Looking Back: What I Wish I'd Known About Makeup In My 20's

Ten years ago my makeup collection wasn't as expansive as it is now, but my enthusiasm was still strong. I knew next to nothing about application techniques, bases and longevity of products, but I did have a collection of lipgloss that took over two thirds of my bedroom. My daily look took all of five minutes to apply and consisted of only a handful of products, with lipsticks and foundations being too intimidating to integrate. Many moons later and my daily routine takes five times as long and includes five times as many products... This is what I wish I'd known about makeup in my 20's.


Under The Radar: Benefit Skincare (Plus New Additions)

Although Benefit are well known for their innovative makeup formulas and fun packaging, their skincare range is definitely a lot more serious. It may be under the radar and often overlooked, but there are some real gems within the expansive range of products. The face wash, polish, toner and eye cream are all very lovely, but these four products are my pick of the bunch - especially the two new additions that make maintaining a healthy looking and glowing complexion a doddle.



The Best Beauty Smartphone Apps

We carry our phones with us wherever we go, spending endless moments catching up on gossip, planning our weekends and watching cats on YouTube. Although there are lots of functional apps that make managing our lives and finances easier, I like to add a touch of beauty to my life when I'm on the go. There are hundreds of beauty related apps available to download, but I've whittled them down to the five I love and think every beauty enthusiast should have in their pockets...


NEW From Barry M: Matte Nail Paint (But Not Too Matte!)

Barry keeps on churning out the nail varnish collections as quick as One Direction churn out a new piece of merchandise - they just keep on coming, with no relent! While other brands are still focusing on pastel hues and tropical shades fit for the beach, the new matte collection of colour from Barry M is much bolder and keeps colour at the forefront this summer. Available in six new colours, these shades are quite a departure from the nude shades currently available. However, what excites me is the new texture they seem to have created here - mattes are traditionally quite chalky and dull, creating a finish on nails that looks like it's going to chip off at any moment. These matte polishes aren't totally shine free, making them much more exciting and wearable.



NEW: Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof Mascara (It's Bling For A Reason)

A really great mascara is hard to find, but as soon as I tried the Maxi Lash golden tube of greatness from Guerlain I was hooked. Now available in a waterproof version with a super slick silver casing, the mascara not only looks indulgent - it feels it too. The brush allows lashes to be plumped and coated easily, smoothing through individual lashes to separate and create volume. The formula is perfectly designed to allow layering on the lashes, helping to create serious impact and an amazing flutter. Suitable for even for the most straggly of lashes, this is a mascara of wonder that really leaves lashes looking luscious. Although it carries a hefty £23.00 price tag, if you're in the market for a mascara that will do you proud on a Saturday night then this is it.


The Truth About Double Cleansing: Do We Really Need A Two-Stage Approach?

The hot topic within skincare right now is definitely the debate surrounding 'double cleansing.' It's not only about what should you be using and how you should be using it, but how many times you should undertake the process. Every day your skin is exposed to hundreds of thousands of germs and bacteria; each time you touch your face you're cross-contaminating an estimated 100,000 different nasties that you've unwillingly picked up from touching door knobs, holding a hand rail on the tube or even standing near someone that sneezes. If these nasties are left on the skin for an extensive amount of time they can lead to blocked pores and infected follicles - one of the many reasons cleansing your skin morning and night is so beneficial. On top of that we're wearing increasing layers of makeup, SPF and fragrance, all of which sit on the skin and can suffocate it if not removed effectively. So, why do we need to 'double cleanse' before bed?



We Should All Just Be A Little Nicer To Eachother (And Ourselves)

I've been doing a lot of reflecting in the last few weeks, taking my time to absorb what's going on around me and really think about how women as a collective behave. We started off with the blogging drama that could've been straight off the pages of a Mean Girls script, quickly followed by a barrage of body shaming and abusive comments left on some of my favourite bloggers sites. Simultaneously, Dove have been partnering with Selfridges to bring to life their 'Beauty Project' - a celebration of women and an educated and articulate platform for debate. I was lucky enough to attend a session discussing the future of beauty, which inevitably digressed into photoshopping and realistic expectations within the industry. My conclusion from all of this? Why aren't we all just a little bit nicer to each other, and ourselves...


Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes: A Quick, Easy & Sweet Smelling Solution

Keeping your makeup tools in tip top condition ensures your application is flawless, as well as helping to avoid breakouts. Every time you use a brush to apply foundation to the skin, eyeshadow to the eyes or highlighter to the cheeks, you transfer not only pigment but bacteria that breeds within these cosy warm environments. Cleaning your brushes regualrly will minimise the risk of spots popping up, as well as helping to create the makeup look you desire. Although it can be quite time consuming and messy, getting into a regular ritual will ensure great performance from your tools. I've always used a little bottle of brush shampoo to cleanse my brushes one by one, getting into a bit of a mess and taking upwards of an hour to complete my entire collection - however, this new little find has helped reduce not only the mess I create, but cut down the process to all of ten minutes. It's a brush cleansing miracle!


NEW From Jo Malone London: Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne

Jo Malone aren't just any perfumer; they push the boundaries and develop unexpected combinations of ingredients that leave the wearer feeling content. Their newest addition is no different, the British brand taking inspiration from the Autumn coastlines that are awash with salty seaweed and driftwood. 'Wood Sage & Sea Salt' is a fantastic take on the beach; it could've been so easy for the fragrance team to have created something exotic and sunny, but they instead kept their inspiration grounded in the deserted miles of English coastline. Master Perfumer, Christine Nagel, describes the scent: "For me, this fragrance is different. The sea air mixes with salty spray and the mineral texture of sand and rock. Like the scent of driftwood, it has a natural and fresh sophistication. A complex combination of wood and the sea is at its core. The feeling is of free-spirited liberty and joy. 



NEW: Barry M 'Cor Balmy' Tinted Lipbalm (A Baby Lips Dupe?)

As a nation, we're a little bit addicted to lipbalms. There's something about applying a sweet scented soothing balm to lips, almost becoming a comforting and ritualistic action rather than a functional one. I have over fifty different lipbalms in my collection (featuring every brand, bright colour and flavour imaginable,) but these new little gems from Barry M are a welcome addition. Cor Balmy lipbalms are available in five different shades - ranging from a practically invisible pale pink to a strong hit of berry - and feature a rich moisturising core to ensure lips are hydrated. The core is enriched with Vitamin E, Jojoba Oil and Shea Butter to protect and revitalise dry skin, while the tinted balm provides a delicate hit of colour that complements the natural shade of lips.



Interviewing MIC's Binky Felstead (The Legs Of Rimmel Sunshimmer)

If you follow me on Twitter and tune in about 10pm on a Monday, you may know that I'm slightly obsessed with the drama of Made In Chelsea. Love rats, cheating scandals, awkward pauses, cocktails with lunch, endless shopping trips and the most brilliant one-liners, it's a guilty pleasure that I just can't miss. Binky (or Alexandra Felstead by birth) has been one of the main characters from the start, documenting her dramatic love life, endless happy hours and the amazing relationship she has with her mother. She already has a beauty blog and numerous columns to her name, so it's no surprise that her love of tan has landed her a contract with Rimmel London. Now the legs and body of their fabulous Sunshimmer range, Binky is keeping it real and helping us all to 'Get The London Look' for a fraction of the Chelsea price tag.  A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Binky, grill her on all things Made In Chelsea and find out about this collaboration with Rimmel London; here's what she had to say...



NEW From Renunail: Nail Polish With Added Strength

Following on from the success of their award-winning Renunail Nail Strengthener (which really does work!) nail specialists Dr LeWinn’s are launching their very own range of nail polish colours. Combining the benefits of their original strengthening formula with an added hit of colour, the new additions contain three key strengthening ingredients to help protect nails and promote growth. Keratin, Bamboo and Calcium ensure the formulas are more than just colour, whilst the formula is free from nasty ingredients such as Formaldehyde, Toluene and Dibutyl Phthalate. Available in five shades (including pink, red, grey, beige and purple,) the polishes apply well to leave a suprisingly thin finish and strong colour result.



Too Faced Makes My Heart Flutter: NEW 'Natural Eyes' Mini Eyeshadow Palette

Although the bloggers collective favourite eyeshadow definitely seems to include the 'Naked' palettes, for me it's all about Too Faced. They may be lesser known and cause much less of a hoohah, but their eyeshadow formulations are beautiful and the colour collections to die for. I'm currently adoring the previously mentioned 'Chocolate Bar' palette, but this new 'Natural Eyes' mini collection is equally as lust-enducing. Containing nine eyeshadows split into three looks (including day, classic and fashion,) the collection includes great base colours, nude hues that work well to define the eye, and darker shades to line and shape. Altogether, it includes practically every nude, beige and brown shade you'll ever need to ensure your eyes are looking amazing.


