UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

January 31, 2014

January Beauty Favourites

This month has been wonderful where beauty products are concerned and I've found quite a few items which are going to be long standing favourites (and repurchasables) of mine! Lets get down to the good stuff.

Miss Dior Eau de Toilette
This was a Christmas present from my dad and initially I found it quite strong but I've quickly warmed up to this fragrance. I've gone through a bottle of this before and it is just such a gorgeous scent. Heavy without being overwhelming and seriously sensual and elegant. I've got to stop myself from spritzing it a little bit too freely!

& Other Stories Body Scrub
Oh mama, this is the bees knees of body scrubs. It smells sensational - like spring has sprung and has been conveniently bottled away - and offers a seriously good exfoliation without irritating skin. It might be hard to get your hands on in a store but & Other Stories has a website which I would highly recommend checking out - link here. Definitely give the Shinjuku range a try, but my other personal favourite is the Moroccan Tea Range! Read my full review of this body scrub here.

Lush Gentle Lentil Shampoo
Before I begin I have to very sadly inform you that this has been discontinued! I bobbed down to my local Lush to enquire after this Shampoo (I'm going through it at an alarming rate) and they told me that the entire Lush Retro line is being replaced and I quote "by some bigger and more exciting project which as of yet is a bit of a secret to everyone". Well, it better be pretty blooming' exciting because this shampoo quickly became the best shampoo I'd ever used, holy grail material folks. And it has just as quickly been whisked away from me. C'est la vie I suppose, life is cruel.

Seventeen Tattoo Me Eyeliner
I've been lining my upper eyelids six days out of seven (I just love how liquid liner looks) and this has been my go-to eyeliner this month. It offers an intense matte black line that doesn't budge once its dried. If you want make-up that won't smudge, bleed, melt or dissolve then this is the liquid eyeliner for you. Read my full review here and I wore it in a FOTD here.

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
I've been a bit sickly this month (I blame the return of "freshers" flu to which even unfortunate postgraduate students like myself are susceptible) and my skin has really benefited from this Antipodes face mask. If you're looking for a great multi-tasking face treatment that will cleanse your pores but also leave your skin hydrated and supple then I'd definitely recommend it. Read my full review here

Have you tried any of my January Beauty Favourites? What products have you been loving this month?


January 29, 2014

The New Thing: RMK Kaleidoscope Nuance Color 01

RMK is a new brand on my radar but my oh my it has kicked up a bit of a storm in its wake! RMK's Kaleidoscope Nuance Color* is part of RMK's 2014 Spring collection. I hadn't heard much about their 2014 collection but when I saw just how beautiful this finishing powder was I got excited at the prospect of an entire range that would look like this! Don't be fooled by it's many colours, they blend together to form an almost translucent skin perfecting finish. 

When you first use it the golden lines disappear and you are left with a multi-coloured powder that blends together into a gorgeous, glowing highlighter. The blues, pinks, browns and creams all blend together into a very subtle, very wearable skin perfecter/highlighting product. I think because of how this powder looks there are a number of different ways to wear it. If you're going out in the evening and you want to add some glitz to your face you could apply this all over - the tones of the powder 'perfect' the look of the skin but it does also contain very fine shimmer. I can't stress how fine it is though, and under lighting of all kinds it adds so much radiance without being too in your face. However, if you concentrate your brush on the side of the palette with the brown shades then you pick up an overall darker colour (albeit very subtle) and this is supposed to offer a very natural contour colour. If you want to see how it looks when used as a contour then I'd direct you towards Tongue in Chic where there are some great snaps of this product at work (link here).

Above is my swatch of how the powder looks when you swirl your brush across the entire palette. You you can see that where the product is there is a glow but it looks like a second skin rather than a make-up product. When applied like this the powder just finishes off your make-up perfectly. I'm a really big fan of this product and the packaging makes it such a glam little addition to my handbag! 

As a brand RMK is now firmly on my beauty radar and the rest of their Spring Line is calling out to me - you can find more of their beautiful products online here.


January 28, 2014

Ko:Kou Mini New York Hair Straighteners

Recently Ko:Kou got in contact with me and offered to send me a set of their hair straighteners to review. As I'm often travelling between home and University (London and Leeds) - and even more often staying over at friends houses - I thought I would be a good person to put Ko:Kou's Mini New York Straighteners* to the test. These mini travel-friendly hair straighteners have an RRP of £9.99 and I thought that if I really liked them then they would be a great budget find that I could share with you!

