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Sunday, 21 December 2014

My Top 3 Eyeshadow Palettes

I hold my hands up - I'm a bit of an eyeshadow palette junkie. I've built up quite the collection over the past 4 years or so because I just think there's just something about owning a palette that's so much more practical than having a line up of singular shades. I love having a number of looks all available in one place and they're so easy to store and travel with.  I find it so satisfying to see them all stacked in a row (surely I can't be the only one...) and I always enjoy choosing which palette I want to use depending on what sort of look I'm wanting to achieve.  As the festive season is well and truly upon us, I thought it would be a good time to introduce my favourite eyeshadow palettes and explain a little bit about why I love them so much and exactly what I use them for. Personally, I'm a bit of a neutrals fan - the majority of my palettes are all filled with brown hues and shimmery nudes and are all suitable for everyday wear. Of course, it's going to depend on what sort of shades/tones you prefer and what colours seem to suit your skin-tone, but hopefully this post might give you a little inspiration if you're after a new palette to treat yourself to this Christmas (I know it's getting quite late on now but there's still time - and of course, there's the inevitable post-Christmas sale treats...) I also have full reviews and swatches of all of these palettes so I've linked these posts in case you want to have a more in-depth look at any of them. So, in no particular order...

Stila //  In the Light Palette // £25.00 // Link // Full Review & Swatches
Stila's 'In The Light' palette is a stunner to say the least. I really enjoyed using it over the festive season last year and I've used it throughout the year since. I love the fact that there's such an amazing range of shades for all occasions - the addition of the midnight blue also makes for a nice little twist.  I absolutely adore the consistency of these shadows - the majority of them are super creamy to the touch and incredibly pigmented.  I also love the matte shades - sometimes, I find mattes can lack in the pigmentation stakes but the 2 in this palette are really impressive and make for a nice base for adding a bit of shimmer.  The palette also comes with a smudge stick eyeliner (not pictured) which has become one of my daily staples.  Its seriously one of the best eyeliners I've ever used.

Favourite shades: 'Kitten' - a gorgeous champagne shimmer perfect for the inner corners of the eyes .. 'Sunset' because it seems to work really well with my green eyes and it worked really well with a tan in summer .. 'Bubbly' is a gorgeous versatile gold shade which will suit everybody and 'Bliss' is such a stunning shade for creating definition in the crease.

Urban Decay //  Naked 3 Palette // £37.00 // Link // Full Review & Swatches
In true beauty blogger style, I own all 3 of the Naked palettes.  Although I really enjoy using the first one, I have to say I think the third has beaten it to the top spot.  I didn't think I'd get on too well with the rose gold hues but they really do seem to work with my skin tone - especially through the colder months.  I love the mix of shimmers and mattes and each one is amazing in terms of pigmentation - Urban Decay really do nail it every time when it comes to colour pay off!  I love the range of shades in here as there seems to be a little more choice in terms of colour compared to the other Naked palettes - there's everything from a neutral barely there look, to an antique gold or dusky pink, right the way through to smokey browns.  I love the brush that comes with this palette too - it's double ended so it's much more handy for on the go as you get a standard eye brush along with a fluffier blending option.  The mirror is also bigger in this palette too.

Favourite shades: 'Limit' and 'Nooner' are gorgeous crease colours and are probably my most used shades out of the palette simply because they act as a lovely base for further colour or work perfectly on their own. If I haven't got much time of a morning, a quick dusting of either of these and I'm good to go. 'Burnout' is the perfect everyday shimmer - it's not overly glittery and the pastel pink hue has a brightening effect on the lids. 'Trick' is also a really unique antique rose-gold sort of shade.

Jane Iredale // Daytime Palette // £39.95 // Link // Full Review & Swatches
Ok - so as the most expensive palette of the 3 you're probably thinking is it even worth it? I thought this too when I first tried it but I can hands down say that this is my most used palette ever - the first four shades are used on a daily basis (particularly the peachy shade - I reckon I'm going to hit pan very soon).  These matte shades are so pigmented and a complete dream to blend - the white shade has a slight bit of shimmer which makes it perfect for highlighting the brow bone and for using in the inner corners of the eyes. They all look so natural and are incredibly long lasting - I can apply these in the morning and my eyeshadow will still be in-tact at the end of a long day. This was the palette I took on holiday with me this year, and it's also come on a few UK breaks with me - it's just my ultimate 'go-to' and it's perfect to carry around in your handbag too if needs be because its so slim and lightweight.   I also adore the smooth rose-gold packaging.

Favourite shades: All of them! The only shade I don't use so much is the black - I save this for nights out or for smudging under the lash line if I want a more subtle eyeliner look.  'Almond' - the peach nude shade - is my perfect blending shade. I use this daily and sweep from the crease up to the brow bone and it looks so natural and flawless. I then blend a little bit of 'Cappuccino' (the greyish taupe) through the outer crease to create a natural shadow, and sometimes blend in a bit of the dark brown, 'Dark Suede' into the very outer corners for extra definition. I often wear 'Oyster' all over the lid and sweep a little on to the brow bone to highlight and accentuate my brows. It's my perfect eye look in a palette and I adore them all - they compliment each other perfectly.

