29 February 2012

Project bathroom February update

Feels like it was only yesterday when I wrote the January blog post, but already it's time for a February update.

Liz Earle botanical shine shampoo
Vaseline dry skin conditioning lotion
Botanics conditioning clay mask
Bumble and bumble quenching masque
Emma Hardie amazing face cleansing balm
Laidbare working 9 to 5 intense hydration creme
Clinique dramatically different moisturizing gel
Clinique facial soap (not pictured)
Molton Brown healthy ziao jao hairwash
Chanel inimitable mascara
Juliet body indulge exfoliating body wash
The body shop coconut body butter
Decleor expression de l'age smoothing roll on
Boots expert build up removal shampoo
Lush each peach massage bar (not pictured)

As you can see, it's been another successful month for Project bathroom. I've had to throw away the Botanics face mask as it's completely solidified, but otherwise, I've really pleased that I've managed to finish 14 items.

I've got a few more products that are almost finished, but otherwise I can't see myself getting through too many products in March. Hopefully I'll be proved wrong though!

How are you getting on with Project bathroom? What's been your favourite product this month?

27 February 2012

Lashaholic false lashes

It's taken me a while to embrace false lashes, but with a celebratory ball coming up, I've been practicing so I can look my best on the night.

I was recently sent the Lashholic LA01 to try out. As false lashes go, they're definitely on the more natural side, and after some practice, they're actually very easy to apply.

It comes with a little tube of glue, which I dab onto the lashes, then use tweezers to apply to my eyelids. After attaching the outer corner, I find the easiest way is to close my eyes, then glue down the rest of the strip. The glue dries to a clear finish, but I always like to add a slick of black eyeliner.

The eyelashes are already pre-cut, so there's no need to trim the length. Once applied, they're very lightweight and feel almost undetectable on the eyes.

If looked after, you can get multiple uses out of them. Now that I've got the hang of it, I'll be saving them so I can have beautifully framed eyes on the night.

Do you ever use false lashes? How do you usually apply yours?

26 February 2012

Flower arranging with Yardley London and Jane Packer

Last Saturday, I was able to spent a few hours with the lovely girls from Yardley London. The afternoon was spent learning about flower arranging as well as finding out more about their new bath and body collection.

Now I must admit, my artistic skills are somewhat lacking, but luckily we were given a very comprehensive tutorial from the staff at Jane Packer's flower school. After prepping the hat box we were let loose with a beautiful bunch of flowers, foliage and dried lavender stalks.

Considering this is my first attempt, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. It's now doing a great job of brightening up my desk and I love the subtle scent of the dried lavender.

You may wonder what this has to do with Yardley? Well their new range of toiletries are all floral based and come in a variety of scents. Of the 5, my favourite has to be Royal English daisy. With notes of green leaves, apple, rose and sandalwood, it's light, fresh and perfect for springtime.

Each range includes a luxury body wash, moisturising body lotion and a nourishing hand & nail cream. I was particularly taken with the new hand cream, which is hydrating, quick absorbing and smells lovely. Best of all, it contains lots of moisturising ingredients such as vitamin E, Q10 and shea butter.

Have you ever been flower arranging? What do you think about the new Yardley collection?

24 February 2012

What's new from Sleek make up

Here's a sneak preview of what Sleek make up will be bringing out next month:

First up is their new Face form compact. Essentially, these are the Face contour kits, but with the addition of a complimentary shade of blusher. There'll be 4 compacts to choose from and they retail at £8.99 each.

In March, Sleek will also be bringing out a new Base duo kit. Packaged in a matte black case, the kit contains a cream foundation, setting powder and 2 mirrors. There'll be a choice of 18 shades and they retail for £12.49.

The next 2 products should already be on the stands, but as they're both new launches, I thought I'd share them with you anyway:

Like the above 2 products, the Blush by 3 palette aims to streamline our make up collection, combining several products into one compact. Pink sprint has 3 matte shades, but the other 4 all contain at least one shimmery blush.

Finally there's a new Lash out mascara. The narrow wand is designed to reach those short inner corner lashes and combined with the dark black formula, gives a volumised look to the eyelashes.

Are you a fan of Sleek make up? What are you most looking forward to trying?

22 February 2012

February's Glossybox

After 2 months of themed boxes, Glossyboxes are now back to their usual pale colour. I've come to prefer the bolder colours, but product wise, I'm really pleased with what they've included in this month's box.

