Friday, 31 October 2014

Gifts & Pieces


(If you click the picture it will take you to Polyvore where you can get links to each item!)

During my week off I've had a lot of spare time on my hands. At the top of my to-do list I've been looking for some little homeware pieces to finish off our flat. We're not quite ready to move in yet but there is just a few finishing touches to make now, so we're not far off. 

I often find myself browsing the Gifts & Pieces website and I thought it was about time that I made a little wish list. Gifts & Pieces is right up my alley when it comes to homeware, every item is so beautiful and I wish I could have one of everything.

My favourite item is the 'I love you to the moon and back' wooden sign! It's only £13.50 and it's so pretty. It would look beautiful in our new bedroom. I'm also in love with the spoon rest, the heart pattern reminds me of Emma Bridgewater but at a fraction of the price. I think the 'Besotted Mugs' are so unique, I've never seen anything like them before. The gold details are really sweet and I have a bit of a soft spot for polka dots! They come in a handy box which would make a really sweet gift.

Agh! So many beautiful things and so little time! I struggling to resist purchasing a few things, as they have 15% off all orders today as a halloween treat! What would you pick?
I was looking through my nail collection earlier this week for some more Autumn nail shades. As I thought it was about time I shared with you all, my favourite nail polishes for Autumn time. You'll be right in thinking that three of these colours look very similar, but they are each subtly different. I'll talk you through them, starting at the top:

This shade from Rimmel is part of the Salon Pro range by Kate Moss. It's a dark and grungy grey shade which is unlike anything else I own. The Salon Pro formulation is beautiful, I have 5 colours and they are all incredible! The brush is a really lovely shape too, which makes it super easy to apply. This is the cheapest polish in my Autumn edit which makes it great value for money!

Nails Inc St Martins Lane, £10 (in a set)
This is my lightest shade in the edit, but it's a gorgeous magenta shade from Nails Inc. It's a lovely 'wine' shade which applies like a dream, dries quickly and lasts well too! 

You could be fooled into thinking this is similar to Punk Rock, but it is in fact a luscious purple shade. It's part of Essie's 2014 Resort Collection and I actually picked this up in America in March. This is a beautiful deep purple shade which looks lovely on its own or with lashings of glitter! It's quite a dark purple shade so it can look navy or even black depending on the light. 

I picked up 'Sequin Explosion' at Christmas time last year. It's a beautiful glitter packed full of autumn colours, there is purple, green, gold, red, blue and loads more. The glitter is all different sizes and it's lovely over a deep nail colour. A perfect one for Bonfire Night!

No More Film is very similar to Under The Twilight, but it's a tad more creamy. This means that more of the purple comes through and tends to look purple in all lights. There is something about this polish that I just love! I tend to wear it to work a lot with a silver glitter on the top!

Thursday, 30 October 2014




Benefit Instant Brow Pencil, £15.50


Before I used the Benefit Instant Brow Pencil from Benefit, I'd only ever used brow pencils from the high street. I never really saw the point in spending more than £5 on a brow pencil, they are all the same right? 

That was until I bought this with some Birchbox points I'd saved up. There's something about this pencil that makes it dreamlike, I noticed it was different to everything else instantly. The pencil has the most beautiful formulation! The Benefit Instant Brow Pencil has very soft formula which means you can just gently brush it through your brows. It applies like a dream and it gives you natural looking brows in a flash. 

The pencil is double ended and on the other end of the pencil you get a spoolie. Again, I never thought there was a real difference between spoolies, but this one is fantastic. It has quite firm bristles which means it removes all the excess product really easily.

The Benefit Instant Brow Pencil comes in three shades, I actually have the darkest shade and it's a perfect match for my brows. It's the closest match I've ever had from a brow product in the past.


I've used this every single day since I bought it an it's safe to say I've been converted! My eyes have been opened to the high end market for brow pencils, there's now a whole world to explore!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014



Life
This week we've taken the week off work and we're working to get the flat close to finished. We're so close it hurts! Although it's probably going to be spending a couple more weeks pulling it all together. We're hosting Christmas this year so we have a hard deadline to stick too!

Speaking of Christmas, how are we all doing with Christmas prep? Are you super organised or do you do it all last minute? Last Christmas we'd just moved and started full time work so we were not as organised as normal. I'm starting to think about what to get people and making lists. Who doesn't love a good list?

