A UK Beauty, Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

Friday, 24 April 2015

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish | Soft & Gentle

My beauty wishlist has included MAC's most popular highlighter for the longest time, and I finally added it to my stash recently. I'd put off buying it for so long because I couldn't help but wonder if it was really worth the hefty £23 price tag. That was until I won a £30 gift card in a giveaway - I know I know, it was fate. So obviously I ordered it right away and eagerly awaited it's beautiful little arrival...

If you didn't know, MAC do a range of metallic powders which aim to highlight and add glow to the skin. Soft & Gentle is the most popular of the 5 shades available and is described as a 'gilded peach bronze'. To be honest I'd describe this more of a pearly champagne pink, which is what I like in a highlighter. After looking at the other shades in the range, I think this is the most universal and would suit most skintones, which is probably why it's the most popular. To say it lives up to my expectations is an understatement. It's so unbelievably pigmented which means I literally only need to dab my brush in the pan to get the amount I need to highlight the tops of my cheekbones and anywhere else that tickles my fancy. It can add a glow to the cheekbones, the cupids bow, the browbone, the centre of the nose, the collarbones and heck, even the legs if you wanna go wild. The £23 price tag is most certainly worth it as it will actually last a lifetime and it's certainly the best highlighter I've tried to date.

Have you tried any of MAC's MSFs?

 photo Kate 1.jpg
* = Press Sample

Thursday, 23 April 2015

No7 Instant Radiance Foundation

No7 Instant Radiance Foundation - £12.50*

I was very kindly invited to my local Boots (Middlesbrough) store last month along with some fellow local bloggers to have a chat with the lovely girls on the No7 counter and have a good look through all of their new products available. The girls were so kind and welcoming and even had lots of sandwiches and cakes ready for us upstairs when we arrived. We were given a lovely goody bag with lots of perfume samples, a mini sample of their new Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil, a full size sample of their Beautiful Skin Overnight Radiance Boost* and any full size product of our choice. Generous ey? After spending an absolute age looking at all the gorgeous products and trying to decide what to choose, I finally decided I wanted to try one of their foundations. Being a massive lover of the radiant, glowy look, I had a chat with one of the lovely ladies and she advised me to go for the Instant Radiance Foundation*. If you didn't already know, No7 offer a 'Match Made' service, in which they use a machine on the skin which reads your tone and shade so you get a precise match for your foundation and concealer. I was matched to the shade Cool Ivory.

No7 Instant Radiance Foundation* is described as a medium coverage, semi-luminous finish foundation for tired skin. They say:
Radiance boosting for tired, stressed skin. Create radiant, luminous skin with this revitalising foundation from No7. Glides on to skin for coverage that brightens the complexion, reducing the appearance of imperfections and signs of fatigue.
The silky moisturising formula has light reflecting particles that boost your skin's appearance, making it look luminous and naturally flawless. Energising Ginger helps stimulate tired looking skin whilst our enriching vitamin complex helps boost skins vitality.
Soft violet pearls give dull, stressed out skin a healthy looking glow for perfectly natural finish.
Having a new baby and a toddler certainly means I have tired skin. I really need to start drinking more water as my skins really been struggling recently. I wanted something to give my skin a wake-me-up kind of glow but with decent coverage to hide those dark circles and pesky dehydration blemishes.

The formula itself is really watery compared to most other foundations I own. Given that, I find it glides onto the skin really nicely and leaves a velvet soft finish. I would say the coverage is more on the sheer side, but with added concealer I really like the finish it gives and it leaves a lovely luminous glow to the skin without looking like a glitter ball. The shade is absolutely perfect for me too, so I would really recommend going and trying the Match Made service if you fancy trying one of their foundations or concealers. I think this is a gorgeous foundation and something I'll definitely be using a lot through the summer months.

Massive thanks to Claire and the team over in Boots Middlesbrough for being so kind and welcoming, I'm sure you'll see plenty of me skulking around your store (I spend far too much time and money in the place to be honest, haha). 
 photo Kate 1.jpg
* = Press Sample

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

NEW BRAND ALERT: Kiss Cosmetics

A brand new cosmetics brand is launcing today called Kiss Cosmetics. I've been excitedly watching and helping their brand unfold in their secret Facebook group along with some other bloggers for the past few months and I'm happy to share with you a couple of their new products. The very lovely people behind the brand were kind enough to send me a Locked Lips* Lip Top Coat and a mini version of their Kiss Stick in the shade Birthday Suit*. 

