Sunday, 29 December 2013

NOTD - Bourjois So Lacque! in Orange Creation

You might have noticed I've had a bit of a break in December!  Things just got really busy with work and Christmas so I gave myself a bit of time off.  Hope you had a great Christmas and Mr Claus was good to you.

Anyway, I got a very random hankering for glossy, bright orange nails so I treated myself to a Bourjois nail varnish.  I don't really buy much from Bourjois, not sure why, it just never appeals to me that much.  So here we have it:

I also used Orly Bonder as a basecoat which I got as part of my Boots Advent Calendar and I really liked it! I topped this with Seche Vite too for a bit of extra shine.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Weleda goes crackers this Christmas!

I was sent this and I just think it's such a fab stocking filler, especially when Skin Food is such a fab winter product!  It comes in gorgeous cracker packaging which you open up to reveal.....

I love Weleda Skin Food, it's so nourishing and moisturising, especially when your skin's suffering from that annoying mix of central heating and cold weather outside!  Available from £3.50 from Weleda , it comes in a range of other products too.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Environ Active Vitamin Facial at Harvey Nichols, Manchester

Last weekend I was lucky enough to visit Harvey Nichols in Manchester for an Environ facial.  Environ is a cosmeceutical company developed by a South African plastic surgeon which fuses traditional beauty therapy and modern medical science.

First of all I had a really in depth consultation to get an idea about my skins condition and what my needs were.  My therapist was called Mary by the way, she was absolutely great, that perfect mix of professional, knowledgeable and friendly.  Another part of the consultation is taking really close up photos in this futuristic looking machine:

The photos are a real eye opener and highlights where there are signs of ageing, bacteria on the skin and areas damage etc.  The biggest shock for me was the one that showed damage under the top layer of skin and also the "fast forward" which showed how my skin will be in 3 years time if it continues on the way it is.  From this, Mary recommended me various products which I'll review later once I've tried them out properly - they include vitamin supplements as well as skincare as the principle behind Environ is to take care of inside and outside.

Back to the facial - this was easily the best, and most interesting, facial I've ever had.  It uses a combination of pulsed electrical currents and low frequency sound waves to boost the penetration of high-dosage anti-ageing and re-hydrating ingredients, including vitamin A and C, into your skin.  It's all pretty high tech and I imagine I looked a bit like a science experiment during my facial!

It starts off as a normal facial where your skin is cleansed etc. and then a metal tool is used on your face (which I believe is the ultrasound/galvanic part) you sort of hear a little electrical sound when this goes near your face but it isn't uncomfortable or disturbing or anything.  After this, a thick, plasticised mask is applied over your entire face including your eyes and mouth - they can leave these parts out if you're claustrophobic - and then you're hooked up to a low electrical field (which you can't feel other than the occassional little twitch).  After which point the mask is peeled off in one go to leave you with dewy, fresh skin.

It doesn't sound relaxing at all but it really is and at one point I definitely fell asleep!  I just sorted of floated away out of the salon - I'd planned to do all sorts in town but I was far too chilled out so I just went home.  My skin felt amazing and looked fantastic, the ultimate evidence of this was that a couple of people at work commented on how good my skin was looking which NEVER happens.

The treatment rooms at Harvey Nichols were really relaxing and kind of high tech too.  As I mentioned, the girl who did my facial was really nice and very professional.  I would fully recommend this and I actually can't wait to book my next appointment, it was the first facial I've had that was relaxing and made a visible difference to my skin.  No wonder it has a celebrity following!

To make an appointment contact the Beyond Beauty counter at Harvey Nichols here.  You can also find Environ products at the counter too.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

So, Aldi do beauty products?

Right, as a recent Aldi convert for my weekly shop (exciting insight there!), a few people at work have said they swear by some of Aldi's own beauty products.  As I can be a bit of a beauty snob at times I hadn't tried them until recently when I was sent some items to review.  None of them are branded as "Aldi's own" which I think is a good move as it means people are more likely to have them on display in their bathroom/on their dressing table.  So, on with the review!

The first thing I used was the Miracle Oil with Argan Oil - this is one of the exact products that one of my colleagues swears by - and I'm actually pretty impressed by it.  It's not in a squeeze, pump action or open neck bottle so you only get a tiny amount dispensed which is right and means that you don't add too much oil to your hair.  It doesn't smell really strongly or anything and actually feels really nourishing on you hair.  I'd happily buy this in future as it helps smooth down my damaged ends without totally weighing it down.

The Hand and Nail Cream is pretty good too, very nourishing without being greasy.  It absorbs quickly, comes in a squeeze tube and I think it's ideal for carrying in your bag or keeping in your desk at work.  It's a pretty good budget option.  It's not too heavily scented but I'm not wildly keen on the smell of it, but that's just me.

