29 August 2013

A dash of Coral and a Splash of Nectar, before the summer's gone

There's no denying it. Liz Earle is one of those brands for me, which once you try them, that's it. You're hooked. And boy am I hooked on Liz Earle. Their skincare is utterly amazing, with the Skin Boost Tonic and Cleanse & Polish being quite frankly, some of the best skincare products I have ever tried. Their perfume range is stunning, with scents which have become my favourite signature scents. Then there's the makeup. I have to say it, I think Liz Earle is one of the most underrated brands where their makeup line is concerned; yet their products are amazing and some of the best quality I've tried! Next time you're near a Liz Earle stand, whether it be Boots or a department store, check out the makeup line and trust me when I say you will be impressed. Their Signature Foundation is one of the best matching, most flawless looking foundations I've ever tried, and the rest of their line is just as impressive.

The latest Liz Earle pieces to join my collection are two Healthy Glow Powder Blushes. These are incredible! The two shades I have been trialing are Coral* and Nectar*, and their shade names are perfectly matched. Coral is the most stunning coral with pink undertones, which is subtle enough to be applied lightly for a light flush of the cheeks, but with the warmth and coral that I have come to adore on warmer days. I think coral shades are extremely flattering on a variety of skin tones, but particularly more naturally olive skinned lovelies. I've definitely become besotted with this shade. Nectar is just as beautiful and I see myself reaching for it a lot now Autumn is here, as it's the perfect transition colour. A light, soft dolly pink with just enough vibrancy to give a pop of colour, I adore this on the apples of my cheeks (although slightly envious of paler skin beauties who would look amazing wearing Nectar!) The blushes themselves are some of the loveliest blushes I have used; a beautiful soft powder which is easy to blend, and no worry over fall out or picking up too much product. The colour pay off is fab and well up there with the likes of my MAC powder blushes, and the longevity is just as good - never needing to touch up that pop of colour throughout the day. I can't wait to add some more to my collection! (Liz Earle*, 6g, £16.50)

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*This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and 100% honest.

28 August 2013

August Top 5

August has been a bit of a funny month for me. I had a really, really bad experience with my first ever HD Brows at the end of July, which carried well on in to August - think a bad reaction, then treble it. My skin was horrendous on the entirety of my forehead and temples, for a good four week period. So I wasn't really able to wear makeup much for most of August, although trust me - I wish I had! I wanted nothing more than to cover up the mess created by my HD Brows, something I don't think I will ever have the courage to get again - I'll stick to my tweezers in future! Most of my Top 5 for August are therefore, not makeup related. But still products I have absolutely adored using throughout August and a few which were quite frankly, life savers, whilst I was dealing with my horrendous HD Brows reaction.

NEOM Organics Complete Bliss Moroccan Blush Rose Organic Room Mist* - I have been a little stressed throughout August. It feels as if the year is whizzing past at a speed I can't keep up with, and my bad reaction to the HD Brows left me agitated, stressed and frustrated. One product I found massively helped in relaxing me, making me feel more serene and generally in a much happier mood, is the NEOM Complete Bliss Room Mist. Each NEOM product has a treatment element to it and this particular room mist is formulated to create a 'feel good' scent which leaves you feeling uplifted and de-stressed. I have become a big fan of Moroccan Rose scents, particularly after falling in love with the scent of the REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash. This scent is just as heavenly, with traditional Moroccan rose teamed with a touch of black pepper and lime. I've been spritzing this around my room first thing in the morning's when I wake up, and just before bed. It has been a massive help in keeping me more relaxed and calm, with a beautifully sensuous scent that makes me wish this was available in perfume form, too. (NEOM*, £16)

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brigthening Toner - If you read my post on my New Skincare Favourites, it won't be a surprise to see this product in my August Top 5. Completely changing the way I see exfoliators, this is one product which was an absolute God send during my bad HD Brows reaction. It helped to calm my skin and used after the majority of my bad reaction had calmed down, it helped get my skin back to the supple, soft and plump skin I am used to. It also worked wonderfully on the worst areas affected by the bad reaction, preventing any scarring or darker pigmentation from the 40+ pusteles which decided to rent my forehead for a month. I love how gentle this is, yet still leaves my skin feeling and looking so much better. A holy grail product I would recommend to anyone - even those with super sensitive skin types. (Escentual, £25)

Clarins Eau des Jardins* - Summer is on it's way out and Autumn has well and truly begun, but I'm not yet ready to say goodbye to refreshing, Summer scents. I love the deeper, warmer, more spicy and woody scents I turn to in the Autumn and Winter, but I genuinely think this stunning Clarins scent will be used a lot in the colder months, as well as being adored over these past few, warmer weeks. The scent is truly stunning, with essential oils, plant extracts and phytotherapy benefits. Eau des Jardins has a beautiful combination of fruity and zesty scents, with wild rose, comforting wood, beach, sorbier and blackcurrant bud extracts. This isn't just any old scent; this uplifting and calming scent is a treatment which works to moisturise, soothe and soften skin all whilst leaving you smelling divine. I am a big fan - and I am definitely heading to a Clarins counter to check out the other two treatment scents in the range. I also adore the bottle, which is a gradient ruby red into calm yellows, almost like a sunset as stunning as the scent. (Escentual*, 100ml, £32)  

