31 October 2013

Scents for him and her

I adore perfume. If I’m honest I adore it a little too much, my perfume collection is bordering on ridiculous… I’ve never really been the kind of girl to stick to one scent and I prefer to choose a scent on the spot, based on how I’m feeling that day. Obviously now that the warmer months or over and we’re well into autumn, the scents I’m going for are warmer and more spicy, particularly oriental scents – perfect for this time of year. But one scent has been playing on my mind for months and months now, pretty much since its release, and that’s the Jimmy Choo Flash Eau De Parfum (Beauty Base, 100ml, £59.99) It’s nowhere near an A/W scent, in fact I’d say it’s perfect for the warmer months – but every time I pass it in a department store, I can’t help but have a little spritz.

I’m awkward when it comes to buying perfumes. I can literally lust after them for a good few years before I invest in more high-end scents (Some of the Chloe scents have been on my lust list for well over five years…) and I am seriously lusting after Flash. With pink pepper, tangerine and strawberry, with white flowers and tuberose, this is a divine fruity, sweet scent. I may have to make it a little treat for myself this Christmas…

Talking of Christmas, I’ve been spending hours searching for ideas of what to get my partner this Christmas and one thing I definitely want to get him is an aftershave. The only thing catching my eye at the moment is Paco Rabbane Invictus. Invictus isn’t your usual aftershave scent – there’s a whole range of Invictus products such as shave balms and after shave lotions, gift sets and of course, the eau de toilette - all available over on Beauty Base. I need to give this a spritz in store and see how I like the scent, but it’s described as a fresh and sensuous scent with top notes of grapefruit peel and marine accord, heart notes of bay leaves and gualac wood and base notes of patchouli and amber gris. It sounds great – let’s hope it smells great!

If you have any suggestions of other aftershaves you think might be worth checking out, please let me know your favourites! And if you’ve tried Jimmy Choo Flash before I’d love to hear your thoughts on the scent when on as well as how long-lasting the scent is and whether it’s really worth a cheeky Christmas splurge…

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*This post is in collaboration post. All opinions are 100% my own.

30 October 2013

Weight Watchers, Together is Better

Before Weight Watchers, May 2013 (See OOTD post here)

If you've read any of my 'The Fat Girl Takes the Plunge' posts you will know I am a member of Weight Watchers. Joining Weight Watchers wasn't a massive decision for me to make; I've been a member before, doing quite well and losing just over 3 stone. But over the years that weight came back on... I tried a few ways to get it off again but sheer laziness along with no set routine or plan meant I wasn't doing very well. Earlier this year I decided to re-join Weight Watchers and headed down to my local meeting. I was nervous going to the meeting and meeting my new leader, finding out how much I'd let things out of control, but I knew that with Weight Watchers I would be able to do something about my weight, which is something I was very unhappy with. Weight Watchers is a plan I understand, trust and can rely on to help me get the results I want, and it works, because every week I've stuck to the plan and within my points allowance, I've had a good result on the scales at my meeting. On the flip side, when I don't stick to plan, I don't lose anything and will either stay the same or put on. 

Weight Watchers isn't easy. If I'm honest I don't think any lifestyle change is easy. You're making a stand to yourself to say enough is enough, you want to make positive changes that will positively affect you. Sometimes it can be difficult getting used to doing things differently and I'd say each time I've joined Weight Watchers, it's taken me a week or so to get my head around it. But once you do, it's there in your head and you know what to do; to weigh, to track, to plan ahead. And yeah OK, it sounds like a lot to do to some people, but for me it's a routine I need. I think about everything I'm eating or putting into a meal, and it takes mere seconds to weigh something and work out the points - and takes away any time I could be nibbling in between! 

There are a few things I think make my Weight Watchers journey easier and keep me encouraged, apart from the yummy food I eat everyday - oh yes, you can eat whatever you want on Weight Watchers, so long as it's in moderation! But back to the point. Although a journey like a lifestyle change or a really big change to your diet is something that ultimately you should do for yourself, and by yourself - that doesn't mean others can't encourage, help and motivate you. I'm lucky that my partner is very encouraging and although he doesn't put any pressure on me and doesn't think I need to lose the 6.5stone in total that I want to lose, he understands this is something I need to do for me and it's something I really want to do. He supports me, encourages me and gives me that boost when I need it. The same with friends - my friends are so super supportive and so are so many of you lovely lot reading, who leave supportive comments, tweets, emails. It all makes such a big difference and makes me feel as if I'm not doing this alone. And not forgetting my leader and the members at my weekly meetings. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to take such a big step to do something about my size, and to have such a supportive, encouraging and helpful leader who pushes me in the right direction each week along with all the members at my meetings. Weight Watchers isn't about doing it alone. It's about making a positive change and using the support system around you. For me that's my partner, family and friends, leader and members of my meeting. For you it may be work colleagues, online forums, whether it be one person or several. Together is Better - and I really, truly believe that. I've so far lost 18.5lbs and I have a long way to go with my goal weight being another 70lbs away, but I'll get there - and so will any of you on your own lifestyle change and journeys. 