Ko:Kou's Mini New York Hair Straighteners* really are mini but they do come with a long enough cord for them to still be practical to use. They take up hardly any room and they fit in pretty much any bag (including all of my daytime handbags) which makes them incredibly travel friendly. Usually I have to debate whether hair straighteners are a travel "necessity" but now I can always justify taking them on trips. I also think that if you're a regular gym-goer then these are incredibly handy to pop in your bag for after your work out - especially for anyone with fringes! I remember when I had full on bangs that I would need to straighten them all the time (my wavy hair is not fringe-friendly) and these sort of tiny straighteners would have been so useful.

My usual hair straighteners of choice are GHDs or my Session Instant Heat Straighteners (which I actually won in a blog giveaway last year) and I have become used to using very high quality straighteners. At £9.99, Ko:Kou's Mini New York Straighteners* obviously can't quite match the quality of £100+ hair tools but for their price they work remarkably well. The plates heat up quickly and they get hot (210 degrees) enough to straighten your hair in one swipe. The plates are quite small so you do have to straighten hair a little at a time but they don't snag or tug my hair and the process of straightening isn't too annoying as I have fine hair (although I do have quite a lot of it). I don't know how these would work on thick hair types but on my mid-length/long, fine hair they were easy to use and my hair stayed straight for as long as it normally would when I use my larger hair straighteners. 

All in all I think that having a travel friendly set of straighteners is really handy whether it be for weekend trips, gym sessions or overnight visits with family and friends. I regret not having a pair of these in my life sooner because for just under £10 I think I will get a lot of use out of them! Ko:Kou's Mini New York Straighteners* are pretty robust (they've survived being dropped and knocked about in various bags) and I would recommend them. I'm really pleased to have found a more affordable brand of hair tools than I currently use and I'd certainly trust the brand based on the quality of these mini straighteners. Ko:Kou also make regular sized hair straighteners that start at £25 (link here) as well as hair dryers. Next time you're looking for some new hair tools definitely give the Ko:Kou website a once over.

Do you own "mini" travel straighteners?


January 27, 2014

Currently Coveting #1

none of these photos are my own: credit to,,,, and

 1   the Balm Frat Boy Blush (£14.50) and the Balm Mary Lou-manizer (£16)
 2  Soap and Glory Brow Archery - £10
 3  Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo - £6.75
 4  Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser - £18
 5  Phyto Hydrating Day Cream(for hair) - £13.50
 6  NYX Powder Blush in 'Taupe' - £6
 7  Mac Paint Pot in 'Painterly' (£15) and Mac Mineralize Skin Finish in 'Soft and Gentle' (£22) 

These are the beauty items I've been coveting this month. What products have you been lusting after lately?


January 26, 2014

My Travel Make-Up Bag

I know that usually when someone writes a post about their travel make-up bag it is primarily focused on their make-up. Well, today my main focus is actually on my new make-up bag. I picked it up from Primark for £4 - what I deem to be a very acceptable price for something so functional! It features three clear compartments, the middle of which is secured with velcro which allows it to be removed. I find this especially good for travelling as it doubles up as a make-up bag that I can keep in my hand bag once I get to my final destination. 

The clear compartments make it really easy to ensure that you take everything you need with you as well as speeding up the process of getting ready as you can find products instantly. I roughly divided the products I use up into "Lips and Tools", "Face" and "Eyes" and then divvied up my products accordingly between each compartment. After applying my make-up, I would then make sure that everything I would need for touch ups throughout the day ended up in the middle pouch so I could just pop it into my handbag.

I also think that this sort of make-up bag is a great alternative to the conventional make-up bags I've come across before for day-day storage of my beauty products. I know a lot of people store all their make-up in make-up bags and that finding products in them can be really time consuming! The rummaging needed to find anything always used to annoy me. Alternatively, as someone who has too much make-up to keep in just one make-up bag, I like to keep my day to day essentials in this bag. I find that it makes getting ready in the morning a lot quicker and it makes last minute packing easier because I can just grab it and go. I then just change things up week by week to make sure I'm making the most of all the make-up I own.

All in all, I really love this make-up bag and I thought there might be quite a few of you who would too! For £4 I think it's a real bargain and Primark had quite a few different designs if you aren't too keen on the white and gold option that I picked up.

What travel make-up bag do you use? How do you store your make-up?


