Sunday, 31 January 2016

I spent the first two weeks of January in America with work and if I'm honest, I completely forgot all about My Little Box. You may remember that December's Box was the 'My Little Magic Box' and the contents were amazing. There was sweet handwarmers, a gorgeous makeup bag and even some sparkle from some nail polishes. I did not think I'd be blown away by My Little Box again any time soon, but I'm pleased to say that the January box is just as fabulous.




The theme this month is 'My Little Wish Box' giving you everything you need to pursue your dreams for the year ahead. I'm pleased to say that the magazine has stuck around and My Little Box have not reverted back to the poster format. I love flicking through the little magazine, the content and the pictures are beautiful! 
"All our dreams can come true - if you have the courage to pursue them"
Under the magazine we find this month's artwork which is a Walt Disney quote, printed on the prettiest mint coloured paper. I love this quote and it will definitely be joining the walls beside my desk at work! My heart practically skipped a beat when I saw what was underneath the quote - a mint diary finished with gold detailing. The writing on the front reads "Dear year, I like you." which I think is just really simple and very pretty. The diary is finished with stunning artwork and cheeky little quotes under random days every week. I'm suddenly very glad that I was late buying my diary this year. 

The last lifestyle item in the box is a set of bracelets, they are all colourful and they are finished with cute quotes. There is "Day Dreamer", "It's now or never" and "Say yes to new adventures" amongst a couple of others. My Little Box say that you should cut out the bracelets and send them to your friends for a little pick-me-up, which I think is really cute. 

If I'm honest I'd be quite happy with just receiving these two items in a little box, but there is also three beauty items. The first is the "Make A Wish" Lip Balm from My Little Beauty, following the wishing theme - it would make a great little gift or a handy extra for my handbag. There's also a travel-sized bottle of the REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Water, which will be perfect for my travels this year. Last but not least, we have the Mask & Peel from Noxidoxi, which is a brand I've never heard of before. My Little Box say this is the perfect thing to give our complexion a lift after the party season.

My Little Box is a subscription service costing £11 a month, plus £3.95 P&P. It's my favourite subscription box of all time and I highly recommend grabbing a subscription! Check out the website here: mylittlebox.co.uk

Saturday, 30 January 2016

January can be a pretty tough month for budgeting, once all the fun of Christmas is over, many of us are simply counting the days until the next payday. That's why this week on Hope, Freedom, Love I'm bringing my readers Beauty Budget Week. A whole week dedicated to beauty products that perform well but don't break the bank. Meaning that you can treat yourself to something new and not feel the new year guilt!

I've been a bit sneaky and carried Budget Beauty Week into the weekend as I had one last post I wanted to write. It took me a while to try Makeup Revolution, as I just felt a bit overwhelmed by the choice and I didn't know where to start. However, overtime I've added a couple of items into my (huge) makeup collection.

Makeup Revolution was launched in March 2014 in London. Their aim was to provide performance and quality in every product, whilst offering them at revolutionary prices. The brand reminds me a bit of MUA, but I'd say the difference with Makeup Revolution is that the products offer no compromise. Their range of products start at £1 and they cover everything from lipstick to blusher and from makeup brushes to skincare. They are dedicated to offering shades that suit every skintone and they are completely cruelty free.



Keeping up with Makeup Revolutions product line is hard work, they have well over 300 products and it shows. They are working incredibly fast to bring out new and interesting products as quickly as they can. I often feel that not a week goes past without them releasing something new. 

The Makeup Revolution Highlighter in Peach Lights was the first thing to catch my eye from the range. I had been looking for a highlighter which was pretty yet subtle, as I wanted that 'glowing from within finish'. I spotted this highlighter and decided for £3 I'd take the risk and I was so impressed. The highlighter comes in a HUGE compact, which I spend many a moment swooning over. It's a baked formula and it literally has NO fallout, which is really impressive. I've been sweeping it onto my cheekbones and I also like to take some on an eyeshadow brush to wear under my brow bone.

Very recently I've added a couple of new products to my collection. The Salvation Palette (which only costs £6) has a whopping 18 shades; 12 are shimmer shades and six are matte. The shades are all beautifully pigmented and they have very little fallout! There's even a full length mirror which is perfect if you want to put this in a travel makeup bag. The One Blush Stick in the shade 'Dream' (which only costs £5) is a beautiful cream blusher that you just draw onto your cheeks. Dream is a light highlighter shade which adds some real definition to the tops of the cheek bones. It also really brightens your complexion in all the places you need the help. 

I'm honestly very impressed with everything I've tried from Makeup Revolution so far. It's not only a great brand for beginners, but it's also a great brand for beauty junkies. You're not compromising on quality, but you are gaining some great products for your collection. You can shop the Makeup Revolution range on their website, but also at Superdrug online (here) and in stores.

Friday, 29 January 2016

January can be a pretty tough month for budgeting, once all the fun of Christmas is over, many of us are simply counting the days until the next payday. That's why this week on Hope, Freedom, Love I'm bringing my readers Beauty Budget Week. A whole week dedicated to beauty products that perform well but don't break the bank. Meaning that you can treat yourself to something new and not feel the new year guilt!

