Wednesday, 30 September 2015

My picks of the Allure 'Best Of Beauty' Winners

I absolutely love the Allure Best Of Beauty Awards, I know it sounds silly, but I’m a big fan. I patiently wait all year for them to be released and I love reading all about the winners. I always go to the USA around this time of year with work, so I pick up the special award issue of the magazine and it becomes a beauty bible for me for the rest of the year. With all this in mind, I thought it would be fun to share with you my pick of this year’s winners. So, here are the winning products from Allure, which also get the Hope, Freedom, Love seal of approval! 

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick (Winner of Best Black Cream Shadow)
Whilst I don’t have the Tuxedo shade that won the award, these Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks are some of favourites. It was actually the first Laura Mercier product that I ever tried and it was a great place to start! They are a beautiful water resistant formula and they glide onto the skin beautifully. The eyeshadow stick is quite thin, which makes it easy to apply without making a mess.

Benefit Gimme Brow (Winner of Best Brow Groomer)
I bought Benefit's Gimme Brow pretty much as soon as it launched, which was a big deal for me at the time as I did not have many ‘high end’ products. Luckily I’ve never looked back! It’s got a tiny little spooley brush, which gives you great precision for getting the tinted gel through your brows. The colour matches my browns perfectly and it’s fantastic for travelling as the bottle is tiny! It also lasts forever, I’ve not no idea how long I’ve actually had this in my collection, but it’s survived for a long time!

Rimmel London ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Stick (Winner Of Best Brown Cream Shadow)
Bootleg Brown took the crown for this award, but I happen to be a fan of the whole range. The ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Sticks are beautiful cream shadows which are super soft. You can easy get in quite a mess if the formula gets too warm! However, with a light hand these shadows create a gorgeous eyeshadow look with very little effort!

Clinique Chubby Stick (Winner of Best Lip Crayon)
Hype follows the Clinique Chubby Sticks wherever they go and it’s totally justified. These balms give you a sheer wash of colour in a whole heap of colours. What I love about these is that you don’t need a mirror to apply, which makes it a perfect on-the-go product. I’m a big fan of the shade ‘Super Strawberry’. 

L’Oreal Mythic Oil (Winner of Best Oil For Thick Hair)
This has been a favourite of mine for so long! It lives on my dressing table and I use it whenever my hair needs a little extra life. You just put a couple of pumps through your hair and it keeps your hair frizz free, whilst adding lots of shine! When I first got this I was really worried this would make my oily hair more greasy, but it doesn't! It's multi-use too, you can use it before drying or a finishing touch! I cannot wait to try this!

Real Techniques Blush Brush (Winner of Best Bronzer Makeup Brush)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; you don’t have to use brushes the way they are marketed. The Real Techniques Blush Brush is PERFECT for bronzer and I’ve always used it for such. So I’m so excited that Allure have given it the Best Bronzer Makeup Brush award, as it’s fabulous! It picks up the right amount of pigment and the fluffy brush makes blending simple.

St. Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan Lotion (Winner of the Breakthrough Beauty Award)
I’m someone who is completely scared of fake tan! I’m really pale and it’s just never worked for me – until this! I picked this up as soon as it launched and I fell in love. It was the perfect way for a tan-phobe to prepare for her summer holiday and I was completely chuffed. It’s a bit of a faff as you have to turn the shower off and get a bit chilly, but it’s well worth! 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea

It's no secret that I love Afternoon Tea! So when Chris surprised me with a voucher for the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea whilst in Bath, I was pretty chuffed!

The best bit is that you do not have to book this Afternoon Tea, you just turn up in store. The lovely ladies inside the Bath Patisserie Valerie asked us to take a seat at any table we like and we were swiftly offered drinks. Controversially, feeling a bit tired, we both actually opted for coffee! I'm so glad I did though, as I had a latte and it was actually one of the best I've ever had. There was a short wait for food and then the traditional Afternoon Tea tower arrived. 

We had five little finger sandwhiches each, which varied slightly from the menu, but were still all really nice. They are fresh, moist and each had a fair amount of filling inside. We also each had a little mini quiche each, which is something a little different and it was actually warm which was lovely! On the next layer up we had four WARM scones, two plain and two with raisins. I've been to some pretty posh Afternoon Tea places and even they served cold scones, so warm scones were a pleasant surprise. The scones were accompanied by two pots of jam (one strawberry and one raspberry) and a large pot of clotted cream. On the top layer we had an assortment of mini cakes; two chocolate eclairs, victoria sponge cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake and fruity mousse cake. All of which were delicious and left us wishing for seconds. 

The Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea is being served in lots of stores and it seems to be getting some pretty mixed reviews depending on where you eat. Some people seem to be getting a variety of different levels of service and standard of food, so I was a little disheartened. Although, I have to say from the minute we walked into Patisserie Valerie Bath we were really impressed. When you consider that this Afternoon Tea only costs £25, I was pretty damn impressed by the quality of the food. It's even better value when you grab a voucher from Amazon Local for only £19, it's honestly a great Afternoon Tea and it doesn't break the bank.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Protect Your Eyes Through Winter With Eucerin

Eucerin is a brand that is more than 100 years old, they pride themselves on pioneering science and innovation in skincare, and it’s not something they plan on stopping anytime soon. With winter fast approaching, our skin is about to feel the effects of the cold. Most of us will start experiencing dehydrated skin that lacks moisture and plumpness. Luckily dehydrated skin, as opposed to dry skin, is only a temporary condition, which can be fixed. With this in mind, Eucerin have launched their new AQUAporin ACTIVE range - it is clinically proven to moisturise skin, whilst not aggravating sensitive skin.

