Tuesday, 25 November 2014

christmas gift guide 2014: bath and body

Welcome to part 4 of my gift guide for this year! It's been a lot of work putting it together and hasn't quite come together as planned, but I hope you still find some inspiration! There's something for all budgets, whether you're wanting to treat yourself, giving others ideas of what you'd like or buying for others...
When I think of bath oils, I think of Aromatherapy Associates without a shadow of a doubt (see: Bath Time Must Haves). As always, the brand have absolutely nailed it with their christmas collection with something to suit everyone in all shapes and sizes. With the collection oozing christmas and luxury, you'll be in heaven thanks to the combination of scents that will take you right through the winter months and beyond. There's plenty of miniatures like the Aromatherapy Associates The Star: Inner Strength Bath and Shower Oil* (£10) to test out the brand, as well as full sets to explore it a whole lot more like the Aromatherapy Associates 10 Miniature Bath & Shower Oil Collection* (£35). Something a little different that I was excited to get my hands on is the Aromatherapy Associates Instant Inner Strength Roll-On Fragrance* (£15) which you roll on to pulse points, designed to relax and revive you!
Moving on to products that will help to create the perfect relaxing atmosphere, perfect for post or during bath time, the ESPA Reed Diffuser* (£35) comes in 5 different fragrance options including one limited edition version. You'll get so much use out of it which is why it's worth paying out for a gift like this as you can always turn the reeds upside down. I adore diffusers as they give off such a more natural aroma than any air freshener ever could and cleaner than a candle.
Saying that, every year I always get my hands on an ARK set, this year it's the ARK Indulgence Collection in Lounging* (£42) which comes with a candle that'll burn for hours on end and a bath & body oil that will too last for ages & not leave any film on the bath or greasy feeling on the skin. There's also Living and Loving options too, with these sets saving you £11 than buying the two full size products separately!
A brand that actually has one of my favourite shower products ever - their shower foam, Rituals came back on my radar this year with their impressive gift sets for women and men. The Rituals True Happiness Gift Set* (£17.50) part of the Laughing Buddha collection, has a bit of everything for a true body pamper session including shower foam, shower oil, body scrub and body cream. This one's perfect for those who like a treat but don't have access to a bath in great sizes (50-75ml) for a real feel for the brand.
A Marks & Spencer exclusive gift set comes in the form of REN Moroccan Rose Otto Gift Set* (£17) - something I get every year and love (see: Review: REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath and Body Oil). Again the brand have smashed it with their variety to suit all budgets and I certainly love that it's more widely available to buy now too.
If you're looking for something more purse friendly, then two sets I recommend are the Treacle Moon Gift Set* (Similar here) and I Love... Mini Box Of Love Berry* (was £5, now £3.50). With Treacle Moon doing one of the best body scrubs I've ever tried (the coconut one), I was certainly intrigued to try the coconut bath and shower gel to go with it (hint: it doesn't disappoint - the scent is DIVINE!). I've gone off the typical Soap & Glory ones and love that these are full size.
The press releases for I Love... products are always super sweet and make it so difficult picking out which scent is most for me. This little box is the ideal stocking filler or for a regular traveller with a mini bath & shower cream, body lotion and body puff inside.
One place you need to consider looking at is Garden.co.uk when it comes to beauty shopping (see: Somewhere To Shop: Garden) where they sell the I Coloniali Shower Coffret* (£15.50) and Orla Kiely Geranium Mini Bath and Hand Set* (similar here), plus lots of other beauties. The Orla Kiely set comes with shower gel, hand wash, body lotion and hand lotion - again in travel friendly 50ml bottles, in either Bergamot or Geranium scents. If your gift receiver is a shower lover then the I Coloniali set might be for them. Containing 2 shower creams and 2 shower scrubs in a variety of feminine fragrances, it's a little more luxurious than many sets of its' kind but without being too costly this christmas. 
Moving on from the body just a little, let's delve into some lip care. The Burt's Bees Honey Pot Bodycare Gift Set* (£7.19) comes with a hand salve, a body lotion and a lip balm all perfect for popping in your handbag whilst you re-use the glass pot as storage for cotton wool balls or hair accessories!
Then you've got the NIVEA Hydrated Skin Gift Set* (£5.27) which too has a full size hand lotion, full size body lotion and full size lip butter. Whenever I think of hydrating the body, I always think of Nivea so this set would be ideal for the colder months. 
The one set I spot every year and regret not picking up is the Vaseline Original Lip Therapy Tin* (£3.25) containing three full size tins (pop one in your bag, one in your car and one in your bathroom) in three different varieties. It has so many possible uses making it a must have in any girl (or guys') stocking this christmas (read: 50 Uses For Vaseline). The tin has a vintage feel to it too which would look great as a storage solution on a classic dressing table.  
NB: The Vaseline and Nivea products were sent from ChemistDirect.co.uk but are no longer available on the site.
Hands certainly deserve a treat in the form of Balance Me Super Protecting Hand Cream Set* (£15) or Jurlique Petite Hand Care Collection* (£19) both genuinely as good as each other and totally dependent on whether there's a brand or scent preference. The Balance Me set comes with 2x 50ml bottles - one Rose Otto and one Super Moisturising which totals one full size bottle and retails for just a little more, whereas the Jurlique one comes with 4x 15ml tubes in Rose, Lavender, Citrus and Jasmine. I'd personally choose to purchase this as a set and be able to have the tubes in different places rather than add a single full size to my basket. 
I'm a big fan of The Body Shop White Musk® Eau De Toilette 60ml Gift Set* (£25), with it being another one I get every year in a different form. This has been one of my favourites of all time as it comes with a 60ml EDT, 10ml EDT (perfect for your bag), 60ml body lotion, 60ml shower gel and a mini notebook which is a necessity for any blogger! The scent is gorgeous, although an acquired taste, and now comes in different forms including Smoky Rose (see: Review: The Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose Eau De Toilette). 

