Thursday, November 28, 2013

London Rain

I got the chance to have a little sneak peak at an upcoming collection from Jo Malone yesterday. I don't normally talk about things so far in advance (It doesn't launch till March), but I loved this collection so much, I thought I'd share a few pictures with you all. (Hello ombre bottles! How could I not share?!)
As some of you may know, Jo Malone are one of my favourite luxury brands. I really think you can't do much better than a beautiful Jo Malone box tied with a ribbon when it comes to gift-giving!

Anyway, here's what the collection looks like...

It's a total departure from the norm for Jo Malone, this edgy, urban-inspired collection is inspired by four different types of rain in London (Yes, there are four... it rains that much!)

Each fragrance is inspired by the weather; Rain & Angelica by the early morning dew in London's parks, Wisteria & Violet by soft morning showers, White Jasmine & Mint by afternoon cloudbursts and Black Cedarwood & Juniper by midnight downpours.
I got the chance to smell all four and I have to say I loved Jasmine & Mint instantly, although Rain & Angelica grew on me the longer I smelt it and I think that perhaps that would be my pick of the bunch.

Wisteria & Violet was a little floral for my liking, and Black Cedarwood & Juniper a little 'masculine' for my taste, but I think it will be a winner with those who like more cologne-like, 'sexy' scents.

The collection isn't out until March 2014 but I can see it being a huge hit. It's nice to see Jo Malone taking a new direction, and I think they have hit the nail on the head with this collection.

What do you think? Do you like the Ombre bottles?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Naked Disappointment

I want to start this post off by saying that I am generally a huge fan of Urban Decay, especially their 'Naked' range. Therefore, the idea of Urban Decay adding a highlighter to their naked range really excited me, and in theory the 'Illuminated' Shimmer Powder for the face and body is a fabulous idea.
However, I really didn't like this product, and here's why...
The packaging is bulky and cardboard. Not good for those who travel, or like to keep all of their makeup in a makeup bag. Something I could live with if the product was amazing... but it's not.
It is simply WAY too glittery. We are talking 'Oooh this looks SO pretty' when you first look at it, to thinking... Oh, maybe this wouldn't work on my face. Under outside/natural lighting, this is the epitome of an unsubtle highlighter. It has big flecks of glitter and easily accentuates any large pores you have.
Yes, it can be applied very lightly for a more natural effect, but when you're spending £20 on a product, you want it to deliver what it claims to, right? This product might be ok for a night out, but it's way too much for everyday (for me, at least!) 
I was really disappointed by this. I was expecting a beautifully subtle illuminating powder (akin to Soap & Glory's 'Glow All Out' or the Hourglass illuminating powders) but what we have here is by far the shimmer-iest disco-ball highlighter that I own. Urban Decay are often the champions of bright, fun shades, but their Naked range is all about the opposite: natural, neutral colours that are perfect for everyday.

Sorry Urban Decay, but this isn't a winner in my books! I'm hugely eager to get my mitts on the Naked3 palette though... from what I've seen online, it looks like a beauty! 

Have any of you tried this highlighter? Any fans out there, or do you agree with me on this one? 

Monday, November 18, 2013

'Magnetic Mascara' Review

After seeing a few rave reviews and beautiful before-and-after pictures about 'Magnetic Mascara', I decided to find out more... It's made by a brand called Santhilea, which I had never heard of before, and it seems that this product is the only one that they make. I am a huge mascara lover, and after hearing that this new take on a fibre mascara is 'ahhh-mazing' from a number of my favourite bloggers, I thought it was a must-try.
And the rave reviews weren't lying...
This mascara really is amazing. It leaves your lashes looking incredibly long, voluminous and luscious. I've used fibre-based lashes in the past and haven't been overly impressed (think spider-leg-lashes!) but this three step process really works. As well as taking your natural lashes to the max, it also claims to be much lighter than normal mascara, so it's easier to remove, while also being longer-wearing.
Step 1 is to apply one coat of the magnetic mascara, while it's still wet, Step 2 is to build up a couple of layers of the lash builder fibres. 
I say a couple of layers, as it's best to apply the fibres lightly and build them up to avoid getting any in your eyes, or have them clump-up on you! The final step is to apply another coat of the mascara, once the first two coats have dried. 