Shopping
I've been going a bit New Look mad, I've placed two orders full of beautiful clothes. I'm not sure how much of it I'll keep at the moment. I picked up a couple of pairs of winter boots as I want a lightweight pair for Autumn. Whilst I was there I picked up a couple of essentials, including a black cardigan and socks! 

Blog
Before you go, here are some of posts from the last week. Yesterday, I reviewed the Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder, which is just incredible! If you have trouble with your makeup staying in place, have a read! I also shared my thoughts on the Formula X Nail polishes, I've been roadtesting one for a couple of weeks and I'm impressed. If you love Tarte Cosmetics and love palettes you need to check out the Pin Up Girl palette! I'm in love with it, read all about it here

If you're looking for the perfect Autumn bag, I have just the thing. I love my new bag from ASOS, see the post about it here. Last but not least I shared a review of my favourite Italian restaurant (I've eaten a lot of Italian food in my life, but this comes out top!)

How's your week going? What's been your favourite day so far?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014




Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder, £11.33 (on sale at Escentual until Friday)
I've wanted to try a loose setting powder for quite some time, and the Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder*, is a damn good place to start! I don't leave the house without powder or setting spray. I have quite oily skin and I've been known to get home makeup free on bad days. So I'm always eager to try out anything that aims to hold makeup all day. Although there are a lot of products like this on the market, this is the first I've tried and I'm super impressed.

The Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder aims to enhance the hold of your makeup for 16 hours. It's a translucent powder which is packed with SPF30. It's incredibly fine and it comes with a powder puff for application. The first time I used it with the powder puff and it was just too messy. I swapped for a brush and I've got on with it much better. You just dip your brush into the powder and then tap it against the lid to remove excess. You then sweep across your face and you're good to go!

It's made to work with the Dermablend Corrective Foundations but I've actually used it over a few different foundations and it's been effective. It has no fragrance and it is completely invisible on the skin. It ensures smudge and water resistant finish all day long, which is perfect for miserable winter weather. It leaves your skin looking matt and natural, not a cakey finish in sight! It's been allergy tested and it's suitable for sensitive skin! 

I've used this on it's own, with no other setting powder or sprays and my makeup has survived all day. That's including being out in the rain, commuting by train and a full day at work. If you're planning to treat yourself to this, you can pick it up at Escentual and save 1/3 until Friday! It makes it £11.33 a pot which is incredible value for money!

Beauty Wish List


Being a blogger and an avid reader of beauty blogs, my beauty wish list tends to fill up pretty quickly. I keep a notebook with me at all times and so when I see something I like, or read a good review, I jot it down. Every now and then I sift through the list and get rid of anything I no longer I want. These are the items that made the latest cut!

It's quite a heavy nail polish post, there are so many polishes I want at the moment. My biggest love is the Essie Anchors Aweight set, it's such a cute duo of blue polishes. I've also heard such great reviews of the Revlon Gel Envy polishes, the colour options are beautiful! Another Essie favourite is Sole Mate, it's a stunning burgundy which is perfect for Autumn.

I cannot get over how beautiful the Illamasqua Metallix packaging is, it's beautiful! I really want the colour 'courtier'. I've mentioned Real Techniques Nics Picks more than once on this blog and I still feel like I need them in my collection. I love the style of the brushes and the colour scheme!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Formula X For Sephora in the shade Continuum, $10 (here)

I've listened to bloggers rave about Formula X polishes for a long, long time. So when my friend went across the pond, it's no surprise that one of them was on my wish list. I asked Amber to bring me back a sky blue shade, as my love for blue polish has been unstoppable recently. She picked me up the shade Continuum, it's part of the 'New Classics' range. Of course I now completely understand the hype with these polishes, they are incredible. The pigmentation, the formula and the staying power are so on point! 

They come in a swish bottle with a gorgeous white lid. The light lid comes off to reveal a standard nail polish lid which is easy to use and makes application a dream.

The polishes are three-free and formulated without parabens. The only problem is that you need to go to America or somewhere in Europe to pick them up. Sephora, please come back to the UK! 

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Tarte Pin Up Girl Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush Palette, $42

Until now I only had one of the Tarte Amazonian Clay blushers and I love it, everything about it is just beautiful! The colour, the formulation, the pigmentation, the staying power, the packaging, I love it all. So when I saw this Sephora exclusive I knew that I had to have it! The Tarte Pin Up Girl Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush Palette is part of the Christmas 2014 collection and it was love at first sight. 

