Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors are one of those hyped up products that have been on my beauty wishlist for what feels like forever, and since finally snapping up a couple in Paris earlier in the year I've found myself wondering just how I ever managed to get by without them... Not quite a gloss, not quite a balm - they're a perfect hybrid of the two that deliver a subtle hint of colour along with a glossy yet moisturising finish. Did I mention the smell? It's a sweet, cocoa-butter/caramel scent that I absolutely adore, making them one of those products that I tend to reapply a little bit more than is actually necessary. I love the packaging, too. It's simple and luxe - a squeezy tube in a colour matching the shade of the product, with a soft, velvet applicator and classic gold lid. 

These things are so ridiculously easy and lovely to wear that I've taken to keeping one in my handbag at all times. The shades I have are 01 Rose Shimmer - a soft pink shade, and 02 Apricot Shimmer, a slightly more peachy offering. These aren't highly pigmented products, so I tend to apply them over a lipstick, although they are fine on their own if you want a very subtle look. The finish is lovely - it's glossy without being sticky, and leaves the lips looking ultra smooth, plump and soft. I managed to pick up these two for around 20 euros (£15) in Charles de Gaulle airport in a travel exclusive set, which, while not cheap, was a bargain considering that usually they come in at £18 each. While they are a little pricy, they have very quickly become some of my most used lip products and I'm so glad that I finally gave in to the hype!

Have you tried the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors? 

Lomography 35mm Action Sampler

Sunday, July 06, 2014

I love Lomography cameras. Although I couldn't live without my digital SLR and iPhone for daily snaps, there's a kind of raw realness to film that has been lost slightly in the digital era - the lack of a delete button means that every image you capture makes it to print, even the less than perfect ones, and there's something about that I really like.

The Lomography Action Sampler shoots four images in close succession then stitches them all together in the format you see above. The idea is that you can document movement and create four slightly different images within one photograph. As with all "toy cameras", the Action Sampler is unpredictable. It lets in occasional lights leaks, the exposure changes between every photo and some pictures barely come out at all, but that's all part of its charm. It definitely works better in brighter light so now that summer is finally here I hope that I can get a lot of use out of it over the coming months. I'll keep you updated, but in the meantime here are a few photographs that I've taken using the Action Sampler...

Spring in Paris

Saturday, May 10, 2014

After falling in love with the city last summer, my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to visit Paris again in March. We spent five days there taking in the sights, exploring, drinking too much wine and eating far too many crepes. The top things on my to-do list were to visit the Pont des Arts and see the Eiffel Tower at night - two things we didn't manage to squeeze in last time. While I'm not usually one for soppy romance, the Pont des Arts bridge was lovely - rows upon rows of glistening padlocks inscribed with couples names and dates, declaring their love - we couldn't help adding our own once we were there. The Eiffel Tower in the dark was simply beautiful. Our hotel was literally seconds away, so we ventured there almost every night to watch the sunset and subsequent light show. Other highlights included our hilarious/terrifying tuk-tuk ride around the city, eating pizza in the dark at the top of the Eiffel Tower and of course, shopping. Sephora and City Pharma were my main go-to's, where I finally managed to get my hands on some Bioderma (review here) and La Roche-Posay Serozinc, as well as a couple of makeup bits.

I didn't take as many photos as I'd have liked... We did a lot of walking and my DSLR is pretty heavy (and I forgot to pack my favourite lens...), so it stayed in the hotel most days - I am a terrible blogger! If you fancy seeing some more Paris shots, you can always check out my Instagram. Here are a few from our wanderings...

Instagram #19

Monday, May 05, 2014

Croque Madame in a cafe in my hometown / Cinema in Manchester that doesn't seem to have been redecorated since the 90's - needless to say, I love it / Guacamole on toast / Morning coffee / Above the clouds en route to Paris / First stop in Paris - Sephora, of course / Laduree on the Champs-Élysées / Steak Tartare and wine / Celebrating pancake day with a crepe beneath the Eiffel Tower / Parisian street / Rose wine in the hotel room, from an ever so classy plastic cup / Pretty Paris / Parisian street v.2 / Hugo, happy to be back sleeping in his own (aka our) bed / Another Eiffel Tower shot - it's just too gorgeous / Bed.

