Top 6 beauty products of 2016


It may be three weeks into 2017, but I discovered some really great products last year, and I thought you'd want to know about them - no matter how long it took me to get this post together!

This list started out pretty hefty, but I thought I'd strip it back to the products that really impressed me last year. So, this is the crΓ¨me de la crΓ¨me of my 2016 beauty discoveries...

Kat Von D Tattoo liner

Let me begin with my #1 beauty discovery of 2016; the 'tattoo liner' liquid eyeliner pen by Kat Von D*. As a daily cat-eye enthusiast, I don't know how I've gone 25 years without this eyeliner in my life. It's the best I've tried so far (yep, even better than any of these). The ultra-fine nib glides smoothly, making it easy to draw a clean line on the eyelid, and its razor-sharp point makes it so easy to achieve a perfect, precise flick. The shade 'Trooper' is a deeply pigmented black with a slightly glossy finish that I love, that lasts ALL day and doesn't run, smudge or fade - which is ideal for me as my eyes water in cold and windy weather. Yet, it's not a nightmare to remove; bit of micellar water and job's a goodun.

Definitely a staple of my make-up bag for years to come.

πŸ’ See my KVD make-up look, featuring the tattoo liner, here


Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade

I do love a highlighter, but it's not always easy to find one that ticks all the boxes; absolutely must not be metallic or glittery, not too white but not too golden, natural looking and easily blendable. Well, this one does it all. It's a pinky-beige pressed powder with lilac, blue and yellow veining running through it, with a very subtle shimmer (no discoball cheeks here). The champagne undertone is perfect for a natural looking glow on my pale skintone, and the swirls of different colour mean that it always catches in every type of light.

The soft, mineralized texture means it not only blends easily, avoiding the dreaded 'stripe', but it's also really buildable. Dusted lightly across the entire face, the powder gives a healthy glowy sheen to the complexion, or applied with a heavier hand over the cheek and brow bones for a subtle highlight.




Kylie Lip Kits

The Kylie lip kits were totally worth the excruciating wait and eye-watering customs charges. The lip pencil and matte liquid lipstick duos create the perfect voluptuous matte lip trend that King Kylie has made so coveted. I ordered three shades throughout the year; Maliboo (90's style brown), Koko K (pretty pale pink-nude) and Kristen (strawberry pinky red; pictured).

The lip pencils are incredibly creamy, meaning no dragging, making it easy to line, define and fill in the lips, before applying the liquid lipstick. The liquid lipsticks have a gorgeously velvety texture upon application, they dry matte in a couple of seconds and then literally DO NOT BUDGE. No smudging, no feathering, no fading - the colour stays perfectly in place for hours, throughout eating, drinking, kissing, talking etc. And they're comfortable to wear - the matte formula dries weightless so, although it's not nourishing or creamy, it just feels invisible.


Make Up Forever Excessive Lash Mascara

I have quite short and straight eyelashes and struggle to find a mascara that can give me lovely fanned out and fluttery lashes. Which is why I love the Make Up Forever Excessive Lash Mascara*. It has a dainty little brush that allows me to get right in at the root of my lashline in order to smoothly lift and coat every single lash. The double-fibre brush contains two types of bristles; one to distribute the product and one to comb through and eliminate any clumps, separating each lash for a real eye-opening effect.

And the best part? My lashes stay freshly volumised all day, as the formula includes 'hairspray technology' that stops the lashes from drooping. I can't wait for payday to repurchase a second tube.

Smashbox Contour Kit

2016 was the year I learnt to contour, and it's thanks to this Smashbox kit which, apparently, is rated by the Queen of Contouring; Kim Kardashian. The kit contains three buttery-soft powders (a dark contour shade, a bronzer, and a highlight) that melt into the skin and blend together to avoid any blockiness. The fluffy angled brush that it comes included picks up just the right amount of product to softly apply for a really natural look, and the instructions on the mirror make it totally idiot-proof (good for me then). 