January 24, 2014

Review: Vichy Normaderm Hydrating Care and Chrono Active Anti Imperfection Night Care

After the success of Vichy's Normaderm Micellar Solution* (click here to read more) I was very excited to try more from Vichy's Normaderm line. I have a complicated skin type - it's combination (dry on my cheeks, oily on my t-zone) and it's sensitive but still blemish-prone. Keeping it looking hydrated without looking shiny and clear of blemishes without aggravating it can be difficult. However, Vichy's Normaderm range works really well on my skin as it is made with sensitive, blemish-prone skin in mind. I've been using Vichy's Normaderm Hydrating Care* and Vichy's Normaderm Chrono Active Imperfection Night Care* since the beginning of December and they've really impressed me. 

Vichy Normaderm Hydrating Care*
This is a really light feeling, fresh scented day cream that absorbs incredibly quickly but still gives my skin the hydration it needs. It doesn't leave my skin looking or feeling oily because all the product gets absorbed and I find it actually leaves my skin feeling very soft and smooth. I like to use Vichy's Normaderm Hydrating Care under my make-up, I have no problems with it affecting my foundation and if anything I think my skin looks better when I'm using it over other skincare products. If you're looking for something lightweight that will keep your skin hydrated without breaking you out then this is a product I'd definitely recommend. I find good day creams particularly hard to find and Vichy's Normaderm Hydrating Care comes in at £12 which I think makes it good value for money. The packaging comes with a pump which carefully distributes the product and stops any from being wasted and the 50ml size will easily last me a total of three months. I'm really very pleased with it and would definitely recommend it to others with a similar skin type to me, or to anyone with sensitive, blemish-prone skin. 

Vichy Normaderm Chrono Active Imperfection Night Care* 
This is the night cream equivalent and it caters to the same skin needs and has the same light, fresh scent. However, Vichy's Normaderm Chrono Active Imperfection Night Care is thicker than it's day cream counterpart and has more of a creamy consistency (the day cream feels more like a mousse-like gel cream). The night cream absorbs very quickly which is great if you layer up your skincare products in the evening and it does offer the perfect amount of hydration for the oilier parts of my face. I think generally Vichy's Normaderm Chrono Active Imperfection Night Care is enough for my skin but I do feel as though sometimes my dry cheeks need something a little bit more intensive if I were to be using this product alone. My solution has been to continue using my facial oils (I particular like using one from Liz Earle) on my cheeks in conjunction with this night cream. However, it would be perfect for anyone who doesn't suffer from dry areas of skin - so anyone with oily/normal skin types  - but if you have dry skin then I think this isn't the right product for you. Vichy's Normaderm Chrono Active Imperfection Night Cream costs £13 for a 50ml tube but I would probably get through this faster than the day cream as I tend to apply more product in the evening. Overall, it's very impressive and it doesn't aggravate my skin or break me out (something which a lot of night creams do) but I prefer the Normaderm day cream.

One claim that both products make is that with continued use they help to reduce the size of open pores. I definitely have a lot of issues with my pores, especially on my chin and my nose, and while I didn't notice much improvement on my chin I do think that together these two products have helped tighten the pores on my nose. They definitely appear smaller and they have stayed looking tightened and less open. The improvement hasn't been miraculous but it has been noticeable and I am very, very pleased with it. I think that if I hadn't been trialing them over Christmas (a period which was for me one of indulgence and also a great deal of work stress) my skin would probably have shown further improvement. This is definitely a quality worth bearing in mind and I do think that if you have large, open pores then you might want to consider giving these moisturisers a go. 

Have you tried any of Vichy's Normaderm line? Would you recommend any of Vichy's other products?


January 23, 2014

Review: Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask

I reviewed Antipodes Divine Face Oil a couple of months ago but since then I've only been using one other Antipodes product and that is the Aura Manuka Honey Mask. I asked for this as a present from my brother for my birthday and I've really been loving it. It's quite different from the other face masks I use, I tend to opt for clay based masks and the occasional Lush Fresh Face Mask. 

The Aura Manuka Honey Mask has a different consistency to any of the other face masks I use. It feels like a very light cream when you apply it and it has the most delicious sweet scent, obviously towards the honey end of the scent spectrum. You're supposed to apply it quite generously and leave it on your skin for about fifteen minutes before rinsing it off. In those fifteen minutes my skin tends to really drink this face mask in and the majority of the product gets absorbed quite quickly. After fifteen minutes, however, I go to dutifully cleanse my face and afterwards I can see that it's been cleansed but also feels soft and plump. The Aura Manuka Honey Mask does so many things all at once, it's quite hard to believe without experiencing it. I personally find that it really helps to clear up under the skin spots and congested pores, which as many of you will know can be a nightmare to get rid of. 

