Does More Expensive Mean Better Quality? Top Tips For Spending Wisely

If you were to google 'face cream' you'd be presented with about 5,000 different options that ranged from a £2.99 budget buy, right up to a £200 pot of luxury ointment that claims to change the world. It was always previously assumed that spending a little more meant getting a better quality product, but as the beauty industry has progressed and ingredients have become cheaper (with technology developing simultaneously,) that's not necessarily the case. Earlier in the year I appeared on a Channel 4 show discussing this very thing, myself and three other bloggers blind testing face creams that ranged from a bargain pot of Astral to an eye-wateringly expensive jar of Creme de la Mer; unsurprisngly it was the mid-range products (Nivea and Dr Haushka) that performed most effectively - providing a luxurious experience without overloading the skin. However, how easy is it to understand where you should be spending your money and when you're being duped? How can you ensure your decision making process is balanced and considered? Here are some of my top tips for keeping it realz and spending wisely.


Three Great Summer Holiday Reads That You Won't Be Able To Put Down

With a long flight to contend with, many days to fill by the beach and a hand to keep busy while the other is holding a cocktail, you may be in need of a few good books this holiday season. Although I haven't written a book review since I was a teenager, books are a big part of my life and I know they're a big part of many of yours too. I've been asked more and more frequently for book suggestions, so I thought I'd start a little series of some great stories that have left me pondering, feeling reflective or simply turning the pages so fast I wish I'd taken my time to absorb the words slower. First up I have three great reads for taking away on holiday, all of which are easy reading but still have a much deeper message...



When Products Don't Live Up To The Hype: Benefit's Push-Up Liner

The bloggersphere has huge influence; with a few positive reviews we have the power to create a cult product, sell out a range or launch a brand from nothing. However, as a wise man once said, with great power comes great responsibility. We may talk honestly and openly, but occasionally we're incredibly guilty of hyping up a product that simply doesn't deliver. I'm very much aware that a lot of bloggers (perhaps the younger or more inexperienced) are eager to please, to build and maintain relationships and value an influx of samples over their own credibility - however, in my opinion that's only of detriment to the reader. I've prided myself on saying it how it is (sometimes to my own disadvantage) and putting the needs of my reader over those of a brand, PR or agency who'd love me to say nice things about a product. I feel it's important to provide a thorough and honest viewpoint, because essentially bloggers are trusted and respected for being completely impartial. However, over the last year I've noticed a huge trend of bloggers bigging up products only for myself and many others to find them somewhat of a dud.



Perfect For Pale Complexions: MeMeMe Cosmetics Bronzing Stack & Rocks

Bronzer is my best friend during the summer months, helping to add a sunkissed glow and warm tone to my otherwise pale skin. Although blusher helps to add a touch of colour and highlighter is great at contouring, bronzing products can help create a natural glow and add warmth to the complexion. The majority of the shades available on the high street are intended to work with darker tones or be used over a tan, making it even harder for those of us with whiter-than-white skin to find something that works. However, MeMeMe have a fab selection of products that contain more neutral and wearable tones that work with, rather than against, our natural colouring.


Five Fab Uses For Nivea's In-Shower Moisturiser

We're all rushed for time in the mornings and inevitably end up forgetting something, be it brushing our hair, adding a touch of mascara or moisturising our skin. For that reason Nivea's In-Shower Moisturiser has been a staple of my routine ever since it hit stores over a year ago; it offers a super-quick solution to moisturising that minimises faff and allows me to make the most of those snoozy ten minutes in the shower. You simply add a touch onto wet skin, leave it for a few minutes to get to work and rinse away with water. The result is hydrated and smooth skin from the moment you step out of the shower, without the dreaded sticky feeling that so often accompanies morning moisturising routines. It's a bargain buy and simplifies your morning (although I do always ensure I use a traditional moisturiser in the evenings and at weekends,) but there are also many more uses for the little bottle of wonder: here are my top five!



Get Ready In Five Minutes (And Look Fabulous) With Clarins

If you're anything like me, you wake up and allow an hour to get ready but waste forty minutes making coffee and watching the telly. No matter how early I set my alarm, I always run out of time to perfect my makeup look and simultaneously ensure I'm wearing a super sleek outfit. Something always has to give. However, there is a way that you can look fabulous when you've only got five minutes to spare (because you were watching style tips on Lorraine) thanks to the great products from Clarins that bridge the gap between skincare and makeup. As a fan of multifunctional products, their repertoire offers a multitude of ways for me to look and feel great every morning without the need for twenty different items. Here are the products I'm currently using to take me from knackered to knock-out in under five minutes (and using only seven pieces.)


