Sunday, 19 December 2010

Gifts for You

In the third and final installment of my gift guide we come to Gifts for You! You have worked hard, you deserve a treat too ;). Plus you can't be sure that your mother/ friend/ other half has read my 'gifts for her' post so they may not get you what you really need... ;).

Xen-Tan Dark Tanning Lotion Trio (Special offer trio - £28.94) - Preparation is key, so when it comes to looking good for that Christmas party you may need a night to yourself. Having recently tried Xen Tan for the first time I am still very much excited about it. I really enjoyed the scent of the lotion, which reminded me of marzipan. Even though the notorious 'fake tan smell' was still noticeable in the morning (I always slather it on before bed), at least the application in my tiny bathroom was pleasant. The body scrub in this trio also works well for a gentle all over exfoliation, but as my winter skin is currently a little dry I used a harsher scrub on some areas, such as the knees and elbows, to achieve a smoother application. The tan itself developed beautifully over night to a natural, albeit deep tan and the mitt provided ensured it was even and streak free.
ELF Party Eyeshadow Palette (£3.50) - With 6 gorgeous colours this palette is perfect for creating a beautiful wintry eye look. As I was kindly sent this for review a few weeks ago I can assure you that the shadows are pigmented and blendable. I especially like the sparkly black to add a little bit of definition and glitter!
Soap & Glory Pink Tote Bag (Originally £60, currently £25!) - When I spotted this bag full of goodies on the Boots website I knew it had to be mine! The re-usable pink bag contains:
  • Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel (500ml)
  • The Righteous Butter Body Butter (300ml)
  • Flake Away Body Scrub (300ml)
  • Girligo Scented Body Moisturising Mist (100ml)
  • Glad Hair Day Ultra-Shine Super-Shampoo (250ml)
  • The Breakfast Scrub Body Smoother (300ml)
  • Hand Food Hydrating Hand Cream (125ml)
  • Scrub Your Nose In It Face Scrub And Mask (125ml)
  • Super Colour Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Gloss in ‘Pink Apricot,’ (7ml)
  • Off Your Face Cleansing Wipes (25 wipes)
  • Giant Super Sudsy Shower Puff
This is probably the best offer of 2010 ladies, so hurry as I'm sure supplies won't last long ;).

Rapid Lash Serum (£39.99) - Want longer lashes come March without breaking the bank? I have already reviewed Rapidlash (read the review here) and this stuff works! The results are not as dramatic as other lash growth serums such as Lilash, but neither is the price. One tube lasts 3-4 months of daily use along the lashline and you will usually start to see results after 4 weeks.
Eyelure Lashes (£4.35) - In the meantime why not stick to false lashes? No party makeup is complete without them and if taken care of they will last you the whole season! My favourites are the Nicola lashes as they are full and wispy, without being too long and spidery, and have a sexy flick on the side, which will elongate and lift any eye shape!
Karen Millen Statement Spotted Dress (On Sale £89.95, down from £180) Why not skip the LBD this year and treat yourself to a statement dress with style? Luckily many stores are having pre-Christmas sales, so you can easily pick up a stunning new dress for that special party at half the price!
Karen Millen Frayed Silk Dress (On Sale for £175, down from £250).
 Miss Selfridge Nude Beaded Shift Dress (£150).
ASOS Black One Shoulder Organza Tape Dress (On Sale for £60, down from £85).
French Connection Pretty Penelope Dress (On Sale £110, down from £140).
Bare Escentuals SPF 15 Matte Foundation (£20.40) - Now that you have your dress and tan sorted, all you need is the perfect base to last the night. I have been testing out the latest foundation from Bare Escentuals and have to say that it is fantastic. The new click and lock sifter makes application on the go neat and simple, taking the worry out of mineral makeup. The foundation itself blends into the skin beautifully when used with a little kabuki. It has great coverage, yet looks natural and works hard to absorb excess oil and keep you looking matte and polished. A little goes a long way, so be careful not to apply this too liberally, especially as the SPF15 can create a white cast in some photos.
I hope this three part series has given you some ideas and that you have enough time to treat yourselves this Christmas my lovelies! What will you be purchasing in the last few days in the run up to Christmas? xxx

Snow Stories - OOTD

T'was the week before Christmas,
And all through the land 
Snow was falling, 
And everything came to a stand(still).

