Tuesday, 3 December 2013

NOTD: Essie | Aperitif | + a dupe!

A while ago I went to a fancy dress party as Alice in Wonderland and was in search of the perfect red nail varnish. I knew I had a few different shades at home but at this point I was (and still am) a little obsessed with the Gelly range by Barry M. I picked up their slightly misleadingly named 'Blood Orange' red shade and then realised once I got home and compared it to my other rouge toned varnishes that it was basically exactly the same as one I already had from Essie - doh! 

The main reason I didn't return it however is because of the different formula. While Essie's 'Aperitif' is a classic 3 shades and you're golden job, with the Barry M Gelly range you can get away with a one coat super glossy manicure. In both cases the shade is a slightly orange toned red and that isn't where the similarities end. They also have very similar brushes in width and design, with Essie's being just a little more square.

If you are on a budget or looking for a fuss free and quick mani then go for the dupe. But if you do have those extra pennies and time or are just a bit of a nail varnish snob then the Essie is fabulous too. There is something luxe and special about applying an Essie polish and I'm pleased to have it part of my collection. The formula is a little more easy to control as it is thinner and therefore means you can build up more layers and have in theory a longer lasting paint job. 

Two reds for two different occasions - which would you pick? xxx
Saturday, 30 November 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas From Paul Mitchell

The other evening I attended a Christmas gathering held by Paul Mitchell at the Sanderson Hotel. While enjoying some cocktails and mini bites to eat, I was educated on their abundance of gift sets and stocking fillers available for the festive season. Even though I went to the event I'm not obligated to write about them, but I think they are really good quality and there is literally something available for everyone - even your pets! I was gifted the Extra Body Gift Set* from the Christmas Trio range which I'm really excited to try out as the other ranges I have tried through out the years have always lived up to their claims and expectations.

There are three Luxury gift sets including 'It's A Blonde Moment' featuring my favourite range from Paul Mitchell at the moment (see my review here), the popular new curl range encapsulated in 'Stay Calm and Curl on' which I'm also a big fan of (the wave cream was featured in this monthly favourites post) and 'You Look Skinny Today' all at the price point of £35 and which come in super cute colourful and glittery resuable gift bags.

There are also three other Christmas trios also in similar reusable gift bags at £26 featuring a selection of full size best selling products and three sets of  boxed Christmas duos at £18 including shampoos and conditioners from the Moisture Daily and Colour Protect Daily ranges and a kids set for £16.

In regards to stocking fillers there are plenty of minis to choose from starting from £4.50 across the entire Paul Mitchell product family so would be suitable for women and men. They even have sets for pets suitable for horses, dogs and cats if you like to treat your fluffy friend at this time of year.

A couple more of my favourite gift ideas are the Vogetti styling sets which would be great for teenagers and include tutorials and all the equipment you need to create the perfect fish tail plait or up do for £8.50 - £12. They have also bought out a lemon and sage candle to pair with the Lemon Sage Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner and the Tea Tree gift sets have a biodegradable seeded paper wrap which when planted sprout daisies - how cute!!

The Vogetti Styling Kits
For more information on the gifts mentioned and even more gift ideas visit the Paul Mitchell website here. All products are only available in salons, with the exception of Look Fantastic. Let me know if you pick any of the sets up! xxx
Friday, 29 November 2013

Review: Origins | Out Of Trouble Face Mask |

I've been a big fan of Origins skincare for a while now and their face masks are definitely one of their best selling points as they are great for targeting specific problems effectively. I have the Drink Up Intensive in my arsenal and have used the Clear Improvement Charcoal mask but today I will be talking about the Out Of Trouble face mask.

It is targeted towards combination oily skin, which sums up my skin perfectly, and is recommended to be used to clear up excess oil production and blemishes. Personally, I find this best for use on active break outs - normally a few days after using a clay based mask which draws out impurities, although it is good when used in 'triple threat' facials straight after the aforementioned mask to try and stop anything blossoming into a full on blemish. Although it is a 10 minute mask to give quick results, I always leave it on a lot longer like I do with all other face masks. It has a really strong smell (which I think is the sulfur) and takes some getting used to as the scent lingers until the next morning after washing it off, but the thick white consistency means you can get a thick layer without using too much product. I've had my bottle for over a year and am about 4/5 of the way through which is great value. Ingredients featured are zinc oxide and sulfur which are present to soak up oil and exfoliate away dead cells that contribute towards the creation of blemishes and camphor to refine the texture of skin and 'pull the plug' on active breakouts.