Yummy Cake Treats (For The Bath!) From Bomb Cosmetics

I always look forward to my weekly hour in the bath, surrounded by candles and with a book in hand. It's the one hour of the week I check out from the outside world and take a moment or two to relax. Soaking in only water can be a little bit dull, as well as a missed opportunity to add in a relaxing bath oil or soothing bath cream, so I've a vast collection of bath treats to make the hour a little more sweet. Although Lush have definitely cornered the bath bomb arena, Bomb Cosmetics are bringing tasty treats and yummy concoctions to make bathing a little sweeter. These super cute cakes aren't edible, but are in fact bath bombs that you can pop into the water - the smaller ones are perfect for a one-off soak, while the larger cakes can be used for up to three sessions.




The world is amazing, especially when you look at it through Instagram filters. The social network has become a huge part of our lives, amassing over 200 million users in three years - half the time it took Twitter to reach the same number! With 69% of users being between 18 and 44, and female, it's no surprise that certain images do much better than others. Instagram can be a great way of sharing your life, curating beautiful images that represent your passions, or simply showing a certain angle of your online presence. Especially great for bloggers showing off their outfits or nail art, scrolling through Instagram is a great way to spend ten minutes on the tube. Here are my top five Instagram shots to share to send you on your way to visual success... 



Christian Louboutin Beaute: The Shoe Genius Launches The Ultimate Polish

Over twenty years ago, a little known shoe designer named Christian Louboutin received the prototype of his first stiletto. The bright yellow shoe was inspired by the pop art movement and featured a giant statement flower on the buckle, but Christian still felt it was missing something. After looking over at his assistant (who was sat at her desk painting her nails,) he realised that something was a flash of red; after applying her polish to the sole of the shoe, the brand we know so well was born. Louboutin shoes are loved by women across the globe, so it's no surprise that the brand is expanding into beauty to celebrate the simple inspiration that started it all. "The red sole was born from red nail polish. I am giving back to nails what the shoe took from the nails, many years ago," Christian says. And so Christian Louboutin Beaute was established.


Clinique Launch 'Cheek Colour Balms' - Chubby Sticks For Cheeks

When Clinique launched their original Chubby Stick lip crayons, little did they know they were creating a makeup revolution. Chubby crayons are the favourite of many a beauty addict, being replicated by pretty much every brand going and turned into everything from eyeshadows to highlighters. It's been a long time coming, but finally Clinique have expanded their repertoire and developed a range of pretty awesome Cheek Colour Balms. Available in four colours, the crayons are creamy, oil-free and enable super easy application and a fuss-free finish.



LBQ's Top Tips: Do You Really Know How To Wash Your Hair?

There are certain things we just automatically presume we know how to do (such as brushing our teeth, combing our hair and taking a bath,) but have you ever wondered if your age old method is actually the best? Washing and conditioning our hair seems to be the simplest part of our routine and hard to get wrong, but you could be making some mistakes in the shower that have an impact on how your hair feels and looks when it's dried. Lathering up and slapping on a hair mask may keep your locks looking half decent, but refining your routine can really make a difference. So, do you really know how to wash and condition your hair?


Target Back & Shoulder Pain With My New Fave Thing: The Acupuncture Mat!

As someone that sits in an office chair looking at a computer screen for the majority of my days, it's no surprise that I suffer with lower back and shoulder pain. Although I'm lucky enough to experience regular massages and do my best to sit up straight, sometimes the discomfort needs a kick in the balls. This little acupuncture mat has helped me in more ways than one - and only cost a tenner! Find out what it does, how you use it and why it could be the answer to your discomfort.

Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss a video.

Check out my other videos too, which include how you *really*should be using YSL Touche Eclat, why cleansing balms are awesome and what a great primer can do for you.


NEW From Bare Minerals: 5-in-1 BB Cream Eyeshadow & Base

The buzz word of the last five years has definitely been 'BB'. Oodles of products have been launched using the acronym, hoping to dupe customers into parting with cash in the search for a flawless complexion. However, for the first time in a long while there's a new category using the term which actually makes sense - BB for eyes. Bare Minerals are focusing more on their colour collections and liquid cosmetics, so it's no surprise they've launched an innovative line of eyeshadow creams that simultaneously smoothe and perfect the lid. Labeled the 'next generation of eyeshadow', the 5-in-1 formula provides a supercharged blend of makeup and skincare.


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

Looking back at the last ten years, I've made some incredible mistakes when it comes to my hair. The 90's weren't a great decade for style (scrunchies will never be stylish, no matter what Topshop says,) but they did introduce hair straightening irons and half decent hair dye. I experimented more than most, spending many an evening trying to style my hair into something that resembled Rachel from Friends, but with experimentation brought a lot of damage. Now I'm older (and hopefully wiser,) I know that I have to look after my hair because it's the only barnet I've got. Looking back, here's what I wish I'd known about hair care in my 20's.



