Scrubbing Away

A while ago now I met Dr Nick Lowe and walked away with a few goodies to try. The Cooling Menthol Facial Scrub is one product that I was keen to give a go, being a fan of facial exfoliators and loving a bit of minty freshness too. This is what they say: "Reveal a softer, brighter and more radiant complexion with this menthol-based creamy facial scrub using gentle spherical micro beads to smooth the skin, purify pores and help stimulate cell renewal. From the first application skin is left thoroughly cleansed, smoother and brighter. Use every week for optimum benefit." So no revolutionary claims, but knowing that Dr Nick only puts good ingredients in his range I knew that this was bound to deliver.

I used the scrub in the shower and squirted a pea-sized amount into my hands, massaging around my face in circular motions. The grains in this scrub are larger than in most, meaning that they really do help to remove that dull top layer of skin and make you feel a bit more radiant. The menthol sensation isn't so strong you feel like you're washing your face with toothpaste, but it does leave your skin fresh and your brain awake. You don't need much of this to go a long way because the grains are larger - normally they get washed away so quickly, but these hang around for a bit longer. Because of the strong results you really shouldn't use this product more than once a week or it will have an adverse effect on your skin... after using this once I had a little pimple breakout which just made me think it was working and getting the gunk out of my skin. At £10.99 I think it's reasonably priced if you suffer from bad skin or just want a good product; it's going to do much better than that £4 scrub you've got lingering in your bathroom!


If you're struggling to come up with an idea for your loved ones this Christmas then the new website that's from the same people as Spa Finder may be right up your street - literally. Glambition is a genius idea that brings together spa experiences, photography sessions, makeovers and gyms all in one place, categorised by your local area so it's easy to find. You can use Glambition vouchers in any of the places on their website, which at the moment contains over 10,000, meaning you don't have to worry about finding a place your loved one might like - they choose themselves! This takes the worry out of getting a fabulous present, whilst you still look extra thoughtful for being able to get them something pampering and self-indulgent.


Shoe Shopping

Westfield has the best shoe shops in London because…

This winter I've had a bit of a foot disaster and needed to buy myself a complete new shoe wardrobe - I say need and you do realise I mean because fashions have changed right? So in *need* of a pair of brogues and some flat, black, biker boots I trotted on down to Westfield, because there's simply no better place to find shoe shops in London. When I'm attempting to make a decision on a specific item I run in and out of different shops about eight times, comparing and contrasting each item until eventually I make a decision. This is quite hard when the shops are streets apart, but in Westfield they're practically spitting distance (well, I don't spit because it's dirty, but you get my drift.) I love how all of the best shoe shops are all next to each other - Aldo, Office, River Island, Next, Schuh... I think they thought I was either a shoplifter or a weirdo the amount of times I ran in and out. I do find it really difficult finding shoes I like that fit my teeny size 3-4 feet, so with the benefit of a warm, sheltered building and a Starbucks in between the shops, Westfield is a shoe winner.

FYI - this is what I ended up with. Very happy LBQ.



Wax on, Wax off

At the age of 28 minus four weeks I don't know how I have never embraced the beauty regime of waxing my bits and pieces. Maybe it's to do with the fact that I inherited my mother's distinct lack of hair (too much information?!) or my father's fear of pain, but up until a few weeks ago the only part of my body that had ever been near a pot of wax was my eyebrows. For this very reason it was a very big deal for me to take the plunge and even consider using the pot of Parissa wax I was sent to try. (Well technically it's a body sugar, but that's still sticky and waxy to me.)

The product comes in a compact box, but when you open it you realise it's been hiding a lot of stuff very effectively... there's loads! Not only do you get the little pot of sugar, spatulas and waxing strips, but also this little test tube blue thing which you bung on after. All you have to do is heat the sugar in the microwave for a few minutes until it goes like a honey formula and is easy to stir. Then just bung it on your legs in the direction of growth, pop on a strip, smooth down and leave for a few seconds and rip it off in the opposite direction. I have to admit I was expecting it to be bloody painful, but in actual fact it was so fast that I hardly squirked.