I really hope you've found some inspiration (if you don't own them all already - I know what us bloggers are like with our eyeshadows!) and of course, if you want to see swatches of each palette - don't forget I've linked them all within the post! 

What's your favourite eyeshadow palette? 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

7 Festively Scented Pamper Products

I thought I'd continue with the Christmassy themed posts this week and introduce a few of my favourite festive pampering products.  I really love the whole build-up to Christmas and I get ever so excited - for me, it's often better than the day itself and I like to make the most of things by switching up my every day products for a select few that get me into the festive spirit.  If you can't treat yourself at Christmas, when can you?! With the darker evenings and colder weather, nothing makes me want to curl up and relax more than having a small collection of 'go to'  winter warmers!  If you're after a bit of stocking-filler inspiration or just fancy treating yourself on the run-up to the big day, hopefully this post might be of some use! Here's what I'll be using throughout the month of December...

Organic Surge // Spiced Lily Foaming Bath // £5.99 for 250ml // Link
This is such a fabulous winter product and although I enjoy using it at Christmas, I use it all throughout the autumn/winter season as it's just so comforting and warming.  It has quite a thick gel consistency and makes for the perfect winter bubble bath as you only need a small amount.  The spicy, yet gentle scent is so relaxing and soothing and the essential oils and aloe vera extracts means that it's also softening on the skin. It featured in a 'festive bath soaks' post on my blog last year.

LUSH // Snow Fairy // £3.75 for 100g // Link 
An all time Christmas classic - LUSH's 'Snow Fairy' is a cult favourite for a reason! It's not exactly the most festively scented product ever but because I've been buying it for years, it really does remind me of Christmas.  Although it's a sweet scent, it has a bit of a 'kick' to it that's quite hard to describe - definitely one for the girly girls amongst you!  The scent also lingers on the skin after you've got out of the bath so it's a nice one to use before a christmas party or night out!

LUSH // Hot Toddy // £3.95 for 100g // Link
A new found favourite of mine! I spoke about it in a recent post so I won't say too much - but if you could bottle the scent of Christmas and sell it as a bath product - you'd have yourself some Hot Toddy! It smells like traditional Christmas - with hints of cinnamon it's very spicy and warming and the dark red colour swirled with golden glitter makes for the perfect festive blend.

LUSH // Yog Nog Soap // £3.40 per 100g // Link
Again, I won't speak about this too much as I've written a full review not too long ago - but this has to be my newest addiction! I'm not usually one for soaps but I've been converted with this one.  To me, it smells like creme brûlée with a very subtle spicy hint.  I don't even need to use it to smell it - it's sat on a dish in my bathroom and it makes the room smell like festive sweetness constantly. Yummy! Its very creamy and softening on the skin, and the scent lingers very faintly on the skin after your bath. 

Teapigs // Spiced Winter Red Tea // £4.49 // Link
I actually have a full post about this product from last year here, but if you're a fellow tea-belly like myself - you need Teapigs' Spiced Winter Red tea in your life.  It's like drinking Christmas in a mug -  it's really warming and the scent is seriously spicy. Flavour-wise, it has hints of orange and berry, with a little cinnamon-like kick. I can always tell when I have some brewing because it makes the room smell so festive  - it's a nice one to treat yourself to as you're wrapping presents, having a cosy night in or watching a Christmas film. A must-have for Christmas Eve!!

Tisserand // Seasonal Joy Vapourising Oil // £5.50 // Link
Ok. Out of the whole bunch - this has to be the product I've been most excited about using. Seriously, it's been sat on my bedside table since the beginning of October and I'm so so happy that it's finally time to use it. As I don't use candles an awful lot (without sounding silly I'm the clumsiest person ever and they're just a fire hazard around me!) I rely on oils like this to fragrance a room.  I used this non-stop last year and I absolutely adore it. It has that typical traditional Christmas scent - rich, orange-y, with hints of spice and calming to the senses.  There's a number of different ways you can use it but I simply drop some of the oil onto a thin tissue and place it on top of my radiator - job done.  As soon as the room heats up, it's filled with the scent of Christmas.

Hugo Boss // 'Orange' Perfume // Price Varies // Link
Now then, this isn't exactly a Christmas product but it's perfect for the colder months.  I've never worn another perfume quite so much as this one - and although I wear it year round, I really do enjoy using it around Christmas time.  I always seem to get compliments on it whenever I wear it and it's also really long-lasting.  The orange hints are so beautiful and it's just such a luxurious fragrance to wear.  Definitely one for Christmas day! 

What are your favourite festively scented products?!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Christmas at LUSH | 'Snow Fairy' & 'Hot Toddy'

When it comes to Christmas pampering, LUSH is my first port of call.  It's my annual tradition every Christmas Eve to watch Love Actually, wrap the last of my presents and have a bath full of festive lotions and potions before getting into bed with a mug of festive tea and brand new christmas-themed pyjamas.  You may have seen my previous LUSH post this week all about their 'Yog Nog' soap which has fast become one of my new obsessions (post here), but I tottled back into the store the other day to see what other festive-themed goodies they had to offer - how could I resist? A girl can never have too many bath-time treats, right?! I walked out with my trusty old favourite, 'Snow Fairy' (which in all honesty was an impulse buy at the till) and a bottle of the rather christmas-y looking 'Hot Toddy' - this isn't one I've tried before but I was sold on description alone.   Even though they're shower gels, I sometimes use them under the tap as a bubble bath so for me, they're much more versatile than a one-use bath bomb and I'm able to enjoy them for the entire lead up to Christmas.

