New Year Reds

Now we're in the post Christmas lull, I'm starting to think about new years eve. This year, I'm planning on keeping my base simple and adding a red twist. Red lips always looks elegant. My favourite red lipstick is rimmel's kate moss lippie in 110

2013 Beauty Favourites

Its been a decent year for beauty discoveries. I knew straight away which products I wanted to include in my 2013 favourites list. These are the products that are amongst my most used of the year. 

Five New Things...

Even though I should be spending my money on Christmas gifts, I've been treating myself to one or two things. Nothing extravagant but a few beauty things and other bits and bobs here and there.

This months elle has a mini benefit freebie included. I picked up the they're real mascara, which has graced my lashes everyday since. I already love benefit bad gal but they're real is insane for creating fuller, longer lashes. It takes a little more effort to remove it at night but I'm ok with that. Anything that can give my lashes the oomph they need is a keeper.

Next up, I've been loving this gorgeous baked blush from Beauty UK.  This shade is Halo, which is said to be a good dupe of MAC's soft and gentle MSF. Halo is a beautiful shimmery champagne shade, which makes the perfect highlighter. It looks pink in the pan but it doesn't really translate onto the skin. The best part is that its only £3.99!

I haven't done much reading for a while so I decided to have a browse on Amazon one night and I spotted the new novel by Mhairi McFarlane. I'm not a massive chick lit fan but her first book You Had Me at Hello was such an enjoyable read. I didn't think this one was quite as good but it still had me gripped for several days. 

Blogging has introduced me to several new brands and recently I've had the chance to try out some products from Conscious skincare. All their products are organic and made with natural ingredients. The sweet orange & frangipani bath soak has a lovely fruity scent to create a feminine and  relaxing atmosphere. I let my mum try this out and shes used it all up - a good sign!I've almost used up the grapefruit, lemon & cedarwood body butter. It has a light, frothy texture which is completely different to other body butters I've tried but I like that despite feeling light, its still really hydrating.

I haven't downloaded it yet but I've been listening to snippets of Kelly Clarkson's Xmas album Wrapped in Red. Its got a mixture of uptempo and slow songs with covers and original tracks. I love the title song wrapped in red!Theres nothing better for getting into the Christmas mood than with a couple of festive songs!

Christmas With Clarins

Clarins All About Eyes GiftSet - £21
Clarins All About Lips Gift Set - £18

There are some gorgeous gift sets on the beauty front for the festive season. I always struggle with what to buy certain members of my family so this year, I've got my mum the clarins all about eyes gift set and I've managed to take a few snaps of it before I do my Xmas wrapping. Inside the box is a cute clarins pouch with a full size wonder perfect mascara and mini sized instant smooth perfecting touch and eye revive beauty flash. This set is £21 which is the same price as the mascara so you're essentially getting the minis and pouch free. I haven't tried this mascara myself but its got some good reviews online.
Another good clarins set is the all about lips. My mum bought me this for Christmas as I've been eyeing it up since I spotted it. For £18, you get the makeup pouch with mini size versions of colour quench lipbalm, gloss prodige, rouge eclat and instant light natural lip perfector. I've tried the natural lip perfectors, which are really nice even though individually I think they're overpriced. We got this set for around £15 as there was 15% off in Debenhams at the time. I cant see it online at Debenhams but there were loads in store.

Have you bought any beauty gift sets for xmas?

Ebay Beauty Bargains Under £10!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Today, I'm bringing you some more of my ebay beauty finds. This time I've found a few higher end brands, such as this gorgeous becca blush (1). Becca were discontinued in the UK and recently brought back so you can find a few discounted items on ebay and other sites. The liz earle hair oil is a fairly new product, this one I've found has no box but the seller looks pretty genuine so it should be ok. Other discoveries under a tenner are this edward bess gloss (3), laura mercier shadow duo (4) and NYX lip trio (5). I've also found the elemis melting cleansing gel for under £10 (6). Its unboxed but I've seen some great reviews of this throughout the bloggersphere so I may just have to buy it!

Love Me Beauty Box December 2013

This months love me beauty box seems to have rolled around quickly again. With it being December I had high hopes for this box. With love me beauty you get to choose a box from a choice of three, so you can pick the one best suited to you.

In my box this month were

Lord & Berry Intensity Lipstick (full size £12)
I'll be honest when I saw the Lord & Berry products, I thought 'not again'. I'm not a massive fan of the brand having tried a few things in previous boxes but I can appreciate that they must have a good working relationship with love me beauty. Nevertheless, I gave this a try and the shade glazed pink (nude/lilac pink) isn't really a good match for my skintone. Though I'm sure it will look far better on others and it is a full size too!

