NUXE Rêve de Miel

Sunday, December 22, 2013

As a self confessed lip balm addict, it's a bit of a crime that I haven't tried out this massively hyped product before now. With one tub sold every 28 seconds, NUXE Reve de Miel is definitely a cult product, and has generated a storm in the blogging community with many people declaring it their 'holy grail' lip balm. The hype didn't go unnoticed by me - this is one of those items that has been on my wishlist for what feels like forever, but I finally got round to it and picked it up the other day in Marks & Spencer's beauty department (possible the most underrated beauty haunt ever!).

At £9.50 this is definitely not the cheapest lip balm but I trust NUXE and the quality of their products, and this does feel luxurious. The packaging is understated but the thick frosted glass has a nice weight to it which makes this feel like an expensive product. The formula is very rich and thick with a texture unlike any other balm I've tried. It's almost a matte finish, and not remotely sticky or glossy. The ingredients include honey, plant oils, shea butter and grapefruit essence, which make the balm smell incredible - like citrus and honey, with a hint of Terry's Chocolate Orange. I like.

Most importantly, this stuff performs exceptionally. Despite the texture being drier than I'm used to, it smooths onto the lips really easily and is instantly hydrating. I love that it's not shiny so I can wear it during make-up free days without looking like I'm wearing lip gloss, and it's the absolute perfect product for prepping the lips before lipstick. It lasts ages aswell - I like using it before bed as an overnight treatment and it lasts until the next morning. Another great thing about this balm is that even after it's worn away, there's a noticeable difference in my lips so I don't feel like I need to reapply instantly. It leaves my lips feeling soothed, nourished and much softer. I'm so glad that I finally bought this and predict that it's going to be a bit of a lifesaver during the winter months! 

NUXE Rêve de Miel - £9.50 from NUXE, M&S or Space.NK

Urban Decay Naked 3

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The other day I popped into Debenhams for a bit of a browse and something caught my eye on the Urban Decay stand. Despite not being officially released until Monday 16th, a shiny new Naked Palette was sat tempting me with it's rose-hued beautifulness. A feminine mix of matte, pearl and metallic eyeshadows with that gorgeous pigmentation and softness that Urban Decay is known for... Well, I was never going to leave empty handed.

£37 down, I left the shop clutching a brand new array of eyeshadows to add to my arsenal and rushed home to put them to the test. Like the first two offerings, Naked 3 contains 12 different shadows, which are housed in the same sturdy tin packaging that we saw with Naked 2 - although this time round the tin is bronze and has a ruched effect.

Inside the palette, the theme is definitely rose gold, with pink-hued neutrals taking center stage. There's a great mix of warm and cool-toned shades, so there should be something to suit everybody. Here's what Urban Decay have to say about the shades;
Strangea pale neutral pink matte-satin. 
Dust – pale metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter.
Burnout – light pinky-peach satin. 
Limit – light dusty rose matte.
Buzz – metallic rose shimmer with silver micro-glitter.
Trick - light metallic pinky-copper shimmer with tonal micro-sparkle.
Nooner – medium pinky-brown matte.
Liar – medium metallic mauve shimmer.
Factory – pinky-brown satin.
Mugshot – metallic taupe shimmer with slight pink shift.
Darkside – deep taupe-mauve satin.
Blackheart - smoky black matte with rosy red micro-sparkle.

For me, the stand-out shades are Burnout, a stunning pale shimmery pink with a gorgeous, soft texture;  Nooner, a simple pink-toned brown matte that's perfect for the crease; and Liar, a beautiful metallic medium brown with a grey/purple overtone. However, every single shade is absolutely stunning and I'm really looking forward to getting use out of all of them.

Included with the palette is a double-ended brush with a flat end and a fluffier end for blending. The brush feels great quality, and although I'm pretty loyal to my Real Techniques shadow brushes I'll think I'll definitely get use of it when travelling with this palette. As another little extra, Urban Decay have also included four samples of their popular eyeshadow primer potions which I think is a nice touch, especially considering I've never tried them. 

All in all, I'm completely and utterly in love with this palette and so impressed with Urban Decay's ability to pull it out of the bag every single time. This offering is completely different to their first two palettes while still managing to be an obvious member of the Naked palette family. The eyeshadows are all fantastic quality - soft, buttery and pigmented and every single shade is totally stunning. A very welcome addition to my collection.

Although out in some places now, Naked 3 is officially released on Monday 16th December. Will you be picking one up?