Lush // Snow Fairy Shower Gel // £3.75 for 100g // Link
An old favourite of mine, 'Snow Fairy' has to be my festive guilty pleasure.  I went absolutely crazy for it in my teenage years and found myself slightly addicted to the super-sweet, girly scent.  In all honesty, I haven't gone mad for it the past couple of years as I've favoured slightly spicier scents, but I decided I'd treat myself to a bottle on a bit of a whim.  I took one sniff and remembered why I used to love it so much. Even though it's quite a young scent, it's the perfect girly treat.  I wouldn't say it's actually very festive, however, since it's a product they release as a limited edition every year I can't help but associate it with Christmas!  It's definitely not for you if you don't like sweet scents as it can be quite sickly - it's like candy floss, pear drops and vanilla all rolled into one big bottle of sweetness but it's so unique. I adore it. The scent lingers on the skin long after you've gotten out of the bath and the iridescent, pearly pink colour is just the perfect finishing touch - Snow Fairy really does live up to its name.  They've added more skin softening ingredients this year so it's bound to be a winner.   Loved by many, there's a reason why they bring this back every year...

Lush // Hot Toddy Shower Gel // £3.95 for 100g // Link
It was the gorgeous deep red colour swirled with golden glitter flecks that sold me on this one.  With cinnamon, ginger, lemon oil and skin softening seaweed, this festive concoction is warming and spicy and looks the part too.  It's definitely more of a traditional fragrance (as opposed to Snow Fairy's quirky signature scent) and is a good option for cosy nights in - i find it really calming and it would be a fab one to use if you're feeling a bit under the weather. It definitely does knock your socks off slightly!  It fills your bathroom with a beautiful, festive aroma and instantly puts you in the Christmas spirit. It's such a gorgeous, wintery product and if you're after something that really does smell like Christmas in a bottle, I really recommend picking this up!

What are you favourite Christmas LUSH products?

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas at LUSH | 'Yog Nog' Festive Soap

If you ever need an excuse to pop into LUSH, it's the moment they release their festive range.  It's my favourite time of year for treating myself to bath goodies and I always find myself wandering in to my local store much more frequently as soon as the dark nights and chilly weather starts rolling in.  I love to stock up on a few pamper treats and I always pick my favourite selection for an extra-special bath on Christmas Eve's my annual routine. Usually, I'll make a beeline straight for the Snow Fairy shower gel (who doesn't?), but this year - well - I seem to have gotten a little daring in my old age.  I have to say I'm not usually one for the soap selection. I tried 'Rockstar' once and although I liked it, I just didn't find myself going crazy over it - but I took one sniff of 'Yog Nog' and knew I had to try it.  I'm a sucker for anything sweet or vanilla scented and the moment I caught a whiff of the creamy, creme-brulee like scent (with a hint of christmas-y spice), I was sold. 

Said to be a 'creamy Christmas tipple of a soap' and a 'creamy skin drink', this stuff is seriously divine.  As soon as you pick it up it begins to melt in your hands (it contains moisturising soya yoghurt as well as ylang ylang essential oils) - its beautifully soft.  It's topped with a dusting of aromatic cocoa powder just to add an extra little dose of sweetness, and due to the essential oils it contains, it has a lovely little hint of cinnamon-like spice in there too.  Personally, the scent reminds me of creme brûlée - it's very milky and seriously smells good enough to eat.

When used in the bath it melts into a lovely, milky consistency - its really easy to get a good bit of product onto the skin and it feels really moisturising to massage in.  It's soft to the touch, lathers into a thick cream and leaves your skin feeling soothed and pampered.  The fragrance leaves your bathroom smelling all sweet and yummy and I always feel so relaxed after I've used it - the scent actually fills my landing and drifts into my bedroom long after I've gotten out of the bath.  It does linger on the skin slightly afterwards - you're left with a very subtle hint of sweetness but I secretly wished it would stick around a little longer - i guess that's just my personal preference!  Overall, a fab LUSH product and if you love sweet scents, you'll love this one.  I really wish they'd bring out a shower gel version too! You find 'Yog Nog' on the LUSH website here, priced at £3.40 per 100g.

Have you tried Yog Nog? What's your favourite festive LUSH product this year?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Soap & Glory 'The Next Big Thing' Gift Box Offer | What's Inside?!

