Things to pop on your Christmas wish list

Have you written your Christmas wishlist yet? After getting all my Christmas shopping out of the way, I've turned my attention to thinking about what I would like to receive myself. But if you're still not sure what to ask for, here are a few things that I've tried and tested recently, that I recommend go straight to the top of your wishlist.

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics Palette*

A sixth eyeshadow palette has been added to the Naked collection; Naked Ultimate Basics. It's bigger and better than the Naked Basics 1 & 2, with double the amount of matte, neutral shades to suit every skin tone and create a range of looks; from no-make-up-make-up to a sultry smokey eye.

Unlike the dinky Basics palettes before it, the Ultimate Basics includes an entire spectrum of neutrals ranging from a light cream (ideal for highlighting) through ALL the browns, to a gunmetal grey and matte black. Oh, and they're all totally new and exclusive. My go-to shade so far has been 'Extra Bitter', which is a very autumnal burnt orange. The shadows are of course of the same quality that we've come to expect and love from Urban Decay; buttery soft and blendable, intensely pigmented and budge-proof.

Also included is a fantastic little double ended brush. The larger end is dense and packs a dense colour onto the eyelid, while the smaller end is perfect for lining underneath the eye. I find I still need to use a fluffy brush for a final blend through, but as far as 'freebie' brushes go - this one's a winner.
£38.50 from Urban Decay

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick*

With Kat Von D cosmetics now available to buy in the UK, you can hope to find an Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in your stocking this Christmas morning! The cult status lipstick has a creamy formula that glides on easily, leaving behind a punchy pigment and matte finish that stays put all day. I have the shade Lolita (which is a dark brownish-nude) and it's totally smudge-proof - ideal for kisses under the mistletoe! Bow 'n' Arrow is the shade on my wishlist, but Santa Sangre would make the perfect festive red lip!
£16 from Debenhams

Paul Mitchell Holiday Gift Set*

There are ten different Christmas gift sets from Paul Mitchell this year; Make it Hydrated, Make it Vibrant, Make it Sleek, etc - each one addressing a different hair type or concern. Plus to embrace the Christmas spirit, every Paul Mitchell gift set supports Baby 2 Baby, a charity that provides essential items for children from low-income families across America.

I was kindly gifted 'Make it Brilliant' for blonde hair, which includes the Forever Blonde Shampoo, Conditioner & Dramatic Repair spray. The products contain KerActive protein blend to help restore and rebuild damaged bleached hair, leaving it stronger and softer, and keeps blonde hair looking fresh and bright.
£35 from Look Fantastic

Korres Wild Rose Advanced Repair Sleeping Facial*

This intense overnight skin treatment will help to make the most of your beauty sleep. It's a really thick cream that's infused with Wild Rose oil for a dreamy scent and super-speedy skin perfecting properties. After one use of this stuff, I woke up to find my complexion smoother, brighter and softer with reduced redness. Now I'm hooked and use it nightly, replenishing the moisture lost from winter weather and central heating, and my skin is thanking me for it.
£26 from Debenhams

Lush Rose Jam Body Wash

Living without a bath, I have to get my Lush fix without bubble bars and bath bombs so I love to try out all the different scented shower gels. My absolute favourite is Rose Jam - but as a limited edition at Christmastime, it's always a welcome gift under my tree! It's available in 500g and 1kg bottles for superfans who want to stock up, or little 100g bottles for those wanting to try out something new - but I guarantee you'll love it. It's rose scented, obviously, but with a sweet, sugary, turkish delight vibe.
£9.95 - £27.79 from Lush

The Body Shop Amazonian Acai Energising Radiance Mask

The Body Shop recently released a new range of face masks inspired by different beauty rituals from across the world, and I've been enjoying using the Amazonian inspired mask, which contains acai berries and energises tired and dull skin. The mask is a jelly-like texture, with seeds for gently exfoliating the skin to leave it smooth. It has a juicy, invigorating scent and is cooling on the skin, which perks up the skin leaving it radiant and illuminated. I've been applying it with a Real Techniques foundation brush, which creates an at-home spa feel. The Body Shop have their own facial mask brush which, together with one of these masks, would make a lovely Christmas present!
£15 from The Body Shop

