Gelicious: At-Home Gel Manicures (Featuring Little Prince George)

Gel Manicures are definitely the thing to beat at the moment, with everyone from Nails Inc to Models Own launching their 'gel inspired' polishes. Gel manicures applied in a salon can provide a durable and long-lasting nail result for up to four weeks, so it's not hard to understand the appeal. No chipping polish, messy nail varnish removal or trying to hide your hands in your pockets. However, gel manicures can become expensive if it's something you get addicted to; at around £30 a session, it's not a cheap hobby to keep up. I've tried a few at-home gel polish systems before in an attempt to replicate the benefit of a salon visit in my bedroom, but nothing has wowed me. When Gelicious offered to send me their system and put it to the test I couldn't say no. So will this Australian nail brand stand head and shoulders above the rest?


Burt's Bees Launch NEW Lip Colour Collection (Shine, Gloss & Shimmer)

Burt's Bees lip balm is one product I can't live without. I love the smooth texture, the hydrating nature and the uplifting scent it provides as you add a slick to lips. Available in lots of different flavours, and even with tinted varieties, it's the perfect lip product for Spring. In an exciting move for the brand, Burt's Bees are expanding to their colour collection with a range of new products that include Lip Shimmers, Lip Glosses and Lip Shines. All three provide a different texture, a hit of colour and a smooth finish to make lips look and feel great, without compromising on their heritage of beeswax and natural ingredients.




Ageing is inevitable. It's something that's going to happen to all of us someday, yet I don't know a single person that enjoys seeing the signs of ageing on their skin. So, what's the science behind ageing and how can we delay the signs? As we age the collagen and elastin in the deeper layers of our skin starts to deplete: the major factor concerned with our 'older' appearance. Collagen and elastin are structural proteins that are made and used within the human body, responsible for holding everything together; without them our body would literally fall apart. Collagen is very strong and holds each layer of our skin together, whereas elastin allows stretch and movement of tissues within the body. Together they make a wonderful partnership which allows your skin to be spring-like and move easily. Once the skin hits around 25 years old the production of collagen and elastin starts to slow down - this means the ageing process has begun! With each year that passes by, the production of collagen and elastin slow down a little more and more. This results in our skin losing its flexibility and contours noticeably start to droop and wrinkle. The good news is there are ways in which we can delay the signs of ageing... Hurrah!


NEW: Seventeen 'Colour Clash' Nail Effect Topcoat

It seems that a slick of red polish isn't enough if you want to be seen as on-trend and fabulous. Nails are most definitely now an accessory, becoming as much a part of an outfit as your statement necklace. Seventeen have always done a great job at launching on-trend and innovative colours, textures and effects (all at budget prices,) so it's no surprise their latest launch is channeling the miss-matched texture effect seen on many a Spring-Summer catwalk. These 'Colour Clash' nail effect topcoats contain a mixture of colours and sized particles to create a really abstract and unusual result; unlike a lot of topcoats which just provide a universal glittery finish, these offer an effect I haven't seen before. (A miracle!)




When I turned my blog into a full time job, I increased the amount of posts from around five a week to twice a day. I felt it was important for me to be constantly generating fresh content and keeping my readers engaged, returning for more as often as possible. But writing that many posts can leave you scratching your head, trying to come up with yet another idea that will keep your readers happy. Writing endless reviews or posting continuous outfit posts only remains interesting for a short time; we need to be coming up with innovative ways of getting our point across so our sites don't become stale. But how do we do that when we're all so time poor and can't see past the pile of 100 lipglosses? Here are some of my tips to get your creative juices flowing.


Cleanse With Benefits: Cleansers That Help You Inside & Out

Cleansing is one of life’s little essentials. After a long hard day, no other product is better at removing free radicals or stubborn make-up than a cleanser. Whether the process involves a hot flannel or soft cotton discs, there is something deeply therapeutic and relaxing about this daily skincare ritual. Yet, the feel good factor isn’t entirely down to the product. Many psychologists believe that the act of cleansing itself can also remove mental residues as well as physical. For example, if you have been feeling hesitant about a recent decision, cleansing helps to reduce any conflict you may feel over your choices. Looks like Peggy Lee was way ahead of the game when she sang ‘I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair’. Cleansing doesn’t just help us feel better about the decisions we make on a daily basis; equally, it can also serve as a refreshing function to wash away the symbolic mask we wear during our day at work. Removing the ‘mask’ can feel purifying and restorative and help to refresh our self-view at the end of each day. While a lot of theory behind the powers of cleansing is yet to be backed up by large-scale studies, product research into cleansers has been far more rigorous. Here are the ten best cleansers that will help leave you sparkling on the outside as well as inside.