Lord & Berry Kiss Proof Liner (full size £7.50)
The product list with the box says this shade is seduction but mine says romantica and from reviews I've read, I'm pretty much sure everyone got the same. Romantica is a beautiful mid pink with blue undertones. This liner feels really creamy and can be used on its own for a matte lip of with a gloss. The pencil doesn't twist up so it needs to be sharpened but other than that, this is a pretty good product.

Headline Colours Nail Polish in Quicksand (full size £9)
I'm only vaguely familiar with this brand but its always good to see a nail polish within a beauty box. Quicksand is a medium nude and I can see this suiting most skin tones. I love nudes and beiges so this is a welcome addition!

Matriskin Vitamin C Serum (deluxe sample size 7.5ml)
Matriskin is a brand I've discovered via love me beauty. I love their collagen serum which featured in a previous box. The full size of this vitamin c serum retails for £56 and is aimed at smoothing the complexion and fighting blemishes. I'm really looking forward to giving this a try. Hopefully I'll like it as much as the collagen serum.

Rodial Glamtox Night (deluxe sample size 15ml)
This is another pricey sample - the full size retails for £90!This aims to smooth the skin for a radiant and youthful glow. I given this a go and so far I really like it. I think it would also be quite good to use as a makeup base as it creates a matte finish. The full size is out of my price range but I can see myself using this sample up.

Overall, I think this months offering is pretty good. The lippy wasn't to my personal taste but I like the other products and I think love me beauty are still the most consistent beauty box out there. Hopefully they'll continue to grow and we'll see some other brands popping up next year!

If you're thinking of subscribing you can use the code LMBBB20 until the 20th January 2014.

Whats your favourite beauty box brand?

Area H20 Hair Challenge

This past two weeks, I've been taking part in the Area H20 haircare challenge and ditching my usual shampoo and conditioner in favour of the area H20 duo. Area H20 are designed to work with either soft, medium or hard water. Basically the difference in water type is determined by where you live.

I'm in Manchester so in a soft water area. I've been using the area H20 shampoo & conditioner designed for this and coloured hair. The duo works by combating the effects of mineral deposits from each water type. 
The science bit (I sound like a commercial): metal ions in water react with shampoo to form mineral deposits that cling to the hair. Area H20 shampoo acts like a magnet to attract the mineral ions, allowing you to wash them away more easily, resulting in all round healthier looking hair. Sounds clever huh?

So, after two weeks did my hair look any better? Well surprisingly yes!I say surprisingly because after reading the design behind it, I thought 'yeah, yeah, it sounds a bit gimmicky to me'. But I have to say, my hair looks more glossy and less birds nest. (see photo - cringe anyone else cringe at their own pic?)  My hair is a lot less static- less flyaway hairs and feels sleeker. My roots get oily quickly but it seems slightly more balanced since using the shampoo. Overall, I'm really happy with the results after two weeks!

Gift Ideas with Neom!

Whether its luxury or organic gifts you're after this Christmas, Neom have got it covered. I've been lucky enough to try out a few Neom goodies recently and the quality is right up there at the top!
Everybody loves a bit of pamper time, especially at this time of year. Preparing for Christmas can be quite stressful. I think I've just about got the gift front sorted but food/wrapping etc is another story. 
It's always nice to have a few products for pamper time. Neom's organic bath and shower indulgence set £19 contains six mini bath oils in three scents.

The scents in this little set include real luxury - jasmine, lavender & brazilian rosewood, tranquillity - jasmine, sweet basil &english lavender and complete bliss - moroccan blush rose. The oils contain vitamin E which helps to leave your skin feeling super soft. You can also use these oils in the shower if you're not a bath person, you just dab a little oil on your shoulders before you shower to create an aromatherapy experience. I really like all three scents and they're perfect for travelling too. I'll be taking a little bottle with me when I go on my hols.

Another sweet gift is the neom scents of Christmas set £42

This set contains three travel sized candles; christmas wish - a signature christmas scent of tonka bean, cinnamon and mandarin, harmonise - pine, cedarwood & eucalyptus and comforting - cedarwood, vetiver & star anise.
These are perfect for the festive season, christmas wish in particular is great to burn in the evening when the christmas tree lights are on and you're watching a festive film. It really helps to create a lovely wintery atmosphere!This set is currently out of stock on the neom website but each candle can be bought separately. For today only, you can get 20% off your order with code blogger20
I've got my eye on a few things!Let me know if you make a purchase!

