Saturday 25 May 2013

Illamasqua Blushers

There's one thing I can't do, and thats walk past an Illamasqua counter without swatching at least 2 of their blushers. But the one thing I have failed to do is ever actually purchase one. For that I apologise Illamasqua. So when I casually went on Twitter during my lunch break last week its like fate was on my side when they were offering a whopping 50% off. Cue a quick browse online and I ended up securing 2 blushers - Nymph and Sophie. I'd had my eye on Nymph for a while. It was a toss between Nymph and Well Dressed by MAC. And the sheer pigmentation for the former won me over hands down. A bright bubblegum pink, this applies ever so naturally for a flush of colour during the day. This is the one I am wearing in the photo and has been my weapon of choice for the latter part of this week. The second was Sophie - a blush made in honor of Sophie, a girl who was tragically killed for daring to be different. This is a story that really struck a chord when it hit the headlines back in 2007 on my birthday to be exact. I urge you all to read about it here if you have not already. Illamasqua describe it as a golden coral shimmer, and I can report that this is a pretty good description and it definitely has an aura of Nars Deep Throat about it which is a favourite of mine. 

Both blushers are soft, pigmented, easy to apply and above all have amazing longevity. In fact I don't know why I waited so long to purchase. Now just to find a place to store them amongst my overflowing collection of blushes, but everyones allowed a weakness right?

Friday 24 May 2013

The Notebook

Noble Macmillan at Not on the High Street Review

Its safe to say that aside from an obsessive compulsive addiction to all things beauty related my other weakness is all things stationery related. Yes, I was the kid in the gift shop that headed straight to the pens and pencil section, collecting a plethora of rubbers and pencils alike. Whilst most kids dreaded the 'back to school' ritual, to me it meant the annual trip to WHSmiths for stationery supplies heaven. And whilst WHSmiths has been suitably replaced with Space NK for weekly indulgences, I still can't resist a pretty notebook, and my ears still prick as soon as someone opens the stationery cupboard in the office. So suffice to say that when Not on The High Street got in touch and offered me free range of their new Nobile Macmillan range I knew it was going to be a kid in sweet shop moment. For those not familiar with Not on The High Street, prepare to be acquainted. Starting back in 2006 the site was designed to provide quirky original gifts which people like you and I could find from the comfort of your own home. It now boasts over 50,000 products, all handpicked and original so if you are struggling to find a gift for the person that has everything then this is definitely a good place to start the search. 

After a quick peruse of the Noble Macmillan collection, this personalised notebook caught my eye. Never one to be without a notebook (the bloggers best friend) I knew this had to be mine, and it has been a firm staple in my handbag ever since amongst all the other girly essentials. Ok, without beating around the bush, its certainly not the most purse friendly of choices at £39.99 this is most definitely a payday treat yet would make an exceptional gift to someone. The Noble Macmillian range is a selection of good quality, classy stationery ranging from photo albums to kindle and iPad cases. So if you have someone that loves their stationery and you don't mind splashing the dollar for a milestone birthday, or anniversary then its definitely worth a look. 

*PR Sample

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Mavala SS13 Chili and Spice Collection

Mavala Nail Polish Chilli and Spice Collection Spring Summer 2013

If theres one thing that I am a sucker for and thats nail polish so when I feasted my eyes on these new offerings from Mavala as part of their coveted Chilli and Spice Collection* I was keen to give them a whirl. Breaking away from my Essie comfort zone wasn't too hard when I saw the  array of vibrant colours available, which range from a vibrant blue, bright enough to rival Nails Inc Baker Street to a straight up in your face red, all in a rather cute 5ml bottle. At almost half the size of a standard size bottle of polish these still pack a pretty mean punch and as someone that fails  to ever finish a bottle of polish the size does not affect me. Its not all about the size ladies right?. I digress. Despite the smaller bottle design these are pretty easy to apply, rather than being fiddly as I had envisaged for my chubs of fingers. The caps easy to get a good grip and the brush is pretty much the same size as a normal bottle of polish. First up on my agenda was Bamoka and if you saw my Instagram a couple of days ago I gave a quick preview (username: beckysmakeup).   A bright tuquoise bluey green this is a far cry from my usual shade of choice, and gave me the chance to break out of my colour comfort zone! The polish itself applies smoothy, no streaks and gives an almost opaque first coat, with the second giving it extra something. Whilst drying time is a little longer than desired, this can be worked around by applying thinner coats and using a quick drying top coat such as the aforementioned Seche Vite. Being someone that chops and changes her polish on a regular basis, longevity isn't usually something I look for in a polish as Seche Vite usually sorts that issue out regardless, so you are going to have to watch this space for how long this stays put!

