Friday, 23 December 2016

Essential Beauty Tools From Boots

Boots tend to know a thing or two about beauty, for decades they’ve been bringing the latest and greatest beauty products to baskets of beauty fans nationwide. If we rewind five years, there wasn’t much on the market for people who wanted beauty tools on a budget. You could either splash out on MAC or other MUA brands, or you were stuck with what you found on the shelves in the high street. The products on the high street used to be rather lackluster and you found yourself wasting your money on products that failed to deliver. However, beauty brands like Real Techniques proved that good quality products, on a budget were possible and the pharmacy brands have been forced to keep up.

I think it’s fantastic news for the consumer, as it means you not only get lots of choice, but you can also get your hands on great products – whatever price point you want to shop at. The Beauty Tools range from Boots has recently been given a bit of a makeover, whizzing the products and packaging into the 21st Century. I’m here to give you the low down…

The 3-in-1 Blending Sponge* (£3.50 here) is exactly what it says on the tin, a specially-shaped sponge which you can use in three different ways. Simply dampen the sponge and you can apply you can use it to apply your foundation. Pop your foundation on the very tip of the sponge for under your eyes and around your nose, use the middle of the sponge for your jawline and use the base for large areas of your face like your cheeks.

The Precision Blending Sponge* (£3.50 here) is for people who want to reach the difficult contours of the face. This is a designed to blend your makeup around your eyes, nose and mouth. Simply dampen the sponge and use to get that perfect finish, no matter where you’re trying to blend.  

Next we have the Sponge Applicator* (£4.50 here) and I’ve actually never seen anything like this one on the market, as it’s a sponge but it’s attached to a handle. It’s fairly small in size, which means you can use it’s fine tip to blend the hard to reach areas, but it’s also big enough to blend your makeup everywhere else too! 

The last sponge in the collection is the Premium Double Sided Sponge* (£3 here). This one is designed to give you the perfect finish, whether you’re using liquid, cream or gel foundation. You simply use the smooth side to blend anything liquid and you use the soft side for pretty powder application.

The last item I have from the Boots Tools Collection is the Eyebrow Shaping Kit* (£10 here). Inside the pouch you get Slanted Tweezers, Pointed Tweezers, an Angled Brow Brush and Spoolie, a pair of Angled Brow Scissors, plus 4 Brow Stencils. The Slanted Tweezers are perfect for plucking stray hairs and you can use Pointed Tweezers for ingrowing hairs, or those little teeny hairs which are hard to get. I don’t trust myself to trim my own brows, but my sister (who is a trained professional) always makes use of Brow Scissors to trim the hairs when they have grown too much. If you’re a complete brow novice, you’ll love playing with the brow templates – it’s a great way to experiment with different looks.

When you consider that everything here is under £10 and the sponges are actually under £5, they represent great value for money. I highly recommend browsing the aisles for these beauties when you’re next in store! 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Festive makeup looks from Maybelline

If you’re still deciding which makeup look you’re going to rock on Christmas Day, I’m here to help! Whether you want to rock something bright and pink, or something sexy and smouldering – I’ve got you covered! These two festive looks from the clever team at Maybelline are easy to recreate and will have you looking glam in no time!

Kiss My Sass
Kiss My Sass is Gigi’s look this Christmas and I think it’s perfect for Christmas Day. For this look you pair a dewy base with a killer contour. Use Maybelline’s Master Contour V Stick* to create the cheekbones you dream of, by striping the dark shade in the jaw line. Swap over the stick and use the lighter side to highlight all the places the sun would normally hit the face. The Master Contour V Stick is a cream formula, which you can gently buff into the skin with any kind of brush – which creates a lovely natural look. 

Next use Maybelline’s Rock Nudes Eyeshadow Palette* to create an eyeshadow look which adds a little bit of drama. What I love about this palette is that there is a real mixture of light and dark shades, so you can actually create something really subtle, or amp it up for something more dramatic.  I personally love to take one of the pearly shades all over the lid and then blend one of the purple hues into the crease. It’s a great work-friendly smokey eye! Finish the eye look with lashings of the Lash Sensational Intense Black Mascara*, this is actually one of my favourite all-time mascaras. The mascara adds definition, length and volume, for some extreme lashes.

Pout Of Control
Pout Of Control is Jordan’s festive look and this one for me would make a lovely look for Christmas Eve. This look also starts with a dewy base, but this time it’s all about strobing (which let’s be honest – is my favourite trend from this year). Maybelline’s Master Strobing Stick* is a great companion for achieving a strobe-inspired makeup look on a little budget. Simply take one of the strobing sticks (this one is the more golden hue) and stripe it on the cheekbones, brow bone and down the centre of the nose. Tap it into the skin for a dramatic highlight, or blend it into the skin with a brush for something more subtle. 