Oasis Dreamer Sweater

Oasis is my favourite shop, and lounging is my favourite thing to do - so obviously Oasis's new loungewear range was bound to be a hit with me! I picked up a couple of things (all so soft and snuggly) but my favourite is this whistles-esque slogan sweatshirt with DREAMER embellished in silver studs and rhinestones. It's quite a thin yet snuggly fabric, and I ordered a size up for a baggier fit.
£36 from Oasis

YSL Black Opium*

If you're looking for a new perfume for Christmas, make sure it's YSL Black Opium, the perfect warm and sultry scent for Autumn & Winter. It's a deep, heavy feminine fragrance, blending pretty florals and musky vanilla with a kick of coffee, housed inside a black glittery bottle. This scent is perfectly paired with a vampy red lip and black velvet for a wintery night out, but just as lovely spritzed onto your favourite cosy jumper during the day.
£47 - £87 from Debenhams

Neal & Wolf embrace gift set*

The Embrace gift set includes haircare essentials that provide a daily dose of luxury. Ritual shampoo & conditioner are gentle enough for daily cleansing, containing milk proteins & silk to leave hair smooth and soft, but the high-end packaging and unique Neal & Wolf scent, that was developed especially for the brand by a world-class perfumery, gives that touch of indulgence. Also included in the set is a heat protection spray, which locks in moisture and protects from 220° heat styling.
£24.99 from Born Haircare

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Secret Santa for him & for her

If you really want to wow your colleagues with your Secret Santa gift this year then look no further!

Nobody wants to give (or receive) a boring, generic present; socks, smellies, chocolates or booze... meh, thanks, wasn't expecting that. Joke presents are even worse, you can't even get any use of out them!

But to find a really great Secret Santa gift, that's sure to bring a smile to their face, for under £10, is no easy task. It needs to be something a bit quirky or different, something with a bit of thought behind it, and something that they'd have never bought for themselves. And that's what I've tried to pull together in this gift guide... happy shopping, and let me know in the comment's what you buy for your Secret Santa!

Secret Santa Ideas For Him

SHOP: one. two. three. four. five. six. seven. eight. nine. ten

Despite having a higher male to female ratio in my family, I suck at buying Christmas gifts for men. So, I got Rich to take over and select ten things for under £10 that he'd like to receive as a Secret Santa present... (this may come in useful for my Christmas shopping too!).

  1. Shine Bar (which you can read his review on here) for a different and eco-friendly hair washing experience. 
  2. Swordfish bottle opener for cracking open the beers on the beach. 
  3. A cocktail making book to become an expert mixologist in time for New Years Eve. 
  4. Sea Salt & Millionaire's Shortbread Truffles for a luxury treat that he'd never buy for himself. 
  5. A set of copper collar stiffeners to keep his work shirts looking crisp. 
  6. An enamel mug for taking on outdoors adventures/ drinking tea on the sofa whilst watching adventures on the Discovery channel. 
  7. A Pull & Bear fragrance in a handy travel-friendly bottle. 
  8. A grow your own chilli kit for a homegrown spicy kick. 
  9. A multi-tool keyfob for always being prepared.
  10. A 3-in-1 lens for his iPhone, to capture close ups, landscapes (or group selfies) and 180 degree fish-eye lens. 

Secret Santa Ideas For Her

SHOP: one. two. three. four. five. six. seven. eight. nine. ten

  1. Surely, any girl would like her eggs in the morning served up in these adorable Pusheen egg cups! 
  2. Korean skincare brand TONYMOLY's bunny lipsticks are quirkily cute and each shade has a different bunny face to suit every personality. (I'd totally get the red angry one for my friend Holly who would hate everything else on this list!) 
  3. Wine + Unicorns = winning at Secret Santa. 
  4. Chocolates might be a boring Secret Santa gift, but these Pink Champagne truffles are something special.
  5. A new make-up bag is always welcomed, and this sweet, simple design by Amelia is just lovely. Lots of different colours and shapes available too, depending on your budget.
  6. The Pixi Glow Tonic is a cult favourite amongst beauty bloggers and a product I rate highly. Being suitable for all skin types it's ideal for Secret Santa, and this festively packaged 100ml bottle is only £10. 
  7. Anything personalised shows a bit of effort has been put in, and these gorgeous gold monogrammed mugs are lovely (psst.. they're on 3 for 2 too!) 
  8. It's Skin Babyface Petit Highlighter is just the cutest thing and will surely be a real joy to open. I also love the kitsch powder puff that comes inside. 
  9. A (fake) flowering cactus for prettying up her desk
  10. A WetBrush hairbrush is a life-changer, and the midi size is perfect for popping in your handbag so she can be tangle-free on the go.