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II* - Even if you haven't tried it yourself, I think it's safe to say the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair is a pretty famous product - everyone has at least heard of it. Having never personally tried it myself, I was really excited to hear of the newly released Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II. I was kindly sent some to try for myself and I can see why Advanced Night Repair is so popular. Working to reduce the signs of ageing, smoothing the skin as well as hydrating it and making the skin firmer, youthful and radiant. This serum also works to even out skin tone, leave skin looking healthier, fresher and more rested as well as younger and more plump. Using innovative technology, this definitely falls into the superhero night time skincare products pot for me. Our skin works harder whilst we are asleep; this is the perfect product for giving your skin that extra added boost. I love the consistency of this; light, instantly soothing and soft. A little goes a long way and I need at most four drops for my face and neck. Suitable for all skin types (although extra sensitive types should patch test first), this is dermatologist-tested, opthalmologist-tested, fragrance free and non-acnegenic. It contains hyaluronic acid which helps to boost hydration levels by locking in moisture, and helps repair and protect, as well as boosting, the skins natural renewal process. There's so many benefits to this serum, that I could ramble on for hours! Go get a sample, go treat yourself, pop it on your birthday/Christmas list - I am besotted. (Boots*, 30ml, £49)

Babyliss New Big Hair* - I've mentioned it a lot on the blog previously, but for those who don't know, I have recently gone from having hair which went down to the middle of my back, to a bob. I much prefer having shorter hair, but one thing I found I struggled with was styling my much shorter hair. Straighteners leave it looking lifeless and lank, but my hair is naturally curly which can create a mini afro look for me. The Babyliss New Big Hair has been a life saver, making styling and controlling my hair much, much easier. Although a tad loud to use (it reminds me of hood dryers in salons), it is one of the easiest hair tools I have ever used. Great for adding volume, body and shape to your style, I use this on half damp, half dried hair. I can give my hair volume at the roots with this beauty, or opt for a more classic, softened bob. I think it's exceptionally easy to use, although can leave your arms a little sore! At first it took me a while to use this, but I've now got it down to a T with it taking just 15 minutes to style the whole of my hair. If you're looking for an easy to use hair tool that works and adds the volume, body and shape our hair can lack, this is a tool for you. Super easy, with gorgeous results. (Boots*, £44.99

So no makeup in this month's Top 5, but some super skin saviours, two beautiful scents and a life-saver hair tool. What made it into your Top 5 for August? 

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*This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and 100% honest.

27 August 2013

"In my dreams alone have I imagined such a place"

I love Nottingham. In fact, I more than love Nottingham, I'm proud to be from Nottingham. I've been working on making my very own Monopoly board, all about my favourite City, including my favourite places whether it be shops, restaurants or good old tourist attractions. Which means I get to share some of my favourite things about Nottingham with you! Nottingham is my favourite City, not just for the reason I was born in the Queens Medical Center, or spent the majority of my childhood years growing up in inner City towns and outer City villages. There are so many things about Nottingham which make me happy. Nottingham makes me feel content, and despite the often bad rep it gets, it's a City I will always love. From the Old Market Square and Town Hall which even on the gloomiest of days look amazing, to the Robin Hood statues scattered around the outskirts of the City Center. I have fond childhood memories of the River Trent, taking boat rides along it or playing in some of the many, big parks and outdoor swimming pools. Wollaton Hall makes me smile, with it's beautiful nature and wild deer. Even more so when I saw it on the big screen - Wollaton Hall was used as Wayne Manor in Batman The Dark Knight Rises. 
Old Market Square, Town Hall and the Urban Seaside

But my most favourite place in Nottingham? Nottingham Castle. I am a big Robin Hood fan, to be a total cliche of a Nottingham girl, but I adore the stories and tales of Robin Hood, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves is my all time favourite film (the title of this post is a quote from the film!), and so Nottingham Castle became an even more interesting place for me growing up. So much so that I've always said if I were to get married one day, I would want to get married in the grounds of Nottingham Castle.

Nottingham has so much history, so many stories and secrets. I love walking around the City Center and finding little alleyways that are narrow and steep, finding what were once caves for holding criminals; robbers, thieves, outlaws. I love the Caves of Nottingham 'tourist attraction', even if it does mean walking down narrow passageways with low ceilings which drip on you and feel claustrophobic. I love the Lace Market, an area of Nottingham I have always lusted after living in with it's beautiful buildings and cobbled streets. Oh and let's not forget the shops. Nottingham has to be in my Top 3 places to shop, with a huge selection of beauty shops, fashion, crafts, and everything in between. 

I have two favourite times of year in Nottingham. Summer and Winter. In the Summer, Nottingham City Center is transformed into an urban seaside, with a beach, rides and amusements. The atmosphere during Summer is so lovely; everyone's having fun, enjoying the rare British sunshine and dipping their toes in the sand (and a few more daring, running through the foundations) Winter, everything gets transformed into a Winter wonderland. With more rides, German markets, the most delicious foods and drinks you can imagine whilst the town hall glitters in fairy lights and changes colour from pinks to purples, greens to blue. I love spending Christmas Eve in Nottingham, on Old Market Square, soaking up the excited atmosphere. It's one of my most favourite things to do.

The Nottingham Urban Seaside

Nottingham is full of amazing restaurants, but my favourite place to eat is Jamie's Italian. Whilst preparing this post, putting together my Monopoly board and taking photos of some of my favourite aspects of Nottingham, my partner and I visited Jamie's Italian for a phenomenal three course meal. Whenever I see calamari, or fried squid, on a menu, I have it. It reminds me of Cyprus and all the lovely seafood us Cypriots like to eat. To start, I had the Fried Squid, which comes with a garlic mayo, lemon and chilli, cooked to utter perfection. For my main, I opted for Jamie's Oliver's favourite main from his menu, the turkey milanese. A huge turkey breast stuffed with prosciutto and fontina, with a fried free-range egg and truffles, I enjoyed this exquisite dish alongside Jamie's famous polenta chips, crispy fried with rosemary, salt and parmesan. For dessert, there was one particular option which caught my eye and had my tummy demanding it, even after two courses! I had the epic brownie, which definitely lives up to it's name; a warm fudgy brownie with amaretto ice cream and caramelised amaretti popcorn. Amazing! Jamie's Italian is a wonderful place to eat, with a beautifully designed interior and welcoming, friendly staff. The food is sensational and some of the most flavourful food I have ever tried. If you haven't been yet, get yourself booked in at your nearest Jamie's Italian - I assure you, your taste buds will thank you for it! And there's no diddy portions, I'm talking proper food, proper portions and all at fairly reasonable prices!

