Saturday, 31 August 2013

August on my mind


Another gorgeous, great month has passed - how lucky have we been this summer in the UK? I haven't seen this much sun since I came back from holiday earlier this year and I love it. But there's been a shift in the air and I think the hot, balmy summer days and evenings are coming to an end soon and there's now a sense of early crisp and golden autumn. As much as I love the sun and summer, this is actually my favourite time of year when we get the best of both worlds - beautiful warm sunny days brightened by colorful trees and bushes, with lots of berries that will soon be ready for picking, but there's a freshness in the air as we move into September. Seeing all the nice stuff in the A/W collections that has started to appear in the shops also makes me long for that very first day when you can cosy up in a nice warm jumper when you sit outside in the evenings.

August is the month when Him indoors and I got married a few years ago, so we celebrated our anniversary with a relaxed day with lots of fun, good food and yes there were a few presents too, but the best present was having a whole day just to ourselves. Since we both love Japanese food, one of my gifts to Him indoors was to learn how to make sushi properly, so now we have something else to look forward to later on this year, although I'm not sure we'll ever be able to present it as beautifully as our favourite Japanese place where we are known as "No Mayonnaise People" (but seriously mayonnaise on sushi is just weird...).

This is a popular month for weddings and we also attended one out in the beautiful New Forest and I took the opportunity to really dress up, and went all out in a glitzy dress with killer heels (I do believe they could be used as a weapon, but they are so comfortable I could probably run a good few miles in them).

Another great thing about August in the UK is the bank holiday that I always seem to forget about, so every year it's an unexpected day off that sneaks up on me. We spent ours at Blenheim Palace being both cultural, outdoorsy and decadent all at the same time - now that's a perfect day out! This was my first life style focused blog and I want to say thank you for all the wonderful, nice comments you've sent me on it - it really means a lot! I will add more lifestyle posts, and eventhough my main content always will be beauty related, I'm really looking forward to trying some more new things and to see what you think about it.

Friday, 30 August 2013

KIKO Multi Effect Nail Lacquer

I recently discovered KIKO Makeup Milano, and have dived into their skin care range by doing a 30 day trial of their Skin Trainer, and so far so good - I can't wait to share the results with you on September 20! Since it would be rude to only try one product I also bought some nail polish that seemed interesting. They had some nice looking green and blue shades, but I really wanted to try something different so in the end I settled on - KIKO Multi-Effect Nail Lacquer in 06 Red & Mandarin.

This is supposed to be one of those multi polishes where you can either use the 2 colors on their own, or combine them by first applying the full shade (Red in this case) and then add a coat of the semi-sheer shade (Mandarin) to get the 3rd color - 3 looks in 1 as per this illustration from the KIKO web site:
In theory this sounds great and the shades looked really promising. My intention was to create an ombred look with 2 Red nails, 2 combos and a Mandarin nail in the middle. The end result - as you can see from the dodgy looking photo below, is that my nails don't look anything like what I had envisioned. To start with the shades don't look like the illustration, but fair enough when you buy things on line, this will happen every now and then - it's disappointing, but it's a risk you have to accept. So let's move on to talk about the formula.

The description of it says that "it's been created to guarantee an even release of color for quick drying time and a long lasting result". Well I'm sure it dries very quickly but unfortunately this formula is VERY thin, particularly the semi-sheer shade. In the pic below I'm wearing 2 coats of Red on my pinky, 3 coats of the combo on my ring finger and 5 (!!!!) of  Mandarin on the middle finger - and it's still far from the look I was going for. I PROMISE you that I wouldn't normally show a photo of nails in this state, but to be perfectly honest I was so disillusioned by this nail polish, and after 5 coats I felt that I needed to show them as they were.for illustration. I know that the Mandarin is a semi-sheer effect but I have never had to use 5 coats of any nail polish previously - ever.

On the plus side, both of the shades were easy to apply thanks to a nice wide and flat brush and it did go on evenly without leaving any streaks. The orange shade does eventually start to resemble the description and the red shade is actually a striking scarlet color, and it's probably the only one I will use out of these 3 multi-effect options.

The description claims that this is long lasting, and these colors as individual shades may very well be, but I'm not able to comment on that for 2 reasons; I had to apply so many coats that it would take a miracle for this not to end up smudged and damaged straight away, and I disliked the end result so much that I took it off immediately.

As you can tell, this product didn't work for me and while it really pains me to write a negative review about any product - I can not in all honesty say that my experience of this multi-effect lacquer was a good one. Please note that it might be a completely different experience with the Quick Dry and Laser nail polishes (1 color only) and I certainly don't want to discourage you from trying that, but don't get this particular multi-effect lacquer and expect that it's going to turn out as it's shown in the picture on the KIKO web site.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

A day out at Blenheim Palace

So today I'm trying something different. I've been thinking about it for a while and when I had a whole bunch of photos from the Bank Holiday Day Trip we made, I thought I would test the waters and do more of a lifestyle piece and see what you think about it.

Since Monday was a day off in the UK and the weather was so beautiful, we cancelled all plans of doing any DIY (and sure Him Indoors is eternally grateful) and instead we decided to take a drive up to Blenheim Palace - after all, bonus days like this should be enjoyed properly!

As we were driving to Blenheim we passed Bicester Village, and I had to really force myself not to shout "STOP THE CAR" and do some serious shopping (Him indoors had already suggested it), but after all I wanted to do something different so we did reach the palace without any serious damage to my credit card.


You can't help but being impressed by the palace - it's an enormous, beautiful building with so much to look at that you could probably spend a good few hrs doing just that. Since it was bank holiday it was very busy and eventually we decided to take a well earned break from all the grand, luxurious rooms and to have something to eat. There have plenty of restaurants to choose from, but true to form I couldn't say know to bubbly, so we headed to the champagne bar and had a few decadent glasses and yummy, naughty macaroons since calories don't count when you eat them on a bank holiday. This was definitely not your average day out snack!

The weather was absolutely amazing and after strolling around the lovely parks and ground, we enjoyed the sun on the lawn, topping up the tan a little bit. We had a great day out and I would definitely recommend a visit to Blenheim Palace if you're in the area. It was only a little day trip, but isn't it funny how just doing something different can completely relax you, and you go into a new week feeling energized and fresh, almost like having been on a mini holiday.

As you know your comments mean a lot to me, so please let me know what you think about this type of post, and if you'd like to see more of them every now and then.

