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Real Techiniques | Expert Face Brush

  • Friday, 30 January 2015




 
 
I have used a brush to apply my foundation for quite a few years now. I love the application and how it provides a really smooth finish to my make up. I used to always use my finger tips but not only was it a pain to have to disrupt my make up routine to run to the bathroom and wash my hands, I also realised that I was wasting money in washing excess product down the skin. I thought that it was probably a lot more hygienic to use a make up brush as any bacteria on my hands was being directly applied to my face, and any grease on my fingers would surely promote excess oils on my skin. So, not only did the change to apply my foundation with a brush save me money and diminish skin care issues, it also provides me with a more flawless finish to my make up.
 
I have always opted for the flat paddle foundation brush (is that even what it is referred as?) just because it was the first type that I had used and since I had come across no problems using it I continued to re-purchase. I have always known that to 'buffer' in your foundation would create a more air-brushed finish to your make up but I have always been happy with the results of my other brushs and never really gave it a second thought.
 
Hidden under my Christmas tree was a little black box from the boy containing a little pot of Nars Sheer Glow foundation. I had read many a review about this bad boy (review coming soon - promise!) and it seemed that using a buffer brush was a universal must have to accompany this beautiful foundation. My first few applications were with a flat paddle brush of mine, and although I was really happy with the results, there was a little niggle inside of me that really wanted to see what it would be like with a buffered finish.
 
I picked up this Real Techniques Expert Face Brush from Boots for £9.99 and was really impressed with the results. This brush works like a dream with the Sheer Glow foundation. It has a really wide and flat head with ultra soft bristles. I apply two pumps of foundation to the back of my hand and bit by bit work it in to the skin using circular motions. The brush has a long handle with a the perfect amount of weight for ease of control. I can really tell the difference in the finish of my foundation after using this brush. My skin really does look flawless and I find that I hardly use and concealer as the brush really helps to work the product to create a very even toned and blemish free finish.
 
I am so glad that I bought this brush as it is a tool that really compliments my Sheer Glow foundation. I have had my eye on the Real Techniques eye brushes and would love to try them out, I think they maybe be hopping into my shopping basket sometime soon!
 
 
How do you like to apply your foundation?
 
 
Maddy
xxx

Bourjois Paris | 123 Perfect Foundation | Review & Swatches

  • Tuesday, 27 January 2015



 
Bourjois Paris 123 Perfect Foundation in No.52 Vanilla
 
 
I've been wanting a new foundation to wear on a daily basis that was less high street and less expensive. I usually wear Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow in Ivory which is a perfect lightweight foundation with a dewy finish but with a high coverage. The problem I have with using this everyday is that it doesn't come cheap. At £26.50 a pop I wanted a cheaper alternative that wouldn't break the bank, to wear on days when I'm nipping to the shops, having a lazy day or going out for coffee.
 
I had read online that the Bourjois Paris 123 Perfect Foundation was very similar to Benefit's Hello Flawless so I decided to give it a try. It is very smooth and creamy which gives a pretty flawless finish. I find that I don't really need to apply concealer with it as it provides a slightly heavier coverage than Hello Flawless. The product claims to last for up to 16 hours which I have found to be true. On the days that I have used it I haven't had to touch it up at all. I do find it slightly cake-y as it is a bit heavier to what I am used to. However, for a fraction of the Benefit price tag I can cope with this aspect.
 
The 123 aspect of the foundation is that 1. it has yellow pigments which help to get rid of dark circles 2. it contains mauve pigments which provide a brighter complexion 3. it has green pigments which decrease the appearance of redness. I do feel as though this foundation does combat all of these imperfections and creates a very even tone to the skin.
 
The SPF in this foundation is 10 but I usually opt for a higher number. The moisturiser that I use has an SPF of 25 however so my skin will still be protected from the sun's rays. Unfortunately I think that I picked up a shade to dark for my skin tone so although it goes on like a dream it does look a smidge too dark. At least my skin is the palest it will be all year at the moment, so as soon as my skin gets a bit more sunlight on it, this should be a perfect match.
 
Overall I am very pleased with my find for a cheaper alternative for an everyday foundation. Although I have to compromise on a few aspects, for a third of the price I don't have much to complain about.
 
 
What do you think about Bourjois Paris' 123 Perfect Foundation? What do you use on a daily basis?
 
Maddy
xxx

My Gym Workout Routine | Burn 500 Cals In One Hour

  • Saturday, 24 January 2015

 
One of my aims for the New Year ( and I am sure I am not the only one! ) is to loose a few extra pounds and to tone up my body. I tend to struggle quite a lot with the whole diet thing. Don't get me wrong, I eat fairly healthily and make sure I have my five a day, an even proportion of carbs, protein, fruit and veg. My weakness is in the evening and the sugar pangs hit! Like I say, I am pretty healthy during the day but come evening time all of my hard work goes out of the window. What I have learnt therefore, is to rather than deprive myself, because I know that I would re-lapse, (and where's the fun in life if you can't eat some chocolate if you fancy it?!) is to work harder at the gym and achieve my goals by working out more, rather than constantly worrying about every calorie that I consume!
 