If you fancy getting your mitts on the Chilli and Spice collection then it will be available from Boots, Debenhams and John Lewis from today for £4.50 each. 

*PR Sample   

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Hair Care Additions

Yuko and Macadamia Hair Review Anti Frizz

My haircare routine is pretty simple. Wash check. Condition check. Then its a quick no faff blow dry and a straighten with the odd spritz of dry shampoo for volume and I am good to go. With my no fuss routine perfected down to 10 minutes in the morning, I was sparing a few minutes to add some bolt on products in an attempt to up the condition of my hair and generally give it a more polished look.

Yuko anti-frizz leave in conditioner*.  Yuko is a brand specialising in hair straightening which also boasts a rather impressive product line alongside its salon treatments. More importantly with the likes of Jennifer Anniston reportedly being a fan I knew I had to give this a go. It smells ridiculously fruity and refreshing whilst detangles my hair amazingly. Specifically designed to react with heat styling my hair has never felt so soft and conditioned. Plus the no nonsense spray bottle means its easy to apply quickly after stepping out of the shower before attacking with a wide tooth comb. I like to pull my hair to the side and hold in a pony tail fashion and spray on the ends. Note that this is best used on the ends of the hair only as it can leave the roots a tad on the greasy side if used too liberally. 

Yuko's anti-frizz serum*. For those that suffer fly away hair or hair thats verging on the frizzy side this is your product. I like to add one pump of this between my hands, rub together and apply to the ends and then run the remainder over the top of my hair to calm fly aways. I have always steered away from serums due to their greasy formulas, or my tendency to use too much. This dispenses just the right amount and its non greasy formulation has definitely restored my faith in hair serums. Again avoid applying too much to the roots and resist the urge to apply too much. Remember less is more and you can always add more if needed. 

Macadamia Fast Drying Working Spray*. One thing that lacks from my collection is hairspray. To be honest I have never really found a purpose for it. Macadamia though is a brand I am familiar with yet had not ever tried. I like the fact that Macadamia have cleverly named this a 'working spray' rather than a generic hairspray. And I am pleased to see that hairsprays have come a long way since the days I used to spray it on like it was going out of fashion during the Croydon facelift school days (the shame)!. Since having a fringe cut in, I need something to keep it in place and serum just won't cut it without leaving me with a fringe stuck to my forehead. I have been spritzing this over my fringe and then brushing through to give it a boost. Albeit this does not keep it in place all day, it does allow me to leave the house with my fringe in a half decent condition. 

So whilst my hair will never be Kardashian perfect, a few additions to a somewhat simple routine has certainly changed my attitude towards my haircare in general. What additions are currently rocking your routine?

*PR Sample(s)

Sunday 12 May 2013

Weekend Wish List #9

Weekend Beauty Wish List
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 

After somewhat a busy fun filled week I have been left with a list as long as my arm in terms of products I am coveting lately. This week saw me attend my first blogger event in London at the Pure PR #puregetaway, and with the persuasion of the lovely Lisa and Alice I ended up at my second event of the night. So thanks ladies. I am pretty sure my bank balance is still recovering from a brief encounter with Liberty's and the Aesop counter though.  I digress. So onto this weeks wish list. 

1. The Body Shop  Banana Shampoo/Conditioner - I used to use this back in the day and heaven knows why I stopped. I quick whiff of this over the weekend took me back to my youth and it has been firmly placed back onto my shopping list. Its definitely a love it or hate it scent. I am definitlely of the former and  find banana scents rediculously addictive. 

2. Bourjois Cream Blushes - I got the heads up on these a little while back and I believe they are available from Boots on the 15th May (they are available at Selfridges now though FTW). This year saw Bourjois celebrate an incredible 150 years in the business and in celebration they have released a rather gorgeous selection of cream to powder blushes. Sweet Cheeks and Nude Velvet have definitely caught my eye. 

3. Topshop Joni Jeans - Just because I love a good pair of black jeans. I live in my Leighs and most recently purchased a few Zara skinnys which I adore. I don't think you can beat a good pair of jeans in your collection and they are definitely my uniform of choice. 