So far this week I've covered skincare, makeup and nails, so today I wanted to talk about fragrance. As we're talking about decent products that don't break the bank, I really wanted to dedicate this post to The Library of Fragrance. The Library of Fragrance had a really great last year in 2015, they took the beauty world by storm and everybody was talking about them! The Library of Fragrance products are produced by Demeter Fragrance Library Inc (a New York company). They began in 1996 with just three scents (Dirt, Grass and Tomato) and now they have over 300! 101 of these scents are available here in the UK via the The Library of Fragrance website, with a select few available in Boots


What I love most about The Library of Fragrance is the whole premise of the business. They took the mission to create the scents that surround us everyday and nobody thinks to make into perfume. They are the scents that are forgotten about and completely under appreciated. The scents are simple and uncomplicated, they don't overcomplicate the market with hundreds of molecules and lists of notes. Instead, they capture one single scent at a time and they are subtle. This allows you to appreciate one single scent or layer them up to make something unique to you. 






Here are the three scents from The Library of Fragrance which make up my collection. You'll see that some of the scents are simple, some are a little more harder to explain. For example 'Peach' is everything you would expect, a fresh scent which resembles the fresh fruit on a ripe Spring day. 'Pistachio Ice Cream' is that really comforting feeling about being on holiday. It's the fresh Italian air, it's the delicious ice cream sweetness, which has a really nutty undertone to it. The Paperback Cologne is a little more complex, this one is designed to celebrate our love of literature, bringing the smell of an old fashioned book shop to our dressing table.  It's very sweet, it has this a strong vanilla note, brought alive by the woody musty, dusty smell running through it. 

Do you know the best bit of all this? They only retail for £15 each, which is a fraction of the price of a lot of fragrances on the market. You can test these fragrances in Boots stores, each one will bring back a certain memory or remind you of your favourite things. Meanwhile, you can check out the range on the Boots website

Thursday, 28 January 2016

January can be a pretty tough month for budgeting, once all the fun of Christmas is over, many of us are simply counting the days until the next payday. That's why this week on Hope, Freedom, Love I'm bringing my readers Beauty Budget Week. A whole week dedicated to beauty products that perform well but don't break the bank. Meaning that you can treat yourself to something new and not feel the new year guilt!

Today I wanted to talk about something a bit different and that topic is beauty boxes. The beauty box market is pretty over saturated, there are tons to choose from and it's hard to know where to start. Lots of people comment on my blog saying that they don't have the money to waste on a beauty box, because you never know what you're going to get. Many of us cannot afford to lose £15 - £20 on a box of beauty items that we might hate.



That's why today I specifically want to talk about the beauty box by You Beauty. The You Beauty Box is definitely one of the cheapest and best value boxes on the market. This little box from You Beauty comes out once a month and costs a tiny £6.95. The best bit (in my opinion) is that you get to pick to products from a selection. When you logon to your account each month, you're presented with a range of products to choose from. You simply pick your favourites and then your box gets put in the post. When your box arrives you know exactly what you're getting and then you get a bunch of extra treats too. 

The You Beauty Box is actually currently having a makeover and it's relaunching (at You.co.uk) on February 1st, so it's a good time to get involved!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

January can be a pretty tough month for budgeting, once all the fun of Christmas is over, many of us are simply counting the days until the next payday. That's why this week on Hope, Freedom, Love I'm bringing my readers Beauty Budget Week. A whole week dedicated to beauty products that perform well but don't break the bank. Meaning that you can treat yourself to something new and not feel the new year guilt!

I knew that I wanted to include a nail polish brand during Budget Beauty Week and one jumped straight to the front of my mind. I really don't think Barry M needs much of an introduction, especially within the beauty community. The Barry M stands in my local Boots store are some of my earliest memories of loving makeup. I'd love £5 to spare and I was always drawn to the bright colours and the pretty packaging.

Barry M Cosmetics was first created in 1982 by Barry Mero and is a fantastic British success story. In the 80's Barry M was selling in a few retail outlets in London, but it was in 1982 that Barry saw the gap in the market for dramatic, outrageous make-up full of exciting and vivid colours. In the beginning Barry M was a cult name among the new romantics, punks and goths who wanted to make a real fashion statement. Now in 2016, Barry M is Britain's leading colour cosmetics brand, which is still innovative and still wowing the world with their bright colours.





Whilst Barry M's standard range of shades are pretty impressive, what really gets me hot under the collar is their range of special effects. As you can see here, the bulk of my Barry M collection is made up of the 'Speedy Quick Dry' range and the 'Gelly Nail Paints'. 

The Speedy Quick Dry range has been a firm favourite of mine since it's launch. I love everything from the racing theme, right up to the formula and finish. Each polish features a checkered flag as the lid and the names of the polishes also follow the racing theme. The formulation of these polishes impress me no end, they dry really quickly and you just need two coats to get an opaque colour. They leave a really glossy finish and they last really well on the nails too, I love taking these away when I travel as they are perfect for a quick manicure that lasts!

The Gelly Nail Paints offer really high-pigmentation, a super glossy shine and formula that does not budge. What else could you realistically ask for? With these polishes I can normally get a complete opaque manicure in just one coat, the colour is rich and pigmented, plus it dries really quickly. I love sporting one of these polishes when I go to a special event as the glossy finish looks fantastic when it catches the light - they look much more expensive than £3.99.

If you can leave a Barry M counter without a nail polish you deserve a medal because it certainly never happens for me!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

January can be a pretty tough month for budgeting, once all the fun of Christmas is over, many of us are simply counting the days until the next payday. That's why this week on Hope, Freedom, Love I'm bringing my readers Beauty Budget Week. A whole week dedicated to beauty products that perform well but don't break the bank. Meaning that you can treat yourself to something new and not feel the new year guilt!

Today I wanted to talk about KIKO as they honestly provide something that you can't get from a lot of companies. They offer high quality makeup, which doesn't break the bank. Proving that you don't have to compromise on quality if you're working on a budget. KIKO MILANO was first established in 1997 by Percassi. It is famously an Italian professional cosmetics brand, which prides itself in creating a range of cutting-edge products. They aim for their products to be safe, effective and accessible for women of absolutely any age. 




