Friday, 29 June 2012

My Top Tips For Healthy Skin!

I wasn't really into skincare until about a year ago; before that the only product I used on my face was a Johnson's baby wipe!  But taking care of your skin is something we should all take seriously, and I consider it to be as equally important of maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regime. Follow these steps and create your own skincare guidelines and I can assure you that your skin will stay happy and healthy!

1. Limit your sun exposure. It's no secret that I have extremely pale skin, and I actually go to lengths to ensure that my skin stays fair and protected against harmful UV rays. Obviously that's not to everyone's taste, so just try and stay out of direct sunlight between 11-1 - That's the time the sun is at it's highest point so the rays will be stronger. Also ensure that you use makup and skincare that has added SPF, such as Benefit's 'Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow!' and Carmex lip balm so that your skin is protected all year round.

2. Keep hydrated. This seems like such a boring and tedious piece of advice, but drinking as much water as you can (You are advised to drink 8 glasses a day, but realistically that isn't achievable for everyone) can really help rejuvinate and brighten the skin, as well as increase skin elasticity and replenish skin tissue.

3. Weekly face masks/scrubs. Regardless of how much you look after your skin on a daily basis, after a while your skin does need a more intense treatment to revive it of all of the general wear-and-tear it's developed throughout the week. Depending on your skin type there is a limit to the frequency in which you use masks or scrubs, but I would advise to apply no more than once a week. I love the Good Things Five Minute Facial Face Mask, as it gives your skin all the help it needs to get back to top form in just 5 minutes. Remember, when you apply certain scrubs be sure to check that it contains no harsh chemicals (You can get some great natural masks, there's no need to bother with chemicals!) or that you exfoliate with the scrubs gently so that it doesn't strip your skin.

5. Remove makeup. This seems such a stupid point, but you'd be surprised at the amount of people that fail to remove their makeup properly, or commit the number one beauty sin - sleeping with their makeup on! Leaving makeup on for long periods of time clogs pores, which can result in blackheads, and layering fresh makeup on top of older product just makes things worse! I like to use larger cotton pads to remove makeup, purely because they cover a wider surface area (I use Body Shop organic cotton pads). If you can, remove your makeup as soon as you can, try and make it the first thing you do when you get in. If you know you aren't going out anywhere or seeing anyone that would require you wearing makeup, take it off - your skin will thank you later!
In order to eliminate unnecessary steps,  try and use a makeup remover that doubles as a cleanser .. which brings me onto my next point!

6. Cleanse, tone and moisturise. It really is as simple as that. I will do a seperate post about this, but getting into a daily skincare routine is the easiest way to ensure that you always look your best. Following those three steps twice a day will ensure that all the dirt and excess sebum (oil) has been removed and your skin is ready for the next day! I currently use Micellar Purifying Cleansing Water from Etat Pur, Moisture Prep Toning Lotion by Benefit, and Lush's Enzymion moisturiser. Suffering from oily skin is no excuse for skipping steps, there are products for every skin type so there's no excuse!

7. Blot away. Layering on extra foundation and powder in an attempt to mattify greasy skin will cake your pores and cause all sorts of problems, so be sure to always carry around blotting paper to absorb the excess oil and ensure that you don't have to apply extra product. These are very inexpensive, and are compact so they can reside in your makeup bag permanantly so you'll always have one handy!

8. Sleep! This seems like such a boring one, but getting a full 8 hours sleep every night will really do wonders for your skin. It will illiminate dark circles and bags, which are a sign of not enough sleep, and it'll make you feel better on the inside too - which, believe it or not, will give you a great healthy glow.

9. Sanitise. This is something that not enough makeup users do, i've noticed. So many people apply makeup with their fingers, but seem to forget where there hands could have possibly been beforehand. Therefore, essentially you are spreading bacteria into the layers of makeup, building up the dirt and oil that causes blackheads. Be sure to avoid that by adding a small bottle of sanitizer to your makeup bag so that you get into the habit of cleansing your hands before applying anything.

10. Clean your brushes. I had the shock of my life when a friend of mine said that she had never washed her makeup brushes. Bacteria grows from the mixture of old product residue, moisture from your body and dust, meaning that you could essentially be the owner of a bacteria breeding ground. And you're going to allow that to touch your face? Use a tiny blob of Johnson's Baby Shampoo (You can buy travel size bottles for less than £1!) or Tea tree wash on the brush, and massage the bristles under warm water until it runs clear. Reshape if needed, remove any dripping water by blotting with a towel and leave for up to 24 hours to dry naturally. This is so quick, and will extend the life of your brushes aswell as ensure that your makeup is applied hygienically. It is advised to clean your brushes weekly.