Impress press on manciure
Como Shambhala invigorate shower gel
DuWop venom gloss in Buttercup
BM beauty pure mineral eyeshadow in Dusty Road
Awapuhi by Paul Mitchell wild ginger treatment oil

I'm not usually a fan of false nails, but the colour is gorgeous and I like the fact that they're stick on not glued ones. The shower gel and hair oil are both beautifully scented, and as they're such everyday essentials, I know I'll get a lot of use out of them. Ironically, the only product I don't like is the lipgloss. I'd prefer a darker colour, but 4 out of 5 products is still very good and I'm sure a friend would appreciate the lipgloss.

Have you received your February box yet? What do you think about this month's products?

PR sample

21 February 2012

Sponsored video - Behind the scenes with L'oreal and Cheryl Cole

As a consumer, we're constantly being bombarded with beauty adverts, but I have to admit, up till now, I've never really given much thought to the concepts and ideas behind the advert.

You may have seen the new L'oreal Telescopic mascara, and to promote it's launch, the company have released a behind the scenes video with Girls aloud singer Cheryl Cole.



As per usual, Cheryl looks very glam, but it's nice to see that even she needs a helping hand with hair and make up!

The mascara is being sold as 'off the scale' and indeed the advert starts off with Cheryl walking through a series of scaled doorways and sitting on a huge chair. She then goes on to explain that the advert mimics the fibre formula of the mascara, with part of it being shot in a fibre optic set.

Being the curious person that I am, I love seeing behind the scenes videos, and I thought it was really interesting to see what goes on during a beauty shoot and just how much work is involved.

On a side note, this is one of the first mascaras to be advertised without lash inserts, and I really hope that it sets the trend for future adverts. I know I'm far more likely to buy a mascara if the advert is at least somewhat realistic!

Do you also like to watch behind the scenes videos? What are your thoughts about lash inserts?

*sponsored post*

Gielly Green blowdry

A few weeks ago, I was treated to a complimentary blow dry at Gielly Green, a boutique salon located in the heart of London's Maryleborne.

After a quick introduction and consultation with junior stylist Simone, I was ready to have my hair washed in preparation for the blowdry. The salon was busy, but I was impressed that the staff took the time to ask about my conditioning preferences and gave me a mini head massage.

As I have long straight hair, I asked for loose bouncy waves. My hair was divided into at least 15 sections and Simone spent a good few minutes blowdrying each section to ensure they all had a good curl. It would have been nice to be offered a heat protection spray, but I liked the fact that he didn't go overboard with styling products.

About 45 minutes later, I was left with lots of lovely curls. The above photo was taken after 3 hours of walking in the wind. As my hair insists on being straight, most of the curls disappeared after a day, but the volume and bounce remained until my next wash.

My visit was on a busy Saturday afternoon, but there were plenty of staff around, all of whom were polite and helpful. Simone really took his time to ensure I had a good blow dry and I was well looked after with drinks and magazines. Overall, I thought it was a lovely salon and I loved how voluminous my hair was for that weekend.

Have you ever been to Gielly Green? Do you prefer to wear your hair curly or straight?

19 February 2012

Australia highlights part 3- Sydney

Just before my return to the UK, I was able to spent 10 days in Sydney, taking in all the world famous sites and exploring the neighouring areas. Here are some of my highlights:

Catching my first glimpse of Sydney opera house and harbour bridge
(it felt so surreal seeing it in person)

Visiting the Chinese garden of friendship, right in the heart of the city

Enjoying dim sum, the authentic way, with push around trolleys of food

Staying right next to the platforms of Central station
and sleeping in converted train carriages

Getting a 47th floor, 360 view at rotating restaruant The Summit

Visiting Palm Beach, aka the set of Home and away!

Spending the day climbing and exploring the Blue Mountains

Relaxing on Bondi beach and catching the last of the cliffside exhibition

As you can see, some of the best days of my trip were spent in Sydney. Sadly that's the last of my Australian photos, but I really do hope to return one day, even if it is just for Whitehaven beach!

Click here to see part 1 and part 2 of my trip.

I'm hoping to go travelling again this summer, so hopefully there'll be plenty more photos to come. Do let me know what your favourite holiday destination are.

Have you ever been to Sydney? Are you a fan of Home and away?

17 February 2012

Bourjois pop up boutique

London fashion week starts today, and to coincide, Bourjois will be opening it's first ever pop up boutique.

Located at the Beach Blanket Babylon (Shoreditch) the boutique will offer up to 65% off make up, as well as make overs, manicures, hairstyling and tv footage of the latest fashion shows.

Refreshments will be available and the first 50 customers each day will also be treated to a free goody bag.


I was able to pop by last night, and thought the boutique was really well designed and spacious. There were plenty of testers on display so you can swatch to your heart's content and it was lovely to see blogger quotes dotted around the boutique.

The pop up boutique will be open until the 20th February. For more information and opening times, click here.

Will you be paying a visit to the pop up boutique? What's your favourite Bourjois product?