KIKO have been talking the blogging world by storm, and if I'm honest I find myself on their website at least once a week looking at their latest products. They seem to be launching new products very quickly and they all seem to be performing to the standard that people have come to expect. Of course there are similar products available at a lower price, but my point here is that by choosing KIKO you don't have to compromise. 

Some of my favourite products by KIKO are the Long Lasting Stick EyeshadowsI have the shades ‘Golden Mauve’ and 'Golden Brown'. These stick eyeshadows from KIKO get some pretty RAVE reviews and the reviews are 100% justified. The colours are really pigmented, they are creamy when you apply them and then they set and stay in place all day long! They give the likes of By Terry and Laura Mercier a run for their money, for a fraction of the price. There are actually 32 different shades to choose from, so I know that there will be more coming into my collection this year. 

The Rebel Romantic Bouncy Blush in ‘Treasure Rose’ is part of a Limited Edition Collection and I'm pretty tempted to pick up a back up before it's too late. It’s a special blush formula, which is a satin matte finish, which is a lightweight powder, which is very velvety and bouncy to the touch. The colour is very pigmented and it's unlike anything I've ever seen, both on the high street and in high end makeup. 

If you want to get some good quality makeup that isn't stupidly expensive, KIKO is honestly a very good place to start. 

Monday, 25 January 2016

January can be a pretty tough month for budgeting, once all the fun of Christmas is over, many of us are simply counting the days until the next payday. That's why this week on Hope, Freedom, Love I'm bringing my readers Beauty Budget Week. A whole week dedicated to beauty products that perform well but don't break the bank. Meaning that you can treat yourself to something new and not feel the new year guilt!

Today I'm kicking off the week with some NIVEA, which will be a familiar brand to most people. It's been on the beauty shelves since 1911 and it's not a face that has ever really disappeared from the beauty community. I can remember receiving a wash bag full of NIVEA products every Christmas when I was younger, as they create simple and effective products that work no matter how old you are. 





If you happen to be looking for something new to try, NIVEA tends to be a good place to start. Not only do NIVEA create their classic cult products, which as the NIVEA Creme which comes in the classic blue tin. They also create some pretty innovative products which are really exciting. I remember the In-Shower Body Moisturiser launching and it completely blew the blogging community away. You simply wash as normal in the shower and then you follow your shower gel with this innovative body cream. Simply coat your skin and then wash it off, you're left with soft moisturised skin and you don't need to moisturise after your shower either! It's such an simple idea, but it's not like anything we've ever experienced before. 

Another NIVEA launch that I remember really well is the Lip Butter Lip Tin Range. These simple lip butters came packaged in a simple little tin and people went mad for their scents and flavours. The flavours include the original scent plus; Raspberry Rose, Coconut, Caramel Cream, Blueberry and Vanilla Macadamia. The butters are all slightly tinted depending on their scent and they are super soft to the touch. They are perfect for this time of year and they only cost £2, bargain! 

The micellar craze really blew up last year and NIVEA was one of the first brands out on the high street giving it a go. The Double Effective Eye Make-up Remover is a two-phase formula, designed to give some of the more expensive brands a run for their money. There's a water phase and an oil phase which you mix together to give you an extra strength formula. The oil is designed to remove even the strongest waterproof mascara and eye-make-up, whilst the water protects and cares for your eyes. The Sensitive Caring Micellar Water boasts a no-nonsense 3 in 1 formula which you can use on both your face or your eyes. It removes makeup gently so you don't have to rub your skin and it moisturises to reduce redness, tightness and dryness.

If you're on a budget but you still want to experiment with exciting products, I highly recommend browsing the NIVEA shelves in your local shops. You'll be amazed by what you find! 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

I can quite openly admit that I'm a Seche Vite girl. Over the years I've tried tons of different top coats and I've settled on the conclusion that nothing compares. So unless something really grabs my attention, I rarely bother buying any alternatives. However, something about the The Coconut Top Coat from Ciaté drew me in. If I'm honest, it's probably the mentioning of coconut, as I'm a bit of a coconut addict.

The Coconut Top Coat from Ciaté offers a quick finish and a formula that stops your polish from chipping. It's quite thin but you only need one quick coat to lock in your colour and keep your manicure looking good. I've been impressed by the lasting power this has, my nails have definitely been chip free than longer than I normally expect. As with all Ciaté polishes, it's really easy to apply as the brush and ergonomic handle is easy to use, offering precise application. It dries fairly quickly, not as quick as Seche Vite, but it certainly up there. The formula dries glossy, but I'd definitely prefer it to be a bit more dramatic - I personally love my nails when they have the gel effect that Seche Vite gives you.

I completely bought this on a whim, so when I couldn't smell coconut whilst I was painting my nails, I just assumed there was coconut in the formula. However, it turns out that this is actually a scented top coat - but you can only smell the coconut when it's dry. It completely took me by surprise and I could not resist giving my nails a sniff at any given opportunity (which is never a good look). 

It's honestly really refreshing to have a scented top coat, it's nice to leave the chemical scents behind. One whiff of this and you can dream that you're on a beach somewhere with a cocktail - I highly recommend. You can pick up the Coconut Top Coat from Ciaté here from Look Fantastic for £12

Saturday, 23 January 2016

You're looking at the latest beauty box drop from Look Fantastic. This month it's been named "The Detox Box", aiming to give you a fresh beauty start to the year. I really like that this month there's a real selection of products, there is something for your hair, your skin and even your makeup routine.





