Real Techniques Insta Pop Brushes

I had a really good sort out of my make up brushes last week, as the amount I seem have collected it getting out of control. Saying that, I’ve also bought two more sets of brushes that I cannot wait to show you because they’re fantastic. Wearing minimal make up for work means that I’m hardly using my vast collection, but it has made me realise just which brushes are my go to brushes and that I can’t live without. One of the brands of brushes that I use frequently is Real Techniques, which was created by the Pixiwoo sisters Sam and Nic. I have two brushes by Real Techniques that I have had since the brand launches and those are the Setting brush and Expert Face brush. If you know, you know! There have, however, been a few new launches recently from RT and one of the launches has extended their standard range by introducing Insta Pop; four brushes designed to give the wow factor to your makeup. 

With the rise of Instagram makeup and intensely concentrated areas of colour, the Real Techniques Insta Pop brushes are designed to apply loose pigments and powder for high impact colour without the mess. Synthetic, duo fibre bristles, with a angled, rounded shape, they make it really easy to pick up powders without losing any products and allow the powders to be buffed into the skin. 

The Insta Pop Face Brush has come in really handy for me lately. I have made the switch from pressed powder to loose and I’ve found it very difficult to control just how much powder to use. As it does keep the powder on the brush and concentrates it onto areas of my face, I’m left feeling fresh faced and not cakey. 

I have been using a new loose powder highlighter alongside the Insta Pop Cheek Brush, and again this brush has massively helped with application, diffusion and depth of product. From a lightweight swash of colour to a deeper more intense build up, it’s another brush worth it’s weight in gold. 

The final two brushes come in a set of two, and the Insta Pop Eye Duo have been used more for pressed shadow than loose. Going against the grain with what they are designed for, I have been really enjoying the fluffiness and shape of these. I have often struggled with RT eye brushes as I find them hard to work with and the names of the brushes often don’t match with what I use them for. The Insta Pop duo have been really easy to work with. The colour payoff that I’m getting for using them more to pack on colour and to blend out has been really quite impressive. I’m really looking forward to playing with makeup this weekend and seeing how they work with loose shadows. 

Have you tried these babies from RT? Have you seen the new RT Brush Crush range?

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Cruelty Free Skincare – My Picks

Cruelty Free Skincare - My Picks Holland and Barrett

In Manchester City Centre, there is a secret beauty hall that not many people seem to know about. Shall I let you into the secret? It’s Holland and Barrett, the home to clean beauty that caters for those fulfilling a vegan lifestyle as well as playing host to a whole range of cruelty free products. The Manchester store is huge, with the whole of the 1st floor taken up by a massive range of products within the beauty sector. I have been spending an awful lot of time in there recently, and I have picked some really fabulous cruelty free products for my routine. 

It does look like they are discontinuing the Saaf Pure Face Cleansing Balm, but you may be able to pick this up in store. It was £24, but has been reduced to £8. The balm melts in your hand as you massage it into your face and the addition of water emulsifies it into a milky texture. It’s great at tackling stubborn makeup and mascara, and it leaves skin feeling so clear and squeaky clean. It smells amazing and really nourishes my skin. It is cruelty free, however due to the beeswax ingredient, it isn’t vegan. 

The Sukin Facial Scrub had to make the list as I adore this brand. My first taste into Sukin was the Hydrating Mist Toner which was repurchased several times and I used to decant into mini spray bottles to take to work with me. Sukin, as a brand, are cruelty free and are also vegan. The facial scrub contains non abrasive bamboo extract and ground walnut shells to gently exfoliate the dead skin cells away, leaving glowy and healthy skin underneath.  

When I first started receiving PR, one of the first products that I got was from Dr Organics and it was selection of their popular skin and body care with snail gel. I do love a moisturising gel rather than a cream and I love how easily the gel soaks into my skin. The Dr Organic snail gel products still get the approval from myself and the lemon sherbet scent is still fresh and zingy. It’s non sticky, doesn’t leave a film or residue and my skin really reaps the benefits of the healing properties of the snail gel. As it does use certified organic snail gel, it is not a vegan product but it is still cruelty free. 

The Ekia Organic Baume Eye Cream is a really lovely product. I say this all the time, but I am so bad for using an eye cream but I have really tried to get this into my routine. More of a balm like texture, it’s ideal for those with sensitive eyes like mine as it doesn’t cause any irritation. I do feel that certain areas look more even in tone and less puffy than before and my eye contour area does feel really quite supple. The key ingredient within the balm is Dragon’s blood sap and it does seem to be a popular ingredient in a lot of skincare these days as it does have great results. 

The final product comes from a brand that I have been using for many years. Trilogy, a brand from New Zealand that uses  certified organic rosehips to create one of the best oils that I have used on my skin. Rosehip oil has become really popular in the last few years, and for me, to use an oil that is rich in fatty acids that the body does not naturally produce as well as pro vitamin A to help moisturise and renew skin calls. My skin looks smooth, plumped and refreshed and as the skin is renewing, my pigmentation is slowly disappearing. The Trilogy Rosehip Oil is also vegan as well as being cruelty free. 

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourite cruelty free skincare brands?

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Hair Heroes

I’ve noticed lately that the same few products are appearing in my routine and I will not use anything else. The only problem is that I seem to have very expensive taste and most of these products are going to run out at around the same time. What is life! From sublime hair masks to an extremely luxurious hair fragrance, I must brag that that I have the swishiest, prettiest smelling hair in Manchester. Here’s what I have been using to put the bounce back in my locks. 

I have a never ending cycle of not wanting to wash my hair, using dry shampoo and then getting a build up of product in my scalp. This can, of course, lead to dandruff should it not be nipped in the bud in time. Thankfully, my secret weapon, the Aveda Pramasana Scalp Cleanser is still very much being used to fully clarify my scalp and remove any build up. I don’t use much else in the hair cleaning sector that’s not from Aveda and the difference in how my hair behaves since I’ve been fully invested is really noticeable to me. 

