22 February 2014

NOTD- Nails Inc Topping Lane

Happy Saturday!
To celebrate the start of the weekend I treated myself to some pretty nails using one of my favourite yet more underused polishes; Pudding Lane from the Nails Inc Sprinkles collection. I love the entire collection but there's just something about the blue base with the pink and silver glitter that draws me in.
Eee, isn't it a cure polish? In the photo here I applied one coat of my trust Nails Inc Malibu Mojito to give a nice opaque base and then a single coat of Pudding Lane. The formula is thick without being gloopy and allows the glitter to spread evenly across the nail. I always top off with a coat of the Nails Inc Caviar top coat which leaves an almost completely smooth feeling finish and that little bit of extra shine but to be honest, it isn't a particularly textured feel polish anyway so I wouldn't say it's an essential step if you're short on time.
In terms of wear, if I'm careful I find that I can get a good few days chip free from Pudding Lane, especially with the top coat. Removal is a bit of a pain as with all glitter polishes but I think it's worth it for cute, pastel sprinkle nails!

What do you think? Do you own any of the Sprinkles collection?
Annie xx

20 February 2014

Color WOW! Winter Haircare Heroes

Color WOW is a brand that I had heard little about until recently when I was offered the chance to try out a couple of their products. Colour WOW products are targeted at people who colour their hair and want to keep the look and condition as beautiful as possible for as long as possible. I live in Somerset in the South West of England and for those who don't know, the weather here lately has been totally awful with wind and rain throwing itself from all directions and it's sure been playing havoc with my hair so I jumped at the chance to try out some goodies that promise to give frazzled hair some TLC.
I was sent the One-minute Transformation Styling Cream (*) and the Get in Shape 2-in-1 Working Hair Spray (*) from the range in order to smooth my winter hair back to beauty.
The Get in Shape 2-in-1 Working Hair Spray* which retails at £16.50 for 150ml is a non-aerosol formula and instead has a spritzer like you would find on a body spray which is a big plus for me because I hate all the fumes you usually get with hair spray and it has a soft, pleasant scent. The formula is designed to give hair "guts" and strong hold without going dry, crispy or making coloured hair look dull. I use it mostly for my fringe which has a tendency to do whatever it wants and I've found that whilst it doesn't hold it rigid when the wind blows, it does mean that when the wind drops again it falls back into place without being messy or needing constant attention and it really does give it a soft gloss at the same time. Perfect!
The One Minute Transformation Styling Cream*, also £16.50 has given me some mixed results. When applied onto dry hair and just smoothed through I found it made my hair a little oily, maybe because it is designed to give hair an instant hydration boost throughout the day as well as giving styles extra life by replacing natural oils which are lost in chemical treatments and whilst I colour my hair, it really isn't dry. However, I've found that the trick seems to be to run a small amount through hair before blow drying to maximise the styling benefits and give a beautiful gloss with plenty of definition without becoming overly oily.

A bit of  mixed bag for me, I completely adore the hair spray and have done since first use but the styling cream isn't as much of a hit for me. I enjoy it now I've worked out how to use it, but I'm not sure I would personally pay £16.50 as it just isn't that suited to me. You can pick up the Color WOW range in Space NK, I'd like to try the Root Lifting Spray next.

What do you think of the sound of Colour WOW products. Are they something that you'd look at?

Annie xx

18 February 2014

Yankee White Chocolate Bunnies Candle

Now Christmas and Valentines Day are out of the way, focus is moving onto spring, warmer weather and Easter. Yankee Candle have recently released two scents for Valentines Day; Bunny Cake which is returning from last year and White Chocolate Bunnies which is a sweet new scent for 2014.

As you can probably guess, White Chocolate Bunnies has an amazing white chocolate aroma that fills the room with a smell similar to that of melted milky bar chocolate. The scent is lovely and strong without smacking you in the face and being too sickly. The jar is also super cute! I love all things cute and the soft, creamy colouring fits right in with my girly decor although I think it would look at home in most places.
To top off my jar I've been using my new Whiskers on Kittens Illuma Lid which was released as part of the My Favourite Things collection. Don't those kittens look smug about their big, bold whiskers! For those who may not know, the purpose of an Illuma Lid is to reduce the effect of draughts on the flame which helps to give a more even burn.

