Thursday, 28 December 2017

Essie Winter Collection 2017

Working with Essie was a big highlight for me this year. I absolutely love their shade range and they are my go-to brand when it comes to nail polish.


I have always stuck to everyday shades from Essie but  after featuring the Galaxy Metal range I was keen to get more adventurous. The new  Essie Winter  2017 collection is perfect for that. There's a good mixture of shades that work if you want to keep it simple with a nude or red but if a dark blue or a silvery-grey is your thing they've got you covered.


The polishes all have names fitting in with the party season and a time to celebrate.
With names like 'Suit and Tied', 'Be Cherry!' and 'New Year, New Hue'  they are perfect for glam new year's eve so if you haven't had time to get to a nail salon, Essie have got your back with a quick coat of these babies! 

New Year, New Hue is a magenta /plum which isn’t so dark that it loses the colour. I find a lot of polishes change far too much with a second coat and end up much more like a deep burgundy but this isn't the case here. It's similar to Bahama Mama but lighter and more pink.


Be Cherry! is a lovely bright red. To be honest I expected a shade like this in a Winter collection, you picture festive make up and it's all about the red lips and nails. It's a fun pin-up shade and needed a quick 2 coats.

essie-winter-2017-be-cherry-review-swatchSuit & Tied is a great take on a nude nail. The warm beige/caramel has a crispy leave look to it and has a lovely buttery texture. It's opaque with two coats and great for every day. 

essie-winter-2017-suit-and-tied-review-swatchSocial-Lights is a really unique shade. Picture 'Chinchilly' with a little shine to it. The amber tones really shine through when it catches the light. It's a grey nail with a difference. Absolutely gorgeous with a beautiful even formula too.


Some might say that 2 reds is unnecessary in one collection but Ring in the Bling is something special. A shiny ruby red that is almost metallic. I often go for a red with a blurry top coat at Christmas time but this is a littler more understated. A fail safe for holiday nails if you ask me! 

essie-winter-2017-ring-in-the-bling-review-swatchSomething a little different is On Your Mistletoes which is a dark teal. I love a navy or black nail so this gives me another dark option and it only needs one coat which is a bonus!



I think 'New Year, New Hue' is my favourite of the lot but all in all, I will get a lot of use out of the whole collection.

Pop down to Superdrug or Boots and treat yourself to one and let your nails do the talking! 


Thursday, 7 December 2017

A Beauty Lover's Christmas Wish List 2017

Now this might just be me, but when I see gift guides at Christmas time I actually use them as inspiration for what I might ask Santa for... I'm sure this can't just be me, right? I have family asking me what I would like for Christmas and although we have a son we like to make Christmas about the whole family as well as the children in our lives.  I also tend to treat myself in the sales and it's a good way to get an idea of what I need to look out for. Of course gift guides are excellent inspiration for buying presents for others too -I mean, that is what they're FOR. I'm basically saying if you've posted a gift guide or Christmas wish list I have definitely looked at it for one reason or another so keep 'em coming! 


So, as Christmas is about giving, I give you .... my gift guide (slash wishlist if you will...)

1. Oh the Huda Beauty Obsessions palette  (£25) -isn't it just a beauty?! I blame instagram for this as I see so many fantastic flatlays and make-up looks using this. A compact palette of 9 versatile, pigmented shades. I'm favouring the warm brown but the mauve palette has a beautiful shade selection too.

2. Charlotte Tilbury is the ultimate 'treat' make-up brand. With that stunning packaging it's a firm favourite to find under the tree for any make-up lover. I love the CT lipsticks and  would really like to try a couple more. This set of mini lipsticks (£29)  is not only really cute but a great way to test some new shades without shelling out £24 a pop for the full sized versions. The shades included are the perfect nude Penelope Pink shade, the pretty pink Bitch Perfect and the iconic So Marilyn red.