Antipodes products are definitely high ends treats for me but they really don't disappoint. This face mask and the Divine Face Oil are incredible products and if you don't feel like you can treat yourself to them then they do make great birthday or holiday gifts because they're the sort of products that will last you for ages. Every time I use this face mask and it does wonders for my skin I think 'Thank you Christian!' (my brother) and so his gift feels like he's given it to me afresh every time I apply this mask. I think these are the best sorts of presents, the ones that keep on giving!

Have you tried any Antipodes products before? Do you like the sound of the Aura Manuka Honey Mask?


January 21, 2014

Review: & Other Stories Body Scrub in Shinjuku Blossom

cherry blossom body scrub dry skin cure
cherry blossom body scrub dry skin cure
cherry blossom body scrub dry skin cure

I really want my photos to do some of the talking...
...if only you could smell via photograph!

& Other Stories have a store on Regent Street in London and when I was home for Christmas I just couldn't help myself. I've been in the shop once before and I left with a wish list the length of my arm. This time I went it, swiftly bought two products and left before I could do any more damage. One of the two things I left with was this body scrub, quite possibly the most gorgeous beauty product to grace my bathroom since I discovered L'Occiante's Almond Shower Oil (not that I would recommend using these together, the scents just don't quite work). 

Housed in a very simple plastic container is a thick, pink, cherry blossom scented gel full of very fine, very effective exfoliating particles. I tried to show how thick the gel is in my last photograph. On contact with wet skin it lathers up beautifully and it leaves you feeling both smooth and clean. It doesn't dry out my skin and it doesn't irritate it. What's more, I don't even need to use that much product to get a great result so this body scrub is lasting me really well. And when I finally do finish it I can take the empty packaging back to the store for 10% off my next purchase (I love schemes like this). 

Not everyone will be able to visit the London store but their online shop is very navigable and filled with beauty delights. I would highly recommend all of the Shinjuku Blossom range (it is very strongly fragrant cherry blossom with a touch of orange and vanilla that gives it sweetness and depth) as well as the Moroccan Tea range (think fresh mint tea with lemon and sugar squeezed into it) which I've been coveting for months now. My first glimpse at & Other Stories' beauty line has been a very happy one and I will 100% be purchasing some more of their body scrubs, they're downright gorgeous. 

Have you tried anything from & Other Stories?


January 19, 2014

Review: Seventeen's Tattoo Me Semi Permanent Liquid Eyeliner

amazing liquid liner for hooded eyes no budge

I've been using Bourjois' Clubbing Liquid Eyeliner for years - partly because I'd just gotten so used to it that not using it seemed, frankly, weird. However, after almost five years being faithful to just one liquid eyeliner I thought it was time to see what else was on offer. I went shopping, bought a selection of liquid eyeliners and only one of them really impressed me. 

Seventeen's Tattoo Me Semi Permanent Liquid Eyeliner is amazing. In terms of colour pay off it gives an intense black line in one swipe of the brush. The brush itself is good for getting a pretty thin, even line (although the brush, I think, is not quite as good as Bourjois'). The eyeliner dries slowly, more slowly than a lot of other liquid eyeliners that I've tried, so you do have to give it some time but if you do then the rewards are great. Once this eyeliner has dried it is set in place and it does not budge. Do you have oily eyelids? Hooded eyelids? Do you often forget you're wearing make-up and rub your eyes? Will you get rained on? Will you sweat? How likely are you to cry? Well, the answers to those questions no-longer matter because this eyeliner isn't going anywhere. I have applied it very early in the morning and it is still perfect late into the evening. It doesn't go patchy on me and it doesn't rub off (something I often struggle with because I have hooded eyelids). Honestly, it is amazing and for the price I can't imagine you could get a better liquid eyeliner. I do struggle to remove it sometimes when I take my make-up off (it is definitely the Benefit's They're Real of liquid eyeliners) but with patience and a little extra cleanser/micellar water it does eventually budge.

I can't say that I'll completely move on from my Bourjois' Clubbing Liner (a habit is a habit) but the more I think about it the more I think that Seventeen's Tattoo Me Semi Permanent Liquid Eyeliner is actually better than the one I've gotten so used to. If you already like liquid eyeliners, I know they aren't everyone's cup of tea, then I would highly recommend Seventeen's Tattoo Me - and if you don't already like them, then maybe this will be the one that changes your mind. 

Do you like liquid eyeliner? Have you tried any of Seventeen's make-up?