Whilst there's so many perfume sets out there, my pick of the year is Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream 50ml Gift Set* (£46.99), available at a discounted price from Fragrance Direct. With such cute packaging and a scent that's going to be suited to most girls/women thanks to no overpowering elements. It has top notes of blackberry, pear and grapefruit, a heart of jasmine, lychee and blue wisteria, on a base of white wood, coconut water and musk - so not too floral and not too fruity either. It comes with a 50ml Eau de Toilette, 75ml shower gel and 75ml body cream, but there are other sizes and versions available. Perfect for any Marc Jacobs fan, or pretty perfume bottle lovers, I'd certainly be happy to receive this at christmas.
Skincare is incredibly subjective, but I've picked out three sets that aren't too risky to purchase. If your gift receiver has blemish prone skin then I couldn't recommend the La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System* (£32.50) more. This brand works incredibly well on my skin (see: Brands I Love: La Roche-Posay) and I don't think I've read any negative reviews from anyone else either. It doesn't seem cheap, but there's three full size products in there, allowing someone to totally re-vamp their routine. 
Everyone needs some moisture, no matter what skin type they've got and after using and loving the Moisturising Toner religiously, receiving the Caudalie Instant Moisture Renewal Trio* (was £50, now £33) was exciting. The 200ml makeup remover cleansing water, 60ml gentle buffing cream and 50ml moisturising cream mask have a total value of £52 so the sale price means you should definitely snap it up!
If you're feeling more confident purchasing skincare, then the Dr.Organic Snail Gel Skin Perfection Gift Set* (£40) could be a good gift idea as it comes with the original snail gel, the serum and the hand & nail elixir. Designed to encourage regeneration of the skins' cells, the snail gel idea may not be for all, but certainly is different.
If you're really looking to treat someone or yourself this christmas, then definitely contemplate the Magnitone Lucid Daily Facial Cleansing & Exfoliation Brush in Dazzling Blue* (£69.99). Adding this into a skincare routine makes the world of difference and totally justifies the price tag. It's a fail safe gift as it's suitable for all skin types, isn't abrasive at all and doesn't need you to buy batteries to go with it! Available in a range of colours (of course mine compliments the colour scheme of my whole flat!) this cleansing brush will make the routine much more enjoyable and the skin much clearer. 