I have read many an article that states that one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. So, if you want to loose a pound of fat a week you need to burn around 500 calories a day. With this in mind I have a set goal every time I go to the gym to burn at least 500 calories. I won't lie and say that I go everyday, because I definitely do not! But I feel like this is a nice achievable goal to set at each workout, and if I burn 3,500 calories over the course of two weeks, it is still a success in my eyes.
 
So I thought that I would share my 500 calorie workout to either provide ideas or to give some motivation to those of you that have a similar aim to loose a bit of weight or to tone up for 2015. I am in no way qualified as a fitness instructor, nor am I claiming to have expert gym knowledge. All I am saying is that I have been going to the gym for a while now and have found a routine that works well for me and my body. This routine is also just a guideline, for me as well. Most gyms and workout articles will tell you that the best way to work out is through variation. If you do the same routine, with the same time frames on the same levels at every workout it will stop being effective for your body, so always try to add some sort of variation every few workouts.
 
When I first get to the gym I usually head straight to the treadmill. I find that going here first gets my least favourite exercise (running) out of the way, and it also acts as a great warm up for the whole body. I alternate between work outs but I will usually spend 20 minutes on the treadmill either running for two minutes, walking for two ect ect. Alternatively I will walk for the entire 20 mins but alternate increasing speed and incline once a minuet  until I reach 6 km/hour at an incline of 5 and then I will start to decrease speed and incline, again alternatively once a minute. I find that either of these exercises increases heart rate, gets my blood pumping and works each section of my body for a nice start to the workout.

I usually will then head on over to the cross-trainer. This is by far my most favourite exercise machine to use. I find it so easy to burn calories, to get into a good rhythm with and I always feel like I could go on forever. I usually put the incline up to 15 (however different machines may vary so it is best to speak to a member of staff if you are struggling with changing this) and put it on level 6. I aim to burn about 10 cals a minute on this machine so it is a bit of a high tempo jobby on your IPod, but like I say, once you get into the flow it is easy to stick with it. I do limit myself to about 15 minutes on the cross-trainer, or if I'm feeling slightly more energetic I may pump it up to 20 minutes.

Next up is the step machine. Now, this machine took me a long while to get along with. I really had to push myself to use it because I found it so difficult to use when I first started, but I am so glad that I stuck with it and kept it as part of my routine. If you haven't used one before, it is basically like climbing a set of stairs but continuously, so it is a fantastic work out for your legs as it really works the bum, thigh and calf muscles. However, it is  bugger to get along with (for me anyway!) I found the sensation of being on the machine quite difficult as it will only move once you've transferred your weight from one foot to another, and you will need to have a little play with the settings to make sure they suit you (if you have the resistance too high you could find yourself doing vertical splits in the middle of the gym... not that this happened to me...!) I have found a nice balance with the resistance on level 6 with a tempo of about 85-90 steps a minute. I have actually really noticed a difference to my body after incorporating this into my workout routine, especially with my bum, it feels a lot more toned and firm. Another bonus to using this machine is that it burns calories so quickly! In just 10 minutes I usually burn abut 150 calories, crazy!

After the step machine I am usually feeling quite tired (and sweaty!) so I will pop on the bike for a non-strenuous 10 minute ride. I usually start to cool down at this point in my workout as I have already burnt the majority of my calories (400ish) and so I will try to burn around 60 calories on the bike which is a relaxed enough speed to cool my body temperature and rest my legs. I will then usually go on the rowing machine for another 10 minute non-strenuous exercise, just to top up my calories to the big 500! Below is a quick break down of my 500 calorie workout:
  
My 500 Calorie Cardio Workout Routine
 
20 mins Treadmill - (walking) = 100 cals
 
15 mins  Cross-trainer - Incline 15 level 6 = 150 cals
 
10 mins Step Machine - Level 6 = 150 cals
 
10 mins Bike - Level 4 = 60 cals
 
10 mins Rowing Machine - Level 2 = 40 cals
 
 
I would also recommend taking a large bottle of water with you to this type of cardio workout because it can be pretty intense moving your body continuously for over an hour. Make sure you rest in between machines and if you need to, lower the speed/incline/level if you are struggling or want a break but don't want to stop. Alternatively, if you find anything too easy, up the speed/incline/level to what suits you and your body. Again, I am in no way saying that this is the best workout, or the right thing to do in the gym, but I have found that this is a great way to workout for me and my body.
 