11. Don't touch! We all know how tempting it is to squeeze a blackhead or examine a coldsore with our fingertips, but it's actually one of the worse things you can do. Squeezing spots actually pushes the dirt and oil further into your skin as well as cause scarring, and the bacteria that can gather from touching both spots and coldsores is the fastest way to ensure that it will spread to other parts of your face. If you feel a spot or coldsore coming on, visit your local pharmacists who can advise a treatment for you.

11 is a really odd number, but my last tip isn't going to be a popular one. If you're like me and can go without makeup and don't mind people seeing you bare-faced (And that's only because I only started wearing makeup when I hit 18) try and have a day off from it once a week. Sunday's are usually my makeup free days, unless i've had a heavy night on the Friday therefore my 'natural day' would be the Saturday. Makeup is amazing for so many reasons, but regardless of how much water is in it or how organic it is, nothing beats being fresh face and allowing your skin to breathe without any obstructions. Give your skin a break and try it!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Review: Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick In Shade 20 'Rose Comete'

You know when you have a serious spending problem when you open up an old bag that you haven't used in a while and an unopened Chanel lipstick falls out! I vaguely remember purchasing this, and although the box is slightly worn the fact that i've never opened it means it's practically brand new to me! 

I've always been a fan of Chanel perfume and glosses, and I love how luxurious and sophisticated the products are, and this lipstick is no exception. This shade is one of 34 in the 'rouge coco' range, which are described as "hydrating creme lip colours".


The tube is the traditional glossy black and gold, with the iconic Chanel C's stamped on the lid. The tube itself looks so gorgeous that when I finally run out of the shade I may decide to keep it for decoration!

This shade was swatched quite heavily, and when applied it's actually really sheer. It's seriously creamy and glides on with ease. The colour is gorgeous for the summer and looks great with posy pink cheeks (Dandelion by Benefit is perfect!) for a natural day look, but the shine adds a little extra! The bullet is not initially fragranced, but there isn't a 'chemical-ly' scent that you tend to get with inexpensive lipsticks. What can I say, it's just great quality. But is it worth the £24 price tag? I don't think it's any better than MAC lipsticks, and they are at least £10 cheaper. I think Chanel lipsticks are amazing if you want to seriously spoil yourself (Or if you just want people to look twice when they see you whip out something with the iconic C's on it) but £24 is extremely expensive for what it is. For economic reasons, MAC lipsticks are the better choice.

Overall, a great product but definitely not great enough for me to part with that amount of money on a regular basis. Perhaps for christmas? :)

You can purchase Rouge Coco lipsticks for £24 from your local Chanel counter, and click here to visit the Chanel website to view other shades in the range.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Review: Etat Pur Prescription

I recently entered a giveaway on Holly Arabella's blog, with the prize being a personalised solution from skincare specialists Etat Pur - and guess what? I won!

Etat Pur provide skincare products that are tailored for specific types of skin, and by using their personalised solution questionnaire, it allows customers to be educated on what types of products they should be using in their daily (and nightly) routine. To be honest, i'd never heard of this company before reading Holly's review, but I was instantly intrigued by the idea of being personally guided through hand-picked products as there are so many different skincare products out there it's enough to make your head spin. Etat Pur can recommend products targeting at different skin problems, ages or skin types - which means you really can find what suits you.

I was absolutely thrilled, purely because I never win anything. I was told to go onto their website and complete their questionnaire, which looks like this:

(The questionnaire is longer by the way, my screen just isn't big enough to view it all at once!)

From there, I was given a list of different products ranging from cleansing waters to spot treatments, and within a week or so I received this in the post:

As you can see from the products I was sent that I focused quite a lot on cleansing, which is what I chose to be of great importance to me on the questionnaire. This is because I am obsessed with having clean and clear skin at the end of the day, as there is no greater beauty sin than leaving your make-up overnight (Seriously, you're asking for trouble!). I also find that my nose and general T-zone area gets quite red easily and I hate having spots, so I wanted to focus on those aspects too as well as ensuring that all the product were suitable for oily and sensitive skin. A tall order, right? You'd like to think so!

