When the Models OWN Velvet Goth collection launched I must admit I wasn't really drawn to it. I own far too many glitter nail polishes already and the sheer reminder of my struggle to remove another Models OWN offering - Juicy Jules - has persuaded me not to buy. However, when I was gifted with Sardonyx, the only shade I really liked from the collection, I couldn't say no. I must admit that this is a gorgeous shade of burgundy red and I enjoy layering it up on dark base colours. The shade is matte yet sparkly at the same time and dries giving a multi-faceted effect. I am thinking of using it as part of my Christmas nails, it just looks so festive! I paired it up with L'oréal Hypnotic Red to show how amazing the Sardonyx's formula is - matte and sparkle - so pretty!
This year I was asked to take part in Very Secret Santa project. Armed with virtual £20 and link to very useful Gift Guru app on the Christmas page I was assigned to search for the best present for a lovely blogger Megan. After much wonder and ponder I decided on two gifts which she really likes (what a relief!) - see them here.
After receiving my package I quickly ripped the paper off and saw my cute gift - pair of earmuff headphones, perfect for current weather. I still don't know who was my Secret Santa, so please reveal yourself! Thank you Very for giving me a taste of Christmas, I can't wait for my loved ones to open their gifts and see delight on their faces.
Did you ever take part in a Secret Santa? What did you get?
Yesterday I had a pleasure of visiting a new KIKO London store. Located on Regent Street, a Manolo's click away from Topshop, it is packed with colourful make up on two trendy floors. With a super-helpful staff ready to give you the best advice and purse-friendly prices I enjoyed the whole experience immensely and I expect KIKO to be a new make up mecca for all beauty enthusiasts. Gift card burning in my pocket I grabbed few interesting products including skincare, nail and make up. Safe to say I went overboard and now can't wait to try and test them all and write some KIKO reviews on the blog.
For not familiar with the brand, KIKO is Italian brand which since 1997 has amassed over 1,500 professional makeup and skincare products and advanced accessories, including 200 eye shadows, 180 lipsticks, 30 mascaras and over 200 nail polishes - phew! KIKO does not test on animals and all products are hypoallergenic and ophthalmologically tested.
I was thinking of getting the hottest nail polish on the block - Essie After School Boy Blazer, but going through my stash on the weekend I've noticed this Barry M Blackberry shade sitting quietly and patiently in the corner waiting to be admired. I am aware that the shade are not exactly the same, since Essie has deeper hues, but for now it satisfies my navy needs. As always with Barry M gelly range the finish is more glossy and chip-resistant with the easy to use formula and fast drying time.
I don't know anyone who doesn't like Soap & Glory products. The cute packagings, great scents and ultimate pamper - those are the things that I associate with the brand. I recently went to see what they are offering this Christmas and it's going to be fantastic!
First is this RelaxStation kit which has all the cult products in one place. Something for your hands, feet and body - featuring Hand Food, Heel Genius and The Righteous Butter. I am also a huge fan of Clean On Me shower gel and there's always a place for it in my bathroom. In addition, I love this Hair Turban - it is seriously one of the best Soap & Glory products which is never mentioned! I know you can buy similar ones from Primark and I also have them, but the quality is so much different. This one is from micro-fibre, which absorbs water and helps drying process at the same time and the band is not very tight. My husband actually bought this kit for me already, since he couldn't find Hair Turban anywhere, so he had to resort to eBay. The RRP is £20 - amazing price considering Hair Turban and bath lily cost around £9 each!
Facetime* (RRP £25), as the name suggests, is the skincare starter set aimed at your face. Suited for all skin types it includes Off Your Face purifying cloths, Puffy Eye Attack eye cream, Feel Good Factor BB cream and Smooch Operator lip butter. Perfect for those weekend nights when you simply want to relax in your onesie with a good-bad TV and a pizza.
Good, Butter, Best Gift Set (RRP £8) is a perfect stocking filler and introduction to bestselling Soap & Glory body butters with three trial-size tubs of Original Pink, Sweet Lime and Fruitigo.
I'm Your Manicure Gift Set (RRP £14) will satisfy all nail lovers with full tube of much loved Hand Food, hand scrub, nail buffer, moisture gloves and even a bottle of distinctive pink nail polish!
Once Upon a Lime Gift Set (RRP £18) is fresh and fruity and full of the real ZING. With smashed brown sugar and sweet lime I will definitely enjoy the body wash, cream and scrub, so I'm putting it on my Christmas Wishlist!
