Friday, 23 December 2016

My Top 15 Favourite Christmas Songs

Nowadays I tend to prefer older songs, traditional carols or songs that aren't played so much because there are so many that get overplayed to the point where you get sick of listening to them! To hear the songs click the title link or the play button on the video.

This is a pop classic that I haven't got tired of listening to- I love it so much! I like both versions of the song but I think I prefer the original version the best. Maybe it's because I'm more familiar with it, but it was a big moment in music history and managed to raise so much money for such a good cause.

Performed by Bono, Adam Clayton, Paul Collins, Sting, Duran Duran, Boomtown Rats, 
Bananarama, Spandau Ballet, Status Quo, Kool & the Gang, Culture Club, George Michael, Heaven 17, Paul Weller, Paul Young and Marilyn.

                                           Do They Know It's Christmas Band Aid 2014
Performed by One Direction, Ed Sheeran,  Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Paloma Faith, Emeli Sandé, Elbow (Guy Garvey), Dan Smith (Bastille), Angelique Kidjo, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Bono, Seal, Ellie Goulding, Sinead O’Connor and Olly Murs.


  2.  Carol of The Bells
 I just love this song but I have no idea how people sing it without getting out of breath! The rounds give this song depth and it's gorgeous to listen to. I've included the traditional version and a more modern version by Pentatonix.

                                                3. Let it Snow Frank Sinatra
To me, Christmas means Frank Sinatra and I'll always love the original song more than any cover. It's such a jolly song. It was written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945 in California during a heat wave as they tried to imagine being somewhere cooler!


Such a haunting rendition, it's so beautiful.   

This is a recent love- I wasn't aware of this carol despite it cropping up in films, TV shows and ads. I love the melody.


This used to be my number one favourite Christmas song and I still like it a lot. It was first sung by Judy Garland in the film Meet Me in St Louis. The actual scene is quite depressing as the family are hiding from the Nazis. However I like this song because it's not played so often and so it feels more special. 

                                                 7.  Holy Jolly Christmas Michael Buble
I'm not a big Michael Buble fan but he does do Christmas covers well. I love this song because I can imagine being in a department store in New York, Christmas shopping in the 1950's while it's snowing outside. (Though I'm aware that Burt Ives released the original is in the 60's not the '50's.)

I think listening to this song is one of my earliest memories. It made the UK Top 10 Chart for 4 weeks in April 1985. I  remember being given a cassette tape of this and listening to it over Christmas as a child. It I loved it but I remember being really surprised that some parts were sung by a boy. Andrew Lloyd Webber composed this after reading in the New York Times about a Cambodian boy who was forced to murder his mutilated sister or be executed himself. He had also just learnt that the journalist who had interviewed him a few weeks earlier had died during the IRA conflict. He used writing music as a way to cope with and express his grief. Webber dedicated it to his father who passed away in 1982.  I also remember watching Charlotte Church singing this on TV as well. 


                                        9. Walking in the Air- Aled Jones
Released in 1982 this remains a Christmas classic: it conveys the magic and excitement of Christmas. The song is beautiful and the animation is still spellbinding to watch. I remember being really proud of myself when I was able to play this on my recorder as a kid! The full animation is available here.

                                         10.  Rockin Around the Christmas Tree Brenda Lee
I love this song it's upbeat and I can imagine being at a 1950's Christmas cocktail party! It has a 50's rock n roll vibe. Unbelievably Brenda Lee was just 13 when she recorded the song in 1958 in the U.S! The single returned to the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Boxing Day 2015, eventually reaching No. 30 in January 2016 two weeks later.

                                              11. Driving Home for Christmas Chris Rea
This is just such a chilled out Christmas song. It was inspired by the time when Chris's wife was driving him home from London to Middlesbrough in her Austin Mini (because it was cheaper to drive than travel by train.) They were stuck in heavy traffic when he said "Driving Home for Christmas" is a "car version of a carol." The song was used in Christmas adverts for Iceland supermarket in 1997, 1998 and in 2011 covered by Stacey Solomon.

Silent was one of my favourite carols as a kid. Although I never watched the 2004 X Factor, I heard G4 on the radio in 2006 singing this song and it sounds so beautiful.

                                              13.  RUN-DMC - Christmas In Hollis
Another song that I've only recently heard, probably because it never entered the UK charts and I never realised that it was used in both the 2014 Argos ad and Nissan's 2015 Christmas ad. Originally it was included on A very Merry Christmas Album by various artists in 1987. The track samples Clarence Carter's 1968 holiday song "Back Door Santa," as well as "Frosty the Snowman", "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World." It reached number 78 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 2000, 13 years after it was first released. The title refers to Hollis, the neighbourhood in Queens where the members of Run-D.M.C. grew up. The song has featured in the films Die Hard (where driver listens to it in the limo), The Night Before and Less than Zero and many TV shows. I like it because it's fun.

