Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Postcard from Rome....

The Colosseum
I recently visited Rome for a few days and had the most amazing time. It is honestly the most beautiful city I have ever visited and no matter how much time you spend there I'm sure you would not manage to visit all the wonders, sites and antiquities it has to offer. As I was only there for a few days, I mainly visited all the big, well known tourist attractions including the Colosseum, Palatine Hill,Vatican City,  the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain along with a few other of Rome's wonders.

You may be reading this and wondering why I'm banging on about my holiday? Firstly, it makes me happy thinking about it but secondly, and more to the point, when I was in Rome I just happened to stumble across a Sephora store or two. 
Just one of Sephora shops I stumbled across whilst exploring Rome
For those of you who live in Europe and the USA you may be wondering why this is news worthy, well here in the UK we don't have Sephora!!! Seriously, you have no idea how lucky you are, Sephora is like the beauty bloggers heaven! I know I could shop online but it just isn't the same. I love to be able to browse the store, smell and feel the products, which you can't do when buying makeup online.  

Sephora eye pencil, blush and nail polish

So what did I purchase? I was a little bit limited as I had only taken hand luggage, which restricted carrying liquids. I'm actually quite proud of myself for showing such self restraint as I haven't been to Sephora since I visited Barcelona five years ago!

I went for:
  • Sephora kohl eye pencil shade 01 noir artist
  • Sephora blush in Coral Flush
  • Sephora nail polish in Curacao
I also received samples of the Chanel Satin Fluid Foundation and the Sephora Smoothing Primer. I purposefully went for what I consider to be everyday essentials because in my opinion this is what Sephora do the best. They create reliable products that feel rich and luxurious that are great for everyday use. 

Monday, 28 November 2011

Time to Party!

Its coming to that time of year when a party dress is essential. In a few weeks I am going on a long over due night out and have nothing to wear. Well, I probably do have something I could wear but I feel like treating myself to a new dress. Here are a few gorgeous dresses that won't make too large a dent on the pre-Christmas bank account.

Top left
Exposed Zip Racer Back Midi Dress

Top middle 
Kimberley Pleat Neck Shift Dress 

Top right
Tara Lace Panel Cut Out Bodycon Dress

Bottom left
Mini Dress with Cage Back

Bottom right
Vera Moda Glitter Bodycon Dress

I really want the Kimberley Shift Dress, however the pale colour would wash me out and it isn't available in any other colours, which is a real shame. 
Hmm decisions, decisions which one do I choose?!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Guest Post by Katie : Soap and Glory Supercat Eye Liner

Soap and Glory Supercat Eye Liner

Hello hello,

So, as an admirer of blogs - especially Miss Katy’s Never Too Broke For Beauty beauty blog - I was chuffed to bits when she suggested I write a guest blog for this site.

You see, I had just discovered that one of my favourite brands, Soap & Glory, had ventured into the world of make-up. I have been a big fan of their ranges for a while now and could rave on about their Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser (as effective as Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish but better value and easier to get hold of) or their Make Yourself Youthful Rejuvenating Face Serum (which makes my face feel like silk and always had my fella commenting on how soft my skin feels) for an age, but I am here to talk to you lovely readers about the make-up. 

My product of choice was the Supercat Carbon Black Extreme Eyeliner Pen. I went for this as I have been an admirer of the feline look for a while now but had been sure I would faff it up (I usually go for lips rather than eyes, so my skills are lacking!), but a fancy dress party and Geisha costume beckoned and there’s no way you can carry off that look without great eyeliner.

Applying the Supercat
The Supercat is like a felt tip pen and costs £6.00, which seemed pretty reasonable to me. It was fairly easy to apply as it has a fine point and glided on extremely smoothly. My first few attempts were still quite terrible however, as my hands were shaky and I had to wipe off a few bits and touch up here and there. I think this was down to my lack of practice and in more experienced hands this product would look amazing. My favorite thing about this product was how easy it was to wipe off and start again or touch up. A damp cotton bud or face wipe was all that was needed to remove any mistakes. Once you were happy with the result the final look stayed in place all evening and yet was so easy to wash off at the end of the night. 

One reason I have always been more of a lips girl is that I can have quite sensitive eyes, and some make up can leave me with swelled up puffy eyes after a big night out (not a good look!). This product had no such effect so I was very impressed with that and will definitely look to try their other eye make up products. 
The finished look
The finished look, I was pretty pleased with it myself! What do you think?

 Katie x

From one Katie to another...
I’m loving the look and this sounds like a great product! Also I’d love to here more about the other Soap and Glory products you’ve mentioned!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion Review

Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion

I recently wrote an article called Five Things I ReallyWant and in it I asked for suggestions for an affordable skin care product that helps to shrink and combat spots. The lovely BeautyGeek recommend a few products, amongst them was The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion.  I don’t usually write about skin care products as I feel that the results of products differ widely from person to person and skin care regimes are very personal. However, I really like this product and the results for me have been great.