3. You just can't go wrong with Mac and the Snowball collection is the perfect Christmas gift. Most of the collection is sold out but the Extra Dimension Eyeshadow (£16) in 'Stylishly Merry' and gorgeous 'Elle Belle' (£16.50) red lipstick are the two I have my eye on. 

 4.When in doubt, go for brushes. Everyone loves a new make-up brush, even if it's just so they can throw out the ones they haven't washed in 6 months! This Real Techniques Illuminate and Accentuate set (£30) has a great selection of brushes, looks pretty and has been on offer a lot recently too. 

5. We all have phones right? So a Phone case is kind of a no-brainer. Make it personalised and for me it's a total winner. Casetify have loads to choose from so you're bound to find something perfect. The one I like best is £35 which seems a bit much when I'm used to buying cheap cases from China but but but it's full of glitter and has my name on it. Totally worth it.

6. This needs no explanation. It's on my list every year, it's amazing, I get sad when it runs out, I never mange to get any in the sale before they sell out or the site crashes. It's 
Snow Fairy (£4.25 -£13.95) 

7. The Stila Stay All Day Lipsticks 'Play It Cool' set (£20) is another one I blame instagram for, that app might be being a total bugger for building any sort of following (Help a girl out, come and follow me here please!) but my word it's good for gift inspiration! These matte shades caught my eye straight away. I love a lipstick that stays put all days and these sound pretty darn fantastic. The lightweight and full coverage formulas smooth seamlessly over lips for a smudge-proof finish that lasts up to 6 hours. There's a nude pink, dusty rose and a raspberry. Beautiful! 

8. Christmas time is when I stock up on skincare, there are lovely sets around which is the best way to try out products that you wouldn't normally pick up. I'm a huge fan of Origins and the Origins Let Us Glow set (£29)  has a Ginzing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer that I love (it smells like orange juice and it's amazing!) along with miniatures of the matching Ginzing Eye Cream and the Scrub Cleanser. There's a mini Original Skin Renewal Serum too. These are even more amazing if you manage to pick any up when Boots half the price of all their Christmas gifts! £15 for all that? Bargain mate. 

9. Lastly the Benefit Galifornia Love set (£24.50)  is worth over £50. There's a full-size Roller Lash mascara which we all know is just brilliant and everyone needs it in their lives. Another full sized product is the Gimme Brow tint in shade 3 and there's a miniature GALifornia blush which I admit I've been scared to try as it's a pretty bright shade but it looks so so pretty too! 

Feel free to send me your wish lists/gif guides. I always love having a read! 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Bourjois Kissmas Holiday Look

If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that Bourjois are one of my favourite high street makeup brands.  They have quality products for reasonable prices and they're always on offer too. 

I was really pleased to be sent some of their products in my Vox Box from Influenster. Influenster send out products from some really great brands in exchange for an honest review. You may have seen them pop up on your Twitter on Instagram feed recently as they've had some great campaigns lately with the likes of Max Factor, L'Oreal and Real Techniques.  You can  sign up to Influenster too. 


So this box of treats turned up on my doorstep and I was thrilled with it's contents. The box included one or two products that I'd tired and loved before and there were a couple of new ones to play with. 

I'll give you a little run down of what was inside...

Healthy Mix Foundation £9.99

I've tried this before and I really like it. I find the shades are slightly different throughout the Bourjois foundations due to their consistency (I assume..) For instance I am 52 in their 123 Perfect Foundation and this is 53 that that is worth noting. 

The Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation contains a blend of vitamins C, E and B5 that give skin an instant anti-fatigue effect. It's got a medium coverage and leaves a slightly dewy finish. I like that this one feels like it's keeping my skin hydrated while I wear it. Parts of my skin are slightly oily so I add a bit of powder to my forehead and it's good to go!

Healthy Mix Concealer £8.99

Just like the foundation the Healthy Mix concealer contains vitmains C, E and B5 to give your skin a radiance boost, something I definitely need in the under eye area lately! 

