Monday 31 December 2012

My Christmas 2012 in Pictures

We've already established that my Christmas posts are coming a little late this year due to me being away for most of it. It's been the first Christmas in a LONG time that i haven't had to work so i was actually able to travel up to Derbyshire and spend it with my family uninterrupted! We also drove up to Humberside on Christmas morning so that we could spend the day with my extended family. I had a thoroughly lovely and relaxing time (and a couple of wild nights out). 

Here are the Highlights in Pictures!

1) Beautiful star decoration on top of my parent's Christmas Tree 2) It wouldn't be Christmas without a big tin of choccy now would it?! 3) My main Christmas present was a contribution from my parents towards my new Nikon DSLR camera and i'm in LOVE! (expect better blog photos in 2013) 4) Proper family Christmas Dinner with all the cliche gimmicks... and bubbly 5) My FOTD (see previous post) 6) My OOTD from Sugarhill Boutique... Who says bats can't be festive?? 7) My fur-babies travelled with me for the holidays and were complete angels the whole time. Was so happy to have them with me. 8) Didn't go for Turkey this year. Tucked into a massive lamb shank for Christmas Dinner 9) CHRISTMAS PJ'S!! Enough said.

 NOTD: Barry M Gold Foil Nail Effects with Paul and Joe Nail Lacquer in shade 014

 Playing with my new toy (in a very grubby mirror)

 Boxing Day Champagne with Hibiscus Flowers

Epic Christmas BUFFET!!

 Ruby Wooooo I Love Yoooooooou!!!

Jasper passed out on the beanbag after stuffing his face with Turkey and Ham and playing with their new Christmas toys

So those are my highlights, without going into too much boring detail. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! 

My Xmas Face!

Hello there lovelies!!
I hope everyone had a truly wonderful Christmas and that you're not all stuck indoors full of flu like i am this New Years' Eve!! Brunette Beauty Banter has been extremely quiet over the festive period because myself and the fur-babies have been away visiting family in Derbyshire and Yorkshire for the past 10 days. That does NOT, however, mean that nothing has been happening and i have a couple of festive posts to go up tonight to end 2012. I thought i'd start with my Xmas FOTD and show you what my festive product choices were...

Forget the face for a sec, the first thing you'll probably notice is that i'm back to ombre, having removed all traces of the pink/red that was in my hair. Nothing against redheads at all, and it was fun while it lasted, but its all too messy and time consuming for me. And that's that. On to ze face....

I've got no time for anything mattifying at Christmas. It's all about the festive glow (helped along by lashings of pink bubbly and Baileys later on). The foundation i opted for was Max Factor Xperience in shade 80 (Dark Gypsum). I really rate this foundation for giving great coverage without being thick, heavy and generally obstructive. It's the ONLY drugstore foundation that i go back to again and again. The powder i went for was my Cover FX Illuminating Powder in Medium*. I have been very impressed by this powder, after being initially worried that it would be shine-city. It isn't at all and just gives a lovely glow to the skin as well as setting my foundation in place. 

Kept it simple with just one product this year and it was Sleek Powder Blush in Fenberry (which i believe was a LE last year in the Berry Collection). I find this to be the perfect winter hue and gives a gorgeous warm flush to the cheeks. This blush only really gets used at Christmas, but i enjoy it all the more for saving it. I had intended to use a highlight as well, but i conveniently forgot to take it with me. Silly girl. In the end i didn't actually miss it. 

Does this Mally "In the Buff" Palette* remind you of anything?? I'm going to do a full review of this palette VERY soon so i'm not going to go into detail just yet. I chose this for Christmas because i wanted a nice, neutral eye that wasn't overly shimmery and this palette has a great range of matte and shimmer shades so i could find that perfect balance. 

Eyes Ctd: 
These are all staple products in my makeup bag now. I use them EVERY day. I'm sure most of us can vouch for the awesome-ness of the HD Brows palette, although i'm using it less at the moment as i have a full fringe and that means i can get away with being lazy with my brows. HA! 17 Peep Show Mascara is my current favourite and i will be repurchasing it once its gone. It gives a lovely, long lash without being overly fibrous. My current Gel liner is the Maybelline version, but i plan on branching out in the new year and experimenting with other brands. 

I'm not a massive wearer of lashes, but i chose these Eylure Katy Perry lashes in Sweetie Pie* for Christmas day because they are so pretty, yet aren't too RAWR. It wasn't a party party kind of Christmas this year, more of a family gathering so i went for the subtle-yet-sweet option. 

