Friday, 30 September 2011

Liz Earle- skincare to makeup

I have discussed my love for Liz Earle skincare in previous blog posts and that I have been using the range for years and love the effect it has on my skin. So imagine my excitement when I found out that Liz Earle are making the transition into make up. My two favourite things were finally combining and I had high hopes for the first product released, Sheer Skin Tint SPF15. I knew the quality would be high because of my experience with the brand but I wasn't as sure if a company which excels in natural skincare could create a product which could compete with the high standard of tinted moisturisers on the market at the moment. Laura Mercier in particular have a wonderful product and Clinique have recently brought out their own version of a moisturising product with light coverage.

I thought I would have to ask for a sample or try the product in store until I received my Autumn newsletter from Liz Earle which contained a packet of all three Skin Tint shades available. Hooray!

The three shades available are: Bare 01-pale, fair complexions, Beige 02- medium, most Caucasian complexions, Beach 03- olive toned, Asian complexions.

I decided to try Beige as I am slightly tanned but not olive skinned and it was perfect. At first I wasn't sure if this selection would be a wide enough range however the colour almost seems to match to your own skin and so if it seems a little light/dark at first really blend the product into the skin. The colour should disappear into your own skin tone. I used my fingers because the texture is creamy and feels a lot like a moisturiser therefore it felt natural to dot the product onto nose, forehead, cheeks and chin and rub in using my fingertips. The coverage was more than I expected which I was pleased with. I am a foundation girl through and through and I often feel bare with just a tinted moisturiser on, especially in winter months but I would be happy to wear this skin tint in summer months with a bit of concealer and bronzer. This is a photo of my skin wearing the Skin Tint, concealer, bronzer and blusher on the cheeks.

I was impressed with the finish it left on my skin. I felt I had enough coverage for day time and would definitely use this product during the summer and on holiday. It has SPF15 which is always a bonus with face products, especially because the Liz Earle moisturiser I am currently using does not contain an SPF. Did I mention that the Skin Tint also contains natural ingredients such as avocado oil and borage oil and vitamin e to keep the skin smooth and protect against pollutants and sun damage.

Liz Earle have also thought about customer care with this make up launch and you can order samples of the colours to try at home or if you order a full size you also receive the samples so that if you find that you have ordered the wrong colour you can simply call customer services and they will swap the colours for you. So there is no excuse not to try this lovely product! If you find the coverage and feel of foundation too heavy this really is the perfect balance of moisturiser and colour. I will be wearing medium to full coverage foundations as we head into winter months however next time I book a beach holiday or as Spring approaches next year I will definitely be investing in this product. I also hope that by then there will be a few more additions to the Liz Earle make up line..........

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

There's a Storm Palette brewing!

Sleek make up is the new kid on the budget make up block and I've heard rave review from Youtube gurus and friends so I knew I had to try the brand out for myself. The brand contains everything from foundation to eyeshadow, from lipgloss to bronzer but the most raved about products seem to be the eyeshadow palettes. Not only do they contain some amazing colours but at a price of around £6 they are far more affordable than my beloved MAC eyeshadow colours. So I went to my local Superdrug store and after spending a while browsing the make up selection I decided to go for the Storm i-divine palette.....

Storm i-divine palette - £6.49 

What first excited me about this palette was the great packaging. Simple but elegant, very slim and compact and as the name would suggest, sleek! I wouldn't guess that a product with such elegant packaging would cost under £7 but the true test was yet to come. Were the colours as vibrant as they looked and would the pay off be anywhere as good as my more pricey shadows?

In a word- yes! I loved the colours in the store, the combination of neturals and dark shades, frosted and matte made this palette immediately appealing to me. The palette is perfect for day and night looks and great for carrying to work if I had to do a quick day to night transformation. My only concern was how well the colour would come out when applied and how the texture of the shadows would work during application and blending. The palette contains a two ended brush with my least favourite applicator, the sponge. I much prefer using my own brushes with these palettes although the sponge applicator is not bad and some people may prefer to use it. The mirror in the palette is huge and incredibly useful for application on the go. I truly love my Chanel quad palette but its tiny mirror just cannot compete with this one! 
I played around with the frosted nudes and browns to create a frosted day look and applied black gel liner to create a shimmery but not too dramatic look. The dark shades are also great with a gorgeous green and purple, perfect for evening looks and I will be using these this weekend when I go out to party in London! I will try to upload a look using this palette to my blog soon :) 

I am usually one to go straight for MAC or Chanel eyeshadows, because of the brand and because I know how well they work however my eyes have definitely been opened to the power of the drugstore make up brands. At only £6.49 I have now got a palette which combines my favourite colours and textures, can be used alone or blended for smokey eyes, and has a perfect mirror for precise application. The only thing I need now is the rest of the palettes available from this affordable but impressive brand.