Hair masks were one of those products that I didn’t really see the benefit of until lately. As my shampoo and conditioner has been giving ultimate results, I did skip the mask step. Until I was introduced to Coco & Eve. Just before I headed off on my hols to Bali, I was kindly sent the Coco & Eve Like A Virgin Nourishing Coconut & Fig Masque. First impressions were good; it smelt incredible and I didn’t use it until I was in Bali, surrounded by the Balinese coconuts! A small scoop of product is worked into the hair and left for 10 minutes to work it’s magic, before rinsing out. My hair felt like virgin hair. It was the softest and silkiest that I had ever seen it and it dried naturally, like a dream. Usually when I leave my hair to dry alone, it falls flat and limp. After Coco & Eve, it feels full, healthy and volumised with a beautiful natural wave to it. It’s my hair hero and I’m gutted that I’m about to run out!

One of my more luxurious treats comes from Show Beauty. It’s been quite sometime that I’ve been using Show products for and I certainly do have a lot of love for the brand. It has been a good 3 years or so that I have been using the Show Beauty Pure Treatment Oil, and this is my second bottle. I use it on average of twice a week, so it really does work out well for the money. I use just one pipette full my hair, and whilst damp, I work the oil into the bottom half of the hair, focusing on the ends before I blow dry. It helps with hydration, and smoothing down the hair shaft, and it gives my blow dry a sleekness that I wouldn’t usually be able to do myself. Not only that, but the sharp burnt caramel and vanilla scent is to die for. Seriously, if you haven’t tried Show Beauty before, then I really recommend the hair oil. 

A new brand exclusive to Sallys UK has come into my possession, and this is the range from Design.ME. A capsule range that covers all bases when it comes to hair needs. Fab.ME, a moisturising detangling mist that smoothes and protects from the frizz. Power Dry.ME, a mist for reducing blow drying time by up to 50% and Puff.ME, a volumising mist for ultimate root lift. I must say that the blow dry sprays are making light work of drying my hair lately. I actually cannot believe how long my hair has gone and usually takes such a long time to dry properly. It’s nice to know that should I be in a rush and need a last minute wash, then I can be done in next to now time. Puff.ME has been a brilliant addition to my hair care and styling routine. As my hair is getting longer, the weight of it is pulling it down which compromises the root lift. A puff or two in the root helps give more volume, and if I am putting my hair in any sort of style, this does help with keeping my hair in place and give it the malleability to style with ease.  Design.ME is a superb little brand and I have been quite impressed with how I’ve found the products to work. 

I will never be able to get away from the convenience of dry shampoo. Not only does is help make my hair look acceptable but I find it to help a lot when it comes to styling my hair and putting it up. There’s been a lot of negativity lately surrounding dry shampoo and how it’s bad for you. It’s not bad for you, but you do have to be mindful of how you use it and making sure that there is no build in in your scalp. Making sure I spray it into my hair from the recommended distance, it’s not concentrating on particular spot and it disperses across the roots  of my hair. I’ve been using the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo and I am a convert to this beautiful product. It doesn’t just refresh my hair, but it makes it look and feel clean without any powdery residue. A little does go a long way, and when I compare it to my old faithful Batiste, I can really see the difference between the two in performance and quality. Sorry Batiste, I still love you but Living Proof have nailed it!

The most luxurious product that I use frequently in my hair comes from luxury fragrance brand, Thameen. The Amber Room Hair Fragrance with Keratin locks in the scent whilst the pro vitamin B5 increases the water content of the hair, which in turn increases elasticity, conditions the hair and protects from humidity. Amber Room is a heady, warming fragrance with cedarwood, spices and cinnamon. It’s very rich, with a glowing smokiness. A single spray is more than enough to get a subtle fragrance, but two or three sprays mean you have ultimate in fragrance that lasts all day. 

What are your hair heroes? Which products do you use frequently that I should know about?

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The English Mineral Makeup Company

This is the second time that I’m writing this post, and I really hope that I can do it justice compared to my first, non published draft. You see, last week, with the help of my web host, we needed to make some changes but alas it didn’t work in the end. My site is fine but unfortunately, a back up was needed. A backup that didn’t take into account an entire weeks worth of posts, and many hours of work that I put in over the weekend. Not really a nightmare situation as such, but a pain in butt situation non the less. Anyway, let me introduce you to a new brand that I have discovered; The English Mineral Makeup Company who have brought a beautiful range of cosmetics with quite a beautiful story behind it.

Mother and Daughter duo Jeanette and Grace have developed The English Mineral Makeup Company with the idea in mind that the products are suitable for all ages. For those who are older and don’t want powdery, cakey line settling products, and those who are younger who need  gentle products from troublesome skin. This luxury brand uses chemical free mineral powders that have a high quality formula, beautiful finish and effectively treat the skin. 

I must pay homage to the packaging of the Fairy Godmother product that I have received. A white, glossy box with subtle branding, all tied up with ribbon and a delicate Cinderella carriage charm adorning the top. Simple, stunning and the attention to detail shows just how invested Jeanette and Grace are to their brand. Opening the box, the mineral powder in wrapped in its own pouch and nestled next to it, a mini Kabuki brush with scarlett bristles, that matches the red shades within the companies branded colours.

Fairy Godmother is a 4 in 1 wonder powder with one of the uses being an overnight skin treatment. I have used one mineral powder serum in the past before, and although unusual compared to using a traditional serum, the results are great. My skin seems to look much more even and still feels like it has had a bit of a boost, just like when using my normal evening skincare. 