The Body Shop website describes this product as ‘a light non-oily moisturising lotion for blemished skin.’ They state that it provides lightweight hydration, has shin control for a matte finish and has an antibacterial action that is clinically proven to give clearer looking skin.

It applies clear and has a gel like appearance and feel.
I have spot prone skin and am constantly fighting the next breakout. After using this product for just three days my spots were drying out, looking smaller and a lot less angry and crucially for me were a lot less painful than normal. I am prone to dry skin and do not need shine control products so I don’t use this as a moisturiser but as a topical treatment that I just apply to spot prone areas. As an all over moisturiser I suspect it would be too drying on my already dry skin.

This product does have quite a strong tea tree smell, which some people may find off putting. To overcome this I just use the product at night leaving my skin looking refreshed and less angry in the morning. Also, if like me you have battled bad skin for longer then you care to admit a smell of tea tree will not put you off using a product that actually works.

I love this product but I suspect that wouldn’t be the case for everyone. It is by no means a miracle cure but it has made a noticeable difference to my skin and I would recommend it.  It is priced at £7.00, which means it’s affordable enough to try and not be too disappointed if it isn’t right for you.  

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Lots of things to celebrate!

Hello everyone!

First of all I’d like to apologise for the lack of posts recently. I have had the most exciting, fun and hectic few weeks of my life for three reasons:

  1. I went on holiday to Rome and it was amazing!! I’m going to write a post about it soon.
  2. I got engaged!
  3. It was my birthday!
So the past few weeks have been amazing and exciting but haven’t left too much time for blogging. I celebrated my birthday with family and friends and I feel very fortunate that I have wonderful people around me to celebrate exciting occasions with. I also feel very lucky that I received so many lovely cards and presents. I got a few items that I thought I’d share with you.

Sanctuary Gift Set
My gorgeous friend Lauren bought me this amazing gift set from Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden. This set is huge and as soon as you open the lid it smells absolutely gorgeous. The items contained in it are: a body wash, a body scrub, a foaming bath soak, body butter, intensive rescue heel balm, a body lotion and a shower cap. All the products smell amazing and are very rich and luxurious. I can’t wait to have a pamper evening and try them all out! What I love more than anything about this present is the box.  It’s a huge, solid box complete with a mirror and compartments and is going to be my deluxe makeup box!

Items included in gift set
I also got a No 7 gift set from my boyfriend’s parents, which I cannot wait to try out. The set includes a gorgeous blue makeup bag and lots of lovely miniature No 7 products including: a 5ml Protect and Prefect Beauty Serum, 10ml Protect and Perfect Hand Cream, a Stay Perfect Eye Shadow shade 69 Starry Lights, a Glitter Eyeliner, 4.5 ml Exceptional Definition Mascara and a full size High Shine Lip Gloss shade Whisper.

Items included in No 7 set
I really can’t wait to try out all these new products and I’ll post about my favourite products. I am a very lucky lady!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

George Quick Dry Nail Polish Review

George Quick Dry Nail Varnish in Smarty Pants
Anyone who reads this blog will know that my favourite products are those that make life that little easier and make my makeup routine that little bit quicker. So what could be more convenient than picking up your cosmetics in your local supermarket?

George at Asda have a line of quick dry nail polishes and as one of my pet peeves is waiting for nail polish to dry, I thought I’d give them a go. The polishes are smaller than the average at 5ml and come with a tiny price tag of £1.75 or 2 for £2.50

So what claims do these polished make? Well other than being quick drying they don’t make any bold claims and the great thing about these is they are very quick drying meaning that you don’t end up with the annoying smudges you normally get if you are as impatient as me. The colours are great with high impact colour in just two coats. These aren’t the most long lasting polishes but they give between one to three days wear and because they are quick drying are easy to reapply.

I opted for No 69 Smarty Pants and I’m pleased with my choice. The colour is bright and vibrant and looks on the nail how you would expect it to from the bottle. These polishes are an absolute bargain and in my opinion a must have!

George Quick Dry Nail Polish Review

Product: Quick dry polish from George at Asda.

Longevity: Not the longest lasting, does chip quite easily.

Affordable: A real bargain at £1.75 or 2 for £2.50.

Easy to use:  Yes

Availability: At your local Asda

Would I repurchase: Yes, the colours are great would just love them to be a little harder wearing.

The Verdict: 6.5/10 – Very affordable quick dry polish. Unfortunately not the most chip proof.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Going for the crop!

Top left: Michelle Williams, Top right: Ashlee Simpson
Bottom left: Kimberley Wyatt, Bottom right: Agness Deyn

In a recent Elle interview Michelle Williams said of her short hair, ‘ The only people who like it are gay men and my girlfriends. Straight men across the board are not into this hair.’

