Blonde Boost

Organic Surge are making a splash on the shelves of your local chemist. Their products are made with some of the best ingredients and essential oils, while shunning the harsh chemicals that can make your head cross. I love the products that I've tried so far so I sent a sample of the new Blonde Boost shampoo and conditioner to one of my readers to put through its paces. As a brunette it wasn't much good for me, so I clearly needed some back-up help in the form of Louise, and this is what she had to say...

"The fragrance was, mmmm, delicious.  It's quite zesty but I wouldn’t mind it if the lime was a bit more intense... although it could have the effect of me smelling like a starburst/bathroom cleaning product so I’ll trust that the shampoo developers know better than me on that one!

The shampoo was … well it’s shampoo! I got a good lather out of it, my hair felt clean, it smelt great and had the desired effect. I was quite surprised by the texture of the conditioner as it’s really runny so I didn’t think it would work particularly well (and also means you tend to squeeze a bit too much out) BUT if you want to look like an extra in a Timotei advert circa 1985 then this is your new best friend.  Personally I prefer my hair to be a little, ermm, scrunchier but having said that I did look like a gleaming princess after the first go, which encouraged me to hair flick more than was necessary as I ponced out of the gym changing rooms.  

Even after adding some ‘hair scrunch inducing’ mousse the second time I still had super fluffy blonde hair.  It definitely made my highlights look shinier – I always worry that these types of shampoos will bleach out the lo-lights, but after a few uses they’re still going strong too."

Make sure you check out the other hair products!

So overall that's a pretty gleaming (excuse the choice of word there) review of the new Organic Surge Blonde Boost shampoo and conditioner. I've tried some of their other variants and have to say that I agree on most points Louise has raised here - the fragrances are amazing, the conditioner is really runny but works quite well and you're left with a warm tingly feeling inside for using a product with good stuff inside.

Get your wink on

No 7 have a new addition to their mascara family going by the name of Exquisite Curl Mascara. The wand has a curved brush which is tailored to enhance curl and volume, leaving you with a sexy flutter. The formula includes a 'curl-setting polymer' which claims to lift lashes by up to 90 degrees and keep them there all day long, widening your eyes and enhancing each lash from root to tip. As a lover of all things curly-lash type this was right up my street to try and it didn't disappoint.

The lash wand has a curve to it so it really helps you to lift the lashes and get the effect of a lash curler without the need for handling something that should be classified as a medical instrument. It's really easy to get a fab wide-eyed look within a few strokes of the brush and the formula doesn't clump or leave you with spider lashes. The bristles of the brush are soft, yet sturdy enough to really work your lashes into a frenzy and get your eyes looking fabulous. This is definitely one of my favourite mascara launches of late.

To celebrate the launch and to get the country in a winking mood, No7 have launched a competition on their facebook page for the best wink. All you have to do is upload your best wink video to their facebook page to be in the chance of winning a pampering day and makeover with No7's fab make-up artist Lisa Eldridge. They also have nine goodie bags to give away each week to the ladies (or gents) the judges, including Keeley Dawes herself, feel have been getting their wink on the best. What are you waiting for? Get winking.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Glam Media.


Desk to Date

Living in London and having a pretty hectic social life I spend at least three nights a week attempting to brush up my face from a day of work ready for a night of fun. Shoving half my make-up bag into my handbag or desk drawer is never ideal, so this little kit from Front Cover Cosmetics is the perfect saviour. 'Desk to Date' contains everything you need to perk yourself up from a fresh faced office lovey to a sexy siren ready for a night out on the town. It includes four baked eyeshadows, blusher, highlighter, mascara, lipgloss, khol pencil and all the tools you need to apply them.

I'm always really surprised at the quality of Front Cover as for some reason I associate it with the cheapy Christmas sets you get that your Great Aunt buys you. Their sets couldn't be further from that though as the products are fab, great quality and colours, and matched up with the accessories and 'how to' make them must-haves. The eyeshadows in this set are really lovely and remind me of the little round eyeshadows that Bourjois do - baked domes of greatness that give you a perfect pay-off and blend really well.

