of my all time favourites :)

I went into the MAC pro store just off Carnaby Street and explained to the sales assistant that I wanted a set of four neutrals that I could use alone or together to create a natural or smokey eye effect and after testing out lots of colours this is the palette we created:

Top Left: Shroom
Top Right: Satin Taupe
Bottom Left: Cork
Bottom Right: Embark

Here are some swatches (sorry for the bad quality i am saving up for a good camera)

L-R: Shroom, Satin Taupe, Cork, Embark

I wanted to buy this palette for taking out in the day, taking on holiday and basically to have four neutral tones which could be used for any occasion. I love natural colours in the day with a brown eyeliner or simply a sweep of shadow over the lid, or combined with black eyeliner in the evening for a smokey look which isn't too dark and overwhelming as smokey black or grey can sometimes be.
Here is a brief description of the colours and why I chose them:

Shroom ( Soft beige with shimmer) - Can be used for highlighting under brow bone, as a base over the lid or on its own as an easy soft shade with a slick of mascara to finish.

Satin Taupe ( Taupe with silver shimmer) - Can be used as an all over lid colour for a soft brown neutral effect or used as a crease colour in conjunction with the lighter shadow. Can give definition to the crease creating a soft smokey look.

Cork ( Muted golden brown) - Can be used all over the lid for a golden brown eye colour, in the crease for a matte look, or used in eyebrows to give colour and definition to dark blonde/light brown brows.

Embark ( Intense reddish brown) - Can be used all over the lid for a strong brown eye, can be used in the outer corner of the eye lid to create a smokey eye look, because of its red tone it is very different to my other dark browns and looks great with a strong black eyeliner along the lash line.

All the colours can be used together to create one amazing natural smokey eye look!

MAC Cosmetics is one of the most established and famous make up brands in the world and therefore you will expect to pay more. Each pro palette refill pan costs £9.50 plus the cost of the pan itself which is  £6.50 for 4 eyeshadow palette making the total price for this quad £44.50 which is a little shocking when you first get to the till to pay! However the amount of times I have used this palette, its handy travel size, the pigment within the colours and the quality of the end result makes me happier with the high price tag. I would obviously love to create a larger palette with many colours however for what I wanted at the time (a handy, everyday palette) I believe that this has delivered what I needed. I would suggest trying lots of eyeshadow brands as many lower priced brands do incredibly pigmented shadows however I do think that everyone should own at least a few MAC eyeshadows just to experience the fantastic quality of this well known brand. 

Let me know your favourite MAC colours and help me decide which ones to invest in next!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

My current skincare routine

In my opinion, there is nothing more important than looking after your skin! Using make up on skin that hasn't been taken care of is like putting paint onto a canvas that hasn't been primed. So I spend a good deal of time researching and looking for the perfect skincare products. Obviously the best products for me, may not suit everyone. I am in my 20's with Normal/Combination skin and therefore I know what I am looking for in a skincare regime. The first step in discovering your perfect products is working out what your skin needs. I have fairly normal skin, with occasional breakout on the T -Zone area (chin,nose and forehead) and slightly drier cheeks and I believe that I have found a great routine that suits me and it is British beauty brand Liz Earle.

So here is my current collection (just a few pieces.......)! 
This collection includes, Eyebright Lotion for revitalising tired eyes and removing light make up, Smoothing Line Serum for fine lines around the eyes and mouth area, Deep Cleansing Mask for combination/oily skin, Superskin concentrate for an extra boost of moisture and essential oils, Cleanse & Polish for the ultimate deep cleanse, Instant Boost Skin Tonic for post cleansing to refresh and brighten the skin, Skin Repair moisturiser in Normal/Combination, Brightening Treatment to give skin a radiance boost, Gentle Face Exfoliator to remove dead skin cells and improve skin appearance and last but certainly not least the Muslin Cloth to be used with the cleanser which gives incredible results.