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Learning about A/W Hair trends & The Shine Bar

Shine Hair & Beauty in Gloucester Street is my regular hairdressers, so I was pretty excited to find out that owner Jonathan was launching his very own product range, starting with the Shine Bar. To launch the bar, Shine hosted a bloggers evening in the salon, where I went to find out a little bit more about the salon over a glass or three of prosecco. But first we heard from Steven East, one of Shine's stylists, about his two favourite hair trends this season; wet look and knot braids.


The sleek and shiny, slicked back wet look is popular with almost all of the Kardashians, but it's a high-fashion hairstyle that can actually work on us mere normal people too. I can see this looking super chic with a plain black dress for a night out or Christmas party, and it's really easy to do. You start by adding some volume to the roots of your hair with a backcombing brush and some volumising spray, then slick it straight back using a paddle brush to gently smooth the top layer of the hair, and apply a little pomade to the roots to add a high shine. Steve recommends staying away from oil-based products, as they can make the hair look greasy, rather than wet. He used the Aveda brilliant pomade, which creates a mirror shine. The lengths of the hair are left loose - straight, curly or wavy depending on the look you want to achieve! And that's it!


While french, fishtail and waterfall braids have been done to death all summer, knot braids are a refreshing take for the winter months. They're quite easy to do (I think!) and add some interest to a simple ponytail or hair down. It's similar to French braiding, but simpler because you're working with two sections of hair instead of three. You start by taking two small sections of hair from close to the hairline, and tying them in a knot. Then pick up some more hair from each side to add to each existing section, and tie in a knot, and continue doing this down the braid. I've found the trick is to keep the knots pulled tight whilst you're braiding, and then mess it up a little once it's done and secured in place. Steve completed the look with a bit of a beehive pulled into a low, messy pony finished off with a knot covering the band.

Then he did some knot braids on me! And I've been doing them on myself ever since...


So, on to the reason we were all there: to unveil the Shine Bar! The bar of professional quality shampoo, made with quinoa (packed with proteins that deeply nourish the hair) and lemon & ginger, for a fresh and zingy scent. It's ideal for use on shorter hair, so I've given mine to Rich, and you can read his full review here.

However, it can still be used on longer hair too, and as it's so convenient for travelling, or popping in your gym bag, I'm sure I'll be stealing it back from him at some point. I must say, his hair felt incredibly soft and smelt lovely and fresh after he used it, so I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

The bar itself is shaped like a pebble from Brighton beach - which is ideal really because, not only is the bar locally made, but echoes the value of our very 'green' hometown; natural ingredients, not tested on animals, and zero waste - even the packet is biodegradable.
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Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation

Everyone looks good by candlelight, and Laura Mercier's newest foundation formula aims to bottle that oh-so flattering glow. Housed in a frosted glass bottle and infused with with radiant pearl mica and lightweight oils, it's pure luxury to use. Available in an extensive 23 shades, I matched with 'Buff', which is so close to my own skin tone that it looks like I have no make-up on - just really, really great skin.

The Candleglow Soft Luminous foundation has a light to medium coverage, which is my preference when it comes to foundations as I prefer sheer, natural finish. It won't mask large blemishes or spots (so maybe not the best choice of foundation at that time of the month or after a junk food and Netflix binge) but it does subtly even out skin tone, cover small imperfections and add a beautiful soft radiance to the skin. In this photo, I have got a stinking cold and the worst skin I've had in months, so you can see that it does give the skin a healthy glow and improved complexion, so just imagine how good it looks on good skin days!

It's the radiant-pearl mica powder in the formula that gives the foundation its luminosity, reflecting the light and giving a muted glowy finish. The formula is also blended with oils to lock in moisture and purified water for hydration, it's does good for the skin too, leaving it soft and smooth as well as with a flattering, lit-from-within glow.

The creamy liquid formula buffs into the skin seamlessly, and I find I get the best finish with a beautyblender or my bareMinerals Smoothing Face Brush. On my skin (normal skin type) the foundation sits well and lasts the majority of the day. However, due to the oil blend, it can slip a little, particularly if I get a bit sweaty, or around my nose where I'm a little oilier - so I wouldn't imagine this foundation suit anyone with oily skin. I usually pop on a bit of powder to my T-zone to touch up - this does mattify the glowiness a tiny bit, but takes off any shine around my nose and keep the foundation in place for the rest of the day.

