28 Feb 2013

Organic Surge million dollar brown sugar body polish

After being impressed by the Organic Surge million dollar anywhere balm which I posted about here, I was keen to try some other Organic Surge products.  This is the *Million Dollar brown sugar body polish, which comes in such a lovely tub I immediately started thinking what a nice gift it would be for somebody.  I can imagine tying a pretty ribbon around it, or maybe a rafia bow for a nice rustic, homemade feel.  But anyway, this tub is not for giving, this one's all for me :)



This is a heavy duty body polish.  If you're scared about the scaly condition your skin might be in once you finally part with your winter woolies, this is for you.  Sometimes you want a gentle scrub, like for the face, or for daily use, but there are occasions that call for some hardcore scrubbing, and this is the body polish for the job.  
The scrub crystals have the size and texture of proper sugar.  The liquid part of the scrub is runnier than most I've tried, but I found you just need to give it a bit of a stir as some of the scrubby bits sink down and the liquid rises to the top.  

My skin feels like new after using this body polish - quite literally, as it leaves no scale unscrubbed.  But my skin isn't left ravaged as the scrub leaves behind an incredibly comforting and nourishing balmy feeling from all of the natural oils that are packed into the jar. 

For me this is the pre-holiday scrub for getting your skin ready to be on display and for picking up a nice even tan on the beach.  I think I have holidays on the brain right now - I was introduced to www.mycurvesandme.com today and am focusing on some of the bikinis inspiration for shaping up for summer.  I really need to get back on it with the healthy eating!

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27 Feb 2013

Creating an easy smoky eye with Autograph from Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer sent me some products from the Autograph makeup range for creating a red carpet look.  Slightly lacking in red carpet invitations, I decided to try them when I went out for dinner on Saturday night.  


The products I used were - 

Base | Clarins beauty flash balm | Laura Mercier silk creme foundation in sand beige | Soap & Glory trick and treatment dark circle concealer 

Eyes | Urban Decay primer potion | *Autograph mono eyeshadow in gunmetal | *Autograph eyeshadow brush | *Autograph khol pencil in charcoal | Maybelline mega plush mascara

Brows | MUA brow palette 

Cheeks | Illamasaqua hussy

Lips | Maybelline color whisper in lust for blush


I tend to avoid dark eyeshadow as I'm not at all confident applying it and I always think the darker the colour the more obvious the mistakes!  I think I didn't do too badly here though, as I just used the grey shadow all over the lid up to the crease.  It's when I try to get clever with a two colour smoky eye that I get into trouble.

The Autograph eyeshadow was easy to apply and I used the Autograph brush to apply the colour over the lid and got a pretty even result.  The brush was a lot softer and easier to use than I expected considering it only costs £6.  I did move on to a MAC 217 to blend the edges, but the M&S brush was perfect for applying the colour.  I lined my eyes with the Autograph liner which was really smooth and soft - it seems to tie the look together and gives a bit more depth to my fairly basic smoky eye.  The colour makes my eyes look browner too.

As I was going out I used my Laura Mercier silk creme foundation, which gives a more dewy look than my usual daytime choice of Estee Lauder double wear, and I couldn't resist my go to blush of the moment, Illamasqua hussy.  

I'm also wearing my favourite lip product right now which is a Maybelline color whisper.  They're a lot like Revlon lip butters but in some cases creamier and more pigmented, depending on the shade.  This colour is called lust for blush and it's barely left my lips since I bought it in Canada.  I'll do a post showing the three shades I bought soon - I really hope these will be coming to the UK.  

I quite enjoyed this little challenge using some eye colours I wouldn't usually experiement with.  I thought I'd go all out and curl my hair to complete the look as the boy was taking me for dinner at Gaucho at the O2 (which was awesome btw).  

The Autograph makeup range from Marks and Spencer is available here.  

What do you think of my smoky grey eye attempt? 
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26 Feb 2013

Neom Luxury Organics Contentment home candle

When I blog about a new home candle I always end up taking so many photos.  I don't put them all in the post of course - you'd think I was mad and if I did - but I like to take them because the beauty of a flickering candle fascinates me.  I don't think I'm at pyromaniac level just yet, so don't worry, but I do love to watch a dancing flame.  Something about that really helps me unwind.  Combine that with a beautiful, warming, homely fragrance and I'm all set for a relaxing evening.

Now let me introduce you to Neom's latest home candle fragrance - Contentment.


If you've read any of my past Neom reviews you'll already have seen me talk about how these are the cleanest burning candles I've tried and that they're made only with pure vegetable wax and essential oils.  