This Christmas face was all about the lips. I knew immediately that this year i HAD to have MAC Ruby Woo (Retro Matte) lipstick. The lipliner i got to go with it was MAC Cherry lip pencil. I always seem to want a bold lip at Christmas and i adore the colour of Ruby Woo. It's so flattering. My only grumble is that its a little drying on my lips, but a dash of Carmex underneath is all it needs. 

So those were my Festive product heroes. Once again, i hope everyone had a magical Christmas and wish you all the best for 2013. I will be ushering in the new year eating Domino's and watching DVDs in bed witha BIG mug of Lemsip (Rock'n'Roll)

What products made your Christmas this year?? What shades make you feel festive??

Wednesday 19 December 2012

TanOrganic Launches in the UK!

Hello beauty seekers!
Thought i'd pop in an extra post tonight seen as i have been slacking this week (to be honest i needed the rest). I'm mega excited to be able to tell you that TanOrganic, the Irish-based natural tanning brand, has launched in the UK today on Debenhams Online

Tan Organic is now the only tanning brand which is Eco Certified Organic and is 84% Aloe Vera based. It's designed to give a beautifully natural glow as well as being a real treat to the skin and also has anti-ageing properties. Safe for all skin types and for mums-to-be. It's a must for the current season as we all want that 'Glow' but we don't want to be as dark as we do in the Summer months. This product is designed to naturally build up your colour. 

I've heard this product praised by bloggers and now Tan Organic has recently been endorsed by Grazia magazine. It has come from small beginnings, to being a Dragon's Den success, to now being available in 8 countries. I can't wait to try it! I'm unsure on pricing at this time but i hope to get hold of some to review for you after Xmas. I love to feel confident about what i'm putting on my skin! 

Last Minute Xmas Gift Ideas for 2012

Evening my lovelies!
I thought it was about time Brunette Beauty Banter got in the Xmas spirit today. Been a little behind lately but, thankfully, i have now broken up from Uni and am away on my Xmas hols from Friday visiting with family in Derbyshire and Yorkshire so should have plenty of time to churn out a few festive-style posts! I'll share my Xmas faces and outfits with you later this week but, in the meantime, i wanna talk about PRESENTS!! With any luck, you'll all be super organised and won't need this post but i've had the chance to sample some gorgeous gift sets to appeal to all budgets and i thought i'd share them with you while you can still get next-day delivery! 

You all know i adore Nip+Fab products. I've featured their Pistachio Sundae body butter on this blog before and i have also had the opportunity to nosey through their Xmas gift sets, which are available from Sainsbury's Stores, the Nip+Fab Website and other concessions with prices starting from just a FIVER! Perfect for even Secret-Santa price brackets (or just a cheeky Xmas pamper treat for yourself whilst doing the food shop). I've been using the Hand Fix kit which includes a Hand Cream (which has the same yummy pistachio scent as the body butter) and a cuticle cream as well as some rather fetching gloves to help it all sink in. I've really been enjoying using it! 

Other sets from the range include Party Rescue, Chill-Out Bathing, Facial on The Go and loads more! Also their body butters and lip balms make great stocking fillers!! 

If you want to REALLY spoil someone and go that extra mile, i'd highly recommend this kit from Murad Skincare. I've mentioned it before and plan to review a couple of the products individually, but Murad have brought out 3 different variants for Xmas this year. The one i have been using is Perfect Balance, but also available are Radiance Perfection and The Hybrids. These sets range in price from £30 up to £50 and are available from the Murad Website as well as their department store concessions. I'd highly recommend the Perfect Balance for anyone with combination skin. 

In reference to my post from last week on Nails Inc, i just HAD to include these amazing gift sets in this post. Scroll down to read about how much i loved my leather and skull manicure from the event, but if you want to spoil your best friend or sister this Xmas i'd highly recommend these gift sets! Priced at £19 you get a leather effect polish (choice of 2 shades) and 4 beautiful little rhinestone skull decals (which actually stay on VERY well). Nails Inc are also doing other gift sets similar to this so check out their Website or go along to one of their stores or concessions. 

I couldn't do a gift post without mentioning BeneFit could i?! Their products and packaging is special enough at other times of the year but they come into their own at Xmas and this year's gift sets are really lovely and I WANT THEM ALL!! I got to nosey through a few at the QVC press day i attended recently and i'd have to say my favourites are 'Feelin Dandy' (which contains miniatures of their Dandelion powder and lipgloss as well as other treats) and 'How to Look the Best at Everything' (containing their Ideal Flawless Foundation, Porefessional Primer and Boi-Ing Concealers). 
You probably know where to find BeneFit so i won't insult your intelligence by listing ALL the stockists for you but they're regular in all the major department stores, larger Boots stores and on the BeneFit Website. Beautiful on anyone's dressing table! 

