Tuesday 28 January 2014

TLC's Stars of 2013: Makeup

Time for the final installment of my Stars of 2013 Trilogy. I've already done Skincare and Haircare... Now onto the Makeup! I'm not gonna lie, 2013 wasn't a spectacular year for me in terms of buying makeup. I didn't go crazy buying lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes like I did in 2012. In fact, I didn't even WEAR as much lipstick and eyeshadow in general compared to previous years. There are a few clear Stars for the year though. Here's a selection of my favourites...

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation - Santa Fe
2013 was definitely the year I set out to find my Holy Grail Foundation. In fact, I found a couple. My drugstore choice (seriously, I will never purchase another drugstore foundation ever again) was definitely Bourjois Healthy Mix, but my ultimate favourite high end foundation product for the year has to be Sheer Glow. I had high expectations for it from the start and it certainly lived up to the hype. Due to the price, I've always kept it reserved for more special occasions than everyday wear but I love the texture, the finish and how it feels on my skin. WINNER!!

DHC Perfect Pro Liquid Eyeliner* in Blackdhcuk.co.uk
Last year was definitely a year of Holy Grail product finds for me. This one found ME! You'll notice that I haven't included any eyeshadow products in this year's favourites and that is because I've mainly opted for bold liner, lashings of mascara and a neutral lip. This liner is seriously the easiest to control, picks up a TON of product (gives a good coat on both eyes without having to double dip), really well pigmented and produces a clean black line. I will NEVER be without this product again. Ever! DHC were a new brand discovery for me in 2013 but I've been seriously impressed with their products. 

Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Cover-Up in Honey
This one was another event discovery, and one that I have since repurchased TWICE! I use it in a multitude of ways. It's fantastic on its own in the summer when you don't want a heavy liquid foundation on your skin (works really well with a BB cream too) while, in the Winter, a dusting over my regular foundation helps to set my makeup and keep it in place. It is also a good one to take in your bag on a night out for quick bathroom touch ups. Just a great all rounder. (This photo was taken when it was all new and shiny - the one I have now has hit pan and definitely not ready for its close up haha)

Rodial Glamstick in Thrill*rodial.co.uk
I didn't go mad for bold lippy at all in 2013. There were a couple of exceptions, including MAC Rebel at Christmas, but I generally opted for neutrals and nudes. This particular lipstick has been my best friend during the colder months especially as it has amazing moisturising properties, almost like a lip butter. Of course, because it's Rodial it's really nourishing to the lips. The colour is neutral, but noticeable. Sadly, it's a little out of my price range and I'm not sure I'll be able to repurchase it any time soon but I've really loved it as a product. 

Benefit Dallas Boxed Powder
I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can't remember the last time I used a blush that WASN'T this one. I have worn this blush religiously ever since Autumn came knocking. It's my favourite of all the Benefit boxed powders (the runner up being Coralista in the Summer months). It's just a perfect, rustic shade that also adds a contoured effect with zero effort. I keep saying this but it is soooo underrated compared to other Benefit blushes and I don't feel it gets enough attention. I urge anyone to give it a go. It's such a versatile shade. 

Bourjois Twist Up The Volume Mascara* in Black
I've tried a few new mascaras this year but this is the one that I have stuck with. I am a huge fan of a lengthening mascara and it was love at first use with this one. I've never actually tried twisting it down and using the volumising wand. I don't really need thicker lashes. This post could so easily have turned into a Bourjois Appreciation Society Newsletter as I have thoroughly adored almost everything they have brought out this year. I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves for 2014!

So that wraps up my Stars of 2013. It's taken the best part of a month to get them all out there but I really hope you've enjoyed having a peep at the stuff I loved the most last year. If you missed either of the other two editions of this series you can find my Skincare picks Here and my Haircare favourites Here. Time to work on finding some new favourites for 2014, although I won't be letting go of this little lot any time soon either.

What makeup products did you love last year?? Any brands in particular stand out for you?? Did you notice yourself favouring a particular makeup look like I did??

Monday 27 January 2014

NEW: La Roche-Posay Relaunch Effaclar Duo(+)

I'm here to bring you some rather exciting breaking skincare news today beauty seekers!! Last week I spent an evening at IceTank Studios with the lovely ladies from La Roche-Posay to find out a bit about their latest project. You may already be familiar with their Effaclar Duo, launched in 2009 to treat oily, blemish prone skin. What you may not be aware of is that they've given it a 2014 makeover. This is Effaclar Duo with a PLUS!

The original Effaclar Duo was designed as a daily treatment to target blemishes, blocked pores and even acne. What's new about Effaclar Duo(+) is the addition of Procerad. Acne and blemishes can leave your skin marked for life. On fairer skins this may appear as red blotchiness and on darker skins, which are more predisposed to hyperpigmentation, it manifests as brown marks. This new Procerad formula has been tested on over 7,500 subjects of all skin tones. I'm familiar with this myself. I have combination skin and, although I'm not prone to breakouts, when I get a blemish it's usually a MONSTER and always leaves it's mark. My main skin bugbear, however, is blocked pores which sometimes descend into full-blown blackheads (not a good look). 