I have had a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the snow recently - as pretty as it is I feel it has been somewhat out to get me recently. Not only did I slip and fall flat on my derriere in the middle of a busy street with 15 bags of dry cleaning in tow (ouch!), but yesterday it nullified all our weekend plans. The only thing left to do was surrender...
Belted Wrap Coat - Oasis (also in black, new this week!), Black Leggings - Topshop, Shearling Buckle Booties - New Look, White Faux Fur Hat - Topshop.
For me a coat is always the most important purchase of the winter season. Since most of your clothes will be hidden underneath it has to be a piece that you love and enjoy wearing. When I spotted this beauty in Oasis I had to have it straight away. Warm, comfortable and stylish with its soft folds and a belt to cinch in the waist it fits perfectly with my dark winter wardrobe.
Purple Gina Dress courtesy of Motel, also available in Red, Black with Cream Lace and Blue with Gold Lace.
I love the deep purple colour of this dress and it's delicate lace detailing on the shoulders and sleeves. Perfect with black leggings or tights :).
 Make-up wise I decided to glam it up a little and create a very classic look. For the skin I used NARS sheer glow foundation and Bobbi Brown creamy corrector. To add a little colour to the cheeks Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronze Universel with a little MAC cream blush in Ladyblush. I skipped the powder as I wanted the skin to look clear, but dewy and instead added a little E.L.F. All Over Colour Stick in Persimmon to the tops of the cheekbones. For the eyes I swept MAC's vanilla eyeshadow all over the lid to create a blank canvas and used L'Oreal's Carbon gloss eyeliner and L'ancome Hypnose mascara. For the lips I used MAC's pencil lipliner in Redd. As I loved the colour so much I decided to dab on a little balm at the centre and leave it at that. I was very impressed as it lasted all day, top marks!

How did you spend your snow day my lovelies? We have wimped out and are getting a takeaway... again ;). xxx

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Twilight

Ciate's latest nail colours are dark, glossy and undeniably sexy! I love rich colours for the Winter, and this collection does not disappoint with some exciting, unique shades, as well as a few great staples.

Ghetto Fabulous (black creme)
 Burlesque (rich plum creme)
Dangerous Affair (rouge noir creme)
 Twilight (black with gold flakes)
 Paparazzi (vampy red black creme)
3am Girl (deep inky blue creme)
 Guest List (deep brown with a hint of purple creme)
 
 Strictly Legal (shimmery plum)

I have to confess that I love them all, especially for the Winter season. However, given the choice of one I decided on Twilight (Strictly legal is a close runner up). Now, before scrolling to the swtaches I have to prepare you for my nails. I am weeks overdue for gel infills, but haven't had the time to get to my regular salon (in Woking) so they are awfully long! Apologies, they are hideous, I am ashamed :(.
Twilight is a unique colour as the richness of the black is lifted and brought to life by the dense gold micro glitter. Some glitter polishes can look a little flat, but this seems to somehow have more dimension. In certain lights it can appear a simple black, but when it catches the light the gold flecks really glow and sparkle!
Like all Ciate polishes I have tried the pigmentation is excellent, and even this deep black is opaque in just one coat. I always go for two, but if you are in a rush you can easily settle for one generous layer. Although the consistency is quite thick the stiff, flat brush helps to apply it smoothly, without dragging across the nail (though you couldn't tell by my 2am shaky application). It dries in a decent amount of time and wears well, but you do have to be careful not to apply it too thick as it can chip. The photos above were taken after 3 days of wear, and though I have a few minor chips I would say it has held up well, especially for a black as any tip wear is instantly noticeable.

Ciate polishes are £9 each and can be purchased from ciate.co.uk.

Have you tried any Ciate polishes? What did you think of their formulation? Do you have any favourites and do any of the above take your fancy? xxx

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Gifts for Him!

In the second installment of my perfect gifts guide we are going to talk about the boys, the mice and the men ;). Males of any age are notoriously difficult to buy for unless you are blessed with a guy that possesses a genuine passion for something... anything other than beer and 'insert appropriate sport here'. In my experience once a boy reaches the age of 13 he is interested in little but girls anyway...


Elemis Daily Men's Grooming Collection (£27 -10% at feelunique.com) - For the man who is a little tentative when it comes to skincare this set makes a perfect beginning to a routine. My very low maintanence bf has been testing this out for 2 weeks and has provided me with some valuable (albeit typically manly) feedback, though bless him for trying! He absolutely loved the skin soothe shave gel (and even asked me to get him some more!) as the foam is thick and firm it allows the blade to glide smoothly and gives a very close shave. The deep cleanse facial wash 'did a good job' and cleansed the skin without making it feel dry. The daily moisture boost was perfect for use after shaving and he found it lightweight and soothing, without being greasy or breaking him out. Overall he really enjoyed the set, and given that he normally rejects every product I attack him with... ahem.. let him try, I highly recommend it!
Armani Code Gift Set (£45) and Bleu de Chanel (£42). My two favourite men's fragrances for the season. The Armani code was purchased for the bf last year and is a great all rounder - a masculine contemporary fragrance with citrus and olive tree blossom that belnds into a slightly woody finish. Bleu de Chanel was a recent purchase that I just couldn't resist. This fragrance really reminds me of the original Abecrombie eau de toilette, but with a sophisticated twist. Incredibly sexy and fresh with notes of sandalwood, jasmine, citrus and incense it wears well and lasts through the day. The bf has given me great feedback and so have many of his female colleagues... perhaps one too many ;)?