Ohhh Soap & Glory's Christmas gift sets... I'm sure I'm not the only one who goes a little bit doe-eyed at the sight of their big gift box?! It's become a bit of an annual tradition for me and I wait with baited breath every year for the much awaited offer to come on. I was lucky enough to work in the city centre for 4 years or so and nabbing one of S&G's BIG gift boxes used to be my pre-shift mission.  I always got into work super-early and tottled off to Boots to get my mitts on one before all the hustle and bustle.  They absolutely fly off the shelves every year and I've known colleagues to come in with 3 or 4 sets for various family members but personally - I'm a little bit selfish with it and grab one for myself (Merry Christmas to me...) I just love their products and a box like this keeps me going for months.   Let me tell you - this year's is a good'un... Here's Soap & Glory's 'The Next Big Thing'*...

This year's box design has been put together by Hattie Stewart - a british illustrator - and there are 2 different versions: one in-store and one online (but both with the same amazing contents - just take your pick over which design you prefer).  As usual, the box is a generous size, well made and sturdy, and is perfect for using for storage even after you've used all the products inside.  I still have a Soap & Glory 'hat box' from years ago in my wardrobe which I use to store belts and accessories. All products come packaged in a gorgeous drawstring bag too which always comes in handy for travelling - I always use bags like this to separate things in my suitcase when I go on holiday.  

Priced at £60, the box is already a cracker - however, Boots currently have it on their 'Star Gift better than half price offer', meaning that the set is now reduced to an amazing £29! So what's inside?!  'The Next Big Thing' contains 10 full sized products worth a whopping £76 - making it even more of a bargain! There's some of my old favourites in here: The Righteous Butter is always a winner for me and I'm never without a tub on my bathroom shelf.  The Sugar Crush Body Scrub is also a gorgeous product for fake-tan fanatics like myself and there's also a big bottle of their 'Orangeasm' body wash which I've been wanting to try for ages.  Here's the full list of contents:

Hand Dream Super Cream // £7
Orangeasm Body Wash // £6.50
Butter Yourself Moisture Lotion // £10
Heel Genius Foot Cream // £5.50
Sugar Crush Body Scrub // £8
Whipped Clean Shower Butter // £7
The Righteous Butter Body Butter // £10.50
Off Your Face Purifying Face Wipes // £4.50
Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Laquer in 'Charm Offensive' // £7
Thick & Fast Mascara // £10

Another fabulous offering from Soap & Glory - they never fail to impress me every year and there's a reason why these gift sets are so incredibly sought after.  If you're a fellow Soap & Glory fan, it's well worth fighting your way through the christmas crowds to nab one! There's some fab additions this year that I really cannot wait to try amidst a few of my old staples, and the addition of the lip laquer and the mascara is perfect for any beauty addict.  These sets sell out incredibly fast, so it's worth being snappy! You can find 'The Next Big Thing' online at Boots here for £29.00*...and also whilst stocks last in store. Not only are you saving £31.00 on the original price tag but the contents themselves are worth £76! For the bargain hunters amongst you, it's too good to miss out on... Get yer skates on girls!

Are you a fan of the S&G gift sets? Will you be treating yourself to one this year?!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Glowy Winter Skin | Jane Iredale Blush, Bronzer & Highlighter

Jane Iredale is a brand I've become quite familiar with the past year.  Her 'Daytime Palette' fast became one my everyday staples (full post on that here) and I instantly fell in love with the amazing pigmentation and blendable, neutral shades.  Just recently, I've been using her 'Moonglow' bronzing compact along with the Purepressed Blush in 'Whisper'.  I must admit, I've been using these face products on and off over the summer, but it's only recently that I've really fallen in love with them.  It's around this time of year that I begin reaching for the glowy highlighters, subtle bronzers and brightening blush shades - anything to help combat dull, flat-looking winter skin - and these products seem to tick all the boxes for the perfect winter combination.   Firstly, I have to say how much I adore Jane Iredale packaging. It just feels so luxe. The brand is so simple and pretty - and the smooth rose gold accents make for a lovely addition to my dressing table - especially at this time of year.  

Jane Iredale / Quad Bronzer in 'Moonglow' / £29.48* - Link
Now, I have to say that I'm really not one for shimmery bronzing products.  However, there's something about this quad that I really do like and it's been a dream to use now that winter has well and truly arrived.  It's quite versatile as as you can swirl the shades together to create a mid-toned golden shade (see swatches below) or use them all individually depending on what you're after. There are 2 warmer toned powders which lean more gold, and 2 cooler tones which appear more like champagne/bronze sort of colours - each pair contains a lighter shade and a darker shade. 

Personally, I've preferred to use them on their own - the two lightest shades work really well as highlighting shades and I took to using the gold-toned one over summer. Now that winter is here, the paler, more cool-toned 'champagne' shade is my go-to favourite and I've been using this on the tops of my cheekbones for a subtle glow.  The two darker shades work well as bronzers, but instead of using them on their own, I find that applying my matte bronzer first and then layering a small amount of either one over the top (towards the tops of the cheekbones and up to the temples) works much better for a more natural appearance. It just helps to prevent my face from looking too 'flat' and gives a little bit of dimension.  I've also taken to using these 2 shades on my decolletage - it gives a beautiful subtle sheen to the skin and looks lovely if you've recently fake tanned.  It's not your average, everyday bronzer but its such a versatile little compact and I've really enjoyed using this - it will definitely come in very handy over the festive season and the fact that there's a good mix of warm and cool toned shades means it's a nice product to have in your collection year round.