This is a beautiful candle and would make a lovely gift for a Yankee Candle fan, or a treat for yourself if you're after a little something to spoil yourself with. It's only available as a large jar, but you can pick up White Chocolate Bunnies for £19.99 *here*

Annie xx

14 February 2014

A Valentines Beauty Swap

Happy V Day lovelies.
I'll be honest, to me it's just another day but it did give a good excuse to do a beauty box swap with one of the ladies on the Facebook community Beauty Box Swaps!
My swap was actually with the same lovely lady as last Valentines Day. We set our budget at £25 and tried to stick to a pink, white and red theme and I was more than excited when this box full of delights arrived!
My box was full to the brim with pretty, yummy and beautifully scented things and I love it all. Where to begin?
Valentines Day wouldn't be complete without a sprinkle of sugar so it was nice to find lots of sweet treats nestled among the other goodies in my box. I may have eaten a couple of the Maoam sticks before even taking the photos ;)
I'm in love with Yankee candles so felt totally spoilt to find that there were 9 scents in my box that I hadn't tried before and not one that I don't like the smell of. I'm looking forward to trying the sweet strawberry in particular.
As well as 9 new scents, there were also two of my all time favourite scents in there. Fireside treats is definitely in my top three Yankee Candle fragrances so this will be stashed away for when I'm running low.
On to the beauty bits, there were some Sugar Crush products from Soap and Glory; two travel sized tubs of the body scrub and a lovely big tub of the body buttercream. I love the zesty scent of the Sugar Crush range, the mix of brown sugar and lime juice just leaves me feeling so refreshed. There was also a tube of Philosophy Cranberry Medley body lotion which has been popped straight in my hand bag. I'm a big fan of Philosophy so I'm looking forward to having this at my disposal :)
How cute is this L'Occitane set? This pretty pink flowery pouch contained travel sizes of the Rose Aurore body milk, Rose 4 Reines bath and shower gel and Spring Cherry shower gel and is perfect for packing up to take on holiday. As it is, I've actually taken the bottles out and used the pouch to store some of the candles. There was a mini floral hand cream stashed away in the pouch too that smells completely gorgeous. I can slather my hands in floral hand cream and then pop on the Elizabeth Arden moisture gloves that I got and let the skin really draw in the moisturiser. Bliss right?
There were also a few little random beauties in my box including the most amazing pair of slipper socks I have ever owned. Oh goodness they keep my feet warm! I'm not sure where these are from but I own thermal socks that don't work as well at keeping my toes toasty! The cute little button badge says "love is..." ans then lists adjectives to describe the emotion. Last but not least is the adorable writing set from Cath Kidston. I'm a sucker for cute stationery so this will definitely be put to good use very soon.

A huge thanks to Jemma for my lovely Valentines gift, I hope you like yours :)
And I hope everyone has had a great V day!

Annie xx

12 February 2014

Teeez Mysterious Crystal Eye Liner

I mentioned this fabulous eye liner in yesterday's You Beauty Discovery Box post and just had to give it a full review because I've been so impressed. Teeez is a Dutch based brand that I had previously not heard of, and is actually pretty hard to get hold of in the UK I've found having spent some time doing research for this post! Their cosmetics are all beautifully packaged, natural as can be and released in exciting collections. The Mysterious Crystal Eye Liner is part of the Desert Glow range and is available in six excitingly named colours. The shade I have is a deep grey with the name Smokey Quartz.
The packaging, like I mentioned is pretty funky. I personally think on such a small box this looks a little over the top but on some of the wider packaging looks great. The eye liner itself is patterned with the same bold style with splashes of gold which make it look fun but stylish.
The eye liner itself is a silky smooth twist up pencil that just glides onto the eyelid with no dragging or scratching. In the other end there is also a very handy 2-in-1 tool that is both a smudge brush that is kept clean with a plastic cap and when pulled off of the eye liner is a hidden sharpener ensuring you can get both super precise and super smokey looks from the one tool.
As shown here the shade is a lovely shimmery grey shade which I can tell you now does not have any glitter fall out. The wavy swatch was using a fairly light hand which gives a soft, smokey colour which could be buffed out for an eye shadow type of effect. The thick swatch on the right was with a firm hand and more pressure which gives a very even application of colour and looks great worn in a cat flick style. Finally, the swatch above them is heavy but blended out using the smudge brush for a slight gradient effect. I don't personally use smudge brushes often as I like fairly neat looks but it does work well.
After 45 seconds the eye liner sets fast and doesn't budge. A dream if you work long days or plan on partying all night :) In the photo above I had been wiping away at the swatches using a cotton pad and my trusty Nuxe Micellar Water for a good couple of minutes and as you can see, it was still clinging in there just about.

