FOTD and Kew Gardens

On Saturday, I met up with a small group of friends to visit Kew gardens. Make up wise I wore:

L'oreal studio secrets smoothing resurfacing primer
Garnier tinted eye roll on
MAC mineralize skinfinish natural
Sleek make up face contour kit in light
Maybelline dream mousse blush in peach satin

Elite VIP colours eyeshadow palette in 5
Maxfactor false lash effect mascara

MAC nude rose lipstick
Natural collection clear lipgloss

(click on the photos to enlarge)

Kew gardens is huge and there were plenty of pretty flowers and beautiful scenery inside. I couldn't resist taking lots of photos of waterlilies, I did keep my eye out for peonies but didn't manage to find any. We also climbed up the treetop walk, which was pretty cool, if a little scary as the metal floor had holes in it and I got pretty scared looking down but the view was great.

We also went into the Princess of Wales conservatory which had lots of temperature controlled rooms filled with different plants, such as cacti and exotic flowers. One room had a special exhibition and it was filled with lots of beautiful butterflies flying around, which was so cool.

Despite the rainy start we had a great time and it was lovely to catch up with old friends in such a beautiful setting.

Have you ever been to Kew Gardens? Hope everyone had a great weekend!

NOTD- Eyeko nude polish

A beautiful glossy peach shade with a very slight hint of shimmer.

(it is slightly peachier in real life)

Like the other shades I was sent this was easy to apply and dried reasonably quickly but it did need 2 coats for an opaque finish.

I normally prefer pinks and reds but I actually really like this shade and it looks so pretty in the sunshine.

Are you a fan of peach nails?

My perfume collection and wishlist

My perfume collection is really small as I originally wanted to find one 'signature fragrance' but I was far to indecisive and liked too many perfumes so ended up buying a couple more. However I've recently become a lot more interested in perfumes so will definitely be expanding my collection this summer.

The Body Shop oceanus- A lovely clean and fresh floral fragrance that reminds me of being by the sea or in a park, perfect for spring/summer

Paul Smith Rose- A gorgeous light airy rose scent thats perfect for everyday wear

Calvin Klein euphoria- A musky floral scent thats great for evenings and winter time

J-Lo live luxe- My least favourite fragrance, I'd describe it as a musky fruity floral scent

Anna Sui secret wish (not pictured) - A really nice fruity fragrance with a beautiful bottle, but I do find it fades quite quickly

I've currently got a huge list of perfumes to check out, but have decided I'll definitely be purchasing the 3 perfumes below as they all smell amazing!

Boss orange- A gorgeous sweet girly scent with notes of orange blossom, white flower and vanilla.

Escada marine groove- A lovely tropical perfume with a blend of floral, fruity and musky notes, perfect for the summer!

Chanel chance eau tendre- A beautiful fruity floral fragrance with grapefruit, jasmine and musk notes.

What are your favourite perfumes? Also are there any other fruity floral fragrances that you would recommend?

Lovea Bio L'argan shampoo review

Like a lot of other bloggers, I was recently sent this shampoo from Mypure to try out.

The shampoo has a nice bubblegum scent to it, although the formula was quite runny. Because it is SLS free, it doesn't lather up as much as other shampoos, which I personally disliked, as I don't feel like I'm washing my hair properly unless there's plenty of lather. Because of this I found myself using more shampoo than normal.

Lather aside, it left my hair feeling squeaky clean and shiny, although it felt knottier than normal, but nothing that a bit of conditioner didn't solve.

Although I don't dislike this shampoo, there are a lot of other shampoos on the market that I'd prefer to use over this one. However if you don't mind the lack of lather and prefer more natural products then this shampoo might be worth checking out.

Would the lack of lather bother you? Or are you more concerned about the effects of SLS?

A cheap treatment for strong nails

My nails have been quite weak recently as a result of overwashing and have been prone to peeling and splitting. I had a quick look online and in Boots but most of the treatments were in the form of nail varnishes which I wasn't keen on.

I used to massage olive oil into my nails as a teenagers so I thought I'd give it another go, and I'm so glad I tried that first before buying anything, because after just 3 uses, my nails are now so much stronger, glossier and generally healthier looking.

I simply pour some olive oil onto a saucer, then use a cotton bud or my fingers to apply to my nails then massage in. I also like to rub some into my hands and give myself a mini hand massage. I normally leave it on for 15mins before washing off, but it can be left on for as long as you want to for a moisturizing treat.

