Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Laura Mercier Shimmer Effect Mini Caviar Stick Eye Colour Collection

This was a case of not being able to resist after spying these in the Space NK Christmas 'lust-fest' catalogue. 

I am loving cream shadows at the moment and think they are really having their moment with both high end brands and in the drug store. Although, I have stuck with potted colour from Bobbi, Smashbox, Maybelline and even more recently Bourjois but I haven't really been impressed with their crayon cousins..I am looking at you Chubby Sticks.

This Christmas set contains four miniture eye crayons in great wearable shades which are brightening and vibrant even in one swipe. Whilst all very wearable I don't think that I would be able to use all three of the light shades together which does limit them as a package but the darker colour (amethyst) does work with all of them individually.

Below and above from left to right are the colours: rose gold, amethyst, pink opal and sugar frost. In the swatches I've included one swipe on the left followed by a double swipe on the left.

Amethyst is a really deep shade and works well in the crease for a blended out smokey eye or flicked out into a cat eye using a MAC 217. The lighter colour 'sugar frost' has been functioning as an easy to use highlighter on the brow bone and inner corner of the eye. 

For me though the winner is the rose gold. Mainly because I have been amassing a huge collection of rose gold shades in both powder and cream formulas. I am just loving this shade right now. I used this crayon for a muted day look and even without primer it lasted all day with no creasing. 

A great little stocking filler or just a Christmas treat for yourself. Found here at Space NK.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Silver & Sparkle Birthday Wishlist

My birthday is in one week and I have been mentally compiling my wish list for a little while...well 364 days to be exact. Here are just some of the things I am wishing for this year.

Beautysets - Silver & Sparkle Wishlist

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Laura Mercier Smokey Violets

Laura Mercier is a brand that I haven't really looked at before but recently I have been gravitating towards that stand every time I visit my local Space NK or John Lewis. The products are high end so good quality with high levels of pigmentation coupled with chic packaging which will give the classic look I long for. 

The Christmas collection really caught my eye this year and has also managed to indulge my love of make up palettes...

Lust at first sight with the Laura Mercier Colour-To-Go in Smoky Violets. Anything with a different way of presenting the products and I just can't contain the excitement and this palette features a double decker design.

Open the first layer and you are confronted with a full mirror and the piece de resistance as far as I am concerned the eye colours that give the palette this name.

From left to right you have the trio of eye shadows, soft with great pigmentation and easily buildable and blendable for a basic day look or something a little smokier for the evening. In the far left we have the luster finish in 'Violet Steel' and in the middle a matte 'Plum Smoke', to the right there is another luster finish to be used as a highlighter which is a 'pink champagne' shade. The darkest shade in the palette is a tight liner in exclusive shade Violet Asphalt. Use a damp liner brush to get the right depth of colour otherwise it is all just a bit 'meh'.

Open up the second level and there is a beautifully presented bronzing powder in 'Golden Bronze' a second skin cheek colour in 'Barely Pink' and one of the famous lip glacé products in a nude 'After Hours'. I really really do like the finish that the blusher gives you and is different to other things that I have as it is matte rather than a little shimmery. A little does go a long long way so I will definitely be checking out some of the other colours.

The lip product has a milky finish and a lovely pink nude colour which again is different to anything that I have but I'm afraid that is where the things I like about this end.  It does have a tendency to look a little 'gloopy' and sticks to any dry spots that you have on your lips. It also has the most horrific smell, I think it is supposed to be chocolate / coco butter but there is an underlying chemical plastic scent that makes me want to gag. For now it can just stay in the palette and continue to look pretty which it definitely does.

This is definitely going to be in my make up bag through out Christmas especially when we travel home as it is practically a whole face in one beautiful packaged palette. 

It can be found at Space NK for £31.00 here.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Hillmotts Boot Camp

At the end of October I packed my bags and headed into deepest rural Cotswolds to Hillmotts Residential Bootcamp for lots and lots of exercise and some bonding time with my mum and sister.

