top under header

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Festive Favourites

I hope that everyone reading had a lovely Christmas if you celebrate it, or just enjoyed the break if you don't! Today I thought I'd share my favourite beauty products I used in December...

I have used the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette a lot this month. All the shades are amazing quality for the price of the palette and easily rival much more expensive brands. The mattes are nice quality as well which isn't always the case with more purse friendly palettes. I love the warm gold/ brown shades in particular. Find my full review of the palette here.

I have been wearing the Stila smudge stick eyeliners in 'Damsel' and 'Gilded' along with this palette, 'Damsel' on my upper lash line and Gilded below the eye. I love the formula of these liners (they are incredibly smooth and pigmented) and I also picked these two shades up at a bit of a bargain price in my recent TK Maxx haul.

The Illamasqua Liquid Gold Shatter Sparkle Eye Gloss has been the perfect thing to add a bit of sparkle to my eyes over the festive season. It's actually more wearable than you'd think for a glitter. One thin coat over my eye shadow gives a subtle sparkle but you can go more dramatic by allowing it to dry and adding a second layer. You can see my full review here.

Clinique 'Nude Pop' lipstick appeared in last month's favourites but it has still not left my handbag which is the sign of a lippy being a real favourite so I thought I'd mention it again. As much as a red lip is super festive, I'm definitely more of a smokey eye nude lip girl.

Stila Magnificent Metal lip gloss in 'Rose Quartz' was another item I picked up from TK Maxx, again at a bargainous price and I have found that it's the perfect gloss shade to go on top of nude-pink lipsticks, which are what I wear most often day to day.

The Collection #BlushAndGlow palette really has surprised me. It is super cheap at under £5 for a bronzer/ contour shade, highlight and two blushes, but I have really been enjoying it. The bronzer is a great shade for fair skin as are the blushes and the highlight is a nice subtle shade that is suitable for day wear even on oily skin.

Having some time off for Christmas has meant that I have had more time to have a soak in the bath-it might sound like a small thing but when I'm going to work etc, I don't often have the time to spend long relaxing, having a quick shower or bath instead. I've therefore been making use of my Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep bath oil. The smell is just gorgeous and really does help me relax. It's very pricey but I'd definitely recommend it if you can manage to pick it up in a sale like I did.

Afterwards, I have been using The Body Shop Almond Body Butter all month. I love their body butters, they're so moisturising and smell amazing. This scent is no exception, who wouldn't want to smell like a walking bakewell tart?! haha.

What were your favourite beauty products this month? Is there anything you'd recommend?

Em x

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Make Up Products I'd Like To Try In 2016!

please see links below for photo links
I often have a mental wishlist of products I'd like to try that's as long as my arm, but then the realities of one person only needing so many things for one face and my funds not being unlimited kick in haha. There are, however, a few things/ brands that I really want to try in 2016 and I thought I'd share my wishlist..

1) Makeup Geek Eye Shadows. I've heard so many good things about them and they seem to have a really nice range of warm neutral matte crease/ transition shades which I love. I also like the idea of making up my own palette and these would be perfect for popping into one of my z palettes. They have recently become available via Beauty Bay here from £4.95.

2) Gerrard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Lipstick is a liquid lipstick that is supposed to be matte and long lasting without drying your lips out. This is another thing I've seen great reviews of and the shade 'Serenity' looks right up my street from swatches online. Again these are available via Beauty Bay, find them for £9.50 here.

3) The third and final product available via Beauty Bay (can you tell I like browsing that site?! haha) is the Zoeva brushes. I bought one of their eye shadow palettes this year and it's just gorgeous, budget friendly and I have got a lot of use from it so it was definitely a good purchase. I've heard rave reviews about their brushes and they're not too expensive so I'd love to try something from their range. The rose golden ones in particular look super pretty! You can find a range of sets and single brushes here.

4) Kiko. I have a few Kiko products that I picked up during a couple of different trips to London but I'd like to try out more from their range. Most things are quite budget friendly and everything I've tried so far has been great quality. I particularly like the look of their eye shadow sticks, which are rumoured to be a dupe of the much more expensive By Terry ones. I would LOVE Kiko to open a store nearer to me up North, but if not I can feel an online order coming on (find their website here). Unusually, they have a minimum order value of £25 on their website but I could easily reach this.