The first item I spotted in the box is a shampoo and conditioner from Kebelo, a brand I've never heard of before. The shampoo is the Kebelo Clarifying Shampoo and then there is a tube of the Kebelo Silk Conditioner. The Kebelo Clarifying Shampoo is made without parabens and sulphates. It aims to detox your hair, deeply cleansing your hair of grime and dirt whilst still being gentle on your locks. The Kebelo Silk Conditioner is designed for frizzy hair, but is suitable for all hair types. It aims to effectively detangle your hair, whilst still moisturising and smoothing down your hair.


Lets move on to the skincare items in the box! The first is The Polish Method by Lancer Skincare, which is a skin-resurfacing treatment made to improve skin tone and texture. There's a wide array of interesting ingredients which are mixed together to create the 'polish'. After using The Polish, Lancer say that your skin should look refreshed and youthful.

I love testing out Micellar Water products, so I'm excited to see a bottle of the Darphin Azahar Micellar Water in the box. The product is also known as the "Azahar Floral Water" and it's a mild aromatic cleanser. Darphin say it's more than suitable for sensitive eyes, contact lens wearers and sensitive skin which is prone to redness, rosacea and irritation. You simply have to put some of the water onto a cotton pad and sweep it across your face. It should remove all impurities, leaving you with skin that is clean, fresh and soft. I particulary love the orange blossom scent! 


The last skincare item in the box, is Nuxellence Detox by Nuxe. It's actually a product that has been in a beauty box by Look Fantastic in the past, but I've still not given it a go! The Nuxellence Detox is designed to be used at night and it uses 10 patents to "recharge your skin and detoxify cells overnight". After using the product you should wake up with refreshed and youthful glowing skin. 

The last item in the box is a makeup item and it's the Bellapierre Shimmer Powder, this time in the shade 'Earth'. The Bellapierre Shimmer Powder's are pretty frequent items to find in beauty boxes, but I've been lucky enough so far to not get a double. I actually really like these eyeshadows, they add a real depth to your eyeshadow look and they are great for special events. I don't use them enough! 

All-in-all this is a pretty good selection of products and it's a great way to give your skincare, haircare and makeup routine a bit of a mixup for the new year. The Look Fantastic Beauty Boxes are really easy to get your hands on. You just have to sign up here and your box will be winging it's way over to you, prices start at £15 a month and drop to £11.25 when you sign up for a year. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

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 MONUSpa Warming Ginger Massage & Body Oil.





My shower is still completely completely unusable, being a complete shower addict, it's tough for me to bare. I'm making do by rattling through the bath samples that have lived unloved in my 'bath time/relaxation time' drawer for so long! Weirdly, after writing my 'Introduction To Monu' blog post, I found this beauty hiding in my stash!

The Warming Ginger Massage & Body Oil was designed by MONUSpa to give you a spa-like experience from your own home. Lets start by saying that this smells incredible; it's a mixture of Ginger, Lemongrass and Orange which is very aromatic. I know that not everybody is a fan of the ginger scent, but this really is just perfect after a long tiring day. After pouring some of the oil under the running water, it fills the room with the most beautiful ginger scent. It definitely gives you that spa feeling, as the scent lingers both in the home and your skin after pamper time has finished. 

This product is designed to be multi purpose; you can use it as a body oil for hydration, you can use it as a massage oil, or you can use it in the shower and bath. Luckily the Warming Ginger Massage & Body Oil doesn't just smell good! There is a lot of goodness added too, as Calendula, Jojoba Seed Oil and Vitamins A and E are added to the Ginger, Lemongrass and Orange essential oils. This means that as you get out the bath, you can instantly feel your skin feeling nourished. Your skin feels lovely and soft, even without moisturising afterwards. I've actually used this product as a normal body oil, but I definitely much prefer using this in the bath. In fact, since the bank holiday I've slowly watched this product disappear!

The Warming Ginger Massage & Body Oil retails for £26 for 100ml from the Monu website, which I think is pretty reasonable. The good news is that if you're not a fan of ginger, MONUSpa actually make a wide selection of oils, so there are three other scents to choose from. I love the sound of the MONUSpa Calming Vanilla Body Oil - which is a blend of vanilla and citrus oils. Have you used anything from Monu? I'd love to know what you think of the brand!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

'Thursday Tittle Tattle', is a Hope, Freedom, Love blog series which 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! With Christmas officially done and dusted, the focus in the beauty world has moved to Valentines Day, Spring and even Mothers Day?! Keep reading for the latest beauty news that has caught my eye this week.


Real Techniques make brush cleaning simple

Real Techniques have recently announced the launch of the 'Brush Cleansing Palette'. The Brush Cleansing Palette helps to clean brushes "55% more and improves make-up brush performance while increasing brush lifespan". The product is incredibly lightweight and it's made from silicone, which ergonomically fits in your hand. The Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette will be available in February at Boots and Boots.co.uk, priced at £12.99, which I think is pretty reasonable. 

Revlon announces mascara lineup
Revlon recently discontinued their mascara lineup and launched their brand new "Mascara Collection". It's available now (from Boots, Superdrug, Tesco and Amazon) and features five new mascaras. The range has a variety of formulas of brushes, which aim to deliver exactly what it says on the tube. There's a mascara for; Volume + Length, Ultra Volume, Dramatic Definition,  Super Length and the Ultimate All-In-One Mascara. They are priced at £9.99 each. 