                                           14. Christmas Time To Me Jordin Sparks
 I watched this film last Christmas without seeing the original film 'The Best Man' but that didn't matter as I still enjoyed the film. The running time is about 2 hours and afterwards you really feel like you know the characters inside out. The film has sad, poignant moments and also fun scenes such as when the men put on a dance show. The only American Idol I've watched was the one with Jordin Sparks and her voice is incredible. This is a fun, upbeat pop song that sounds similar to Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas.'

15. Jingle Bell Rock Glee
This is the only version of the song that I like- you gotta love Glee.

                        What are your favourite Christmas Songs? Please let me know.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas Makeup Gift Guide

I've split this gift guide into three sections, the first are the baubles and crackers, then under £25 gifts and over £25 luxury beauty gifts.

Starting with baubles and crackers these make lovely small gifts, can be popped into a Christmas stocking, as a treat to yourself  or bought in bulk to replace traditional crackers. To be honest I like the last idea the most as even luxury crackers have things you don't need or want and beauty crackers would be better especially as they're priced the same as traditional crackers or even cheaper. However they would be best for mainly female friends and family members, although the Soap and Glory ones could be used by either sex, but the pink packaging could be a turn off. I think there's a gap in the market for male beauty crackers! In general crackers seem more popular than baubles- although baubles can be reused, just fill them up with other things such as beauty samples, stationary, sweets etc as a gift for someone else or as Christmas decorations.

Row 1 (L-R): Essie Crack'a'Colour Cracker £20// Cowshed Cracker  £10
Row 2 (L-R): Nuxe Holiday Cracker £10 // Caudalie Cracker £10 //
Row 3 (L-R): Fleur de Force Cosmic Christmas Cracker £12 // Clinique & Look Fantastic Cracker £15
Row 4 (L-R): Boots No. 7 Crackers £14 for 4 // Soap and Glory What a Cracker £12.80 for 6
Row 5 (L-R): Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Party Eyes Bauble £20 //Ghost Deep Night Bauble £8 // Fat Face Lip Balm and Lip Gloss Bauble £6

Essie has two Christmas crackers out, the one above is the Crack'a'Colour which contains four full sized nail polishes for £20. Included are Essie A Cut Above Glitter Nail Effects (pink glitter), Essie Smokin Hot (grey), Essie Fiji (pale pink) and Essie Bordeaux (very dark red.) They also have a  mini cracker with with three 5ml nail polishes  for £10 that includes Satin Sister (teal) Getting Grooving (gold) and Party on A Platform (a deep warm red.)

Nuxe's crackers are sold out everywhere but you can still get your hands on them at Nuxe's website. The cracker contains 4 deluxe samples of micellar cleansing water, reve de miel hand cream, huile prodigieuse and creme prodigieuse for £10.  Caudalie's crackers seem to be good value with 3 items at decent sizes with body lotion (30ml) shower gel (30ml) and lip balm (4.5g)  The Cowshed cracker contains 50ml Hand cream and lip balm for £10.

The Clinique cracker includes a Chubby Stick Intense in Roomiest Rose (sample size),Custom-repair Moisturiser SPF 15 (15ml) and a Custom Repair serum (10ml) all for £15 which isn't bad and I love their chubby sticks. Popular blogger Fleur de Force has two crackers out. The one above is the Cosmic Christmas Cracker with two lip glosses in Lucky Star and Starlight and an eye shadow quad in Cosmic bronze. It's £12 but has a value of £19.97 and would be a great way to sample her range of cosmetics.

If you want to pick up some beauty crackers in bulk then Soap and Glory have 6 for £12.80. Each one includes one of the following:  Clean On Me shower gel, The Scrub of your life Body Scrub, Righteous Body Butter, Clean Girls body wash, Hand Food, Heel Genius foot cream. No. 7 also has 4 crackers for £14. Each one has three items: a full sized Stay Perfect nail colour, lovely lips lip balm in Parisian pink /deep raspberry and a full sized nail effects too.

Onto Christmas baubles: luxury brand Charlotte Tilbury's bauble has a mini Rock'n'Kohl eye liner in Bedroom Black and a mini Legendary mascara inside.  The Ghost Deep Night EDT set contains a 10ml perfume bottle and a gorgeous deep red scented lip gloss in Night berry (3ml). Finally the cheapest of the lot is the Fat Face bauble which has a lip balm and lip gloss inside for £6.

