Friday, 24 May 2013

Illamasqua Nail Varnish: Harem

My first nail post featuring my nail colour wheels and dotting tools, yay!

I have wanted to get my hands on some Illamasqua nail polishes for the longest time now. I think I must've perused their website hundreds of times just noting down each colour I wanted to try. Then, all of a sudden, the company had a 50% sale online to celebrate gaining 50,000 followers on Twitter. Needless to say I felt obliged to take my chance and go a little crazy, and ended up purchasing products worth over £50 for just £25! That shopping basket even included their coveted Skin Base Foundation (review for that coming soon) which in my book was a complete bargain, seeing as it retails at £27.00!

Anyway, back to the featured product. Harem is described as a bright mauve pink and I have to say it is super pretty! I painted my toe nails with this too - which is just my obsessiveness to match - and I love how complimentary the colour is for my skin tone. Illamasqua have a great reputation for creating nail polish formulas that are long lasting and highly pigmented. I only needed two coats of colour on my nails for them to dry the opaque mauve you see in the photographs, plus an OPI top coat to seal the polish in there. The finish is a beautiful high gloss which is hardwearing and chip resistant.

Harem has to be one of my favourite nail polish shades to wear at the moment. It adds a bit of brightness on a dull day in May, and I'm certain that it would be a welcome addition to any wearers collection in the summer. Gorgeous!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Cheap and Cheerful: Strawberry Sundae

Oh I do love a little bit of affordable luxury! Admittedly, I wasn't on the lookout for a new bubble bath particularly, but at £2.99 a bottle I couldn't resist buying myself some to add to my growing collection of bath time smellies.

The Little Bubble Co™ is a relatively unknown small company, with their products available to purchase in Boots and Waitrose as far as I know. All of their products are suitable for vegans, allergen free, and make a big deal about not testing on animals. Strawberry Sundae is both a bath and shower gel but it also makes some delicious smelling bubbles in the bathtub! The texture is creamy and lathers easily, and the scent is so heavenly that it leaves you basking in strawberry field glory long after you wash it over your skin. Also, in case you haven't noticed, the bottle is pretty huge (500ml) so it's going to last you ages; not that it needs savouring at the low price it is! 

There are three other shower gels available in the series: Vanilla Biscuit, Mango Delight, and Coconut Creme. So if you're looking for an affordable great-smelling bubble bath then look no further than The Little Bubble Co™! Truly cheap and cheerful!


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Summer Wishlist #1

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Rare - £14.50 | Lashes of London Chi-Chi Heart Cutout Playsuit - £50.00 | Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily Moisturiser SPF 50 - £31.00 | Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess - £45.00 | Sachajuan Ocean Mist Spray - £18.00

001. I'm kicking off my summer 2013 wishlist with a gorgeous Illamasqua nail polish. I've had my eye on so many of the bright in-your-face colours that they provide but Rare particularly stuck out from the crowd. Described as a bright neon yellow with a satin finish, this polish is sure to catch attention! As soon as it's back in stock you can bet I'll be all over it!

002. Oh my goodness! I absolutely LOVE this playsuit by Lashes of London. I saw Lydia's post of her wearing the turquoise one and the way she styled it looked so lovely. It's a bit steep at £50 but I think playsuits are always pretty versatile, especially in the summer months! I selected the black one here, which could take you right through to autumn with a pair of patterned tights and some Doc Martens.

003. Next up is some essential skincare. Hopefully (she says cooped up indoors as rain batters the windows...) we will have a good summer with some lovely weather, and of course that means taking extra care of our skin. This daily moisturiser from Kiehl's is one I've been waiting to try for a long time now, but the price is a little steep for my budget currently. It is said to intensely moisturise the skin and utilise a high level of sun filters to provide the skin with a high SPF protection.

004. I need a new summer fragrance, and I would love to try out this Estée Lauder perfume. I mean, the name alone attracted me immediately! Bronze Goddess is described as a sensuous sun-drenched blend of bergamot and mandarin, cooled with Tahitian gardenia petals and coconut, warmed with amber, sandalwood and vetiver. Sounds like the ultimate summer perfume to me!

005. Finally, I have selected this ocean mist spray by Sachajuan. We all love the just-got-out-of-the-sea look when in reality we haven't been anywhere near it, well this mist is a cross between a hairspray and a salt water styling spray to add texture to your hair without making it look too neat. It holds in volume and is especially good for thinner hair. I'm currently using KMS California's sea salt spray which smells divine but I would love to try this one out too (and see if there's much difference in quality for the price!)

So there you have it, part one of my summer 2013 wishlist. Part 2 will be up soon, I'm sure! What products are on your wishlists?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study

As my first MAC paint pot, I wanted a shade that would serve many purposes and be something I could get a lot of use out of whether it was for a day or night look. I've heard nothing but good things about these paint pots (specifically Painterly) and thought I would spend my pennies on Bare Study after much deliberation.