14 February 2012

NOTD - MUA love u 24/7

It's been a while since I've done a NOTD, but this pretty lilac purple shade from the MUA love hearts range has made me fall in love with in nail varnish again.

The above photo shows 2 coats. I found the brush easy to use, and the nail varnish was relatively quick drying. It tends to leave brush strokes on the second coat, but most of the time it dries to a smooth glossy finish.

Colour wise, it reminds me of the gorgeous Illamasqua Jo'mina, but at a much more purse friendly price of £2. Definitely one to check out next time you go shopping!

Are you a fan of MUA cosmetics? Will you be buying anything from their Love Hearts range?

Disclosure- PR sample

12 February 2012

Valentine's day gift guide - Part 2

Following on from yesterday's post, here are some of my top make up treats:

Possibly one of the most sought after products this year, and definitely one that will win you lots of brownie points! Urban Decay naked 2 palette includes 12 eyeshadows, a dual ended brush and a mini lipgloss. The eyeshadows come in a range of finishes, and like the original palette, are all neutral and wearable in colour. I also like the fact that they've changed to the packaging to a sleek metal case instead of the original cardboard box.

For make up that's beautifully packaged, take a look at the new No 7 spring collection. There's a small range of good quality products to choose from, and the floral white packaging looks very modern and high end. I'd highly recommend the Vital enlightening highlighter and the Vital brights cream blush in blossoming pink.

If she's a fan of lip products, then what about aptly named Bare Minerals pretty amazing lipcolour in Charisma. The coral pink shade is non-drying, has a lovely glossy finish and is as pigmented as a lipstick.

Finally, for something a bit more romantically themed, take a look at the new MUA love hearts lip balms. There are 5 shades to choose from, all of which are lightly tinted, glossy and have a subtle vanilla scent. Texture wise, they're similar to Mac lip conditioners and Sleek pout polishes, but at a bargainous price of £2 each.

Have you tried any of these products? What will you be buying this Valentine's day?

11 February 2012

Valentine's day gift guide - Part 1

Everyday should be a special day, but whether you're single or in a relationship, Valentine's day is the perfect excuse for some new treats, especially as it's been so cold and miserable recently!

Here are some of my top picks:

Molton Brown toiletries make for lovely presents, and their Paradisiac pink pepperpod range is perfect for Valentine's day. With notes of ginger, patchouli and pink pepper, it's spicy, uplifting and very sensual. I love the pretty packaging of the bathing milk and the products are available both individually or as part of a gift set.

For someone who travels a lot, or needs to relax, what about this Babor antistress relaxation to go kit. It comes with a mini shower milk, 2 cleansers, an anti-jet lag cream, as well as white travel bag.

For a spa like treatment at home, take a look at the luxurious Elemis frangipani monoi body oil. Like all Elemis products, it's free from parabens, SLS, mineral oils, artificial colours and silicones. The solid to liquid oil smells amazing, and can be used used as a bath oil, rubbed in as a moisturiser or as a nourishing treatment for cuticles and hair. It also doubles up nicely as a massage oil.

This year, me and my boyfriend have agreed no chocolates for each other, but for something chocolate themed, take a look at the new Chocomania range from The body shop. There's a wide range of products to choose from and the scent is surprisingly non sickly. It's a creamy almost nutty chocolate scent and I highly recommend getting the body butter.

Finally, you can't go wrong with perfume (as long as you choose the right one!). My top choices would be Benefit ring my Bella (fruity floral), Boss orange (lightly spiced creamy floral), Especially Escada (playful floral) and Liz Earle botanical essence No1 (fresh and uplifting) .

Look out for part 2 (make up) which will be up tomorrow morning.

What are your plans for Valentine's day? What are you hoping to receive/treat yourself to?

10 February 2012

Especially Escada perfume review

Escada are best known for their limited edition summer fragrances, but this year, there's a new permanent addition, and I think it is absolutely gorgeous!

Based around a rose, Especially Escada is light, playful, feminine and luxurious. The perfume opens with top notes of pear and ambrette seeds, before revealing the heart and base notes of rose, ylang ylang and musk.

At first, it's a lovely fresh floral scent which feels very glamorous yet at the same time playful and light-hearted. Over time, the musk becomes more apparent and it develops into a richer, more sophisicated fragrance.

For me, the bottle can be just as important as the fragrance, and I absolutely love the chunky glass cube with it's gold topped plastic lid. It's chic and eyecatching, but like the perfume, still has that element of girlyness and fun.

Definitely one to try out next time you go shopping!

Available from Escentual.com

Are you a fan of Escada fragrances? What do you think about their new one?