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Satchels & Embroidered Blooms

Autumn fashion is my favourite; I somehow always feel so much more stylish and comfortable in my A/W fashion choices. So even though the weather is still giving us some beautiful sunny September days, I couldn't wait any longer to start putting together my Autumn Winter wardrobe. 

My first and so far favourite piece that I've picked up for the new season is this beautiful jumper from Oasis. With a frilly neckline and floral embroidery on the chest and sleeves, it's bang on trend - and very 'me'. It'll be easy to dress up (with a pair of heels and some bold lipstick) and down (with my black slip-on trainers and minimal make up) for every occasion. It also comes in a cream colourway, which is very tempting - especially as I have an Oasis store card! 

For wondering around the lanes one afternoon with my friend Holly, I paired it with a black corduroy button down skirt and a statement Western style belt to cinch in my waist. I didn't like my choice of shoes for this outfit in the end (metallic rose-gold pointed flats) so I left them out of the photos - I think some black, heeled ankle boots would have worked better, but it was too warm for boots! 

We spent a while admiring the bags in the Cambridge Satchel Company boutique in Brighton and I fell in love with this dusky rose saddle bag. It looks so lovely with the pink tones in the jumper's floral detail, but while my mind said yes, unfortunately my bank balance said no. The Brighton Cambridge Satchel Company is no longer an outlet store, as it was when I bought my Cloud bag, meaning sadly no more bargains - but, more chance of finding exactly what you're looking for! 

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Kat Von D Beauty (and win a lipstick!)

It’s finally here! No longer will we have to force detailed lists of Everlasting Liquid Lipstick shades into the hands of any unsuspecting colleague/family member/random friend’s cousin travelling to the States - Kat Von D Beauty has finally arrived in the UK! The entire range is now available on and in selected Debenhams stores 🙌🏼

I’ve never tried any Kat Von D products before, but of course I’d heard incredible things, so I was super excited to get my hands on some products as soon as they launched in Debenhams. But I was even more excited when a HUGE box of Kat Von D Beauty arrived on my doorstep - a complete surprise, and the best blogger mail I have ever received, that’s for sure.

Inside is a note from Kat herself (OK, not personally addressed to me but let’s pretend) saying that the box contained her all-time favourite products from her make-up collection. 

Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita 

Perhaps the most famous product in Kat’s range, and I can tell you - it is worthy of the hype. A lovely creamy consistency glides on to the lips with a punchy colour pigment that’s opaque in one coat. The liquid lipstick dries matte, but feels invisible on the lips - it’s not at all drying like matte lip products can sometimes be. The lipstick really does have incredible staying power, staying perfectly in place for hours, throughout eating and drinking. It’s totally smudge proof - it doesn’t even come off on to your cup! 

I feel like Lolita is the signature shade - it’s the one I’ve heard raved about the most, and supposedly Kat’s favourite. It’s meant to be a 90’s brownish nude, although it’s a little too dark for me and is more of a rusty, berry shade against my skin tone. I quite like the vampy look though!

Tattoo Liner

I’m seriously impressed with the Tattoo Liner for two reasons. It’s a ‘felt tip pen’ style, which personally I find the easiest to hold and control, and the ultra fine, pointy nib allows you to get right into the inner corner of the eye, create super sharp, clean lines and a perfectly pointy flick. 

Secondly, it really just doesn’t budge - it really does live up to the ‘tattoo’ quality of it’s name! I tend to have horribly watery eyes and end up getting my liquid liner smudged into my eyelid most days, but the tattoo liner is seriously 100% smudge proof. It can withstand my watery eyes, 15 hours of wear, and even a sweaty Zumba class, and still come out looking (almost) freshly applied. 

Light & Shade Contour Palette & Brush

The Light & Shade palette and brush give seriously sculpted cheekbones - the contour shades are deep and pigmented enough to really give the appearance of chiseled cheeks, (not just a flimsy hint of shadow) but the buttery soft powder formula blends in so well that you'll never be left with a harsh streak down your face (as I find with creams). Meanwhile the matte highlight shades lift the cheekbones and brighten areas of the face that naturally catch the light. I do love me a shimmery highlight - but sometimes you just want a subtle radiance without any sparkle. 

