31 July 2013

New Look Shoe Wishlist

There's a few things I have always had a habit to collect. Beautiful tea cups and mugs, anything owl or shark related, books, lots and lots of books, and shoes. I've never been one to buy into the latest fashion trends so my wardrobe isn't anywhere near that of a fashion adorer, and I have a few staple bags but three bags tops is enough for me. But shoes? I have pair, after pair, after pair... But I never wear them! I'll be honest, for a girl of my size wearing pencil heels can be very, very painful. So I just stopped. But now that I have started on a healthy lifestyle and eating plan (Weight Watchers, as discussed in my post 'The Fat Girl Takes the Plunge #2'), I'm kind of excited to be able to wear heels again without them hurting so much! I love any kind of shoes, but my favourite and styles which I am a complete sucker for, are wedges and pencil heels with platform soles. I only ever really turn to New Look for footwear - They have a fab, fab, fab wide fit range which caters for my horrible wide feet! I think New Look have a great variety from flats, to boots, to wedges and high heel shoes. There's always a style, shape or colour to suit everyone! And as you do, late at night, I started doing some online window shopping.... I really love these limited edition light brown high vamp suede platform chunky heels (woah New Look, that's a long name for a pair of shoes!) They're also available in black and to be honest, at a steal price of £24.99, you could easily get them both. I love, love, love Ironfist. In fact, if there's one 'fashion' brand I do completely fall weak at the knees for, it's Ironfist. I didn't even realise that New Look sold Ironfist, as I've never seen them in store. But low and behold, these purple pair of aubergine faux seude 'Sugar Hic' platform shoes have taunted me for days, but at £45 (and that's a sale price from an original £64.99, ouch!) these will have to stay on my lust-list. The final pair of heels I am lusting after from New Look are these gorgeous monochrome colour block bow court shoes. I think a good pair of heels can do wonders and if you find a pair which goes so easily with so many different outfits, as well as occasions, you're on to a winner! These are just £27.99 and I am seriously tempted. I'm actually off in to town tonight, I wonder if I'll come back with a New Look bag.... Are you lusting after new shoes? Are you a shoe hoarder like me? Let me know!

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*This is a collaboration post written by myself and the shoes were picked by me, who now has serious shoe lust!
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30 July 2013

Maybelline Babylips - New to UK

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A product I always lusted after, probably more than any other product we can't get here in the UK, is the Maybelline Babylips. From the bright, colourful packaging, to variety in 'flavours', some being clear balms, others leaving a pretty, subtle tint, I was lusting after these bad! I was lucky to try a Maybelline Babylips Cherry when my lovely friend Amiiee who runs It's Amiieeism brought me one back from America, with a whole load of other goodies that I shared in my post 'Sometimes, you make a friend.' Cherry became a firm favourite lip balm pretty much straight away, but the fact we were yet to get the range in the UK, I had to ration the one and only Babylips that I had. It was only a month or so ago that I even found out Babylips were coming to the UK. I was on the Boots website, doing some cheeky online shopping, when I noticed a Babylips coming soon sign on the Maybelline page. I got pretty damn excited - I've wanted Maybelline to add Babylips to their UK line for around two years now! I quickly popped my email address into the 'notify me when in stock' box and patiently awaited the email to tell me they had hit the UK.

It was a good month or so before they were released after submitting my email, but as soon as they were I couldn't resist and I ordered all six. I know, I know. The last thing I need is another lip balm, I have dozens! But I just couldn't resist. I know from having Cherry already (which yes, I did repurchase!) that I really like Babylips. Cherry has a sheer red tint and smells as you'd guess, like cherries. It is the perfect option when I don't want a full lipstick, nor a liquid tint, balm or liquid lipstick/gloss. I can pop Cherry on, get a tiny hint of colour, but with the full benefits of a lip balm. Moisturising, softening, hydrating, all whilst smelling divine too. I also really like the packaging for Babylips. I'll admit I am not as keen on their current US neon themed Babylips, but the original ones have funky, fun and colourful packaging that I really like. I was worried when they came over here, that they might be quite expensive. I was pleasantly surprised to see they are actually super purse-friendly at £2.99 each. Plus, when I ordered mine there was a 3 for 2 offer, so I got all six for the price of four. Each one has a different scent and/or aim. There's Mint Fresh; with purple and lime green packaging, it's a clear balm which has a cool minty fresh scent. Peach Kiss; in yellow and peach packing, another clear balm which has a scent of sweet peach. Intense Care; with blue and orange packaging this is the final clear balm in the range and has barely any scent, if any at all, I'm pretty sure it's scentless. The palest tinted Babylips which gives off a very pale nude sheen is Hydrated, which has purple and pink packaging and smells of strawberries (think more strawberry sweets than fresh strawberries) The pink tinted Babylips is in pink and yellow packaging called Pink Punch and has a subtle scent of fruit punch. Finally there's Cherry, in orange and red packaging and a true scent of cherries, this leaves a subtle, sheer red tint. Personally, I love them. I store mine in an old NEOM travel candle, sat on my dresser, and they just look bright and cheerful and I'm reaching for them non stop. Love, love, love. And luckily, they're still 3 for 2 on Boots! I'm not sure on the release date for stores yet, I ordered mine online and collected them in store. But I've not actually seen them sold in store yet! If you decide to give them a go, or already have, I'd love to hear what you think to them! 

