Friday, April 18, 2014

Cult Beauty Wishlist

Studio 10 Visible Lift Face Definer  //  Aromatherapy Associates Relax Balm  //  Anastasia Brow Wiz  //  Elemis Jasmine & Rose Bath Milk  //  Aesop Control  //  EOS Honeysuckle Honeydew Lip Balm  

So I might have been having a little bit of a browse on Cult Beauty lately, and if you think it was the first time then you'd be very wrong. I often find myself clicking between that site and Space NK, longing to fill my virtual shopping basket and skip happily to the checkout, but with the prices of premium brands these days it is rarely something that happens - and when it does, I'm more likely to be hanging my head with guilt.

But there's something about such products that are hard for a beauty blogger to resist - or anyone else who enjoys trying and testing high end makeup and skincare, for that matter.

I am completely new to Studio 10, and have never, ever tried any of their products. But the second I saw this Visible Lift Face Definer palette, I knew I had to have it. The muted taupe shade is completely perfect for contouring - with grey tones rather than orange, it would create a really realistic shadow, giving anyone cheekbones to die for. I'm intrigued by the gel blush, too, as I can't say I've ever come across such a formula in the past, but it certainly looks to be a gorgeous, bright shade for Summer. And who doesn't love a highlighter? At £30 for all three, I think it would be well worth the investment, and is a great way to sample a few products from a new brand, all in one go.

I'm a terrible stress head, and by that I mean that I worry and fret about almost everything. Sometimes I think I'm going to drive myself mad, and with my mind racing at a million miles an hour on a regular basis, I've tried pretty much every relaxation remedy out there.
So it comes as no surprise that I gravitated straight towards the Aromatherapy Associates Relax Balm. With a mix of vetyver, chamomile and sandalwood essential oils, this strikes me as quite a different blend from the ones I have tried before, and as such, I'm hopeful that it might provide some new relief!

I'm a little bit obsessed with defining my brows, as I think that doing so can make a real difference to any face. I'm always looking out for the best new brow products on the market, and the Anastasia Brow Wiz ticks all the boxes. With a skinny, mechanical nib it mimmicks even the finest of hairs, giving you absolute control with a really natural looking result.
I must admit, the last three items were added on a whim. I am in love with Elemis bath milks -when it comes to hydration and baby soft skin, nothing else comes close. At £42, I doubt I'd bite the bullet and purchase one myself (I was lucky enough to win one in the past), but it's always nice to dream.
EOS lip balms are always welcome in my handbag, as they smell amazing and get the job done in a pleasant and effective manner. The new honeysuckle honeydew offering sounds like just my cup of tea, and perfect to replace my minty winter Carmex.
I rarely get blemishes these days, but everyone could do with having a secret weapon on hand for the odd occasion they do decide to make an appearance. You can bet your bottom dollar it'll be the most inconvenient timing of all, so the Aesop Control is firmly on my radar. With witch hazel, lemon peel, rosemary leaf and sage oils - alongside antibacterial tea tree and exfoliating salicylic acid to chemically resurface and ease congestion, this one is bound to be a winner.
Better start saving my pennies!

Do you shop at Cult Beauty?
What's on your shopping list this week?


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hydrating Skincare: From Winter to Spring

The weather may be getting warmer, and the evenings longer and lighter, but that doesn't always mean you can slack off on the skincare front. In fact, a sudden change in the climate, and weather that can't make up its mind can wreak havoc on the skin, making it more important than ever to ensure that it's taken care of.

When it comes to hydration, I have a few trusty favourites that I know I can reach for whatever the time of year, and they will always get things sorted in no time. A common mistake a lot of people make is to think that if they haven't got any dry or flaky patches, then their skin is not dehydrated, but actually, this is a long way from the truth in many cases. Personally, I don't tend to suffer from the former, but I'd definitely put a tick in the latter box from time to time. Usual triggers for me are leaving makeup on for too long or skipping on exfoliation (I tend to use AHA toners rather than manual scrubs), but often, an unstable climate is to blame.