Charlotte Tilbury launches lipsticks named by YOU
I love that Charlotte Tilbury has let her fans name two of her new lipsticks. She's well known for her interesting (and naughty) naming techniques, but these latests names have come straight from social media. The new lipsticks join the K.I.S.S.I.N.G range and include Kiss Chase, a berry hue in the original formula and a Matte Revolution lipstick in the shade Between the Sheets. 

Save 30% at Nip + Fab
Nip + Fab are offering a fabulous 30% off their bestselling Glycolic range! All you have to do is enter GLY30 at the checkout before the 31st January. The code will give you 30% off valid on any full price glycolic product. Shop the range here

A new range for curly hair
As a curly hair girl, I'm excited to see that haircare brand OGX has announced a brand new range made for curly hair. It's called the 'Quenching Coconut Curls' range and it includes a Shampoo, Conditioner and Root Boost Spray. It's made from coconut, sweet honey and citrus oil to help de-frizz, hydrate and define seriously curly hair. All products are priced at £6.99 and will be launching into Boots and Superdrug stores nationwide from February. 

There's a new highlighter on the block from Too Faced Cosmetics
The Candlelight Glow Highlighting Powder Duo from Too Faced, will be available from Debenhams from February priced at £35. The product includes special technology, which aims to diffuse and refract light to give you that "lit-from-within" finish. There are too sheer powders in the compact, which can be used together or separately to create the perfect shade. 

Bobbi Brown launch Red & Pink Collection
The Red & Pink Collection from Bobbi Brown Cosmetics is available today! It includes a selection of limited edition lip and nail shades. There's the Rich Lip Color (a lightweight. full-coverage lipstick), the Lip Gloss (which includes avocado and jojoba extracts) and of course the Nail Polish (in Pink Peony and Cherry Tomato). 

Get ready for Spring with Stila
The Spring collection from Stila has been announced and it's been inspired by the Impressionism art movement. The collection uses light and vivid colour and includes quite a few different products. There's the Aqua Glow Serum Foundation, Aqua Glow Serum Concealer, some new Convertible Colour Dual Lip & Cheek Palettes and new shades of the Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick. It launches on January 25th. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

I'm pretty excited with the news that Fleur de Force will be expanding her makeup line further in 2016. Fleur’s makeup line launched late in 2015 and I was instantly interested in trying something from the range. She's a Youtuber that I've followed for a long time, all the content she produces really strikes a chord with me. Whilst I wait (impatiently) for the new products to drop, I thought I'd give some other products a quick test. Naturally being a bit of an eyeshadow fan, I wouldn't be able to rest until the second palette was part of my collection.


Fleur mentioned at the launch of her range that she’s never found the "perfect eyeshadow quad". So the aim for her own range, was to create something that gave you the perfect, yet simple look, all in one palette. The range launched with two Eyeshadow Quads, each which come with their own set of shades. I originally picked up Lunar Rose (a rose and lilac themed palette) and now I'm back with Cosmic Bronze, which is more of a brown-nude themed palette. As with Lunar Rose, Cosmic Bronze comes in a black compact, which has a clear lid to show off the colours inside. There's also a little tiny brush included, just incase you want to apply the eyeshadows on-the-go.

Inside the Cosmic Bronze palette there are four shades, which you can use on their own, or build up for a full eye look. The shades include a cream colour which is slightly shimmery, there is a classic taupe shade which is perfect for blending all the shades together, my favourite is a mink shimmer shade which looks incredible and lastly there's a dark chocolate brown which is perfect through the crease. Just like the other palette, the shades are true to the colour you see in the in the pan and they have just the right amount of pigment. For example, the darker shades are not too pigmented that they difficult to use, it's just great for washing over the lid and walking out the door. I've spoken before about my oily eyelids, but these eyeshadows last really well on my skin, they actually happen to last all day, which makes them a winner for me! 

The eyeshadow quads retail for £8.99 each, which I actually think is pretty reasonable. It's very close to standard high street prices and you're getting a palette that has clearly had a lot of thought put into it. The quads are formulated without parabens, but it's worth mentioning that the quads do contain Talc. Talc personally does not bother me, but I know it will be important for some people out there!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Josie Maran has been floating around the bloggersphere for quite a while. All her products seem to get glowing reviews and I've been dying to try something. I decided to try something small, so I opted for the Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée. It had been raved about left, right and center, so it was finally time for me to cave and try it!



The Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée by Josie Maran is pretty innovative product, as it's been created with coconut water. It's actually made with 50% pure coconut water, which is really hydrating on the skin. It's also packed with Argan Oil and made without Parabens, sulfates and synthetic fragrances. It's been called a 'gelée' but in reality it is somewhere between a cream blusher and a gel stain. I actually have an (irrational) fear of gelly type textures and this doesn't bother me at all. 


I opted for the miniature sample size of the Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée. It comes packaged in a little glass pot with a coloured lid that matches the shade inside. I opted for the shade Pink Escape, which looks red when it's in the little pot, but it's actually a cool pink tone.

I've used the Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée, both with my fingers and a brush. I actually found that fingers work best, as it's quite a small pot and it's hard to fit a brush inside. I tend to dab a little bit of the colour on my fingertips, dab it onto the apples of my cheeks and then blend it out with a blush. The colour is gorgeous, it's buildable and the pigmentation is great too, a little goes a long way. It's also really easy to blend too, I was worried that you'd have to work pretty quickly but it's really easy to use.

Josie Maran says that this special formula gives you 14-hours of dewy color. Whilst I haven't tested it for 14-hours, it does last really well on the skin and it looks really pretty all day long. For $13 I think it's an absolute bargain and it's a joy to use, the bad news is that it's pretty hard to get hold of here in the UK. Although, I'm definitely going to pick up a full sized pot when I'm next near Sephora.