January 18, 2014

What I Read: January

all images taken from

In case you didn't already know, when I'm not blogging I'm working towards an MA in English Literature (more specifically in 'Critical and Cultural Theory'). What this means is that when I'm not reading blogs I'm reading books - and lots of them! As this is, and has been for many many years, such a passion of mine I thought I would integrate my two interests a little bit and do a monthly feature on some of the books I read each month, most likely focusing on my favourites among what I've read. I personally really enjoy reading posts like these on other people's blogs and I'm going to do these posts as 'extras' so they won't substitute for beauty posts but will slot into my blog's current schedule which means that you'll essentially just get an extra blog post from me each month. Today I'm going to be talking about three novels and two short stories.

Nervous Conditions - Tsitsi Dangarembga

Nervous Conditions is a captivating novel narrated from the perspective of a young girl, Tambudzai, growing up in Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) in the 1960s. From its first sentence, 'I was not sorry when my brother died', the reader is made fully aware that this is not going to be a simple read. Instead, we are slowly drawn into an examination of the life, expectations and disappointments of one extended family. What Nervous Conditions particularly offers us is an insight into the lives, and the mentalities, of Rhodesian women living in a colonial and post-colonial context. I found the novel profoundly engaging because it troubled me. The characters are complex and they are slowly built up into engaging, realistic figures whose futures which beyond the realm of the novel piqued my curiosity. I found that I raced through the book because it was a pleasure to read and I would highly recommend it. [8/10]

'The Last Question' in The Complete Stories Volume 1 -  Isaac Asimov
Asimov is an author of numerous science fiction novels but if you're short on time then his short stories make for very enjoyable reads. 'The Last Question' is Asimov's self-professed favourite and I can see why. It's quite a short read and it is very easy to get in to - the plot moves across time and, with it, people, tracing a question which seems to be on everyone's mind. The genius of this short story lies in its conclusion, it is simple a brilliant concept and I have to admit that it left me chuckling. This can be easily found online for free, I googled the title and read it in PDF format.  [10/10]

'I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream' in The Harlan Ellison Collection -  Harlan Ellison
I think the best word to describe this short story is dark. It's an imaginative take on what the future might look like if machines not only 'took over' but if they destroyed almost everything and everyone. The story is about the last few humans left alive and the endless, torturous games they're forced to play by the supercomputer that took over. It isn't going to be to everyone's taste but I thought it was powerfully written and very affecting. Again, this is easily available online which is where I read it. [8/10]

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The beefiest book that I read this month and possibly the most interesting. Cloud Atlas is a novel that spans time, place and genre. It features several story lines that are all separate but are still somehow interconnected. It took me a while to get into it but once I'd read the first 200 pages something just clicked and the rest of the novel flew by. It's a very exciting read and at times I found it incredibly hard to put down. This was a book choice very outside of my comfort zone but I'm thoroughly glad that I gave it a chance because it didn't disappoint. I'm now keen to read more from David Mitchell and if you've read any of his other novels I'd love some recommendations. [8/10]

Disgrace - J.M. Coetzee
Disgrace has slowly become one of my favourite books. I read it as part of one of my MA courses and I've actually enjoyed it so much that I'm writing about it for one of my large pieces of coursework that's due in January. It's set in South Africa and it follows the life of a University professor, David Lurie, who exploits his position and has an affair with a student. What follows is a slow disintegration of the life he knew, a relocation and a very poignant look into the tensions present in post-aparheid South African society. The story itself is profoundly moving because characters don't make the decisions that you'd want them to. Disgrace is a novel that defies the readers hopes and expectations which makes it challenging to enjoy reading but it does leave you deeply involved in the story. I've read it numerous times and the novel's conclusion is no less powerful now than it was the first time I encountered it. Disgrace is definitely worth picking up and giving a go. [9/10]

That conclude's this month's "What I Read" but I'd love to hear any feedback you might have on this post and on posts of this kind. I'd also love to know if you've ready anything that I mentioned in today's post?


January 17, 2014

2014 New Year's Giveaway

I've been a little bit scattered over the last couple of weeks - lets blame my essay deadlines - so this giveaway is going live a little bit later than I'd planned. The Body Shop is one of my favourite shops for pretty much everything beauty related. I recently went into one of their stores and gave pretty much everything in there a sniff and I really fell in love with the Honeymania line. None of these products were sent to me by The Body Shop, I just thought I would pick out a couple of products to give away that I knew I'd love to try myself. 

One lucky reader will win all four of these Honeymania products and the only thing you have to do is follow my blog via Bloglovin' and leave me an email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open internationally so anyone who reads my blog, regardless of where they read it from, could win this prize. Good luck!