MAC Punk Couture Collection

I cant find an official colour story on this collection so this is the information I've found so far. Think vampy lips, purple hues and erm neon pigments. I'll update when  find some more information but this collection is released in the US at the end of this month and internationally in January.

punk couture
studded kiss
carnal instinct

Cremesheen Glasses
jet boy
no apologies
dark outsider

Eyeshadow Quad
all races
idol eyes
magic moor

Nail Polish

A Good Nights Sleep!

I love getting a good nights sleep. Lets face it who doesn't?!!
Sometimes I can switch off and fall asleep straight away and other days I need a little help - that's when these products come in.
First up is origins peace of mind. Now this was bought on a total whim. I read the reviews online and it sounded great for helping with anxiety especially travelling but as yet I haven't used it for those purposes. Peace of mind is a mint scented on the spot relief for 'stress' - pressure, tightness and tension. It can be applied to the neck, temples and earlobes to aid relaxation. I usually just dab a little to the back of my neck and I find it really soothing. I'm not a massive fan of the smell but it feels cooling and its a handy bottle for on the go.

Next up is the badger sleep balm* - an organic balm with lavender and bergamot. You can apply this to your temples, pulse points, under your nose or to a tissue and breathe in. I love that its not greasy and the scent isn't overpowering. I think it helps to calm and relax before bedtime and its budget friendly too!
Another organic brand whose products really help are neom, specifically their sleep kit*.  I have the mini versions which I use to help me wind down. Firstly, I like to use the tranquillity candle, which contains English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine. Neom candles are the most luxurious candles I own and only needs to be burned a short time for the scent to fill a room. I also like to double up with the tranquillity pillow mist. Again, this is lavender scented and quite strong so I tend to spritz it under my pillow an hour or two before I go to bed. There is also a sls free tranquillity bath foam which my mum nabbed as I'm more of a shower gal. Lavender oil has been found to aid sleep and relaxation and I tend to think it does, though it could be my mind convincing me!I'd give all these products a thumbs up. I've also found a few useful tips here on getting a good nights sleep

*press samples

Primark S/S 2014 Lookbook

A Round Up of Xmas Giveaways!

As its the season of goodwill (and lots of treats) quite a few retailers/brands are hosting special giveaways at this time of year. I thought I might be useful to do a little roundup of them as I know lots of people love entering competitions. I'll update this list as I find them. You may need to check the terms and conditions if you dont live in the UK as some of these may be UK entrants only. Good Luck!

win prizes including £250 to spend online

Different prizes to win each day

In association with Jigsaw

win prizes with feel unique

win different prizes every day

win different prizes everyday

guess the gift to win it!

like and share on facebook to win

different prizes to be won each day

like and comment to enter

win a loreal steampod

different prizes for 12 days

different prizes/offers each day

different prizes each day

like and share to win

win john lewis vouchers

different prizes each day

different prizes each day

follow and rt each day

follow and tweet your christmas product wish to win

follow and rt each day to win

follow and enter via form to win a prize each day

follow and rt each day to win prizes

follow and rt to win prizes

different prize each day

different prizes each day

like and comment to win

different prize each day

tweet which fragrance you'd like to receive from the site to win

different prizes/offers each day

different prizes and offers each day

Lady Million

Paco Rabanne's Lady Million has been on my wishlist for so long. When my sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday, it went straight to the top of my list and luckily she delivered (thanks sis!).
Lady million is is a floral fruity fragrance inspired with gold and wealth. Notes include orange, raspberry, honey and patchouli with the bottle in the shape of a gold diamond to exude luxury.
On the first spritz, lady million is a warm, heavy scent that's perfect for winter. For me, its a sexy, sweet, powerful scent that has an air of elegance. This is on the list of my all time favourite scents. If you like warm, sweet scents then I would definitely give this a try as it really is gorgeous.

What's your favourite fragrance?

New Real Techniques Brushes for 2014

Look what I've just spotted!new real techniques brushes. I actually found these on amazon though they're not available to buy yet so I'm guessing in the next few weeks they'll be able to purchase. From left to right;

1. Real Techniques Retractable Bronzer Brush - £12.99
Expertly blend bronzer or finishing powder. Load up the brush, pop the lid on and go!

2. Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush - £11.99
Evenly apply powder, blush or bronzer. Load up the brush, pop the lid on and go!

3. Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush - £5.99
High tech silicone tip for effortless enhanced eyes. The ultimate tool for smooth,precise application of liquid or cream liner.

4. Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush - £6.99
Ultra-firm tapered tip applies colour smoothly and expertly lines the lips for added definition.