So what does it do??
From 24hrs: Imperfections are less visibly red
From 8 Days: Severe imperfections have disappeared
From 4 Weeks: Pores are unclogged, skin texture is refined and oily areas appear regulated.

First Impressions...
This product is not designed just as a quick fix, but one to be used daily and over time. I couldn't give you a full review so soon even if I wanted to. Those with problem skin could probably testify better as to it's immediate effects on blemishes. I've been using this in the morning under my moisturiser and BOY does it mattify! Not just that but it keeps my shiny T-Zone at bay for most of the day. A dream come true under makeup. I'm also impressed with how smooth my skin feels when I've used this product (Effaclar Duo+ also offers 24hr hydration). The formula is not sticky, absorbs really quickly and feels really soothing on the skin. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the more long term effects will be. I have high hopes for my pores and I'll definitely be keeping you posted! 

Effaclar Duo(+) - £15.50 for 40ml
Available in larger Boots stores as well as boots.com and laroche-posay.co.uk

Do you suffer from problem skin?? Did you love the original Effaclar Duo?? What are your La Roche-Posay product recommendations??

Wednesday 22 January 2014

TLC's Stars of 2013: Haircare

I am soooooo late with these Favourites posts!! No joke, I have spent the entire last 10 days buried under university essays and there has been zero time for anything else. There were days where I actually forgot to EAT! Thankfully I've now found a couple of days respite so I'm going to be working hard to get the rest of my 2013 Favourites out as well as a January Sales haul and a few new product reviews. This haircare favourites post is going to be a little brief compared to the previous skincare one. 2013 wasn't the best year for my hair by any means and I didn't seem to stick religiously to any specific products. However, here are a handful that I have really appreciated over the last year...

Wella SP Luxe Oil*BeautyBay
Obviously, I'm am a fan of hair oils. I've tried a fair few in my time (hello... former hairstylist over here). It is because of all the oils that I've tried in the past that I appreciate this one from Wella all the more. It doesn't rely entirely on Argan Oil, also incorperating Almond and Jojoba oils. This makes is super lightweight and it's the only oil I've ever felt l like I can use freely on dry hair. It absorbs completely and does not weigh my hair down or make it greasy. My favourite thing about it, however, is the smell. OH EM GEE this stuff smells like heaven. Better even than Moroccan Oil!

TIGI Catwalk Session Series Transforming Dry ShampooFeelUnique 
I'm not a fan of dry shampoos by any means. I find them chalky and even the best selling drugstore brands haven't made a massive impact on me. I was introduced to this product in the Spring of 2013 and am now on my third can! This stuff is MAGIC. I have very heavy hair and struggle to get texture and volume that lasts any length of time but a spray of this all over after straightening and a bit of ruffling completely transforms my hair. It's not sticky but gives a lovely matte texture. The smell is gorgeous and really clean. I'd recommend this as a texturising product for any hair type. 

Twisted Sista Curl Activator Beauty@Creightons
I find it so refreshing when a budget beauty product makes it into my 'essentials' category. You can buy Twisted Sista products in Poundland and other discount stores as well as via Creightons (check out their site by the way, they have some real gems). This Curl Activator has become a handbag staple for me as the weather has got colder. Wind and rain are not a friend to my hair but this product rescues me every time. I just scrunch it through and it turns the 'drowned rat' look into naturally tousled and hydrated. Worth every penny and then some! 

I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't love that many hair products last year. This year I am already on a mission to find more perfect products and, of course, I will let you know any special finds I make. 

What were your haircare essentials in 2013?? 

Saturday 11 January 2014

My Yankee Sale Purchase

This is only a snippet of my collective January Sales haul for 2014. I'm planning on doing my main Sales post next week as a job lot as I'm still waiting on a parcel. I haven't gone nuts this year so it will all fit into one but I wanted to bring you THIS post in advance, and all to itself, as it is the one I've been most excited about. I FINALLY got my mitts on a Large Yankee 'Snow in Love' jar candle. And I got it in the SALE too!! 

I picked up this badboy for £14.99 which is £4 off the RRP for a large Yankee jar. I actually made this purchase just before Christmas because I wanted to make sure this scent hadn't sold out by the time I got round to buying it. Luckily the Yankee sale had already begun by then and I got a bargain. 

