Sunday, 31 August 2014

7 Days of Essence | Day 5 - Colour & Go Nail Polish in 'Be Berry Now!'

It's Day 5 of my '7 Days of Essence' series and today I'm telling you all about this little gem - the Essence Colour & Go Nail Polish* in shade 'Be Berry Now!'

I have quite a few of the Essence nail polishes and I think they are fabulous! This particular polish is my favourite shade from the range at the moment and I've been wearing it quite a lot. It's a stunning deep raspberry shade which isn't too dark and it looks amazing on.

I love the cute little bottle and I like the fact that the lid is the same colour as the polish as it makes it easier to find the shade I want when looking through my make up storage drawers. The brush is slightly wider and flatter than usual which I think is the perfect shape and size for easy application to the nails. 

The polish has a slightly thick consistency which gives good coverage in just one coat whilst still being easy to work with. I prefer a polish with a thicker consistency like this as you can get away with one coat if you're stuck for time. The polish dries fairly quickly and has a very high shine finish to it. In the photo below I only have one coat of the polish on, so you can see how good the coverage is.

It was about 2 to 3 days after applying this coat that I noticed the first chips appearing. I think this is pretty good going considering it's only one coat and I spend most of my day at work typing. If I apply two coats I usually get a couple of extra days wear out of it. Considering this costs only £1.60, I'm really impressed with the quality and staying power of this polish. 

Missed Days 1 to 4 of this series? You can catch up with them here:

Saturday, 30 August 2014

7 Days of Essence | Day 4 - XXXL Shine Lipgloss in 'Bright Side of Life'

It's Day 4 of my '7 Days of Essence' series already! This week is really flying by. If you missed my previous posts in the series then the links are at the bottom of this post for you. 

Today I'm featuring the Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss* in shade 'Bright Side of Life'. 

I was instantly drawn to this shade as I'm a little bit obsessed with all things coral at the moment and this is a gorgeous bright coral with a subtle gold shimmer which I think would suit any skin tone. It has the typical lipgloss casing - a clear tube so you can easily see the colour of the gloss and a lid with an applicator stick which is the perfect size and shape for applying the gloss. It has a lovely fruity scent to it which I think is a nice added touch. 

The texture of the gloss is thick and gel-like without any stickiness. I'm not usually a big fan of lipglosses, mainly because most of the ones I have tried tend to have a sticky consistency, but this one manages to avoid that. It feels moisturising on my lips which is great as I tend to get dry lips in the colder months. 

This lipgloss also does exactly what it says on the tin - it SHINES! Not in a way that makes you look like you're wearing a glittery gloss from a 7 year old's Disney make up set, but in a way that gives your lips a delicious wet look and makes them appear fuller. I think it also has really good staying power for a lipgloss and it even leaves behind a faint stain when the gloss wears off. 

This gets a big thumbs up from me and I recommend it if you want pout-worthy lips! At only £1.80 it's another total bargain from the Essence Cosmetics range.

Missed the previous posts in the series? You can catch up with them here - 

Friday, 29 August 2014

7 Days of Essence | Day 3 - Nail Polish Corrector Pen

Hello! It's Day 3 of '7 Days of Essence' and today I'm featuring one of the handiest little cosmetic products in my collection - the Essence Nail Polish Corrector Pen*.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

7 Days of Essence | Day 2 - Blush Up Blusher in 'Heatwave'

Welcome to Day 2 of my '7 Days of Essence' series! If you didn't catch yesterday's post you can read it here. Today I am telling you all about the Essence Blush Up Blusher* in shade 'Heatwave'.

I don't have a big collection of blushers, I tend to just buy one and stick with it until I've used it all. I would normally be drawn towards a more pink coloured blusher but after trying this shade I was pleasantly surprised and I really like that it warms up my complexion. I think the ombre mixture of pink and coral looks really pretty together and is perfect for adding a pop of colour to your cheeks.

A little goes a long way and I find this applies really well when using the Real Techniques blush brush. It also has quite good staying power and I only needed to top this up after a full day at work if I was then going out.

The Essence Blush Up Blusher is available to buy from Wilko stores for £3.50.