As you may know, the skin around our eyes is particularly sensitive. This definitely shows for me through the winter months! My eyes tend to water a lot it, which means the cold gets to the areas around my eyes, making it really quite sore and red. Enter the AQUAporin ACTIVE Revitalising Eye Cream*... 

I’ve actually not tried many eye creams (I know I should experiment but it’s something I always forget to do) and it takes a lot for an eye cream to really interest me. The Revitalising Eye Cream from Eucerin, aims to do all the normal things an eye cream should. It fight signs of tiredness (dark circles, puffiness and fine lines) whilst providing moisture, leaving your eyes looking fresher and more awake. The eye cream comes in a small tube, which has very plain and simple packaging. You unscrew the lid to reveal a metal applicator tip, which (sadly) got me pretty excited, as a lot of brands have been experimenting with this type of applicator. 

To use the Revitalising Eye Cream, you simply apply it around your eye contour after cleansing. You can use it both in the morning and in the evening, as it leaves a great base for you to apply your makeup. It feels like a combination between a cream and a gel, you just need to work it into the eye area and it soaks away. A little bit goes a long way, which is great as it means this tube should last quite a long time!

It’s obviously pretty difficult to assess the results of an eye cream, as many of them won’t show true results for a long time. Although, what I can say is that my eyes have definitely looked fresher and brighter since using this. It's also doing a good job of protecting the skin around my eyes from the cold. However, what I love the most is the metal applicator, it feels incredibly cooling on the skin and it feels amazing as you apply it around the eye contour. The cooling effect definitely helps wake me up in the morning and it also helps my eyes feel fresher once I’ve removed my makeup at night.

The AQUAporin ACTIVE Revitalising Eye Cream is available now and it only retails for £15.50 (and it's actually only £14 with Escentual)! I think that’s a price point that everyone can afford and it’s honestly a worthwhile investment to help you through winter. You can pick it up from Escentual, Boots and Look Fantastic. 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Mint For Life | Maybelline NOTD

It's Sunday which means it's time for another NOTD. Now, I resisted another mint NOTD for quite a long time, but I really wanted to share this stunning polish with you all. 

The Maybelline Super Stay nail polishes have a pretty good reputation in the blogging community. Yet despite my rather large collection of nail polishes, I've never tried something from the Super Stay line. The polishes come packaged in a square (ish) bottle, finished with a long white lid. The brush inside is amazing as it has a perfect and precise curved tip, which is my kind of nail polish heaven.

Mint For Life is a gorgeous colour, which isn't far from the world of Mint Candy Apple (and my kitchen walls). The formula itself is pretty thick and it's also pretty pigmented. Although despite the thick formula, I did still need to do three coats to get a perfect opaque wash of colour. It's so rare to find a mint green polish that does an opaque finish in fewer coats, the only brand that seems to succeed at this is the aforementioned Essie shade! Nevertheless, if you have the time, it's worth persevering with three coats, as this polish is pretty much half the price. I should also mention that this polish dries SO quickly; I'm talking touch-dry in roughly thirty seconds, which is impressive. 

I'm definitely going to try some other shades from the Maybelline Super Stay line. If Mint For Life tickles your fancy, you can pick it up from Superdrug or Boots for £4.49. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

B. Stunning Eye Shimmer

I'm doing my best to watch the pennies at the moment. So instead of splashing out in SpaceNK, I recently did a bit of shopping in Superdrug. I've wanted to find a few cheaper products that still perform and curb my beauty cravings. After being impressed by the B. whipped blusher, this time I'd thought I'd try an eyeshadow. What's great about B. is that they are a fairly new beauty brand, who is dedicated to making cruelty free and vegan friendly products, at a good price point!

The B. Stunning Eye Shimmer is a cream eyeshadow that promises a luxury, intense, metallic finish. It comes in pretty traditional packaging for cream shadow, featuring a little pot finished with a black lid. The packaging is clear which lets the gorgeous colour of the shadow shine through.

Despite the name, when I ordered the B. Stunning Eye Shimmer, I never expected the product to be as good as it claims. I was pretty stuck with what colour to choose and in the end I settled for the shade 'Dusk Till Dawn' which is a pinky mauve shade. It's an utterly gorgeous product (I mean check out that swatch - it's beautiful)! The texture of the shadow is gorgeous too, it feels somewhere between a cream and a mousse. The pigmentation stunning and you literally just need to dip your finger lightly to get what you need. You can use it in a variety of ways, from inner corner highlights to eyeliner. However, being the drama queen that I am, I like to go all out and wear it all over the lid! 

The best part is that the B. Stunning Eye Shimmer pots are only £6.99 (I actually picked mine up for £3.50 on offer) which makes them a total bargain. You can buy the B. Stunning Eye Shimmer eyeshadows from Superdrug, in selected stores and online. I've now got my eye (terrible joke) on the shade 'Moonshine', it looks like a stunning metallic silver, which is perfect for Autumn trends. 