Have a wonderful day everyone! Xx









Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Avon's Apricot & Shea butter products

There are some things that I look forward to every month, e.g. pay day, the new edition of In Style, new nail polishes and the latest Avon book. Every time I get a new book it's time out. I'll make myself a lovely vanilla latte and sit down to go through it - pen in hand, ready to place my order. First I go through all of the brochure quickly to spot "highlights", and then I go back and look at what I've spotted in more detail and make my decision: To order or Not to order. I have tried something from most of the product ranges; perfume, hair products, makeup (LOTS of it) and nail polish - but I have an extra soft spot for the body care products. Avon has this uncanny ability to come up with products in the most amazing, fruity combinations, that to me are sheer temptation and when I spotted Naturals Apricot and Shea Butter products a while back, I knew straight away that I had to try them.
I loved the idea of Apricot and Shea Butter so much that I actually bought 5 products (only 4 shown in the photo); Shower gel, Body lotion, 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, Leave in treatment and the Room Spray. I've surrounded myself with this scent and it was exactly as beautiful as I thought it would be. It's a gentle, delicious mix of sweet and juicy apricot with luscious shea butter and together it creates a whipped fluffy ice creamy scent. It a tiny bit synthetic, but in a way that makes the apricot smell even fresher than it does in real life.

The shower gel and body lotion are both nice to use, although like with many other body lotions in the Naturals range they don't actually give as much moisture as I would like. The Apricot and Shea butter lotion is a bit thicker than the other body lotions, which is nice since otherwise they tend to be a bit milky and seem to not always absorb properly into the skin. After you've applied the body lotion you'll definitely smell amazing for a while, but for me that moisturised feeling is superficial and it disappears fairly quickly.

I really like the Avon 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioners and I have a few with different lovely scents. It's a great product for when you don't have a lot of time e.g. after a workout, and it cleans your hair well without leaving any residue or drying it out. Personally I only use these 2-in-1 products every now and then, since my hair definitely needs a separate conditioner (a lot of it) and I wouldn't recommend that you only use 2-in-1 products since it can make your hair dry and frizzy. The gorgeous scent is re-enforced if you use the Leave in treatment as well. The consistency is a bit like a thin conditioner, and you should apply a little bit to towel dried hair and then style as usual. It'll leave your hair feeling very soft and silky and you'll smell of irresistible summery apricot ice cream!

I had prepared this post a few days ago, and when I was going to add the most recent links to Avon there's no information about any of these products at all on their web site. Avon is a great affordable option (I think I paid about £10 for all 5 products) and offers some nice products but I REALLY dislike the fact that many items are only available for a very short time, and then they're gone. So if you're interested in this heavenly fresh Apricot and Shea Butter series, check with your Avon representative if they're still available or go on eBay where I know for sure you can find them. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Staying Power with Urban Decay

Does any of this seem familiar to you? You wake up and get ready, have a coffee or a tea while you go and put your makeup on using great care, and sometimes you're actually quite pleased with how it turned out. So you go about your business, doing what you do and when you look in the mirror a few hrs later, you barely recognise the face looking back at you - Where did all the make up disappear to???

Warm or rainy weather, sitting in front of a computer screen, having a phone squeezed to the side of your face - this can all mysteriously zap your make up little by little throughout the day, even if you use so called long lasting products. Luckily there are products that offer a little extra help to keep the war paint from disappearing all too quickly - Primers and Makeup Setting Spray.

There are so many types of primers; for your face, eyes, eyelashes and lips but personally I mainly use something for my eyes and sometimes Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (which I'll do a separate review of very soon) for the rest of my face for special occasions. I've never tried primers that are specifically for lips, and I usually prep just using a lip balm, although of course that won't have the same effect as a primer. Primers are great to prevent your eyeshadow from creasing or smudging - particularly if you're wearing stronger colours or heavier makeup. Several brands offer cream shadows that you can use in a similar way, but I like to use the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion.
Urban Decay is very famous for it's makeup primers and their range includes primers with a hint of colour. The primer goes on before any other eye makeup and I like to wait a minute or two before I continue with the rest of my eye makeup, since I like to feel that the primer has set properly on my eyelid. The consistency of this product is very delicate and light, and it's easy to blend in so you only need the tiniest amount possible. I use a tinted eyeshadow primer in Eden - a faint vanilla with slight yellow undertones, and on days when I go for a "barely there" makeup look I use the primer as an eyeshadow blended all over the lid, to just give the area a more even colour and a very matte and natural look. I realise that the shade looks very white in the photo below, but when I don't have a tan, Eden blends beautifully and seamlessly with my skin. 

Spending the extra little time it takes to apply the eyeshadow primer is definitely worth it. Not only will you find that the products stay on longer, but the pigmentation of your eyeshadow is highlighted in a way that makes them look radiant and very flattering
 
Eden

So now I've got my eye makeup staying put, what about the rest of the face? I don't have oily skin, but a couple of hrs into the day I still find that some areas of my face will be a bit shiny, and as much as I like a radiant look - shine is not what I'm going for. To help combat that, I've started to use the Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray which is supposed to help you keep that newly made up look throughout the day, by absorbing excess oil on your skin.

When I'm done with my makeup I use the spray, trying to cover my face as evenly as I can. The instructions recommend that you use 2 - 4 sprays, and maybe this is just me but that's not enough for me to get coverage. I'll probably use 3-5 instead, but of course you don't want too much - after all the point is to make the makeup last, not run. Hold the spray at a fair distance from your face, since that will also help to get a fine mist, and you don't get too much in just one area. It feels very fresh to finish off your makeup with this spray and it has a pleasant subtle crisp smell as well, but don't worry - it disappears very quickly and you won't notice it. The product claims to keep your skin matte for up to 16 hrs, and although I can't say that it has that effect on my skin, it does really help to set your makeup and it keeps the shine at bay for at least a few more hrs.

If I was to recommend only one out of these product, it would definitely be the primer for eyes since I find that it really does work without having to use any special tricks. With the Setting Spray I find that it works better if you use it not only after you've finished your makeup, but also if you spray it on either straight at the start, or after you've finished your foundation - but I would recommend that you experiment and see what works for you. 

What do you think - do primers and setting sprays work for you, or do you have any other tips to make your makeup last?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

August Favourites

For me this month has been a lot about recovering from all the time I spent in the sun in July so I've focused on hydration, nourishment and restoration to some extent and for most of my favourites this month that's also the common thread - starting with the small, but oh so important lip balm.