As you can see... the results are really beautiful. If you love the look of doll-eye lashes but aren't the biggest fan of wearing falsies, then this is definitely the choice for you!


It is on the pricey side at £24.99, so up there with tempting offerings from YSL, Dior & Chanel... Personally, if I had to choose one mascara for every day, it wouldn't be this one. I think it's a little too fussy for everyday use (it takes over twice as long to apply compared to regular mascara) but I'll definitely use it for special occasions in place of wearing false lashes or getting lash extensions.

If you do like the look of this mascara, you can pick it up from Cult Beauty here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lush Review: Star Light, Star Bright

I only ever really shop in Lush at Christmas time... their festive limited editions lure me in, and my most recent trip resulted in a huge haul of heavily scented goodies that will keep me stocked up well into the new year. If you want to see everything I bought, then check out the video below...
Last night I tried out one of their new additions to the Christmas line-up: the Star Light, Star Bright bath melt. Now, I'm totally obsessed with stars so this was a must-try for me, despite the light citrus scent (I normally prefer the richer, spicy scents) I love their bath melts as they tend to be a bit richer and more luxurious than the bath ballistics or bubble bars...

First thing to note with this, is that it's super messy! The silver shimmer comes off at the lightest touch, so be careful (especially when picking it up in the shop!)

Once it hits the water, the shimmer quickly disperses and reveals the inner base of cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut, lime, ginger and lavender oils. As this melts away, a blue/green core emerges and turns your bath water a shimmering blue.

While I'm not a huge fan of citrus scents, I found this quite uplifting and pleasant. It left my skin feeling super soft and moisturised (definitely no need for body lotion!) Even the next day I noticed how nice my skin felt.

The one downside to this is that it left a rather unappealing blue/grey scum around my bath. Lush bath products usually leave some kind of residue but this is definitely one of the less appealing ones!

Overall, this product was really nice, but I definitely still prefer my Melting Snowman when it comes to bath melts (who, coincidently is over £1 cheaper at £2.25, compared to this at £3.30). A nice one-off treat, or a lovely gift, but I don't think I'll be purchasing this again.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

First Impressions: Japonesque Makeup

Beauty tool experts Japonesque have just launched a full makeup range. I'm guessing this move has been in the works for years, as they've been a household name in the beauty world, especially in the US, for a long time.
I got the chance to take a sneak peek at some of the products this week and wanted to share my thoughts with you all.

First of all, it's impossible to ignore the beautiful packaging. I'm so happy that they put some effort and artistic flare in to the design of the packaging and not opted for the go-to 'professional' plain black look (boring!)
The quality of the packaging seems really nice too. Although the outer cardboard is very thin and cheap-looking. This doesn't bother me. It's what's inside that counts!
As for the formulation, I was really blown away by the lip products in particular. 
The Pro Performance Lip Lacquer (Shown in Shade 7, £15) is heavily pigmented, smooth, creamy and totally non-sticky, with a pleasant fruity scent. Although the shade I tried out wouldn't be one I would EVER wear, I'll definitely be checking out the other shades when I get the chance to see the whole collection on-counter. 
The Pro Performance Lipstick (Shade 10, Also £15) is a similar story: nicely pigmented, smooth, with a pretty, satin finish. It feels really light on the lips, moisturising but not too 'slippy' (it doesn't feel like it's going to smudge on to your face!)
The Velvet Touch Blush (£18, Shade 3) is really beautiful, smooth and I personally love this peachy, pink shade with subtle gold shimmer. I love that the packaging is compact compared to the amount of product inside, with no useless mini-brushes, you can tell the line has been designed with professionals and makeup obsessives in mind rather than your average woman.
As for the Velvet Touch eyeshadows (Shown in Shade 5, Duos £18, Quads £24) the formula, especially of the matte shade, was buttery soft and nicely pigmented. I thought the dark blue could have been slightly better in terms of pigmentation, but they both blend nicely.
Overall, I'm really impressed by my first look at these products. I think Japonesque have totally met my high expectations for their first makeup line. I'd definitely recommend checking out the full range, which is online and in John Lewis Kingston & Oxford Street stores now.

These products were PR samples sent for consideration.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The House That Google Built!

Although my blog is normally beauty-based with the occasional splash of fashion, I've been hanging out in the Google House for the past couple of days, and it's simply too cool not to share with you all!