Now it’s time for the eyes and this time we’re using Maybelline’s Nude Palette*. Use the palette to add warmth and shimmer to the eyes – just like the other look you have loads of different options to play with. I personally love using the golden shade (third from the left on the bottom row) all over the lid – this is a great one-stop-shop when you’re in a rush to get to work. If you have more time you can experiment by blending loads of shades together for a lovely warm makeup look. Finish the Pout Of Control look with a sweep of matte lipstick, for Jordan’s look you take Maybelline’s Color Sensational Matte Lipstick in Midnight Merlot*. This gives you a beautiful deep purple colour on the lips, but I feel like you could pair this look with absolutely any lipstick!  

So there you have two beautiful make looks to get you through Christmas and New Year. I’d love to know which of the two looks is your favourite, is it Pout Of Control or Kiss My Sass? What are your go-to makeup products on Christmas Day? Do you go all out or keep it all low key?

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Eyeshadows | Believe the hype

As a beauty blogger, I tend to try a lot of products, so I can often become a bit fickle of beauty products – swapping and changing my favourite items every day. So I’m often impressed when something inspires me so much, that I feel the urge to have every single one in my collection. What surprises me more is then that product is something quite expensive, it has to be good if I’m willing to drop a lot of money on something over and over again! For me, the By Terry Ombre Blackstar Eyeshadows fall straight into this category and I’m here to tell you why!

My love affair the By Terry Ombre Blackstar Eyeshadows started a couple of years ago. After listening to beauty bloggers bang on and on about these little eyeshadow sticks, it was time for me to scrape together my pennies and treat myself. I spent hours pondering, reviewing swatches and debating which one to pick. As soon as it arrived I swept Velvet Orchid (a rich, deep purple) on to my eyelids and it was instant love! I loved that formulation was creamy and pigmented! You just had to smooth a couple of lines of eyeshadow on to the lids, barely touching the eyelid and certainly not dragging! You then just had to take your finger or an eyeshadow brush and blend out the eyeshadow. A quick blend around the edges using a MAC 217 and you were good to go! The best bit was still to come – the staying power! Even on my oily eyelids, these cream eyeshadows set in place and do not budge! 

From there I wanted something a bit lighter and more of an everyday shade, so I opted for Misty Rock (a lighter pearly purple hue) which I’ve worn to death! The next shades in my collection were Nude Milky Way (an ivory cream) and Bubble Glow (a light pink) – which were two shades from the Spring Collection. The two latest colours I’ve added to my collection are Beyond Gold (a rich gold hue) and Ombre Mercure (a glittery silver shade). I thought these would be perfect for the Christmas and festive season, offering a pretty glittery finish with minimal effort required! 

As you can see by the swatches above, these shades are just beautiful! Beyond Gold is on the left and offers a rich gold finish, whilst Ombre Mercure on the right is the perfect silver, taupe blend. I’m so happy to have these in my collection, I know that I’m going to love using them all year long! The By Terry Ombre Blackstar Eyeshadows are quite pricey, retailing at £29 each, but in my experience they are worth every single penny! 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Desk To Dancefloor | COLAB

At this time of year we’re all looking for the easy tips and tricks to be party ready. What I love about the festive season is that vibe just changes in the office and everyone is more willing to go for spontaneous drinks and nibbles. If you’re anything like me, the problem is that you don’t tend to pop to the office looking your best (I definitely don’t have time for funky hairdo’s and smokey eyes at 6AM). I’ve been a big fan of COLAB from the very beginning, I truly feel that they revolutionised the dry shampoo market. Better still, their range of products can easily take you from desk to dancefloor in a matter of minutes. 

Now I’m a big fan of all the formulations of COLAB dry shampoo, but the original Sheer & Invisible COLAB Dry Shampoo* formula is fantastic if you suffer with hair that gets greasier throughout the day. You simply spritz this into your roots, swoosh it around, brush it out and it’s gone! You can use this to breathe new life into curls, or even straight hair which has lost its volume throughout the day. Braids are all the rage at the moment, so another great idea is to use the dry shampoo to add grit to the hair and create a fabulous up-do. I’m personally a big fan of the crown braid, which is lovely if you have really long hair. You simply plait your hair in a single, large braid and then loop the braid around the top of your head, securing it back at the bottom with some grips. It’s so simple and adds glamour to your outfit in seconds!

The COLAB Luxe Shine Spray* is the perfect product for finishing any look during party season. It’s a fantastic finishing spray which breathes live into your hair when you need it the most. Simply spritz the spray over your hair and the feather-light mist will transform your hair. The mist is infused with shimmering diamond dust, precious oils and silk extract – the combination of ingredients has been designed to tackle the end of day frizz – leaving your hair smooth and shiny. The mist is even infused with a deep fragrance (with notes of Bergamot, Oud and Cashmere) which leave you with hair that smells freshly washed. 