What's your favourite bath and body brands? Any of these take your fancy? Share your gift guides in the comments too!
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Thursday, 20 November 2014

christmas gift guide 2014: makeup, nails & tools

Welcome to part 3 of my gift guide for this year! It's been a lot of work putting it together and hasn't quite come together as planned, but I hope you still find some inspiration! There's something for all budgets, whether you're wanting to treat yourself, giving others ideas of what you'd like or buying for others...
I openly declare my love for the Clinique Chubby Sticks (see: September Beauty Favourites), whether it's for lips or cheeks so Clinique Whole Lotta Chubby Set* (£20) had to be included in my gift guide. With four shades I've not yet tried, but four shades that are very much me it's the ideal gift for me! There's Woppin Watermelon, Plushest Punch, Pudgy Peony and Grandest Grape - 2x Intense highly-pigmented, and 2x more sheer. They're half the size of the full size at 1.2g each, but how often do you really get through a whole lipstick?! With the extra added beauty bag, this is one of my favourite christmas beauty gifts of this year and think it's incredibly reasonable - totalling two full size products, its' value is £34! 
So you may no longer be able to buy this particular Benefit x Matthew Williamson The Rich Is Back Beauty Kit, but the reason I've included it is a reminder to you all that Benefit Cosmetics have some wonderful christmas gift sets and beauty kits. Usually packed with trial sizes of their best sellers (sometimes full size!), plus plenty of extra shades of eyeshadow and blush. On my wish list this year are the Benefit Sweet Tintations Gift Set (£19.50) and Benefit Sugarglam Fairies Limited Edition Gift Set (£40.05) but there's loads and loads to choose from making it a definite go-to brand for any beauty lover this christmas.
I've shared my love for Liz Earle a lot this year, especially the makeup and nails (see: Review: Liz Earle Strengthening Nail Colour and Trialling New: Spring Nail Polishes) so the christmas press release was so exciting to receive. The Liz Earle Christmas Star Beauty Treat with Strengthening Nail Colour* (£7.50) comes in four shades of nail polish encased in a christmas star tree decoration - I've got Pure Poetry [left] and Ebb Tide [right] which have A/W written all over them, but there's also Grace which would make the ideal transitional shade into Spring next year, and Golden Celebration which is your all-year-round-party shade. You get the 12ml bottle which is the full size, in this super cute packaging for the usual retail price. Take a quick look at my reviews, you'll be convinced that you need these!    
This year also saw a proper introduction into Origins for me, and I especially adore the GinZing range (see: Review: Origins Mascara, Blush and Foundation) which makes Origins Let Us Glow* (£30) my recommendation from the brand this christmas. Its' value is over £46 as you get four great products - GinZing Brightening Mascara 14ml which is full size, Drink Up Hydrating Lip Balm 7ml, GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturiser 30ml, and GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream 5ml [please note, products photographed are full size]. Together they're the dream combination for bright, healthy skin, lips and eyes. 
Nail gift sets are always a hard one as it totally depends on the persons' taste and skin tone as to whether something will suit them. The Ciate Shell Manicure in Wish Upon A Starfish* (£12.50) which comes with one paint pot and one pot of crushed shells is a pretty safe bet for all shade-wise (also available in pink) but throws something a little different out there from your typical just nail polish sets. Ciate do loads and loads of different types of these, and I've always been impressed with them so it's worth checking them out for sure.
Although Topshop's makeup packaging isn't all that appealing, their products are actually great and at christmas they do a pretty good job at providing stocking fillers. The Topshop Mascara and Kohl Set* (£12) would make me very happy to find it in my stocking on christmas day. The Kohl in Coal is one of my favourite pencil eyeliners of all time for its' fantastic pigmentation and creamy texture, but mostly for its' longevity which is pretty rare. I'm yet to try the mascara, but will report back once I have! The two products sold separately do only come to £2 more, but this little box would make a cute storage solution for eyeliners/lip pencils/stationery as an addition.
I was actually shocked to see the retail value of these Model Co sets, especially as they're so purse friendly from Xtras. The Model Co All About Eyes Bronze Goddess Set* (£7.99) houses a whopping £45 worth of products including the full size mascara, pencil liner and eyeshadow duo. It's very much a set that you could give to anyone who wears makeup, as things are kept pretty neutral but could be easily built up for a more dramatic/party look. Come the summer when bold lips come out to play, the Model Co Party Proof Set in Coachella Crush* (£6.99) would be ideal for preparing someone for it. Whether it's more pink or an orange-red that they'd wear, there's a choice of the two sets for you, which comes with a lipstick and lipgloss worth £15.
A brand I hadn't come across until putting together this gift guide was Studio, available from Superdrug. These less than £5 sets (well, whilst they're currently on up to half price anyway) could be ideal for your Secret Santa, a last minute extra present or for putting together your own beauty box for your gift receiver. Again, you can't go wrong with a neutral palette and the clue is in the name of this one with the Studio From Day To Night Gift Set* (£4) making things super simple for them with just four shades for neutral to smokey in seconds. I always also opt for a manicure set as a present for someone each year, and the Studio Manicure Collection* (£3.50) is actually one of my favourites that I've come across. There's a four way buffer, a glass nail file and a Sapphire nail file - all of which will 100% be kept for myself! 
Although not technically an ideal christmas present, there's some seriously good beauty advent calendars around this year. There's the return of The Body Shop Advent Calendar which I got my hands on last year, but one of the most budget friendly options is the W7 24 Cosmetic Treats, Countdown To Christmas* (£29.95) which comes with: 10x 5ml Nail Polish, 3x Lipgloss, 1x Foundation, 1x Mascara, 3x Mini Lipstick, 3x Glitter Pot, 3x Eyeshadow. Perfect for any younger beauty lovers.
W7 also do some great sets all year round. Although this W7 The Trilogy Lashtastic Gift Set* (£6.99) doesn't have any christmassy theme to it,  it would be great for summer next year when bright lips and tips are back in! It comes with 1x nail polish, 1x lipgloss and 1x mascara all for a totally reasonable price.
Not found a beauty gift set that's 'the perfect one'? Why not make your own? Pick up a makeup bag like the uber adorable (and spacious!) Zoella Beauty Eyes Beauty Bag* (£8) and pop in a few beauty favourites or new products for your gift receiver to try. A neutral palette like the W7 10 Out Of 10 Palette* (£3.50) is a must-have for any makeup bag, which has to be complemented by a mascara - my pick will always be Benefit They're Real! Beyond Mascara* (£19.50) for seriously lengthened lashes. You should definitely pack in the lip products, whether it's a lip balm or lip scrub, or if you know what sorts of shades and finishes you need then pick up a lipstick/lipgloss like the stunning (but limited edition, from the Holiday 2014 collection) NARS Lipgloss in Soleil D'Orient* (£18.50) which is a warm toned, golden shimmer in a champagne base colour which actually looks beautiful over any lipstick. I'd really recommend popping in any products from Makeup Revolution too - that's one brand that's going down a storm in the beauty world currently.