Snow in Love was my ultimate favourite of the 2013 Festive collection from Yankee. I did do a little haul post not so long ago about all my favourite Yankee jars, tarts and votives for the 2013 season (you can find that Here) in which I declared this one the winner of my affections. I love it because it is woody, fresh and slightly sweet at the same time and is a scent that I feel I will enjoy all year round. It's such a refreshing change from your usual sweet, spicy Christmas fragrances (not that I don't adore those too, I might add, I'm burning Snowflake Cookie right now!)

I also took the liberty of ordering a couple of extra wax tarts in this fragrance just to be on the safe side. Sadly, as I write this post, it seems that Snow in Love has sold out in the Yankee sale BUT there are still many bargains to be had, from jar candles to votives or tarts. There are still some of the Christmas fragrances marked down.

Check out the remaining bargains at 

What were your fragrance winners over Christmas 2013?? Did you take advantage of the Yankee Sale??

Friday 10 January 2014

TLC's Stars of 2013: Skincare

It's that time... 
I'm a week late starting this series of posts so I'd best cut to the chase. Instead of a big, long, epic 2013 Favourites post this year I wanted to break it down into pretty little chunks for you all. I'm going to start on Skincare because I've found a few products over the last 12 months that have been real keepers and that I really haven't been able to manage without. In fact, my skincare didn't evolve much in 2013 but the product discoveries that I made last year have stuck with me.

L'Oreal Skin Perfection Purifying Micellar Solution
I am so grateful to this product for finally weaning me off the facial wipes for good! I don't use this as my main cleanser, but it's the best thing I've found for getting my makeup off so I can cleanse more thoroughly. I know you'll all be screaming BIODERMA at me at once but I find this affordable and easy to just nip into Superdrug and replace. It's been replaced a LOT over the course of the year too. I just squirt it onto a large, oval cotton pad and away it goes! 

Rodial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic XXL Hydrating Mask*rodial.co.uk
I've had to be sensible and sparing with this one as it's not something I'm just going to be able to run out and replace willy nilly. I cannot begin to tell you the skin scrapes this mask has got me out of. I reviewed it towards the end of summer (Here) and stated how useful it had been in reversing the effects of the sun without having to use a heavy cream on my combination skin but, little did I know, I would be just as glad of it (if not even more so) during the Winter months. As soon as the weather went cooler my skin seemed to tighten and shrivel up! I find this mask to be so soothing and comforting and I will definitely be repurchasing once I've saved up enough pennies. I'm down to my last drop!

Nip+Fab Dry Skin Fix Body Butter in Pistachio Sundae 
This is my little sweet treat after my bath. I go through phases with Body Butters. After a while I always crave a different one. This one, however, always has me going back to it. Kind of like a sugar craving. This is my third tub! It is VERY sweet in scent and won't be for everyone but sometimes only this will do. I'm a little worried actually as I've just been on their website and I can't seem to find it there so I hope they haven't discontinued it. I've been buying it from Superdrug and I believe larger Sainsbury's stores also stock Nip+Fab products. 

Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balmtimetospa.co.uk
This is one I've already forked out half of my student loan to repurchase, having originally received it for review and discovering I can't live without it. I will not put anything else on under my makeup now. It makes me skin feel so supple and smooth and has a kind of extra glow about it. A great base for foundation even without primer. I'm not surprised at all that it's won multiple awards. Well done Elemis for this one. Bravo! You can read my original review for this product Here

Amie Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Daily Washamieskincare.co.uk
In fact, not just this product, but Amie Skincare in general have been floating my boat throughout the last year. I recently featured their Morning Dew Mattifying Moisturiser and Spring Clean Clay Mask in a favourites post as well. There's nothing not to love about this product or this brand. It's full of gorgeous, natural ingredients, free from chemical nasties and is just a great, gentle daily exfoliator that smells amazing. 

Those were my skincare heroes of 2013. I'll be following with separate posts on haircare, makeup and other miscellaneous items that made a particular impact on me last year. 

What skincare products rocked your world in 2013??

Wednesday 8 January 2014

NEW Nails Inc 'In The Nude' Colour Collection

I'm so excited for this post! Remember how excited I was when posting about the Nails Inc Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection? Well, amplify that by 10 and you get an idea. I first stumbled across the NEW Nails Inc 'In The Nude' Colour Collection at their Spring/Summer'14 preview in December. It was held at the May Fair Hotel and I got to have a good old nosey through all their upcoming new releases for the new year. There are a couple more posts in the pipeline on all of the gorgeousness I witnessed that night but today I want to focus on my favourite of this season's Nails Inc bounty.... 

'In The Nude' Colour Collection RRP £25 - Released January 2014
I was sold on this 4-piece collection the second I clapped eyes on it. It had to be mine. So much so that, as soon as I spotted on their Facebook page that it had been released, I ordered it IMMEDIATELY. This collection consists of two of their current Best Selling shades as well as two brand new neutrals. Colours are as follows...