 
I hope this provided some help or inspiration for you or just killed ten minutes of your lunch break! Either way, please let me know, I would love to know your thoughts!
 
Maddy
xxx

 

Nars Satin Lip Pencil | Rikugien | Review & Swatches

  • Thursday, 22 January 2015


 

 
Nars is a brand that I have lusted after for months but I have never gone and actually bought anything by them. For Christmas the boy bought me their Sheer Glow Foundation (which I love!) and so I popped to John Lewis a few days after to get a colour match an double check that he had picked out the right shade for me. Big boyfriend points to him it turns out, as he had bought my exact shade - thanks bud! Expect to see a review soon! While I was there, John Lewis had a brand match offer on Nars products which meant that for that day Nars had 10% off everything. I had had my eye on their Satin Lip Pencil range, and the 10% offer combined with Christmas money in my purse of course meant that I couldn't not pick one up. 
 
These pencils have a wonderful soft texture which provide a very smooth application with just the right amount of colour. I settled on the shade Rikugien, a gorgeous soft rose which isn't too dis-similar to my natural lip colour. I wanted a shade that I could wear everyday and therefore opted for one with natural tones. When worn with my Hervana blusher it really draws out the natural flush creating a very 'English Rose' type look. You can read more about my favourite blushers here which had a bit more of an in-depth look at Hervana.
 
It is so easy to apply. Shaped like a pencil, you literally draw on the lip product. It means that you can apply the exact amount of product, colour and very precisely. It has the typical Nars look to it with the sleek black packaging and the very sophisticated simple lettering of the word Nars on the side. I really like the fact that the end of the pencil is also the colour of the product it's self, again adding to the sleek-ness of the design.
 
This is a huge winner in  my eyes and I have worn it everyday - with multiple applications - since I have bought it and it has hardly been worn down out all. It will hopefully last a really long time and I definitely think it is worth the price tag.
 
 
What do you think of Nars Satin Lip Pencils? What's you're favourite Nars product?
 
Maddy
xxx


The Latest Must Have For Book Lovers | BookBud

  • Friday, 16 January 2015



I love to read books. I find it such an escape from the world and find nothing more relaxing than curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and diving into a good book. This past year I feel as though I haven't dedicated enough time to reading, and one of my aims for this year is to change this and read more. You can read about my other aims for 2015 as well as an overview of 2014 here. Although I love to read physical copies of books, I do own a Kindle which is a much cheaper and easier way of buying and storing books.
 
I stumbled across the website The Book Insider after reading an article on the Women's Health website, which took me to an article titled: Book Lovers Are Totally Obsessed With This Website. You can also read the article here. As a book lover myself, how could I not read an article with this title?!? The article refers to a service provided by BookBub which can send a personalised list of book offers and freebies straight to your inbox, for free. All you have to do is sign up using your e-mail address and pick which format you would like to receive offers for, for example I chose Amazon Kindle as mine. The website then takes you to a screen with a huge range of book genres for you to choose from, and so you tick which ones you would like to hear more about. I chose, Thriller, Historical Novels, Comedy, Fantasy, Crime and Cooking to name but a few, and you can pick as many as you like.
 
Once all of this is completed and your preferences made it takes you to the BookBub website that has the full listings of various genres with many book titles, all of which are on offer, either reduced heavily in price or for free. There is also a tab called Recommended For You, which evolves and becomes more specific the more you use the website. As well as having the website to browse whenever you like, BookBub will also send you regular personalised e-mails of the best offers based around your preferences.

It seems like such a good service to me and I will definitely be exploring the website to find some reading gems for this year. Be sure to let me know if you decide to sign up to it too!

 
What books will you be reading this year?
 
Maddy
xxx

 

My Top 5 Blushers | Review and Swatches

  • Wednesday, 14 January 2015

 


Ooooo, I do love me a good blusher. I never feel like my make up is quite finished until I have applied some, like putting icing on a cake! I always feel like you can have the smoothest base with the most flawless of foundations, and killer cheek bones and warm glow with a great bronzer, but a little flush of blush provides a little pop of colour on your cheeks that provides a healthy glow and really finishes of the look. Since I am such a huge fan of a little pot or two of blusher, I thought it only right to write a post of my current top five blush products.
 
 
Benefit's Hervana | The Every Day One | Link
 
Hervana is my staple, go to blusher. I have been using it for about two years now and have only just opened my second one! If you often read my blog then you will know that I am a huge fan of Benefit cosmetics and that quite a few of my make up must-haves are Benefit products. I just think that they are such high quality and so long lasting that although it is a bit of a blow to the purse-strings when you initially fork out for it, it is a definite long-term investment. Hervana is a great blusher which is highly suited to my skin tone. The pale pinks, lavender purples and highlighter-type pink-y hues which swirled together with a blusher brush provide a very natural soft pink flush on the skin. It gives defined colour to the cheeks without a shocking army-type camouflage stripe. There is a brush provided within the gorgeous little box that the blusher is packaged in, but I opt for a fuller blusher brush for less precise application to provide a more natural blend.