The *Contentment candle is a new fragrance in the Neom range with Buchu, Nutmeg and Ginger.  Wondering what Buchu is?  So was I!  It's a South African plant that has a similar fragrance to blackcurrant.  Why not just use blackcurrant?  Because apparantly you can't and any blackcurrant scented things would usually have that fragrance created synthetically and as that's not what Neom are about, they found the closest natural plant oils they could.  

Despite Neom's best efforts with the Buchu plant I have to say I can't smell blackcurrant specifically when I take a sniff. I get a really deep woodland type smell, which is a combination of all of the notes as I can't pick any of them out specifically, but there's an edge of fruitiness which I think must be the Buchu.  It's a lovely fragrance for this time of year when you still want something warming and comforting but are a bit over all of those Christmas scents.  

The Contentment fragrance comes in the large home size which is the one I have, travel size and also as a redd diffuser and you can get them from neomorganics.com

Which candle fragrances are you burning at this time of year?
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24 Feb 2013

Tips for fixing scuffed shoes

These are one of my favoutite pairs of shoes.  I don't wear them often as they don't go with everything, but I love them.  I bought them from Topshop a few years ago.

Although I love pale coloured shoes because they can be so pretty, I find they really don't last because they get scuffed so easily.  Scuffs on black shoes are easy to deal with - we all use the black permanent marker trick we learned from Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, right?  And if you get a black mark scuff on your pale shoes, it's quite easy to remove too - I usually use kitchen cream cleaner to remove black marks from shoes and bags - but it's scuffs on the heels that actually remove the paint, that really spoil the look of my loveliest shoes like these ones.


Scuffs like this one here are where something has literally scraped the outer coating of the heel away.  I can never work out how I manage to do this to my heels as I think I'm careful with them, but this happens to all of my high heels eventually.


So, to fix this and make the shoes wearable again and almost like new, I turn to my trusty nail polish collection to find the shade that matches closest.  In this case I had plenty of choice as I'm a bit of a beige / greige polish addict.


After a couple of nice thick coats of polish and some drying time, the heels are recovered.  If you look up close you can see a bit of a bumpy result, but when being worn nobody would know and the heels look all one colour and scuff free.


I hope you like my little shoe scuff tips, or was this totally obvious and something you already do to fix your shoes?  

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23 Feb 2013

Instant eyeshadow duos review and application

I'm a bit rubbish at applying eyeshadow that get any more complicated than a wash of one colour across my lids.  No matter how many 'Kim Kardashian smoky eye tutorial' videos I watch on youtube, I can never get it to look the same when I try a smoky eye or complicated shadow combo on myself.  Because of my kack-handedness in the eye shadow application department, I'm a bit of a prime candidate for these *instant eyeshadows from ColorOn.  No expertiese required!

I was sent the three lovely colour combinations below Bermuda, Desert Sands and Gypsy.  These are all really great neutrals for me and I'd have probably gone for these if I'd picked them out myself.


I also got a rather flashy set called The Jack, which as you can see gives you Union Jack eyes!  These would have been perfect for last year with the Olympics and Diamon Jubilee going on.  I think I'll need to save them for the next big event.


In each pack you get two pairs of shadow strips (although one of my packs had 3!), a brush and a setting powder.


The strips have a protective layer which keeps the shadow in place until you're ready to use it.  The colour pictured here is Bemuda.


I decided to try these when I went out for a meal with my boyfriend, so sorry all of the below pictures are with flash rather than daylight.  I went for the shade Desert Sands.  

As you can see, I peeled off one of the applicators and pressed it down over my eyelid, lining it up along my lashline.  Once against the lid you need to hold it in place whilst pressing and smoothing over the back to make sure you get plenty of colour on your lid and an even result.  

When I took the applicator away I saw that the colour had transferred really easily and I had quite a blog result.  


Once I'd applied the colour to both eyes I set about blending.  The instructions say to use your fingers to blend the edges of each colour together by gently patting.  I didn't want a super bold result so I decided to use a brush.  This really softened the effect, and I then added the finishing powder to keep it all in place.

I finished with mascara and eyeliner as usual (although some of the other shades have liner built in to the applicator).  I'm pleased with the result - I know I blended a bit too much, but the paler shadow looked very white against my skin and it would have been a bit much for where I was going!


I'll defintiely be trying out the other colours and maybe I'll be brave and do less blending next time.  I only use one of the applicators for both eyes, and there's plenty of colour on it to be able to get more applications - I think I applied this one a little too heavily so would use a lighter touch next time.   I've been told you could get up to ten applications with each oval.