Row 1 (L-R)
Clarins Beautiful Lip Essentials £20 //The Balm Manizers Sisters Luminizer Trio £19.20  // The Balm Meet Matt Hughes lip set £25
Row 2 (L-R)
The Balm Lip & Cheek Palette £20.80 // Pixi  Palette Rosette £22 // Bella Pierre eye Palette Go Natural £23.99// 
Row 3 (L-R)
Benefit 'It's a Gal's World' gift set £24.50// Nails Inc Matchbox Mint Nail & lip set £15 //Tanya Burr Pretty Unstoppable Palette £10
Row 4 (L-R)
Lord & Berry Contouring Palette £25 // NYX Nude on Nude Palette £20

There are lots of gift sets around the £20 price mark that are still very good for your money.

The On Trend Gifts: Liquid to Matte lipsticks are where it's at and TheBalm Meet Matte Hughes liquid Lipstick set has six 12ml mini lipsticks in a range of colours including Charming, Sincere, Committed, Doting, Dedicated and Loyal. The Nails Inc Matchbox Mint Lip and Nail Set are both a perfect Kylie Jenner '90s colour.  Strobing is still on trend and TheBalm's Manizers Sisters Trio make a good gift since everyone raves about these highlighters and this palette would be great for travel too. Contouring is still popular and this Lord and Berry cream contouring palette includes a highlighter and a blush as well as 4 contour shades.

Luxury Gift: Clarins Beautiful Lip Essentials, two mini tinted lip balms (5ml) in Rosewood Shimmer and Rose Shimmer and two mini Joli Rouge lipsticks (1.5g) in Soft Berry and Raspberry. The £20 gift set is worth £32.

Budget Gift: Tanya Burr Pretty Unstoppable Palette. This palette has enough to make up a whole face for a natural look (baring foundation.) There are four eye shadows Vanilla Sugar, Tea Cake, Hot Chocolate & Cream and Cocoa dust. There's also a blush, high lighter and lip gloss, all in for £10.

Best Value for Money Gifts:  NYX's Nude on Nude Palette has 20 eye shadow colours and 10 lipstick colours. That's works out at 50p an eye shadow and £1 a lip colour. The range is so huge there's plenty to experiment with, natural doesn't have to mean boring. Pixi Palette Rosette in Rosy Radiance is another all in one palette with 8 eye shadows, 3 brow shades and a contour, blush and high lighter shades. The Benefit 'It's a Gal'sWorld' set is knocked down from £29 to £24 it contains a mini They're Real eye liner,  a mini Porefessional and 4 eye shadows.

Row 1  (L-R)  
Urban Decay Ultimate Basics Palette £38.50  // Urban Decay Lip Palette £31.50 
Row 2 (L-R)
Nars Recurring Dare Cheek & Lip Palette £39  // Illamasqua Pro Made Easy Eye Set £47.50  // Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad £64
Row 3 (L-R) 
Charlotte Tilbury Dreamy Look in A Clutch £90  // Hourglass Ambient Lighting Surreal Light £69  // Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow £49
Row 4 (L-R) 
YSL Essential Eye Makeup Gift set £50  //Giorgio  Armani Luxe is More Palette  £125 // Estee Lauder Colour Portfolio Gift Set £58

Best Value for Money: Estee Lauder Colour Portfolio Gift Set. When I saw this online I had to include it as it is jam packed with makeup in every colour and it's only £58! There are 25 eye shadows, 6 Pure Envy Blushes, 9 Pure Envy Lip colours, 2 smoky eyeliners and 1 Pure envy gloss. I don't actually know the dimensions of the palette or how big each pan is but it looks like it has everything you would want.

Most raved about Beauty Items:  Hourglass Ambient Lighting Surreal light palette I haven't actually had the privilege of trying these but Hourglass powders are coveted for their subtle illuminating glow which we can all benefit from in these dull, winter days. This palette with all the powders would be a wonderful gift for someone. The YSL Essential Eye Makeup gift set includes their iconic Touche Eclat pen in Luminous Radiance as well as a Luxurious Mascara for False Lash Effect in black (7.5ml), Waterproof Black Eye Pencil (0.8g)  and Instant Moisture Glow (5ml). Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze and Glow is a popular contouring & high lighting palette. Her
Dreamy Look in a Clutch contains a full sized eye shadow quad in Legendary Muse, Mini Legendary Lashes, Mini Legendary Eye Liner in black, Mini Legendary Lip Liner in Bitten Kiss, lipstick Hot Lips™: Secret Salma . It also comes with a USB Video Tutorial. Urban Decay Ultimate Basics Palette I'd imagine if Soap and Glory or Illamasqua got hold of this it would be called Basic B#@*h (but Lucy Watson got there first.) Anyway this is a must have for neutral lovers everywhere with 12 of the brand's  most requested matte shades. This is definitely on my wish list.

Most Expensive Beauty Item: Giorgio Armani Luxe is More Palette is yours for £125.