 
No.7 Cream Blush in Mango Sorbet | The Summer One | Link
 
I usually opt for a powder blush as I find that they blend better into the rest of my make up and it so much easier to build up without going too ott. However, I picked up this little number in about July/August time for a summery alternative to my usually pink blush. This is a really nice peachy coral colour which works really well with a slightly more tanned look. Because of the design of the product being shaped much like a glue stick, it is really easy to achieve precise application. It is quite pigmented so you only need a very gentle sweep over the cheeks which can then be blended out using a blusher brush. Alternatively I have found that using a blusher brush to work the product on to the cheeks, rather than applying the product directly on to your skin, works really well for a completely natural flush of colour. The downside to this type of application is that it is quite time consuming so I usually save this method when I have slightly longer to get ready.

 
Top Shop Cream Blush in Head Over Heels | The Tanned Skin One | Link

I haven't used this blusher too much as I bought it in November intending it to be a summer cream blush and I can tell it will be a huge favourite. It is such a lovely colour which looks quite striking in its case but when applied on to the skin it is quite a soft rose-y shade. It is extremely light on the skin, not claggy like a lot of other cream blushers I have used, and it is so easy to blend in to my other make up. I prefer to apply this  product with a foundation bush as opposed to a blusher brush as I find it blends and goes on to the skin much smoother. I intend to save this until my skin is slightly more tanned in the summer months. I have written about it in a previous post if you wanted to read more about it here.

 
Benefit's Bella Bamba | The Night Time One | Link

Bella Bamba I am afraid to say is a product that is now discontinued. You will struggle to find it in store and I believe they are still selling it online but once it has gone, it really has gone. I was lucky enough to be given one while I was working for Benefit last year, although I do have a bit of a love hate relationship with it. It is a wonderful deep girly pink shade which is highly pigmented. The problem I find is that it is very easy to apply too much, and not so easy to then remove. So, after much trial and error I have learnt the right amount to apply for me and my skin tone. I usually save this blusher for nights out because it has quite a high shimmer content. I really enjoy having a natural look to my make up, even more so during the day, which is why I stick to my trusty Hervana. On nights out however, there is a little leeway for a more glitzy look and so the shimmer and boldness of Bella Bamba looks right at home.

 
Sleek Bronze Block in Light | The I Haven't Got Much Time One | Link
 
I really love this bronze block, and although I know it says 'bronze' in the title, I do actually use it as more of an 'one I can use all over' type of product, including as a blusher. It has four different shades that when swirled together make a beautiful soft pink-y brown. I find that on days when I am at work or don't have too much time to apply my make up, or I am not putting on a full face, just a small amount of BB cream and mascara, then this is my go to product. Like I said, I adore the colour that is created when all of the shades are mixed together, which acts as a great all rounder to give a bit of colour to my face if I dust it lightly over my cheeks, forehead, nose and chin area. What I also like though is that you can use the colours separately so it is great for on the go to pop in your bag, it also has a little mirror, what more could you want from a cheek pallet! I have already written a full review here, if you would like to read some more about it.
 
 
 
Swatches From Left to Right
 
Benefit's Hervana, Benefit's Bella Bamba, Sleek Bronze Block, No.7 Cream Blush, Topshop Cream Blush
 
 
What are your favourite blush products to use?
 
Maddy
xxx

Soap and Glory's Next Big Thing | What's Inside

  • Friday, 9 January 2015

 

 
I am a huge fan of Soap and Glory and was so excited to receive their Next Big Thing for Christmas. For quite a few years Boots have sold a big bundle of Soap and Glory products which is usually about £60, a bargain in itself as you receive ten full sized products. However, on the weeks leading up to Christmas Boots put certain products on promotion, calling them Star Gifts and they usually get reduced to half price or less. When I got the e-mail to say that Next Big Thing was the Star Gift reduced to £29 I leapt at the chance to go and buy one (for my boyfriend to give to me for Christmas). I always seem to be late with this one and have never managed to buy one before they have all sold out, so I was dead chuffed to get there in time this year!
 
 
The gift set was packaged wonderfully in a huge, thick cardboard box with a strong handle and a quirky, girly design. It is easily re-usable and for now I will probably store my Soap and Glory products in it, as I received a few more for Christmas as well as having some more of my own. Within the box, the ten products were secured in a lovely pink, drawstring bag. This again will come in handy as I can use it for weekends or trips away to store PJs or underwear, to keep it separate from my other luggage.