The Teeez Mysterious Crystal eye liners(£13.95) and other products from the brand are available *here*

Annie xx

11 February 2014

February You Beauty Discovery Box

The You Beauty Discovery box from You Magazine is slightly different to other beauty boxes on offer in the UK, and also the only one that I currently subscribe to, as I think that it is a much better system.
Rather than creating a box of 5 random sample beauty products that you may have little or no interest in, with the You Beauty Discovery box you pick two products yourself from their Beauty Shortlist that you think you are going to most enjoy and these are then joined by two products picked by the company. All for £6.95 including delivery.
This month's theme was Red Carpet Glamour
The products that everyone received this month were Beyond Dark gluten and dairy free chocolate drops which are delicious and packed full of antioxidants as well as being a lot less bad for you than their dairy filled alternative (fab for a chocolate loving beauty girl like me) and the Charles Worthington Salon at Home Amplifying Volume Treatment which is designed to lift and give volume from all directions to the roots when blow dried. I'm saving this one for a night out to see if it works well combined with my new shorter hairstyle.
The two products that I chose this month were an eye shadow brush from The Vintage Cosmetics Company and an eye liner from Teeez which is a new company to me. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed to see The Vintage Cosmetics Company pop up again because their products are always in beauty boxes but I was in need of a new eye shadow brush so I went with it, and the quality is very good.
The Teeez eye liner, on the other hand, is a total game changer. It is absolutely amazing! I have a full review post of the eye liner going live tomorrow but lets just say it's been my favourite discovery from a beauty box so far. The Rotterdam based company have some fab products and finding companies like this is what I think beauty boxes should be all about!

Annie xx

9 February 2014

Benefit Watts Up! Review

Watts Up! (£24.50) is my favourite product from Benefit. This beautiful gold toned highlighter stick makes it super simple to highlight cheek bones, brow bones, the cupids brow or any other area you may wish to illuminate.
This pretty purple tube has been whipped out every morning without fail for the last couple of months because I just love it so much. The soft golden tone warms up my pale skin without looking too much and due to the blending sponge on the other end of the product you can gently blot it until blended into a softer, more daytime friendly shade.
This chubby cream stick has a twist up design that has a protective cap that prevents any damage to the product and helps keep any powder products that may be stored with it from causing any trouble. To use all I do is twist it up a little, swipe across each brow bone and cheek bone before popping the lid back on and flipping over to use the blending tool on the other end.
The blending sponge is domed and just firm enough to keep its shape nicely whilst being soft enough to blend the product into the skin nicely and give a diffused effect. The size I find is perfect for using on the brow bone but for cheek bones I would personally prefer something slightly larger so I use my Real Techniques Buffing Brush.
The photo above shows a swatch of Watts Up! both straight from the stick and blended into the skin using the blending sponge. As you can see, the colour is nice and warm but doesn't look too over the top on my fair skin and where the consistency is nice and creamy it's great for achieving a subtle look as well as something more dramatic for the evening. When light hits it, the formula is designed to bounce light and create an illuminated, soft focus effect that is incredibly flattering. And to cap it off, the staying power is great too! Holds in place all day!
If I'm totally honest, I simply cannot fault this product. With most things if I think hard enough I can find some sort of negative factor that I'd like improved but with this I really can't. I love it and if I was going to advise you to try just on product from Benefit, this would be it, hands down.