Friday, 25 September 2015

Inside My Sample Drawer: Soapy Suds

The latest series on Hope, Freedom, Love is ‘Inside My Sample Drawer’. It’s dedicated to providing mini reviews on the samples that have been clogging up my makeup stash. So once a week, I'll be sharing a cute miniature fresh from my sample drawer and sharing my first impressions of the product. Today I'm talking about the Bliss Spa Lemon + Sage Soapy Suds

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how rare it is to see bath related posts products on Hope, Freedom, Love. I'm a complete shower addict however, following a DIY related issue, our shower is completely unusable. So I've been able to clear out some of the samples in my 'bath time/relaxation time' drawer (yes my drawers have themes - I hope I'm not the only one). 

The Bliss Spa Lemon + Sage Soapy Suds is a dual purpose product, as it can be used both as a body wash and a bubbling bath. As you can imagine it has a citrus scent, but when it's paired with the sage, it adds something a little different to the mix. 

I have not used it as a body wash, but I have been enjoying pouring it under the tap as bubble bath. It does need a little bit of encouragement to make the bubbles, but once it gets going you have a bath full in no time. Bliss say that the Lemon + Sage Soapy Suds gives a 'stimulating soak' and they are right. Instead of feeling completely relaxed and sleepy, it leaves you awake and ready to face the day. It fills the room with a gorgeous citrus scent and it leaves your skin feeling soft too. 

Soapy Suds is packed with glycerin (to leave your skin feeling soft, hydrated and not prune-like), aloe (to smooth the skin) and Vitamin E (to moisturise the skin) and is formulated without Parabens. 

It's considered a spa product, so it's a bit more expensive that your standard bath product. However, at £16.00 for 475ml, it's not too horrendous and you pick it up from M&S! Bliss will actually have their Christmas gifts around soon and they are bound to have Soapy Suds included in the mix. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Thursday Tittle-Tattle #15

'Thursday Tittle Tattle', is a Hope, Freedom, Love blog series dedicated to breaking news of the beauty world. From time-to-time, Thursday’s blog post will be dedicated to news. I'll feature beauty and lifestyle news, events, discounts, and even a bit of fashion news thrown in too! Here are the things that caught my eye this week:

New Kale range from Nip + Fab
This new range has been in the pipeline for ages, so I’m excited that this range is now public! The new range from Nip + Fab contains the “superfood ingredient of the moment – KALE”. It creates a very gentle and nourishing range, which reinvigorates the skin with vitamins, whilst softening and hydrating dry skin. Nip + Fab say that the new range is ideal for dry or combination skin. Shop the new exciting range here.

Allure Magazine announce beauty winners
The Best Of Beauty awards began in 1996 with the aim of giving women the ultimate guide of what to buy. Every year since, Allure Magazine have collated their favourite beauty products for their Beauty Of Beauty Awards. The idea is to sort the clutter from the really great products. I wait patiently every single year for the release of the results and they are finally out! Read the results here.

The “Rimmel Revolution”
There was a lot of buzz last week as Rimmel announced the launch of their new lipstick range “The Only 1 Lipstick”. They say it will provide all day comfort, moisture and long-lasting colour. The lipstick will launch in 15 shades and the launch will include five new shades of their Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner. The lipsticks are launching at £6.99 on September 30th

Stila gives sneak peek at Christmas gifts
This weeks Christmas slot goes to Stila! They’ve announced their Christmas collection and they say it’s been inspired by ‘handwritten love letters’. What caught my eye is the M&S exclusive, which is the ‘Whole Lot Of Love Gift Set’ which will retail for £49. Inside the set there will be a palette of 20 eyeshadow shades, four blushers and their new ‘HUGE Extremem Lash Mascara. There is also a selection of smaller gifts, including the ‘Huge Than Huge Extreme Lash Duo’ which will retail for £15, making it a great stocking filler. The items will be available from October. 

Charlotte Tilbury launches the ‘Mini Miracle Eye Wand”

The new product from Charlotte Tilbury combats tired, dull and exhausted eyes. It aims to create the appearance of eight hours sleep, by covering dark circles, lines and bags. It brightens the eye contour and hydrates for that dewy finish. Shop the new product here.

M&S Annouce New Beauty Brands
Yesterday M&S announced that they've added a whole host of new brands to their beauty section. They now stock Barry M, Bourjois and Pixi - as well as all their other fantastic brands. Check out the new additions here.

Soap & Glory launches Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Plumping Gloss
These new glosses from Soap & Glory have a plumping formula and a natural plant oil infusion, creating a new smooth formula. There are seven new shades and they are available at Boots now for £9 each. Shop the new gloss here.

Tanya Burr announces MORE new products

Tanya Burr revealed via Instagram (here) this week that MORE products are on the way. The #TanyaBurrCosmetics line already has a whole host of items, but there are two more palettes being released on September 28th. The new ‘Bronze, Blush and Highlight’ palettes come in two shadesl Rosy Flush and Peachy Glow and will retail for £7.99. 

