Sunday, 30 December 2012

Garnier Ambre Solaire No Streaks Bronzer Self Tan

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Christmas and New Year is all fun and games when you are kicking back on the sofa hugging your tin of Quality Street, but when it comes to slipping into that little party dress preparing for your kiss at midnight, there is always one requirement in my books - the fake tan. In the midst of winter, I am definitely at my palest so I do like to top up my tan levels slightly and have recently been testing out the Garnier Ambre Solaire new, no streaks range. Whether you favour a mousse or mist, dark or light, face or body, they have a product to suit everybody.

The dry face mist is a winner if you like to tan your face but always worry that your normal body bronzer is going to be too heavy. It is an ultra-fine mist that easily dispenses all over your face, and doesn't require any rubbing in. It dries pretty instantly and has a pleasant, fruity, apricot aroma. The spray doesn't have a guide colour but develops after a few hours, so is best to apply at night and then you shall awake to a natural, golden glow. I found the 'fair to light skin' option a little too subtle for me, but can imagine the original one would pack more of a punch.

The self-tanning dry body mist has a similar concept to the face mist but is suited to bronzing your entire body and in particular those hard-to-reach areas, such as the back of your legs and upper back. Again you don't need to rub this tan in so is great if you are in a rush, but because it doesn't have a guide colour, you do need to be careful that you don't miss a patch! I used the medium body mist and loved how quickly it dried on the skin, so no frantic flapping needed - a blessing on a winter's evening. Again I left it to develop overnight and loved the golden colour it gave me - not too dark, not too fake, just nice and natural.

Finally, my absolute favourite from the range is the self-tanning mousse with golden shimmer which applies really smoothly with the applicator mitt. I have always liked mousse tanning products and this one has really impressed me, particularly because it dries so evenly and doesn't have that cloying, self-tan smell. I wouldn' be put off by the golden shimmer as once it dries and you have showered, they are barely noticeable. This was the product that gave me the most intense and long-lasting tan, keeping my bronzed for a good four days before going a bit patchy. This mousse does have a guide colour when you apply it, so is a good 'starter' product if you are fearful of the streaks or those telltale white patches which can often put people off fake tanning. You can see my before and after photos above when using the self-tanning mousse.

If you have recently jumped on the tanning bandwagon or just want to pick up a few hints and tips for streak-free bronzing, then the guys at Garnier how produced a few "how-to" videos to help you out. I would love to know which fake tan you swear by and if you've tried anything from the new Garnier range?


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Friday, 28 December 2012

Benefit they're real! mascara

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Benefit They're Real! mascara*
£18.50, available online

I had high hopes for this mascara from Benefit Cosmetics, and for good reason. It is currently the UK's number one selling mascara and has been getting rave reviews left, right and centre. They're Real! promises to lengthen, curl, volumise, lift and separate with a long-wearing formula that won't dry out or smudge. The comb-like bristles definitely separate and lengthen your lashes brilliantly, and I like the fanned-out bristle section at the end of the wand which really grabs those tricky to get lashes on the outer corners. Yes this mascara is pricey but with that you are guaranteed no flakes or smudges. Once on, it really does stay put with a blacker than black pigmentation - which leads me onto one of its downsides. It is quite a pain to remove and definitely requires a long soaking with my Bioderma to ensure every scrap is removed.

The best thing about this mascara is the skyscraper length it gives my lashes, especially after a second application, but there is one thing that would make me hesitant to repurchase it. For me, I was disappointed with the lack of curl it gave my lashes and felt that it left them a little too straight and dare I say, spiky? However, give me the curl and lift I love and this mascara would be an absolute winner for me.

Have you tried They Real! mascara before?

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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Benefit Hervana

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Benefit Cosmetics Hervana boxed powder
£23.50, available online and in Debenhams, John Lewis, Boots etc...

"a good karma face powder"

You cannot deny that Benefit always come up trumps when it comes to releasing pretty, must-have-it-on-my-dressing-table type products. The playfully named Hervana is one of their newest boxed powders with a heavenly pinwheel of four gorgeous shades to highlight and warm your face. From lightest to darkest - lucky shell, divine peach, heavenly rose and berry delight can be swirled together to give you an orchid blossom blush. The four blissful powders give you a warm pink with a slight peach undertone and brushes onto the skin with a silky, satin-like finish. The lighter shade in the pinwheel gives your cheeks a shimmering radiance without being too frosty, and the other trio of colours combine to make a rosy, angelic pink that is so easy to wear with a multitude of looks. It is simply divine!

Which Benefit boxed powder is your favourite?

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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

His & Her hand cream

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The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector & Wild Rose Hand Cream
£10, available in store and online (currently half price)

During the winter months, my hands suffer more than ever with the cold and bracing elements. I love my hand cream and apply it religiously, all day, every day; generously slathering it on as my final beauty regime before bed. The latest additions to my bedside table have been two of The Body Shop's hand protectors, one for me and one for Rob. A very much his and her duo! Applying hand cream isn't the most manly of activities, and if I didn't force it upon Rob it would probably never feature in his already limited regime, but I am slowly showing him the benefits.