January 16, 2014

Smooth Skin the Fancy Way

 As someone with sensitive, combination, blemish prone skin skincare can be a tricky area - especially finding manual exfoliaters that don't aggravate my skin whilst still working on declogging and smoothing my skin. Today I'm going to be giving you the low-down on four 'high end' exfoliaters that I've put to the test over the last twelve months. Here they are listed in my order of preference. 

Origins Modern Friction*
Origins Modern Friction is one of those skincare products that actually prompts a sigh of pleasure when I think about it. It has tiny micro-exfoliating beads that allow for a really thorough but gentle exfoliation. Additionally, as you rub the product into your skin the cream lathers up beautifully offering a deep cleanse. Once I've finished using Modern Friction my skin is both super smooth and clean. But be warned, keep it away from your eyes at all costs or you will end up blindly, madly cursing. Other than it's propensity to sting eyes it is a wonderful exfoliater and I'm keen to get my hands on a full size version soon.

Eve St. Agnes Revive and Renew Refining Exfoliating Polish*
Similar to Modern Friction, Eve of St. Agnes' Revive and Renew Refining Exfoliating Polish contains very, very fine exfoliating bamboo particles that offer a very thorough but completely controllable exfoliation. Depending on how hard you scrub you could get a serious to a more mild result - but even when used very gently I find that my skin is left radiant, soft and much less congested than before use. What this exfoliater lacks is a tantalizing scent and the lathering effect of Modern Friction. For that reason it takes second place. 

Elemis Fresh Skin Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash
Elemis' Fresh Skin Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash is very 'shower friendly' and I keep this in my shower in London to use whenever I take a break from University and go back to my family home. The packaging is more travel (and shower) friendly than the Eve of St. Agnes Exfoliater (which is made of glass) and I find its flip top easier to use when my hands are wet. That aside, this exfoliater features larger exfoliating beads that I find offer a less thorough and less easily controllable exfoliation. There tends to be just one result from this product and for that reason it is good for regular every-other-day use but I don't get any 'miracle' results. 

Tropic Face Smooth*
I absolutely loved the scent of this product - think Soap and Glory's Sugar Crush range. However, it does resemble a sugar scrub for the face. It offers less-sensitive skin types a very thorough exfoliation that is incredibly effective at renewing the skin and decongesting it. However, on me this could only ever be used intermittently as a treatment as it is quite a harsh product. I like the results it gives and I wish I could use it more regularly but on my skin type this is relegated to the category of 'treatment' and thus is only reached for occasionally, but I'm sure other people might have different experiences with this Tropic's Face Smooth.

What is your 'go-to' facial exfoliater? Have you tried any of the products I've mentioned?


January 14, 2014

I'm on a Powder Trip

soap and glory face powder cosmetics review

I've been a cream blush girl for the last six months of so but I have a feeling that is all going to change.

I'm not usually one to go shopping during the Christmas sales but this year I did make a couple of strategic purchases, Soap and Glory's Powder Trip* being one of them. I picked it up with a Gift Card I'd received from a friend and I'm really glad I did because these powder products have been on my wishlist for a very long time. This set contains three of Soap and Glory's mainline powder cosmetics; Solar Powder, Love At First Blush and Glow All Out. Initially, I was most excited about trying Solar Powder (the two shade bronzer) but it didn't actually turn out to be my favourite of the three - another reason why palettes are great, you try products you wouldn't otherwise! 

contour bronze pale skin

Solar Powder Multi Shade Bronzer
Solar Powder features two bronzing shades, the dark shade is matte and the lighter shade has subtle shimmer  (the pink shimmer overlay disappears after a couple of swirls of your brush). Both are suitable for pale skin so I don't think this is the best product for anyone with medium-dark or dark skin, I simply don't think it would show up. However, on very fair skin both shades are workable. The light bronze shade offers a very light shade which is great for subtle all over bronzing. If you mix the two shades together (which is my favourite way to use this product) you get what I would consider the perfect contouring shade - a light/mid matte brown that offers a very natural looking shadow when used in the contours of my face. Then there is the darkest shade which when used alone offers a deeper colour for more dramatic contouring or (when I have a bit of a tan in the summer) for all over bronzing. All in all I really love this bronzer and am glad I've finally tried it! The colour lasts really well on my skin and the the powder is incredibly easy to blend meaning that the finished result (however you decide to use it) looks great.