Call Of Duty Black Ops (£39.99) - As much as I hate being woken every Saturday morning by the sounds of gunfire I can't deny the fact that pretty much every guy I know loves this game. Whether he has an X-box, PS3 or even a Wii the new COD will occupy him for hours ;). I usually use this time to blog, read or even have a little pamper so it's a win all around!
Ted Baker Shield Wool Winter Coat (£350) - If you want to really treat that special boy and keep him warm, while looking stylish this winter a coat would be a great purchase. The deep navy colour is flattering on any skin tone and does not look as harsh as black, or as 'tatty' as brown. Of course my choice had nothing to do with the doe-eyed male model, but you can't deny he looks gorgeous! The sharp lines and military inspired detailing keep this classic shape modern and sophisticated, while slimming the figure.. for the gentlemen who require a little streamlining ;).
FCUK Brown Leather Belt (£12.99 down from £30) - I always think it's a bit cheeky buying a present on sale, but hey, I won't tell if you don't. Every guy needs a smart belt and though it may not be a very exciting present it will be a useful one that he will probably wear every day!
 
Remington Groom Innovation Navigator All in One Kit (£29.99) - For the man who takes a little more care of himself this is an absolutely fantastic set to cover all his needs (some of which you may not want to know about... nose and ear trimmer anyone?). This kit includes the PG520 unit with up to 60 minutes of cordless usage (that's a whole hour of nose hair trimming!) as well as 5 attachment heads, a body hair trimmer, wide trimmer, fine trimmer, mini-foil shaver, nose & ear trimmer, 3 combs for different hair lengths (1 – 20 mm), charging stand, cleaning brush & oil bottle. Amazing value for so many tools, and you can be sure that he will find something he can use, or something you can convince him to use in the New Year ;)!
TIGI Bed Head for Men Matte Separation Workable Wax (£8.45) - We all know that guy at school, university, in the office that uses too much hair gel. The 90's are over boys, it's time to update your look! This pliable, matte wax will leave hair looking natural, sorry Westlife, and give it a secure hold without looking greasy or setting stiff and crunchy. If you no longer want sticky fingers after running your hands through his hair, sorry Ross from Friends, this may be the budget friendly hint.. umm... gift you are looking for!
I recently read the results of a poll that announced the gift most men want is that of experience, while girls prefer clothes, jewelry, cosmetics and other tangible items (go figure!). I completely agree with this, and even though it may take a little more organisation an 'experience' is a fantastic present. Of course you can chose something your man is already interested in (Super Car Driving, Golf), but I prefer to try something new such as learning a new skill (Cooking Lessons, Wine tasting, Clay Pigeon Shooting - went down a storm for the bf's bday!). Or why not try something unique such as Feeding Big Cats by Hand or a Flying Lesson?

I hope this gives you some ideas ladies! Good Luck and let me know if you have any recommendations :). xxx

Paul and Joe Beaute - Symphony Holiday Collection

Paul and Joe has always been a brand I have admired - mainly for their beautiful packaging, so I was very excited a few weeks ago when I got the chance to learn all about their latest products!
My favourite items in the Holiday Collection is the Symphony Eye and Lip Colour set, which comes in a gorgeous clutch/makeup bag in the stunning pattern that runs all the way through the packaging of this collection. Inside is your choice of two colour palettes - Adagio (£30) for lovers of neutrals and Allegro (£24 -pictured below).
Both sets include a lovely little lip tint with rose detailing and five sheet music eyeshadows. Although they may seem small at first glance each one contains up to 30 applications. The shadows are quite pigmented and smooth. The delicate colours they come in would be easy to apply with your fingers, without fear of being too heavy, making them absolutely perfect for makeup on the go! I think this set would also make a lovely gift, if only for the adorable clutch ;).

The collection also features a pressed powder duo in a case of the same pattern (£14). The duo has both a matte powder for blotting and setting and a shimmering pearl powder crescent for highlighting.
The powder is finely milled and lightweight, perfect for that 3pm touch up ;). The shimmer is also very subtle and adds a lovely, natural sheen without being glittery. I have been swirling both together to create a matte look with a little bit of glow.
The Holiday collection also features five nail enamels (£9) - how cute is that packaging, it definitely stands out on my little nail polish shelf!
I was given Orchestral to try (far right) a deep navy with multicoloured specks of glitter. This is the perfect colour for this time of year - dark, but with dimension and character.
I would prefer this colour on shorter nails, but as I am a little overdue for gel infills I had to make do with the talons ;). The application was pretty smooth, building up to an opaque colour in two coats. As with most glitter polishes not as much glitter transfers to the nail as in the bottle, but with a little Seche Vite top coat the sparkles were still visible. Wear has been good with minimal chipping and tip wear (but as I have gels polishes wear better than on natural nails).

More information about Paul and Joe Beaute, including stockists is available here. Just a little heads up if you are looking for a bargain as ASOS are having a little sale on some P&J products (including the pressed powder duo) at the moment ;). 

Do you have any recommendations or favourites from Paul and Joe makeuo? Have you spotted anything from their holiday collection that you are lusting after? xxx