The palette features five Amazonian Clay blushers, incased in a parisian-inspired gold palette. The palette has a glittery exterior, which is decorated with two hair slides. The colours in the palette are all brand new shades, which is great as it means you won't get any collection doubles. The colours are; 'Breathless' which is a beige with a hint of pink, 'Embraced' which is a plum rose, 'Whimsy' which is a light pink, 'Bashful' which is a peach shade and 'Irreplaceable' which is a mauve shade. I didn't have the heart to stick my fingers in and swatch this, but you can see swatches at Temptalia here.

Normally the full sized blushers from Tarte are 0.2oz and each of these are 0.15oz. So they are decent sized blushers, not tiny little samples. 

It's quite a bulky palette and the decoration isn't exactly the sleek, black packaging I tend to admire, but I can let it go for the beauty of this! It's definitely a little different to the packaging we tend to see these days, but it's still pretty! This is one incredible palette, it's priced at $42, which is pricey but not horrendous with the exchange rate. Its perfect for Tarte fans or even people who are new to the brand! This literally has me weak at the knees, it's stunning and I know a lot of beauty junkies will want it!



Saturday, 25 October 2014



Zoella Beauty; Blissful Mistful (£8) and Let's Glow (£5)

I was so happy when I heard that Zoella was releasing her own range of products. For some reason I never expected it to be a range of 'pamper products'. I was pleasantly susprised as it makes a nice change from makeup launches! It does of course make total sense, that this bath and candle loving girl would make her own range. 

The packaging of the whole collection is right up my street, I LOVE the simplicity of the whole range. It's teamed with an amazing colour scheme and some super cute polka dots which feature throughout. 

Naturally the whole range sold out super quickly, but I did manage to get my hands on two items when they were restocked online at Superdrug. I went for the two items that I knew I'd enjoy the most. The Blissful Mistful Body Mist and the Let's Glow Fragranced Candle. I'll be quite honest and admit that I wasn't sure if I'd like these products, they are obviously aimed at young teenagers and I thought they might just be too sweet for me. However they are gorgeous!

The body mist is a sweet scent with a floral base, it's actually quite a strong scent. I could smell it on my skin for quite a while after spraying it, which is great for a body mist. I'm actually a huge fan of the scent, I can see me using this for work as a great 'everyday' perfume! The perfume is actually pink in colour which looks great in the clear bottle with the rose gold lid. The blurb for this actually says that it's enriched with Vitamin E and fruit extracts! It comes in a generous 45ml bottle too, which is fab value for money!

The candle comes in a super cute tin, you just pop off the lid and it reveals a simple white candle. I haven't burnt the candle yet, but it's going to be first on my list when we move house. (My in-laws don't like scented things in their house) It does however smell beautiful, it's a different scent to the body spray, it's a bit lighter and more woody. Zoe says 'This cute and calming candle will help you free your mind with its gentle blend of white wood accents, sweet vanilla and soft floral notes.'

The best part about this whole range is that it's super cheap! It's definitely been made so that the demographic of her viewers can afford it, which is just lovely. The body mist is £8 and the candle is £5! I'm sure a lot of young girls will be requesting this for their stockings this Christmas, as well as the older ladies like me too!

The whole range is available at Feel Unique, as well as Superdrug online and in Superdrug stores.

Friday, 24 October 2014






It's been a long time since I shared a restaurant post. I suppose it's actually been a long time since I've eaten out. Before I went to America, Amber and I headed to one of my favourite restaurants; Zaza. We tend to go to the one in Harpenden, but they have lots of different places dotted around. So it's well worth checking out if there are any restaurants near you.

Amber and I always go to Zaza for lunch as they have incredible lunch menus that are really good value for money. They are set menus with about 5-10 choices available for each course. They also have a special Sunday menu which features different items. This time I went for the Bruschetta to start; a mix of tomatoes, garlic, basil & rocket on toasted crostini. It was amazing and the tomatoes were super fresh and tasty! For main course I had Conchiglioni con Pollo; which is giant pasta shells filled with chicken, pesto & toasted pine nuts, with a cream & white wine sauce. Holy moly, this was amazing, it's the type of thing dreams are made of (if this is your thing). We branched out and also had dessert, I normally have Tiramisu, but I went for something different. This time I chose Cherry Yoghurt Semifreddo Torte; which is frozen yoghurt on a toffee biscuit base topped with wild cherries. This was very sour but very tasty! 