soap and glory shimmering blusher

Love At First Blush Multi Shimmer Blushing Powder
I didn't expect to like this blush because it looks very shimmery. Now, it is just as shimmery as I expected but it is in a glowing, radiant way rather than a glittery-disco-ball way. It seems to be a hybrid product, combining a blush and a highlighter. Swirled together, the colours combine to offer a medium pink that is very wearable. However, it is possible to just pick up individual triangles if you want a more rosy or a darker colour - if you do this then you get a lighter and a darker pink shade, both of which offer the same radiant, glowing sort of colour as when you mix them all together. I really love how this looks on days when I want a radiant complexion. Coupled with a highlighting primer, this is a really lovely product to reach for day or night when I want my skin to glow.

luminizing face powder glowing skin

Glow All Out Luminizing Face Powder
 The colour is suitable for use all over pale skin as I would imagine it would be for darker skin tones, but I wouldn't recommend using it all over the face as it is quite shimmery (although not glittery). But as a powder highlighter, used precisely wherever you want  to add some glow, I really like it. It is quite warm toned but I have cool undertones to my skin and I still like how this looks on me. I've paired it with coral and pink blushes and I find that it helps add more shape to my face as well as give my skin some radiance. I don't have any powder highlighters in my collection at the moment so I can see this easily become a staple of mine!

All three of these Soap and Glory products are available individually for £11 from Boots. I'm really impressed with them and would definitely recommend all three! Have you tried any of these? Or any other Soap and Glory cosmetics?


January 12, 2014


Lush's Lip Scrubs are an essential part of my beauty routine. I reach for them whenever my lips need a little bit of help (which is quite often) and the follow up with one of my more intensive lip balms. I won Lanolips' Lemonaid* last summer (which you can read about here if you're interested) and I only recently opened it up. What I discovered was quite possibly the loveliest lip product I've ever stumbled across. Not only is it incredibly moisturising but it also has the most gorgeous lemon scent that lingers even after the product has sunk into my lips. Once I've given it a few minutes to get my lips looking and feeling their best I reach for my lipstick. As I mentioned last month I've been loving red lips and Rimmel's Kate Moss Matte Lipstick in 111 is my shade of choice right now - it lasts really well without being drying and never bleeds or smudges. A simple little routine but it is keeping my lips happy.

What exfoliating and hydrating products do you use on your lips?


January 10, 2014

The Stand-In: L'Oreal EverRiche Conditioner (for Dry Fine hair)

L'Oreal's EverRiche Conditioner (a seriously hydrating offering for dry but fine hair) was only ever meant to be a stand-in conditioner. I'm running dangerously low on my much beloved Kerestase conditioner but with at the thought of a £13+ replacement I decided I'd venture elsewhere first. Browsing the aisles of my local Sainsburys I picked up L'Oreal's EverRiche Conditioner because I'd been impressed with the matching shampoo. Little did I realise that the conditioner exceed even my already high expectations. It is creamy without being heavy and it has the most gorgeous apricot scent. I never knew I loved the smell of apricot lingering around my temples but it turns out I do because it feels like I've been bathed in fresh fruit. The results of this product are very impressive too. I've been putting off having my hair cut (do you do this? - the small talk is too much for me!) and with dry, split ends being the result I have a lot of boxes to be ticked when it comes to hair products. Surprisingly, this conditioner meets all of my demands:

  • My hair is left soft and shiny. 
  • It is smoother with fewer flyways.
  • My hair is much less dry.
  • My hair is not weighed down.
  • My hair does not get greasy more quickly.

Basically, for the £4 I spent I got a real gem. My only advice if you have fine hair - less is more. An amount the size of a pound coin is enough for my mid-length/long hair. If you haven't already tried the L'Oreal No Sulfates ranges I would highly recommend it - this is the fourth product I've tried (I've used three of the shampoos) and I'm happy with them all.

What conditioners do you like to use? Could you recommend any other products for fine hair?