NEW From Kiko Cosmetics: 'Rock Attraction' Bronzer

I'm a sucker for great packaging, innovative application and an embossed palette. Sometimes you have to throw all logic out the window and just make an impulse purchase because something is simply too cool to pass by. Kiko Cosmetics are slowly becoming known as a brand that push the limits of the norm, creating innovative and thought provoking products that meet a need previously otherwise unmet. (Check out their great Winter skincare range!) With their Spring collection of makeup they've got a fair few fabulous pieces, but it's this Rock Attraction Bronzer that caught my attention. In all honesty I've no idea why jeans are hot for next season, but this cute palette just makes me smile and it's almost too good to use.


LBQ Brand Focus #22: Mark Milton

A little touch of jewellery can instantly uplift an outfit, add a touch of sparkle and create a statement. It may be a bejeweled ring, a sparkly pair of earrings or a simple piece of exquisite craftmanship, but there's no doubting how a beautiful piece can make us feel. Mark Milton jewellery includes multiple collections of stunning necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings for women. Curated with loving care by Mark himself, each piece is designed for those with an eye for quality and a passion for design. Every item in the capsule collections has been crafted using precious materials sourced by Mark, whose heritage is steeped in jewellery making tradition; the Milton family history began in 1947 with the sale of a pearl in London’s jewellery quarter, and still has an influence on the collections launched today. However, they're not just the classic pieces you'd imagine - but modern, statement and simple accessories that will make a timeless addition to your jewellery repertoire.


The Body Shop: Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil & Moisture Mask

Taking care of your skin now will benefit you in the years to come. Taking a little time to cleanse thoroughly, apply effective moisturisers and massage the skin will help keep your complexion looking fresh. Adding a night-time routine can really help your skin to replenish itself as you sleep, particularly as it has the time to fully absorb ingredients without you adding three layers of makeup over the surface. I've always been a big advocate of night creams and masks, but sometimes they can be extremely costly and seem like an unnecessary indulgence; with the launch of The Body Shop's Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil & Moisture Mask, they now solve that problem. Simple to use, effective and totally affordable, these two products can offer you the skin you've always wanted to wake up to.



Beauty’in: Drink Your Way to (Clinically Proven) Better Skin

We all know the age old advice of drinking plenty of water as a way of keeping our bodies, minds and skins hydrated, but realistically this often translates into sugary drinks and too much coffee. Many of us don't actually like the taste of water, but the only alternatives are full of flavouring and artificial sweeteners that provide far too many chemicals to really add any benefit. Although Vitamin Water exploded onto the scene a few years ago, claiming to offer vitamin benefit to skin and mind, they're actually sugary drinks that are as bad as drinking a can of coke. Previously the sponsor of London Fashion Week, someone up top wised up to this and has replaced them with the relatively new Beauty’in Beauty Drink - created by Braziliian beauty expert and entrepreneur Cristiana Arcangeli. Beauty’in is a range of drinks that contain vitamins and supplements to aid the body's natural performance (with no added sugar, preservatives or nasties) when consumed daily as part of a skincare plan. Not only do they taste great, but they've been scientifically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and increase radiance too.



Top Ten Uses For Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream (Fragrance Free)

Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream has been one of the most celebrated beauty products for as long as I've known what beauty products were. Loved by women of all ages, makeup artists and skincare experts alike, this is one product that everyone should have stashed in their handbag for all kinds of emergencies. Although I was quite late to the Eight Hour Cream party, now that I've discovered it it's become an essential on my dressing table and a product I would thoroughly recommend. Its unusual gel-balm texture is nothing like a cream, scaring away many consumers who simply don't know how to use it, but this lends itself to being extremely multi-functional and a great investment buy. Here are my top ten uses for Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream, now available in a 'fragrance free' version.


Nail Rock Textured Manicure: The Best Nail Toppers This Season

There's been a huge trend for nail adornments, toppers and textured manicures over the last year or two, with everything from feathers and pearls to flowers and baubles being added to a slick coat of varnish. Although Ciate seem to have cornered a huge part of the nail market, Rock Beauty are starting to give them a serious run for their money. These new textured manicure kits are exclusively available in Topshop and are available in three super cute variants, providing a striking and unusual manicure that will see you right through until Summer.



10% Of Child Burns Are Caused By Hair Straighteners. Turn Them OFF!