So what does 3 days at a residential bootcamp entail?


The Hillmotts cabin is about 10 minutes from the Cotswolds town of Chipping Norton. It is off a track even further down a track...seriously remote with no 3G and even worse no phone signal whatsoever. 

An initial check in included a brief chat with one of the trainers about your goals for the 3 days. Your food likes and more importantly dislikes and a quick check through you medical history before stepping on the scales for a weigh in if weight loss was something you were interested in.

As I was travelling with my mum and sister we had checked into a triple room with en-suite. The room was very warm and comfortable with country chic decor.


Straight up there is not a lot of it. You are told in the initial orientation that you will be given around 1,400 calories a day. Everyday before your early morning session (more on this later) you are given half a banana (and only half) with some green tea to get that metabolism kick started. After the first session you are treated to breakfast; porridge with fruit compote  / honey or weetabix. A mid-morning snack is 2 rice cakes with humus or peanut butter and then lunch which consisted of white fish and salad on the first day and butter nut squash soup on the second. 

By the end of the day dinner was much anticipated. On day one we were treated to lemon chicken and peppers, wholemeal spaghetti pesto, sweetcorn and roasted pine nuts. Day 2 was lamb moussaka, steamed broccoli and quinoa. I have to say that the food was restorative and filling as well as being damn delicious. 

This is not a military boot camp or jail and you can take food and snacks in with you, you are just reminded at orientation to think about and focus on your goals. I did take some snacks with me that consisted of satsumas, unsalted peanuts and some ginger nature valley bars. I ate them all!


I'm afraid that I didn't manage to take any photos of us doing exercise, I was too busy preparing myself for the inevitable pain and hard work that the exercise would entail but it was a jam packed schedule.

There was a total mix of exercises but the idea was that you started the day with the most intense (aka fat busting) exercise and then got in to some more specific exercises. There was also a couple of choices; whilst I chose Speed, Agility and Quickness others were offered Kettle Bells and I chose Interval Training while others went for another round of boxing. 

No matter what the session there were different levels so you could work as hard as you wanted to. There was no shouting at you but you were encouraged to work at your maximum for your own benefit. 

It was hard work and oh I ached but I loved the mix of exercise that was offered and being given new challenges. There were some things that were really tough especially the hill run which made up the interval training on day 3 but completing that was also a personal highlight.


There was also a little time for some R&R so we made the most of spending some time together away from the distractions of children, TV and Internet. 

At the end of the three days I left 4lbs lighter, feeling mightily refreshed and dare I say it happy. I returned to work full of energy and raring to take on the world again, motivated to keep going with this weight loss journey. 

I went home and did a little bit more of this...and cannot wait to go back at the beginning of next year.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Autumn Beauty Favourites

It seems like only a few weeks ago I was singing the praises of Bourjois summer hits and now I am looking out of our study window on a rather chilly, rainy November afternoon with Autumn in full swing.

It did not take long to delve head first into the Autumnal tones when it comes to make up and these are a few of the things that I have been turning to day after day.

From left to right: Nars Laguna Bronzer, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in Beige, Revlon Nail Colour in Vixen, Benefit Sexiest Nudes Ever...Eye Shadow Kit and MAC Eye Shadow in Divine Decadence.

The Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation was a replacement for my Rimmel Wake Me Up. The every day foundation that gives a good coverage and the dewy complexion that I prefer. I personally don't think that there is much between them and I would probably just pick up which ever one was on offer in Boots...that said the next purchase will be the Happy Light foundation...why? Just because.

My first foray into Revlon nail polishes. I can't say I am surprised by the quality of this product, all of the items I have picked up from them in the last year have been great. Great packaging, great formula and great colour. 2 coats give you that deep berry red perfect for these Autumn months.

Long time favourite of many a beauty blogger the NARS Laguna Bronzer has been on my shopping list for quite some time.  I am a huge fan of the Bobbi Bronzer but this gives a little more of an understated glow which adds a little colour as the weather turns cold. This does have a feint shimmer running through it unlike the matte colour in the Bobbi version but you are not going to turn into a glitter ball it just adds a little dimension.