The Elemental Herbology Cell Food Serum* is a favourite of mine when I feel that my skin could do with a boost. Containing a powerhouse of proteins, vitamins and minerals, a couple of drops of this applied after my toner and before my moisturiser in the mornings make all the difference when it comes to radiance and vitality. On its own, it doesn't pack enough of a moisturising punch though, so I follow up with my go-to morning and evening moisturiser, Origins Make a Difference Rejuvenating Treatment Plus. With a deliciously orangey fragrance, this is a gel-cream, so although it's incredibly hydrating, it won't feel heavy or greasy on the skin like some products can. It sinks in like a dream, leaving my skin soft and plump, and I know it's a product I can always rely on to keep things in check.

The Balance Me Radiance Oil* is an extra little night time treat, and if my skin is feeling particularly out of sorts then I often mix a couple of drops of this in with my night cream. With a divine herbal scent, it sinks in fairly well - but I'd always recommend pinning your fringe back if you don't want to have to wash it in the morning. The Radiance Oil really does do what it says on the tin, and my complexion looks brighter and healthier after a couple of uses.

I really do find that hydration makes the biggest difference to the appearance of my skin as a whole, as when it's in need of a little extra moisture I look tired and drawn by comparison. It doesn't take much to get things back on track, and it's always worth the extra effort.

What are your go-to products when it comes to giving your skin a moisture boost?
Have you added any new products to your skincare arsenal of late?


Balance Me Radiance Oil review
Elemental Herbology Cell Food Serum Review

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Weekly Selection

Life has been going a million miles an hour at the moment, but one thing is for certain: This beautiful sunshine we're having is well worth slowing down for! Yesterday, after work, we went and sat outside one of our favourite places on the harbour for a nice cold cider, and being able to actually do something with my evening and enjoy the daylight made me feel so much more alive. Afterwards, we met up with some friends for tapas and a cheeky cocktail or two - not my usual Monday evening, but I have to say, it was a more than welcome start to the week.
I hope you've been able to enjoy the lovely weather, wherever you are.

Anyway, onto the purpose of today's post, which is to share some of my most reached- for products of late. I'm aware that I usually tend to do this towards the end of the week, but hey, who makes the rules? Last week was so hectic that I didn't have the chance, so here we are, on a Tuesday instead. I don't mind if you don't.
After running out of my previous foundation, I stumbled upon Helena Rubinstein's Colour Clone (shade Vanilla), which had been sitting patiently on my beauty shelf since late last year. I picked this one up on my way back from Amsterdam, but it was one of those things where, once you get home, it just doesn't seem to be the right shade. Now that winter is over, however, and I've got a bit more colour in my cheeks, I have fallen head over heels in love with it. Color Clone gives the most unbelievably natural-looking coverage, almost to the point that it looks as though I'm not wearing foundation - only with beautifully flawless skin. It does an amazing job of evening things out, with special colour-cloning pigments which clone the skin's colour structure, and has an incredibly light, barely-there feel on the skin.
There's very little not to love about this, and I am definitely going to be hunting down some of Helena's other creations as soon as I have the chance.
Next up, it's the beautiful Topshop Glow Highlighter in the shade Polish. A light, pearly cream, this looks perfect smoothed onto cheekbones over a pretty cream blush for a natural-looking highlight without the glitter. For a more glamorous look, it can easily be layered up - and if I'm going out, I apply some down my nose, under my brows and across my Cupid's bow for an extra glow.
I can't imagine that I'm alone in my love for fruity scents once the warmer months roll round, and the M&S Nature's Extracts Indulgent Fig & Orange Oil Moisturising Body Butter (whew-can you say that in one breath!?) is just divine. Light, juicy, with a hint of 'green' this one sells really natural and is not at all overpowering or sickly. Smoothing this on after my shower is an absolute pleasure, and it leaves my skin silky soft.
All three of these are bound to remain favourites well into the summer months, although no doubt there will be a few more beauty treats joining them before long.