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28 July 2013

Products not worth the hype # 2

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Last month I did a 'Products I Regret Buying' post. I decided to do another one as the feedback was so great and it was actually fun writing about all the products I wish I hadn't spent my money on! But I've decided to change the title of these posts to 'Products not worth the hype', as I just think it sounds a bit better. But this is definitely a post of products I regret trying out for size. First up, MAC Fix+. This was a product I had been on and off with wanting to buy for around two years. I wanted to try it because of everyone else saying it was amazing, but the scent of it whenever I tried it in store, wasn't to my taste. Eventually after deciding I'd been curious about this product long enough, I decided to buy it. I wish I had listened to my gut instinct, this is a product I massively regret buying. It wasn't really over priced, I think the amount of product for the price is great and I like the packaging and design of the bottle and spritzer. But I can't abide the smell! It's like a musty cucumber scent. Then there's the fact that it doesn't feel nice like my water sprays do, it feels sticky and heavy and pretty uncomfortable on my skin.  It's meant to work as a makeup refresher spray as well as a makeup setting spray, and for me I'm afraid it does neither. I keep trying it, trying to persuade myself into liking it, but it's just not happening! (MAC, £14.50) Next up is another MAC product (let's get them both out of the way now, shall we!) and one which was my first dabble into this specific product type from MAC. Let's Skate Paint Pot from MAC is a gorgeous pale sheer baby pink with opalescent shimmer and fine glitter running throughout. It has flecks of rose, pink and yellow golden shades and it is absolutely beautiful. But I can't for the life of me get it to work for me! It just creases really easily and it doesn't apply well either. (MAC, £15)

Next up a product I've had hanging around for a year now, and I finally decided to try it after hearing from others that it's one of the best skincare products you could ever use. That's more than enough reason to get me interested in a product, so I started trying it every night. BioEffect EGF Serum, which was one of the products in my Selfridge's Beauty Box, is a very, very expensive serum. You would think from the price that it was a miracle worker and I didn't for a second think I wouldn't get on with it. But I genuinely did not see any benefits from using this serum, which feels very greasy and oily on the skin, at all over a five week period. I was actually really disappointed, the reviews and claims for this product were pretty much hailing it as the best skincare product ever.... (Selfridge's, £125

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Next up, a product that everyone and their mum seems to be in love with at the moment, the Palmer's Natural Bronze Body Lotion*. I actually received this in the goody bag from the #LDNBloggerParty and when I saw it I was so excited to try it. I've seen everyone reviewing it, claiming it's the best gradual tanner from the high-street. I love anything that can give me a healthy, golden tan and so I was super eager to give it a go. But I was let down when I found that just like all other gradual tanners I have tried, it just left me looking orange! I find high-street gradual tanners really have an orange look to them and that's not my personal preference! I think I'll stick to my ever faithful self tanners instead. (Boots, £5.35) Moving onto more makeup, I am so disappointed by the Rimmel ScandalEyes 23 Hour Waterproof Eyeshadow Sticks. I bought two shades; Bad Girl Bronze, which is a really gorgeous chocolate brown with pink and gold shimmer to it and Bulletproof Beige, which is a pale golden beige. So many YouTubers have raved about these eyeshadow sticks, I've watched many tutorials where they have been used and they seem popular albeit with a small shade range. But on my oily lids, these just don't stay. Even with a primer they are creasing within a couple of hours. The shades are really beautiful, I just wish the formula wasn't so creamy as for me, they're just really unwearable. (Boots, £4.49)

And last but not least, a product which has been very popular among bloggers and beauty adorers for a couple of years now, Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. I wanted this for absolutely ages but I always felt the price was steep when my O.P.I topcoat does the job perfectly. But then I read a blog post about bargain beauty buys and there was a seller on Amazon selling Seche Vite for just £5.49, bargain! So I decided to give it a go. I am genuinely disappointed that this product didn't work for me - I think it's been so hyped up that I really did think this was going to be an amazing, revolutionary top coat for me. I had expectations so high due to positive (absolute rave, actually) reviews, but it just isn't all it's cracked up to be. It definitely makes my nails look super glossy and it dries as quick as everyone says. But it chips. And when it chips, it takes my nail polish with it. I am really lucky to have strong nails which usually, take to polish so well that I can wear a polish for almost two weeks without any chipping. But with Seche Vite? I've had to change my nail colour four times in the past ten days alone! I know it's definitely Seche Vite which has made my nails chip, as I've tried it with four brands, three of which never, ever chip on me and which I have relied on for years. I'll keep using it for the glossy finish it gives to my nails, but this is one top coat I'm not going to be repurchasing. (Amazon, £5.49) Have any products disappointed you lately?