Celebrate 'Indian Summer' With Yankee Candle's Delicious New Scents

Sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean, cocktail in hand and the scent of summer in the air, you could be forgiven for thinking you're part of a movie. The beginning of dusk on a warm summer's day is the most romantic and comforting, away from the glare of the sweltering sun. I love the invigorating and welcoming scents of exotic holidays that capture my heart and leave me wanting more; with Yankee Candle's new 'Indian Summer' collection they bring those scents to your home, so you don't even have to leave to feel like you're experiencing a little holiday of your own. The four new scents include Wild Fig, Amber Moon, Ginger Dusk and Honey Glow, which combined bring about a beautiful aroma associated with the warm nights at the end of summer - just as the leaves are about to turn and the days become shorter.


Mythic Oil: Fabulous Hair Care With Sparkle & Shine

As someone with fine, coarse and curly hair, I'm always on the hunt for products that help tame without weighing down my strands. Unsurprisingly this isn't an easy feat, but with the L'Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil range I seem to have found a professional finish that's effective and yet still affordable. The Souffle D'Or shampoo and conditioner are infused with precious Argan & Safflower Oils, as well as golden shimmering sparkles that catch the light and help to create a healthy shine. Their gel like texture is incredibly lightweight and works to cleanse and condition hair without stripping it or weighing it down; the conditioner in particular offers an unusual texture that is perfect for fine hair that still needs a little care and attention. Although these are definitely current favourites, the styling products are possibly a must-have for everyone wanting silky smooth locks.



Train Makeup: The Best Products To Apply On The Go

Following my post discussing applying makeup on public transport, it seems that 75% of you are guilty of doing it yourselves and 99% don't see a problem with it at all. It saves time, gives you a few minutes more in bed and ensures you're looking fresh by the time you get to the office! At the request of many who embrace 'train makeup', I've put together an edit of the products I think would be best suited to a crammed and rickety carriage - there's no need for brushes, no messy containers or palettes to navigate, just simple to use products that can be applied straight from the packaging and blended where necessary with your finger. The key is to keep everything self-contained, small enough to slip into your bag and involve as few runny formulas as possible; all you need to do is ensure you apply your foundation or base before you leave and add a touch of mascara to finish! Here are six products perfect for applying on the go...


Current Haircare Favourites (Including Some Fab Budget Buys)

There's definitely something in the water at the moment, because there are simply so many awesome hair products landing on my desk. Hair styling is often perceived as quite a dull area of beauty, with lack of innovation often the root cause. However, in the last few months there has been a burst of fabulousness with brands such as V05, Aveda, L'Oreal, Tresemme and Dr Organic launching products that have rocked my world. Here are my current favourite haircare products and why I'm loving them lots.



A Professional Approach: Makeup Revolution Concealer Palette

If you've ever seen professional makeup artists at work, then you'll know that the secret to their success comes in the form of a palette filled with as many skin-tone matching shades of concealer as possible. Although we're used to using one of three or four shades available on the high street, there never going to be a perfect match when we only have a couple to choose from. Makeup Revolution are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, launching fab products that are incredibly affordable. Their concealer palettes are available in three colour combinations (light, medium and dark) and each feature eight individual shades - all for the measly cost of £6.00.



NEW From Bobbi Brown: 'Surf & Sand' Summer Eyeshadow Palette

I'm so ready to hit the beach, sip on a cocktail and let my mind rest up for an hour or two. That desire isn't helped when products like Bobbi Brown's Surf & Sand eyeshadow palette land on my doorstep, all lovely and summery and full of exotic-sea-like-shimmers. Part of their new collection and collaboration with swimwear model Kate Upton, this eight colour palette features neutral shades and delicate pastel tones that would work beautifully on any complexion. Unlike a lot of summery palettes that focus on bold shades or bright hues, the tones within this collection are incredibly understated and a lot more wearable; they also feature a really delicate shimmer that catches the light and provides that feeling of the powerful midday sun hitting the sea.



FREE MeruMaya Skincare Samples For Every LBQ Reader

I love discovering new brands that deliver on both efficacy and price. MeruMaya is possibly one of my favourite brands of this year, offering a range of great formulas that really do work (there's a huge amount of scientific evidence to prove their claims) while feeling great. Two of my favourite products within the range include the Melting Cleansing Balm and the Iconic Youth Serum, both of which provide an incredible texture that works with skin rather than against it. I've spoken about them both before, but because I love them so much I've teamed up with MeruMaya to offer every single LBQ reader a sample of their own to try. All you have to do is fill in this form and write 'LBQ' in the space where it asks where you heard about them; you'll be sent a sample of both in the post automatically so you can put some of my favourites to the test yourself. If you love them as much as I do, then you can also get 10% off all MeruMaya by using code 'LBQ' at the checkout! Bonus. 