Two courses cost £14.90 on a Sunday and £9.90 Monday - Saturday, which is a bargain! 

This restaurant is one of the best italian places I've ever been too. In fact I think it's probably my favourite Italian restaurants of all time. Everything I have always tastes amazing and it's such good value for money.

Thursday, 23 October 2014




ASOS East West Pocket Tote Bag

I've been on the look out for a new bag for quite a while as my normal bag is far too small. I wanted something big enough to chuck my macbook in when I travel, and something big enough to pack all my stuff in when I commute to work by train. 

I don't go to mad when it comes to handbags, I like something classic but pretty. It needs to be something that will match most of my outfits and it needs to be practical. I fell in love with the ASOS East West Tote Bag. 

It fits all my criteria for bags, it's black in colour and has beautiful gold details. It has one opening with closes with a zip and it has two pockets inside. One of the pockets can be zipped up and one of them is just open. It also has two pockets on the outside, which are perfect for your phone, or for anything you want within easy reach.

The bag is such a good size too, it can fit my macbook, headphones, ipad, notebook, lunch box, purse and even a couple of magazines! The pockets inside are perfect for my passport and pens when I was on the plane and it kept everything safe to and from America!

What do you look for when you buy handbags?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014



Life
This week has flown by! I cannot believe how quickly it went! I had a really busy calendar at work and I thought it was going to drag. My cold has finally gone which is such a good feeling! I went on a bit of a vitamin c diet, drinking lots of lemon water and fresh orange juice. It actually worked, of course I have no idea if it was a coincidence, but I'm happy to believe it was the vitamin c. You probably don't need me to tell you that the weather has been a bit rubbish this week, which has made my 50 mile commute a bit longer than normal. It took as 2 hours to get home on Monday, the roads were completely water logged and the traffic was at a standstill! 

I spent my weekend looking at flat stuff, we were first picking out skirting boards and then we picked out wood flooring. This is as exciting as weekends get at the moment! Although we did have a cheeky breakfast out on Saturday morning, we went to Simmons for a fry up which was lovely.

Shopping
It's been a very quiet week on the shopping front, I nearly made it a whole week without buying something. That was until I spotted the Essie polishes at Fragrance Direct! They have loads of stock again and they are all only £2.50. I only bought 4 in the end, but I originally had 10 in my basket! If you fancy picking up a couple, you can click hereMy Ciate Mini Manor advent calendar did arrive though, it's going to be a long old wait until December 1st. 

Blog
There has been a few different posts live this week. I couldn't resist the new Glitterati Collection from Barry M and I bought 'Fashion Icon' - I swatched and reviewed it yesterday if you're interested (click here). It's Glossybox time again and on Monday I shared my review (click here). I shared my favourite cream eyeshadows on Sunday, I was quite proud of this post, I had a moment of inspiration (click here)! Finally, if you like reading hauls, you might want to check out my post from Saturday (click here) - I did some serious damage in Sephora. 

If you're a bit of a foodie, or just like baking, I shared my recipe for Tiffin this week. It's super quick and really yummy! Click here to make your own

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Barry M Fashion Icon from the new Glitterati collection, £3.99 (here)

I've seen the new Glitterati in a couple of blog posts recently and I fell in love with it. Barry M say: "The new Glitterati collection will make you feel like a glittering, glistening Princess"

So when I nipped to Boots I went straight to the Barry M stand. Although it was tempted to buy the whole collection, I was good and opted for just one shade. The shade I went for is 'Fashion Icon' which is a stunning purple colour. This collection is just beautiful, the swatch really does not do it justice. These polishes are beautiful jelly based nail polishes packed with glitter. They give a duochrome effect, giving flecks of blue and purple shades in different lights. The pigmentation is really strong, you get a really great colour with just two coats and a top coat. I prefer to put a purple shade underneath though, because you then get a huge depth of colour and it looks really impressive.

The jelly base makes the formula quite thick but it's still really easy to use. You can apply it thick or thin and it dries really quickly. I was actually really shocked how quickly this dries, it makes for a really impressive finish super quickly!