After a lovely day noting down my favourite places in Nottingham and giving my taste buds and tum a real treat, I had even more fun putting together my very own Monopoly board. I was kindly sent the Monopoly board by Gala Bingo, for me to put it together with all of my favourite places. I have to admit, I was pretty excited. With so many beautiful places on my doorstep, with history and legends which are Worldwide known, I couldn't wait to dot all my favourite places from Nottingham onto my Monopoly board. Just as I have celebrated Nottingham and my favourite places through my Make Your Own Opoly, Gala Bingo are celebrating the launch of their Megajackpots Monopoly Pass Go Slots game**! It was so much fun trying out my Monopoly board once I had made it, and I know it'll be a popular game this Christmas with my family. I can't wait to play it with my nephew and share with him all my favourite places in Nottingham; the Castle, the Town Hall and Old Market Square, the River Trent, Wollaton Hall, an old hidden stream we used to play in as kids, the Lace Market and more. 

If you had a Make Your Own Opoly board, I want to know which places would feature on your board. Do you love your home City as much as me? Or maybe you're a fan of Nottingham, too? I feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful City and this has been the perfect way to share it with you all! 

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*I was kindly provided with a Make Your Own Opoly board by Gala Bingo as well as £50 to spend at Jamie's Italian. All views are my own and 100% honest.
**Please bare in mind that you must be 18 years or older to use the Gala Bingo website, or to gamble in general. 

26 August 2013

Rimmel ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Paints - Full range review!

I love Rimmel, but what I love more is a new Rimmel release. As soon as I saw the new Rimmel ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Paints, I knew I had to have them! The colours instantly caught my eye, as compared to the majority of beauty releases this year, this has been the first release with shades more autumn/winter appropriate. Considering summer is on it's way out and autumn is definitely around the corner, Rimmel have perfectly timed their release and the shades are going to be perfect for the colder months ahead.

Rimmel have released five shades which admittedly, might not be for everyone. But for someone like me who loves to experiment with colour, these are perfect! ScandalEyes Shadow Paints are cream shadows which all have a metallic finish, amazing pigmentation and lasting power that rivals any other cream shadows I have tried before. Pop on your lid, and a few seconds later you'll find them completely dry and settled, and they just don't budge! When I first swatched these on my hand in this Instagram picture, it took me a good three goes of washing my hands to get them off, and even then there were still traces of colour left behind. A good bi-phase eye makeup remover is definitely a must with these bad boys! The consistency is thick, but easy to blend and you can, as with most makeup, apply with a lighter hand for a more subtle look or a heavier hand for a more dramatic look. 

Slate Grey is a deep, sultry - yup you guessed it - slate grey. This is amazing for those who love a smokey eye and I find if you work quick when you're blending brush, it's fantastic for the crease of your eye. Golden Bronze is a true, golden bronze shade (you'll notice a trend with the shade names, they match the shades perfectly!) which makes me think of extravagant Greek Gods. Right up my street! Rich Russet is the shade I think most others will opt for; a gorgeous warm taupe shade that is super flattering. Mercury Silver is a perfect silver, bright, yet sparkling with beauty. The final shade in the range is Manganese Purple, which is a very deep, violet purple. For me, all of the shades are fantastic. Of course a variety of lighter, brighter and bolder shades would also be welcomed, but for a starting range, I'm impressed.

If you hadn't guessed - I like these. I think they are a great alternative to powder shadows which I usually opt for, and although thick in consistency, they blend so easily that you can apply a tiny amount of product and it'll easily cover your entire lid. They do dry very quickly, and once dry they don't budge, so until you're confident with the formula; less is more. Do I think they're worth checking out? Definitely! I cannot tell you how impressed I am with the colour payoff and longevity of these products. Another Rimmel product for me to obsess over. (Boots, £4.49)

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25 August 2013

#MyLittleSkincareProject - Oily # 1

This week for #MyLittleSkincareProject we are discussing oily skin - something I personally suffer from and have battled with for years. Although oily skin has it's benefits; oily skin usually means more youthful skin and oily skin also tends to age better, too - it does have it's negatives. Having oily skin can make wearing makeup a nightmare, with products that slip and slide because the oil prevents makeup from settling and staying put. As I have oily skin, I am one of three bloggers who will be talking you through having oily skin today, as well as my fab oily skin partners in crime, Katie and Dhruvee. If you think you have oily skin, check the main symptoms and signs below. Sometimes oily skin can be a result of dehydrated skin, so it's important to go for a proper skincare consultation where possible. If you have dehydrated skin, which causes your oily skin and the over-production of oil, to compensate for your dehydrated areas, then you will need to find the right products to cater to dehydrated skin as well as oily. Most department stores and beauty salons will offer skincare consultations, which are complimentary and can be very enlightening. 
  • Oily skin has larger pores than other skin types
  • Oily skin results in a shiny look to the face; the oil creates a shine
  • Oily skin can look clearer than other skin types
  • Oily skin types usually have a clear, more even complexion
  • Oily skin is usually the most oily on the t-zone; forehead, nose and chin
  • Oily skin tends to be thicker than other skin types
  • Oily skin can be rough and uneven in texture compared to other skin types
  • Oily skin can be prone to black and white heads, as well as spots and blemishes
If you have any or a combination of the above traits, it's possible you have oily skin. Get a skin consultation to be sure, and if you think your skin may be dehydrated as well as oily, you will need to seek specific advice. Now it's time for Katie, Dhruvee and I to tell you all about our oily skin! Grab a cuppa, it's a long read!

