UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

December 29, 2012


I have to apologise for my pretty sporadic blogging over the last week, Christmas and that 'being at home' feeling has overcome any possible inclination to be a productive member of society. I've been reading a lot of blog posts about Christmas hauls and have really enjoyed them, so I thought I'd do one for any of you out there who like these sorts of posts. I have to say that this year I really did get well and truly spoilt! I think not having been home properly in about four months might have had something to do with it, but for whatever reason my family and friends really did treat me so I have to say a massive thank you to all of them :) All these products will be getting used and reviewed in the New Year so followers of my blog have some lovely posts to look forward to!

I also got some vouchers. (They really went into overkill this year!) I'm in the market for new hair straighteners as my GHDs finally packed in so that's no doubt what the Superdrug voucher will go towards (or perhaps a little beauty splurge when Rimmel's line of Apocalips comes out, anyone else excited about those?) The Lush voucher is going to be spent on lovely impulse purchases, I can never plan when it comes to shopping in Lush!

So that was my Christmas beauty haul, hope you enjoyed it! If you've done a post like this I'd love it if you could leave me a link in a comment :)



December 28, 2012

REVIEW: L'Occitane Almond Delicious Paste

For anyone who has been regularly reading my blog over the last month you'll have realised by now that I'm having a little love affair with L'Occitane. Today's product review is another gem from their almond range, all of which is just gorgeously luxurious with the most enchanting rich, sweet nutty fragrance.

This particular product is an exfoliating paste that also provides moisturisation which makes it perfect for delicate or sensitive skin. I have quite a big problem with my dry hands, most notably with the skin on my knuckles which always seems to be dry regardless of what I do! I'm currently blaming winter for this.

I've started using this on my fingers, all I do is scoop up a tiny bit of the past and rub it over my knuckles, then over my fingers and, if I think I need it, over the rest of my hand. The majority of the product ends up sinking in the skin really nicely leaving you with soft (albeit slightly sticky) hands which you can either wipe clean on a towel or flannel or if you don't like the feeling you can wash your hands in water. If I wash my hands afterwards I tend to follow this up with a hand cream, I'm currently using the Body Shop's Almond hand cream (a review is no doubt imminent). The result is that my skin is really soft and far more easily absorbs any moisturiser or cream that you'd normally use, and it has vastly improved the feel and look of my dry skin. This has become part of my daily routine and I can see it remaining there for as long as my hands are this dry.

I've also tried this on the length of my arm to see what its exfoliation is like on larger areas and I was really impressed with how little you needed to use to get really smooth skin. I've been using L'Occitane's Almond  Delicious Soap for exfoliation for a while now and it really ticks all the boxes, especially as it's only £4 which compared to this paste is really cheap (the Almond Delicious Paste costs £27 for 200ml). The difference between the two though is that the Paste's is a lot finer and more deeply moisturising than the soap which makes it better areas you specifically want to target- such as elbows and knees (or knuckles in my case). I really do love this product but I'll probably reserve this for my hands as the soap is doing a perfect job for all my other exfoliation needs, but it's definitely worth checking out if you have very dry or sensitive skin!

Do you have any recommendations for exfoliation products?



December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my gorgeous followers! I hope you all have a really lovely day :) I'm off to open some of these gorgeous prezzies and eat enough food to send me into a Christmas hibernation!

The table is set, and the Made In Chelsea finale is on :P


December 24, 2012

REVIEW: Lush's Santa's Sack Bubble Bar

Lush's Santa's Sack Bubble Bar is another gorgeous product that I received in the #Bbloggers Xmas Event goody bag. I know this is a little bit late to blog about Lush's line of Christmas products but I'm a big fan of baths along with any products that make baths more fun and this Bubble Bar is really darn fun.

First off, I love how this Bubble Bar looks. It's a really cute, kiddy looking bubble bar that for some reason is endlessly appealing to me. I love the bright colours, I love the gold string and I love that this is actually three bath products (the two presents pull out of the pink bar and can be used separately).

I've only tried the pink part of Bubble Bar but I thought I'd blog about it anyway as Lush's amazing Christmas sale will be starting soon and I thought anyone interested in this Bubble Bar might want to know how awesome it is.