The Yule Monty Gift Set (RRP £60) is a whooping kit which includes everything what your heart may desire. I got similar gift last year, so sadly I will be passing on the offer this time, but I think it's a perfect gift for pamper lover and it equips you with all the necessities to set up your own home SPA. You can find body wash, body cream, foot mask, hand cream, face cleanser, body buffer, body lotion, mascara and lip gloss all packed in a cool weekend bag!
Do you like these Soap & Glory gift sets? Which one would you like to get?
I have already mentioned amazing offer from The Body Shop which lets you get The Ultimate Brush Collection* for £45 (worth £85!). For that price you get 8 amazing brushes which will help you with application of your everyday make up. The quality is simply amazing and having tried Real Techniques brushes I still prefer The Body Shop ones and I seriously feel they are underestimated in the blogging community. I had kabuki brush (not available on the website, but similar to this one) for over 6 years and not a single hair has fallen out and I am using it literally every single day! All of the brushes are cruelty-free, so made from synthetic hair. They are really densely packed and super easy to clean (I occasionally use make up wipes for quick fix and Dr Bronner's Magic Soaps for deep cleanse). I simply love these brushes and they are a true staple in my make up routine.
The Body Shop Face & Body Brush
Perfect for applying loose powder or bronzer over face, neck and décolletage.
This brush was a bit on the pricey side when bought separately, but it is definitely worth every penny. For me it is a multitasking tool and is good for applying a multitude of products: foundation, loose or pressed powder, bronzer, blusher... It blends the make up evenly, so you'll avoid looking cakey. Super soft bristles feel so nice you want to apply the product again and again.
The Body Shop Blusher Brush
A soft, round-tipped brush that’s tailormade for powder blusher. Use it to sculpt, blend and dust.
Being a blusher
lover I always have high expectations for the blusher brushes. This one
is extremely soft and easy to use. You can build up your desired colour
whether you prefer barely-there or rosy cheeks. I have also found that
it is fantastic for highlighting and contouring and I cannot seem to put it down. One of the best products ever!
The Body Shop Foundation Brush
This flat, tapered brush works brilliantly with liquid foundation. It gives an even, flawless finish.
A true star product with 32 pages of reviews from satisfied customers! I was never the one to go for foundation brush, I prefer to use my fingers, but if anything will get me 100% converted, it will be this brush. I like to use it when I am not in the rush and it truly gives an even coverage with every foundation I have tried so fat (including Bourjois, MAC, Avon and Revlon). The bristles are soft and silky smooth and the brush isn't too wide like some foundation brushes which gives better control around the eyes and nose, so you can easily achieve this flawless look.
The Body Shop Eyeshadow Blender Brush
A soft, round-tipped brush that’s tailor made for blending eyeshadow seamlessly.
This brush has a great shape and it is excellent for blending, although I must admit that I've occasionally used it to apply eyeshadows as well and it also did a good job. It is very soft and doesn't scratch the skin, so it makes it easy to use and blend.
The Body Shop Eyeshadow Brush
A flat brush with a tapered head for precise, even application of powder and cream eye colours.
Application is nice and even, there is little fall out of the product and the coverage is brilliant - I don't have to use as much eyeshadow as with other standard brushes since it is spread so well. Please note that the brush is quite firm so you need blending brush to blend that eyeshadow correctly.
The Body Shop Slanted Eyeshadow Brush
This brush has an angled head, perfect for defining eyes with eyeshadow.
I am always struggling with achieving perfect winged eyeliner look, but this brush has been an enormous help - I now get perfect results when drawing a liner of darker eyeshadow along the top of my lashes. I love how you can use it for both eyeliner and eyeshadow and create your perfect smokey eye look. The bristles are very soft and yet quite firm and the brush spreads the product very well, I need another one in my life!
The Body Shop Lipstick & Concealer Brush
This dual-purpose brush can be used to outline and paint lips or to precision-apply concealer.
To properly test it I've used it for both concealer and lipstick application and in both cases I was impressed. Soft bristles gently cover the area you want and you can easily control the amount of product you want to use. My go-to concealer is in a stick, so I mostly use it for a lipstick application.
The Body Shop Brow & Lash Brush & Comb
This handy comb separates mascara-coated lashes and tames brows.
I bet everyone has a similar brush in their make up stash, so what distinguishes this brush from others is the fact that the comb is strong enough to separate lashes evenly after applying mascara (I had a problem with cheaper combs that it rather glued my lashes together than separated them!) and the handle is well made and sturdy.