Jane Iredale / PurePressed Blush in 'Whisper' / £15.53* - Link
Ahhh anyone who knows me knows that I'm like a magpie to a milk-bottle top when it comes to coral blushes! I use them throughout the year despite them being much more of a summer sort of shade simply because i find them much more brightening on the skin.  This one has a little bit of shimmer running through it but not so much that it's entirely noticeable (if you've used Nars 'Orgasm' you'll know what I mean) - it's just the right amount for providing a subtle, healthy glow.  The colour is simply stunning - a gorgeous coral peach which looks amazing on both tanned and pale skin.  The consistency is what makes this blush for me though - it's just so creamy and soft - even the tiniest tap of a brush provides so much pigmentation whilst remaining ultra blendable and soft.  It gives such a flawless finish to the skin and buffs in like a dream.  Although I enjoyed using it through summer, I have to say I much prefer it now that my skin is a little paler - it just gives it that much needed 'lift' and makes my complexion appear much healthier.

Swatches L-R // 'Whisper' Blush // 4 individual shades in 'Moonglow' // All shades mixed in 'Moonglow'

Overall, another impressive selection of products from Jane Iredale.  It's a brand I've really become quite fond of and one that I really wish I saw more of on blogs.  If you're looking for some lovely everyday 'neutral' products, the range is fantastic.  You can find Jane Iredale products on BeautyBay here, and also on AllBeauty. Jane Iredale's website also has some fab information on all product ranges.

Have you tried anything from Jane Iredale?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Winter Warmers from Arran Aromatics

The Festive season is well and truly upon which can only mean one thing - it's time to indulge in some pamper products! Arran Aromatics is a brand I've featured quite a bit on my blog over the past year or so - I adore their indulgent spa-like scents and luxurious, unique product ranges - their 'After the Rain' range has to be one of my most loved.  They offer an array of treats - from skincare and body butters (their Lavender and tea tree facial wash is one of my all-time faves), to candles, bath products and hair goodies.  Since it's coming up to Christmas, I thought I'd give you the low-down on some of their more 'wintery' products. Perfect for the season and super affordable, they make for lovely stocking fillers or wintertime treats.

Honey & Lemon Lip Balm / £3.50* / Link
This has to be one of my favourite products from the selection.  The honey scent is particularly noticeable in my opinion and lingers on the lips slightly after application.  It's great for this time of year as it's quite thick and creamy in consistency - it's a great one to have on your bed-side table for leaving to soak in overnight.  The little pot is a lovely size and the formula makes a nice change from typical lip balm sticks which can be a little too waxy for me at times.  This one really does feel 'quenching' to apply and looks lovely and glossy.  

Honey & Oatmeal Vegetable Soap / £2.75* / Link
I'm not the biggest soap fan ever but I do like the Arran Aromatics ones simply because they're quite moisturising and this one contains little flecks that help to exfoliate the skin gently.  It's budget friendly so it makes for a nice little stocking filler for those who like their natural pamper products. Arran Aromatics' soaps are triple milled so they're extra soft and cleanse the skin without leaving it feeling dry. 

Ultimate Fig Scented Candle / £5.00* / Link
This little candle smells seriously amazing.  I'm not the biggest candle fan but I do like to have a few dotted around for decorative purposes and this one smells so comforting and relaxing.  It's not necessarily a scent I would have picked for myself but after trying this, I think I'm converted.  It's difficult to describe but it just reminds me of cosy, winter evenings and festivities - it's so soothing and rich, and the delicate aroma fills the room so nicely.  I've featured Arran Aromatics on my blog a few times over the past year or so - and I have to say nobody quite does spa-like scents quite like them.  I'm a big fan of their 'After the Rain' collection (I must recommend the body butter) and I just love how each and every one is so unique and sensual... this one is no exception and it's just the perfect winter comforter.

Sandalwood and Lavender Bath Oil / £12.50* / Link
This has to be my favourite of the bunch for me.  I love my bath products and throughout the winter months, I'm very partial to a luxurious pamper product or 3.  I've used bath oils and elixirs before but this one has to top the mark as the most moisturising one I've ever used.  It's very much a true oil - it takes a while to fully dissolve into the water but doesn't leave it feeling greasy or heavy.  It's a really relaxing and calming blend - I'm a big fan of products that are targeted towards de-stressing and relaxing the mind, and something like this is perfect to use before bed. The sandalwood is particularly noticeable but it's not overpowering - it's just a lovely, gentle scent.  It's perfect to use if you haven't got time to moisturise much afterwards as it leaves your skin feeling so soft and smooth - the delicate fragrance also lingers slightly for a few hours after leaving you feeling pampered, soothed and altogether more relaxed.  I love the size of the bottle too - you really don't need much at all so it's bound to last quite a while.

