Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Monday 30 September 2013

Superdry beauty bento box

I love Japanese food, so I was totally sold by the packaging - what can I say, I am a marking director's dream... But as well as the funky chunky packaging, the products are really hard working too.

The Eye Marker is felt tip meants eye liner, which is perfect for creating a feline flick but it is a bit slow drying so you need to be careful not to smudge.

The hour glass shaped wand of the Professional Voluming Mascara also helps to get to all of the corner lashes coated for a wide eyes look.

The Bento box also contains two mini polishes, the bright pink is just dreamy and the nude shimmer is pretty too (i can see new contenders for Mani Monday here!) As polishes have a shelf life, a mini polish is as good as full size in my eyes.
My fav product in the kit has to be the Grapfruit lip gaze which is really thick and super moisturising, acting as a perfwvt base for a lipcolour, gloss, or were alone for a natural lip.

The £25 Bento Box*, also contains a nail file and mirror to complete the set, which launches later this mounth.

*PR sample.


Mani Monday: Liz Earle Strengthening Nail Colour

I have really weak nails and use nail strengtheners frequently to harden up my talons, so I was really interested to hear about Liz Earle's nail colours which contain the botanicals of avacardo and borage oils in conjunction with colour to work on your nail's condition whist looking fabulous.

At the launch event I was treated to two of the twelve shades (£7.50/12ml) in the collection, so I thought I would share both of them with you today.

The nude Quick Sand* gives a super sophisticated look, perfect for the office.

Rhapsody In Blue* is the darkest of navy's and is perfect for autumn.

The colour smooths on easily and is super super shiny, giving the look of a gel manicure. My nails did feel strong and hard whilst wearing the polish, but I'm not sure if this lasted after I removed the colour. I'm going to need more extensive wear to decide.

*PR samples

Monday 23 September 2013

Mani Monday: No 7 Jammy

I am totally loving this gorgeous shade by No 7, Jammy* (£6) which is a red-pink with a lovely shimmer. Although it would also have been perfect during the summer, the richness of the shade is also great for the shade of season, when a more subtly pink could get lost. The polish applies easily and wears well for a couple of days (even without top coat of you're not doing anything to wild - my nails are currently in such a state from painting all weekend, no polish could survive!)


Friday 20 September 2013

Cocoa Brown One Hour Tan Launch and Review

You can tell it has been a while since my holiday with all the fake tan posts recently! When the sun was still shining back in August attended the launch event for a tanning product that is taking the UK by storm.

At the event, I nibbled crust free sandwiches and cakes whist chatting away to brand creator Marissa Carter. Her ethos was all about correcting the problems with fake-tans, the terrible tango shades, the horrid biscuit smell and the time lag between application and colour. The unique feature of Coca Brown 1 Hour Tan (£7.99)* is that the tan can be washed off after an hour (duh!), when it then continues to develop for the next three hours, meaning you get your tan faster. The tell-tell-tan smell is due to one of the ingredients reacting with the air, so the fact that Cocoa Brown is absorbed really quickly and can be washed off to quickly, should reduce this.

So the results! Well, the mouse was really easy to apply with the mitt and dried really quickly too. I did however, notice the biscuit smell, although not as bad as some other tans I have tried.  I did really like the colour, a really lovely golden brown, after an hour only which didn't look at all fake. To see what it looked on someone else, I also got big-sis BMB to try it out and here are are before and after shots:

*PR Sample

Thursday 19 September 2013

Moroccan Oil Frizz Control and Shine Spray

I am a massive fan of Moroccan Oil ( you can read my review of the signature treatment here) so I was looking forward to trying out other products from the brand.

Although I don't have very frizzy hair, in the recent turn to Autumn, the showers and humidity have made my hair fluffier than normal, so I decided it was time to try out the Moroccan Oil Frizz control* (£19.45/100ml). Differing from the original (which is in a pump bottle) you spray into your towel dried hair before drying. I opted for approximately 5 sprays, then combed my locks through before blow drying. I always use some type of leave in conditioner, so I am used to snag free soft hair, but it didn't disappoint and smelt as good at the regular Moroccan Oil which I adore.

I then followed up with the Glimmer Shine Spray* (£19.45/100ml) onto my dried hair, do make sure you are far enough away as I did get a slightly over-oiled patch were I had gone far closer than recommended, but after some ruffling and brushing managed to disperse.