Due to the light reflecting particles, Fairy Godmother makes a great primer, finishing powder or subtle highlighter and the finished look is even, smooth and flawless, with fine lines looked fuller and a moisturised and healthy finish. The formulation does contain crushed pearls which is why is cannot be classed as a vegan product, but it is cruelty free and organic. 

I’ve been really pleased with just how little product goes as long way. It’s perfect for my handbag, as the compact contains a mirror and combined with my mini Kabuki, I can keep myself looking fresh and glowy all day long. 

The English Mineral Makeup Company
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Garnier Skin Active Aloe Jelly

Ahh, just how how quickly the warm weather has swept into a chilly breeze, grey skies and the need to put the central heating on. My house feels really cold and I’m finding that my only solace is coming from fluffy blankets and socks. My skin is also feeling the effects. First of all, it gets blasted with air con at work, and now when I’m at home, it’s being hit with the dry and warm rooms in my house. I have needed instant hydration and I have found a product that is helping my skin look and feel instantly hydrated. The Garnier 3 in 1 Aloe Water Jelly is a multi use product, which has been  injecting life back into my face. 

Thirsty skin, whether it be dry, dehydrated or just suffering the after effects of being in the air conditioning and central heating will all be prime examples for the Garnier Aloe Jelly. A translucent jelly, packed full of hyaluronic acid and organic aloe vera which we know has healing and soothing properties. 

As a day care product, the jelly is light enough to be used under foundation and as a primer. A little is needed otherwise it does tend to feel quite tacky on the skin, however that’s not a bad thing if you are using foundation over the top. With the lack of makeup wearing I have been doing lately, I have been leaving my skin to drink up the jelly throughout the day and applying it more than once. 

As a night care product, it works in exactly the same way however I do feel like I need something more for my skin to cope throughout the night. It does work with serums and facial oils for an extra boost but I couldn’t use it on it’s own. 

My favourite way to use the Garnier Jelly has to be as a mask. A thick layer of jelly is applied to my face, which I leave for around 10-15 minutes. I pat off any excess with a towel or muslin cloth before leaving the residue to soak into my skin. Using this method once or twice a week, I have seen a difference in the plumpness of my skin and how much fuller my finer lines seem. 

I’m pretty impressed overall with the Garnier Jelly and I do keep seeing it go on 50% off offers in Superdrug and Boots. It’s well worth picking up should you need to address your thirsty skin!

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Pixi Glow Getters

As promised in last weeks blog post, I wanted to give you a full run down of the fabulous Pixi Fairy Lights and the new loves in my life, the Gossamer Duos. Pixi Beauty has been featuring quite heavily within my make up and skincare regimes lately and whilst some products have been with me for several years, others are new releases and new into my life. I’m extremely lucky to work so closely with one of brands that I absolutely love and it does mean that I get to try the new products as soon as they hit the shelves. When I was shown the new Pixi Fairy Lights, you can imagine just how excited I was about these incredible liquid glitter shadows. 

In five shades, the Pixi Fairy Lights promise a show stopping colour whilst the chamomile and rose infused formulation nourish the lid. From sparkling silver to burnt copper, each shade is very wearable and can be used for a dramatic lid or to add a touch of glimmer to the lid, inner corner or lower lash line. 

  • Crystalline – iridescent silver diamond
  • Sun Ray – yellow gold
  • Rose Gold – shimmery pink gold
  • Bare Brilliance – pale champagne rose
  • Passion Light – rich copper bronze

Now of course there have been other liquid glitter eyeshadows released on the market, namely Stila, which I believe were the first brand to do such a  shadow. To compare them would be quite difficult because in their own way, they are both very special. The Pixi Fairy Lights shadows perform beautifully. They glide on and the applicator gives precision application. They can be used as a sheer veil of shimmer, or built up to to an intense shock of metallic colour. The darker two shades are more difficult to build up an even layer of colour and do streak but it’s not a huge issue. They are comfortable to wear, easy to remove and the infused formula leaves the lids feeling soft and supple with no scratchy dryness from wearing a heavily glittered shadow. Crystalline and Bare Brilliance are the two shades that I have been reaching for the most, and I find them so versatile in what you can do with them. 

Mint To Be Hairdo wig by Hothair

For an incredible luminescence and a bright complexion the Pixi Glow-y Gossamer Duos are simply perfect. Two complementary shades within one compact, that can be used both wet and dry, and as a highlight or subtle all over  glow. The powder is so silky, just like gossamer, and feels weightless on the skin. A cream based powder that diffuses easily across the skin, without settling into pores and brings a subtle touch of radiance to the high  points of your face. It’s a truly beautiful highlighter and all four shades across the two palettes look gorgeous on my medium skin tone. 

The two palette shades are Subtle Sunrise which contains a pale yellow gold and a golden rose, and Delicate Dew which holds a coral golden rose and a silver rose. All of the shades are subtle but can pack a punch if built up. I’m absolutely enamored with them both. 

I cannot wait to see what Pixi Beauty bring to us next. You can now get Pixi Beauty at Harvey Nichols, as well as Cult Beauty and Marks and Spencer


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It’s Mint to Be – Hot Hair

Changing up my style and look is something that occurs pretty frequently. If If I’m not dying my hair, I’m cutting it all of, wearing it in curls or poker straight. I’m actually in shock at just how much it has grown in the last 12 months and it’s sitting quite long past my shoulders. It’s also pink and purple right now. I’ve had a little play around with a new wig recently, and I’ve headed back to my babes at Hot Hair who have sorted me out with a new style. Hot Hair have been around for many years and cater for all. From hair extensions, half and full wigs and hair pieces with prices ranging from £15 to the incredible Black label wigs at an incredible £1300, there really is a huge amount of choice.

After spotting the Mint To Be Wig by Hairdo, I just couldn’t resist the gorgeous colour. I did have my eye on it for such a long time before taking the plunge, and at the moment, it’s currently in the sale for £82.50. Although it is a synthetic piece, you can use heated products on it, however it had a wonderfully flippy, volumised style to start with. 