Top Title photo credit: geishaboy500 Happy Christmas 2008 via photopin (license) Changes Made

Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Skincare & Fragrance Gift Guide

If you're just browsing, working through your christmas gift list or buying a cheeky treat for yourself (ssshh!) I hope this gift guide is helpful to anyone reading and looking for gift ideas.

Avene Sensitive Skin Saviour Kit £20 // Alpha H With Love Kit £25
Dermalogica Breakout Clearing Kit £23.75 // Clarins Radiance Expert Skincare Gift Set £17.50
Vichy Aqualia Christmas Coffret £16. 65 // Ole Henriksen All Four Love Set 3 Mini Gift Set £15.30

For teenage acne skin this Dermalogica Breakout Clearing kit will do the trick, it contains a foaming wash (50ml) toner (50ml) daytime treatment (15ml) matte moisturiser SPF15 (15ml) and an overnight treatment (15ml). Alpha H liquid gold is highly rated but so expensive so this is a very affordable option to try out and at £25 it's a bargain! The kit contains liquid gold 50ml, essential hydration cream (30ml) and a balancing cleanser (30ml). The Clarins Radiance Expert Skincare gift set sounds like good value for money too coming in at £17.50 and contains Pure Melt Cleansing Gel (30ml)  Beauty Flash Balm (15ml) Renew-Plus Body Serum and a mini lip gloss prodige in 04. 

Avene and Vichy are both aimed at sensitive skins. The Avene set includes two 50ml Extremely gentle cleansing lotions, Thermal spring water 50ml and skin recovery cream (50ml.) The Vichy set sounds perfect for beating dehydrated, winter skin and includes Aqualia Thermal Light 50m, Aqualia Thermal Awakening Eye Balm 15ml and Aqualia Thermal Night Spa 15ml. The Ole Henriksen All for love is an anti ageing skincare set and includes Sheer Transformation a lightweight moisturiser with multi fruit AHAs  (7g,) an invigorating night treatment with AHA (7ml) a Truth serum collagen booster (15ml.) and African red tea foaming cleanser (45ml.)

Soap & Glory Girl-o-whirl £12// Caudalie Travel Set £12.50
Nuxe Travel Kit Gift Set £13.50 // Sanctuary Just Because Gift Set £10.50
Decleor Aroma Lisse Discovery Kit  £17.60 // Burt's Bees Natures Best Beeswax Gift Set £19.99

Many gift sets under £25 are travel kits which means you can sample the products and get a feel of the brand and if those products suit you. They also make a lovely gift to someone who wouldn't normally treat themselves to the more high end brands such as Caudalie, Nuxe and Decleor.

The Caudalie Travel Kit is £12.50 and pretty much contains everything anyone would need. The Kit consists of  Micellar Cleansing Water (30ml), Vinosource Moisturising Sorbet (10ml), Gentle Conditioning Shampoo (30ml), Rose des Vignes Shower Gel (30ml)  Nourishing Body Lotion (30ml) and Divine Oil (3ml.)

The Nuxe Travel Kit Gift Set is £13.50 and includes Reve De Miel Face Cleansing Gel (15ml), Creme Prodigieuse (15ml), Huile Prodigieuse (10ml), Reve De Miel Hand And Nail Cream (15ml,) Prodigieux Shower oil (30ml.)

The Decleor Aroma Lisse Discovery Kit contains a Decleor Aroma Cleanse 3-in-1 Cleansing Foam (50ml), Aromessence Mandarine Oil Serum (5ml), Aroma Lisse Cream (15ml)1000 Grain Body Exfoliator (50ml) and Aroma Confort Moisturising Body Milk (50ml.) It comes in at £17.60 & Look Fantastic is offering a free Decleor gift too.

The Burts Bees Natures Best Beeswax Gift Set includes a Vitamin E and Peppermint Lip Balm, (4.25g), Wild Cherry Lip Balm (4.25g) Lip Shimmer Rhubarb (2.6g) Intense Hydration Day Lotion (50g) Soapbark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream (170g) and  Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream (15g.)

The next two items are from Boots who are doing a 3 for 2 offer on gifts.
The Sanctuary Just Because Gift contains four generously sized products for just over a tenner. The gift includes a Cleansing Burst Body Wash (75ml)  Gentle Polish Body Scrub (50ml)  Luxurious body butter (50ml) and a Velvety hand cream (30ml.)