I have built up this collection over many years and would recommend all of these products however if you wanted to try the brand without splashing out on every piece, I would say that the most important starter pieces are the cleanser, toner and moisturiser. Liz Earle, the creator of the brand, stresses the importance of cleanse, tone, moisturise and many of her starter kits include these three products. There are so many wonderful reviews of these products that I was not surprised when I saw amazing results on my own skin but I still find myself astounded by the fresh feeling I get after using them. If I were to recommend one product from the range it would be the Cleanse & Polish hot cloth cleanser with muslin cloth. The cleanser is available alone as a starter piece with a muslin cloth included in the price for £13.25 which I believe is a very reasonable price for a product that works so well. Many high end cleansers which don't work as effectively are £20 plus so it is worth investing in the starter kit!

This is the famous Cleanse & Polish 100ml pump!

The Liz Earle website provides a step by step guide on how to use the products for the best results. They suggest massaging the cream textured cleanser into dry skin allowing the product to dissolve traces of make up including waterproof makeup. Then soaking the muslin cloth in hand hot water, wringing it out, and then polishing off the cream on the face.

 I sometimes like to just use the product as a face wash in the shower before work in the morning and then go through the full routine with muslin cloth before bed at night to remove all traces of grime and make up. Travelling on the tube in London and wearing make up all day, I did not realise how much my skin was affected until I used the cleanser with the muslin cloth and the colour of the cloth afterwards told me just how dirty my skin gets on a day to day basis!

This product has completely changed my skin. I feel like I can go without make up now and I don't feel worried about revealing my skin! The ingredients are completely natural which I feel strongly about as I don't like using products containing nasties. I have tried many cleansers because I feel like I should give other brands a chance but I always find myself coming back to Liz Earle because the products are natural, affordable and most importantly they do what they claim to do which many products on the market do not! As you may have guessed I am a little bit in love with this range and now I am a little bit more in love with my own skin!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


I am always on a quest to find the PERFECT self tanning product. Living in the UK means that our chances of catching real sun rays are limited and we all know the dangers of too much sun and the damaging and anti ageing effect of sunbeds, and so finding that perfect colour in a bottle has become something of an obsession of mine! 

If you are a bit of a tanning addict like myself you will have heard of Xen-Tan. It has won many awards for its natural deep bronze colour and its streak free, simple application. So of course i ordered some immediately! I ordered from a great website called where i picked up their most popular product Dark Lotion for £17.99 which as self tans go is a good price. I wanted to try the Dark Lotion because i am a fan of instant results and feel that if you are going to use a self tan product you want to get as deep a colour as possible as if you have been on holiday for a week. This is the product you are looking for!

Xen-Tan Dark Lotion

The bottle states that it is a weekly tan and the colour is certainly dark enough to last a week. If, like me, you love to be a dark colour for longer you may want to reapply another layer mid week or perhaps apply two nights in a row. You can use as much or as little as you want but generally one pump does one area of the body i.e. one pump for tummy, one pump for arm, one pump for chest area etc but you can use whatever feels right for you. Because the colour is so dark when it comes out you immediately know where you are putting the tan and how much you may need to use. The lotion is a fairly thick texture and requires quite a bit of movement to get it to soak into the skin however the results are worth the effort.

My arm before tanning. 

I used Xen-Tan body scrub to exfoliate the skin in the shower before using self tan. This is an essential step before tanning as it removes dead skin cells and allows tan to go on easier and reduces the chance of streaking and product collecting onto dry areas such as elbows and ankles. If you buy these products at the moment you can purchase the dark lotion, body scrub and tanning mitt as a kit for only £28.94. The tanning mitt is an important tool in my opinion as it allows streak free, quick and efficient application. I used the mitt to apply the tan in circular motions, almost buffing the tan into the skin but using soft movements so as not to remove the tan as you are applying it!