The instant eyeshadow duos cost £9.99 per kit and come in loads of different shades which you can see here.
What do you think about instant eyeshadows?  Would you try them?
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22 Feb 2013

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer conditioning hair mask

Although I always go on about my oily roots, the ends of my hair get really dry and quite damaged, so I like to treat the ends and mid lengths with a good hair mask.  Philip Kingsley Elasticizer is a pre-shampoo treatment to give hair more elasticity and bounce.  


*Philip Kingsley Elasticizer | £23.50 | QVC

Unlike most hair masks, this one is applied before you wash your hair rather than after.  I like that about this product as I'm always concious of greasy hair, so it doesn't matter if I get the treatment too near to my roots as I'll be washing my hair aftwerwards.  You apply the treatment to damp hair and then wear the attractive little shower cap which comes with the product.  Wearing the shower cap means I can wander around and get things done while the treatment does its thing.  I think putting the cap on also helps keep warmth in, which  helps the treatment to work better.  

The treatment should stay on for 20 minutes, but I generally always leave masks on a bit longer.  I left this one on for at least half an hour and after washing and conditioning as normal, my hair felt soft and easy to brush through afterwards, but I couldn't see a difference with my split ends.  I've used this treatment in the past and always found that I didn't notice a huge difference after one use, but that my hair would start to appear less damaged over a period of time after using the treatment once a week.  

You can find the Philip Kingsley range at QVC.  I always check if they're selling what I want to buy as I know I can send it back if I don't get on with it.  Unlike most shops, QVC have a 30 day money back guarantee on beauty products, even makeup!

Do you use any hair masks or conditioning treatments?
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McVitie's Breakfast Biscuits

As I've mentioned in some of my other posts, I've been making an effort to eat more healthily, but I still can't kick the habit of skipping breakfast.  I just hate getting up in the morning, so I'll always choose extra time in bed ahead of sitting down with a bowl of cereal.  To be honest I'm not even really a fan of cereal!

If I'm going to eat breakfast it has to be quick and it has to be portable, so these new breakfast biscuits from McVitie's have a good chance of making their way into my workday routine.  


McVitie's Breakfast Biscuits

McVitie's Breakfast Biscuits are made with wholegrain porridge oats, which are known to have slow release energy (the type that keeps us feeling fuller for longer), and they're fortified with vitamins D, B, Iron and fibre.  It sounds to me as though they're the equivalent of eating a bowl of cereal or porridge without any of the hassle or faffling around.  It takes me ten seconds to grab a pack of these on the way to work, and I then know I have a breakfast option in my bag ready for me whenever or wherever I get the chance to eat it.  Can you eat a bowl of porridge while dashing down the road or cramming on the tube?  I think not!  

I tried these biscuits in the Red Berries flavour.  They taste sort of like digestive biscuits, but more oaty.  I thought they might actually taste of porridge, but in my opinion they don't, they taste like biscuits.  I liked the red berry taste that would hit now and again with each mouthful and I find these went rather well dunked into a big cup of builders' tea.  

The biscuits come in two other tasty sounding flavours - Oat & Honey and Apple and Sultana & Cinnamon.  They're all the sort of flavours I would like, which is good, as I would get bored of eating the same flavour every day eventually!  

You get 4 biscuits in each pack - so that's your portion size sorted - and you get 6 packs in each box, so they'll last the full working week.  

If you fancy trying these out most of the supermarkets currently have them on offer with £1 off.  The biscuits also have their very own facebook page - www.facebook.com/McVitiesBreakfast - which offers some amusing little words of wisdom on conquering our morning battles.

What do you eat for breakfast?  Would you give these a go?

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19 Feb 2013

Little updates - Newsworthy!

So we're all familiar with 'little updates' by now.  They mainly consist of a little report on what I've been up to through the medium of instagram.  They'll still be around, usually on a Sunday, and usually filled with foodie and nail snaps, but this post is about a new kind of updates I'd like to introduce onto the scene, and I'm calling it 'newsworthy'.  As the name suggests, it contains all of the best beauty news and other exciting bits tickling my antenae at the mo, which I think you might want the juice on too.  So here we go...


Marc Jacobs does beauty and oh how I bet he'll do it well.  I'm such a sucker for all things MJ that I know I'll be desperate to get my hands on this range when it lands in Sephora.  I hope there'll be a UK stockist too, otherwise I'll be tapping up friends abroad to call in some serious favours.  I heard about this from Jayne's Kitchen, and she has more details and images over on her blog.