The COLAB Luxe Shine Spray retails for £4.99 and the Sheer & Invisible COLAB Dry Shampoo retails for £3.49. You can buy the COLAB products from Superdrug and Feel Unique. If you have any desk to dancefloor tips, please leave them in the comments below, I’d love to hear all your wonderful ideas!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Fragrances For Him & Her | Ideas From Escentual

I think most people would agree that fragrance makes a great Christmas gift. Whether it’s your mum, dad, girlfriend, boyfriend, son or daughter – they are sure to enjoy receiving a new bottle of scent. A new perfume isn’t something I tend to treat myself to and I think that most people are similar, but if you do happen to see a nice one and you’re quick to add it to your Christmas list. The fabulous beauty team at Escentual sent me two of their lovely scents (which you may have spotted in my Christmas Gift Guides) but I thought why not share a little more detail with you all.

Let’s start with the ladies and the fragrance in question is The Jimmy Choo Original Gift Set*. This scent first launched in 2011 and it was the first ever fragrance from luxury shoes and accessories brand, Jimmy Choo. You can’t deny that the bottle itself is a work of art – the round bottle is decorated with different textures and shapes, designed by Tamara Mellon (former CCO and co-founder of Jimmy Choo – who wouldn’t want that on their resume)! Tamara also happed to be the face of the Jimmy Choo perfume campaign and once said that the bottle for the perfume was inspired by Murano Glass. She spent a lot of time perfecting it so you’d be proud to have it on your dressing table.

The scent itself is categorized as a Chypre-fruity scent – Chypre is a name given to a scent that celebrates having citrus top notes. The perfume opens with pear nectar and sweet Italian orange, has a heart of tiger orchard and settles down to a base of toffee and Indonesian patchouli. Jimmy Choo wanted it’s first scent to be feminine and luxurious and it’s effortless delivered with this scent.

The Jimmy Choo Original Gift Set includes a 60ml bottle of the delicious scent and a 100ml perfumed body lotion. Which is great for layering on the skin with the fragrance. The gift set retails for £42.60 at Escentual, grab it here.

Now let’s talk about the men and the fragrance for this section is Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme EDT*. Before my Christmas Gift Guides I’d never even heard of Issey Miyake, so I’m amazed that this scent was created by Jacques Cavallier in 1994. The brand prides themselves on using unusual and rare materials to create timeless scents and L'Eau d'Issey was designed to be perfect for any occasion. This particular set arrives in a pretty fancy box, it feels hip, cool and certainly not the packaging you’d expect for such a classic fragrance. This exact set is so popular at Escentual that it’s actually sold out, but the same can be said for all the different sets from Issey Miyake.

The fragrance itself is a wood fragrance, using green herby notes in the beginning (including Yuzu, Cypress and Coriander), nutty heart notes (including Blue Water Lily, Nutmeg, Saffron and Bourbon Geranium) and finishing with earthy base notes (including Tobacco Amber, Musk and Indian Sandalwood). As I previously mentioned this is designed to be a masculine scent and a timeless fragrance – it’s pretty inoffensive, so I think even if you have a fussy man on your shopping list, he’ll be pretty pleased with this. There are lots of different Issey Miyake sets available from Escentual, prices start at £20 here.

I would love to hear about any fragrances you’re gifting to people this year! More importantly, I’d love to know the names of your favourite scents in the comments below, I need a couple of ideas for my birthday wish list next month! 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Be Party Ready With Spa Brands | #GoodSpaAwards

I’ve really been enjoying working with the Good Spa Guide, as not only have I learnt all about some fabulous spas and spa treatments, I’ve also discovered lots of fabulous brands and products. Last month the Good Spa Guide hosted their latest Twitter chat (which are fabulous by the way) where some fabulous bloggers and I were discussing our top tips for being party ready. We all agreed that before any important party it’s a good idea to give yourself some TLC so you truly feel a million dollars. We were joined by some lovely brands who had sent us a truly fantastic party hamper, to help us prepare for the party season ahead of us! Here are some products you could use to create a spa in your very own home…

Before I jump in the shower, I like to treat myself to a hair mask. I always find these a big awkward to use in a shower, as you have to get wet, jump out the shower into the cold, wait several minutes and then jump back in. So, what I do is rinse my hair over the bath, add lashings of the ESPA Pink Hair & Scalp Mask*, light a candle and then grab a magazine and chill for 20 minutes. The pink mask is designed to soothe, smooth and nourish, with a blend of red clay, watercress and apricot kernel oil. Once you’ve thoroughly relaxed for 20 minutes (or more if you have the time to spare) rinse away the mask, then wash and condition with your normal haircare routine.