I never piked this up before as I thought the formula was going to be too light for my dark circles but I'm really impressed with the coverage and it lasts really well too. On my particularly tired days I use a colour corrector underneath and this is excellent on top of it.


Little round pot Blush in "Rose d'Or" £6.49

The little Round Pots have been a staple in Bourjois' collection for 150 years and I've only ever tried their eyeshadows. I love a good blusher so I was excited to try this out and immediately fell in love with the colour - it's such a pretty pink. The fine pressed powder has  a very slight shimmer to it and the packaging is so small and compact it's easy to keep in your bag. It has a slight rose scent too which I love but if that's not your thing you might want to give it a miss. 

There are 12 shades to match a variety of skin tones so I'm definitely going to be picking up a few more when the seasons change.

Rouge Velvet Lipsticks £8.99

These are the stars of the show for sure! I am in love with these! The staying power is just insane! They have a matte finish but aren't drying at all as it combines hydrating waxes with light oils along with rich pigments which give you a stunning bold colour to the lips. 


The shape of the lipstick is perfect for getting  perfect precision when applying and I'm just in awe of the shades I've been sent. They are all so perfect for Christmas time and for a touch of glamour.


from Left to Right we've got 

Brunette - A dark brown with a red undertone
Magni-fig - A deep and intense purple
Berry formidable  - A deep burgundy red which is beautiful!

Although they are long lasting they don't feel heavy, the formula is so light on the lips you barely remember you're wearing it. They don't smudge or flake, they're just brilliant. 


Volume Glamour Push-Up Mascara £8.99

I've reviewed this mascara before and I'm a big fan already. Bourjois do really fantastic mascaras  and they're all less than a tenner. 
This one has a great uplifting brush that coats lash by lash, creating irresistible curl with boosted volume and length. You can see how it looks on in my Bourjois Volume Glamour Mascara review.

Smoky Stories Quad eyeshadow palette £7.99

This 'Brilliant Prunette' eyeshadow has all you need to create a gorgeous festive smoky eye. I absolutely love the warmer plum shades that are popular this season so this is perfect. There are 3 complimentary shades that blend effortlessly together along with a top coat shadow with highly concentrated glitter.


They have a lovely cream-powder texture with integrated base shadow primer in the lightest shade so you don't have to use anything else with them to keep them lasting all night.

There are some great free gifts with Bourjois in both Superdrug and Boots so definitely pop along and treat yourself when you're out christmas shopping!

* this was sent to me for free from Influenster but all thoughts are my own


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Sleek Into The night Collection

Sleek are a brand that are smashing it this year. You might have seen their My Face My Rules campaign which was so empowering by encouraging us to basically do what the hell we like with our make-up! 


Their limited edition 'Into the Night' collection has just launched and I am so thrilled with the products, they are perfect for creating festive party looks and you can chose to be as bold as you want to be with this little lot.

As always with Sleek there are super affordable pieces which are brilliantly pigmented and long lasting. I've got the new collection along with a couple of extra bits from Sleek which work brilliantly together, especially for the festive season.

The first product to catch my eye was the i-Lust Into the Night Eyeshadow Palette - Bronze. I was actually opening this while dancing away to a 'Boyband' playlist and during a wonderful duet with A1 I stopped my chair dancing momentarily to 'ohh' and 'ah' over the gorgeous golds in the palette. 

  It's nice and slim and there's a little brush in there too, along with a decent sized mirror. You've got 4 metallic golds, and 2 deep black shades to play with, each of which has a cream shadow with a hint of sparkle which I find really easy to blend with your fingers quickly if you're in a bit of a rush. 

The mixture of pressed and baked powders make them easy to combine and build with to create a festive, golden smokey eye. There is another palette with more of your traditional smokey shades, dark greys and beautiful sparkly silvers. At £7.99 it's well worth picking one up. 