The Aqua Complete Serum is really light, absorbs well and feels great on the skin.  It's a decent enough everyday moisturiser that I'll happily use.

I've also got a moisturiser that I'm getting my boyfriend to test without revealing that it's an Aldi one (I normally buy him pretty high end moisturisers, bless him) - so far his feedback is that it's his favourite moisturiser and feels really good on his skin, albeit quite rich.  We'll see what his thoughts continue to be!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Winter fashion

There's so much stuff in the shops that I want at the minute, most of it's totally wintery things with fur and in pale colours.

As camouflage is also one of the big trends this winter, I've also been checking out womens military jackets too, I actually used to have a jacket like this from ASOS a few years ago but ended up either throwing it away or Ebaying it (can't remember which) as I never quite felt it was my style as I'm not really into the grunge look usually!  I really regret getting rid of it though because it was so comfy and easy to throw on without being too heavy or hot.  It was also an essential companion when I went to V Fest a few years ago, even though the weather was gorgeous through the day it was freezing at night!

I know loads of people have this jacket (or a variation of it) but I love this one too, think it takes me back to my youth when All Saints were big and everyone had a fancy camo coat:

I've also been looking at cheap skater dresses too - I'm not convinced the dress style actually suits me so I don't want to spend too much money on something I might only wear a couple of times.

What are your winter fashion picks this year?

* Sponsored post

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

I come with baggage.

I've had my trusty Primark zebra print case for quite a few years now, it's been all around the world with me and to various different places in the UK.  I still hold a soft spot in my heart for it, as it was really cheap, at the time I loved the design plus it's lightweight  but sturdy and carries loads.  Every time I go to the airport I hold my breath while they weigh my case, even if I've already weighed it at home.  Luckily my boyfriend normally packs relatively light for holiday so even if I'm over, he's usually under so it all balances out.

However my trusty zebra case has definitely seen better days and I have this horrible feeling that one day the zip is going to burst or all of a sudden it's going crack open without me realising and I'm going to lose loads of stuff out of it.

So I've been browsing the internet for cheap lightweight suitcases.  I tend to like suitcases that are a bit bright or different so I can easily spot them at check in, I'm rubbish at distinguishing one black suit case from another.  I also want one that's lightweight but sturdy and carries plenty of things like my current one does.

The website I've been looking at even has a Lulu Guinness lips suitcase (or two) which is absolutely gorgeous!

* Sponsored post

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Debenhams Christmas Flowers - gorgeous bouquets with a festive feel! Plus exclusive discount code.

I'm sure I've said this before but I absolutely love cut flowers and occasionally treat myself to the odd bouquet or two so I was ridiculously pleased to receive this absolutely gorgeous bunch from Debenhams Flowers.

They're actually kind of different to what I'd choose for myself, I usually prefer brighter, more contemporary flowers but I've actually really surprised myself by actually loving the mix of deep red roses, pink carnations, pink/white lilies, red berries and gold painted leaves.  I think it's really pretty and looks very festive and traditional.  They'd make a totally gorgeous present or a treat for someone and the Debenhams Flowers Christmas shop actually has other gifts too like wine, hampers and personalised items.

The flowers are amazing quality too, they were really fresh on arrival and the lillies were just starting to open, they've fully opened up now and look so pretty.  I love the berries and gold leaves that are in with the flowers, they're what makes it look so Christmassy I think.  They come well packaged in a sturdy box with a water soaked sponge type thing that the flowers are sat in so they don't dry out and of course you can include a personal message in with them.

All in all I think this is a fab gift and I'd be really pleased if someone got me this (hint hint ahem).  You can check out the full range at  Debenhams Flowers are also offering £5 off all gifts until 21st December 2013 with the code XMASBLOG.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Topshop Lipstick in Wicked Review

I had a craving for something a bit different to my usual light pink lipsticks and I decided that a dark wine coloured lipstick was it.  I had a parcel to pick up from Topshop (the fact that they now do free delivery to stores is possibly the worst thing that has happened for my bank account...postage costs used to discourage me from ordering little bits and pieces here and there.  Not any more!) so I had a little browse of the make up while I was there too in the hope of finding a dark lipstick.

I found wicked, which is exactly the kind of colour I wanted.  I really like it and I don't feel like it's too dark or gothy though it's very definitely a winter lipstick.

However I feel like it looks a bit silly on my lips because they're quite full.  I think it would look better on smaller lips where it isn't such a dramatic look.  I've tried it on a couple of times now for nights out etc and each time I've ended up wiping it off before I leave the house!  I need to be braver!