Urban Decay Naked 3 - £37

Sidenote: After several months of everyone being unsure about the future of Google Friend Connect, today it finally disappeared. If you're looking for another platform to follow blogs on then I definitely recommend Bloglovin'. You can find me on it here

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Soap & Glory's makeup line is one that has impressed me time and time again. I first delved into the brand as a young teen when I tried their 'Sexy Mutha Pucka' lip gloss, and since then I've been won over by their eyeliner, mascara and highlighters. I love the retro fifties vibe of the packaging, and the products are all great quality, and perform well too. One Heck of a Blot is my latest love. I've been on the lookout for a true translucent powder for a long, long time, as generally I find they come up orange on my pale skin - definitely not the best look! This stuff ticks all the boxes...

As I said, this powder really is translucent and is completely invisible on application. It's a very light, fine powder that applies simply amazingly - you don't need to use a lot in order to see results yet it's very difficult to overdo and doesn't ever seem to appear cakey. The result after application is smooth, matte looking makeup that stays put for longer. This powder comes with a small puff included but I haven't used it much - I prefer to use a fluffy powder brush to dust the powder on, as I find it allows you apply a much lighter, more evenly spread layer. It is handy for touch-ups during the day, though. As with all Soap & Glory products, the packaging feels very sturdy and has a vintage, Benefit-esque vibe which I adore; and the product itself is embossed with the word "POWder" which I think is a pretty awesome touch. Coming in at £12, it's on the higher end of the price range for a high street product, but it's definitely worth the price. It's certainly the best high street setting powder I've tried! Soap & Glory - you really can do no wrong. 

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

Thursday, November 28, 2013

As someone with extremely pale skin, I have always struggled when it comes to buying foundation. Generally, even the "porcelain" and "ivory" shades on the high street tend to be way too dark for me, meaning my foundation shopping usually takes place at the makeup counters in Selfridges. Not fantastic news for my purse, but I think it's a small price to pay to avoid that pesky visible orange streak around the jawline that comes with mismatched foundation.

For the past couple of years, one foundation in particular has had my heart. Illamasqua were a brand I hadn't heard much about before buying this foundation, but I very quickly fell in love with their high quality and unique products. Skin Base shade 02 is easily one of the palest foundations I've tried and is one of the few that is pretty much an exact match to my skin tone. This in itself is enough to convince me to shell out the £27 it costs, but it just so happens that I'm in love the formula too. It's very pigmented with high coverage, but it doesn't feel at all heavy on the skin and gives a natural, slightly dewy finish. It's very creamy and blendable, so a little goes a long way - I can easily get a good few months out of one bottle. When applied with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush or even just fingers, this gives a really flawless, skin-like finish which lasts all day. The packaging is another huge plus - it's a squeezy plastic bottle, which initially doesn't feel as luxurious as glass but means it's definitely more travel friendly and durable.

Skin Base Foundation comes in over twenty different shades which cater for both yellow and pink undertones, so I'm confident that there's a shade for everyone. As I said, it's £27 which is definitely not cheap, but for me, it's worth it for the perfect colour match - the fact that I love the formula is just a bit of a bonus! I definitely think this is worth a look at if you're after a high quality foundation, especially if you're a fellow pale-skinned girl who struggles to find a colour match. It truly is an amazing product, and is one that I will repurchase time and time again. 

Instagram #16

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hiding behind a cuppa with my lovely sister / Yo Sushi lunch / Hugo being generally beautiful / Possibly my new favourite thing ever - mini chocolate orange segments / Lipstick + tea / Manchester Christmas Markets - starting to get into the Christmas spirit now!

MUJI Log Fire (Feu De Bois) Tin Candle

Monday, November 18, 2013

During my weekly browse through the MUJI section in Selfridges, I deviated from pining over acrylic storage and took the time to sniff some of their candle offerings. I'm a bit of a candle addict, and after spotting Vivianna Does Makeup mentioning that MUJI candles are possible dupes for Diptique, I knew I had to see for myself. Log Fire was one of the first ones that I sniffed and I was instantly intrigued. I then handed it to my boyfriend to see his thoughts, and he headed straight to the counter and bought it himself! Definitely a winner, and for £3.50 it doesn't have to be a guilty purchase either. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty masculine scent - warm, smoky and woody. It really does evoke feelings of burning log fires and memories of camping as a child, and could not be better suited to this time of year. It makes our little city centre apartment feel like a cosy log cabin in the middle of a forest, which is pretty impressive. Definitely one that I imagine will be repurchased time and time again, especially with the boyfriend on side!