I have taken the scissors to my wig ever so slightly to cut the fringe in a little more, and I’ve also give more of a side part than it sitting in the centre. I do love the freedom that you have with a wig in that you are changing your look but you can still tailor it to your preference. I also feel that my next cut may have to incorporate a full fringe because it looks so cute. 

Being bold with my hair colour has meant that being bold with my makeup is a no brainer. It was time for strong brows, using Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow in Dark Brown, a flawless base using Too Faced Born This Way foundation and concealer before letting the eyes and lips do the talking. I’ve started to introduce bright colours back in on my lips and although I love the nude shades, I feel that I have come full circle again have headed back to the brights that I once was so well known for. The lipstick that I’ve used is an old favourite of mine, the Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Lipstick in Berlin. I have written up my thoughts before now which you can find in my Kat Von D Berlin post, with swatches. 

I had a lot of fun creating this eye look and it was actually really simple to do. Going to back to one of trusty palettes, the Urban Decay Full Spectrum, I am a bit gutted that you cannot get this anymore. Compared to other bright palettes that are available, I find that Full Spectrum gives a pop of colour but isn’t that in your face kind of colour shadows. Bearing in mind that not everyone wants Instagram eye makeup, but still want colour and variation. I have just got another brights palette in the form of Carnival by bPerfect and Stacey Marie MUA which is on another level of colour. The Urban Decay Full Spectrum to me is one of my go to’s for colours, quality and buttery smooth formulation that blends easily and is really easy to create looks that may be out of your comfort zone. I’ve used pinks and oranges for this look, with a slight touch of purple to deepen the crease, with shimmery orange tones to buff out. 

On the lid, I used my NARS Soft Matte Concealer to cut out my crease and to give a flat smooth base, before laying on the absolutely beautiful Pixi Fairy Lights in Crystalline. In a way, they are somewhat like the Stila Magnificent Metals which I am so fond of, but I find the formulation of Pixi a little different. I am going to go into a bit further in a post coming up so keep an eye out! As always, I have used the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner which gives an intense black and super sharp wing with ease. For lashes, I have used the new Kiss Lashes Triple Push Ups in Bustier, which are a three layer lash with ultimate volume, length and curl. I adore them – they’re massive and perfect for my eye shape and I actually don’t feel like I have ginormous lashes on. To finish of my face, a quick dusting of the Benefit Gold Rush blusher before adding a few drops of the new Stila Magnificent Metals Highlighter in Monarch. Just like the Glitter and Glow shadows, the formulation give multi dimensional glitter and it a real wow factor. Don’t be scared of it, a little does go a long way for maximum drama and impact!

I do love creating these makeup looks and showing how the product looks on rather than just on a swatch so if there is anything that you would like to see, let me know! I’m so excited to share the new bPerfect palette with you soon! 

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Festival Makeup with Just My Look

Festival season is drawing to a close however the one event of the year that I look forward to like it’s Christmas is literally just days away. I’m talking about Manchester Pride and the four days of full on partying and being my fabulous self. I love the outfits that I choose to wear, the colours that I go for and of course, the makeup. I spend so much time on my makeup and anything goes. I’ve been playing with new products and having a practice run just in time for the big weekend and I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve come up with. 

I have found a new beauty destination in Just My Look. A site that contains some fantastic makeup brands such as Ben Nye, Kryolan and Mehron, as well as indie brands such as Jolie Beauty. Whilst browsing the site, I spotted the Jolie Beauty 35T Vivacious palette as well as two face products that I needed in my life. Free delivery meant that my new products landed on my doorstep in just a few days and I could get stuck in to create magic on my face. 

I haven’t tried Jolie Beauty before now, and although I’ve followed them on Instagram for an age, it has also taken me so much time to try the products. The Vivacious Palette has all of the bright colours that you could need, alongside a selection of ultra shimmers, glitters and neon shadows. I did find that the neon shades were quite staining and the neon pink was the only shade from the palette that made my eyes feel quite sore, however it was minimal and this has happened before with a Morphe palette. I think it is something in the ingredients that doesn’t agree me with. That being said, the brights are bright without having to work with a white underneath, the blend perfectly and don’t go muddy and the glitters are relatively easy to work with. 

On my skin I used the Jolie Beauty Uniglow 24k Gold Elixir and I legit felt like I should have been on a Instagram Video dripping serum across my face. The serum is really lovely and gives great hydration with an ethereal glow. Usually I would avoid putting an oil on my skin prior to makeup application, but with the Uniglow, I was really surprised in how it felt more like a dry oil and didn’t leave my skin feeling at all greasy. I was very tempted to purchase the Farsali oil but at £16.99, the Uniglow Elixir looks to be the same and is a fraction of the price. 

I’m an absolute sucker for anything with a unicorn on, it seems. So, the Jolie Beauty Unistrobe Liquid Illuminator dropped straight into my basket. I chose the shade Deity as the other darker shades were similar to the Iconic London Illuminating drops that I own, however in comparison, they are very different. The Unistrobe drops are a lot thicker and less metallic, but they have a great sheen to them that catches the light to give such a beautiful glow. A tiny amount is needed, and I prefer to buff them into the skin with a damp beauty blender for that elusive lit from within glow. 

A festival look is not complete without glitter face makeup, and The Gypsy Shrine have made it so easy for the ultimate in a glitter face by developing a genius product; the Gypsy Shrine Peel Off Glitter Glue. Even with just playing around with the glitter, being able to take it all off in one go is not only highly satisfying, but great for post party makeup removal. Using Peel Off Glitter Glue was really easy. I used a synthetic flat brush to brush on the glue, before adding Dark Unicorn chunky glitter and Unicorn Tears loose glitter. A final coat of Peel Off Glitter Glue across the top not only set it all together, but gave a barrier so it didn’t come loose.