Having worn it around the house, it lasts quite well and isn't too messy to wear though I'd say you still need to be careful when you're eating or drinking as it may well transfer across your face.  Even when it fades it leaves a little stain behind it which I personally quite like.

Wicked costs £8 from Topshop - God I miss my student discount!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Winter Pointy NOTD

There have been loads of winter nails popping up on Pinterest (you can find my Nails board here) which inspired me to do my own version.

I used my trusty Ebay false nails (review here) and then painted my nails with these polishes in the order pictured:

L-R: Models Own Snow White, Models Own Snowflakes, Darling Diva Polish Snowball (from Etsy), Seche Vite

I'm really pleased with how these turned out.  I think they look really wintery, eyecatching (but not quite too OTT) and actually even better than I thought.  I was actually going to stick some diamantes on to the half moons of my ring fingers (like this) but I liked them too much with just polish so decided not to in the end.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Quickie post about my laser eye surgery

If you've been reading Beauty and the Blogger for the last few months or more, you might have seen that I got my eyes lasered in September.  I haven't updated for a little while but at my one month check up, my eyes were pretty dry.  Apparently 1 in 500 people may experience long term dryness in their eyes after surgery so obviously I was a little bit worried.

At my check up the optician said that it was more likely that it was because it was the time of the year that heating starts going on everywhere, which can cause dry eyes anyway, so mine are no different. I got some different eye drops - more of a cream rather than liquid drops, so a bit more hydrating - and these seem to have worked much better to the point where I only need to put them in once or twice a day.  Phew!

My eyesight is still better than 20/20, I can drive without any lenses/specs, my nighttime vision doesn't have any blurriness or glow around lights, which was something I had with my glasses previously and I've had no pain or real discomfort.  All in all I still think that getting my eyes done has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I've recommended my clinic all over the place as people seem really interested once they find out I've had my vision corrected.

For more information about the clinic I visited you can read my previous laser eye surgery posts here or go to - the team there are so lovely and will be able to answer any questions you may have.  I don't need to go back until around Christmas time now as they're just keeping an eye (ho, ho) onmy progress to make sure the dryness was a temporary, rather than a permanent, occurrence.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Models Own Flakie Love (Snowflake and Pink Paradise swatches)

As someone who has been into flakie polishes for a long time, I'm delighted that they're so much more easier to get hold of than they once were.  I've not really been keeping that up to date with new nail collection launches because I still have a ridiculous amount of polishes in my spare room (aka my dressing room).

For some reason I've suddently gone all obsessive about flakie polishes again and found the Models Own Splash Box Set.  These are some ridiculously pretty polishes that definitely have bottle appeal.

I refrained from buying the whole set even though I fell in love with the blue, orange and pink polishes because as I mentioned earlier: I have too many polishes.  And also:  for something which is essentially a layering polish and the look will depend on what you layer it over...did I really need to buy five polishes that would all look much of a muchness on the nail.  So I settled on Pink Paradise and then bought another flakie (Snowflake, clear with holographic flakie pieces) and Nude Beige, an old favourite of mine that I'd ran out of as there was a 3 for 2 offer going on at*.

There are plenty of holographic pieces in both of these polishes and these lie fairly flat on the nail without feeling too bumpy, especially if you smooth out with a topcoat such as Seche Vite*.  Also, when I said I felt like these polishes would all look the same on the nail as they're for layering, I actually think you could build up a decent enough coverage on the nail with these to look good on their own, though they would still be more of a sheer wash of colour than opaque.  Pink Paradise actually contains really fine pink glitter so I think each one would look slightly different, though probably not to any non-nail-obsessed people.

Looking forward to doing some Christmas/winter themed art with these, especially Snowflake.  I'm actually tempted to go and get the orange and blue from the Splash set too...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Carex Nourish & Protection Antibacterial Hand Cream Review - Vitamin E and Aloe Vera

I start getting really dry skin as the weather turns colder and my hands are no exception.  My palms and cuticles start feeling so dry and can crack if I'm not careful.  Since it's currently absolutely freezing, I decided this was the perfect time to try a new hand cream.

I was sent some Carex Antibacterial Hand Creams for review so decided to give them a shot.  Seeing that this weekend has seen rain, hail and frost if it can help them now, then it can help any time.  These hand creams also protect against bacteria, which isn't something I'm massively concerned about (come on, I wash my hands when I should...) but nevertheless some people will be really into it!

In terms of the packaging, I'd say it's more functional than pretty but I think the fact it's in a squeezy tube's really important.  Who wants to dip their hands into a pot of cream that's meant to be antibacterial!  It's a handy size to carry around in our bag too, I've got one at home and one at work.  Both of these creams smell really fresh and clean without smelling like disinfectant or anything like that.  I very slightly prefer the Vitamin E one but think that's just a personal thing.

