Smashbox Contour Kit

I’ve never really got the whole contouring thing. Controversial maybe, but the idea of caking on foundations in shades too dark for your skin tone, to create sharp, angular cheekbones just wasn’t doing it for me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I tried to love it and I tried it all - Sculpting palettes, Clinique chubby sticks, The Body Shop's Instaglow CC Creams - but I found the look far too harsh (and let’s be honest, 9 times out of 10 I ended up with that dreaded brown streak down each cheek). 

Having failed so drastically with a range of different cream/liquid based products, I’d lost all interest, but it turns out I’d just been using the wrong products all along. 

Killing time in Boots one lunchtime, I let the girl on the Smashbox counter loose on my face. I just wanted a bit of bronzer, but she insisted she’d teach me how to contour. Sceptical, but with nothing better to do, I agreed, and that’s when I saw it: the Smashbox Contour Kit (Contour Queen Kimmy K’s palette of choice, no less!) 

The palette has three dreamy powders (a contour, bronzer and highlight) that are the perfect shade for my skin tone, with a soft and buttery texture. But no matter how great a product, it’s useless without the right tool for the job, so I love that the kit also includes a dainty, fluffy, angled contour brush. 

The Smashbox lady showed me how to use the brush properly, using different angles for the different shades, and exactly where and how to apply the product for a soft, natural-looking contour. After she made one side of my face look about 10lbs slimmer, she passed me the brush to try the other side, and surprisingly - I did it! 

How to Contour with the Smashbox Contour Kit:

  1. Use the pointy tip of the brush to pick up some contour powder, tap off the excess (it’s pigmented so you only need a tiny amount) and delicately dust into the hollows of your cheeks (duck face compulsory). 
  2. Use the flat edge of the brush in the bronzer shade and apply just above the contour, blending the shades together for a softer effect
  3. Use the flat edge of the brush in the highlight (I’m a bit more liberal with this as I love a good highlight!) and sweep under the eyes and up the cheekbones. 
  4. Take the highlight underneath the contour shade to make the contour pop
  5. Using the pointy tip of the brush in the contour powder, apply a very very small amount either side of the bridge of the nose
  6. Highlight down the centre of the bridge of the nose and blend well.
  7. Lightly dust bronzer around the hairline and under the jawline
  8. Finish off with a little highlight on the middle of forehead and chin

And if you want to use blush too, just a small amount on the apples of the cheeks only! 

Also included in the kit is this handy guide to identifying and contouring different face shapes - I have a ‘heart shape’ face and find the steps above work perfectly on me, but different shaped faces will need to apply the product slightly differently for the best effect. 

The velvety soft powders blend together flawlessly and melt into the skin so you’re not left with any cakey-ness or harsh, angular lines - just a soft, glowy play on light and shade for killer cheekbones. 

Can you contour?

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LoveFit Cafe... guilt free, healthy takeaway burgers

As the saying goes 'You can't out-train a bad diet'. Even nine exercise classes a week (yep, that means two on a Saturday and Sunday) can't counteract my addiction to Deliveroo burgers... With a trip to Barcelona looming and the top button of my jeans close to bursting, I'm trying to cut back (again) on the naughty food at the moment, so Deliveroo adding the LoveFit Cafe to their site couldn't have come at a better time! 

LoveFit Cafe are a great option for gym-goers and those watching their weight, because their menu lists the calories, macros and even Weight Watchers points of every dish. Often when ordering from a restaurant, even when you try pick the healthiest choice, there are sneaky extra calories hiding in the sauce, or the cooking method, so it's amazing to be able to feel in control of what you're eating. 

In the LoveFit cafe itself, you can order pancakes, breakfasts, jacket potatoes, wraps etc but they're now Deliveroo-ing their burgers and 'Protein Platters' (essentially healthy Nandos - lean chicken and a side of your choice) all over Brighton! Ideal for when you want a healthy dinner that you don't have to cook... which for me is all the time. 

So last night I swapped my normal Saturday night takeaway for a LoveFit 'Surfer Burger'. I chose the Chicken & Bacon option; a naked chicken breast, garnished with with a rasher of smoked lean bacon, a slice of Emmental cheese and homemade BBQ sauce inside a Dr Zak's protein bun. with a rocket and parmesan side salad.