Monday, 18 January 2016

I’m becoming a bit of a perfume obsessive! The bottles on my shelves have increased dramatically in the last 12 months. In all honesty I’ve gone from having three regular perfumes, to having around 15 different options. The latest addition to my collection is the La Vie est Belle fragrance from Lancôme.




Originally launched in 2012 with Julia Roberts as the face of the campaign, Lancôme says that the perfume “is a universal declaration to the beauty of life” (don’t you just love the copy that accompanies perfumes, I often find it so creative)! What is different about this particular scent, is that it has been created with only 63 ingredients.  I know that 63 ingredients sounds like a lot for any product, but perfumes typically have about 120! Lancôme says that the reduction in notes is to focus on quality and not quantity. 

Olivier Polge, Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo, who are three French masters of perfumery, created the perfume – their aim to create a fragrance that encapsulates a fragrance of ‘joy, smiles and freedom’. Lancôme didn’t want to create a perfume that was ordinary or edgy, just something feminine and pretty.

La Vie est Belle comes packaged in sparkly pearlescent box but inside you find a unbranded curved bottle, which is just simply finished with a grey ribbon. It does have the tiny Lancôme rose on the spritzer though, which is a nice touch. It’s quite a sweet scent, with floral notes tied with vanilla and praline, but it’s not too sweet that it feels like something aimed at a young audience. If you like to know the official scents, the top notes are blackcurrant and pear, the middle is made up of iris, orange blossom and jasmine with a base of tonka bean, praline, patchouli and vanilla.

La Vie est Belle starts at £45 for 30ml and you can pick it up in all the usual beauty stores, including Boots here. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

I was recently on the hunt for a makeup brush which would be good for blending eyeshadow and eyeliner under the eyes. In the end I opted for the Tapered Mini Blender Brush by Morphe Brushes, which I picked up from Cult Beauty. I was actually looking for some goodies to take me over the 'free delivery threshold' on my Cult Beauty haul, which is when I spotted the brand. I actually fell in love with almost all of the Morphe Brushes, but I noticed that a lot of them use animal hair, which I wasn't so keen on. The Tapered Mini Blender Brush however, is made with synthetic hair and there was definitely a gap in my collection for it, especially as I've wanted something similar to this for a very long time. 

The brush looks very chic, as it just has a simple black handle which is paired with silver writing and a silver metal casing at the top. The synthetic bristles are really, really soft and they feel really nice on the skin. It's pretty hard to find nice eyeshadow brushes that don't irritate under my eyes, but this one has been fine. What I love about this, is that you can use the Tapered Mini Blender Brush for powder, cream or liquid formulations. Which means that no matter what formula you have, you can have precision application. I've been loving using this over the Autumn/Winter season, it's made smokey eyes an absolute breeze! When I've not been using this under the eye, it's been amazing at working dark shades through the crease. The pointed edge means you can be really detailed with the colour, but the bristles also mean you can blend it out with ease. 

The best part is that the Tapered Mini Blender Brush by Morphe Brushes only costs £6, which I felt was incredibly reasonable. Cult Beauty have recently added some more brushes from Morphe to their lineup, so I might have to pick up a few more for my collection.



Friday, 15 January 2016

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 this teeny tiny sample of Benefit's They're Real Tinted Primer



Not many Benefit products have me truly weak at the knees, but the They're Real mascara has always been hot property in my makeup collection. I'm not one for high end mascara as I feel like the high street is incredible, but It's always the product I've bought for those special occasions and used as sparingly as I can. 

So when Benefit released the They're Real Tinted Primer, I knew I had to try it! The They're Real Tinted Primer is a brown lash primer, which is designed to wear underneath your traditional mascara, adding that little extra oomph. You apply the primer just like you would a traditional mascara; just wiggle your wand from the base of your eyelashes up to the tip. When you first apply this, you can definitely see the influence that the They're Real mascara has had on the formula. It adds curl, definition and volume to your bare lashes and it leaves a great base for your mascara. In fact, if you like a more natural look to your lashes, you could definitely wear a couple of coats of this, without any mascara on top! 

Unlike some other primers on the market that I've reviewed in the past, I found that the They're Real Tinted Primer didn't get too crispy after you've applied it. So you have plenty of time to apply your mascara and you do not have to make a mad dash for your mascara drawer. Which is definitely a winner in my eyes! I've tried this primer both with They're Real and my cheaper high street mascaras and I can truly say it works equally as well with both. 

I've seen a few reviews that have been unimpressed by Benefit's They're Real Tinted Primer, but I'm truly a huge fan! I might actually have to rush and pick up the full size! 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

There are a whole host of fabulous rose palettes available on the high street at the moment and Maybelline have added another. So, if you’ve not yet had enough of Rose Gold, or you’ve not had a chance to get your Rose Gold fix, this palette is for you. This is the second palette from Maybelline, evolving their original nudes palette. The Blushed Nudes palette has 12 shades, which are all made to complement each other. The shades include everything from bronzed shades, taupes, plums and risqué roses. 


You can be forgiven if you think that this palette looks like many others on the market – mainly the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette, but also the L’Oreal Rose palette that I reviewed (and ADORED) earlier in the year.  L’Oreal actually owns both Urban Decay and Maybelline, and you can see that the ideas for palettes have definitely been passed between the brands. 