Sophia has oily skin

"I've always been quite lucky in the respect that I never really suffer from spots or blemishes. My skin looks and feels great - and yes, I am being that pig-headed. But it didn't always. I have suffered from oily skin since I was around 13 and as I got older, it progressively got worse. I tried all-sorts of products, until I eventually realised that it wasn't my skin which was being awkward, but the products I was using. My skin doesn't like high-street skincare. Don't get me wrong, I think for some people whose skin can take the ingredients in high-street skincare, there are some fantastic brands out there. But my skin prefers the harmony and balance that high-end, natural and organic skincare gives it. Where possible, I use natural and organic products, and I avoid products with mineral oil at all costs. Why, might you ask? Mineral oil sits on the skin, clogging pores, which can make oily skin worse as well as giving you big, nasty blackheads! Another thing I avoid like the plague, is face wipes. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that the stinging sensation you get from makeup wipes isn't good for your skin, which ultimately strip your skin, coat it in alcohol and don't do a good job of removing your makeup. Another type of product I avoid, is foaming products. These work to strip your skin and can result in long-lasting damage to your skin. I have a strict skincare routine and for me and my skin, the more products the better. Less products, and my oil is harder to control. I've now found myself being able to dabble between brands, so long as they have good quality ingredients, and my skin is fine. I'm often told my skin is in exceptional condition - so I must be doing something right! I am a firm believer in a good skincare routine and think if you want your makeup to look flawless, you have to treat and pamper your skin first."

Katie has oily skin

"My skin type is on the oily skin, with the majority of my oil sadly being down the dreaded t-zone. This is a big woe for me, I'm always trying to keep the oil at bay whilst not stripping my skin of it's natural moisture. Despite this, I usually find this is my only concern minus a few hormonal spots every now and again. My skin isn't sensitive and soaks up products quickly. I have found that despite my oily face, I still need hydration so that's also incorporated into my routine. I tend to use a cleansing balm on an evening to remove all of my makeup and leave my skin super clear and clean. I'm currently using the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm, which I'm loving. It literally dissolves everything! I do find mascara a bit of a pain to remove, but this works wonders.For mornings I tend to use my Bioderma or Avene Cleanser on a large cotton pad. I'm not too fussed on toners, so I'm not really loyal, but at the moment I am using the This Works one which is rather natural and a little herby. Moisturisers is where I feel like I'm getting into my element; I absolutely love my Origins GinZing for mornings and their Night-A-Mins for an evening. Throw in a few face masks and treatments (favourites are the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal, Origins Drink Up Intensive and La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo) and I'm pretty much good to go. I didn't really get into skincare until around eight months ago, but I have since slowly but surely become a bit of an addict. I have found that my skin thrives on the more pricey brands, but I've found over time, skincare is an investment. After all, we don't want to look like a fossil ages 30!"

Dhruvee has oily skin

"Hi dolls! So as mentioned previously in my intro, I have oily skin. I also have pigmentation on certain areas of my face, so sometimes it is a bit of a struggle. My skin rarely suffers from breakouts, but I put that down to consistency in my skincare routine; if I go a day without my skincare products and routine, my skin will erupt! A year or so ago I wasn't clued up on my skin like I am now. I had no idea what products to use and was using a whole heap of things without realising what was good or bad for my skin; so you can imagine nothing really worked well for me! I then achieved a qualification in beauty and learned a hell of a lot. My skincare has been stripped to the bare mimimum because I know now what to look for and what my skin responds well to. I use a face wash every morning, which is aimed at oily skin, and I tend to stick within high-street brands as they do the trick for me just fine. It cleans out my skin of any dirt or makeup left over from the day before, and leaves my face feeling nice and fresh. Then I'll go over my skin with a water, oil free cleanser, to make sure it's really fresh and clean. I'll then use a toner to clean out the cleanser and balance out the pH in my skin. Then, I use an oil balancing moisturiser which keeps the oils at bay, and my skin hydrated. The cleansers, face washs and toners I use sometimes contain a lot of alcohol which is very drying. If you do this too and you have oily skin you must moisturise; if you don't, your skin will over compensate and make even more oil! My night time routine is pretty much the same, except I will use a bi-phase eye makeup remover to get rid of my waterproof mascara. It is oily, which in turn leaves my skin really oily, but after cleansing thoroughly it's all gone! Twice a week I also like to use a face brush to exfoliate my skin, alongside my face wash. Dead skin can get trapped in pores; mix that with the oils and dirt which can also get into your pores, and you'll be left with black and/or white heads! I also use brightening masks which contain Vitamin C and fruit acids which mostly help with my pigmentation issues, which I do once a week. My pigmentation is hormonal so it is harder to treat, however I find brightening masks work well to brighten up my skin in general and reduce the appearance slightly. Don't be afraid tot est the market, and don't steer clear of products just because it's cheap; be aware of your skin, be aware of ingredients, stay consistent, and your skin will break out less, shine less, and look as fabulous as you!"

So Katie, Dhruvee and I have stories our oily skin stories (and woes!) but what did the lovely people of Twitter have to say when I asked for their top tips for dealing with oily skin? So many of you tweeted my tips, and I've shared every single one below!