Monday, 26 September 2011

ooh la la Diptyque!

As you may have guessed I love trying out new fragrances so when Diptyque sent me some samples I was more than excited! I have tried a couple of the scents before in Liberty and Space NK whilst browsing but I have never tried the body lotions and shower gels which I was desperate to try. Diptyque Paris is a luxury french beauty brand most famous for their fragrances and candles. Because of the high price point of the brand I have never treated myself to the items but they have always been on my wishlist so imagine my excitement when I opened my package and saw this:

The Diptque team sent me a huge selection of both Eau de toilette and Cologne with some information about the brand. Each fragrance sample was a good size which allowed me to wear each scent on more than one day so I really got a chance to test the longevity and the notes of the scent and decide whether i would purchase them myself.

They also sent me samples of their shower gels, hand lotions and body lotions which I was thrilled about as I only usually use affordable body and hand lotions and have never splashed out on expensive body care products. So let me share a few of my favourites from the collection with you.........

Philosykos- Eau de Toilette 100ml-£68 50ml-48

This scent is a cult classic for Diptyque. With notes of fig and cedar it is very much a unisex scent, which smells woody but fruity. It is very light but long lasting and suitable for all seasons but in my opinion it is perfect for spring/summer months because it reminds me of holidays in a warm climate. I used the shower gel in the morning, then applied the body lotion and finished with a few sprays of the fragrance and I can honestly say that the scent lasted all day. I sometimes think that companies encourage you to buy all three products in order to sell as many products as possible with the end result being no different to using fragrance alone, however in this case I really could smell the difference and using all three products of the same fragrance was a pleasurable experience.

Eau Duelle- Eau de toilette 

Another of my favourites scents, Eau Duelle, is another unisex fragrance but this one is softer with a light but modern scent. With notes of vanilla and frankincense it created the perfect balance between sweet and spicy and would suit any occasion. I personally like this scent for Autumn because it has a hint of summer but is quite sexy and woody, perfect for this transition of seasons. Both of the above fragrances are going on my wish list!

The texture of the shower gels and body lotions are luxurious and feel wonderful on the skin. The shower gel lathered nicely and the aroma filled the shower meaning I stayed in a little longer than usual. The lotion hydrated the skin and was well fragranced but was not too overpowering meaning you could combine with your own perfume or simply go without as the scent lingered on the skin for hours after. Overall I was impressed with the range. The packaging, the scents, the textures all create a truly luxurious and expensive feeling experience. I am not sure that I could justify spending about £30 on body lotion or £68 on perfume for myself however I would certainly put the products on my Christmas list! If you feel like spoiling yourself check out this beautiful range online at

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Miss Mascara

One of the most difficult piece of make up for women to buy has got to be mascara and I know this from personal experience of my own purchases and conversations with friends and family. There are so many available on the market that it can a confusing process! From drugstore to high end there are always new formulations, new brushes, new packaging and new concepts to intice us into buying the latest "perfect" mascara. however on my search I have found some near perfects and some far from perfects and I thought I would share a few with you :) (please note that i'm using images from the internet because my camera quality is unfortunately not good enough to pick up the style of the wand and packaging for you to see properly)

Lets start with my current mascara of choice, Lancome Hypnose Drama:

I heard about this mascara through various beauty forums and through word of mouth. Lancome Hypnose comes in an original form, waterproof, drama and the newest edition doll eyes. I went to the Lancome counter in Selfridges and after looking at the brush and reading about its promise of fuller, bolder, thicker lashes with an intense black colour I decided on this Hypnose Drama version. I have always been a huge fan of dramatic lashes because my lashes are quite fair and I believe that if you are going to invest a substantial amount of money in a mascara it should really transform your natural lashes. This mascara does not disappoint! 
I was unsure about the strange shape of the curved brush initially, however the brush allows you to really get to the root of the lashes and the formula is a true intense black giving you a final result of dramatic, thick lashes, as promised. The result can sometimes be a little clumpy and thick however for an evening out with a strong smokey eye I personally like this effect because it means that the lashes are not over powered by the eyeshadow as often happens with dramatic eye looks.  The mascara costs around £20 which may seem pricey if you are used to drugstore prices however this is a bargain if you are looking for an extreme lash look. If you want drama, go for this mascara!

Another mascara I have always enjoyed using is Dior Extase:

I have repurchased this mascara about 3 times because I have always loved the effect it has on my lashes.  The packaging is gorgeous as one would expect from Dior make up, but it is the tiered brush which really makes this mascara stand out. According to Dior, the inspiration for the tiered brush came from the tiered couture dresses created by the House of Dior. Whatever the reason, this brush is great at coating every side of the lashes and creating a high impact eye look. The mascara also contains black pearl pigments and metamorphosis powders which create long lasting 3D volume and expand in size up to 50% after application. Impressive words indeed but does it actually work? The effect is gorgeous, the lashes are left glossy and thick and although the mascara is a hefty £22 in price I believe that it is worth it. I would say that if you have a high mascara budget this would be the high end mascara to go for.