To start with I was well away, getting into the swing of things and ripping those hairs out for close inspection. However, after a couple of goes the wax wasn't as hot and so it stopped doing anything at all apart from making a mess. When I started trying to manoeuvre round the back of my leg it all started to go wrong... I couldn't get the strip in the right place, the wax wasn't hot enough and I was getting fed up. I basically ended up giving up after two half-legs and resorting to the razor, which was frustrating because the sugar was nice in every way. I liked the smell, texture and smooth feeling where I got it right, as well as the fact that it really didn't hurt.

Gross. But it made me laugh!

The instructions were clear, the set contained everything you need and the sugar didn't leave my legs sticky or sore. I've just resigned myself to the fact that I'm just not a wax person. When I don't have to shave my legs more than once a week (and then unless you had a grope you wouldn't even know) this seems like a lot of effort for me to go through. If you are a wax person though then I'd imagine this would be a good product for you... there's not a lot of fuss and it's suitable for sensitive skin, as well as making the bits I managed to wax super smooth. I'll just be sticking with my Venus from now on!


Moisture Boost

I couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Organic Surge on a chilly rooftop in London Town. I was really impressed with their ethos and the fact that they cut their margins so that us peoples have access to fabulous organic products at reasonable prices. Not only that, but they support children's hospitals in Africa, providing them with whatever they need to ensure the kids are well looked after and healthy. Doesn't that just warm your heart on this cold Winter evening?! Anyway, I digress... whilst I was chatting to Alan MacKenzie he introduced the haircare range and said that he'd compared it to Liz Earle and preferred it. Well, he would say that wouldn't he, but I thought I'd give it a whirl and put it to the test. I adored the Liz Earle haircare range so Organic Surge Moisture Boost had a lot to live up to...

"Moisture boost shampoo cleanses your hair and scalp without removing their natural protective oils. Seaweed extract, rich in proteins and minerals, works to smooth hair and boost moisture retention, restoring silkiness and manageability. Moisture boost shampoo gently smoothes and rehydrates, leaving your hair feeling revitalised and healthy. Organic Surge shampoo is free from harsh foaming agents that strip hair of its natural oils and can cause scalp irritation." So not only is the shampoo (and conditioner) free from nasties, but it contains all kinds of good ingredients to help your hair on its way to hair heaven.

The first thing I noticed about both formulas is that they're very runny. So much so that the first couple of times I used it I had to keep going back to the bottle as I'd dropped it all over the shower! I don't know if this is the result of the organic ingredients or by design, but it took some getting used to - especially the conditioner which I would've preferred to have been thicker and creamier. Nevertheless, the products smelt fab with just a hint of fruitiness and did the job well. The shampoo lathered very well considering it's SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulphate - the traditional foaming agent) free and left my hair feeling clean and fresh after two washes. The conditioner detangled my hair and left it feeling relatively moisturised, although not as good as some other products I've tried, definitely much better than most.

You WILL be as happy as her after!

The big comparison though was with Liz Earle. When I tried this range a few months ago it sorted my hair out in every which way, leaving it in great condition and smelling fantastic. It was a hard act to live up to, but I do think Organic Surge compared well. The LE products retail at £7.50 and the OS £4.99 so you're getting a cheaper deal here and more product for your buck. I don't think the conditioner is as good, but it's a great 'every day' shampoop/conditioner range that means you don't have to faff with your barnet too much. On the whole my hair is in good condition, shiny, moisturised and protected from this horrid weather. I'd definitely recommend this over anything else you'd find in Boots for less than a fiver.

The 12 days of Christmas

Yes, it really is that time, and holy reindeer am I excited. I've done most of my Christmas shopping, polished off my flashing Santa hat and stocked up on the mulled wine. To celebrate the start of the festive season Look Fantastic have some truly fantastic offers available from 1st to 12th December, while stocks last. These are some of my highlights, but make sure you get over to www.lookfantastic.com for lots more.

Buy any Redken Shampoo + a Redken Conditioner and get a free Juicy Tube Duo.

Buy the Elemis Ultimate Moisture Collection for just £25 (SAVE £18.70).

Buy the Decleor Excellence Vanity Collection, worth £116 for just £40.49 (SAVE £75.51).

Get the OPI Perfect Party Duo when you buy any 2 OPI products.