@Jodie_T182 said... Urban Decay De-Slic Mattifying Powder is your best friend! 
@Baobella said... Milk of Magnesia, use it as a primer!
@BKYBubble said... Personally, I think less is more. I like to keep my skincare routine simple, so as not to make it overly oily. I also avoid using moisturising cleansers. 
@Sophiaah said... Can't live without blotting sheets! And I love using a toner in the morning to wake my skin up.
@ColorsOfHeaven said... If dealing with it naturally, use mild cleansers. Harsh cleansers strip oil away. Get lots of sleep and drink green tea.
@ShahildarB said... L'Oreal Studio Secrets Anti Shine Mattifying Powder, MaxFactor Face Finity 3 in 1 and Creme Puff Powder - all perfect! 
@AjanHarris said... Occasionally put oil on your skin overnight. Constantly stripping away the oil will only encourage your skin to produce more.
@GirlOnBeauty said... Blotting papers are my saviour throughout a lot of the day! I prefer blotting than re-powdering over oil.
@_Tank4SS said... I use baby powder on my face at night to adsorb any excess moisture. Then I wash it off with water in the morning! 
@EmJControl said... The Body Shop Seaweed Iconic Clay Mask - Best thing I've tried for dealing with oily skin!
@BethPrice245 Using a light moisturiser and a primer for oily skin, like The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser; keeps my makeup in place!
@FerdieFletch said... Best and most effective product I've ever tried is the Kiehl's Rare Earth Toner. Turned my skin from oily to combination!
@VickiHigham said... Stay clear of products that strip your skin. It might feel clean, but if you keep taking away the oil, your skin will just produce more.
@Lynz_1987 said... REN Clear Calm 3 Clay Cleanser - amazing cleanser! And the Clinque Anti Blemish Foundation, I only need a little powder with it.
@RainbowCrush said... Cleansing properly, a good primer, powder and the Urban Decay Setting Spray.
@LMAJ127 said... Savlon and Clinique Anti Blemish Foundation, the only things my face doesn't to 'nope!' to!
@WonderrColour said... Blotting sheets, and I only recently bought the Garnier Blur Perfecting Primer, with works a treat and helps combat shine!
@RetroLoveBeauty said... I keep products down to a minimum and use a very light coverage powder throughout the day to reduce the oily shine.
@TwinklinPixi3 said... I try not to use too many products and I keep it simple.
@ItsRebecca said... Blotting sheets!
@Beauty_Blah said... Tea tree based products work a treat for me, they help to mattify my skin and treat break outs. 
@EllieLouuu said... I always like to use blotting sheets, even on the go to touch up the t-zone! 
@KonjacSponges said... We love our charcoal sponge, but also a powder foundation helps to soak up all that excess oil! 

Thank you so much everyone for your tips and advice! I hope our oily skin post has helped anyone with oily skin or who thinks they might have oily skin, and be sure to share your oily skin stories with us too! Be sure to keep an eye out for future oily skin #MyLittleSkincareProject posts, where we will be sharing products that work for us as well as product reviews! Next week, we're talking combination skin. If you have any tips for combination skin, be sure to tweet me @Tattooedtealady

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23 August 2013

A bit of Bumble and Bumble experimentation

A picture of Bumble and Bumble Travel Sizes

A hair care brand who has been pretty high up on my 'perfect products' list for a good year or so now, is Bumble and Bumble. Oh yes, I can hear some of you grumbling - Yes. Bumble and Bumble is a high-end hair care brand with a high-end price tag to match. But, their products genuinely are worth the splurge and they last months and months. When you think about how much you spend on makeup, skincare, body care, why not spend the same amount of time, care, and pennies, on looking after your hair, too? And yes - That does include regular cuts at the salon, girls. 

I recently decided to dabble in a few more Bumble and Bumble products and picked up a few travel sizes to try. Travel sizes, whether for hair care, skincare, body care or even makeup, or a great way to try products before committing to the full size. Especially if the full size is pretty pricey! I decided to try Surf Spray, BB Prep and BB Styling Lotion. I also jumped at the chance to get a travel size of a favourite Bumble and Bumble product, the Thickening Hairspray, which is free with this month's Elle magazine.

Let's start with my favourite Bumble and Bumble product, the Thickening Hairspray. I've seen this get rave reviews, and really negative reviews too. For me, this is a holy grail hair care product that I genuinely couldn't live without. Working to give your hair that volume and oomph we all dream off, it's suitable for thick hair, thin hair, and everything in between! I use this in two ways. I spritz it at the root of my hair when my hair is damp, before blow drying, which gives me root lift and volume. I also use this when my hair is dry to add texture and volume throughout. Just make sure you don't over-do it, as with any styling product, and section your hair as you go, again, as with any styling product. (Boots, 50ml, £7.50)

A picture of Bumble and Bumble Travel Sizes

Next up, BB Prep. A nutrient rich detangling spray, BB Prep works to give your hair texture, whilst making any other styling products and tools you use, work to their best ability. It can also be used on dry hair, to give your hair a new lease of life. It's suitable for any hair type, although not recommended for colour treated hair, as it could affect the colour. I spritz this through my hair when my hair is damp, before blow drying, and it definitely makes my tangles disappear, especially when teamed with my Michel Mercier Detangling Brush. (Boots, 50ml, £6)

The Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray is a pretty coveted product in the beauty World and it's a product I've been dying to try for well over a year now. Bumble and Bumble describe their Surf spray as the perfect way to get sexy, salty, sun-dried, windswept hair. Working better with hair which already has a natural wave or curl, Surf Spray works to give your hair body and that 'just stepped off of the beach' look. It took me a while to get to grips with this product, and I find less is more with this one. Again, spritzed through my hair when my hair is damp, it's perfect for those days when I don't want to use styling tools and want a little helping hand in giving my hair that something-something it lacks naturally. (Boots, 50ml, £9.50)

Finally, the Bumble and Bumble Styling Lotion. This was more of a 'I've got a few, may as well add another to the basket!' product choice. But it's one I have really grown to like. The Bumble and Bumble Styling Lotion can be used for a multiple of styles, from giving your hair a bit of oomph and volume, to helping create a sleek and smooth look. It also works as a nourishing moisturiser, leaving your hair feeling soft, healthy and with a natural shine. It's suitable for any hair type and as with all the other Bumble and Bumble products mentioned, I spritz through my hair in sections when my hair is damp. (Boots, 50ml, £7)

Will you be trying out any Bumble and Bumble travel sizes? Be sure to tell me what your favourite Bumble and Bumble products are!