Latest In Beauty Heart Essentials Box
Another week, another exciting beauty box from Latest In Beauty. They’ve released another beauty box with Heart radio station. It’s priced at £17.99, worth £70 and includes products from Rimmel, Nuxe, Roger & Gallet and Dirty Works. Shop the new box here

Aveda launches at Look Fantastic
Good news if you’re an Aveda fan! Last week Look Fantastic announced that they are now stocking Aveda. So the brand will now be that little bit easier to get hold of and hopefully, we’ll be getting some good deals too! Shop Aveda here

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

My First Makeup Revolution Review - Peach Lights

Makeup Revolution has been making noise in the beauty industry for a while now, but it's taken me a long time to join in with the hype. If I'm honest, there was so much noise that it left me feeling a bit confused. There are SO many products and I literally had no idea where to start! So instead of diving into the products, I waited it out until I decided what I actually wanted to try.

Fast forward a few months and I'm taking delivery of a little Superdrug order. Included in the box is the Makeup Revolution Highlighter in Peach LightsI can NEVER resist a highlighter, they are practically my biggest weakness (well after eyeshadow palettes). I've eyed up this highlighter on several occasions, both on Instagram and in blog reviews. It's utterly gorgeous to look at and I've spent many a minute swooning over it.

When it arrived I was actually surprised at how big it was, for some reason I imagined it to be much smaller, so I was that was a nice surprise. It comes packaged in a round black compact, which has a clear lid, letting the product shine through the top. It doesn't feel like a high end product but it certainly doesn't feel cheap either, which also shocked me! It's a baked formula which is fairly traditional for highlighters, but it basically has NO fallout, which is really impressive for a cheap product. 

I've now played with this product quite a lot and what I particularly love about this highlighter is that it's not overly glittery. When I opened it, I did a little swatch and I expected it to be like a mirrorball. However it's just a really nice subtle glow on the skin, it really gives you that 'glowing from within' look. I take it on my Real Techniques Contour Brush and sweep it over my cheekbones. I also like to take some on an eyeshadow brush to wear under my brow bone, it's a really natural look. A little goes a long way too, so I have no idea how I'm ever going to finish this huge compact!

When you consider the Peach Lights Highlighter retails for £3, you really can't go wrong! It's so pretty and it's a great addition to anyone's makeup bag. Pick it up from Superdrug or the Makeup Revolution website. 


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

My Little Fashion Box

My Little Box still remains as the only beauty box that I’m currently subscribed too. All the others have well and truly fallen off my radar, but this box still arrives at my doorstep once a month. Oddly this months box seemed to take forever to arrive, I actually got a dispatch note 2 weeks before it actually got delivered. However, in my opinion it was well worth the wait, I’m so impressed.

This month’s box is named “My Little Fashion Box”, aiming to provide everything we need for the Fashion Week season. To quote the magazine in the box – it’s the fashion week that everyone is invited to (yay)! The box is literally full to the brim this month and we have a real array of beautiful items to play with. Lets start with the beauty items! 

There are four beauty items hiding in this months box. First up is the Effaclar K(+) treatment from La Roche Posay (£14 from Escentual). La Roche Posay is a brand I’ve fallen for over the last year, I love their products and my skin loves them too. The Effaclar K(+) treatment is your “official shine saviour” – an array of ingredients are packed inside to keep shine at bay all day. 

The second item in the box is from Kerastase, a brand that’s featured in My Little Box before. This time we have a little can of the Couture Styling Laque Noire (full size is £16 from Look Fantastic) – a super strong fixing spray. I’m really looking forward to trying this, not many products keep my full fringe looking good all day, but I hope this does!

This months product from ‘My Little Beauty’ is a lip colour. They say that it’s the ‘clingy type’ and it’s a product that just lasts and lasts! I’m not one for bold lip colours, but I’m definitely intrigued to see how well this would perform. They say it can “handle every kind of kiss” – interesting!

The last beauty item in the box is a little pack of nail decals from Alfa K. They are gorgeous decals which have blue detailing, which is right up my street! Alfa K say they are really easy to apply and they come off with ease with any nail polish remover. I know what I’m doing this weekend… 

If all that isn’t enough to tickle your fancy, there’s also two lifestyle items crammed into the box. The first is a gorgeous lightweight scarf, which I know I’m not going to take off all autumn. It’s a special limited edition scarf, in a gorgeous blue colour and it has the prettiest pattern. The second item is a little bottle of Cointreau and a book of cocktail ideas (of course paired with a reminder to drink responsibly! 

I cannot get enough of this box, I think the products are great, the brands are great and the little details once again, complete the box! I’m a very happy subscriber this month! My Little Box is a subscription service costing £11 a month, plus £3.95 P&P. Check out the website here:

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Invigorating Night Creme from Ole Henriksen

Trying the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Creme*, was not an opportunity I wanted to pass up, so I jumped at the chance. It’s a beautiful cream, which aims to re-texturise and renew your skin, by encouraging cell renewal and revealing smoother skin. You use it overnight on clean skin and it does all the hard work why you sleep. Sounds great right? As someone who cannot get away with a heavy moisturiser in the day, using something at night is the only chance I get to repair my skin. 

I love the packaging of Ole Henriksen products and the Invigorating Night Creme is no different. It comes in lovely jar, which feels (and looks) luxury. It has very clean packaging, paired with a bright green label. Which actually prompted my boyfriend to ask why I was putting a bright green product on my face. Fear not, when you unscrew the lid, it reveals a lovely rich white cream. The ingredients of the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Creme include glycolic, lactic and fruit acids, which all deeply penetrate the epidermis layer in your skin (which is why you should only use this product overnight). There is also Shea Butter (to soften and sooth your skin) and Vitamin C. 