Get £5 off a London black cab ride with a new app called Hailo.  The idea is that when you need a cab but can't spot one to hail you use the app to find one.  The app is for iphone and android.  Go to hailoapp.com and enter code 'FYRKB' to get your £5 off.

Nail polishes you keep in the fridge - sounds a bit odd but it's for real!  Models Own are launching their brightest polishes yet - the Ice Neon collection.  The five uber bright and super cool (you knew I wouldn't be able to resist it) new colours will be available online at modelsownit.com from 9 March and in Boots from 22 March.

Dr Linda is back on QVC and will be presenting her Skin Therapy Anti-Ageing Starter Kit on Alison Young’s Beauty Fix on 28 February.  LP skin therapy is a really interesting concept - they don't have products for different skin types - the range is designed to target the underlying causes of skin deterioration, namely stress.  
Bioderma will finally be easy to get hold of in the UK, finally, finally!  It tooks its time, but it's coming.  No longer will we have to order from ebay or beg friends who are popping over to France or any of those other lucky countries where it's sold pretty much everywhere.  

Win £350 worth of beauty goodies with newly launched fashion and beauty site flutter and drum.  As well as gorging on all of the style and beauty updates, you can also join in by uploading your own nail looks.  I'm about to have a go just now.

Get creative while saving the planet at milliontreesproject.com  You get to design a tree with cute fuzzy little animals and for a small donation a tree will be planted somewhere around the world wherever its most needed.

This week I'm mainly.... hankering for warmer weather, wanting to book a summer holiday and buy some new beachwear.  Avoiding all the painfully cool street style snaps from LFW which make me feel anything but.  Wearing matchy matchy pink lips and blush (Maybelline on the lips, Illamasaqua on the cheeks).  Munching on my best Canadian  find - fudgeeos - think oreo but chocolatier and fudgier.

So what do you think of my first newsworthy post? Was there anything that interested you?

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February 2013 glossybox

It's glossybox time, and this month, a Valentine's theme.  This is my favourite box ever in terms of the design of the packaging.  I really like the outside of the box - this is a definite keeper.  It was a nice touch for the shreds and tissue inside the box to have changed this month too, all to varying shades of pink.


 


The actual content of this month's box didn't disappoint me either.  I think this is a really good mix of products, and all of them are pretty useable.  

In the box I got - Anatomicals 'you need a blooming shower!' rose scented body cleanser, Sassoon professional spray shine, Me Me Me cosmetics fat cat mascara, Micabella cosmetics mineral eye shadow, Miners lip colour and a bonus Glossybox lollipop.  

Some great universal products here - I particularly like the shine spray and the mascara and will always use another shower gel.  The eye shadow and lipstick aren't really shades I would have chosen - the shadow is a bit too much of a warm brown for me and the lipstick is rather frosty, but I'll find a good home for them with a friend.  The lolipop is a nice touch, but my favoutite thing about this box is still the actual box!

Did you get the same things in your glossybox this month?
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18 Feb 2013

Clinique chubby stick tints for eyes and even better compact makeup review



Recently I got to pop along to Clinique HQ with Jayne from Jayne's Kitschen, to see the brand new chubby stick tints for eyes.  There are 12 shades in the range, so a great variety of different colours.  I swatched my favourites and I think the neutrals are the ones I'd be most likely to go for as I'm not all that adventurous with my eye colour most of the time.  I got to take two slightly 'out of my comfort zone' shades home with me to play with, together with a creme foundation - even better compact makeup.




Having only used liquid foundation applied with a brush for a good few years now, it was interesting and kind of refreshing to have a play with this compact creme foundation.  I got the shade creamwhip which is pretty much spot on for my average medium skintone.  

The foundation has a lovely creamy consistency which goes on really easily with the sponge supplied.  I got a medium to full coverage from this and it lasted all day, although I did set it with a little powder as I always would as I have some quite oily areas.  I did notice that this foundation clung to any dry patches, so I paid extra attention to fully moisturing the next time I used it and then it was fine and gave a really smooth result.

*Even better compact makeup will be available from March in a range of 20 shades and priced at £27.50.   




If I'd had my pick of the chubby sticks for eyes I'd have gone for some standard neutrals which probably wouldn't have looked much different from anything else in my collection.  But, I was give a purple and a blue shade, and they've given me the little push I needed to get working with some more colours. 

The purple I have is called portly plum and the blue is big blue.  Both are very easily buildable right from a very sheer wash to a heavier and bolder look.  The chubby sticks are incredibly soft to apply which is so important for the eye area, and I managed to get a great result without any dragging.  