As I mentioned I like to apply this all over when I've got a few break outs or concentrated on a few spots (I've seen some people use it as an over night spot treatment.) Straight after washing it off my complexion looks a lot calmer and redness has been reduced. Blemishes often disappear a lot quicker when I use this mask and reduce in size considerably by the next morning. Although the formula does dry rather than stay sticky, my face is never left dry or tight but is instead smooth, soft and even toned. 

I would highly recommend Origins in general but their face masks are a real winner for me. It's a shame that the price point seems to have been inflated from the original £20 to £22 which does put me off a bit but I suppose for such a best selling range they feel they can get away with it.

What are your favourite products from Origins? xxx
Friday, 22 November 2013

Lifestyle: Update

Hi everyone, today's post is a bit of an update as a few things have been changing for me recently. My uploading schedule has been a bit few and far between at I've been super busy for the following reasons.

Ok, so the house in the picture isn't mine but it is to signify that I am properly leaving home for the first time to finally move in with Matt! Ever since he asked me a few months ago (details in this post) we've been really looking forward to it but I'm also quite nervous as moving to Uni is a lot different to actually leaving home for good. The flat he is in at the moment and which I'll be moving into isn't the ideal place but we're using it as more of a stop gap until we find our perfect home. It will be the first time I've ever lived with a boy, let alone a boyfriend so I'm sure it will take some getting used to. I can't wait to put some girly touches to the flat and make it more of a home for us. We have been together for nearly two years now so it is the perfect time to start this new chapter of our lives and I'm so excited!!!

Secondly, I've recently started an internship in PR which I am seriously enjoying but is a lot of hard work. Since starting a blog, it opened up new avenues that I hadn't even considered so I am really thankful that I've found something that I really want to do and enjoy.

Finally, hopefully in the next few weeks you will see that this little space of the internet will have recieved a face lift! I'm currently working on re-designing the whole layout and am really excited about the finished result and hope you will be too!

Hopefully once I've unpacked and got more settled I will be able to stick to a proper uploading schedule as I have so much I want to share with you. If there is anything you would like to see over here at Little Miss Lifestyle then let me know! And remember to follow me on social media as I love to make new friends xxx
Monday, 11 November 2013

Review: Seventeen | Skin Wow! 3 Way Highlighter |

Highlighters are one of my favourite make up items, just second behind lip stick. Due to having oily/combo skin I've normally leaned more towards the powder versions but liquid highlighters are so versatile and a great multi use product, that I incorporated them into my every day routine easily. 

This offering from Seventeen is the second liquid highlighter that I've tried (Soap and Glory's Hocus Focus was the first). Housed in a slim see through bottle with a handy pump it is quite a thick consistency but is easily sheered out once blended in properly or mixed with your base of choice. It is a very pearlescent pink tinged liquid - for reference it is more Benefit 'High Beam' than 'Moon Beam' - and has a high shimmer finish when used alone. The bottle suggests you can use it to prime, add to your foundation or apply onto cheekbones. I find the priming part a bit pointless unless you are wearing a very lightweight base so it can show through, and it is a bit too glittery for every day highlighting on areas such as cheekbones, brow bone and bridge of nose but is perfect for evening looks. My favourite way to apply is to mix it with any base of choice as it works well with both tinted moisturisers through to heavy coverage foundations. It helps to illuminate your face and perk up your complexion in a subtle way and is now used daily for this purpose. 

If you are looking to dabble in the world of liquid highlighters or looking for a cheaper version of the high end picks then I would definitely recommend this product. It is a little more glittery than I would like but for a budget product it is fantastic - Seventeen seem to have really upped their game!

What are your favourite highlighters? Are you more of a powder or liquid girl? xxx
Friday, 8 November 2013

Take 3: Pond's Institute Skincare

Pond's Institute is an iconic brand made famous for their simple and affordable beauty products, so it was really exciting to receive a few of their products at the recent event they hosted. My skincare routine has been Pond's-centric for the last few weeks using the three products we got, which included the Cold Cream Cleanser, Green Tea Moisturiser and Eye Contour Cream. Below are my thoughts on each product, in the order I use them in.

