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all items marked with a asterisk (*) are gifted items, pr samples or paid for with gift vouchers/store credit, for more information read:
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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

xen tan absolute luxe dark

review swatch photo
review swatch photo

premium tanning

Oh I do love a good fake tan. I've recently laid off the fake tan quite a bit, mainly due to the fact it's cold and the idea of standing semi naked for a bit makes me want to weep. However I thought it was about time I reviewed my current favourite. Xen Tan Absolute Luxe Dark lotion is a wonderful deep olive toned fake tan that gives me the most gorgeous warm but not orange glow.It's a very thick cream with a slight tint which makes it easier to see where tou have applied it. Perfect if you're like me and you always miss certain areas. I use a fake tan mitt with this but Im sure you can use your hands if you are careful about it. I find Absolute Luxe to be super moisturing thanks to the addition of Shea butter and has a lovely vanila-marzipan type scent. I find this absorbs very quickly into my skin, which is great as I always apply my fake tan before bed and come my morning shower I'm a lovely deep bronze.

I have no faults for the product really apart from it's hefty hefty price tag. I think almost £40 RRP is way too expensive for a fake tan even if I like it a considerable ammount. I do see it on offer all the time on Feel Unique and suck so it's worth looking out for.

Monday, 28 January 2013

everyday makeup #21

review swatch photo
review swatch photo
Face: Clarins Instant Smooth Primer, Collection Lasting Perfection Concleaer, Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation, Guerlain Chic Pink Blusher  Eyes: Pop Beauty Lid Bronzer* (3rd Shade), Pixi Lash Line Ink, Benefit They're Real Mascara* Lips: MAC Hue

Saturday, 26 January 2013

my eyebrow story

review swatch photo
review swatch photo

from slugs to tadpoles and back again 

I know my eyebrows are either a hot or a boring topic, some people love them others despise them. Either way I wanted to share my eyebrow story as lame as that sounds. I've always had very thick eyebrows and for as long as I can remember I've always struggled with them being the shape I really wanted. I started plucking them around 13-14 to keep the monobrow at bay and since then they seem to have got progressively smaller. The problem with my brows is mainly the fact they are too far apart and because I was so paranoid about monobrows I never could leave it to grow back. I've never plucked them all out or anything crazy like that thankfully!

I didn't start filling my brows in until around Jaunary 2011, before I didn't even know it was a thing and since then I never really looked back. I started off using pencil, and then soon went on to powder to give it a softer finish. By now I was getting my brows threaded on a pretty regular basis, probably around every there weeks or so at one of those random shopping centre stands. While I think it depends where you go, on reflection I was never really happy with the results. I remember once they took so much of the front of one of my brows to make it look less sparse I was left with a huge gap between my brows and therefore again they had to take even more off resulting in them being too far apart.

It was actually the Glossy Box birthday party that made me realise I need to grow my eyebrows back. A disastrous dodgy eyebrow threading session left me pretty much brow less. Enough was enough. They we're ridiculously thin, looked like tadpoles and were just way to far apart. They looked bloody terrible and I made the conscious decision that I needed to let them grow.

I went on holiday for a long time back in June/July so I decided to leave them. Yup, I didn't touch my brows for weeks. I don't know how I coped, I guess because I was away and I wasn't doing much in the summer I was able to get away with it. Here is a hideous photo of how they looked! On my return to London I booked an eyebrow shape with my eyebrow lady Feroza (review here) and she shaped them back into a natural full shape. I decided I wanted to get away from the high arched look I'd normally opt for and go for something softer and more natural. I wanted to keep them rounded rather than too arched and keep as much of the natural texture as I can.

Currently they are at the point where I don't even have to fill them in anymore as they look fine without anything in as long as I keep up maintaining the shape. I do sometimes fill them when I feel like my face needs it, but most of the time I just brush through them with a mascara comb. It took me about five weeks of simply leaving them to get the front part growing back properly, and then probably another two or three months to get them to the point they are now. I also tried to using castor oil on them as well as Rapid Brow when I remembered, but I do think the trick was just to simply leave them.