The four eyeshadow shades

The blush and highlighter shades are subtle, providing a little flush of colour rather than an impactful sculpting tool. The formula is soft and blendable and the colours do catch the light, so keeping in theme with the strong eyes within the set these are matched well. One of the shades is split too so you can mix them together to get a really matched colour to your skintone.

Blush and two highlighters

'Desk to Date' also contains a mascara, mascara sealer, double-ended lipgloss, khol and tools. I haven't tried the mascara because I'm massively fussy with this kind of thing, but the gloss is pleasant enough for chucking in your desk drawer and the tools great quality considering this set only costs £18.00. The only thing I don't like about this is that you can't take the eyeshadows or blush/highlighter out of the box. Everything else can be removed and used but for these products you have to keep them in this giant black thing!

I'm getting quite fond of this little range as I don't think you'll find products as good quality for the same price anywhere on the High Street. For £18.00 you're getting nine products plus a few tools, so you can't argue with that. The brushes are soft and sturdy so they're a welcome addition to my brush collection regardless of this set. I love the double ended eye applicator which comes in really handy for blending and creating a smokey look, plus the eyeshadows are worth the set alone. This is taking pride of place in my desk drawer for the foreseeable future.

Just the right tone

You all know how much I adore Batiste and how long it's been an essential part of my daily routine, getting me out of a sticky situation many times each week. The formula seems to soak up excess grease and volumise hair like no other brand, but the only downfall is the white powder that can make you look like you're suffering from old age before your time. With the newest launches from their range, Batiste have addressed that issue head-on and re-launched their colour dry shampoos as these fab new 'tones'.

The 'tones' come in three different colours - for light, medium or dark hair - which are now much more wearable than the previous black and brown options. The formula is a lot lighter, going on almost clear with a hint of colour initially and then changing to a coloured powder after a few minutes. This means that you can apply the spray, jiggle your hair around a bit and don't have that problem of streaky white bits that can cause problems. I tried to take some photos to show how it changes over literally about 30 seconds as it amazed me!

There's not a huge difference between the medium and dark hair, so I would say the middle one is the fail-safe 'go to' option if you're not sure - it would be great on mousy browns, dark blondes or even red heads (as this is the only colour category not covered.) The darkest option isn't that dark either so it covers every spectrum of brown, even through to black (although it may leave you with some pale bits so you need to jiggy it a bit!) I think these are a great improvement on the previous colour shampoos, looking a bit retro-chic and really addressing the problems of the formula. Hair perfection is getting within your reach!

L-R: Medium, Blonde, Dark


A la carte

There's a universal problem amongst women of the nation - trying to find a foundation that matches your skin tone. How many times have you spent £10/£20/£30 on a product that looks right in the shop, but by the time you get it home or out in the natural light it makes you look like you're either Casper or Jordan? If you really struggle on the high street then Cosmetics a la Carte may have the answer for you... a bespoke service that matches your skin tone perfectly and creates the best colour for you.

I had the pleasure of popping down to the small boutique shop that's located just off Sloane Street and the products that greeted me were amazing. A full wall of foundations in every colour imaginable, a sea of lipstick colours and a rainbow of eyeshadows, all ready to either be bought off the shelf or mixed to perfectly suit your needs. The foundation matching costs from £46 which I think considering the skill and time taken is an absolute bargain - if you buy three foundations that are wrong then that adds up to this amount anyway, so you're better off getting something that's bespoke and one-off for you.

They can even match anything to a piece of material or other make-up item, meaning if you just can't find that eyeshadow to match your dress or that lipstick you adore has been discontinued, there's now a solution. These services take a few days for simple requests, i.e. mixing of a couple of colours, and up to a few weeks for something extremely unique, i.e. matching that bridesmaid dress. The girls are so friendly and helpful that they'll know exactly what to recommend to get you looking tip top in no time.

The products they carry are also pretty fabulous on their own. I've got a couple of bits and bobs to try and review separately, but this Outliner is amazing and definitely needs sharing sooner rather than later. It comes in a cute little pot and is a gel-like texture that can either be used as an eyeliner or smudged out to be worn as an eyeshadow for a smokey look - it's so easy to use and manipulate the way you want. The pigment is fantastic and contains subtle golden hints which catch the light and create a subtle, but pretty, result. It was difficult to get this to show up on my eyes without the experience of a photographer or decent equipment, so you'll have to trust me on this! At £20 it's not cheap, but the quality is great and you just know it will last forever.