A picture of Bumble and Bumble Travel Sizes

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22 August 2013

Bobbi Brown BB Cream, another perfect base.

If you've been reading my blog for a while now you will know I am a huge fan of Bobbi Brown. Not only are Bobbi Brown makeup, skincare and brushes all of some of the most amazing quality I have ever tried, but the ethos and thought behind the brand, from Bobbi Brown herself, is super lovely, with Bobbi seeing beauty for what it is, not what it can't be. Bobbi emphasises the beauty that each individual has, and uses her now World famous techniques to emphasise our best features, not hide them. Less is more with Bobbi and that's something I've personally learnt and picked up through my makeup lessons with the fantastic Bobbi Brown team in Nottingham.

BB creams are another thing I adore; I really got into BB creams this year, having last year found the high-street ones do nothing for my oily skin, but the high-end ones, leave my skin looking like 'my skin but better', perfect. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Bobbi Brown had released a BB cream, with the benefits of a built in SPF35. If a high SPF to protect your skin isn't enough, this BB cream is a bit wonderful in other ways, too. The Bobbi Brown BB Cream* works to moisturise, perfect and protect, both whilst on and the more you use it over time. The formula combines a moisturiser, a treatment, an SPF35 and works as a light-weight foundation, whilst covering blemishes and imperfections subtly and naturally, leaving your skin looking and feeling great. There's nine shades in the range and each has been formulated with water-attracting molecules to boost our ever depleting hydration levels, light reflective pearls which work to brighten our skin making us look refreshed and youthful. Botanical extracts are also popped in this beauty along with caffeine, which work together to reduce any unwanted pigmentation and discolouration, whilst simultaneously reducing redness - which is great for me and my unwanted rosy cheeks! Not forgetting the broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and antioxidants, all which work together to protect our skin from free radicals and prevent future damage to our skin. Sounds amazing, right?

And that's because it is. I was so wowed when I first tried this BB cream, finding the scent, the feel and consistency, the way it perfectly blended, so similar to my holy grail foundation, the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation. Giving my skin enough coverage to tone down any imperfections I might want to hide, but without the added weight of a foundation. It feels light and sheer on my skin, easily build-able to a higher coverage, yet always feeling comfortable on my skin. It's very easy to blend and I find I can apply this with a beauty blender or brushes, and I am left with a lovely finish. Not quite matte, not quite dewy; just the perfect in-between. If there's one brand which never lets me down for bases, it's Bobbi Brown. And the Bobbi Brown BB Cream is another perfect product for me. (Bobbi Brown*, £29

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*This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and 100% honest.

21 August 2013

OCC Stained Gloss Lip Tars & Creme Color Concentrate

A picture of OCC Creme Color Concentrate

I am already a big fan of OCC, formerally known as Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I have a few of the OCC original formula Lip Tars, which I think are some of the best lip products available from both high-street and high-end brands. They are packed full of unbelievable pigmentation with amazing colour pay off, they are easy to apply and last absolutely ages; you only need a couple of drops of product at most for both lips, and you hardly ever need to touch up throughout the day. The OCC original formula Lip Tars are amazing and notorious for their colour range and the ability to mix any shade of Lip Tar with another, to create your own personal shades. 

The new OCC Lip Tar Stained Gloss* formula, which is a glossy Lip Tar, took me a while to get used to. I was very kindly sent three shades to experiment with and try out for myself; Meta*, New Wave* and Rhythm Box*, and I am besotted with the shades. Where they differ from the original Lip Tar formula and packaging however, is that the original formula shows a very close true colour in the tube, as to how the Lip Tar will look on your lips. The Stained Gloss tars are a little different, with the intensity of the shades being far less obvious on the lips and each shade a touch lighter, and brighter, than it appears in the tube. I've found the Stained Gloss tars to be very different in application, longevity and overall colour pay off, too. Whereas the original formula tars are very much in your face and wild, the Stained Gloss variety is more sheer, slightly thicker in consistency and also, not as quick drying as the original formula; which quickly dries to a matte finish. The Stained Gloss tars, I have found, are a bit difficult to use all over or in large amounts, so instead I opt for using these as a finishing touch. I wait until my lip colour of choice has settled and is almost dry, then pop a Stained Gloss in the center of my lips and very, very lightly over the rest of my lips. The effect is one which makes my lips look plumper and more youthful, polished and they give my matte shades that something-something else which matte shades can often lack. I think these are far better for anyone whose a bit put off by the vibrancy of the original formula. (Available at Cocktail Cosmetics*, £11.95)  