Cold Cream Cleanser* // £4.07 //
The cult classic which many of you will recognise from your mum or grandma's dressing table, I've been using it in the pm to cleanse my face. It is a multi-tasker and can be used as a hand cream and hydrating face mask as well as a general cleanser. The consistency is a thick white cream featuring a delicate rose scent which is cooling when massaged in and I normally leave it on for a minute or so to hydrate my skin. I find it effective at taking off face make up but not so great with eye make up. It is recommended to remove the formula with cotton pads but I find it needs a warm muslin cloth or flannel to remove the product properly or you are left with a film on your face which I didn't like too much (I think that is down to the high mineral oil content). My skin is left feeling really smooth but I did find the texture to be a little heavy for my oily/combo skin so I would recommend it for normal to dry skin, although it didn't break me out at all. 

Eye Contour Cream* // £7.99 //
Fragrance free, this light weight cream is delicate enough for the sensitive skin underneath your eyes and great to use both at night and day underneath your make up. The targeted nozzle and squeezy tube makes it easy to control how much product you want to use. The formula is enriched with vitamins A, E and B5 which is meant to improve skin structure and hydration. I found that I could feel my eye contour tighten and firm once the cream was dry which I really liked but I didn't feel as though it gave me loads of hydration. It is also meant to be reduce puffiness although that is something I luckily don't suffer with so can't really comment on.

Natural Beauty Moisturiser* // £5.10 //
This was my favourite of the bunch and a new launch. A slightly pink tinged and fresh scented cream that features green tea antioxidants to nourish the skin, this moisturiser had a light weight formula which sunk in easily. I've been using it morning and night and I like that it provides the moisture I need without feeling heavy and makes a great base for under make up as well as the right amount of nourishment at night. For people with my skin type I would highly recommend this affordable cream as it lasts ages, is cost effective and is an all round great product.

Out of the three products I tried the moisturiser was most definitely my favourite, but there are also other creams being launched which target different areas of concern including mature skin, dry skin, anti-wrinkle and normal-dry skin. Pond's Institute prove that luxury can be done on a budget so I suggest having a perusal at their range next time you are in Boots and giving something new from their range a go.

Have you tried any products from Pond's Institute before? xxx
Monday, 4 November 2013

October Favourites

This month's favourites features some newish purchases as well as products that I've learnt to love again after shopping my stash. 

MUA Pro-Brow Kit: After hearing a lot about various brow kits, I thought I'd switch out my regular brow pencil to try one myself and thought this would be a good place to start as it is cheap as chips. I use the lightest shade of two to fill in my brows and the wax included to set them. The powder is soft with good pigmentation and the wax is easy to work with. I really like the results that using a powder creates and have reached for this every day since I bought it. A full review post on this little kit with more details on it will be up in the near future.

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation: For the past three years I have always had a bottle of this foundation in my stash. Normally reserved for nights out, I really like the finish this foundation gives and that the coverage is buildable. Matched with the Real Techniques buffing brush I find this gives a lovely natural air brushed base with a slightly dewy finish. I usually prefer matte finishes but recently this foundation has been reached for on a near daily basis. I have the colour '100 Ivory' which is a little too dark for me at this time of year so will be picking up a lighter shade when this has run out.

Revolution Organics Freedom Glow in 'Bronzed': I posted a review of this a while back but have changed the way I use it since then. Reminiscent to the NARS multiple sticks, this is a multi use product free of any nasties. My preferred way to use it at the moment is as a cream contour as it is a darker shade than the bourjois bronzing primer which I use more for adding warmth to my complexion. It is easy to blend and build up when buffed in again with the buffing brush from Real Techniques. 

MAC Creme D'Nude Lipstick: This is a relatively new purchase too which I picked up from a recent blog sale. Although it was a bit melted, the shade had been on my wishlist for ages so I snapped it up for a bargain price. My first cremesheen finish (the other MAC lipsticks I own are amplified) this lipstick has become a staple in my every day make up. I normally stick to bright lips but I've been going through a bit of a nude moment and this is the perfect shade and consistency for every day. Buttery and nourishing, this smells just like other MAC lipsticks and has just enough shine and brown to the shade to be complimentary to my skin tone. It is perfect for day and night and is a great addition to my lipstick collection.