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*This post contains a product which was included in a goody bag at an event. All views are 100% honest and my own.

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27 July 2013

Five Mini NARS Reviews

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A couple of month's ago I popped along to my local Space NK in Nottingham, where I had booked in to have my makeup done by a prestigious NARS makeup artist. I actually found out about it a few weeks before, after popping in store to check out the NARS lip pencils, which I adore. Whilst I was swatching away, the lovely staff let me know all about the NARS makeovers, which cost a deposit of £15, which was then redeemable against any NARS products on the day. On the day of my makeover I actually bought two NARS products. One I had been lusting after for a while; Casino Bronzer, and one which I wanted to try for myself after it was used on me during my make over; the Light Reflecting Powder. As I made my purchases, excited to go home and try them out (but with a purse a lot lighter than it was used to) I was given a little gift bag of complimentary NARS samples to try, which came with the makeover. I didn't know they did this at NARS makeovers, so I was overwhelmed when I got home and found some amazing products, all in adorable mini sizes, ready for me to try. NARS is a favourite brand of mine, I love the products I have for them and I would love to try more from them. But they are a very high-end brand and for me, it's not really realistic to splurge on a brand like NARS. So to get to try all of these samples, some of which were products I already really wanted to try, was lovely. The only downside? I now want to buy some of them in full size! 

The first thing which really excited me, was a mini (but pretty much almost full size and a whole lot of product!) Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in a beautiful sheer golden pink shade called New Lover. I have a couple of the NARS Lip Pencils; a satin lip pencil and a matte lip pencil. I am a big fan. If I could afford it, I'd buy the majority of shades! So to try a different finish lip pencil has been lovely and I really like this for day time looks, where I'm opting for a toned down makeup look and don't want a full on opaque lip colour, but I still want my lips to look healthy, plump and pink. The next time which caught my eye was a mini Orgasm Blush. If you haven't heard of this blusher before, you can only have been hiding on a dessert island; it is quite possibly the most raved, hyped up and adored blusher I have ever found in reviews, both on blogs and YouTube. I'd swatched it in store many, many times before, but it never made me want to splurge and buy it. I think it's a nice colour, but the formula isn't quite how I like my powder blushes and I feel you have to work to get any true colour pay-off. But perhaps it's just because my skin is naturally olive so needs something with a bit more oomph. There was also a mini Tinted Moisturiser and a mini Orgasm Illuminator. Unfortunately, the Orgasm Illuminator isn't a product I took too just like it's powder partner. It's nice, but for someone like me who has oily skin, I think liquid illuminators have to be the exact right consistency, or else they just disappear throughout the day. This has a super thin consistency, which just doesn't show up on my skin much and definitely doesn't last. The Tinted Moisturiser on the other hand has been lovely to try out. It has a super light-weight consistency, is sheer but buildable, and leaves my skin looking natural, but imperfection free. I'm quite tempted to pick this up in the full size.... The final mini product in the bag was the NARS Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. I don't know why, but I really wanted to like this eye makeup remover. I think it's because at the time, my favourite, holy grail eye makeup remover; the Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover, was coming to an end so part of me wanted the NARS one to be better, so I could try a new product out. This is a very lovely eye makeup remover, but as the name suggests - it's gentle. If you wear a powerful gel or liquid liner like I do, and blackest black mascaras (quite a few coats, too!) then an eye makeup remover this gentle just doesn't do the job. I always found myself reaching for my Clarins eye makeup remover after using the NARS one, because the NARS one just couldn't shift my liner and mascara! So some of the mini products I really liked, some not so much and I could live without. I definitely want to invest in more lip pencils from NARS, and maybe the tinted moisturiser; but I haven't been won over by the Orgasm Illuminator, Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover and Orgasm Blush.

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26 July 2013

Bedtime Essentials and Holy Grails

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Posts at the moment all seem to be orientated to summer time and bright colours and makeup which reflects the lovely hot days we've been having. But some of my favourite products right now aren't bright lipsticks and summer shadows, it's skincare. Specifically, the products I reach for each and every night, which have been firm staples in my night time routine for quite a long time. Skincare is a passion of mine, and everyone goes on and on in the autumn and winter about how even more important it is to look after your skin. But personally? I think it's even more important in the summer, for my skin at least. In the summer my skin goes through far more than autumn or winter. The heat leaves me constantly looking puffy faced, sweating doesn't help, which stresses out my skin and all the air conditioning and differences in temperature really play havoc with my skin. In the warmer months my skin becomes drier, it's harder to control my naturally oily skin and I'm more likely to get the odd blemish or spot. None of these are things I enjoy happening to my skin, but there's a few products which save my skin, which protect and nourish my skin, keeping it hydrated, soft, smooth and extra supple. To me, skincare is more important than makeup when it's as hot as it has been this summer, I'm sure I'm not the only one. 