I'm really happy with how they are, even though Im tempted to take them down a hair or two thinner just for a little less obvious-ness now my hair is lighter. Since going blonde I've been asked if I'd change the colour of my brows, and I don't think I would. I like the whole Cara Delevinge thing, and I think for now I'm going to rock it. I do want to go blonder in the future and changing my eyebrow colour might need to happen then, but for now they'll do!

Anyway I know this the the most ridiculously long post I've probably written, but I just want to say you can change the shape of you're eyebrows and it can dramatically change how you look. Honestly, I know that growing out your eyebrows is possibly one of the hardest things to do in the world but I just want to prove you can do it and change your brows in a short ammount of time if you just LEAVE them. I think you just need to note how different I look with those ridiculously thin brows compared to how my brows look now. My face looks completely different and it looks a whole lot softer!

Friday, 25 January 2013

lord and berry lipstick crayon in fire

lord and berry lipstick crayon in fire review swatch photo
lord and berry lipstick crayon in fire review swatch photo
lord and berry lipstick crayon in fire review swatch photo
lord and berry lipstick crayon in firereview swatch photo

another red lip

It's (probably) pretty well known I don't like red lips all that much. I have a few shades I like, namely Revlon Really Red, Topshop Hedonist and Kate Moss 110. All of which are on the matte side and all give a beautiful a classic matte red lip. However I decided to bring this to my Mum's with me when I came home in the attempt to jazz up some of my basic outfits with a shocking lip. Lord and Berry Lipstick Crayon in Fire is a beautiful orange based red which is super vibrant on the lips and looks almost neon red. It's super creamy with a glossy pigmented finish on the lips which soon blots down to a soft satin like finish. It stains the lips slightly but I think with red lips it's quite a common occurrence! It glides ever so smoothly onto the lips and is incredibly easy to use although it is very soft so can smudge slightly. The formula is just beautiful, not too tacky or suffocating on the lips. Just a really nice glossy lightweight opaque feel. I think it's a beautiful shade and a lovely creamy formula for a pencil. I'd be very interested in trying some of the other shades available at some point!

Lord and Berry available on ASOS and sold through their beauty section. I'm a huge fan of ASOS beauty because it's easy to shop and has a wide variety of products that can get to you next day (thanks ASOS Premier!)

benefit my place or yours gina perfume

Benefit My Place or Yours Gina Eau De Toilette 30ml review swatch photo

I've never tried any of the Benefit perfumes but unlike the Benefit makeup packaging I do find their bottles very appealing. Now not to judge a book on it's cover Benefit's My Place or Yours Gina is a beautifully presented in old hollywood style packaging with gold, black and pink accents. I find it very woody and natural with notes of patchouli, pink pepper and bergamot. It's clean, floral and fruity (I get some raspberry or pineapple notes) and while also being a touch spicy which I quite like. It's not too soft but its also not too sour on the nostrils. I've not smelt anything like this perfume before and I actually quite like it. It's very wearable and could be potentially quite attention grabbing as it's fairly unique. While I would describe it as a sexy perfume it is suitable to be worn all the time. The longevity isn't the best, I've tried perfumes which last much longer on my skin. But I do like this one and have found myself reaching for it more and more.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

urban decay naked palette

review swatch photo
review swatch photo
review swatch photo

A lot of fuss was created over the recent launch of the Naked Basics Palette. I think everyone and their mum owns at least one of the infamous Naked Palette's. Personally, I have both but I've probably used them about three times each maximum. They found their way to the back of my makeup drawers just as quickly as my impulse purchasing of them!

Naked Basics's is a predominantly matte collection of 6 shades ranging from a soft champagne shimmer, a matte brown and a jet black. As someone who rarely wears matte shadows I sort of knew off the bat this kit wasn't going to be me. I have tried this as lid shadows, but they just look muddy and dull and don't compliment my skin tone. Although I have been using Faint for my brows and then Venus a little bit under my brow bone for a bit of a highlight. In all I just find it so boring and uninspiring, I cant think of anything creative or pretty I could do with this. All the colours are so pale as well, I really don't think anyone needs three super pale shades which would barely show on some skin tones! Overall none of the colours scream out "APPLY ME LILY!" Saying that the colours are smooth pigmented and creamy, They apply well and have good longevity. Which is exactly what I'd expect from Urban Decay, just the blandness of this "basics pallete"just doesn't compliment what is usually such an inspiring and creative brand.