I have quite greasy skin and I often worry about these kinds of products. As a lot of them can be quite heavy and thick, which tends to clog my pores. Luckily, there’s something really special about this product, which my skin loves. I was especially nervous as I was testing it following a horrendous breakout, but I honestly fell in love with it the first night I used it! It has provided me with incredible results, almost instantly, replenishing my skin from the previous breakout and not providing any new troubles.

The Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Crème feels utterly gorgeous on the skin! It soaks straight into the skin and it actually leaves my skin looking plumper almost instantly. There’s no greasy feeling, it’s just a very pleasant cream that disappears into the skin and leaves no residue. It feels like it pumps your skin with moisture, which is perfect for this time of year as it starts to get colder. It smells amazing too; it’s very fruity and fresh, which is always a bonus when it’s a product you sleep in! 

In the morning my skin looks visibly plumper, fresher and brighter, every single time I use it. Which is something I’ve certainly not experienced with many products! The moisture is still there in the morning too, which means you don’t wake up with that dry/tight skin feeling. 

The Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Creme is fairly pricey, with a £47 price tag for 50ml. However, I honestly think it’s a great investment for your skincare routine. A tiny little bit goes a long way, so I imagine that it will last a long time! The Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Crème is an exclusive to Escentual (here), who offer free delivery when you spend £30. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

A Quick Look at Lottie London | NOTD

Lottie London is a new beauty brand which launched earlier this year. It's quickly made it's way into blogs and shops, so I thought it was time to give it a whirl myself. Lottie London actually have a LOT to offer, they've got nail polishes, tattoo transfers, makeup brushes and lots of other accessories.

My starting point for any brand tends to be their nail polish. I find that testing nail polish basically takes no time at all, but it quickly gives you an indication of the quality of the brand. The 'Lottie Lacquer' range actually has 60 (yes 60!) nail polish formulas. Again they have a bit of everything from matte shades to shimmers to glitters! 

I hotfooted it to the Superdrug website and decided to pick up a nail polish. I ended up choosing 'As If, Blue' which is such a 'me' shade! Each of the Lottie Lacquers come with cute names and descriptions, for 'As If, Blue', Lottie London says; Dream of blue sky days with this light blue hue. The polish is really easy to apply and it dries really quickly. You can see by the swatch that the finish is really glossy and it really reflects the lights. It's quite a thin formula, so you do need two-three generous coats to get an opaque finish. I think the packaging is super cute too, I love the striped lid paired with the rectangle shaped bottles. These retail for £5.99, which I think is a fairly reasonable price for a nail polish these days.

Whilst I was there I couldn't resist this little pocket mirror, as I actually broke my last one on the way home from New York. If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know exactly why I was attracted to it - the colour! I love the mint green shade and I think the little quote on the back too. It's only £3.99 and it's the perfect addition to my little makeup bag when I travel! 

You can pick up Lottie London items from Superdrug and ASOS.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Products I've Recently Finished...

It's been a couple of months since my last empties post and for ONCE I have some different products to show you. I'm going to get straight down to business here, without any rambles and digressions! Here are the products I've recently finished:

Naked Skin Concealer by Urban Decay
This concealer is my concealer best friend, as it has great coverage for both dark circles and blemishes! It's got a lovely creamy consistency and it sits really well on my skin. The best part is that a little bit goes a long way! So although it's quite pricey compared to drugstore concealers, it lasts a long time. I've actually already repurchased this beauty, I cannot be without it!

Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation
This foundation is a old member of my stash and I only recently rediscovered it! Sadly I've now come to the end of it and i'm really missing it in my routine. It gives good coverage but it feels lightweight on the skin. I've not repurchased it just yet, but I don't think I'll be waiting much longer.

Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Hand & Nail Balm
These handbag-friendly hand creams from Roger & Gallet have the BEST formula! It's actually really which, but it's also mattifying. Which means it soaks straight into your skin and it you don't have greasy hands for the forseeable future. I actually had this hand cream proudly sitting on my desk at work and I ran through it! 

Essie Grow Stronger Top Coat
This is my go-to base coat and it has been for a long time! I use it every single time I paint my nails, which most of the time is 2-3 times a week. So it feels like it runs out so quickly, when actually I get a fair amount of use out of it. The last little bit actually goes gloopy, so I tend to bin it when I get near the bottom. My nails hate when I stop using this, the quality of them immediately drops! So there's no doubt this will be rejoining my stash soon. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Inside My Sample Drawer: bareSkin Foundation

The latest series on Hope, Freedom, Love is ‘Inside My Sample Drawer’. It’s dedicated to providing mini reviews on the samples that have been clogging up my makeup stash. So once a week, I'll be sharing a cute miniature fresh from my sample drawer and sharing my first impressions of the product. Today I'm talking about the innovative bareSkin foundation from bareMinerals

I originally got this little sample from a Sephora order and I honestly cannot believe how LONG this has sat in my drawer unloved. I was actually put off from trying it as it seemed to get some pretty love/hate reviews, so I was worried about trying it for work. 