NEW: Becca Bronzing Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé

Bronzing can be one of the most controversial topics in makeup. You either love it or hate it, but bronzing and contouring can be the secret to a delicate summer glow that helps you look super healthy. If you're not quite brave enough to chance a tub of chocolate powder and a giant face brush, then Becca's new Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflés may be just the ticket you need. The super light formula is air whipped to leave it feeling like cashmere to the touch. Containing two complementary shades (in this case a delicate bronze and a hint of orange - but don't panic!) the small glass tub allows you to delicately apply colour to your cheeks using a precise brush or finger, providing control and comfort.



NEW From Models Own: Fruit Pastel Polish & HyperGel Topcoat

I remember the scented polish trend from the first time around (showing my age,) but perfumed talons are definitely hot for 2014. Models Own already have an existing collection of fragranced nail polishes, but there are two new additions to their Fruit Pastel repertoire in the form of Peach Melba and Coconut Cream. These on-trend shades are great for the forthcoming summer days, keeping things simple via a bright white and delicate orange shade that are probably the most wearable hues of the season. Although they look great, the important selling point is their added fragrance - does the polish really smell like coconuts?


Celebrating It's 1st Birthday: Neom Organics 'Enchantment' Candle

Unlike other candle brands that seem to justify a whopping price tag, Neom Organics is somewhat underestimated and often passed by. Their ethos is based around 'harnessing the efficacy and optimising the aromatherapeutic qualities' of pure essential oils, producing naturally scented organic products that are good for you too. Not only do they look and smell great, but they're an ethical and socially responsible brand that wants to leave you emotionally content. I've been burning one of their 'Cocooning' candles on my bedside for sometime, but when Neom asked if I wanted to help celebrate the 1st birthday of their Enchantment candle I just couldn't say no.



The Ultimate Blogging-On-The-Go Kit

As a blogger, I spend my life in coffee shops catching up on emails when I've only ten minutes to spare. Between meetings and launches I have to squeeze in as much as possible, while attempting not to get in a flap and ruin my hair. To simultaneously keep me looking and feeling great (as well as being at my most effective,) I've developed a little 'blogging on the go' kit that pops into my bag and keeps me stress-free. Want a sneaky peek at what's inside?


Good Enough To Eat: NEW Shay & Blue Salt Caramel Fragrance

Meandering through the fragrance department of Boots, it soon hits you that most scents are churned out in their millions with no real love or affection. Many perfumes smell the same and most lack real stories or history; they're anonymous. A huge proportion consist of overly synthetic notes and super sweet bases, which in turn creates demand for celebrity scents that have very little to do with their spokesperson (other than them being in receipt of a hefty paycheck.) Shay & Blue is different: they take a boutique point of view and channel their personal passion, craftsmanship and skill into every single bottle of fragrance. Established in London only two years ago, they've quickly carved themselves a little niche and ensured their integrity as a fragrance house stands tall above all others. Every fragrance is developed with experts that have traditional skills of working with real flowers, fruit and spices, who hand mix precious distilled fragrance oils in their East London atelier. This ensures a fragrance repertoire that oozes passion, sophistication and uniqueness, embodied in the Salt Caramel perfume that is set to launch later this year.



L'Occitane Goes Brazillian: Introducing The Jenipapo Collection

French skincare and luxurious body products don't just appeal to the European lady - they're also greatly desired by women all the way over in South America, who unsurprisingly associate the shores of France with glamour and elegance. L'Occitane opened its doors in Brazil a number of years ago, but costly import duties and issues with ingredients caused their prices to be pushed up so far they're on-par with Creme de la Mer! In order to counteract this issue and ensure L'Occitane products remained affordable and accessible to all, they decided to develop a locally sourced sub-brand that ensured every ingredient was sustainable. The result is 'L’Occitane au Brésil', which celebrates Brazilian biodiversity with a carefully picked collection of beauty products; it's "the result of a partnership that brings together local culture with L’Occitane knowledge of nature." 