MAC Divine Decadence is a limited edition eye shadow colour from the Indulge Collection. MAC describe it as a soft warm bronze. The colour itself is glittery Autumn in a tub. I use this in the crease for a day time neutral eye but have also used this all over to create a great shimmery smokey eye. 

The last is this great palette from Benefit. There are 3 of these in the collection but I just couldn't resist this cool purple offering. The palette contains 4 powder eye shadows; the white 'milk it!', the deep violet 'raincheck?', the lilac wash 'pause for applause' and the shimmery silver 'blingo!'. All 4 of these have great colour pay off and I've managed to create both day and night time looks. I was always a little wary of purple tones but I am absolutely loving these and the colours certainly do work for the green eyed girls.

Also included are the 2 mini creaseless cream eyeshadows in holy smokes, a dark shimmer laden grey, and bikini-tini, a nude gloss. Bikini-tini is a little 'meh' I don't think it adds much at all but I love love love holy smoke. It is a great shade and I have been using it as an eye liner for when I don't want something quite as harsh.

I think this little lot will keep me busy until the Christmas offerings start attracting my glittery magpie eye.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

MAC & Smashbox Payday Treats

Well it didn't take long to grab a treat or two once pay day arrived. These two items were definitely heart over head purchases. 

The first is the MAC Antonio Lopez face palette in Coral. These palettes have amazing designs on the compact cover, which to me seem very 80's retro and to be honest just looks great in the make up drawer. OK and I am definitely jealous of those lips!

Behind the cover is a full sized mirror (always a plus for me) with a delightfully displayed golden peach highlighter for that iridescent shimmer on top of the cheek and then a satin powder blush in the shade coral (obviously).

This blusher has some serious pigmentation and a little goes a long way but unfortunately the same cannot be said for the highlighter which is a little bit 'meh' in my opinion. 

Then for the best bit...the top layer pushes to one side which just excites me so much. Pushed to one side it reveals a terracotta base bronzer/contour powder. This is particularly orange for me and so I do use it sparingly but the powder is wonderfully soft and blends beautifully .

Summer will live on just a little bit longer with this item in my make up collection and it can be part of your collection here

Smashbox is one of those brands that I don't really know much although everyone raves about their primers. I have recently been really interested in cream eye shadows mainly because I don't necessarily need to use a brush for the wash of colour I'm likely to add at 7.15am in the morning when the less work required the better. 

The packaging is similar to that of other premium brands - glass jar and black rubberised top - so no points there for individuality although it does look and feel premium.

I am afraid I don't get any points for individuality either when I picked up the limitless 15 hour wear cream shadow in the very natural looking rose gold colour toned 'Quartz'.

This shade is extremely wearable and as it says on the tin long wearing, although I do use the Urban Decay eye primer underneath. It is packed full of shimmer and so can give a sheer wash of colour (bottom swatch) or can be packed on to give a more vibrant opaque glimmer (top swatch).

I've used this on its own and also as a base colour when building a smokey eye for evenings and get just as a good coverage and staying power whether it has been applied with fingers or a brush.

These are very much welcome additions to my make up stash.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

I want to wake up in that city that doesn't sleep...

New York has been top of my places I most want to visit for as long as I can remember. So I was so excited when I knew that we were going to visit as one of the cities on our East Coast tour. This was part of the trip that was planned meticulously. We only had 2 full days in the city and I wanted to make sure that we hit all of the main tourist spots. For such a little island it certainly crams a lot in.

We arrived into a very wet Penn Street Station, early on a Sunday evening and scuppered the 100 or so metres to our very well placed, given the down pour, hotel - The Affinia Manhatten on 31st and 7th in mid-town.