The Body Shop Honeymania Bubble Bath Melt: As soon as I caught wind of the Honeymania launch I knew I had to get my hands on some products. The bath melt has a really strong scent which I love - more floral with a touch of honey. The consistency looks just like honey and there is something about the pearlescent formula that makes it feel like a real decadent treat. Now the colder months are here I've been enjoying more baths and this is the perfect accompaniment

L'Oreal Lumi Magique: For ages I never understood the hype behind YSL Touche Eclat but then I realised it's purpose was for highlighting rather than concealing and saw how fab it was. The L'Oreal high street version is just as great in my opinion and I've enjoyed using it every day on the inner corners under my eyes to brighten over a colour corrector, down the bridge of my nose, on my brow bone and the cupids bow. It is subtle and natural but makes a difference to brightening your complexion and the rose gold packaging is pretty cute too.

What have you enjoyed using recently? xxx
Friday, 1 November 2013

All Used Up #7

The bag which holds all my empties was literally over flowing so I thought it was high time to write up a new All Used Up post. I've been trying to use up a few more samples and a lot of products seem to have come to the end of their life at the same time. The weather has also been really annoying so as soon as there was a bright day I photographed them all, although there are so many I have enough for 3 more installments of this type of post!

Original Source Lime Shower Gel: This was originally purchased for my trip to Barcelona as I thought it would be refreshing after a long day sightseeing. It foamed up nicely but was not as zingy as the mint version which I love, however I wouldn't rule out purchasing it again.

 Aussie Miracle Colour Insurance: A recent post already mentioned my love for this product which I think is a perfect budget leave in conditioner. The spray is even and fine, the smell is gorgeous and it helps to detangle and keep hair soft and manageable.

Bioderma Sebium H20: After receiving this for Christmas last year I was over the moon and excited to try the massively hyped up blogger favourite that sparked the obsession for micellar waters. To be honest though, I really don't know what the fuss is about! I tried the only for oily/combo skin and it is definitely one of the better versions I have tried but it isn't holy grail status for me. If it becomes easier to get hold of then I would consider re-purchasing but that's because I'm not loyal to a particular brand for micellar waters.

Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel: This product left me really undecided. Clarins is one of my favourite brands and this cleanser had the same comforting smell like their other products. The bottle actually lasted me a long time considering I used a big splodge each evening and it was really good at taking off the rest of my make up and is suitable to double cleanse with, although I still needed something else to remove all eye make up. The downsides for me was the consistency as I found the gel quite sticky even after being massaged into my face and I also didn't see a noticeable change in the condition of my skin. I think I would repurchase in the future to try and make up my mind on it but for the mean time there are lots of other cleansers I would like to try.

Aussie Take the Heat Leave in Spray: In regards to heat defence I'm normally loyal to Tresemme, although now and again I feel adventurous and try something new (clearly I live life on the edge). This did the job and smelt nice but I prefer the former brand because it is the best spray that I've found.

What have you used up recently? Have you tried any of my empties? xxx

Monday, 28 October 2013

Date Day: Bluebird Chelsea & The River Cafe

Hi guys, I haven't done a personal lifestyle post in a while now so I thought I'd share what I did last Saturday with you. As you already know I had to defer my exams and therefore finished them later than everyone else.  I found out my results a few weeks ago and passed (yay!) and so Matt planned a lovely 'Date Day' to celebrate. If you follow me on instagram then you will have seen a few of my pictures of the day but here are a few deets of what we did.

First we had breakfast at the Bluebird Cafe in Chelsea. I'd been wanting to go here for ages because I love MIC (I know that's really sad haha) but unfortunately we didn't spot anyone famous! I had eggs royale with a pot of tea, while Matt had eggs benedict with a latte. It was so delicious and the service was super fast. We also ordered a Bloody Mary to drink as we hadn't tried one yet - it was so disgusting but at least we tried it!

After breakfast we wandered down towards Sloane Square tube station and popped into a few shops along the way, including John Lewis where we had to purchase an umbrella as it began to rain! We wanted to go Boris biking along to the river to the next destination but the weather didn't really allow this so that was the only disappointing part.

After working up an appetite walking around the shops we arrived at the River Cafe for lunch. This is another place I've been dying to go to for ages, one of the reasons being they serve the Chocolate Nemesis which I love to make from this book. It was a lot more modern that I was expecting but it was still gorgeous and very popular and busy. Once seated at our table we got presented with a bottle of champagne which Matt had arranged beforehand as a surprise :) It was so cute and reminded of me when we first started dating as he used to pre order a bottle of wine with a little note attached to it.