Firstly, the Locked Lips Top Coat* is a relatively new idea to me, and I've certainly never tried a product of it's kind on my lips. It's a clear lip sealant and the idea is to apply your favourite lipstick and then apply the top coat directly over the top and allow it to dry and it will make your lipstick last all day, even through eating and drinking.  I'll have to be honest here and say I'm really not sold on this idea. I dunno if it's because my lips are naturally really dry, but I found that this just made the lipstick look really dry and flaky and I thought it felt really strange when first applied. I also didn't like the feeling of painting onto my lips with a nail polish-style brush. Just freaked me out in all honesty. It's certainly something I won't be using again, but maybe it will work on people whose lips aren't quite as dry.

Locked Lips* will retail at £3.50 and will be available to purchase on 29th April 2015.

Onto the Mini KisStick in the shade Birthday Suit*, well this is a different story. I absolutely ADORE this lipstick and it's already gained a firm place in my everyday makeup bag. It's a kind of peachy-toned nude that I'm sure would suit just about any skin tone. I'm picky with my nudes and I don't think I've got another one like this in my collection. The formula is an absolute dream for my dry lips - it's so creamy and applies so nicely and doesn't stick to any dry patches. The lasting power isn't great, but I find that with all moisturising lipsticks and I don't care about that because it's so easy to reapply. I'm certainly gonna be ordering a couple of these in other shades as well as this one as I'm sure the mini won't last me very long.

There are 10 shades available in the KissStick range and they retail at £7 which puts them right in the middle of the highstreet price range. They launch TODAY over on the Kiss Cosmetics website.

If you want to have a look at some other shades available in the range, some of my beautiful fellow bloggers have reviewed them over on their blogs:

Birthday Suit - Anoushka Loves 
Frisky Fuchsia - Makeup-Pixi3
Toxic Kiss - Floral Etiquette
Seductive Damson - Beky Lou
Caressing Red - Angel Flicks

 photo Kate 1.jpg

Eye of Horus Brow Define in Dynasty | Review & Swatches

First of all can I just apologise for the state of my brows. They're in desperate need of a wax and shape but my brother is getting married in 2 weeks so I'm waiting until the weekend before to get them done. 

Anywho, with brows being massive at the moment (literally), I'm on a quest to find the perfect brow product to help me achieve big bold brows without looking like big caterpillars. I've been trying to grow my brows since overplucking them in my teenage years (you all know what I mean), and it's taking me an absolute AGE to get them to how I want them. I've been through SO many brow products on my quest and some I've loved and some just really weren't for me. There's so many different formulas out there these days it's hard to find one in which I like both the formula and the shade, it's usually either/or. My natural hair colour is quite an ashy brown so I often struggle to find a medium brown shade that isn't too warm. The lovely people from Eye of Horus recently sent me one of their new Brow Define pencils in the shade Dynasty.

Eye of Horus is a cult Australian makeup brand that launched in the UK late last year. I've never tried anything from the brand before but I've been seeing them pop up more and more on beauty blogs recently so I've been expecting great things. Their Brow Define (new for Spring 2015) is one of those clever twist up pencils with a handy spoolie on the opposite end. The pencil itself is extremely thin which I love as it creates the tiniest lines to replicate hairs - the more natural looking the better for me. The formula is quite waxy and stiff so it doesn't smear and smudge everywhere and the pigmentation is fantastic which is a bonus as I usually I find the stiff waxy products to be a bit of a drag (excuse the pun). The brown is pretty much the perfect brown without being overly warm. It's available in 3 shades; Husk (Light Ash Blonde), Dynasty (Medium Brown), Nile (Medium/Dark). I'm really impressed with this product as I like both the formula and the shade which as I said is very rare - heck, even the spoolie is a good one. Another impressive point that I just have to mention is that the formula is actually enriched with castor oil which is said to be great at encouraging the brows to grow. Watch this space.

Eye of Horus Brow Define* retails at £15 and is available from Beauty Bay.

What's your favourite brow product?
 photo Kate 1.jpg
* = Press Sample

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Yankee Candle Vanilla Chai

My children (& step children) were very kind to me on Mother's Day this year! Yankee Candle Vanilla Chai (medium jar) was among the gifts I'd received. Vanilla scents are always one of my faves when it comes to candles and I was really chuffed and excited as I'd never burnt or even sniffed this particular scent. 

Vanilla Chai isn't your typical sickly vanilla scent. It's more spicy/cinnamon with hints of vanilla. I'd say, for me, these kinds of scents are more for Autumn/Winter. I can imagine getting those curtains drawn at 5pm and curling up in front of the TV with this burning. Ya get me? 

What they say:
"It's the perfect accompaniment to 'me' time - a supremely satisfyingly rich and spicy recipe of ginger, cinnamon and vanilla".
I actually expected to find this a bit headachey, as cinnamon scented candles usually do that to me, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It's just enough spice without being overpowering and it's perfect for a cosy evening in. I think the vanilla counteracts the spice and gives it the perfect balance. Even though I think this would be better in Autumn/Winter, I've still been burning this every night now and loving it so it can go down as an all-rounder in my eyes.