5) Make Up Forever became more easily available in the UK a little while back, when Debenhams began stocking it online here. It's a brand I have been meaning to try for the longest time but wanting to just try one or two things to dip my toe in the water so to speak, I could never decide what to choose! If you have any recomendations of products to start out with, please let me know!

6) Another brand that I've yet to try and would love to is Charlotte Tilbury. It is an expensive brand so it's certainly not something I go buying a lot of all the time but I feel like it's the kind of brand that would make a nice treat, whether that be for someone else or yourself. I have my eye on the eye shadow quads in particular. Find the brand via Selfridges here.

Are there any products you have your eye on to try in 2016?

Em x

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Meet Your (Foundation) Match!

I don't know about you, but I have a few foundations lurking in my make up stash that just aren't quite the right shade. Mostly this is because they're slightly too dark/ orange based. The best foundation match I've ever found is Revlon Colorstay in shade 'Buff' because it is light enough or my fair skin while being quite neutral. I have quite a bit of pink in my skin so I like something to neutralise that (if I wear a pink based foundation it adds to it and I look like I have a crazily pink face). I find that foundations that are light enough are usually too pink based...I would love to know why companies think that if you have fair skin you want to look super pink!

My issues with matching do of course limit the formulas I can wear. I really like, for example, the L'oreal Infallible Matte Foundation, but I can't get a decent match right now. Over the Summer I got away with mixing two shades but now that it's the Winter and I'm even paler (not that I was very tanned you understand, I just had slightly more colour!), I can't even mix the right shade due to their limited selection.

The Body Shop, however, might just have come up with a solution to my problem in the form of their new Shade Adjusting Drops. In these little bottles is a liquid designed to alter the shade of your foundation and they come in lightening and darkening versions. You get 15ml and it comes in a little glass bottle with a dropper type dispenser. I chose the lightening version, which is nearly white but has some pink in it, designed to neutralise yellow tones. This means that I can use a slightly too dark and orangey foundation, mix it with this, and as if by magic, it becomes the right shade! The Body Shop say that 1 drop makes you foundation half a shade lighter and 2 for a whole shade but that does of course depend how much foundation you use. I actually like to put a few days worth of foundation into a little plastic pot and mix the drops in with it so I don't have to mix the right shade every time.

I have so far tried it with the L'oreal Infallible Matte foundation and Max Factor All Day Flawless, both of which I can normally only wear in the Summer. I was able to lighten both to a make a decent match for my skin and it didn't seem to affect the texture or coverage of the foundation too much. The only slight difference was that since the L'Oreal is quite a thick foundation that can require quit a bit of effort tot blend, it seems to ever so slightly thin the texture which actually makes it easier to blend, but that's not something to complain about if you ask me!

I think these are such a good idea and it really wouldn't surprise me if more brands began to bring out similar products in the coming months. Find them here for £10.

What do you think? Have you tried Body Shop's Shade Adjusting Drops?

Em x

Thursday, 17 December 2015


I came across this Collection '#BlushAndGlow' palette in Boots recently and it thought it was such a bargain I had to have it. You know how it pop in there for a couple of essentials you're running out of but out of the corner of your eye, you spot something that you simply must add to your basket! haha. But seriously...this did not break the bank, it was on offer for £3.99 (normally £4.99) and considering it contains a bronzer/ contour, highlight and two blushes, it's an absolute steal.

One thing I will say is that the packaging is not the best and I imagine it will get a bit tatty looking in my make up bag because it's made of cardboard with some flimsy feeling plastic over the front window. However, I'm not going to complain for the price because it's what's inside that counts, right?!

As you can see, the bronzer/ contour shade is pretty much matte and also quite brown which is good because it doesn't look orange on my fair skin. This is swatched quite heavily with my finger but when applied with a brush (I most often use the Real Technique Blush Brush), it has just the right level of pigmentation-enough to be noticeable but it's still easy to work with and not too scary on fair skin.

The highlight has some shimmer to it but it is quite subtle, which makes a change for a budget product. I find that a lot of cheaper highlights are overly glittery or just too much. I like a more dramatic highlight for evening but being a combo-oily skinned gal, I don't like anything super shimmery on my face during the day so this one is ideal.

As far as the blushes go, one is a matte dusky pink kind of shade with the other is more coral and has a bit of a glow to it but again isn't overly shimmery.