This review will be in two parts, the cleansing treatments and then the problem skin treatments, purely because with the skin treatments results are expected after days of ongoing use, so I cannot give an accurate review. But here's a few words on some of the products I did receive:

Purifying Cleansing Gel

 This light cleansing gel gently foams, removing excess subum (oil) and purifying your face without drying it out. It's great for sensitive skin as it's so fine and doesn't include any nasty chemicals. I like to use this in the morning because after rinsing off it feels as though you've just applied a face mask - your skin feels so nourished and ready for the day. It doesn't contain any soap or alcohol, so if you accidently get some in your eye it won't sting! This is great as it doesn't leave your skin feeling too heavy, so i'm not afraid to continue to tone and moisturise afterwards.
Purifying Cleansing Gel is priced at £7.70.

Express Purifying Mask

I was really excited about this product as i'm such a huge fan of face-masks. This 5-minute clay mask removes excess sebum as well as absorbs other harmful toxins, and unblocks pores. You only need a thin layer so 50ml goes a long way, and afterwards my skin felt rejuvinated and well moisturised. It's suitable for all skin types, but is recommended twice a week for combination to oily skin, and once a week for normal to dry. It leaves your skin feeling silky smooth, and without a single trace of dirt or make-up.
Express Purifying Mask is priced at £7.50.

Micellar Purifying Cleansing Water

This has been by far the most used and loved product that I received. It removes make-up and cleanses the face in a single wipe, which basically eliminates a step in my nightly skincare routine! It's alcohol and soap free, removes excess sebum, and is even suitable for removing eye make-up. It makes your skin feel clean and refreshed, as well as prepped for your toner and moisturiser. I can say nothing but good things about this! I tend to use this at night as it removes my make-up, and then use the gel in the morning, but they're both equally as great so it really depends on whether you feel like running to the sink to rinse or not.
Micellar Purifying Cleansing Water is priced at £7.40.

Like I said, once I have tested the spot and redness treatments as directed I will post my review, so stay tuned! But for now, click here to visit the Etat Pur website and fill in your personalised solution questionnaire. I highly recommend trying out some of their products, whether your new to skincare or you feel like your current products just aren't cutting it - trust me, these will!

Thank you so much to Holly Arabella, Etat Pur and Wizard PR for this amazing giveaway gift - I'm so pleased with it and I can't wait to try out some more of their products once it's time to stock up again!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My Muji Make-Up and Beauty Storage

I don't know what it is about us beauty bloggers, but we seem to have such a keen interest in how and where we store our products. Yes, I know that does seem strange, but regardless of how my bedroom looks right now, I love organisation and have about a million different storage boxes with nothing to put in them! So here's my contribution to the beauty storage craze.

After watching various vlog channels, i'd noticed that everyone had these stackable acrylic drawers from Muji, so I thought i'd purchase a few to store my products on my dressing table:

I purchased two 2-drawer acrylic boxes, with a separate acrylic jewellery drawer underneath. What's great about these drawers is that they are stackable, and are available in both wide (25.6cms) and narrow (17.5cm). I decided to purchase the wide just so I can fit more in, and as you can see from my box blush drawer that there's plenty of space! They are fit with sliding drawers with semi-circular gaps so you can open them. Acrylic drawers are perfect for storing make-up, as their easy to wipe clean and the fact that they don't have a felt bottom (Which i've found to be apparant in quite a lot of acrylic storage) means that there's no way that it's going to end up looking dirty from spilled make-up etc. The drawers are perfect for quickly finding particular products, especially my lipsticks where I line them up against the drawer so you can find the shade by reading the shades on the bottom :)

However, the only negative I have on the drawers is that sometimes they jam so it's quite difficult to open and shut them if you open them too far.

Here's the acrylic jewellery case that is perfect for storing all my larger earrings and rings, and it's only slightly larger than the drawers so it can be easily stacked with the rest without looking out of place on my dressing table. The drawers come with adjustable dividers so you can choose the sizes of the different compartments. The drawer is ideal for smaller rings, but if you have a lot of larger cocktail rings I wouldn't rely on this case being a perfect fit for them. I accidentally put one of the larger rings at the back of the drawer so when I went to open it it jammed, so be careful with the sizing.

Muji is perfect for multi-purpose storage, and have lots of different types of storage boxes to suit every need. I have my eye on a few more of the boxes, and want to top it off with one of their boxes with a flip-top lid.

I definitely recommend good storage for your products, that are easy to view, clean, and inexpensive. They're quite sleek and simple, so it's easy on the eyes which is an added bonus! The wide drawers are priced at £10.95 (£7.95 for the narrow drawers) and the jewellery drawer is £11.95.

Click here to visit the Muji website and find the storage that's right for you.