PS - you have to access the link via a computer or tablet as it doesn't work on mobile!

5000 samples of each are available to LBQ readers - first come, first served and UK only.
'10% off' offer only valid when products are purchased via merumaya.com
Just in case you were wondering, this isn't sponsored... I just love MeruMaya and think you will too.

Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain: Perfect Summer Colour

Summer is all about beach swept hair, sunkissed skin and a touch of juicy colour on the lips. I prefer to take a slightly lighter approach to makeup in the warmer months, and that definitely applies to my lip wear too. Lipsticks are a little too heavy for daily use (and not exactly beach appropriate,) but if you don't want to sacrifice a bold look then these Colorstay Moisture Stains from Revlon could be just the ticket. Available in twelve different shades and ranging from the nudest nude to the deepest berry red, the texture is as light as a gloss with the added benefit of a delicate stain. The pigment is strong enough to satisfy even the most lipstick-obsessed lady, while providing a more wearable and fun texture for those a little scared by brightness.



Chocolate Sun Cocoa Glow: Get A Natural And Sweet Smelling Tan

Even though we're mid way through July, I still haven't managed to unpack half my summer wardrobe and start the weekly fake tanning process. There's something not quite summery enough in my brain, which I expect can only be fixed with a trip to the beach and a giant colourful cocktail. However, pasty pale legs simply won't do when I'm wearing skirts and dresses; my skin is practically transparent, so it looks hideous without a touch of colour. I've been reaching for this little bottle of Chocolate Sun over the last few weeks, which is not only 100% organic, but provides a really natural and subtle tint to skin. The texture is incredibly creamy and quite runny, meaning it can be applied like a body moisturiser using a tanning mitt; a coin-sized amount roughly covers each limb, with the texture enabling the tan to be buffed easily into the surface and for the mitt to glide over the surface. Plus it smells amazing.


Trend Alert: Super Light Gel & Jelly Face Moisturisers

I'm always amazed when readers, friends and family members admit to me that they don't use a face cream. It's second nature to me and has become a firm part of my routine, adding a touch of goodness before I start layering on the makeup. However, with many formulas still being heavy, greasy, sticky and flaky, I can understand their reluctance to apply - especially first thing in the morning when we work so hard at starting the day feeling fresh. A new trend is emerging within the skincare market, with the focus very much being on jelly and gel-like textures; thick and gloopy creams may be a thing of the past, as brands are adopting a new way of hydrating the skin and adding essential nutrients. The benefit of this texture is two fold: not only are the ingredients more concentrated, but the delivery system allows them to be absorbed super quickly so there's no residue. After literally seconds there's an invisible finish - making the application of makeup much easier! Here are three jelly products I've been using and why I'm championing the new format...



Chapstick Lip Collections: Lipbalm Trios For Pretty Great Pouts

Chapstick are probably one of the only brands I've used for as long as I can remember. They're a fail safe and a comforting reminder of teenage years, when a slick of scented lipbalm was all you could get away with during school hours. They're still using the same formulation and they still have a cherry flavoured stick, but they're stepping up their game with the launch of these handy trio tins that also make great gifts. The Chapstick Lip Kits contain an original, cherry and apple scented balm and make perfect handbag storage containers. You could keep the three Chapstick balms in one of these cute tins, or add in some gum and a cheeky gloss - they're super handy and a little bit fabulous. At £4.35 for a trio of balms and a handy tin, they make perfect little treats. There's even get an online subscription service where you can have a Lip Kit delivered to you every month, quarterly or as regularly as you like; a yearly subscription would make a great birthday present for a girlfriend or mini beauty addict. A fab little way to put a smile on someone's face without costing the earth. (Unfortunately you can't choose the tin design online though... Boo.)


Scentchips: A Personalised & Fun Introduction To Home Fragrance

The one thing I love about my home is that it always smells good. I'm a little obsessed with candles, fragrance diffusers and perfumed accessories - which makes for a beautifully, yet delicately, scented environment. There's something comforting about walking into your living room, snuggling on the sofa and breathing in a sweet scent of something delicious. Although candles are a great way of lighting a room and creating ambiance, it's hard to get one that fills a room with fragrance without spending a small fortune. Scentchips are my new favourite thing for that very reason: they provide a bespoke fragrance that's delicate enough to be enjoyed, but still provide a room with a delightful scent. Even better is that they're fun, affordable and make unique gifts.



The Great Train Debate: Is It Ok To Apply Your Makeup On Your Commute?