The palette itself is a metallic pink shade, it has a small window on the front that lets the eye shadows peek through. Maybelline has actually split the palette up, so you can actually use the eyeshadows in duos, trios and quads – so you have a whole host of amazing looks all in one handy palette. It’s a great way to feel inspired to try something a bit different, as they’ve done all the work for you. The eyeshadows are quite soft (my palette definitely doesn’t travel well on a plane) and they are really easy to apply.  I’m a huge fan of the purple hues in the palette, having green eyes, they are shades that really complement my skinton, so they do get a lot of use.They do lack a bit of pigmentation though, which I know is something that a lot of us beauty fans crave from a palette. 

This is a fabulous palette, especially when you consider the price point. It’s clearly not going to be the same quality of Urban Decay, but it’s a very good budget option. The Blushed Nude palette retails for £9.99 and you can pick it up from Boots (here) or Superdrug (here) now.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

I’m someone who craves glow and glitter all year round, so I’m not about to give it up just because Christmas has been and gone. I first fell in love with Josie Maran before I'd even tried a single product. The brand kept popping up on YouTube and I felt like I needed to try something. So I first tried the Coconut Watercolour Cheek Gelée and I was hooked from there on in. Being a bit of a highlighting obsessive, the next products on my wishlist were the illuminating products. Enter the Whimsical Wonder Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Trio...



The Whimsical Wonder Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Trio was released at Christmas time in Sephora. The set had three miniature products from the Josie Maran Enlightenment Illuminizing lineup and it just seemed like the perfect way to try the range. The Enlightenment shade from Josie Maran is a champagne hue, which aims to mimic natural light. It is infused with "multicolored luster pigments" which aim to capture and reflect light, which is very similar to the Hourglass range of products.

Each of the three products comes cases in stunning gold packaging, it's definitely a treat for your eyes long before it even reaches your skin. What is special about the products from Josie Maran, is that they are all enriched in some way. For example, the Coconut Watercolour Cheek Gelée is made with 50% pure coconut water. The Enlightenment Illuminizing lineup is enriched with nourishing Argan Oil, which aims to hydrate the skin. Whilst other ingredients (such as madonna lily and poets narcissus) aim to brighten and even your complexion.

Inside the set I got; the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizerwhich is a liquid highlighter, the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand, which is a cream stick highlighter and finally the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Veil, which is the more traditional powder highlighter. I've been loving using each of these products as they all can be used in such different ways. I've been using two pumps of the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer mixed with my foundation, to give my skin a new year glow. I've been using the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand on the tops of my cheekbones and on my brow bone. Finally I've been using the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Veil all over the skin wherever I need a little extra glow (on the bridge of my nose and in the corners of my eyes). 

I love that all of these products are so versatile! Not only are they multi-purpose, but they are also a really handy size for traveling. All the products are made without Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates, the only downside is that the products are only available in the USA. If you're planning a holiday anytime soon, put these on your wishlist, you won't regret it!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

For today's lifestyle post, I thought I'd share my thoughts on one of my favourite Christmas gifts from this year. What is weird is that the bloggersphere has been going mad for instant cameras for a couple of years now, yet I never got the bug. I think I felt that the cameras were all just a bit basic and that I wouldn't get any use of them. Out of nowhere mid-December, I suddenly felt the urge to research Instant Cameras and I stumbled across the Instax Neo Classic camera range from Fujifilm. It offered the fun of an instant camera, whilst offering a few more technical options. The camera is also known has the Instax Mini 90 and it offers control over the flash and the level of light in each picture. It also gives you the option to switch between modes, there is a mode for parties, children, landscapes and a few others. 



I've really been enjoying experimenting with this camera and bringing some instant photograph fun to our family. Using a polaroid camera certainly takes some practice - it's not quite the "point and shoot" mentally that we're used to in 2016. Instead you have to give your photographs some real thought, as each shot basically costs £1 to produce! I'm definitely going to enjoy having this camera in my collection, I'm sure it will feature in many other blog posts in the future! 


You can pick up the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 from Amazon for £119. If you're lucky you can grab it in a sale for £75, I got mine from Urban Outfitters!

Monday, 11 January 2016

I travel so much with work, so I'm always on the hunt for the next product that makes my life that little bit easier. When I was in my teens I was obsessed with eyeliner, I never went anywhere without it! In every picture I'm sporting heavy panda eyes, which wasn't the best look and it definitely put me off using it in my early twenties. Now I'm back on the eyeliner band wagon and I love that a little bit of eyeliner can add some extra definition to whatever look I'm going for. 

The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Double Ended Pencil (what a name!) is the latest addition to my makeup bag and it's something that is getting a lot of love whilst I'm away traveling at the moment. They come in a variety of colours, but I opted for the Crave/Venus option, which sports a black shade paired with a sparkly nude. The pencil itself is made with jojoba oil, vitamin E and cottonseed oil - which makes the pencil very soft to the touch, which means it glides on. You have a few moments to work with the formula and then it sets with a waterproof finish.

This is the perfect travel companion, as I love using a nude eyeliner during the day, as it helps make me look a little less jet lagged. I also love to wear a darker shade in the evening, as it makes me look like I've put in a bit more effort, when I actually want to be in bed. Top marks for this handy pencil, especially as it's only £12.50 (here). 



Sunday, 10 January 2016

It's been ages since I shared my traditional Sunday nail polish posts. It's January and it's a new year, so I thought it was about time I bought them back! 



If you're looking for a glitter polish with a bit of a difference, you'll love the 'Love Glitter' polishes from Rimmel London. We're talking chunks of glitter in a variety of different shapes and styles, which looks incredible over any colour. One coat adds some subtle sparkle, but two coats has some serious bling to offer to your manicure! This one is 'Tinsel Toes' which has a rose gold colour scheme, paired with silver and dark blue. There are tons of other shades though, which are equally gorgeous, I have my eye on 'Crush On You' which has blue and green holographic chunks.