What do you use to store your beauty items?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Wishlist (1)

Ciate Caviar Pearls

I'm not usually a fan of bloggers wishlists, especially when they change from week to week - almost as if they'd just put it together for the sake of a post. However, this has been stuff i've had my eye on for a long time, and i've decided to put them together as a couple of these are wardrobe staples that I think everyone will admire. The nail caviar will be more within my reach than the other items (The YSL arty ring will have to wait for a few months!) but trust me, they will be mine eventually! I'm absolutely dying to get hold of the white blazer for when I start my internship, blazers are such a essential part of my wardrobe so it's sort-of necessary! Winning the lottery right now would be perfect :P

What's your favourite thing from this wishlist? 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Travel Pamper Pack

Vegetarian, all-natural face-mask and skincare brand Montagne Jeunesse are proud to present their new Travel Pamper Pack. Filled with 6 treatments for all over the body, this pack has been designed to fit nicely in your hand-luggage so you can pamper yourself either before or during you travels. Montagne Jeunesse were kind enough to send me one of their packs to try out, and I couldn't wait to indulge in some gorgeously natural and fruity treatments.

The pack comes in a small cardboard folder, so you can easily flip through the treatment sachets and tear out your chosen one, and use the little tab to keep the pack closed when it's tucked away. Here's what's inside:

Juicy Orange Body Wash

I'm not a great fan of orange scented products, because to me they always seem quite fake and you can almost smell the chemicals through them. However, with this product I couldn't get enough! It lathered really easily, and there was certainly enough to cover my whole body. I've found with many body washes that the scent doesn't stay on the skin for very long after drying, but once i'd finished my shower and went downstairs everyone commented on how fruity I smelt! The fresh fragrance adds to the feeling of cleanliness and relaxation, and the fact that there's two means you get two opportunities to indulge in orang-ey goodness!

Intensive Spa Repairing & Conditioning Hair Masque

Packed with the juices of grapefruit, orange, and lemon, and finished with lime oil, this intense conditioning treatment aims to revive dull, lifeless hair and leave it super smooth and nourished.
The quantity of product in the packet was enough to cover my hair, but I think if my hair was any longer I would have needed two packs. The woman on the front of the packet must of at least had two packets on to be able to have that amount of coverage, because my hair certainly didn't look like that!

The fruity fragrance was a perfect fit with the idea of using the mask after a holiday, and it didn't fade after drying my hair either. It certainly felt softer after usage which makes a change as my hair can get really dry and dull quite quickly. I personally think it's a product I was use for the scent rather than the actual conditioning results, as it works just as well as any other conditioner. It certainly does the job, but I wasn't blown away by the end result.

Pulped Pomegranate Passion Peel Off Mask

I'm always quite hesitant when it comes to peel off masks, just because they're incredibly messy. However, I was instantly enticed by the long list of berries that are packed into this mask that I knew would make it smell so delicious and too good to resist. Crushed raspberries, grapes, and cranberries are high in antioxidents which help to deep cleanse your skin. With added pulped pomegranate and passion flower, I can honestly say that it smells amazing.

It has the consistency of hair gel, and is bubblegum pink! It's quite easy to apply, and has an instant cooling effect on the skin. Do ensure that you apply a thin even layer, avoiding the eye area and hair at all costs (I accidently got some on the baby hair on my temples, and it really hurt trying to get it out without ripping the hair out completely!), as it will make it much easier to set and peel off.
It instructs to cleanse your face before application, and once applied leave for 15-20 minutes. I decided to leave for twenty as I loved how relaxing it felt. However, when it came to peel off the mask, i'd found that only half of it had set so I would suggest leaving it for twenty-five. It's quite fiddly to remove as it doesn't peel off cleanly, but i'm really impressed with the end result. It aims to purify and deep cleanse, and afterwards I felt really fresh and my face felt so smooth and moisturised.

It seems a bit much to have to wait 25 minutes, but it's a great mask if you want to rejuvinate your skin after a hard week or just fancy a pamper!

Skin Smoother

This was by far my favourite product. A seriously fruity scrub that contains large grains to gently massage away at the dead skin, revealing the new silky smooth skin underneath. It advises to use on the areas where hard skin is usually found: The feet, elbows and knees. I paid particular attention to those areas but I used it as an all over body scrub. The front image of the packet shows the scrub being used as a intensive face mask, but I think it's much too thick and harsh to be used on the face. Jam packed with apricot and mango (It smells more of apricot during application, but mango after I dried off!) it smells ah-mazing - it takes me right back to memories of a cocktail on a beach!