I'm wearing this on my nails this week and I've had so many compliments, it's really pretty and perfect for this time of year! 


Monday, 20 October 2014


So this month's Glossybox is the 'Pop Art Collectors Edition' and is packaged in a rather impressive, pop art inspired, box. It's always nice to have something a little bit different isn't it? In this months box, everyone received 6 items with 4 promised to be full sized. 


There was no other theme for the box, but this month Glossybox have switched to 'paperless product cards'. Instead of their cardboard inserts, this month everyone got sent a link with the products they have inside. Except my link didn't actually arrive and I had to email customer services to have it resent, but we got there in the end. You can click here to see my link. Glossybox say that they are trying this in a bid to be more eco friendly, but I suspect it's a money-saving activity. I don't really have any strong opinions about it, as my cards end up being recycled straight out the box! 

Lets have a look what I got inside my October box!

First up we have the Nuxe Creme Fraiche Beaute Mask
I'm a big fan of face masks so I'll definitely be trying this out. It claims to give you 24 hours of moisture. You just apply it once or twice a week and leave it on for 10 minutes. You can run in the excess to make sure it absorbs into the skin. You can even keep it in the fridge to give it a more refreshing effect. This is a full sized product from a well-known brand, worth £19.50. Great item! You can visit Nuxe & buy the product by clicking here.

Next up is the Etre Belle Cosmetics Liplift Peel
This product is a Lip Exfoliator which removes dead cells and new soft lips. This is great for the winter time as we all know that our lips can get quite chapped! You apply a small amount to the lips in circular motions and then remove the product with a damp cotton pad! I've never tried anything like this before, I've also never heard from the brand. Glossybox say this is another full sized item worth 
€12.95.

So Susan Cosmetics Flutter Mascara 
Glossybox obviously have a good deal with So Susan at the moment as we seem to constantly get their products in boxes. The sad thing is that they never impress me which is always a waste. I've never tried a mascara from them though so you never know! This mascara claims to give you the 'darkest, curviest lashes possible'. I normally look for volume rather than curl in a mascara, but I'll give it a go. This is the third full sized item, retailing for £14.95.
Ciaté London Paint Pot
I love Ciaté, in fact I just ordered their Christmas advent calendar and I cannot wait for it to get here. I was a bit peeved to have recieved a white nail polish, but fellow bloggers tell me you can get a lot of use out of this. I'll give it a whirl, but I'm not sure how convinced I'll be! This is the last full sized item in my box, but it's worth £9. 
Ciaté have great pigmentation, formula and staying power!

Yves Rocher France Quelques Notes D'amour
Yet another brand that beauty box companies keep sending us again and again. I really liked the little nail polish from this brand a couple of boxes ago. This is a perfume scented with 'damascus rose, guaiac wood and patchouli'. 

Last in the box is a sample of the Rimmel London BB Cream Matte
I actually bought a full size tube of this months ago and I haven't got round to trying it! Rimmel say this is a 9-in-1 BB cream with 'kaolin, witch hazel and salicylic acid'. I love trying Rimmel products so I'll definitely try this out! The formula sounds perfect for winter time!

This box isn't too shabby but I've fed up of seeing the same brands again and again! Especially when they never seem to impress with the products were sent. That said, I'll definitely try all the products and report back. At least there are 6 products here and I'll give all of them a go!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

(Clockwise from the pink one) Maybelline Pink Gold, MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Bare Study, Maybelline On and On Bronze, Stila Kitten and Maybelline Eternal Gold

Cream eyeshadows are a staple in my eyeshadow routine and over the years I've established quite the collection. So today I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you.

Maybelline 'Pink Gold', 'Eternal Gold' and 'On and On Bronze'
My initial love for cream eyeshadows was sparked by the Maybelline Color Tattoos. These little pots bought cream eyeshadows to the high street. Retailing at just £4.99, they are something everyone can afford. There are a huge range of colours but my all time favourite is Eternal Gold, a rich gold shade which is perfect for the festive season. Also in my collection is 'Pink Gold'. A pigmented pink shade which is great alone but perfect for pairing with the Naked 3 palette. Last but not least is 'On and On Bronze' - this little pot can give you a smokey eye in seconds with none of the work.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Bare Study
I only have one of the MAC Paint Pots so when I bought it I decided to choose something I could wear to any occasion. Again the quality of this bad boy is fantastic and it looks great on it's own. I love to layer it with lashings of my Illamasqua pressed pigment. They are three times the price of the Maybelline alternative but the quality is definitely a step up. They also come in a bit nicer packaging!