I think this is a really unique and significant service that has a massive amount of potential. You can make up your own eye palettes using the colours of your choice, simply pick up a great mascara or you can get a piece of make-up specifically made for you. If you're a demanding consumer then this may meet your every need! It also makes a fantastic present for a loved one - what better gift to get than the best foundation match you've ever experienced?


Fuzzy Face - take two

I've been trying the Slendertone Face for a few weeks now (if you missed my introduction post then what were you doing? Tut, tut... catch up here) and attempting not to electrocute myself. It's recommended that you use this equipment on a daily basis for around twenty minutes for optimum results, including plumping the skin and increasing the circulation for a more radiant look. I've been giving it a whirl sort of everyday, i.e. when I remember, and although I want to keep going for a few more weeks I thought I'd give you the low-down on what's going on with my face.

The product itself is actually surprisingly teeny, basically compromising of a pair of headphones and a small gadget that's no bigger than an ipod. The headphones sit around the back of your head (a bit like a rude boy) so the paddles are a couple of centimetres away from your ears. You can then increase the rate of the pulses to where you feel comfortable as the gadget is super easy to use and work to your own preferences. I've been using this on about number 10 (originally I started on 7 and worked my way up) which is just about noticeable, but just feels like a little fuzzy feeling flexing through your skin. Any lower than this and you can't feel it if you're worried. The paddles come with removable sticky bits which last about five uses and then you have to replace them for fresh ones or it doesn't stay on your face!

I've mainly be using this in the morning as I get ready and some evenings, probably about five times a week for about three weeks. Although it's really difficult to notice or feel any significant improvement in my youthful (ahem) appearance so far, my skin does feel a bit plumper and fresher. I haven't had any breakouts at all since using this, whereas I'd normally expect a few honkers at least by now. My make-up it sitting a bit better on my skin and I generally feel like my face is pretty radiant. For £300 a go you'd want one of these machines to really make a difference, so I'm still not convinced 100% it's worth the dosh. I'm interested to read about the older ladies that have tried this  - I've been told by one in particular that it's amazing and she couldn't live without it, so I wonder if it's just meant to be for those 'of a certain age'!

This has fitted into my skincare routine nicely so far and makes an interesting addition to my gadgets and gizmos. I can see this starting off a trend in a big way in a few years with all the brands coming out with a similar approach to looking after your skin. So basically what I'm saying it that I quite like it, but it's a lot of money to pay for technology that hasn't made a huge difference... yet. Stay tuned!

Velvet to the touch

My barnet has a mind of its own and tends to do its own thing no matter how much control I attempt to enforce on it. Having pretty curly and unruly hair naturally I spend half my morning regime styling my hair into a sleek-ish bob that inevitably lasts until it starts to rain. One speck of drizzle and my hair turns Afro quicker than Michael Jackson does the moonwalk... it's like my follicles sit there giggling to each other, winding themselves up so they're ready to go crazy as soon as they have the chance. I'd heard about a hair primer from Wella which claimed to improve manageability and amplify styling - as far as I was concerned, if it was anything like the fab face primers that have become a staple in my make-up bag of late, this was one product I was dying to get my mitts on.

For the first couple of days I made the fatal mistake of not really paying attention to what it actually claimed to do. I applied it to wet hair underneath all my styling products and then expected it to wow me with the results. I wasn't wowed. I didn't understand why it wasn't working - in fact my hair was looking worse. It looked like I hadn't put any styling products in it at all and my hair was messier than Worsel Gummage. Well slap me round the face and force me to pay attention... the reason it wasn't doing anything was because my normal serum and relaxing balm wasn't actually getting down to my hair (because the primer creates a barrier) so it wasn't doing its job. This is a primer for styling products so you need to use it on top of any kind of hair relaxants you may use or else you'll wonder what on earth is going on. Now children, don't make the same mistake I did.

So when I'd paid enough attention to realise that this was only going to help my styling products I actually started to use it properly. When I know I'm going somewhere or have a day filled with meetings I tend to make a little more effort with my hair... styling it so it flicks just the right way and gives me the volume I crave. Normally this will last until lunchtime even with a dash of hairspray, but with the primer underneath the hairspray it lasted all day and even all night. (Well until about 9pm) I was seriously impressed. My hair stays volumised and sleeker than normal and I even have the flicks in pretty much the right direction hours later. Even today after a spittier day than you'd expect walking around She-Bu Green (there's a lot of gross spitters round this way) my hair is pretty much as I styled it at 8am this morning.

The formula itself is a light grey velvet smooth primer, not unlike the primers you get for your face. You only need one big pump for short hair and two for long hair to cover your whole head. It doesn't leave any kind of residue so you can't feel it - you just have to trust it's there and does the work! This costs £7.25 from feelunique.com so I think it's really good value for money. I haven't ever seen or tried anything like this so it's fab to have an innovative, useful and practical product that does what it says on the tin. (Or the bottle.)


Cold hands, warm heart

I've got so many nail varnishes I could probably sink a battleship, but I still find room for more because they just keep coming out with these fab colours! This is one colour that caught my eye and is right up my street - a teal blue colour that pretty much goes with anything. I was an Orly virgin until I tried this, but I've seen them out and about all over the place of late. At around £5.95 for a bottle they're good value as you get a pretty huge pot, plus the rubber handle makes it easy to get to grips with applying speedily.

The nail varnish is quite runny and watery when you apply the first coat  which didn't fill me with oodles of confidence. You can see from the picture above how it applies after one coat - quite streaky and patchy - but once you apply the second this kind of comes in handy. Because the polish isn't thick or gloopy you can get a good colour result without your nails being as thick as a false one. The colour was smooth and shiny and the thin brush means you can get a pretty accurate result - I actually got told by a nail technician that I could paint nails properly when she saw these nails, so it must be good! It lasts for a couple of days without chipping too badly, but to be honest this is never a measure for me as I can easily chip a nail after five minutes.Overall, my cold nails looked pretty hot!



Take it all off...

I promised this post to fair Rude Doodle some time ago but because I've got a memory like a sieve and the attention span of a goldfish I totally forgot. So here we are now children, and we're about to start talking eye make-up remover. This is one of the products I will preeeeeech about if I find a good one because it can make such a difference to your routine; if you don't take your make-up off properly then you'll end up either looking like a panda or Phil Mitchell post-bust-up. I've found a few removers which I have been using religiously for a long time so it's time to share my secrets.

I adored the Chanel bio-phase remover for a long, long time. It's expensive at around the £20 mark but one application and sweep across the eye gets rid of any residue your mascara may leave behind. With this remover you'll not wake up with a fleck of black in sight, as long as you use it properly anyway. So I was all happy as Larry with my Chanel when the Bourjois version came out - same company, practically same formula but 25% of the price... you can grab this from Boots for £4.99! Just shake the bottle up to mix the two layers and you're eyes will be clean without the greasy residue that a lot of dual-phase products leave. I haven't found a remover to beat it at all - a lot of bloggers go on about the Botanics one but I find it's nowhere near as effective and leaves my eyes feeling greasy. This is a bargain and you need it now!

If I'm feeling lazy then I use my Dior daily cleansing water all over my face and eyes as it removes every trace of make-up really delicately. I normally quickly wipe the surface make-up with a baby wipe and then use this all over - it literally gets deep down to remove all the grime while feeling like you're using pure water. It doesn't sting or burn my eyes and when I use it alone I still don't get panda eyes the next morning. Again, this is a pricey one at around the £20 mark but I genuinely believe it's worth the cash... I'm nearly at the end and will be buying myself a new stash come pay day!

If you're in a hurry, want something cheap and effective then this is the one for you. Johnson & Johnson's 3-in-1 or their eye make-up remover pads are really great if you don't wear that much make-up or you're just in need of a post-party solution. These are £3.99 and last for a month - you get 30 pads in each pot so it doesn't go far, but they're great as a quick solution and definitely better than grotty face wipes. (Don't even get me started!) So I hope that helps!

Califonia Dreaming

I'm a massive accessories fiend. I think I actually have more pieces of jewelery than shoes and bags (and that's saying something) as it can jazz up an otherwise uneventful outfit or add a little va-va-voom into an already funky one. (Yes I still use the word 'funky'.) I've been spying on independent jewellery designer Maggie Angus for some time as her designs are super cool, without being too 'faddy' - there's always something on offer that you know you'll treasure for years to come. She's even been featured in some of the top magazines this country has to offer, so if it's good enough for Cosmo it's good enough for me.

Her latest collection is entitled 'Viva del Mar' meaning 'life of the sea' and it embodies everything that Summer on the coast of California is all about... palm trees, boats and sexy accessories. This new collection has just released on www.maggieangus.com and I adore all of it. The gold and black make the collection inter-changeable with seasons, meaning you won't be hiding these beauties away through the Winter months.

She says: "This high impact collection is influenced by the riotous vibrancy of Southern California, Studio 54-esque disco cool and the abundance of energetic life beneath the waves. It embraces the quintessential summertime vibe of Miami, with gold-mirrored and black shiny acrylic creations taking centre stage." The prices start at £14.00 so there's no excuse not to totter along right now and treat yourself come pay day. For the price of something from Topshop you'll nab yourself a classic design that will be the envy of your fellow fashionistas.



Getting Lashed

It's no secret that I'm a massive fan of fake lashes - to be precise Eylure fake lashes. I find they're perfect for beginners or those of us with an unsteady and unprofessional hand, especially because you don't have to worry about trimming them or faffing around with glue that doesn't stick. Their Girls Aloud lashes have been a phenomenal success, literally being in every other shop on the High Street, proving that big lashes are here to stay. Even though the girls themselves have been on the down-low of late, they haven't let their lash line slip (literally and figuratively!) as they're just about to be re-launched in this gorgeous new white packaging. Check out the up-to-date shots of the ladies themselves too...! Not to be outdone (and just to get her fingers in more pies,) Cheryl has even updated her lashes so you can get even more volume and a sexy flutter. I'm first in line for these!


New CID: New generation cosmetics

I'm developing a bit of a crush on this cosmetics brand, so apologies in advance for you having to listen to me swoon over massive pile of make-up I've got to get through over the next few weeks.

Today we've got some pretty ace powders that will take you from Spring right through to Summer. The baked formulas make them really soft and perfect for use with either a brush or your finger and the marbled effect means the colour is not just one-dimensional, but more natural looking. On the left we have 'i-glow', a compact shimmer powder, and on the right we have 'i-bronze'... you guessed it, a compact bronzing powder. I'm absolutely in love with these and have been wearing them every day since I got them.

The 'i-glow' powder is perfect for using as a highlighter on cheekbones or as an eyeshadow base, but you can also use it all over your face to get that dewy fresh-faced look. You do have to be careful around your nose so you don't end up looking like a sun-tanned Rudolf, but it really gives you a sexy glow. I got a lot of complements on how fresh and dewy my skin looked when I wore this the other day - and it was just a quick sweep of 'i-glow'. It really lasted all day too and only needed a little topping up around the t-zone to be party ready.

The 'i-bronze' is obviously darker and meant only for highlighting the cheek bones and decolletage. The marbled effect means it's not so harsh if you're either not a fan or not an expert at applying bronzer as you can't really go wrong. This isn't shimmery like the 'i-glow' so I think in the Summer I'll be mixing these two together to get that bronzed goddess look. I love the quality of these powders and the packaging they come in which is sturdy and perfect for 'handbag popping' - the mirrors are perfect and not like the majority of compacts which aren't that great. These are both winners in my book and I've even thrown away my previous shimmer powder in disgust at how it compares to these beauties.



MaxFactor Marvels

I went to a little shindig yesterday in one of my fave places in London, The Soho Hotel, and came away with one of these little lip tint pens from MaxFactor. I'd seen them doing the rounds in store and online and liked the look and idea of them... how often do you put lippie or gloss on and have to re-apply every 30 minutes because the colour has vanished into thin air? The Lipfinity lip pen is a water-based felt-tip that permeates the top layer of your lips to impart the colour within the lip rather than on top - this means it basically shouldn't rub off when you eat/drink/natter. Because it's in a felt-tip applicator you can literally draw on the colour exactly where you want it, so you get the effect of a lip liner without the need for using one (or the fatal mistake of mis-matching the colour!)