Hair straighteners are now as much a part of our lives as a toothbrush; they provide an essential addition to our beauty routines and are often used more than the kettle and microwave combined. However, hair straighteners are responsible for 50% of the marks on my bedroom carpet - because we've all left them on without realising and lived to regret it. Now that straighteners can reach temperatures of over 220°C, many can take up to forty minutes to cool down completely after use. They can cause severe burns if they touch the skin (I've got marks on my arms to prove it,) with nearly half of all adults having been burned by an electrical appliance in their lifetime. Children are particularly vulnerable as their skin can be 15 times thinner than adults, meaning they're more susceptible to serious damage.


Healgel Eye & Face: Effective Lifting, Brightening and Smoothing

I'd heard a lot about Healgel from fellow beauty enthusiasts and bloggers; it had supposedly helped with blemishes, discolouration, hydration and smoothness in a matter of weeks. As a community, us beauty bloggers do tend to sensationalise products and make them out to be the next holy grail - so I always have to take comments with a pinch of salt and put the products to the test myself. Healgel has been on my radar for some time, but only in the last six weeks or so have I actually had a chance to try it out. The formulas are an unsually textured aqueous gel, that brings together the best active ingredients to soothe, repair and protect your skin in one formula. Designed by a team of the world's leading plastic surgeons and a renowned dermatological biochemist, they pooled their cutting edge research to provide a treatment for all skin types that was truly effective.


COMPETITION: Barry M Aquarium Collection Presents 'Mermaid Nails'

When I was little I wanted to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I yearned to be friends with a crab while singing about gadgets and gizmos a-plenty (whozits and whatzits galore.) There's something a little bit magical about mermaids, the texture of their tails and the shimmering nature of their scales. This springtime Barry M are bringing a little bit of Ariel to all of us with their Aquarium inspired collection of nail varnishes and effects. I'm not normally one to rave about Barry's nail varnish, but with this collection of six polishes they've really got me hooked. (Sorry.)



NEW From Bare Minerals: Lasting Liner in EIGHT Colours

I do love Bare Minerals. They seem to take makeup that could otherwise be quite dull and make it interesting. Although they're known predominately for their mineral makeup and foundation range, they're really focusing on adding colour cosmetics to their repertoire. These new Lasting Liner long-wearing eyeliner pencils are available in eight very wearable shades, and contain everything you need for a subtle smokey eye or definition. The design of each liner has obviously been thought well through, with it containing a sharpener and smudging tip at one end and a precision crayon at the other; it even includes a clickable and secure lid to ensure you don't damage your liner when it's rattling about in your makeup bag.



It's 2014 and anyone can be a writer. We all have the opportunity to become a journalist, an opinion leader and a blog owner, but the difference between the good and the great is their ability to formulate an engaging and well written post. I'm always on the look-out for new contributors or guest writers for my blog, but the standard of the work I'm often sent is almost unbelievably shocking. You don't have to be Shakespeare to formulate a great piece of writing, but it is essential to take pride in your work and formulate an opinion piece that flows naturally and makes sense. If you want your blog to be the 'next big thing' and for readers to return for more, then it's essential that you're writing some awesome content. Here are my top tips for making every blog post great.



NEW Illamasqua Glamore Collection: PINK Lipstick & Nails!

Illamasqua have been taking the beauty world by storm, launching everything from green lipsticks to jet black foundation, with the aim of making every colour and every look accessible to all. Although I love the concept and love the variety of colour, a huge proportion of their portfolio is simply unwearable if you're a woman in her 30's who doesn't have bright blue hair. I love a shock of colour, but I also love colour that's wearable... And apparently you do too. Illamasqua have listened to their customer feedback and from the end of February will be adding six new products to their range that are a lot more wearable and 'mainstream' - in a good way. The 'Glamore' collection is inspired by the glamour of the 1920's showgirls and features three lipsticks (in a brand new creamy formula,) as well as three fabulous new nail shades.


L'Occitane Ultra Soft Cream: Limited Edition Fragranced Tins

I always have oodles of body lotion in my bedroom, ready to be lavished on morning and night to help me maintain silky smooth limbs. Especially in winter, when the cold winds and fluctuation in temperature play havoc with the uppermost layers of skin, we need to be especially careful with our routine. L'Occitane always add a touch of French elegance into every product they launch, and these bright limited edition tins are no exception. Making body lotion fun and practical, these tins of Ultra Soft Body Cream are rich in shea butter and melt into skin easily to help nourish and protect. Available in three delicate scents (including Rose Heart, Zesty Lime and Vanilla Bouquet,) they're the perfect indulgence.