Let’s move on to bath and shower time – I’ve never been much of a bather, so for me it’s all about starting the prep with an energising shower. The Caudalie Thé des Vignes Shower Gel* has a fabulous, sensual scent of white musk, neroli flower and ginger. It leaves you feeling awake the scent lingers lightly on the skin long after your shower. The shower gel is enriched with aloe vera and is a plant-based formula which respects the natural pH of the skin. The Comfort Zone Tranquility Blend* is a fabulous multi purpose blend of essential oils of cedarwood and sweet orange. What I love about it is it’s multi purpose, so you can use it in a bath or shower, rub it on pressure points to relieve stress, add it to body creams and even use it as a perfume.  

The thought of fake tanning scares me, so something less permanent like the Kissed by Mii Instant Shimmer Tanning Lotion* is perfect. You simply take some of the tanning lotion on the Tanning Mitt* and smooth it over the skin. The lotion and mitt combination makes it incredibly easy to apply and the tan dries quickly. One you’ve given your skin that silky shimmer, it will simply stay in place until you wash it off. Perfect for those of us are petrified of tanning mishaps – if it goes wrong you simply wash it off – hurrah! 

If you’re looking for a skipping the tanning process, next it’s time to think moisturiser! The Temple Spa Body Truffle* is described as a celebration for the body! The product was inspired by the lustre and sheen you see on the skin in magazines. It aims to firm, smooth and condition the skin, boosting collagen and adding an instant lustre to the skin. After using Body Truffle my skin has a lovely radiance to it and it evens out the colour on the skin.

One of my favourite parts of getting ready is treating my face to a little TLC. The Aromatherapy Associates Rose Exfoliating Cleanser* is the perfect way to bring a bit of a spa facial into your home. As the name suggests, this is an exfoliating product – use on the skin moving in circular movements, especially in the t-zone and anywhere you struggle with oily skin. The cleanser purifies the skin, leaving it feeling soft and refined. The Thalgo Absolute Radiance Concentrate* was created for anyone with dull, tired skin. Simply take one of the mini vials and apply it to the skin for an instant radiance boost. It’s been created to correct all the visable signs of tired skin - leaving your skin feeling radiant, more even and more velvety.

The Elemis Pro Collagen Hydra Gel Eye Masks* are equally nice to use before and after a big event (especially if there’s a lot of drinking involved. Pop these gel masks under your eyes and enjoy the cooling relaxation effect. Better still, these masks are actually infused with lots of lovely ingredients which instantly reduce lines and wrinkles. What I love about these is that they don’t slip and slide around your face – so you can sit back or relax or you can get on with chores and still feel the benefit. Once you’ve finished the treatment your eyes feel hydrated and smooth. If you really want to treat your eyes, follow the mask with an eye cream like the Comfort Zone Scared Nature Eye Cream Gel*. It’s a cream-gel formulation made with natural and organic ingredients. Apply it to the eye contour to improve eye puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles. Give the rest of your skin an additional boost, by adding some of the Nimue Skin Refirmer Moisturiser* this is a peptide packed product, designed to boost your skin in an instant.

Before receiving all these goodies I’d never heard of the Natural Spa Factory! Their Anti Aging Gold Face Mask* and it’s actually a DIY product! You take 30g of powder mask an you mix it with 10g of water vigorously until your left with a smooth paste. You take the glorious gold luxury face mask and apply it all over the face. Leave it for 15 minutes and then peel it off to reveal smooth, radiant skin. 

Now it is time for some finishing touches and I want to talk nails! The Jessica Nails Phenom Precious Gift Set* gives you everything you need to create a gel-effect manicure at home. Inside the festive white box you get three bottles of polish. You get the Reward Base Coat which you apply to the nails first, this creates a base coat that helps to maintain the strength, health and flexibility of your nails. Then you move onto the Phenom Vivid Colour Nail Varnish, mine is a really pretty gold hue called Gold Vermeil. Finally finish the look with the Finale Shine Top coat, especially designed to be used with Phenom Vivid Colour. It dries quickly and enhances the shine of your polish.

All you need now is face full of make up (I personally think the more shimmer the better) and you’re good to go! I’d love to know what you think of these products, which one would be at the top of your shopping list?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Thursday Tittle-Tattle #69

'Thursday Tittle Tattle', is a Hope, Freedom, Love blog series that has quickly become home to some of my popular posts. The series is dedicated to breaking news of the beauty world. From time-to-time, Thursday’s blog post will be dedicated to news featuring; beauty and lifestyle news, events, discounts, and even a bit of fashion news thrown in too! This week I have the Christmas collections from MERUMAYA, a new face mask from Liz Earle and a sparkly Sleek Makeup collection. Keep reading...