What's your favourite Yankee Candle?



* = Press Sample

Monday, 20 April 2015

Estée Lauder The Makeup Artist Collection

Ok so firstly I'm gonna apologise, because this particular set isn't actually available at the moment, as they were offering it as a special around Christmas time (which is when I received it as a gift from my Auntie and Uncle). I wanted to show you it on here anyway as it's so amazing and Estée Lauder are always running free gifts when you spend so much, or special gift sets such as this one for a special price when you spend a certain amount, so I wanted to show you the type of thing they offer so that you can keep your eyes peeled next time.

The Estée Lauder Makeup Artist Collection is worth a whopping £180 and contains pretty much everything you need, ranging from skincare, to makeup, to fragrance. At Christmas (2014), the set was on offer for an amazing £52 when you bought any Estée Lauder Fragrance. The set itself comes packaged in a huge satin navy vanity case which is ideal for travel. So what's inside?

Deluxe Eye & Face Compact
Deluxe Lip Gloss Compact

These are just beautifully packaged in the most amazing gold crocodile skin finish, with huge mirrors. Gotta love pretty packaging.

Revitalising Supreme Global Anti-Ageing Créme 15ml
Advanced Night Repair 7ml
Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Fallen Angel 5ml
Modern Muse EDP 2 x 1.5ml

Tiger Eye
Pink Parfait

Also included, tucked away at the bottom of the vanity, is this beautiful gold crocodile skin makeup bag.

Like I said, many apologies about the fact you can't get your hands on this anymore, but keep your eyes peeled throughout the year for their special gift sets, and especially Christmas as no doubt they'll bring out a very similar collection.

 photo Kate 1.jpg

 * = Press Sample

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Getting Summer Ready: Fake Tan

The sun is shinin', the weather is sweeet... (sing it with meehhh). I love love loveee this time of year, and love the fact that I'm ditching the chunky boots and coats for sandals and sleeveless tops. The only problem is, I hate being pale and after a full winter of no sunshine I pretty much look like I've been moonbathing. I tan pretty well in the summer months, but until then I feel like I need to start getting bronzed up a bit, as lets face it, lifes just better with a bit of a tan. I've put together some fake tans in different formulas so there's one for everyone (& every budget too). 

Before I tan, I always like to prepare my skin with a bit of exfoliation to make sure I get rid of any dry patches as we know tan seems to hang around them like a crazy stalker. I've had a couple of sachets of Cocoa Brown's Tough Stuff, and I like using this mainly because it's made by a false tan company so I know it's gonna be great at removing any stubborn old tan and really preparing the skin for the next bronze up! For the more sensitive skins, I'd recommend Beauty Lab's Peptide Tanning Pre-Tan Skin Polish* as it's a lot less harsh on the skin than a tough exfoliating scrub. It leaves the skin feeling super smooth and healthy without feeling as though it's been in a fight with a cheese grater (although I do love a good scrub to be honest). I couldn't write a bit on scrubs without mentioning one from Soap & Glory now could I? Let's be honest, they're the Daddy of the body scrubs and I adore every single one of them. The one I've been reaching for lately is the newest of my stash; The Scrub Of Your Life, a much lighter formula to the ones I'm usually used to in the big pots. It's more like the Beauty Lab offering in the sense that it's more of a polish/buffer than a tough scrub. 

Once I've exfoliated, I like to moisturise with a light moisturiser on the areas where tan tends to collect (elbows, knees, knuckles, ankles). Then it's tango tiiiime (or hopefully NOT). I always use a tanning mitt as I find they help give a streak-free finish and keep the palms of my hands from looking ridiculous.

The Mousse

Mousses are my favourite kind of fake tan formulation as they're the least messy and the easiest to use as you can see where you've been and they sink in really quickly. Two really budget friendly versions that I've found work really nicely into a nice, natural finish are the St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse (£4.99) & the Sunkissed Instant Self Tan Mousse* (£3.99). Both VERY similar in both price and formula. Obviously as with most fake tans, they do have that signature fake tan smell, but I've come to expect that now so it's not too much of an issue (though tell that to the hubby, ha).

The Lotion

Lotions, especially ones that are clear in colour and don't show up on the skin for a good few hours are definitely the scariest formula for me. I've had issues in the past where I've missed huge patches on my arms and haven't realised until it developed the next morning. Nightmareee in all honesty. However, if you're a skilled tanner and aren't afraid of a little challenge, then Beauty Lab's Peptide Tanning Lotion* (£20) is the one for you. It took me a good few goes to get this right, but the results are stunning. It leaves the most amazing golden glow to the skin, and doesn't smell quite as biscuitty as other fake tans I've tried. At £20 for 200ml it's certainly heading towards the higher end of the scale, but I think the results are certainly worth that if you can get the application right.

