Alva makup organic duo eyeshadow in Gold

When it comes to eye make up, I tend to play it safe with neutral colours or glam it up with a smokey eye, so when I saw the pretty swatches of Alva eyeshadow duo in Gold on Louise's blog, I couldn't resist including one in this month's Mypure parcel.

On first impression, the product looks a bit cheap. The packaging is sturdy and secure, but the clear plastic reminds me of cheap drugstore makeup.

The actual eyeshadows are lovely. Both are finely milled, smooth and pigmented with a gorgeous shimmery finish.

I'd describe the darker colour as a rich coppery brown and the lighter shade a pretty beige colour with a subtle pink sheen.

Given the quality of the eyeshadows and the natural ingredients, I think it's reasonably priced at £11.95, but the product is somewhat let down by the packaging.

Have you tried any Alva make up? Is packaging important to you?

Top beauty discoveries of 2010

As the year draws to a close, I thought it would be a good time to look back on the last 12months and post about my favourite new discoveries of 2010:

Maxfactor Xperience volumising mascara
A truely lightweight mascara that lengthens and defines lashes, without weighing them down, clumping or smudging. By far the best mascara I've tried this year!

Hot cloth cleansers
I'm a big fan of No 7 radiance cleanser and the infamous Liz Earle Cleanse and polish. The creamy cleanser does a great job of removing make up and the cloth gently exfoliates, which removes more make up and leaves my skin soft and smooth, ready for moisturiser.

Liz Earle skin tonic
I always thought toners were an expensive alternative to water but Skin tonic smells so nice, removes any last traces of make up and lightly hydrates my skin- a definite repurchase for 2011!

SLS free shampoo
Since I've switched to SLS free shampoos, my scalp no longer gets itchy and my hair feels much healthier. I highly recommend A'kin Mandarin and Fragrance free shampoo, both of which foam up well, rinses away easily and leaves my hair clean and shiny.

Sleek contour kit highlighter
I used to avoid anything glittery for fear of looking like a disco-ball, but a dab of highlighter on the cheeks is the easiest way to brighten up the complexion, and gives a gorgeous lit from within glow to the cheeks.

E-one hair removal
The treatment was quite painful, but with regular use I was almost hairfree on my underarms. I only did 3 sessions (they recommend 10) so a few weeks after the last session, the hair did start to grow back. However even if the results aren't permanent, a session every 4-6 weeks is a lot easier than shaving daily, and if I had the money I would definitely invest in an IPL machine.

Honourable mentions- Pantene aqua light conditioner, Barry M dusky mauve nail paint, Lancome teint miracle foundation, ELF studio brushes, Urban Decay razor sharp finishing powder and Forest secrets skincare serum and oil.

What new products did you discover in 2010?

Merry Christmas

Just a quick post to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

(picture from Google images)

Hope Santa brings you lots of presents and you have a fun filled day tomorrow :)

Lush mini-reviews

The olive branch shower gel
Don't let the banana yellow colour of this shower gel put you off, because the complex mixture of citrus fruits, olive oil and vine leaves smells amazing! It foams up nicely and although not the most moisturizing shower gel I've used, it didn't leave my skin feeling dry either.

If you like 'Pop in the bath' bubble bar then definitely give this a try, because the scents are near identical.

So white bath ballistic
This smelt so crisp and fresh in the shop but unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment in the bath. Designed with bits of bubble bar, it fizzed away nicely on contact with water but didn't create many bubbles. Most disappointingly, the apple scent was too subtle and the white foam disappeared too quickly for my liking.

Sugar scrub
I wouldn't recommend using this in the bar form as it's very scratchy, however once crushed up, it up it's a lot gentler and does a good job of getting rid of any dead cells whilst leaving my skin refreshed. Plus the mixture of fennel, ginger and ylang ylang smells so nice!

Don't forget to enter my festive giveaway for your chance to win some Lush goodies.

Have you tried any of the above products? Which Lush products have impressed/disappointed you?

Foundation help please

I've dabbled with foundations in the past, but they've always felt too heavy on my skin or took too much effort to apply, but this winter, I've become really fed up of that cakey look you can get with powder and I'd love to achieve a more even skin tone so have decided to give liquid foundations another go.

However I've no idea which ones are good, so I'd love to get a few recommendations from you girls.

My idea foundation would be:
- light to medium coverage
- slightly dewy, semi matte finish
- yellow toned
- and most importantly not heavy on the skin

From reading online reviews, I am tempted to try Lancome teinte miracle, so if you've used that or if there are any other foundations that you'd recommend then I'd be really grateful if you could leave me a comment and let me know.

Thank you in advance!