Brushes & Tools
Regular travellers or commuters should definitely ask for the Crownbrush 602 Mini Badger Set* (£27.49) this christmas. It's perfect for popping in your handbag or case as it's slimline and fits plenty of necessary brushes, there's even a zip where you can pop a few products too! There's the powder dome brush, tapered brush, eyeshadow brush, angled liner brush, round contour brush, oval lip brush and pro spoolie too. 
After loads of raving reviews on my blog this year about Joan Collins Timeless Beauty, I had to get my hands on the Joan Collins Good to Go Brush Caddy* (£34.50) which is exclusive to QVC. It oozes luxury and is a seriously sturdy brush holder which as you can see could be used as two compartments, or just as one for travelling (or even to hold your brushes up as they dry, because unfortunately you've got to wash them at some point!). I really like it as your brushes won't bend or lose bristles like they often do when shoved in your makeup bag, instead they can stand up straight with plenty of room to spare. This particular one comes with 3 brushes - the blusher brush, flat eyeshadow brush and lip brush which bought separately total £43 so you're definitely saving yourself a pretty penny. 
If you're looking to seriously treat someone (or yourself of course!) then you have to go for Nanshy Masterful Collection Pearlescent White Make-Up Brush Set* (£49.95) - it's got everything you're going to possibly need! Whether you're wanting to start to expand your brush collection in all departments or need to double up on some you've already got, then this super soft brush set is for you. There's 12 in there in goal, including an angled detailer, crease brush, blending brush, contouring brush, blush brush, powder brush, stippling brush, foundation brush, shader brush, pencil brush, liner brush and lip brush.
So I can't actually find anywhere in the UK that you can purchase the Pur Minerals Magic Wands 5-Piece Makeup Brush Set* ($28) but it is available for international shipping from the website that I've linked to. This set apparently has a value of over $100 which is insane! There's a foundation brush, powder brush, blush brush, utility brush and eyeshadow brush in there, encased in a striped makeup bag that's also got plenty of extra room for more to be popped in. Although they don't look the most luxurious considering how much they're worth, I think it's an especially good set.
Finally, you need to pick up the Tweezerman Silver Chic Holiday Set* (£26.24). Quite simply, Tweezerman do the best tweezers you will ever try, and their eyelash curlers have made me fall in love. I absolutely adore this set (although technically you're not saving much, you've got to admit everything is better when it comes in a gift set!), the packaging is so me and the products are top quality. PS- I'm now a VIP Ambassador for Tweezerman because I love the brand that much! 