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Better late than never...

03.06 - Kitty came to stay! She may look all cute and adorable here with her little pink nose and her little pink paws, but she also knocked my MacBook off the table, woke us up for food every morning at 4am, and escaped out of the window! 

04.06 - The only sunny day of June (it feels like anyway) was spent lying in the park and painting my nails in Essie's Bikini so Teeny to match the sky. 

05.06 - Brunch with Laura from What Laura Did Next at Sugardough! This smashed avocado, feta and mind on sourdough bread was just glorious! 

06.06 - A girl can only own so many blue and white striped tops, so I got a yellow and white striped top instead!

10.06 - Beautiful seasonal posies in jam jars for sale outside Hove station. 

11.06 - Showing off my St Tropez spray tan and Essie 'Barbados Blue' pedicure

11.06 - I paid a visit to the revamped Beauty Shed - click here to take a look around. 

24.06 - Finally tried a Five Guys after my big work event in London (which is why I've been so distant from my blog this month!) It was SO worth it. 

30.06 - Fell in love with this little place around the corner. It's called 'Rose Cottage' so I think I'm destined to live there one day!

Follow me on Instagram: 

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A tour of The Beauty Shed

Regular readers will know all about my favourite little beauty retreat by now. But for those who don't I'll get you up to speed: The Shed is home to a physio clinc, a cafe, gift shop and beauty salon all under one roof, and is tucked away in a secret corner of Hove. 

But a lot has changed at The Beauty Shed since my last visit. Gel manicures, St Tropez Luxe Oil Spray Tans (for just a tenner!!) and an all-in-one facial/back/neck/shoulder/foot massage have all been added to the treatment menu, and there have been some major renovations going on - so let me show you around. Come on in....

The outside of The Shed has been transformed, and a welcoming shop front with French doors, potted plants and table & chairs has replaced the industrial garage door that used to disguise what lay behind it. 

There's a new, larger reception/cafe area that feels much more welcoming. Here's where you can pop in for a spot of lunch, or local workers can grab a mid-afternoon coffee and cake. I wish I worked nearby because I'd be having one of those Acai Smoothies for breakfast every day!

The Shed's interior is just dreamy, and luckily, all the items and artwork on display are available to buy. There's gorgeous kitchen & homeware from Garden Trading, nature-inspired art from Jarvis Weaver, Cakes in a Can and Scottish Fine Soaps. I bought my Mum the 'Au Lait' bath milk powder for Christmas last year and she loved it and the cute little milk churn tin it comes in! 

Also downstairs is the main gym, where Nikki Penny (the owner of The Shed) runs her physiotherapy sessions and rehabilitation clinic, and a small treatment room. When not in use for a sports massage, Georgie the beautician uses this room for spray tans. She offers a range of St Tropez tans, all for just £10 which is unbelievable value! I had the new St Tropez Luxe Oil which gives a really natural golden glow and has a nice citrusy scent. 

But it's upstairs that I love the most. There's a little chill-out area on the landing where the shopping temptation continues. There's cute Catseye cosmetics bags, Davines haircare, Bee Good and Green & Spring skincare. 

And then there's the Beauty Shed...

The Beauty Shed treatment rooms are homely and intimate, and you'll only ever be in there on your own (or with your friends) - so no annoying other people. There's just one beautician, Georgie, who is the loveliest, friendliest girl and so easy to talk to. No awkward 'hairdresser' conversations with her - she's very down to earth. All the treatments she offers are incredibly affordable, and if you choose from the 'A la Francais' menu, everything is just £10! 

I love The Beauty Shed's Essie manicures, but I'm so pleased that Georgie is now offering Gel nails too, for when you need something a bit more resistant! I chose a beautiful rose gold shimmer which looks amazing with my new golden tan! I also had a luxury pedicure, with a foot scrub, mask and finished off with Essie Barbados Blue (a metallic baby blue which I need to add to my collection! This happens every time...) 

I also tried out the new all-in-one massage; a 30 minute back, neck and shoulder massage using Green & Spring aromatherapy oils, followed by a 30 minute Green & Spring facial, and while the face mask is on I had a lovely foot massage. I love Green & Spring's skincare line, not only does it smell incredible but my skin always looks so radiant and fresh after using it. I want to buy the cleanser to take home, next time I'm in.