I adore the highlighter powder in the Face Contour Kit (£7) which is super useful for adding a subtle bit of sparkle and sculpting those cheekbones. Not actually a new addition to Sleek, but great for a party look nonetheless. The light shade is perfect for me as I'm a bit of a contour amateur to be honest but there's a medium and dark shade if you want a more striking look. The contour shade in this one is perfect, it's not too dark or orange and blends well too. It's a really compact er... compact so great to keep in your bag or desk drawer for those work nights out. 


Next, the Strobe Dome is not something I would have picked up usually, but I am glad I tried it as I love this little dome shaped highlighter. Having a rounded top makes applying it so simple, you just sweep it over the skin and lightly blend in. It doesn't feel tacky, something I can often find with a cream highlighter but it blends effortlessly into foundation as well as on clear skin. I have the pink shade but it isn't too pink at all, it's a lovely natural shade which gives you a great glow that I personally think works day to day. There's a more golden shade available too. It's £7 and will make a perfect little stocking filler at Christmas.


Another great addition to Sleek's collection is the I-Art Precision Liquid Eye Colour. If you want something to last the night without any fall out, flaking or smudging these are for you! These just don't budge! I have 'Fauvism' which is a pale golden brown and because of its slim brush it's perfect to use as a liner or all over the lid.


I use the brush to apply and then my finger to blend in a little although they'd be great for the cut crease look that much more talented beauty gurus can go for!

There are 12 shades from pale rose gold to deep jade green and are £6.99 each.


Another total star of the show is the Matte Me Metallic Lip Cream. I have 'Molten Topaz' (swatched in the heart above) and what a perfect Christmas shade this one is! A gorgeous cherry red which applies slightly pinky at first and is easily build up. These are really pigmented and seriously SERIOUSLY long lasting! They're only £4.99 too which is crazy, other brands would charge loads more for something like this! Thanks Sleek for having a broke girls back! The metallic shades are a great way to look like your lips have a little more of a shimmer to them without having to opt for a gloss which often needs more upkeep. I personally prefer matte lipsticks so these are great for me. They're perfect swept over a lipstick too. 

Superdrug have a great selection of Sleek products and you can also order from the Sleek website too. Overall I think the i-Lust palettes and Matte-Me Metallic lipsticks are the best place to start!

*I was kindly sent these products from Sleek but all thoughts are my own


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Essie Galaxy Metal Collection and GIVEAWAY!

It's been  a while since I did a nail post but I'm back with a (Big) Bang -tenuous astrology link there with Essie's new Galaxy Metals collection. They've got 6 beautiful metallic shades perfect for Winter. These make me think of cold frosty morning but also have a bit of a magical mermaid/unicorn theme that is so popular at the moment. Loving it!


They are such unique shades with a futuristic feel, their reflective particles add something a little special to your winter wardrobe. For me this is great as I'm always in dark shades so a little bit of shine is just what I need to brighten things up a bit. 

Let's have a little look at how they are on the nails then...

Mercury in Retrograde
 A steel blue that goes on effortlessly. Seriously I needed one quick coat and it was opaque! A great change-up from the navy nails I love so much this time of year.


In my Orbit 
You think of metal, you think of silver and this shade gives you nails the Tinman would be jealous of!  As it's a paler shade it's a little thinner and needed two coats.


This shade is s exclusive to Superdrug stores. It's a pretty blue toned pink which will be perfect all year round. It works with the pastel shades of Spring as well as the frosty winter looks.


Out of this World 
This is an another shade that is exclusive shade to Superdrug. How unique is this one? It's just gorgeous! It's almost grey, but the lilac undertones give it this beautiful edge when it catches the light. Stunning. 


Refection Perfection
I can see this being a favourite. It's a blogger-friendly pale rose gold and that creamy formula made it so easy to apply.


Stars Aligned
 This is probably my favourite. A pale yellow gold which is just the most perfect Christmas shade. I think with a glitter over the top this will be stunning!