Stila 'Kitten'
Kitten is one of those 'cult' shades and it's made by Stila. A lot of people have complained about the formula of these but I'm a big fan. It's another everyday shade which looks great dressed up or left alone. The great thing about this is it's multi purpose, you can use it as an eyeliner, an eyeshadow or even a highlighter.

What are your favourite cream eyeshadows?

Saturday, 18 October 2014


Yep, something terrible happened to my bank account. A friend holidaying in America and me taking a business trip across the pond, led to bad items falling in my basket. I act all hard done by, but lets be honest, this is heaven. 

If you're eagle-eyed you'll notice a couple of items that I didn't actually pick up in Sephora. I headed to Target one evening in San Jose and picked up a couple of things. First up is the Maybelline 'The Nudes' palette, I hear that this is coming to the UK but I have no idea when. It only costs $10 in the US, so with the exchange rate it's as cheap as chips! The second thing is my first ever NYX blusher! You can get this in the UK but it can be quite difficult. This was only $5 which is like £3, super cheap!

On to the good stuff! Top of my very extensive list was the Tarte Rainforest Palette, I had been eyeing this up for ages. It's a limited edition palette featuring six eyeshadows, a highlighter, bronzer and a blusher. The internet makes this look really small but it's huge! This thing is heavenly! Because clearly two eyeshadow palettes are not enough, I went on to buy another two. This seems a lot worse when you reflect on your purchases afterwards. In my defence I have an eyeshadow addiction. Is that even a good defence? The Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con No.3 was next. I picked up the shade 'The Innocent' which is a set of three perfect shadows for a brown smokey eye! Last on the list is the very teeny Smashbox Full Exposure Palette in the travel edition. This one has eight shadows which is just perfect for travel! 

Moving swiftly on, it's time to talk about my second biggest purchase in the haul. The Tarte Pin Up Girl Blush Palette. Yep, this baby has FIVE of the Amanzonian clay blushers inside of it! When I saw it I couldn't resist and I knew this had to come home with me. I've been wanting some more of the blushers for ages and this is the perfect way to increase the collection. Keeping on the blusher bandwagon, I also picked up the Sephora Bronzed and Blushing Face Palette, this cute black number only costs $15 and has two Sephora blushers and a bronzer! 

We're reaching the final furlong on this haul now, with just two more items left to talk about. I couldn't resist the Laura Mercier Inner Artist Quartet which features four mini Laura Mercier products. There's a mini 'Eye Basics' in Wheat which is like a base eye colour. A baked eye shadow in Black Karat, a mini Universal Invisible Setting Powder and a mini fan brush. Last on the list is a Formula X nail polish, everyone and their wife raves about these! I went for my favourite colour which is a sky blue and it's so so pretty! 

I look at this blog post and feel a bit guilty, but then the joy of makeup sets in! ;) What's on your wish list for Sephora? What's the best item you've ever bought?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Look Fantastic Top Picks


It's a double whammy blog post day today. 

Tonight between 5pm and 10pm, Look Fantastic are offering you 15% off your order. All you need to do is fill you basket with lovely things, and at checkout add the code 'BEAUTYFACTOR'. It's a good excuse to treat yourself, or if you're really organised, to start your Christmas shopping!

I love Look Fantastic, they stock a whole load of my favourite items. I order quite a lot from them as I like the fact they have free delivery. When I heard about the deal I find myself creating quite the wish list. So I figured I'd share my top picks with you guys!  

First up I'd thought I'd share some of my 'holy grail' items from Look Fantastic. I don't actually know where I'd be without my Tangle Teezer, I use it every single day and it's great for curly hair. They've actually bought out a special Christmas version (here), which is a really cool colour. I recently reviewed my Taylor by Taylor Swift Rollerball (here), I think it's fantastic perfume and having this handy rollerball is great for travel! I love the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (here), it's such a good salt spray which leaves your hair looking gorgeous! My hairdresser was the first person that introduced me to the Tigi Superstar Queen For The Day Thickening Spray (here). It might have a crazy long name but this stuff is amazing! You spray it in your roots and your hair looks thicker and full of volume. If theres one thing you need in the winter months, it's a good setting spray. The range from Urban Decay (here) keeps your makeup looking good, whatever the weather.