I've mentioned a few of these products before, so I'll give you a quick run down. But you can check out each of the reviews individually if you want a more in-depth review and feel for the products. The first thing I reach for after cleansing and toning, is my Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye. I genuinely don't think I will ever turn to another brand for a night time eye cream, because this truly is a heavenly product. As soon as I apply this to my delicate eye area, the skin instantly feels soothed, cooled and pampered. I don't know about anyone else but after a long day, my eyes can really show my tiredness. Midnight Recovery Eye, which has butcher's broom, squalane, evening primrose and lavender as it's star ingredients, works absolute wonders on my delicate under eye skin, leaving me with awake, bright and supple eyes in the morning. It's pricey - but I will always repurchase this. Best night time eye cream, ever! (Kiehl's, £24.50) Following my eye cream I turn to serums and one I have been using continuously for a while now, only occasionally stopping use to try other serums, has been, well a complete revelation for me where serums are concerned! The Nuxe 'Nuxellence Jeunesse' Youth and Radiance Fluid* is the loveliest serum I ever did try, and I am besotted. Firstly, the consistency; it's not greasy, it's very light weight and it feels cool and soothing when applied to my skin. A very pale golden pink cream, it has a beautiful fresh floral scent which is really lovely (seriously, go have a sniff next time you're in Space NK!) Once massaged in, it leaves my skin feeling cooled, very hydrated and soft. Overnight my skin completely soaks the serum up and my skin is looking plump, supple and brighter in the morning. I cannot recommend this serum enough, it's utterly surprised me in the best way. (Nuxe*, £46)

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The next thing I always reach for, and another product I know I could never be without, is the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate*. This is the perfect partner in beauty with the Midnight Recovery Eye and is the best oil I have ever tried. Whenever I am asked which oil I would recommend, I always recommend this oil. No other oils I have tried, both high-street and high-end, have ever come close to this oil. Amazing, and a necessary for every skincare addict! With ingredients of evening primrose oil, squalane, omega-6 fatty acids, as well as lavender essential oils, this oil is the best of the best you can get with oils. With a true lavender scent which isn't overpowering; it has a gorgeous aromatherapy twist to it, this is an every day staple. I pop a few drops on my fingertips and tap and pat the oil into my skin. The differences from even my very first use of this product, were miraculous  and I can always see how much it truly does transform and benefit my skin if I ever miss a night. Plus the soothing scent of lavender essential oils gets me ready and prepped for a peaceful night's sleep, making me feel instantly relaxed. Midnight Recovery Concentrate is to me what Hydraluron is to everyone else! (Kiehl's*, £36)

Next up, night cream. I like a really hydrating night cream. I might have oily skin, but when I don't understand my skins needs and give it the hydration it craves, my oil is harder to control. In all the areas I have oil problems, my skin is dry and has an uneven texture; this shows my skin produces oil to try and compensate for the dry skin, and I need a night cream which will hydrate, whilst soothing and nourishing. For me the perfect night cream is the Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream. This has been a favourite for me for well over a year now and it's one I've kept quite quiet about. I love it, I really do, but I don't love it because it's a miraculous miracle worker cream in a pot. It doesn't do anything extraordinary, it doesn't make promises to make me look younger or more radiant. But it makes my skin feel like I want my skin to feel naturally. It keeps my skin soft, smooth, it leaves my skin feeling how normal skin would feel. When I don't use this, I wake up without the soft and supple skin we all lust after, but when I do? My skin just feels so utterly lovely. I don't know how else to describe it. It does the job my skin can't do itself. It's a simple product, with stunning results. (Feel Unique, £32.90Antipodes is a brand I often mention here on the blog, some of their products are firm favourites for me, particularly the Antipodes Organic Avocado and Rosehip Divine Facial Oil.

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To give my lips an overnight pamper, keeping them soft and youthful looking (yes, I like the youthful ploy where my lips are concerned, makes lipsticks look more fab!), I reach for the Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm. It has been months since I have reached for any other lip balm at night, because this one never fails me. It has a gorgeous scent, feels soft and weightless on my lips, almost like silk, with no slipping and sliding. My lips love it, and it's lasting far longer than I expected. But at the minute I'm having to ration it, as I am not sure I can justify the pennies to repurchase it. (Selfridge's, £32) Once that's applied and nicely sinking in, I reach for my faithful and favourite hand cream, Antipodes Joyful Hand and Body Cream. This just leaves my hands feeling like silk and smelling absolutely heavenly, so I always like to pop it on before bed. I'm still hoping that one day Antipodes make the scent of Joyful into a fragrance! (Feel Unique, £24.90)

Just before I pop in bed with my old faithful blogging book and colourful pens to make some notes, I make my room smell like heaven. I have always found it quite difficult to fall asleep and sometimes it can take me hours to fall asleep even if I go to bed super early. My mind doesn't stop and so I love anything that makes me relax a little as well as letting the rest of my body slow down a little ready for a blissful nights sleep ahead. And so, I have fallen head over beauty sleep heels in lust with the Sranrom Urban Wellness Sleep Tight Room and Body Mist*. The Urban Wellness range is made with the idea of making products which take away the anxiety, tiredness and tense feelings a long, busy day can often make us feel. The Slight Tight Aromatherapy Mist is cruelty free and has star ingredients of white champaca (a favourite scent of mine!) as well as ylang ylang, which together create a soothing scent. A few spritzes of this around my room before I get in bed and I feel calmed, soothed and find myself easily falling into a peaceful sleep. (Sranrom*, £18) So those are my most reached for bedtime essentials and holy grails. All of these products are products I really couldn't imagine my routine without. I'd love to hear what your bedtime favourites are!