Top 3 products of the week

It's been a while since I've done a favourite post, so I thought I'd write about 3 new favourites today:

Bumble and bumble quenching masque
I love deep conditioning my hair, and this creamy fruity scented masque works a treat! It always leaves my hair completely detangled and feeling so soft and silky, right up to my next wash!

I've got loads of split ends at the moment, but whenever I use this, it feels as smooth as if I'd just had a haircut, plus it rinses away easily so my fine hair doesn't get weighed down.

Purity facial exfoliator
This has been a great natural addition to my skincare routine. The coconut shells are finely ground, so you can feel it working on your skin, but all the beads are nice and rounded, so it's not at all scratchy or harsh.

It also contains coconut oil, sweet almond oil and aloe vera although rather disappointingly the scent doesn't come through when you use it.

Like all exfoliators it leaves my skin smoother and brighter, but what I like most about it is how creamy and gently it is on my skin.

Yankee midnight jasmine candle
This is my first Yankee candle, but I have a feeling this is going to be the start of a new addiction!

The natural sweet and floral scent makes me feel like I'm standing in a field in flowers and although not a very Wintery scent, it somehow manages to 'warm' up the entire room and give it a lovely homely feel.

I'd love to try more Yankee candles, so please let me know what your favourite scents are :)

Are you a fan of scented candles? Which products have you been loving this week?

Festive giveaway

As a way of saying Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and also to say thank you to all my readers for all the support over this last year I thought I'd hold a festive giveaway:

Prizes include: Lush Angel's delight soap
Lush So white bath ballistic
Lush Lemslip butter cream
Nivea glamorous gloss
Barry M dusky mauve nail paint
The Body shop warming mineral mask
L'oreal renewal lash serum
Lancome body sculptesse sample
Lancome colour ID foundation sample
Bare Minerals foundation sample
Mini clinique colour surge lipstick
Simple cleansing facial wipes

Giveaway rules:
- Leave me a comment telling me what you are most looking forward to this Christmas
- You must be a follower of this blog as this giveaway is to say thank you to my readers
- Feel free to post about this giveaway on the sidebar of your blog/twitter for 2 extra entries each (let me know if you do this so I can enter you accordingly)
- All valid entries will be numbered and the winner chosen using
- Remember to check back in the New Year to see if you have won

The giveaway will end at 11:59 UK time on 31st December
and is open to UK and international readers :)

Good luck!

Clothes Show Live 2010

Situated at the NEC in Birmingham, the Clothes Show features a massive selection of stalls, catwalks and demonstrations-so you can imagine my excitement when I found out I'd won a pair of tickets in Lauren's giveaway!

On the day, we headed straight to the beauty section, where there were a fantastic range of stalls, with many of the brands (Bourjois, Barry M, Rimmel, Benefit,Carmex, Lush etc) offering make overs and big savings compared to the high street.

Pantene were also there, handing out samples of their aqua light shampoo and conditioner, inviting members of the public to film their best 'swish', as well as a mini catwalk show throughout the day.

Dotted around the exhibition, there were several catwalk shows and make up demonstrations:

(an Awards show, featuring outfit ideas for
music, beauty and movie awards)

The highlight of the day was definitely the live show, which was presented by the fabulous Gok Wan!

Based on classic movie themes, it featured a stunning visual display of dancers 'acting' out scenes, followed by a catwalk of outfits based on that particular theme.

There were about 8 themes all together and all too soon, the show ended with a Dirty dancing finale which was simply amazing!

All in all, it was a great day out and although neither of us brought that much, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and I want to say a massive thank you to Lauren for hosting such a great giveaway and to Lucy from Pantene for getting me and my friend tickets to the fashion show!

Have you ever been to the Clothes Show?

Barry M dusky mauve giveaway winner

Thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway. After numbering all the valid entries I used to select a winner:

And the winner is...Lizzy!

Can you please email me your address and
I'll get the nail varnish posted asap!

Thanks again to everyone for entering and don't worry if you didn't win this time as I'll try and include this nail varnish in a future giveaway :)

Maxfactor Xperience make up

Launched in Autumn 2010, the Xperience range from Maxfactor aims to give a naturally flawless look, yet at the same time feel weightless on the skin:

Weightless foundation
This was the product I was most curious about trying, and it really does feel very light on the skin, although it can feel a little sticky to the touch after the foundation has set.

I would describe it as a light-medium buildable foundation that sets to give a semi-matte finish to the skin. I was originally sent Dark gypsum, but I've since tried Brown Hessian, which is a much better match for my NC25/30 skintone, however for everyday wear, I still prefer to just use my MAC msf natural.

Volumising mascara

(top- xperience volumising mascara, bottom- false lash effect mascara)

The brush is very similar to the false lash effect one, but with a tapered end to reach those corner lashes. Unlike the MAC zoom I've not had any problems with clumping and it helps to lengthen and thicken to gives a naturally defined look to my lashes.