I used all of the pink part of the Bubble Bar even though I probably could have gotten away with using half- I  was craving a serious bit of luxury bath time and that is certainly what I got. The above photo is what it made the bath looks like pretty much straight after you crumble the Bubble Bar into the water. First off, it transforms the water into a deep pink (that sort of resembles the colour of Ribena) but it's come out a little more orange in my photo.

And THIS photo is what the bath looked like after a couple of minutes. This was some insane bubble action. The bath was seriously so bubbly- and it was amazing! The smell of this isn't all that strong, but if you get a good whiff it comes across as quite sweet. The colour of the water didn't stain the bath and the product was overall very gentle on my skin- no bad reaction or drying (a sensitive skin win!), that definitely helped win me over.

So, overall, this Bubble Bar scores pretty highly with me. For £4.15* it gives you three bubble baths which is fantastic value compared to other bubble bath products! And these bubbles are amazing, much better than anything else I've tried recently- I'd definitely recommend trying this (especially if this gets reduced in Lush's sale after Christmas).

Are there any Lush bath products would you recommend?



December 22, 2012

REVIEW & SWATCHES: Sleek Sparkle 2 Palette

So today I'm reviewing Sleek's Sparkle 2 Palette and I have to say that these eye-shadows really did wow me. Sleek's palettes are always lovely but I really do love this one! (And the box is a lovely bonus, it's so pretty- I think it would make a lovely Christmas present or stocking filler.) I recieved this in my goody bag from the #Bbloggers Xmas Event and I'm really glad I did because as this is a limited edition product I might have missed out on it otherwise.

The palette itself comes in the standard matte black compact and is just as sturdy and high quality as usual. I think the packaging (like the box it comes in) looks sleek (excuse that pun...) and expensive. My dad's girlfriend who hadn't heard of Sleek before refused to believe that you can get your hands on this palette (and others like it) for as little as £7.99*, but it's true! Sleek's products are just amazing value!

Top row: Chocolate Penny, Blue Spruce, Mulled Wine, Truffle, Mistletoe and Illusion
Bottom row: Festive, Gold Ribbon, Glitz&Glamour, Tinsel, Twinkle and Starry Night

The eye-shadows are all named and I've included them in the images' captions. On first inspection they all look incredibly sparkly, perhaps too sparkly even. However, what you find as you swatch them is that the pigmentation is amazing and the glitter is quite chunky and set apart from the body of the eye-shadow. Notable exceptions to this are Chocolate Penny and Tinsel which are a lot more inherently sparkly than the other shades.

(left to right, top row:) Chocolate Penny, Blue Spruce, Mulled Wine, Truffle, Mistletoe and Illusion

Of the above shades Mistletoe is my favourite just for it's gorgeous formula, it really glides on incredibly well and it's pigmentation is amazing (these swatches are from one swipe of an eyeshadow brush). I also love the colour of Illusion and Truffle, however, all of these look very wearable even Mulled Wine which as a red I wouldn't normally pick up.

(left to right, bottom row:) Festive, Gold Ribbon, Glitz&Glamour, Tinsel, Twinkle and Starry Night

Some of the shades on the bottom row are slightly less pigmented (Festive and Tinsel in particular) but Starry Night is really pigmented and the colour of Twinkle is just gorgeous!

All in all I'm really happy with the quality of this palette and the shades are fantastic, they're all really wearable and the pigmentation is generally really fantastic. The colours look quite seasonal too but I have a feeling that a lot of these are going to be the staples for my evening eye looks in the upcoming months. I'll have to do a FOTD featuring some of these as I think they deserve some more attention!

This palette is available on Sleek's website for £7.99* and although it isn't on Superdrug's website I've seen it in Superdrug stores so it is definitely worth keeping your eyes peeled for it, especially as it's a limited edition palette!

Do you have a favourite Sleek eye-shadow palette?



December 21, 2012

BAD APPLE COSMETICS: Nail Polish in shades 001Q (Russet) and 001R

Last weekend I attended the BloggersXmas Event (which I really do need to do a post on!) and while I was there I had the pleasure of being introduced to Bad Apple Cosmetics and their range of amazing nail polishes and nail wraps. I was also lucky enough to take away two of their nail polishes from the event in two amazing shades, neither of which I own anything similar to so I was very excited to try them out.