You can pick up the Love Glitter polishes from Rimmel London for £3.99 from Boots here

Saturday, 9 January 2016

One thing I love to do at the end of year, is share my yearly favourites. These are the products that not only made an impression during a single month, but products that impressed me all year long. This will be a very long blog post, so lets get started….




Best Foundation 2015
This year I wanted to share the love for two different foundations, as I just couldn’t pick between them. The first is the L'Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation, which I fell in love with when I was in America in June and July. For me, this foundation is beyond words and it really deserves the hype that surrounds it. A flawless matte finish, that isn't cakey or powdery - it just looks like skin. It covers a whole heap of imperfections and it lasts whatever the weather. The second foundation I want to highlight is the Maybelline Fit Me Foundation. The Maybelline Fit Me Foundation has become a staple in my routine, it buffs into the skin with ease, it covers imperfections and it doesn’t feel tacky on the skin. It has fantastic coverage too, which makes it good for days when you’re being a bit more demanding on your skin. 

Best Concealer 2015
Before I tried the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer earlier this year, I’d always used concealers from the high street. Moving to a high end concealer makes a real difference. You apply the concealer from a large doe foot applicator, it holds a lot of product and a little goes a long way. My favourite thing about this concealer, is that it works well for everything (dark circles, redness and blemishes too).  No matter how much you apply of this concealer, it still blends beautifully, leaving nothing but a flawless finish.

Best Powder 2015
The Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder is certainly one of the better powders you can buy, so I love that it’s available on the high street. The Bourjois powder is a perfect match for my skin, what I personally like about this powder is that it's incredibly fine milled, so it does not feel heavy at all. Still it gives you great coverage, sets makeup and keeps shine at bay all day long. Some powders can feel quite drying on the skin, but this is really comfortable. 

Best Setting Powder 2015
The Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder* completely changed my opinion on setting powders in 2014 and I loved the powder all year long this year too. I've had quite oily skin all my life, so it's rare for me to leave the house without a setting my makeup in place. The Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder is a translucent powder, which is packed with SPF30. It's incredibly fine and I apply it using a fan brush, the powder blends into the skin effortlessly and it keeps my makeup in place. 

Best Blusher 2015
Picking blushers was really tough as I really discovered blusher in 2015. The Creme Puff Blush from Max Factor, is a teeny little compact, which is a baked formula. The blusher has a marbled effect and its packed with multi-tonal pigments, much like the Hourglass equivalent we love.  I have the shade 'Gorgeous Berries', which I love as its deep berry shade, which is also great for sculpting. You can apply it with a light hand and have really pretty subtle highlighter effect sheen of colour. You can also build it up to create a real flush of colour.  The other blusher that I fell completely in love with is the Clinique Cheek Pop. It started with fickle love over the beautiful pattern, but soon progressed into full on obsession.  It’s a beautiful texture which is so light, it's not cakey and it's not powdery. It's pure genius! 

Best Bronzer 2015
My favourite bronzer hasn’t changed since 2014, once again the award goes to the The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder. I love that the packaging is both pretty and practical, it arrives with a beautiful honeycomb embossed pattern. The bronzer is completely matt and it's a completely even shade all the way through the compact. It’s so easy to use, so easy in fact, I’d highly recommend it if you’re a newbie to bronzers. It’s not too pigmented and it’s not hard to blend, it’s just perfect!

Best Highlighter 2015
Lets be honest, I’m a complete highlighter fanatic, so picking a favourite highlighter is pretty darn impossible. However, after much deliberation, I did eventually make a decision! The product that is getting the Best Highlighter award, is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator in Riviera, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who reads my blog frequently.  There's no doubt that this product looks incredible, it's one of the prettiest items in my whole makeup collection. The formula of these is really quite special too, it's very finely milled but there's absolutely no fallout as I swish my brush round in the pan. The highlighter blends into skin effortlessly and it actually has no glitter in it, so you just get the most gorgeous glow! 

Best Brow Pencil 2015
The product winning this category is a late entry to my makeup collection, but it jumped up the ranks very quickly! Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz has had it’s fair share of hype and it’s completely justified.  Brow Wiz is a tiny little pencil which aims to take the fuss out of doing your eyebrows. There's a pencil on one end and there's a handy spoolie on the other, the pencil itself is a very thin shape, which means you can literally draw on individual hairs. I’ve never tried anything quite like it and I’m a huge fan! 

Best Mascara 2015 
There was only one mascara that came to mind when I was choosing this category and it’s going to the Bourjois 1 Seconde Mascara. It’s the ultimate mascara for adding both volume and length to your lashes! The brush of the mascara is spherical which means there are bristles on every single 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!

Best Eyeshadow Palette

I certainly didn’t drop my eyeshadow palette addiction in 2015 and tons of new palettes joined my collection. One palette that topped my list was the L’Oreal La Palette Nude palette which was actually originally released in November 2014. It was dubbed to be the L’Oreal answer to the new Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, bringing rose and pink hues to the high street. The palette was 10 beautiful neutral eyeshadow shades, all with a pinky, rose edge to them, with a beautiful purple shade and a champagne white thrown in for good measure. The eyeshadows are pigmented beautifully, but they are not too pigmented that you get yourself in a royal mess. There is no fallout on the shadows, which for me is a huge plus, I don’t have time to clean up my foundation before dashing to work!

Please share your 2015 makeup favourites with me in the comments below! I'd love to know what topped your favourites list and if we love any of the same things!
 
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