I recommend The Beauty Shed to literally everyone I know - it's a real hidden gem! If you're local, and you haven't been - seriously, what are you waiting for?! They're having an Open Day on June 22nd, so pop in for some skincare tips with Georgie and a bite to eat! (Find out more here)

Even if you're not local, but visit Brighton for day trips, I'd recommend you set a couple of hours aside for a little pamper sesh! You're not gonna get a gorgeous golden tan on Brighton beach...

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Juicytox: a four day juice cleanse

So, I've officially lost my mind and voluntarily signed up for a four day juice detox. For the next four days I'm going to be consuming only juice, lemon water and herbal tea. 

About Juicytox: 

Juicytox provide a range of juice cleanse programmes that provide the digestive system with an entire break in order to improve energy levels, clear skin, reduce bloating and improve the immune system. Their juices are made from the freshest fruit and veg, and are delivered to your door (by hand if you live in Sussex, or by courier to elsewhere in the UK) twice throughout the programme, to ensure optimum freshness. I'm doing the 'Premium Cleanse' which looks something like this:
8am - ginger shot
9am - Drop Veg Gorgeous (cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, pineapple, pear & lime)
11am - Bright Eyes (carrot, apple, orange, lemon & ginger)
1pm - Spicy Lemonade (lemon, lime, agave nectar, cayenne pepper & activated charcoal)
3pm - more Drop Veg Gorgeous
5pm - Sweet Beets (beetroot, pineapple, lemon, carrot & apple)
7pm - Almond Mylk (dates, cashews, vanilla, agave nectar, cinnamon & sea salt)
There are also 3 herbal teas to have throughout the day, including a night time tea to have before bed.

Why am I doing this to myself? 

Although I go the the gym every day, and eat well during the week, at the weekends I binge on junk food, and despite the amount of exercise I do, I've put on some weight. Going forwards, I'm going to make a conscious effort to hold back on the treats at the weekend and stick to just a cheat meal or two, and in order to do this I felt a detox was in order. I'm hoping the juice cleanse rid my body of those addictive additives and sugars, shrink my appetite, and kick start weight loss.

I write this on Monday evening, just about to eat my last solid meal until next weekend (quorn sausages, beans and peas - if you were wondering). I'm feeling a little scared; I'm worried my hanger will take over and I'll be a total bitch to my boyfriend and co-workers, I'm worried I won't be able to concentrate at work and I'm really not looking forward to taking four days off exercise. But, I'm looking forward to the boosted energy levels, the weight loss, and the Cashew Mylk - which actually sounds pretty yummy! 

Over the next four days, I'll keep a diary of how I'm getting on, and I'll post the results (complete with before and after pictures, eek). See you on the other side! 

Day 1: 

  • 8am ginger shot is actually quite nice and refreshing
  • 9am - first green juice down, tastes fine, but instantly waiting for the next one 
  • 1pm - I was expecting the black one to be the worst but it actually tasted really nice! Cloudy lemonade, can't taste the cayenne pepper or the charcoal (just a powdery texture)
  • Clock watching for next juice....
  • Beetroot one not too bad either!
  • Cashew Mylk is really nice as expected
  • Conked out at 7.30pm (watching my online lecture, oops. Got to catch up on that now!)
  • Woke up at 10pm to drink my night time tea and watch Made in Chelsea
  • Slept through until 7.30 like a baby. 

Day 2:

  • Walked to work as normal, feeling well rested and energetic
  • I was told to expect caffeine withdrawal headaches, but I feel fine.
  • I take back that the beetroot one isn't that bad. It's rank.
  • Came home to find my second batch on the doorstep. Oh joy...
  • My mum's cat (that we're looking after) escaped out of the window. I felt sick and shaky with worry and absolutely physically exhausted chasing her around the garden until 11.30pm.
  • Cat back safe and sound. Fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. 

Day 3:

  • Again walked to work feeling fine - was worried I'd have no energy for my daily uphill powerwalk!
  • Colleagues say I look radiant and glowing!
  • I'm not hungry, but this is just really bloody boring.
  • I swear these juices are tasting worse by the day. The orange one just made me gag. 
  • More compliments on my glowing skin! Woohoo!
  • The beetroot one is TRULY horrendous. 