4. Argos Heart Drawers - A few years back I purchased the Alex 5 drawer. Cue a few years later and its the beauty  bloggers storage of choice. However having packed it to the brim I don't really want to buy another so this cute chest of drawers from Argos looks the perfect alternative. Just a shame it is sold out or it would be mine. 

5. Chanel  Les Beiges -  I don't think theres any lady around that has not seen nor heard  of this powder from Chanel. Every time I see a Chanel counter I have to have a swatch and admire it but at £38 its quite a lot of notes to part with for a powder. But with a few advantage points lurking about I may forego my Chanel lipstick purchase I was initially going to use my points for and put towards this beauty. 

6. Estée Lauder Brow Duo -  Whilst in London on Thursday I was treated to a mini brow make over by the absolutely adorable MUA Joanna Bernacka-Pettit. She used this on me and I was immediately sold. I am quite partial to the pencils which you don't have to sharpen, the Clinique Superfine is my  go to. But every time it runs out you have to buy an entire new one. I loved the fact that this is refillable so you can just buy re-fills each time which works out slightly cheaper than my current one. 

What have you been lusting after this week?

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Essie Meet Me at Sunset

Essie Meet Me at Sunset Nail Polish Review and Swatches
Essie Meet Me at Sunset Swatches Blog Review

Essie Meet Me at Sunset £7.99 (

Its no secret that I have a weakness for Essie nail polishes, which are slowly but surely taking over my entire collection bar a stash of Nails Inc and a few miscellaneous offerings. Essie's Meet me at Sunset actually featured in a wishlist post back in April (post here) where I jabbered on about it being a possible dupe for Chanel Holiday. So, when beauty pro Anna confirmed this, it was unquestionable whether I would purchase or not to say the least. And so that brings me to this post as the proud new owner of Meet Me at Sunset, which has been sat proudly on my nails this (rather hot) week. Not for the faint hearted, this is a bright, in ya face reddish orange. Its definitely, a let me stare at my hands all day admiring the shade. As with all Essie nail polishes the application is one of my best finds yet, this I put down to their rather special brush which allows one swoop per nail. I am pleased to note that quite a few other brands are following suit with this style brush, in particular Bourjois Gel Polishes and Rimmel (take note polish brands). A couple of coats achieves a full, vibrant opaque covering, however if you are in somewhat of a rush then you could get away with the one coat, albeit it may not last as long as the 2. So in a nutshell I so believe this could be my summer shade of choice for a while. 

Have you found your perfect summer shade yet?

Monday 6 May 2013

Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oils

Aromatherapy Associates Miniature Bath and Shower Oils Blog Review

Relaxing is something that tends to get neglected in my busy life. If I am not working, I am cleaning the flat, blogging, and grabbing a quick shower day to day. But every so often I like to run a bubble bath, light a candle and indulge in a glass of wine (or two). In fairness I am  a bath girl, I like to chill out in the tub often with a YouTube playlist, a stash of mags and just relax. Aside from bubble baths I have been really getting into my oils lately.  Face, body, nails you name it they have been oiled up and my latest edition is the Aromatherapy Associates Mini Bath and Shower Oils. The collection boats 9 of their popular bath and shower oils in minature form. Each glass bottle has enough for roughly 3 baths, a capful into a steamy hot run bath is all you need and just sit back and enhale the aromas. Relax Deep being a personal fave is a combination etivert, camomile and sandalwood aromas, which is perfect just before climbing into a warm bed for a good nights kip. If bathing, however is not your thing then fear no less as these can be used in the shower too which I have been doing of a weekend morning with Revive Morning being my go to option, a refreshingly wake me up scent of Grapefruit, Rosemary and Juniper. To use in the shower, I will get the shower going up to a nice temp and then rub a capful between my hands before rubbing all over my body and jumping in the shower. The hot steam really penetrates the oil into the skin and trust me you will be sniffing yourself all day after this. I do recall my boyfriend stated I smelt like that shop we have to go in (I believe he was referring to Space NK) which can't be a bad thing. 

Now these will set you back around 30 notes for the set. But at 3 bath/showers per bottle it works out roughly a £1 a bath which is pretty good going for a good quality soak! I did however have a snoop on Beauty Bay and they are currently on offer for £24.23 here.

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