New Beauty Products for 2014

There are already a few new products I'm looking forward to next year. I've already posted a few pictures from new collections including clarins and dior but I thought I'd do a small roundup from some other brands.

First up is Revlon. If you're in the US then you may have already spotted some new blush shades. Also new out are blush highlighting palette that look similar to bobbi brown shimmer bricks. Hopefully we might see these on this side of the pond next year.

Next up is zoya's natural collection. If you're a fan of neutral nails then these will be right up your street. 

Givenchy's spring collection looks beautiful. I'm particularly interested to see the rouge interdit shine lipstick in rose sensation.

Maybelline 2014 includes master glaze blush sticks and master hi-light highlighting blushes. These should be hitting canada and the states next year. I'm hoping we see them in Europe too but Maybelline tend to release products here months behind. I'm also hoping we see the lip color elixirs which look amazing!
(picture source)

Finally, YSL have some new shades of rouge voluptes up their sleeve in their spring collection - shades include fuchsia storm, jealous coral, pink neilla and pink asarina. Also look forward to new gloss voluptes and flower crush collector eye palette.

Are their any new products you're most looking forward to?

Clarins Opalescence Collection 2014

Opalescence celebrates the end of winter with a harmony of delicate, luminous colours. The weather turns milder, full of softness and lightness. It’s time for delicate, romantic make-up, bursting with freshness. The complexion glows. Rosy cheeks express a beautiful, poetic timidity. The eyes light up and lips are glossy

Clarins Opalescence Face & Blush Powder – New & Limited Edition
Be radiant as the first rays of sun appear, with this harmony of three warm luminous shades. Add a touch of blush with the light pink which can be used alone to give cheeks a rosy look and you’ll love the holographic lid with its pretty play of light
Eye Quartet Mineral Palette – New & Limited Edition - Vibrant Light
The imprint of a circle seems to create a halo of light that radiates from the pearly white highlighter. The opaline pink and grey shades and the vibrant plum eyeliner illuminate the eyes. With their wet & dry formulas, the powders can be used dry for a subtle look or slightly damp for a more sophisticated result. Perfect hold is guaranteed all day long.
Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch – New Packaging
As if by magic, Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch smoothes away wrinkles and fine lines, enlarged pores and imperfections. It is perfect for all skin tones, from the fairest to the darkest complexions! A must-have for perfect skin texture.
Mineral Eyeshadow
Smoky Plum
Golden Rose
Cream Blush – New
A touch of pink or coral for fresh, glowing cheeks. Its soft, melting texture sculpts, smoothes and colours to deliver a light, fresh, natural-looking finish.
01 Peach
02 Candy
03 Grenadine
04 Rosewood
Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base – New
This new makeup base comes in a pump-bottle and contains 30 ml of product. Applied alone after your regular day care or mixed with foundation, every shade will light up the face. These 3 highly sensorial, fluid, non-comedogenic textures leave a veil of light on the skin that corrects and enhances.
01 Rose – gives maximum radiance to all skin tones
02  Champagne – corrects redness in fair complexions
03 Peach – revives the radiance of tanned complexions
Instant Definition Mascara
01 Intense Black

Gloss Prodige
11 Coral Tulip (New)
12 Crystal

Joli Rouge Brilliant/ Sheer Lipstick
19 Tropical Pink
20 Coral Tulip
21 Pink Orchid

Release date - February 2014

Sexy Hair Conditioning Styler Lite

Sexy hair are one of my favourite hair brands and I've recently been trying out their conditioning styler lite. The conditioning styler contains silk and rice proteins to add shine and softness to hair whilst providing a light hold. 
To use, spritz on damp hair before styling and then style as normal. You can also mix the styler lite with any other styling product. Whilst its tailored to normal/fine hair, it works perfectly well on my thick hair. Unlike other styling products, my hair felt hydrated and super soft with a light hold. The styler doesn't weigh hair down or make it feel sticky and it smells lovely.
Overall, this is a perfect product for anyone needing some hold in their hair and a moisture boost!thumbs up!

Currently Coveting: Skincare

I never really paid much attention to skincare before starting blogging. Since then, I've become more aware of my skin type and its needs. Im definitely someone who is influenced by other bloggers - if I see a product/brand receive glowing reviews from several bloggers, I'll want to see what the fuss is about.
In the past few months, I've heard good things about the Una Brennan superfacialist range at Boots. At the moment, I'm using the una brennan tea flower pore purifying clay mask, which is a light mask containing salicylic acid to help congested skin and dead sea mud to absorb oil. I use this mask as a deep cleanse once a week to help with excess oil. It makes my skin feel more balanced and look clearer without that tight feeling a lot of masks leave. Another una brennan product I've just purchased is the rose hydrate intense moisture mask. My skin can become on the dehydrated side in winter despite being very oily. The intense moisture mask contains white willow extract to enhance skin cell turnover and vitamin e to replenish and restore. I love this mask to balance my skin and I think it helps to make it more plumper and radiant.