Bare Study is described as a soft beige with gold pearl (very much what it appears to be in the pot) but my first thought when I applied it to my skin was that it was a gorgeous champagne colour with a visible shimmer. The formula is creamy and smooth, and warms quickly when interacted with in the pot. I prefer to use my fingers to apply the product over my eyelids; I have also tried using a synthetic brush but found that it didn't pick up enough of the product in order to make it worthwhile. I found that you have to work quite quickly to pat and blend it on your lids because it dries rather fast - fast-drying means it stays put all day though!

If you have really oily lids then I suggest applying a primer beforehand to prevent the product from creasing, however I use this pretty much like I would a primer anyway because my lids aren't that oily. The high pigmentation also intensifies any colour shadows you pop over the top! This brings us nicely onto its multi-usage advantages. On busy days, or days where I don't want to wear much makeup, I love to sweep this over my lids and leave it at that; other days I use Bare Study as a primer, highlighter for my brow bone, or even on top of neutral shadows to give a look an extra bit of shimmer!

What do you think of MAC paint pots? What's your favourite shade?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Aromatherapy Associates: Comfort Candle

I've got a big thing for candles at the moment and I'm not quite sure why. I mean, we've always had them around the house but I've never really taken much notice until recently. My bath times have been made so much better with the addition of candles; there's just something about a gorgeous burning scent to relax you whilst you're soaking in sweet-smelling bubbles for a hot minute!

The brand itself boasts over 30 years of experience in the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, and use the highest quality natural ingredients and essential oil extracts in order to treat every part of your body to a bit of luxury.

The Aromatherapy Associates Comfort Candle is a plant wax candle which is 100% naturally derived from palm butter, palm oil and oilseed. It promises up to 30 hours of burning time, this candle will last you for plenty of bath times. Its primary ingredients are labelled on the box: damask rose and ginger, and let me tell you it smells absolutely divine! Rose is renowned for its euphoric, feel-good properties, whilst uplifting ginger warms the senses.

The candle comes in a classy little bronze-coloured box, with the candle itself encased in an expensive-looking frosted glass jar. It's pretty thick as well - great to be able to transport from bathroom to bedroom without feeling the heat of the burning wick. Overall, I think this candle ticks all the boxes as far as candles go. It's as comforting as it is gorgeous-smelling, and it's a perfect accompaniment for an evening soak in the tub! Lovely for a gift or to keep to yourself!

What are your favourite smelling candles? Do you like to have one or two on the go while in the bath?

Friday, 10 May 2013

Michael Todd Charcoal Detoxifying Facial Mask

As far as I'm aware, Michael Todd's organic products are exclusive to his own website which is based in America. Despite shipping from the US, it was really fast service and arrived on my doorstep within days of purchasing online - always a good start!

The charcoal detoxifying facial mask is a treatment that uses the extra absorbent power of mineral rich charcoal as it exfoliates to draw out impurities and toxins. It clears the skin of excess oil, dirt and other pollutants. Formulated with Hyaluronic acid and vitamin C for increased penetration and moisturising properties, this mask has natural soothing agents to reduce irritation and inflammation associated with sensitive skin. It also exfoliates to remove dead skin, impurities and toxins; moisturises and firms; claims to improve elasticity and pliability of the skin; unclogs pores allowing skin to breathe and facilitates movement of skin oil.

After cleansing, apply an even layer over the face and neck, avoiding the eye area. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off. Follow it up with your usual toner and moisturiser. It is recommended you use this facial mask 2 or 3 times a week. The above photo was my first time using it, if that makes any difference to your perceptions. My skin appears so much better after using this product a couple of times, teaming it with my usual skincare routine of course.

So that's what it does, now what does it look, smell, and feel like on the skin? Well looks-wise, the packaging is a really simple purple can with a pump. The mask itself is a light grey colour with subtle exfoliant beads that you don't feel when they're on the skin. I have to admit, the smell of it isn't that great unless you like liquorice (if you love it, it's pretty win/win) but that's a small price to pay for having clearer skin! The feel of it is good, because it's not too heavy yet it's thick enough to cover the skin evenly, and isn't drying on the skin even when the product settles in that 15 minute period. It washes off easily too.

Overall this is a great mask for dry or sensitive skin if you need a bit of a lift. It goes on nicely, works its magic, then leaves the skin feeling clean and moisturised once it's been washed off.

Have you tried any Michael Todd products before? What do you think of them? 


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Essie Nail Polish: Mint Candy Apple

I may have jumped on the bandwagon a little bit but after so many beauty bloggers have raved about this particular polish I had to try it for myself!

Essie Mint Candy Apple is a gorgeous fresh soft mint green colour which is absolutely perfect for the spring time. Even though it was a part of the winter 2009 collection, it's such a unique shade that I think it definitely works as a transitional colour.  Some bloggers who reviewed this claimed it was quite tricky to apply and in some cases streaky but I discovered it to be the opposite. I found it easy to apply like most other Essie and OPI nail polishes and it only took two coats to get it looking like the swatch. As you can see it's shiny and even, and that's without a top coat and three day's wear.