George Street - Mink Pink
Sheraton Street - Pale Blue
NEW Kensington Gore - Rich Nude
NEW Hyde Park Place - Soft Grey

These shades are seriously creamy and give amazing opacity after even a single coat. The swatches above are two coats with no top coat so you can get an idea of finish (but, seriously, who doesn't use a top coat)? These collections are my favourite way to buy Nails Inc polishes. As a student I can't always afford to by more than one at a time at £11 a bottle but here you are getting four gorgeous, full size, bang on trend for Spring polishes for £25! 

My favourite of this bunch has got to be Sheraton Street. You may have spotted it in yesterday's 'Month in Manicures' post. I'm such a sucker for a pale blue polish and this one is the most perfect I've found. It has a touch of grey about it that makes it the perfect duck-egg shade and it seems to work well on most skin tones. I admired it on my manicurist at the event so much that I asked her to use it on me. 

The only shade that has made it onto my nails so far this year is George Street. If, like me, you liked OPI 'Steady as She Rose' (from the Pirates of the Caribbean Collection) then you'll love this, slightly greyed, dusky rose pink. It's the kind of polish you could wear to any occasion and at any time of the year, as are all of the polishes in this Collection. You'd get plenty of wear out of all four. What's not to love about a good nude, eh? 

You can purchase this collection from Nails Inc Stores, department store concessions/counters and online at 
(It's also worth mentioning that George Street and Sheraton Street are also available to buy as individual polishes at £11 each).

Nails Inc are currently offering a new discount code every day for the whole of January so be sure to check out their Twitter and Facebook first should you decide to make a purchase!

What nail colours are catching your eye for 2014?? Do you go for nude shades or do you prefer a bolder, brighter look?? Which new product releases are you most excited about??

Tuesday 7 January 2014

My Month in Manicures: Dec 2013

Well first of all.... HAPPY NEW YEAR MY LOVELIES!
Sadly, I've had to skip the last of the Christmas postings I wanted to do last week as I just had ZERO time to whip out my camera and photograph it all. I had a wonderful Christmas and was able to catch up with so many family and friends and that ended up taking priority. I thought I'd kick off 2014 with a round up of December's Month in Manicures. In fact, the first several posts of this year will be dedicated to my nails, with another special Nails Inc post to follow tomorrow. 

Top Row L-R
Essie 'No More Film'
This was the manicure I received when I attended the Boutique Spa Christmas event at the end of November (post Here) and it lasted so well I didn't get round to removing it until a week or so into December! I must admit I forgot to check the name of the icy blue Essie glitter polish which is on top of the base shade (if anyone recognises it please let me know). Bad blogger! Anyhoo, this manicure really got me in the mood for Winter. 
Nails Inc 'Sheraton Street'
 Another event manicure! Aren't I getting looked after lately! Early on in December I went along to the Nails Inc SS14 Preview (lots to come on the blog about that in the coming weeks, I've so much to show you). For my manicure on the night I was going to go for a bright shade but then I spotted this shade on the manicurist and demanded I have the same. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a MAJOR fetish for pale duck-egg blue nail polish and this shade is the most perfect I've found! It's even more beautiful in the flesh. You'll see more of this colour in tomorrow's post. 

Bottom Row L-R
Essie 'Sable Collar'
 You have NO idea how difficult it was to get a photograph of this shade which reflects its true beauty. In the end I had to use flash. This is one of the shades from my Essie Winter 2013 Mini Collection (post Here). It's a kind of deep cocoa/plum shade with a beautiful pearlescent sheen to it. In some lights it comes off as more brown than this but here the flash has brought out the plum. This manicure took me right up until Christmas Eve. It's testament to Seche Vite really that my manicures are lasting so well lately. I couldn't be without it!
Essie 'Toggle To The Top'
 I think I said it all in my previous Christmas NOTD post about this crushed garnet red polish but I couldn't not include it in this one too. Again, this lasted right through until New Year without chipping too badly. 

New Year's Eve Manicure!
Barry M Textured Nail Effects in 'Lady' 
I really love textured nail polishes and Barry M have recently added to their range to include a bit of sparkle as well as the pretty pastels. I first saw this polish on Gemma (of Flutter and Sparkle) on her Instagram and ran out the very same day to buy it. It looks just like crushed DIAMONDS! It's also pretty indestructible. For this picture I did three coats but two is usuallly plenty. In truth, I ballsed it up a bit and ended up putting the third on just to smooth it over. I only removed this polish last night but it could have lasted much longer. It's not actually a tough one to remove either, unlike other glitter polishes (Toggle To The Top was a nightmare). 

So that was how I rounded off my 2013 nail painting year. I can't wait to see what exciting new shades, effects and ranges 2014 will bring. I'll definitely be sharing my finds with you all, starting from tomorrow! 

What did you wear on your nails over this Festive season?? Do you go for SPARKLE at Christmas?? Did you go bonkers for Winter Collections too?? 
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