Thursday, 31 January 2013

Nivea Stress Protect Challenge #2 - in the office

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If you cast your minds back to earlier this month, you will remember I embarked on the first of my four Nivea Stress Protect challenges - the lemon cake bake-off! My second challenge is one that will probably ring true with many of you - the stressful work situation, often aggravated by that dreaded excel spreadsheet! My work life is pretty relaxed to be fair but every so often I encounter one of those stressful ten minutes when your phone is ringing off the hook, you are trying to prepare the figures your boss wanted ten minutes ago whilst rescuing half your sandwich from the depths of your keyboard. And it is during these frantic moments that the Nivea anti-perspirant Stress Protect roll-on has been my lifesaver for those stressy-sweaty situations. It seems to be fulfilling all its promises, minimising stress sweat by 85% and keeping any body odour at bay whilst being a really practical product you can just sling in your handbag and go! Yes, it is definitely winning in these stressful situations even if I am losing the fight with my v-lookups. (excel geek right here!)

Have you tried any of the Nivea Stress Protect range yet?


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Estee Lauder Pure Color stay-on shadow paints

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Estee Lauder Pure Color Stay-on shadow paints, £19
available online (although proving pretty popular so may be best to head to your local counter)

I remember a time when I was obsessed with MAC's Paint Pots and thought they were the best thing since sliced bread for sweeping over the eyes for a gloss of colour or as a base colour to intensify your look. However, we all know that makeup obsessions quickly move on and I now cannot recall the last time I picked up my old-love, Rubenesque Paint Pot. It was only when I heard about Estee Lauder's new Shadow Paints that I began to reminisce and remember how versatile and fun these style of eye products are.

Estee Lauder's Pure Color Stay-on Shadow Paints* have a lovely, almost mousse-like consistency and an intense pigmentation. The range of nine shades encompass a handful of wild shades like the rich emerald green above and a daring, neon pink, along with a lovely line up of warm bronzes, brown and copper shades which are much more my cup of tea. The beauty of these products is that they can be applied freestyle with your fingers for a messy wash of colour or more precisely with a shadow brush to give you a seamless finish. The formula is silky and creamy, making them really easy to apply and manipulate over your eyelid, but the product does dry quite quickly to an almost powder finish so you have to work fast! As the shadow paint dries you will notice that the initial lustre and sparkle will dull slightly but still retain a subtle shimmer which makes these little pots ever so pretty. Estee Lauder promise that you will get an "unbelievable12-hour wear" and they are not far wrong there. I was really impressed with how these performed in a big way - no creasing and hardly any fading after a good fair stint of wearing them. Definitely a winner if you like your cream eyeshadows!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Topshop Coy lipstick

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Topshop Coy lipstick £7

Despite owning a plethora of Topshop's conventional lipsticks, this recent purchase is my first venture into their lip-crayon-type territory. Coy is a milky yet bright pinky-coral lip colour with a very matte finish and amazing pigmentation. I was instantly drawn to this lively pastel shade and knew it would sit neatly amongst all my other pink and peach toned lipsticks...of which there are a fair few! The texture and consistency of Coy is definitely more like a lip pencil rather than a lipstick and it doesn't have that smooth, glossy application you get with the normal Topshop lipsticks. Without a quick slick of balm on your lips, the application of this lip crayon is pretty horrid. It feels dry, unforgiving and will magnify any dry or chapped skin to the nth degree. However with some well-prepped lips it will smooth on like a dream and give you a vibrant peachy-pink pop to your lips which I think is lovely as we slowly approach Springtime makeup.

Have you tried any of the Topshop lip crayons? Are they all as dry and tricky to apply?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Benefit Fine One One

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Benefit Cosmetics Fine One One*, £23.50
available online and on counters now

When I first heard about the launch of this innovative, new cheek product from Benefit Cosmetics, I was very excited indeed. As a huge fan of their boxed powders and a recent covert to twist-up-swipe-on cream blushers, this seemed like my kind of thing! Fine One One is a sheer, skin-brightening cream to powder cheek tint which can be used on your lips as well. The three layers of colours, as sweet looking as a Neapolitan ice cream, are designed to lift, brighten and add a pop of colour to your cheeks. The shades, pink champagne, sheer watermelon and soft coral, work beautifully together and produce a gorgeous, cheery colour which would suit almost all skin tones.

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The consistency is smooth and glossy and glides onto your skin like a breeze. The trio of shades leave a very definite strip of colour when applied but once you have gently blended the product in with your fingertips, you are left with a very subtle coral-pink sheen. The beauty of this product is that it is light, easy to blend and completely buildable so you can keep it sheer and subtle or go back for a second sweep and amp up the intensity. Fine One One has been three long years in the making but without a doubt it is going to be another fine success for the brand and I am already hoping for another colour combination in the near future...

What are you initial thoughts on Fine One One?