What do you think of this ombre shade? What blusher are you currently using?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

7 Days of Essence | Day 1 - All About Candies Eyeshadow Palette

Today is the first day of my '7 Days of Essence' series and I'm really excited to tell you about some of my favourite products from this brand after attending their amazing launch party back in June (you can read my post about this here )

First up is the All About Candies Eyeshadow Palette*.

This cute little compact has a selection of six pretty pastel colours which are perfect for adding a sweep of shimmer to your eyelid. The powder eyeshadow actually has quite a nice creamy texture and it adheres to the eyelid well with little fall out. I find it quite long wearing too, especially when applied over an eye primer. The colours aren't hugely intense and some are more pigmented than others but they are buildable and I think they look really pretty on - plus, if you thought that pastels were just for summer, then think again as the pastel trend is set to stay for Autumn!

My favourite shade from this palette is the mint green - it's one of the most pigmented colours and it's just gorgeous. It really makes my eyes stand out and I've been wearing this quite a lot over the past few weeks.

You can pick up the All About Candies Eyeshadow Palette from Essence stands in Wilko stores across the UK for only £3.50 which I think is a huge bargain for a handy palette with all the pastel shades you'll need.

Are you a fan of pastel eyeshadows? Which shade do you like the look of best?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My Quest For That Bikini Body | Featuring Ilu Fitwear

In a few weeks time I'm off to Portugal with friends and family for a week's holiday and to celebrate my birthday whilst I'm there, so I decided a couple of months ago I needed to start getting in shape and try to achieve a 'bikini body'!

As a married woman who works full time, has a house and a dog to look after it can be so easy to let exercising and being healthy fall way down my list of priorities, but with a few tweaks here and there it can be incorporated into your daily routine more easily than you think. You don't need to join an expensive gym or start looking to employ a nutritionist - you can eat healthier meals and exercise at home.

First things first...I knew I had to change my eating habits. I decided to cut out bread and replaced my usual lunchtime sandwiches with salads and couscous, I've cut out a lot of the unhealthy snacks (not all though, I still need my chocolate fix every now and then!) and I've replaced white potatoes with sweet potatoes in my evening meals. I think my stomach gets a lot less bloated since cutting out bread and it wasn't as difficult to do as I first thought. It was hard though to cut down on sugary snacks as I have a very sweet tooth, but I've been enjoying healthier treats like strawberries and cherries with a spoonful of low fat greek yoghurt, fresh melon and raw carrot sticks.

Due to my new job and trying to keep up with blogging I haven't really had the time to join the gym and make sure I attend regularly, so I've been exercising at home to try and improve my fitness. This is my 'at home' routine that I've been following:-
  • Aerobic exercise DVD at least three times per week which lasts approximately an hour. I've been alternating between the Davina Fitness DVDs and the Ministry of Sound ones to ensure different muscles groups get worked and also to try and keep me motivated. If I do the same one over and over again I get bored and won't want to do it.
  • Squats every day  -  I started with 50 per day then increased by an extra 20 each day, doing up to a total of 200. I will have a bum like Kim Kardashian! (Okay, maybe not!)
  • Sit ups/planks/crunches every day  -  I find stomach exercises the most difficult but I'm trying to do between 50 and 100 every day to try and make my abs reappear! I don't think I'll ever have a washboard stomach but I do think it's getting a tiny bit flatter so I'm going to carry on with them.
  • Get outside and walk! Even just a short brisk walk can help towards achieving fitness goals so I've been getting outside whenever I can - a nice half hour walk on my lunch break at work, doing the evening dog walking duties (only when it's not raining though...she's such a diva and won't go out when it's wet), or if I'm feeling energetic, a short jog or run round my local area is a great way of burning off some excess calories.
(Here's the disclaimer bit - I must point out that I am in no way a fitness expert so I do not recommend that you follow this routine without first consulting a medical expert.)

Of course though, as a beauty and fashion blogger I still want to look good whilst I exercise (no, baggy old jogging bottoms and your husband's/boyfriend's t-shirt is not appropriate attire!) and that's why I'm loving the range from Ilu Fitwear at the moment. Founded in 2013 by two city centre high flyers, the idea for Ilu Fitwear came about over a chance cup of coffee in London. Sonya Morton-Firth and Mary Moran both had a passion for health, fitness and fashion and believed that all three should be combined to make women of all ages, shapes and sizes look and feel good - both on the inside and out. The brand is all about inspiring women and living a lifestyle which combines fitness, fun and everyday routines . Ilu Fitwear makes it possible to concentrate on getting fit without compromising on style. What I love about the range is that whilst you can wear it at the gym or exercising at home, it's also suitable for everyday life too. The 'Glam' collection on the Ilu website is full of sexy separates to make sure you're the centre of attention on a night out! 