With the cold winds, rain and getting dark very quickly shooting photos for the outfit posts is proving to be a bit of a challenge. So I'm afraid you have to get used to see my current wardrobe favourites with some bits of my flat in the background. This time I've chosen oversized Primark jeans shirt with white spots, black Dorothy Perkins skinny jeans, cute frilly socks from Topshop and my trusty New Look boots. Due to the eye infection (another cold wind by-product) I have been wearing my glasses all week. On the lips I have MAC Flat Out Fabulous lipstick from the Retro Matte Collection (check my review and what other lipsticks I've bought!). I'm really excited about the weekend, can't wait to relax a little bit and read a book (Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch), drinking some yummy tea or Christmas drink from Costa.
If your skin looks dull and you yearn for some radiance, fear not, The Body Shop has an array of products which will help you beat the winter blues. The Body Shop Lightening Touch Universal Radiance* is a brand new universal shade highlighter which will illuminate your eyes, cheekbones, brow bones or cupid's bow with a mere touch - just like a magic wand. Since it has sheer pink/pearly shade I would suspect that darker skintones would struggle with it, but for the pale faces it is an ideal highlighter. It reminds me of Benefit High Beam, but in a better looking package. With High Beam I always struggle to apply the correct amount of product but here I simply twist for more and can dosage with an ease. Another new release is Shimmer Waves in Coral* - best suited for medium skintones, so I mostly use it when I have some fake tan on. This neat compact has five shimmering shades to use on face and cheeks. The beauty of this product is that you can use the shades separately or mix and blend them all together like I did on a swatch above. It's a great product, reminds me of a hybrid between blusher and bronzer and I can't wait to wear it properly during the summer. Last, but not least, I have a make-up artist tip for you: "Create shadow by using the darkest shades on the lower part of the cheeks and contour. Bring light by applying the lightest shades on the cheekbones and forehead."
I was extremely excited when I saw that Barry M is releasing a new collection of matte nail polishes. I saw countless tweets, posts and swatches and decided to first try my luck with a yummy Caramel shade. The formula is easy to apply, two coats are enough to give you a full coverage and nail polish remained strong on my nails for a couple of days. Sadly, this particular shade is simply not for me. It is so similar to my skin colour that it looks like I don't have any nails at all which freaked me out a little bit. It's such a shame, I really wanted to love this nail polish. However, I have my eye of two other colours - Vanilla and Mocha - and I think those may be more my cup of tea!
Vichy Idéalia Life Serum* is a first serum from the well-known French brand that helps to transform skin exposed to stress, pollution, smoke, lack of sleep or an unbalanced diet. Hectic lifestyle can take a serious toll on our skin and although I believe that we should nurture our bodies from the inside, outside help is also needed. This serum helps to battle dull skin, pigmentation, fatigue and any skin in-balance (enlarged pores, dry or oily areas) thanks to its potent active ingredient association and soothing Vichy Thermal Spa Water. In addition, it can be used on the most sensitive skin since it is hypoallergenic and contains no parabens. I have been using it for the past week instead of my usual daily moisturiser and I am very happy with the results. My skin simply looks and feels good and the lovely pink packaging is an added bonus and looks pretty in my bathroom cabinet.
One of my best discoveries of 2013 are Victoria's Secret fragrance mists. I totally get why they are so loved by women everywhere. With a few pumps of delicious mist you are enveloped in a gorgeous scent which can easily transform your mood. I have already reviewed Victoria's Secret Pure Daydream Pearl Orchid & Pink Currant Fragrance Mist and my recent acquisition is Love Spell - a beautiful cherry blossom and peach fragrance - very sweet and refreshing. It is also infused with conditioning Aloe Vera and calming Chamomile and I love to spray it on my skin just before I go to bed. The purple packaging is also very pretty and the bottle has its special place on display on my bedside table.
Searching through my blog archive I saw that I didn't post about one of my favourite Christmas beauty products - LUSH Snow Fairy shower gel. This pink limited edition bottle comes up every year before Christmas and has successfully achieved an iconic status among bloggers. Sweet smell of candy floss and pear drops reminds you of those childhood memories and provides you with few seconds of bliss under shower. Snow Fairy wouldn't be the same without the iridescent glitter, but sadly it's always stubborn and keeps going to the bottom of the bottle. I'll try to keep mine upside down this time and hope that LUSH change a formula for next year so every shower can be an easy trip to the fairy land.
Shopping for Christmas gifts for your loved ones can be a daunting and stressful task. I am always (over)thinking and making lists of what can I buy and will that someone special really enjoy the gift. There is however this one place on the high street when it's safe to say I can go and come out with bundle of gifts for my mum, husband, friends, aunt and even my dad - The Body Shop! I also manage to get sneaky presents for myself too in the process and they're always from the Cranberry range exclusive to Christmas. Name the thing from the Cranberry Joy range and I've tried and tested it, but my firm favourites for years have been Shower Gel and Home Fragrance Oil. Both of these always put me in a holiday mood and I usually stack up on those in January sales.