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*This post contains a PR sample, but my views are 100% honest and my own!
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25 July 2013

Smooch Eyeshadow Duos and Blush


I've shared my thoughts on Smooch quite a few times here on the blog and it was the Smooch Gold Rush eyeshadow duo which made me tone down my makeup a little bit this Summer, opting for more natural, golden and subtle looks. The packaging of Smooch products is often compared to NARS and some of their eyeshadows are pretty close dupes for the duos available from NARS. I wouldn't go so far as to say the quality was as good quality wise as NARS, but for a high-street (mainly available online) brand, their products are definitely worth looking into and giving a go. I've been trying out two of their eyeshadow duos and a blusher over the past couple of months (I know, this review is well overdue!) and let's just say, I'm still a big fan of Smooch and their affordable, very wearable and easy to use products.

There are 18 eyeshadow duos available from Smooch, all with some super pretty shade combinations. I have been trying out Posh Tottie* and Needed*. Posh Tottie has two beautiful girly and playful shades; a shimmery baby pink and a subtle lavender shade. I will admit that the quality of these two shades doesn't seem up to scratch of those in Needed or Gold Rush; I've found they don't last as long throughout the day and they are prone to creasing as well as needed a bit of effort to apply as the colour pay off seems to be missing. But if you aren't out all day and want a pretty look for say a lunch out with friends or an evening out, then they work wonderfully. Just remember to use a good primer! The two shades go so well together and this is something I find runs throughout the Smooch range; shades aren't just put together for the sake of making a duo, the shades compliment each other and work well together. Needed is far more like the quality I am used to with Smooch eyeshadows. The pigmentation for Needed is far better, with a beautiful almost silver, shimmery pale shade and a shade so close to true denim, that works fantastically in the crease. I find these super easy to blend, too, making well put-together eye looks easy as pie! (Smooch*, £9.50 per duo)


A product I think Smooch is really fantastic for, is their blushes. They don't have the biggest range, with just five blushes currently available, but the shades in the range are very versatile. One thing that makes up for lack of shades is the formula and shades of their blushes. Glamour Puss* is a perfect dolly pink that has that touch of warmth to it which I usually find lacking in other brands. It has a super soft, creamy almost buttery soft formula and I don't experience any fall out when using this blush. I love this particular shade because not only is it great for finishing off a look now, in the wonderfully hot summer we are getting, but I think it's a shade which will be just as wearable in the colder months, because of that warmth and depth to it. A little goes a long way with Smooch blushes - they are super pigmented and you need to blend, but with a good blusher brush that are super easy to blend. If you are looking for any blush brushes, check out my recent post on my Favourite Cheek Brushes, as there's a couple of beauties in there which I love using with this blush! The Smooch blushes are, I feel, more wearable by a wider variety of people. There's a shade to compliment any skin tone and you can easily apply a little heavier for more impact if you are a darker beauty, or even if you just like that wow factor with your blush! (Smooch*, £8.50) If you fancy trying any of these out, or any other products from Smooch, then it's worth noting their website currently has a fab offer. When you spend £10 or more, you will receive a free mascara! If you've tried Smooch before I'd love to hear your thoughts, what is your favourite product from them, is there anything you want to try? Let me know!


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*This post contains a PR sample, but my views are 100% honest and my own!
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21 July 2013

The perfect way to try Macadamia

A picture of the Macadamia Luxe Travel Bag

Looking after my hair is just as important to me as looking after my skin. I really do believe that the condition and look of your hair can either make or break a look and there's been more than enough times when despite how happy I've been with my makeup, if my hair hasn't been right I just feel like it brings my whole look down. Thankfully my hair is in pretty good condition. As a hair stylist by trade I know how best to look after my hair and there's a few specific products and some particular brands which play a massive part in me looking after my hair and getting it the way I'd like. Macadamia is one of those brands which is highly praised in the beauty world and their products always receive rave reviews. Personally, Macadamia is a brand which I have found keeps my hair amazingly healthy, but whose products I don't have to use everyday. I have very fine hair which is naturally oily, and as Macadamia products are tailored towards making your hair softer, healthier, restoring healthy and natural shine to your way and particularly good for damaged hair, I just find I don't need to use all Macadamia products, all of the time. There are a few I reach for more than others; some I use once a week and others every other day. Macadamia is a high-end hair brand, although I think it's fair to say their products are not as high-end as some hair care can get and if you think about how long it takes you to use up a hair care product, I think Macadamia fit into that affordable bracket for most. Today I am going to give you the run down on all the products which feature in the Macadamia Luxe Travel Bag* (Fabriah*, £39.95) Such a fantastic little kit, I think this is a fab way to try Macadamia, see which products you like the most and which you might want to invest in. If you're anything like me, you'll fall in love with each and every product! This is also the perfect sized set for those of you who are always on the go, travelling, weekends away; all the products are the perfect travel friendly sizes. If you've been wanting to try Macadamia but weren't sure whether they were worth the splurge, a kit like this is the perfect way to try a few products before committing to a full size. 