I’m really pleased with how this practice run came out so I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can create on the big day! 

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Viktor & Rolf On The Go

There is nothing worse that going through airport security, panicking about your liquids and the size of your perfume before getting on board that flight and for your lovely perfume to leak with the air pressure. This was a huge issue that I used to have when flying and although I tried to use atomisers and samples of perfume, I always felt that I was compromising on not only my favourite scent, but the volume of fragrance that I would have with me. It’s no secret that one of my favourite fragrances is Flowerbomb and has been since around 2006. No matter how many other fragrances I have introduced into my life, I still fall back to my love. This year sees the release of Viktor & Rolf On the Go featuring the best selling fragrances from Viktor & Rolf in handy travel sized form. 

On the Go is available in Flowerbomb, Bon Bon and Spicebomb for the males in your life. A luxurious travel sized spray bottle and three 18ml refill sprays are wrapped up within the iconic packaging of each fragrance. The spray bottles themselves are absolutely gorgeous. They feel expensive, look very sophisticated and I love the attention to detail with the Viktor & Rolf wax seal on the top of the spray. 

Not only are the sprays perfect for travelling, they are ideal for people like myself who literally chuck everything into my handbag. Now, I can imagine that the sleek metal cases will get dented but I would prefer this option against carrying around an £80 bottle of perfume that has the opportunity of getting smashed, the wax seal tag snapping off and the delicate metal work being scratched to death. 

Viktor & Rolf on the go flowerbomb bon bon

I have previously written up my thoughts on Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb and Viktor & Rolf Bon Bon so I won’t delve into fragrance notes here but please do check out the original posts. The On the Go sets are such a good idea, and I feel that I need to book myself on a flight just so that I can make the most of my travel friendly spray! 

Which is your favourite from Flowerbomb and Bon Bon? Let me know in the comments!

Viktor & Rolf on the go flowerbomb bon bon
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The Cutest Benefit Sets!

Over the many, many years of using Benefit Cosmetics, I have found that I have come to love several of their products so much, that they are always on my repurchase list. I am an avid fan of Precisely, My Brow. My contour relies on the Hoola Contour Stick and I have fallen head over heels for the Gold Rush blusher that not only gives the perfect pink nectar flush but smells incredible as well. 

Benefit mini kits hippie go lucky parisian pin up

I received a surprise gift from Harvey Nichols which contained two of the brand new Benefit Cosmetics Makeup Sets. Two sets that are not only perfect for me but also contain some of my favourite products from the range. A collection of four sets are available in Harvey Nichols; The Beachlorette set, Snow Doll set, Hippie Go Lucky set and Parisian Pin Up set, of which I have the latter two. Priced at £28.50, each custom set contains four deluxe minis each wrapped up in a limited edition mini makeup pouch. They would make such perfect presents for birthdays and Christmases, or just as a present to yourself . 

From the two sets, I am most drawn to the Parisian Pin Up, with the envision of being a sleek, and chic Parisian styled princess with glowing skin, perfect brows and thick full lashes. Lashes courtesy of Bad Gal Bang, the latest mascara release from Benefit. A mascara that has had its fair share of critics but I quite like it. It does exaggerate everything in length and volume which is everything I look for in a mascara.  

I have never seen the deluxe size Ka-Brow before, and I am so happy to have one in my possession. It’s one of my favourite brow products from Benefit, and it lasts all day. As a highlighter addict, you cannot go wrong with High Beam; a wonderful pink champagne shade that enhances every skin tone. The set finishes with a mini Gold Rush blush which retails for £12.50 alone. I have totally fallen for Gold Rush and since I purchased this on holiday, I have used it daily. The warm pink nectar blush is so flattering that it looks like a flush of happiness on your cheeks. 

The Hippie Go Lucky set focuses on unleashing your inner flower power. Long luscious lashes, flawless smooth skin, and a lit from within glow. The mascara is the cult classic They’re Real, which has gained the title of being one of the UK’s best selling mascaras, known for false lash effect formulation. The POREfessional is another of my holy grail products and I love the smooth finish it gives. The soft focus highlight of Watt’s Up works perfectly alongside the soft focus finish of The POREfessional, and a natural makeup look is a dream with these two products. Finally, my blush of last summer, the mini Galifornia blush which not only smells like summer in a box, but has a wonderful golden coral pink shade that suits every skin tone. 

I adore these mini products from the sets. Not only are they a great way to try some of Benefit’s top rated products but they come in so handy to keep in your handbag. As someone who is really trying to keep my handbag makeup bag to a minimum, I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be able to have all my products that I need with me, but without taking up all the space. You can get your Benefit sets from Harvey Nichols for £28.50. 

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Feather & Down Breathe Well Bath Essence

Although we are expecting a heatwave in the next two weeks, I for one am so pleased that the weather has gone slightly cooler. This year, I have been experiencing the worst hayfever of my life. It’s really strange as to how it just develops and although I started with hayfever symptoms around 3 years ago, this year has been the worst. Thankfully, I have a secret weapon and it has made my life so much easier. After falling in love with the Feather & Down original range, I have fallen even deeper after trying the new Breathe Well products. 

My hayfever symptoms have consisted of a constantly running nose, dry and itchy eyes that get swollen, sneezing and wheezing and a horrible cough. It’s felt like having the flu for 3 months and I cannot wait to see the back of this for some respite over the colder months. The only thing that I have found that has been relieving my symptoms is a hot bath filled with Feather & Down Breathe Easy Bath Essence

Keeping the same original Feather & Down scent but with an added touch of menthol, Breathe Easy contains a blend of essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree. Combined with the Lavender and Chamomile, this is the most relaxing and delicately scented bath product that soothes me, whilst helping to open up my swollen sinuses. Sitting in a hot bath and breathing in this aroma not only helps me unwind, but assists in helping my breathing which in turn lets me sink into a deep nights sleep. For an added touch, Feather & Down also have a Breathe Easy pillow spray which is just divine. 