The bareSkin foundation was launched last year and it was something the market had never seen before. It's a liquid, serum foundation which contains NO water at all! Still it has this ultra thin, silky texture which transforms your complexion. The foundation actually comes in a whopping 20 shades and it contains a non-chemical SPF 20. You literally just shake the bottle, put two drops onto a foundation brush and buff the product into the skin. It was actually released with a special foundation brush, but I just used my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. Once you've buffed it into the skin (which barely takes any time at all) it truly is undetectable and literally feels just like skin. It completely evens out your skintone and it makes your skin look flawless - all in just two drops! 

I was literally blown away! So blown away that I had to keep testing it, as I just did not believe the results I was seeing. You can just keep layering up the coverage, so if you feel two drops is not enough, you just add another couple of drops to a brush and apply it again. The layers seamlessly seem to bind together so if you want to, you can keep building it to be a full coverage foundation. 

I'm so glad that I finally just dug this out of my drawers and gave it a whirl because this stuff is fabulous! I'm not sure how long this little miniature will last me, but I'm definitely going to look into buying a full sized bottle. It's pretty pricey, but I happen to think it's worth the pennies! You can pick up the bareSkin foundation for £26 from Escentual here. They actually have a little kit which has the brush, a 45-day foundation sample and their Perfecting Viel - all for £29 here, which I'm equally tempted by

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Thursday Tittle-Tattle #14

'Thursday Tittle Tattle', is a Hope, Freedom, Love blog series dedicated to breaking news of the beauty world. From time-to-time, Thursday’s blog post will be dedicated to news. I'll feature beauty and lifestyle news, events, discounts, and even a bit of fashion news thrown in too! Here are the things that caught my eye this week:

Fleur de Force launches her own makeup line
The most exciting new this week comes from Fleur de Force! I have a real love for Fleur, she's a Youtuber that I've followed for a long time; I read everything, I watch everything. All the content she produces really strikes a chord with me. She announced recently that she has made her very own makeup line, which has launched today exclusively at Feel Unique. The line comprises of two eyeshadow quads (£8.99 each), six shades of lipgloss (£6.99 each) and a makeup bag (£8.99) decorated with her branding. Reviews will be coming to Hope, Freedom, Love soon as I will not be able to resist buying some items!

Collection go ‘professional’
Collection have announced that they are set to launch a range of ‘professional palettes’. The new range of products include the #ConcealAndLightLikeAPro Palette (pictured above) and the #FaceTheDay palette which features a highlighter, blusher, bronzer and four powder eyeshadows. There is also the #YourStyleYourMood Palette which is a bigger eyeshadow palette and then the #BlushAndGlow Palette, which includes a matte bronzer, matte pink blusher, shimmering pink blusher and a neutral highlighter. They are launching on October 14th and the palettes will all retail for £5.99, except the #BlushAndGlow Palette which is only £4.99. 

New Nailpure shades from Nails Inc
Every time a Nails Inc email lands in my inbox at the moment, it seems to have something exciting inside. They've just released some new shades of their Nailpure polishes! Nailpure has all the same qualities of the standard polishes, but they are alcohol free and they are "enriched have Nails inc’s patented Regenerating Complex, which boosts the production of keratin for harder, stronger and healthier nails". Personally I love the look of the shade 'Regents Place' which is a Cornflower Blue, check out the full range here.

ASOS Spend & Save Deals
If you're planning a bit of a fashion haul, you might want to consider using one of the fabulous Spend & Save Deals. They are live now and you can use them until tomorrow at 5pm. £10 off when you spend £75 (code: SEPTEMBER10), £20 off when you spend £125 (code: SEPTEMBER20) and £30 off when you spend £150 (code: SEPTEMBER30). Check out their latest items here

Laura Mercier now available at Feel Unique & save 20% on selected makeup
I'm super excited that you can now pick up Laura Mercier at Feel Unique! It's a great brand that can be quite hard to get hold of without paying delivery, so I'm chuffed! If you spend £30 you can get a free sample of the Foundation Primer! Check out the range online here, I'm personally contemplating the Bronzing Powder. If you’re contemplating a splurge at Feel Unique, you can currently save 20% off selected makeup products from selected brands (including bareMinerals and Urban Decay). You can see what is included in the offer by clicking here

New beauty box subscription service: Dollibox 
There’s a new brand in the beauty box space! Dollibox’s first box will be available from October 12th and it’s following a very tradition beauty box structure. They are offering you the chance to sample “up to five hair and beauty samples, with the occasional full-sized product”. It will cost £10 a month, plus £3.25 P&P, check out the website here:

Rosie Fortescue launches Nailed London
Nailed London is a brand new nail polish range from the Made in Chelsea star Rosie Fortescue. There are 28 shades polish that have a gel-like formula! The formula offers two/three days longer wear time that other gel products and offers a higher level of gloss. There are four glitter shades, plus a Base Coat and Top Coat. The polishes are going to retail for £7 and are available now from Harvey Nichols and

Sleek announces highlighting palette
This is probably the most exciting launch I’ve seen from Sleek in a while. The Solstice Highlighting Palette launches on the 7th October and it includes two baked highlighters, one cream and one shimmer powder. They say it can be used on the face or body and suits all skin tones. It will cost £9.99. 