A picture of OCC Stained Gloss Lip Tar

The OCC Creme Color Concentrate* pots took me a bit of working out, and in the end I had to do some blogger review searches and YouTube reviews, to work out how exactly to use these multi-purpose little pots! I was kindly sent three Creme Color Concentrate pots to try out, in the shades John Doe*, Pleasure Model* and Newt*. Referred to by OCC as a new vegan innovation, these little colour pots are multi-purpose, with a smooth, blend-able and build-able creme coverage, that can be used pretty much anywhere on your face! Once I got to grips with how to use these, I've actually had a lot of fun experimenting with them. John Doe is a very ashy taupe shade, which is true to colour when in the pot and swatched, but it has a lovely warmth to it that I've found wonderful for lighter contouring on my face, as well as adding definition and a little contour to the crease of my lid. My favourite of the three shade wise is probably Pleasure Model, which is a pearlescent pink that works so, so well as a highlight, almost like a cream formula of MAC's Lust MSF. I also love this in the inner corner of my eye as an alternative to the usual golden and yellow highlights. Last but not least, Newt, and the shade which utterly wowed me when I first swatched it. A pretty serene peach in the pot, on swatch it turns into a vibrant, pinky peach which works so well as a blush and a lip colour. The OCC Creme Color Concentrate pots are one of those products I could happily experiment with and swatch for hours, and shades I equally enjoy using and creating looks with, and I definitely have my eye on some darker shades for the colder months ahead, particularly Beholder and Dark Matter. (Available at Cocktail Cosmetics*, £14.95)

A picture of OCC Creme Color Concentrate

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*This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and 100% honest.


18 August 2013

#MyLittleSkincareProject - Sensitive # 1

For this week's #MyLittleSkincareProject, we will be delving into sensitive skin and my three sensitive skin bloggers will be sharing their thoughts and experience of having sensitive skin with you. I think sensitive skin is probably one of the more awkward skin types someone can have; although my skin type is oily, sometimes it can be sensitive and sometimes dry, so I have a little experience of sensitive skin myself. Sensitive skin can mean a life of reading ingredients on products, trial and error with products and dealing with skin which never settles and is constantly reacting to something or other - but that's the extreme of it. For some people with sensitive skin, simply avoiding some ingredients or products is enough to control their skin. If you think you might also suffer from sensitive skin, check some of the most common symptoms of sensitive skin listed below. If you're skin matches a few of these sensitive skin traits, you might well have sensitive skin but going for a proper skincare consultation is always recommended. If you have many of these traits plus others, and severe, I would advise seeking advice from your GP. Sensitive skin is complicated, so get a cuppa ready, it's going to be a long one!
  • Most sensitive skin has smaller pore size than other skin types.
  • Sensitive skin flushes quicker and experiences more redness than some skin types.
  • Can experience irritation, sensitivity to products or ingredients, rashes etc easily.
  • Can be in conjunction with other skin types.
  • Can feel tight, sore and uncomfortable when not treated properly.
  • Can be easily irritated by makeup as well as skincare, and sometimes even hair care.
  • Can be itchy and appear blotchy.
So that's the basics of a sensitive skin type. My sensitive skin type bloggers are Rosie, Scarlett and Becky. Let's see what they have to say about sensitive skin! 


"I've suffered from sensitive skin for as long as I can remember and when I was younger I was content to just take off my makeup and not try and tackle any other skin issues I might have. This would result in my skin always feeling so sore and inflamed, as I had no idea what I was doing. Now I use anything from facial washes to moisturisers, facial exfoliators and cleansers. Skincare became important to me when I was around 15; when I also suffered from the odd spot. As I've tried more and more products, I've learned which brands and products are best for my skin. Obviously, I like products which are on the gentle side, otherwise my face becomes inflamed and read. When I didn't know what was good for my skin and what products to avoid, my skin felt sore a lot of the time and didn't look great, either. Now, after getting into a product skincare routine, my face feels super clean, without feeling irritated. When I was younger I didn't pay much attention to what products were for, which skin type and their aims. Now, I always xcheck ingredients lists and the packaging of products for some key factors; it must be fragrance free and suitable for sensitive skin. I do have a handful of favourite brands, whose products I have really enjoyed using, such as Origins, Clean & Clear and Garnier. Although I like to keep my skincare routine as simple as possible, I'm always on the look out for more products to add to my skincare stash, to keep my skin looking fresh and healthy. I've tried multiple toners but I've never found one that is gentle enough for my skin. Some brands and products which have been designed for sensitive skin have also disappointed me, and I still find some products too strong for my skin. I use both high end and high street and don't always think a high end price tag means a better, more effective product. For me, as long as the product has lots of good ingredients; such as soothing properties like cucumber and aloe, and is fragrance free, I'll give it a try! My skincare routine is short and simple; I take off my makeup with my L'Oreal Micellar Solution and I wash my face with my Clean & Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash or my Clean & Clear Blackhead Clearing Facial Scrub. I then apply my Garnier Moisture Match Moisturiser. I love face masks and use them around twice a week, alternating between different masks. At the moment my favourites are the Origins Drink Up face mask and the The Body Shop Warming Mineral Mask." 