In most of my handbags I will find at least one lip balm since I hate the feeling of dry lips and I always use one to prep my lips before applying lip products. This month the one I have been reaching for the most is the A-Derma Intense Repair Lip Balm. A-Derma is another French skincare range using plant based technology to deliver 100% natural products. When I first got this lip balm in a Glossybox many months ago I really didn't like it and thought it was an overpriced lip balm, but I have completely changed my mind! It's made from Rhealba oat milk which is well known for it's "soothing, softening and protective" qualities and it really feels as if it does all these things when you wear it. It glides on easily and has a non sticky consistency, and even if you don't wear any colour on your lips it adds a lovely and healthy natural shine. Despite the heat wave we've had, my lips have been in good condition thanks to this lip balm. It doesn't seem to be readily available in shops - unless you're in France, so your best bet is to get it on Amazon or eBay, and it is definitely worth the £10 (including delivery).

Every week I compliment my regular skincare routine with different masks and one of my absolute favourites, and also mentioned by loads of other bloggers and vloggers is the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. I must admit that when I first tried it a long time ago, I was a little bit apprehensive since glycolic acid is a very potent ingredient used to remove any dead skin, but it also plumps the skin underneath. I follow the instructions carefully and will use this mask perhaps once every 10 days, definitely no more than once a week. You apply it onto clean skin, leave it on for about 10 mins, wipe it off with a cloth and then you rinse your face. Immediately you'll notice that the skin looks more clear, radiant and plump so it's a very effective mask, but because it's so strong it's not suitable for sensitive skin.

Since I abused my hair a little bit in July with sun, salt water and updo's I've tried to add as much moisture as possible back into my hair before A/W, when I'll start to do more heat styling again. I've been using Aussie Beach Mate Shampoo and Conditioner that I mentioned earlier this month pretty much solidly throughout August, which is fairly unusual for me so it says a lot about how great I think they are. The shampoo and conditioner have the same rich formula as Miracle Moist and I love how soft, sleek and silky it makes my hair feel, and of course the candy sweet but fresh orange scent is sooo lovely. 

The weather is still sunny and the skies are beautifully blue most days, however there's been a shift in the air and even though the sun's out, it no longer feels as if it's TTT - Total Tanning Time. So I'm starting to lose my bronzed look a little bit and instead of donning a bikini again, I go for sun in a bottle with the help of Caudalie Divine Legs. I've mentioned this amazing product previously in The Bronze Age, so I won't go into too much detail except to mention again that it is - yes you guessed it, AMAZING. It's so easy to apply, it gives an even golden colour without the strange smell that many other brands have (regardless of what they claim) and it doesn't streak or stain your clothes and sheet. What more could you want from a tanning product?
As the weather has turned a little bit cooler at the moment, I've turned to slightly warmer and more aromatic fragrances and my last favourite this month is a perfect example of that - Origins Ginger Essence. This is one of my all time favourites and I always seem to have a bottle of it in my perfume collection. It is a light and effervescent mix of fresh and cool, zesty citrus fruits like lemon and lime together with warm and spicy, but still sweet crystallized ginger - it's like wearing a slightly peppery ginger ale. This fragrance warms you up from the inside and makes you feel composed, harmonious and focused - it's a truly wonderful scent, perfect for taking you into autumn.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Makeup Firsts and Fails: TAG


For me makeup is a form of creative expression and an adventure full of fun and possibilities, but it's also something that you can only keep getting better at. I love watching tutorials on You Tube, and some of my favourite makeup gurus are Lisa Eldridge, Tanya Burr and Alli - all of them have completely different styles, but they are all incredibly inspiring in what they do.

I think I'm not the only one recognizing that some days your makeup turns out better than others, and I don't really know why - but one thing I do know, is that I'm definitely better at applying it now than I was when I first started wearing makeup. It's not all about the technique in applying it though, it's about accepting who you are, what suits you and your colors, and how do you show your best features off. Today's post is the Makeup first and fails TAG, and a big Thank You to my friend Kate from Simplicity who tagged me for this!
 
Getting all the colors wrong - My introduction to makeup was to simply steal whatever my Mum was using... In theory it was a good idea considering I had no money to buy my own stuff and we borrowed each others clothes - the same principle should apply I thought. Except for the fact that we've got different colorings, skin tone and skin type... oops! I didn't care that much at the time, and it gave me the introduction to light blue eyeshadow, brown mascara and pinky brown lipstick. Although my taste, products and colors have changed dramatically, there's been no looking back since then!

Finding the right shade of foundation - Where do I even start with this one... Yes I confess: I did from time to time have an orange face and an ivory neck... SO WRONG. Of course I knew that it was a really good idea to get a foundation that matches the rest of my skin color, but I still kept getting it wrong. Partly because I tested it in the wrong place, on the inside of my wrist (and sometimes I didn't even test it, and just went by what it looked like in the bottle - SCANDALOUS), but also because I didn't really have any help to find what was right for me. I can't remember any shop assistants ever offering to help - maybe I looked to young and they thought I shouldn't wear any makeup but also I was definitely much too shy to ask for help. Well, gone are those days luckily, so even if I still struggle to get the 100% match I ask (... read demand...) for help, and for a sample to take with me. If I was to give my future daughter (if I'm lucky to have one) any makeup advise it would be just that: Don't be afraid to ask for samples. If you are serious about a product, then why not - and really it's in the brand's interest if you think about it (particularly if it's a premium brand), since you may well be faithful to that brand for the next few years AND you'll tell everyone who will listen how happy you are with their foundation.

Winged eyeliner - Aaaaah, the master piece of application techniques. I have always had a thing for a winged eyeliner. To me it's sexy, sleek and a sophisticated retro look that I would love to try, and I admire anyone who can apply this without breaking a sweat. Long before I had seen wonderful tutorials on YouTube, I used to just take my eyeliner and draw little diagonal lines at the corner of my eye, but it never really looked very sophisticated - go figure?! It didn't stop me from trying though, and try I did, in every possible color of the rainbow. A few years later now, I still think it's an amazing look and I also still keep messing it up. When your eyes are very slightly hooded at the outer corners you need a slightly different technique that I haven't perfected yet. I still keep practising, and you know that they say - Practice makes perfect ...  in a 30 years or so...

Eye lash curlers - I really REALLY hope that I'm not the only one having done this, but the first time I ever used an eye lash curler - can you guess what I did? Yep, I used it after I had put on my mascara instead of before, but not only that - I also used it the wrong way around, DOH!!!! But in my defense I thought it looked like a medieval instrument of torture, and I was a little worried it might catch and bend more than just my eye lashes. Still to this day I'm not keen on eye lash curlers. I'll go through phases of trying to use them, but honestly - most mascaras do a great job of shaping my lashes, so this tool has always been at the very bottom of my makeup drawer since my first attempts, and they will still be at the bottom of the makeup drawer a year from now.