KIKO launch the ‘Midnight Siren’ collection
Yet another beauty launch from KIKO Milano, this time it’s the Midnight Siren’ collection. The collection launched in stores and online last week and includes lots of pearl and iridescent highlighters. The collection includes an Illuminating Bronzer, a new Face Brush, a Cream Radiance Highlighter and some Water Infused Eyeshadows.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Palette

Let me set the scene here, I've had my N.dulge reward vouchers for a while and I decided to have a little browse on the site. It's always a bit of a dangerous moment, as I can never resist a SpaceNK order. I really fancied a bit of a NARS splurge, as it had been a little while and I spotted two palettes. One is the Dual Intensity Palette and the other is this Limited Edition NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Palette, a SpaceNK exclusive. I sat on this decision for a while and I eventually opted for the NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Palette (after all it was £6 cheaper)!

What actually swayed me to pick the Matte/Shimmer Palette, over the Dual Intensity Palette was the fact that the colours seemed more wearable. After all, when I invest in these kinds of purchases, I like them to be something I can get a lot of wear out of! The NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Palette is described to be 'eight shades for every week'. A palette consisting of both matte and shimmer shades for any moment. You can honest wear the shades in the day time, the night time and everything in between. The colours are mostly warm neutral shades, with a few darker and smokey shades chucked in for good measure. 

Lets talk packaging for a moment! It's packaged in the classic matte black box and the top is mirrored. Which might be a pain to photograph (especially when you're in your PJs with no make up on) but it looks gorgeous on my dressing table. NARS has split the palette in two halves, one for day and one for night. The top row is the 'Day Series' and the shades are; Nassau, Maya Bay, Ithaca and Dogon. The bottom row is the 'Night Series' and the shades are; Mandchourie, Bonifacio, Zagreb and Heraklion. 

The shadows apply like a dream with my Real Techniques brushes and they blend beautifully with a MAC 217. The shadows are incredibly pigmented and the first time I used the palette I actually got in a bit of a mess. There's a very slight amount of fallout with some of the shades, which I just always clean up with my concealer brush. The palette also comes with the 'Night Clubbing Mini Night Series Eyeliner' which is really soft and applies really easily to the waterline. 

The NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Palette is a SpaceNK exclusive and it retails for £39. All in all, a great addition to any palette addicts collection. 


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Two Days in Bath

I've wanted to visit bath for longer than I can remember. I'd heard so much about it, it looked beautiful and it seems like a lovely way to spend a weekend. After trying to find a slot in our diary, we circled September 6th & 7th and finally we booked it into the calendar.

We ended up choosing to stay in the Bath City Hilton and we couldn't have been happier with the location. It was really central, literally a stones throw from the Bath Abbey and all the other places we wanted to visit. The hotel wasn't even expensive and we ended up booking a package deal, which included a nights stay, dinner, breakfast plus two hours in the famous Bath Thermae Spa for around £200. 

So we woke up at 7am on the Sunday (this should be illegal, but it was totally worth it) and started the journey to Bath. It's around a two hour journey from where we are, so we ended up arriving pretty early. When we arrived in Bath the first thing we decided to do was visit the Roman Baths. Obviously the Roman Baths is a major tourist attraction, but we was really happy that it was quite quiet. We're not huge 'readers' in museums, so we just had a mosey around and the whole building was just fascinating. Chris thoroughly enjoyed popping the Go Pro as close to the water as physically possible, which made me pretty nervous. To our surprise, an old Chinese gentleman actually FELL IN to the Roman Baths whilst we were there, he was pretty shocked to say the least. Luckily lots of members of staff were on hand to help him and Chris did not need to perform his favourite lifeguard techniques.

After the Roman Baths, we decided to jump on a City Sightseeing Bus Tour, like proper little tourists. The bus company do two different tours and you can do the both for £14 each. One takes you round the city sights and the other takes you up into the hills to get a view over the city. The bus tour of the city was pretty good and we were able to see all the famous places in around 45 minutes. The skyline tour on the other hand was a bit naff, the bus isn't allowed to stop for pictures and all the trees haven't been cut back, so I think we saw the 'skyline' for all of 15 seconds.

After the bus tour and a brief stop for lunch, we went inside The Bath Abbey. The Abbey has restricted public opening hours, so it's worth checking these before you plan your day. As you can imagine the Abbey is absolutely breathtaking. Again, it's a bit of a tourist hotspot but the detailing inside is just beautiful, especially with the Organ playing in the background. 

Then it was time to pop back to the hotel and get ready for a bit of a swim. The Thermae Bath Spa has been created using the hot, mineral waters in Bath. The same water from the Roman Baths has been taken and treated, so that people can once again swim in the mineral water. There are two sections to the spa and over the course of our two days in Bath, we visited both. On Sunday evening we decided to visit the Cross Bath Spa which is an open air pool which allows ten people at a time. You simply book for a 90 minute stay and it's a very simple round pool which you can lounge and swim in. All the other people in the pool were also couples and it was a great chance just to chill out before dinner.