So this hasn't been an EPIC Xmas Gift Guide by any means, but i just thought i'd let you know about a few products i've had the chance to try and some which are on MY list to Santa this year. There's still time for online ordering or a quick dash round Debenhams before the big day so treat someone special (or yourself) to one of these little beauties!! 


Sunday 9 December 2012

Texture and Embellishments for S/S'13 at Nails Inc

Good afternoon beauties!
A couple of weeks ago i was lucky enough to be invited along to see what heavyweight nail brand Nails Inc have in store for us in the new year. I've left it a little while before writing this post as i wanted to wear a few of the beautiful polishes i took home that night and include a few of the shades in order to showcase them properly. 

Polishes (l-r): Devonshire Row, Sloane Square, The Thames, Stonehenge, Richmond Terrace

On the night we got to ogle all the new releases for the next year and got to pick 5 polishes to take home and play with from a VERY tempting table along with their bestselling Caviar Topcoat as an extra treat. Check out London Lipgloss and Lily Melrose diving in (i'm not stalking them by the way, i only noticed after that it was them in the photo haha). There were also some lovely Nails Inc girlies working VERY hard to give us all stunning new manicures. 

For my own manicure on the night, i gravitated immediately towards the new Leather-Effect polishes which Nails Inc are releasing as gift sets (including swarovski crystals and skull decals) this month in time for Xmas priced at £19. The individual polishes will then be available from March 2013 priced at £12 each. 

The shade i chose for my own nails was Shoreditch Lane (Mulberry Leather Effect). They even stuck on a couple of little skullies for a good measure! 

I'm so surprised at how long this manicure lasted for! Even the skulls lasted a whole week at work and i actually had to physically remove them in the end, when the polish finally DID start to chip. But it was perfect for the best part of a week. That was with basecoat, 2 coats of the leather polish and nail glue to adhere the skulls. I will be buying this polish when it comes out. I absolutely love it!

Texture was a big theme throughout the evening. Here are some examples....

Uber pretty Feather Effect polishes (released March 2013), also available in a loose dust form to be used with other colour polishes. They almost look like sweets! 

These Concrete Effect polishes were released this month and this is definitely my favourite of all the polishes i took home with me. The shade is Stonehenge, but there are 3 other colours available including Marble Arch (a brilliant red), London Wall (a beigy nude shade that i am kicking myself for not picking up as well) and Monument (a flourescent lime shade). Again, 2 coats of this polish lasts a long time and it dries super quick!! 

One that i didn't get to road test was the Denim Effect polish which will be released in June 2013. I got a little confused when i walked in and saw all the jeans, but once i clapped eyes on the polish i got the idea. 

As we're in December now, i couldn't resist throwing in a bit of glitter for this post. As one of the polishes i picked up was Sloane Square, i decided to try it out last week.....

So my first hint of festive sparkle comes on top of the, not so festive, The Thames which is murky grey in the bottle, but leans slightly green once on the nails. I actually love the shade and i'm not surprised its one of their top sellers. Sloane Square brightens it up a treat though and the colour of the glitters compliments it perfectly! This mani also lasted a week! I'm on the same train i was on last week as i was when i did this manicure and i'm only just feeling the need to repaint. So impressed with the longevity of these polishes!! 

I could go on and on and on about everything i saw that night, but i'll let you discover the rest as 2013 unfolds. Needless to say it involves sparkles, crystals and some serious COLOUR!! You really can't fault Nails Inc for product innovation. They always come up with something spectacular! 

Are you a fan of texture on your nails?? What do you think of Nails Inc's latest innovations?? 

Thursday 6 December 2012

New Discoveries at Paul & Joe

Hello there beauty seekers!!
I was introduced to the wonderful world of Paul & Joe just recently. I'd heard the name and a little bit of info about the brand, but had never actually experienced their products for myself. This has now all changed and i thought i'd share my thoughts on the products with you!

I recently went along to an event at their store just off Sloane Square in London. There, i was treated to a bottle of Champagne (through a straw, which made it even better haha), and a masterclass from the lovely Craig-Ryan on how to create the perfect red lip. He actually changed my mind about red lips. I have struggled to find a shade of red to suit me, but he just seemed to KNOW and transformed me into a red lippy lover. 

As well as all the tips and tricks and treats i got to take home some amazing products! I can safely say i've now had the complete Paul & Joe experience and i'm totally a new fan! Here's what i came home with along with some swatches.....

Firstly, how GORGEOUS is Paul & Joe packaging?!?! I just love how dainty it is and all the little detailing that is on it. This is definitely a brand to have on display on your vanity! 