I know this post was a little bit different, but I hope you enjoyed it. It was great fun thinking back on my early days of makeup, but the amazing thing is that with new products and tools continuously being released we all still keep discovering, and trying new things for the first time. I'd love to hear about your Makeup firsts and fails, so please leave a comment below and I also TAG the following beauties:

Jasmine & Angela from The Happy Sloths
Shubah from Blue Velvet Addict
Kira from Kira Bassett Be You  

Thank you all, I hope you'll join in and share your stories about Make Up (they can't be any worse than mine)! Xx





Friday, 23 August 2013

Smashed by Estée Lauder - A rival to Chanel's Taboo

I hadn't actually planned on doing this post just now since I do my regular Manic.Monday posts, but it seems like a lot of you enjoy nail polish reviews and also after seeing so many mentions of Chanel's Taboo - one of the most talked about shades this season, I really wanted to show off this polish which I think deserves a bit of attention. It's a product from last year's A/W collection and for me it rivals Chanel's Taboo on all levels. This beauty is Estée Lauder's Smashed.

I've mentioned before that I have a love of Estée Lauder nail polishes, and my collection keeps growing - I just can't get enough of them. Not only are they pretty to look at in their heavy set stylish glass bottles, but the formula is superb. There will of course be a difference between shades and effects, but in general the formula is highly pigmented so it will give a very opaque, wonderful coverage. I wouldn't go as far as to say that you can use only one coat, however it is one of these polishes where the coats really blend in with each other, bringing out different effects - and the finish is lavish with very high shine. Even though the high shine really stands out with the darker shades, I still like to use a top coat for ultimate brilliance. 

The polishes come with a nice wide brush that makes them easy to apply and that spreads the color evenly across the nail. Personally I like to use 2 coats, but since they dry very quickly it won't take very long even if you decide to go for more than that. Another thing that I really like about Estée Lauder polishes is that they are very long lasting and will not chip or smudge easily. When you buy premium brands, to me this is very important and I've never been disappointed with the long wear from any of the Estée Lauder polishes I've got.
Estée Lauder - Smashed

The shade Smashed is a gorgeous rich deep Byzantium purple with shimmer scattered throughout in blue, cerise and silver which looks very sophisticated on the nail, without being too gothic or heavy. I adore this shade and thoroughly recommend it as an option to Taboo - so go on and Smash it with this stunning polish!


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Be Jeweled by Vera Wang

Last weekend we went up town for some Saturday shopping and I had been very organised and actually done a little list of things that I needed, or rather more WANTED to pick up. After all the usual stops; Starbucks, Boots and Superdrug I had actually managed to stick to my list - yeeeeeay! That is until I went into Debenhams - hrmmm...

The first thing that catches my eye is an amazing lilac perfume bottle in the shape of a crystal with gems (oooooooh, the magpie in me is wide awake now) in beautiful colours and I can just feel myself getting sucked in. As this luxurious looking bottle pulls me closer, I start to hope that the smell will be terrible so that I can just leave the shop - with my shopping list intact. But Oooh Nooo! The perfume is oh so yummy and by now my shopping list is well forgotten... And that's how I ended up getting Vera Wang's Be Jeweled.

It goes without saying that this is a gorgeous jewel of a bottle, that will look amazing on any dressing table and it's probably one of those that you'll keep even after you've finished the scent. While the earlier releases from Vera Wang are more of a floral type, Be Jeweled definitely has a predominantly fruity character.

Juicy, zesty red currants and pomegranates are matched with tender and delicate but highly perfumed summer flowers like honeysuckle and piony, creating a lively and bubbly scent that never develops into a full strong floral, and it stays very light and airy. In addition there's a very slight woody note that grounds the scent and gives it more character. According to the description there's supposed to be musk in it as well, but for me it never really hits that warm animalistic note. This could of course be because of how it develops on me, but had it been more musky I think it would have been an even lovelier, more womanly perfume. Be Jeweled is very much a radiant, youthful, happy go lucky scent and with the faint woody dryness it kind of smells the way a chilled rose champagne would taste, if that makes sense.
The only thing that is a let down with this delicious fragrance is that similar to so many other fruity fragrances, it's not very long lasting. It's always a disappointment when you have to re-apply after only a few hrs and you can be forgiven for expecting more, particularly since this actually is an EdP.

When I bought this scent I also got a free clutch bag in black satin with matching gems in pastel macaroon colours (seen in both pics). It's very cute and I would probably use it for an evening outfit, however I can't find this deal with Debenhams online which is why I link to Feel Unique.com instead where they currently have the same offer - not to mention an amazing SALE (I accidentally ended up buying some stuff yesterday).

Everything about Be Jeweled is glamorous, so even if you're having a bad hair day or like me you had several wardrobe malfunctions this morning - wearing this will still make you feel like a Hollywood starlet.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

This summer's makeup bag

We're mid-August and the new exciting A/W collections are beginning to appear at beauty counters everywhere. Before I get too wrapped up in all things autumn and lots of new products I thought I would show what I've had in my makeup bag this summer. I don't think it has escaped anyone that we have had an amazing summer in the UK, with temperatures soaring above 25-30 degrees - not bad for a country infamous for it's rainy weather. Since my skin has been very bronzed, I've worn a lot of coral and peach colors to bring out my tan with the occasional pop of color to emphasize my eyes but most of these hot days I've been very bare faced and kept makeup to a minimum and it's not until the evening that I would have done something with a bit more coverage.

When I came back from holiday a few months ago I had to get a new foundation to match my tan, and since I find it a bit tricky to get a shade that works with my skin I took the opportunity to use the No 7 Match Made Service to find the perfect match. I wanted a formula that gives a lot of radiance, but still with a little bit of coverage so after having had my skin color measured I ended up with No 7 Instant Radiance Foundation in Wheat. Since I don't like applying foundation all over my face, unless it's needed to correct uneven skin I usually only apply over my nose, cheeks and chin and blend in. I've been very pleased with the foundation and it's felt light, sheer and pleasant to wear, unlike some foundations where you feel as if you're wearing a mask. It's also blended nicely with my Collection 2000 Concealer Lasting Perfection in Beige. I've mentioned this concealer in my July favourites, and I think it's such a brilliant affordable product that truly is longlasting - it will stay on until the end of the day when it's time for your evening routine, perfect!

I've mentioned before that I love that healthy sun kissed look so there's not been a day where I've been without a bronzer, and my current product is the Bourjois Bronzing Powder - Délice de Poudre in shade 52. I mentioned this bronzer already in the Bronze Age, so I won't talk too much about it except to say that it has a lovely soft texture that makes it easy to work with and it does actually smell a little bit like a powdery chocolate bar. I'll use this as a blush, and also on areas of my face that the sun would naturally hit like my brow, chin etc.