COMPETITION: Beautiful Handmade Makeup Bags From SewLomax

Having a great makeup collection isn't just about owning this season's must-have lipstick colour, or knowing which concealer to take in your handbag. Keeping your much loved makeup items protected and housed with love is as equally important, both in your bathroom and on the go. I adore makeup bags, regularly switching up which one houses my touch-up products that come with me during the day, as well as taking much pleasure in packing a bag ready for a weekend away. British brand SewLomax offers a fabulous range of hand crafted makeup and cosmetics bags, perfect for those of us that love bold colours, quirky designs and a vintage-inspired feel. Each canvas bag is ethically sourced, as well as being treated with Scotchguard to protect from pesky makeup stains; you can easily wipe clean your SewLomax bag to keep it looking new for longer!



A Which Hunt: What Does The 'Which?' Report On Suncreams Really Mean?

Last week consumer 'campaigner' group Which? released a report on the efficacy of sun creams, timed perfectly for the onset of a sunny weekend and the first real BBQ opportunity of 2014. They claimed to have tested fifteen different sun creams (all well known brands available from the high street,) three of which 'failed' their SPF test and have landed themselves in hot water. The products concerned include: Piz Bruin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid, Malibu Protective Lotion and Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection Ultra Radiance Sun Lotion. Which? say: "We don’t think you can rely on products that twice failed our tests to provide the level of protection you’d expect, so we’ve named them Don’t Buys." At first glance this may cause you to panic, throw away your sunscreen and start checking for the first signs of skin cancer... But in my opinion the Which? report is simply scaremongering and causing unnecessary fuss following a flawed experiment.


Matte Is HOT Right Now: New Illamasqua Matte Lip Liquid

Gone are shiny, glistening and juicy lips. This summer it's all about matte textures and bold colours. Not one to let a trend pass them by, Illamasqua's newest innovation provides a rich liquid texture that dries to leave a matte finish on lips; partnered with a bold and tropical colour, these Matte Lip Liquids are great at providing a long-lasting finish. Neither a lipstick or a gloss, the unusual texture is quite thick to apply and leaves a great colour result - once set, the colour stays put without drying the lips or causing an uncomfortable sensation. The precise applicator helps to ensure the colour is applied exactly where you need and want it, as well as aiding to blend the shade and create a uniformed finish. Although these won't be for everyone, they're fab if you love colour but hate the stickiness of gloss or the transference of lipstick... These definitely stay put!



Win A Personalised Benefit Hoola Bronzer: #HowDoYouHoola?

I'm a sucker for anything with my name on. The obsession dates back to being at school, when every item of stationary and PE kit was forcibly stamped with my initials - basically if it didn't have your name on, then it wasn't yours. The lovely people at Benefit Cosmetics have realised the importance and appeal of personalisation and are giving their fans the opportunity to win a box of Hoola bronzer adorned with their name - one of the most iconic cheek colours in the makeup world. Hoola has been the No.1 best-selling bronzer in the UK for the last 5 years, and with reason. The delicate chocolate coloured powder helps to create a subtle tanned effect on the face, with no sparkle or shine; it's a simple one-dimensional colour that can be used for sculpting the cheekbones or providing a sunkissed look when applied to where the sun naturally touches the face.



LBQ Current Favourites: The Pick Of NEW SkinCare

It's easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to skincare, repeatedly purchasing those bottles and pots that we know so well. Innovation has never been more rife in the category than it is now, with revolutionary textures and groundbreaking claims creating much excitement - but which products should we be paying attention to and adding to our otherwise basic repertoire? I've picked five products that have landed on my desk in the last month, all providing an element that wowed my senses and have found themselves within my daily skincare routine.



NEW & Affordable: Max Factor CC Colour Correct Crayons

Although CC Creams are fast becoming the buzz product of 2014, there's still a lot of confusion surrounding their purpose and application. Put simply, CC creams help to neutralise colours or pigments in our skin that can leave us looking tired, dull, red or sallow. If you've ever looked in the mirror and thought you're looking a bit knackered, it's probably accurate to assume your normal makeup just doesn't look the same once it's applied. The reason is that the base colour of our skin changes, often becoming darker or yellowy in tone, impacting the way our complexion is perceived. CC products help to counteract those tones, providing shades of colour to rebalance and great a much 'healthier' glow. If you like the idea of a colour correction product, but not the thought of applying something over your entire face, then these new Colour Corrector crayons from MaxFactor are a great alternative. Available in five different variants, each providing targeted skincare solutions, they're easy to use and don't require an NVQ in makeup application.