For their very first consumer press day in the UK, Google have taken over a beautiful 5 storey house in London's fancy Fitzroy square. They've themed each room to show off a different way that Google can help change your life in an unobtrusive way. I've been based in the bedroom of the house for the past few days talking about Haul Videos, and how they fit into the online world (and why they are awesome!) Surprisingly if you're 'in to' YouTube, most of the UK press have never heard of a Haul Video, so it's been an interesting couple of days! We've also been showing people how to use Google Voice Search to help you get ready for a party, from looking up beauty tutorials, to checking the weather (trust me, it kick's Siri's ass!)
My 'bedroom' set was beautiful, but the highlight for me has got the be the the bath full of KitKats (KitKat is the name of Google's new operating system for their android phones for those not in the know!)

I also bumped into the lovely boys from Sorted Food in the kitchen, where they were cooking up a storm whilst demo-ing how Google Voice Search can help out in the kitchen, converting weights and measures, setting reminders for shopping and buying new cooking equipment!
They also had a mock-up ski lodge, complete with fake Christmas trees and snow, showing everyone how to use Google Translate to translate your conversation in real time, so you can actively talk to someone in a different language (pretty awesome I must say!)
I also got the chance to try out one of the as-yet-unreleased Google Glass devices. To be honest, I'm not yet sold on the look of them... combined with my real glasses, I'm not sure it's the best look, but the technology is seriously awesome and fun to play around with! It's been such a fun couple of days getting to know the Google team and learning more about their new gadgets and apps! Google Voice Search is officially my new best friend. Even if you have an iPhone, the Google Search app is awesome.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dove Style+Care Review: The Serums!

This week I've been testing out Dove's new Style+Care soft styling range. On Monday I told you my thoughts on the Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo and the Style+Care Heat Protect Spray, but now it's time to take a look at the other two products in the range, the Style+Care Frizz Free Shine Cream Serum (a bit of a tongue teaser!) and the Style+Care Nourishing Dry Ends Serum. I'm a huge fan of serums as I have long, colour treated hair, so these were the two products I was most excited to try out.

Although it seems a little excessive to have two serums in a collection of only four products, these two are actually very different in formulation and performance and after using them, it can see that it definitely makes sense to have both in the line-up. Here are my thoughts on each...

Frizz Free Shine Cream Serum
First up for the Frizz Free Shine Cream Serum. Now, as the name would suggest, this is a cream consistency and is the lighter of the two. I absolutely love this product, it's without a doubt my favourite product in the range. This lightweight cream doesn't weigh your hair down or make it look greasy, so it's perfect for using on the mid-lengths of your hair as well as the ends. I love using this to finish off my style, whether I've rough dried my hair straight and just need a little de-frizz, or if I've curled my hair and want to define and smooth the curls, this works really well and feels super light in the hair. It's very similar in consistency to some of the 'BB' or 'CC' styling cremes out there... kind of a hybrid between a serum, leave-in conditioner and styling cream. Overall, it's a great all-in-one product and I would definitely recommend it.
Left: Dry Ends Serum, Right: Shine Cream Serum

Nourishing Dry Ends Serum
The Nourishing Dry Ends Serum, however is a bit of a different story. This is an oil-based serum that is super-nourishing. It's quite heavy, so like most hair oils, it's best applied just to the very ends of your hair, or to the mid-lengths and ends when your hair is wet (my personal fave way to use it!) It adds a lot of shine, so if you have very long hair like me and need to add that extra bit of moisture back into the very ends of your locks, this is a lovely product to use. The packaging is small and really portable too so it's perfect to throw in your bag for on-the-go frizz control! Personally, I find a lot of oil-serums to be much of a muchness, and while I'll definitely use this up, I'm not sure if it's any better or worse than some of my other oil serums. On the plus side, it's a whole lot cheaper at only £4.49* for 50ml (over 1/3 of the price of Moroccan Oil ml for ml!) so it's a good choice if you're looking for a more affordable option.

Overall, I have been really impressed with this new line from Dove. It's really nice to see them moving into the styling world. There seems to be so much emphasis on style, often at the cost of your hair's health, it's really nice to see a whole line dedicated to caring for your hair as well as styling.

*Retailers have the right to change the price at any point without notice. 
A big thanks to Dove for sponsoring this post and introducing me to the line. 
All opinions are my own.