After losing 9.5lbs, September 2013 (Total lost since joining - 18.5lbs) 

Less about me and onto you guys and girls! Weight Watchers are currently offering an amazing chance to experience a fridge makeover for themselves and a friend. You know this is the kind of competition that would catch my eye - you win food and a state of the art fridge! As well as that you're in with the chance of winning Weight Watchers 'guru' support, food vouchers and hampers full of goodies (enters immediately) You can find out more on the Weight Watchers Facebook page and it's really easy to enter - literally all you have to do is enter your email address to win! There's also tons of fab subscription offers when you sign up to be a member making joining as purse-friendly as possible!

Are you a Weight Watchers member? Is it something you'd like to join? Do you have a weight loss story to share with me? I'd love to know what your thoughts are on dieting, lifestyle changes, Weight Watchers - tell me your success stories! 

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*This post is in collaboration with Weight Watchers UK for their fab Together is Better campaign. All opinions are my own and 100% honest and I pay for my own memberships to Weight Watchers. Please always see a GP before deciding to begin a 'diet'. 

NEOM Real Luxury Home Candle

I always have a candle lit, no matter what time of day. There's something about candles and gorgeous scents which leaves me feeling relaxed and soothed. I'm a big fan of the NEOM candles and think they are the best I have ever tried - I've repurchased several of my favourites and even picked up some travel sizes for Christmas presents. NEOM candles stand out for me because they smell absolutely phenomenal, they are made with amazing quality organic ingredients and they are the cleanest candles I have tried, too. I've recently been making my room smell of beautiful jasmine, French lavender and Brazilian Rosewood with the stunning NEOM Real Luxury Home Candle* (NEOM*, £39.50)  

Each of the NEOM candles, in fact all of their products, have a 'treatment'. This changes between the different scents available from NEOM, and the treatment for Real Luxury is described by NEOM as the perfect scent for a relaxing evening, perfect for pampering or when entertaining guests. For me, this has been a daily treat, lighting it in the afternoons for two hours, which leaves the beautiful scent of Real Luxury lingering for the rest of the evening. Real Luxury is one of my favourite NEOM scents, a scent I fell in love with when I tried the NEOM Real Luxury Body Scrub. It's soothing, relaxing, it works to leave me feeling rested, at ease and also helps with the stress levels which seem to be rising now I'm in my final year of University. NEOM candles burn for up to 50 hours - which is 30% longer than standard candles. Made with vegetable wax and pure essential oils, NEOM candles don't have a synthetic fragrance in sight and burn without any unnecessary and harmful toxins - and no nasty black soot when you blow them out! If you are new to NEOM or want to give one of their infamous candles a try, Real Luxury is a scent which I think would please most people and a great starting point for delving more into one of my favourite brands. 

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*This post contains a sample which was kindly given to me for review. All opinions are my own.

29 October 2013

October Top 5

October Top 5

October has been all about the autumnal makeup and heavier bases for me. I have been loving the change in weather, not only because Autumn is my favourite season, but because it means I get to play with all the darker makeup I have and adore. 

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF15 (Bobbi Brown, 30ml, £30) - My holy grail foundation and a base I could never be without, the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish has a gorgeous medium coverage that can easily be built up, stays put all day and leaves a flawless finish every time. I could not be without this foundation and I've whipped it out again now the colder months are here and I'm wanting a bit more coverage than I did in the summer. Bobbi Brown do incredible bases and this foundation along with the Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF35 are absolute must haves for me. Nothing compares!

 The Body Shop Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream (The Body Shop, 30ml, £5) - A month or so back there was a voucher flying around for a free hand cream from The Body Shop. I opted for Absinthe, as although it isn't a hydrating or moisturising hand cream, it's perfect for ridding any nasty smells. I have this in my Uni bag for days where I'm using tons of public transport and want to keep the germs and bacteria at bay. If I'm using it at home I do like to follow up with a more hydrating hand cream, such as the Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream, but for travelling and on the go it's perfect. A great price too and definitely worth a repurchase. 