Soap & Glory's Girl -O-whirl Gift set has really cool packaging. It comes in 3 tins that you can swivel around to form a different girl in different clothing and I'm sure could be reused afterwards. The kit  includes Rich and Famous Shower & Bath Body Wash (75ml) Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub Body Polish (50ml) Smoothie Star Body Buttercream (50ml) a Smoothie Star Hydrating Hand Cream (50ml) and a shower puff.
*Boots have knocked down the price of The Soap and Glory The Whole Glam Lot Limited Edition Suitcase containing 10 full sized items. It is now £30 instead of £60. See more Here

Charlotte Tilbury The Gift of Goddess Skin £150// Charlotte Tilbury Magic Skin Trilogy Day & Night Eye Cream Set £195
Kiehl's Jeremyville Ltd Ed. Bodycare set £30 //Origins Your Perfect World £40 (worth £68)
Eve Lom The Radiant Ritual £50 // Cowshed Ultimate Hamper £100
First Aid Beauty Peace Joy & Fab Kit £44 // Emma Hardie All Star Collection £85 

If you're after luxury then Charlotte Tilbury is it. She has two gift sets both feature her 'magic cream.' The Gift of Goddess Skin trio set includes a Goddess clay mask, Magic cream that reduces the appearance of wrinkles and smooths the skin and Wonderglow that gives skin healthy glow. The Magic Skin Trilogy gift set contains magic cream, magic night cream and magic eye rescue cream.

The Kiehls Jermeyville Bodycare Set is £30 and comes with Creme de Corps, a rich non-greasy, hydrating body butter,  Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, and two deluxe samples of Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser and Grapefruit Liquid Body Cleanser.

Origins Your Perfect World Set includes an Age defence moisturiser with White Tea (50ml) Antioxidant cleanser with White Tea (50ml) Age defence treatment lotion with White Tea (50ml) Age defence skin guardian with White Tea (15ml) and a travel wash bag. The contents of the Origins Your Perfect World set is worth £68 but sells for £40.

 Eve Lom The Radiant Rituals Set contains her famous cleanser (50ml) a cloth, Brightening Cream (10ml) , Rescue mask (15ml) and  Kiss Mix lip treatment (7ml.)  The set is worth £79 and sells for £50 and would be perfect for a winter skincare routine.

First Aid Beauty Peace, Joy and Fab kit contains 28 Radiance Pads, Face cleanser ( 56.7g), Ultra Repair Hydra Firm Sleeping Cream (48.1g)  Vitamin Hydrating Mist (59ml) Ultra Repair Cream (170g.) The value of the kit is £79 but sells for £44.

Finally Emma Hardie All Star Collection includes her famous Moringa cleansing balm (50ml), dual action cleansing cloth, Brilliance facial oil (5ml) Age support treatment cream (50ml) and midas touch  face serum. The contents of the gift set are worth £141 and sells for £85. Feel Unique are also throwing in a free Emma Hardie Plump & Repair Intense Lip balm with any Emma Hardie Christmas sets.
* At the time of publishing the Cowshead Hamper is sold out.

Beyonce Heat Seduction EDP set £12 // Estee Lauder Miniatures Set £18.99 
Davidorff Cool Water Gift set 30ml EDT £14.95  Calvin Klein Beauty 50ml £19.99 // Rihanna Rogue 75ml EDP Bracelet Set £15//
Britney Spears Curious Gift Set £20  
DNKY Be Delicious 3 EDP Miniature Gift Set £20 // Katy Perry Killer Queen 30ml Set £14 

There are many options available when buying perfumes on a budget of £20 or just £15, and they're not all celebrity perfumes either. Fragrance direct have a Davidoff Cool Water gift set for half price at £14.95. I love the scent of Davidoff Cool water, as the name suggests it has aquatic notes of ocean breeze, fruit and woods. The set comes with 30ml EDT bottle and a 75ml shower gel. If you're not sure what perfume someone likes then a set with a variety of different perfumes may be the way to go. This five miniature set from Estee Lauder contains the following perfumes: Pleasure (5ml) White Linen (3.5ml), Beautiful (4.7ml), Sensuous (4ml) & Modern Muse (4ml). Once I saw  Calvin Klein Beauty 50ml EDP selling for £19.99 I had to include it! It is a musky, floral fragrance containing ambriette seeds (musk mallow) Jasmine and cedar.

Superdrug have some great deals on perfumes at the moment. I love DNKY Be Delicious, (you can see my review here) and this cute trio of 7ml mini perfumes includes DKNY Be Delicious, DKNY Fresh Blossom and DKNY Be Tempted.

Onto celebrity perfumes Beyonce's Heat Seduction gift set contains 30ml EDP, body lotion  (75ml) and Shower Gel (75m.)  The perfume is a fruity, spiced musk with mandarin, dewberry, ginger flower, amber and musk. This £12 gift set is good value for money as it contains an EDP rather than the less long wearing EDT and the body lotion and shower gel are a decent size too. The Rihanna Rogue gift set is now half price at £15, it includes a generous 75ml EDT and three edgy bracelets- I think a tween or teenager would like this set. The Britney Spears Curious gift set includes 100ml body souffle as well as a 100ml bottle of Curious EDP which is a floral-vanilla- musk scent. It contains fresh lotus, magnolia, jasmine and precious woods. The Katy Perry's Killer Queen perfume trio gift set includes 30ml EDP, royal body lotion (75ml) and shower gel (75ml.) Killer Queen is described as a floriental scent: the main note is Celosia (red flower) and the base contains patchouli and liquid praline. The bottle design is absolutely stunning too.