If you suffer from weak peeling nails, dry hands or just fancy a pampering treat, I would definitely recommend giving this a go, as its such a cheap and effective treatment.

Are you a fan of olive oil as a beauty treatment? What are some of your favourite natural beauty products?

Neutrogena visibly clear pink grapefruit facial wash review

I would describe this as a gel wash that foams lightly on contact with water. As the name suggests, its got a lovely citrussy grapefruit scent to it which I love, as its very refreshing and smells very realistic.

When I was sent this, I had several spots but after just one wash, they felt less inflamed. I tend to get regular hormonal outbreaks, and although this didn't stop me from getting spots, I found that I had less spots than normal and they seemed to clear up a lot quicker.

I find it also helps to stop my face from getting too oily during the day without making my cheeks any drier than normal. The gel is a little too runny for my liking, but otherwise its a great facewash.

Overall I really like this product, especially the refreshing grapefruit scent and although I still prefer a cream cleanser in the evening, its now my go to facewash in the morning.

Have you tried this? What is your favourite product for preventing spots?

Maybelline, lunch and shopping

On Thu I met up with Ling for the launch of Maybelline Lash stilletto voluptuous mascara.

The mascara, which will be available from June claims to leave lashes up to 70% longer and with 80% more va-va-volume. It has a dual action s shaped brush, which holds more formula in its curves, whilst fully coating and thickening each lash with a glossy shine.

It was quite a quick launch, and because me and Ling were both hungry we decided to get some dim sum from Chinatown, which was just across the road.

The MAC store in Soho had an 20% off evening that day, and because we both had some free time, we decided to do some shopping in central London then head over to Soho at 5 to take advantage of the offer.

Whilst on Oxford St we decided to do some MAC swatching in Selfridges, just in case the pro-store was super busy. The to the beach collection had just been released, and to celebrate its release there were 2 male models in store:

As I was shopping all afternoon, I ended up buying quite a few bits, however I've since changed my mind about several things so these are the things I'm keeping.

Fake pearl earrings (Primark)
Gold bracelets (H&M)
Lustre lipstick in Sweetie (MAC)
Sleek contour kit in light (Superdrug)

Despite having a huge number of lipsticks on my wanted list, I ended up being very good and only buying one- a lustre lipstick in Sweetie, which is absoutely beautiful and I knew I'd love it as soon as I saw it on the stand (Ling brought one too). I do regret not buying creme cup as well, but as I don't wear lipstick that often its probably for the best. I think Carnaby Street does another 20% off evening in November so I can always pick it up then.

Have you been shopping recently? What is your favourite MAC lipstick?

Mini giveaway

I'll be running a few small giveaways on my blog as a way of saying thank you to everyone for reading and commenting on my blog. I love blogging and it really makes my day to know that there are people out there who read my posts and take the time to comment. I thought I'd do several smaller ones rather than one big one, that way there can be more winners :)

Botanics overnight hand and nail cream
Ms Manicure 6 emery boards to-go

To enter:
- Be an follower of my blog.
- Leave a comment saying 'enter me'.
- Feel free to tweet or blog about this giveaway for extra entries. If you do make sure you let me know so I can enter you accordingly.

ETA: It would be great if you could give me some feedback on my blog, what posts you'd like to see more off, what I could improve on etc. If you do leave feedback I'll make sure that you get two extra entries for the giveaway.

This giveaway will be open for 2 weeks until 11.59pm on 31st May 2010 and is open to UK and international readers.

Good luck!

The L'oreal renewal lash serum challenge

I would love to have thick long lashes but unfortunately mine are short, straight and fine. Although there are products out there like LiLiash, I refuse to pay that much in the hope of getting better eyelashes.
When this L'oreal serum was first released I dismissed it as another gimmick, but the positive reviews have convinced me to give it a go. L'oreal are quite vague about what it does, but I've read quite a few reviews from people saying its helped to give them longer and thicker lashes.

(my eyelashes at the moment)

I'll be applying this every night for the next few months so hopefully by the summer I'll have long thick lashes. Either way I'll let you girls know how I get on with it, so keep an eye out for my review if you're interested :)

Have you tried this or any other lash growth products?

Want to become a Simple star?

Are you fun loving, outgoing and a fan of Simple skincare? If so you may be interested in their competition for a Simple star.

They are offering a flexible salaried role within the company for one lucky person, who will become the face of Simple and win a package of prizes worth up to £50,000.