The new Superskin Overnight Mask from Liz Earle
This new Liz Earle Superskin Overnight Mask, is the latest innovation to join the iconic SuperskinTM range. It was inspired by the Asian sleep mask trend, formulated with extracts of Persian silk tree, pomegranate, buriti, borage, rosehip and cranberry seed oils. It aims to lock moisture onto skin so you wake up with radiant and nourished skin. To reap the benefits of the mask, you simply apply grape-size amount to your face, neck and décolletage. Smooth into your skin making large outer circles on the forehead, before gliding across the cheeks. Repeat this movement three times and then massage the product into the skin and leave overnight. The Superskin Overnight Mask is available now, priced at £42.00 for 100ml here

MERUMAYA Christmas Gifts 
One of my favourite brands, MERUMAYA has three fantastic gift selections for you to give this Christmas. They are all wrapped and ready to give – suitable for all skin types, all budgets and everyone on your list. The Blockbuster Set (£99 here saving you £37) includes the Melting Cleansing Balm (100ml), the Iconic Youth Serum (30ml), the Youth Preservation Moisturiser (30ml), the Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel (50ml), the Treatment Toner (128ml), plus the Bi-Phase Plus Eye Makeup Remover (128ml). The Girls Night In Set (£45 here, saving you £17.50) includes the Everything Everywhere Beauty Oil (50ml), the Mud Marvels Mask (50ml) and the Youth Preservation Moisturiser (10ml). Finally we have a fantastic stocking filler gift, Hand In Hand (£20 here saving you £5) features two tubes of the Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream. Shop all the gifts and lots more lovely products on the MERUMAYA website

Sleek Rockstars Collection 

This collection has actually been out for a few weeks, but I really wanted to give it a pre-Christmas mention. The new Rockstars Collection by Sleek MakeUP is inspired dazzling precious stones and captivating diamond hues. The collection aims to give you pretty eyes and lips, plus beaming cheekbones – perfect for Christmas and beyond. There are two palettes in the collection – the Diamonds In The Rough i-Lust Palette (£7.49 here) includes six coveted shades of rose gold, iridescent pink and champagne beige, which includes four powders and two cream hues. The Hidden Gems i-Lust Palette (£7.49) has six intensely pigmented shades including ruby red, intense amethyst, shimmering sapphire and emerald green. The collection also includes two lipsticks and also two Strobing Soufflés (a mousse whipped highlighter). 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Lavender & Stone | The Suite Of Beauty Rooms You Need To Try

When a little tweet popped in my mentions a few weeks ago, offering me the chance to review a salon, I had no idea what to expect. Lavender & Stone Beauty Rooms is a business ran by businesswoman, Anna, with a suite of four beauty rooms across Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Inside the salons they offer a whole array of treatments: from ear piercing, to manicures, facials and massages. I popped along to the Harpenden beauty room to have a peek inside and see what all the fuss is about.

I actually lived in Harpenden for a couple of years, right up the road from the beauty room in Southdown. From the outside it always seemed quite small and low key – however one step inside and your eyes are treated to beauty heaven. The salon itself is a lot bigger than it looks, offering several treatments, a reception area, manicure bar and a huge shopping area where all the products are kept.

I was surprised at just how busy it was inside the beauty room! I always worry that these little local salons wouldn’t get much business, but Lavender & Stone had a steady stream of guests. I had a really warm reception when I arrived and was invited to take a seat. I was offered a drink and asked to fil out a pre-treatment questionnaire (it was all the usual questions that you expect to see in a spa). I was then met by my therapist for the day, who led me to the treatment room, which was actually in a little summer house in the garden – super cute!

She invited me to take a seat and asked me some further questions about myself. She wanted to understand what my average day looked like and where to focus her massage efforts. I was treated to the Decleor Aromatherapy Full Body Massage* so the consultation covered all the areas that the massage would cover and the therapist ensured that there were no areas I would want her to avoid. After the consultation she instructed me on what clothes to remove (everything bar my pants) and which direction to lay and left me with ample time to get changed and comfortable. 

When the therapist returned, she switched off the lights and the heaters and put on the heavenly spa music (which I personally think could have been a lot louder). The Decleor massages use a balm-oil product, which the therapist warms up in her hands and turns to liquid. The Decleor Aromatherapy Full Body Massage started with the head, neck, face and shoulders – which I always find is a super quick way to relax. It moved on to the arms, hands, stomach, legs and feet, before turning on to my front and massaging the feet, legs, arms, hands, back and neck! 

The whole treatment lasted around 90 minutes and no part of it felt rushed. I’ve been in treatments before where it’s felt like the therapist wanted you in and out the room quickly – but my therapist really spent a lot of time on every area of the massage. I also feel that the beautician was entirely respectful at all times and this goes a long way with people like me who feel a bit anxious in these situations. I was recently in a massage where the therapist asked me to turn over and promptly lifted up the blanket and exposed my whole body. Throughout the whole treatment at Lavender & Stone, I stayed completely covered and the therapist carefully moved around the blankets so I stayed warm with my dignity intact!