October Top 5

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush (Beauty Chamber, 8.5g, £13) - I recently shared a post on some of my theBalm blushes and I really do adore them, but Cabana Boy has definitely taken first place as my favourite blush of the month. The shade is just perfect for this time of year, a deep plum dusty pink that is just divine on the cheeks for a pop of colour. I've received a lot of lovely compliments when wearing this blush and I don't see myself falling out of love with it any time soon! 

Korres Lip Butter Plum (Look Fantastic, 6g, £6) - I own a couple of Korres Lip Butters but it's only recently I've really gotten into them. They aren't the most hydrating or moisturising, but enough to keep the dry lips at bay. Plum is a particular favourite because it leaves a lovely plum colour on my lips. It's sheer, as you'd expect from a lip butter, but packed full of pigmentation and I love wearing this to finish off a more toned-down look, as it's sheer and super light weight. The colour also lasts ages when on, which is a definite plus!

Burberry Lip Cover Hibiscus (Harrods, £22.50) - I adore Burberry makeup, I just wish I could afford it more often! A few weeks back I picked up my very first Burberry lipstick and I am just utterly besotted. Hibiscus is a stunning berry shade that looks gorgeous on the lips. I find the Burberry lipsticks to be fairly sheer, but the colour can easily be built up. With a creamy, almost glossy formula that glides onto my lips leaving a gorgeous wash of colour and a subtle shine, with no smudging or bleeding - this is my go-to lipstick at the moment and I love it!  

What made it into your October Top 5?

October Top 5

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28 October 2013

Noble Isle Heather Honey

I don't know about anyone else, but in this house, we've always had a proper hand wash, a proper handmade soap, and a proper hand lotion. It's simple routine here, you wash your hands and then you pop some lotion on to keep them in tip top condition. It's the same downstairs by the sink - hand lotion, hand lotion, hand lotion! The newest addition to our bathroom and one all of us have enjoyed using, is the Noble Isle Heather Honey Hand Lotion* (Noble Isle*, 250ml, £20) A gorgeous soft and subtle scent, this has top notes of bergamot and orange blossom - a favourite combination of mine! And heart notes of jasmine and neroli, a touch of grapefruit and extract of protein-rich heather honey which has been harvested in the Perthshire Highlands, along with base notes of amber and sandalwood. That's one thing I really do love about Noble Isle - the ingredients are British, the products are made here in Britain. It's always great to see British brands with gorgeous products! 

This hand lotion has suited all members of the Ford family, from the oldest with hands that have seen years of hard work, to the youngest of little toddler hands, wanting to be kept soft. It's a wonderful hand lotion, a lovely soothing scent and I think Noble Isle may have just pushed themselves to the top as a favourite for hand lotions - it's soft, it's gentle on the skin, it isn't greasy nor oily, it sinks into my skin easily and quickly and it leaves them feeling soft, nourished and supple. Lovely. 

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*This post contains a sample which was kindly given to me for review. All opinions are my own.

27 October 2013

What's all the fuss with Allure?

Allure, hugely coveted and impossible to get hold of in the UK. Or so I thought. I was obsessed with the idea of picking up a copy of this coveted magazine for a good 18 months before I found a way to get it delivered straight to my door every month. So many of my favourite beauty YouTubers from the UK who travel a lot, rave about Allure magazine. Then I noticed more and more beauty bloggers picking it up. We have nothing like it in the UK, a magazine all about beauty, and just beauty. I wanted to see what this mysterious, difficult to find magazine was all about and why so many beauty adorers were so besotted. 

I ordered a subscription over on NewsStand and originally, I was just going to get the three copies and then do a little post and run-down of what I thought about the three issues I had received. But then my subscription ended, I'd received, devoured and taken notes from three issues - and I wanted more. I extended my subscription for another two months - and I've just extended it again. Allure has become a monthly parcel I look forward to reading, eagerly awaiting it's arrival. 

Allure magazine has the widest array of beauty features and articles I have ever seen in a magazine - the entire magazine is on beauty with some gorgeous fashion. There's articles, tips and tricks, products of the week, month, season. Interviews, amazing photos, a huge interaction between the writers and readers and lots of gorgeous products that'll leave you wishing you could jump straight on the next plane to New York. As an American publication, a huge amount of the products featured in the magazine are unavailable to buy in the UK, but Allure is often a great way for me to find out about new products from brands we have in the UK, knowing to patiently expect their arrival over here. It's not just about the products featured in the magazine though - for me Allure is like one big blog in magazine format. If we had magazines like this in the UK, I'd happily spend money every month to read a beauty magazine, devouring beauty secrets and writing never ending wishlists. 

Do I think Allure is worth the hype? Yes. Every single issue I have received has been an amazing read, the articles are so varied and it's exactly the kind of magazine that manages to keep me interested, rather than flicking through a few pages before chucking it away. Do I think it's a must-have? No. I don't think any magazine is a must-have to be honest. But if you can spare the pennies each month, then yes, it is. The price is a bit more steep than what we are used to in the UK for the size of the magazine, but the content is very much worth while and it's only a few quid - £5.95 a month. 

And on that note, it's time for my Sunday pamper and to settle down with the latest issue of my most favourite magazine....

You can subscribe to Allure magazine here.

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#MyLittleSkincareProject - Dry Skin # 3

We've reached the third and final segment of #MyLittleSkincareProject and this segment is all about putting products to the test which are aimed at specific skin types. Each blogger taking part in the project has been sponsored by some really fantastic brands and we have been trialing the products for the project for around 6-8 weeks now. Long enough to give you all a good review of the products we've been trying! These reviews will be in brief - but don't forget you can follow each of the bloggers in the project over on their own blogs, to see more detailed, full-length reviews. If you want to catch up with the project so far you can find all the posts linked at the bottom of this post, and you can also find out exactly what type of skin my dry skin bloggers have in #MyLittleSkincareProject - Dry Skin # 1.

This week my lovely dry skin bloggers Adrienne, Luce and Saffron are sharing their thoughts on some products aimed at dry and dehydrated skin. 
Adrienne has dry skin
Products for dry skin

"The Clear Skin Cookbook* (Viridian*, £7.99) - The Clear Skin Cookbook is packed full of useful recipes and tips to improve the quality of your skin by changing from the inside out. I truly believe that if you look after yourself with diet and exercise then your skin will shortly follow. Drinking lots of water has always been my top tip: I can't expect my skin to look any good if I'm not re-hydrating it throughout the day. On that note, I'm particularly partial to the Raspberry and Melon Cooler that's chock full of vitamin C and helps the production of collagen, something I'm clinging on to in my 20s. The layout of the book is wonderful: lots of science thrown in after a recipe on why each ingredient is beneficial and what it does. After flicking through a couple times, I decided to make the Tomato and Fennel soup. The benefits of this particular soup being clear, glowing skin and protection against free radicals.

Konjac Sponge with French Red Clay for Tired and Devitalized Skin* (Cult Beauty*, £6.98) - Once your insides are happy and healthy it's time to tackle any problem areas, and nothing rejuvenates my tired skin more than the Konjac Sponge for tired and devitalized skin. I don't even have to use a cleanser, just gently buff the sponge onto my face and my skin feels silky smooth. I've got a healthy glow while using the Konjac Sponge, a product made from 100% Konjac fibre, balancing my skins pH level in a naturally gentle way. 

Liz Earle Pure Muslin Cloth* (Liz Earle*, Pack of 2, £4.25) - After making sure all traces of dead skin cells and dry skin have been suitably removed, I have been using a touch of my usual cleanser with a Liz Earle Muslin Cloth to ensure I am left with a fresh canvas to start the day with. It's a lovely soft cloth that does its job, I was just a little disappointed that there were no distinguishing features of it as a Liz Earle product. It would be interesting to see them bring out something more along the lines of a flannel that will really exfoliate the skin. I find I need something with a little more texture to it to really get away anything stubborn that refuses to move.

La Roche-Posay Physiological Eye-Makeup Remover* (Boots*, 125ml, £9.50) - Then, at the end of a long and tiring day when I have just enough energy to remove my makeup and start my usual beauty regime I've begun reaching for La Roche-Posay Physiological Eye-Makeup Remover. I don't usually opt for dedicated makeup removers, preferring to use an oil cleanser and then going in with a cream cleanser to remove any last traces, but being La Roche-Posay I had to give it a try. Touted as a remover for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, it's actually fairly ideal for me. Being a contact lens wearer, I'm forever looking for ways to remove my eye makeup without getting any in my eyes and causing problems with my lenses, which is so painful. Changes in pH levels can dramatically change your ability to wear contact lenses, and with how gentle this product is, I don't think there is any danger of that happening."

