Monday, 29 April 2013

Real Techniques: Expert Face Brush

Ok, so, I really did not need this, but in the perpetual quest for a flawless base I decided I'd use up some Boots points on the Real Techniques expert face brush. I'm glad I did.

I have a bit of a collection of Real Techniques brushes, they are great value for money and I am always impressed with the finish they give, so, decided that this would be money well spent.

The first thing I'll mention the bristles are, made from super-soft taklon, they survive wash after wash and don't shed, a problem I've encountered with brushes with natural bristles. This brush is easy to hold and handily (no pun intended) stands on its end when you aren't using it. It's a bit of a multi-use tool, i use with thicker liquid foundations, cream blushes and for blending and buffing make-up I have applied with my fingers. There's a great tutorial HERE on how creator, Samantha Chapman, uses this brush.

The result - the flawless base I've been searching for. I'd go as far as to say this brush is up there with some of the more expensive brushes in my ever-expanding collection. Have you tried this brush or any others in Samantha Chapman's collection?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

French Fancy: BIODERMA Sensibio H20 Micelle Water

I've heard A LOT about this product, itseems to be a staple for make-up artists and enthusiasts. However, as I rarelyhead across the English Channel, it's been pretty difficult to get hold of, until now. Whilst perusing on, I discovered the much-coveted micellar water was at last available to us in good old Blighty and ordered a bottle tout de suite. I've been using this for a goodfew weeks now and thought it was about time I shared my thoughts . . .

BIODERMA Sensibio H20 Micelle Water (also known as Crealine H20 ) is available here intwo sizes - 50ml and 250ml . I'd say the 50ml is more for travel, so, I opted for the 250ml, which was £9.99. This micellar water is for sensitive, normal to dry skin (also available for oily skin.) At first, I was not wowed – I expected big things given all the rave reviews I have heard from various bods in the beauty world, but after using for the last few weeks I’ve realised what all the noise is about. This is a super-mild cleanser, when swept across the face on some cotton wool, leaves my skin soft, clean and soothed. It’s alcohol and soap-free, so doesn’t dry or irritate the skin. It’s so gentle, it can be used to remove eye make-up (excellent time-saver, no more separate eye make-up removers), but so effective, it takes away every last scrap of my waterproof mascara.

My only negative,  I find need to use twice or three times to get rid of all my make-up and know my skin is completely clean, no bad thing for my skin, but the bottle has gone down pretty fast. I find I am preferring this to my usual cream cleanser – my skin justfeels so clean and I can skip a toner.

I’m now on the lookout for the 500ml bottle, as I think this is going to be repurchased many times and has found itself well and truly at home on my bathroom shelf. A big, fat recommendation from me! Have you tried this product?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Crème Jeunesse des Mains: Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

It's a tradition in my family, every Christmas my dad buys me a mini-torch (even though I've lived in London for the last decade, they've proven useful once or twice, lost keys etc, but I'm not much of an adventurer ) and my mum buys me a tube of Clarins Hand Cream - guess who I take after more?

So, having consistently used this since I was old enough to appreciate the wares and fares Clarins have to offer, I reckon I'll be giving a pretty fair review. Firstly, if I wasn't gifted this year in year out, I would definitely spend the £20 to invest in a tube. It's worth it for the scent alone - ummmmm, pleasantly floral and distinctively Clarins. It's light in texture and not greasy, leaving the hands soft , smooth and nails hydrated. It softens skin around the nails and makes it easier to deal with, less snagging of little rag nails. I don't tend to use this if my hands are in a complete state, I would use something a bit more waxy in texture that survives a few hand washes, but it's the perfect hand cream to have in your handbag for every day use. You don't need to use a lot, one 100ml tube will see me through until at least October, so again, worth the money. The packaging, as ever with Clarins, is simplistic and elegant. If you haven't yet tried this hand cream, I'd recommend – its on offer at for £16.00 - bargain!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Elizabeth Arden – Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion

I find it difficult to get a Day Cream that's perfect for under my make-up. With combination skin, I find that some just aren't hydrating enough for the drier areas of my face. I have the common problem of an oilier T-zone and dry skin on my cheeks so getting the balance right is essential if I want hydration in the right places and a good surface to apply make-up over.