Firstly I take issue with this as I have had cropped hair for around 6 years now and I have not found this to be the case at all. Not everybody will find someone else attractive and this is the same for hair cuts. Some men like short hair, some prefer longer hair. 

Secondly and most importantly who cares? The easiest way to feel attractive is to feel good about yourself and stop worrying what other people think. Feeling confident and happy about your appearance is far more important than what other people think of your hair cut.

Top left: Emma Watson, Top right: Mia Farrow
Bottom left: Jean Seberg, Bottom right: Frankie from The Saturdays

If you’re thinking of going for the chop there are a few things that you might want to consider before you do:

v     Are you the kind of girl who is likely to have an America’s Next Top Model Style break down if they chop your hair? If so, you might want to do it in stages because a short hair cut takes a long time to grow out. I recently grew mine to my shoulders and it took 2 years! It’s much easier to grow out a bob than a cropped pixie cut so if you have a deep emotional attachment to your hair get it done in stages.
v     Choose the right stylist. Your hairdresser might have done your hair for years but cutting short hair is different to long hair. I’m very fortunate that I have an amazing hairdresser but over the years I have had some awful haircuts from different stylists. If you know someone with short hair ask them who cuts it.
v     When you go to the hairdressers take pictures, be clear about the style you want and have a consultation with your hairdresser before they cut it. Also don’t expect your style to be exactly like your favourite celebrities, the cut should be tailored to your features.
v     Do you have the right features to pull off short hair? All of the women above have similar soft and petite features. Round faces and square jaw lines aren’t always flattered by a short cut.
v     Do you like to change your hair a lot, if so this might not be the right option for you? Short hair isn’t the most versatile and you can’t just tie it up on a bad hair day.
v     Short hair needs to be maintained with regular trims, which is not only a time commitment but a financial one too. 
v     If you go for the chop own your cut and wear it with confidence. One of the up sides of short hair is that it definitely makes you stand out from the crowd! 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Maxfactor Smokey Eye Effect Eye Shadow

A review of Maxfactor's Smokey Eye Effect Mascara
Maxfactor Smokey Eye Effect Eye Shadow in  Purple Haze

I bought the Maxfactor Smokey Eye Effect Eye Shadow a while ago thinking that it looked like a super handy product but I never got around to trying it until recently and I have to say I love it. It is the ultimate time saving product that allows you to create a smokey eye in literally less than 5 minutes.

The eye shadow is very easy to apply and a professional finish is guaranteed. Like a lot of shadows there is some creasing but this is easily touched up. I opted for Purple Haze as I felt it would complement my blue eyes. This shade allows you to create a subtle smokey eye perfect for the day time.

Smokey Eye Effect using Purple Haze
Here is how to create a smokey eye in 5 minutes flat:

 v     Line your eyes using a brown pencil. I used the Boots No 7 pencil in Brown to line the upper and lower lids.

 v     Using Step 1 of the Maxfactor Smokey Eye Effect Eye Shadow follow the line made with the pencil making it thicker and more dramatic. Then cover the rest of the eyelid with Step 1.

 v   Use Step 2 to highlight the inside corner of the eye. Apply a falsh lash effect mascara. I used Bourjois  Volumizer Mascara but Maxfactor  False Effect Mascara also creates dramatic lashes.

 v     Line the inside of the eye with the Boots No 7 pencil.

If you want a more dramatic effect for evening try Onyx Smoke and for a bright look use Blue Tempest.

Maxfactor Smokey Eye Effect Eye Shadow is around £7.99 and is a must have for makeup lovers who like quick, easy and great results. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Thoughts on the Avon Ideal Shade Cream to Powder Foundation

Avon Ideal Shade Cream to Powder Foundation

I have had this foundation for a good few months but forgot to take a photograph of it so I borrowed the above from the Avon website as I didn't think you would want to see a used foundation!  I am now coming to the end of this foundation and am only just writing about it because I have mixed feelings about it and I am not really a fan of powder foundation.

The reason I don’t like powder foundation is because I have never found one that provides a good standard of coverage without looking cakey. This product applies nicely and does not appear cakey like a lot of cream to powder foundations do. One of the flaws of this product is its longevity as once it has been applied it does not give a lasting finish and transfers to everything. For example I took a phone call and when I had finished my phone was absolutely covered in foundation even though it didn’t look like I was wearing much in the first place.

Avon describe this foundation as a ‘foundation, concealer and powder all in one’ that ‘matifies oily breakout prone skin.’ I have problematic skin and I generally have one or two spots that need covering most days. This is where this product has been most useful for me as I use it for extra coverage on those days where my skin isn’t looking too great. However I have to admit that as a foundation on its own I don’t think it is any good for problematic skin. It is described as providing medium to full coverage however I didn’t find this to be the case and problematic skin needs more coverage than this provides. Similarly powder finishes aren’t the most suitable for problem skin as they tend to gather in dry areas and around raised spots which draws attention to them.
This foundation is available from Avon representatives and online and costs £10.00.