Wednesday 30 April 2014

Claudia Louch Hydrating Mango Face Cream

Claudia Louch Hydrating Mango Face Cream* - £61.50

When an internationally-renowned natural skin specialist launches their own skincare range, you know it's gonna be worth taking a look at. Claudia Louch runs her Natural Skin Clinic on Harley Street in London where she has successfully treated thousands of patients with their skin problems. Her approach to skincare is to use natural botanical ingredients to harness the body's own healing potential. At her clinic every product used is made bespoke to order for each patient. Tailoring the products to the needs of every individual is such a wonderful idea as it ensures the products used are delivering the maximum results. Of course not everyone can get down to Harley Street to seek out her services. Claudia Louch recently brought out eight different skincare products so that everyone can discover the benefits of medicinal plant-based products for themselves. All of the Claudia Louch Natural Skin Clinic products are natural and plant and/or mineral-based, hypoallergenic, allergy-tested, non-comedogenic & free from harsh chemicals. They are suitable for all skin types & can help with many skin conditions.

For the past month I've been testing out one of her moisturisers - the Hydrating Mango Face Cream. There are three different moisturisers in the range. This one is best suited to those with normal to dry skin types. There's also one for oily to combination skin & one for more mature skin. I actually have combination skin so I wasn't sure if the Hydrating Mango Face Cream would be too rich for me but this moisturiser really took me by surprise. When I've tried creams for drier skin in the past they would instantly make me look greasy. Despite being a thick & luxurious cream, it gives my skin the most beautiful matte & velvety finish. I normally use three pumps for my face & neck and it gives me the perfect amount of moisture. The cream has an incredible buttery soft texture. Once applied it feels slightly tacky to begin with but it soon sinks in. It has a light & pleasant natural scent. One of the key ingredients is mango butter which helps to hydrate & protect the skin and effectively treats dryness, itchiness, skin damage, lines & wrinkles. The face cream is 94% natural and features a blend of five hydrating oils (olive, almond, avocado, sunflower & grape seed) plus shea butter, vitamin E and aloe vera gel. With all those oils I did wonder if it would break me out. It certainly lives up to it's claims of being non-comedogenic for me as it's only worked to soothe & calm my skin, no nasty blemishes in sight. It also contains hyaluronic acid which helps to plump up the skin and maintain water levels in the top layers of skin, reducing signs of dehydration.

I never thought that using a rich cream like this would be able to balance out my skin & give it such a lovely matte finish. It makes my skin look really healthy on it's own by softening, plumping it up & minimising my pores. One downfall is that it doesn't contain any SPF. I imagine adding sun protection would go against the natural ethos of Claudia's clinic but it still is important. When I add my own SPF 50 on top, my face loses that velvet look but everything sits nicely under my makeup so I guess it's not really a big deal. While I do like using this moisturiser during the day, it really shines as a night cream. I've been using this on top of the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil almost every night & the two products make such a heavenly combo. The oil helps to hydrate, decongest & add radiance then the cream helps to lock in moisture, calming the skin & leaving it feeling deeply nourished by morning. I can't get enough of them together! Finally I simply must mention that gorgeous packaging. I don't think I've ever owned such a luxurious looking bottle before. It's a shame that you can't see how much moisturiser is left in the bottle but the pump makes sure you don't waste a single drop. It certainly is an expensive face cream but I'm sure it'll last a long time & you're also getting some of Claudia's years of experience in skin health packaged within this sleek black bottle. The Claudia Louch Natural Skin Clinic skincare range is now available to buy online exclusively at with free UK delivery.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Acrylic Makeup Brush & Pencil Storage

Acrylic Tube Organiser* - £14.99

When you own a lot of beauty products it always pays to be organised. I like to give everything it's own special home so I know exactly where to find the things I'm looking for. Eye & lip pencils especially tend to get lost within my drawers & look a bit messy all jumbled up together. I've been looking for a nice storage solution for a while and I thought that this lovely acrylic tube organiser from Qwerkity would be perfect for them. Most people store their pencils in a single pot but I like this one because of all the separate tubes. It makes it much easier to organise the pencils by colour or type. When you group your products together like this it's clear to see what you have & what you don't actually need. I can't even begin to tell you how many black eyeliners I have. I always get loads of them from gift with purchase offers. It's definitely time for a beauty cull!