I am a massive fan of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, as this was such a hit with me (see my review here), I thought I'd give some more products a go. This product has been a god send. Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion for combination skin is SPF 15, so is perfect base under foundation. It's light but hydrates the skin perfectly, not forgetting the dry areas and not overloading the oilier areas. In essence, it does strike the perfect balance for me and my skin feels great all day long. I love the packaging, it looks great and has a handy pump-dispenser. It  is slightly fragranced, it's a fresh not overpowering scent which doesn't last long.  The only negative is the price, it costs around the £30 mark, however, as I only use as a day cream, I have had this for quite a while and find 1–2 pumps are adequate. I would highly recommend, if you want to spend a little more. Its available here for £27.50 at, which slightly less than I paid and in my books, worth every penny. I'll definitely be trying out a few more products from this range.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Time to Prime: Revlon PhotoReady™ Perfecting Primer

I'm not massively into primers, only using them on days when I need my make-up to last longer than the working day and know I wont have a massive amount of time to reapply. I love Benefit Porefessional, buts it's expensive and I only use on special occasions. I was on the look out for something a bit less costly, that I could use more often – here's where Revlon comes in. This scary white-coloured primer was a fraction of the price. Revlon PhotoReady™ Perfecting Primer comes in a handy pump bottle, so you don't need to worry about too much coming out of the tube, I find that one pump dispenses just enough. I tend to use this on the oilier ares of my face, on my nose, chin and fore head, I don't really need to use anywhere else. The results? Well, it provides an even surface, it's undetectable in colour when smoothed over the face (so, you needn't worry about the garish-glowy white) and covers over any open pores on my chin and it helps my make-up last all day in the areas I find it disappears more quickly. It slightly calms any redness on my chin and nose also, letting my foundation do it's job. My one gripe, after every use, a little bit dries in the pump-opening, meaning you have to pick it out every time you use. But in all, well worth the £11.99 I paid for it. Have you tried this product? What were your thoughts?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Time Ticks By - Gents Bracelet Watch from Sekonda

I haven't had a watch for years, my last one was expensive, I accidentally dropped it by the swimming pool and smashed the face into smithereens. After searching high and low for someone who'd mend it, and without any luck, I swore I'd never spend a fortune on a watch again. Recently, out of nowhere I've been hankering after a watch again, tired of scrabbling around in my bag looking for my phone to find out what time it is. So, I thought I'd look for a cheaper alternative to the Michael Kors beaut I've been lusting after. So, for the first time in my life I actually willingly went for the cheaper option in this Sekonda Gents Bracelet watch. I have looked at many fashion watches in stores like Oasis and Urban Outfitters, but I ended up buying in H. Samuel (I know, I think this is the one and only time I've been in this shop) as from searching for watches on the web, they had a really good and very reasonably priced range and there is a store local to me. Also, they were ale to take out the extra links on the strap (actually, removed most of the strap), so the thing stays on my wrist. I paid the princely sum of £29.99 for this watch, and i really think it looks great on. I chose the sliver colour in the end with the white face, as most of my jewellery tends is silver or platinum. Larger watches are very of the minute, so, if I'm going to save the big bucks for something classic that'll see me through more than a passing phase of mine. Here are a few more budget alternatives I've seen whilst searching:

Silver Face Casio £30 from Urban Outfitters : Retro look, perfect to add some edge to a feminine spring look

Round Dial Bracelet £40 from Oasis :  Simple, gold, classic look – would look elegant with a bit of a tan and a white shirt in summer

Round Face Analogue Bracelet Watch £35 from M&S : Gold? Silver? Can't decide – here's the perfect compromise

Are you with me or against on the masculine watch trend?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Get Your Glow on - Nars Illuminator in Copacabana