Overall, I can see why Mint Candy Apple is such a popular shade for polish wearers alike. It's a lovely shade with staying power, and would look great on all skin types!

So, what do you think of this nail polish? What colours are you wearing on your nails this spring?

Monday, 6 May 2013

MAC Lipstick in Patisserie

I'm a sucker for a natural looking lip - sometimes it's just so much easier to pop on than something like a vivid red which can make you look quite overdone when the situation doesn't call for it. I've been on the lookout for a great lipstick which doesn't dry out my lips and stays put all day.

MAC's Patisserie is the shade that every woman should have in their makeup bags. It's not too pink yet not too nude which gives a lovely balance of natural colour on your lips. It appears to be a dusky pink shade in bullet-form but when it's applied to your lips it really give this gorgeous natural hue to add a little more colour back into them. I also noticed the lipstick has gold flecks in it which I love - they add a lovely sheen and reflect in the sunlight quite nice and subtly!

Patisserie is extremely wearable and has been described as the shade that is "your lips but better", and I would have to agree with that. It's my new favourite colour to wear simply because it's so natural looking, and from my experience the lustre lipsticks tend to last longer and have better wearablity compared to the matte MAC lipsticks. It's definitely one to repurchase when the time comes!

What do you think of Patisserie? What's your ultimate natural lipstick shade?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Rimmel London Match Perfection Silky Loose Powder

A staple in any woman's beauty regime, Rimmel London's Match Perfection powder is a great product to use on oily skin or to set your makeup. A totally affordable price, the product is lightweight, smooth and soft once applied to the skin. I decided to purchase mine in 001 Transparent, simply because I don't really want any extra colour added to my base I just want it to set my makeup. It comes with a puff but I've always used my Real Techniques Powder Brush which I absolutely love because it covers all bases!

The powder itself is ultra creamy and lightweight, and also easily blendable for a natural finish. The Smart-Tone technology perfectly mimics the skin's texture and tone in order to keep it looking as flawless and natural as possible. It also promises to wear up to 8 hours and goes on without that horrid cakey texture which we all try to avoid when testing our foundations and powders.

I have both this and the Stay Matte pressed powder in my makeup bag but they serve similar purposes. I used Stay Matte for the longest time until I purchased the loose powder and, honestly, there aren't many differences between the two apart from the obvious fact that one is pressed (and £3 cheaper) and one is loose. I would also say that they have similar longevity - I use one or the other every time I apply makeup so I tend to buy them every few months, which is acceptable considering the affordable high street price tag.

Do you use powders to set your makeup or to stop that oily sheen on your t-zone? What works best for you when you set your makeup?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Millie Mackintosh False Eyelashes

"It's no secret that I'm a complete beauty addict, and so designing my own range of lashes was a dream come true. My lashes are unique in that they are 100% natural hair, and the extra mild adhesive means that you can commit the cardinal sin of forgetting to take them off and still wake up looking gorgeous!"

As a big Made in Chelsea fan and an avid false eyelash wearer, I was so excited when Millie Mackintosh decided to release a collection for Nouveau Lashes! I've had them for quite a while now, and rightly so, given myself enough time to try out three of the lashes from the London series in order to be able to review them properly.

The collection consists of eight different types of false eyelashes, each named after a specific part of London:
  • Belgravia - Described as Millie's everyday lash, designed for the ultimate Chelsea girl.
  • Camden - A funky feel for an alternative kind of girl.
  • Carnaby - Young, fun, and unique.
  • City - Described as for the girl who means business.
  • Mayfair - The lash that transforms you to instant stylish chic.
  • Portobello - Flirty lashes for the vintage Notting Hill girl.
  • Shoreditch - For show stopping eyes with an edge.
  • Soho - For the bold and beautiful fashionista who likes to party.

Now, Millie herself is known for her false eyelashes because she is obviously filming for Made in Chelsea a lot of the time, so I think it's great that she has released a range of lashes which can be worn on a daily basis (eg. the Belgravia and City lashes) as well as more dramatic ones which can be worn for special occasions. Each set comes with it's own small pair of tweezers (super for shaky hands) and a small container of latex-free lash adhesive.
The Mayfair Lash
The Camden Lash
The Shoreditch Lash

Overall, I can safely say that each type of eyelash I tried out was very comfortable to wear and stayed put all day. The adhesive can be quite sticky when you remove them from your eyes, yet you don't even feel it once they're applied. I wish I could have the courage to sleep with them still on, but I have quite sensitive eyes and am a bit apprehensive about leaving them on in case I knock them about and ruin them! Perhaps one day I will test that part out. Until then, I still rate this really high up on the false eyelash standings - and let me tell you, I've tried out a fair few over the years!

I can't wait to try out her new summer collection featuring St Tropez and Ibiza - reviews for those will surely follow!

What do you think of Millie's lashes? Which are your favourites?
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