Honestly, I find this palette super snoozy and definitely not my taste. Although I could have told you that from the start (I did). The colours are ok but so basic to the point I just don't think I'd get any use out of it at all. While I think it is nice to have those key matte colours but its nothing that cant be replicated within the other Naked Palettes or other brands.

I personally feel Urban Decay need to make something in between the super shimmer of the Naked 1 and the Naked 2 and the blandness of the Naked Basics. They could also do with creating a warmer toned palette as the colours are just so cool toned (for me) and won't suit all skin tones. I find most of them hard to wear as they just don't compliment my skin tone in the slightest. While it's a safe offering from Urban Decay I can see how it can be appealing to some people… however I could have just passed this without even giving it a second thought.

Pyto PhytoNeutre

PhytoNeutre review swatch photo

PhytoNeutre is a clarifying detoxing shampoo that is designed to remove product build up without stripping the hair of natural oils. I found recently that my hair was getting greasier and greasier between washes and I just couldn't work out why it was getting so clogged up when I was washing it so regularly. By adding this into my Sunday pamper regime once a week it has meant that I don't need to wash my hair as much and my hair feels clarified without being stripped. I really enjoy using this product and would recommend it if your hair needs a good product detox and a nice deep clean.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

laura mercier mineral powder compact

laura mercier mineral powder compact review swatch photo
laura mercier mineral powder compact review swatch photo

mineral powders

MAC Mineralize skin finish natural has been my go-to powder for as long as I can remember. I bought it randomly one day and never looked at an alternative since. Flash forward a few years and my love of MAC is slowly fading and since falling in love with Laura Mercier Silk Creme I felt I needed a product to compliment that and set my foundation from the same range. I ended up picking the Mineral Pressed Powder one day when I was in John Lewis. Not really knowing much about it but knowing that I have very high hopes for the range I felt I'd probably like it.

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder can be used as a foundation by building it up with a buffing brush or be lightly dusted over the face to set makeup. I personally use it as a setting powder but I have used it alongside concealer on those days when I cant be bothered just to give my face a bit of colour and hide some redness. The finish is a soft matte, dewy glow if that makes sense. It looks luminising and soft rather than harsh and cakey. It blurs out all the imperfections and leaves a beautiful soft focus. It's oil free, water resistant and doesn't look cakey or drying on the skin. I wear the shades Real Sand and Natural Beige depending on how tanned I am. It's also worth noting that this does contain SPF, unlike the Laura Mercier Silk Creme which does not.

I'd 100% repurchase these, in fact I have already actually! £31 is excessive for what it is, but I just cant fault it enough to not justify the price tag. It makes my skin look flawless, It doesn't break me out, change colour on my skin and I can see it lasting ages. This is another product thats just solidifies my love of Laura Mercier! I just cant praise this Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Compact enough as it's fuss free, not messy and great for on the go. You can also buy the mineral powder that is just loose but I think I prefer it in compact form as it cuts out a lot of the mess!

Clarins Bronzing Duo

review swatch photo
review swatch photo
review swatch photo
review swatch photo
bronze up!