While I am mega impressed with the formula, I'm not really too sure why the palette includes three shades. I've only been using the shades on the left, and these are quite bold enough, so I can't imagine ever needing the darker shades. Likewise, someone with darker skin would never need to use the lighter tones, so it doesn't make sense to me to have all these shades in one big palette - it would've been better to sell three tones of light and shade duos in a compact.

The matching double ended Light & Shade brush, which comes in a protective storage case, has a 'light' highlighter brush on one end, and an angled 'shade' contour brush on the other end. The bristles are super soft and luxurious, and it works in perfect harmony with the product. It picks up just the right amount of powder and makes easy work of seamlessly blending the shades in. 

Studded Kiss Lipstick in Magick

Housed in a case that reminds me of those studded belts we all wore throughout our teenage emo phase, the Studded Kiss lipsticks are a soft, silky and shimmery alternative to the Everlasting Liquid mattes. I love the shade Magick, a pretty girly pink with a touch of sparkle. Despite the glitter, it does make a gorgeously glossy day time shade, as the glitter is so fine that it just adds a pretty sheen rather than a full on sparkle. 

The box contained two of the shade Magick, I'm not sure if this was a mistake or not, but either way - no matter how pretty, I don't need two, so I thought I'd give one away to one of my lovely readers! Enter below to win! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you treated yourself to anything from Kat Von D at Debenhams yet? What do you love the look of?

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Kiko Neo Noir Collection

KIKO have recently launched Neo Noir - a luxe, limited edition collection with a sexy and sophisticated vibe. The products have a feminine yet vampy colour palette; navy, emerald and berry tones combined with with girly pale pinks and soft browns.

The sleek packaging, designed by Ross Lovegrove, is inspired by the drape of velvet curtains and, to me, has a sultry 1940's boudoir vibe.

The Neo Noir collection launched last week, and I went down to the Brighton KIKO store to take a look at the range in more detail. There's nail polishes, eyeshadow crayons and an amazingly creamy contouring duo, which I think will be one of the collection's standout products. I had to leave that behind as I'm still hooked on my Smashbox contour palette, but did walk away with a few of my favourite picks.

Enigma Lipstick in Typography Pink

I loved the beautiful soft rosy pink shade of this lipstick, and the lovely, longlasting glossy sheen finish it has. The waxy, balmy formula feels really comfortable to wear with a silky consistency that's more like a lip balm than a lipstick - ideal for the colder months .

The packaging is quite clunky and heavy, but it feels of a nice quality to use and has a magnetic lid that snaps on in that satisfying way.

Design Flower Enriched Highlighter

The Neo Noir collection blushers, bronzer and this pale gold highlighter are creamy powders enriched with petal extracts, that make them really soft and melt into the skin. The duo-tone highlighter has a deep and pale rose gold shimmer that looks gorgeous on the cheeks for a nice change from blusher. I think I'll be using it daily throughout the next few months for a warm, autumnal glow to my skin.

Skin Modernist 2-in-1 Foundation & Concealer in Warm Rose

This is a much heavier foundation than I would usually choose, but I loved the flawless finish of my skin after using it. It's a heavy coverage, but doesn't look at all cakey and is super easy and fast to apply and blend. It has a doe-foot applicator wand, which I've never seen on a foundation before, but it makes it so quick to apply product to the face; you can easily sweep a large amount over the forehead, cheeks and chin, or use the tip to dot product under the eyes or to spot-conceal flaws. A beauty blender (style) sponge buffs in the product like a dream.

As a concealer and foundation in one, it heavily covers up dark under eye circles and blemishes, as well as evening out the skin tone and leaving a porcelain matte finish. I wouldn't use this foundation every day as I like a much lighter base, but it's great for a bad skin day, or a 'full glam' look.

Neo Muse Eyeshadow Palette in Mahogany Silhouette

Finally, I picked up one of the the Neo Noir eyeshadow quads. There are two options available in the collection; a matte and a shimmer, and I went for the latter, as I preferred the warmer, autumnal shades. The eyeshadows are a cream-powder hybrid, meaning you get the blendability of a cream without the creasing. They're buttery soft to apply and the shades melt in to each other, making it really easy to get an ombré effect. It's really longlasting, and the shades can take you from day to night; I apply the lighter two shades in the day and then pop the compact into my bag to create a smokier look for the evening.

