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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My Foundation Wardrobe

As a blogger, one thing I do enjoy testing and trailing is foundation. My makeup drawers house a rather sizeable collection of different bottles and I often go through phases where I'll use a certain one before moving swiftly on to my next obsession. However, I've come to realise that I have a little 'dream team' of four different foundations/base products that I always seem to come back to.  Depending on what my skin needs, what season we're in or what sort of occasion it is, I'll chop and change which of the four I use throughout the year - each one serves a different purpose and I never feel at a loss as to what to reach for...I think I've managed to tick every box when it comes to my foundation needs! Since I posted my 'Autumn/Winter Blush Wardrobe' not so long ago (you can find that here), I had the bright idea of putting together a post all about my foundation wardrobe - in other words, my selection of truly trustworthy base products I have on hand for every event or occasion... If you're looking for something new to try, hopefully this post might give you a bit of inspiration!

Nars // Sheer Glow Foundation // £31.00 // Link
This product features quite heavily on my blog as it's probably my most used foundation.  Out of the four, it offers the most coverage so I opt for this one whenever I'm craving a super flawless base or if I need something for a special event or occasion.  However, I also use it as a daily foundation throughout the winter months (personally I find it a little too much for daily wear in summer) so it's very versatile and isn't overly heavy.  I find it quite buildable too - depending on how much you use, you can go for a very subtle glowy look, or build it up for a full coverage, flawless appearance. It contains no SPF so it's my go-to for whenever I'm off on a night out or any event where I'll be taking photographs - it pictures really nicely and blurs out imperfections in an instant.  Whilst it's not a dewy foundation as the name would suggest, I love the subtle glow it gives to my skin - it provides that much coveted airbrush finish whilst not appearing too matte or one-dimensional. I have a full review of it here.

Yves Saint Laurent // Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation //  £30.50 // Link
This was the first high-end foundation I truly fell in love with.  In fact, I have an ancient review of it from over 2 years ago (you can find it here) and I'm still head over heels in love with it now.  This really is my perfect everyday, any time of year foundation and the fact I've never been without a bottle since I first bought it speaks volumes.   It's perfect for dull skin days as it instantly awakens your complexion and gives you such a healthy, radiant 'lit from within' appearance.  A lot of people comment on the wear time with this foundation but I actually find it quite long-lasting...provided you apply a good primer beforehand (it works very well with Loreal's Studio Secrets Primer which I have a review of here) you're good to go and I've never had any issues with it.  It looks fresh all day.  It blends seamlessly into the skin so its perfect if you want the natural look, and it also contains SPF so it's great for use through summertime. It feels almost weightless on the skin due to the moisturising, light consistency (very good for dry skin days) and has a truly buildable finish.  I also love the packaging - it's very weighty, feels expensive and just screams luxury.  

Benefit // Big Easy BB Cream // £27.50* // Link
I'll admit that this one wasn't an instant winner for me.  I have a full review from a while back (link) and although I liked it, it's obvious in my review that I wasn't completely sold.  However, as soon as the height of summer rolled around and I jetted away to hotter climates - my opinion of it soared.  I actually featured this is my 'summer saviours' post here, and it's definitely my go-to base for warmer months.  It's so easy to use as you just apply with your fingers and it melts into the skin, blending easily and providing a matte finish. It might not for you if you have dry skin as it can cling if you haven't had time to moisturise properly beforehand, however, if you're looking for something to balance the skin and control oil - this is a complete winner.  I wore this in Greece when I went on a day trip as I was aware I'd be in a few photographs and didn't want to go completely bare skinned - and even though it was super hot outside, my skin looked near perfect all day without feeling weighed down whatsoever - it definitely does a top job at controlling shine and the high SPF factor came in very handy.  This is a good one if you're rushing about travelling or have a long day at work ahead, but for me it has to be my suitcase essential and it will certainly be my partner in crime for next summer. It served me well this year!

Bourjois // 123 Perfect CC Cream // £7.69 // Link
Again, this is a product that's featured a few times on my blog - I have a review of it in my recent 'Drugstore Gems' post here and also featured it in a Bourjois Releases post here if you want to read up more about it.  This product seriously wowed me.  It's very similar to the YSL Touche Eclat Foundation in terms of consistency and even smells similar.  I've been using this quite a bit just recently as I find it provides me with a good coverage at the same time as keeping any dry areas feeling moisturised - it covers blemishes surprisingly well and works amazingly at covering dark circles.  If I want a good coverage but don't fancy spending time applying my Nars Sheer Glow - I always opt for this as it's just a little easier and quicker.  There's just something about it that works wonders for my skin and it gives me such a dewy yet flawless coverage.  I always apply a touch of powder to ensure it stays put but again, provided I've prepped my skin properly - the wear-time is really impressive.