What's your favourite makeup/nail/tool brand? Any of these take your fancy? Share your gift guides in the comments too!
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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

christmas gift guide 2014: hair

Welcome to part 2 of my gift guide for this year! It's been a lot of work putting it together and hasn't quite come together as planned, but I hope you still find some inspiration! There's something for all budgets, whether you're wanting to treat yourself, giving others ideas of what you'd like or buying for others...
It was going to be without a doubt that something from Tigi would feature in my gift guide, and my pick this year is the Tigi Party Girl Gift Pack* (£25.45). Coming with two of my most coveted hair styling products, plus one I can't wait to try, this set is my dream. You get the Headrush Shine Spray 200ml (review) and the Masterpiece Massive Shine Hairspray 340ml (review), plus After Party 100ml within it, all creating a silky soft, shiny hairstyle. It's worth over £45 making it very good value for money too, and you lot know by now just how much I recommend this brand!
Earlier this year I tried out some of the John Frieda Luxurious Volume products and was really impressed (minus the dry shampoo), so this little budget friendly John Frieda Luxurious Volume For The Love Of Big Hair Gift Pack* (£8.00) was definitely on my recommend list. It's perfect for people who travel a lot, as a stocking filler, or for lovers of the brand. There's the Touchably Full Shampoo and Conditioner which are both 50ml, the 25ml Thickening Blow Dry Lotion and the All Day Hold Hairspray too which is perfect for popping in your handbag. 
So the products in the Osmo Shine Gift Pack* (£14.95) aren't ones I've tried, but I definitely have a soft spot for the brand as they do one of my favourite hair oils, as well as a fantastic sea salt spray. I think this is great value for money as the products are huge and will last ages, plus it's also available in Blonde and Moisture versions if they're more suited to the persons' hair type. The value is over £22 too, with both the shampoo and conditioner being 350ml and Illuminating Finisher being 125ml. I've just realised that the other product photographed isn't actually included in this set, sorry!
I've raved about the shampoo and conditioners from Redken a lot this year (Brands I Love: Redken post here), but one I'd not yet got round to trying was the Redken Diamond Oil (Free Mascara) Gift Pack* (£20.70). With the full size shampoo and conditioner together making a retail value of almost £30, again it's certainly great value for money. I found the mascara addition a little random, but there's also now a set available with a trial size of Redken Pillow Proof Spray instead for the same price. If the oil version's not for you, then I'm positive you'll find something that it is (I strongly recommend the All Soft version!).
If your present receiver is a little more into their luxurious haircare, then the Swell 3-Step Advanced Volumizing System* (£23.50) could be the perfect gift. While the full sizes won't be in everyone's budgets, let me introduce the trial sized one that I've been putting to the test over the past couple of months. I love how it thoroughly cleanses and boosts my hair, whilst totally keeping it manageable too. There's no need for much of each product each time so I highly recommend this.
The latest addition to my hair electricals collection is this stunning Nicky Clarke Diamond Shine Pro Salon Styling Wand* (£34.99). I've not yet got round to trying it, but just look at it. Even the box is pretty and wintery! Again, very purse friendly for an electrical item - you'll read my thoughts on its' performance ASAP I promise!
Then finally, the Vidal Sassoon Infra Radiance Hair Straightener* (£56.40) took my fancy mostly based on design. It's definitely perfect for those who like straight hair, but don't want it sitting too flat on the head and instead like to keep some volume or curl at the roots or ends (gorgeous just blow-dried effect). I usually only use straighteners for curling my hair, but these have totally changed my opinion and I'll happily straighten it now. Mid-budget, but a fantastic option.

Looking for more ideas? Visit my Pinterest!