Nail Polish in 001Q* (left), Nail Polish in 001R* (right)

These nail polishes layer up gorgeously and although they take three layers to really look their best but they dry really quickly so there is no gloopiness or smudging and painting your nails won't take ages. I personally love the formula of these polishes as they're really easy to apply and the finished effect is really high quality with the colour catching the light beautifully. The grey shade (001R) is closer to a colour I might normally go for but the final pigmentation of it when it is layered up is a lot more attractive than any of the other grey nail polishes I own. I can see this shade in particular being a staple of mine- also in daylight it transforms into a lovely deep purple so its really lovely and versatile. As for the green-er shade (001Q) although this isn't something that I would normally pick up I really adore how it looks on the nail. It is a lovely take on a shade that I'd normally find a little daunting to wear. It is very multi-tonal in daylight and looks a lot more bottle green in the evening. 

All in all I would highly recommend these nail polishes for their quality and ease of application- I'm incredibly keen to try some of their more conventional shades (their bright reds and pinks look gorgeous)! The brand itself is really cool  and new and I love their logo which you can see on the bottle. These polishes retail for £9.95* and are available on the Bad Apple Cosmetics website  but at the moment there is currently 30% of nail polishes so you can nab yourself a bottle for just £6.95 which I think is incredibly good value for such a lovely nail polish.

Have you tried any of Bad Apple's nail polishes or nail wraps? 



Yankee Candles: Fresh Cut Roses, Fruit Fusion and Lemon Lavendar

I've been using a few more candles lately, I think it's to do with how it gets dark so early. Having some candles lit makes a dark evening a lot more fun- or at least I think so! I have three more Yankee Candle Samplers to talk about today all of which I picked up from Clintons for £1.35 each. 

First up is Fresh Cut Roses which is another very light, rose scented candle. This is very similar to True Rose, and if you like rose scents then you'll like this! When lit it really beautifully fills the room with fragrance, of the three this one is definitely my favourite.

The best way to describe Fruit Fusion seems a little self-evident, but I'm still going to do it, it's really really fruity! It smells sweet, but the citrussy sort of sweet, and is light and uplifting.

Lemon Lavender smells like lavender but not the sort of heavy, sleepy lavender scent that I'm accustomed to. The lemon scent does make it a lot lighter and more delicate and it's a really lovely, subtle fragrance.

All in all I'm really happy with these three samplers and would definitely consider getting a large version of Fresh Cut Roses. I'm really getting hooked on candles and would love some recommendations for brands or scents to try :) 



December 19, 2012

REVIEW: Johnson's Daily Essentials Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes

I know face wipes aren't the most exciting products but I (and I assume others must do too) get through quite a lot of these over the course of the year and I've yet to find a HG variety. However, these Johnson ones are pretty darn good- a lot better than the others that I've reviewed so far. They are specifically for 'combination skin' and they do a very good job of getting rid of make-up (waterproof mascara included) and at keeping my skin clean on those evenings when I just can't bring myself to do my whole skincare routine. I've just finished the packet after using them for about three weeks, mainly to get most of my make-up off before cleansing but they're also great to use after the gym or before reapplying make-up in the evening.

One word of warning though, these weren't as friendly to my sensitive skin as I would have liked. I didn't have too much trouble but I won't be continuing to use these for removing eye make-up as they just aren't quite gentle enough- always a toss up for me between something for very sensitive skin and being able to budge my water-resistant make-up. However, if you don't have sensitive skin, and especially if you have combination skin, I really would give these a try. I've been really happy with them as the wipes are quite soft (quite a lot smoother than the Garnier wipes I'd been using previously) and aren't at all dry so you can use them with quite a delicate touch and still get beautifully clean skin.

I would repurchase these but not specifically to get rid of eye make-up, these would probably be something I'd go for in the summer when my skin is at its oiliest. They're definitely worth a try though, I think I'll be picking up the Dreamy Skin variety to try next. These Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes are available in Superdrug stores and online for £1.52 (normally £3.05).

Do you use any face wipes that you'd recommend?



December 18, 2012

NOTD: Model's Own 'Red n Black' and 'Thunder & Lightning'

I picked these two nail varnishes up ages ago during the Model's Own 50% off sale (how time flies!) and hadn't really gotten around to wearing them yet due to an excessive splurge on Essie polishes. However, over the last couple of weeks I've really been loving the two of these together so I thought I'd just quickly show you how they look.