All-in-all the Decleor Full Body Massage at Lavender & Stone was a glorious experience. It was 90 minutes of pure relaxation and I left feeling like I was walking on a cloud. I looked pretty crazy in the flesh, as my hair was covered in oil and I smelt like 1000 essential oils, but I felt fantastic and that’s really all that matters! 

After the treatment I had a little nose of all the different products on offer in reception – there is a fantastic array of products available. There is also a huge range of Christmas gifts, including goodies from Decleor and Elemis – but also lots of different vouchers and treatments that you could gift your loved ones this year. You can even shop for gifts on their website here!  If you’re Hertfordshire or Buckinghamshire based (or anywhere close) I highly recommend checking out Lavender & Stone! The beauty rooms are beautiful, the staff are kind and friendly, plus the experiences keep your dignity intact! Not the mention that the prices are good too, the 90 minute Decleor Aromatherapy Full Body Massage only costs £65, which is a price that rivals a lot of the spa chains in the country! 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Fabulous Gift Ideas from | Christmas 2016

I’ve had the pleasure to work with Buyagift on several occasions and I always bite their hand off to feature their products! I’m forever impressed not only with their gift ideas, but also the presentation of the gifts and the customer service experience. If you’re looking for a gift for someone and you don’t know where to start, I highly recommend starting on the Buyagift website. 

They have thousands of different gift ideas, which you can gift with a physical voucher, or you can send an e-voucher. The best part in my opinion is that you can exchange the voucher online with no faff or hassle. So if you happen to buy something they hate, they can change it for something they’d prefer in a jiffy. I’ve recently been road-testing some of presents from Buyagift and I’m here to tell you all about them!

Coca Cola London Eye & Luxury Afternoon Tea at the Waldorf for Two* (£99 here)

For me there will always be something magical about London, so any excuse to nip into town has me sold! This voucher gives you the chance to have a full day out, seeing the sights and eating good food. Inside this gift you actually get two separate vouchers, so you can either use them on the same day or you can use them separately and spread the gift out.

We started our day with a trip to The London Hilton Waldorf for the Luxury Afternoon Tea. Now I happen to be a bit of an afternoon tea fan and I’ve tried quite a few different places and experiences. The Hilton Waldorf was by far the fanciest dining room I’ve sat in, the whole experience from start to finish was super elegant and the fact that the team is world renowned for its customer service truly shows! We were sat in a gorgeous dining room, with fancy tables and chairs and elegant chandeliers above our heads. 

We were first treated to a starter (or palate cleanser) which was a lemon flavoured crème patisserie and our choice of tea. There were lots of different teas to choose from, but I opted for the Nutty Chocolate Tea. Next the tower of goodies arrived and we had everything from finger sandwiches (including egg, ham, coronation chicken and salmon), to fresh scones with jam and cream, plus a whole array of pastries.

A short walk across the River Thames on Waterloo Bridge and we were at the London Eye. We’ve actually been on the London Eye before but when we got there the excitement came over me like a little child. 

Once you swap over your tickets and grab your guidebook, you’re offered the chance to have your picture taken and whisked into a 4D experience. It’s a great way to start the experience and if you were not excited before, you certainly will be now!

The Coca Cola London Eye is one of the tallest observation wheels in the world and I think we’ve all become used to seeing it as part of the London skyline. It’s 135m tall and once you’re inside one of the wheel’s 32 glass capsules, you won’t be able to stop taking photographs of the beautiful landmarks. 

The experience lasts 30 minutes and we were inside the capsule with around 10 people, so you have plenty of time to walk around the capsule and see all the beautiful sights.

Four Course Meal with a Glass of Prosecco and Wine for Two at Zizzi* (£59 here) 

Zizzi is one of my favourite restaurants, so this four course meal is right up my street! The voucher only costs £59 and you get a whole lot of food for your money! When you arrive you’re treated to prosecco, bread and olives and given a delicious menu to choose from. My starter was a cheese fondue pot and Chris opted for the deep fried seafood and vegetables – both of which were huge portions, we could have gone home happy here! 

For the main course there is a huge choice of pizza, pasta, meat and salad. I went for the chicken, which was wrapped in bacon and served with a creamy sauce, potatoes and vegetables. Chris chose the slow cooked beef, which was served with mash potatoes, broccoli and gravy. With the main meals you’re able to select a glass of red or white wine – you feel thoroughly looked after! 

Now it was dessert time and neither of barely had room to breathe. Nevertheless, we selected from the menu, I went for the tiramisu (which is my all time favourite) and Chris went for the raspberry panacotta. We both squeezed in half our desserts before it was time to do a bit of walking and burn it off! You don’t even have to use this voucher in London, you can choose from over 130 restaurants available UK wide!