Foot Cooler

Foot coolers are something I use quite regularly recently, as i'm on my feet a lot at work and they tend to ache quite easily, and what I found strange about this product is that after application, it claims to dry as a powder so there's no need to wash off. Packed with cooling peppermint, the gel is massaged into towel dried feet until most of it has disappeared. However, I found that it didn't do a lot apart from moisturise them, and I found that the gel wouldn't dry and that I needed a towel to remove it all!
However, once I finally sat down and relaxed I found that my feet hurt considerably less and the cooling sensation made them feel really clean and rejuvenated after a long day at work.

All this for £5! What an absolute bargain. I would definitely purchase some of these products individually, so to get them all in one pack would be such a great indulgent treat after a long day. I would have really liked to have some of these products with me while I was on holiday, as walking around barefoot all day really takes it tole on my feet, and sea water leaves my hair in terrible condition!

I'll be buying this again for sure, as overall I liked the results! Click here to visit the Montagne Jeunesse website, the pack is available to purchase from the site NOW.

Friday, 15 June 2012

June Obsession: JWLRY by LLYMLRS

Ever since purchasing an amazing lucky dip bag of goodies from Temporary Secretary (Full review here!) a few months back, i've found random jewellery mixes a really fun way to expand your collection and include bits and pieces that you wouldn't usually pick yourself.

I've always been a fan of style and beauty blogger Lily Melrose, and find tons of style inspiration from her outfit posts, and I was really exciting when I saw that there was a link to her online shop from her blog.

When I originally purchased my jewellery there were a lot more options for different types of rings and ring mixes, however right now there is only an option for the ring mix that I purchased (I'm unsure as to whether other options will be available!).

The 'Five Stone Rings Mix' is priced at £10 and includes a mix of silver tone metal rings all varying in size, colour and stone. They are all claimed to be the most popular rings of the collection, and are chosen  completely at random. Ever since I started taking care of my nails and experimenting with gel and acrylic nails i've loved piling on different rings, so this was perfect!

Here's what I received:

How gorgeous are they?! My favourite is by far the red, closely followed by the black. I love the two turquoise rings, however I do already own one similar that I wear almost daily, but that is my fault as it does state that turquoise rings are included. There's such a great mix of colours, as black and white go with everything! Each ring is adjustable as well, which is always handy! The only negative I have is that because the rings aren't real silver sometimes there's a slight green tinge to your finger after taking it off, but again, that was expected as it does clearly state that they only silver toned - and they're so pretty it's totally worth it!

I cannot remember exactly how much P+P I paid, however it does say on the delivery section of the site that prices are between £1.50 - £2.50 which is reasonable. What I do remember is the prompt delivery though, as I ordered them to accessorise some new outfits that I pulled for my work experience at Mizz mag in Kent, and they came in plenty of time.

If you're a ring fanatic like me, or just want to nab some of the accessories that Lily wears in her posts, you need to get in there quick and order! Such great value (It works out at £2 a ring!) and they look simply gorgeous with whatever you wear - You'd be surprised how much a great cocktail ring can add to an outfit.

Click here to visit JWLRY, or here to visit Lily's blog LLYMLRS - Do it, now!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Life Update

This is a personal post, which I do think in order for a blog to succeed (Whether it primarily be fashion and beauty based) there needs to be regular posts allowing people to get to know the blogger, not just read what has made it's way into our wardrobes and make-up bags.

I finished my last exam just yesterday, making our course the last in the University (Apart from post-grad!) to be finished for the year. After having a celebratory Nando's with some of my course mates, I jumped on the train home and finally gathered my thoughts and began to focus on what i'm doing next.

You may know this if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, but if not, i'm about to begin a three-month internship with Luxx magazine at The Times in London. My role will be a general editorial intern, and I will be doing lots of really exciting things during my time there.
The internship starts on the 25th, giving me just over a week to relax and basically have my 'summer'.

I'm partly telling you all this because i'm just so excited that it's all becoming so real, but also so you are aware that there could be significant gaps between posts. I will have free-time in the evenings, but initially I will be busy throughout the day so actually being able to try out new things and blog about them might be tricky, but of course i'm going to try my hardest!

So until I leave i'll be posting every day, (maybe even twice a day if you're lucky ;)) and make sure I schedule some posts for when i'm running around London like a crazy person!

So yeah, that's my life so far.

Sophie x

**If you haven't already, please vote for Sophie Says for Newcomer Blog of The Year at this years Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2012.  Thank you!**

Review: 'Plink!' Lustre Lipstick from MAC

I'm back! Things have been really difficult with the lead up to exams, and now they're over I can finally get back to posting regularly - so I thought i'd finally finish the last of my mini MAC haul reviews:

MAC are known for their amazing variety of lipstick shades, so I immediately go to my local store if I ever need a new lip colour.