These tube organisers are also great for storing makeup brushes. I recently bought these ones from eBay as so many people have been raving about them lately. I've had bad experiences with buying cheap eBay brushes before where they've had a horrible smell, felt rough or shed like crazy. These are surprisingly good quality and I got all 10 for just £17. The price varies quite a lot on this same listing. Looking at it now, they're currently only £13! My other brush pots were getting a little too full so it's good to have another place to keep all these new ones. Although I personally consider Real Techniques to be a budget brush brand, it can get quite expensive if you buy every single one. If you're looking for something even cheaper but of a similar quality then I'd highly recommend buying these ones from eBay. They feel really soft & blend like a dream. The large kabuki brushes are brilliant for foundation. The flat kabuki is just like the wonderful Sigma F80 brush & the tapered kabuki reminds me of the Louise Young Super Foundation brush. The smaller ones are great for concealing, blending eye shadow or precision contouring. They're a must-have for anyone lacking in the brush department.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Thursday 24 April 2014

Balance Me Radiance Face Oil

Balance Me Radiance Face Oil* - £15

My evening skincare routine wouldn't be complete without a treatment of some kind. Facial oils are one of my favourite things to use because they just seem to do it all. Whether you're suffering from oily, dry, dull or congested skin there are massive benefits to be had from adding an oil to your regime. When it comes to choosing an oil I always think it's best to go for something as natural as possible. Lately I've been really loving Balance Me's Radiance Face Oil. This is a 100% naturally active oil which is designed to feed your skin with a rich blend of nourishing ingredients. It is suitable for all skin types & would be perfect for anyone in need of a boost. It works especially well for those with dehydration, redness or sensitivity.

To create their Radiance Face Oil, Balance Me have blended together eight different base oils namely sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, kukui nut oil, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, buriti oil, moringa seed oil & camellia oil. Together with ingredients such as Roman chamomile, yarrow & benzoin this oil packs a serious punch when it comes to softening & brightening your skin. I've been using it several times a week for the past couple of months & I've noticed a huge difference in the appearance of my skin. Every time I use this I wake up with perfectly hydrated, glowing & radiant healthy looking skin. I'm prone to quite a bit of redness around my nose & cheeks but this has definitely helped to reduce any red patches making my skin tone look brighter & more even overall. It really lives up to it's radiance boosting claims. There's nothing better than skincare products that do exactly what they're meant to do.

Radiance Face Oil is available in two different formats. You can buy a traditional 30ml bottle with a pipette dispenser or this handy little 10ml rollerball. The 30ml bottle is better value but the rollerball tube is more efficient when it comes to facial massage. I apply the product by starting from the centre of my face, moving outwards in circular motions until I've covered most areas. It feels so relaxing! What I really like about the rollerball format is that by rolling it over your entire face, it seems to dispense the perfect amount of oil. I then go over my face with my hands to massage it in further before applying my night cream. The soothing herbal scent makes it such a pleasure to use. I have combination skin and it really helps to balance out the drier & oilier areas. It sinks in quickly to give an instant hydration boost without feeling greasy. Come morning not only does my skin look a million times better but it feels much softer & smoother too.

If you're still not convinced that putting oil all over your face is a good thing you can simply use this oil as a spot treatment by massaging the rollerball directly over a blemish. It sounds odd but it's actually super effective. It normally makes angry spots disperse under my skin so I don't have to bother with extractions, reducing any subsequent scarring. It also helps to diminish the appearance of scars leftover from past blemishes. Most of my current skincare routine is based around getting rid of blemishes & scarring so this is a fantastic addition to the lineup. This oil is a dream for anyone with dull or dehydrated skin. It's everything you could ever want from an overnight treatment. Have you tried anything from Balance Me?

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Sephora In The UK

It's the moment us beauty lovers have been waiting for - Sephora now ship to the UK! I remember visiting one of their London stores way back in the day but it didn't take long for them to shut up shop and they sadly became exclusive to places like the US, Europe & China. I was lucky enough to travel to New York a couple of years ago & their store on Broadway & Prince Street was a complete revelation. Makeup heaven. So when they recently announced their plans to start shipping their products to the UK I literally squealed with delight. I decided to place a lil' order & everything went off without a hitch so I'd thought I'd share my Sephora purchases with you. I'm sure I'll be doing some full reviews & swatches of all these products very soon.

The first thing I knew I needed to order was some of the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes. Tarte have just come to the UK as well via QVC. However they've priced the blushes at £26.50 each & only had a couple of shades available - none of which were on my wishlist. So I ordered them off Sephora and even with the shipping & customs charges it still worked out cheaper overall. The shades I picked are Dollface, Tipsy & Exposed. Dollface is a light candy pink. You can never have too many pink blushes in my opinion! Tipsy is a bright coral colour. I've watched so many of Leesha's tutorials where she's used Tipsy on her cheeks & she always looks beautiful. Exposed is a nude pink shade. It's quite similar to NARS Douceur but a bit more pink toned. It's a lovely natural looking blush that will help to bring out your cheekbones.