Both of these creams are light and not at all greasy, they sink into the skin really quickly so you don't have to sit and avoid touching anything for ages which is a bit of a bonus as sometimes these type of products feel really oily.   They still feel very moisturising and nourishing though, my hands feel so much better after I use these which is the whole point of course.  I don't feel like I need to be putting this on every 5 minutes to feel the benefit of them, every few hours is more than enough.

Carex Antibacterial Hand Creams cost just £2.49 a tube and are available from Sainsbury's and  Superdrug

Monday, 4 November 2013

Lord and Berry 20100 Matte Lipstick Pencil in Allure - plus exclusive Lord and Berry 10% off discount code for Beauty and the Blogger readers!

I was sent this to review and I have to admit it isn't really a colour I'd pick for myself, I tend to prefer pinks and reds to brown and nude colour.  Saying that though I actually kind of liked the colour of the lips but I've yet to wear it outside!

So, colour aside, what did I think of the product?  It actually reminds me a lot of the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil*, which retails at £17.50 both in terms of packaging and the product itself.  It feels gorgeous and creamy on the lips without being too glossy or dragging on application, I don't think I'd call it matte really though.  Applying this product is really simple - just draw it onto your lips, the pencil is nice and chunky and easy to hold.  It isn't the longest lasting of lip products but to be honest it's no different to the majority of lipsticks out there.

I was actually really pleasantly surprised by this product, I haven't tried any Lord and Berry products before but I will definitely be trying more.  This is a really fantastic alternative to more expensive brands - less than half the price of the NARS version - and for me just as effective.

I've also got an exclusive 10% Lord and Berry discount code for readers of Beauty and the Blogger - just enter code BATB10 at* on any Lord and Berry item.  Happy shopping!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Dresses everywhere

I moaned on Twitter recently that I couldn't find any dresses that I liked in the shops - well, that's all changed now, I don't know if the shops are getting their Christmas stuff in or what but I could literally buy dresses all day long at the minute.

  1. ASOS Metal Work Print Bodycon Dress - £40
  2. Warehouse Black Chiffon and Leather Dress - £140 (cheaper version from New Look here*)
  3. Missguided Bonitta Origami Mini Dress* - £19.99
  4. Missguided Maia Chiffon Cross Over Mini Dress In Nude* - £29.99
  5. Megan Long Sleeve Wrap Dress* - £20
  6. Love Shift Dress with Lace Insert - £34
  7. ASOS Metallic Panel Shift Dress - £55
  8. Lipsy Long Sleeve Tribal Midi Dress - £50
  9. River Island Blue Metal Plate Tunic Dress - £40
  10. River Island Pink Embellished Sleeve Bodycon Dress - £40
I think 2, 3 and 7 are my favourites but I really like them all!  Now, I just need to win the lottery or something...

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Dark Review - does it really last 2-3 weeks?!

I'm sure I've said this before but I love the look of being tanned but I'm so lazy when it comes to a beauty routine that I can't be bothered with the whole fake tanning rigmarole every week or more.  So when I heard about Vita Liberata's pHenomenal tan which promises to last 2-3 weeks a little while ago I was very interested!  I prefer to use up one product before moving on to the next one so I waited until I used up my existing tanning products before splashing out on this.  It isn't cheap at all but if it does actually last two weeks or so then I'm happy to pay that.

This tan was really easy to apply with a tanning mitt, it's a mousse formula which I find the easiest to use anyway, and I actually felt like it was really quick.  Be warned that this also dries very very quickly which is a good thing as it means you're not hanging around for ages but it also means that any mistakes you make will show up so be careful - the guide colour does help with this though!  The tan comes with really comprehensive guide of how to apply it so if you're not confident about tanning then this would probably be helpful.  It smells pretty nice too but has an undertone of tan smell to it.

To extend the length of our tan you need to wash it off 3-24 hours after applying with just water and then reapply the tan, apparently one application will last 5 days, 2 applications will last 7 days and 3 applications will last 10 days approx.  Not sure what I make of this, would this not work if you did it with any tan? In my head - and because I didn't do that much research I just assumed you applied it as normal and it lasted for 2 weeks but never mind!

I have to say, considering I used the dark version, I was surprised at how not dark it was when I washed the first coat off (I feel like a fence) - I'm not into the Ronseal/Oompa Loompah look but this was a nice, natural glow rather than what I'd call a dark tan.  The second coat definitely looked darker but unfortunately was a lot patchier too - I wasn't happy with how the tan looked on the backs of my hands or on my ankles/feet at all.  I don't think it was my application either as I never have these problems with tan ordinarily.  Also, because everything specifically says not to apply moisturiser beforehand I found that it really clung to my knees and elbows.