Annie xx

8 February 2014

Feeling Cosy with Yankee Candle

So, I am currently pretty much bed bound with some horrible flu like bug hence the lack of beauty posts, but when you feel like poop there are some things that just lift you and make you feel that bit better. With me, it's lighting a few beautifully scented candles, snuggling down under a blanket and watching a film or reading a book.
(I apologise now for the Instragram low resolutions photos, I just haven't had the energy to take better the last few days!)
There's something so therapeutic about the soft glow of candles and  I am totally hooked. My favourite scents have always been the sweeter, foody smells like the Christmas Cupcake and Merry Marshmallow offerings above. Although, until recently I stuck to offerings from the likes of Ikea and Primark which gave off very little scent.
However, I am now a Yankee Candle convert. I picked up a large jar of Fireside Treats when I was recovering from my tonsillectomy and the long burn time and the strong, room filling delicious scent was enough to leave me wanting more.
Since then I've picked up quite a few others, including Butter Cream, Whoopie Pie, Gingerbread Cookie, and my very favourite; Christmas Cookie.
I am so in love with the scent of Christmas Cookie! Described by Yankee as smelling like "buttery rich, vanilla scented holiday cookies" I'd say that it's pretty much true to its word although the reason I rank it above other cookie scents from Yankee is that it doesn't have that weird, artificial biscuit smell that some do, its just pure vanilla, buttery goodness.
At the moment I'm also eagerly awaiting White Chocolate Bunnies from the Spring collection, a Candy Cane Cottage swirl and a Moon Pie swirl so I'm pretty excited.

I'm thinking about adding a few more lifestyle posts to my blog between the beauty posts to break things up a bit. Would that be something you'd enjoy seeing? I'm thinking decor, recipes, organisation, books and more Yankee candles. Let me know :)

Annie xx

4 February 2014

January Favourites 2014!

Suddenly it seems that February is upon us, which is crazy since it feels like January has only just begun, but here we are.
It's been a month of rediscovering old favourites rather than purchasing new especially since I'm not currently working so I've been shopping my stash and have fallen in love all over again with products that I've owned for a while.
First up is the very first perfume I ever owned and I can't actually remember where or how I got it but I rediscovered the Britney Spears Curious perfume just before Christmas and have been loving it ever since. It's such a warm, long lasting scent made up from light fruits and florals held to the skin with a base of vanilla and sandalwood. Usually I'm not a fan of celebrity fragrances but believe it or not, this one is actually really sensual and sophisticated.
Who doesn't love Nars blushers? I bought Orgasm around this time last year and loved it for months before moving on to bronzer for the summer. I used this during the pantomime season to add a pop of coral glow and since then haven't been able to get enough of it, especially now I have my fringe back so I'm going for an almost doll like look with pale skin, pink cheeks and bright lips. Beautiful!
Illamasqua is without a doubt one of my favourite makeup brands. The products are beautiful and the ranges are always so unique. Sparce is a baby pink speckle effect polish from the I'mperfection collection. I also have Speckle which is the same effect in purple which I use fairly often but the other day I picked up Sparce as a change and remembered just how pretty this mini egg reminiscent shade is!
I've raved a lot recently about the Clinique Spot Treatment Gel and oh my goodness I've needed it in this last week or so especially! After a few too many late nights my skin rebels but this works wonders to keep it in check and back to normality super fast.
Finally is the Rumble in the Jungle palette from Catrice. I picked this up when I was last over in Mallorca along with a few other bits to try out the brand. I adore all four of the colours and they work so well together. I've been using either the purple or light green along with my Naked 3 palette to add colour along the crease and just above to liven up the look a little because we all know how I like colour!

What have been your favourites during January?
Annie xx

3 February 2014

New Hair

Oops, life has really gotten in the way the last few days and I've been too busy going out and having fun so haven't popped up a post! I'll be back properly tomorrow but for now I thought I'd show you my new hair style :)
What do you think? It feels so much lighter after having it long for ages. Also so much easier to manage!
Annie xx