There's definitely a few more foundations I'll be testing in the new year.  I have Armani's Luminious Silk right at the top of my wish list, as well as Laura Mercier's Silk Creme and BareMinerals' Original Powder foundation.  I'll be sure to do an updated post if these manage to make it into my foundation favourites in 2015...

What are your favourite foundations?

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Monthly Favourites | December

Evenin' all! I do hope you've all had an amazing Christmas. I don't know about you but it's gone far too quick for me. I love the whole build up to the big day and the past few weeks really do seem to have flown by - I don't feel as if I've had chance to fully take it all in.  It's always over in the blink of an eye.  We're now onto the dregs of the Quality Street tin (the ones that nobody likes) and I can't help but feel slightly sad that I won't be able to pop into Costa for a cheeky orange hot chocolate anymore. Anyway, post-Christmas glum-ness aside, I thought I'd put together my final favourites post of the year. I wasn't going to do a December favourites this month considering I'm in the process of typing up my '2014' collective posts, but it seemed a shame not to to sum up the final month of the year with a few bits and pieces...

Chanel // Soleil Tan De Chanel 'Bronze Universel'  // £32.00 // Link
I adore this product - it's one that I always go back to.  It's such a nice little touch of luxury to have in my collection. I've been using it as an all over bronzing base recently and it just looks so much more natural as opposed to a powder bronzer.  I've been buffing this into the skin (after applying my foundation) using my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and it just gives the most amazing, smooth and flawless finish.  I concentrate it around the outside of my face - buffing into the sides of the forehead, temples and outer cheekbones to give a naturally bronzed and sculpted look.  

Mac Lipstick in 'Half n Half' // £15.50 // Link
Oo not another 90s inspired nude lip! Although I'm a big fan of the infamous 'Velvet Teddy' lipstick, I much prefer the constancy of 'Half n Half' and think it's very much an unsung hero of the Mac lipstick world.  It's virtually the same shade - maybe slightly lighter - but is much creamier and glossy due to the 'amplified' finish. I adore it.  For a closer look, head on over to my 'Mac Lipstick Collection' post here. 

Boutique at Sainsburies Lip Gloss in 'All the Tea in China' // £6.00 //
You've got to hand it to Sainsburies - they've got an absolutely smashing lip gloss here! It's more akin to a lip laquer in terms of application and pigmentation - the colour is almost opaque (if you've ever tried Tanya Burr's range I'd liken it to those) and is so understated and classy.  I bought this a few months ago and it looked far too 'foundation-y' on my summer skin, but now that I'm paler it works a treat.  It works well on its own, giving a beautifully glossy nude appearance, but also works well layered on top of brown toned lipsticks.  The taupe hint really compliments brown undertones and looks very on trend for the season. 

Arran Aromatics 'Honey and Lemon' Lip Balm // £3.50* // Link
I've already featured this product in a recent post here, but I just had to include it again. It's become my bedside staple! I apply it every night before bed and let it work it's magic overnight.  I'll also apply it in the morning before I apply my makeup as it sinks in really nicely, instantly making the lips feel smoother and perfectly prepped for further product.  It gives a lovely glossy appearance to the lips and works well over lipsticks if you're applying it through the day.  The scent is so soothing and gentle, and the screw-top pot is so handy and lightweight - I've thrown it into my handbag on a couple of occasions and much prefer this over a typical lip-balm stick (they're often too waxy for my liking).  This one is super quenching and treats dry lips in an instant.

Illamasqua Powder Blush in 'Lover' // £21.50 // Link
I really didn't expect to see this blush popping up on the bloggles anytime soon considering it's one of my summer favourites.  However, a year or so ago, I remember really enjoying it through the winter months.  I'd wear it to my uni lectures in a bid to make myself look slightly more awake (even if i felt far from it!) and I just find the finish of it so lovely.  It's a gorgeous bright pastel-y peach which works so well on both tanned and pale skin - the matte finish is also really flattering and gives that perfect 'flawless' finish.  I have to say this is one of my most loved blushes ever - it might even be my all-time favourite.  There's something about it that just works for me and despite being quite a bright, unique shade - i find it so easy to wear.