Ghost Gift Set EDT 50ml £36 // Chloe Signature Gift Set EDP 75ml £75.95
Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue £69 // Marc Jacobs Decadence EDP 50ml £52 /
Giorgio Armani Si Gift Set 50ml £69.65// Miss Dior EDT 50ml £62.50

I am a big fan of Ghost's perfumes and this Ghost gift set is good value for money as it includes an EDT 50ml bottle as well as a mini sized EDT 10ml bottle, a cosmetics bag, scented candle, hand lotion, lip balm and nail polish all for £36. While Chloe is a floral-woody scent that I think a lot of people would like. It has top notes Lychee, Freesia and Peony, middle notes of Lily of the Valley, Rose and Magnolia and base notes of Virginia Cedar and Musk.The Chloe gift set contains 75ml EDP, 100ml Body Lotion and 5ml Mini EDP. The Dolce and and Gabbana Light Blue perfume is a fruity floral scent with lemons and apple and jasmine and white Rose. The Light Blue gift set comes with body cream (100ml) , and EDT rollerball (7.4ml) as well as Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue EDT (100mls)

Decadence by Marc Jacobs is more sexy and sophisticated than Daisy and Lola. The top notes are Italian plum, saffron and iris, while rose, jasmine and orris root form the heart and the base includes warm amber, vetiver and papyrus wood. The set comes with a shower gel (75ml) and I love the handbag shaped bottle too. Si by Armani was and the gift set contains Miss Dior is a floral perfume with an earthy slightly citrus element and would probably suit teens- twentysomethings. The gift set includes Eau de Toilette natural Spray 50ml and body milk 50ml. Giorgio Armani's Si smells of vanilla, patchouli,rose and freesia. The gift set contains Si Eau De Parfum bottle (50ml) as well as a mini Armani Beauty Ecstasy Mascara in Black and a mini Armani Beauty Rouge D'Armani Lip Gloss as well. It sells for £69.

Top Title photo credit: geishaboy500 Happy Christmas 2008 via photopin (license) Changes Made

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The £25 High End Beauty Bauble Still Available

HQ hair have come out with a 'Party In The Nude' Beauty Bauble featuring 5 high end products that are worth £87 all for just £25! And get this-  post and packaging is free! I assumed they'd all be gone after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend but they still have them in stock!

HQ Hair Beauty Bauble Party in the Nude

If  you're a neutral makeup fan or a high end makeup addict then this is for you. Heck even if you aren't, this would be a fantastic gift for someone! There are 4 full sized products and one sample sized product so it's great value for money- you're not just getting a bauble of samples. They are vegan friendly as well. Included are the following:
  • Illamasqua Hydra Veil Primer- Sample (6ml)  The full sized Illamasqua Hydra veil is 30ml.  The Hydra Veil Primer helps you to achieve a super smooth and beautifully flawless complexion. Enriched with Microalgae and Vitamins C and B3, its clear gel formula infuses optimum hydration, whilst Plant Extracts calm and comfort skin to leave it fresh, re-balanced and healthy-looking. Deeply nourishes your complexion to create the perfect base for make-up application. Vegan Friendly.            
  • Illamasqua Masquara Gain - Full Size (9ml)  A black mascara to volumise, lengthen and define lashes. Infused with a Walnut-derived active that acts as a natural dye extract, the jet black formula tints lashes for ultimate impact and definition, allowing you to experience improved colour intensity after just two weeks. Lashes appear bigger and bolder.
  • Illamasqua Gleam Highlighter in 'Supernatural' - Full Size (6.5g) An iridescent cream highlighter for highlighting the face and body. Infused with vitamin E and mica mineral, the translucent, silky highlighter delivers sheer, pearlescent pigments for a natural-looking, luminous glow.  
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour Concentrate Eye Shadow in 'Brasstacks' - Full Size (2.3g)  This is a micro-refined, light-reflecting mineral pigment powder in a metallic hazel brown. It can be used on the eyes, lips, cheeks and body. Vegan Friendly. Cruelty Free.
  • NUDESTIX Lip and Cheek Pencil in ‘Whisper’ (full sized) 2.49g  The all-in-one Lip and Cheek Pencil will give you a highly pigmented colour and coverage. It contains Shea Butter and Vitamin E to hydrate and blend easily on  lips and cheeks. The pencil is also perfect for touching up your make-up on-the-go.  It also has a separate pencil sharpener which is great as the pencil is slightly thicker than a regular eyeliner or lip liner. The pencil contains 2.49g which is actually bigger than the regular nudestix which contains 1.41g. 
HQ Hair Beauty Bauble Party in the nude swatches The OCC eye shadow in Brasstacks is a metallic brown like a bronze penny. It looks slightly matte even though it has shimmer. In some lights it looks rose gold like a shiny new penny. The Nudestix Lip and Cheek Pencil in Whisper is a light pink and very Kylie Jenner. The Illamasqua highlighter is a peach colour with a slight golden shimmer to it.