  • Am I thinner yet? 
  • Fell asleep at 7.45. Missed the end of Eastenders, boo. 

Day 4: 

  • It's Friday, got MJ on the iPod and wearing a black pinafore dress that was too tight last week! Feeling prettyyyyy great. 
  • Can't wait until tomorrow - Zumba and food!
  • Quite enjoyed my last Black lemonade, but can't deny I'm pleased it's the last one.

  • Detested my last beetroot juice. THANK GOD THAT'S OVER. 
  • Lunch time trip to M&S Food Hall to stock up for the weekend! Pesto pasta baby!!!! Woop woop!
  • I had my Cashew Mylk at 7 to finish the programme, but really worried about fainting at the gym tomorrow - I'm booked in to Zumba and Body Sculpt at 9am, so at about 9pm I had a tiny slice of toast, a few carrot sticks and humus for a bit of energy. Does that count as cheating? Nahhhh!

Juicytox Results:

Inch loss

Let's be honest, inch loss was what I was hoping to get out of this. I've lost 5 inches in total over four days, 3 of which came off my hips, which is my target area so that's great! My face also looks much slimmer, and in these pictures (although my head is at a slightly different angle) you can see I've lost a few chins! I just hope these inches stay off now I'm back on to eating solid food.


Unfortunately I think the detox had the opposite effect on curbing my cravings. Not eating for four days, I have been daydreaming about pizza, cheese, bread, crisps, burgers... but I don't want to put those inches back on. This morning I had scrambled eggs and avocado on toast (OK, it was cheesy bread, but I just had to!) to perk me up for getting back to the gym (which I really missed!) and a vanilla protein shake afterwards. I'll try to keep a healthy diet, but the detox hasn't made this any easier than usual.


I've been blessed with good skin naturally, and personally can't see much difference, but my work colleagues and boyfriend have all complimented how 'well' and radiant I look.


In the days of the cleanse, I felt fine - probably more perky than usual to be honest, and no mood swings! But in the evenings, I fell asleep really early. I'm writing this on Saturday morning, after two gym classes, and I still feel quite full of energy and ready for a productive day of blogging. Quite often after a double session, I feel exhausted and just want to watch TV and chill all day, so I hope this buzz lasts!

Final thoughts...

Overall, my juice cleanse was a fairly positive experience, although a boring one! I wasn't hungry, moody or lightheaded... I felt energised, and I lost some weight (whether it stays off is a different matter... but I guess that's up to me!).

I'm disappointed at how much I am now craving all the naughty savoury food, because I was hoping to finish the programme as a lover of a clean, healthy diet - but I guess I just love food too much!

However, I do think the cleanse will kick start a healthier diet for me overall (after a few little treats this weekend!) because I am inspired by the inch loss, and want to carry on slimming down into last summer's playsuit (this one!) which is now a little tight!

Have you ever done a juice cleanse? Would you want to?

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05.05 - Went for a lunchtime Benefit Brow Wax to get my free gimme brow and raise some money for Look Good Feel Better and Refuge. I wish Benefit hadn't changed the packaging of gimme brow and Brow Zings though - I prefer them as they are!

08.05 - The first proper summer's day of the year! Spent it sunbathing in Preston Park rock gardens.

14.05 - Took my Nanna for a Boho Gelato on the pier, despite it being freezing! She wanted to see the sea! I had 'Nutellesque' and it was gooooood.

15.05 - Went for a cheeky cocktail at the Speigeltent. I love Brighton when the Fringe and Festival are on!

22.05 - I love the Make Up Forever Excessive Lash Mascara! It fans, lengthens and separates lashes and keeps them in place ALL day. 

25.05 - Bought this amazing pineapple t-shirt from Oasis! You just can't be sad when you have gold pineapples on your t-shirt!

28.05 - My favourite post-workout smoothie: Vanilla Protein World Slender Blend, mango, raspberry, almond milk and almond butter. Mmmm...

29.05 - Trying out Brighton's new Franco Manco sourdough pizzeria, c/o Rosie Posie's Puddings & Pies twitter competition that I won! It's absolutely incredible, the best pizza I've ever tried by far!

30.05 - The night before starting a four day juice cleanse! Eek! Stay tuned to the blog to find out how I got on!