I chose Plink! to wear as a natural daytime colour when my makeup is minimal.  Described by MAC as a warm seashell pink, this colour is very close to my natural lip shade, giving a long-lasting glossy shine without overdoing it on the colour. Like all MAC lipsticks, the actual bullet has a gorgeous vanilla scent, and the texture is really creamy and moisturising. I used to think that lipsticks were for older women and glosses were for younger, but now i've found that glosses are no match for lipsticks.
 Although glosses give you a (sometimes over the top) shine, lipsticks deliver with a range of amazing colours and the reapplication is far less frequent. I bought this lipstick on the way to a meeting, and I wanted something low-key but yet gave my lips definition - and this was the perfect choice.

The employees at MAC are really helpful. When they aren't so busy (Which is hardly ever, so you have to pick a good time to go in there!) it's great to just say what kind of look you're going for and they select products especially for you and apply them expertly. It's always fun to get your makeup done, and MAC artists are really talented.

As you can see, it's a rosy pink with a slight shimmer, making it a perfect daytime colour or slicked on in the evening to balance out seriously smokey eyes. If i'm ever torn between two shades this is my failsafe colour. I would definitely recommend this shade, and most definitely urge you to take a trip down to your local MAC and at least take advantage of the great customer service and try out a few different colours. As the product is so moisturising, application is quick and easy meaning that it will last you for a long time, and for £13.50 that is a key requirement.

Browse the MAC website for your perfect lip colour here or take a trip down to your local store - trust me, it's worth the splurge.

**Read what my first giveaway winner Hayley thought of the prizes on her blog here!**

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Get a free Graze box with Glamour!

Who doesn't like free food?!

I've seen quite a lot of blog posts about the Benefit freebies that have come with this months Glamour magazine (Which are amazing and extremely generous, by the way!) but what people have seemed to overlook is the free Graze box offer that's hidden between the pages.

Graze is a company that delivers a selection of delicious healthy snacks to your door either weekly or fortnightly, with the contents determined by either selecting 'Bin' 'Try' 'Like' or "Love' on the 100 nutritious snacks featured on their website.

I previously had a Graze account for over a year, but decided to cancel because I kept forgetting to eat the fresh snacks and they were going past their 'best before' date, so I thought i'd cancel for a while .. but i'm now tempted to start my account back up again!

The delicious selection of snacks fall under the following headings:
  • Dips & Dippers (E.g.: Honey and lemon oatbakes & bramley apple and pear chutney with roasted poppy seed flatbread)
  • Guilt-free high tea and a small cake slice (E.g.: Carrot cake & lemon and poppy slice, each accompanied with a sachet of afternoon tea)
  • Rustic marble bread & Deli topped foccacia bread (E.g.: Smoked paprika, garlic and thyme marble bread)
  • Crackers (Selections of oriental crackers, rice crackers and beans) 
  • Flapjacks (E.g.: Honeycomb & orange and ginger) 
  • Olives (Chili and Garlic & Fresh basil and garlic) 
  • Natural Treats (Nuts and seed selections with added chocolate drops and various dried and yoghurt coated fruits fruits) 
  • Dried fruit and nut mixes
  • Nuts (E.g.: Chilli and lime pistachios & fennel seed and honey peanuts)
  • Dried fruit (E.g.: 'Pina Colada' - pineapple, coconut flakes and mango)
  • Seeds (E.g.: Savoury roasted and vanilla)
It's amazing how much selection there is, and some of the food looks so mouth-wateringly good!

So you can essentially hand pick the snacks you'd like to see, but have the added surprise of not knowing exactly what you'll get (But there is an added option to send a particular item in your next box, or even bin it altogether so you'll never see it again!). Each box has four different snacks in it, so you get a good selection for £3.79 per box. It's really not a bad price considering on how much you'd usually spend snacking in between meals.

Annoyingly, in order to receive the free box you do have to input card details, but you can simply cancel after the box has been delivered via royal mail on the day of your choice - there's no obligation to stay, simple (But do check the T&C's for exact cut off time for cancellations!).

So if you haven't already bought this months Glamour mag, I sincerely hope you do (Or you might just be cheeky and zoom in on the picture, but that's naughty!) because this is such a good offer, and if you're satisfied with your free box the offer actually extends so you get your next box for half price.

Mine will be with me on Tuesday :) Enjoy!