Luce has dry skin
Products for dry skin

"Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask* (Origins*, 50ml, £11, 100ml, £22) - Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask has been a love of mine for well over a year now. I do prefer their 10 minute Drink Up mask, but if you want some intense hydration, this is the one for you. I use it by applying my usual skincare regime after showering and before bed, applying a layer of this to sleep in. I will note that if you do put too much on, your face can be a little sticky. 

Liz Earle Pure Muslin Cloth* (Liz Earle*, Pack of 2, £4.25) - Liz Earle Muslin Cloths are very popular nowadays as they come with the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, a favourite of mine. Yes they are good, but I find that to get all of the product off, they're not very good in that matter. I find that using a flannel is the best way, especially if you have dry skin as it's also slightly exfoliating on the skin. 

Konjac Sponge with French Red Clay for Tired and Devitalized Skin* (Cult Beauty*, £6.98) - Similar to that, the Konjac Sponge for Tired Devitalized skin, I didn't see any different in my skin when using it. I found that it was good for removing stubborn masks once they have dried, but other than that, I found it a little pointless. 

The Clear Skin Cookbook* (Viridian*, £7.99) - The Clear Skin Cookbook by Dale Pinnock is a very good read. Not my first pick on cookbooks for skin, but at the beginning there is some good information about which vitamins and minerals your skin needs!"

Saffron has dry skin
Products for dry skin

"Hello again! It seems like forever since the last dry skin post, but we’re back today to share with you some product reviews from the brands kind enough to sponsor the #MyLittleSkincareProject

The Clear Skin Cookbook* (Viridian*, £7.99) - I’ll start with the most unusual gift, The Clear Skin Cookbook. Written by Dave Pinnock, this book is a must for those who believe in beauty from the inside out. With tons of delicious recipes, and all on the healthy spectrum it’s a win-win situation. My fave recipe? Steamed Salmon with Yoghurt Sauce on Wilted Greens. Yum!

Origins Make A Difference Rejuvenating Cleansing Milk* (Origins*, 150ml, £20) - I was also very lucky to receive a full sized bottle of Origins Make A Difference Rejuvenating Cleansing Milk. Having never tried a milk cleanser before it did exceed my expectations. My skin felt super smooth afterwards. The only problem I have is the makeup removing capabilities. I didn't think it was strong enough to get through foundation and mascara so I mainly used this as a second cleanser after micellar water. I do this with most cleansers anyway so that’s not a massive negative in my eyes!

Konjac Sponge with French Red Clay for Tired and Devitalized Skin* (Cult Beauty*, £6.98) - I've left the two accessories til last, but I’ll start with the Konjac Puff Sponge. It comes in many variations depending on your skin type, but I received the Pink Clay version for Sensitive and Dehydrated skins. You simply massage the skin in circular motions whilst the sponge is damp. It is definitely not irritating in the slightest, probably the opposite for me. I didn't feel that it removed cleansers very well, especially ones with a milky formula such as Origins. I found this sponge much more useful for an indulgent face massage! It does deteriorate over time, and that seems to be happening much sooner than I expected so bear in mind this product is not going to last longer than a few months. I’d definitely like to try some of the other variations however.

Liz Earle Pure Muslin Cloth* (Liz Earle*, Pack of 2, £4.25) - Finally, the Liz Earle Pure Muslin Cloth. This is the product I keep reaching for over and over. It’s gentle but does remove makeup and the general grime of the day. You use it in the same way as the Konjac Sponge: gently massaging in circles whilst the cloth is damp. I've used this with multiple cleansers and it consistently performs. As with all cloths you need to wash this to keep it clean, but I will definitely be picking up another when this one gets too shabby!

Hope you've all enjoyed my ramblings, if you want to know any more details about these products, look out for more in-depth reviews on my blog!"

Thank you Adrienne, Luce and Saffron for sharing your thoughts with us on such a great variety of products. It's interesting to see how the same products work for different people of the same skin type! In the next post my sensitive skin bloggers will be sharing their thoughts on products specifically targeted at sensitive skin. If you've tried any of these products I'd love to hear your thoughts on them and whether they worked for you!

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*This post contains samples which were kindly donated for the project. Views and opinions are of the individual bloggers.