Chamomile & Honey Barrier Cream / £7.50* / Link
This thick, nourishing cream contains beeswax, vitamin E, pure honey extract and essential oils of chamomile to sooth dry, chapped skin.  I've taken to using this after shaving my legs as during the winter, my skin can feel quite dry afterwards - particularly around my knees.  It creates a lovely layer of moisture and helps to calm any irritation.  I've been using this as a hand-cream mostly though - it's quite lightweight considering its so moisturising - almost like a light mousse similar to that of a whipped body butter -and I like that it doesn't leave a film on the skin.  I must admit I'm not sure I'm entirely keen on the scent of this one - but it's a great multi-use, versatile product nonetheless.

Overall, a fabulous selection from Arran Aromatics.  My personal favourites have to be the Sandalwood and Lavender bath oil and the Perfumed Candle - although I must admit I'm also slightly addicted to the moisturising qualities of the Honey & Lemon lip balm. It's become a must-have for my bedside table!

Have you tried anything from Arran Aromatics?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

15 Things Every Girl Who's Tried Online Dating Will Understand...

image source / edited
As a single girl, I have no shame in admitting I've given in to the curiosity surrounding online dating on a couple of occasions. Admittedly, it's usually after a couple of beverages and a chat with a select few of my more pushy friends who've told me how much of a fabulous idea it would be and how I need to expand my horizons. Thanks girls! There's no doubt it's a great idea in theory - technology means it's easier to connect with people these days and what a great way of summing someone up before you actually have to meet them in person, right? I have to say I'm not entirely convinced. I'm sure if you've been there, done that and dipped your toe into the world of online dating you'll find a few of the following points ring true. Or then again you might not.  I'm well aware that there are success stories and I'm not for a second saying it's impossible - but you can't help but have a little giggle about it at times can you? It goes without saying, please take this post with a pinch of salt - I'm not by any means a party pooper or saying it's all negative - it's often a bit of fun after all - but there's just a few things I've noticed about the world of online dating... and I'm pretty sure a few of your reading will have noticed it too...

1. Anybody with your ex's name will be a no-go.
Isn't it funny how you associate the names of people you used to know with the people that you meet in future? Even if it's a fleeting thought, you can't help but question whether or not you really could date somebody with the same name ever again... 

2. You'll receive messages you can't decipher for sh*t.
Yes. It's true. Sadly, some people over the age of 25 still speak as if they're knocking words out on a 3310.   

3. The inevitable tiger picture.
Oh this really is a thing.  If ever there was online dating bingo, spotting somebody with a photograph of themselves cuddled up to tiger is a complete doddle to tick off and you'll have a full house in no time.  If they've been travelling, this is the photograph of the moment to use. Extra points if they're feeding it with a bottle...

4. Even if you aren't shallow, you'll question whether or not you are...
In a situation where you cannot help but go by face value, you realise you're no better than Shallow Hal (before he gets hypnotised...) Everything is so face value and it's no match for meeting people in a real situation.  Everybody looks better in a selfie too... just sayin'

5. Sleeeeeeze.
Buckets of it. Sleeze everywhere. You can't avoid it.

6. Because no good love story starts with 'we met on Tinder'...
I'm by no means saying love can't blossom in places like this (and I'm well aware there's probably somebody reading this about to correct me in the comments) - but on the whole, in general, I have never heard of anything that fantastic coming from this app.  Not from the girl's perspective anyway... Funny that... 

7. You have repetitive strain injury from constantly swiping left..
You end up swiping right on any randomer just for a bit of a change.

8. The 'ice breaker' jokes that aren't even funny.
Jokes are lost on me anyway but over a message screen? Your chances are limited my friend.  They all suggest a similar thing - and whilst I'm all for an innuendo or too - the majority aren't even that funny really. Jog on - you little comedian you!

9. You can't help but admit it's entertaining.
If anything, it passes a bit of time, doesn't it? It's mind-numbing yet oddly interesting at the same time. I've sat there whilst my friends have been sifting through giving my two pennies worth. I'm sure all girls do this, right?! It's a right hoot! Rest assured if you decide to speak to someone, at least one friend has given it the go ahead first... 

10. Your catfish radar is second to none...
If, like me, your ultimate guilty pleasure is watching Catfish repeats on MTV - then I'm sure your catfish radar is well and truly switched on. Nev and Max ain't got nothing on you!

11. ...As is your 'player' radar.
If you haven't got one of these you're stuffed... Unless that's what you're after! If so - take your pick. Spoilt. For. Choice.

12.  The inevitable guilt-trip message...
At some stage you will get a 'i guess i'm not good enough' message (and there's always an lol in there somewhere just to lighten the mood slightly...) - this happens if you haven't replied or haven't reciprocated any interest. Well SMITE ME DOWN dating gods for I'm clearly such a meanie!

13. People using animals or inanimate objects as their profile image.
Because first impressions count for everything! OO yes I really would like to date this ring-tailed lemur! (No joke - wish I'd taken a screenshot...) The boy-racer type is also common. You know the ones. They clearly haven't changed since their teenage years and their boxy little pride and joy is set as the first image you see. What even are you? A transformer?

14. You become slightly paranoid you'll be spotted in the street...
'Hey you're that girl I spoke to on Tinder last week right?!'

14. You'll also see many people you know...
'Ohhh I didn't know such-and-such was single?!' That's because they're not. Sadly, certain apps have made it rather easy for the cheating slime-balls of the world to have their cake and eat it. 