WIN: Personalised & Unique Phone Cases From Casetagram

My phone is definitely as much an accessory as my clutch bag - and probably attached to my person more. I've got a collection of iPhone cases that include comedy pugs, elegant gold covers and high fashion statement pieces, but it's the personalised ones that will always have a special place in my heart. There's something about having a case that showcases images that mean something to you, rather than a generic design that can be picked up anywhere on the high street. I've made a few cases online before, creating a collage of instagram pictures or holiday snaps, but Casestagram make personalisation super easy while providing a superior quality finished product.



NEW From Nivea Sun: In-Shower Refreshing After Sun Lotion

With the summer sun comes inevitable tales of sunburn and heat radiating from our skin's surface. (Top tip: don't get burnt in the first place by understanding your SPF!) Sitting out in the sun not only dehydrates our skin, but can cause the upper layers to become sore and irritated; using an after sun lotion can help soothe the affected area and replace lost nutrients, which in turn can limit the damage caused by sun exposure. (However, nothing will beat wearing an effective SPF and re-applying regularly.) After sun lotions are a lot less popular than they could be, mainly due to their nature and being somewhat of an after thought. However, with Nivea's new In-Shower After Sun Lotion they may well have cracked the conundrum and made applying after sun super simple. 


Top Tips: How Do You Establish A Skincare Routine?

I write a lot about getting into a routine, investing in great products and throwing away the face wipes, but it seems there's a lot of confusion about actually how to use skincare products once you've decided to make the jump. Serums, cleansers, balms, bases, primers, washes... Which comes first and how do you layer? Although everybody is different, this is what I use on a daily basis and (more importantly) how I use it. 



A Great Desk-Side Essential: Roger & Gallet Hand Creams

The downside of being a full-time blogger is that I spend a lot of time abusing my hands. Typing, swiping and generally swatching, leaves my hands feeling dry and in need of serious attention. Applying a hand cream regularly is the one thing that keeps them looking and feeling half decent, so I'm never without a stash by by side. I accumulated a cute tube of Roger & Gallet hand cream a while ago and started popping it into my bag on a regular basis; the lightweight and non-greasy texture makes it perfect for applying on the go - especially as it dries quick enough to return to typing in a matter of seconds.


Top Tips: How Does Micellar Water Work? (And How Do I Use It?)

Six bottles of Bioderma Micellar Water are sold every second across the globe. The trend for micellar waters may have started as a makeup artist and industry secret, but the magic bottles of liquid were soon adopted by bloggers and beauty enthusiasts - creating a demand that saw Bioderma launched once and for all within the UK. I'm a big fan of micellar waters, not only because they're easy and effective, but because they don't strip the skin or leave it feeling irritated. Although many friends and readers know that micellar water provides a gentle option for their skin, few really understand how they work or how they should be used. To clear the issue up once and for all, here's all you need to know about micellar waters.



The Tanning Process: Top Products To Take You From Pasty To Tasty

Wedding season is well and truly upon us, as is the onslaught of pastel hues and hemlines that rise beyond our ankles. There's nothing I hate more than pasty pale limbs, especially when I don't have the excuse of winter woolies to cover them up. Adding a subtle touch of sunkissed tan can work wonders not only for your confidence, but helping your skin to ooze health and radiance. However, tanning can be a minefield of worries and reservations if you're not sure how to perfect that sunkissed glow. With thousands of products promising to make you look like a bronzed goddess, how do you ensure you look more St Tropez and less TOWIE? Here are my top tips and product picks to take you from pasty to tasty in no time at all.


Simple & Effective: MaxFactor's Face Finity All Day Primer

If there's one product every woman should have in her makeup bag, then it's a great primer. Not only do primers help to keep makeup in place all day long without slipping, but they aid application and provide a flawless canvas from which to start. Although a lot of primers have thick, creamy or velvety gel textures, Max Factor's new Face Finity All Day Primer is super lightweight and almost invisible to the touch. It's apparently the 'secret ingredient' in their best selling Face Finity All Day Flawless Foundation, now available as a product in its own right. A little of this applied under foundation will help to prime, mattify and hold your flawless beauty look in place for longer.