Disclosure- PR sample

8 February 2012

Overnight stay at Lifehouse country spa resort

Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference, and during my overnight stay at Lifehouse, the spa paid great attention to detail to ensure the experience was one of maximum comfort and relaxation.

Lifehouse is located about 80 minutes from London, and on arrival at Thorpe le soken station, there is a complimentary taxi service to the spa.

Having been delayed thanks to a last minute meeting, I was greeted on arrival, shown to my room then taken down to the cafe bar to join the rest of the group for a delicious afternoon tea.

We were booked in for a massage at 6:30, leaving us plenty of time to explore the spa and enjoy it's facilities. Facilities included a heated swimming pool, gymnasium, hot tub, salt steam room, 12 acres of garden, a mini library and a relaxation room with the most amazing massage chairs!

(click to enlarge)

Much of my time was spent in the steam room, hot tub and massage chairs. I thought the thermal spa area had a great ambiance at night, but would have benefited from window blinds during the day to help shield from the bright sunlight.

To help with relaxation, there are almost no clocks inside the building, and mobile phone reception is limited to the restaurant and guest bedrooms. You can however request a buzzer so you don't miss any of your treatments.

I was treated to a back massage, and I can honestly say it was the best one I've ever had. The Babor body oil smelt amazing, my therapist Fatima took on board the fact that I like my massages to be firm, spent most of the time working on my lower back and took the time to really smooth out any knots of tension.

Dinner was a delicious 3 course affair, with a a variety of dishes on offer. I opted for the partridge to start, followed by duck breast with mash and madeira jus before finishing with chocolate fondue and peanut butter ice cream for dessert.

After a blissful night's sleep and an early morning swim, I made my way down to breakfast which was just as indulgent as dinner. Breakfast included a cold buffet of fruit, cereal, pastries and juice, followed your choice of a hot dish. I would highly recommend the eggs Benedict royale.

Check out time is at 11 but you are welcome to use the spa facilities for the day. I took full advantage of this, by spending yet more time relaxing massage chairs and having an informal chat with naturopath Sue Davis. There are even lockers available, although these do get taken up quickly so get in there early!

The distance from London means that it's not ideal for a quick treatment but perfect for an overnight stay or a weekend break. The spa is modern and luxurious, staff were friendly and helpful and the food was absolutely delicious. My time there was very relaxing and I left feeling thoroughly pampered and refreshed. The spa had a lovely chilled out vibe, and I would highly recommend both for a girly break or for a romantic weekend away.

If you are thinking of treating yourself, then check out their offers page, where prices start from £59 for a day trip or £99 for an overnight stay.

Have you ever been to Lifehouse spa? What's your favourite spa treatment?

6 February 2012

Jainnisa body polish and hand cream review

Inspired by Thailand's rich heritage of exotic fowers and marine ingredients, Jainnisa's range of bath and body products all contain a pampering blend of plant extracts and oils. The range is split into 2 scents, and I was sent one of each to try out.

The gently exfoliating body polish contains extracts of bamboo, blue lotus, jasmine, tuberose and ylang ylang. Of the 2, this has a fresher scent, and is lovely to use in the morning. The bamboo granules are extremely fine, but at the same time effective enough to leave my skin feeling smoother. I find it works best when applied to dry skin and is gentle enough to be used everyday.

The all day revitalising hand cream contains extracts of white champaca, cocoa butter, shea butter, orange flower and lotus. This has more of an invigorating scent and is the perfect pick me up during the day. The hand cream is non greasy, absorbs quickly and leaves my hand feeling soft and moisturised.

At £19.50 and £14.95 respectively, the range is definitely aimed at the more luxury end of the market. I do feel it's somewhat let down by the packaging, which lacks that high end feel, but the products inside are spa worthy. Both products smell amazing, feel very luxurious, and the hand cream especially is a joy to use.

Have you tried anything from this range? Are you a fan of exotic scents and products?

5 February 2012

Australia highlights part 2

After our boat trip around the Whitsunday islands, we flew to Brisbane, where we caught up with old friends and took in the sights of one of Australia's sunniest cities. We then spend a day exploring Fraser island, before travelling down to the Gold Coast and Byron Bay. Here are some of my highlights from my time there:

Brisbane


Going for a lovely cruise along the river

Marvelling at how beautiful the city looks at night

The yummiest steak sandwich with green pesto and chargrilled vegetables

Watching a film at the open air cinema

Fraser Island

Admiring the famous Maheno shipwreck

Going for a swim in the beautifully clear freshwater of Lake McKenzie

Gold Coast

Relaxing on the beach at Gold coast

Byron Bay

Going for a cliff top walk and discovering we were at Australia's most easterly point

Click here to see part 1 of my Australia highlights

Have you been to any of these places? Where's your favourite holiday destination?
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