Another Tarte product I got was The Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer in Park Ave Princess. This is basically a cream contouring product housed in the oh so convenient form of a chubby stick. It'll make contouring a breeze & I think it'll be especially good for slimming down your nose. I've never seen anything like this before but it's such an ingenious idea! I expect to see many brands copying this product very soon.

The last item I ordered was the Alterna Caviar CC Cream. I adore Alterna's Caviar haircare range & have heard so many good things about this hair cream. I think you can actually get this in the UK but it always seems to be out of stock everywhere & it ended up being cheaper ordering it from the US. CC stands for complete correction. It's a styling cream offering ten different features including heat protection, UV protection, moisture & shine. I've only tried it on dry hair but so far, so good!

They also throw in a few samples of your choice with every order. I picked GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment, Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel & AmorePacific Future Response Age Defense Creme. I thought GLAMGLOW only had one type of mask but looks like I was wrong, they have several different ones on Sephora including an eye mask! I didn't get on with the GLAMGLOW Youthmud mask but I figured this one might be different. It's always good to keep a spot treatment handy so I wanted to give this Clinique one a go. The full size version of the AmorePacific moisturiser costs a whopping £123 so although I'll never be able to buy it, I thought it would be nice to try.

The shipping restrictions are fairly annoying as I would've loved to have gotten my hands on some nail polishes, NARS or Hourglass products. You also have to spend £75 to get the £10 shipping deal, otherwise you can end up paying crazy expensive postage & customs fees. I would suggest choosing the UK as your international shipping destination before browsing as it automatically converts all the prices to GBP. If you're worried about getting hit by customs charges when your parcel arrives at your door - don't be. Sephora use a company called Borderfree who add on some charges to your order so you're totally covered when your package arrives in the UK.

To break down the prices for you my order came to £80.51, I paid £10 shipping & then £18.09 on top of that to cover taxes and Borderfree's customs charges. In total I paid £108.60 which works out at an average of £21 per product. I placed my order on April 12th & it arrived on the 19th via a DHL courier. I've bought things from the UK that have taken longer than that so I was really pleased with the fast delivery. Overall I'm really happy with my Sephora buying experience. I stupidly didn't sign up as a Beauty Insider before placing my order so I missed out on another freebie. Make sure you register an account beforehand & you can pick a deluxe sample as well as the little sachets. The amount you have to spend to be able to place a UK order means you'll definitely earn enough points for a Beauty Insider reward. I can still claim it with my next order though & I'm sure I'll be buying plenty more things in future!

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Monday 21 April 2014

Giveaway: Kérastase Cristalliste Luminous Perfecting Masque

Fancy winning yourself a Kérastase hair mask? Of course you do! I've teamed up with Cohorted to offer one lucky reader a luxurious treat for their hair. Cohorted is an exciting new social shopping website. Every week they offer a brilliant range of beauty products as 'Cohorts'. Each item starts off at a discounted price, so you know you're always getting a bargain anyway. The more people that buy the product, the more money you'll save! Upcoming Cohorts include products from NARS, MAC, Estee Lauder, Illamasqua, Urban Decay & HealGel so it's well worth signing up for. They currently offer free shipping for all new accounts. After joining a Cohort you're given the option to share the deal on social media so your friends can join in too & help bring the price down even more. You can also earn loyalty points with every purchase which you can use to get a further discount on anything else you buy from Cohorted. For every pound you spend, you gain 1p towards your loyalty pot. These loyalty discounts can be redeemed at any time to help make your purchase even cheaper. What's not to love?

To celebrate the recent launch of the Cohorted website I'm giving away a tub of the Kérastase Cristalliste Luminous Perfecting Masque. Kérastase are one of my favourite haircare brands so I hope we'll be seeing plenty more of their products on Cohorted very soon. The Cristalliste range is designed for women with long hair, that suffer from greasy roots & dry ends. This mask promises to bring deep nourishment & shine to dry or damaged long hair. The formula is enriched with Kérastase's Liquid Light Complex leaving the lengths looking beautiful & shiny without weighing them down. It balances everything out making your roots feel weightless & the lengths look polished. I always get a Kérastase treatment mask when I go to the hairdressers and they always manage to make my hair look & feel amazing after a marathon bleaching session. When it comes to hair masks, Kérastase are hard to beat.