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Real life instagram filters?

Ah Instagram, and their wonderful filters that smooth, perfect and illuminate our skin, and transform even the most unflattering of pictures into model shots... wouldn't it be great if you could apply Lark, Juno or Mayfair to your face in real life every morning?  The Body Shop's new trio of Instaglow CC creams* aim to do just that. 

Available in three shades, Bright Glow for fair skin, Peachy Glow for fair/medium skin and Warm Glow for dark skin, the CC creams minimise the appearance of pores, illuminate the complexion, and provide hydration and sun protection (SPF20). They do give a hint of coverage, but I mean a hint. I like a very light coverage with my foundation anyway, but used alone the Instaglow creams aren't enough, even for me. The Body Shop suggest that these work well as a primer, underneath your foundation, but I've preferred mixing them with mine. Mixed with my Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Gel, the creams just add a light-reflecting (not shimmery!) 'filter-like' glow, tinted with either bright, peachy or warm light. 

These aren't like foundations, where you have to find an exact shade match; the shades are a little more universal, and you can pick and choose which one to use for the type of effect you're going for that day - just as you would pick different Instagram filters. 

For my light skin,  I've been able to get away with using the Bright Glow and the Peachy Glow all over my face; bright for a fresh and illuminated finish, and Peachy for a warmer, 'candlelit' glow. I tried using Warm Glow as a bronzer, but it was just too dark for me. 

However the shades will work differently with different complexions. I think medium/olive skin tones would be able to get away with using all three shades for highlight, foundation and contour. 

I'd describe these kind of like a liquid version of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - different shaded 'filters' to provide a subtle, lit-from-within glow in a tint that suits the particular vibe you're going for. 

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The Products You Need This Summer

Well a few weeks ago we had a summer's day. Hopefully that's not all we're getting this year, as I've already stocked up on two pairs of sunglasses and a beauty haul ready for those sunny days. Here are the products I'm rating for summer (so far...)

1. O&M Surf Bomb

Salt spray is a summer time necessity, and I'm in love with Original & Mineral's Surf Bomb; it beats both bumble & bumble's surf spray and surf infusion by a mile. I guess nobody can do surfer hair better than the Australians! Applied to wet hair, it subtly enhances the hair's natural wave, and adds sexy texture and movement without a matte finish or any 'crunch'. For full-on mermaid waves, I sleep with my hair in french plaits, and then spritz in the Surf Bomb in the morning to add extra definition and hold.

£19 from Space NK

2. Urban Decay Beached Bronzer

Blue skies and palm trees on the outside, and a buttery soft bronzer on the inside; this little compact is possibly the cutest summer launch of 2016. The shade sun-kissed gives a subtle warm glow that looks totally natural, thanks to the matte finish, and the silky, finely-milled powder blends beautifully into the skin.

£20 from Debenhams

3. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Sunscreen

Hawaiian Tropic win at sun cream every time. That tropical fragrance is just summer encapsulated, isn't it? Their new 'air soft' formula is lightweight and non-greasy, absorbing into the skin quickly to avoid any sticky/sandy situations! As well as providing you with whatever level of sun protection you need (it comes in SPF 15, 30 or 50), the cream also contains silk proteins that leave the skin silky soft. 

4. Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist

A hydrating facial mist is a godsend in a heatwave, especially when it smells as delicious as this one from Jurlique. I love to use it throughout the day to refresh and hydrate my skin, and take a little moment of luxury. 8,000 rose petals go in to each bottle of Jurlique's Rosewater Balancing Mist (which are hand picked from Jurlique's farm in the Adelaide Hills of Australia), and provide the skin with a wealth of soothing, softening benefits.
£18 from LookFantastic

5. Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

I go on about this all the time, I know, but it needed to be mentioned in this post as it's practically made for the summer months; with a built in SPF 30, a lightweight gel texture, and a formula packed with nourishing, hydrating ingredients. Coverage-wise, it's somewhere in-between a tinted moisturiser and a foundation, giving a sheer cover and a dewy glow.
£26 from BareMinerals

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Haircare for hard water

Living on the South coast of England, we have 'hard water', meaning it has a higher mineral content than water in other parts of the country. Water that's rich in minerals might sound like we have a spa treatment freely available on tap, but unfortunately not; the minerals in hard water create a barrier that prevents moisture from entering the hair, resulting in dry, dull and tangly hair.