 


 
Individually these products are worth £76, so this was such a crazy saving at just £29! There are a couple of my Soap and Glory staples such as the Butter Yourself Moisture Lotion and the Righteous Butter Body Butter, which I am never without. There are also a few products such as the Heel Genius and the Orangeasm Body wash that I have been wanting to try for ages. Here is a full list of what is inside the Next Big Thing:
 
What's Inside
 
Off Your face - 3 in 1 Daily Purifying Cloths
Sexy Mother Pucker - Lip Lacquer in Charm Offensive
Thick and Fast - Super Volume Mascara
hand Dream - Super Cream
Heel Genius - Foot Cream
Sugar Crush - Body Scrub
The Righteous Butter - Body Butter
Butter Yourself - Moisture Lotion
Orangeasm - Body Wash
Whipped Clean - Shower Butter
 
I am so happy to have received this gift set for Christmas as Soap and Glory products are such high quality and last such a long time, I am sure it'll keep me ticking over for quite some time!
 
 
 
Did you manage to get your hands on the Next Big Thing? What are your favourite Soap and Glory products?
 
 
 
Maddy
xxx

Lush's Snow Fairy Gift Box | What's Inside

  • Wednesday, 7 January 2015



I was so happy to receive Lush's Snow Fairy gift set for Christmas this year. I have not really explored many Lush products, but I have always been a huge fan of their bath bombs. Since writing my blog though, I have found that I stumble across loads of beauty products that I wouldn't normally have seen or heard of. I have read so much hype about Snow Fairy, Lush's Christmas limited edition shower gel that can only be purchased in the few weeks leading up to the big day. As I understand it has been a beauty blogger staple for the last couple of years and so I decided to pop this little gift set on my Christmas list to see what all of the fuss was about.

I appreciate that many of you reading this will be thinking, 'jeeze, she calls herself a beauty blogger and she has never even tried X, Y and Z...' but the truth is I have never really been able to justify buying high end beauty products before now. I went straight to university after finishing my A-Levels and even though I got a job when I graduated it was not full time hours and I was determined to pay back my student loan as soon as possible. I have always been a huge fan of all things beauty but it is only recently that I have had enough disposable income to be able to treat myself to various products I have only previously lusted after. I know however, that this Snow Fairy gift set was a present for Christmas, but it was something that I wouldn't have bought for myself that I was dying to try out. 



First and foremost, I just want to mention the packaging! The products came in such a lovely cardboard box that was covered in little cartoon drawings of fairies and stars, with a bright pink and green colour scheme. It is so pretty and girly that I will definitely be re-using it as some sort of make-up or beauty storage. It was wrapped like a little present, tied with a purple bow and the what-would-be gift tag was a description of what was inside. The first thing you come across is a little booklet with the full range of Lush products and their descriptions which was nice to have a little read and a nosey of. The products were packaged with little polystyrene squares, I guess to protect everything from banging into each other. However, I do have a small, little twinge of annoyance about this... Both The Godmother Soap and the Magic Wand were not individually packaged (the Snow Fairy Sparkle was wrapped in a plastic wrapping and obviously the Snow Fairy was in a bottle) and so when I initially took the products out of the box, all of the polystyrene squares were stuck to them which is why in the pictures below they look a little discoloured. Don't get me wrong, this has not effected the products themselves in the slightest, and it is probably just me being a little OCD, but I couldn't help being a little disappointed when someone has paid £22.50 for it. On a lighter note, the products themselves have been lovely and I cannot fault Lush for that.


Snow Fairy - Sprinkle a little fairy dust into your day with this candy-scented sparkling shower gel.

This limited edition shower gel really does live up to expectations. It has a wonderfully sweet sugary smell, not too dissimilar to that of a stick of rock. It has a lovely gloopy consistency, and so I found that I only need a small amount on a scrunchy and it really froths up. I have also been using it as a bubble bath because it is so frothy, and it makes the whole bathroom smell wonderful. I only have 100g in this little bottle but it will hopefully last me a while - I will definitely be re-purchasing come Christmas!

Snow Fairy Sparkle - Stroke fairy dust onto your skin with this sweetly-scented sparkling softening massage bar

I am yet to use this product but I am excited to try it. It is a massage bar and I believe I am right in saying that it is a bit like a soap but made with body butter. In this sense it is as though this is a solid moisturiser that you rub straight on to your skin and do not wash off. I am not too sure what to expect but I shall be sure to feed back once I have given it a go!


 Magic Wand - Wave a magic wand over bath time with this candy sweet re-usable bubble bar

Now this one, I really like! Not only is the design of the product itself really cute, with the big, bright pink star being attached to a stick with ribbons and a bell - the perfect girly magic wand, the theme also continues in the way in which you use it which is wholly unique and cleaver too. The idea is that you swirl the wand around your bath (in a wingardium leviosa-ish way) to the smell, amount of bubbles and shocking pink-ness of your choosing. Once you have used enough you leave it to dry until next time. As I said before, it didn't come in its own packaging so I have been keeping it in a re-usable sandwich bag!! I have found that it works a little better if you hold the star under the tap while it is running, but either way the effect is a pink, sweet smelling bath.