Have you tried anything from the KIKO Neo Noir Collection? What would you choose from my picks?

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Don't neglect your legs this autumn!

Hands up, how many of you are guilty for letting your legs go pale and unshaven, and your toes unpainted over the approaching colder seasons?

Yep, me too. But even when my legs are hidden away inside a pair of Primark super cosies, it just makes me feel so much better when I feel pampered from top-to-toe.

I've recently been sent the brand new Dorco Eve razor* to try, the first women's razor from Dorco who have been experts in men's shaving for over 60 years. The Dorco Eve is great at getting a really close and smooth shave thanks to it's six blades and unique 'brush finger' that raises the hair follicles. The blades are split across two bendable sections to make the razor contour to every curve, making it easier to shave places like knees and armpits. My favourite feature is the moisturising strip, containing Aloe, Vitamin E and Lavender, which soothes and calms any shaving irritation.

But the best part is the subscription service that Dorco offer. You can get a handle and four replacement blade heads delivered straight to your door as frequently as suits you, so you'll never get caught short with a blunt blade ever again!

It also makes me feel a million times better to maintain a golden glow, and especially so during this transitional season where you do still get the opportunity to get your legs out! The Beauty Shed in Hove offer luxury St Tropez spray tans for just £10, which is such amazing value. As well as the classic St Tropez shades, they've just introduced the new St Tropez Luxe Dry Oil too, which has added hydration and gives a really gorgeous sun-kissed colour. I'm sure they're the cheapest spray tan in Brighton & Hove, but you still get the salon experience (and an excuse to treat yourself to one of their homemade cakes while you're there too!). If you prefer a DIY tan, or don't live near a salon with such an affordable price list, I love the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Natural Bronzer gradual tanner. It smells like chocolate, gives a gorgeous natural bronzed tint to the skin and never goes streaky or patchy!

Finally, you can't forget about your feet! I love to use Lush's Pink Peppermint foot lotion to keep my feet soft, and always keep my toenails painted - Essie's Leggy Legend is my all time favourite Autumnal nail polish!
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Culottes & embroidered denim

I've been feeling stuck in a complete style rut recently; skinny jeans and a t-shirt, or an old, lifeless dress had become my daily uniform, and I'd started to feel really dull - inside and out. So, I thought I'd step way outside of my comfort zone and try something completely new. The result? ... Culottes! 

I saw these black, ribbed cotton culottes in Pull & Bear for £12.99 and after trying them on, I didn't really care what they looked like - they're SO comfy! I wore them to the office and felt smugly as though I were in pyjamas all day and nobody knew it. I'm not sure they're the most flattering piece on me (my calves look doubly as thick) but I think I'm working them?! Paired with a loose cami tucked in, and slip-on trainers, it makes for a laid-back (and super comfortable) outfit that looks a little more stylish than jeans and a stripy tee. 

I also treated myself to this fabulous embroidered denim jacket, that I just LOVE. It's from Oasis, and it's part of their collaboration with New York up cycling brand 'The Falls' - who revamp old denim with pretty and unique embroidery. I have barely taken this jacket off since it arrived - it can instantly add something special to even the plainest of outfits. I even chucked it on with a grey tee, leggings and my Nike trainers, no make-up and hair up in a bun, to take the dog for a walk, and I still felt pretty sassy! 

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Earn Your Roast Bootcamp on Hove Lawns

As much as I love my daily exercise classes at the gym, sometimes it's a shame to spend all my time stuck in a sweaty studio - especially when I live in such a beautiful place. There are always PT sessions and bootcamps going on along the seafront in Brighton and Hove, and one of the regulars on the scene is Emily Williams. She runs 'Earn Your Roast', offering transformation packages, personal training sessions and group exercise classes.

In an effort not to miss out on the last of the year's sun, I swapped my Wednesday evening Body Pump class for Emily's bootcamp on Hove Lawns. I went along with my gym buddy Lauren (well, I couldn't have left her at Body Pump on her own, could I?!) for some al fresco training in the late summer dusk!

We arrived on Hove Lawns early, and wondered up and down for a while trying to spot the Earn Your Roast team! Eventually we noticed a group of gym-kit-clad girls congregating, so we went over and joined them, and Emily arrived shortly afterwards. I immediately loved her, and hated her, at the same time - she is so naturally beautiful, she has amazing hair and the most insanely perfect body. JEALOUS. But she is also a really lovely and down-to-earth - the type of person that can just light up a room (or a patch of grass!) Talk about motivation - if working out makes me look and feel like she does, then I'm in!