I've lived and breathed London for many years now, having lived in practically every corner of the city and commuted half way across it pretty much every morning. Although I'd like to think I was pretty organised, when it comes to getting ready in the early hours I always end up running late - there's never enough time to do my hair *and* apply mascara. More times than I care to admit to, I've sat on the tube (and now the train) with my makeup bag in hand attempting to put the finishing touches to my look. Although it sometimes causes strange looks from men, mainly fascinated by my ability to keep my mascara looking fresh when the tube carriage is jerking from left to right, it goes pretty much unnoticed by most. The key is to be quick, focus only on essentials (applying foundation is just unnecessary) and keep it clean! Although I'm hypnotised by other women doing the same, it's become quite the talking point online: is applying your makeup on the train really that much of a crime?


Summer In A Bottle: NEW Ghost Eclipse

There are oodles of fragrances launched every single month, all claiming to provide a scent that will transform you into Gwyneth Paltrow/Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley/insert relevant celebrity here. Although perfume is as much a part of my life as lipgloss and mascara, sometimes it's hard to pay attention to brands that I simply don't think fit within my own ethos or mantra. Ghost is a brand I don't really know much about, other than the old-fashioned dresses that used to adorn the shelves of House of Fraser when I was a shop girl during university. However, when I was recently handed a bottle of their latest fragrance I stood up and took notice. Ghost Eclipse is housed in one of the most beautiful bottles I've seen for some time; the golden sunset design is simple yet incredibly effective, making a stunning dressing table addition that also holds a delightful scent.



NEW From Eylure: An Awesome Eyebrow Maintainance Range

They may have been making false lashes since the 1960's, but it's taken Eylure a long time to realise they could corner another area of the makeup world. It's long been a frustration of mine that high street makeup brands only offer one or two brow products, meaning you have to hunt all over the shop to find the products that work for you and meet every brow need possible. All that's about to change with the launch of Eylure's new brow collection, which includes everything from at-home dye kits and colour palettes, to nourishing oils and pencils - all at affordable prices.


The Answer To Your Monday Blues? Bach's Balancing Bloom Remedies

No matter how much sleep you get on a Sunday night, Monday mornings are always incredibly painful. There's something about forcing yourself out of bed and into work for the first time in two days that's so much worse than any other day of the week. All the coffee in the world can only do so much, perking you up initially but letting you drop just as hard after a few hours. A few weeks ago, during my blogging slump, I would've done anything or bought anything to help me out of it; during a franctic trip to Boots I stumbled across these little bottles of flower essence from Balancing Blooms and swiftly ran to the till. After I've had such a great result from using Bach's Rescue Night Remedy for the last few years, I was keen to see if these little vials of flower essence could help lift my mood and put a spring in my step.




I've always had an addiction to beauty products. It started off when I was a tiny ballerina, applying blue eyeshadow and pink lipstick before a big show, and kept evolving until I was a fully fledged adult with an overflowing collection of mascara. I've always scoured the shelves of Boots, researched the latest beauty products and discussed lipstick with my friends in the pub, which is why I started to channel my passion and launched this site in 2010. My original posts were (although terribly written and illustrated with awful stock images,) focused around products I was using, trends I was seeing, tips on how to cover up a hangover and what I'd discovered that weekend in Selfridges. PR samples didn't start dropping through my letterbox until a good year or so after I started writing, putting me in a fortunate position and enabling me to start covering new things and being exposed to new brands. However, with the growth of blogs comes the growth of demand for those precious samples - there simply aren't enough to go around.



Rita Ora Introduces DKNY's Newest Scent, MYNY, And Answers My Questions

Rita Ora is taking over the world, one lipstick stained champagne glass at a time. Not only has she launched an incredibly successful music career, but she's her own line of makeup, has walked the runway at Milan Fashion Week and now is the face of DKNY's newest fragrance. MYNY celebrates the iconic streets of New York and the relationship we all have with them - be it on a daily basis, in a memory or within an apsiration or dream. The main ingredient in the fragrance is Patchouli, a comforting and uplifting scent which sums up the city completely; it's sold on street corners and used by artists in their studios, so it provides a clear association with everyday NYC life. It also contains Freesia, Jasmine and Raspberry - the scent of optimism - and a little Pink Pepper to 'provide sparkle'. It's a great addition to the DKNY repertoire (read my full introduction and review of the scent here,) and Rita Ora is the perfect choice to front the campaign which launches in August. A few weeks ago I got to meet the lady herself and grill her on all things fashion, beauty, fragrance and New York related. Here's what she had to say about all that and more...