The bauble is 15.5 cm in diameter. On average each item costs £5 which is a bargain compared to their regular prices if bought separately and altogether they're worth £85 and you only get to pay £25! The shipping was fast too I bought it 11pm Thursday and received it on Tuesday. You can buy the Bauble from HQ Hair here.

This is not a sponsored post and I am not affiliated with any company or compensated in any way.  I bought this beauty bauble with my own precious money.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sophisticated Glitter: Nars Galapagos Eye Shadow Review

During a visit to TK Maxx I managed to score this Nars Galapagos single eye shadow for just £7.99! It normally retails at £18 which is a lot of money for a single eye shadow but you do get 2.2g of product and I don't think I'll be hitting pan very soon. The eye shadow comes in Nars' distinctive matte, rubberised compact case. The compact also includes a mirror and while the case is rubber, it actually feels like suede to the touch.

Nars Galapagos was released with the Nars Holiday 2010 collection and is so popular it has remained part of their permanent line. The eye shadow itself is a warm dark brown with flecks of gold glitter. It's a dark eye shadow that's great for adding depth and a touch of sparkle to a brown smokey eye. I know some people have said that the glitter doesn't translate well, but I used a flat eye shadow brush from Primark to apply it (see photo above) and it looked exactly the same on my eyes as in the pan. I think any flat eye shader brush from MAC, Zoeva or Sigma would achieve the same results. For a smoky eye I just patted eye shadow on the outer edge of the eye and into the crease using a flat brush (with eyes open) instead of a pointed or fluffy brush. This eye shadow doesn't kick up shadow when you use it, but sometimes gold flecks of glitter can appear on the cheeks so I'd advise doing your eye makeup first before applying a foundation or a base.

Nars Galapagos eye shadow is rich in pigment and has impressive staying power. I used it without primer and was on my eyes a full 9 hours later, although not as fresh, the glitter could still be seen. I have fairly oily eye lids too and found it stubborn to remove. In my opinion this definitely lives up to the hype and i'd recommend picking it up for the holiday party season.

Nars Galapagos Eye Shadow is available at Look Fantastic, £18 & Space NK.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Affordable & Good Quality Makeup Brushes: Primark P.S.

Primark Lip and Eye shadow brushes

On  a visit to Primark I picked up some of their eye and lip brushes and was surprised by the quality. The bristles are soft and not at all scratchy. They are easy to clean and haven't shed.  You can treat them as workhorse brushes as they are cheap to replace. Originally the brushes had silver ferrules with black brush heads with pink tips but they've now switched to rose gold ferrules to capitalise on the rose gold trend.

Most of Primark's makeup brushes are double ended, although they have recently released some brush sets such as the lip brush set and eyebrow set which are not double ended.  With double ended brushes I think you either love them or hate them. On the one hand they are good value for your money, with two brushes in one; and they also save space in your makeup bag while travelling. However they can be awkward to store in a pot and to wash and dry them. The best thing is to find a wide makeup bag / brush holder so the brushes fit inside and maybe to wash one end at a time so that the water doesn't loosen the ferrule. Each individual brush is £1 and the 3 Lip Brush kit has 3 brushes for £3.

Primark rose gold  lip and eye shadow makeup brushes flat lay

Primark Eye makeup brushes
The Eye shadow & Concealer brush was the first brush I bought. I was about to place an order for some Sigma eye shadow brushes when I came across this in Primark, saw that they were only £1 and thought it would be worth giving it a go. I was pleasantly surprised, the brush was soft and was good for packing on eye shadow. It is slightly smaller and shorter than Urban Decay's eye shadow brush (from the Naked 1 palette.) The concealer end is a good size, being small enough to cover blemishes but big enough so that covering dark circles isn't a laborious job. It works well with both thicker, creamy concealers and runny liquid formulas. It can also work as an eye shadow brush for larger eyes. The brush is fairly long at 18.5cm which is something to bear in mind when storing brushes away or for those who are short sighted and need to be closer to a mirror. However I was so impressed with this brush I had to go back and buy some more.