Scrumptious Stay - Smartbox by Buyagift* (£119.99)

Last but not least we have the Scrumptious Stay Smartbox. Buyagift have recently created a whole range of boxes which are perfect if you literally have no idea to gift. They come in all different themes, including spa days, meals out, driving experiences or simply ‘gifts for couples’. So the person you gift it too can simply hop on the website and choose what interests them. I’ve not had the chance to experience this gift myself, but it sounds like the perfect gift for the couple who need some ‘us’ time. This smartbox offers them the chance to pick from 250 one night experiences – which includes an overnight stay along with a delightful dinner. It’s valid for 24 Months and makes for a fantastic gift for those who enjoy the finer things in life. There are 250 locations, so whether your couple want to stay local or travel afar, there will be somewhere good for them.

There we have it, three incredible experiences from buyagift – which don’t break the bank but are perfect if you’re stuck for ideas! Which one would you like to find under the Christmas Tree this year?

Monday, 12 December 2016

Holiday skin treats | Christmas by Dermalogica

I’ve actually had very little exposure to Dermalogica in the past, so I was super excited when I was offered the chance to feature some of their Christmas sets this year. Their whole Christmas campaign features around the idea that healthy skin, never goes out of style. Therefore if you’re looking for a safe gift for someone you know, skincare is a good place to start. This is especially true when you choose a brand like Dermalogica, as their products are designed to work with most skin types. 

This year Dermalogica have released six lovely limited edition sets for Christmas, each have been designed to bring healthy, glowing skin to your lucky recipient. Five of the sets are packaged in gorgeous silver boxes, decorated in a pretty red berry print. The only exception is the Clear Skin Day In, Day Out set, which is packaged in bright metallic blue to appeal to the teen market. All of the gifts have a clear window on the front, which lets the beauty of the products shine through, so you immediately know what goodies are inside. 

The first gift I have here is the Skin Health Heroes Set* (which retails for £33.10 here). Inside the Skin Health Heroes Set you get a trio of Dermalogica’s most popular products: the Special Cleansing Gel, the Multi-Active Toner and the Hydrablur Primer. Together the three products are designed to give you healthy looking skin. 

However, my favourite gift set of them all is the Power Rescue Masque Trio* (£43.25 here). Not only is this gift set bang on trend, it is also the ultimate set for hungover skin! This set brings multi-masking to life right in your hands, bringing you three of Dermalogica favourite masks. Inside the box you get a contains trio of problem-solving masques to treat multiple skin concerns: the Charcoal Rescue Masque, the MultiVitamin Power Recovery Masque and the Skin Hydrating Masque. You can of course use each of the masks separately or you can give multi-masking a whirl!

If none of these two sets tickle your fancy, you can pick up the Body Buffing Set (which retails for £15.50), inside the box you get travel sizes of the Conditioning Body Wash and the Body Hydrating Cream, plus a nUltimate Buffing Cloth. There’s also the Skin Brightening Duo (£53.25 here) which combines the full size Daily Microfoliant and PreCleanse. The Skin Perfecting Set (£67.60) is all about illuminating and firming the skin, with the full size Skin Perfect Primer SPF30 and Overnight Repair Serum. Finally the aforementioned Clear Skin Day In, Day Out (which is £13.70 here) is made for teenagers, offering a day-to-night travel size routine of the Foaming Wash, Daytime Treatment and Overnight Treatment. 

The Dermalogica gift sets are so pretty and they will make beautiful gifts for all your loved ones this Christmas! 

Friday, 9 December 2016

The Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit - 3rd Edition

This Christmas I’ve been really blessed and lucky to see a lot of different Christmas gifts, but there’s something really quite special about this one. I can always tell when something feels a bit special to me, as my heart goes all giddy with excitement. Which is exactly what happens when I look at the Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit* (£28 here). It’s potentially one of the most exciting parcels I received when I was preparing for my Christmas Gift Guides.

The Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit arrives in the classic Pixi green packaging – the front of the kit is decorated with bits of holly and other foliage and finished with grey lettering. When you unfold the kit you’re greeted with a palette FILLED with pretty Pixi products. It’s arranged into three different sections, which makes finding what you’re looking for very quick and easy. There are eyeshadows, blushers, contour shades and even highlighters – it’s a really deluxe palette.

On the left-hand side of the palette there is a collection of eyeshadows, featuring 20 different cool toned eyeshadow shades. There’s everything you could ever dream of – from light pinks and lilacs, all the way up to deep purples and greys. The eyeshadows are a very good size too – I hate when there are loads of products but you physically can’t get a brush into the box to pick up the shadow. 