I do really like the products, my hair has remained frizz-free and super shiny, which is unusaul as it normally dulls-down on day two after washing. I think the frizz control spray would be a god-send to anyone who really suffers on damp days!

*PR samples

Monday 16 September 2013

Mani Monday: Going Dotty with Bourjois at LFW party

On Saturday I headed towards Somerset House, not to attend any of the shows (I know I belong in the FROW, but sadly the invites did not come flooding in....) but to get into the vibe at a Handpicked Media LFW party at One Aldwych Hotel.

I'll be sharing news about all the brands that were at the event with you later this week, but as it is Mani Monday, today I've got my mani from the event for you. The Bourjois team we fresh from doing the make up and nails at Zoe Jordan's show where they had popped nude nails on the models so were ready for some contrasting nail art fun.

Last weekend I had a gel manicure (a brand called 'BlueSky' and I have no idea what the shade is as it was a number rather than a colour) so the Bourjois nail guru added nail art to my pink canvas using the new Bourjois dotting tool* (£3.99). 
At first I was just going to have the dots on my ring finger as an accent nail, but I love it so much I wanted to try the other designs out too. The double ended tool has a larger tip for bigger dots and a smaller tip for tiny dots, allowing for a range of designs and you can let your imagination lead you.

The darker blue dots were made using Bourjois 1 Seconde Polish in Bleu Klein, the pale blue using Bourjois So Laque nail polish in Adora-Bleu (both £5.99).

I'm not great at nail art, generally I am far too impatient, but it didn't look too tricky to create some fun designs, so watch this Mani Monday space!

* PR sample

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Current Skin Care Routine

As a beauty blogger, I am so lucky to be sent lots of samples of products to try and with make up and fragrances it it really easy to give instant feedback and images of what the products are like. Skincare, however is a complelty different ball game, as it takes a good few weeks of using a product to get an idea of the results it is having. So over the past six weeks I have been religiously using a couple of products and now I feel that I an properly tell you my options on them.

Ive been starting off my taking off any traces of make up and cleansing with Clean & Clear advantage clear & soothe foaming wash* (100ml/£4) a clear translucent fluid in the bottle which transforms into a foam when pumped out. Containing salicylic acid and aloe vera it helps to wash away oil and dirt that can cause hateful nelmishes, but is really gentle on my skin and doesn't have a harsh feeling like some other 'spot' type skin care.

Normally that would be my skin cleansing finned, however, I have added another step - Time Bomb Complexion Cocktail* (100ml/£24). Sweeping a little over my face and face with a cotton pad it has helped to remove all those traces of makeup and impurities left behind, I was amazed how dirty the cotton pad was. Containing chlorophyll, wheatgrass and red clover to calm and distress the skin, reducing redness and making breakouts less likely.

To finish off my new regime I have then popped on Neo Stem Serum*(£59/30ml) which is a new addition to M&S beauty. It contains two active ingredients, Omega Statine and Z-Dronate which stimulates collagen production, promotes the production of new cells and slows down the production of an ageing causing protein. It has had some really positive reviews, so was excited to try even through I'm luckily not showing too many signs of skin ageing.

So the verdict: I have really loved how dewy and fresh my skin has been and Blemishes have been minimal, despite my water intake bing pretty rubbish over the past month or so. Sadly I'm not sure if it is down to one or all of these products though, but my bet is the combination of a secondary cleanser (Time Bomb) contains botanic goodies which is making my skin so clear and the improved condition is down to Neo Stem.

*PR Samples


Monday 9 September 2013

Mani Monday: Boots 'Playday’ in-store beauty lock-in

Last week I headed into town for Boots ‘Playday’ in-store beauty lock-in event to find out about the autumn trends we will be rocking in the next few months.

As well as being able to enjoy bubbles, sweets and beauty goodies, experts were on hand to talk us through how we can replicate the latest looks at home. So as it is mani Monday I thought today I would share this season's pick n' mix nails. A really fun and easy look to achieve, by simply having a few different polish colours or textures on your nails. You can go all out with a different shade on each nail, or go subtle by using one shade on all nails except your ring finger which you paint with a complementary colour or texture.