The Smokey Eye Brush is not a blending brushThe round end is very small and precise and best used for running along the upper or lower lash line to achieve a smoky look rather than blending eye shadow in the crease. The end with the flat headed brush is slightly smaller than the eye shadow brush head making it good for smaller eyes for placement of shadow. You can use the brush on it's side in a winds wiper motion along the crease (with eye open) for a subtle-ish smokey look.

As for the  Eye Brow Brush, i'm in love. The angled brush is perfect for filling in brows as it's so precise and easy to use. In the past I've just used an old mascara wand to brush through my brows, but I do appreciate having a good spoolie brush as well. Primark have since come out with a 4 brush Eye Brow set which you might want to pick up, I considered doing so but this brush does everything I want really, so for me there's no need.

Comparing Urban Decay Eye Shadow brush to Primark Eyeshadow Brush

Three Pack Lip Brush Set 

All the brushes in the set are pointed which mean you can draw a nice neat outline. They are also smaller in length than the eye brushes (around 14cm)  which is good if you are short sighted like me and need to get closer to the mirror.

Primark 3 lip brush set
Primark Lip brush set flatlay
I actually use the Precision Brush to outline the cupids bow because as it gives a nice sharp line, but it's also good for outing the lips too. The Filing brush is great for filling in the lips and I prefer it over the Real Techniques travel lip brush because of the thinner point at the end. I also use the Cupid's bow brush for outlining the lips as well as defining the cupids bow.

Overall these brushes are definitely worth checking out. Don't let the price fool you, these £1 brushes surpass many makeup brushes in their quality and I prefer them over E.L.F brushes and some of the Royal & Langnickle brushes. They are excellent value for money, good at getting the job done and are easy to wash. This bargain buy is definitely worth adding to your makeup arsenal.

Available in Primark Stores Nationwide.

Primark Lip brush vs Real Techniques Retractable lip brush

Sunday, 13 November 2016

5 AW16-17 Fashion Trends: Get the Look for Less

5 Fall winter Fashion Trends Get the Look for Less

aw16 Fashion Trend Velvet
One of this season's unmissable trends is velvet. Topshop have an impressive range of velvet bags and clothing including this Preen inspired Pink velvet ruched dress by Jaded London for Topshop (£55.)  Blue velvet dresses are really popular right now and would be perfect to wear for the Christmas party season but hurry they're selling out fast! Miss Selfridge has a long sleeved blue velvet dress (£30) above and Quiz has a Bardot inspired off the shoulder velvet dress  (£19.99.) I also spotted a Bottega Veneta inspired velvet blue suit which is a steal going for £38  from ASOS!
5 Fall Fashion Trends Menswear for women

The menswear trend is a masculine /androgynous look with suits and coats in neutral colours in check, pinstripe and hounds-tooth fabrics. 3.1 Phillip Lim styled two very similar grey checked prints together, however if you're unsure about being in head to toe check print you could buy a pair of checked trousers (these are from French Connection £90)  and them pair with a man's white shirt and brogues. Meanwhile Tibi had a new take on the pinstripe suit with slouchy pinstripe trousers and loose fitting blazer for relaxed, informal look. The closest I could find is this suit by Wah London x ASOS (Double Breasted Blazer £75 , Trousers £55) although it's more baggy than slouchy. Finally I managed to find a copy of the Y/Project's long checked coat at Mango (£69.99)

aw16 fashion trend Cats
This season tapped into a cat lovers wardrobe, starting with the classic leopard print coat from Givenchy, but a cheaper dupe would be a leopard print coat from Miss Selfridge now £50 in the sale. The red cat printed dress from Dolce and Gabbana makes a bold statement and I've sourced a similar red cat patterned tea dress from Lindybop (£24) which features cats and umbrellas. It's very similar and comes in a wide range of sizes from size 8-26. If you'd rather just give a subtle nod to the cat trend then accessorise with a porcelain cat necklace like at Loewe, although this one from Blossom and Bronze, Etsy (£11.99) is a lot cheaper.

aw16 Fashion Trend Laced up
I actually really like this trend it's sexy without revealing too much, though you might want to wear a warm coat on top for the winter! I managed to find a dress similar to the one from Rihanna's Fenty Puma line, from The Jet Set Diaries, Revolve (£48.) Although it's in a different colour and slightly shorter this cornflower blue dress has a similar lace up detail across the chest as the dress at Proenza Schouler. It is from First and I at ASOS (£15). I also found a near identical copy of Anthony Vaccarello's dress from Missguided (£34) a bargain!
AW16 Fashion Trend Military
This season the traditionally green military trend also encompassed blue Naval inspired clothes as well. Military style wool coats are practical, being both warm and smart. I found this long green wool coat from La Redoute (£99) which fits the bill and is available in sizes 6-24. For a smart navy coat this one from Atelier R at La Redoute (£149) will do the trick and comes in size 6-22.  Capes are also back in fashion and this military inspired one is from ASOS (£75.)
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