The L’Occitane Verbena Hand Duo is just £18 (SAVE £6).

Free L’Oreal Seasonal Survival Pack worth £18 with any 2 serie.expert products.

Buy any 2 Kerastase products and get a Hair Rescue Pack worth £14 free.

Free when you buy 2 Darphin products, get an Aromatic Gift set worth £19.95.

For a limited time, the Bare Escentuals Golden Eye Collection can be yours for just £15 (save £25).

Buy any Jemma Kidd product and you’ll get the Define Stay Put Eyeliner in Zodiac worth £15 absolutely free.

A free Hand Cream worth £11.50 with any 2 Caudalie products.

For a limited time the Urban Decay Eye Primer Duo is just £15 (save £23).

Buy any 2 St. Tropez products and get a Body Duo worth £12.50.

Bliss Body Butter Gift Set worth £20 with any purchase


Hands like a Princess

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is one of those products that is like the Holy Grail - something that everyone lusts after and nobody has a bad word to say about. I have to admit I've been tempted to purchase some for well over a year, but every time I went into Boots and tried a bit I was totally put off... it seemed a bit too greasy for my liking and just wasn't something I was prepared to fork out for, even if it was supposed to be super good. So when I ordered a subscription to ELLE magazine and they offered me a selection of free gifts, I took the plunge and went for the Elizabeth Arden set which contained a hand cream and body lotion. It couldn't hurt right? Totally.

The hand cream comes in a fab tube with an extra special cap which makes it super posh and worth the spondula.  I use a tonne every day because my little hands work very hard - especially at the moment when I've been at a work event for the last few days, handing out leaflets and packing up stands. Much abuse has taken place. I took my little tube of Elizabeth Arden along with me and it literally was my saving grace. It's a lighter formula than traditional handcreams and definitely not as greasy, so it sinks into the skin quickly meaning you're not left with a greasy mess for twenty minutes while it dries. The formula has that unique scent that everyone loves which hangs around long after the moisturiser sinks in. You only need a little blob to cover both hands and it instantly cools and soothes dry, cracked hands.  I can't think of a better hand cream I've tried.

Another one bites the dust...

So Leighton Meester has become the latest celebrity to sign up (read 'sell out') to be the face of a big brand name. Expect to see the Gossip Girl pop up on a telly near you soon promoting the bargainista's favourite Herbal Essences.

What baffles me though is why brands spend so much money getting a sleb to pretend to like their brand, when clearly they're doing very well by themselves - although those adverts do my nut in. What's even more baffling is that in a lot of beauty surveys results released lately, including Tesco and Olay, a very large proportion of women say celebrity endorsement doesn't make them any more likely to buy a product.

I don't know about you, but I don't see Leighton buying Herbal Essences even more than I see Claudia Schiffer using L'Oreal or Cat Deeley using Pantene. It's just not believable, so why waste money on this when they can spend it on giving the customer a better deal? What do you think?


Strawberry Fudge

Now this title is making me hungry, but that's not important. What is important is the latest Clinique palette, Strawberry Fudge, which made my day when I started using it on Monday morning. This launch is supposed to be for the Christmas season, but seeing as it contains relatively muted colours, no sparkles and certainly no deep smoldering eyes, this is a different approach from practically every other brand out there. The palette is gorgeous - a silver, swirly delight that really put a smile on my miserable-monday-morning face. I love the sixties feel you get from it and the fact that it's a bit fun and different, while looking pretty damn fine in my bag.

The palette contains three eyeshadows (a pale pink, deeper purple and grey) and a pinky blush. I have to admit I was distinctly underwhelmed when I opened the palette to see the colours, but once I started playing with them I slowly grew to love the hues. The pale pink has a delicate shimmer to it which catches the light and shows hints of a golden colour; the purple is a really great shade to create a subtle smokey look and is perfectly matched with the grey. These three eyeshadows fit perfectly together and create a great effect which can be worn in the day if, like me, you like a bit of 'oomph' come the evening.