Having done my face, I'll move on to eyes and although I love blending different eye shadows and experimenting - this summer I've really kept it simple by using mainly one shade all over my eye lid - MAC Eyeshadow in Rule. This is a lovely coral shade, with hints of burned orange, that can either be a subtle coppery highlighter or a very vibrant statement, depending on how much you blend. It's very pigmented, so I would recommend starting of with just a tiny bit and then build it up.

To add some depth I've used Avon Glimmersticks Eyeliner in Blackest Black on the outer half of the upper waterline. It won't actually show very much when you've applied your mascara, but it gives a fuller eyelash look and is a nice detail I think. Avon has some great eyeliners in a range of colors, but for some subtle pen work, Blackest Black is perfect. It's a lovely creamy texture that doesn't water your eyes, and since it's waterproof you could easily apply to the lower water line as well if you wish. In addition, the eyeliner wears really well throughout the day with no, or at least very little smudging.
From left to right
MAC Eyeshadow - Rule
L'Oréal Color Riche Le Khol - Breezy Lavender 114
Avon Glimmersticks Eyeliner - Blackest Black
Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon - Peach On the Beach

Going out, or on days where I've wanted to add a pop of color, I've used L'Oréal Color Riche Le Khol in Breezy Lavender 114  to the lower waterline. It's a lovely intense and slightly shimmery clear lavender shade that I just fell in love with as soon as I saw it in Superdrug. I've used this a lot over the summer and it's buildable as well as long lasting - another great eyeliner!

I don't know if this is just me, but I am the most fickle person in the world when it comes to mascara and have tried almost every brand (and may also have loved the products), but it's still a rare thing for me to re-purchase a mascara. And when I do eventually go back to the brand, I'll find that they've changed the formula ever so slightly, but enough so that it won't work for me anymore. I've got almond shape eyes and like to work that effect as much as possible, so at the moment I'm using the Maybelline Falsies Flared Mascara in Black. I've tried other Maybelline mascaras before and they all seem to be completely different. This formula is fairly dry, but not as dry as the Rocket, so it's still easy to use without having to build lots of layers. It has a wonderful thick and shaped brush that helps to give that flared effect by shaping them up and slightly out. Other selling points are that it doesn't flake or smudge and despite the thick brush you can easily use it both for the upper and lower eyelashes. I really like this mascara, and might even break my own habit and re-purchase it again!

For some reason I always leave my eye brows til after I've done my eyes. In the summer my eye brows go even blonder and seem to disappear completely, which Him indoors always tease me mercilessly for, so I need a little help to bring out the shape. I've tried using powder or eye shadow, but I find it easier to work with a pencil - to each their own right? I've always wanted to try the amazing products from Anastasia, but until my next pay day at least - I'll be using Collection 2000 Eyebrow Definer Pencil in Blonde. I got this mainly because of the color since it's not easy getting a shade for blondes that isn't too harsh, but this has turned out to be another little gem from Collection. It's a slim stick that gives sufficient color without it looking like pencil strokes. It enhances and frames the face really well, and the only minus I can think of is that it tends to fade after a few hrs so you may need to fill in your brows again throughout the day.
 

To set the make up and help prevent any shiny patches, I'll use a tiny touch of  Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent on my T-zone. To be honest I use very little powder, so for me this Rimmel product is great. I bought it about 5 months ago, and there's still so much left of it and what I like the most is that it doesn't feel cakey or heavy on the face.

Since I discovered Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayons I've almost only used these during the summer. I have all the shades now, but as I've mentioned before I love Peach On the Beach. It's an amazing soft salmony coral that looks so fresh and healthy and it gives a glossy sleek finish to any makeup look.

I already know that I'll introduce some new colors in the autumn and I'll probably do an updated post in a few months time, and show you what has changed. What have you got in your makeup bag, and do you think you'll mix it up a little now that A/W is coming?

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

My new personal trainer - KIKO

Have you ever had a personal trainer? Having somebody to help you get fit seems to be the routine these days, but do you have a personal trainer that focuses only on your skin? Well I do!!! - Let me introduce you to KIKO who's promised to whip my skin into shape within 30 days in a "no pain, but everything to gain" way.

KIKO Makeup Milano is an Italian brand that has fairly recently reached UK shores, and they offer skin and body care products as well as makeup. KIKO promotes itself as being deeply rooted in Milan fashion, art and design and it combines cutting edge technology and latest fashion trends to create high quality and innovative beauty products. A great example of this is the KIKO Skin Trainer which claims to be a youth generating serum that trains the skin "to increase its youth potential" - doesn't that sound just fantastic?

The description of the serum also says it will do the following; recharge the skin with energy and counteract the signs of aging, intelligently moisturize skin according to its needs, increase cellular oxygenation to show healthy complexion and even out the skin. And there's more - apparently results should be visible after only a few days of use, and who doesn't like a quick result?
 
Truth be told, I don't really pay that much attention to the miracles that different products claim to achieve, and instead I'll read reviews from "real people" to get a feel for a product's effectiveness. The Skin Trainer promises a lot - particularly since it's priced at a very reasonable £22.90, but since I haven't been able to find reviews of it in a language I understand I've decided to do a 30 day trial on myself using the Skin Trainer every morning and evening, and at the end of the 30 days I'll let you know how it went.

Here are some of the scientifically proven results from the KIKO test groups:
  • The skin is up to 42.8 % more supple (average value: 21.8%) after 4 weeks.
  • The skin’s hydration increases by up to 76,6 % (average value: +31.6%) after 4 weeks.
  • Wrinkle depth is reduced by up to 58.5 % (average value: -32.4%) after 4 weeks.
I don't have any deep wrinkles and I wouldn't know how to measure improvements anyway, so instead I will focus on establishing if there's been an improvement to the quality of my skin (more supple) and sense of hydration.

As with all serums you apply a couple of drops to clean skin before you add whatever moisturiser you use. The serum has a pipette to help you getting just the right amount and I use 2-3 drop to massage into my face and neck. The formula is thicker than you would usually find with a serum and it reminds me in both look and feel of vanilla sauce, but it's absorbed quickly into the skin leaving it feeling very soft and hydrated, but it doesn't leave any shiny patches. It may look like a yummy vanilla sauce, but unfortunately it doesn't smell very nice. I would even say that it smells a little bit industrial - with a rubbery or even plasticky scent, not at all what you would have expected from a skin care product.

So I've now started the mini trial, we'll see how it goes - and on September 20 I'll let you know the results, and what I thought about using this product!