But those living in soft water areas (the North, Scotland, Cornwall) don't get off scot-free either. Soft water affects the hair in a different way, often leaving it looking limp and greasy.

Thankfully, some brainiac biochemists have created Area H2o; a range of haircare products that work with the different water types, combatting the effects that mineral deposits have on the hair.

I've been testing out the shampoo* and conditioner* for hard water, and for coloured hair in particular. Usually my hair is super frizzy, dry and dull when I first wash and dry it. I always need to add some kind of serum to give it some shine and tame the frizz. But the first time I washed my hair with Area H2o, I couldn't get over how sleek and shiny my locks were, just after a rough dry. Now, I'll be honest - Area H2o is not the most glamorous or luxurious looking product in the world, it's a bit too 'scientific' for me, and it's not something I'd be drawn to on the shelf. But the results blew me away; it really does work.

Does your hair suffer due to your local water type?

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5 bad beauty habits that I'm totally guilty of

As a beauty blogger, people sometimes think I must do everything by the book. But we're ALL guilty of committing beauty crimes; the lazy ones, the gross ones and the downright weird ones...

1. Biting/peeling off my nail varnish

I've started doing this quite recently and I don't know why, but there's something so satisfying when you peel off a whole nail in one go! And once I've done one, I can't stop until I've taken it all off. Then I end up with little colourful piles of nail varnish on my desk/arm of the sofa. Gross. 

2. Wearing make-up to the gym 

I don't put make-up on to go to the gym, but on the days where I go straight from work, I always end up sweating out in a full face of make up. You'd think I'd learn my lesson when I bumped into an ex with mascara down my cheeks looking like the the fifth member of KISS.

3. Neglecting my neck and décolletage 

I'm totally going to end up with a baby face and a turkey neck if I don't start remembering to include my neck and décolletage in my skincare routine!

4. Not washing my make-up brushes enough

Oh it's just such a chore, isn't it?! As if we don't have enough to do...I probably wash my brushes once a month.... Ok, once every two months. But I use mainly powder products, so it's not tooooo bad, right?

5. Forgetting heat protection all too often

To be honest, I think it's just that I haven't found a product that I like. Heat protection hair products I've tried in the past have left my hair sticky/a nasty smell/crunchy - not that that's a valid excuse. Any recommendations for a heat protection spray I'll actually want to use?

What bad beauty habits are you guilty of?

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Go To Everyday Make Up

My base products remain the same pretty much all year round (Complexion Rescue Gel and Mineral Veil, both by Bare Minerals which are amazing and you can read all about here) but I like to switch up the rest of my make-up bag every month or so. Recently I've been loving these products for a bright and bronzed go-to look... 

On my Face... 

I have the Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Sun-Kissed (the lighter shade of the two available) which gives me just a subtle hint of colour. It's a matte finish, providing a natural-looking healthy glow. Then, to make my cheeks pop just a little bit, I add a little Benefit Dandelion blush. It's a sweet and subtle ballerina pink shade with a hint of shimmer that brightens the complexion. I actually like to use the square Benefit Box O' Powder brush for softly contouring the bronzer into the hollow of my cheeks, and then use a big fluffy blush brush by Real Techniques for bronzing my forehead and neck, and for my blush.

For the brows...

With this look, I've been favouring a more natural brow, and swapped my Brow-Zings for Benefit's Gimme BrowThe volumising fibres in the tinted gel thicken the brows and fill in any sparse patches, while the gel tames any unruly hairs and adds a natural tint. While I love Benefit's Brow-Zings for a dramatic look, it can look a little 'too' perfect and harsh. Gimme Brow gives more of a 'fluffy' natural looking but groomed brow.

On the eyes...