I love this Pink Layered Vest* from the 'Chilled' collection. The material is quick drying and has a lovely silky feel to it. It's perfect for wearing over a sports bra for exercising in or layering over a black cami top to wear with skinny jeans for a more relaxed daytime look. You could even wear it just over your bra if you're daring enough  -  with some denim hotpants, sandals and statement jewellery this would be a perfect look for the beaches of Ibiza.

The whole range is really versatile and very wearable. Each piece can be styled in several ways and isn't just for sweating in! You can see all the Ilu collections online here

What do you normally wear to the gym or for exercising at home? Have you checked out Ilu Fitwear yet?

Monday, 25 August 2014

When The #IceBucketChallenge Took Over The Internet...

If you haven't heard of the #IceBucketChallenge yet - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?? Thousands of people are filming themselves being soaked with buckets of icy cold water and then posting it online - but why? Well, it's all in the name of charity and celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga are all getting involved.

It all started in Florida on 15th July when a man called Charles Kennedy was nominated by a friend to do an 'Ice Bucket Challenge'. At that particular time it was just for fun but Charles decided to donate money to ALS research (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease) after doing the challenge and he then nominated others to take part. It spiralled from there and in a matter of weeks the challenge has gone viral and taken over the internet!

In the UK people are taking part in the challenge to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and other smaller charities. In my home town just outside the centre of Manchester, people have been taking part and donating to the James McCarthy Foundation. James (the brother of an old schoolfriend of mine) has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour after beating the disease once already. He has created a 'bucket list' of things he wants to do before the illness beats him and the donations raised from the challenges are helping him to achieve his goals. What started off as a challenge between his friends soon reached celebrities like Gary Neville and Paul Scholes and now even Cristiano Ronaldo has done the challenge for James.

I think it's incredible how something so simple can raise a phenomenal amount of awareness and funds for such worthy causes. Back in March this year the 'No Make Up Selfie' raised millions for Cancer Research UK and now in just over one month the #IceBucketChallenge has raised around £14 million.

I really hope these types of challenges carry on going viral and raising more money so that charities can receive the funds they deserve.

Here's my challenge:

Have you done the #IceBucketChallenge? Which is your favourite celeb challenge video?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

No More Magazines??? Is Digital Better Than Print?

Last week I heard the news that after October this year Company Magazine will no longer be going to print and will be available online only. The first in what will probably be a long line of many, I don't think it will be too long before others start to follow. Everyone will have their own thoughts and opinions on it, but I can't help but feel a little bit sad. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

You Beauty Discovery Box August 2014 | 'Summer Essentials'

Last week I received my first You Beauty Discovery Box. A cute little yellow box landed on my doorstep and I couldn't wait to open it and see what goodies were inside. I don't know about you, but I feel like a child on Christmas morning when a beauty box arrives...the excitement and anticipation of what that perfectly wrapped up box beholds!

I signed up to You Beauty Discovery as I liked the idea of being able to pick two items yourself from a shortlist, but then you also get some additional surprises in each box. Plus, at only £6.95 per month it's an absolute bargain and a great way to try products and brands that you might not have used or heard of before.

Here's what I got in my August box:

The two products I chose from the shortlist were:

Louise Galvin Sacred Locks Treatment Mask 100ml

Louise Galvin (daughter of Daniel Galvin dontcha know!) has created a range of hair care products without all the added nasty chemicals which are absorbed into our bloodstream through the scalp (eeewww!). It contains a naturally modified form of honey along with wheat proteins and ximenia oil to ensure hair is nourished without creating build up. Having just coloured my hair, I can't wait to try this out.

MARSK Mineral Eyeshadow in 'Rich List'

Ooooh I do love a good shimmery eyeshadow! Anything that sparkles or glitters and I'm attracted to it straight away, and that's why this MARSK 100% natural mineral eyeshadow powder instantly caught my eye. On first look, this appears highly pigmented so I'm looking forward to creating some dramatic eye looks with this. I will be packing it in my suitcase for my holiday to Portugal in a few weeks as I think it will look great with a tan!