Have you tried any miracle creams lately and did they deliver what they promised?

Monday, 19 August 2013

Manic.Monday: New punk - Nails Inc Leather Effect

The weather might still be sunny and the days fairly warm but autumn is coming fast, and the A/W collections have started to pop up on the high street. It's a great time to start trend watching and to plan your wardrobe for the next few months. Last week I looked at maximalism for nails and today I'm showing New Punk since it's one of the key themes this season shown by Chanel, Rodarte and Versace, just to name a few.

The punk reborn that we'll see this year is a slightly prettier and tidier version of punk that combines studs and spikes with tweed, bouclé and of course - leather. I am a huge fan of leather and even if I reluctantly put away my leather leggings for spring and summer, my leather jackets will still be on hand. So when the individual bottles of Nails Inc Leather Effect Noho finally were released earlier this year, I was determined to try it at some point.

Looking at the black glossy polish in the bottle it's difficult to imagine that something so silky will turn into a slightly textured finish - but it does. The brush is nice and wide enough to get just the right amount of polish on, but if you have very long nails on your thumbs, you may need to try and get a little extra on the brush when you apply. The formula is slick and smooth with just the right consistency that makes it easy to work with and as the polish dries, you can see the texture appear right before your eyes. If you're in a hurry you can probably get away with just one coat, although to get just the right matte leather effect, you really should apply another one. It has happened that I've managed to mess up the finish just as I've applied it and I've had to correct with a 3rd coat, but that is far too thick on your nail and the leather effect won't be as visible and matte as it should - so 2 coats it just perfect! And as with most matte effect polishes, you really shouldn't use a top coat when you're done since it will effect the finish.
Noho Leather

It does take a few minutes for the coats to dry, but it sets well and creates this interesting leather look.The final result surprised me in several ways; even though the effect is clearly matte is still has a certain sheen to it that really catches your eye, and even though it is a textured effect - it feels smooth and soft to the touch, a bit like velvet manicure (but much more practical).

The polish definitely delivers what it says - the finish is of a wonderful subtle leather effect, that isn't as outlandish as you might think and personally I think it will add a fashion forward edge to any outfit, including office wear. I like this so much that I've decided to also try Nails Inc Shoreditch, which is a lovely burgundy colour which will go great with my prussian blue leather trousers for winter!

So if you don't want to strut down the high street in knee high leather boots with chains, you can still channel Chanel punk couture with some leather on your fingertips.
Chanel Autumn /Winter Collection 2013

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Manic.Monday: In the pink

In my previous Manic.Monday posts I've been looking at the trends for A/W 2013 and connected what's happening on the catwalks with nail polishes, and today is no exception and we'll be looking at pink. What comes to mind when you think about pink is probably that it's a typically girly spring or summer color, but this A/W we'll also see a lot of stylish pink in strong feminine silhouettes and tailoring, but not just in pastel pink - there'll be rose, magenta, cerise, salmon, coral and nude as seen on Prada, DKNY, Jonathan Saunders and Roksanda Ilincic. So, let's not be limited to baby pink - we can all find a shade of this glorious color that suits us the best, and the color I've chosen for this post is Maybelline Color Show in Pink Bikini.

Pink Bikini is a wonderful vibrant mix of magenta and deep pink that's ladylike but that also packs a little bit more of a punch. When I first opened the bottle I had my reservations since the gel based formula ("innovative chip resistant, according to the product description) seemed thinner than the other Maybelline polishes I've tried. But it turned out to be easy to apply evenly, it dries quickly and you get a wonderful opaque look after 2 coats that lasts 3-4 days before you need to touch it up. As usual I have a top coat on in the pic, but the polish does have a lovely shine to it anyway. If you haven't browsed the Maybelline Color Show range yet, have a nail polish date this weekend and go have a look. They have a superb range of shades from vibrant to nude, opaque to shimmery and at such a purse friendly price, I can definitely see myself getting a few more of them soon. 
Maybelline - Pink Bikini

Even though I have a fairly impressive collection of nail polishes, you don't see a lot of pure pink in there since I've never really been big into wearing pink nails. But I even surprised myself with how much I enjoyed wearing this stand out shade, and I kept looking at my nails getting cheered up by the lovely deep rose pink hue, and I also thought it went really well with any type of outfit. So now that I'm in the pink, it'll be what I'm wearing at least some days this A/W!
Prada A/W Collection 2013

August empties

I usually have several products on the go at the same time for different needs, moods etc but this month I've tried to be disciplined and finish some of them, before throwing myself at a new unopened one.... oooh there's nothing like opening a brand new product!

The first empty this month is a cheeky chappy from Avon - The Naturals Kids Mango Crazy Hair Tamer. Since I have long hair that always has a mind of its own after getting wet, this is perfect to help comb out all the kinks. It's a gentle and non sticky formula with a super fresh apple/mango scent. I know it's for kids, but it's a cheap and cheerful favourite of mine that really makes detangling less painful and my hair smooth, sleek and shiny.

Another old favourite that I finished is Clarins Hand and Nail Treament Cream which I have used on and off for years. It's a very rich and luxurious cream that contains sesame oil and Japanese mulberry to soften and protect the skin and I love massaging it into my hands, cuticles and elbows - completely random I know, but it works a treat! The cream has a subtle fresh and clean cotton scent with a small hint of orange or citrus. I adore this hand cream and it's a good thing I bought a duo pack the last time, so I don't need to be without for a little while.

I got a small pot of Cherry Body Butter from Body Shop a while back in their sales - Body Shop Bargain post, and although I wasn't completely sold on the scent at the time I really enjoyed using it. It didn't have that sweet, earthy cherry scent that I was hoping for but the amazing qualities of the body butter make up for it. It doesn't really matter which of Body Shops' tempting scents you go for - the formula is the same with its thick, buttery consistency that quickly absorbs and still leaves your skin feeling deeply moisturised. The body butters definitely are great value for money!

At the beginning of the month I finished my Estée Lauder Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Creme which unlike many products does exactly what it says on the beautiful pot. It's a gorgeous velvety, silky cream that melts into your skin with a very gentle, subtle scent. When you apply it, you'll feel a noticeable difference immediately. It's like a mega boost in hydration and not only that - it continues to last throughout the whole day. Since I started to use Hydrationist I no longer carry with me a small moisturiser during the day for dry areas - a spritz of Caudalie Beauty Elixir is enough to keep my skin going. Apparently this is because the formula encourages the skins natural ability to retain moisture which fights the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I LOVE this cream and will definitely get another one at some point.