The Luxe Travel Bag contains six products in total. Five actual Macadamia hair care products and a Macadamia 'Oil Infused' Comb. The comb, which is perfect for detangling and especially for more curly hair, uses a specially formulated resin which is meant to infuse the comb with the Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment, evenly distributing Macadamia and Argan oil as you comb through your hair. Now, personally, to me this is just a comb. I'm not sure I buy into the special resin... but it definitely works great as a detangling comb and is handy for popping in your bag. The good thing about having this in the set is that it is more of a permanent product; it's not a hair care product which is going to run out, and let's face it, who doesn't find having spare combs around handy?! The other products within the set are the infamous Healing Oil Treatment (30ml) and Deep Repair Masque (100ml), as well as the Rejuvenating Shampoo (60ml), Moisturising Rinse (60ml) and the Nourishing Leave-In Cream (60ml) 

A picture of the Macadamia Luxe Travel Bag

Let's start with products used when washing our hair, shall we? The Rejuvenating Shampoo is sulfate and paraben free and is suitable for even the most chemically damaged hair. It works to gently cleanse your hair, replenishing dry and damaged hair and helping to build your hairs natural protection against harmful environmental elements and pollutants. Everything clings to our hair, so a shampoo which works to cleanse my hair as well as restoring and protecting my hair is important to me. This shampoo isn't too thick in consistency, which I am sure any fine-haired boys and girls out there will agree with me that thick shampoos do nothing for fine hair! It doesn't feel heavy on my hair as I use it and it lathers well, although not as much as my more high-street products (It's worth noting, lather isn't a positive sign in a product and sometimes, depending on ingredients, it's just like foamy skincare products - they can be damaging to your hair!) Just from using the shampoo my hair is left feeling so, so soft and smooth and just utterly revived. Following up with the Moisturising Rinse, I use this as I do all of my conditioners. I evenly distribute it through my mid-lengths to ends avoiding my roots; this helps keep my hairs natural oil at bay a little bit longer than if I applied the product to my root area. Once on, I will leave for 5-10 minutes to get to work whilst I do all the other things you do in the shower. Paraben and SLS free, it's infused with the instantly recognisable Macadamia signature 'fragrance' and can be used daily, or every few days as I opt for, to leave your hair soft, silky, easier to manage and easier to style and maintain. This for me works much like the Deep Repair Masque. It leaves my hair feeling exceptionally soft, healthy and leaves a really lovely, healthy looking shine. The way in which the Deep Repair Masque differs is that it is a far more penetrating, intense conditioning treatment than the more everyday use conditioner, Moisturising Rinse. Moisturising Rinse is a quick fix on a day to day basis whereas the Deep Repair Masque, particularly if you have heat damaged or colour damaged hair, works more on a long term basis to really restore your hair back to health. I've reviewed this in full before and I really do love this hair masque, but it is worth noting I don't think it would do much if your hair is not damaged - it is a repairing masque, if you don't have anything to repair, you won't see many benefits from using it. But that said, the scent alone is a good enough reason for me to pop this on every Sunday when I am having a pamper! With a paraben free formula and ingredients such as tea tree leaf oil chamomile oil, aloe and algae extract which all work together to create a truly deeply penetrating, long-lasting treatment which nourishes, conditions, reconstructs damaged hair and improves elasticity and shine.

Macadamia's star products for me are the ever raved about Treatment Oil and one which is new to me from this kit, but which I have become absolutely besotted with; the Nourishing Leave-In Cream. The Nourishing Leave-In Cream is a 'texturising conditioner' that works to tame even the most damaged and difficult to manage hair. I use this as I would any leave in product; I apply a 20p sized amount evenly throughout my hair and either leave to dry naturally or blow dry on a low heat. I find when I do opt to blow dry, this products does make a noticeable difference to how my hair feels after blowing, in a really positive way. It is so easy to cause heat damage to your hair, and for someone who regularly blow dries and straightens, as well as often curling my hair, a product which prevents that damage is a massive plus for me. A benefit of this product is the fact that it also has built in UV protection, which has been said to extend the life of colour treated hair. The Healing Oil Treatment is such a popular Macadamia product, it was the first Macadamia product I was ever made aware of due to the never-ending positive reviews and it is also one of my favourite hair oils. Containing a therapeutic blend of oils, it's suitable for all hair types although most beneficial for damaged hair. It is an intense oil treatment which works to tame hair and tackle frizz, leaving hair smooth, sleek and easier to manage, with a healthy shine. Like the leave-in cream it contains natural UV protection which is great for colour treated hair, and Macadamia also advertise this hair oil as being able to reduce the time of blow drying by 40-50%. I apply a teeny, tiny amount (like with facial oils - hair oils go a long, long way; less is more!) throughout my hair and either leave to dry naturally, in which case it helps bring my natural curls to life, or blow dry. If using on dry hair I will just apply a tiny amount to my ends, which really works to smooth my ends and make them look and feel as if they have been freshly cut! Again, like with the Moisturising Rinse and also the Deep Repair Masque and Nourishing Leave-In Cream, I apply this only to my mid-lengths to ends avoiding the root area. It is undeniable that my hair has benefited from using Macadamia products and they are a brand I would happily recommend. My favourite products from this particular set are the Healing Oil Treatment and Nourishing Leave-In Cream.

A picture of the Macadamia Luxe Travel Bag

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*This post contains some PR samples which were kindly sent to me for review. All opinions are completely my own and 100% honest!
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20 July 2013

Featured Blogger of the Month | Lilmisschickas

Each month I really enjoy sharing my Featured Blogger of the Month with you and this month I am even more excited! Lilmisschickas was one of the very first blogs I followed, the first blog to introduce me to Liz Earle, a brand I now adore, and a blog I can always rely on for detailed reviews. As well as her blog, Charlotte also has a YouTube channel and she is one of my favourite beauty YouTubers to watch with detailed reviews and Charlotte's bubbly, funny and down to earth personality always shines through leaving me left in giggles. Most of all, through following Lilmisschickas and chatting over on Twitter, I have become good friends with Charlotte and have met her a few times at the different meetups and events I have organised. I hope you will enjoy finding out more about Charlotte and Lilmisschickas!
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Hello everybody :) My name is Charlotte and I blog over at lilmisschickas.com. So you may be wondering where the name lilmisschickas comes from? In short it was my AOL username back when I was 11 (because nobody likes numbers in a username) and since then, it’s just kind of stuck! A little about me; I’m an honest, passionate person that looks for the good in people (and products) and has a thirst for life and learning.

So what is lilmisschickas, or LMC as it is affectionately known in the wonderful world of 140 characters? Lilmisschickas is the space on the internet where I can bring all my interests to life including beauty, lifestyle and of course Disney. Ah yes let’s have a little chat about Disney. I know a lot of people out there love Disney and I’m not going to say that I love it more than anybody else but it’s definitely one of my favourite topics to talk about. If you are planning a trip to Disney World or just love reading about it or watching Disney vlogs then you may want to stop by and check out my Disney Series from my trip in June 2013.

But I guess the main topic of conversation on my blog is beauty. That’s the reason I started my blog as I love that there is a whole community of people who are like-minded and won’t roll their eyes as I’m gushing about yet another Mac lipstick (boyfriend I’m looking at you!) I never thought so many people would enjoy reading my blog and valuing my opinion and for that I thank them!

I also have a YouTube channel which I am extremely passionate about. I feel like my YouTube channel is an extension of my blog and allows people to see more about my life and how it influences my choices (of beauty products and holidays anyway!) I never thought I’d be comfortable in front of a camera but now I look forward to the days that I film and I love showing my latest finds to all the lovely people that watch my videos.

So a big thank you to Sophia for featuring me and allowing me to introduce myself to all her readers and I hope that you’ll stop by and say hello :) xxx
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Thank you Charlotte for being my July Featured Blogger of the Month! You can find Charlotte over at Lilmisschickas as well as over on Twitter @lilmisschickas and on YouTube.

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The Evolution of Festivals

Skunk Anansie live at Download festival, 2012, main stage.
[Edited by me]

I am not usually the one to pay attention to infographics when they land in my email inbox, but one which was recently sent over caught my eye. If you've followed my blog for a while you will know I am a regular festival goer. I have been going to Download festival for quite a few years now and I was also a regular at Sonisphere festival, which unfortunately had to cease in the UK (although still a hugely popular European festival!) And hey if you really want to go back in time, me and my brothers and dad used to go to The Americana  a Country, Western, Rock & Roll and Jive festival over in Newark when I was little. I loved the Americana because it tied in some of my favourite eras and there are 1950's car shows and Harley Davidson bike shows, it's pretty darn fun. Anyway, I'm rambling! 

New Look have put together a really fantastic infographic which is all about the history of music and fashion at festivals. Of course, festivals are just the same as anything else in regards to music and fashion - it's biggest selling point changes year in and year out. Music is very much like fashion, it's ever changing, always someone new to listen out for and someone else you want to catch live, just the same as the trends change each season, we want to get out hands on the latest fashion trends every season to make sure we're still on trend. The infographic itself is a little bit too big for my little old blog, but if you fancy taking a peek at the infographic yourself, you can do so here. I found it really interesting, to see the different genres of music which were most popular at different times for festivals and how that reflected in the fashion trends. 