Here I've applied portly plum directly onto my lid before smudging and blending a little with my finger.  Super easy and quick.  I can see these will be great for me when I want to touch up or change my makeup after work as you don't even need a brush and these will never need sharpening as the rest of the product just twists up when you need it.



*Chubby stick tints for eyes are available now at £16 each.  You can find Clinique counters in most department stores including Debenhams and also in Boots.  

What do you think of these new products from Clinique?  Am I pulling off the purple eye look?!
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17 Feb 2013

Little updates (the one where I went to Canada)

I got back from Canada on Monday after spending 6 days in Toronto so this week's updates are rather dominated by my trip.  It was for work, so there wasn't much time for sight-seeing, and a blizzard which brought in a foot of snow stopped me from getting to see Niagara Falls :(

 
 

1 - the CN tower (from my hotel window)
2 - Toronto at night from the 54th floor of a tower 
3 - loadsa snow
4 - the CN tower changing colour at night

We had planned a little trip up the CN tower to the viewing bubble, but on the day we had planned to go the bubble was in the clouds because of the blizzard, so we were told we wouldn't have been able to see anything!

  
 

1 - Illamasaqua speckle nail polish 
2 - swatching some Revlon lip butters we don't get at home - red velvet, brown sugar and sugar plum.  I only liked red velvet.  
3 - swatching YSL rouge volupte's hot pink offerings for my friend at Heathrow
4 - fab new sheer lip colours from Maybelline which I shall blog about soon

 
 

1 - finally found the new kitkats.  Thoroughly disappointed by the lack of coconuttyness of the coconut one.
2 - exciting Cadbury flavours sold in Canada 
3 - My first bubble tea - I went for mango 
4 - I got back just in time for pancake day

 
 

1 - a rare ootd from me - I was planning out a suitable 'posh dinner' outfit for while I was away
2 - some of my haul from the Canadian drug stores
3 - I did a fair bit of shopping
4 - came home to find my Zara boots had been delivered - in love with these


 
 

1 - tried my first eggs benedict at Heathrow and I liked it 
2 - I never usually order a burger in a restaurant but this was super tasty
3 - Eating Oysters in a very flash restaurant called Canoe in Toronto 
4 - and an amazing lamb dish at the same place

 
 
 

1 - I had to have waffles for breakfast at least once 
2 - more flash food - we got to eat so well while we were in Toronto - all plans of healthy eating totally discarded
3 - not so flash, this was one of our best dinners at a diner recommended to me by Jayne
4 - chocolate overload - I'll start healthy eating again soon I promise
5 - my first meal at Busaba Ethai - really tasty food, slightly odd, noisy environment
6 - enjoying guava cocktails and a cheeky photo bomb from Yu

 
 

A quick nod to Valentine's - I know people either love it or hate it.  I think being away the week before Valentine's was a bit of a unwitting master plan - my boyfriend must have been lonely without me so he went shopping!  He never usually surprises me like this on Valentine's so I felt very lucky and spoiled.

1 - our cards (I bought his in Canada, so it has beavers on it like most things they sell)
2 - cute little set up he made for me and a furry flower because I told him I didn't want him to waste money on a bouquet that would die!
3 - he did so well - he even took inspiration from my blog!
4 - all the red sweeties 

 
  

1 - I got big hair at a London Aveda salon - don't like my awkward face in this picture but love the fabulous hair
2 - Fox socks rock
3 - as do frog socks - these are possibly the most expensive socks I've ever bought, but there were cute and they're infused with shea butter or something (in other words they saw me coming)
4 - posing with MAC runaway red on my lips

 
 

I couldn't end this post without a mention of one of the hi-lights of my trip to Canada.  I got to fly first class which is something I've never done before and could probably never afford.  It was a work trip and there was a special offer with BA so we booked a business class ticket but got a first class upgrade one way.  As you can imagine it was all pretty awesome and luxurious.  The cabin crew were so lovely and attentive and there were so many extra little details.  What topped it off is that my boss and I were the only ones in the first class cabin!  I did myself a little inflight facial which mainly consisted of using my Origins drink up overnight mask and then ended up chatting all things skincare with some of the lovely cabin crew - hello Bernie and Saba! 

As we were the only ones in the cabin I took advantage by taking a few snaps and two Vine videos which I've shared below.  

Double click on the black box to play the videos

Sorry that was a bit of a long one.  Well done if you made it through.  As a reward I have a Canadian drugstore products giveaway coming up soon :) 

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