Trend Alert: Face Mists & Beauty Elixirs (Spritz Away The Blues)

Gentle hydrating sprays have been a beauty secret of many for years, lingering under the radar and developing hardcore fans thanks to Caudalie's cult classic. Inspired by an 'elixir of youth' used by Queen Isabelle of Hungary many decades ago, the Caudalie Beauty Elixir (£11.50) claims to smooth features, tighten pores and give the complexion a burst of radiance - in only a few sprays. Not only is it a great base for moisturisers and makeup, but it helps to revive the skin throughout the day and reawaken your makeup to leave it looking fresh. It's a desk essential and a product that works brilliantly in summer, even if it's just the revitalising scent that lifts the spirits and cools away the stresses of London's humid public transport system. However, this concept seems to be gaining pace once again and re-imagined in various formats - including these new refreshing mists from Melvita and L'Occitane.


A Body Scrub So Natural You Could Eat It (And How To Make Your Own)

Using a great body scrub once a week, especially in the summer months, can help to remove dead and dull skin from the surface of limbs and ensure they're tip top and ready for the beach. A gentle massaging motion over the skin can help soften and smooth limbs, as well as increasing blood circulation, leaving the perfect base for applying tan and even ensuring moisturisers are more effective. Body scrubs are ten a penny, but finding a really great one that helps to polish skin without feeling overly abrasive can be a challenge. S.W. Basics is an all-natural, sustainable skincare brand that pride themselves on creating products that are naturally luxurious and incredibly effective. The range uses only the purest ingredients that are either certified organic, Fair Trade, or soured from family run farms - ensuring the best quality and removing the need for irritants such as parabens, preservatives and fragrances from being included. 



Latest In Beauty Introduces The Glamour Beauty Box Edit

Beauty box subscription services launched with a bang, but often leave subscribers disappointed and underwhelmed after only a few months. Latest In Beauty bucks the trend by bringing one-off boxes that are bursting with goodies, the contents of which are well publicised so there are no nasty surprises or disappointed recipients. They've teamed up with Glamour Magazine's Beauty Editor yet again to bring an edit full of nine different products you really do need in your life; the contents include some of my favourite brands and must-have products, all for the bargain price of £16.95. Considering the products are worth over £86.00 if bought individually, this box is well worth ordering and treating yourself to ahead of the holiday season. 



Disclosure: It's Not A Dirty Word, So Why Do So Many Struggle With It?

When I first started blogging it was a simple business. We wrote about what lipstick we were loving, commented on the latest hairstyles and occasionally took awkward photos of ourselves in terrible lighting. It was an uncomplicated time where we were all just focused on our own little corner of the internet; there was room for everybody, there was no competitiveness and the lack of press samples and paid campaigns made everything a lot simpler. However, in 2014 it's a completely different time: blogs are brands, serious money is being paid for collaborations, oodles of free things land on doorsteps and everyone is competing for something - be it for more readers, that latest lipgloss or to be the face of a new campaign. Since the waters have become a little murkier, the issue of disclosure has become a constant talking point. For me, it's a simple black and white area. For others, not so much.


NEW From Ciate: 'Lash Lights' Coloured Mascara For Your Tips

I can remember when blue mascara was the height of fashion, adding a quirky edge to an otherwise boring 90's ensemble. Although coating your lashes completely in bright blue mascara may be a little old hat and a bit too much for the office, the latest trend is to add just the tiniest hint of colour to the ends of lashes for an ombre like effect. First seen at Chanel last summer, although the trend didn't explode immediately it's seeing a trickle-down effect onto the high street. Ciate, most well known for their innovative nail collections, are launching their very own take on the look with this collection of 'Lash Lights'. Available in six different colours, the mascaras are incredibly bright and come with a flat wand for precise application.



Celebrate lastminute.com's UK Spa Fortnight & WIN A Spa Day For Two

With the holiday season still being a little while off for some of us, and the British weather not currently playing ball, a trip to a luxurious spa could be just what you need. There's nothing quite like relaxing in a calming spa environment, experiencing an incredible facial and making the most of the included facilities... I dream of sitting in a sauna wrapped in a white fluffy towel at least twice a week. Arriving just at the perfect moment to give us some World Cup relief, lastminute.com are celebrating their UK Spa Fortnight and offering 2-for-1 spa breaks and day trips across the country. If you ever needed an excuse to spend a day with a girlfriend while getting a little pampered, then knowing you'll only pay half the usual price is a bonus.


Illamasqua Glamore Lipstick: New Nudes Collection

When Illamasqua launched their new Glamore lipstick collection, I almost wept with joy. Not only have they kept an incredible standard of colour and pigment, but they added a truly moisturising and comfortable formula that ensures lipstick is wearable all day long. Although they initially launched three statement colours, they've expanded the collection and now have seven new nude hues to choose from. Cheekily named things like Starkers, Naked, Tease, Minx and Buff, the colours launch this week and offer a more wearable approach to lipstick that's more suited to day-to-day use - or simply keeping the focus on the eyes. The seven shades provide a spectrum of brown, right from a dark chocolate shade to a super pale latte colour; I was surprised at how pale the lightest shade is, even being too nude for my skin tone and making me look incredibly washed out! However, the mid-range colours are great for most skin types, while the chocolate colours provide a deliciously dark look for taking you into Autumn.


