Thursday, 27 October 2011

Half-term Happenings - Zara's new heels!

Wow, I must really be getting into this blogging! I saw Zara's new shoe collection today whilst 'window shopping' online and my first thought was - I need these in my life! But secondly, everyone else needs to know about these so they can have them in their lives too! I seriously spent a good hour just drooling over these beauties and trying to fathom a way that I can get hold of them without a) my boyfriend knowing and b) my girlfriends knowing! Yes, I know, I don't need them, but come on guys, every girl is going to want them, including moi!

Oh well, Birthday/Christmas wish list it's going to have to be then...
Top Left - Platform Ankle Boot, available in Black, £59.99, Ref. 5120/001 
Top Right - Peep-Toe with Flower, available in Black, £49.99, Ref. 5536/001
Bottom Left - Tufted Platform Court Shoe, available in Black/Grey/Red, £39.99, 
Ref. 5243/001
Bottom Right - Party Peep-Toe, available in Black, £49.99, Ref. 6217/001 

I'm loving the gold stiletto heels and suede is very on trend for AW11. These are just my favourites from the collection, you can view the rest on Zara's website.

I also came across these gorgeous studded heels whilst browsing what else Zara has to offer and they struck me as being very Sam Edelman - a bit like the Lorissa design, but much more affordable!
Peep-Toe Shoe with Gemstones, available in Sand, £69.99, Ref. 5234/001 

 Which ones are you lusting after?

All shoes pictured above are available on Zara's website and may also be available in some stores.
All pictures courtesy of Zara's website.

Half-term Happenings - a new look for lips

My second blog post in less than a week?! Wow, it really is half term! I suppose I should be marking exam papers, but what the heck, I'm a little too obsessed with some new make-up purchases that I've made to sit there with my red pen for hours on end. Oh and before any of my girlfriends start shouting at me for spending more money on stuff that I really don't need (you know who you are!), the make-up splurge was courtesy of my Boots advantage card balance... so there!

Amongst my purchases of (yet more) foundations/primers/powders, I picked up the new L'Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Universal Lip Glow, which was on a £2 off offer at £6.49.

I'm not usually a fan of L'Oreal Paris products but I'd seen this reviewed in Look Magazine a month or so ago and was intrigued by its claim to 'adapt to your lips to give a bespoke colour'. With colour-matching foundations being a hot trend at the moment, I thought, well why not try it for the lips as well? The L'Oreal Paris website claims that the lipstick 'adapts uniquely to the moisture of your lips to form...a tailor-made shade of pink with a subtle finish'. Well, first of all, I wouldn't call this a lipstick, it's more of a lip balm, but it really does adapt to your tone and gives a really nice dewy look with a moisturised balmy feel.

The strangest and most fabulous thing about this product is the look of the lipstick/balm itself - it actually looks like a fake tester product - it looks plastic!?! (And nothing like the picture on the website). It is a very bright looking orangey-pink colour that is completely transparent. It looks like a really bright colour, but when I swatched it on my hand, at first it was completely clear and then a few seconds later it developed into a soft, light pink tone.

It glides on really easily and feels exactly like a lip balm. It's not sticky and it does leave your lips feeling soft and moisturised, you can feel it sitting on your lips but no more so than your average lip balm. You also notice, that like many lip balms, there is a slight scent to the product too - citrus I think - which makes it even more pleasant to wear. On the lips it gives that 'just bitten' look that a lot of brands (like Revlon and Maxfactor for example) are marketing products in at the moment. On my lips, I found it enhances my natural lip colour, without making it look like I'm wearing any make-up and overall I'm very pleased with the result.

I'm not sure if I would have paid full price for the product, as it is a little steep for, essentially, a glorified lip balm. And the packaging does look quite cheap and tacky, as I find most L'Oreal Paris products do. I think the price that I paid though is an acceptable value for the product and I may consider using this as a replacement for my plain old Boots lip balm in the future. In all, I'd give it 7/10.

Have you tried it? What do you think? Let me know your thoughts.

L'Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Universal Lip Glow is available in most health and beauty stores at around £8.49.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Half-term Happenings - a new look for nails

It's reached that glorious time in October when I get a week off to catch up on a few things that I've been eager to blog about, in between marking and planning for the next 6 weeks worth of lessons! First up, is a few new looks I've been trying on my nails....

Last weekend, as well as trying out the B.B. Cream, I also found time to 'get 'shellacked' at a new salon that had opened near me, saving the hassle of the 30 minute trek into Norwich for an appointment that I would have had to have booked at least a week in advance. I was introduced to gel-polishes back in the Summer and it really was love at first sight. I went back for three more manicures but by the end of August, I thought it was about time to give my nails a break.

So a month later, I finally caved in and I booked myself an appointment to try CND's Shellac (having previously tried a lesser known brand). The Shellac is proving to be just as good as I expected it to be - although being a perfectionist, I wasn't entirely happy with the technicians application of it, but that's another story! I think it was Strawberry Smoothie that I chose in the end, a nice nude/pale shade, as previously I had got a little frustrated with obvious regrowth from the darker colours.

I know not everyone has discovered gel-polishes yet - I should get commission for recommending it to so many of my friends - so watch this space as I hope to devote a post to them in the future.