26 October 2013

NARS, the perfect palettes

Over the past year NARS has really impressed me where shadows are concerned and each time a limited edition eyeshadow palette hits the beauty scene, I have to snap it up. The limited edition eyeshadow palettes are in fact the only NARS shadows in my collection, but each palette has me absolutely besotted and I wanted to show you my humble collection, all of which are pretty regular peeper-pleasers now we're really into autumn. Now, of course, with these palettes being limited edition it does mean that you can't buy them all anymore... but this blog isn't just about the products you can buy, but products I am really enjoying using and which are staples in my routine. So these definitely make the cut! And if anything, maybe I'll give one of you a little encouragement to take the plunge next time a limited edition eye palette is released, to snap it up before its gone for good! It's also worth noting a fair few of the shades in these palettes can be bought individually or in duos - I will be sure to link the ones which do.

NARS And God Created the Woman Palette
Alhambra - Bellisima - Kalahari
Galapagos - Coconut Grove - Night Clubbing

And God Created the Woman (£45) - One of the now unavailable palettes and also the first NARS eyeshadow palette I added to my collection. Completely spurred on by the fantastic reviews on Vivianna Does Makeup, I lusted after this palette for weeks before deciding it was too stunning to pass up and added it to my basket before it sold out! An absolutely stunning palette, this really captured my heart and made me stop and think about expanding the brands that I turned to for shadows. For my first time trying NARS shadows I was massively impressed and I suppose you could blame this palette for the fact I want every single shadow palette NARS ever release in the future! In the usual NARS packaging, And God Created the Woman contains six shades. Alhambra (Space NK, Alhambra Duo, £25) is the palest shade in the palette, a pale champagne with the perfect amount of fine shimmer which makes it a beautiful shade for highlighting your inner corner. Bellissima (Space NK, Bellissima Duo, £25) is a matte grey-toned taupe shade and has a lovely velvet finish, applying and blending beautifully. Next up, Kalahari (Space NK, Kalahari Duo, £25) which is easily one of my favourite NARS shades. A stunning rose gold shade packed full of fine shimmer, this looks stunning all over the lid and has more oomph and pigment to it than Alhambra. Galapagos (Space NK, Galapagos Single, £18) is a beautiful warm brown with bronze undertones and a shimmer finish, lovely worked through the crease for a little bit of sparkle and perfect for this autumnal weather. Coconut Grove (Space NK, Coconut Grove Single, £18) is a warm matte brown shade with the same lovely finish as Bellissima and finally we have Night Clubbing (Space NK, Night Clubbing Single, £25), a true stand out shade. A mixture of onyx running through a true black and a fine gold glitter finish, beautiful. After trying this palette out for size, there was no way I could resist future palettes...

NARS Ride Up To The Moon Palette
Argentina - Isolde - Night Porter
Biarritz - Fez - Cordura 

Ride Up to the Moon (NARS, Limited Edition, £32) - One of two more recent palettes I added to my collection, Ride Up to the Moon is still available - but I'd snap it up quick before it sells out! With the same packaging and design of the previous palette, the shades in Ride Up to the Moon reminds me of a deep, dark forest bathed in glorious sunlight. There's incredible highlight shades, shades to really open your eyes and shades that work perfectly for a flush of colour all on their own. Then there's the deeper, more smokey hues and deep forest green. This palette is a favourite right now! Argentina is a limited edition shade for the palette and is just that touch more intense than Alhambra, but with the same beautiful, almost pearl like finish. Isolde (NARS, Isolde Duo, £25) is a truly stunning shimmering copper shade that I am really loving right now, for all over the lid, for the inner corner if my overall look is more intense and it's fab as a liner for the lower lash line, too! Night Porter (NARS, Night Porter Single, £18) is one of my favourite shades in the palette and it's described by NARS as a black with opals, but to me it's the perfect forest green. Biarritz (NARS, Biarritz Single, £18) is the perfect neutral beige and is lovely for a wash of colour over the lids without being too over the top; it's subtle, pale yet super flattering. Fez (NARS, Fez Single, £18) is a shimmer shade and a really gorgeous cocoa shade with the warm tones of copper. Finally we have Cordura (NARS, Cordura Duo, £25) is a shimmering warm, rich brown and so wearable, a great everyday shade. Of the three palettes I own from NARS, this is easily my favourite as it's really perfect for this time of year and I love the variety of shades and finishes. 