I love a highlighter and I love Nars so this product was a rather obvious choice for me. Nars Illuminator in Copacabana is a pretty, iridescent, pale pink shade. This is a super-sheer highlighter, that when applied to the cheekbones gives the loveliest light-reflecting glow. It can also be mixed with foundation and gives a luminosity to the skin like you've never seen before. A word of warning, a little goes a very long way - so whilst £22 is quite a lot of money, I'd say its well worth it, the tube lasts a very long time. This highlighter is also available in Nars' other trademark hues - Lauguna, Orgasm and Super Orgasm. Copacabana looks great when my skin is at it's palest, in the dead of winter, I might invest in the Laguna for the summer months. This is a great multi-purpose product and a useful addition to any make-up bag. Have you tried any of the other shades?

Monday, 15 April 2013

Show Stopper Red: Topshop Nails

This is my first dabble in the Topshop make-up range. My local store doesn't stock it, so whilst a bit further afield - I picked up this nail polish. Having a good old route through the shades, I was rather inclined to choose a spring-like pink, however, as a creature of habit, I just couldn't bypass this amazing red - I think you'll agree, it's a show stopper scarlet. Another (rather stupid) reason for my choice was the name, Collegiate, as I went to a collegiate school, though I may have been suspended for wearing such a brazen shade, back in the day. Anyway, firstly, I just love this colour - it's amazing, isn't it? This zingy red is the perfect bright to add a splash of colour to an outfit, I love to wear with Breton stripes. The formula is great, it's easy to work with, just two thin coats are needed. The finish isn't shiny or isn't matte - nice kind of satin-like finish. I can't say much for the longevity, I only painted my nails with it yesterday, but so far, so good. The brush is pretty average for as far as nail brushes go - it's easy enough to use. In short, I just LOVE this colour. Have you tried any Topshop nail polish?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Statement necklaces from H&M

For something a bit different and in a quest to write some fashion / lifestyle posts, I thought I'd do a post on statement necklaces. In the fashion stakes, I'm not really a trend follower - the older I get the more I feel I know my own style, it's pretty conservative and I opt for a clean, classic look. The white shirt is a staple in my wardrobe - I couldn't live without it and the statement necklace brings it a bit more up-to-date. Here are three necklaces I have picked up in H&M, I can't find them on the website but have seen recently in store. I like wearing under the collar of a plain white shirt, for an understated look.

For some inspiration, H&M have some very pretty jewellery at some very reasonable prices here are some that caught my eye.

Sparkly Stones £12.99
Beaded Bib Necklace £9.99

Zara are also amazing for a statement necklace – again, they're not overly expensive and definitely set off an otherwise plain outfit. My current Zara favourite is this one.

[Shirt pictured is from Uniqlo here. ]

Monday, 8 April 2013

Benefit Box Blushes - Sugarbomb & Dandelion

I'm a big fan of the Benefit box blushes, the quirkiness of the packaging just draws me in. My collection started when I left my make-up bag at airport security, realising when I'd gone through the gate (really) – not the cleverest thing I've done. So, in a quest to restock my make-up bag, I bought two shades from Benefit. The first was Coralista, which I have reviewed here, the second, Sugarbomb. And Dandelion, because, well, after owning the latter, I just wanted it.

As with all the Benefit blushes, they come in cute boxes which are rather bulky in a make-up bag, but very pretty to have on your dressing table. As you can see, I have carried Sugarbomb around a fair bit and the box has scuffed up slightly. The box also comes with a little brush, which I don't tend to use, but it's perfectly functional.

Sugarbomb is a luscious quad of four shades - mauve, coral, pink and bronze, these can be used separately with a small brush, or together. I'd prefer to mix the shades, which results in a gorgeous depth of colour - not quite pink, not quite coral – but somewhere lovely in between. I use this quite sparingly on my fair complexion, I don't need a lot for a healthy glow. There is a subtle shimmer that highlights the cheekbones, but which isn't overpowering. It lasts all day on my, perfect for the 9-5 day, I'd top up a little is going out after work. In all, a great all-rounder and ideal for an everyday blush.