Under the eyes, I've been using Bare Minerals BareSkin brightening concealer which features mineral optics to reflect the light and combat dark circles, along with the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil* in the pearlised skin-coloured shade 'Yogurt'. I smudge this along my lower-lash line and inner corner of the eye to create that illuminated, wide-awake look. Usually I'll use a combination of cream/light brown shadows from my Laura Mercier palette on my eyelids, with a winged liner on top (using one of these eyeliners). I finish off my eyes with this new Excessive Lash Mascara* by Make Up For Ever. I received this at the Debenhams Beauty Press Show; it's my first try of Make Up For Ever and I'm seriously impressed. It features a double-fibre brush that fans out lashes for an eye-opening effect, with 'hairspray technology' to keep them from drooping throughout the day. The slim brush is great for neatly coating the bottom lashes and getting into the corner of the eyes, and the formula is weightless, smudge-proof and flake-free. Perfect!

And the lips...

To polish off the look, a simple slick of Clarins Instant Light Comfort Lip Oil in Honey. I'm not usually a lip gloss lover, but I'm in love with the Clarins Lip Oil - It adds a pretty shine to the lips, and feels wonderful to wear and apply - it's definitely an addictive product! 

What are your go to products at the moment?

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New skincare additions for spring and summer

In an effort to spring clean my skincare routine, I had a big clear out of all those half-used, unloved products and restocked with some fresh new additions for Spring and Summer (coincidentally with a cheerful colour scheme, it seems).  

In creating a simpler, streamlined skincare routine, I decided to stick to a theme of refreshing and glow-enhancing products, and am already reaping the benefits of a carefully selected product line-up. Rather than my old mish-mash of random products competing against each other, these products work together in harmony, resulting in a healthy, bright complexion.

Pixi Glow Tonic

I know there have been endless blogger reviews of this stuff, so I was a little dubious about boring you all with yet another one, but it really is so good that it didn't feel right to not sing it's praises on my blog.

The Pixi Glow Tonic contains 5% Glycolic Acid, which gently exfoliates away dead skin cells and has not only improved my skin texture but also my complexion looks brighter and glowing. I can really see a massive difference - probably more so than with any other product before.

I've been using it twice daily for about two weeks now and already my skin is smoother than it has been in years. Initially I came out in a big spot on my forehead (all the toxins being drawn out, I guess) but it disappeared within a few days and now, the bumpy texture that had previously appeared on my forehead has gone, and my skin feels so much softer all over. Just take heed of the 'avoid eye area' warning on the label - I forgot, and it stings like a b* on the delicate skin on my eyelids!

Simple Micellar Water* 

Micellar Water is probably the best beauty invention of recent years in my opinion; removing make-up and cleansing the skin without the need to even rinse. I've tried some high-end (Embryolisse, Bioderma) and drugstore micellar waters (Garnier, B. Pure) but the best I've tried is the Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Water.

Cheaper brands that I've tried in the past have required a bit more scrubbing, or left a funny taste on my lips, but Simple lives up to the standards of Bioderma for less than a fiver. I find it sweeps make-up away with ease, and leaves my skin feeling really soothed and refreshed.

Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream

My biggest skincare concern, personally, is my dark, puffy, under-eye bags. I always look tired and my eyes often feel quite tight and heavy. My Embryolisse Radiant Eye stick had gone all gloopy and disintegrated, so I was in the market for an upgrade, and was instantly drawn to this cheery orange tube.

Clinique's Pep Start Eye Cream is a good night's sleep in a tube, thanks to it's peptide-packed formula. Stress and not getting enough sleep can threaten the skin's collagen, but the peptides work to support and maintain healthy levels of collagen to keep the eye area firm and youthful.

The oil-free cream is hydrating, smoothing and gives eyes a brighter appearance, while the ball applicator tip gently massages the eye area, draining toxins and reducing puffiness. Upon application, it's cooling, refreshing and instantly brightening, making it perfect for mornings or (as it works just as well over make-up) a mid-afternoon pick me up.

£22 from Debenhams (or buy as part of the GoGo Eyes Set to get a free mascara and eyeliner!)

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser* 

I've reintroduced this moisturiser into my skincare line up recently, as the lightweight gel texture and fresh citrus scent makes it more suited to Spring and Summer (I used it a couple of times last September, but switched to something a bit creamier for the colder months). It drenches the skin with hydration, thanks to it's water based, vitamin C packed formula, and illuminates dull skin. It absorbs immediately and is weightless on the skin, leaving behind just a glowing, smooth complexion that's perfectly primed for make up.

Have you tried the Pixi Glow Tonic yet? What are your favourite skincare products at the moment?
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