A lot of mascaras feel a bit 'heavy' by the end of the day, but with this one you really can't feel anything on the lashes, plus it removes easily without leaving black smudges all over my face- a must have mascara for me!

Sheer gloss balm in Pink oyster shell
This goes on quite pigmented so I would say its more of a lipstick than a balm. The colour looks frosty in the stick, but it applies to give a slightly shimmery plum red colour to the lips that can be layered for a more intense look.

I've never had a problem with lip products feeling heavy so in that respect it doesn't feel any different to my other lipsticks. Because my lips are very dry at the moment, I like to apply this over a lipbalm, but if you apply it straight to the lips, you can get a few hours of wear before a touch up is needed.

As someone who doesn't like wearing a full face of make up, I can definitely say this range delivers on the promise of being weightless, and although I wouldn't use the foundation daily I would highly recommend the mascara for defined everyday lashes without that heavy weighed down feeling!

Do you mind that heavy feeling you get from wearing make up? What are your favourite products for a naturally flawless complexion?

Boots Botanics soothing eye make up remover review

When it comes to eye make up removers I always go for an oil based one as I feel they do a better job of removing make up and after reading lots of positive reviews, I decided to give this Botanics one a try:

Like my favourite No7 eye make up remover, it's a two phase product that you shake before using, however the bottle isn't the best for this. By the time I've unscrewed the lid, the mixed product has started to separate, a pump bottle would be so much better!

However I can't fault the actual eye make up remover. I simply apply some to a cotton pad, then hold over my lashes for about a minute and it quickly removes all traces of eyeshadow and mascara without any need for rubbing.

Considering it's oil based, it doesn't feel greasy on the skin and any residue can be easily removed by pressing a tissue over the eye area.

All in all, it's a great eye make up remover and at £2.99 it comes at a bargain price, I just wish it came with a pump instead of a screw lid!

Have you tried this eye make up remover? What to you use to remove your eye make up at night?

A weekend NOTD- Avon matte nailwear in Violetta

A beautiful deep purple colour that's perfect for the festive season:

The brush was decently sized and easy to use and the nail varnish is super pigmented, so you only need one coat, as long as you brush over any streaks. Best of all it literally dries in seconds to give a mattified slightly metallic finish to the nails.

The only downside is that it does wear away quite fast at the tips of the nails so I would recommend using a matte top coat to try and prolong it's wear, but if you are looking for gorgeous party colour that's easy to paint and dries quickly then I would definitely recommend this!

The Avon Matte nailwear range will be on sale from 23rd December, priced at £6 each.

Are you a fan of matte nails? What colour will you be sporting over the festive season?

New Look purchases and Forever 21 photos

A few days ago I picked up a New Look 20% off voucher, and as I didn't have any plans today I decided to hit the shops for some retail therapy:

I love that this dress is smart enough to be worn for formal occasions, but can also be accessorized and dressed down for parties, plus it came to a barginous £18.49 after discount (£22.99 originally)

During the year I really went off UGGs but now that the weather's colder, I'm seriously lusting after a pair! I'm hoping to get one using a discount code soon, but at £13.59 (£16.99 originally) these will keep my feet snug until then.

As I'm in Birmingham this weekend, I had to pop into the newly opened Forever 21 store in the Bullring. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to buy anything but I did spot a few pieces that I plan to go back and try on.

The store was quite spacious and the most of the clothes were neatly hung on rails for easy browsing. You could tell they'd put a lot of thought into the decor and each of the 3 floors had it's own theme.

(one of the jewellery stands)

Style wise, it's very similar to the likes of New Look, River Island, Miss Selfridges, Topshop etc but luckily a lot better priced, and as most items retail around the £20 mark and I'm sure it'll be a popular addition to the Bullring!

Are you a fan of Ugg boots? Will you be shopping at the newly opened Forever21 store/online?

MyPure November reviews- A rave and a disappointment

This month, as part of the MyPure blogging panel I choose a lip balm and a face wash to try out:

Living nature manuka honey lip balm

This sweet smelling lipbalm has been a must have for me this month. Consistency-wise, it's very similar to a lipgloss so it gives a lovely glossy sheen to the lips but without any stickiness.

With extracts of manuka honey, shea butter, jojoba oil and vitamin E it's great for adding moisture my dry winter lips. The only downside is that it doesn't contain spf, so I prefer to only use this when I'm indoors.

A'kin sandlewood and neroli pure facial cleansing gel

I normally love Akin products but this one turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Firstly the packaging is more suited to a shower gel than a face wash. As a result it was difficult to control how much came out and I often ended up with too much product.