The shadows apply easily, although you do need to build up the colour, and are smooth to mold and blend. They lasted all day and i was so happy with the result I did it all over again the following morning. What I love about this little palette though is the fact is contains a blush... being a pale maiden I need some blush to make me look barely alive, but can't bear carrying around another thing all day for touch-ups. This is perfect as you have everything in one and the blush is subtle enough that it's pretty much a universal shade. Thumbs up from me.


Blingtastic Offer

There's a fabulous deal on the horizon that you all need to be snapping up... MyFace cosmetics are giving away this cute and wonderful gift worth £25 when you spend £15 on products in Boots. So that means you can treat yourself to a new lippy and a top-up of blush and reward yourself with even more goodies. The gift contains a white pearlescent polish, matching white sparkly lipgloss (which is very similar to a Chanel one which I've had for yonks) and a classic black liner. I love all these products and they're so neutral everyone will adore them, no matter their skintone or taste. Not only that, but you get a voucher to get £3.50 off a MyFace foundation too... How spoiled are you?! This launches in Boots from next week so Happy Christmas from MyFace!


Mini Mavala

I have enough nail varnishes to sink a battleship, yet still I lust after more. Mavala is a range I'd never used before but had seen out and about on the shelves of John Lewis and such like. They were kind enough to send me their Autumn collection to try, and although the colours aren't revolutionary or any different from the millions out there, I like them. There's a deep, slightly shimmery, purple shade which will do you all the way through to Spring, a gorgeous almost-black brown shade which goes with anything, and a surprisingly bright red colour which is bound to become a classic.

The dark colours come out darker than in the bottle and the red brighter, so make sure you find a tester if you're buying from the range. They apply easily and, although the formula is quite runny, look pretty top notch after only one coat. The shades also dry pretty quickly (5 mins and they're touch/smudge proof) and the finish is super shiny so you don't even need a top coat if you don't fancy going fancy.

What I do love about these polishes though is the size... How often have you actually use a full size polish from start to finish? How often do you drag a load of rattling shades away with you for a weekend and double the weight of your case? If you, like me, wish for a solution then these mini bottles are spot on. Perfectly sized to hold enough formula whilst not taking up the same room as a small animal, they're still easy to use and they don't scrimp on the brush quality.


Moroccan Madness

I raved and raved about the Moroccan Oil original formula when I used it a while back. I'd never found something that sorted out all of my hair concerns in one simple swoop. At the same time I was also sent the matching hair treatment mask, shampoo and conditioner to try, but I was saving them for winter when my barnet needed some serious moisture love and attention. I've been using the mask every week for the past month and the shampoo/conditioner every day for the past week to give it some serious browsing time before working wonders on my hair. The only thing was that didn't seem to happen.

The treatment is a really lovely texture, just the right thickness so you can slap it on your head and not worry about it for a good ten minutes. It smells fab too, although nothing like you'd expect it to smell... It really reminds me of men's shower gel or something; it's not at all floral, musky or any other 'girlie' scent you'd expect it to have a hint of. The scent really hangs around for a long time too... Even when you wash it out of your hair and go to bed, you still get a whiff on your pillow the next morning. Right after you use the treatment you don't get an instant feeling of luscious locks and it's not particularly swish-inducing. However, I do think that it's one of those treatments which works from the inside out, as my hair does seem to be in pretty good nick after a few weeks. It didn't smooth my hair though, which is what I expected, knowing how fabulous the original oil was.

The shampoo and conditioner are a whole other story. I was really excited to use these and saved them knowing I'd have to treasure every application. When I finally got to it I was really disappointed; they just didn't meet my expectations. The formulas are pretty bog standard in colour, texture and application... There's really nothing exceptional on first glance. The shampoo lathers well but I didn't get that squeaky clean feeling, but the conditioner didn't seem to agree with my hair at all... It left my hair tangled, feeling coarse and ripped of moisture. I thought initially that maybe I didn't use enough so I wacked on as much as my locks could hold, but it made no difference. My styling time was at least doubled as after blowdrying I looked an absolute mess!

I was all psyched up to write a raving review of these, but I'm afraid that just hasn't happened. While I adore the oil, I don't think there's a strong enough concentration in the other products to have a similar effect. I'd suggest you stick with the original oil if you're on the look out for a wonder product. In the long term that's definitely the better investment.