Understanding Skin with DMK (Plus FREE Tickets to the Acne Summit)

As I've hit my thirties I've become increasingly concerned about the state of my face. Where I used to have glowing skin, flawless porcelain pigment and only the smallest of blemishes, I'm very much aware it's been replaced with a slightly creased and slightly pigmented finish. Looking after your skin, whatever your age, it vital in the fight against ageing and acne. DMK (Danné Montague-King) is a paramedical skin revision company with a flagship clinic in Harley Street, along with 130 other clinics in the UK. They have expertise in every skin condition, from pigmentation and anti-ageing to acne, and help their patients to understand and deal with skin conditions that blight their lives. Having blemishes and acne prone skin has more of an impact on us than just our appearance; it can deeply effect our self-confidence, self-perception and ability to form relationships. This March, DMK are hosting an Acne Summit with the objective of informing as many people as possible how to understand and deal with their acne, from one of the worlds leading acne practitioners.


London Fashion Week: The Nude Non-Trend For Autumn

So the whirlwind of London Fashion Week is over for another season. I've spent the last few days whizzing around the capital, getting the lowdown on what's going to be hot for next season. Autumn-Winter colour palettes are usually full of smokey greys, berry lips and porcelain complexions, but this season has seen somewhat of a transformation from the norm. Gone are statement lips, dark nails and hard lines around the eye... In are glowing, natural complexions, un-done hair dos, nude nails and barely there lips. Usually this is something we see for Spring, but if there's something I've learned over the last five days then it's definitely the fact that lazy is totally on-trend for Autumn.



NEW: Max Factor's Caroline Barnes Launches NUDE Lipgloss Collection

Did you know that Mr Max Factor launched the very first incarnation of lipgloss in the 1920's? Originally called Lip Pomade, his innovation was used to give actresses on the silver screen super shiny lips. Over 85 years later Max Factor is paying hommage to their original formula with the launch of a new lipgloss collection, named for the original and simply called 'Nude Pomade.' Developed with the watching eye of Max Faxtor's makeup artist Caroline Barnes, the collection consists of four on-trend nude shades for spring that will suit every skintone.


NEW From Burberry Beauty: Six New Nail Shades for Autumn

It's become the ultimate moment of every London Fashion Week season and yesterday Burberry, once again, didn't leave us disappointed. Christopher Bailey decorated classic Burberry silhouettes with arty 'hand painted' shapes in bright colours, so what better way to complement the fashion than with a similarly bold and colourful collection of nail varnish? I was lucky enough to get a preview of the new nail colours launching for Autumn before the catwalk show yesterday, and they're absolutely divine. Six new shades include a dark teal, almost-black navy blue, petrol blue, cherry red, golden bronze and a fabulous deep purple shade that was modeled by every girl strutting their stuff on the catwalk.




The question I get asked by other bloggers more often than any other is 'how do I work with PRs?' When I first started blogging nearly four years ago, working with brands wasn't even an option; we simply wrote about what we loved and what we were using, hoping that someone somewhere would read it. Only with the rapid growth of LBQ during a time of change, partnered with my award nominations and wins, was I able to make connections with brands and gain access to highly sought after press samples. However, it's not the foundation of a blog and shouldn't be the sole purpose of running one. If you're establishing a site with the sole objective of getting your hands on free goodies and eating a lot of cupcakes and canapes, don't waste your time... Now there are thousands of blogs, with hundreds more launching every day, you really need to understand the playing field and to strategically work out your best game plan. Although working with brands isn't the be all and end all of blogging, here are my tips if you really believe you should be.


Rita Ora For Rimmel London: Her Debut Nail Varnish Collection

Rimmel seem to be great at identifying the celebrities and influencers who are 'of the moment' and would make the perfect brand ambassador. They've signed up the iconic Kate Moss, of-the-moment Lily Cole, front row regular Georgia May Jagger and even pop princess Sophie Ellis-Bextor, but now it's the turn of singer Rita Ora. Known for her love of bold makeup and daring outfits, as well as her relationships and best buddies, Rita is definitely a great ambassador for a brand celebrated for their bright colours and London inspiration. Although her debut collection doesn't launch until March, I've got a sneak preview of all twelve colours of nail varnish that will be hitting stores in four weeks.