I want to say that we lived the dream from that moment onwards but every day was packed and so after settling into the hotel we took a little stroll, although in New York that was about 30 square blocks, and settled on a small pizzeria off Time Square for some sustenance before hitting the sack, ready for a day of exploring the following day.

Day 1 was planned as uptown, the park and some of mid-town. Shopping was planned at every stage of the trip.  Without knowing it, 7th Avenue was a good place to actually start out. We headed North towards Up Town looking for the park and after our small foray the evening before knew that at some point we would stumble across Times Square. This was not before small diversions into American Eagle, Macy's and MAC.

Nothing can prepare you for the noise and busyness of this city and Times Square just epitomises it.

As you walk up you walk some more and then some more and then finally there is a hint of green and then a wall of luscious leafs and you know the park is in sight. I wanted to hire a bike and cycle around but the hubby totally disagreed so instead after another stop in Starbucks (it is air conditioned) we made our way into the park via Columbus Circle.

This photo was taken from the 'Sheep Meadow' and I just love how you see the city popping up over the tree line. Manhatten doesn't look that big on a map and Central Park is only a small part of that but let me tell you this is one massive park. We were in there for 2 hours and didn't even make it the whole way around.

There is a section of the park along The Mall and near The Terrace (recognised this from Gossip Girl) where the street performers converge and we spent a little while just wandering around and taking it all in. There were lots of people making huge bubbles which were so pretty.

We finally made it to the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir with slightly sore feet (I think my husband was regretting the choice not to get a bike by this point) and I thought of all the movie and television scenes that use this as a back drop.

We exited the park at the east side on to 5th Avenue next to the Metropolitan Museum and slowly made our way back down towards the city. The east side was just magical, not a neon sign or Starbucks in sight just row after row of gorgeous park side apartments full of the worlds wealthiest people!

On 5th Avenue we had a little shopping break and browsed around Bloomingdales, Sephora, Apple and Dylans Candy Bar where we literally acted like kids in a sweet shop wanting to buy everything. It is a total playground full to the brim of every sweet treat imaginable!

After another pit stop at the hotel to rest those weary feet we freshened up and headed to the Empire State building wanting to watch the sun set over the city from this famous landmark.

Followed by a walk to Times Square to take in all the lights at night - and it is still as crazy at night as it is in the day!

Day 2 was our chance to see some of down town and we started with a helicopter tour from the pier close to the South Ferry terminal port. This was a birthday present for my hubby and we couldn't of been happier with it!

The flight takes you around Ellis Island so that you get a great view of Lady Liberty, before heading up the Hudson to see the island of Manhatten from this unique perspective. From this aerial view you really can see the distinct up town, mid town and down town areas. The flight took us all the way up to The Bronx and over the Yankee Stadium before heading back down The Hudson with views of New Jersey. 

We've never been in a helicopter before and I would recommend a couple of travel sickness tablets before hand if you have a sensitive travel stomach like I do. 

Our flight was with and I couldn't recommend it enough.

 Whilst down town we really wanted to visit the 9/11 memorial garden and new freedom towers. These are very impressive and I thought the garden was a really apt and tasteful memorial to those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the city. 

As a tourist be warned that the queues to get in this are massive and on a hot day there is absolutely no shade until you make it into the garden so do make sure you have water with you and visit the bathroom before getting in the queue!


We were so lucky that the ice hockey league play off's were under way during our visit and as our hotel was right outside of Madison Square Gardens we were lucky enough to get up in the build up to that nights game. There was a total buzz as the fans arrived and the drummers tried to get the atmosphere up.

I love the fact that walking around this city is like walking around a movie set. Everywhere you go from Central Park, to 5th Avenue to Down Town there is a location you remember seeing in a film and we were lucky enough to see them filming part of the next Spider Man movie.

I have to say that the countless blogs, tourist guides and guide books I had read while planning couldn't prepare me for this city there is just too much to see. I can't wait for the next opportunity to go back and spend some time seeing a little bit more of the hidden city rather than the tourist hot spots that we packed in to this trip.