The additional surprise products were.....

A sample of Jimmy Choo Eau de Parfum

This is one of my favourite perfumes so this will be handy to pop in my handbag for an added spritz on the go.

A sample of Jimmy Choo MAN

This is one for my husband - he likes his aftershaves and this smells lovely!

A sample of FaceD 3-LURONICS Instant Effect Cream Serum

This product is something which I think will come in handy as I turn 30 in a few weeks and I want to keep the wrinkles and expression lines at bay for as long as possible!

A 4 way Nail Buffer

Maybe not the most exciting product to find in a beauty box, but I suppose they always come in handy . I'll be popping mine in my desk drawer at work for any nail emergencies throughout the day.

Overall I'm really impressed with my first You Beauty Discovery Box and I think it's a total bargain at £6.95 with postage included.

Do you subscribe to You Beauty Discovery? Which products did you choose from the shortlist?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Make Up Masterclass With Cassie Lomas & B. Make Up

Last week I attended a make up masterclass at Superdrug in Manchester with the super talented celebrity make up artist and B. Make Up Ambassador Cassie Lomas. I was honoured to be invited along to see such a successful professional in the action who has worked with stars such as Mel C, Holly Willoughby, Iggy Azalea and even Lady Gaga!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Didi's Boutique | A Fashion Lover's Paradise

On trend fashion.......tick
Affordable prices.......tick
Great customer service and style advice.......tick
Super friendly owners and staff.......tick

These are all things that I look for when shopping in local fashion boutiques and Didi's Boutique has it all and more. Oh, and did I mention that it has its own specially built catwalk?!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Button Earrings - Lymehouse Jewellery

Recently I attended the #MCRbloggersmeet and received some great products and samples to try out. I think this is a great way of discovering new brands and one thing I was really happy to find in my goodie bag was this cute pair of button earrings from Lymehouse Jewellery.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Top Ten Tag!

Jessica at Pretty Chit Chat has created this new tag which basically consists of the Top Ten Beauty Products you can't live without - one from each category. I think it's a great idea and I'm looking forward to reading more of these!


Copy and Paste everything in Bold

This Tag was made by Jessica Vannan at Pretty Chit Chat 

I was tagged by the lovely Lucy from Pretty Little Things & The Cotton City (link the person you were tagged by)

Tag who you would like to nominate:

My nominations are:

Lor from Miss LJ Beauty
Julie from Just Julie
Sian from Sian Marie Beauty
Katie from Gold Dust Blog

And anyone else reading who wants to join in!

Here goes...

1. Foundation

My favourite foundation is the MAC Studio Fix Liquid Foundation which I wear in shade NC25. I've been using it for about 6 years now and I love it as it gives me a good coverage and a matte finish.

2. Powder

I'm loving the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Pressed Powder at the moment - it gives a flawless finish and is a handy little compact that you can pop in your bag for any touch ups throughout the day.

3. Concealer

I use two different concealers so I'm going to cheat a little bit here and mention both (sshhh don't tell anyone!) I use the MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer to cover blemishes and the MAC Pro-Longwear Concealer for any dark circles under my eyes.

4. Blush

I really like No.7 Natural Blush Tint Powder in shade Coral Flush - it's a lovely deep coral/pink colour that suits my skin tone and it lasts all day.

5. Bronzer

I have a nice shimmery St. Tropez Bronzing Block which I like but I probably need to buy myself a matte bronzer - the Benefit Hoola Bronzer is on my wishlist!

6. Highlighter

I haven't found a highlighter I like yet. I have the No.7 Cream Highlighter Stick but I'm not sure if I'm that keen on it. If you have any recommendations please comment below!

7. Mascara

My absolute favourite mascara is L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes! I haven't found another mascara that compares to this yet - it gives my lashes so much volume and length.....I love it!

8. Eyeshadows

I don't tend to wear eyeshadow through the week for work but at weekends I like use my MAC eyeshadows. I don't really have a favourite shade, I like them all!

9. Brows

I have really sparse eyebrows that need filling in so finding a product with staying power is really important to me. At the moment I'm using Illamasqua Eyebrow Cake in shade Thunder and it's the best eyebrow product I've used so far. I prefer brow powder rather than a pencil as I think it gives more of a natural finish.