COMPETITION: Get Great Volume With 'KeraFiber' Hair Building Fibers

Having a thin, lifeless and limp head of hair can have a profound impact on your confidence. The relationship we have with our hair and our appearance is much more than superficial, a weekly trip to the hairdresser having been proved to help cancer patients experiencing chemotherapy feel better and more positive. I've always had naturally thin hair, which has led me to spend an incredible amount of money searching for a solution. Although shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products can provide temporary lift and volume, they don't provide a long-lasting result and can often require a huge amount of time investment. KeraFiber is a simple and effective solution that not only offers an answer to those suffering thinning hair, but those of us that simply want a solution to our volume woes.


NEW From Nivea: Powder Touch 48hr Anti-Perspirant

Deodorant may not be the top of our list when it comes to a Saturday afternoon beauty purchases, but without a reliable and subtle scented tube, tin or bottle we're all definitely left feeling a little uncomfortable. I'm very loyal to my deodorant brands and formulas, having previously suffered from burns and irritation that have left my armpits uncomfortable and red for days, but this new collection from Nivea is definitely being added to my 'nice' list. Powder Touch is a new collection of 48hr anti-antiperspirants that have a delicate scent that reminds me of baby powder and clean cotton sheets; the fragrance combines the classic scents of Rose and Lily of the Valley to ensure it's extremely comforting and universally approved.



Tria Beauty: Truly Effective Home Laser Hair Removal

Hair removal is a topic that I've covered many times on LBQ and it always generates the same reaction; body hair (and therefore hair removal) is a hot topic. The industry is worth billions of pounds globally and makes promises it quite often can't keep. Body hair has been the topic of many a documentary (including one where Cherry Healey investigated a group of women who have chosen to remain as nature intended, regardless of the social stigma,) and insights a huge amount of discussion online during any given day. It seems the majority of us have a hate-hate relationship with the hair that sprouts from our legs, armpits, lady parts and even faces. I've been lucky enough to have inherited the fine hair gene, which leaves my body hair pretty minimal and my issues pretty insignificant; however, I do have a few stray hairs on my stomach that have caused me great embarrassment and my armpit hair seems to grow at the speed of light. Although I'm fortunate enough not to suffer from facial hair, dark arm hair or fuzzy legs, it's the little things for me that make the difference between laughing and sulking. As a result, I've been putting Tria Beauty's home laser hair removal system to the test.



A blogger's social media and blog presence are now interchangeable. Whereas previously a Twitter or Instagram account was an 'additional extra' for bloggers, they're now an essential extension of your online presence. Bloggers offer insight and commentary that is immediate and shareable; we're on the front line, backstage at Fashion Week, at the product launches and out on the streets.  Therefore developing a strong social presence is an essential part of our offering, especially if you want to grow your audience and work with brands. Readers want to know more about you, find out what goes on 'behind the scenes' of your site and find out news before anyone else; there's no better place to bring this to life than through your social media accounts. However, managing multiple accounts and nurturing them to success can be both time consuming and confusing. How do you manage them effectively and ensure they're representing you as a blogger in the know?



Super Saver Skincare: Top Buys For Under A Fiver

So we all made it through January hopefully unscathed, but our wallets are still sobbing from being in a post-Christmas splurging state. In order to combat this I’ve come up with an edit of essential skincare bits that will help your complexion through these winter months, but thankfully each of my picks costs under a fiver. Sometimes there are fab products out there that don't require a second mortgage, but they often go unnoticed because of their simplicity or price point. This February I'm introducing you to four of my favourites...

skincare saviours - under a fiver

Last Minute Valentines Gifts: Love-ly Bath Time With Lush!

If you're a guy in a panic, then don't worry: I'm here to help. Time nearly be up for you to get your loved one a fabulous Valentines gift, but if you're still wandering the streets empty handed then get yourself to a Lush boutique pronto! Always a brand to rely on when in desperate need of inspiration, Lush has lots of lovely love-inspired treats this Valentines that will get you out of a sticky situation and into the good books. Not only do they have pre-wrapped gifts containing everything your lady needs to relax, pamper herself and emerge from the bathroom smelling divine, but there are plenty of token gifts and bath bombs that you can both enjoy... Wink wink.



LBQ's Top Three: Lipglosses

I've fallen a little out of love with gloss recently, preferring to favour a tinted lip balm or go full-on with a bold and bright lipstick. Whereas I used to adore stocking up on glosses and buying every single brand I could get my hands on, now I prefer to invest wisely and use gloss as a way of brightening my complexion or adding texture to an otherwise matte look. Although there are hundreds of different glosses available, my favourites tend to be at the more expensive end of the spectrum (as they provide shine without an overly sticky sensation.) However, there's nothing wrong with stocking up on some cheap and cheerful alternatives to chuck in your bag and ensure you're always prepared for a gloss emergency. Here are my top three lipglosses...