On to the lusting.... I can't stop thinking about the Nics Picks set from Real Techniques (here), I love these limited edition sets and I love the colour combination of these. I LOVE the new design of the Nails Inc polishes that have been made with Alexa. I love the new bottle design and the colours are beautiful! This shade is perfect for Autumn and would look great with glitter over the top. When I saw this LA Love NARS set (here), I think my heart skipped a beat. I love every item in the set which is really rare. It would make an amazing gift! I don't think there has ever been a year when I've loved the Benefit Christmas sets as much as this year. It's hard to pick which ones I actually want!
So Susan Concealer Quad, £16.95

When I first saw this little quad of concealers I was quite excited! I thought the whole idea of it was really good and it would be fabulous as the seasons changed and my skin changed colour. However the execution of this product is a bit of a let down!

The quad comes in quite a cute sophisticated box, it has sweet illustrations on the box and it has pretty gold detailing which makes it feel quite expensive. However, when you take it out of the box, you come across a cheap plastic packaging. The stickers even stuck on the packaging straight, which may sound picky, but I think it matters.

Sometimes a product can look rubbish on the outside, but impress when you come to use it. However, for me the disappointment kept coming. The product is very thick and has quite a plastic texture to it. When you manage to work it onto the skin it's very dry and hard to work with. 

For me this product does not justify the price tag, there are a whole host of impressive products that don't cost £17! Have you tried this product? Did you like it? 

Thursday, 16 October 2014


I can't believe I've never shared my Tiffin Recipe on my blog before! When I lived in Southampton I used to make it all the time. It's been probably 18 months since I last made it, but I got a bit of a craving this weekend. 

The Recipe
The best bit about Tiffin is that it's completely personal, you can make it exactly how you want it! Start with , 100g of butter, 2 tablespoons of golden syrup, 2 tablepoons of sugar and 4 teaspoons of coco powder. Simply heat the mixture in a saucepan until it's all melted together, you then add this to your dry ingredients.

You simply start with 250g of digestive biscuits and then you add whatever you want to! We chose cherries, raisins, hazelnuts, marshmallows and white chocolate. Mix the wet ingredients and the dry mixture together in bowl and then lay in a tray. You want to line this tray with some greaseproof paper otherwise it will stick. Put a layer of melted chocolate over the top and then chill in the fridge for 2 hours. You then just cut into chunks and serve!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014



Life
I've been battling a cold this week and feeling a bit sorry for myself. In all fairness everyone at work seems to be ill too, so I think most people are feeling a bit worse for wear. I think I've managed to get over jet lag now, which is definitely a good thing. There is nothing worse than feeling knackered all the time. I had a lovely weekend which just consisted of me having two PJ days! I definitely need the R&R this weekend so I'm a happy girl.

The flat is coming along nicely and I'm really happy with the way things are going. It looks like were definitely going to be spending Christmas in our new home which makes me excited. It means we get to finally buy a huge Christmas tree, when we lived in Southampton we had a teeny tiny one, which looked a bit ill! It only cost us like £10 which is all our student budget could afford at the time! I'm not sure where we're going to buy it form so if you have any recommendations let me know! 

Shopping
It's been a bit quiet on the shopping front which is good for my bank balance. However, I did cash in some of my Boots points on Friday! I picked up three gifts from Boots Christmas range, which I'm going to review for you guys! I did make one cheeky purchase thought, a half price Ciate advent calendar! 

Blog
This week was really exciting as I reached 1000 published posts! I've noticed the number getting close for quite a while and I posted #1000 on Monday! My blog also reached 3 years old on the 9th, so it's a bit of a double whammy! I posted about my blog story on Monday, so if you fancy reading it, click here.

I've posted reviews of some really fantastic products recently! There's the John Frieda Unwind Curls Creme, the Daisy Dream perfume and the More Brows Thickening Gel. I also dedicated a whole post to my favourite highlighters. I'm a bit of a highlighter addict, but you can read about my top five here

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Look Fantastic Beauty Box, £15.