So I've been wearing two layers of 'Red n Black' with one layer of 'Thunder & Lightening' over the top. 'Thunder & Lightening' is one of my favourite nail polishes at the moment as it really catches the light beautifully, but you definitely need to layer it over a polish as it is quite a sheer grey tone. It looks better over darker polishes (I've tried it over white and pastel pink and it didn't look great) and I love how it looks over 'Red n Black' although I will probably update this when I layer it over a grey/metallic to show you if it looks even better like that.

Anyway, the middle nail is how I've been wearing my nails lately- dark purple-y/black with a slight glitter. The photos doesn't really show how gorgeously the glitter catches the light but I would definitely recommend 'Thunder & Lightening'! It also looks equally nice over a navy blue (I tried it with the navy Nails Inc polish that was a magazine freebie last month). Both polishes (as with all the Model's Own polishes that I have tired) applied really easily and evenly and dried quite quickly, a lot quicker than the Barry M polish I just bought which has been driving me insane by drying so slowly! 

How have you been doing your nails lately? 



December 15, 2012

REVEIW: L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate

If you've been a regular reader of my blog you may well have read a post I wrote in October about how much I loved and wanted to buy some of this Almond Milk Concentrate. Nothing changed between then and now other than by a happy series of events (including the final splurge in which I came into its ownership) which finally brought this into my day-to-day skincare routine. This was another item which was part of L'Occitane's Delightful Almond Collection that I picked up last month, and which with every passing day is looking like an even better value set than I originally thought. (Sadly though, I just looked online and it seems as thought it isn't available anymore, but don't let that stand between you and this particularly body cream!)

This is a 100ml pot of this Almond Milk Concentrate (half the size of the normal 200ml pots) and I just think the packaging is gorgeous. I love the box and I love the heavy glass jar even more. I know there's always a risk with glass that it might break and ruin your product, but this one is quite heavy and I have actually knocked this off the desk in my room, onto a carpeted floor, and it didn't smash so it isn't overly delicate.  It just looks lovely on your dressing table and screams quality.

As soon as you unscrew the lid you can smell the gorgeous almond scent that all of L'Occitane's Almond range has. It's sweet but really delicate and fresh.

The product itself has a sort of gel-like formula that is light and absorbs incredibly quickly. The product just sinks into your skin and feels really light but actually moisturises incredibly well whilst also leaving a lingering almond scent on your skin. It really is just gorgeous and leaves your skin silky, soft and really delicately scented. On the box, it is also recommended as a perfect 'after hair removal or shaving' cream (so a perfect accompaniment to the Almond Shower Oil) as well as having 'firming' properties. I've also used this in the summer as an after-sun lotion and this is really incredible at that as it is so gentle and soothing.

All in all, I really do recommend this as it is just so gorgeous. It smells amazing and leaves your skin in such a lovely condition. It is really pricey, which did put me off buying any for a long time, but it is worth it and I would, and will, repurchase this. You can find L'Occitane's Almond Milk Concentrate on their website or in their stores for £34 (for 200ml). You can also purchase it from FeelUnique for £32 with free delivery.

Do you have an expensive 'HG' item like this that you'd recommend?



December 13, 2012

REVIEW: Laidbare DIY Two in One Cleanser and Toner

I first read about this product on Evelyn's blog (We Were Raised By Wolves) and I was really keen to try it after reading her glowing review. Shortly after this I actually found it in my local TK Maxx (seriously guys, if you haven't already scoured your local TK Maxx for goodies now is the time). I think I paid £3.99 for this which is about what I'd normally pay if I were to pick one up in Superdrug or Boots. This little beauty, however, has all the benefits of not having been tested on animals as well as being free from parabens, sulfates as well as synthetic colours and fragrance. I really love this is the sort of product, especially if it is something I am going to use daily (and in this case, probably twice a day).