Top three lipglosses


NEW: Aquafresh High Definition (HD) Toothbrush & Paste

The world has gone HD mad. With the introduction of HD television, we're more and more concerned about having a high definition makeup finish and ensuring we look as flawless as possible... But HD-Ready toothpaste? Aquafresh will always be the brand that made toothpaste fun, with their iconic adverts encouraging all the family to get involved; the triple-action stripe of colour is still their defining feature, but they're continually innovating and producing dental products that meet the needs of an ever-evolving consumer in 2014. With the launch of this High Definition toothpaste and brush, they claim to provide three times better whitening and an illuminating effect to help teeth glow - something that's becoming an essential part of any beauty routine.




In the first of my blog advice posts I covered the top tips for setting yourself up as a beauty blogger. If you've got your site and it's full of great posts, you've got all your social channels manned and branded, then how do you actually grow an audience of people who will engage with you and read your content? Without an audience your blog could just sit on the internet becoming another unloved site that's yearning for attention. Although there's no magic formula or way of becoming the Next Big Thing, there are a few things you can do to make an impact and to set yourself up to win. Here are my top tips for growing your audience...


NEW From Pixi: Shea Butter LipBalms

With the wind, rain and snow battling across the country right now, it's more important than ever to keep out lips hydrated and luscious. Although little pots can provide a hit of moisture, they're not exactly glove or on-the-train-appropriate; sticks of balm make lip maintenance much easier, and these new little balms from Pixi even add a touch of colour. Infused with shea butter to provide a smooth and nourishing application experience, the balms are comfortable to wear and glide onto the lips with ease. The touch of colour in the balm is relatively subtle, providing a tint to the lip rather than a full-on lipstick effect, ensuring these are great for use all day every day.



How To Wear It: Pantone of the Year 'Radiant Orchid'

For the last fourteen years Pantone have annually announced their colour of the year, which influences a range of trends for the coming twelve months. With inspirations drawn from the worlds of art, fashion, interiors and beauty, 2014 has been hailed as the year of Radiant Orchid - and it's the perfect shade for stepping into spring. Described as a colour which “blooms with confidence and magical warmth, that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination,” Radiant Orchid combines fuchsia, purple and pink for a bold and beautiful shade that exemplifies everything fresh and expressive about the months following on from a cold and bleak winter. From nails and lips, to eyeshadows and cheek stains, there are so many ways to inject hints of Radiant Orchid into your day to day life. Spring might seem a little way off, but there's not reason not to add this pretty purple breath of fresh air to your makeup bag right now.
radiant orchid - pantone of the year 2014 makeup


Valentines Day: Gifts For The Special Lady In Your Life

Gents, this one's for you. Ladies, this is one blog post to subtly leave on your laptop while your man is in the same room. If you hadn't already noticed, there's only a few days to go until that dreaded date when everything turns a shade of pink and people you thought knew better start declaring their undying love in cringe worthy ways. Valentines Day is nearly upon us once again! I don't know about you, but teddy bears, chocolates and roses are all very well and good, but they're not very creative and don't serve a purpose past midnight on the 14th. Giving a thoughtful and useful gift can earn you serious brownie points, so here are my suggestions for fabulous gifts this Valentines.



COMPETITION: Beauty Box Makeup Storage System

As a beauty blogger, makeup storage is always an issue. My bedroom is pretty much covered in lipgloss and my office is full of overflowing boxes of products waiting to be filed away, leading me to constantly faff around trying to find the one thing I need. Until recently I'd been relying on ill-fitting Muji storage boxes to get me through, but they're neither appropriately sized for makeup or easy to manoeuvre. Although they're pretty lightweight, that does leave them susceptible to tipping over or not stacking properly - I'm forever picking makeup off the floor or chucking it in random cosmetic bags just to get it out of the way. A lot of those problems are now out the window, thanks to a new storage unit from Beauty Box which holds all your makeup in one place with ease.