The winner will have a leading role on the Simple advisory panel and be involved in promotional campaigns. They will also win a host of prizes including:

- A holiday in the Dominican Republic, which includes flights
and a VIP private villa.
- A lifestyle supply of Simple products
- 1 year gym membership plus 3 sessions with a personal trainer
- 1 year Zest magazine subscription
- £200 Roxy vouchers

There will also be 50 finalists, who will win some Simple products.

For more information and to apply click here. The closing date is 3rd September 2010.

Personally I'd love to work for a skincare company and the holiday sounds amazing, so I will definitely be applying. How about you?

NOTD- Eyeko tea rose polish

A pretty dusky browny pink colour. In daylight I would describe it as a muted rose colour, but at night time it definitely looks more brown.

Like the other Eyeko nail varnishes I was sent, this one was nicely pigmented and I only needed one coat for a streak free finish, however the formula was a little thicker which made it a little more difficult to paint.

It dries fairly quickly and gives a glossy finish without the need for any topcoat.

What's your favourite nail varnish colour?

Haircare and styling advice from Andrew Collinge

Last week I was invited to an informal event at Andrew Collinge's London flat, where we had the privilege of meeting the man himself. On arrival we were greeted with drinks and lots of yummy snack food, and after chatting and getting to know the other bloggers, Andrew shared his haircare and styling tips with the group:

- Hair shouldn't be shampooed too frequently, as it overstimulates the oil glands, and leads to greasy roots and dry ends. The optimum time is once every 2-3 days/
- A cool rinse at the end will help to smooth the cuticles and leave you with shiny hair.
- Permanent hair dye colours the cuticles, whereas semi-permanent only stains the hair. However a semi-permanent colour will permanently change blonde hair.
- The better the condition of the hair, the less porous it is, and therefore the less the hair dye will hold.
- A zig zag parting will help to give some lift at the roots.
- When blow drying point the nozzel parallel to the hair to smooth down cuticles.
- Regular hair trims will help to stop it going whispy and straggly.

He then demonstrated various hair styles on the bloggers, quite impressively with only a hair brush and a pin! He was a big fan of back combing for creating volume for up dos (and having seen the results I can understand why!).

He also created a beautiful boho fishtail plait on Fleur, which was basically like doing a two strand plait with a section in the middle.

We were also told about the core and purity haircare range, which is available at Superdrug and most supermarkets.

The Core range contains both haircare and styling products for all hair types. The Purity range has 4 different shampoos and conditioners and contains Qunioa protein, for strong and healthy hair as well as botanicals and aroma-therapeutic oils for fragrance.

We were given a generous goodie bag containing some products, which I will be trying and reviewing soon.

All in all it was a great event, Andrew was so friendly and gave us some fantastic advice and styling tips and all the other bloggers were lovely as well.

Thanks again to Andrew and the PR team for a fantastic event!

An evening of beauty pampering

My end of year project was due in today, and as you can imagine the last few days have been extremely busy and stressful, so (after a much needed nap!) I decided to treat myself to a pamper evening tonight. I thought I'd show you what my essential beauty pampering products are:
Face exfoliator
Face mask (deep cleansing or hydrating depending on my skin)
Body scrub
Intensive hair conditioner
Body butter
Intensive hand cream
Vaseline for dry lips and cuticles

As well as a girly movie/tv show and lots of yummy food!

Unfortunately the bath is in my flatmate's ensuite bathroom,
otherwise a Lush bubble bar would definitely be on the list! I'd
normally fake tan as well but the He-shi tanner has to be applied to
unmoisturized skin so I'll be doing that tomorrow.

What are your favourite items for a pampering evening?

Body lotions and butters

I know you should moisturize everyday but I tend to be quite lazy during the Winter. However with Summer just around the corner I've been making more of an effort recently. I like to mix and match my products and these are the ones I'm currently using:

Aveeno moisturising creamy oil
A light body lotion that has a oaty almond scent to it. It sinks in very quickly and leaves my skin nicely moisturized and smooth throughout the day. This is the lightest of the 4 products, and as the weather gets warmer I can see myself using this more and more.

Biotherm oil therapy baume corps
This is more of a cream and has a fruity apricot scent. Again it sinks in very easily, and because of the thicker consistency, I feel that it is a tad more moisturising. The scent is again quite subtle and although it lingers faintly on the skin throughout the day, it won't interfere if I wear any perfume. Because of the lovely fruity scent, I will definitely be reaching for this throughout the summer.

Soap and glory the righteous butter
This has the classic Soap and Glory Miss Dior Cherie scent, which lasts well throughout the day. The scent is fairly strong, so whenever I wear this I don't bother with perfume. This is more of a thicker cream so will take a while to sink in, but once it does it leaves my skin feeling very moisturised and soft with no greasy afterfeel.