A couple of times a week I use a mask of one sort or another either to hydrate, nourish, deep cleanse - whatever my skin needs most that particular day. It had been a while since I had used a Fresh Face Mask so I got the Lush Oatifix for dry skin which is supposed to moisture the skin leaving it soft, nourished and brightened. The mask contains bananas, oatmeal, ground almonds and is scented with a little bit of vanilla and to me that all sounds like the shopping list for a really yummy dessert! In the pot it looks fairly creamy and easy to work with, but when you apply to your face it falls into a million pieces. Unless you are lying down for 5-10 mins while the mask is doing its thing, there is no way that it will stay on your face. I liked the polishing feel of it, but the fact that it wouldn't stay on was enough for me to not want to buy it again. I have almost all of the product left, which says a lot about how I feel about this mask. It pains me to say it because I've always loved every Lush product I've tried, but this one definitely didn't work for me. I haven't given up on the fresh masks though, so if you have recommendations on another one with hydrating qualities, please leave a comment below!

A mascara that I have been using a lot the past few months is L'Oréals False Lash Telescopic Mascara in Magnetic Black. The formula is lovely and fluid which makes it easy to work with (not dry like some mascaras) and it's specially made to build intensity and to elongate the lashes. It comes with a long, very thin and flexible brush that easily reaches even the shortest lashes, close to the corner of your eye and I also find that it kind of curls the lashes as you're working with it. I'm so happy with this mascara that I've repurchased it several times and can highly recommend it to create long defined lashes.
L'Oréal False Lash Telescopic Mascara brush

Lastly, if you read my Body Shop Bargain post, you may remember that I was so excited about a Jasmin & White Frangipani candle, which smells absolutely amazing with a very genuine Jasmine scent. Now maybe I've been unlucky because not only did the glass break almost straight away, but it's also one of those candles that just burn straight down into the tumbler and creates a big crater, with lots of wax on the sides that doesn't burn - what a waste! I will try another Body Shop candle in a different scent to check if this was a dud, who knows - the others might be brilliant.

Have you finished a product this month you can't live without? Leave me a comment and let know what you'll be buying again as soon as you hit the shops!


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Top 10 Beauty Buys - TAG

Earlier this month I celebrated 1 Month Blog Birthday by saying thank you to you all for the amazing support you've shown me. I also mentioned that I would do a post later in the month on a subject that you had requested. Thanks for all the suggestions - I really liked the idea of a Top 10 Beauty Products of all times, so that's the subject of today's post.

Picking my favourite 10 products is much more difficult than it sounds. There are so many great products available in all price ranges, and since I love trying new products and always look forward to new releases, my list of favourites keep on changing. But there are some items that I either keep going back to, or would not want to be without and that's the type of product that ended up on my Top 10 in the end, and interestingly enough I do actually also have 8 of these products at the moment. You may recognise some of then from previous posts, and some will be reviewed very soon.

So here's the Top 10 in no particular order (the numbering is just so that I can link to them in the description):

1. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm - This is my Cinderella product, an amazing primer that adds radiance to the skin and you can see the results immediately. We will ALL be looking fabulous at the ball!

2. Caudalie Beauty Elixir - I always have one of these in my handbag. It's a lovely aromatig facial spray that adds instant moisture and radiance to skin. Perfect for an afternoon pick me up.

3. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Tropical - I would never be without a dry shampoo, and for me Batiste is the best. Cheap, super value for money and a great quick fix for dull or oily hair with loads of lovely fresh scents, although Tropical is definitely my favourite.

4. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask - Gorgeous smelling over night mask that melts into the skin, boosting moisture and you'll wake up with bright and peachy soft, hydrated skin. Every house should have one.

5. Clarins Santal Face Treatment Oil - The best soothing and balancing oil I've ever used. It's perfect for dry skin and rehydrates as well as relaxes you with it's unbelievable warm and luxurious scent. You only need to massage in a tiny drop and it lasts a long time. SOOOO GOOD!

6. Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Celestial - Great value for money lip gloss that gives very intense colour, plumps and adds a silky sheen to your lips. If I was only allowed to have one single lip product (oh how cruel...) it would be Apocalips.

7. Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Eye Creme - Intensely moisturing eye cream that helps to support the skins natural elasticity, with a luminising effect that immediately makes the eye area look bright. Lovely for tired, "crepey" eyes.

8. Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in Beige - Fresh smelling hydrating foundation that gives a super natural radiance and healthy glow. In my opinion one of the best drug store foundations available.

9. L'Oréal False Lash Telescopic Mascara in Black - Gives very long luscious eye lashes with an excellent long thin brush, that easily reaches even the shortest of eye lashes for extra volume.

10. REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask - Lovely orange smelling peel mask that removes dead skins cells and makes your skin look radiant and healthy. Absolutely brilliant for a deep cleanse or decongestant to rebalance your skin. Yes it's a super hyped product, but it definitely deserves all the raving reviews. 

I'd love to find out what your Top 10 Beauty products are so I invite everyone to leave a comment or  join in this TAG, but I also nominate the following wonderful bloggers:
Katie from Simplicity
Elizabeth from The Beauty Inside
Anouk from Beauty and Rambles
Ashley & Julie from 20/30 Glam 
Zoe from Writing Whimsy 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Maybelline Baby Lips Balm - Cherry Me

Isn't it great when products from overseas or the continent that you've read about or heard about on You Tube finally hit the UK shelves?! I for one, get very excited and will bounce off to the nearest Boots or Superdrug to get my paws on the coveted item - and this autumn there are quite a few items that I'm looking forward to trying. 

The first of these lusted after products to end up in my shopping basket was Maybelline's Baby Lips Balm in Cherry Me. I hadn't even planned for it, so it was all very impromptu when I was in Superdrug and the assistant very helpfully said: "THESE are just in - would you like to try one?". Hmmm, well let me think about that for a nano second - eeeh yessssss!!! They only had 3 to choose from in the Superdrug that I visited - Repair, Hydrate and Cherry Me and since I have a well known love for cherry, no wonder that's the one that ended up coming with me home.
So Baby Lips is essentially a lip balm (the clue is in the name) with 20 SPF that gives 8 hrs of hydration and nourishment, as well as a little bit of colour & scent and you get a generous amount for your money too. That all sounds great, but unfortunately you won't find all of that in just the one lipbalm. If you go for a coloured shade like I did, there won't be any SPF. On the other hand, if you go for a lip balm with SPF 20, you won't get the colour, so I guess you just need to decide what you want to get out of the product.

The Cherry Me lip balm goes on very nicely and smoothly, leaving a dash of red colour with a nice natural shine to your lips - faint, but noticeable enough to brighten your face a little bit. I also picked up on the subtle warm cherry scent, although it is very much on the synthetic side and it doesn't last very long. 