The Godmother Soap - For fans of Snow Fairy who crave its magical cent every day of the year

I am yet to use this product as well, but as it reads in the description above, it really does smell like Snow fairy. I think I will keep this as a bath time treat rather than as a hand soap and use it on my arms and legs too give my body an extra boost of Snow Fairy smell.
Four great Lush products in a gorgeous little box, what more could you want out of a Christmas present. I am so happy with the products that I have tried so far that I will definitely be branching out and trying more Lush products in the near future.
What are your favourite Lush products?
Maddy
xxx

The Best Of 2014 | Hair, Body and Skin Care

  • Monday, 5 January 2015


My previous post was the best 14 make up products of 2014 (which you can read here) and so I thought it would be only right to do another 'Best of 2014' post based on hair, body and skin care. I have come across so many wonderful products over the past twelve months and this post includes those that have really stood out for me and that I wouldn't hesitate to re-purchase. I have tried to cover most areas and picked the best product that I have used within each department. I have done a couple of full reviews on some of these products and have provided links in such instances.

 
The Shampoo - My favourite shampoo product this past year has to be Batiste Dry Shampoo in original. I know this isn't a 'proper' shampoo but it is something that has really blown me away. I have used a number of dry shampoos over the years but strangely enough, I have never picked up a tin of this until this summer just gone. I have been trying not to wash my hair too much over the last few months in an attempt to give back some of it's natural oils which are usually stripped away by excess washing. This stuff is ideal and really gives my hair an extra boost when it is looking a little worse for wear. I have found that I need very little product when using this particular dry shampoo, and find that my hair is still completely manageable when I have used it.
 
The Conditioner - Garnier Ultimate Blends range has previously featured on my blog in my July favourites post which is here. Although The Silky Smoother I have found is a little more compatible with my hair type than The Moroccan Oil blend. This one contains vanilla milk and papaya extracts, so not only is it silky smooth for my dry ends, it also smells amazing, think the inside of an orange chocolate in a box of Quality Street! It is so nourishing and you really only need a small amount to cover the ends of your hair.



The Moisturiser - I was bought Soap and Glory's Butter Yourself for Christmas 2013 and fell in love instantly. I have used their iconic body butter for years but this was the first moisturiser I have used. It has the typical (and amazing) Soap and Glory scent which glides on and soaks into the skin so easily. It has a pump, which I always prefer, so that you can dispense the amount that you need. Plus you don't get the bottle all greasy if you need a bit of extra product! I tend to use this mainly on my upper and lower legs and only on my arms if I apply it on a morning. I tend to moisturise before getting into bed, but if I need a little extra moisture on a morning, I will opt for this one because it soaks in so quickly you don't have to wait too long to get dressed! 

The Body Butter - Ooo, I do love me a good body butter! I discovered the brilliance of The Body Shop's Papaya Body Butter this year and I will be re-purchasing for sure when I run out. I have already written a full post about it here and it also featured in my July Favourites post which is here if you would like to read more, but a quick overview would be that it is an incredibly rich and intense butter that is very hydrating for the skin. It has a wonderfully fresh scent that is almost good enough to eat and I use it mainly on my arms, chest and neck area when I want to treat and rejuvenate my skin.


The Facial Moisturiser - I stumbled across this little gem after reading Bird's Words blog post about her daily skin care routine. I would really recommend heading over if you haven't had a read before, it is a wonderful blog with really interesting and informative posts. Since she raved about this moisturiser so much I went ahead and bought, from Superdrug's tea Tree range, the Daily Facial Moisturiser. It is a fantastic moisturiser which soaks into the skin so quickly whilst delivering instant hydration. I have been using it for about 3-4 months now and it actually featured on my October Favourites post which you can read here. It works really well with my skin and the tea tree extracts really help to keep spots at bay.

The Night Cream - During the summer Boots were handing out vouchers that were £3 off any No.7 Make Up and £5 off any No.7 Skincare. I really needed a new night cream and so I thought that I may as well use this voucher and try a No.7 one. They have quite a wide skincare range, with each product specifically designed for different purposes, whether it be age, dryness or oiliness. I opted for the No.7 Essential Moisture which seemed to be their most neutral, as I didn't require anti-aging or intense hydration. I am really happy with it as it provides a little extra moisture for the skin but doesn't feel like I've got a really heavy cream on.

The Eye Cream - I love Benefit skincare but their eye cream is really lovely. It's Potent contains coco butter which helps to combat dark circles under the eyes. It reduces puffiness and really hydrates tired looking eyes. It isn't the cheapest of eye creams but you only need to use the smallest amount to achieve quite a difference.


