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?

All for Eve hand cream, by Urban retreat

All for eve was launched in April 2010 and features 7 items of skincare and make up, with all net profits donated to The Eve Appeal, a charity that raises funding and awareness into women's cancers.

I was sent the hand cream, which comes in a 100ml tube - the perfect in between size for keeping on my dressing table or popping into my handbag for use during the day.

The cream is on the thick side, so it will take a few minutes to fully absorb, but once it does there's no greasy afterfeel. Because of the thicker consistency, I tend to only use this when my hands are feeling particularly dry during the day, but it makes a good overnight hand cream and it always leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth.

Considering the profits go to charity, it retails at a very reasonable £6.95 and I'm already lusting after the Bold and beautiful red lipstick from this range!

Have you tried any of the products from the All for Eve line? What's your must have handcream this winter?

Giveaway- Barry M dusky mauve nail paint

This has to be one of the most sought after nail varnishes this year! After weeks of looking I've finally managed to find it in-store and I've picked up an extra one to giveaway:

(I will be doing a NOTD post very soon if you
want to see some swatches

For your chance to win:
- Leave me a comment telling me what your favourite nail varnish brand is
- Be a follower of this blog
- Feel free to tweet or blog about this giveaway for extra entries
(let me know if you do either of the above)

The giveaway is open to both UK and international readers and
will close at 11.59 UK time on 30th November.

Good luck!

Inika cosmetics swatches and reviews

I was recently invited to a press day to promote Inika- a range of mineral, halal and vegan cosmetics. At the event I was kindly given a few samples, which I've been trying out over the last few weeks:

Kabuki brush
I love this brush! My MAC msf natural can look a little cakey sometimes but with this I get flawless results every time. The bristles are soft and fluffy plus it's a good size for popping into my handbag for touch-ups throughout the day.

Certified organic eyeliner in Black caviar
This eyeliner was creamy, pigmented and easy to apply, however it does fade quite quickly, especially on my upper lashline.

Certified organic lip whip in Berry
This is definitely my favourite product out of the 3. It's very sheer so it's more of a tinted lipbalm than a lipgloss but it does such a good job of moisturizing my lips and it gives a lovely natural hint of colour and gloss to the lips. It does have a slight medicated scent but this soon disappears on application. A must have from the range!

Have you tried anything from Inika? What do you think of mineral make up?

Carmex cherry lipbalm - A handbag must have!

Every now and then I use a product that is so good I wonder why I ever stopped using it in the first place and Carmex cherry lipbalm definitely fits into that category!

I love my tub of Vaseline, but this week my lips have been so dry that I needed something more and this has done a great job of moisturizing them.

The consistency is a little thicker than vaseline ( and on a very cold day you may need to warm it up with your fingers first) but the advantage is that it clings better to the lips and doesn't wear off as easily. Because of this it goes a great job of protecting my lips against the harsh winter elements.

The lipbalm gives a lovely sheen to the lips and since I've started re-using it, the condition of my lips have improved greatly and they are not nearly as dry, plus it smells exactly like a bag of sour sweets (my favourite), so a definite handbag must have for me!

Are you a fan of Carmex? Has anyone tried the strawberry version?

A few of my recent favourites

Sorry for the lack of posts last week, I had a week off uni and I was in Birmingham, so most of my time was spent catching up on sleep and practicing for my driving test. However I'm pleased to say that I passed, and I'm back in London now so there should be more time for blogging.

I thought I'd post today about some of my current favourite products:

This last few months I've become a lot more obsessed with perfumes and currently I'm loving Boss orange, Lacoste joy of pink and Armani Diamonds (not pictured).

A'kin mandarin shampoo
When I first tried this, I was super impressed with how gentle it was and I'm glad to say that with time, it's definitely improved the condition of my scalp. I forgot to pack this when I went back home and using a normal shampoo made my scalp go itchy straight away, so SLS free shampoos are definitely the way forward for me.

Inika lip whip in Berry
I would describe this as more of a tinted lipbalm than a lipgloss. It gives a very subtle hint of colour and glossiness to the lips, but it's so moisturizing and it's been my go to lip product since I was given it a few weeks ago.

Superdrug tea tree oil
A great natural treatment for spots. If I apply it early enough it can help to prevent the spot from ever appearing and even if I apply it after the spot appears, it really helps to calm down the redness and reduce the size. Unfortunately the label isn't as good as the product inside!

Cosmetics a la carte eyelash curlers
I've been using curlers for years but it wasn't until this pair that I finally understood why make up artists always recommend them. It curls my eyelashes so quickly and really helps to open up my eyes and give the appearance of bigger eyes.

What are your favourite products at the moment? Let me know if there are any SLS free shampoos that you'd recommend.

MAC zoom fast black lash mascara review

MAC mascaras don't have the best reputation, so when I was given this in my goody bag, I didn't have high expectations, however, after trying it out, I was pleasantly surprised:

(Top- MAC zoom fast, Bottom- Bloom full and flirty mascara)

What I like most about MAC zoom fast is the size and shape of the brush. Big brushes are great for volume, but it's hard to apply mascara to the corners of my eye, and near impossible for the bottom lash line. However, because this brush is thinner at the end, it was really easy to coat both my corner and bottom eyelashes without smudging or clumping.

The formula is on the thick side, so clings really well to my lashes, and a few swipes is enough to darken and lengthen them. There is a little bit of clumping, but it can be removed by running the brush through my lashes.

One coat is enough for a daytime look, but because my natural lashes aren't very good, I like to apply another coat in order to add a little volume and extra length.

I'm not keen on is the smell of the mascara, as it reminds me of the cheap ones I used to buy when as teenager, however, smell aside, I'm really impressed with this mascara and it definitely makes it onto my list of products that I'd repurchase.

Have you tried any of the MAC mascaras? What's your favourite mascara for gorgeous lashes?
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