Using The Right SPF For Your Face: Avoid Breakouts & Blemishes

In the winter our skin can become dry, itchy and flaky, but in the summer it has a tendency to switch to oily and congested. For most of us, breakouts can be a real pain - if not a real confidence draining issue. Summer time should mean sunshine, holidays and the tropical scent of sun cream, but for many of us applying SPF can come with a whole load of issues of its own. Most sun creams have a thick texture and are quite heavy on the skin, which can result in blocked pores and congestion. This in turn can increase likelihood of pimples, irritation and aggravated acne... Something we don't want to worry about while sipping a cocktail on the beach. So how can we make sure we're using the right SPF for our face so we can avoid breakouts and blemishes?


NEW & IMPROVED: No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum

It's been seven years since stampedes flooded the beauty halls of Boots, women everywhere rushing to pick up a little white bottle of serum. No7's Protect & Perfect was the first skincare innovation that seemed to be supported by scientific evidence; it had been proven without doubt that it could reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The press went mad. Women went even madder. Boots sold a years worth of stock in two weeks. It became a cult classic and there were waiting lists galore. Now in 2014 No7 are focused on making their existing serums even more effective, with the launch of a new and improved version: Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum.



NEW From Illamasqua: Hydra Veil Matte (The Perfect Product Extension)

Illamasqua may be more well known for their bold colours, but they also offer a huge portfolio of products designed to help every woman look and feel her best - regardless of the colour palette she chooses. Their original Hydra Veil jelly was launched back in 2013 to rapturous applause, offering the combination of a hydrating base and a primer in one easily absorbed product. It makes makeup easy, removing any confusing application techniques or layering conundrums by simply providing one universal liquid that achieves everything in one swoop. I love the original, so when I found out they were launching an updated 'matte' version I just knew the beauty world would go crazy for it.



LBQ Current Favourites: Nail Care

You can have the perfect blowdry, a flawless face and a killer outfit, but if you've got manky looking hands and nails the illusion wanes. I've always been obsessed with my nails - something I inherited from my mother (who to this day still changes her polish every other day and prides herself on her long and elegant nails.) Regular manicures aren't an option for most, so getting the right at-home treatments make the difference between a quick bodged job and a stylish salon-esque finish. These five nail care tools are products which I've become to love and rely on, knowing they'll help me some way to achieving a perfect manicure.



Good Enough To Eat: My New 'Pastry Chefs' Swatch Watch

Candy bracelets remind me of being a kid, being given a pound and sent off to the corner shop to see how much swag I could get for one hundred whole pennies. There's something extremeley playful and fun about them, as well as their colour palette being totally on-trend for this season's pastel love-in. When I saw this Swatch watch on display at London Fashion Week last season, it instantly put a smile on my face and left me dreaming of sweet things. Although I forgot about it, as soon as I stumbled upon the Swatch stand in Westfield London I knew I had to have it. Part of the delightfully yummy 'Pastry Chefs' collection, this 'Caramellissima' watch is possibly the best thing I've bought all year... (If not my life.) 


Kadalys Banana Balm: Fruity Lipbalm With A Caribbean Touch

You either love bananas or you hate them. For me, they're a fruit I could eat by the truckload. The scent reminds me of tropical summers and holidays in the sun, as well as being comforting without bringing the sickly sweetness you get with some other fruits. Kadalys has only just hit our shores in the UK, bringing the benefit of the banana tree (used in Caribbean traditional medicine for centuries,) to the cosmetics world for the first time. No other brand currently makes use of this fruit, tree or skin (known for its soothing and healing properties,) making Kadalys somewhat of a revolutionary. Although there are lots of other great products within their range, the hero is definitely the delicate Banana Balm - 100% organic, it brings hydration and smoothness to lips with an added delicate banana scent.