This tan didn't really last the recommended week for 2 applications (I couldn't be bothered subjecting myself to a third coat), it was kind of patchy and faded by about day 4 or 5.  I wouldn't buy this again but I'll still use it up (one coat only) until it's finished before going back to my usual Xen Tan*.  This didn't really live up to the hype for me, which is a bit disappointing.

If you want to try this out and see if it works for you, it's available from* for £37.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Fast Drying Sculpting Spray Review

I'm constantly looking for ways to tame my fairly unruly, damaged hair as it tends to go frizzy easily (especially if there's an millimetre of moisture in the air - when I go on holiday I'm like Monica in Friends in that episode where they go to the Caribbean!) but I don't want it to look like I've got loads of product in, I just want people to think I've got naturally great hair.

Step in Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Fast Drying Sculpting Spray.  It's ridiculously easy to use, you just spray it on to damp hair then blowdry as usual (you can apply it to dry hair too).  I use it most on the roots of my hair underneath to create volume and lift and it really does work for me as well as keeping my style in place and looking shiny.  It smells good too, kind of watermelon-y but not overpoweringly so.  Another good thing is that it has UV sunscreen so I suspect it would be good if you were on holiday to stop your hair getting too damaged.

It really does help to get some shape and hold in my hair without actually making my hair feeling crispy, sticky or full of product.  It feels really weightless and you can still run your fingers through your hair without them getting caught which is nice.  I actually find as well that this works well to refresh my hair too if I don't want to wash it but it's gone a bit fuzzy while I've been asleep.  I just lightly spritz this on and really quickly blowdry my hair with a round brush and it really perks it up as it's reactivated by heat or water.

Paul Mitchell Fast Drying Sculpting Spray is available from for £11.50

Friday, 25 October 2013

John Frieda Full Repair Shampoo and Conditioner Review

I was getting a bit bored with the shampoo and conditioner that I was using so I was sent these to review at the right time.

These smell lovely, lather really well (so you don't need to use loads) and feel really creamy on the hair.  After using them my hair was really smooth, full and shiny - if you like big, groomed hair then this is probably the shampoo for you.  I hate to say but I didn't have massively high expectations for these but I was definitely pleasantly surprised.  My only criticism was that I didn't really feel like the conditioner smoothed my hair that much at the ends, but that might be because I desperately need it cut and actually it's probably part of making your hair big and full.

The other thing I found is that these products aren't heavy and don't make my hair go greasy quickly at the roots which can sometimes be the case when I try new shampoos.  I've actually managed to leave my hair an extra day without washing it (not out of choice, I just got up late yesterday!) which I couldn't usually do, I needed a tiny spritz of dry shampoo and I was good to go.  I wouldn't normally dare do this, especially not without tying my hair up.  I left it down which was a nice change.

I would definitely buy these again in future, they seem to work well for my dry, damaged hair and are at a price that won't break the bank.  These are currently on offer (2 for £8) on* so if you want to give them a go now might be the time!

John Frieda are also giving away hundreds of prizes on their Facebook page, like their page to find out more!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Follow me...

I've taken the plunge into Google+ so just thought I'd remind you of the ways you can follow Beauty and the Blogger:

I don't use Instagram, YouTube or Vine (yet) but you'll be the first to know if I do!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

I bought hair extensions for £6.99 on Ebay...

Just lately I've really been hankering after getting some proper hair extensions again.  I first had hair extensions in about 10 years ago before they were really popular and readily available everywhere like they are now and they were ridiculously expensive, only one salon in town did them (I had them woven in) and the ones I had weren't overly long.  As a kid I had really thick hair but from using bleach on my hair and quite a bit of heat styling over the years it's got quite a bit thinner which is disappointing, my Mam has got really thick hair still!

I then found another woman who lived near me who would weave extensions in if you provided the hair.  I went a bit ridiculous and wore 24 inch ones for a few years!  It was expensive, time consuming there was a lot of maintenance and I shed more hair than an alsatian.  This is the stuff I tell myself whenever I get the urge to get extensions put in properly.

Following on from that I used to wear clip ins quite a lot, mainly on nights out and for special occasions. I love that extensions are way easier to get hold of now.  I decided that rather than buying some really expensive extensions that I would hardly wear that I would go low budget and if they weren't right I hadn't wasted a lot of money.

So I found these on Ebay, they're synthetic but do a really wide range of colours (important to me as I have so many different blondes in my hair now), come in wavy or straight and are all on one single clip in.  The ones I got were trio blonde/wavy/24 inches which was a bit longer than I wanted as I really only wanted them for volume so I trimmed about 4 inches off the bottom of them.  It made them look a bit better as without the trim they looked a bit straggly and synthetic.