I really can't stress how pleased I've been with all three of the Laidbare products that I've tried so far. This cleanser is just so gorgeously scented, to me is smells mainly of apples- sweet and rich but in a really light, refreshing way. When you apply it to your face you don't need to use very much as it lathers up like an absolute dream and makes it really easy and pleasurable to use. It leaves your skin feeling really clean and fresh without any tightness and on my sensitive skin (especially my cheeks at the moment) it hasn't had any sort of reaction. It's overall use has been an absolute pleasure and the effects are great.

I only have two small issues with this cleanser, but neither of which changes my feelings for it overall. Firstly, it doesn't remove my waterproof mascara, MaxFactor's Waterproof 2000 Calorie Mascara but it is just a general pain to remove and it's actually seriously putting me off using the mascara as no products seem equipped to deal with it. This cleanser does usually have no issue with make-up, all other eye make up has just melted on contact so you could use this as a make-up remover for any make-up that isn't completely water resistant. My second issue is to do with the packaging. The screw lid is economic and it allows it to stand up nicely next to my sink, but when it comes to taking it off on and putting it on with wet hands I have had some annoyed moments. It may be that I'm really clumsy, well, I know I'm really clumsy, but usually I don't have so much trouble! It is only a minor flaw but it's the one thing that I would change if I could redesign this product in any way.

All in all, this is an excellent product that I would highly recommend. I haven't been disappointed by any of Laidbare's products yet and I'd highly recommend the brand (if you're interested check out my reviews of their gorgeous Shea Butter Moisturiser and their really effective Spot Cream). You can find Laidbare's DIY Two in One Cleanser and Toner on or Naturismo for £5.99. 

What cleanser are you using at the moment?



December 11, 2012

REVIEW: Korres Vanilla Cinnamon Showergel

I picked this little gem up from TK Maxx for £4 (another bargain from TK Maxx, my local store in Leeds has been just fantastically stocked lately). There were quite a few to choose between but I chose the Vanilla Cinnamon scent because the smell of cinnamon really evokes a feeling of winter and Christmas for me, probably because that's the sort of scented candle that I'm always burning around this time of year.

I've tried this as a shower gel (although this wasn't really what I had planned to use it as) and it is really gorgeously scented and foams up like a dream and as you don't need to use very much this bottle will last a good while. The fragrance is sweet with a spicy cinnamon kick to it but it doesn't linger on the skin like I would have liked it to, although it does smell lovely as you're using it.

However, I've mainly been using this as a bubble bath. It might sound a little weird but as I tend to take a lot of baths at this time of year I get through a lot of bath oils and bubblebaths and because I loved the scent of this so much I thought I'd pick it up and give it a go. Anyway, what you need to know is that this works as the most amazing bubblebath, it creates foamy bubbles like you just wouldn't believe! And because of its high content of natural ingredients and its lack of things like mineral oils and parabens I can soak in it without having to worry about my sensitive skin going crazy. The only downside is that, just like when I used it as a shower gel, the fragrance of this doesn't linger on the skin or in the water as you might like it to- but in my opinion this doesn't really detract from the quality of the product!

I already knew I was a fan of Korres' moisturisers and this shower gel has not disappointed me. If I wasn't so hooked on L'Occitane's Almond Shower Oil I would be using this everyday as a shower gel, but for now this is my staple bubblebath. If you like loads of bubbles and want a product that hasn't been tested on animals and that is very skin friendly then I would highly recommend that you check this out- even if you only want a new shower gel because it is great for its intended purpose as well. You can find Korres Vanilla Cinnamon shower gel on FeelUnique for £8.

What's Shower Gels or Bubble Bath products are you loving right now?



December 07, 2012

REVIEW: Mua Lipstick Shade 16 Nectar

This was the second MUA lipstick that I bought and it's the second one that I've reviewed. Shade 16 is a bright coral that really appealed to me over the summer as it seemed like such a happy, summer-y shade.

It's a lovely and creamy consistency but feels a lot like a balm than a lipstick as it is quite thin, this means that if you have any dry patches on your lips it really does stick to it. However, the quality of the lipstick is good for the seriously low price but my main issue with it is that it isn't as good as the quality of Shade 11! It seems weird that across the same line the quality would differ. 

Don't let this put you off too much though because as you can see the colour is really delightful and for £1 you would be hard pushed to find something of a similar quality. On my pale skin this can come across slightly too orange depending on how tanned I am, so this is something to consider if you're not a fan orange toned lips.