This is Lauren :-) 
After a quick warm up, we started with some upper and lower body training. For upper body, we used these blue things (I don't know what they're called!) and did a push up, then swinging our legs through to the front to do a hip thrust (which was awkward as a group of weird men had decided to have a BBQ on a bench right in front of us) followed by a tricep dip. We did 10 reps of this, twice over. For the lower body conditioning, we grabbed a kettlebell and did single-armed row, curtsey squat and a side lunge.

Next, we moved onto some circuits and OH MY GOD these were hard! The first circuit was 20 squats, 20 jump squats, 20 split lunges, 10 kettlebell swings, a bear crawl, and a shuttle run. FIVE TIMES!!! Then we did another circuit of 30 (!) pushups, 30 toe touch things, something else (my brain had obviously given up on memory by this point), kettlebell rows and more running...  FIVE TIMES!!! I felt pretty rubbish that I struggled so much to be honest - I thought I was super fit, but the change of routine knocked me for six! It just goes to show how important it is to switch up your workouts - I can do an hour of Body Attack no problem (and Body Attack is pretty intense!), but ten minutes into circuit training and I was almost dead!

I really enjoyed being outside and having a sea view to accompany my workout, and Emily is a great trainer. She was really focussed on ensuring we had good form, and pushed everybody to their own limits.

Have you tried any outdoor bootcamps, or do you prefer to stay safely inside the gym?

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Rosie goes Rosé: Bleach London Super Cool Colour

What better excuse for experimenting with pink hair than dancing on a float in the Brighton Pride parade?! I love the pastel mermaid locks that are all over my Pinterest and Instagram feed, but it's not something I'd want to commit to full-time, so when I realised that Bleach London's Super Cool Colour washed out in 2 - 10 washes I thought I'd give it a go.

I wanted a vibrant candy-floss shade of pink, so I opted for the Rosé colour.

Having just had my highlights redone at Shine literally two days before, I was pretty anxious about the pink dye staining my hair, so I did some research. I saw the bad reviews on the Boots website were complaining that the colour washed out too quickly - but that's exactly what I wanted! 

To apply, I followed the instructions on the bottle: apply to towel dried hair, leave for 15 minutes and rinse out (without shampoo or conditioner). I slathered on about 3/4 of a bottle, and massaged it in like shampoo. I got a fairly even coverage, but I would apply it more methodically next time to ensure perfectly even colour. The warmth of my blonde underneath created a bit more of a salmony colour than the pastel shade shown on the bottle - but I really like it! 

I applied the colour on Friday evening, and popped down to the park to get these photos. On Saturday, I was up early to take part in the Pride parade. We were out in the sun from 9am, and by about 3pm the sun had pretty much bleached all the pink out of my hair. I couldn't believe when I looked in the mirror and my blonde hair was back to normal!

Although I wanted the colour to come out quickly, I wasn't quite ready to give up the pink so soon. So the next morning, I used the remaining quarter of a bottle on the ends of my hair for a dip-dye. This time, my hair was almost dry when I applied the dye, and the colour stayed put for much longer - it took about four washes to come out.

Have you ever experimented with pastel hair colours?

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06.08 - I dyed my hair pink and piled on the glitter for Brighton Pride! More pictures and a review of my pink hair dying experience coming soon!

06.08 - This is my friend Tara and me on our float! You can read more about our experience in the parade (and see a video!) on our work blog.

09.08 - Treated myself to the Bobbi Brown eyeliner brush to go with my longwear gel eyeliner. It's made application so much better! 

12.08 - Some lovely blogger mail from the guys Razors by Dorco! I'm going to be testing their new Dorco Eve razor, plus they sent me a Selfridges gift card that is burning a hole in my pocket! 

18.08 - Spent a lot of time looking after this little princess again, I'm now her official dog sitter <3  In fact, she is with me right now, sat on my feet snoring

21.08 - It took an entire afternoon to file my nails into an almond shape. The life of a beauty blogger is so exciting... pretty pleased with the result though! 

25.08 - Had the most delicious three-seafood salad at my mum's posh new gym. Crayfish, smoked salmon and prawns

25.08 - Can you spot Kitty hiding in the flower beds?!