The Body Scrub -  One of my all time favourites is Soap and Glory's Sugar Crush body scrub, I love it! However, I have been using it long before 2014 and so in this post I thought I would show the runner up, which I suppose is technically the best one I have come across this past year! It is from the Boots Extracts range and is the Mango Sugar Scrub. It is in a big screw top tub with fine grains and a gorgeous scent of fresh mango. It scrubs like a dream which then dissolves to leave a thin film over the body which gives the skin a soft and glowing feel. 

The Bath Product - If you read my blog regularly than I don't suppose that it is much of a surprise that Soap and Glory's Calm One Calm All is included in my Best Of 2014 Hair, Body and Skin Care post. This bath time favourite of mine has featured heavily on my blog over the past few months as I simply cannot get enough. There is a full review here and it also made it on to my October monthly favourites post here. It is a lovely bubble bath that contains moisturiser which soaks into the skin while you bathe, a great two in one purchase.


The Foot Product - The Body Shop's Peppermint Foot Lotion is a wonderful little foot moisturiser. A downside to it is that it does seem to take a while to soak into the feet. I usually apply it once I am out of the bath and then I put on some of those little socks that help to keep the moisture locked in, whilst I moisturise the rest of my body. By the time my body is done the peppermint lotion has soaked in and is ready for me to apply polish to my toe nails.

The Hand Product - As you can probably tell, I love Soap and Glory products, (although who doesn't?!) and Hand Food is no exception. It is a really nice and intense lotion but it doesn't take too long to soak in and it has the famous Soap and Glory Scent. I prefer to buy the miniature versions of this so that I can keep it in my handbag and pop it on whilst I am on the go.


The Face Wash - I have written a full review of Benefit's Foamingly Clean Facial Wash here and it also featured in my July Favourites post which is here if you would like to read a bit more about it. Face Wash isn't usually something that I would normally spend a great deal of money on, mainly because it only stays on your face for a min or two before you rinse it off. However, I bought the Benefit's miniature skincare set for me to take away on holiday which included one of these. It was so lovely and cleansing and you only need a very small amount for it to foam up enough to clean your whole face. My skin feels really clean and soft after using this and I would really recommend it.

The Perfume - When I left my job at Boots this August, I was given a farewell beauty hamper from all of my lovely colleagues. Marc Jacob's Daisy perfume was in this gift set and has become my go to scent. It has a bit of a tangy smell, which at first I wasn't entirely sure of as I usually opt for a slightly sweeter scent. I love the bottle as well, it looks so pretty on my dressing table!

The Fake Tan Product - I was practically living off Dove's Summer Glow in medium to dark this summer. It provides such a lovely natural tan with just one coat, a tan that just gets deeper (not orange) with the more coats applied. It also doubles up as a great moisturiser when being used daily or every other day. I have not only used it a lot during the summer months but also through out winter, to give my skin an extra glow, rather than opting for the pasty look.  



What are you 2014 hair, body and skin care favourites?
 
Maddy
xxx

 

The Best of 2014 | Make Up

  • Saturday, 3 January 2015



I love putting together my monthly favourites posts but I always find it so difficult and end up walking around my room for about fifteen minuets before trying to decide what I have really enjoyed that month. It became an even harder task therefore, when I was trying to decide what the best make up products of the whole year had been! I decided to pick my top fourteen products (see what I did there) and I have got some real gems. You'll have to bare with me as a lot of the products are by Benefit, so forgive the lack of variety. I have always loved Benefit make up but after working for them for almost a year I was very lucky to be given a quite a few of the products which have become my staples! However, now they have me hooked and because I no longer work for them, my bank account does cry a little every time I need a replacement!


 
The Primer - Of course it could be no other than Benefit's Porefessional! This is a great little beauty product and it was such a huge hit this past year with the whole creation of Pore O'clock and the Spy Gals. It is a primer that dramatically decreases the appearance of open pores and fine lines. It has an extremely silky finish that is matt which acts as a great base for your foundation and helps to keep your make up in tact. I didn't get on with this product straight away as it didn't seem to get on with my skin. However, I found that for me, it works really well as an eye primer because my skin tends to be on the more oily side, but it really helps with keeping eyeshadow and eye concealer in place.
 
The Foundation - Another Benefit staple, their Hello Flawless Liquid Foundation. I have used this for about three years now, so although it wasn't new to me in 2014, it is still in the top fourteen make up products that I have used this year. Although this may change in my 2015 Favourites as I was given a Nars Sheer Glow Foundation for Christmas of which I have high hopes! For now though, this product really does live up to its name of flawless. It gives a perfect dewy finish with light to medium cover but is buildable yet light-weight on the skin. It stays put all day but hardly feels like you have any make up on which is perfect for me.