Click here to visit the Graze website.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Review: Benefit's Hoola Bronzer

I always thought a bronzer was for someone who was already mega tanned or olive skinned or darker, so I never considered trying it. However, I couldn't help being curious after Benefit's Hoola was named one of the UK's top selling bronzers, and one of the products Benefit is most proud of - so I thought i'd ask to try some on! I was so surprised at how well it suited me I knew I had to buy it!

One common misconception about bronzer is that it only suits people with dark or tanned skin. That is not true. Bronzer works for everyone, it all depends on how little you use and how well you blend it in. People tend to over-do it on bronzer, forgetting that it is suppose to sculpt your cheekbones and contour your face, not appear as a distinct muddy brown stripe across your face. Used beneath the right blush, and finished off with the right highlighter, a bronzer is all you need to achieve a gorgeous, healthy glow - as well as 'supermodel cheekbones'!

 As far as I am aware, Hoola has been around since 2009 (Although it could be even longer!) and the gorgeous maroon and powder blue packaging has remained the same. Although the design of the box has changed, replacing the detachable lid with a hinged one that opens to reveal a small mirror.

Hoola is a lovely matte bronze shade, with no added shimmer or sparkle - making it perfect for someone who simply wants a natural looking tan without all the unnecessary extras that draw attention to the fact that you're wearing bronzer.

Like all Benefit box powders, they are accompanied by a small flat brush. It's an average quality brush that's okay to use with a blush if you're applying on-the-go, but it definitely isn't the right brush for a bronzer. It's covers a much wider surface area than necessary, and doesn't enable you to contour and blend effectively, so I simply use an angled blush brush (Preferably a super-soft one - I use Models Own - so it's even easier to blend quite vigorously!).

I've swatched it quite heavily so you can see the colour better against my pale skin, so don't be alarmed at how dark it looks! As you can see, it's as matte as it looks in the pan and it sort of makes half my hand look as though it's been out in the sun for too long. 

As i've got pale skin, I simply tap my brush into the powder gently (I cannot emphasise this enough!!) two or three times and then tap off the excess. The amount you use is obviously determined by your skin tone, but definitely do not swirl the brush around the pan and cover the entire brush. You then find the hollow of your cheekbone and apply with downwards strokes following that line (Make sure you don't go as far down as your mouth!). Then, brush off the remaining product from the brush onto a tissue - i'm sometimes use my leg because i'm too lazy to grab one, oops - and blend so a shadow is created and there's no visible line between the bronzer and blush. You can contour further by applying along the jawline, across the edges of the temples and down the sides of your nose - wherever you want a shadow. It actually makes your jaw look more defined and it personally makes my face look slimmer!

I love pairing mine with Benefit's Sugerbomb blush on the apples of my cheeks. It gives a beautiful sun-kissed look that doesn't leave your face appearing a darker shade to the rest of your body.
This is such a great staple product, not just for the summer-time. But what I love about this the most is that at first glance it's quite intimidating if you have lighter skin, but with proper application and a good blush brush it really is versatile and suits everyone. At £23.50 (The standard price for all Benefit box powders) it could seem quite steep, but considering the tiny amount that is needed for each application, it really will last for ages! I can definitely see why this bronzer is one of the best the beauty world has to offer.

You can purchase Hoola bronzer here or at your local Benefit counter.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Review: Benefit's Cha Cha Tint

Summers just around the corner, and it's time to ditch the layers - and that includes your makeup. You want to spend as much time out in a pub garden or lounging on the beach, so quick fixes are a must-have.

Lip and cheek stains are one of my favourite staple products. They're so versatile and simple to apply, instantly achieving gorgeous colour in seconds. Although it's clearly obvious that I don't mind spending my hard-earned cash on makeup, I do love the idea of having two essential beauty products rolled into one. Benefit Cosmetics are an internationally renowned make-up brand who specialise in creating unique products that are both good quality and easy to apply, with lip and cheek stains being just one of their creations.

I decided to purchase the Cha Cha Tint after having a complimentary makeover at my local Benefit counter after purchasing some products. Benefit's Posie Tint (Described as a poppy-pink stain, review will follow soon!) has always been one of my all-time favourite makeup products, which is what gave me the push to purchase this shade - I already knew that the product itself delivered great results, so I just needed to try out the shade.

Cha Cha Tint is one of the three stains from the Benefit collection, and is described as 'mango-tinted'. 
Benefit say:
"This mango-tinted stain beautifully blushes lips & cheeks with a tropical sunset hue. Smooch-proof & smudge-proof, this sheer stain will have you looking deliciously sun-kissed for hours."

Benefit pride themselves on their glamorous packaging, and this product is no exception. The metallic orange bottle reflects the warmth of the shade inside. It definitely stands out on my shelf, there's no doubt about that!