What's your favourite hair brand? Any of these take your fancy? Share your gift guides in the comments too!
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

christmas gift guide 2014: tanning

Welcome to part 1 of my gift guide for this year! It's been a lot of work putting it together and hasn't quite come together as planned, but I hope you still find some inspiration! There's something for all budgets, whether you're wanting to treat yourself, giving others ideas of what you'd like or buying for others...
Gift number one comes from my all time favourite tanning brand, and fairly priced Vita Liberata Rich Tan Lotion Gift Set* (£22.50). With this you get both the light (for face) and medium (for body) self-tan lotions, full size with a mitt too. Honestly, this gives the most natural looking, healthy bronzed colour to skin that applies so evenly even if you've missed a bit when exfoliating! I've not reviewed these exact ones in full, but here's my Vita Liberata pHenomenal Lotion Tan review and swatch which are pretty similar. PS, I'll let you into a secret... I'll be giving one of these away next week!  
The first tanning brand I ever tried was St Moriz, and although it's the most purse friendly I've still always been impressed. The St Moriz Medium Mousse Trial & Travel Gift Set* (£6.99) would definitely be my pick as I love the mousse texture and medium is always the shade I opt for. This one's great for beginners, lovers of the brand or if you're on a tighter budget this year as it's got the tan and everything you need for tan prep in 100ml+ bottles - the Exfoliating Body Scrub, Ultra Moisturising Body Lotion, plus you could always pick up a mitt cheaply.
A more introductory luxury tanner set would be the St Tropez Selftan Starter Kit* (£15) which gives you chance to try out the brand with good size products to get a feel for them. Again, it comes with everything you need for the perfect tan including the tan optimiser body polish, self tan bronzing mousse, tan enhancing moisturiser and mitt. I've only ever tried a small bottle of this tan and found a little goes a long way which is why I'd certainly recommend this set.
A brand I hadn't heard of before was Tanworx so I can't give a review, but here's a really good one that definitely made me interested in getting my hands on it. The value is £38 as you get 2 full size products (the hydrating body lotion and instant glow wash-off tan) and a mitt, plus it's free delivery to buy from HQHair for the Tanworx Glow and Hydrate - Skin Essentials* (£29.95).

Looking for more ideas? Visit my Pinterest!
What's your favourite tanning brand? Any of these take your fancy? Share your gift guides in the comments too!
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Sunday, 16 November 2014

new blogs, posts and products #47

You may have noticed that daily blogging went a bit ***s up towards the end of this week as I ended up solely focusing on the gift guide that will be coming later next week! Hundreds of photos later to decide which ones to use, I'm slowly getting towards being able to publish it... if only the final parcels I'm waiting on would actually arrive! Only a little blog reading has been done this week as it's been busy busy busy, but here's my picks of the week...

This week I liked: Hello October - Cara Delevingne LACMA Gala Makeup Look // The Little Plum - OOTD | The Only One // The Sunday Girl - Urban Decay De-Slick Vs All Nighter // Beauty & Le Chic - Chanel Vitalumiere = Foundation Holygrail // Zoe London - How To Make Money From Blogging // That Grace Girl - Weekend Ritual #10 // Gracey Blossom - Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade (Blonde)

This week I followed: Cherry Pie 

This week I'm recommending: The Signature Manicure with Gel Polish finish (£35) at HCLuxSpa, Selfridges Birmingham - the service was impeccable, the mani is stunning and you just totally forget that you're in the middle of a department store!

This week you should know: You can get 15% off Daniel Wellington watches with the code "rebeccalouise" until November 30th! Here's my Classy St. Andrews Rose Gold watch, isn't it beautiful?

This week I've been lusting after: Chanel Camelia De Plumes (£47) - I've searched high and low for this stunning highlighting powder from the Holiday 2014 collection, but unfortunately it's sold out everywhere. From swatches, it looks like the perfect blend of silver and gold tone 

Who have you followed this week?
What have you been loving/reading/lusting after?
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

blogiversary liz earle giveaway

I wouldn't usually run two giveaways at the same time (here's my: International Giveaway: Estee Lauder Highlighter and Joan Collins Lipgloss), but in the run up to Christmas I thought I'd treat you all! A couple of weeks ago it was actually 3 years since I started blogging which is so different to how it is now. I didn't really care what I posted and had no idea where I was going with it, so the fact that I actually still do it now is a pretty big deal to me! I certainly didn't really get into it until last year and now I'm so proud of how far its' come, now with over 6,600 followers! I can't believe how popular blogging has become either; I know some bloggers have been doing it for years and years, but it's become such a norm nowadays that bloggers' can actually be taken seriously in the media industry and by big brands who want to work with them. It's really cool to be a part of that community, with so many wonderful, likeminded people. So to celebrate the community and especially my supportive followers, I've picked out three treats from one of my favourite beauty brands - Liz Earle. It's open internationally, for 2 weeks before a winner is picked by Rafflecopter! Just enter below! Thank you all, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you tried any of these products before? What are your favourite Liz Earle products? How long have you been reading Autumn Leaves? 
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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