Each shade applies nicely and lasts the same length of time on me as most of my other blushes. I can use all of the shades on my skin tone and it's handy to have everything I need cheek wise in one little palette. I would definitely recommend this for the price if you can get over the slightly cheap looking packaging!

Find the palette here (still currently on offer for £3.99).

Have you tried this palette? What do you think?

Em x

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Ultimate Christmas Party Eye: Illamasqua Liquid Gold Shatter Sparkle Eye Gloss

Illamasqua's 'Liquid Gold Shatter Sparkle Eye Gloss' (what a mouthful of a name that is!) is part of their recent 'Equinox' collection. It is just what it says-a sort of chunky gold leaf in a clear gel that can be applied  over eye shadow or liner.

As you can see from the swatches, it doesn't have all that much impact on its own, it just doesn't seem to show up all that much, but over a darker shadow is when it shines, literally! I think it looks gorgeous over this khaki/ bronzey shade I chose from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette and would be an amazing addition to a festive smokey eye! It catches the light so well. What you can see above is two layers of it over the shadow (I applied one, left it to try for a minute then applied a second). Being in a gel, it is super easy to apply and doesn't fall down onto my cheeks like loose glitters do.

It is £18.50 full price, which might seem a bit expensive for what it is, but I honestly have not seen anything else like it because it is literally chunks of gold rather than your average glitter. I managed, however, to get mine for a bit less with a 20% of ASOS code!

I wish that this wasn't limited edition because unfortunately it seems to be sold out online everywhere I've looked. If you have an Illamasqua counter near you, however, it's well worth checking it out and asking if they have some left!

Have you tried the gold shatter eye gloss? What is your favourite eye safe glitter?

What do you think?

Em x

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A Dangerous (But Marvellous) Place

Where am I talking about? One of my favourite shops to have a snoop around, TK Maxx. I popped in there a week or two ago and their beauty section in particular was amazing! They had lots from Stila, Bare Minerals, Hourglass and even a few things from Tarte, which you can't buy in the UK unless you order from Sephora online (ppplllleeeeaaassseee! find a stockist in the UK, Tarte!). Sadly not all of it was in shades I would wear but I still came out of there with my purse a fair bit lighter. Here's what I chose...

The first thing I picked up is the Nails Inc Hyde Park base coat and Albert Bridge top coat duo (£5.99 down from £12). I really like the nails inc top and base coats and do normally pay the £12 for the set from Boots so this was a bargain!

Next I picked up Dr Bronner's Liquid Soap in the citrus scent (£3.99 down from £5.99). Although this only had a couple of pounds off, I like to use it to clean my brushes and would have repurchased it at some point anyway so I thought I might as well pick it up. I use it in combination with my brush cleaning tool and together it gets my brushes rally clean.

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in 'Blue Sapphire' (£2.99 down from £12.00) is a gorgeous blue eye shadow with a lot of sparkle running through it. I've had my eye on these shadows for a while now so it was great to be able to try one out for such a bargain price! I'm not really into blues as far as eye shadows go (it's very easy to look like something out of the 80s if you're not careful!) but this is a sort of dusky blue shade almost with a hint of grey and I think it would look nice as part of a smokey eye.I think a blue/ navy smokey eye can actually look quite sophisticated while being a slight twist on the classic grey/ black.

Stila Magnificent Metals Lip Gloss in 'Moonstone' and 'Rose Quartz' (both £4.99 down from £16) are very shimmery, sheer lip glosses that I think will look great on top of lipsticks. They are not too sticky (I can't abide sticky lip glosses so I'm glad) but they're not so thin that they wear off in two minute either-a happy medium. I also love the packaging of these!

The last make up item I picked up was the Stila Sun Goddess Smudge Stick Duo, which contains two smudge stick eyeliners in 'Damsel' and 'Gilded' (£7.99 down from £24). Damsel is a dark brown, almost black shade that I have been through before and I loved but I think I'm correct in saying you can't normally buy this shade as an individual eye liner (my old one came with a palette). Gilded is, as you would expect from the name, a gold/ bronze shade which I will most likely wear on my lower lash line for a bit of subtle definition. I have several of these eye liners in various shades because they are such a great formula. They are super smooth to apply and can be smudged out for a few seconds before they set to a long lasting finish that for me, doesn't budge.