The Spray

St Moriz is such a popular budget friendly self tanning brand, and for good reason. Like I already said, I prefer mousse formulas, but if you're more into a spray-tan like application, then try the St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mist (£4.99), it's a lovely, natural looking, streak free tan, but be prepared for mess. The first time I used this I just did it in the bathroom with no towels or anything down. Lets just say the souls of my feet were looking like Kel's insides. (who loveees Orange soda?)

Soo there ya go. You'll be ready for those summer dresses in no time.

 photo Kate 1.jpg
* = Press Sample

Monday, 13 April 2015

MAC Syrup Lipstick

Choosing a MAC lipstick - one of life's hardest decisions. I'm sure you'll feel my pain when I tell you how many hours I spent watching YouTube videos and reading blogs when choosing my 5th MAC Lipstick. When you're spending £15.50 on a lipstick, you've gotta make sure it's one you'll get a lot of wear out of. My other 4 lipsticks from MAC are all cremesheen formulas, so I knew this time I wanted to branch out and try a different finish to see how I got on. I took to the interweb and after two of my favourite bloggers/youtubers (Lily Pebbles & Essie Button) both spoke of their love for Syrup, I decided it needed to be mine. 

MAC's Syrup is a Lustre formula, which means it's sheer with a glossy finish. I find it really moist on the lips and not uncomfortable in the slightest. MAC describe this lipstick as a cloudy pink, but I'd say it definitely has a mauve/berry undertone to it aswell. This is definitely one of those 'my lips but better' shades and I can see why it's so popular. It's perfect for everyday and gives my lips that little bit of something with added sheen without being in your face. It feels ultra moist and hydrating on the lips, but as it's a Lustre, it's not as pigmented as other MAC lippies and doesn't have the longest wear time (1-2 hours max). It can be built up for a more intense look if needed and it doesn't fade in patches like some lipsticks can so the wear time isn't a deal breaker for me.

If you're in the process of searching for a new MAC lippie and you love the natural glossy pinky-berry look, then look no further. It should suit most skintones and think it's one everyone should have in their collection.

 photo Kate 1.jpg
* = Press Sample

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Introducing The Wet Brush Happy Hair Collection

I've spoken about my love for The Wet Brush* and it's amazing detangling abilities before when I spoke about their Earth Collection*, and now they're back with a new collection. Taking inspiration from the catwalk and dizzying patterns of the 70's, they've launched the Happy Hair Collection, which includes 3 unique new designs (Flower Power, Smiley Face and Peace Sign). 

If you haven't heard of The Wet Brush, it's a detangling hairbrush designed to painlessly remove tangles and knots from wet or dry hair. The fact that it's gentle enough to be used on wet hair is what sets this brush apart from other detangling brushes on the market. The brush has strong, flexible bristles which also include SofTips which massage the scalp and stimilate circulation at the follicle which will encourage healthy hair growth. I wouldn't use any other brush now and have noticed a dramatic improvement in breakage since using it. Washing my hair has become so much easier now I don't have to battle with dreaded tangles.

The Wet Brush is available from Look Fantastic from £11.99.

 photo Kate 1.jpg
* = Press Sample

Friday, 10 April 2015

Jica Lash Extension Treatment: Falsh Lashes in a Bottle

Have you ever tried fibre mascaras to add volume and length to the lashes? Well, Jica Lash Extension Treatment* (£13.95) is basically another one of them, but SO MUCH BETTER! The other products of this kind that I've tried in the past, for some strange reason, have always been white, which means you need to apply 100000 coats of mascara over the top to cover each and every white fibre. Jica Lash Extensions are black, which completely eliminates that issue.

To use, they say to apply a coat of your regular mascara, then whilst the lashes are still wet, apply a coat of the fibres in the same manner you would apply mascara, then apply another coat of mascara to seal the fibres and make them stick to the lashes.

My verdict? Honestly amazing! As you can see on the photo above, they make my lashes look IN-CREDIBLE. I look as though I'm wearing false lashes, but in a far more natural way. I'm not a huge fan of false lashes, mainly because I'm rubbish at applying them, but also because I've never found a set that feel as though I'm not wearing any. This product is super simple to use. It's so much quicker than faffing around with falsies and a hell of a lot cheaper than lash extensions in a salon. Jica is a brand I've never heard of, but I'm seriously impressed with this product and at £13.95 for a bottle that I'm assuming will last years, it's something everyone needs in their makeup bag. The only thing I would say they need to improve is the packaging, but hey, who cares when the product inside is so good!

* = Press Sample
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