Even though Im fairly tanned 99% of the time I hardly ever wear bronzer. I don't know why, I just don't really wear it. However thanks to the post Xmas chub I felt I needed a bit more contouring so decided to get myself a new bronzer. I picked up the Clarins Bronzing Duo in Medium from Debenhams. They also had an offer on where you can pick 3 supersize minis when you purchase 2 items from Clarins one being skincare. The Clarins Bronzing Duo is a really nice two sided matte powder, one shade is fairly light but the other is much darker. Mixed together they make the perfect glowing effect for the face, used alone the darker shade provides a really nice matte shade to contour the cheek bones. The powder is fairly matte but quite illuminating without being glittery. The texture is super soft and it buffs effortless into the skin for a silky smooth vevelty finish. I really like this product and I think the colour is perfect for my skin tone as the one side is fairly peachy and the other more brown. It doesn't look muddy or stark at all. Just beautiful, sun kissed and glowy!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

my hair prep routine

review swatch photo
Full Product Reviews: Bumble & Bumble Texture Undressing Creme, Wella SP Luxe Oil*, Ellnett Heat Styling Spray Volume, Four Reasons Volume Mousse*
styling ready hair

Prepping my hair before styling is a massive step in my hair care routine. Having long, fine hair with lots of it can leave my hair either a variety of ways flat straight to my head, weighed down with the wrong sorts of products, one big lions mane or generally just not sitting right on my head. I've been testing out product combinations for a while to give me root lift while also leaving my hair in tip top condition with minimal volume loss. Prepping my hair before blow drying and styling makes sure it doesn't look like I've just wacked a load of product in it or roughly dried it while I lay down (I have actually done this before… a few times…).

First off after washing and leaving my hair for about a hour while wrapped up in a hair towel. I like to use one of those hair turbans to make sure I take all the excess moisture out before adding products and drying. Although it's adding a hour or two to my routine is does mean I can use less heat on my hair. I take a few pumps of my favourite hair oil the Wella SP Luxe Oil. This is a really lightweight product that has a gorgeous scent of almond oil and also contains Argan Oil and Jojoba Oil that leaves the hair silky smooth and soft. I work this into the very ends of my hair and then work any excess towards the roots.

I then pick my prepping product. I either use a mousse, a texurising cream or a spray depending on the looks that I want to achieve. I wear my hair normally in three different ways, straight and volumised, soft and beachy or curled. I try to prep with the right product for that look so here's my simple guide on what I use to create each look.

Messy hair is my thing and I always try to embrace it but I find it always needs a product to get it ready for styling. For a this undone look I tend go for Bumble and Bumble Texurising Creme. This was a firm favourite of mine for a while as I loved the beachy look it gave my hair without weighing it down. I would normally take about a 50p sized dollop and apply it to the mid sections of my hair, avoiding both the roots and the ends. I'd then flip my hair over and give it a good blast with a hair dryer.

I currently actually quite like wearing my hair straight and natural. If I want to go for a sleeker but volumised look I tend to reach for the L'oreal Ellnett Heat Styling Spray in Volume. This is perfect for those days when you want to wear your hair straight but also have some lift. I spray this all over my hair and then flip it over and do the same. I then comb through with a wide tooth comb to distribute product evenly and then blast it with a hair dryer. This also contains heat protectant up to 230C which is a bonus. This is one of my favourite products to use when styling my hair at the moment as I light to wear it straight with a little bit of lift.

Now mousse is a tricky one. I've tried it countless times before as a volume booster but I've been left with crispy, not very nice looking hair. However I've been using this Four Reasons Volume Mousse and it's actually been doing a pretty good job. Not to mention the super cute packaging this mousse is light and perfect for adding to the roots. I take a good dollop and flip my hair over and work it into the root area, focusing on the crown. I tend to use mousee on those days I want to style my hair with heat as I feel it gives something to my hair that makes it easier to hold a curl or a wave. It's a great product to use when prepping your hair but you do need to be careful not to overload!

topshop eye crayon in marble

topshop eye crayon in marble review swatch photo
topshop eye crayon in marble review swatch photo
topshop eye crayon in marble review swatch photo
topshop eye crayon in marble review swatch photo

rose gold base shadow

Topshop Eye Crayon in Marble is a beautiful edition to the Topshop Makeup range. It's a subtle soft creamy rose gold shade that adds a lot of brightness and pop of warmth the eyes. I think you all know I very rarely do hand swatches but I found this ridiculously hard to actually show on my lids hence the swatch. The colour once applied looks very soft and golden but when it transferred onto the lid and blended out it looks like a subtle soft champagne base. The colour isn't very noticeable but it does leave a pretty sheen on the lid. The product applies well and is easy to blend and lasts a average ammount of time on my non oily kids.