Dandelion is is the most gorgeous dusky pink, so pretty and perfect for spring. It gives a lovely flush of colour to the cheeks and is a nice blush for those days where you want the 'no make-up' look. Used lightly, it gives little in the way of colour pay-off, you have to build up the colour before you really notice it. It looks lovely on the fairer skin tones, I'm not sure it would really show up on darker / olive skin tones as it's so pale. It's staying-power is as above. I can't say I use this as much as Sugarbomb, but it's a handy shade to have when you want to look more natural.

Have you tried these blushes? What's your favourite Benefit shade?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Vichy Laboratoires Normaderm

I like to try skincare products for a few weeks before I feel i can give them a fair review. I bought these two Vichy products a month or so ago,  mainly to feed my addiction to French pharmacy brands. I have loved everything i have tried from Vichy, so with a bit of a February-lackustre complexion, I knew they'd be a good choice.

Vichy Normaderm Anti-Ageing – Anti-Imperfection – Anti-Wrinkle – Resurfacing Care 
As suggested above, this product does many different jobs, targeting fine lines, wrinkles and imperfections at the same time. I'm very conscious about ageing, though I don't use a lot of products specifically for anti-ageing, it was really the ingredients that drew me in – having previously read that LHA and glycolic acid promote cell renewal, together with Vitamin C, Vichy claim that these ingredients work well together to target the skins imperfections, such as texture and enlarged pores. To add to these brave claims, this is also paraben-free and hypoallergenic, so suitable for sensitive skin types. I have combination skin and find this product gives me just the right level of hydration, it's definitely not drying, I wouldn't recommend it for those with dry skin. It leaves my face feeling moisturised, but not greasy. The cream has a lovely rich formula and feels luxurious when massaged on to cleansed skin. I mostly use this in my evening skincare routine – it has no UV protection which I look for religiously in a day cream. As recommended, I don't use this on the eye contour area, sticking to a separate eye cream. Since using this product, my skin feels smoother and looks good, I've also found my t-zone less oily. It's a nice product, I'd definitely repurchase. It's around £15 in Boots, but I feel Vichy quality it's worth the money and it's currently on offer  here! 

Vichy Normaderm Exfoliating Gel Scrub
I tend to exfoliate just once a week, my sensitive skin can't take any more often than that, but once a week gives me a more glowy skin and keeps any dry patches smooth. The gel is soap, paraben and alcohol-free. The 'micro-beads' in the gel formula, when gently massaged on to damp skin remove dead skin cells and help unclog pores. I don't find the gel scratchy or abrasive like I have with other exfoliating products. For me, the best time to use this is after a shower or bath when my pores are open, it leaves my skin feeling refreshed, smooth and clean. I'd recommend to those looking for a gentle exfoliator, it's around £10 in Boots and again on offer at the moment here at

Monday, 1 April 2013


I'm not sure what the cause is, but boy, are my hands in a right old state at the minute. It could be my mild obsession with hand washing - when you live in London and use public transport, you see some pretty gross things on a daily basis, my antidote to this is washing my hands, a lot. Or, it may be because I left my nice expensive gloves on the Northern Line and refused to buy a new pair as I really thought spring was just around the corner - I was very wrong, if the recent temperatures are anything to go by, should have bitten the bullet and bought a new pair. My hands are dry, cracked and sore – I needed more than my usual hand cream and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is just a bit waxy to use durning the day. I did a bit of research, and as I am a big fan of La Roche-Posay products, I thought I'd give CICAPLAST BAUME B5, a go.

This rich and luxurious balm is paraben and fragrance free, it can be used on the most sensitive skin – it's suitable for irritated and problematic skin. It contains copper, zinc and magnesium which combined are claimed to aid optimal skin recovery. This product works with immediate effect - one application and my hands transformed from the texture of sandpaper to silk. The formula is soothing,  I honestly thought I heard my hands breathe a sigh of relief. I can't recommend this product enough – it's well worth the £15.50 I paid for this in Boots and as it can be used on the face, body and lips, I'd say it's a great investment. Have you tried this wonder-cream?