If you want to win a 200ml tub of the Kérastase Cristalliste Luminous Perfecting Masque, all you need to do is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will run from the 21st to the 27th of April & is open to UK readers only. The prize is being provided by Cohorted & will be sent to the winner by them. It's an absolutely cracking prize so get entering quick!

Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Sunday 20 April 2014

Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid SPF 50+

Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid SPF 50+ - £15

A little bit of sun has finally arrived in our fair country and that means it's time to crack out the sun protection products. As a devotee of acids & retinoids, I use SPF products all year round. I'm ridiculously pale so SPF 50 is the one for me. For the past couple of years I've relied on the Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50. It's a fantastic moisturiser & high SPF in one product. One of the main reasons I loved using the Alpha-H moisturiser is because it lacks many of the pitfalls that you would normally associate with sun protection creams. There was no stickiness, greasiness, bad smell, white cast or breakouts. I recently ran out of it but rather than ordering a new bottle straight away I looked through my skincare collection & realised that I had a hell of a lot of non-SPF day moisturisers laying around. In an attempt to use some of them up, this year I decided to try using a separate SPF 50 product again. Finding a good facial SPF product is a lot harder than you would think. I've tried loads & none of them agreed with my skin type. At long last I have found a good SPF 50 lotion that makes my face happy & doesn't cost the earth. Plus it was on special offer when I bought it so it only cost me a tenner! If you're guilty of leaving sun protection out of your skincare routine then this fabulous new product from Soap & Glory merits a place in your next Boots haul. Say hello to the Make Yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid SPF 50+.

This incredibly lightweight fluid is the ideal product to smooth over your regular moisturiser this Summer. It's a broad-spectrum sunscreen offering protection against both UVA & UVB rays. The packaging is cute yet practical & reminds me of the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua bottle. You have to shake up the product in a similar manner too. The consistency of the liquid is very runny & thin. I find that it absorbs into my skin really quickly so I can get on with applying my makeup right away. It has a light yellow tint which doesn't add any extra coverage but it does stop the product from giving your skin a white cast. It feels very comfortable on the skin, not greasy or sticky at all. Most SPF products turn me into an oil slick after a couple of hours & feel really heavy on my face. Using Sunshield Superfluid is like a breath of fresh air, it's completely weightless! This sunscreen features micro oil-absorbing powders which help to mattify the skin. I wouldn't say it gives as matte a finish as the Alpha-H moisturiser does, it's more of a satin sheen. It's exactly the kind of finish you'd want during the Summer - glowy & fresh. My forehead does get a little shiny by the end of the day but it's nothing a quick powdering won't sort out.

The lotion has a very sweet fruity scent which I really like. It probably won't be to everyone's taste but I think it's lovely, much better than the horrible smell sunscreens usually have anyway. My skin hasn't had any issues with the fragrance either. I've had a lot of trouble with sunscreens making me breakout in the past. I double cleanse twice a day so it's not that I wasn't taking them off properly, my skin simply didn't like them. Thankfully I've had no such problem with the Sunshield Superfluid. I've been using it for about a month now & my skin is still behaving itself. I'm incredibly happy with this product. It just ticks every single box. Sunshield Superfluid really is the perfect SPF 50 product if you're looking for something inexpensive & readily available that also feels wonderful on the skin.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Saturday 19 April 2014

March Favourites

Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask*
If you struggle with dull skin or post-blemish scarring then this mask could solve all your problems. It's a thick & creamy hydrating mask that promises radiant skin in just 10 minutes. This mask works as a skin peel so it will speed up the skin renewal process for healthier & brighter looking skin. It uses papaya enzyme & glycolic acid to dissolve dead skin cells, refine pores & resurface the skin. Caudalie's patented Viniferine has an exceptional effect on radiance & scarring. It feels so comforting on the skin and the subtle fragrance of galbanum essence, caraway & spearmint is very refreshing. Using this mask a couple of times a week will soon sort out your skin & get it back to looking it's best. Full review here.

HealGel Intensive*
HealGel is one of my favourite skincare brands & this original Intensive version is such a brilliant product. It's an all rounder really as you can use it for a multitude of skin ailments. This aqueous gel can be used to treat acne, eczema, burns, bruises & sunburn. It's basically a little miracle worker for skin problems. It really helps to speed up the recovery time of scarring. HealGel Intensive is best used on specific areas. For example I use it on my face if a nasty blemish has left a scar. It works well as a follow up to the Caudalie mask to make my skin look as clear as possible. I've also successfully healed up a burn mark on my hand using it. Chloe's been a bit accident prone lately and she ended up with some grazes on her face when she fell over outside. I applied HealGel Intensive to these twice a day and the marks cleared up in no time. It feels really soothing too so it's suitable for all the family. This is a must-have product for all households as it can be used on everything! Full review here.

Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil
I'm a big fan of Bumble & Bumble products. The only bad thing about them is that they're pretty pricey. This hair oil has been on my wishlist since forever because I felt bad about spending £30 on such a small bottle. I kinda wish I'd gone for it sooner though because it is worth every single penny. I personally like to use it on wet hair. Running a couple of pumps through my hair before blowdrying is all I need for super soft & shiny locks. It's hard to describe quite how soft this makes your hair. It's almost too soft if you know what I mean so I always pair it with a volumising spray to stop my hair from looking flat. It adds a beautiful shine, completely transforming my damaged bleached hair into healthy natural looking blonde lengths. Moroccanoil has got nothing on this. Best hair oil ever!

Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balm in Demure
I love the formula of these Revlon lip balms. The combination of shea, mango & coconut butter makes my lips feel perfectly hydrated. The minty fragrance smells delish & lightly freshens up your lips. The Lacquer Balms have a glossy finish & small glittery particles to help plump up the appearance of your pout. I've been wearing the shade Demure non-stop as it's such a lovely peachy pink lip colour that's perfect for any Spring makeup look. You can see how it looks on my lips here.

I got this ages ago as a freebie in Boots when I bought a tube of Hydraluron. I tried it once & then it pretty much got tossed to the side. Picking off my mascara is a terrible habit of mine & it does impact upon the appearance of my lashes. A noticeable gap appeared along my bottom lashes so I decided to give this product a proper go. I've tried several eyelash growth treatments & I tend to prefer ones that use a mascara wand style applicator. Peptalash has a small eyeliner style brush so you can run it along your eyelids. This method of application is a little annoying but it doesn't change the effectiveness of this product. After just a couple of weeks of using it I saw a change in my lashes. They became longer, thicker & the little gaps had begun to fill in again. Peptalash is surprisingly good & fairly cheap compared to products like RapidLash.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Friday 18 April 2014

My 1st Years

Oh hey, long time no see! One of the many reasons I've not blogged this month is that on the 4th of April it was Chloe's 4th birthday. I still find it really weird that I'm only 25 and I already have a four year old child. Seems like only yesterday I was waddling up to Leeds General Infirmary at 2am in the snow! Anyway I had a bit of a crisis and started worrying that I was spending all my time on my laptop or doing housework instead of playing with her. I've come to realise that it's important to establish a balance that will keep both of us happy. It sure is hard work being a mum! The Easter holidays are here now so I feel like I've finally gotten on top of everything and am ready to start blogging again. I'll go into the other reasons I got bored of blogging another time but for now let's get back to the point of this post. Like I said it was Chloe's fourth birthday recently and she received so many amazing presents. My house is now completely filled with Disney Princess, Hello Kitty & My Little Pony junk haha!

Just before her birthday I was contacted by My 1st Years, an online boutique specialising in gorgeous personalised baby gifts. I love buying personalised presents as you know that the recipient won't already own anything else like it. I'm still a sucker for anything with my name on it too. Most of their products are aimed at newborns but they have some lovely gifts for toddler boys & girls too. If Chloe were any younger I would've gotten her some personalised baby shoes or something from the adorable baby clothes range from My 1st Years. As Chloe is a bit of a fussy eater I always try to buy cute crockery to encourage her to eat more. That's why I thought that this personalised bunny ears egg cup would be the perfect gift for her. She loves egg & soldiers and now that it's Easter the egg cup also works great for her chocolate eggs. We're both so pleased with it & I'll definitely be browsing My 1st Years for presents when my niece's 1st birthday rolls around in July.

I didn't really take many pictures on Chloe's birthday this year as she was at pre-school for most of the day. When she got back we just opened presents and ate party food & cake with family. I got a couple of shots but it was dark outside by the time I remembered to put my battery back in my Canon so they're a bit rubbish & blurry. I'd thought I'd pop up a couple of other pictures too. Chloe dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood for World Book Day. Her costume came with wolf & grandma finger puppets so she had lots of fun doing some role playing. I also liked this picture of us together. I'm always the one behind the camera so sometimes when I'm doing blog makeup photos I grab her & get her to take a few pictures with me. We got her infant school application results on Wednesday and thankfully we got into our first choice school! I'm so relieved. It's kinda scary that my little baby is now four years old & will be starting proper school in September. I'd better make the most of the time we have left together!

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'