instant perfection from clarins

It feels like ages since I last did a proper makeup review on here, but I certainly had to share my thoughts on some of my most recent additions to my collection. Clarins instant perfecter's have been on my wish list for a long time, and I'm so happy to finally have been able to put them to the test...

The jar packaging of the Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch* (£26) is the only thing that lets this wonderful product down. This translucent, non-greasy, silicone based primer totally smoothes out skin, leaving it silky soft and creating a beautiful base for makeup to sit evenly and flawlessly. Initially the texture feels quite thick, so definitely go in with a light hand when picking up this product (or use the mini spatula it comes with as a guide) as a little really goes a long way when blended out that it feels like there's nothing there. It's slightly pink toned which helps to neutralise and subtly brighten the skin too. Although there's only slight skincare (moisturising and protecting) benefits from this product, I would say it's suitable for most skin types as it doesn't cling to any dry patches, instead smoothing over them making your base of choice sit much better, whilst also mattifying making it well suited to oilier skin types. My skin's currently pretty normal, with only the smallest oily and dry patches - the product works well as a primer, holding onto foundation for a good 6-7 hours (it's not the most winter-weatherproof though!). I've had no breakouts caused by this which is unlike most similar primers (this one's non-comedogenic: doesn't clog pores)... another reason that I can't stop raving about this. So although it's not the most purse friendly, it definitely oozes luxury and totally backs up the RRP! 

The Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base* (£22) isn't one that I'd heard as much about but certainly liked the idea from the name. The travel friendly tube holds plenty of product and the pin-point applicator means you'll never get excess out, which certainly gets a thumbs up from me. The appearance of the product is fairly concealer-like as it's yellow-toned and provides some coverage, which combined is ideal for neutralising and smoothing the lids when blended out. Texture is fairly thin, although not runny and blends across the lids with ease, providing no tackiness but a built-up base that will definitely hold onto eyeshadow; when I say "hold onto" I mean, eyeshadow is not budging until you whip out that cleansing water at the end of the day! The lightening effect is only noticeable with sheer shadow, or when the base is used alone as it really is a subtle sheen, but the product makes a big difference in terms of longevity and preventing creasing, making it a welcome addition to my eye makeup drawer. 

Probably the most raved about of the trio is the Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 01 Rose Shimmer* (£18), a beauty bloggers' favourite. The tube packaging actually has an angled sponge applicator equipped with tiny holes underneath that screw-on silver lid which makes for really easy, smooth application of product. This particular shade is the ideal everyday gloss that's not OTT and the 'natural' part of its' name is the perfect description of the subtle pink tone with a soft sheen. It certainly gives the appearance of fuller lips, especially when layered over your lipstick of choice. I'm not going to say that it's completely non-sticky if you apply straight from the tube, but patted on it sits really evenly and comfortably, plus extends the wear time to around 2 hours (you can't really expect much more from a product like this). It's definitely a product that I get a lot of use out of and I can see why it's so popular, which means I'm already eyeing up the other shades. 

Then finally to end this raving review, I had to include the most beautiful eyeshadow to ever grace my collection. That eyeshadow is the Illamasqua Vintage Metallix in Embellish* (£16.50), a cream formula which is almost mousse-y to the texture making it an absolute dream to work with. It's incredibly highly pigmented and the most beautiful chocolate base colour with high golden shimmer running through it (it's described as 'vintage brown' by the brand). It's totally buildable and blendable, and once dried down it won't budge, won't crease and there's no fall out either. We're talking 9 hours+ for its' wear time, and that's without a primer... it's that good. The photo above just doesn't it justice, as that's it when toned down - that's another thing, you can wear it during the day, with a little more depth for a meal out, or seriously sparkly for a party. I'm just in love with this... I seriously need the other shades of this product!

Have you tried any of these products? Do any of them take your fancy? What are your favourite make up products right now?
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