10. Lip Product

Oooh this is difficult! I do love my MAC Lipsticks in shades Brave Red and Vegas Volt, but I've just bought the YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in shade 19 which had been on my wishlist for ages! I think I'd have to say the YSL because it's a gorgeous colour and the casing is sooooooo pretty!

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers. If you do the tag leave me your links in the comments below so I can have a read!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Leighton Brown Vegetable Crisps

At the moment I'm trying to eat healthier and it's taking all my will power to resist my beloved bar of chocolate in the afternoon so I've been on the lookout for healthier snacks that are still tasty - that's where I discovered Leighton Brown vegetable crisps on Twitter. They were looking for bloggers to sample their range and kindly sent me three different flavours to try.

Leighton Brown products are made with natural products, contain no additives and are suitable for vegetarians. It aims to provide a little taste of affordable luxury with tonnes of flavour.

Parsnip & Manuka Honey*

The texture of these crisps are softer than normal crisps with a slight chewy texture which is obviously because they are made from parsnips. I could really taste the parsnips with a slightly spiced flavour and a subtle hint of sweetness from the Manuka honey. These crisps are gluten free and contain 192kcal per 40g bag. I really liked these and would choose them as a healthier snacking option. 

Beetroot, Horseradish & Dill*

This packet was my favourite out of all three! I could really taste the sweetness from the beetroot which was complimented well by the horseradish and dill. I'm not that keen on horseradish but the flavour wasn't overpowering and it was actually really nice. These crisps are gluten free and contain 202 kcal per 40g bag. I would definitely buy this flavour again, they are delicious!

Sweet Potato, Cheese & Jalapeño*

Out of all three packets these had the crunchiness texture, similar to normal crisps. This particular flavour won a Gold Star in the Great Taste 2013 Awards but unfortunately they were too spicy for me. I'm not a big fan of spicy foods so my taste buds weren't ready for these! I managed a few and could taste the sweet potato and the cheese but the heat from the jalapeños got the better of me! My husband really liked these though and finished off the bag, telling me that the flavours went together really well. This flavour is suitable for coeliacs and contains 196kcal per 40g bag. 

Overall I was very impressed with the quality and taste of Leighton Brown's crisps. I also love the retro packaging as it's bright, eye catching and displays all the information you need to know. I would definitely buy the Beetroot, Horseradish and Dill flavour - it was definitely my favourite out of the three. Big thumbs up to Leighton Brown for making healthy snacks that are still tasty.

For more info on the company and details of stockists go to the website

Have you tried Leigton Brown crisps before?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

[M]Botanicals Renewing Clay and Bamboo Cleanser

[M]Botanicals are a London based company that produces handmade natural and organic skincare. As you know, I'm all for natural skincare at the moment so it was great to discover another brand to try. Everything is made in small batches or individually to order to keep them as fresh as possible. No preservatives are added so all they contain are pure active ingredients.

I have combination skin so they recommended I try the Renewing Clay and Bamboo Cleanser*.

This product claims to brighten and revive tired skin and protect it from break outs. It's suitable for all skin types but is especially beneficial for oily and acne prone skin. The key ingredients are:

Kaolin Clay - a gentle exfoliant that is great for lifting out impurities and reducing inflammation.
Copaiba - has anti microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Andiroba - a skin conditioner with anti-inflammatory properties.
Acai - full of vitamins and minerals with a high content of antioxidants to fight against free radical damage.

I've used this now for approximately 4 weeks and I really like it. You just take half a teaspoon of the powdered cleanser in the palm of your hand, add a few drops of warm water so it turns into a foamy paste, massage into the skin using small circular motions then rinse off with warm water. It leaves my skin feeling clean, refreshed and soft afterwards. I've used cleansers with clay in them before and they've always left my skin feeling dry and tight, but the oils in this one moisturise my skin well and make sure it feels soft and supple. It feels like it's looking after my skin and giving it the nutrients it needs to renew itself. 

An 80g bottle costs £15.50 from and I think it's well worth the money. Although it hasn't stopped my breakouts altogether, I've noticed an improvement in my skin.

Have you tried a clay cleanser before? What did you think?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...