Nail Polish in Shade 014
I'm slowly coming around to glitter nail polish this year in the run up to Xmas, and this one is STUNNING!! I haven't had chance to wear it yet as i've been seriously sidetracked by my recent new Nails Inc additions (more on those to follow soon), but i'm really looking forward to rocking this over the party season! 

Lip Lacquer in Shade 10
How perfect is this shade for Autumn/Winter! This product is not technically a lip gloss, nor is it a lipstick. It's something in between. It does feel like a gloss on application but offers a much more opaque finish than most glosses. I've been using it over the top of my MAC Spirit lipstick to ad a bit of extra shine. 

Lipstick in Shade 205
These lipstick shades do have individual names, however they only show the shade number on the packaging so i can't give you much more than that at the moment. This lipstick feels lovely on. The shade is lovely and warm and also very on trend for the season. It's just a little bit on the sheer side for me. Don't get me wrong, i LIKE the effect it gives. Like a wash of colour for a more subtle, glowy hue. I just prefer my lippy to jump out at me more haha. 

Lip Pencil Duo in Shade 03
There are 2 ends to this lip pencil. Both are versions of the same shade, just that one is more pigmented than the other. The lesser of the two is designed for a more subtle effect, whereas the darker (which is pictured here) provides a stronger line. I have been using this pencil a LOT with shades such as MAC Spirit, Myth and Honeylove. It really makes nude lips stand out more. 

And here are the swatches for everything (except the polish of course). I've shown both shades of the lip pencil here followed by the lip lacquer, then the lipstick. These shades all complement each other really well. Credit to the Paul & Joe team for putting such thought into their goody bag! 

I don't think there's one product here that i won't enjoy using. There were some other beautiful shades in the range that i am DYING to get my hands on, including the amazing lipstick in 'Rouge' and 'Cherry' lip pencil that Craig-Ryan transformed my lips with on the night. 

You can snap up Paul & Joe's AMAZINGNESS at ASOSBeautyBay and Selfridges as well as by popping into one of their stores. Prices are mid-range and quite similar to the likes of MAC so you won't feel TOO guilty to snap up a couple of pre-Xmas treats.

Have you tried Paul & Joe products?? What are your favourite shades?? Are you a Red lippy convert like me??


Saturday 1 December 2012

Finding Homeware HEAVEN with Amara

Good evening my dears!
I little late night blogging for you tonight. Trying to get a few bits scheduled again for next week as i keep finding myself rather busy and exhausted lately, which is not conducive to effective blogging at all! Roll on the Xmas break from Uni!! I'm coming to you today to chat about a new website i have discovered recently. With my newfound love of handmade and shabby chic EVERYTHING, when i was contacted about the possibility of writing a piece for i just couldn't say no. Their site is like a little slice of HEAVEN to me!

I had a good rummage around the site, more or less the minute i found out about it. I'm not joking, EVERYTHING is absolutely stunning! They have every kind of bedding you could possibly dream of, beautiful furnishings to suit all tastes and a wide range of kitchen and tableware to get your culinary juices flowing! I've found so much inspiration from this website and am currently crocheting up a multitude of different cushions and throws (more to come on that on my other blog VERY soon). 

I was also lucky enough to be sent this STUNNING cushion by Pip Studio and i've completely fallen in love with it! I had been holding off on this post as i've ordered some new bedding which compliments it PERFECTLY, but it still hasn't arrived yet and i'm so excited to write about it that i've just gone ahead. 

This piece of art (yes i'm calling it that because it really is) is possibly the prettiest thing i own homewise at the moment. I just can't stop looking at it! Every time i do i see something different! From the music notes, to the little hearts, to the chinese pottery in the background. The print is so well thought out and different. Everyone who has seen a picture of it on Facebook or Instagram has commented how beautiful it is. 
This baby measures 45x45cm and is made from 100% cotton. The prices for Pip Studio's cushions ranges from £22 up to £49.99 depending on the style. 

Amara are stocking an extensive range of Pip Studio items. They include cushions, bedding, bath robes and tablewares amongst other things and all feature beautiful prints and patterns in gorgeous fabrics. Browse from up to 20 pages HERE. At the moment, as an extra incentive, if you sign up for their mailing list, Amara are offering 20% off your first order!

So now i am redesigning my whole room (and possibly my landlord's whole house) based on this cushion haha. I've found some amazing inspiration from Amara and, if my budget wasn't that of a student, i would definitely go a little wild on that site. For now, i am content admiring my cushion, but if you have a few spare pennies to spend on your home i'd say spend them at Amara. Items like this don't just brighten up your room, they brighten up your soul! 

What are your interior design inspirations?? Do prints get you going?? 
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