Overall I was impressed by the eye crayon, Topshop have recently launched their Eye Crayon and some other shades in their eye crayon range including Rust, Gold Digger and Kingfisher. Rust looks like a really interesting warm bronzy shade but I have no idea how the colour would transfer to the lid. I think it works better as a shadow base than an actual eyeshadow colour. Marble is ever so slightly hard to work with as the colour is barely there once blended out. I also felt on me it slightly creased after a few hours and if it was either prepped with a eyeshadow primer like Urban Decay Primer Potion or layered under a nice eyeshadow like MAC All that Glitters it would work a lot better. I cant see myself buying another one of these as I just don't think they are as amazing as they could be which is a shame as the Topshop Makeup range on the whole is a great collection of products.

Monday, 21 January 2013

urban decay primer potion

review swatch photo
review swatch photo
cult eyeshadow primer

Urban Decay Primer Potion is possibly one of the most talked about products in the blogging world. Before blogging I didnt even know there was such a thing as a eye primer, but as soon as I started watching Youtube videos, the idea of a primer was drummed into my head. UDPP is a best selling, world famous eye makeup primer which claims to make your eyeshadows vibrant, crease free and last up to 24 hours. I've used a tiny UDPP before which came with the Naked palettes and I was never all that impressed. I just didn't think it was amazing. However I've recently given it another go and have found it to do a wonderful job at keeping my shadow in place. I don't really have oily lids, and to be honest I never really worry about the shadow lasting. I have however seen the difference it's made to how colours apply to my lids. The eyeshadow base comes in a squeezey tube and looks like fair tone but I think it's actually fairly transparent colour once blended into the lid. It dries down really quickly on the lid and doesn't leave it feeling tacky or greasy.

While I do think it's overhyped, I do like Urban Decay Primer Potion and do think it's great for those who want their shadows to last and apply more evenly. I do think it's pricey and not a really necessary step in beauty but I think it would work much better for dramatic or coloured eyeshadow looks compared to my usual neutral eye! I also think if you suffer from migrating shadows or oiler lids this might be worth a try! Urban Decay Primer Potion comes in four shades Original, Greed, Eden & Sin.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Great Expectations Tag

I filmed a video a few days ago of me doing a tag that the beautiful Patricia tagged me to do. I'm sick and I don't really look like me, but oh well! Hope you enjoy a chatty one from me for a change! I get a bit emotional towards the end, I think I'm a bit of a mess at the moment! Watch on Youtube for more deetz.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

cold weather heroes

review swatch photo
Dr Lipp Nipple Balm for Lips*, Origins Make a Difference Rejuvenating Treatment*, Caudalie Divine Oil*, Hydraluron*, Chanel Soliel Tan De Chanel*, Topshop Head over Heels Cream Blusher, Origins Drink Up Mask

Dr Lipp Nipple Balm for Lips: My current go-to lip balm is this 100% Lanolin number from Dr Lipp. Nipple Balm *queue loads of girly chuckles* is basically a no frills, no sparkles, no colour lip balm that has cult status with makeup artists. It's perfect for chapped lips as it gives the lips a thick protective coat to protect it from the elements.

Origins Make A Difference Rejuvenating Treatment: I raved about this earlier on in the year and credit it with a lot of the resurfacing on my skin. This is great for dry and dehydrated skin that needs a good boost. It find it sinks into my face as soon as I apply it, leave my skin soft and hydrated without feeling over saturated or greasy.

Caudalie Divine Oil: I picked this as a cold weather hero as it's a brilliant multipurpose oil that I can be used  all over the body. I use in the ends of my hair, as a facial oil to give my face a nice massage, cuticle oil and on the dryer parts of my body such as my knees and elbows. Divine Oil is a classic blend of 4 different vegetable oils all of which have variety of benefits for the skin. It smells absolutely gorgeous and natural, completely inoffensive and very soothing. I love the fact it's really light and it's super hand as it comes in a spray bottle which cuts out a lot of the mess you seem to get with oils you pour. A few spritz's and dry skin feels instantly nourished and less flakey or dry!