Lush 'Angels on Bare Skin' Cleanser

My (usually clear) skin broke out into a red, blotchy complexion whilst I was in Budapest in December; the cold winds combined with having packed a sample sized make-up remover that I had a bad reaction to caused havoc with my skin. I made an emergency trip to Lush (that explains why my pot is in Hungarian) and picked up the 'Angels on Bare Skin' cleanser. The list of calming ingredients (kaolin clay, lavender, rose and chamomile oils) sounded like they'd soothe my sore skin - and smell incredible. And in literally ONE use, my complexion was rescued. And that's why it made this list. It's a skin SOS saviour!

I continued to use the cleanser throughout the Christmas period, and my skin stayed calm, smooth and balanced (despite the copious amounts of alcohol and cheese consumed). The cleanser is in paste form, which you mix with wet fingertips to create a cleansing lotion. This makes it kind of messy to use, especially when the loose lavender bits manage to get everywhere, but it's a miracle worker for skin emergencies.

Shop my 2016 beauty heroes! 

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Eating out while eating clean - Body Fuel Cafe, Hove



Turns out, eating Pringles and pizza after an exercise class doesn't work to maintain your weight. So, I'm taking on January - 'New Year, New Me' and all that - and getting back on the wagon in a bid to loose those extra inches that have crept back on. Plan is to go through the entire of January without a single 'cheat meal' to blast off a bit of fat, before settling into a healthy, balanced lifestyle that involves lots of exercise and healthy food, without denying myself a Dominos and a share bag of Twirl Bites every now and then.

But I love eating out, so I'm always on the look out for healthy places to sit and enjoy a meal that I haven't had to cook, without feeling like I've cheated. One of the latest healthy eateries on my radar is the Body Fuel Cafe on Church Road in Hove. It's a lovely little cafe (with exposed brick walls - an interior love of mine) that serves breakfasts, lunches, snacks and smoothies, with your waistline in mind.



After smashing two classes on one rainy Saturday morning, I made the excursion over to Hove to refuel with something delicious and nutritious. Despite the amazing looking hot food and salads, we arrived at 12.30, just in time to order off the breakfast menu - and I'm a sucker for brunch. It was a toss up between protein pancakes, homemade granola or eggs - but I can't say no to sourdough, so eggs it was.

on sourdough, with smoked salmon

on rye, with rump steak

In actual fact, it was smashed avocado (properly smashed - not half-assed chopped like they do in Bill's) fresh chilli and PERFECTLY poached eggs, with extra smoked salmon, on the most gloriously chewy sourdough bread. Rich chose the same, but he had rye instead of sourdough and steak instead of salmon. I'm not really a fan of beef (unless it's in a burger) but it looked so tender and moist that I did get a little bit of food envy. Having said that, the smoked salmon was divine, and let me tell you, after a 1500 calorie burn at the gym, it certainly hit the spot.

And to wash it down, I ordered a smoothie called 'not naughty, definitely nice' which contained; almond milk, banana, nut butter, raw cacao, vanilla, honey and cinnamon, with optional added protein (but I decided to go without as I'd already had a protein shake before the gym). This was delicious too, although similar to one I had made at home earlier in the week, so I kinda wish I'd picked something different. I think the name won me over!



After all that, I was absolutely stuffed, but I picked up a dates & cacao flapjack to take home.

Although the location of the Body Fuel Cafe is a bit of a trek from my house, it was worth the trip and I definitely want to go back to sample some of the other yummy things on the menu. But, please Body Fuel - open a second cafe on London Road!
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Lipstick is my Vice


When Urban Decay unveiled their 120 shade strong Vice lipstick range, I just didn't know where to start. The punchy spectrum of lipsticks were stunning, but how do you go about picking that one special shade out of 120?! Well now, Urban Decay have added two palettes to the Vice collection, each containing 12 pans of Vice lipstick, allowing lipstick junkies to experiment with a dozen colours in one, compact and ultra-luxurious product. 