In the middle of the palette we have all the face products, there are some larger rectangle products and some smaller squares. In total, there are three highlighters, two bronzers, two pretty blusher shades and one contour powder. As a highlighter fanatic, I was really happy to see that the highlighters feature in the larger boxes, as normally these are the product you get the least amount of! 

Finally, on the right-hand side of the palette we have 20 more eyeshadows, this time the eyeshadows are on the warmer side of the spectrum. So there are some warm beige and brown tones, plus a few glitter shades too which are my personal favourite. 

I’ve actually never seen anything like this from a mid-range brand, I’ve seen very cheap and tacky palettes and some really hideously expensive palettes, but I just feel like this one is very good value for money with very good quality products. What’s even better is that it’s been designed to suit all skin tones, featuring a range of cool and warm shades in a variety of textures. I donate a lot of the products I receive to charity, but this one is staying firmly in my makeup drawers. It really is a must buy in my opinion – but make sure you grab one for yourself too, as you’re going to struggle to give this one away!

You can buy the Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit - 3rd Edition for £28 (here from M&S Beauty)


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Grab A Bargain From The Airport | Christmas From World Duty Free

A lot of us will be travelling before Christmas, so if you're visiting the airport why do a bit of shopping and grab yourself a beauty bargain? I probably get to Heathrow about five times a year and I always make time to take a look around World Duty Free. They have a huge selection of brands in the airport and they have a really good selection of products (all available at the fabulous tax-free prices). It’s not just Heathrow you can shop in, there are over 25 airports in the United Kingdom where you can grab yourself gorgeous travel exclusives.

The beautiful PR team sent me over some of their top beauty picks, all of which you can pick up in the airport this Christmas. So whether you’re buying yourself a special Christmas treat, or looking to buy your loved ones a gift on a budget, there’s something for you! 

World Duty Free stock a huge range of Urban Decay products (prices start at £5.80 here) including their stunning range of palettes and the Urban Decay Electric Palette*. I’m personally more of a neutral eyeshadow fan, but if you know a colour junky as it’s packaged with ten of the brightest, most vibrant shades, plus a double-ended brush.

The palette is inspired by Chaos (the matte blue), which Urban Decay fans went mad about in the earlier Vice palette. The hype surrounding the bright hue made the Urban Decay team realise that fans want the bright shades. The Electric Pressed Pigment Palette, includes Chaos, plus the return of Revolt – which is a silver hue from the Anarchy Face Case. The other eight shades are brand new hues, designed to give beauty fans insane colour payout.

World Duty Free also stock GIVENCHY (available here) and the GIVENCHY Rouge Interdit Vinyl Lipsticks* are incredibly luxurious! The packaging alone has me weak at the knees, it’s a silver detailed lid which magnetically clips into the black lipstick tube. These lipsticks are designed to give you strong pigmentation and vibrant colour, all captured inside a shiny and hydrating formulation. The formula includes a silicon resin (designed to plump the lips) plus black rose oil (for moisture and comfort). There are 15 different shades of these lipsticks, so there's a colour for everyone! There is also shade 16, which is a colouring adapt lipstick that warms to your complexion.

If you know someone who is a bareMinerals fan, World Duty Free stock a whole load of travel exclusives, plus their Christmas gifts at a bargain price. In recently years bareMinerals have expanded into new markets, but their makeup heritage is founded by their pots of mineral makeup. The bareMinerals Mineral Veil* (£17.45 here) is a finishing powder designed to minimise lines and absorb oil leaving a flawless finish. The powder also protects your skin from UVA/UVB rays, which is incredibly important no matter the weather. Mineral Veil is designed to be buffed into the skin, swirling onto the skin in a circular motion. This gift set gives you two pots of Mineral Veil at a bargain price, either give your friend both pots, or split them up for the gift that keeps on giving. 

I absolutely love checking out the MAC store in Heathrow T3. I don't think MAC's Pro Longwear Fluidline Eyeliner* needs much introduction, they beautiful pots of liquid liner which are available in eight shades. The ultra-smooth gel formula arrives in a luxurious glass pot, finished with a matte black lid. You simply dab your brush into the pot and stroke it onto the eyelid. These Fluidline Eyeliners are available in purples, blacks, golds and navy hues, this shade is Waveline (a navy blue with low level gold pearl). 

Finally we have my favourite product, which is The Clinique Kissed By The Sun Bronzing Palette* (£35 here) is absolutely gorgeous. As soon as this arrives it feels so special and it’s so on trend right now it hurts! This is a copper palette and it has the most gorgeous scalloped detailing on the palette. If you can stop yourself from eyeing up the outside, when you open the palette you find two eyeshadows, two lip colours, a pretty bronzer.

So there you have it, five stunning makeup products available at UK airports this Christmas. If you're planning a trip, you can actually shop before you travel! You simply select your favourite products on the World Duty Free website and pick them up at the airport.

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