Food wise, the River Cafe is delicious but really expensive so I would definitely save it for a special occasion like we did! We chose to share a starter of seafood risotto which included scallops, squid, prawns, langostines and muscles. Matt carried on the fish theme by ordering the Seabass for main, while I had lamb with roasted beetroot and a horseradish cream. The food was of an amazing quality like you would expect and the service was friendly and attentive but not at all over bearing. After our late lunch we made our way home feeling very full and slightly tipsy and settled down to watch a scary film for the rest of the evening.

I had such a lovely relaxing and romantic day, it was great to enjoy ourselves and think of nothing else but each other. Sorry for the crap quality of the photos but blogger seems to have messed up their resolution! What is your favourite place to visit in London? xxx
Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: Paul Mitchell | Forever Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner |

My first encounter with Paul Mitchell was years ago as a teenager, when I got my first set of highlights at Stephen Way located on New Bond Street (a fab salon that I really recommend!) They used a few products from the brand on me which I then promptly bought myself, but after years of being a product junkie and testing out lots of different hair care I forgot about how much I liked Paul Mitchell. Luckily for me I got sent a few items after attending a fab event they held, two of which were the Forever Blonde Shampoo* and Conditioner*. Normally I can only really tell a difference between conditioners and styling products but after using these for around 2 months now I can tell you that both of these products have really impressed me. I wash my hair every 3-4 days and have used this particular duo every time, bar the time I use a purple shampoo with a deep conditioner which is normally once every two weeks. 

I love the packaging and the smell of both products, both of which have a slight purple tinge to them to help keep brassiness at bay without leaving a colour cast. The Forever Blonde Shampoo is actually really nourishing while lathering and cleansing effectively even though it is sulfate free, which surprised me as most shampoos leave my hair feeling quite stripped and I need a good load of conditioner afterwards to counteract this. I use this twice before moving onto the Forever Blonde Conditioner that is also sulfate free. I really love the consistency of the conditioner as it is quite thick but not heavy - kind of like a hybrid between a standard conditioner and a treatment. It makes it easy to brush out any knots and you don't have to leave it on for ages for it to leave your hair silky soft and smooth.

Both these products have been great at combating problems that traditionally come with having lifted or bleached blonde hair: colour fading, brassiness, weakness and moisture - by the addition of KerActive protein that binds to the hair to aid damage repair and safflower which delivers moisture and seals the cuticle of hair. Once these run out I would 100% repurchase them as they are the only every day shampoo and conditioner I've found so far that really make a difference to the quality of my hair. If you have blonde hair I highly recommend these!

What are your favourite Paul Mitchell products? xxx

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Hair Extensions Help?!

One thing I have always wanted to change about my hair is its thickness. While I have a lot of it, my hair is naturally fine, which makes it really difficult to create and keep volume without using loads of products, most of which fail miserably anyway. For the longest time I've been thinking about purchasing hair pieces that can transform your look with an instant weave or clip in extensions as a remedy, especially since there seems to be a massive hype around them recently.

Last week I took to twitter to ask for some advice as I literally have no clue where to start! I got some great answers and links to brands including Foxy Locks and Bobby Glam. I also came across Glitz&Glam who carry celebrity collections like Vicky's from Geordie Shore, and Pauls Hair World where you can shop hair pieces and accessories online at www.pauls-hair-world.co.uk. So now I know the best places to purchase them, I just need to decide the best product for me. 

If you have any reviews of extensions or hair pieces please link them below because I'm still not 100% sure what hair type to get and I think its best to do as much research as possible when it comes to this type of beauty product. Let me know if you have any tips! xxx

*sponsored post
Thursday, 17 October 2013

NOTD: O.P.I & Models Own | Pink upon Pink |

As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of the colour pink. Teamed with pink sparkles, it is pretty much the best combo out there. The base shade of this duo, O.P.I's 'Be A Dahlia Won't You', is one of my favourite nail varnishes in my collection, which I received as a gift a few Christmases ago from my sister. A deep shimmery hot pink, it adds dimension and depth compared to my other opaque polishes. I love both kinds of finish, but for this time of year I think shimmer looks a bit more festive. I love the look of O.P.I bottles, and the wide brush makes application easy and quick. The formula is also lovely and thin which makes it easy to build up layers and an opaque colour in max 3 coats. Minimal tip wear occurs in 1-2 days - not the best but there is no major chipping which is a plus point.