The Best Hair Invention Ever: Introducing 'invisibobble'

I spend most 'at home' days shoving my hair up in various fashions, searching for clips and pins that will keep it out of my face and provide temporary hair relief. I don't mind my freshly styled, bouncy hair blowing in the wind - but when I'm working or lounging around, I take great satisfaction in tying it up and placing it on the top of my head. However, with 'bunging' hair up comes the inevitable fall out a the end of the day when you attempt to take it down; knots and tangles, oww-ing and grumbling while you try not to rip out an inch of hair from above your right ear. I recieved a pack of invisibobble hair ties in a beauty box some time ago, not realising what they were until I saw them within a magazine's 'top buy' list a couple of weeks later. Although they look like a phone cord, they are in fact traceless hair rings that hold your barnet in place without getting it tangled or tied up. Not only are they incredibly sturdy and impossible to stretch out of style, but they come in a variety of colours (and are so much cooler than a scrunchie.)


NEW & Exclusive To Selfridges: Bobbi Brown Art Sticks

Oh Bobbi Brown, why are you just so goddam clever? You all know how much I love a multi-functional makeup product, saving room in my handbag and enabling me to basically be a little bit lazy while on the go. Well Bobbi Brown's new Art Sticks take practicality to a new level, combining the benefit of a lipstick with the precision of a lip liner. The chunky pencil is reminiscent of the Chubby Sticks that have been ripped off more times than I care to count, but with a more sophisticated edge. Available in eight different shades, the Art Sticks contain shea butter to provide a rich creamy texture that glides onto the lips. Essentially this is a lipstick-liner duo that removes the need for faffy pencils floating around your handbag, or a two-step process that just isn't practical when you've got thirty seconds before your bus stop. 



It's Not Glam, But It Works: FaceD 3-Luronics CC Cream

I'm a little tired of the alphabet trend. We've had BB, CC and now DD creams are about to flood the shelves of department stores, promising to deliver everything bar world peace. It seems in most cases sticking a double letter before a product name lures the consumer into a false sense of security, providing promises that simply can't be kept. It's easy to become disheartened and pessimestic, but every so often a product that comes along that delivers performance above and beyond expectations. Although it may have the most unglamourous packaging and complicated name, FaceD 3-Luronics CC Cream hit the UK last weekend and it set to cause quite a stir. Hailing from Italy, the face base has excelled in clinical trials and provides both instant and long-term benefits to those suffering from dull, dehydrated, ageing and sallow skin.


Cyber Clean: Is Your Smartphone Causing Your Spots?

It will come as no surprise that the number of smartphone owners in the UK has increased unimaginably in the last few years. As a blogger and social media consultant I'm permanently attached to my iPhone and iPad, relying on them not only to keep conversations flowing, but to get me from A to B as quickly as possible. (What did we do before Google Maps, Tube route planners and the National Express timetable on our phones?) However, did you know that your smartphone and tablet could be harbouring millions of bacteria at this very moment? A 'Which?' report found that in 11 out of 60 devices tested, the total bacteria count was more than 30,000 bacteria units per swab - much higher than that of a typical toilet handle or seat. It's therefore no suprise that these gadgets and gizmos that make out lives easier could actually be causing us problems in other areas: especially our faces.



A Revolution in Makeup? Introducing NudeStix (Exclusive To SpaceNK)

In a world obsessed with complicated makeup, a plethora of colour and creating newness every five minutes, the beauty industry can be a little intimidating for some. Gone are the days when we celebrated having minimal makeup and only a handful of products in our portfolio. Although I love the expansive nature of makeup brands, after talking to a couple of American teens last week it seems there's a definite revolt against the norm. NudeStix is the brainchild of sisters Ally and Taylor (as well as their MAC-trained mother Jenny,) who love all-out natural makeup, opting for that barely-there look with only a touch of color to accentuate their finest features. After explaining that current makeup brands and collections simply didn't appeal to their no-nonsense attitude, they created a streamlined makeup collection - designed to provide a quick and easy nude look that works for all faces and can be 'applied in all places.'


NEW From Febreze: Sleep Serenity Bedtime Scents

Back during my university days we relied on bottles of Febreze to keep us feeling and smelling fresh. There may have been piles of dirty dishes, pizza on the carpet and four week unchanged bed linen, but at least everything smelt like it'd just been cleaned. Ten years later and Febreze are attempting to corner another area of the market, helping us to sleep a little better by launching a range of bedding and room sprays. Available in Moonlit Lavender, Quiet Jasmine and Warm Milk & Honey, they aim is to enable us all to 'sleep happy' and breathe in relaxing and comforting scents before we drift off.