The hemp hand protector is what I would call an industrial hand cream! It is thick, heavy and deeply ingrained with a herbal, grassy scent that you will either love or hate. However used sparingly it really does condition the hands and soothes dry skin. This one is obviously 'his'! The wild rose hand cream is a whole different kettle of fish. It is a lighter, looser consistency and smells fresh and floral. I don't think it is so effective on really dry, cracked skin but works well as a 'throw-in-your-handbag' type product and I like the fact it has SPF15. This one is obviously 'hers'. Unfortunately neither have rivalled Lush's Handy Gurugu hand cream which is one of my favourites. Fingers crossed I might be able to pick a few up in the post-Christmas sales!

What hand creams are on your bedside table?

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Monday, 24 December 2012

holly green

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Dress - Topshop
Coat* - Romwe
Necklace - East
Socks - Topshop
Boots - eBay

Ah it feels so nice to be home for a few days over Christmas, not only because I am surrounded by my lovely family and a mountain of festive food, but I am reunited with my personal outfit photographer - thank you, Freddie, the best brother a girl could wish for. Today has been all about last minute wrapping, cheesy Christmas films and visiting family for plenty of bubbles and festive cheer. I am so excited it is finally Christmas eve and I have all my favourite people around me. Whatever you are up to and celebrating this break, I wish you all lots of joy, happiness and maybe some festive socks!

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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Baby it's cold outside!

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Dress* - TFNC
Blazer - H&M
Boots - River Island
Lipstick - Topshop Idol

Another Christmas night out, another excuse for a sparkly party dress, and this time it was curry and a catch up with my lovely friend Claire. This dress, and I use that term loosely, is absolutely lovely but a little bit indecent even on my 5 foot something frame. Thick tights or disco pants would be advisable if you are any taller! That said, I love the sequin-pattern and the 20s inspired, scalloped edging throughout, making it rather unique and perfect for the party season. Complete with a fresh hair colour and blowdry and slick of pink lipstick, I was good to go. Oh how I wish it could be Christmas everyday! 

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Topshop lipstick in Idol

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Candy pink lips!
Topshop lipstick in Idol. £8, available in store

So my Topshop lipstick obsession continues and since my recent disappointment/misjudgement with my latest purchase of Depth, I punted for a safer/pinker option in the form of Idol. It is a lovely hot pink that isn't as scarily bright as you may first think when you begin to apply it. It is very buildable and has that trademark velvety consistency which I love with Topshop lipsticks. It gives you quite a subtle flush of colour when applied lightly, but becomes a more intense candy pink when you begin to layer it up. It is so easy to wear and give you a soft sheen and glossy finish. I wore it out last night with a simple bronzed eye, and I loved the pop of colour it gave to my makeup and it lasted all night long which makes it a winner for me! Next on my Topshop lipstick wishlist is definitely Saint!

What do you think of Idol?

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Festive socks

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Even though Christmas is just around the corner and the arrival of some festive socks is more than likely, I just couldn't walk past these pretty pairs from Topshop whilst browsing the other day. And considering it was 3 for £8, it would have been rude to resist. I'm all about the simpler things in life, and sparkly and twee socks are one thing that never fail to make me smile. Over tights, tucked into boots or paired with my favourite set of pyjamas, I love socks! The frilly polka pair will be a dream worn with my studded boots and no doubt the reindeer ones will be making an appearance on Christmas Day!

Which ones are your favourite?

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Elisha Francis London giveaway

elisha francis giveaway

I think Christmas has come early for you lucky folk! The lovely Elisha Francis of Elisha Francis London is offering my lovely readers the chance to win a piece of her heavenly, handmade jewellery. Up for grabs are two of her rose quartz and pearl bracelets and two pairs of the matching earrings, which are a pretty combination of the love stone, rose quartz, and glass pearls.

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog via GFC or bloglovin' and then complete the following sentence...(leaving your email address or twitter handle in the comment). Please also give Elisha Francis a follow on Facebook and twitter.

"All I want for Christmas is..."

The giveaway is open internationally and closes next Friday 28th December, so good luck and Merry Christmas! :)

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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Rock the Party

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So when Bourjois invited me to enter an exclusive bloggers' competition to celebrate the launch of Miss Selfridge's Get the Look tutorials, I of course jumped at the chance. Our mission: to recreate our favourite Get the Look tutorials at home - Pretty Princess, Dusk till Dawn or Rock the Party, with our very own party-ready kit including a Miss Selfridge outfit and a host of Bourjois and Toni & Guy products. I decided to rock the party and popped their makeup, hair and styling tutorials on repeat for inspiration, tips and techniques for my finished look.