15.  You lose all faith in the male species and place an order for 50 cats immediately...
Either you lose all faith in said species or you simply lose all hope of ever fancying anybody ever again. Unless you really do want to date the ring-tailed lemur or the transformer, your choices are somewhat extremely limited. Cue the typical 'I'll always be single' moment along with a tonne of cat lady jokes from your friends. Absolutely effing hilarious. Might as well start early though, right?

And with that, I think I've satisfied my curiosity for the world of online dating...
*places order for 50 cats*

Friday, 5 December 2014

Toni & Guy | Extreme Volume Heated Rollers

Toni&Guy // Extreme Volume Heated Rollers // £59.99* // Link
I swear by heated rollers.  Whether I'm wearing my hair straight or wanting big, bouncy curls - I always start by applying rollers to give that extra bit of lift and volume at the root. I just love the natural movement they give the hair and I've always managed to achieve such a wide range of looks with them depending on how I apply them.  Once you've mastered them, you'll never want to go back to using a standard clamp-curling wand again! For a long time now, I've loved my Enrapture Extremity Heated Rollers (post here) but I've recently had the chance to try Toni&Guy's 'Extreme Volume Heated Rollers. I thought I'd give them a whirl and offer my thoughts on the set - along with a comparison of the two.  The Enrapture ones are notoriously difficult to track down and I've always wondered if there was ever going to be an alternative introduced...

Firstly, I love how neat and compact the set is - it's so lightweight and small in size.  The set contains 10 rollers - 4 large (placed down the middle section) and 6 medium sized ones located on either side.    What's great is that you can purchase the rollers separately so if you have longer or thicker hair you still have the option of using more than 10 if you need to.  Personally, I always feel slightly sad that I'm unable to take my Enrapture ones away with me when I'm travelling... although the Toni&Guy ones aren't marketed as a travel set, I'm definitely considering taking them in my suitcase the next time I go on a little weekend trip - they're about half the weight of my larger set and don't take up much space at all.

The rollers sit neatly on the heated plates, and each come with a butterfly clip (which also have heated pads) to secure the roller in place.  I won't go into how to apply them too much as it's very difficult to explain in words, but once you've got the knack of it, they're super quick and easy and they're perfect to leave in whilst you do your makeup.  The set also heats up super quick so there's no waiting around of a morning. I have to say, my hair goes straight much quicker when I've used these as opposed to my Enrapture ones - they don't seem to lock in as much style - but I still like the effect they give. My hair always appears much more lifted at the root and feels bouncier - it also appears much more glossy and smooth after I've used them. The work well at providing volume at the root and prepping the hair for further styling. The only thing I didn't like so much is the application - for some reason, they're a little slippier than what I'm used to and I struggled at times to get the clips to hold properly.  I've read a couple of reviews online and a few people have mentioned this - I thought it was just my hair but they're definitely a little more fiddly.  It's a shame because it makes the application time slightly longer.

Overall, I think these rollers are a lovely little set.  I do think the lack of hold on the clips lets it down slightly and I do still prefer my Enrapture ones as they seem to lock in a curl much easier - however, these are a fab buy if you're looking for something that's more appropriate to travel with or just want something to provide some quick volume.  If you have thinner hair, or aren't so bothered about creating waves or curls and just want something to provide some lift, these are well worth a look.  I'm glad I have them in my collection and I'm definitely going to try travelling with them sometime in the future...  The set retails for £59.99* and you can find them on the Boots website here - I've also found them on offer at ASDA for £29.00.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Monthly Favourites | November

I love writing favourites posts - it's a fab way of sharing exactly what I've been loving lately and I always look forward to seeing what other bloggers have been using (as well as sneakily adding to my ever-growing wish list - I'm sure we're all guilty of that?!)   I haven't written a favourites post for the past couple of months because I completely missed the boat - so this month is a bit of an accumulation of the past 8-12 weeks... Considering that next month's favourites will probably be replaced with a '2014' favourites (where has this year gone?!) I thought I'd get one typed up sharpish! I've rediscovered a contour favourite from earlier in the year, changed my mind about cream blush and discovered my new holy grail mascara (it's also on offer right now...) Without further chit-chat, I'll introduce you to my November favourites...

Illasmaqua // Sculpting Duo // £26.00 // Link
This Illamasqua Duo has to be my favourite winter contouring product.  It's perfect for the colder months as the ashy toned bronzer 'Heliopolis' creates the perfect contour on paler skin, whilst the cool-toned champagne shade, 'Lumos', gives a stunning glow to to the tops of the cheekbones.  The bronze shade creates the appearance of natural shadow and gives such a natural, sculpted look.  Both powders are amazingly pigmented and soft to the touch, and blend into the skin with ease.  The highlight shade really is incredible and also works well in the inner corners of the eyes for a brightening effect. I have a full review and photographs here.