This year I was invited for an amazing Back to School Christmas Party where we were tested on decoration of a gingerbread man, quick math calculations and had a preview of all Christmas range available in stores now! There are many Christmas Gifts to choose from, some of them are already packed, so there's no excuse not to put them on your Christmas Wishlist.
The Body Shop has been involved in Community Fair Trade projects for years and this year it gives £200,000 from our gift sales to build five new schools in Community Fair Trade areas around the world (Ghana, Honduras, Nepal and Northern and Southern India). So when you will buy any of the gift sets, you'll be helping the cause. Is there any better way of giving back something when shopping for a present for your close ones?
I think the star of the gift sets is this adorable Gingerbread School House* (RRP £17)! Packed with Cranberry Joy Shower Gel and Body Butter, Ginger Sparkle Shower Gel and Body Butter and bath lily, it provides perfect indulgence into the Christmas spirit. The cute house was designed and handmade by the artisans at Get Paper Industries, a traditional handmade paper products co-operative based in Kathmandu, Nepal. This community will benefit from a new high-school since The Body Shop picked it up as part of a gift sales project. There is already a primary school built thanks to The Body Shop's generosity, but now they want to go step further and give even more. I absolutely love this Gingerbread School House and the fact how symbolic it is. My mum already made an order to get one!
These special edition 4-Step Smoky Eye Palettes in Smokey Brown and Icy Plum* (RRP £15) are perfect for make up lovers. Packed with four beautiful shades, two useful brushes and step-by-step instructions the palette is guaranteed to help you to create a dramatic smoky eyes. Stay tuned for my full review!
One of the best sets The Body Shop has this Christmas is this amazing The Ultimate Brush Collection* (RRP £45). It has all the brushes you need and I literally squealed when I saw it in my goody bag - so thank you so much TBS! I think The Body Shop brushes are seriously underestimated and when the Real Techniques brushes came on the market and everyone was raving about them I was left flabbergasted because the quality is just like TBS ones. I cannot wait to review them all in detail!
There are also usual offerings of Body Butter packs, lip gloss duos, perfume sets and novelty washballs available, but I also have my eye on the amazing The Body Shop Advent Calendar (RRP £55, contents worth £80)!
Very much hyped Hydraluron Moisture Booster from Indeed Labs was sold out everywhere I went in London, so I was very happy to snap distinctive pink package when I visited Brighton a while ago. The serum is full of hyaluronic acid it promises to increase skin's hydration and elasticity and at the same time decrease its roughness. After initian shock of realising how small the tube actually is, I applied serum every night according to the directions - just before my usual moisturiser. I know that some people use it twice a day in the morning and at night, but I found it a bit too much for my skin in the day and found it worked better in the evening before my night cream. Serum sinks in immediately and leaves no sticky residue.
I have been using it regularly for around 4 weeks and I didn't see a massive difference in how my skin look. It may not feel as dry or tight as it used to, so that may be the only outcome I got from Hydraluron. Although I did change my moisturiser for a heavier one in the middle since days got colder and heat was turned on. My skin is in a good shape to begin with, so maybe I was expecting a miracle of glowing perfect skin when I was waking up every morning, but nevertheless it was disappointing not to see any difference from a 'miracle' product. I think the catch is the fact that it is smooth, cooling and sinks in immediately which gives you a nice feel of being instantly hydrated and nourished - so maybe it gives a placebo effect? I started to read more and more reviews and actually found out that it would be best suited for my mum - so I think I'll wait a decade or two before trying it again.
Did you try Hydraluron? What are your thoughts?
Ever since exclusive Minnie Mouse for OPI collection has hit the shelves I wanted to get this beautiful Minnie Style nail polish, but could never justify over £10 price tag since I already own many nail polishes (some of which has never been used). However, when I spotted a bottle on ASOS Sale I couldn't restrain myself and it has landed promptly in my basket. Finally mine, Minnie Style has been everything I was looking for and more! Definitely bigger glitter pieces in array of pink and white it is a true statement nail polish and I am glad I didn't go with my first instinct and used pale pink as my base colour. I think with deep black you can appreciate much more uniqueness and eccentricity of this nail polish.
There is something about YSL lipsticks that make me squeal with pleasure (inside and out) when I buy a new one. It's probably the most luxurious package, great selection of colours and wonderful formula. This is my new edition which I've mentioned in my Beauty Haul last month. I think I've started a new tradition of buying new YSL lipstick every time I am flying somewhere and already have another shade on my wishlist. This one is YSL Rouge Volupté Shine N°19 Fuchsia in Rage - perfect plum colour for autumn!