"A few months ago I was at the end of my tether (I sound like a little old lady here) with regards to my skin. It was dry one minute, then it would react to any kind of moisturiser I'd try to combat the dryness. Then I'd end up with angry red pimples under the skin which made going 'bare-faced' an embarrassing and rare occasion for me. I've never been one to suffer from spots, and even throughout secondary school I'd only get one a month (if that), but it was the steadily increasing red patches on my face that were getting me down. Regardless of the numerous amount of products I tried, nothing seemed to work and it got so bad that I ended up in my doctor's waiting room, desperate to find a solution. Luckily my doctor was very understanding and said that although I was very young, the sensitive skin and scaly skin on my face was unusual and could potentially be rosacea; something my mum also suffers from. She prescribed me with an antibiotic called Lymecycline, which is part of the Tetracycline family of antibiotics, for an eight week course, and away I went. I'm still currently on the course of antibiotics, so I can't claim they are my miracle cure. In fact, the changes are they might actually make my skin worse afterwards (I hope not!), but they have cleared my skin up to the point I can start focusing on what products work for me and how I can compact sensitive skin with a calm approach, rather than slapping on every product that claims to produce 'skin miracles' and then becoming frustrated because they aren't working immediately. Since using the products and routine I've found has worked for me, my skin has slowly started to improve and I'm going 'bare-faced' more often than I have been wearing a full face of makeup! My skin is still nowhere near perfect, but then again, whose is! But it's getting to a stage where I'm starting to feel a little more confident about it. I still only use products that are hypoallergenic and with no nasty chemicals (always read the label, as sometimes even products that say they are for sensitive skin still have fragranced ingredients and/or parabens which might react to your skin), but I am no longer afraid to try something new. Skincare has always been a part of my life, but now it's part of my daily routine; and I use it as a way of managing and caring for my skin rather than hoping for miracles. Sensitive skin is a real pain to deal with and sometimes, and before a year ago, the only skincare brand I'd ever used was Simple, as I was terrified to try another brand out of fear my skin would react badly again. Again, my skin is far from perfect, but I'm getting to the manageable stage and my routine is much better than it used to be!"

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"The main indicator of my sensitive skin is my big red face. No beating around that bush. On good days I like to call it an ‘English rose complexion’, but truthfully, it really bothers me. Genetically, I have very prominent veins, and the redness in my skin is from tiny, burst blood vessels that sit close to the skin - and if my skin becomes dry, these become irritated and flare up. If I don’t conceal my redness well, it shows up from under my make-up and makes me look like I've just had a hardcore workout at the gym. To the touch, my skin is dry, and this is how I've always classed it. I've always been very lucky to have totally invisible pores and I rarely get break outs. Why it took me years to realise that these were symptoms of sensitivity I don’t know; but now that I do, I've found a routine that really helps me calm my skin down and keep the redness at bay. Looking at the ingredients list of a product is my first step - knowing that dryness triggers redness and soreness, adequate moisture is a must. Hyaluronic acid, jojoba oils, aloe vera, borage oil, coconut oil, and grape seed oil are all ingredients that I know soothe and hydrate my skin. Caudalie’s Divine Oil, to take just one example, is fantastic and I know if I slap it on before bed, I’ll wake up with a really soft, even complexion and no tightness. Caudalie as a brand I trust hugely with my skin, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone with dry and/or sensitive skin. My major secret to reducing redness is to keep all my skincare products in the fridge - the cold temperature cools and calms the capillaries so they don’t become inflamed. Not only is it super refreshing and relaxing, but it actually makes a massive difference. Similarly, using a product with a high enough SPF - my favourite is the Coola Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturiser - protects your skin against the heat, which is a major trigger of redness and a sure fire way to upset your skin. In terms of ingredients to avoid, anything that dries out my skin is a firm no-no: a product which features alcohol near the beginning of its ingredients list is a sure-fire way to irritate and dry the skin. The much-raved about glycolic and alpha hydroxyl acids - Pixi Glow Tonic, Alpha-H Liquid Gold - are a real Catch-22 for me. Whilst they’re great for exfoliating dry skin cells off the face, they also sting and burn like hell - so I use them very, very sparingly and only a maximum of twice a week. Like with all skin types, my sensitive skin has its curses and its blessings, but I’m constantly learning how to deal with it, and I hope over the course of #MyLittleSkincareProject I’ll be able to offer at least a small amount of advice to anyone who—like me—faces the daily battles that come with having sensitive skin!"

Thanks so much Rosie, Scarlett and Harriet for sharing your experiences of sensitive skin with us all! It's so interesting hearing the ways you have learnt to control and live with your sensitive skin.

Like last week, I asked on Twitter for people to tweet me their sensitive skin tips. Here's some of the replies I got!

@LauraMeredith said... If your face stinges when using sunscreen, try Lancaster - used it since I was a kind when everything else hurt!
@YasmineC9 said... Don't introduce too many new products at once. It's better to introduce them gradually so you can see which ones suit your skin.
@MollyLoves_Blog said... Don't overload your skin with products! Sticking with the basics is usually the best... oh and Lush Ultrabland is fab!
@It_Aint_Kansas said... Any products I've tried from Simple or Clinique have resulted in really bad reactions! Don't follow the trend, yoru skin will go through a lot of punishment before you find what's right for it.
@FaerieCorpsey said... Stuff that's unscented I find is the best. If my skin is flaring up, products with a strong scent will make it worse. I also find baby oil a gentle way to remove eye makeup without upsetting your skin.
@Amys_Loves said... Use gentle skincare products containing soothing properties such as calamine, and avoid products that contain alcohol!
@xoxo_Morgi said... Stay away from products that contain fragrance and always opt for hypoallergenic and dye free. I like Clinique!
@Floresymoda said... Always read the label thoroughly to check for perfumes or nasty chemicals. If in doubt, do a patch test!
@SophiePatty said... For me it's about using a high-end foundation; drugstore ones break me out. I also use products by Simple and things with no mineral oil.
@BNBeautyReviews said... Always have aloe vera gel and witch hazel handy!

Well I don't know about you, but I think between my own research and experience, my sensitive skin bloggers experiences and all of your top tips, I've learnt quite a lot about sensitive skin! I hope this is of help to anyone either with sensitive skin or who suspects they might suffer from sensitive skin. Keep your eyes peeled on the rest as the series as my fab sensitive skin type bloggers will be sharing two more posts with you; their product recommendations and sensitive skin product reviews! Next week, we'll be talking oily skin!

Introduction to #MyLittleSkincareProject bloggers
#MyLittleSkincareProject Introduction Post 
#MyLittleSkincareProject - Dry Skin # 1

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