Saturday, 26 January 2013

furry friend

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Pink Faux Fur Coat | Miss Selfridge sale, £35

I gave you a little teaser of my new furry friend in an earlier post this week, but I thought I would now share it with you in all its fluffy glory! It was an absolute steal in the sale so if you are passing by a Miss Selfridge, I would definitely recommend having a peruse of the rails. I always find their clothes a little hit or miss but I am so happy to have stumbled upon this little gem!

Happy Saturday girls - hope you are all having wonderful weekends. My Benefit lipgloss giveaway is now closed and I will be announcing the lucky winner very soon. :)

Alpro #deskfest challenge day 5

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For the final day of my #deskfest challenge, it only seemed right to finish with a flourish and rustle up something slightly more indulgent for my concluding Alpro breakfast. I think the ultimate breakfast, if my waistline wasn't a factor, would be a stack of American pancakes drenched in sugary maple syrup with a mountain of tumbling fruit on the side. So I took this idea and gave it a slightly healthier twist with the addition of stewed fruit and vanilla yoghurt. And how adorable is this hand painted Tiffin from Nkuku? Such a practical yet stylish way to transport your fest to your desk!

American pancakes with ginger syrup fruit compote and Alpro vanilla pouring yoghurt

For the pancakes:
3 large free-range eggs
115g plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
140ml Alpro soya milk
a pinch of salt
(see method here - thanks to my boy Jamie!)

For the compote:
Place strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and a diced apple in a saucepan
Add a tablespoon of ginger syrup
Gently stew on a low heat until all the fruit has softened

Stack 'em high, serve with an indulgent helping of Alpro's pouring yoghurt and enjoy!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Alpro #deskfest challenge day 4

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Day 4 of the #deskfest challenge and today we have probably one of the greatest food-combinations known to man; banana and peanut butter! This smoothie is ridiculously quick and easy to make and is packed full of energy to help kick start the day. For those of you who have a little bit of a sweet tooth (ahem, me!) you can always add a drizzle of honey to make this smoothie even more luscious.

Peanut Butter, Banana & Honey Smoothie
One banana
One (generous) tablespoon of peanut butter
One tablespoon of honey
A glass of Alpro Almond milk

Blend and enjoy!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Spiked headband

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                                Faux fur coat, Miss Selfridge | Turquoise ring, Primark | Spiked headband, Primark

I love adding an element of toughness to an outfit with a splash of studs or spikes here and there, so when I saw this spiked headband in Primark it had to be mine. The fact that it cost just a mere one pound sealed the deal and meant I could pop next door and splash the cash on this pink faux fur coat from the Miss Selfridge sale which is the cosiest thing ever. Even though I have umpteen jackets and coats, I feel this could be a lovely transistional piece as the Spring creeps in and well, it was just too pretty to refuse!

Alpro #deskfest challenge day 3

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Day 3 of the Alpro #deskfest challenge and today I whipped up a tumbler of fruity goodness accompanied with a refreshing glass of hazelnut milk. (Straw optional, but advisable. Every drink tastes better with a straw right?)

My berry, oat and yoghurt tumbler
Layer strawberries, blueberries and raspberries at the bottom of your tumbler
Shower with oats or maybe some bran
Top with a generous glug of Alpro pouring yoghurt and decorate with walnuts
Enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Aussie Miracle Shine range

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When you have bleached your hair to smithereens, (see exhibit A above!) it is impossibly difficult to get that healthy, glossy shine back into your locks. Sadly blondes just don't have that same natural lustre that our brunette and raven-headed friends possess, so sometimes you need a little helping hand. Aussie's new Miracle Shine range is empowered with Australian Ginseng extract and Pearl powder to help re-ignite your hair's shine. The range, which consists of a shampoo, conditioner and their trusty 3 minute miracle deep treatment, promises to give your hair a healthy dose of sunshine and leave it glimmering with enviable radiance and shine.

I used the range for the first time yesterday (photo after first wash) and was instantly overcome with the sweet, rich fragrance that all the products possess. Some may find it too sickly but I quite enjoyed the fruity experience that accompanied me in the shower and my hair did feel gorgeously soft and smooth after using all three products. I can tell already that the 3 minute miracle deep treatment is the hero product from this new range and will do my poor, processed locks no end of good. For the next four weeks I will be replacing my normal haircare with this Aussie trio and reporting back on how I feel the range has helped improve the shine and brilliance of my hair.

The Aussie Miracle Shine range is available from Boots and Superdrug, and retails at £3.99 - £5.99. Let me know if you have tried these products and if you were left revelling in shine and vibrancy?


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Alpro #deskfest challenge day 2

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Today's Alpro deskfest sees a colourful concoction of fruit and muesli topped off with lashings of cold Alpro milk. Unfortunately some shop-bought muesli can have loads of hidden sugars and salt which isn't so great if you are wanting a nutritious start to your day, so why not make your own and then you know exactly what is going into your bowl every morning!