31.08 - Loved working out on the seafront at one of Emily's #earnyourroast bootcamps! More info to come!

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Essie Gel Couture

Remember in my Debenhams Beauty Press Day round up, I mentioned these twisted (and slightly trippy) Dali-esque Essie bottles? And I had no idea what they were all about? Well, turns out, they're Essie's brand new gel polishes. Once they hit the shelves, I had to try them out, and added a peachy-nude shade "Sew You" and the gel top coat to my ever expanding Essie collection.

I decided to pair my new nail polish with a new nail shape, and spent a good chunk of last Sunday afternoon filing my nails into this almond shape. I think they look much chicer, and far more flattering, than my usual squovals - I'm pretty proud of my handy work, pardon the pun.

Anyway, the Essie Gel Couture polishes. What about them?

The bottle freaks me out, and it totally ruins my shelf of neatly lined up Essies. However, they are quite ergonomic - I'll give them that.

But freaky bottle aside, I'm in love with the Gel Couture formula which ticks all the boxes: opaque colour in one/two coats, curve hugging "1-second" brush, gel-like shine, long wearing and fast drying - with no UV lamp required. The top coat is specially formulated to work with the Gel Couture colour, to lock in shine and prevent chips for up to 14 days. I can't say my manicure ha lasted perfectly for 14 days, but maybe 7... Which is pretty good going for me.

My mum asked if I'd had a professional Shellac manicure when she saw them, so the shine really does replicate "real" gel. But, the Essie Gel Couture polishes are a fraction of the price of investing in gel manicure equipment/regular salon visits, takes half the time to do, and is removed easily with ordinary nail polish remover.

I've also used the top coat over regular Essie shades, which enhances their shine and longevity - so I'd definitely recommend picking up the Gel Couture top coat at least!

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Say 'Yes to Tomatoes' and Charcoal!

They're more commonly loved in ketchup, soup or Bloody Mary form, but it turns out tomatoes are are a wonder skincare ingredient too.

Why? They're rich in anti-oxidants, including Lycopene, which blocks any nasties from entering your pores - keeping the complexion clear. So that's why fruit & veggie based beauty brand Yes To has dedicated an entire product line to this super fruit.

The 'Yes To Tomatoes' product range pairs tomatoes with another skincare saviour - activated charcoal. I learnt from my recent juice cleanse that activated charcoal detoxes the digestive system, but I didn't know it's great for detoxing the skin too. The combination of tomatoes and charcoal work together in harmony to cleanse and protect the complexion.

Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser

At first, it feels odd to rub black stuff all over your face in order to clean it, but as soon as the product hits your skin, you forget all about the strange colour. The gel lathers up instantly into a freshly-scented, creamy foam, and contains natural jojoba spheres to gently exfoliate the skin whilst cleansing (plus they don't pollute the oceans like those nasty microbeads!)

The cleanser feels incredibly refreshing and leaves the skin feeling super clean, and surprisingly light - I suppose because it's been stripped from all those impurities that clog up your pores throughout the day. I can also notice a brighter and smoother complexion instantly.

But the downside of this cleanser is that the packaging is terrible! As the cleanser lathers up so nicely, you only need a really tiny amount at a time, but the bottle dispenses great big blobs of product - I always end up trying to 'suck' a bit back in! It's such a shame that the design of the bottle lets this product down, because otherwise it's a really lovely cleanser that smells and feels gorgeous and leaves skin visibly brighter and clearer after each use.

£8.99 from FeelUnique

Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask

For an even deeper cleanse, Yes To have combined this miracle duo of tomatoes and charcoal into an intensive mud mask. The mask has got a thick and creamy consistency that feels really luxurious and a spa-like scent, so you can sit back and completely relax for ten minutes whilst it works it's magic on the skin. 

The mask is pleasantly cooling and calming, it doesn't set too quickly or become 'tight', and washes off easily (although making a muddy mess on the sink!) 

I can tell that the activated charcoal really is removing all the gunk and grime from my pores, as I'll generally break out into (small and inoffensive) blemishes the morning after use. This is a good thing, as it's just the impurities escaping from my skin, and the blemishes don't hang around for more than 24 hours. The rest of my complexion is left bright, fresh and smooth - the addition of chamomile calms any redness and imperfections.

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