Another new buy is the Ren evercalm gentle cleansing milk for sensitive skin. I prefer using cleansers aimed at sensitive skins as they're generally less harsh and feel much gentler on the skin. The evercalm cleansing milk is an ultra light cream that leaves skin feeling soft and refreshed. It doesnt leave any greasy residue so its perfect for my skin. I have a feeling this is going to be my new staple cleanser.
On the toning front, I love the mario badescu glycolic acid toner - an exfoliating liquid toner. I use this 2/3 times a week as I find it to harsh to use every day. It contains 2% glycolic acid along with aloe leaf gel, grapefruit and deironized water, which on the whole isnt a bad ingredient list. The toner has really helped to clear any breakouts quicker and my pores are less congested and more refined. I'll repurchase but I'm also keen to try the clarins version next as I've read its gentler than other variants.

Serum-wise, I've really been liking matriskin collagen mp serum* which I received in a beauty box. Matriskin isnt a brand I'm overly familiar with but since hitting thirty, anything that I think may smooth lines, I'm keen to try out. The full size version of this is a whopping £96 so its not something in my budget but I like that its a fairly light serum that I feel is helping smooth any fine lines and plump my skin. I'll look for a cheaper option as its out of my price league but I'll definitely use up this sample!

Have you tried any of these brands?

Scrub, Scrub, Scrub

I love a little bit of pampering (who doesn't?!), I try to make time once a week for a pamper session and in that time, I love nothing more than using a good body scrub. My favourite high street body scrubs are boots extracts and soap & glory. I'm currently using The breakfast scrub, which is a thick, almost toffee scented body scrub. With maple syrup, oats and honey, the scent smells good enough eat and the thick texture is perfect for smoothing and softening dry patches of skin. Saying that, I do prefer soap & glory's pulp friction as I find it creamier and the fruity scent is more to my taste.
Another body scrub I've been using recently is Rituals fortune scrub, a freebie with last months marie claire magazine. Fortune scrub has a sweet orange and cedar scent, which I find to be more unisex than feminine and feels light and non scratchy on the skin. I like it a lot more than I thought I would even though I'm not overly keen on the scent.
Liquid exfoliators seem to be really popular at the moment but now and again I prefer a regular facial exfoliator like Dermalogica's skin prep scrub. This is the only exfoliator I've continually purchased in the past few years as its a great quick fix for my skin. Skin prep scrub is best suited to normal/oily skin types as its a very thick scrub that works to smooth, brighten and mattify the skin. I love using this when my skins looking a little dull and lacklustre, it makes such a difference!
Something I picked up recently and is a little cheat to the list as its not essentially a scrub is the laidbare for richer for porer mask. For richer for porer is a clay based pore minimising mask with exfoliating properties. It contains shea butter for hydration, liquorice to minimise inflammation and rosewater to soothe irritation. I like to use this mask once a week for a deeper cleanse and to soften the skin. Laid bare are a natural brand with no sls or parabens, I'm starting to look into more natural products so this is a nice addition to my skincare stash.

Weekend Reading List.

There's been so many blogs that I've enjoyed reading recently, I thought it would be nice to do a little recap of my favourite blog posts from the past few weeks and share the love (all photography is owned by the respective blogger - click the blog post title to be taken straight to the full blog post!).

The Private Life of a Girl

The private life of a girl has quickly become one of my must reads - I adore the photography *runs off to learn how to use a camera properly* and I really enjoyed this post on mineral oil in beauty products.

The Beauty Milk
four in one: foundation reviews

I love reading the beauty milk, Coco's makeup always looks beautiful and I loved this foundation post. If you're looking to spend on a foundation then definitely give this post a read.

Jenny Purr

When it comes to skincare reviews, Jenny's blog has become my go-to. I really enjoyed this blog post on stressed skin heroes and I've just purchased the lush tea tree water thanks to Jenny's recommendation.

Life, Set Sail

Life, set sail is a new blog discovery of mine and its one of those blogs where you want to read every post. I loved this haul post with some great buys, I wish we had sephora in the UK!

If you've enjoyed any blog posts this week then leave me a link in the comments below, I love discovering new reads!