I find a lot of metallics can be a bit wishy washy but I'm really impressed with the formula of these, with the exception of 'In My Orbit' I only needed one coat and they are super shiny even without a top coat. 

Tall of these shades are all available now at Superdrug stores for £7.99 and 4 shades will be launching at Boots from 22nd November. I have a set of these for one of you lovely lot. Head over to my Instagram and you can win the whole Galaxy Metals collection. 

 *I was kindly sent these from Essie but all thoughts are my own


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Taco Bell in the UK

We've all heard of Taco Bell, right? The name cropped up throughout my childhood, usually from friends who get taken on exotic holidays or American kids tv shows -or y'know, Mean Girls -

"Do you wanna do something fun? Wanna go to Taco Bell?"

"I cant go to Taco Bell, I'm on an all-carb diet, GOD Karen you are so stupid!"


For those who aren't familiar, it's the world’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain with approximately 6,500 restaurants worldwide and something that until recently the UK was missing. 


The first Taco Bell restaurant was built in Downey, California in 1962  founded by former US Marine Glen Bell, who we can thank for  the wonderfully convenient way to shove shredded chicken or mince in to our mouths with ease as he invented the preformed taco shell in 1951. Cheers Glen!

I was pleased to hear that Taco Bell is becoming a larger thing this side of the pond and I was invited down to the opening of the new Woking store to  taste the food for myself.


Now I admit I am a little bit of a fast food snob, I haven't had McDonalds for as long as I can remember and I usually favour sitting down in a 'proper' restaurant so although 'on paper' Taco Bell didn't seem like a good match for me it was the menu that made me think differently - I love me a bit of Mexican food! 

Taco Bell offers a wide range of Mexican food which is not only really damn tasty but affordable too. You can get a whole meal for about a fiver which is great for those lunch breaks before payday! 


The menu consists of a range of Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas and Nachos along with chips and delicious desserts. All products are available with a wide variety of familiar and tasty ingredients including delicious meats (seasoned beef, spicy Mexican chicken, grilled chicken and slow cooked pork) and blends of real cheeses, crisp shredded lettuce, diced ripe tomatoes and their signature sauces. Of course you can't have a proper Mexican feast without some Guacamole, Salsa, hearty beans and Mexican rice. There's vegetarian options and smaller bites for the kids too - Mason was a BIG fan! 

You can have a quick snack or go for a Big Bell box where you can pretty much try out a bit of everything, -a fajita burrito, crunchy taco, Mexican fries, churros and a drink. It's not just for spice lovers -I'm a bit of a hot food wuss so it's great that you can decide how hot you'd like it.


My favourite has to be their Crunch Wrap Supreme which is a soft  tortilla layered with Mexican chicken, nacho cheese, a crunchy tostada shell, lettuce, reduced fat sour cream and tomatoes - it's as amazing as it sounds!

It didn't have a fast food feel about it, the food is served fresh to order so you won't be eating anything that has been sat out for ages - nobody wants a soggy taco ... (e-hem!) and the restaurant itself is clean and tidy with plenty of seating.  Although it's not fine dining they definitely don't scrimp on the quality, the food is fresh, tasty and really filling. I was pleasantly surprised by the value! 


As a child of the 90s with a mild Slush Puppy addiction I love a blended icy drink so I was really excited to try their  Freezes. At just £1.99 each you can have a strawberry or a lemon flavour and if you're feeling adventurous you can even add white rum or tequila for an extra £1! Summertime picnics in the park are going to be fun I an tell! 

Personally  it's given me another option when I don't fancy a Subway or Boots meal deal for lunch, and is  the perfect place to go after the cinema, during a shopping trip or lunch the morning after a big night out - free fizzy drink refills are always a big plus for me when I have a hangover! With such a big menu for a reasonable price I think Taco Bell is just what we've been missing. 

There are a few more stores opening all over the UK and I can see tacos taking over! ...McDonalds who?!

 *I was invited to try the menu in exchange for an honest review and all thoughts are my own