A week later, the start of a glorious 9 days off school and a couple of new purchases meant experiment time! After reading a post in The Yummy Mummy's Beauty Blog, about Gosh Nail Glitter I purchased some from Superdrug, in gold, and was eager to try it out with my pink Shellac manicure. So I got nail happy with the glitter and one of my favourite glitzy polishes, Maxfactor's Max Effect Mini Nail Polish in 01 Ivory, a gorgeous pale gold glitter polish that is very easy to apply. I tried out three different looks, sealing all with my must-have nail product - Seche Vite Top Coat - if you have not tried this yet then you have no idea what you are missing! I thought that the gold would make a nice contrast to the pale pink tone and below shows the results that I came up with.

Firstly, I left my little finger with just the Shellac coating on to use it as a comparison. On my ring finger I applied a French tip with clear polish and then dipped my finger into the pot of Gosh Nail Glitter. I blew off any excess glitter and applied the Seche Vite Top Coat, voila! This look was so easy to create.
On my middle finger, I coated the whole nail with clear polish and then coated it entirely with the Gosh Nail Glitter by dipping it in the pot. This creates a gorgeous glitzy look that is perfect for parties or nights out, but is a little too full on for general day-to-day wear. Again, I applied the Seche Vite Top Coat to seal in the glitter.
And lastly, on my first finger, I tried using the Maxfactor Max Effect Nail Polish as a french tip to the nail, it was very easy to do this with the polish and I was really pleased with the effect it gave. It was slightly more subtle that the glitter French tip and a little easier to create.

In fact, I liked it so much, that today, after giving myself a cuticle manicure (regrowth is getting a little obvious after a week of Shellac wear, but thankfully, not as noticeable as dark polish!) I then did all my nails with the Maxfactor Max Effect gold French tip and I love it! Definitely something I will try again, but maybe go for a black base instead of the pink, for a more dramatic look.

Gosh Nail Glitter is available in 10 different shades from Superdrug at £3.99 each.

Maxfactor Max Effect Mini Nail Polish is available in 14 different shades from Boots at £3.99 each.

Monday, 17 October 2011

B.B. Cream - does it live up to all the hype?

I thought that I'd kick-start my blog with a look at one of the cult beauty products of the moment - B.B. Cream. This little beauty has appeared on our shelves over the Summer, but has actually been around for a few years now.

Beauty Balm Cream (or B.B. Cream) is hugely popular in Asia for its ability to create a flawless look whilst appearing to be 'make-up free'. It is essentially an all-in-one product that (depending on the brand) acts as moisturiser, SPF, foundation and concealer.

For lots more info on B.B cream go to

Upon reading an article in LOOK magazine and seeing an advert for a free sample, I decided to log on to the Garnier website and register to get my free sample of their B.B. Cream - Miracle Skin Perfector. The samples were only available in light, perfect for me as I am pale skinned, and they dropped through my door yesterday in the neat little package above. I opened it up and was pleased to find three little sachets of the product for me to try.

I have been eager to try this for about a month now, and surprised myself somewhat by not doing my typical 'buy now, try later' approach to beauty products! After visiting Boots a couple of times and seeing a near empty product shelf, I was quite excited to finally receive it in the post. And with an added bonus of a £1 off voucher for if (or when!) I decide to purchase the full size tube!

I tried it for the first time today and thus far, I am impressed. The three little sachets will easily last a week and I have squeezed them into a little travel pot to keep them fresh once opened.

First of the all, the colour that I have sampled is the Light shade and it suits my skin OK however it is a little orange in tone for my very pale pink skin. I normally struggle to find correctly matching foundation shades, so was unsurprised to find that this wasn't as pale as I would have hoped. But having said that, once on, it gives me the same glow that I would get when I apply bronzer, so in a way it actually eliminates the need for another make-up product.

Secondly, the consistency of the product is more like a mousse style foundation and feels wonderfully like a serum when you apply it to your skin. Blending it in with my fingers, the cream dispersed very well and smoothed in easily, although it did leave a slightly tacky feel to my skin afterwards and some shine. Having oily skin, you will never catch me without my powder, so naturally, I blotted the shine with my favourite Clinique powder and I was much happier with this result.

It gives a similar feel to a tinted moisturiser or sheer foundation when on the skin but most noticeably for me,  I didn't really need to add any eye make-up as the cream allows your natural skin tones to show through. Often when I apply a foundation, I have to balance it with mascara or my eyes don't stand out. But with this, I could get away with wearing it alone (with powder).

The look is very natural and it really does give a more flawless look that appears 'make-up' free. But I would definitely want to wear concealer as well because the cream doesn't cover all the dark areas around my eyes. It will not keep the shine at bay all day, so I will have to (as per usual) regularly blot with powder throughout the day - but as long as you use a transparent powder, this shouldn't add a 'caked' look to your skin.

Overall, I'm quite pleasantly surprised (having been unimpressed with Garnier products in the past) but will continue to try it for the rest of the week to see if it's worth spending the money on as a replacement to my tinted moisturiser.

Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-In-One B.B. Cream (Light or Medium) is available in most health and beauty stores at around £9.99.

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