 
The Powder - I could lie and say that I use a really high end powder, but the truth is, I wear a £1.99 Natural Collection Translucent Loose Powder. I have used this for years and it is still my favourite! To me, powder is powder, and because I am not wanting it to minimise pores or add extra coverage I literally just want it to take away some of the shine, I think, why bother spending more than I need to. Plus, my foundation costs me £26.50 a pop so I can't really justify spending huge amounts of money on my powder too!
 
The Concealer - It has to be the industrial strength concealer that is Benefit's Boi-ing. This little thing is such a life saver. I use it practically every day. It is great for little blemishes, spots or those annoying red marks where spots used to be that just will not go away! It is so easily blend-able and is also anti-bacterial and so it doesn't irritate or make skin issues worse. It isn't greasy at all and because the coverage is so good, I have often just popped a bit of this on with some powder if I was just nipping to the shops or something.
 
The Under-Eye Concealer - I do have a separate concealer for under my eyes as I tend to have quite dark circles and like to brighten up my eye area a bit more. Benefit's Erase Paste is perfect for this. It comes in a tiny little pot but you honestly need hardly any at all, this stuff lasts forever! It is quite a daunting colour as it is quite a dark pink-y orange, but fear not, it blends so easily in your foundation and combats the dark circles which gives the under-eye area a lovely radiant glow.

 
The Eye Shadow - Another Benefit staple of mine is the Big Beautiful Eyes eye shadow pallet. I absolutely love this product and have used it pretty much everyday throughout 2014. Benefit eye shadows are so long wearing and highly pigmented so you only need a very small amount to cover the eye lid. What I like most about this particular pallet is that it is so universal. There are three shades in total, one velvety pink, one deep pink-y purple, both of which have a slight shimmer, and the final a very dark brown. These shades are perfect for a natural everyday look but are buildable and can easily create an evening look.
 
The Brow Product - I was never much of a brow product kinda' gal but when I started working for Benefit Cosmetics I was shown how much of a difference just popping a little bit of product on your eye brows can make to the overall appearance of your face. I use Benefit's Brow-Zings in Medium. Even though my brows are very dark I am quite lucky in terms of shape so I use the product mainly to fill in the gaps between the hairs. This is a great product and I have been using it everyday since March and you can tell from the picture I have only made a small impression on the product.

 
 
The Eye-Liner - Benefit have done it yet again and created another perfect product. I have to be honest in saying that I wasn't instantly taken by this product. Initially I found the They're Real Push Up Gel Liner tricky to use and not as smooth to apply as my previous liners. I continued to use it however and it was almost as though something clicked over night and I seemed to suddenly be able to manipulate it in a way that suited me. I am a big fan of the flicked liner look and this product very easily achieves this with very long wear and no smudging. 
 
The Under-Eye Liner - Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner is the best 'pencil' liner that I have used this past year. I won't talk about it too much as I have already written a full review here. It is a smooth liner that is a deep brown with undertones of violet, giving a very natural finish which is very long lasting.

The Mascara - It couldn't be anything other than They're Real. It is a make up staple within the beauty world and I am sure it will feature on a lot of beauty bloggers top products of 2014 posts. It is the perfect mascara to provide excellent definition and great length of lashes. It has a plastic brush which easily separates lashes to create a very full look and because it is flexible it ensures that the product covers right from the root. It is fair to say that this is the greatest mascara that I have ever come across.

 
The Bronzer - This is the last Benefit product on my 2014 The Best of Make Up post, I warned you there was quite a few! Hoola bronzer is a huge favourite of mine and since having it I haven't had a day without using it. It is the perfect bronzer in my eyes as it is so easily blended, with a matte, natural finish that makes you look sun-kissed.
 
The Highlighter - My favourite highlighter this year has been No.7 Instant Radiant Highlighter. It is very similar in colour to Benefit's High Beam but is so much easier to apply. It is a stick, not too dissimilar to a tube of glue, which easily glides on to desired areas with little to no blending required.

 
The Lipstick - I bow down to Mac for providing the best lipstick this year. Again, I have already written a full review of Brave here if you would like to read more about it. It is a creamy satin finish that is slightly on the matte side, but is highly pigmented with a natural pink-y rose colour. A complete winner in my eyes!
 
The Lip Balm - Classic Carmex has been my go to lip balm over the last few months and I really feel like it has improved the quality of my lips. It is so hydrating and you only need a very thin layer to banish any dryness. It works really well on its own or underneath lip products.

 
This is a look I have created using all of the products listed above. I know it may seem quite a lot of products but because I only used such small amounts of each, I like to think that it is still quite a natural look.
 
 
 
Are any of my 2014 make up favourites the same as yours? What products are included in your best of 2014 posts? Send me your links!
 
 
 
Maddy
xxx
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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