If you're into fresher or girlier scents, MUJI have a plethora of those to choose from, too. I've currently got my eye on Japanese Pear and Elderflower Champagne

Lauren Conrad Beauty

Friday, November 15, 2013

Books and beauty are two of my biggest loves in life, so when the two meet it makes me a very happy girl indeed! Lauren Conrad Beauty is one of those books that's always sat out on my coffee table, ready for a quick flick through when the mood strikes...

This book provides a chatty look into all things beauty, from basic skin care advice to hair tutorials and makeup looks - there's a little bit of everything. Everything is laid out beautifully with different chapters dedicated to "Finding Your Beauty", "Skin Care", "Hair Care", "Stress" and "Fitness and Food", then an entire section on makeup, hair and nail tips, techniques and tutorials. For the seasoned beauty addict, there won't be too much new in here - the tutorials are relatively simple and I found myself reading a lot of stuff I already knew, but I still think it's handy to have it all in one, nicely put together book. This would be a wonderful gift for someone just getting into the beauty world as it strikes the perfect balance between being informative and chatty, and covers all the basics. That's not to say that it's one to ignore if you consider yourself a bit of a beauty connoisseur - I still found it a really enjoyable read, and there's a few parts (such as the section on ingredients) that many people would learn a lot from. This book would be great for fans of Lauren Conrad or The Hills as there are personal anecdotes and photos sprinkled throughout, but don't worry if you're not a huge fan - there's not so many personal bits that it feels overly gratuitous. 

Lauren Conrad Beauty is a really nice, girly coffee-table style book that's ideal for any beauty lover. It's packed full of information and tutorials, and presented in a simple and pretty manner. An ideal option as a gift for anyone getting into beauty, or just as a cheeky little treat to yourself.

Instagram #15

Monday, November 11, 2013

Severe hair boredom resulted in me bleaching my hair - I'm currently rather ginger but kinda loving it / Rereading past issues of Allure magazine on my iPad / A misty cable car ride during Alton Towers Scarefest on Halloween / Emails from Space.NK offering me a NUXE birthday freebie make me a very happy girl indeed / Reading Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five again - possibly one of my favourite books ever / Lunch at Trof, NQ - avocado and poached eggs on toast.

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MAC Dark Side

Thursday, November 07, 2013

When summer fades and the evenings start to get darker, so does my lipstick. While summer usually means my lips are adorned with girly and fresh pinks and coral shades, come Autumn the darker hues take the spotlight. Reds, berries, even purples - the colder months are a great time to start experimenting with vampy lip shades, and Dark Side from MAC is one of my favourites.

Firstly it's an amplified creme finish, which is one of my favourites of the formulas that MAC offer as they're always amazingly creamy and pigmented. Secondly, the shade is just incredible. It's a deep, dramatic, berry red shade with an almost purplish undertone that lends itself perfectly to the A/W season - ideal for those crisp dark nights filled with fireworks, chunky knitwear and mulled wine. One  of my favourite things about this lipstick is its versatility. When applied straight from the bullet the colour is dark and rich, with an almost glossy finish, yet the product can also be used as a more subtle stain simply by dabbing the colour on the lips lightly using your fingers. So, while Dark Side is perfect for a glammed up evening look, I think with a more toned down eye and a lighter hand it can definitely be pulled off in the daytime too. Wear time is pretty good for such a creamy product and pigmentation is amazing - this doesn't need building up much at all in order to achieve opacity. I utterly love everything about this lipstick and predict it is definitely going to be one of my go-to's over the coming months.

What shades are you going for this season? Are you a fan of vampy lips?

Lip Balm Love

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Lip balms are one of those little beauty essentials that I am never without. At any time, it's pretty much guaranteed that there will be at least one pot, tube or tin of lip balm somewhere in the depths of my handbag - if not, I start to feel a little bit lost! Lip balm is simply a must for any beauty lover and I'm constantly using them to prep for lipstick application and to ensure I have soft and nourished lips at all times. The following are just a small selection of some that I'm loving at the moment...