Magnitone Lucid Facial Brush: Can It Really Aid Your Cleansing Routine?

Cleansing brushes are not a new concept. They've been claiming to revolutionise our cleansing routines for a number of years, and charging a hefty price tag in the process. Clarisonic first claimed to have the answer to blemish-prone skin (while charging nearly £200 for the secret,) but the technology and concept has filtered down and become a lot more affordable. The Magnitone Lucid Facial Brush is a lighter and simpler alternative (as well as being much more cost effective at £49.99,) that gently cleanses and exfoliates skin to remove impurities and dead skin cells. It has two cleansing modes, with the soft brush producing over 10000 fast-pulsing rotation-oscillations per minute to deeply clean and smooth skin. Unlike a lot of other models I've tried which are abrasive and messy, this is much gentler and feels more like skin is being buffed rather than ripped to pieces. Simialrly, unlike other brands which have created a device which simply causes a mess, the Magnitone Lucid gently rotates and oscillates for a more controlled cleansing experience.



Deep Cleansing With Biore: Charcoal Cleanser, Pore Strips & 1 Min Mask

One of the first 'skin care' products I used as a teenager was the Biore Cleansing Pore Strips. I can vividly remember wetting the patch and precisely applying across my nose, waiting for it to dry before peeling it off and inspecting the residue. I was never convinced that they actually did much, but it made me feel grown up and like I was looking after my skin (when I was probably just ripping off a thin layer of it.) Fifteen years later, the original cleansing strip brand is back with an updated approach to looking after our skin that's twice as good as the original. You can still get your hands on the original pore strips, which aim to unclog and lift dirt from pores, as well as a Self-Heating One Minute Mask and Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser - one of the hot new skincare ingredients.


Five 'Premium' Makeup Products Worth Investing In

In times of austerity we often reach for the budget brands and keep an eye on the pennies. It's sometimes hard to part with money for expensive beauty products, simply because we can't 'see' them or hold them as part of an outfit - it's much more satisfying to spend £20 on a new necklace than lipgloss. However, investing in a few key luxury items can really make a difference to your routine and the way you feel; carrying around a decadent lipgloss or truly effective concealer can make you feel like a million pounds. Here are five premium makeup products I really think are worth investing in this summer.



The Benefits Of Giving Up Cows Milk: Going Dairy Free & Opting For Soya

We may be brought up drinking it in our tea, pouring it over our cereal and even sipping on a cold glass at meal times, but for many of us cows milk causes more problems than it helps to solve. It may be a great source of calcium and vitamins, but it also contains high sugar and fat content which help baby cows to grow big and strong. As fully-grown humans, we simply don't need the same nutrients as a newborn - and we certainly don't need the hormones that are pumped into cows to ensure they're lactating continually and producing enough milk for the farmer to make a living. I gave up cows milk about four months ago and have never felt better; not only has it helped alleviate my bloating and digestive problems, but I don't feel so bogged down and feel like I'm carrying a food baby with me wherever I go. Here's my story of why I gave up cows milk and why I'm never going back.



NEW From MeruMaya: Bi-Phase Plus Eye Makeup Remover & Treatment Toner

One of my biggest bug-bears is removing heavy eye makeup and mascara at the end of the day. No matter how much I scrub and rub, there always seems to be a little more clinging to my lashes; the dreaded 'panda' eyes are not uncommon the following morning. MeruMaya is a brand I really love, it being developed and produced in Britain using only the best ingredients, while remaining incredibly affordable. I'm already a big fan of their serum and cleanser, so when I found out they were launching an eye makeup remover and toner to expand their collection I couldn't wait to give them a whirl. Although these were two years in the making, it was definitely worth the wait.



Talking Primers: What They Do, Why I Love Them & Which Ones I'm Using

If there's one product I rely on to keep my makeup in place all day, then it's a primer. They're a makeup artist's secret weapon, the key to achieving a flawless complexion and the way you can stop that horrendous '4pm slip'. Have a watch of the video I filmed below to find out what primers do, why they're a fundamental part of my routine and some of my current favorites.

Don't forget to subscribe to my channel on YouTube and check out the other videos I've filmed.