MeruMaya: Affordable & Effective Skincare For All Ages

The beauty world is awash with misleading claims, pretty packaging and reliance upon a paid-for celebrity face. So many brands are focused on chucking a few million pounds at an advertising campaign, that they forget about what the consumer really wants - a product that actually works. I recently had the pleasure of meeting MeruMaya founder Maleka Dattu over tea in London to discuss her skincare range and to get to grips with the astounding science behind each and every product. Maleka is a woman that knows what she's talking about, having worked with the world's top brands within the cosmetics industry over a 27 year career. She left to pursue her own dream and MeruMaya Integrative Effective Skincare was born. Described as 'an evolutionary range of evidence based skincare designed to help prevent, while reducing existing signs of skin ageing,' they believe it's never too early or too late to start addressing your personal skin ageing needs.




When I started London Beauty Queen in 2010 I did so out of boredom. I was between jobs and needed a creative outlet to keep my juices flowing until my new contract started, so I registered a URL on a whim. Nearly four years later LBQ is my full-time job and provides me with endless opportunities that make me pinch myself nearly every day. Over the last few years the blogging landscape has changed, with hundreds of fresh new things launching themselves onto the internet with hope in their heart and a spring in their step. But with the bloggersphere becoming ever more crowded and competitive, how can you still make a name for yourself and carve your own corner of the 'net? I get numerous emails every week from aspiring bloggers, or those that have taken the plunge but aren't quite sure what to do next. This is the first in a series of posts targeted at them (or you!) to provide a little advice and support when it's needed most. So, in a nutshell, this is how you start a beauty blog...


White Boots In Winter: Topshop Shoe-Boots

White boots are big for Spring 2014, which means there already popping up on our high street and asking to be worn in February. (I miss the days when spring didn't actually hit the shops until, erm, spring.) Although everyone from Burberry to ASOS is telling us that white boots are a must-have accessory, how do you wear them when it's practically snowing outside and certainly not time to get rid of the opaques? Well I think I've found the perfect solution in the form of these fabulous shoe-boots from Topshop.



Paul & Joe: Spring Collection, Exclusive to ASOS

Did you know that Paul and Joe are actually the names of Paul & Joe founder Sophie Albou's two sons? It seems that every season the creative team behind the brand continue to surprise and excite us with their intricately designed makeup products and fabulous packaging, the Spring 2014 season being no exception. These fun and frivolous goodies are exclusively available to ASOS and will definitely put a spring in your step when the weather outside is frightful. Containing a sparkling nail varnish topcoat, unusual red lipstick, highlighting beads and a bright orange blush, this is not makeup for the fainthearted or for those who are a fan of the nudes.


LBQ Brand Focus #21: Pond's Institute

Established in 1846, Pond’s Institute is the world’s oldest skincare brand. Before Garnier, Nivea, Unilever, Olay, L'Oreal and Estee Lauder were even conceived, Pond's were producing the original 'Pond's Extract' which was distilled tea made from witch-hazel shrub. It was first introduced as a 'Golden Treasure' that claimed to have special healing properties, effective in treating anything from itching to rheumatism. The Pond’s line expanded in the late 1800's to include toilet cream, lip salve and ointment, meeting the demand for personal products created by the affluent middle class – all using the rather unusual Pond’s Extract' as the core ingredient.



Sarah Jessica Parker, The Shoe Collection: SJP Shoes!

It's every little girls dream to design her own collection of shoes, but for one little girl who grew up to be one of the world's most famous women, the dream became a reality. Sarah Jessica Parker made her name playing iconic shoe-obsessive and neurotic Carrie Bradshaw in long-running series 'Sex and the City,' inspiring a generation of women to live life to the full - one pair of shoes at a time. Although she made the name of Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik during the show's six seasons, this time it's her turn. Sarah Jessica Parker's debut shoe collection features over twenty different styles, all in bold and beautiful colours and styles that wouldn't be out of place in Carrie's closet. Suprisingly they're not even eye-wateringly expensive, retailing between $195 and $500 (around £150 to £300,) and most importantly - there's even a shoe called 'Carrie'.


Clinique & Lulu Guinness 'Kiss It Better' for GOSH

Great Ormond Street Hospital provides love and care to thousands of children, and their families, every single year. Once upon a time, my family was one of them. My cousin was born with multiple problems that saw him being labelled a 'vegetable' that would essentially see him have minimal quality of life; he was admitted to Great Ormond Street and spent eighteen years being treated and undergoing operations. Now he's a healthy twenty-something with a career, a girlfriend, a flat and a life - all thanks to the amazing work GOSH does every day. For this reason the hospital has always been a cause that is close to my family's heart, and a charity that we support even years later. In 2014 Clinique are celebrating the ten year anniversary of their partnership with Great Ormond Street and their 'Kiss It Better' appeal, that raises essential funds to help the treatment of children living with cancer. In celebration, they've teamed up with epic designer Lulu Guinness (known for her lip shaped bags and purses,) to bring something very special to their fans.