For £6.99 these are actually ok and definitely wearable for the odd night out, they don't look too shiny either and for synthetic extensions the colour is really good - not too Barbie blonde.  They're really easy to put in as well as there's only one row of clips.  They haven't quite got rid of my urges to go and get loads of hair either woven or put in with micro-rings but they've calmed me down for now.

Friday, 18 October 2013

New Jessica Nails Collections

As you will probably know by now, I absolutely love nails and just recently I've been looking at the Jessica range, especially the Effects Glitzy collection and the A Night at the Opera Collection.

The Effects Glitzy collection contains all different types and colours of glitter - really on trend right now!  There's bar glitter, large hexagonal pieces, holo glitter and some normal glitter too.  These would be great as nail art over your normal polish or even on their own I think?  With some of these I think an accent nail would work really well.

The Night at the Opera collection isn't one that I've seen before but I absolutely love the mix of glitter and semi matte finishes, especially in the more muted, wintery colours that mean they don't look too much.  The glitter looks really fine and subtle too.

I definitely want to try these out, I think that some of them would be great for toes.  I might even treat myself to a specialist Jessica pedicure or actually I think that gel nails are a great alternative as they last a bit longer so I might get gel toes put on?  I'm a bit lazy when it comes to painting my toes and tend to only change the colour if I know I'm going to have my toes out in sandals or something.  You can find your nearest gel manicure salon here if you're thinking about something longer lasting.

Have you ever tried Jessica polishes?  What did you think of them?

* Sponsored post

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

2013 Beauty Advent Calendars - which will you count down with?

UPDATED 16/11/2013

For the last few years I've absolutely coveted the Selfridges Beauty Advent Calendar but usually while I'm dithering about spending £84 on a load of random beauty products I'm not sure I want it sells out!  It's out again this year but there are also some cheaper alternatives so I thought I'd do a little round up of what's available.

Christmas Advent Calendar

This is the original beauty advent calendar which brings you minis from high end brands such as Viktor & Rolf, YSL, Kiehls, Giorgio Armani, Lancome and Maison Martin Margiela to name but a few.  It comes with a luxury price tag too - available from Selfridges* for £84.  I'd hurry if you're wanting it, usually this sells out pretty quickly!

Boots Beauty Advent Calendar

I've actually bought this one to try and end my cravings for these types of calendars!  It's the cheapest one available but still not bargain bucket at £30.  It contains £65 worth of product from brands such as Botanics, Carmex, Juicy, Ghost, Nails Inc, Mavala, Soap & Glory, Rimmel, Seventeen, Umberto Giannini, Paco Rabanne and Vichy.  Way more at my price point but still some fab stuff.  Available now from* for £30 - apparently you get triple points on any full size purchases you make that you tried in the calendar, excellent!

Ciate Mini Mani Month

This is a Selfridges exclusive and contains 17 of Ciate's best selling mini paint pots, 4 mini Caviar blends and 3 exclusive Paint Pot glitter shades.  I think this looks fantastic but as I haven't tried Ciate polishes much before, this would feel like a bit of a baptism of fire I think!  This is available from Selfridges* £42.

Benefit Countdown to Love

This pop art inspired calendar comes filled with Benefit goodies so perfect if you're already a big fan of the brand.  There's a full contents list on the website, it'll be out in the next few weeks for £50.  I wanted a mix of brands rather than just one so didn't really fancy this.

You Beauty Advent Calendar

This one costs a relatively budget friendly £49.95 (plus postage for non members as it's only available online) and includes a mixture products worth £240 from Caudalie, ESPA, Dermalogica, Leighton Denny, Sisley and Stila.  I absolutely love Dermalogica and Leighton Denny so my ears pricked up a little bit with this one!  I think if I hadn't already bought the Boots one, I may well have got this even though it's slightly more expensive.  You can buy the You Beauty Advent Calendar here.

Freedom at Topshop
Now, I know that strictly speaking this isn't a beauty advent calendar but I think it's rather interesting!  It's by Freedom at Topshop and contains pieces of jewellery for each day - it contains 12 pairs of earrings, 4 bracelets and 8 necklaces.  I'm a bit picky with jewellery so chances are I wouldn't like about 75% of what's in it but if you're a bling fan I think this is great!  You can always share/give away anything you don't like.   This is available from Topshop for £28.

If you still want a chocolate advent calendar but something a bit fancier than Dairy Milk I'd recommend the Hotel Chocolat ones, so yummy!  In other news, there's apparently no Liz Earle calendar this year which I'm sure fans of the brand will be thoroughly disappointed by.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Win an Enrapture Totem Styler this halloween!