And as always, don't forget about the (not so secret) compartment in the top of MUA lipsticks where there is an extra pot of lip stick hiding!

You can find MUA Lipsticks in Superdrug stores or online for just £1, and there is currently a 3 for 2 offer on in Superdrug so if you were keen on trying some of the range out you could get 3 products like this for just £2.

What's your favourite budget lipstick?


December 06, 2012

REVIEW: L'Occitane Almond Delicious Soap

This is another item that I got in the L'Occitane Delightful Almond Collection that I picked up at the Marie Claire Event. There were two of these in the collection which I was a little bit skeptical about at first but I have been blown away by these so I'm actually hugely pleased that I have more than one.

The Soap is really rich and foams up in the most amazing way when it comes into contact with water. It contains small, but quite rough, crushed almond shells which allow for serious but not too tough exfoliation. The high quality ingredients make it quite moisturising which is a plus for people like me with very dry skin. In its ability to foam up and as an exfolitater it is better than Lush's Porridge Soap which has been my favourite for a long time now. 

At £4 on the L'Occitane website it might seem like quite costly for such a small soap. However, I've used it about 5 times (twice weekly since I got it) and I've only used up about one third of the soap so an entire bar will last for over a month and I really do think that given the quality it is totally worth it. This is another L'Occitane almond beauty that I'd highly recommend!

Have you found any great exfoliating products that you'd recommend?



December 05, 2012

Yankee Candles: Cherries on Snow, Home Sweet Home, True Rose

So when I was in York last week I stumbled upon a couple of shops that sold Yankee Candles so I thought I'd pick up a couple as a little Christmas treat to myself. It was hard to choose scents as they all looked lovely! Each candle is supposed to last up to 8 hours and they cost me £1.35 each.

I absolutely love the name of this candle and it was what first drew me towards it. The smell is a rich, not too sickly-sweet, cherry scent. It's a lovely, warm scent that fills the room really nicely. It doesn't really smell like snow (how could something really smell like snow!) but there is an edge to the cherry scent that stops it being too overwhelming or sickly.

Home Sweet Home is a very heavy, warming, cinnamon scent that has undertones that are quite 'woody'. I personally really like this scent, and again the name is really sweet. 

True Rose is a strong rose scent that I bought to satisfy my newly rekindled obsession with rose scents. It is light, floral and intensely rose fragranced. It smells gorgeous and really light and natural which makes me think that of the three this is the one I'm most likely to pick up in a larger size.

Overall, these are all lovely and I'll definitely be picking up some more of these in the future! I have three other candles which I'll do a post like this on when I've had a chance to use them.

Do you have a favourite candle at the moment?



December 04, 2012

REVIEW: L'Occitane 100% Pure Shea Butter

I bought this small pot of shea butter up at the Marie Claire Event the week a couple of weeks ago and I've been using it every day since then. 

I've only recently discovered how amazing shea butter is and now I'm a little bit obsessed. I've been using this in a number of ways. Firstly, this has replaced my Body Shop Lip Butter as my go-to night time lip treatment. I rub my finger into the tub trying to get a small amount of the product and then I rub two fingers together to warm it up slightly before applying it to my lips and then each morning I've woken up with smooth soft lips.

I've also been using it on the skin around the corner of my eyes as an intensive moisturiser (especially as shea is supposed to be a great anti aging product, although this isn't a big concern of mine at this point in time) and I've also used it a couple of times on the ends of my hair to smooth frizzy ends. I was a little bit hesitant about using it on my hair but I didn't need to use very much and the effects were great. I loved that I could use something all natural in place of the normal sort of serum I'd usually go for.

Lastly, this shea butter can also be used on your cuticles. My cuticles have always been a bit rubbish because I've never looked after them very well, but I've added this into my routine and have noticed an improvement in their appearance over only 2 weeks. 

Even if you were to only pick this up to use as a lip balm I would still recommend it but given that it is such a multi-purpose product I really do rate it very highly! I've already bought a second small pot on ASOS when there was a 25% student discount as it made it super affordable at around £4. Normally, however, you can buy it off ASOS for £5.50 which is £1.50 cheaper than it is on the L'Occitane website. 

Do you use any shea butter products? I'm on the look out for some new things to try!


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