Which products have you been reaching for this week?
Have you discovered any new or exciting brands?

Enjoy the rest of your week.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Topshop Makeup Haul

It wouldn't be a trip into town without a quick browse in Topshop - even if the original intention was just to go to the bank.
It had been a while since I last treated myself to some Topshop makeup, and I was keen to have a look at what was new to the shelves. Needless to say, a quick scan turned into a lengthy peruse, and I came away with these three covetable items.
The cream blush in Head Over Heels had been a long time coming, with it initially gracing my wish list this time last year. At the time, I settled for an equally impressive coral pink shade called Flush, but I could resist this peachy coral any longer.
Beguiled has always struck me as quite a wintry shade, but upon further inspection it became clear that it's more versatile than I'd given it credit for. A light layer gives a pretty matte finish, with the shade itself a wearable berry. I actually picked these up at the beginning of March, and this has been my go to shade as we've transitioned through from winter to spring.
Last into my shopping bag was one of the fairly new cream highlighters in the shade Polish. This is a stunning pearly formula which dresses up any daytime look ready for the evening, and it's safe to say I'm sold. Having gone through a minor obsession with highlighters a few years ago, I'd then fallen out of love in favour of a more natural look. But this one is subtle and beautiful, without being overly glitzy. Love it.

If you're considering any of these then I'll be posting reviews on them soon.

Have you made any Topshop makeup purchases lately? What are your favourite items?


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Beauty Wish List

Come midweek, I often find myself daydreaming about browsing the shops for beauty bits at the weekend, and today is no different. This time around, I've got my eye on a selection of goodies, most of which I've got Essie Button to thank for. Last weekend, I dedicated a good day or so to catching up with my favourite blogs, and the end result was a list as long as my arm of glorious new eyeshadow palettes, hair masques and suchlike, these ones being the cream of the crop and the absolute musts. In fact, I've already popped into the Body Shop and grabbed myself the Aloe Lip Care, as my lips were in dire need of a helping hand, and I have to say it's been working well so far.
I'll leave you to browse the rest  and see whether there's anything that takes your fancy - sorry to cut this short, but as I type, my keyboard keys are sticking like mad. It's driving me...well, mad. 
Note to self: Use the Ipad next time! But

Hope everyone is having a good week so far. Let me know if you've tried any of these, and what your thoughts are.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Sunday Pamper Session

There was a time when a Sunday pamper came as naturally as breathing to me, but of late I've barely had time to sit back and relax, let alone slap on a face mask. So this weekend, I've decided to set aside some 'me' time and indulge myself with a good couple of hours of luxury.