The body shop coconut body butter
This has a true butter consistancy (thick in the pot but softens when I warm it up with my hands). It takes a while to sink in, so its more of a weekly intensive moisturizer for me. It does however leave my skin feeling super smooth and moisturized and if I don't moisturize the next day, its rich enough to keep dry patches at bay. Its very strongly scented and whenever I use this, my clothes always end up smelling vanillery and coconutty.

Do you moisturize everyday? What are your favourite body lotions and body butters?

(Some of these were sent to me for review purposes, others were brought with my own money)

Sleek bloggers event, summer releases and a competition

Sleek make up hosted a bloggers event yesterday at All star lanes bowling alley, which I was lucky enough to be invited to.

Me and Ling made our way across London together, where we met up with another group of bloggers, and made our way to the venue together.

At the event, we were able to have a play with some of the current range, as well as new products, that will be released for the summer.

We were then shown how to make various cosmetics (including a lipstick, lipgloss and eye dust) followed by a make up demonstration and personalised foundation matching.

I have to say I was very impressed that they allowed each of us to get foundation matched, because I find it so hard to pick the right shade, and credit to the make up artist for doing it under such artificial lighting!

At the end there was also a bowl off (which I was rubbish at), with the chance to win some fantastic prizes. Amongst the fun, there were many broken nails, but well done to Sophie, who won a trip to New York with her amazing bowling skills.

So moving onto the new products. This summer they will be releasing 2 new pout polishes, a new limited edition circus palette and some new nail varnishes. We were also given a range of make up brushes, which will soon be available online.

Thank you so much to Sleek for organising the event, and to all the other bloggers who were so lovely and friendly. Sorry if I was a bit quiet, I know I can get quite shy sometimes but it was lovely to meet you all.

Sleek will also be running a competition, to name the shades in their idivine palettes. Blogs were choosen at random to host this competition, and I wasn't one of the lucky ones, but do look out for the competition on other blogs.

Illamasqua body electrics collection and your recommendations?

Like a lot of beauty bloggers, I was kindly sent some products from the new body electrics collection to try out. Whilst I'd read a lot about the brand, I've yet to use any of their products, so was really excited when my parcel arrived and I set about playing with everything straight away.

The collection was 'inspired by the power of kinetic energy and
the fluidity of the body in motion, and includes creams, powders
and dry body oils filled with light, shimmer and shine, designed
to highlight and contour your whole body'

The promotional images are absoutely beautiful and I think it portrays the inspiration behind this collection perfectly.

At £38, the kabuki body brush isn't cheap, but it is so soft and fluffy,
yet at the same time the bristles are dense and firm. I plan on using
this to apply bronzer during the summer.

The pulse illuminate oil looks very decorative in the glass jar, but
it was quite hard to control how much oil came out. That said, the
actual oil is a lovely bronzy colour and blends out to give a nice
sheen to the skin with fine shimmer particles. It sinks in quickly and
has a very tropical scent which lasts well throughout the day.

Overall I'm impressed with the quality of Illamasqua products, and having used these 2 products, I'm keen to try some more. I've heard a lot of good things about their cream blushers so was thinking of getting one of those. What is your favourite shade and is there anything else I should have a look at?

The perfect application - ELF powder brush and MAC MSF

I brought MAC mineralize skinfinish natural because of all the hype, but until now I wasn't too impressed as it would end up looking chalky unless I applied the tinest bit with a kabuki.

However I'm pleased to say that since trying it with my ELF studio powder brush it has been anything but chalky. It takes away the shine and gives a little bit of coverage, whilst leaving my skin looking naturally radiant.

The brush is super soft and fluffy, yet the bristles are quite firm at the same time. No matter how much I swirl it in my MSF it doesn't pick up much powder, so its really easy to control how much product I apply and if I need more coverage I just apply some more and buff it in, giving perfect results each time.

Are you a fan of the mineralize skinfinish powder, or do you think its an over-rated product?

20% off MAC, Cowshed, Benefit treatments and Make up store

On 13th May, Carnaby Street will running its annual 20% off shopping evening, which means you can get 20% off at the above stores plus many more.

Click here for a list of participating stores and to register for your free ticket.

If you are planning on buying some MAC make up make sure you get there early, as its always really popular and the queues are horrendous!

My project is due in on the 11th so I might go down with a friend and take advantage of the cheaper prices. What are your MAC must have items?
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