I've got this in one of the new colours which launch in store any day now, adding to the five the already have, and it's extremely natural. It just adds a slight hint of pink to the lips meaning it's perfect for the day under a gloss or a balm. I actually tried to take pictures of it on my lips but because of the natural colour it doesn't look like I've got anything on, so I've settled for a swatch instead. When you apply the pen it dries really quickly so you do get a little tight feeling that needs easing with a slick of balm. If you have dry or, god forbid, wrinkly lips it does have a tendency to settle into the creases or hang around the dry parts so you have to be careful to buff your lips before. The colour does hang around for a good few hours (but not infinity so don't get your hopes up) so it's a nice little addition to your day make-up bag for a snip at £6.99 (and always on offer for less.)

You can see how it bleeds into the fine lines!

While I was there I also had my nails done using the new MaxFactor mini nail polishes and went for this gorgeous colour... a black/deep grey with shimmers that make it a molten delight. I was surprised at how easy it went on and how lush the colours were from the range - lilac, coral, navy, gold... definitely one to check out the next time you pop into Boots. The nail technician used three coats on this and it really catches the light. I love the idea of mini polishes too because who ever gets through a full sized one?



Prescription Perfume

Fragrance is a big part of my beauty regime in the morning, as picking a scent to me is like picking the shoes to go with my outfit. I'm definitely not one of those people who sticks to one smell for all occasions - I literally have about twenty to choose from. This ethos is carried through to Miller Harris, who as specialist perfumer put creating fragrances for individuals at the heart of their business. I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon in their London store, which is located just off Regent street at the heart of the capital and has neighbours including Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson.

The cute store is the perfect place to browse and take in the scents that surround you. Even though the shelves are adorned with bottles and fragrant concoctions, it's not overwhelming and it certainly doesn't give you a headache like the perfume departments of some high street retailers! The staff are friendly and will really take the time with you to make sure you get the perfect products for you. The Miller Harris fragrances are split into four categories - floral, oriental, woody and citrus - so it's easy to identify what kind of scent you'll like. You can either go for a 'classic' bottle, 'Ligne de Parfum' which is an extension of seasonal scents and the new 'limited edition' range. All the scents are truly beautiful and I found myself liking things I wouldn't normally, purely because of the way the ingredients are brought together.

Eventually, after trying literally every scent in the shop, I settled on Coeur de Fleur which is described as "a base of Florentine iris and Madagascan vanilla supports a heart of sweet pea, mimosa, Egyptian jasmin, raspberry and peach to make a warm, but intensely feminine, impression." I would never in a million years have gone for a floral fragrance normally (I'm much more citrusy and woody) but this really struck me and smelt amazing on my skin. I also picked one of their delightful home candles and went for Boid Fume which "has a base of cedar, vetiver and santal. An immediate impression of smoky birch and black tobacco reveals an undertone of nutmeg and cumin." I can't express how amazing this candle smells... I was given one as a gift about a year ago and it was my ultimate luxury item that I made last for as long as possible! At £29.00 for the candle and £65.00 for 100ml of the fragrance I think these are great affordable luxuries that you won't regret investing in.

I love Miller Harris as a brand as they make beautiful products that smell amazing and add just a little bit of luxury to your life. You may have spotted these in the loos of posh hotels or bars because these tend to cater to that audience very well - in fact I've just got back from The Soho Hotel (hanging out with Heidi from The Sugababes, as you do!) and they have Miller Harris hand wash and lotion in every bathroom.What's even better now is they've started to brew their own tea in the flagship store so you can sit back, relax and unwind while picking the perfect products for you. There's even olive oils, linen waters and tea towels to choose from so guaranteed you'll walk away with arm fulls of products. If you can't get down to the store they're available from the top department stores nationwide, as well as their website www.millerharris.com Enjoy!

The tea room in the flagship London store
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