As someone who is already a big fan of Enrapture styling products (I reviewed their heated rollers here and still use them on a weekly basis), I was so thrilled when they contacted me to ask if I wanted to give away their Totem Styler for Halloween.  Enrapture asked me to create my best halloween look using the styler, and being a big zombie film fan I went for the zombie look!

Here's my halloween make up look below, I went for a got-bitten-by-a-zombie-on-the-way-to-a-party look.  I used the totem styler to create these gorgeous curls and backcombed my hair at the roots to give a pretty, full of volume look.  What do you think?

I used Stargazer white foundation, contoured my cheeks and under my eyes with a dark Smashbox eyeshadow and lined my eyes with lipliner.  I wanted to put coloured contact lenses in too but as I only had my laser eye surgery about 3 weeks ago I decided against it.  This actually looks a bit like me first thing in the morning but with better hair!

So how did the Totem Styler fare? I loved it! What's innovative about this is that you can change the settings at three different point on the styler to create a variety of different styles of curl. Fantastic! I used setting 3-3-3 to create the loose, vintage style curls above.  It also heats up really quickly which I think is essential.

It's really easy to use as the curler actually swivels at the bottom so it's way easier to roll it in and out of your hair.  The cord is really long too which sounds random but I think it's quite important so you're not contorting at odd angles trying to curl your hair with a plug that hardly reaches away from the wall.

Whereas I use my heated rollers if I'm going out at night out and have plenty of time to get ready as I can sit and do my make up, paint my nails etc. while sitting with my rollers in, the Totem Styler is one that I use if I want to curl my hair quickly if I'm getting ready for work or I have limited time. Including heat up time I can curl my full head in about 20 minutes maximum which is great!

I would definitely recommend this if you're looking for a new hair curler.  It's good quality, very easy to use and it's like having a variety of different curlers in one because of the ability to customise the settings on the styler.  You can find out more about the Totem Styler here.

So, now that you've heard about the styler and saw the results of my zombie makeover, are you ready to enter my giveaway to win one? Yes?  Here's what you need to do:
  • Send a picture of your best halloween make up look to me before midnight on 31st October 2013 (GMT)
  • You can either email your entry to me ( with the subject heading ENRAPTURE HALLOWEEN COMPETITION, tweet me (@LucyBATB) or if you use Instagram/Pinterest or anything just leave a link to your make up look below.
  • Leave with me with a way to contact you if you win!
Good luck, can't wait to see your entries!

I'll add all the entries to my Enrapture Totem Styler Competition board on Pinterest, and the winner will be chosen on 1st November and notified.  Sorry, UK only!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

RiRi♥MAC Fall Collection - not sure which lashes I ended up with?!

Ok, I'm not usually a giant MAC collection person, as I don't really wear eyeshadow or contour my make up much (I'm starting to get into that though) so I tend to find that I only ever want blushers and nail polishes and I have plenty of those. I really liked a few things from Rihanna's latest collaboration with MAC but the #36 lashes were my favourite, they're long separated lashes with slightly fluffy ends...just my sort of thing!

I'd actually made a MAC order the night before (not realising that this collection was coming out the next day!) so I restrained myself and just ordered these lashes in the second wave of the collection becoming available.  When they came I thought they looked a bit different to what I was expecting and that's when I realised...the lashes I received were the other lashes from the collection I think, the #35's.  These are less spaced out, thin and more angled - kind of my eyelash style from hell!

Looking at them side by side I'm still not totally sure - to me the shape of the lashes looks more like the #35's.  What do you think?  I don't get it at all though because the box they're in says #36 on them.  I'm not keen on these eyelashes at all and don't think they do anything for my eyes.  Annoyingly both sets of lashes are now sold out so I can't get my hands on the ones I really want.

Did anyone else order the lashes from the and experience the same problems?  Have MAC mispackaged the lashes in the collection or put the wrong number next to the lash style on their website?  I'm really disappointed but MAC customer services have refunded me which is one thing I suppose.  I might have to nip along and see if I can buy some in store, then I'll definitely know that I'm getting the right ones - I suspect they might be sold out there too!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Just a quick update...

It's been just over two weeks since I got my eyes lasered and I'm pleased to say I'm still ridiculously happy with the results.  I had my 7 day check up last Monday and was told that my vision is now better than 20/20 (I can see down to the bottom of the eye chart now - something I couldn't even do with my glasses before!) and I'm clear to drive.