NEW From Dove: DermaSeries Extreme Dryness Relief

Celebrating women has been a fundamental part of the Dove brand ever since its inception. Their campaigns have always focused on helping women find the confidence to celebrate their size, shape, personality and imperfections, their products providing the tools to take it one step further. Dry skin conditions (such as eczema and psoriasis) can have a significant impact on the sufferer's life, with irritated and flaky skin being extremely uncomfortable and having the power to negatively impact their confidence. With the launch of their new DermaSeries range, Dove aims to provide superior care and quality to target the discomfort and self-consciousness that often goes hand-in-hand with dry skin. Developed in partnership with dermatologists and skin experts, the DermaSeries products are split into two categories to provide a comprehensive portfolio of both cleansing and care.



I'm A Blogger. Respect My Work.

I've been blogging for four years, writing about makeup launches and skincare tips for the benefit of some amazing readers that keep me motivated and strong. For the first three years I blogged in my spare time, juggling a full time job and a hectic social life with attending events, meeting brands, testing products, taking photos and writing until my fingers went numb. I used to work until the early hours of the morning, at weekends and during holidays - both because of the pressure I put upon myself, but also because the love I had for the blogging world. Just under a year ago I had the opportunity to turn my site into a full time job, taking the time to focus on growing and perfecting my little corner of internet. I've invested in equipment, skills and knowledge, taking what was previously a hobby into another realm altogether. However, what I have noticed in the last few months is the absolute lack of respect from so many individuals, brands and agencies towards blogging as a profession. Just because you have the label of a blogger, why does that leave you bereft of any respect of value?


Brand Focus #22: Indeed Labs

Indeed Labs first burst onto the beauty scene a few years back with their game-changing skin perfector, Nanoblur. Founded in 2007, this Canadian cosmetics company was born out of our desire for constant, camera-ready skin. Since then, Indeed Labs has progressed to release a whole host of top-notch, innovative products - many of which have taken the beauty industry by storm. What’s quite unique about Indeed Labs is that so much importance is placed upon the need for products to actually do what they say on their tube (or pot, or tub.) This means there are no hyped-up claims, no gimmicks, no fancy packaging, no nothing. Go on, just check out their super clinical (almost boring) packaging, if you don’t believe me.


What I Wish I'd Known In My 20's: Skin Care

About ten years ago my skin care collection consisted of a cleansing lotion, toner, moisturiser and some face wipes. Although I've always religiously taken my makeup off (while sober,) the dedication to my skin kind of stopped there. Even in my teenage years I was lucky enough not to have to worry too much about breakouts or serious acne issues, just suffering from the odd pimple here and there that a bucket of Clearasil would soon sort out. However, as I approached my thirties I became a lot more interested in what I was putting on my skin, and more importantly what I was using to take off dirt and grime from the surface. If I could go back in time and tell myself a few things about skin care, who knows what positive effect they could have had in the long term. Here's what I wish I'd known about skin care in my twenties.


NEW From Clinique: Moisture Surge CC Cream Compact

Colour correction can help to remove distressing redness, sallow and tired skin, as well as helping to cover up a hard week or a heavier weekend. The CC generation is obsessed with 'correcting' our colour imperfections and achieving a luminous, uniformed glow - and it's not going anywhere. Although I wasn't a huge fan of the original Clinique CC Cream, the new Moisture Surge CC Cream Compact has really become a daily staple within my routine. Not only does it provide hydration and SPF25 (to help prevent any further damage or discolouration,) but it helps to conceal and correct colour imperfections to leave your complexion looking pretty flawless.



NEW Bold & Bright: Introducing Flashmob Cosmetics

There's no doubt that pastel shades and muted hues are all over the high streets this season, bringing a touch of femininity to even the most structured of styles. However, if you're a fan of colour and can't quite face applying baby blue eyeshadow, then there's a new brand hitting the scene that may just be for you. Flashmob Cosmetics are bringing colour back with a bang, without it being completely unwearable. The range includes nail art sets, neon cosmetic filled cases and sets of bright lipsticks, lipglosses, liquid eyeliners and eyeshadows - all in bright and bold shades designed to make a statement. Perfect for those that like to have fun with their makeup, or young daughters who are just starting to experiment, the collections are affordable while ensuring a more subtle finish than first expected.

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