Hydraluron: I've been using this religiously for a while now and I can honestly say it's one of the nicest skincare items I own. If you have dry and dehydrated skin Hydraluron  is designed to combat dehydration of the skin. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body, but as we grow older we tend to lose our ability to produce as much as we would like. Therefore our skin doesn't retain as much hydration as we should. I've been using this under my normal moisturiser and it's really made a big difference to how my skin feels. Overtime it's become less tight, more plump and softer.

Chanel Soliel Tan De Chanel: I'm big on winter glow, well I'm a big fan of all year round glow. But in the winter I think it's nice to use something a bit fresher like a cream bronzer. I do love my powders but the cold weather can make them look cakey and sit on top of the skin. This gives a really nice summery glow without being too orange or too dark. It blends effortlessy into the skin as a base for your makeup or you can use it to contour your cheekbones. A great all year round product but definitely worth investing in during the colder months!

Topshop Head over Heels Cream Blush: I dug this out earlier in the month when my skin was looking a bit too flakey for my usual blushes. It's a beautiful warming pinky peach with a soft cream to powder finish. It gives the cheeks a lovely flush of colour while also being suitable for cold winter air.

Origins Drink Up Mask: Drink Up is perfect face mask for dry and dehryated skin.This mask has a fresh, fruity natural scent, sort of like apricots. The cream itself is thick, rich and hydrating and once applied and my skin happily drinks up the moisture. Despite my skin being oily it is fairly dehydrated, so using this once a week helps me get the moisture I need without over saturating the skin.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

my current favourite lipsticks

review swatch photo

I made this video a while ago but never ended up posting it on here for no real reason at all apart from it probably just slipped my mind! Check the video on Youtube for more details (:

Monday, 14 January 2013

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash review swatch photo
simply the zest….?

Funny enough, I haven't actually tried anything from Soap and Glory before this. Everyone and their Mum gets that* Soap and Glory gift set for Christmas but I never have! I read some review of the Sugar Crush Body Wash and I really liked the sound of the scent. Zesty, Cirtrusy and bursting with lime, Sounds good right. I looked in shops for weeks for this before caving in and ordering it from the Boots online store and patiently awaited it arrival. I like the creme formula, it lathers up nicely on a bath puff and feels really nice on the skin. However the scent is ridiculously sweet, like the sweetest thing I've ever sniffed and my nostrils actually couldn't work out if they liked it or not. The sweetness mixed with lime is just way too much for me, it's too overpowering and overwhelming and slightly nauseating to some degree. I love lime (Lime cheesecake is my favourite EVER!) and I like sweet scents but this is just too much.

I'm undecided. I'll more than likely use this whole thing up but I definitely wouldn't buy it again. I wish I hadn't bought it so blind, but you live and you learn! Maybe I should try more Soap and Glory stuff out but the branding just doesn't appeal to me! We'll see!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

topshop lip crayon wave goodbye

topshop lip crayon wave goodbye review swatch photo
topshop lip crayon wave goodbye review swatch photo
topshop lip crayon wave goodbye review swatch photo
topshop lip crayon wave goodbye review swatch photo
topshop lip crayon wave goodbye review swatch photo
topshop lip crayon wave goodbye review swatch photo

Topshop Wave Goodbye is a soft milky pink lip stick with a glossy finish. On me it looks slightly blue but I think it looks fairly neutral in the tube. It's not blue enough for me not to wear it though as it does seem to look aright on me. This has a super glossy formula which is very different from the other Topshop Lip Crayons. I actually quite like this glossy finish as it's not too tacky and does linger on the lips for a while before fading. My only major criticism is the fact that it's super soft, as the formula is so glossy and creamy it gets very messy and melts very quickly. I can imagine this being very travel friendly as it just melts way too easily and gets absolutely everywhere. My pencil is already covered in lip gloss despite only using it a few times!
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