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Highlighter / Illuminator (LE) 
Ahh I hate featuring Limited Edition products in posts because there's no way of providing links (sorry!). This was actually a summer product released a couple of years ago so I apologise for the lack of availability.  I never actually used it when I first got it (my mum gave it to me) simply because I didn't think it was my sort of shade - however, I've really been enjoying it recently. I've mainly been using it on my décolletage for evenings out as it just makes your skin look so delicate and perfected. It looks lovely on the tops of the cheekbones though, especially when worn with a matte blush and subtle bronzer.  The rose gold colour is really pretty at this time of year and not to mention the packaging - the matching rose gold compact is just beautiful.

Jane Iredale Pure Pressed Blush in 'Whisper' // £17.25 // Link
I won't say too much about this blush as I already have a full post here - but I adore this gorgeous pinky-coral shade from Jane Iredale.  The blush has a slight sheen running through it which is really fab for dull winter skin.  I've been alternating a lot between this shade and my Illamasqua blush, often applying it over my Benefit 'Majorette' cream blush which I featured in last month's favourites.  

Swatches L-R // Chanel Bronze Universel // Illamasqua Lover // Jane Iredale 'Whisper' // Elizabeth Arden Illuminator // Mac 'Half n Half' // Boutique Gloss in 'All the Tea in China'

Have you tried and loved any of these products? Is there anything here that tickles your fancy!?

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas! | My New Job & Festive Chit-Chat

So then, hands up...who's broken the rule of Christmas and prematurely delved in to the Roses tin? I have no shame in admitting that I'm currently typing away nibbling on what I'm sure will be the first of many golden barrels and I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever.  I suspect it won't be long until I give in to the Matchmakers temptation either.  Food aside, I wasn't planning on a 'chatty' Christmas post this year but spur of the moment seems to have grabbed me.  Personally, I always enjoy writing posts like these - I can just ramble on without any planning whatsoever and it's always nice to look back through my archives and remember where I was and what was going on in my life when I typed certain posts. Is anyone else like that? Isn't it funny how your blog becomes a diary without you even realising it? 

I must admit I haven't felt particularly festive this year - this isn't like me whatsoever as I'm usually the first person to adorn a santa hat and get everybody singing festive crap (if any of my old uni lot are reading this I'm sure they'll vouch for the festive singing...) There's been a couple of things that put a bit of a lid on it all at the beginning of the month and even though I've tried my very hardest to keep my Christmas spirits up (which has involved many a trip to Costa and aimless walks around the Christmas market) I must admit it's been a struggle this year.  As well as a few personal things, I also found myself without a job at quite possibly the worst time of year to be out of work.  I'm lucky in the sense that I've had some trusty savings to fall back on and I've still been able to treat friends and family to a certain extent - but if you've been in a similar position to me on the run up to Christmas you'll know exactly what I mean... you end up feeling a little bit left out of it all.  The worry completely takes over the festive spirit and all you can think about is 'what on earth am i going to do when this is all over?'... you realise just how much having a job contributes to your overall happiness and it's exaggerated even more at this time of year.

However, it seems as if the Christmas fairies decided that it was time something good came my way - because after months and months of worry I'm so chuffed to say that I NOW HAVE A NEW JOB!  I kid you not, it was the best Christmas present ever and it meant so much to me (so much so that if anybody saw me in the city centre yesterday they probably felt a little bit sorry for me - because I actually cried. In public)  It was just a complete mix of happiness and relief and I couldn't have wished for anything better.  Honestly - if I could have made a list of everything I wanted my new job to offer - this one ticked it all.  It's a little further out of the way than expected but as I'm not the most confident driver in the world, I took it as a positive as it will mean I'm using my car a great deal more.  I've promised myself I'll treat myself to a new Beth-mobile if all goes well and I get over my little driving hurdle... We shall see!

In the meantime, I can't wait to read everybody's Christmas themed posts - I'm pretty sure I'll be adding to my wish list very soon and of course, there's all the '2o14 Favourites' to come! I'll certainly be treating myself to a few new bits and bobs in January as a little pat on the back to myself for getting to where I wanted to be before the new year - i didn't expect everything to fall in to place so close to Christmas! I've spent the morning taking photographs all ready for my 'best of 2014' posts and I've been putting together some new year themed rambles (as cliche as they are, who doesn't make a new years resolution or two?!) - so keep your eyes peeled for those. Until then, I wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS - i hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow and the old bearded chappy brings you lots of lovely things. 