NEW From Tresemme: Renewal Hair & Scalp (Targeted Scalp Care)

Millions of pounds are spent every year on keeping our hair looking and feeling great, but one element is nearly always overlooked. Our scalp is where it all begins, and like a good gardener knows, if you don't have great soil then your flowers will never be quite as beautiful as you'd like. Scalps aren't as glamorous, aren't as sexy as long flowing and shiny locks, but they are just as important in the long-term. We need to ensure our scalp is healthy and nourished, giving our hair the best possible chance of growing healthy and strong. Especially in the summer months, when soaring heat and the chlorine of swimming pools can play havoc with our delicate scalp, we need to look after our skin. Tresemme's newest collection of products has been designed to deeply nourish the scalp, enabling it to hold on to 20% more moisture, as well as helping to repair hair damage and nourish from root to tip.



When The Blogging Bubble Burst: Losing The Will To Write

I've been blogging pretty much continually for over four years, bringing a daily dose of beauty news and advice to a lovely and supportive group of readers. My blog has opened more doors and provided opportunities that I would never have believed possible when I first started, including the move towards making LBQ my full time job. Now that I run the site for a living, the pressure and level of expectation has changed somewhat - mainly because it's now more than just a hobby or something I run in my spare time. It's a whole new beast entirely, bringing stresses and strains along with the great opportunities and incredible experiences. Although I wouldn't change anything for a second, putting a huge amount of pressure on myself becomes somewhat counter-intuitive; after slogging my heart out for nearly a year without a break, I recently lost my blogging mojo.


An Innovative Adult Acne Treatment That Works: Sk:n Clinics 'Isolaz'

Living with adult acne can be emotionally exhausting. Not only does it have a significant impact on our confidence and the way we perceive ourselves, but it can have an even greater impact on our relationships with others. Although it can be embarrassing tackling pimples and pustles when we're way out of our teenage years and starting families of our own, it's nothing to be ashamed of: it effects one in five women aged 25-40. However, there's a difference between an unsightly spot every so often and a serious issue that needs slightly more care and attention. One of my best friends has suffered with severe acne since she was a child; having now had two of her own, the skin condition that left her feeling more than a little low didn't seem to be improving. In an attempt to get to the root of the issue and give her a serious helping hand, we've been undertaking a series of Isolaz Acne Treatments at Sk:n Clinics' Harley Street surgery. Here's her story, in her own words, of how she's lived with adult acne to the age of 31 and now how the treatments have made an incredible difference in just over a month. 



Trend Alert: Cooling Scalp Sprays (Perfect For Irritated Holiday Heads)

We're constantly exposing our hair lines to heat, hair dye, chemicals and the sun's rays, so it's no surprise that more and more of us are suffering from itchy and irritated scalps. We may pay a lot of attention to what's going on at the lengths and mid-ends of hair, but often we overlook the most vital element of the process and where the cycle begins - our scalp. If you're prone to scratching and suffer with a warm sensation when using certain products, then you may be pleased to know there's a definite trend emerging that focuses on looking after the base of your hair just as much as the super-styled ends. New brand Salon Science (launching into Boots this month) and well established Tresemme are both launching their own version of a cooling scalp spray, which brings a touch of menthol to cool and calm the scalp instantly.


Free Radicals: The Beauty Buzzword (But What Exactly Are They?)

Within every product description and skin care article currently resides the term 'free radicals.' Everyone seems to be talking about them, and more importantly how their products can combat them, but what exactly are free radicals? The short and simple answer is that they're molecules with unpaired electrons. Due to their 'free' nature they're very reactive and can cause damage to surrounding molecules in their quest to find another electron; the longer the search goes on, the more charged the molecule becomes, damaging other cells along the way. (Think of it like a really cross toddler looking for its twin, causing chaos in its wake during the search.) Free radicals are everywhere: in the air, our bodies and the materials around us. They cause the deterioration of plastics, the fading of paint, the rusting of metal, ageing related illnesses and can even contribute to heart attacks and strokes. However, recent studies have now discovered they are also one of the main causes of skin damage and, more worryingly, skin cancer.



The Best Photography/Instagram Smartphone Apps

There's a simple way you can identify any blogger or social media addict in a restaurant: they're the ones positioning their food perfectly, taking a photo and adding a filter before they can even consider taking a bite. Sharing beautiful visual representations of our lives has become the norm, as has making even the most dull of images look like a fabulous photo - thanks to the likes of Instagram filters and editing tools. However, with an abundance of apps now available and a demand for even more engaging images, where do we turn to for the most useful platforms? Well, you lucky things, I've picked out my current five favourite photography apps just for you...


Bedside Beauties: The Products Currently Tucking Me Into Bed

Slipping into bed beneath freshly cleaned sheets is about as good as it gets. There's nothing quite like snuggling up to a soft and bouncy pillow after a long day, turning on some trashy telly and applying some relaxing beauty products. I've had a little nighttime routine going for some time now, believing it helps me to relax and get on my way to the land of nod feeling good. After I light a candle and put on an awesome pair of pyjamas, these are the products I'm currently turning to to ensure I'm getting the most out of my eight hours sleep.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig