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26 Nov 2015

What to buy in Kiko

If you ever happen to find yourself in a Kiko store and you're not sure what to buy, then this is the post for you.

I recently found myself staying right next to a Kiko store in Rome and hadn't a clue what were the best products to get.  I knew they have a cult following and can be hard to get hold of, or expensive in the UK, so I had a good old trawl around the beauty blogs and found the products with the most mentions.  I then went in armed with my uber-list and bought it all!  It was only £30 for all 9 products  (it would be more like £50 in the UK)

Ultra Tech Curve Mascara - £7.90

This was a steal. It really does curl the lashes and gives some decent length and volume too.  The wand is a small plastic curved affair and works perfectly.  You need a few strokes of the wand to get the kind of coverage I like.  It was on offer when bought it, and was only 3.90 euros, which is less that £3 so I bought 4!

Double Glam Eyeliner £6.90

This was recommend as a dupe for the Urban Decay 24/7 liners that are reknowned for their stay-put-ability.  I swatched this shade on my hand and the blue glittery end is just beautiful, it is such a deep blue and has a jewel tone to it.  Both ends are equally smooth and glide without any drag.  I do find the black end to be a little soft and so is better for a full on smoky eye rather than a daytime look.  Both ends have some serious staying power, I just swatched them in the shop end then had a shower and washed my hands twice, it still didn't budge.  I ended up having to use eye makeup remover to get it off my hand.

Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow - £6.90

I bought these in 2 shades as I couldn't make up my mind.  The first one is a bronze golden shadow (06 Golden Brown) and the second a shimmery navy (17 Midnight Blue.)  Both are a stick format and are super pigmented.  I apply them to the lid and then blend them out with a brush as they are too dark for my eyes on their own.  I would use them a s a thick eyeliner without smudging.  These again have great staying power.  The bronze is definitely my favourite.  It gives a nice sheen and some depth.  I like the navy, but it is a shade too dark and so looks more grey on application.

From Top - blue eyeliner, navy eyeshadow stick, golden eyeshadow stick and purple super colour liner

Mixing Solution

I have been trying to get one of these for a years, but I refuse to spend £15+ for the privilege of MAC's offering.  When I saw this for £3ish, I jumped at the chance.   It is designed to be used with a loose eyeshadow like MAC Paint Pots or Barry M Dazzle Dust as it gives the powder something to adhere too and makes the colours more vibrant.  The main reason I bought it was for intensifying eyeshadows to use as smudgy lines.  I have been using saline drops so far, which works well, but I wanted to know what the proper version would be like. I must say, so far so good.  I don't think it is necessarily much different than using saline, but it does add a little more staying power and the dropper is handy.

Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush £7.90

I have always wanted a NARS multiple but the price has put me off.  What happens if I spend £30 and the shade isn't quite right!  I decided to try one of these as they are often touted as a good dupe.  I really like the blend ability of these, You just dot the colour on and you can either rub it in with your finger or a buff in with a blending brush.  I went for the shade 06 Geranium as it has a more dusky colour to it.  It is a dark, peachy rose, if that makes sense, and is super natural on my skin.  It has no shimmer at all, which is exactly as I wanted it.  There is however other shades with a sheen if that is what you are looking for.  I have enough highlighting products at the moment so stared away from the glitter, and they can be a bit tough to get right on older skin.

Super Colour Eyeliner in 110 Pearly Regal Purple - £6.90

Love, Love, Love this.  It has the nicest wand and the colour is just sublime, it a vibrant deep purple and is shot through with fine glitter. It is great to add some shine to your eyes and looks perfect with hazel eyes.  I would just as happily use this on the school run as for a Christmas Party.  The applicator is excellent as it has just the right amount of give and so is a doddle to get a nice tight line along the lashes.

Nail Varnishes

I bought 2 of these as they were about £1.40 each!   These are just their standard formula. Both are great neutral rose colours that you could wear all week and they would go with whatever you choose to wear.  I got 486 Tea Rose and 375 Bois de Rose.  They have good coverage, a decent high shine finish and last as long as any other nail varnish does on me.  I found the brush wide enough to coat the nail in one go, which is my standard test for ease of application.  They don't necessarily need 2 coats either. Result!

If you fancy trying any of the above, Kiko now offer free delivery in the UK.  It can take about 7 days to arrive, as it comes from Italy.  But for those of you not lucky enough to live near Westfield or Oxford Street, it 's ideal.  The prices in the UK are identical to Italy's Euro price which means that you pay a slight premium as the fx rate is around 1.4 euros to our pound at present.  It is still great value for money though and easily on parr with brands such as Bourgeois and Revlon.

11 Nov 2015

Omniya Knightsbridge - 30+ Blogger Event

Question. What's better than a cult beauty store?
Answer. A cult beauty store that does facials, botox and toothpaste!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I was invited to visit Omniya's new flagship store right across the road from Harrods.  I had heard that they stock some truly exclusive products and deliver some of the most exceptional treatments, so they had a lot to live up to in a world of Sephora and Space NK.  Luckily they didn't disappoint.  This is a one stop shop for anything health and beauty.  You can get skincare, vitamins, dietary advice, have a facial and even get life coaching.

The exterior is a blend of french pharmacy and space age clinic.  The location is truly A1 and must have a been a nightmare to secure, I would hate to have to pay the rent!  As you walk you in you instantly feel calmer (which is difficult to achieve when packed with beauty bloggers and PR's)  it's a lovely respite from bustling Knightbridge.  It feels spacious and the "Genius Bar" in the middle (think fancy kitchen island) is a great place to get advice, try products and chat.

Fillerina - botox for the needle shy

Oooooo  french pharmacy brands galore.
The brands on offer are world leaders and their skincare selection is exceptional with ranges from ZO Skin Health, Skinceuticals, Dermalogica, La Roche Posay, Mario Badescu, Avene, Fillerina & Bioderma.  They also stock Jane Iredale makeup, OPI nail polishes and Macadamia Haircare.  The list goes on and on and is heaven on earth for beauty bloggers.

Roger & Gallet's beautiful Sorbet Body Lotions with Laduree Macarons

How gorgeous are these flowers by Bloomon

We were incredibly spoilt with our goodie bags. Hayley from London Beauty Queen did a stellar job working with the brands, we were lucky enough to get a selection of some of the best anti-ageing products they have on offer.

Most Excellent Goody Bag!

Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep £26.50 (ideal for new mums)
Vichy Liftactiv £31 (loving this everyday cream with optical blur)
Fillerina Night Grade 2 £69  (super hyaluronic acid boost)
La Roche Posay Redermic R £30  (retinol cream)
La Roche Posay Redermic C10 £30 ( vitamin C & hyaluronic acid)
Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 £96 (bags of niacinamide and peptides)
Skinceuticals Retexturising Activator £42 (daily chemical exfoliator)
ZO Skin Health Hydrating Cleanser £30 (cell renewal with moisture)
Hyaluronic Acid Complex £25 (moisturises from within)
Roger & Gallet Christmas Cracker £6 (cute stocking filler)

All available from Omniya obviously!

Vichy Liftactiv Supreme (loving this so far!) Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 & Retexturising Activator (read exfoliator)

La Roche Posay's Anti Ageing offering - top notch quality ingredients at affordable prices as always!
Fillerina - the new buzz beauty product, so excited to try this

Who doesn't need a handbag sized hand cream that smells lush, especially when coupled with a mini perfume!

I have already started using the Skinceuticals and the Vichy Liftactiv and I will report back in 6 weeks when they have had time to show any results.

I was really impressed with the list of treatments they have on offer from their star facialists and aestheticians Dr Sarah Tonks and Natali Kelly.  Here are just some of the massive list of treatments you could indulge in;

  • Botox (not my thing, but never say never)
  • Nefrititi Lift - non surgical jowl tightener using botox & fillers
  • Juvederm - dermal fillers- lip plumping, cheeks
  • Thread Lift - non surgical facelift 
  • Platelet Rich Plasma Injections (increase collagen)
  • Chemical Peels (restores radiance)
  • Microdermabrasion 
  • Microneedling
  • Telomere Testing - find out your biological age (how intriguing)

I was pretty impressed with the prices considering the practitioners have real medical degrees and the product used are all gold standard, you can get these treatments cheaper, but why would you risk it when it's your face? I can't wait to try one of their facials.

I want to thank Hayley Carr, all the lovely PR's and the team at Omniya for a wonderful evening.  It was great to attend an event with like minded (and similarly aged) bloggers.

Watch this space for more skincare reviews.

21 Oct 2015

Joules Design A Welly Competition

For all you budding artists who would like a chance to see your creative designs on a welly.  This competition is for you!  You can submit up to 5 designs per email address.

The 1st prize is a Luxury Break worth £5000 and there are 10 runners up prizes of £250 Joules Vouchers.

The winning welly design will go on sale at joules.com.

Submit a design and enter the competition here - http://getcreative.joules.com/

All proceeds from the sale of the limited edition winning welly will be donated to our charity partners via CHARITABLY JOULES.

Good Luck.

12 Sep 2015

5 Fantastic Cleansers For Over 30's Under £20!

Everyone loves a good cleanser, but some of the prices stun me.  £35 to wash your face, are you mental?  Seriously, I know it's important to get all the days dirt and makeup off your face, but considering it is only on for 2 minutes max then there seems to be little point spending a packet on it.

These are all budget friendly, very effective and PH 6 or lower to maintain the precious acid mantle that defends your skin.

Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel £11 for 200ml or £7 on Boots 3 for 2 *

I assumed this was going to be a gel cleanser, which it kind of is, but it foams when even the tiniest bit of water is added.  I love a good foaming cleanser and this one has a low PH unlike most soap based foamers.  The smell is lovely and fresh and the pump is always a welcome addition.  You get a decent amount too.  I keep this in the shower for quick cleansing after a more thorough go over with a balm or after running just to freshen up.  I like that it has salycylic acid to help unclog pores yet your skin doesn't feel stripped after using it.

Fake Bake Skin D Luxe Cleansing Balm Melt £22 for 113ml (okay this is just over £20!) *

This is on the top end of the price bracket and contains mineral oil, which can be an issue for some, though Eve Lom, the original cleansing balm inventor, also includes it in her offering so how bad can it be.  It is a balm cleanser and so needs massaging in and then removing with a damp cloth.
This has a solid texture in the pot yet turns into a lovely smooth thick oil when it warms on your skin.  I love using this when I have a full face of makeup on as it melts away almost everything in just one pass.  The smell is pleasant though not particularly strong I assume it's the moringa oil.  The packaging is okay, though I would have preferred glass for eco reasons.  It also has peptides though I doubt they have much time to do anything substantial.

Soap & Glory The Ultimelt £10 for 100ml or £6.66 on 3 for 2

This was so highly recommended I had to try it for myself.  The texture is very bizarre and the tube makes it feel like your squeezing toothpaste out into your hands.  It's not my favourite as it is too heavy on the essential oils.  It does a decent job of removing makeup though and it can be picked up very cheaply.  I think if you like Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (which I also don't) then you'll love this, it very similar yet cheaper and more readily available. One for those of you with drier skin.  Please not that this has half as much product as the others for the money and so isn't quite a s good a deal.

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil £11 for 200ml  

I bought this when they had one of those 40% off events online so I got it for just £6.  I like the smell of this and the texture is spot on.  The pump makes it easy to get the right amount, 3 pumps in case you're wondering. The oil is lovely and smooth and ideal for a facial massage.  You the remove with a damp cloth and the moment the oil meets water it emulsifies into a silky liquid and glides away with no oily residue left.  I will definitely be repurchasing this though you have to make sure your face and hands are dry before you start or it just instantly emulsifies and does nada!

La Roche Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel £12 for 200ml or £8 on Boots 3 for 2

I've saved the best till last.  This is my absolute favourite, a complete Holy Grail.  It can be used to remove a full face of makeup or for a quick freshen up.  It never feels stripping and is gentle enough to use on even sunburnt skin.  The smell is divine and the texture spot on.  I need to have this cleanser available at all times. My beloved.

I hope some of these work as well for you as they do for me.  I always have a selection of cleansers on the go together for different types of days and I can honestly say these are all stars in their own right.

* PR Sample

4 Sep 2015

August Favourites

August has been a great month for finding some real stand out products, here are those which made me smile.

A Heat Protectant You Can Spray on Dry Hair

Get Heated Repair Thermal Protect Mist  £9 *

Like many people, I don't use heat protectant every day as I don't use heat on my hair everyday.  I air dry whenever I can and it is only when I wake up the next morning that I decide that I want to curl the ends/straighten a kink out etc...  This is when I need a heat protector I can spray directly onto dry hair and that takes a minimal time to dry. 
It can also be used to add moisture to the ends, smooth through dry hair to make it look more sleek and obviously for it's intended purpose of applying on wet hair after washing as a protectant.

The spray nozzles leaves a fine mist and the product is easily combed through the hair, it dries super quickly so you can start work within seconds.  It barely has any grip when dry which is great as you can run the straighteners through without it catching. The other stand out feature was the smell, it smells lovely and fresh, which is ideal for a mid day freshen up. All in all a fantastic product and at a really good price, it's only £9.

A Peptide Packed Super Light Moisturiser for Under Makeup

Fake Bake Beauty at Home Skin D-luxe Moisturiser £17.50 *

Who knew Fake Bake did skincare, or for that matter makeup and bath products? They are also really good.  I tried a few of their new offerings ( a lovely cleaning balm, yummy smelling coconut bodyscrub which will be can be bought directly from their website or at parties thrown by consultants (good at home business idea for busy Mums.)
I particularly liked the moisturiser though as it sinks in so quickly, is not at all greasy, has a ton of great ingredients like Matrixyl 3000 which is a peptide combo that helps plump, improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles. It also has a pump top, Yay my favourite.

Long Lasting Non Cakey Foundation Spray

Urban Decay De-Slick - Travel Size £8.10 (full size out of stock everywhere!)

I am sure I have mentioned this before on the blog as I use it to make my makeup last as long as possible, but I have found another use for it.  Wayne Goss (who in my opinion is the best makeup artist and most lovely of guys) did a post about a hydration spray that Jane Iredale has launched which you use to take a the powdery look off your skin once you have applied a full face of makeup. It looks lovely but I have enough makeup and skincare to kit out all the Kardashian's at the moment so I had a play with my Serozinc and then this. I figured that this would work just as well as I often find myself giving my face a mist with it to give me a slightly more dewy/less matte look.  I am pleased to report that this works perfectly and can still help extend the life of your makeup too. I have the old style bottle, the new one is a bit nicer looking.

Sleep in a Jar

Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep only £19.87 for now at Escentual or 3 for 2 at Boots *

I mentioned this in my holiday skincare post (see link)  I used this every other day whilst on holiday.  I was in the sun most days and my normally oily skin can become a bit parched and wrinkled.  Whilst it didn't make me look completely recovered by morning, my skin looked substantially less thirsty and dried out.  I was concerned that the cream would be too heavy for me and break me out but luckily the gel balm consistency just quenched my poor skin and left me blemish free.  My only slight disappointment is the packaging, I don't like jars, I find them unhygienic and difficult to use with slippy hands.  I nice pump wouldn't have gone amiss, however I do have some small plastic spatulas that I use for skin creams that help keep the contents of the jars hygienic so I will have to use those.  I fully recommend this cream for those of you with normally dry skin as I feel it would be perfect.  It contains hyaluronic acid (to lock moisture in,) salicylic acid (to keep pores clear) and niacinamide which helps even your skin tone.  To round up I would say this is a great everyday capture all moisturiser that most people could benefit from adding  into their routine.

3D Lip Gloss for luscious lips

Fake Bake Scream & Pout Shine On Glo Gloss in Sunset £12 *

I posted an Instagram picture of me wearing this a few weeks ago and it honestly does it no justice.  The tube looks a little lack lustre but the product is gorgeous.  It's silky smooth, has a lovely fruity scent and the gloss itself is clear enough to wear over most stains or lipliners and just gives a lovely 3D look to your lips.  I really like this product and have found myself wearing it most days recently.

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush Dupe

Makeup Revolution Vivid Blush Laquer - £3

I have a couple of the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blushers already but wanted something a bit more corally.  I decided on a whim that I would give this a go as it was only £3. The consistency is less watery than the Daniel Sandler ones, but the staying power and blendablity are still there.  It takes only a fraction of a pump of the cute bottle to get enough blush for your face and so will probably last me forever.  The colour is a mid tone coral more on the pink than the orange side.  It has really high end packaging with a pump and a lovely matte lid with a satisfying click.   It comes in 3 shades, Bloom, Heart & Desire of which I have Heart.  You could buy all 3 though and still have change from one Daniel Sander.

*Sample received for review purposes

25 Aug 2015

11 Products You Need To Take On Holiday With You

Holidays require completely different makeup products than usual Most of my everyday products won’t stand up to the rigors of heat and water, nor do I want to wear a full face of makeup when spending my day by the pool.

A lot of products that advertise themselves as being waterproof or long wear really don’t live up to the claims. Very few products last 12 hours even in normal English conditions, so they don’t even stand a hope in 35 degree heat and constant dunkings in the water. I am not one of those women who sits next to the pool with perfect hair and makeup, I dive in head first and then spend the rest of the day alternating between drying off and jumping in. This means that I need products that are genuinely waterproof.

When I'm applying makeup to go down to the pool, I just usually wear a sunscreen, a bit of under eye concealer and a heap of mascara and that's it. I don't like the look of lots of makeup nor the feel. When you're wearing so few clothes, wearing a ton of makeup seems silly.
I try to concentrate on getting the evenest skin tone for both face and body rather than smoky eyes or dramatic lips.

I don’t use foundation on holiday as it feels too heavy over a high SPF facial sunscreens. I usually just take a few longwear concealers in varying shades to cover any dark circles and calm down any post-sun redness. The 3 (yes I bought 3!) that made it in to my bag this year are;

This is a new addition to my makeup bag and it lights up the undereye area beautifully and doesn’t crease ever. This is great news when you are starting to get fine lines under your eyes and are under no intention of accentuating them. I have this concealer in the shade, 02 medium which is my summer colour but still too light for my holiday colour so this is being used for just the first few days. The only thing that stops this being my holy grail concealer is the packaging, it is in a tube and you have to squeeze it out which can result in you being left with more than you needed.

This beauty blogger favourite is always in my makeup collection and because it is so cheap, around £4, you can buy it in your darkest shade and not mind that it will only be used for a few weeks. It can crease and definitely will wear off over the day but it is yellow toned so is good for muting sun frazzled skin and the wand applicator makes it quick to apply. I have it in the shade Dark 4 for holiday use and in 2 and 3 for usual use.

The best concealer for ease of application, it has sponge like head that you click product into by turning the base and then you just dot it where needed. Again this is yellow toned, I use the nude shade (the light shade is more pink toned) and is very light on the skin, it feels like you have nothing on and gives good buildable coverage.

I looked online to buy this for the holiday recently and found out it has been discontinued! The good side of this was that I could get it for £6 on eBay instead of £10 as usual, but it also means that I am now of the look out for a lengthening waterproof mascara that actually works, I've heard the L'oreal Shocking Extensions is exactly the same just rebranded. This has a slim plastic wand which is great for detail work, the lower lashes which can be a pain to coat are covered easily with this. It is a full on waterproof mascara and so needs a full strength oil-based eye makeup remover to get it off, but it really lasts, all day if needs be, and it never smears. I have oily skin and this even stay put on me. Because it is so “strong” it can cause breakage if you try to rub it off or pull at it, so fingers off whilst your wearing it.

I first bought this after a back-of-the-hand test in Superdrug, I went up and down the makeup stands swatching liquid liners on the back of my hand and then wiped them all at the same time to see which one stayed on. Bizarrely it was this cheapy number that refused to budge. I prefer a flexible fine tip brush applicator on a liquid eyeliner whereas this has a felt tip end but it has some serious staying power. I buy it in brown as the black looks too harsh against my skin.

I can't imagine there is anything left to be said about these, in case your late to the party they are easy to apply, super moisturising and this particular variation seems to be universally flattering.
These Chubby Stick dupes has a knock off from every major brand, from top end to bargain basement, but the Revlon ones I feel give the most bang for their buck, there's no need for a separate lip balm.

This was supposed to be a primer, and my intention was to use it to stop oil break through on an everyday basis. It unfortunately is a shade too dark for wearing at home, and it is nothing special when it comes to oil production either. What it can do though is blur lines and pores well. It's powdery silicone formula glides over your skin and feel completely weightless, it provides air brushing without the heavy layers needed. It doesn't last amazingly but it is enough when you just want a light touch.

I cannot recommend this highly enough, it is the easiest way ever to get natural looking filled in brows. It isn't cheap, but I got mine from my Mum for my Birthday back in February and 6 months later it's still going strong. It is a waxy, very fine pointed, dial up pencil. It doesn't need to be sharpened and the wax remains solid in the heat so it can be used whatever the weather.
I like that you can draw in individual hairs or just stroke it though to increase the volume in sparse areas. The colour choice is great too, I have ash brown which is a nice ashy medium brown and a near perfect match for my eyebrows, I want to get another shade that is a tad lighter to be able to achieve a bit more dimension, but it may have to wait till Christmas as I have spent enough recently.

I got this in a blogger goody bag recently and it is absolutely perfect for holidays. The colour is a bronzey coral with a gorgeous shimmer, I layer it over a pinky base such as the Revlon one above and it gives the most beautiful effect. I tried to capture it on camera but the sheen doesn't show up well. It doesn't look that promising in the tube, but when you open it up the wand applicator and lovely summery smell win you over. It glides on beautifully and is not at all sticky, so it feels very comfortable. It doesn’t last that well though, which is normal in a gloss, but that is a minor issue.

The original and in my opinion the best, what more can be said about this, it's a classic for a reason. I like the bronzey, goldy colours for evening as they look really pretty against a tan. My favourite colours are Half-baked (a true gold) and Smog (a dirty bronzey colour heavy on the sheen) I use the mattes to smooth the lids first then just a slick of a glitter over the lids and into the crease with a Real Techniques Shadow brush. Then I finish by rubbing some of Darkhorse (a grungey deep brown) through the lash line with my Laura Mercier smudge brush.

This is always in my makeup kit as I have the world's roundest face coupled with podgy cheeks so I need definition. I don't contour per se, more like just rub a little of the darker shade into what small amount of hollow I have beneath my cheekbones to give some attempt at bone structure to my face. I also use the high sheen blush as a highlighter and rub it from along the top of my cheekbones and back to the hair line to gibe a pretty flushed sheen. I also like the big mirror on this.

What I'm not taking on Holiday

Tinted Moisturiser

Hate this stuff, what's the point? If I want coverage I use foundation, if I want moisture, I use moisturiser. I find that having the two pre-blended means that neither is ever quite at the right level. Seen as I have oily skin anyway, moisturiser is never at the top of products that I turn too, I tend to find my serum or sunscreen provide enough protection and slip to make my skin feel comfortable so tinted moisturiser is a waste of time for me.


When your away you want to look sun-kissed and fresh, like you've just stepped off the yacht rather than heavy and try-hard like a TOWIE extra. Rosie from The Londoner, does this look best. She has freckles which she shows in all their glory whilst still looking picture perfect and the image of health.

What do you take on holiday? Is there any tricks I'm missing?

12 Aug 2015

Looking After Your Skin on Holiday

Only a few days to go till I fly off into the sun and so I merrily started my cosmetics packing today.  I imagine I am not alone in enjoying the process way too much!  I had a good search around in my drawers for all my current skincare faves and then combined them with a few more specific products to deal with sun exposure and dryness which inevitably come with 3 weeks abroad. Here is what I am packing...

Serozinc - £8.50 here

I am taking this with me as a cooling spray that should hopefully help keep breakouts at bay too.  It is lovely and cooling and sometimes the change in climate and products mean I can breakout so I am hoping this will help a bit. The mist on this is super fine and it also doubles as a toner keeping my vanity case weight down (it needs all the help it can get!) Another bonus is that it can be used to help heel minor cuts, bites etc.. a zinc is used in hospitals to speed up heeling time.

Effaclar Duo - £15.50 here

I use this at least once a day as a serum anyway as it is great for pigmentation which isalways an increased issue for me when in the sun.  It is so lightweight yet packed with a plethora of treats for the skin, such as ceramides, salicylic acid, niacinamide and LHA.  I love this product and can never be without it.

Lancome Eau Micellaire - This is actually Garnier Micellar water in disguise (shhhh) £1.99 here

For removing the copious amounts of waterproof mascara I shall be wearing.

Indeed Labs - Retinol Reface - £14.99 here (bargain)

A must for sun damaged skin, I use this on my neck and decollete too to try slow down any damage done by the sun.  I am not the biggest fan of the silcones in this as I find them a bit unnerving texture wise, but the pump dispenser makes this perfect for travel.

La Roche Posay - Anthelios XL Ultralight* - £16.50 here

I received a sample of this at a La Roche Posay event at Christmas and I have used it every day since, I am still on the same bottle and I have about a quarter left. This is the bomb when it comes to facial sun screen, it sinks in so well with no white residue. It's tiny ,so easy to pack, it's SPF 50+ so nothing is getting through this baby and it's cheap for such a high quality product. I have already bought a back up, in case I am ever without it. I have heard that they do a matte SPF 30 version that I can't wait to try.

Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix - £12.99 here

These pads are a cheaper version of the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads, I think I paid around £5 for them when they were half price at Superdrug.  I really like these as they are more portable than the Pixi Glow Tonic (which is another excellent chemical exfoliator.) I need a good exfoliatior more than usual on holiday as the elements tend to make my skin more rougher than normal and so any help I can get in removing dead skin cells is greatly appreciated.  I am not a fan of physical scrubs at the best of times but particularly not when when I have been out in the sun all day (ouch!!)

Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep * £26.50 here

I am pretty new to this product, but so far so good.  I use this after retinol before bed and it is an excellent moisturiser for thirsty skin.  It's aim is to counter the effects of sun, poor nights sleep and bad nutrition choices (which is a pretty steep claim tbh) but it does leave my skin feeling baby soft and the pigmentation more even.  I think this will be the perfect things to combat the late nights, excess alcohol intake and sun that I am certain to encounter on holiday.

Body Skin Care

The most obvious concern when on holiday is sun damage, I use to not take this very seriously as I tan easily and aging seemed forever away.  Now I'm 36, I use full precautions.  I sit in the shade anyway, as I like to read on holiday and the glare is too annoying.  I have recently found some amazing sun screens that feel feather-light on the skin, and even improve the look of it, without that greasy gloopy white smeary mess you used to get.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Comfort Protective Oil SPF50+ £18.00 here

The original and the best, comes in the very distinct clear pump bottle.  The smell is divine and I challenge anyone not to be in the holiday mood after catching a whiff of this.  The texture is similar to a serum or oil and it sinks in very quickly leaving a lovely skin enhancing sheen behind.   The slight colour means that it also enhances your natural colouring too.  It's not cheap but it works every time.

Reiman P20 SPF50+ £24.99 here

This is for our eldest not me.  She burns so easily in the sun but as she's getting older she hates having sun cream applied to her but isn't diligent enough to make sure she has done a good job herself.  P20 is applied just once a day and is fully waterproof. You need to wait a bit for it to dry but it really works.  No burn no matter how long you're in the sun for.  This is also great if you accidentally got burnt the day before as it stops any more sun damage in it's tracks.

Malibu Continuous Spray Dry Oil SPF's 15 and 10 £3 here

This comes as a lotion and an oil spray, I don't like the lotion one as it is white and needs quite a bit of rubbing in.  This however is glorious, you just mist yourself all over and you're left with a lovely sheen and light sun protection.  This is for the end of the holiday only, as it's SPF is pretty low, though you can get it in a SPF 30 but I couldn't find any this year.  This is a real bargain too, you can regularly pick it up for £4.

Dove Summer Glow in Fair to Medium £2.62 here

This is a summer staple and I have been using it for years.  I love the classic dove smell, it's very moisturising but more importantly it helps even out a patchy tan.  I use this on strap marks, paler-than-the-rest-of-me-legs and as a tan prolonger.  My husband is the biggest fan of this, even though I have to buy it.  I think I got this for £2 in Beauty Savers.

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Scrub - £8 here

Great texture, not too grainy nor too smooth.  The smell is divine, like key lime pie (which I am sure is too teenagery for most but I love it.)I will be using this on my upper arms and shins to get lovely smooth limbs. I like all the Soap & Glory scrubs so any would have done.

Body Shop Vanilla Sugar Body Butter - no longer available online

Again, like the scrub, this could be any body butter from the Body Shop as I love them all equally.  Basically this was the only one I had left in a travel size. Lovely vanillery scent coupled with heavy duty moisture for parched dried out skin. I imagine this will be used on my feet most days as all that flip flop wearing takes it toll.

Seems like a lot, doesn't it?  But it is only part of the cosmetics collection that I am taking with me.  There are obvious multiple bottles of the sun creams, as there are 5 of us and 17 days.  I will try and post my holiday makeup and hair kits, but with only a few days to go and a gazillion jobs still waiting in the wings, I'm not sure when I will get the time.

What are your must-have Summer Savers?

*PR Sample received for review purposes

24 Jun 2015

Summer Brights with Fatface

When I was approached by Fatface to style a look from their South Coast Brights collection, I was so pleased.  I love their relaxed chic look, it is so easy to wear and I have always found the quality to be excellent.  I used to be into the surf scene when I was growing up in a English Seaside Town, hence the wave tattoo I have around my right hand ring finger.  Fatface was, and still is, a store I go and have a look through for holiday clothes each year.

Cardigan - Annie by Fatface, Cropped Chinos by Fatface, Striped Top by H&M,  Navy Vest by La Redoute,  Lets not talk about the shoes.
I opted for some classic navy chinos and a pretty corla cardigan to set the look off.

I need to mention how happy I am with the Navy Crop Chinos.  They are gorgeous, the fabric feels so soft.  I got them one size up from my usual size (so a 16 instead of my usual 14) as I read they can come in a little small, and I wanted a more slouchy look. The fabric is excellent quality, it is a super soft cotton twill and the colour is a lovely deep navy (take note Very, they is what navy should be!)  These will be perfect for plane journeys, where you want to look tidy but still be comfy.  They will also allow me to not freeze whilst I get to the airport here, nor boil when I get to my destination.

The trousers have 2 side pockets which manage to do the impossible and be functional without adding bulk.  The cut is very flattering for those of us with big hips and smaller waist ,as the tailoring is spot-on and the waist fits beautifully (thank you, who ever designed these,  I won't need a belt for once)

The general advice for those of us with large hips is to not wear cropped trousers, as they can make you look wider by cutting off your legs half way down.  I have to add a caveat to this, which is if you are tall and have long legs and a short body, then it can help lengthen your torso which is a good thing.  I need to wear a top of a similar colour or one that finish past my widest point or they really do like me look very pear shaped, but overall, I find capri's to be a much safer option than shorts, which could not look worse on me ( I still have nightmares about wearing them in PE.)


I love the Neon trend but my skin is a little too pink to be able to wear very warm pinks. The Annie Cardigan in Corabelle is a pretty bright coral which bizarrely is a cool coral and so suits those of us with pink undertones. It is so pretty, and a great way to add some femininity and a pop of colour to your look. I like the pointelle detail (apparently that is what the patterns of holes is called) as it stops it from being just another cardie and makes it more delicate.  It's 100% cotton so ideal on hot summer days when you want to hide your arms but not get too hot and sticky.  Another point I must note is that the v-neck is well designed to not expose to much or make you feel too grandmotherly.

I paired the outfit with a pair of seriously old tan wedges that frankly have seen better days.  I am finding it such a struggle to find a pair of tan wedges in my size that aren't too high so I can wear them on a daily basis.  I painted my nails in a very unwise navy nail polish with a gold tips, this will be a real pain to remove as glitter polish is always hard and dark blue will stain. Anyway enough of the bad,  I think coral, navy and gold is such a classic colour combination and I will be wearing a lot more of it.

Navy Top by La Redoute, Navy Chinos by Fatface, Nail varnish Betty Blues by No7 & Revlon Sequins

I will get so much wear out of both these pieces.  The cardie can be worn with an all black outfit to give it a lift or with a white sun dress. The crop chinos are such a summer staple that I will probably wear them far more than is judicious.

I am really happy with both of these items and will definitely be making a stop in Fatface at Gatwick on my next holiday to check out some more of their items.  If you, like me, live quite far from the nearest shop here is their new arrivals page.

N.B. I must mention that writing this post make me laugh as I have notoriously chubby cheeks and so the irony of doing a post for Fatface is not lost on me :)

*Sample provided by Fatface for review purposes

15 Jun 2015

What to Buy the Man Who Has Everything

I really detest shopping for my Husband.  He is super picky but more importantly, if there is something he wants, he goes and buys it it, which leaves little for me to get him. Thanks!

Luckily, everyone likes a treat, something they wouldn't usually buy for themselves, a luxury that's hard to justify.

I have put together a few items that I know most men would be pleased to get, some I have got for my Husband for this year's Father's Day (shhhh don't tell) and some that are such complete hits that I would rebuy them in a flash if they ever got lost.

Stylish Going Out Shirt- Kenneth Cole £65*

I started with a top quality formal shirt from House of Fraser for evenings out.  He already has a sea of plain white slim fit shirts and who wants a work shirt for Father's Day?  This one is classic enough that he could wear with a suit to the office and then just remove the tie for a night out.  Kenneth Cole really know how to cut shirts well so they flatter. They are not so tight as to be restrictive but close enough to give a nice shape.  I love this shirt and can't wait to see it on. House of Fraser have some great formal shirts and accessories when you want something a bit more special.  I also love this white hidden placket one and even better it's on sale, but as I said no more white shirts allowed!

Serious Spirits - Pisco £27

I also got my Husband his current favourite drink, with an unfortunate name:/  If you haven't heard of Pisco before, now is the time to get yourself acquainted.  It is a bit like tequila, but from either Peru or Chile.  It is the drink de rigeur at the moment and a royal pain in the arse to buy, as so few shops stock it.  Amazon have luckily started selling it.  It's not cheap at £27 a bottle, but worth every penny.  We drink it as a Pisco Sour which has fresh lime, Pisco and egg white and sugar syrup.  You shake it vigorously and the egg white and sugar syrup combine to make a silky meringue-like topping with a sour kick from the lime and a bitter depth from the Pisco.  It's gorgeous, trust me! Here's the recipe from The Telegraph

Manbag £38+

A sure-fire hit was this messenger bag (Manbag) that I got for my Husband primarily because I was sick of carrying everything for the whole family when abroad.  It is great for days out and doesn't look in anyway feminine.  Paul uses it when he want to take the big camera or when we are out for the day and he wants his iPad.  The one pictured here is no longer in the shops but similar are available here (Howick Leather £75) and here (non leather £38.)

Tech Geek - Bluetooth Speaker £50

I have to mention the JBL Flip 2.  I adore this thing.  This was a birthday present and Paul loves it, it so sleek and well made.  I have also taken a shine to it and use it to take around the house with me whilst I'm cleaning, as I can move it from room to room without any issues.  I'm a bit of a podcast and Audible fan so I spend most of every day with something playing.  It's Bluetooth ready and connect in seconds so no messy wires, and it's also rechargeable so it doesn't cost a fortune to run.  The protective carry case it comes with is really sturdy and it just feels quality.  The best bit though is the sound.  This sounds as good as most top end docks. (Bose etc..)  I can't believe it's only £50 (down from £110.)

Practical (for you too) - Razor Sharpener £15

Now if your looking for something cheaper and that can save you money, whilst ensuring your man looks sharp, then I fully recommend the Razorpit. Not for purveyors of beards!  I first saw these on an Infomercial and straight away I was convinced.  After a long trawl though reviews online I took the plunge and got one.  I have to report that these are genius, not only do your razors last up to 10 times longer (they really do) the shave you get is so smooth.  I can't believe I waited so long. I now happily buy expensive razors knowing that they will last me months instead of weeks.

Bargain add on - Tablet Stand £2

This was a stocking filler as it was only £2.  They are such a good design because every brand of tablet can use it.  We have 4 different brands of tablet in our house, so this is ideal.  Paul uses it primarily to watch films in the bath (stood on the Vanity, the tablet, not him!) I use it on my dressing table to watch Youtube make up tutorials whilst getting ready.  The kids even steal it. Absolute bargain, see here.

Hopefully I have given you some ideas for things your husband might actually want for Fathers day, rather than a soap on a rope (does anyone remember them?)

Whatever you choose to get, make sure you get them the best gift of all, a bit of child free time with you :)

*Sample Provided by House of Fraser for Review

11 Jun 2015

Rimmel - What Sucks and What Rocks

I know this is going to be a contentious post, there is such a lot of love out there for at least a couple of Rimmel’s most terrible products, but I am going to stand firm and say these products don’t deserve the hype, but their PR team deserve some kind of award.

Pants Products

I love a good whinge.  So here are the worst products of the last 6 months, all these beauties found their way to my bin for a variety of reasons and should burn in the pits of hell.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

I can only assume they had a whopper of a PR budget because this foundation is chalky, short wearing and has an orange bottle! The only plus point for me is the pump dispenser which is mounted on a glass bottle, this gives it some gravitas at least, but with an orange pump, even that leaves a lot to be desired.  I give this 1/5 and that is purely for the packaging. Pooparama.

Rimmel Brow This Way

This is obviously a copy of Benefit’s Gimme Brow which incidentally I have not tried.  The aim is that you brush the mascara-like wand through your brows to give you a effortlessly groomed finish. The reality is, with just one stroke, overly dark clumpy looking, scary brows.  This is very dark for a colour labelled Medium Blonde (I have brown eyebrows and blonde hair so I err on the side of light usually) it is also clumpy which is not my ideal when searching for products to leave me looking more finished.

Rimmel Apocalips

These lip lacquers were given the biggest of warm welcomes ever in the beauty blogging world, so I rushed out and treated myself to one.  I was hoping to have the longevity of a stain with the gloss of a, em gloss.  However I got the gloop of a nail varnish with the longevity of a packet of haribo in my 3 children's hands. Major fail and seriously hideous colours, to top it off these are £6.50 a go!  These are categorically not for me. If however you really like these horrid things then you can grab them for a bargain over on Ebay (£3 each here) because obviously they aren’t half as popular as the press and blogs make out.

Rimmel Kate Sacandaleyes Eyeshadow Stick

First off I am not sure why Kate Moss is fronting a makeup brand, she may have effortlessly cool style choices but when it comes to makeup I can’t remember a single time I have thought, I love that makeup look on her. Rant over, kind of.  This sounded ideal, I was thinking it would be similar to the L’Oreal Colour Tattoos which have really lovely sheen and can make any eyeshadow applied on top last longer.  Unfortunately it was just your bog standard old-school greasy eyeshadow stick with an insipid orangey pink hue which made your eyes look slightly irritated.  

Perfect Products

Now Rimmel is not all all cheap, nasty ill conceived tat, it has some really lovely products too, these are my favourites

Rimmel Stay Matte

Everyone loves this, what more is there to say.  Granted it is not as good as Soap & Glory’s One Heck of a Blot but it is a damn site cheaper and comes in many more colors for when you have a tan.

Rimmel Glam Eyes Liner

You rarely hear anything about this liner and I don’t know why.  If you like your liner to just add definition and to be a fine line, then this might be the one for you.  It has a brush tip and so the end bends when you apply pressure which means you can just lightly pull it across the top of your lash line and easy peasy lemon squeezey, you have a line of eye liner.  It is also works well to smudge out if you catch whilst still wet, so you can achieve a smoky eye.  I think this was about £5 and I have had it at least 1 year (note to Donna buy new liner before I give myself an eye infection) I like that it doesn’t dry out and it lasts well on your lids. 

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liners

There has been a massive surge in lip liners post Kylie Jenner and her literally unbelievalble makeup trips with lip liner.  Both East End Snob, which is quite pinky and Addiction which is more brown and akin to Mac Spice, are great lip liners.  I don’t think they last particularly long when applied with gloss on top, but then they are not designed to.  These are super affordable and they apply so easily with barely any drag.  I particularly like that they don’t require sharpening, you just dial up the bottom and hey presto! More lip liner.  

Rimmel Stay Glossy

Llip gloss seems to have fallen out of favour recently, being replaced by balms and liners.  But in my world there is always room for a lip gloss particularly one that isn’t sticky and doesn’t catch my hair like a fly trap every time I open the car window.  This golss is really moisturising and feels really nice on, it isn’t a glass like finish, more of a sheen.  The colour though is neutral enough for most people to be able to wear it.  I use it on top of liners or stains to give them a fresh finish.  Again this is under £6, whats not to like.

Before anyone says it, I know these products may work for you but for me they were ill conceived money stealers. What are your favourites from the brand or major disappointments?

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