The cleansing gel is designed for normal/combination/oily skin but at times it did feel a little drying for my skin. I may get some use out of this product in the summer when my skin is oilier, but if I do, I will be decanting the gel into another container!

Have you tried products from A'kin or Living Nature? Let me know if you have any recommendations :)

Eyeko fat balm in frosting and minty

From what I can gather, fat balms are a bit of a cult classic for Eyeko, and they've recently revamped them with a new limited edition packaging:

Firstly how cute are the packaging for the balms, I love that it's girly and fun without looking cheap!

Frosting fat balm smells like vanilla cupcakes, and I find myself craving some everytime I use it! It's a gorgeous hot pink colour with a hint of shimmer, that goes on sheer, but can be layered for a deeper colour.

I always need to touch up my blusher during the day and this is a great multi-purpose product for my handbag as I can use it both on my cheeks and to add a hint of colour to my lips.

As the name suggests, minty fat balm has a peppermint scent and I would describe it as a pearly baby pink colour. I personally find it too light to use as a cheek colour, but gives a subtle shimmery hint of pinks to the lips, for a polished yet natural daytime look.

All the fat balms are enriched with jojoba oil (and spf15), so they feel nice and moisturising on the lips and although they are twice the size of lipsticks, I still found it easy to apply without getting it all over my face.

Have you tried any of the fat balms? What are your favourite multi-purpose products?

Liz Earle instant boost skin tonic review

I know you're supposed to cleanse, tone and moisturize, but I've always skipped the toner part as the ones I've tried have been too harsh or just didn't add anything extra to my skincare routine. However as I was already using 2 of the Liz Earle products and I'd heard a lot of good things about the skin tonic, I decided I might as well give it a go.

The bottle comes with a cap that twists up to reveal a hole, where the liquid pours out from, although personally I would have preferred a pump as it sometimes pours out whilst you're twisting the cap (if you accidently squeeze the bottle).

The skin tonic itself is a clear liquid with a very fresh floral scent, which isn't surprising as it contains aloe vera, calendua, rose scented geranium and cucumber.

On application, it immediately refreshes and if my skin feels tight, it helps to lightly hydrate my skin before I moisturize. Like any other toner it also helps to remove any last traces of cleanser and make up.

Since using it, I haven't noticed any major changes in the appearance of my skin, but it has quickly become part of my skincare routine and I love it's refreshing and hydrating feeling so unless I find a better toner, I will probably repurchase it when this bottle runs out.

Are you a fan of Liz Earle skincare? Do you regularly use a toner as part of your skincare routine?

NOTD: Barry M dusky mauve nail paint

After weeks of searching I finally found a bottle of this nail varnish and I have to say it's definitely worth all the hype!

I would describe it as a very deep mauve colour that can look more grey or purple depending on the lighting. Also when it catches the light, it gives a purple irridescent colour which is absoutely beautiful.

The formula is a little on the watery side, so 2 coats are needed, but it dries quickly and gives a glossy finish to the nails.

(with flash)

It's an Autumn/Winter must have and many bloggers have said this is an almost exact dupe of Chanel Paradoxal, one of the most talked nail varnishes this year!

It's pretty hard to get hold of in store at the moment, but if you do spot one then I would definitely recommend buying it.

Don't forget you can also enter my giveaway for your chance to win a bottle.

Are you a fan of this shade? What's your must have colour this Winter?

Sneak preview: The Body Shop brush with fashion make up collection

For one of their 2011 collections, The Body Shop have teamed up with the London College of fashion to design a range of 6 items, all with built in brushes for make up on the move!

Although the products won't be out for a few months, I thought you girls might like a preview of the collection:

Limited collection for eyes

There are 2 palettes: a neutral matte palette and a smokey eye palette, which is one of my favourite items from this collection.

I didn't get a chance to swatch the neutral one, but the eyeshadows in the smokey palette were smooth, finely milled and pigmented. With the exception of the black colour, all the eyehadows are shimmery and the pink colour doubles up nicely as a blusher for me.

Tailored cheek tint

Another product that stood out to me was the tailored cheek tint. This applies clear but depending on the pH of your skin, it changes to give pink-ish colour. The product has a gel/lipgloss texture and it does stain the skin, so although I probably won't use it as a blusher, it will get lots of use as a long lasting lip colour.

There is also an illuminating face base, which is a peachy coloured highlighter that has a built in brush and 2 hi shine lip treatments, which contains marula and avocodo oil to help moisturize whilst giving a sheer glossy finish to the lips.

To showcase the make up and the collaboration with The Body Shop, London fashion college put on a fashion show featuring 2 of their designers and here are a few photos from the catwalk:

(click to enlarge)

Have you tried any Body Shop make up? Has anything from this collection caught your eye?
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