I opted for Seventeen Rock Hard Nail Effects polish in grey (£3.99) which is a gritty textured polish combined with Glimmer In The Night (normally £2.99 but currently on offer for £1.99 - bargain!) also by Seventeen. I really liked the contrast between the matte textured nails and the shiny, glittery ring fingers. I think this pick n mix nail combi would look fab as we approach winter teamed with other great textured clothing, such as leather, silk and cashmere... I do love changes of season!

Thursday 5 September 2013

New from Smashbox

Back in May I went on a girls weekend away, where Caroline shared her latest beauty brand, Smashbox and since then I keep meaning to try out their products. So I was really excited to hear all about their latest autumn products launched late last month.

Caroline had raved about the Photo Ready Primer, so I was keen to test out the new version, Photo Finish More than Primer with Blemish control* (£28) which you smooth over your skin just before applying your make up to keep it all in place. The added ingredient of 2% salicylic acid fights your blemishes, but allows you to keep them covered up at the same time. Although I'm luckily not massively prone to blemishes I haven't had any break outs since using the product, but where that is the product or not, I'm unsure. However, it does give a good base to apply my make up and bottle is tactile and reassuringly heavy.

The new autumn offering also includes the Fall 'Fade to Black' collection and I am totally in love with the eye shadow palette* (£32). Starting off with the palest nude the shades get progressively darker until you reach an intense black. This means that you can change your look from really subtle to a sexy smokey eye by moving up the palette. In the photo below, I used the palest shade across all of my eye lid, then used the 3rd colour in the corners and the 5th along my lash line and in the crease of my socket. (I really need to get my hair coloured!!)

The final piece that I have tried is the Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner* (£16), and it totally does what is says, I've been using it for about a month and it is still completely sharp and doesn't budge after application but is removed easily by cleansers. It does give more of a clean line for a polished look, rather than a smudged, smoky eye. It is available in eight colours, Violetta (a prune shade) is shown here.

*PR samples

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Venus Naked Skin part 2

Back in January I started trying out Venus Naked Skin IPL treatment* here is a link to my post on it back then and, here is a video clip of how I've been getting on since:

*PR sample

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Crabtree & Evelyn: Perfumes of the Night Garden

I'm always a bit 'safe' with my perfumes, tending to go with a classic or a popular fragrance, for example, my current fav is Chanel Coco Mademoiselle - which my lovely in laws bought me a bottle for my birthday. However, last week I was invited to Harrods where Crabtree & Evelyn have recently exclusively launch their new Perfumes of the Night Garden and I was really surprised with the scents I liked the most.

Fragrance consultant Fran Brown talked me through each of the four perfumes in the collection which are inspired by the garden; beautiful botanical fragrances, at night time; where the darkness heightens our other senses. The Middle East also has a large influence on the perfumes, with smoky woods, regal flowers and rich resins featuring.
For each of the perfumes Fran gave me different notes to smell, then gave me the complete perfume to see if I could pick the individual fragrances and educated me as to how a perfume is put together, it was completely fascinating. I really liked all of the perfumes, however Kashmir Mush with its blend of grey musk, exotic spices and English Iris was a joint favorite with Persian Thé, containing the gorgeous base note of Atlas cedarwood and amber with black tea.
 These exotic, deep fragrances are such a far cry from the light, fresh scents I usually opt for, it was such an eye opener into perfumes I don't think I would ever have tried.

The perfumes are exclusivly avaible at Harrods Beauty Apothecary and Crabtree & Eveyln flagship stores and website. Priced at £140/100ml they may have to remain on my wish list for the moment...


Monday 2 September 2013

Mani Monday: butter London Champers

Eeeeeeek... How did September creep up on us! Today is the dreaded back to school monday... although I'm excited to be starting at a new school and only a month and a bit until mr bmb is back, so I'm not too glum.

As I'm new, I didn't want to go too crazy on my nail colour, I thought I'd ease my new colleges into my more wild shades polishes gradually, so I've started with this gorgeous metallic nude by butter London (£12), it has a regal shimmer rather than a sparkle and luckily will go with anything, as when applying I had yet to chose my first day outfit...

I am a marking teams' dream, as I can totally fall in love with a shade based purely on their names, so this polish being named after my tipple of choice was always going to be a winner.

*PR sample
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