If you think fashion and music has changed over the time you've been going to festivals, I'd love to hear how and why you think it's changed or what your favourite trend has been at a festival so far. Because I predominately go to metal festivals, the last thing you see is anyone worried about fashion trends but more so who can wear the most impressive band t-shirt! What's it like at other festivals? Which festivals have you been to? Let me know!  

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*I never usually post or link to infographics, but as a regular festival goer this one just really caught my eye and I wanted to share it! The infographic was created by the New Look team and is available for anyone to view on their website.
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19 July 2013

Five Mini Skincare Reviews


It's been a while since I did a mini reviews post and there's a lot of products I have been really enjoying lately which are either travel sizes or generally small products, that I wanted to share my thoughts with you on. First up is a beauty bargain I found in TKMaxx recently. The Murad Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector was snapped up for just a couple of pounds, although it costs £13 to buy from anywhere else. An anti-oxidant rich lip protector, it works to restore moisture to your lips, keeping them hydrated and looking and feeling supple. It contains salicylic acid which exfoliates and retextures dry, tired lips, reviving them and making them soft and perfectly ready for lipstick application. There's also shea butter and jojoba esters which are popular ingredients for hydrating the skin and of course, pomegranate extract which along with the SPF works to keep your lips protected from sun damage and free radicals! This has been a favourite lip salve for me over these warmer weeks because it isn't thick or sticky, in fact quite thin in consistency, and it really works. It keeps my lips smooth in the heat where usually they would be dry and sore. (Murad, £13

I was given a little sample of Origins Checks and Balances after my first Origins Facial and I have been using it ever since. It's on it's very last legs right now, with just a couple of more uses left in it. I definitely plan to replace this face wash, but once I have finished up the other face washes I have. This is one of my most favourite face washes to use, and trust me, I've tried a few! Checks and Balances is a frothy face wash aimed at combination skin (I have combination/oily skin) which is a light cream consistency. With broadleaf kelp which helps to break down dirt, reduce excess oil and revitalises your complexion. It doesn't leave my skin feeling dry or tight, it's a frothy face wash but not to be confused with a foam face wash (which can be bad for your skin and exceptionally drying!) It works to clean the skin, remove impurities, brighten the complexion all whilst relieving dry and oily areas, being a balancing face wash that's gentle on the skin, but effective. (Origins, 150ml, £18)


I was sent the Balance Me Extra Care Radiance Face Oil* in an adorable little Easter present from the wonderful team over at Balance Me. At the time I was very happy with the oils I was using (and I still am - facial oil addict!) so it wasn't until recently that I decided to give it a go. Radiance Face Oil has a whole host of exotic sounding natural ingredients including amazonian buriti nut oil, roman chamomile, yarrow and benzoin, which work to refresh lack-lustre skin, leaving you with a brighter, clearer complexion. Suitable for all skin types, it contains a rich, replenishing blend of skin-boosting and smoothing ingredients. The scent is very natural, as with all the Balance Me product, but it's a scent I quite like. I've been finding this so, so fab to use because the roller ball means I can apply it without getting my hands messy and it's easy to apply it just in the areas I need it, such as my cheeks which can sometimes be a tad dry. A summer saviour so far! (Balance Me, 10ml £15*, 30ml, £30) Another roller ball packaged skincare product which has been a saviour in this eat and in general in the warmer weather, is the Trilogy CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate*. I've been popping this in the fridge and using it in the morning's as my morning eye cream. It has a fairly thin, liquid consistency and I find it better and lighter on my skin than my usual eye creams at the moment. Using it straight from the fridge is so refreshing and it really works to help clear up any bags or dark circles. This is the first product I had tried from Trilogy, and I've really enjoyed using it. A concentrated serum like product, it is packed with antioxidant rich botanical extracts. As you apply this with a roller ball, it helps to stimulate circulation whilst massaging the ball over your delicate under eye skin., helping to diminish the appearance of any imperfections such as dark circles or puffiness. But make sure to shake well before use! (Boots*, 7.5ml, £29.50)

REN never fail to impress me with their skincare products and the REN Satin Perfection BB Cream SPF15* has been one of my favourite products of 2013, without a doubt, particularly now that the weather is warmer and like many others, I'm opting for lighter bases. This BB cream is amazing! I was kindly sent a little REN sample size of it, but I will definitely be repurchasing because I have used this as a base above many of my other bases lately and it's just such a lovely product. It's light-weight on my skin, leaves me with a nicely dewy look that doesn't look too oily or shiny and it also works well with my naturally oily skin. I can wear this without needing to finish with powder, and chose to just touch up with powder later in the day, as it just has such a lovely finish. Completely silicone free, this BB cream has been made with colour adaptive technology. There's only one shade, which adjusts to your skin tone. I thought when I first tried this that it would be too light, but it's adapts to my skin perfectly. Although it wouldn't be suitable for the more darker skinned beauties, I think this would be wearable for most paler skin tones. (REN, 50ml, £26)


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*This post contains some PR samples which were kindly sent to me for review. All opinions are completely my own!
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