First up, one of my favourite lip balms of all time, which unfortunately isn't available in the UK - the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. I am absolutely in love with the scent of this. Identical to the Brown Sugar EDP (a serious contender for my favourite fragrance ever), it's a warm, sugary citrus scent that is just delicious. As a balm it performs pretty well, too. It applies smoothly, leaving the lips soft and protected as it contains added SPF. I also have a miniature rose version, which is ever so slightly tinted (rose, of course) and equally as lovely. Speaking of rose, Balm Balm's Lip Balm in rose geranium is another that I can't get enough of. This 100% organic balm is multi-purpose and can be used all over the body to sooth, moisturise and nourish the skin. A similar option is Figs & Rouge Balm. Again, it's totally organic and can be used all over the body, and it comes in the most gorgeous little vintage style tin. Next up, Jason Lips Bee Healthier. Full of amazing ingredients (sweet almond oil and green tea extract to name a couple), this natural balm packs a surprising punch in terms of hydration while being ridiculously cheap - and it smells like after eights. If it's serious moisture you're after, look no further than Yu-Be Moisturising Skin Cream. If you can get past the slightly odd camphor scent, this is guaranteed to sort out any problems with dryness anywhere on the body, but works particularly well on the lips - it's one I like to slather generously on the lips before bed as an intensive treatment. Finally, a bit of a fun choice, Lip Smacker's Twister Lip Balm. It's never going to win any awards for effectivity - it's a bit waxy and does next to nothing in terms of moisture - but hello? It's twister flavoured! Yum.

Anyone else as obsessed with lip balms as I am?! Any favourites? 

Instagram #14

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beetroot soup / Graduation gift from my mum - jet necklace / Throwback - Eiffel Tower / Starbucks lunch / Hugo / Coffee / Hugo #2 / One of my favourite sushi spots in Manchester - Wasabi / My dressing table - mainly consisting of Bumble and Bumble and candles / Hugo #3 / Lauren Conrad Beauty - love this book / Huge meringues in Selfridges Food Hall - the lemon flavour was amazing.

The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Make-Up Remover

Friday, October 25, 2013

A good eye makeup remover is an absolute must for anyone who, like me, is partial to a lashing or three of waterproof mascara. I recently had a bit of a mascara revelation, and now almost exclusively use waterproof formulas  - I find it to be thicker, and therefore it holds a curl far better than regular mascaras (which now seem almost watery in comparison); and it lasts, without flaking, until you choose to remove it. Which is kinda the problem: it's an absolute nightmare to get rid of. 

When it comes to waterproof makeup, regular cleanser or water-based makeup remover simply will not do. The trick is to go with something that contains oil, which will help to break down and dissolve stubborn makeup without the need for vigorous rubbing - which is very bad news for the sensitive skin around the eyes. This Camomile Makeup Remover from The Body Shop is perfect - a bi-phase layered solution of oil and water than you gently shake to mix before application - similar to offerings from brands such as Clinique and Lancôme but with a less hefty price tag. To use simply shake, apply to a cotton pad and hold over the eye for several seconds before wiping away. Easy peasy, and it actually works - and doesn't leave behind any greasy residue like you might expect from a product like this. As an added bonus, it doesn't contain any fragrance, colour or alcohol, so should work on even the most sensitive skin. I'm already confident that this will be an instant repurchase for me - it's made my life so much easier and shaved a good few minutes off my evening skincare routine. Definitely recommended!

Pug Life #4

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Just a quick pug post - I kinda forget about this series of posts for a while, but I just had to share this photo of Hugo that I snapped recently. As you can see, he's a bit of a poser and has definitely perfected the puppy dog eyes look! Below is a photo of his favourite toy ever, the meerkat. He's had it since he was a baby - it was bigger than him back them - and it's looking a little worse for wear now but he absolutely adores it and takes it everywhere with him. 

I think I'm going to make a little more effort to keep up these posts from now on. Not only do people seem to like them, but it's nice to have extra motivation to get my camera out and capture little moments in Hugo's life more often. Besides, it'd be a shame to let his posing talent go to waste!

Boots Botanics Rejuvenating Bath Elixir

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This is something that's been on my wishlist for a while, in all honestly predominantly because of the word "elixir" on the bottle. Whack a word like that on something and I'm pretty much sold instantly - it just sounds so luxurious! Then, after spotting Meg (lipssofacto) mention it on her blog the other day I finally remembered to grab a bottle from the shelves my local Boots. As far as luxurious bath treats go, this is firmly on the budget side of things, but I've delved into the Botanics range several times before and been pleasantly surprised (I'm still going through bottles of their rosewater toner at an impressive speed!), so I was quietly confident about this one...

According to the bottle, this "melts away the day's stresses and and strains to help restore your natural equilibrium" - sounds good to me! A small tipple of this stuff fills your bathroom with a luxurious spicy, slightly citrus aroma that could easily fool you into believing that you'd spent a bit more than a fiver on the bottle. I can definitely see myself getting through this bottle rather quickly over the following months - the sweet spiced scent makes it perfect for relaxing Autumn evening soaks in the tub, and at just over £5 a bottle it's a relatively purse friendly indulgence too. Thumbs up from me!