January 05, 2014

Lush Haul: Making the Most of the Boxing Day Sale

big lushhaul post haircare bodycare lip care

I can't tell you how glad I am that I woke up in time to shop Lush's online Boxing Day sale. I had stayed up until midnight hoping it would go live then and when it didn't, full of frustration (and very tired from too much wine), I went to bed with no plan to check again in the morning. But I did, as you can see, and I bought a lot. There were a lot of Christmas limited edition products in the sale but I must admit that I tried to get as many products from their main line so there aren't that many limited edition products in this haul - just the Randy Butter and the Christmas Kisses Gift Set. Everything I bought was half price and as far as I know the Boxing Day sale is the only sale Lush holds each year.

very hydrating natural hand treatment

Lush Helping Hands Hand Cream - RRP £7.50

I can never say no to a new hand cream and Helping Hands seemed like something I had to try - especially with a 50% discount! So far I'm really liking it. The smell isn't the nicest but it is very hydrating and works great as an overnight treatment.

moisturising in shower body cream

Lush Randy Butter Butter Cream - Christmas Limited Edition

I actually thought this was a body butter but it turns out it is a hydrating product to use in the shower! You can see from my photo that I've already given it a go and I'm on the fence at the moment. I like it but the smell is very very boozy, not the most pleasant thing to use in the mornings!

natural hair growth stimulating mask

Lush Roots Hair Treatment - RRP £9.95

Since my stress induced hair loss last year (University can be really stressful) my hair has been growing back a lot finer than it used to be. When I saw Roots was on sale I couldn't wait to put it in my basket, I'm hoping that a weekly hair treatment will help stimulate hair growth.

natural body scrub bright blue

Lush Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub - RRP £8.25

I've had my eye on Lush's Rub Rub Rub for a while now. With its intense colour and the fresh scent I couldn't say no when I saw it in the sale. I'm looking forward to giving this some use!

I love juicy gentle lentil  Coolaulin Veganese

Lush Gentle Lentil Shampoo - Retro Line, currently unavailable.
Lush I Love Juicy Shampoo - RRP £5.25
Lush Veganese Hair Conditioner - RRP £4.25
Lush Coolaulin Hair Conditioner -  Retro Line, currently unavailable.

I didn't initially intend on buying so many hair products but I get through shampoo and conditioner quite quickly so I thought there was no harm in it. I picked up Gentle Lentil for an everyday shampoo option and I Love Juicy for a weekly clarifying option. Veganese seemed like a great everyday conditioner and Coolalin can be reserved for days when my hair needs something more deeply hydrating. I'm very happy with them so far. 

natural lip product gift set
honey trap santa baby bubblegum scrub toothy tabs

Lush Christmas Kisses Box Set (Limited Edition) ft.
Lush Chou Chou I Love You Toothy Tabs - RRP £2.95
Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub - RRP £5.50
Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm - RRP £5.75
Lush Santa Baby Lip Tint - Christmas Limited Edition

The inclusion of two of my lip favourites - the Bubblegum Lip Scrub and the Honey Trap Lip Balm - encouraged this purchase. Mine are both near/past their expiry date so I was glad to get some new ones! The Santa Baby Lip Tint (which I didn't have very high expectations for) turns out to be really lovely - offering a matte, bright red lip. I'm very pleased with this gift set.

That's everything I picked up in the sale! Let me know what you'd like me to review first. Did any of you get any bargains in the sales this year? Have you tried anything that I picked up in this haul?


January 04, 2014

My First Impressions: Amie Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask

A long while ago I received a single sachet sample of Amie's Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask* in a goodie bag and I finally, finally got around to giving it a try. It was actually the first Amie product that I've tried so I was quite excited about it, and I'll explain why. Amie doesn't test its products on animals, they're suitable for vegans and vegetarians, they're made in the UK and they're free from nasty ingredients like petrochemicals and parabens. All of these are great qualities as far as I'm concerned, especially as all of Amie's products are very reasonably priced - a 75ml tube of Amie's Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask is £4.95 in Boots.

Now, the face mask itself was really impressive for such an affordable skincare product. I was rather surprised at first because unlike most other face masks I've used this was one a mint green colour and it smelt very fresh, but there was no chemical scent to it. Once applied it was indeed very cooling on the skin which was almost certainly down to the peppermint oil content. The mask contains white clay which dries relatively quickly because the mask isn't super thick - which is both good and bad. It's good because it means the mask isn't too hard to remove and it isn't too harsh on sensitive skin. However, I tend to find thicker clay masks more effective at deep cleansing the skin so this isn't the most hardcore of cleansing masks. After I used it my skin was a touch more pink than it should be so it might not be suitable for those with very sensitive skin but I did find that it has deep cleansed my skin enough for me to want to use it again. The following day I also felt as though it had helped rein in my usually very oily t-zone, and for me that's another reason to reach for it again.

All in all, I was really impressed, I definitely feel like Amie's Spring Clean Cooling Face Mask outperformed it's price and I would definitely consider purchasing the 75ml tube in the future. My first experience of Amie has been great and I'd definitely like to try out some more of their skincare range.

Have you tried any of Amie's skincare products before?

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