I was so impressed by the September Look Fantastic Beauty Box, that I preordered October's straight away. This actually arrived whilst I was away in California, so it's taken me a while to get round to opening it and reviewing it. This month I received 7 products, all of good sample size, which is amazing. Lets talk about what's inside:

LOreal Proffesional Serie Expert Pro-Keratin Refill range: Shampoo and Masque

I've actually never spotted the 'Serie Expert Pro-Keratin Refill' range before but it sounds really interesting. It's designed to leave your hair feeling nourished and protected, strengthening weak or damaged hair. The shampoo is designed to be deeply cleansing to remove product residue but also leave your hair super shiny. The Masque is designed to give your hair a boost of strength, making it more 70% resistant to breakage.

KMS California Free Shape Quick Blow Dry
I've seen a lot about this product but it's again something I've never tried. This product says that it can speed up hair drying time by 50%. It's supposed to reduce friction but condition your hair at the same time. My hair actually dries very quickly and is really easy to manage, however my sister-in-law has very thick and unruly hair. So I'm going to give it to her to try! 

Balance Me Facial Expression Filler 
This product from Balance Me aims to do exactly what the name suggests. It works to firm, lift and refine skin to give you a more youthful look. It is packed with some amazing ingredients too; Rose, Frankincense and Bergamot and even Hyraluronic Acid! You just add a small amount to fine lines before applying your makeup!

This Works Sleep Pillow Spray Plus

We actually got a bottle of the original Pillow Spray by This Works in the first box. However this time we received Pillow Spray Plus! Its been reformulated to work faster and more effectively than the original.

I'm not sure if I've ever used a Korres product before but I know I've always wanted too! This smells divine! It's going to be amazing for waking me up on dark sleepy mornings! The shower gel has a creamy-foam texture which claims to leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated! 

Gatineau Paris Collagene Expert Ultimate Skin Soothing Cream
This is another brand I've never been able to try before! This product is a very pricey cream which would always be well out of my price range. It's both a day and a night cream which you can use on freshly cleaned skin. It aims to give you younger and smoother skin!

What I love about this beauty box is that all the products are best selling items from Look Fantastic. They've been carefully selected and all the brands are well loved by thousands of people. There are no weird and wonderful items, I feel like I can trust everything that is inside, which means I'm not scared to try things!

The box retails for £15, which is a bit more pricey than the others on the market. However, I do think it's well worth it, as you get more products and bigger sample sizes. You can pre-order November's box here.

Monday, 13 October 2014



I’ve been quite excited for some time, as I recently noticed that I was about to pass 1000 blog posts! Yes, 1000 published blog posts on this very site! It seems like such a big number and I’m so proud to have reached it. Better yet, on the 9th of October I also passed my 3rd year blogging! It’s like a double celebration!

For a long time I told myself I was going to start blogging. I kept trying and failing, never sticking to the goal! On the 9th October 2011, I decided to start ‘Hope, Freedom, Love’. It was a place for me to share my thoughts and just little comments about life.  The name of my blog really represented my thoughts and aspirations of the time! I was mid-degree full of hope for my future and dreaming of an amazing career. I was living away from home and realising the freedom that I’d desired for a long time. Of course, I was also loving every minute of it. Chris and I had just moved in to our first home together and everything seemed so magical!

The blog took a bit of a change in January 2012, when I posted my very first blog post about beauty. It was about my love for high street nail polish, detailing my favourite brands.  From there on I was addicted to writing about beauty! I was a girl at University with very little money to spend. I loved writing about cosmetics that were cheap but great quality. Going into Superdrug and spending £4 on an MUA eye shadow palette was a real luxury for me! I never dreamt back then that I could have a makeup collection like the one I’m lucky enough to have now. Still, I like to think my goal hasn't changed. I like finding good value products, just with a little luxury thrown into the mix!

I’m really happy to have stuck to blogging for the last three years. It’s something I really enjoy and it gives me a release from everyday life. It’s my little hobby and my obsession with the beauty industry just keeps growing. I’ve gone from odd posts every now and then, to blogging every single day. I have a schedule and I make sure I have a new post every day at 7am! It’s just a joy to have this little space on the internet!

The best part is, that sometimes other people enjoy reading this blog too! Whether you’re a follower of this blog, or just stumbled across my blog for the first time; thank you! If you’ve ever left a comment, or replied to one of my tweets; thank you! Thank you for your constant support! 


Thanks for stopping by and sharing this little blog journey with me!
 
© Copyright 2016 - Stephanie Usher - Beauty Blog