Currently Obsessed With: Primark Statement Necklaces

One of my favourite trends to come out of the last few years has to be statement necklaces. I've collected a huge quantity of sparkle and chain that can update an otherwise bland dress or t-shirt. Adding a touch of bling can finish off an outfit, or uplift it completely, in a way no other accessory can. Although I've experimented with necklaces from River Island, Topshop, Zara and New Look, they tarnish and break easily which makes me resent forking out £15.00 to £20.00 on one necklace. Primark, however, have an amazing range of statement necklaces with fabulous detailing, all priced between £3.00 and £6.00.


NEW From Molton Brown: Aroma Reeds (Home Fragrance)

Since I've had my own flat I've become a little obsessed with home fragrance. I've always had a thing for candles (even covering my room from head to toe when a teenager and frequently causing a fire hazard,) but since my flat has become my very own nest I've become even more interested in the ambiance of each room. Although candles can provide a temporary uplift or provide a relaxing scent, reed diffusers offer a subtle long-term injection of fragrance into a room that's also cost effective. I love reed diffusers because they can also act as a decorative piece on a windowsill, or sit proudly upon a fireplace. Until now I've been using reeds from Jo Malone and Rituals, but the king of fragrance Molton Brown have now launched their very own line in some of their classic fragrances, and they're really rather swish. 



A Classic Investment: Black Prada Sunglasses

As I get older I'm becoming obsessed with designer purchases. Not because I'm frivolous or because I want to walk around like Paris Hilton, but because I'm finally realising buying cheap and cheerful only lasts one season and costs more in the long run. When I was a fresh graduate I loved nothing more than buying everything from New Look and Miss Selfridge, but those handbags and sunglasses didn't last very long at all. After a season they started to look tatty and needed replacing, or bits and bobs would have just completely fallen off. By investing in something that costs a little more, I've quickly learned that I not only treasure it and take care of it, but that it's also going to stay within my fashion reportoire for years to come. When in Paris on a recent weekend break, I started trying on Prada sunglasses basically to pass the time; but once they were on my face and I looked in the mirror to see a little Audrey Hepburn, I was never going to leave without them....


NEW From Models Own: Hypergel, Gel Effect Nail Polish

Models Own are continually launching new fab nail colours, striking effects and flawless finishes. With their latest launch, Models Own are offering their personal take on the gel trend that's been emerging from salons and finding its way onto our high streets; HyperGel is a range of mega shine shades that are highly pigmented, long-lasting and chip resistant. Enriched with lotus flower oil, the gel-like finish gives the professional shine of a salon manicure - something we all lust after. Gel manicures are possibly the best beauty invention in the last ten years, providing a long-lasting result that makes our lives so much more polished. I love the idea of a gel effect manicure from the comfort of your own home, but until now none of the products I've tried have really lived up to expectations. However, these HyperGel polishes offer everything I need and more... In this season's hottest pastel colours.



YSL Gloss Volupte: Luxurious Lipgloss

Makeup purchasing decisions should be made based on performance, price, value and need. However, sometimes those benchmarks get thrown out of the window because of something so pretty it makes you silently weep. I've made no secret of my love for YSL, a brand that add a touch of elegance and timeless sophistication to everything they do, and these new lipglosses are no exception. The YSL Gloss Volupte is a new range of 24 lipgloss shades, developed to suit every skintone and occasion; the rich texture provides an intensely glossy result that leave lips feeling plump and irresistible. Thanks to their patented precise applicator, application is a doddle and precision around the edge of your lips is guaranteed - the foam lip shaped tip lifts enough gloss to cover the lips, without it becoming messy.


Latest In Beauty: The NEW Glamour Edit Beauty Box

Beauty boxes may be so last year, but Latest In Beauty are a beauty box service with a difference. There are no surprises, no disappointed faces when you discover you've been forking out for rubbish products you'll never use, and no subscription that's a pain to get out of. Latest In Beauty offer one-off collaborative beauty boxes that both have a story, and feature products that are really worth trying. For the second time they've collaborated with Glamour Magazine's Beauty Director Alessandra Steinherr, asking her to pick her seven must-have beauty products for the season. For only £14.95 you can get your hands on this fab box that's bursting with goodies (and worth over £45.00,) that are also some of my must-have February favourites.

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