To jazz it up a bit more, I chose Models Own 'Hot Stuff' for an accent nail which is featured in their Mirrorball collection, that in my opinion one of their best launches. A clear polish, it features large chunks of gold, pink and iridescent glitter. I also like the colour coded top makes it easy to pick out of my ever growing nail varnish stash. In order to get a good coating this needs a few layers but it looks so nice once layered up. The only annoyance is that it is such a pain to get off but I suppose that is the case with all glitters. 

I think these nail varnishes together make such a good pairing - even the lady who served me in the Body Shop said how much she liked it, which is always a good sign! I also have a lip product which matches this perfectly which I will be popping up a review of soon. It is annoying that the colour hasn't come out as well on camera but I'm blaming the gloomy lighting! What is your favourite pink nail varnish? xxx
Monday, 14 October 2013

Review: Clarins | Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector |

When it comes to the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector range everyone and their mum seems to rave about them, most notably the lovely Vivianna. A hybrid between a gloss, tint and balm, this moisturising gel is a perfect choice for fuss free make up days when you don't want to wear a full lip. Not only does the nourishing formula smell and taste amazingly sweet, the inclusion of shea butter and wild mango help to repair and soften while vitamins A and E help to protect. The packaging is also simple but feels luxurious, with a squeezy colour coded tube and soft doe foot applicator for easy application. I own pink shade '01 Rose Shimmer' and peachy '02 apricot shimmer' with the latter being my favourite by just a little. I love how glossy the product is without feeling heavy or sticky and that the repairing and protecting claims are true.

Wear time is quite good for a gloss, but only if you are not drinking or eating, but that was to be expected. I've also found the colour pay off to be quite weak - on the lips you can barely tell a difference between these two shades, and the little bit of difference didn't pick up on camera and that is why lip swatches seemed redundant in this post. For someone who loves a bright bold lip I was underwhelmed with the lack of colour, but I suppose it sticks with the natural theme and although it is only a slight tint, I must admit it does help to perfect your lips. Clarins have recently added 3 new shades to the line up which seem to be darker and have more colour pay off so I would be interested in checking them out and seeing how they compare to their lighter counterparts.

I really love Clarins and think these products fit in well with the theme of the brand. I think the Lip Perfectors would make a lovely gift or as a treat to yourself if you have the money. At £17 a pop (Clarins seem to be hiking up the price) I wish they had a bit more colour payoff but I definitely think they are more than just a glorified lip gloss. If 'no make up' make up is your thing then these would be a perfect addition to your collection.

What are your opinion on the Natural Lip Perfector range? xxx

Friday, 11 October 2013

Take 3: The Best of Aussie

My Take 3 series hasn't made an appearance in months but I'm excited to bring it back as it's a nice way to talk about different products in another way, rather than just single reviews. This particular installment is focused on the high street brand Aussie that I've loved for years, and who I think create effective and affordable hair care. I've tried a number of their products, but so far my firm favourites include an intensive conditioner, a leave in spray conditioner and a curling mousse. 

Aussie Miracle Colour Insurance Leave in Conditioner: Like all Aussie products this smells divine and the scent lingers for ages. I like to use spray leave in conditioners after washing my hair to detangle and this does a wonderful job. It has a decent spray on it as well and isn't too heavy on my hair which has the tendency to be weighed down by too much product. This is also great on dry hair in between washes to give it extra nourishment although it can leave it a little bit wet. I love using this on holiday on damp hair once I've been in the pool or sea to give it extra nourishment because sun + chlorine + highlights = super dry hair if not properly cared for. The bottle lasts for ages too making it really cost effective, which is the case for most Aussie products. There are many variations of this leave in conditioner and this is the best one for my hair type.

Dual Personality Curl Defining and Shine Mousse: My hair is naturally wavy rather than curly but nevertheless this mousse does a wonderful job of holding and defining my waves without feeling heavy, sticky or brittle. The product is easily distributed through damp hair by scrunching through the lengths and gives a light weight and flexible hold. I also use it on dry hair when I've styled it in a more curly fashion as it helps to hold the style for longer. It doesn't dry out my hair at all and it is easy to brush my hair too as I find many mousses make it difficult to get a brush through. Definitely one to try if you have a natural curl or wave pattern.