Brush With Fashion

This week LBQ trotted on down to the London College of Fashion for a sneak peek at their collaboration with iconic British brand, The Body Shop. I've been keeping my eye on this for a few weeks and was really interested to see what they'd come up with. The Body Shop have taken a bit of a wack over the last few years, so it's nice to see they're going back to basics and teaming up with some of the UK's hottest talent. The design of the collection was the brainchild of a fashion illustration student who won a competition set by the University - it's simple, striking and not too 'arty' so I'm sure it'll be universally liked. I would've liked to have seen more colour and pizazz, especially as the campaign images are so striking and powerful, but that's just my opinion folks.

Within the collection they have two eye palettes, two lipglosses, a highlighter and a cheek colour, all of which carry the design through. I'm not a huge fan of the white as I think it will quickly look tatty and dirty, but I love the lipgloss packaging design - it's really fresh and modern. What I do love is the detail of these products... the palettes come with a really cute, iddle biddle eyeshadow brush (not one of those awful foam things) and a matching eye pencil. The lipglosses and the blush tint come with brush applicators rather than your normal foam tip so they're really soft to use and make them seem a bit more premium. The blush tint even comes out a clear colour but changes to pink as you work it into your skin - clever!

I have a really mixed response to the products - I love half of them, but the other half I'm not that impressed with. The eyeshadow palettes have some great colours that everyone can use as part of their daily routine - they're very muted shades that will never go out of style and will create a good base to build your make-up collection from. The texture of the shadow is lovely and silky soft, without being too fly-away and you can get some great colour results. However, some of the shades would be in the 'could do better' section of the report card; the black is very difficult to build up to a solid colour and some of the brown/nude shades are practically invisible. I particularly love the super shiny silver shade... I'm even modeling it today!

Black/Grey eyeshadow palette

Brown/Beige eyeshadow palette

I adore the lipglosses though - they have a very fruity scent and aren't at all sticky to wear, meaning they're both comfortable and tasty. The colours are great too and would suit absolutely anybody, being very nude and 'barely there'. I had that feeling that you can't quite put your finger on, but you know it means you really like something! I'll be using these again and again as they're actually quite moisturising too. The cheek tint sits within the same 'group,' as it has the same packaging...  it's an usual formula but it gives you a good, subtle colour which would be perfect for Spring. It would make a great change from a blusher or something like Benetint, or when you don't want to wear much make-up.

Lipglosses - unbelievably wearable

Blush gel - innovative and pinky

It was really nice to see that The Body Shop are really upping their game and producing fun, usable cosmetics that are great quality, while asserting their position as being an iconic British brand who are investing in future talent. I think the collection as a whole is a really good one and one that I'd recommend you check out in the new year when it's released. It'll be in stores from January 2011, so keep your eyes peeled... and watch out for those fashion students nabbing them all!

A Public Announcement

There have been a lot of discussions recently between bloggers about our little bloggerati world. This post has been a long time coming and I’ve debated about writing it for at least a couple of months, but now I feel is the time to let loose. There is something going wrong in the blogger world and on this chilly November Friday I would like to attempt to fix it. If you are a brand or PR company I strongly suggest you keep reading...

Firstly, if you don’t know what a beauty blogger is (and why not if you’re reading a blog?!) then let me clarify... The majority of us are working women (and that includes a large proportion of mums who may be at home, but looking after kids is much harder than my 9-5) who do this in our spare time, for fun. Get that? This is not our career, we do not get paid for it, we do not get any reward for it other than the satisfaction of writing our thoughts down and getting a buzz when people read them. We are not a money-making magazine beauty editors. We are not doing this for your benefit, we are doing it for our own fulfillment and the joy of our readers.

So we’ve cleared that one up... so why, oh why, oh why do you not understand how to deal with us? Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of brands and PR companies out there that totally get it and are an absolute pleasure to deal with, but some are not. Far from it. In fact there’s a large number of you that absolutely do my head in. I am not a free advertising service that will write about anything that you send me just because you asked me to. I am not here as your own personal outlet for everything great going on in your world. I am not sitting at home waiting for you to send me a press release so I have something to write about. I am an intelligent, savvy, marketing professional that will write what she wants, when she wants and will not be pressured into anything.