I also no longer need to use antibiotic or anti inflammatory eye drops, any swelling that I had right after surgery has gone.  My eyes are also feeling much less sensitive than they did at the beginning with no discomfort at all. I'm still using my trusty artificial tears for the next month or so just to avoid any eye dryness, the only time my eyes feel really dry is when I first wake up, and then only my left eye.

I probably could wear eye make up now but I'm playing it safe and leaving it for at least a couple of weeks...maybe even up to my next check up in a month.  Have to say my follow up visits so far have been really straightforward, informative and helpful - any questions or concerns I've had have been answered straight away by the optician or other staff at Freedom Vision.

As daft as it sounds, I really do feel more confident now that I have clear, reliable vision.  I can't explain it really but I think maybe my eyesight has been more of a hindrance than I thought and I've just been coping with it.  Hopefully it'll help my terrible sense of direction too but maybe that's too big an ask.  It still catches me by surprise/amazes me that I can see - even silly things like doing my hair is much easier as I don't need to sit an inch away from the mirror to make sure it's neat any more!  It's kind of like having HD compared to an old TV.

I would honestly say that getting my eyes lasered at Freedom Vision is one of the best decisions I've ever made and I only wish I'd got it done sooner instead of struggling along for the last 10-15 years.  To find out more about corrective laser eye surgery click here.

You can find my previous posts about my laser eye surgery here.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Imperial Leather Foamburst in Bewitching Blackberry and Wild Fig

I love foam shower gels, they feel so luxurious and are really easy to use in the shower. I was just about to buy another when this little beauty popped through my letterbox for review.

The packaging of this ticks a lot of boxes for me, I love purple and I think it's actually pretty glam.  The dispenser nozzle is basically like shaving foam , press the button on top and foam sprays out.  A little goes a long way with this as it lathers up really well so you don't need to dispense loads of this (found that out the first time I tried it and used way too much!)

My favourite thing about this is the smell of it, it's really fruity and blackcurrant-y which I love.  It's not too overpowering which I prefer because I still want to be able to wear perfume etc without it's clashing.  The foam has a purple tinge to it too which I think is a a nice touch.

The foam leaves your skin feeling really soft and moisturised without being oily.  If you're looking for a new body wash or just want to try something a bit fancier I'd would definitely give this a go.  It's part of the new Imperial Leather Foamburst range and costs £2.99 so you can get a little bit of luxury without breaking the bank.

You can find out more about Foamburst at or on Twitter @ImperialLeather. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Friday, 4 October 2013

I'm Ebaying!

Just a quick post to say I'm selling a couple of bits on Ebay at the minute including a Zara Skort, Lady Million Perfume, River Island sandals and lilac Cambridge satchel.

You can check my items out here.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Jilali Argan Oil

I didn't get too wrapped up in the Argan oil revolution of the last few years as there was quite a bit on confusion about the percentage of Argan oil certain products had in them and it kind of put me off.  I kept meaning to try it but never did really.

I was sent this pure Argan oil to review by Jilali and I have to say, I'm really impressed and I might actually become an Argan oil convert!  I've used this on both my hair and skin.  It feels really nourishing and moisturising without feeling greasy.  A little goes a long way as it absorbs really well and it's so easy to use. I'm a sucker for a multiuse product!  It doesn't have a strong or distinct smell, it's just quite neutral and pleasant.

The packaging is quite no-nonsense but it's practical and has a pump dispenser rather than messing around trying to pour oil out of a bottle.  Overall I feel like this is a great alternative to greasy body oils and serums - would definitely try this again in future.

You can find Jilali Pure Argan Oil here.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Illamasqua Nail Polish in Facet (from the Sacred Hour collection)

I'd describe Facet as a dark taupe (that leans towards grey) with a fine gold shimmer running through it.  This gorgeous, subtle shimmer seein s to be an Illamasqua signature which I love!  As with every other Illamasqua polish I've tried application/formula is really straightforward, drying time's good and wear time is fantastic. I don't know what it is about Illamasqua polishes (can you tell I'm a fan?!) but they last really well on my nails without chipping, even if I use a fast dry topcoat like Seche Vite which is notorious for making polishes chiptastic.

As you can see my nails are pretty short at the minute but I think this polish really works with shorter nails as it's a really interesting colour without drawing loads of attention to your nails.  Having said that I do think it would look amazing on long pointed nails!

Facet is from the Illamasqua Sacred Hour Collection which is one of my favourite collections for a while.  I absolutely love the imagery and the make up looks that have been created for this collection:

I'd actually happily buy half of this collection, I love the lashes, the nail polishes, the blushers, the sacred stones and even the lipstick in Shard which is way darker and more wine-y than I would usually wear. Yay Illamasqua!

You can buy Facet or check out the rest of the Sacred Hour Collection on the Illamasqua website.


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