3 Minute Miracle Colour Mate Deep Treatment: Similar to the leave in conditioner, this type of product has lots of different versions dependent on your hair type. Seeing as my hair is highlighted I pick up the colour version which smells lovely. A splodge of this run through the lengths of your hair and left for a few minutes works wonders to add some moisture into over processed locks. It has a thick consistency which feels really nourishing, and once washed out I can feel a real difference in the quality of my hair. The squidgey tube also makes for easy application in the shower. This is a product which I will always have a back up of as an affordable treat.

So that is my round up of the best of Aussie I've found so far :) What are your favourites from Aussie? xxx
Thursday, 10 October 2013

Event: Pearls Exhibition with Pond's Institute at the V&A Museum

A few nights ago, I was lucky enough to attend an event put on by Pond's Institute at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London thanks to my bloggy friend Nuala. I had such a wonderful evening that I thought I would share a little about the night here with you. 

First of all, this is the only museum I haven't visited before in London so it was really exciting to go somewhere new. It was so beautiful inside with lots of marble and soft lighting for the evening. We were greeted with a champagne reception and I was able to meet some new people too - Bettina and Stacy who were lovely while trying out some of the products dotted around.

We had a quick talk by the brand's new ambassador for the party season Laura Whitmore and Caroline Neville, then a private tour of the pearl's exhibition that is currently running at the museum, where we learnt about how pearls are made and the history of their meaning. I wish we were allowed to take pictures because some of the pieces were incredible, including amazing necklaces, tiaras and even a dress. My favourites were seeing Marylin Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor's pearls and the pearl earring that Charles I wore when he was beheaded. As you may already know, half of my degree is in History (I did a joint honours with Political Science) so it really was a perfect night for me consisting of a mixture of beauty and history, two of my favourite things! 

I can't wait to try the products we received at the end of the evening, which includes the cult classic Cold Cream Cleanser (tongue twister right there!) and will be sure to have some reviews up in the next few weeks once I've had sufficient time to test them. 

Have you tried anything from Pond's before? xxx
Monday, 7 October 2013

My Very Late September Favourites

Hi guys, sorry this post is so late I've been meaning to get it up for ages but was waiting for the weather to perk up a bit to take some half decent photographs of the products. They still aren't perfect but seeing as we are heading into the darker months it can't really be helped. If only I had the money for some studio lighting! Anyway, as you can see I have quite a few favourites from the month of September, which are basically all make up related products compared to last month's which were more hair orientated.

001. Bourjois Bronzing Primer: When I first picked this up I used it to warm up my complexion all over my face before popping over a lighter base during the summer. However, I've really started to enjoy using it as a cream contour. I'm no expert in contouring so I find this product makes it really easy to build up the colour and blend in to make a much more natural finish. It's a really handy little pot which has a lot of uses. You can read my full review by clicking on the product name above.

002. Maybelline Colour Tattoo in 'Metallic Pomegranate': I am in love with these paint pot dupes from Maybelline and have nearly all the colours now. I picked up this shade months ago and it has really come into its own now that the seasons have changed. A deep purpley pink with hints of glitter, it looks lovely all over the lid by itself or as primer for similar shades of eye shadows. I can't wait to do a full review of this soon and show you some swatches.

003. MAC MSF in 'Soft and Gentle': I'm already reviewed this in full a while back but it is still a staple in my make up bag. I love it most for evening looks but if applied with a light hand it is beautiful in the day too. A lovely warm toned highlight, it perks up my complexion and completes my look. After pretty much daily use since I got it, the dome has only just flattened so it is great value for money too. Highlighters are one of my favourite make up items (after lipsticks of course) and this is a must have for any collection.

004. Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayons: Another Bourjois favourite this month is the recent release of their lip crayons. The concept of these type of products in general is a winner for me, but what pleased me most about Bourjois' offering are the shades which, although limited, are all so pretty, and the super glossy finish. They also last really well and are perfect for day or evening wear. Again I will be putting up a full review with swatches in the near future.

005. Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush: Real Techniques are the perfect brand for affordable but fantastic quality make up brushes. While the buffing brush is the star of the core collection this brush in particular is amazing from the eye set as I find it so multi-functional. Not only is it fab for blending and all over colour, the soft dense bristles make it perfect for blending under eye concealer which is now its main use. 

006. Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation: A long lost favourite from last year, I pulled this out of my foundation box to replace the super light bases of summer. Full coverage that can be sheered out, blendable, matte and long lasting, this is definitley one of my favourite foundations ever. The only negative is the flash back face it gives but for days when flash photography won't be in use this is perfect for long, busy days.

What were your favourites for September? Do you like any of my picks? xxx
Friday, 4 October 2013

Review: Vichy | Normaderm Micellar Solution |

Over the past year I've been trying out quite a few different micellar waters, some which I really didn't get on with (for example, the L'Oreal version), while others have been quite good. None of them have reached 'Holy Grail' status just yet though - not even Bioderma - but I prefer them 100% more to face wipes to take off the majority of my make up before cleansing properly and as a means to freshen up.

The only product I've tried from Vichy before is a thermal water spray, which I enjoyed during summer, so I decided they would be a good bet as the next version to try. At the time of purchase I didn't realise that they do different versions for varying skin types but as luck would have it I picked up the one for acne prone skin which is probably better suited for me as I have combo/oily skin which is prone to the odd spot or two. It also states that it is suitable for sensitive skin too.

One of the best points about this particular micellar solution is that it contains no parabens or alcohol. I'm not majorly fussy when it comes to ingredients normally, but in regards to my face I'd rather be as kind to it as possible. I also really like that its easy to dispense the product, meaning no waste or spillages and it smells nice and fresh. When tackling face make up and grime (yum) this is pretty good at getting most of it off but pretty weak at taking off eye make up, especially mascara. I've just repurchased a new eye make up remover for that which isn't the end of the world, but ideally to keep costs and my skincare routine down I would have liked it to be able to be good at taking off eye make up as well. Although there is a lack of alcohol in the ingredients, I have also found it a little drying however I think this may be down to the changing seasons too so the jury is out on that point for the moment. 

Overall, this product isn't ground breaking but it is rather nice and actually find it really similar to the one by La Roche Posay. I'm starting to feel like all micellar solutions are pretty similar bar a few bad ones, so if you like these products as part of your skincare routine this is a good one to try out. 

What products do you recommend from Vichy? xxx
Friday, 27 September 2013

Smarties Rainbow Cookies

For some reason, the majority of all my recipes seem to involve chocolate...but in my opinion these are always the best types of recipes! Yesterday I baked my second batch of cookies ever and they turned out so yummy I couldn't wait to type up this post. After experimenting with a Mary Berry basic cookie recipe the first time (I love her) I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit and think this batch is even better. The best thing about this recipe is that you can keep the base mixture the same but add whatever you want to it for different flavours and textures. The addition of smarties in this case was an amazing idea as they taste so good! You could also do plain chocolate chips, or another idea for my next batch which is to add rolos. They are also really easy to make so perfect for novice bakers and children. Makes around 15-20 cookies depending on your sizing.

* 100g softened butter
* 75g caster sugar
* 50g light muscovado sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 large egg
* 150g self-raising flour
* 100g smarties
You will also need: 3 baking trays

1. Preheat your oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. I prefer fan because it means the heat is distributed evenly throughout the oven. Lightly butter your baking trays. The reason for no reusing just the one is because you want the tray to be a normal temperature to put your batter on so that they cook evenly and at the same rate.#

2. Beat both types of sugar and the butter in a bowl until smooth, evenly blended and pale. The addition of the light muscovado sugar gives the cookies a lovely caramel taste.

3. Add the vanilla. Beat the egg and add a little at the time to the mixture while beating until completely mixed. 

4. Stir in all the flour until the  mixture is thick and smooth, with all pockets of flour mixed in. 

5. Finally, add the smarties to your bowl and mix well until they are distributed evenly throughout the mixture.

6. Use a teaspoon to measure out large teaspoon sized balls of batter onto your baking trays, making sure to leave gaps for the cookies to spread. Bake for 8-10 mins, one baking tray at a time, on the top shelf until golden and slightly chewy. I found the best way was to cook for 8 minutes, check on them, then turn the baking tray round for the last two minutes to make sure they brown evenly.

7. Cool on the trays for a few minutes before transferring them with a palette knife onto a cooling rack. Once completely cool, store in an air tight tin for up to a week.

Let me know if you try the recipe and tweet/instagram me a picture - my links are in the side bar and my Contact tab xxx

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