NARS Fairy's Kiss Palette
Manosque - Kalahari - Brousse
Tokyo - Brumes - Pandora 

Fairy's Kiss (John Lewis, Limited Edition, £32) - Fairy's Kiss came out at the same time as Ride Up to the Moon and seems to have been quite popular, as it's sold out everywhere except for John Lewis! With smokey hues and a lot of lilac and lavender undertones, this is a beautiful palette but one I think I'll get more use out of when we really hit winter, as the shades are darker than the previous two palettes mentioned. Manosque seems to be limited edition to this palette and it's a gorgeous light rose shimmer shade. Next up, a favourite from the And God Created the Woman palette, Kalahari; which I think works lovely with the shades in this palette as a truly wearable shimmer shade. Next up we have Brousse (NARS, Brousse Duo, £25), a gorgeous black-violet with a fine shimmer running through. This is a beauty blended through the crease! Tokyo (NARS, Tokyo Duo, £25) is a super pale silver toned lilac shade that would be far more flattering on paler skin tones than it is my own and Brumes (NARS, Brumes Duo, £25) is a gorgeous charcoal matte shade, another one perfect for the crease. Pandora (NARS, Pandora Duo, £25) is a true matte black and although it's a little bit temperamental and prone to fall out, it's one of the truest black shades I've come across in a palette, perfect for adding definition, blending through the crease or even used as a liner!

So those are my NARS eyeshadow palettes, all of which I am besotted with. I find NARS shadows to be really workable, there's a fantastic range of shades in each of the palettes and I've not had any problems with any shades! I think the compact little palettes are perfect for popping in your handbag for on the go or travelling away and these shadows last hours even without a primer - although I prefer applying with my Urban Decay Primer Potion. Highly pigmented, incredible formulas and beautiful shades, you can't go wrong really. Do you own any of these? Will you be snapping any of them up before they're gone for good? Let me know what your favourite palette and shade is! In the mean time I'm going to patiently await the release of the next NARS limited edition eyeshadow palette... 
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23 October 2013

Everyday hair care essentials

Of course I adore using my high-end hair care products but on a day-to-day basis, using more budget-friendly products is much more realistic. I reserve my high-end favourites for weekends, special occasions and plans out, whereas for the everyday general jobs I need to get done, I'm fine with my John Frieda Luxurious Volume* range.

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Touchably Full Shampoo* (Boots*, 250ml, £5.99) & Conditioner* (Boots*, 250ml, £5.99) - The Luxurious Volume shampoo and conditioner are no stranger to Tattooed Tealady, as I shared my thoughts on them last year so I won't go into too much detail here, but these are a great everyday duo for perfectly happy, healthy and silky soft hair. I have to be honest and say I don't find the shampoo and conditioner add volume to my hair, as I've used them alone with no styling products and found my hair remained lank and lifeless. But as a basic shampoo and conditioner they work well to cleanse my hair and it's easy to manage, as I find is true to all the John Frieda ranges I have tried.

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow Out Spray* (Boots*, 125ml, £6.99) - A few sprays of this slender Blow Out Spray really helps give my hair some oomph when I'm blow drying, giving it a great boost at the roots and makes my hair feel thicker as well as looking more volumised. I adore it! You can also use this on dry hair which I sometimes do if I'm feeling a bit lazy and just want to refresh my style, rather than completely changing it. It works to provide natural looking volume and lift by plumping fine hair from the root all the way through to the tips of your hair, giving it a salon finish and the body, volume and shape we lust after, and it actually does as it says! Love this.

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Lotion* (Boots, 125ml, £5.99) - I equally love the Blow Dry Lotion, but I do think it's pretty much the exact same product as the Blow Out Spray. Sometimes I'll use each individually, sometimes I'll combine the two for a real volumised look. But overall, they both do the same job for me. Blow Dry Lotion is advertised as being able to thicken the hair shaft, boost volume and give even the finest of hair a fuller, thicker look. 

Overall I am once again impressed with the products I have tried. John Frieda is a brand I have used for many, many years and their products always do the job and keep my hair looking and feeling lovely. I particularly love the Brilliant Brunette range! If you're looking for a great new shampoo and conditioner to try out, give these a go - but for volume I definitely recommend the Luxurious Volume styling products! Fab. Even better - There's a great deal on selected John Frieda products and ranges, with 2 for £8 in Boots and at Boots online at the moment, so perfect to snap up some hair care bargains. 

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*I was kindly sent these products for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.
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