It's something special... 

From the outside in, the Vice Junkie palette has a real wow-factor. Opening the compact is a real experience in itself; upon lifting the lid of the chunky, metallic box, you're greeted with the message 'lipstick is my vice' on a protective plastic shield, which keeps the lipsticks underneath in mint condition and prevents product smudging onto the large mirror. Beneath the shield, you finally get a glimpse of the twelve, striking lip colours, paired with a gold, retractable lip brush.


A lipstick spectrum 

The sister Vice palette, Blackmail, appears to have an overall more wearable selection of nudes, browns, pinks and reds. Whereas in the Junkie palette, there's a real mix of colours, from everyday wearable to completely experimental. 


URBAN DECAY JUNKIE VICE PALETTE


  • Disturbed - matte, deep merlot red. 🍷
  • 714 - matte true red; bright, bold and classic. πŸ’‹
  • Carnal - terracotta shade, tones of peach and brown with a matte finish. πŸ‘
  • Safe Word - true nude, similar to Mac's coveted 'Velvet Teddy'. πŸ‘Œ
  • Studded - metallic bronze. Not sure on this one. πŸ˜•
  • Whip - glossy peachy pink. Barely there but very pretty. πŸ’•
  • Wrath - true red, similar in tone to 714, but with a sparkle and glossy finish. ✨
  • Big Bang - sheer barbie pink gloss with a metallized finish. πŸŽ€
  • Firebird - punchy magenta with a shimmer. πŸ’„
  • Vanity Kills - creamy pastel lilac matte. Bit out there but nice for a sixties look. πŸ’œ
  • Speedball - deep royal purple. 😈
  • Junkie - the palette's namesake, a shimmering bottle green. HATEπŸ’€

As Urban Decay move towards an artistry brand, the idea behind creating this palette was to make the life of a make up artist a bit easier; providing them with a more compact and portable way of transporting a variety of lip shades, without having to lug around a huge, heavy bag of individual lipsticks. However, it's such a beautiful piece for any beauty lover's collection! It came in really handy for my office Christmas party (I was the designated make up artist for all the girls in my team) and they each chose a different shade from the palette to suit their outfit and personality. Unfortunately nobody wanted to rock an emerald lip though!

Size matters

There are some drawbacks of having your favourite shades stuck inside a palette. We all know that, no matter how fantastic a lipstick is, we'll all need a touch up or two throughout the night. But with your lipstick de jour trapped inside a big old palette, it's not as simple as just chucking a tube in your clutch and topping up in the ladies.

Having said that, the formula is seriously pigmented and fairly longlasting, for such a creamy product anyway. It feels lovely on the lips  (liquid lipsticks might last forever but they're slightly dry and 'tight') and I can get a couple of hours wear out of one application. If you need a top up after that, buy the full size, find a similar shade or take out a bigger bag.  You'll find a way.


And the winner is...

There's always that risk when it comes to cosmetic palettes, that certain shades will sit there unloved while others hit pan in the blink of an eye. While Junkie and Vanity Kills will probably sit this one out, I'd probably wear the other ten shades from the Junkie Vice Palette. Granted, I might need a few shots of dutch courage for some - but I like the way they look on me regardless. Ten out of twelve ain't bad! And my favourite? Safe Word - I will definitely be buying the singular lipstick of this sultry nude with my next paycheck, I absolutely LOVE it.


Like what you see? 

Shop my top Vice lipsticks...

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New Year, New Skincare Regime


One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2017 is to up my skincare game by sticking to a strict regime. Of course, I love trying out new products and having a good old pamper, but I do tend to get lazy and skip various skincare steps (in other words, taking my make up off with a Boots value face wipe and calling it a day).