Another thing that has been winding me up recently is the amount of rubbish I get sent that is clearly in no way relevant to my blog. All you have to do is click through on a link and spent 0.3 seconds looking before you have the realisation that... oh, yes, she’s a beauty blogger. Now, let me ask you – do men’s limited edition jeans come under that category? No, didn’t think so – so why ask if I’ll write about them? It doesn’t take that long to take a few minutes looking at my blog and figure out if your product or brand is suited to me and my readers; please invest those minutes wisely or otherwise you’ll just get ignored.

Furthermore, if your product is relevant to me and I do accept a sample to try, in no way is this a guarantee that I will write about it. It may sit in a pile for a few weeks waiting to be opened or it may grab my attention straight away and be on my blog within 24hrs... but that is down to me. If you send me something that isn’t particularly easy to use (like a lipgloss or moisturiser) then I may not get round to it for a while – this doesn’t mean you’re being ignored, it means I haven’t got hairy enough legs to use your wax, I’m not showing enough flesh to use your fake tan, my hair doesn’t need dying or I haven’t gotten round to using your hand cream. The more you pressure me, the less likely it is that I’ll actually use your product. A lot of the reason I don’t post about things I get sent is because they’re not different enough or give me a reason to write about them... or they could just be rubbish. Do you want me to write a slating post about your product?!

Events are a whole other story. The world of blogging has changed so much, even in 2010, with more and more brands having blogger events. We know this is a learning curve, but it’s not rocket science to get it right. If you take all of what I’ve said already into consideration then you’ll understand that a 9-5 event in the arse end of nowhere, where I have to sit and watch a presentation is not appealing to me. I love going to brand events and getting to know the people behind the brand... it’s also a social occasion where I can catch up with my blogger mates (and usually have a bitch about everything I’ve covered so far,) grab some nibbles and a glass of bubbly after a hard day at work. But please understand that we’re not sitting at home waiting for an invite to drop into our inbox a day before the event – we know when you need to fill up your RSVP list and bloggers are a last resort, so at least be subtle about it. I really respect the companies that ask for help and advice – you can tell they want to get it right and there’s no shame in asking for a suggestion or two.

Anyway, enough ranting. Here are my top five tips for brands and PR companies wanting to build up blogger relations.

1.    Take the time to read the blog you’re targeting. Look at the last month’s posts and it will give you a pretty good idea about what that person writes about and what they like. If they write about sparkly makeup then it’s unlikely they’re going to want to try your organic foot cream.
2.    Treat us like you would like to be treated yourself. We’re normal human beings that like to natter and hate being bugged. Think about it from our perspective – how would you like to be treated if you were going home after work every night to write?
3.    Give us a reason to write about you. Don’t just send me a picture of a person with nice skin – I want to know what this product is, what it does and how it’s different. I don’t have time to read a 16 page press release so make yours appeal to me – and don’t just send the same stuff you send Woman’s Own.
4.    Don’t get funny about sending us samples. This is a big issue, but how are we supposed to write about something we haven’t tried? If you’re so confident in the product’s ability then you won’t worry if we give it a whirl, will you?
5.    Be nice. If you’re a nice person who I enjoy chatting to and spending time with, then I’m much more likely to listen to what you say to me or what lands in my inbox. We’re people – please treat us accordingly. And give us champagne... that helps a lot.

Brands/Bloggers - what do you think about my massive whine?!


Gingerbread Man

Christmas season is creeping up upon us quicker than I can eat a box of Quality Street and I'm getting all sorts of festive stuff popping into my inbox. I saw this collection originally at an event back in the Summer and had to resist stealing it and running out the door as fast as my size four feet could carry me... look how absolutely adorable these special edition festive products are from Philosophy! I love their range as they smell delish (these do smell exactly how you'd expect, without being sickly sweet) and always inject a bit of fun into your life. I would be a very happy beauty blogger if Santa chucked these into my stocking.