E.l.f // Small Tapered Brush // £3.95 // Link
Although I usually use my Real Techniques contour brush for powder products, I've quite taken to using this small tapered brush from E.l.f with my Illamasqua duo. It picks up just the right amount of product and the slightly more pointed end means that its much easier to hollow out the cheekbones precisely.  At £3.95 it isn't the best brush on the market but I've been using it daily and I'd really recommend it if you're new to contouring and want to experiment with powder products.  It's so easy to use.

Seventeen // FalsifeyeHD Mascara // £6.99 £3.49// Link
I won't say too much about this mascara as it's already featured in my 'Drugstore Gems' post here (if you want to see the brush and packaging in more detail it's worth a look).  It's such an amazing mascara and makes my eyelashes look so full and defined. It lasts all day and holds a curl really nicely whilst being easy to apply - it instantly fans out the lashes and coats even the tiniest ones in the inner corners of the eyes.  I recommended this to my mum and she's since tottled off to Boots to nab one (she also thinks its fab!)  It's knocked my all-time favourite off the top-spot so trust me when I say that this is an absolute gem of a product! It's currently on offer for £3.49 at Boots which is an absolute bargain.

Barry M // Lip Liner // £2.99 // Link
This has been my staple lip liner since April - waaaay before the Kylie Jenner hype (it featured in my beauty haul here, along with a similar shade if you want to see it in more detail).  I've enjoyed using it throughout the year as it's the perfect natural lip shade with a hint of brown - it's the perfect everyday lip liner and I adore it.  I sometimes use it on it's own with a bit of gloss on the top or I'll use it with Mac's Velvet Teddy for that true 90s inspired look.   It's seen me through summer, it's seen me through a summer holiday (perfect to wear around the pool to cheat fuller lips without anybody knowing) and I have no doubt it will see me through winter.  I'm definitely going to pick up a back up soon as mine's getting a little bedraggled...

Stila // Smudge Stick - Waterproof Eyeliner in 'Damsel' // £13.00 // Link
This liner came with Stila's 'In The Light' Palette (review and swatches here) and I've loved it ever since. It's the best eyeliner I've used in terms of longevity - it never runs and stays put all day long.  It looks freshly applied even after a number of hours.  The dark brown shade is slightly more forgiving than a standard black and as the name suggests, it also works well when smudged out for a smokey look.  It's not as precise as a standard pencil liner but its still so easy to apply - I just press it into the upper and lower lash-line and I'm done. I'm slightly gutted as I don't seem to be able to find it sold separately so please do let me know if you've seen it anywhere...

Collection // Illuminating Touch Concealer // £4.99 // Link
I've already spoken about this product on my blog in a recent post here, so I won't say too much - but this concealer has become my saviour for dark circles. Honestly, I've never found another brightening concealer that knocks out shadows like this one. It offers a lovely thick coverage whilst remaining creamy and super blendable. I ran out of it the other day and actually took a drive down to my nearest Boots to grab another straight away - that's how much I love it.

So Susan // Dual Brow Powder // £11.95 // Link
Although I do swear by my Anastasia Dip Brow and HD Brow Palettes, I've recently been using this duo on 'lazy days'.  Although I didn't expect much, I actually really like it.  It's decently pigmented and the shades work really well for my brows.  I've quite taken to using the darker shade as an eyeshadow too.  It's great for popping into my handbag for touch-ups because I really hate carrying around my HD Brows (it's too precious to lose) - it's just such a handy product to have and it's one of the best affordable brow powder duos I've come across.

Benefit // Majorette Booster Cream Blush // £23.50* // Link
Again, like a lot of other products in this post, I already have a full review of this blush here.  I really didn't think I'd take to it too much simply because it's such a summery product - I must admit I was slightly confused when they launched it at the beginning of Autumn but it actually really works for the season.  I'm really not the biggest cream blush fan and I usually hate cream to powder finishes but there's something about this one that I really do love.  I apply it with my stippling brush after my foundation and set using powder.  It looks lovely and bright - it really perks up my skin and I instantly look much more put together and fresh-faced.  It blends easily, is amazingly long-lasting and still looks perfectly applied at the end of the day. OO, and it also smells beautiful! It's what my cream-blush dreams are made of...

Barry M // Nail Paint in 'Raspberry'// £2.99 // Link
You have to hand it to Barry M - nobody does budget nail polishes quite like them! Glossy, pigmented and easy to apply, they're a popular choice in my nail polish collection.  I've been wearing the shade 'Raspberry' almost constantly the past month - I've finally put my pastels to bed and have really been enjoying wearing a darker look.  This shade is super classy and only takes 2 coats for a fully opaque look.  I love the deep red/burgundy shade - it's so striking and is perfect for the festive season.

Swatches L-R // Benefit Majorette // Illamasqua Duo 'Lumos' & 'Heliopolis' // So Susan Dual Brow Powders // Stila 'Damsel' // Barry M Lip Liner // Collection Concealer

So there we have it, my favourites for the month of November.  I'm planning on doing a big 2014 collective favourites post at the end of December/beginning of January - I'll be taking a look back on what I've been loving for the past 12 months so if you want to see what made the cut - keep your eyes peeled! (If you want to have a nosey at 2013's, click here for the makeup edit and here for hair, bath & body...)

Have you tried any of the products featured in this month's favourites?