The outfit:
Miss Selfridge Cut out vest body,
Miss Selfridge Embellished mini skirt,
Miss Selfridge Collar necklace, (no longer on website)
Boots - Topshop
Ring - Accessorize

The moment I saw this embellished skirt, it had to be mine! I thought it was the epitome of party-rock, with the exposed zip fastening at the back, chunky waist band and the less than modest hem line giving it an edgy, modern look. I simply teamed it with a silhouette-skimming tunic and lavishly detailed collar which captured the black and metallic spirit of the outfit.

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The hair:
label.m Sea Salt Spray,
label.m Shine Spray,
label.m Resurrection Style Dust,

Doing my hair for this look was definitely my favourite part of the whole ensemble. Messy, less-than-perfect waves that resemble the end of the party, rather than the start, were the order of the day! I used the label.m sea salt spray to add texture to my hair and roughly separated the waves with my fingers so they became dishevelled and a little wild. The resurrection style dust was brilliant at adding oomph to my roots and giving my hair a matte texture to work with. If you watch the tutorial, you will see that they encompassed a loose, messy plait in the finished look. I loved this idea, but added my own twist by plaiting one side of my hair around the back and fastening it with grips just at the base of my hairline. I kept the plait smooth and in place with the shine spray which gave it a sleek, finished look; presenting quite a contrast to the messy waves on the other side.

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The makeup:
Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation (shade 53)
Bourjois Healthy Balance unifying powder (shade 53)
Bourjois Bronzing Powder
Bourjois intense eyeshadows in 02 and 10
Bourjois Queen Attitude Khol Kajal
Bourjois Queen Attitude mascara volume
Bourjois Effet 3D lipgloss in 48 Rose Romantic
Bourjois Rouge Edition lipstick in 13 Rouge Jetset

As for the makeup, it was of course all about the smokey eye and a perfectly flawless base. Healthy mix foundation is a great medium coverage foundation that will last and last whilst you party hard. I powdered my t-zone with the unifying powder and faked some cheekbones and added some warmth to my base with the bronzing powder and my Real Techniques powder brush. I swept my eyelids with Bourjois' intense black eyeshadow but then applied a little bit of the 02 (a peachy-gold) in the centre of the lids and to the corner of my eyes to add some sparkle and dimension, as I didn't want it to look too heavy. The real beauty of this makeup look is that you can finish it off with practically any lipstick shade you like. I've shown you how you can rock a nude lip with a simple pink-toned lipgloss, or vamp it up completely with a daring red. And you know what, I think I prefer the red!

So there we have it. What do you think of my Rock the Party look?

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Givenchy le Prisme Visage in Acoustic Pastel

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Givenchy Le Prisme Visage in Acoustic Pastel No.88
(£32.50) available from Harrods

One of Givenchy's sunnier products from their Autumn Winter '12 collection is the ridiculously pretty face powder, le Prisme Visage* in the shade Acoustic Pastel. This was my first venture into Givenchy's beauty line so I was really keen to see what I thought of their products and whether they justify the mighty price tag. Le Prisme Visage is a translucent powder that creates a delicate veil on the skin; a barely there coverage that illuminates and 'mattifies' the skin with soft tones of rose and beige. Swirled together, this powder works wonderfully when applied over the top of foundation, and keeps your base in place and free from any unwelcome shine. At first I was a bit nervous that I would find this powder a little too matte and chalky for my liking, and even though I do prefer my powders with a little bit of shimmer, it made a pleasant change and still managed to lift and flatter the skin. Alternatively, the little quads of feminine hues can be used separately as a highlighter, an eyeshadow base and blushers. The pink and mauve shades are lovely and subtle when used on the cheeks, the sandy-beige quad works well for when you are after a neutral wash of colour on your eyes and the creamy-white option is a nice highlighter

This powder is really nice, is spot on in regards to being visually-pleasing and I love that it is quite multi-functional, but I just don't know whether it warrants the price tag. Even with the addition of the concealed drawer and brush under the palette, which is very practical, it would be a dream product if it were that little bit cheaper. But then again, what did I expect from Givenchy? Class? Definitely. Affordability...not so much!

Have you tried anything from the Givenchy beauty range?

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Monday, 17 December 2012

the snowflakes glisten

gorgeous couture
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Shoes - New Look

The one reason why I love this month so much is the endless opportunities to whip out the fanciest dress from your wardrobe and get dressed up to the nines. Christmas parties and New Year Eve soirees are the perfect excuse to push the boat out, cast aside the tights and the ugg boots and have an absolute ball! This beautiful Swarovski-studded dress from Gorgeous Couture fits the brief perfectly and is classic, elegant and completely charming with just enough sparkles to make it glamorous without being too over-the-top. I love the Grecian-inspired, pleated sash which balances out the stomach-sucking-in bodycon skirt and crystal-studded waist band. And I am a sucker for anything cream, whatever time of year it is! Granted you can't eat a morsel whilst wearing it, and best to stay away from the red wine, but I did feel like the belle of the ball so it was worth foregoing a mince pie or two!

Only eight more sleeps until Christmas! :) Have you got your party dress sorted?

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