Top Slap

When the Topshop makeup range came out I have to say I was more than a little bit dubious. I'd seen pictures and eventually went into store to play around with it and unfortunately wasn't that impressed. However, now I have to eat my words as I was sent this creamy eyeshadow to try and it really is great. I've been told on the grapevine that the people behind MAC are behind this range - although that doesn't mean the quality is the same, it does give the impression that they know what they're doing. The shade I have is called Darkness and comes in a little squidgy tube which is surprisingly hard to squidge... you do have to apply some pressure to get the product out, but at least you don't get too much.

You need such a small amount of this that I found it easier to apply to my hand and use it as a palette. The colour is jet black and features sparkles throughout which really do stand out on your skin. I love the fact that you can either leave the formula thick or blend it out so you can create either a really strong, dark eye or a more subtle smokey one. No matter how thick you pile it on your eye, you can't feel it and it doesn't cake. It also lasts all day without a problem so you don't have to worry about re-applying for the evening.

I was seriously impressed with how fab this looks and the result of the colour. Considering it's only £7.00 I think it's an absolute bargain too! Just look at my eyes.... ahhhh, pretty. I'll probably be using this until it runs out completely over Xmas and New Year... which doesn't happen very often. It's definitely an easier and stronger application than traditional black eyeshadow, which will last all night long and beyond.



Organic Surge

Last night I had the privilege of meeting the founder of Organic Surge, eating lots, drinking bubbles and getting familiar with the products in the range. More to come on that later, but as I'm super busy today I wanted to first leave you with information on an amazing offer they're running for ten days only... £10 cashback when you buy 3 products! For more information go here... hurry!



Louise Galvin

This 'volumising, for fine hair' shampoo has been kicking around in my bathroom for about a year. I first picked it up at a CEW event yonks ago and started using it, but then for some reason put it down and haven't picked it up since. I have no idea why, because when I was being anal and trying to use up all my shampoos in the last week before opening a new one (I had about 6 if you were wondering) I picked this one up and remembered how good it was. It's specifically for fine hair and adds a bit of volume for people like me that struggle creating some va-va-voom.

This smells delicious as it's made with citrus oils - really lemony without smelling of Cif. It's also SLS free if you're worried about that kind of thing, and claims to prevent greasy roots. The formula is a clear yellow colour and lathers really nicely - which is my main issue with SLS free shampoos. It leaves my hair (literally) squeaky clean after, feeling really strong and smelling fab... although the scent doesn't hang around for long. It does give me a bit more volume than normal and puts a swing back in my swish, but at £22 a pop it's not a cheapo product. It is on asos.com at the moment for £13 so if you're on the look out for a new shampoop, get in quick.

Buxom Lady

I feel like I've rejected my gloss recently - with the Winter weather comes the influx of lipbalms and moisturising treatments to counteract the wind and frost. But this morning I grabbed this out of my 'to do' pile of cosmetics (yes, I do have a 'to do' piles of products) as I fancied a change. I love the Bare Minerals products and they've been handy to have when I don't want much makeup, as well as really helping with the condition of my skin. This lipgloss is from the same brainchild so I hoped it would be as good - it is! Buxom Lip Polish is 'for pout plumping perfection,' not only giving a great colour but also a little bit of plumping so you look like a lady with great assets... your lips.

I love the pack of this and the way it doesn't take itself too seriously. The name and design are a bit tongue-in-cheek and remind me of Benefit or Soap and Glory rather than a pretty serious makeup brand like Bare Escentuals. The polish pack itself is chunky and great quality (so it should be for £17) so it won't get bashed up easily in your bag. I adore the colour of this shade, Dolly - it's exactly the sort of shade I love to wear in the day as it gives you a bit of colour without being too overbearing. It's a pinky brown shade with hints of gold and a few sparkles which catch the light even when the gloss itself has worn off. I put this on at 8am as I was leaving the house and didn't re-apply until midday, so it definitely lasts a lot longer than the majority of my glosses. The texture isn't too sticky or gloopy, which is why I think it hangs around as it doesn't transfer or get warn off easily when you talk - which for me is a lot.