Considering that I am usually quite the bath product snob and go for my Laura Mercier products as first choice, they have literally been cast to one side for  Feather & Down. If you are suffering with hayfever or have children who you need to wind down before bed then I cannot recommend this brand enough. It isn’t on offer at the moment, but I do keep seeing it fall into the 3 for 2 offer, and I would recommend the Pillow Spray and the Melting Shower Cream for those times when a bath is not needed. 

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Rodin Olio Lusso Mermaid Collection

OK guys and gals! I’m introducing to you today a brand that is new to me and that has recently come into my life. Rodin Olio Lusso, the brainchild of Linda Russo all started with a beauty elixir oil made from essential oils. From there, the brand has expanded to give not only gorgeous skincare but Instagram worthy makeup such as the Mermaid collection that I am sharing with you today. Each product with the Rodin Olio Lusso range has been designed to have an instant and lasting effect, and I can immediately see my new glow from space. Exclusive to Liberty London, Rodin Olio Lusso is totally swoonworthy. 

Being that person who just loves the highlight and illuminating, I was over the moon to try the limited edition Mermaid collection. A small collection made up from just five products, each one focusing on delivering a stunning glow with an indulgent, luxury feel. It certainly has felt very indulgent using products of this quality and even as a makeup obsessive, I’ve found that the Rodin Olio Lusso products feel incredibly special and unlike other brands that I have tried.

The Rodin Olio Lusso Mermaid Luxury Illuminating Liquid is somewhat of a gem of a formulation with oil as the base. It glides across the skin, with the illuminating liquid giving a subtle glow. It’s certainly not an in your face kind of glow, but more of that lit from within glow. As the base is oil, it leaves skin feeling incredibly soft and smooth, and the product doesn’t feel sticky or tacky. I have been using this on my shoulders, collarbone and legs for the most gorgeous sheen. 

Everyone who knows me, knows that highlighters are my weakness and the Rodin Olio Lusso Mermaid Luxury Illuminating Powder has had me weak at the knees. The gel powder formulation takes you from a soft glow to an intense lustre with a radiance where you can only be described as glowing. Application is easy, whether you use a small domed brush or a large Kabuki such as the Rodin Luxury Kabuki Brush which diffuses the powder across the skin with ease. Made from cashmere fibres, this is one of the most luxurious brushes I have tried. I must admit that due to the beauty of the Illuminating powder, I am finding it really difficult to dig into it. The beautiful embossing on the powder is so detailed that I have visions of it ending up like my Chanel lace powder – loved but untouched. 

For the first time trying Rodin Olio Lusso, I have been more than impressed. I can’t wait to try out the lipsticks and also share with you one the iconic product where Rodin started from. Have you tried the brand? What are your thoughts?

rodin olio lusso, mermaids, highlighter
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Wear Sunscreen



Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
Wear Sunscreen

Baz Luhrmann

Suncreen and SPF are very important to me. I have been a bit of a stickler for ensuring that I have SPF on, more importantly when I am in tropical destinations. I have been a fool over the years and been quite lax with SPF, choosing to use carrot oil over a high factor. The damage has been done. Pigmentation, moles and a chest that will resemble a Hermes Birkin if I don’t continue to cover up with a high protection. Being silly is part of life, as is ageing, but preventing the early onset of this is key. Not only that, but being protected against the risk of skin cancer is also high on my priorities. For this, I will only recommend a high factor to wear as well as a fabulous hat to protect from the sun. I have pulled together some fab products for the sun to keep you safe and protected against the rays as well as enhancing your natural tan. 

holiday suncare evo hawaiian tropic zshush

Starting with the high factor, I’ve been recently introduced to Evy Technology. A brand that focuses on the SPF being absorbed into the epidermis as opposed to sitting on the surface of the skin. This protective barrier that it creates means that the suns harmful rays will be blocked out even deeper and will last up to 6 hours. The SPF 50 Suncreen Mousse makes a great base for other skincare products so you can layer, should you wish and as it’s suitable for face and body, it’s a great essential for summer. It can also be worn under makeup so whilst we are having this summer heat, it’s even easier to be protected from the suns rays. Although it is only a 100ml bottle, the expanding foam mousse inside definitely doubles the volume. I think I’m a convert to Evy Technology!

Hawaiian Tropic is that brand that everyone knows, and it’s the brand that instantly reminds me of summers abroad. The tropical scent is connected to so many memories. I used to use the swirled Hawaiian Tropic suncreen all the time, but I have now found an even nice cream. The Hawaiian Tropic Duo Defence Sun Lotion SPF 30 is a daily use sunscreen that contains an anti pollution layer and  feels so luxurious on the skin. Again, it’s another product that has been perfect for the UK weather as well as being a high performing cream for more tropical climes. 

The after sun care is as important to me as the sun care and I fall back to Hawaiian Tropic with the incredible body butter. Now, I have been known to use this when I’ve not even been in the sun because it smells so amazing. Historically, the Exotic Coconut has been my go to scent, however this year I have discovered the Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Body Butter in Lime Coolada. I am shook.  It smells insane; zesty, tropical and good enough to eat. In addition to this, for a full on tropical vibe, a slick of the Hawaiian Tropic SPF30 Lip Balm, ensures that you are protected from head to toe. Nothing worse than burnt lips on holiday and it’s definitely an area that I have been caught out with before so I always use it now. 