However, this product claims to give you 8 hrs of hydration, and maybe it's just me but unfortunately I didn't get the sense of even 8 minutes of hydration. I've mentioned before that I like a product that really feels as if it's doing something, e.g. adding moisture to your skin, or lips as the case may be, but the lip balm simply doesn't do that. So, to sum it up - Baby Lips gives a little bit of colour, it feels nice when you apply it, but it also wears off very quickly and in terms of the hype I have to say that I'm sorry, but I just don't get it.

In general Maybelline has a great and very strong product range, but when it comes to Baby Lips - the product may be cheap and cheerful but in this case you also get exactly what you pay for.  

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Head in the clouds with Caudalie Instant Foam Cleanser

As much as I love cleansing waters, I will never completely move away from using a proper cleanser in one form or another; gel, lotion, exfoliating or milk - you name it and I have probably tried it! So when it was time to get a new cleanser I settled on a type that I had never tried before - the Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser, which I first came across a few weeks ago when I treated myself to a very indulgent facial.

The main ingredients in Caudalie's products are extracts from grapes and vines, which are rich in anti ageing properties that fight free radicals - and in addition to grape extracts the Instant Foaming Cleanser also contains sage and camomile to purify and soothe the skin. Since you should apply it to damp skin the foam cleanser is perfect to use in the shower, and it's gentle enough to use twice a day as part of your morning and evening routines.

What intrigued me about it was that the cleanser is in a liquid form as you can see in the pics, but immediately when you pump it onto your hands it turns into a frothy light foam without any need to shake it beforehand (the instructions even tell you very clearly not to). That isn't the only surprise - there's more... As soon as the foam touches your skin, you'll feel a very subtle sensation on your skin like mini bubbles all over, it's absolutely amazing - like cleansing your face with a soft and fluffy cloud. The product is so light and gentle that you can barely feel it on your skin, but somehow it still manages to easily remove all make-up so it's definitely effective as well as a joy to use.

Now if you've read any of my other blog posts before you'll know how important scent is to me, so of course I have to comment on it - as soon as you've applied the cleanser you'll notice a super fresh, invigorating, aquatic cucumber scent - perfect for waking you up in the morning. Not only does it feel and smell great - the cleanser does great things for the skin too. I have skin that can get dry and dehydrated but because the foam is so gentle, I haven't noticed any irritation or tight areas at all, only that the skin feels very smooth and supple.
 

This is a wonderful product that I LOVE to use, so if you're on the look out for a different kind of cleanser that's gentle on the skin but doesn't compromise on effectiveness I would definitely recommend this one.

You can get Caudalie from salons and various online stores, but if you buy directly from Caudalie you also get free samples with your order, and we all like freebies don't we?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The coral edition

 
The colour coral can be described as a pinkish, peachy shade somewhere in between red and orange - that doesn't sound very distinct right? For me what is very distinct though, is the association to summer, sheer femininity, fun and playfulness. This summer I've been wearing coral in almost every way possible - clothes, shoes, jewellery and makeup so I thought I would put together some of my coral favourites for this colour edition.
Benefit is such a fun brand! I love their cheeky humorous packaging and they do come up with some lovely items too. The past few years they have really focused on their range of fragrances creating fun, flirty and affordable smellies. My absolute favourite though is the old classic Maybe Baby (EdT). The name is so cheesy but my goodness is it a delicious fragrance. It is described as a warm and inviting fragrance, which I agree with to some extent, but on me at least it still retains a certain cool crispness to it. It's filled with fruity, delicate and lovely apricots and peaches in combination with white flowers and the softest, gentlest musk that smells exactly like White Musk from Body Shop. This is not a complex fragrance that keeps on developing on your skin, but the simplicity of it and the fantastic clear notes that ooze angelic and playful femininity makes it a real gem!

Another product range that Benefit is famous for is their blushers and bronzers, and Coralista has been a fave of mine for a long time. I've never been very good with lip and cheek tints but when I got the Chachatint as a freebie a while back, this was an opportunity to try something completely new. The reason I'd never tried these multi tasking products is that I'd always thought it would be difficult to work with the liquid, getting it all over the place and blending it etc. But what do you know - I was positively surprised! Anyone can see that the colour is a beautiful mango coral that works perfectly with tanned skin, but I had not expected the tint to be so easy to work with. It's better to take just a tiny bit and build it up if you need to, rather than overdoing it and then having to correct - ruining any foundation, but it's really easy to blend although you have to work quickly before it sets and turns into a surprisingly matte finish. Personally I'm not sure about wearing it on my lips at the same time, but if you're packing light for a holiday trip, then why not.  
I use very little eye makeup in the summer and tend to only use one shade that really emphasizes my blue eyes, and for me a golden, rusty peach or corally orange like MAC Eye shadow in Rule is all I need. I'm fairly new to MAC eye shadows so don't have a lot to compare with, but this one is very pigmented - you barely need to touch it with your brush and therfore you don't need a lot of it. You can either wear it as a very bold and vibrant statement, or blend it well for a matte subtle effect. I'm very impressed with the formula and will get some other colours as well, to play with this autumn. 

One of the best coral shade lipsticks I've ever found is Rimmel Moisture Renewal Lipstick in 600 Soft Coral. The formula apparently consists of different moisturisers and vitamins to really hydrate the lips, giving them a well cared for, plump look. This is all great and it does make the lipstick pleasant to wear and longlasting, but when I bought this it was purely for the colour! It's such a lovely, soft and natural coral that adds radiance to you lips, and it's perfect for a delicate, everyday look. 
Swatches from left to right
Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick - 600 Soft Coral
MAC Eyeshadow - Rule
Benefit Chachatint

And off course we could trust good old Barry - the King of Nail polishes to come up with a gorgeous, absolute coral shade for the spring and summer collection of the Gelly Nail Paint (Papaya). By now I probably don't even have to tell you about these fabulous Gelly High Shine colours, but I will anyway.
Barry M Gelly Nail Paint - Papaya

With the gelly paints, there's no need to go to the salon and spend a fortune a gel mani when you can get more or less the same effect at home. These nail paints have an incredible high shine finish and with a lot of the colours you don't need more than one coat. However for the lighter shades like Papaya and Dragon fruit, I would recommend that you use two coats for that deliciously ice creamy opaque and glossy finish. These really are amazing and if you haven't already tried any of the gelly paints, you should put one at the top of your beauty shopping list for August.

As we move into autumn, other colours will dominate the fashion and beauty scene, but I'm so sure that next summer we'll see the return of coral again, I might even bet on it!