To set the scene, I run myself a nice hot bath. Usually, I might go with a Lush bath bomb, or my favourite - The Comforter bubble bar. But this time, it's the Radox Herbal Bath Stress Relief Bubble Bath (not pictured). With its calming blend of rosemary and eucalyptus, it's the perfect way to unwind, easing any aches and pains as well as stilling the mind. Add to that some of my all-time favourite, the Elemis Skin Nourishing Bath Milk* and I'm guaranteed silky soft skin to boot - this stuff packs a seriously moisturising  punch, and can even be used as a body lotion, too. 
Before getting in, I usually light a couple of candles and place them around the edge of the bath. This is a new tactic I've started employing of late, as I do have a tendency to get a bit bored after a few minutes if I don't go out of my way to create a calming environment. At the moment, my candle of choice is Diptyque Noisetier*, but I generally switch things up a bit depending on how I'm feeling.
When I'm nearly ready to enjoy my bath, I take a scoop of the Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm and rub it between my palms to emulsify. Smoothing it evenly through the ends of my hair, I then pin my locks up on top of my head and I'm ready to go.
To keep me occupied during my soak, I've taken to bringing in my Ipad and popping on some of my favourite Youtube videos. It's amazing how much longer I can stay put if there is something to watch.
My skin has been looking a bit dull and lacklustre this week, so my face mask of choice this evening is the Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel*. I leave this one on for a good few minutes, then massage it in a circular motion for a couple of minutes before removing with a hot cloth for smooth, radiant skin. If I still feel that I need an extra boost, then I might also pop a layer of Ren Resurfacing AHA Concentrate on when I get out, leaving it to do its magic overnight.
After twenty minutes, it's time to wash off my hair masque. I then shampoo and condition as usual - at the moment I'm using a selection from Aussie, which my locks seem more than happy with.
Once I'm done with my bath, I go for a layer of my favourite body moisturiser - M&S Indulgent Fig & Orange Oil Moisturising Body Butter. This stuff smells nicer than any other product I have ever tried - and that, I'd say, makes it an obvious choice. If you've not heard much about this range then keep an eye out for my review, coming soon.
After that, I usually go for a couple of pumps of L'oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil before drying my hair. Ordinarily, I might slap on a moisture mask before bed, or failing that, my usual toner and moisturiser. But as I'm going for the Ren Resurfacing AHA Concentrate option this evening, I'll leave it at that, as I find it does its best work when left to do its thing alone.

And that's me.
Once I'm done, it's all about curling up on the sofa with a cup of chamomile and my Ipad, with no intention of moving for the rest of the evening.

Are you having a pamper session this Sunday? Which products will you be reaching for?


Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Weekly Selection

I've really been limiting myself when it comes to beauty purchases of late, and it's quite surprising to think how long it's been since I last had a real splurge. I have, however, been picking up the odd 'essential' here and there, and these four treats have most definitely been floating my boat this week.
First up, the Ren Resurfacing AHA Concentrate is back for another slice of the limelight. For those of you who missed it, I'll link my recent review of this skincare must-have at the end of the post - it has made such a huge difference to the feel and texture of my skin, and I can always count on it to revive my complexion, leaving it soft, smooth and radiant.
It took me a while to get into primers - initially I think I saw them as something of a gimmick. The trouble with these 'extra' beauty steps is that once you have a taste and realise they do have a purpose, you keep wanting to go back for more, inevitably upping the cost of your daily face. Until recently, I'd only dabbled, with a couple of swipes of Benefit The Porefessional or Revlon Photo-ready here and there - neither of which had exactly blown me away. But after a recent charity event at my local Boots, I walked away with a goodie bag which just so happened to contain a sample pot of the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. After working it into my routine for a few days and finding myself marveling at how long my makeup was staying put throughout, I was more than ready to part with the pennies and get myself a full-size tube. Of course, what I didn't bargain for was the sheer number of options I was presented with, and in the end I walked away with the Smashbox Photo Finish Luminizing Primer. A peachy, shimmery offering, this sits nicely underneath my Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation, giving off a subtle, radiant glow. This would be a fantastic choice for a night out, as it adds a glamorous edge to any look. However, I wouldn't say it increases the longevity of makeup to quite the extent that the standard Photo Finish does, so I'll be picking one of those up soon to keep in my everyday makeup kit.
I love a good, dark lip in winter, but having seen Topshop Lips in Beguiled on more than one occasion, I wondered if it would perhaps be a step too far for my pale complexion. However, a quick swatch revealed this to be nonsense - applied with a light hand, it translates onto the lips as a gorgeously wearable berry shade, and can be layered up to achieve a darker, more dramatic effect.  It's love.
Fragrance-wise, you'll probably have heard me banging on about the Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Cologne when I reviewed it earlier this week (link below). If you're interested in finding out more about this delightful winter scent then do pop over and have a read - if you like the smell of mulled wine, then you'll love this.

What have been your favourite beauty treats this week?

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!


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