My arm after one application of tan

The end results are impressive. The colour is almost the same colour as you would naturally turn whilst sunbathing with almost a red/brown tone. It is best to apply an hour or so before bed, so as not to stain the bed sheets with tan, and leave overnight to let the tan works its magic and then wash off in the shower the next morning. Do not exfoliate the next morning or use harsh soaps on the body which may wash off or affect the tan, instead let the water wash away the guide colour. Pat your body dry being careful not to brush off the tan and follow with a moisturiser. Many brands of self tan come with their own moisturisers however I like to use Palmers Cocoa Butter because it is hydrating, smells wonderful and leaves my skin glowing. The tan itself has a nutty scent whilst applying however once washed off there is almost no scent whatsoever which means I can apply the cocoa butter and there are no interfering  scents.

Overall, I would highly recommend this product. The end results are natural but dark enough to make people ask you where you have been on holiday! If someone asks where you have been away to get your tan, that is the greatest compliment for a self tan because it has managed to fool people! The Dark Lotion is worth every penny in my opinion and after using it a number of times on both my face and body I can say that it is my favourite self tan to date. But stay tuned as i will be testing many more...
 Can anything beat the mighty Xen-Tan?

Monday, 8 August 2011

My Top 5 Summer Nail Colours

So here it first proper blog post!

Where better to start than with bright beautiful nail polishes :) 
When it comes to hands and feet I just cannot leave them unloved especially in the summer months when sandals are a must and we are gracing the beach on holiday. There is no better way to make yourself feel a little more glam and I love looking at nail colours and deciding which one matches my mood and outfit or picking one just because the colour is gorgeous! I change my toe colour every 2 weeks without fail and i love using bright colours on my hands when I am not working at the weekends. I have so many colours it can take me a while to choose but I have chosen my top 5 colours for the summer months because they are fresh, lively and look stunning with a tan.I will be revealing how to get the perfect tan in my next blog post!
Back to todays post, I have a few tips to keep your hands and feet in top condition!

1. Exfoliate- Not just for the face and body, our tootsies need some scrubbing too and removing the dead skin cells especially on the bottom of your feet will make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your feet.

2. Moisturise- Use a foot cream specifically formulated for this area to get the best results. Try Margaret Dabbs products, she specialises in foot care and therefore the ingredients are rich and provide fantastic results. Use a body cream if you are rushed for time such as Palmers Cocoa Butter. It smells divine and is rich enough to combat dry heels. If cracked heels are a big issue use an intensive treatment such as Scholl cracked heel repair cream.

3. Strengthen- Invest in a high quality nail strengthener to keep your nails in tip top condition. I use OPI Nail Envy on my hands and feet and find that it stops them from breaking, peeling and is the perfect base coat for colour. The formulation is now available in a matte finish so even guys or women with jobs who cannot wear polish can treat their nails without anyone having to know.

4.Treat- For an extra treat use OPI Avoplex oil on your hand and feet cuticles. The avocado oil in this product provides an instant boost to the nail area and can even be used on dry heels and elbows. I like to rub the oil into each of the nails and rub the excess onto my hands before bed. Another nice treat is to use Margaret Dabbs hydrating foot soak in a bowl of warm water. This is perfect for those of us who stand at work and come home with tired, aching feet. I would recommend this as a weekly treat.

So without further are my favourite colours!

From L to R: Opi-My Chihuahua Bites, Jessica- Sunset Plaza, Jessica- Sweet Tooth, Jessica- Seductress, Topshop- Gone Fishing

I have included pink, nude, red, coral and green because I feel a little more adventurous than in the winter when I tend to stick to dark reds. I love all of these brands but I do think you get what you pay for with high end brands OPI and Jessica lasting a little longer than high street brand Topshop however if like me you love to change colours often then all the brands last long enough to enjoy. 

I hope you have enjoyed my first ever post and please comment below and let me know what your favourite colours for summer are!

Thursday, 4 August 2011


Welcome to my blog! As you may have guessed i am a little obsessed with all things beauty and thought i would share my favourites (and not so favourites) with you. I am always buying and trying new products and so all my opinions are honest and i will try a product for a good amount of time before making a decision on how i feel about it! Stay tuned for beauty posts galore......

Thanks for visiting and please leave comments!

Hayley x