Homemade muesli with berries, banana and Alpro milk
8 cup of organic rolled oats
2 cups of ground bran
1 cup of chopped dried apricot
1 cup of chopped dried dates
1 cup of dried cherries
1 cup of crumbled walnuts
(You could also add a tablespoon of cinnamon/flax seeds/or anything else you fancy!)

Top with the fruit of your choice, submerge in soya milk and enjoy!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Alpro #deskfest challenge day 1

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As someone who considers themselves to be extremely healthy and a slave to the gym, my one 'unhealthy' habit is that I never eat breakfast. Like ever. So when Alpro asked if I wanted to take part in their #deskfest challenge I thought this would be a great opportunity to start reforming my bad habit and embrace the most important meal of the day. I have always enjoyed soya milk products and think they are a great option if you are trying to cut down on dairy, or are a vegetarian like me and want to introduce more protein into your diet. The idea of the challenge is to tweet a picture of your Alpro breakfast with the hashtag #deskfest and you will entered into a competition to win a three day trip to New York. Pancakes in the Big Apple? Yes please! Fuelled by a lorry-load of Alpro and a fancy smoothie maker, I set to work creating my first breakfast of the five day challenge...

The Alpro Green Monster:
Glass of Alpro Almond Milk
One banana
Two handfuls of spinach
One handful of blueberries
*blend*

I was seriously sceptical about sampling this smoothie. I love spinach...but in a drink? With banana? But seriously, it is actually really nice and doesn't taste at all leafy! It is loaded with good things and will really perk your energy levels up for the day ahead. Give it a try :) And you can follow my challenge via my twitter and instagram accounts - usernames are the same: pinkpixiedoll.


As an incentive to take part, Alpro have offered me some Selfridges&Co vouchers if I successfully complete my #deskfest challenge.

Clarins Iris Blossom eye palette

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Foundation - Cover FX cream foundation | Blusher - Clinique Fresh Bloom Colour (Peony Blend) |
Mascara - Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume | Lipstick - Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Stain (Crush) 

Clarins Iris Blossom Eye Quartet Mineral Palette* £30 (limited edition)
available online

There is always something so alluring about Clarins' makeup collections. I don't know whether it is the signature gold packaging or the delicate presentation of shades but there is something very anticipating about their seasonal launches. And their new Spring Summer '13 launch, the Rouge Eclat Collection, is no different. It is a stunning mixture of soft pastels, velvety complexions and captivating eyes, all inspired by the beautiful iris flower. For the lips we have sumptuous pinks and corals, with a beautiful sheer finish, and glitter-laden glosses that will instantly banish those winter blues. But the creme de la creme of any Clarins collection are the face and eye palettes. Without a doubt they will leave you drooling and unable to resist a quick dash to your nearest Clarins counter. The Iris Blossom eye quartet palette is just lovely and quite a welcome alternative to the usually pastel and neutral toned palettes that generally get released for the Spring Summer. The consistency of the shadows are silky-smooth and really easy to blend onto the eyelid and throughout the crease. They can be used dry for a satin-like finish or wet for a more intense, dramatic look.

I created the makeup look above using just three of the shades. I placed the frosty white shadow in the corner of my eyes and then softly blended the taupe shade all over the rest of my lid. I finished with the gorgeous purple, which was a lot less blue-based than I expected, blended into the crease. The colours are incredibly complimentary and I love the way they are soft enough to wear during the day, but can easily be made more daring for a night out. All in all, another wonderful, versatile palette from Clarins.

Has anything from the Rouge Eclat collection caught your eye?


Monday, 21 January 2013

Nivea Stress Protect Challenge #1 - Baking

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Deodorant and cake? Cake and deodorant? Yes I would struggle to find a connection too but just bear with me and all will be revealed! I have been asked to take part in the Nivea Stress Protect challenge which will see me being placed in seemingly 'stressful' situations to see how their new anti-perspirant fares against that unwelcome stress sweating. Technically speaking, sweat caused by stress is very different to that prompted by heat or physical exercise. Its onset is more rapid and is generally a lot harder to control. This is why Nivea has developed a specially-formulated range that helps provide protection during those stressful moments, with zinc complex to help keep the sweat at bay and added avocado oil to care for and moisturise the underarm skin.

So where does the cake come in? Well, what is it they say - "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." I had no choice but get in the kitchen, crank up the oven (and those stress levels) and attempt to recreate one of Holly Bell's (of Great British Bake Off fame) challenging recipes involving several formidable stages including a genoise sponge, a lemon syrup and a macadamia praline topping. It all seemed pretty achievable, particularly as I can often be found in the kitchen baking on a snowy Sunday, but it would involve some meticulous planning. The first challenge was the sponge which I think I conquer admirably - everything is made easier when you have a KitchenAid. The lemon syrup was, well, easy peasy and the macadamia praline was a sweet success! Any stress-induced sweating was dealt with brilliantly by the anti-perspirant and I felt as fresh as a daisy following my baking challenge, even if my kitchen was looking less than fresh coated in a shower of icing sugar and broken eggshells.

Bring on the next challenge!


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