Instagram #13

Friday, October 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday - puppy Hugo / Photobombing Hugo... Or the other way round? / Currently reading: She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb / Cute silliness from A Pug's Guide to Dating / Dead Pony Club at Home Sweet Home, NQ Manchester / Matte nail love / Starbucks / Crate Brewery IPA / Throwback Thursday - Juicy Lucy Burger, fried pickles and blue cheese fries at Whitmans in New York last Christmas / Pug wisdom / Huges / Shameless selfie - loving a red lip at the moment!

Lolita Lempicka Si Lolita Eau de Parfum

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

I first became aware of Lolita Lempicka perfumes when I received a couple of sample vials of their scents in a beauty box a year or so ago. Si Lolita was one that intrigued me from the beginning. I wore it out one evening, and despite initially not being sure about the scent, I couldn't stop thinking about it for months after and knew that I had to invest in a bottle. 

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Saturday, October 05, 2013

For a while now, I've used my trusty Real Techniques Buffing Brush to apply foundation on an almost daily basis. I honestly never saw myself using anything else, that is, until I got my hands on the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. Ever since the original Beauty Blender exploded onto the scene I've been intrigued by beauty sponges. I used various ones a couple of times in my teens when I was first getting to grips with beauty, and I just never really got them. Luckily, my latest venture into the world of sponges has gone a lot better - my Buffing Brush has officially taken a back seat as I've found myself reaching for the Miracle Complexion Sponge day after day. Here's why...

Sephora Collection Toner, Cleansing Water and Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to Sephora, the French cosmetics store that is an absolute haven for any beauty lover and something we are sorely lacking here in the UK. I first fell in love with Sephora in New York last Christmas, when I dragged my boyfriend around possibly every Sephora store in Manhattan and returned to England with not one, but four shopping bags from there. Yep, it really was that good. The Parisian flagship store, while impressive, was obviously lacking the American exclusive brands that sent me into such a frenzy last time, so I was pretty reserved and left with just three little purchases to try out: the Sephora Collection Instant Refreshing Toner, Triple Action Cleansing Water, and Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover.

Instagram #12

Monday, September 30, 2013

Stylist magazine / Sometimes you can't beat a big ol' greasy lunch / Throwback Thursday - photobooth strip of the boyfriend and I in Florida, 2010 / On my bedside table: lemongrass and lime candle and this works: sleep / Twin love / I will never tire of Paris photos / Barry M Gelly in Lychee and Seche Vite top coat / Nap time / New American import section in Tesco - POP TARTS! / Things that make me happy: camera and skincare / Stylist take two / Magazine stack and my vintage brownie camera. 

Paris: Eiffel Tower, Window Shopping and Macarons.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Extremely late follow up to my first Paris post, but better late than never! As some of you may remember, last month I was lucky enough to visit Disneyland/Paris for a few days. These photos are from our last day when we headed into the city. We climbed the Eiffel Tower (yes, climbed - we didn't realise you could buy a ticket to use an elevator until we were halfway up!), went on a cruise down the Seine and learned some of the history of Paris, and took in some amazing views from the top the Arc de Triomphe on the evening, with a bit of window shopping and eating in between. 

The weather was most definitely not on our side, but we donned rain coats, ponchos and umbrellas and soldiered on! Besides, Paris looks rather beautiful in the rain, don't you think? Thankfully, the sun was out for us by the afternoon but our view from the top of the Eiffel Tower in the morning looked a little something like this...
Thrilling, right?! After a disastrous but very fun visit to the Eiffel Tower, we ate...

Took in the views...

And went on the hunt for the most cliched Parisian spots we could find.

...It really is one of those places that looks exactly how you'd expect it to.

On our walk around the city we passed more designer shops than I could count, gorgeous architecture and the odd supercar or three. Can I just move here now, please?!

Laduree was on my list of spots I wanted to visit in Paris, so I was thrilled when I accidentally stumbled upon it in the evening. I adore macarons and theirs are touted as the best in the world, so of course I had to sample a few. Plus, the gorgeous packaging is worth buying the macarons for alone! I went for a gift box in their signature pale green and gold as I though it'd be a nice little keepsake.
As the skies had cleared up, we decided to head up the Arc de Triomphe in the hope that the views would be slightly better than they had been that morning. And we were right!

It was stunning.

After a very long day, I was more than happy to collapse into bed with a book and my macarons, which, by the way, were amazing. If you ever visit Laduree I wholeheartedly recommend the salted caramel and the rose macarons - they are to die for!

...And that's it! Hope you've enjoyed my Paris posts. I'm pining to go back already!

And Katie © // QUINN CREATIVEs