I received some lovely new Kiehl's skin treats for Christmas, and have supplemented these with some new products and old favourites to create a product line-up that I vow to use day-in, day-out.




Step 1: Make up removal

First I'll remove my make up with some micellar water. Any will do, to be honest, but at the moment I've got a rather special one; the Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment from Perricone MD*. It does feel more luxurious on the skin than my usual Garnier micellar water, with a thicker, lotion-type consistency and has the extra added benefits of providing a gentle exfoliation, thanks to the Salmon Egg Enzyme, and skin cell regeneration, thanks to the copper (which is also what makes it blue). At £36 a bottle, it's not going to hold a regular spot in my skincare line-up, but it's a nice extra-special treat for my skin. 

Step 2: Cleanse

I picked up the Drops of Light Pure Clarifying Foam Wash from The Body Shop on a bit of a whim, but it's turned out to be a brilliant buy. A tiny amount goes a really long way as it foams up into a luxurious velvety lather, and gently removes excess make up and deeply cleanses. After using, my skin feels squeaky clean and looks brighter and refreshed. I've also finally gotten around to replacing the brush head on my Clarisonic sonic cleansing brush (read my review here). This time I went for the Radiance Brush Head, which is far softer (and pink). The softer bristles are so much gentler on the skin, and therefore more suited to daily use, morning and night. 


Step 3: Tone/Exfoliate

Being lazy, a product that does two things at once is a clear winner. Pixi Glow Tonic is a chemical exfoliator, which sounds scary, but it's a gentle and soothing formula that leaves the skin refreshed, bright and smooth. It contains Glycolic Acid to dissolve the dead cells on the skin's surface and reveal the fresh, healthy new skin underneath. But it's also a toner, with Aloe Vera and Ginseng to soothe, tone and firm.

Step 4: Moisturise 

Day: I've been a firm fan of Embryolisse for a few years now, religiously re-purchasing their wonder cream - Lait Creme Concentrate. But more recently, I picked up their new Hydra-Mat Emulsion - a lighter gel-like cream that's more suited to morning application due to it being a moisturiser and primer in one. The gel consistency feels really lightweight and balances the skin by adding hydration whilst absorbing any excess oils. This noticeably mattifies and smoothes the skin, leaving a light, velvety layer for make up to cling to.

Night: I was so excited to find a bottle of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate under the Christmas tree; it's a product I've heard so much about and wanted to try for ages. And I haven't been left disappointed; I love everything about it; how the navy blue glass bottle looks on my bedside table, the relaxing ritual of massaging the oil into my face just before I fall asleep, and the light, fast-absorbing formula that melts into the skin making it feel instantly velvety soft. The botanicals work overnight to repair and restore radiance, and I can notice a huge difference in the brightness and texture of my complexion. It's true beauty sleep in a bottle. Some nights I'll finish off with a bit of my go-to moisturiser (Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate of course) and others I'll just use the Midnight Recovery Concentrate alone.

Eye Cream

The Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado was love at first mention (avocado = winner, obvs) and I know I won't be skipping this step of my routine anytime soon. I apply the super thick, green cream morning and night, first rubbing a small amount between my two ring fingers; this tip I picked up from an Estee Lalonde video, and for me it took this product from like to love. Applying straight from the pot, the cream can feel a little waxy and sits on top of the skin. But by warming it up between your fingers first, the cream turns into a luxuriously creamy texture that provides intense moisture to leave the undereye area hydrated and plumped. I've even noticed an improvement to my dark circles (a feat, for me!) and, well, there's no sign of wrinkles yet so fingers crossed this jumbo sized tub keeps them at bay for another few years at least. 

Shop my skincare



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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.

TREND 1: SLICKED BACK HAIR

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!


TREND 2: KNOT BRAIDS

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...



THE SHINE BAR

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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Welcome to the UK, Kat Von D Beauty


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 debenhams.com and in selected Debenhams stores πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

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. 





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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 ombrΓ© 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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