My last review is of YSL Volume Effect Faux Cils mascara- Noir Radical:

I have always had a love/hate relationship with this mascara. Let me tell you first why I love it. The brush is quite simple, no curves or fancy shape, just a straight medium sized brush, and yet somehow it coats lashes much better than other "normal" wands. The mascara promises a dramatic lash and it fulfils this promise and leaves you with thicker, longer, darker lashes. The Noir Radical formulation in particular contains black mineral pigments which coat the lashes in one stroke to create a true black finish. However this mascara is far from perfect. The formula is beautiful on the first few uses but after a short amount of time I find that the mascara itself has become dry and flakey. I often end up with residue and fall down below the eye after use, especially after a day at work I am often left with flaking and therefore I struggle to find an occasion where I can be sure that this mascara won't let me down. The wand itself becomes cakey and dry after only a couple of weeks and at a price of £22 I cannot allow myself to repurchase for these reasons. This mascara is stunning at first however its short shelf life leads me to believe that the Dior and Lancome are more worth investing in.

There are lots of new mascaras out at the moment and here are the next 3 I am eager to try out:

Eyeko Curvy Mascara £15

Revlon Grow Luscious £9.99   

YSL Luxurious Mascara Shocking Volume £22

I will let you know when I try these out and review them for you! 

P.S You may have noticed that I haven't reviewed a drugstore mascara. This is purely because I can't find one that truly compares to the high end favourites. Please leave comments of your favourite affordable mascaras because I would love to find a perfect or almost perfect mascara that doesn't break the bank! And so the search for the perfect mascara continues....... 

Monday, 19 September 2011

Autumn nails!

I am sad to say that it feels like summer is officially over :( I am currently sitting at home with slippers on which is a sign that it is getting a little chilly outside! Although I love my sunshine and bright summer colours I get very excited about Autumn/Winter collections in make up and fashion especially chunky knits, deep reds and LBD's for the party season......

On friday after work I had some time to kill in London so of course I headed for Topshop to see what was new for this season and as usual I headed for the make up section to check out new products and colours. I came across these two gorgeous nail colours which I just had to have!

L-R: Fallen Leaf, Nice 'n' Neutral 

Fallen Leaf is a dark khaki green which is perfect for autumn months and would look great with brown and black clothing. Nice 'n' Neutral is exactly how its described, a lovely nude with a hint of brown, another fab autumn colour which would look great with natural accessories.

Sorry that the lighting is not great, but the colours are more rich and vibrant than the photo shows!

I am so glad I found these two colours, and I already have the neutral shade on my toes as a nice change to my previous bright pink shade. I own lots of red, pink and purple tones and so these two are a real change to my current collection and the texture is, as always with Topshop nails, easy to apply with a great finish. I wonder what colour my next purchase will be...... ;) 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Burberry Body for Women - new fragrance for 2011

I am always excited when I hear about a new fragrance launch especially from a high end brand such as Burberry and being a fan of their Facebook page I got the chance to try a free sample of their new perfume, Burberry Body for Women.

 I was sent a compact but good sized sample in the post with a postcard. The face of the perfume, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, gave me the impression that the scent would be young, fresh but sexy at the same time. However I was a little surprised when I applied the perfume and took my first smell of it......

The website says that the scent notes are:
Peach, Iris, Freesia, Rose and Green Absinthe 

I was not too sure what to expect from Green Absinthe in a perfume! But I knew from the other ingredients that the scent would be mainly floral with a hint of fresh fruit which slightly concerned me as I don't usually go for floral scents (with the exception of the sweet Victor and Rolf Flowerbomb mentioned in previous post). I was expecting quite a light floral scent, perhaps suitable for day time or a lunch date however I found the scent quite strong, even after a few hours of wear on the skin. I also felt that the scent was a lot more mature than I had expected. The use of the young Rosie as the face of the perfume implied that the scent would suit the younger woman however I found it to be more suited to an older woman, perhaps business like and more suitable to a dinner date or drinks at a swanky bar.

Don't get me wrong, it does smell high end and I cant fault the packaging, however I believe it is just not for me. I have trouble placing which situation I would use the perfume for as I believe it sits somewhere between daytime and evening, perhaps out for dinner with friends. I would consider buying this perfume for my mum for her birthday or for a slightly older friend as the smell is very appealing and it does last well on the skin for many hours. However I personally feel that it does not carry any scent notes which make it stand out from the crowd of hundreds of fragrances which are available on the market.