The bottle has a screw-top lid, with a nail polish-style brush attached. I found this quite strange at first, but as the product is essentially a 'stain' using a brush is recommended, although you do need to use your finger to blend during application. As you can see, the colour is more of a luminous orange than mango, which could be a bit intimidating. However, after blending the shade becomes a lot more sheer, as promised in the product description.

When blended, the shade is almost like a coral, and has a warmth to it. There's no shine or sparkle, which is great if you want to use it as a base for powder blush. It can be blended onto the apples of the cheeks and dabbed onto the lips for a base for lipstick or worn alone. As the product is a stain it lasts for hours. You can eat, drink, kiss and lick your lips until your heart's content, and this product just won't budge. It's perfect if you're not a fan of lip products and just want to add a pop of colour, or if your going to the beach and want makeup that won't run or smudge in the water. 
You may think £23.50 is quite pricey, and I agree it is a large sum of money for one product, but I like to think of it as a blush and lip colour rolled into one, so really it's not as extortionate as you'd first think. I also believe that for the small amount that is required and it's 12.5ml bottle size, you're getting a lot for the price (I've had my Posie Tint for about 6 months now and have only used half the bottle!)

 To apply, brush three small strokes onto the apples of the cheeks (sort of like cat's whiskers!) and blend upwards, and repeat if a deeper flush is desired. Then, dot the stain onto your lips and rub them together. Perfect! 

This is by far one of my favourite products, and I find myself reaching for it day-by-day as the sun finally begins to shine through the clouds and the shades come out. It's perfect for achieving that 'I've-just-spent-all-day-in-the-sun' glow, even if you prefer hiding out in the shade like me! 

You can purchase Cha Cha Tint (and check out the other lip and cheek stains available) here or at your local Benefit counter for £23.50.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Review: Maybelline Colour Sensational Pop Sticks in 'Crystal Pink'

I've become quite obsessed with lipsticks these past few months, especially those with colourful tubes and pretty names (What can I say, i'm easily pleased!, which is basically what prompted me to purchase this lipstick. I'm not going to lie to you, before seeing it in my local Superdrug I did not know it existed, and basically just wanted to try something new as part of their current 3 for 2 on all cosmetics throughout the store, and the bright pink casing sold it for me!

Colour Sensational Pop Sticks are one of the newest additions to the Maybelline makeup line, and as it is such a well-known brand internationally, I had high hopes for this product.

I chose the 'Crystal Pink' as it's a great neutral colour that acts as a failsafe when you don't have time to sit and find a particular lipstick to go with your makeup, however there were other shades that would be suitable for darker skin tones or if pink just doesn't take your fancy: Pink Lollipop, Pink Sugar, Cherry Pop and Citrus Slice.

When testing this out in store, I was firstly unsure what 'pop sticks' meant with reference to lip colour. When attempting to swatch the product onto my hand I noticed that the colour was so sheer I immediately assumed that it was one of those lipsticks that adapt to the temperature of your lips and create your own unique shade. However, I have since done my research and found that the 'pop sticks' reference in the title basically means that your lips will be shiny like an ice lolly?? Alright then.

Maybelline say:
"New Colour Sensational popsticks. Now pouts pop with popsicle shine!
Juicy, sheer shades from our fruit-coloured, high clarity pigments. Slicker shine, more luscious feel, only from our crystal clear gloss stick."
First of all, I don't quite understand the comparison between shine and an ice lolly?

Yes, the stick may look like an orange, but the relevance to 'Crystal Pink' is a bit uncertain. I would understand if the shade was perhaps a light coral, as I would have thought perhaps a pink grapefruit would be a fruit that could be associated with this particular shade, if that's the angle they were going with.
I've decided not to show you a photograph of the product swatched, as the Maybelline description is right. There's no colour! It is completely clear, although there is a slight shine so the appearance of some sort of product is apparent. To me right now, this seems like nothing but a clear lip balm?

As you can see, there is a slight hint of colour apparent, but nothing like what has been described. It glides onto the lip with such ease, leaving them feeling soft and moisturised but I do not feel that this has the 'high clarity pigment' it promises.With so much emphasis on fruits, I would also have thought there would be a subtle scent, which added to my disappointment in the product.
The application is as slick as promised, but the shade (Which I believed would be a gorgeous bubblegum pink) is practically non-existent. For £7.50 (Price varies slightly from store to store) this product just doesn't do enough.

You can find the whole Colour Sensational Pop Sticks range at your local Maybelline stand in your local Boots, Superdrug or online here.