Buxom Dolly - sounds a bit wrong

The added benefit of this though is that it contains 100% minerals and a lip plumping ingredient which leaves your lips feeling a little cool and slightly tingly, while ever so slightly boosting their volume. A lot of other products like this use irritants to boost your lip volume and this absolutely kills me - I have super sensitive lips so I may as well cover them in bleach. The result of this gloss is really subtle and builds up over a few minutes, rather than irritating/scaring you immediately with the feeling that your blowing up quicker than Violet Beauregarde in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. To top this all off, it even smells lush with a hint of vanilla and has a super smooth applicator. At £17 it's not cheap, but I have to say I think it's worth it.


MeMeMe get nailed

The last product I tried from MeMeMe left me feeling very impressed and surprised at the brand who used to be a bit cheap and cheerful. They've spent the Summer re-branding their nail polishes and this is the result - a very complete range of nail colours that look fab both inside and outside the bottle. I love the cute baroque design which makes it look a bit more special than your bog-standard bottle of Rimmel - it gives the range an element of sophistication that you'd expect to see from your more mid-priced brands.

The formula is enriched with minerals so it nourishes while you wear it, and the maxi brush (which is about twice the size of a regular applicator) makes it super easy to get the right amount of polish on first time. The only drawback is that because the brush is so big it's really easy to get far too much on your nail - so be careful! Two coats of this are plenty and I've had this on since yesterday and there's not a single chip yet... considering I normally have chips about an hour later, this is good going. Here are a couple of shades from the range - I am absolutely in LOVE with the grey colour and vow to wear it to death this winter.

MeMeMe I'm impressed. Considering this is only £4.50 a bottle you get well over what you pay for... I've totally got my eye on the Khaki colour. And the blue. And the purple. And the yellow...


It's a cracker

I love a good cracker round the table on Christmas day... even if they're filled with bits of tat you'll never use again, they entertain you for the duration of the meal while the old people are talking about the Queen's speech. If, however, you want a bit more in your cracker than a paper hat and a thimble, this may be for you. A simple concept - silver cracker, mascara inside - but very cute, and also very sought after, from the people at Rapidlash.

I've heard a lot about Rapidlash, especially over the blogosphere, and will be trying this out over the coming weeks. It basically claims to condition and strengthen your lashes, making them grow up to 50% longer than your natural length in only two months. (That's a steep claim, so we will see!) I'm sure every lady would be happy to find this next to their turkey come Christmas, but at £39.99 a pop you better start asking Santa now.

PS - Excuse the crap photo... do you know how hard it is to take pictures of very shiny silver stuff without a professional camera?! That's what I'm asking Santa for this year...

Spring Cleaning

I went to a preview a couple of weeks ago of all the fabulous things coming up from some of my favourite brands right up until Spring 2011. I wouldn't normally babble on about stuff you can't pick up for a good three months, but these being some of my most coveted brands and what I'm about to show you being very exciting, I just couldn't wait til then. I will of course go into more detail closer to their release dates (and review them hopefully,) but here's a little taster to get you in the mood for some Spring Cleaning of your beauty cupboard.

Moroccan Oil has been a great discovery of mine this years as it sorts my barnet out while having about a million different benefits. It is obviously an oil so if you have fine or limp hair it can be a bit scary - which is why this light version is the perfect addition to their range.

Maestro of pretty things, Paul and Joe, have done it again with their stunning Spring collection which is all about florals. The packaging is subtle yet beautiful and the colours fab - pinks, corals, bronzes, pastels. I love the lipsticks which are even adorned with a floral design.

Nails Inc just can't stop releasing beautiful nail colours. Their last collection left me wanting every single one, and their Spring colours are exactly the same. I adore the pastel colours, greens and hints of gold in the corals which make it a little bit different from the shades we've been using for the last few years. To make it even better they've even got these cute make-up cases so you can pretend to be Mrs Pitt.

L'Occitane is one of my favourite brands as I've never found or tried a product I didn't like. They smell fab, have amazing ingredients, look great in their packaging and do the job well. This latest addition to their range is so cute and innovative - it's part of their Rose collection and has a perfume at one end and a scented lipgloss at the other... amazeballs! I NEED THIS.

Finally, Philosophy. Their giant sized products adorn many of my shelves because they're not only pretty and smell good, but they're luxurious as hell. The Spring collection is pale and interesting, featuring my favourite Green Tea body lotion amongst other treats... mmmm.
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