Lots of love, Beth xox

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Shopping My Stash | The Festive Edit

Since Christmas is just around the corner (quite literally! How quick does time fly?!), I decided to have a little route through my makeup drawers the other day in search of some festive makeup inspiration.  As I'm on a bit of a budget this year and haven't really got an excuse to splurge on a selection of new products - I thought it would be perfect timing for my first ever 'shopping my stash' themed post. I always love reading these on other blogs but I've never done one myself.  As a fickle bunch, us bloggers do have a tendency to forget about the fabulous goodies we already own in favour of treating ourselves to a new little luxury or two (guilty as charged)...but sometimes, it's much better to re-discover old favourites.  As a family, we always go out for dinner and drinks on Christmas Day.  It's basically a fabulous excuse to get done up like a dog's dinner and for me, a good time to experiment a little bit with my makeup - if ever you're going to break the rules and get away with the smokey eye/bright red lip combo (with a dash of extra glitter for good measure) it's on Christmas Day! Here's what I picked out...

First up is a blogger classic, Mac's Cranberry. I love this shade in the autumn/winter and it's just perfect for this time of year.  It puts a nice little twist on a classic smokey eye and is surprisingly easy to wear - it looks lovely on the centre of the lid if you're not brave enough to go full-on with it.  I also picked out Urban Decay's 'Zodiac' - a beautiful shimmery deep forest green.  I've only ever worn this once on New Year's Eve last year but it looked absolutely stunning and I'm determined to make it work again for me this year.  The shimmer is perfect for creating a festive themed smokey eye and the consistency is simply divine.  Urban Decay always get it right when it comes to texture and this shade in particular is so soft, creamy and pigmented. I adore it. I reckon I might wear this Christmas Day...

I also picked out a smokey eye favourite - Nars Mekong.  This stuff is seriously rich and I reserve it purely for nights out and special occasions simply because it can be a little too much at times - but I adore it nonetheless.   It's a beautiful deep brown shade with tiny flecks of gold running through it. It looks gorgeous worn on it's own, blended out and concentrated on the lid - it gives your eyes so much definition and it's such a good shade for creating a more sultry look.  It's probably the most pigmented, richest brown shade I own. Last up, my favourite gold is Look Beauty's Shade 13 'Luxe' Eyeshadow.  I spoke about this in a recent post here if you want to read up about why I love it so much, but it's one of my faves.  It's akin to a pressed pigment in my opinion as it's so rich and creamy - it gives your lids an almost foiled look.

Next, I headed straight for the statement red lipsticks. I have a couple of favourites that I always use around this time of year - some happen to be drugstore cheapys (MUA Shade 1 is a winner) but when it comes to Christmas, I always feel a little more inspired to reach for some of my more luxurious lippies. The festive season calls for a bit of luxe, doesn't it?!  Mac's MAC Red has to be my ultimate pillar box red.  It's a fairly neutral, cherry sort of shade and the satin finish provides opaque colour without being overly drying.  It featured in my Mac Lipstick Collection post here, and also in my Top 5 Autumn/Winter Reds post - it's very well loved.  I also fell head over heels for Bobbi Brown's 'Old Hollywood' last year.  It certainly lives up to it's name and simply screams glamour.  It's a little more bright in tone than MAC Red - I wouldn't say it's orange toned but it's definitely a little more warm - it looks beautiful both day or night.  The creamy formula applies like a dream and provides full colour pay off. The packaging is also perfect for the season - the weighty gold bullet and satisfying 'clicky' lid is right up my street. I wore it in this post if you want to see more of it.

Swatches L-R // Look 'Shade 13' // Mac 'Cranberry' // UD 'Zodiac' // Nars 'Mekong' // Mac 'MAC Red' // Bobbi Brown 'Old Hollywood' 

Lastly, I picked out a couple of Barry M polishes that I always make a beeline for around this time of year.  'Raspberry' is a gorgeous deep maroon shade with a super glossy finish - I've been wearing this non-stop just recently.  Glitter polishes are also a bit of a guilty pleasure when it gets to Christmas time and Barry M's Gold Glitter is a stunner.  I'm not the biggest fan of the full-on glittered nails look if I'm honest so I tend to paint my nails with a red colour first, and then concentrate the glitter towards the base or the tip of my nails to create a more subtle gradient finish.

Which products have you got lined up for Christmas Day?

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?