For dinner we had the vouchers from the Hilton Bath City for the onsite restaurant 'Atelier', which is a French-style bistro. We were able to choose a starter, main and dessert from the menu. We were pleasantly surprised at the standard of food, I'd read a couple of negative reviews and I was worried it would disappoint. However, to say it was sensational would be an understatement. We both had steaks for the main course and they were exceptional! The next morning we went back down to the restaurant for breakfast. The breakfast included a buffet of continental and cooked breakfast items, plus a few made to order options. The made to order options included pancakes, which we both really enjoyed. 

After breakfast, we quickly packed and headed down to the Thermae Bath Spa to use our vouchers. This time we entered the 'Royal Bath' which is the main section of the spa. The vouchers gave us two hours in the spa, which we upgraded to include an extra hour. The spa has two baths, one is a swimming area downstairs which has a lazy river and a jacuzzi area, the other is a rooftop pool which has views of bath. Then there is also four steam rooms, which all have different scents inside. Again, I had read some pretty naff reviews of the spa and I was a bit worried, but we were really impressed. The whole experience was really relaxing, my skin LOVED the mineral water and really was not that busy inside. We highly recommend it.

After the spa we headed to Patisserie Valerie for their Afternoon Tea. The tea featured sandwhiches, scones and a variety of cakes. The Afternoon Tea costs £25 for two people, but we actually had a voucher from Amazon Local which only cost £19. It was not the most luxurious tea I've been too, but it was pretty damn tasty and really enjoyable. I'm going to do a full review of the Afternoon Tea next week, so tune in for that!

The final stop before we headed home was Alexandra Park, which I had read had some incredible views of the city. You can actually walk to the park, but they warn that it's a very difficult walk, so we took the car. It took about 15 minutes to get there in the car, there's free parking when you get there and the views at the top were breathtaking. Definitely take the time to visit Alexandra Park if have the time!

That concludes my write up on our trip to Bath, I honestly had such a lovely time and I highly recommend taking the time to visit if you can. They warn that it can be a bit of a tourist hotspot, so if you can visit at an off-peak time, it sounds like it can make all the difference. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Brand Focus: Bourjois

Brand focus blog posts are no new thing in the blogger community, but they are one of my favourite blog posts to read. I love reading about your favourite products from each brand, because I always need that ‘extra’ product when I’m shopping in a 3 for 2 deal. Today I wanted to share my favourite products from Bourjois, a brand I can never avoid when I enter the drugstore.

I use powder on my face every single day, my oily skin means I just cannot be without it if I don’t want my makeup to slip and slide. What’s great about this particular powder is that it does not make your skin look dry.  The ingredients inside include 'Yuzu' for anti-shine and Sharon Fruit' for Hydration. The powder is that it's incredibly fine milled, so it does not feel heavy at all. Yet, it still gives coverage, sets makeup and keeps shine at bay all day long. It's rare that you find a powder which has a mirror inside, yet is not too bulky for travel, this is perfect. 

This is potentially my favourite mascara of all time (I actually have backups in my drawer so I’ll never be without it). What I love about it is that it provides extreme volume, without skimping on length. The brush of the mascara is spherical which means there are bristles on each edge. This allows you to wrap every single lash in a 360 degree motion, which actually makes a world of difference. It gives you extreme volume and there's not a clump in sight! 

When Bourjois released the Magic Nail Polish Remover for both hands and feet I was pretty impressed! The idea behind it is very simple but it's amazing they never thought of it before. The Magic Nail Polish Remover has two sponges that are soaked in nail polish remover. There’s one inside the pot that you put your finger into, plus it also has a sponge in the lid for your toes. 

These eyeshadow pencils are a firm staple in my makeup routine. The colour range may not be incredibly exciting, but they perform really well and are so affordable.. I have two shades Beige Minimal (a basic beige shade which I use as a base) and Brun Dadaiste (a rich chocolate brown which I put through the crease). The formula of these is really soft and I’m really impressed with the staying power. They blend really well and they are fabulous for travelling.

The product is half a matte bronzer and half a shimmering highlighter. It's designed to provide the perfect contouring solution. The duo comes in a cardboard sleeve which closes with a magnet! It's not the most luxurious packaging in the world, but it is functional. The product has the famous 'chocolate' scent, which lots of people love. I'm not really a fan of the scent, I don't hate it, but it's quite weird having a fragranced product on your face. I am however a big fan of the formulation of this little duo. The bronzer is a great colour for my pale skin and it's not hugely pigmented, which means you can build up the colour slowly. The highlighter has a softer formulation and adds a really nice glow and shimmer to your cheekbones. 

This concealer is quick thick in formulation and the colour match for my skin is exceptional. However, I find it incredibly hard to blend into my skin at times, so sometimes I actually use this under my foundation. It gives me good coverage too and it does a good job of covering both spots and dark circles. What I really like is the packaging, it’s in a really dinky tube and it’s squeezy which is super handy!

It’s not hard to tell that I’m a fan of the Healthy Mix range. My skin just seems to really love the formula of these particular products. The ‘Healthy Mix’ range comes in two formulas; one is a traditional foundation formula and the other is a serum formula. My favourite is the foundation formula, it seems to be the abnormal opinion, but for me the serum is just too shiny and greasy in texture. However the foundation option is perfect for me! It’s amazing at giving an even skintone and leaves great complexion to start the day. This formula leaves the skin looking very natural and really radiant.

What are your favourite products from Bourjois? I'd love your recommendations!

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