I have spoken about the Ideal World Zhuzh products before, but I had to drop them in this years recommendations. The Zhuzh Tan Accelerator has to be one of the best products I have used for intensifying tanning time. I mainly use this when sat in the UK sun, and a mild misting of the product over the skin gives it such a boost to develop my natural tan. As it stimulates melanin production, I have found that I start to turn a wonderful dark golden shade that is not normally easy to achieve with my skin tone unless I’ve been in the hot sun for a long period of time. 

The second product from Zhuzh is my secret weapon in prolonging my tan, whether it be natural or a faux glow. The Zhuzh Tan Lock and Saver is a dry oil that has a brilliant 360 degree nozzle so I can get to the hard to reach areas. It keeps my skin feeling soft and supple, which in turn means that my tan stays in place with ease and also fades evenly. As it’s a dry oil, it also makes a great hair treatment to leave on overnight. You can’t beat a good multi use product!

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Summer Makeup Must Haves

Summer Makeup Must Haves

This summer has been the hottest summer on record for years within the UK. After my trip to Bali, I really did believe that I had the most Vitamin D that I would be gain but I was wrong. I’ve even caught a slight tan from being sat in the sun and making full use of my balcony which rarely gets much use. It really has been a great summer. With the heat of the sun, comes the hot flashes and naturally glowing faced and I have really had to change up my makeup for a more mimimal face. The hardest thing about this is actually being bothered to wear it at all. I’ve put together my top picks of summer makeup must haves to see you through to Autumn.

Summer Makeup Must Haves Clarins flamingo bronzer, nudestix nudies benefit gold rush blush louboutin lipstick miss loubi bobbi brown face base jo malone cherimoya opi lisbon

If you have been reading my blog or following my social media lately, you will know that I have a huge love for the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base. I literally cannot stop raving about it to everyone, and it makes such a difference to my makeup application. A hybrid primer/moisturiser that has an oil free and non greasy formulation, it sinks into the skin with ease and leaves a wonderfully soft base for foundation. I adore the citrus scent and how it makes my skin feel, with or without makeup.

A minimal makeup up base is enhanced with the Nudestix Nudies in Hey, Honey. I liberally apply this everywhere for a glowing, fresh faced look. Eyes, lips, cheeks, or buffed in all over. It’s such a light tinted balm that it isn’t overkill should you over apply.  The handy brush in the bottom of the tube is also brilliant for buffing the product into the skin with ease. A real handbag essential.

When Benefit Cosmetics released Galifornia Blusher last summer, I didn’t think that they could ever top the peachy pink sunshine coral shade that makes me so happy. I was wrong. This years release, Benefit’s Gold Rush has ticked all of my boxes in terms of what I want from a blush. Golden pink in colour, smelling of the tropical sunshine and a finely milled powder that buffs into the skin with ease. This blush is so gorgeous. It’s neutral, but with a flush of colour that makes you look all coy and I love it. The golden overspray of the blush does lift off when you use it, but the flecks of gold remain throughout the powder to give a sheen across the cheeks. It’s quite pigmented so a big fluffy brush is perfect to diffuse the colour. 

Each Summer I like to treat myself to one or two items from my favourite beauty brands summer collections. This year, I saw the Clarins Summer collection and went mad with excitement as it featured flamingos. You know how I love a flamingo or two. Not only is the Clarins Summer 2018 bronzer a very generously sized bronzer but it is made up of a harmony of bronze and peach shades to create a subtle shimmer glow. The powder itself is embossed with a flamingo, which obviously makes it very difficult for me to want to use it but when I have used it, I can confirm that the colour payoff and overall shade is gorgeous. 

I’m having some huge issues with my eyes at the moment, so minimal makeup around my eyes is a must have. You know how hayfever and itching and scratched corneas don’t mix, well, yeah that. I’ve been using just one coat of mascara at the moment and the Pixi Beauty Large Lash Mascara. I love the brush on this as it’s big enough to grab all lashes yet still gives great control in coating them from root to tip. I have found that also not getting the under eye smudges and it’s so easy to remove. 

A summer lip is a necessity for me, and it’s this time of year when I start reaching for the bright oranges and corals. Shades like Miss Loubi from Christian Louboutin Beauté are the kind of shades that I adore. The Louboutin lipstick is probably one of the most extravagant lipsticks I own but the colour is absolutely perfect. Plus, it comes with its own ribbon to wear as a necklace, and its presented in a keepsake box so that totally makes it worth every penny. In the Velvet Matte formula, this is one of the creamiest, non drying matte lipsticks I’ve tried. I think I need to get Bengali next. 

A summer must have in beauty must contain brightly coloured nail polishes. A coral coloured pedicure and pink manicure just remind me of summer, and this cute travel exclusive set of the OPI Lisbon collection from World Duty Free is perfect for holiday. With six shades, the most difficult decision will be choosing which one to wear. 

My final must have has to be the scent of my summer; Jo Malone Tropical Cherimoya. I picked this up on my way to Bali from World Duty Free and it is quite simply divine. Jo Malone have released the Tropical Cherimoya in 30ml and 100ml in limited edition neon green, pink and orange bottles. My only downside is that I bought the 30ml and didn’t buy 100ml. It smells of juicy pears, passion flower, Brazilian copahu resin and tonka bean and green cherimoya fruit. Literally, it’s summer in a spray. 

summer make up must haves
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NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter Travel Exclusive

Can you believe it? Anoushka has bought yet another highlighter palette. I have absolutely no regrets with this one as it the NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter palette that is exclusive to travel retail. I was so pleased to see it in person when passing through World Duty Free at Manchester Airport back in May that I just couldn’t resist. I did have an alternative highlighter purchase lined up; the Givenchy Bouncy Highlighter, but it sadly wasn’t in stock so I am totally believing that fate played a hand in this chance meeting. The NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter palette is absolutely gorgeous.

NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter Travel Exclusive

NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter Travel Exclusive

NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter Travel Exclusive

NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter Travel Exclusive

I adore NARS as a brand and I do think that some of the products that I use on a daily basis don’t get enough praise. From the Soft Matte Concealer to the Orgasm collection, each product is of a high quality with beautiful formulations. The Sun Hunter palette is no exception. Packaged in the sleek Travellers Exclusive ombre blue and silver outer, the cardboard packaging is concealing the gorgeous rose gold and orange case that contains three pressed powder shades. The shades on the case are simply named I, II and III. I is wet/dry highlighter in a warm gold shimmer, II is a Dual Intensity Blush in golden apricot shimmer and III is a Dual Intensity Blush in a reddish bronze shimmer.

As I do have a penchant for darker coloured highlighters, especially when I have a tan, I had not even considered that the shades could be blush shades. I must admit, I have fallen head over heels for shade III and I have been using it as a blush, highlight, eye shadow and pressed over lip gloss to give a shimmer finish. I really must try some more of the Dual Intensity range as so far I’m really impressed with the formulation.

Although I try and keep my highlighters on rotation, the NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter has stayed firmly in place on my dressing table for me to use each day. I don’t think that my love for it is going to go away anytime soon. I think the palette was around £30 in World Duty Free however it isn’t showing on the website. If you are heading away on your holidays soon, you will have to make sure you have a look whilst duty free shopping.

NARS Jetsetter Sun Hunter Travel Exclusive

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Can’t Live Without: Bobbi Brown

Looking back at how my make up tastes have changed over the years does make me smile. I was a die hard MAC addict at one point, before moving on to Chanel, all day everyday. As time passes, I can see how I still am very much set in my ways in certain areas, but I am no longer pigeon holing myself to one particular brand these days. This means that I’ve made an effort to try new brands and products that I wouldn’t have done before and I’ve had some amazing results. At one point, I had never tried Bobbi Brown, until I fell in love with a seafoam green eyeshadow which was part of the Surf and Sand Summer 2014 collection. I never did buy that palette but it did open my eyes to a brand that had beautiful limited edition collections, and can’t live without products.

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

The Bobbi Brown Can’t Live Without collection is not a collection as such but a selection of products have that reached Holy Grail status as chosen by the customers and artists within Bobbi Brown. Having used these hero products, it is clear why they have been given cult classic status. What started off as a foray into the brand by trying a lipstick and the Vitamin Enriched Face Base has resulted in owning a full collection. The Vitamin Enriched Face Base is my absolute number one at the moment and I cannot get enough of it. A primer – moisturiser hybrid with an oil free, citrus scented, shea butter laden formulation, it creates a base for makeup whilst hydrating and cushioning the skin. Since using Face Base (and I’m not far off emptying my 2nd pot), my make up is lasting for such a long long time. It’s almost like it’s putting a veil between my skin and my base products so that they sit beautifully and set in place. If you only buy one item, this must be it as it has certainly changed my makeup for the better.

For a flawless foundation, I have been flitting between the Bobbi Brown Skin Long Wear Weightless Foundation and the Skin Foundation stick, both of which mimic skin to look like you aren’t wearing anything at all. The Long Wear Foundation is full coverage, gives 16 hours of wear and has a matte finish and second skin feel. I find that when you use to much product with the liquid foundation, it does go tacky on the skin so it’s better to apply a lesser amount and build up. It really does last all day and has been fighting my corner in this humid weather we have been having. The Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick is a medium to full coverage that feels even more lightweight than the liquid. I’ve been wearing Beige in both options, and there is a huge shade range of 31 shades to choose from.

I simply cannot believe that I have lived my life for so long without using a bisque corrector for my unsightly eye bags. Using my finger, a small amount of corrector under my eyes counteracts the blueness and gives the illusion of brighter, even under eyes. As I am using a small amount of product in a thin layer, I haven’t been experiencing creasing. I am also adding a thin layer of the Bobbi Brown Instant Full Cover Concealer over the top for an extra layer of brightening and evening out my skintone.

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

For a pop of colour on the cheeks and lips, I’ve been using the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Pale Pink. I also have the Pretty Powerful pink shade as well as my holiday fave Fresh Melon. These pots of cream blush are gorgeous on the skin. Easy to blend, subtle and buildable, they are perfect for a natural and fresh look. When I need a little more than a subtle pop of colour on my lips, I’m switching to my summer shade of Sunset Orange from the Luxe Lip Colour range. Housed in a sleek gold case, the formulation is so creamy and hydrating and extremely comfortable to wear. The shade stains the lips and lasts for age. I love.

My day to day makeup consists of just three items these days; an eyebrow pencil, an eyeshadow stick and a slick of mascara. Starting by brushing up my brows to fluff them up, I’m using the Perfectly Defined Brow Pencil to add in colour and fill in any gaps. I really like the formula of this pencil as the waxy crayon grips hairs whilst the angled tip makes it easy to draw in fine hairs.

Using Truffle and Goldstone in the Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks have made my life so much easier when it comes to getting ready in the morning. The pencils glide onto the eye, and with a little blending round the edges, they set in place and do not move for a good 8 hours. They’re even a match for my oily eyelids which is saying something. I have had to switch over to a waterproof mascara during this ridiculously long hayfever season that we have been having, and I have found that the No Smudge Mascara has been saving my poor would be panda eyes. I wouldn’t use a waterproof mascara usually because I find them really difficult to remove, and as a contact lens wearer, I don’t want extra irritation to my eyes. The No Smudge mascara is actually really easy to remove with micellar water, and I also like how I can use it over any other mascara to make my lashes waterproof. Brilliant.

I totally enjoying my new found love for Bobbi Brown, and I will be forever grateful that I have found the Face Base. It has changed me! What are your fave BB products?

Can't Live Without Bobbi Brown

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