Have you tried this perfume or any new fragrances? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 12 September 2011

MAC Sized To Go - holiday essentials

So i have been away for a week in Portugal and got back home on Saturday! I have definitely got the holiday blues sitting at home instead of a gorgeous beach in the sun........ :( So I thought a blog post of my holiday essentials would cheer me up and I wanted to share my cute travel MAC products with you!

I am a sucker for miniature versions of products because they are handy, compact and of course adorable! So whilst I was browsing the MAC counter at Selfridges, London the week before my holiday I could not ignore the travel size MAC products sitting near the till and of course I had to investigate. I had seen the "Sized To Go" collection online but I hadn't paid much attention and couldn't think of a situation where I would want to buy miniatures however that was before I booked my holiday and before I had come to the realisation that I had far too many toiletries for a week's holiday and so any space I could save was worth it.

The products I decided to purchase were:

Strobe Cream
Fix +
Pro Eye Makeup Remover

The collection also includes cleansing oils, oil free lotion and green gel cleanser but I already had my Liz Earle travel collection so my skincare routine was sorted :)

Here is a bit of info about the three products and how I used them on my holiday:

Strobe Cream - A skin highlighter with iridescent particles to enhance the skins appearance. A lovely texture with vitamins to improve the look and feel of the skin. I used the cream mixed in with my foundation or tinted moisturiser to give my skin an all over dewy glow appearance or as a highlighter on cheekbones,under the brow bone, on top of the lip, to bring out these area and therefore highlight to create more definition to the face.

Fix + - An aqua spritz infused with vitamins and minerals to energize the skin and to set make up. A soft feel with a fresh scent which sinks into the skin. I used this before and after applying make up to boost the staying power in the hot climate. I also used it during the day to cool the skin. The size means that it is a great carry on for airplanes to freshen up during a flight.

Pro Eye Makeup Remover - An effective remover which can lift off strong eye make up including waterproof and transfer resistant products. It contains cucumber extract to soothe the eye area and no rinsing is required and therefore make up can be applied straight after use. I used this product because I wore waterproof mascara most of the time, swimming and at night to prevent fall out or my make up slipping off my face in the heat! I am a huge fan of Bobbi Brown gel liner which has a long-wear formula and this remover worked great at removing this too without the need for rubbing.

Overall I was very pleased with the results of these 3 products as it was my first time using all of them. I would recommend them for holiday but also to try them out and see how well they work for you instead of buying the full size product and being disappointed. The strobe cream and fix+ will last a long time because of the small amount of product used each time and so I think that the miniatures are a great buy however the eye make up remover as you may see in the photo is almost empty after a weeks use because of the amount needed to saturate a cotton pad and remove evening eye make up and therefore I would purchase the full size product if I decide to repurchase. I think MAC have done good with the "Sized To Go" collection. Many of their compact palettes and lip gloss sets are great for taking on holiday and so it makes sense that their skincare products should be just as handy. Plus did I mention how cute miniatures are? ;) 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Bright lips!

You will often find me browsing in Topshop Oxford Circus because it is full of my favourite things! Clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery and now makeup! Topshop launched their own makeup range last year and I can't believe its taken me this long to try it out! I decided to try out their lipsticks because the colours are vibrant and I need some sunshine in my life considering we are quickly heading towards Autumn. A little too quickly for my liking....... So lets take a look at the two colours I chose!

Topshop lipsticks - £8 each

I intended on buying just one but of course my excitement took over and I just could not decide which colour I preferred so here they are. Confession is a bright coral pink and Innocent is a pale purple toned pink, both very different in colour but with the same velvet soft feel and matte finish. Being a MAC lipstick kinda gal I was initially concerned that the pigment and pay off of the colour would not be good enough because I usually find that lipsticks in this price range just don't cut it compared to the high end products. However taking my first look at the colours I was immediately looking forward to using them......

The bright colours are a little scary for a girl who loves her nude/pink lipsticks and glosses and I wondered if I would ever wear them but the vibrance of the colours inspired me to go out of my comfort zone and give them a go. The black and white packaging is simple but suits the Topshop brand and doesn't distract from the great colour range available. 

Top: Innocent
Bottom: Confession

In this photo you can clearly see how well pigmented the lip colours are. I adore both the shades and they look great after a fake tan or on holiday. I will wear the lips with a flawless skin, simple black flicked eyeliner and a hint of bronzer on the cheeks and temples. However I am looking forward to wearing them in the winter months too in the party season in particular. Just because the colours are bright and remind me of summer holidays, they would look great with a paler complexion, rosy cheeks and a fur coat! Now that I have invested in these colours I feel more confident wearing brighter lip colour and natural eyes compared to my usual smokey eyes and nude lips. Its worth investing in a few of these colours, even if its just to play with various looks on yourself and you might be surprised how much confidence you gain going a little brighter on your lips :)