Swatches left to right: Stila sparkle eye shadow  'blue sapphire'; stila smudge sticks in 'gilded' and 'damsel'; stila magnificent metals lip gloss in 'moonstone' and 'rose quartz'.

I then picked up a vegetable wax candle from the brand 'Tilley Australia' for £5.99. I've never heard of the brand but I was smelling the candles and I could not resist this 'Pink Lychee' scent. It is sweet and fruity and just smells like Summer to me. Perhaps not the most appropriate for our current weather (I'm currently burning Yankee Candle 'Christmas Memories' which I LOVE) but I thought it was worth keeping hold of for a while because I love the scent so much. I've therefore yet to burn it but it's one of those candles that is so strong you can just put it in the room unlit and you can smell it. I'm hoping it will smell just as nice when I do use it!

Have you tried any of these products or found any bargains in TK Maxx lately?

Em x

Sunday, 6 December 2015

10 Great Beauty Gifts For Her: £25 and Under

all pictures from the links below
Today I thought I'd share my top picks for mid range beauty gifts, and by that I mean between £10 and £25. They're a bit too big to be called stocking fillers in my opinion and are the sorts of things I personally would buy for friends.

1. This Clarins Cupcake Stockingfiller set contains a mini one of my favourite lip gloss/ balm products, the Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, and a mini mascara. It is £15 here.

2. Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is one of my favourite ever skincare products and although I try other cleansers, it's been something I've kept coming back to for a few years now. It's a lovely creamy cleanser that cleans the skin well without drying it out and it seems to help sort out my skin whenever it feels a bit spotty or not at its best. The Starter Kit (£13.95 here) contains a 100ml cleanser in a pump bottle and 2 muslin cloths and would make an ideal gift for someone who likes skincare.

3. Benefit always do some really good value sets and this year's 'Pucker Up and Party' set is no exception. It contains full sizes of Posiebalm and Benebalm and mini sizes of Posie Tint and Bene Tint. The Posiebalm and Bene Balm are £14.50 each so £19.50 for two of them plus two minis is a bargain! You can fins it via Debanhams here or from other Benefit stockists.

4. I love Soap and Glory as a brand and my absolute favourite scent is the 'Sugar Crush' line, I kid you not when I say that I love the smell so much that I sometimes have to have a sneaky sniff of the products in my bathroom when I'm not actually using them. The lime scent is just so fresh and zingy and really wakes you up in the shower! I'd therefore recommend the Soap and Glory 'The Zest a Girl Can Get' set, which is £16 here but is part of the Boots 3 for 2 offer.

5. There is a definite trend for cracker style gifts this year and this is one of Boots' offerings. The 6 cracker set contains 3 No 7 BB lips and 3 No 7 nail polishes. You could give this as a whole gift or split them up for little stocking fillers. You can find it for £16 here but it is again part of the 3 for 2.

6. I think make up brushes make a great gift for either someone who already likes make up or for someone who is just starting out with it. Real Techniques are are good quality for the price and this Core Collection Kit is under £15 via Amazon here.

7. I bought myself one of these Champneys Bubble Heaven sets half price after Christmas last year and I must say that they feel very luxurious so they are a good choice for someone who likes bubble baths. They are very thick and come in a pot that you have to scoop a bit out of. You get 3 in the set for £16 here.

8. I think the Sanctuary Sumptuously Soft Slippers set is brilliant value for £16 here considering that you get a pair of spa style slippers and a full size body wash and body lotion (together worth £11). In effect you're getting a pair of slippers and it nicely gift boxed for £5, not to mention that this is again part of the 3 or 2.

9. I love Urban Decay as a brand and I'd love to try their lip glosses so I would be a very happy girl if I received this lip gloss set for Christmas! It contains two travel sized glosses in a nude and a brighter pink,. I like travel size lip glosses because they're something that do go off pretty quickly and I rarely get through a full size. The set is £17 here.

10. Finally is this Clinique 'Whole Lotta Chubby' set, which contains 5 travel sizes of their chubby stick products for lips, eyes and cheeks. I love the original chubby stick lip balms and receiving this as a gift would be a lovely way to be able to try a few products and different lip shades. It's £25 via Boots here or via other Clinique stockists.

Are there any other beauty gifts in this price range that you like the look of or have bought for someone?

Em x