These photos are mostly from March, mainly from my trip to Paris which I'm currently writing a post about. I've been on a bit of an unplanned hiatus from blogging since around the beginning of April - dealing with a difficult family loss just made it seem a little unimportant. However, it's something that I really enjoy doing and I've missed it, so I've given my blog a little makeover and I'm throwing myself back into it. It goes without saying that I've been pretty terrible at keeping up with emails this past month or so, so if you've tried to get in touch please bear with me as I attempt to get back up to date!

Find me on... Bloglovin / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

Bioderma Crealine H2O

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm definitely no stranger to micellar waters. I've made my way through the UK's various offerings over the past couple of years and while I've enjoyed using them, Bioderma has always sat at the very top of my to-try list. Unfortunately, it's not the easiest thing to get hold of in the UK (although it is starting to pop up in some pharmacies, especially in the South!), so I made a mental note to grab a bottle during a recent trip to Paris. This stuff is a cult favourite in the beauty industry and has a very loyal following, so I was excited to finally put it to the test myself.

Bioderma is a gentle, water based cleansing makeup remover. To use, you simply soak a cotton pad and wipe over your face - fuss free and easy! For more stubborn eye makeup it takes a little longer - it helps to hold the cotton pad down for a few seconds to help dissolve the makeup before swiping away, but generally this stuff does a great job of ridding my eyes of even waterproof mascara. This is a makeup remover rather than a cleanser, so I make an effort to follow up with a more traditional cleanser to make sure my face is squeaky clean. However, for lazy (or slightly tipsy!) evenings, the Bioderma alone does the job well enough.

For me, Bioderma beats other the micellar waters I've tried because it's so ridiculously gentle yet effective at the same time. Other offerings have been either a little too harsh and stung when I've used them around the eyes, or been gentle but not quite up to par in terms of makeup removal. Using Bioderma feels exactly like using water, except much more effective. My only wish is that it was more readily available - I'd love to be able to pop to Boots to stock up when my current bottle starts running low, the way I do with my L'Oreal or Vichy versions - however it's easy enough to find online. I'm pretty sure that it works out cheaper to buy from France (I think I paid around ten euros for a 500ml bottle from City Pharma), so I'm kinda kicking myself for not filling my suitcase full of the stuff when I was in Paris! I think it's safe to say that I'm definitely a Bioderma convert. 

You can find Bioderma online at Escentual, Amazon and John Bell & Croydon, among others. Prices vary.  

Balance Me Radiance Face Oil

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I used to be a little dubious when it came to facial oils - although my skin isn't overly oily, the thought of slathering oil directly onto my face sounded like the perfect recipe for greasiness and breakouts. So, while I'd heard great things, it was somewhat tentatively that I first put Balance Me's Radiance Face Oil to the test... I've been using this oil on and off for over a year now and needless to say, I was completely wrong - this stuff is simply wonderful.

Containing a cocktail of nourishing and natural ingredients such as Amazonian buriti nut, moringa and camellia oils, Balance Me claim that this oil boosts and smooths the skin, while adding a healthy dose of radiance. I like to use this on a night a couple of times a week, before moisturiser and after serum, focusing on the drier areas of my face such as around my nose and then rubbing any residue over the rest of my skin. By morning it has completely sunk in leaving absolutely no greasiness - just smoother, nourished, soft skin. I really love this oil and while I've strayed a couple of times and tried other brands, this is one that I keep coming back to as it simply does the job perfectly.

I have the handy 10ml rollerball version of the oil, which retails for £15, but also available is a 30ml bottle for £30. You only need a really tiny amount for the entire face so you while it may initially seem a little on the pricy side, it lasts forever. It's definitely one that I will continue to repurchase as it has become a part of my skincare routine that I can't imagine being without.

Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

As anyone with fine hair will tell you, dry shampoo is quite simply a lifesaver. Not only is my hair limp and flat without a little extra help from styling products, it's prone to greasiness too. Dry shampoo is the perfect solution - it soaks up any excess moisture, mattifies the hair and acts as a bit of a root booster, too. I was sold on the concept of dry shampoo before I was even aware of it's existence - from the age of about eleven, on my mum's advice, I would shake talcum powder onto my roots between washes to keep greasiness at bay. A few years later when I realised that this thing had a name and came in spray form in handy cans, I quickly became a Batiste convert. It's cheap, cheerful, and does the job. So what made me shift to Lush's old school, talcum powder-esque bottle of dry shampoo and eschew the Batiste? Well, there are three main reasons... 

Value for money. I bought the small, 50g bottle of No Drought a couple of weeks ago, setting me back just £3.75. Since then, I've used it every few days and you honestly cannot tell I've opened it. In fact, the girl who served me in Lush told me she'd had her 115g bottle for almost a year and it was still going strong! Aerosol cans of dry shampoo are, as with all aerosols, packed with air, meaning they run out pretty quickly. No Drought is pure, concentrated powder, so you only need a tiny amount rubbed between the hands and then worked into the roots of your hair. It's much more environmentally friendly than an aerosol, too!

Effectivity. No Drought does a fantastic job of getting rid of greasiness, and doesn't leave my hair feeling at all heavy or sticky like sprays have a tendancy to. It's also a great thickener - it gives my hair that extra bit of oomph that it needs sometimes, and is perfect for days when I need a bit more grip in my hair in order to style it.

Scent. I love the smell of Batiste dry shampoos, but this stuff is just so much better. Containing grapefruit and lime oils, it's citrusy and seriously fresh. Mmm

The one downside - it's messy. The first time I used this I applied it straight from the bottle and managed to get white powder all over my shoulders and chest - not the best look for someone who likes to wear a lot of black! Since then, I've taken to applying it with my hands and using a tiny amount at a time. It takes a little adjusting to when you're used to the ease of applying from a spray can, but I think it's definitely worth making the change. In conclusion - amazing value for money, gorgeous scented, 100% natural alternative to the usual high street offerings. Definitely recommended.

Wishlist #3

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lately, I feel like half my life is spent online "window shopping", compiling lists and creating Pinterest boards filled with items I just have to have. It's a nice little form of wish fulfilment and a lot better for my purse than real life window shopping, where I always seem to inevitably cave and make a purchase. Give me an overly friendly sales assistant or an enabling shopping partner and I just cannot say no! Above is a small selection of beauty bits that I've been coveting from behind the safety of my laptop screen...

What's on your wishlist at the moment? Have you tried any of these products?

Instagram #18

Hugo / Celebrating my boyfriends birthday / Payday treats - perfume mists and face mask from The Body Shop, L'Oreal Makeup Remover and Real Techniques Expert Face Brush / Hugo naps in some strange positions / Rekindled my love for Lush - Ultrabland Cleanser and No Drought Dry Shampoo / L'Oreal GlamShine Stain Splash in Juliet / Hugo and I / Missing Paris / Another L'Oreal lippie, which I found for around £2 in a discount shop in my hometown - result!

It's been quite a while since I did one of these posts - the first couple of photos are from late December! I tend to go through phases where I get pretty lazy with Instagram and forget to photograph things. I'm definitely going to try to rectify this 'cause I love looking back through old Instagram photos every now and then - it's like a pretty little visual reminder of what I've been up to. 

As always, feel free to follow me on Instagram at @_andkatie

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club: 5th Edition

Friday, February 07, 2014

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club is one I've seen doing the rounds on the beauty circuit lately. Slightly different to your regular beauty boxes, it's a quarterly box costing just a fiver, packed with perfume samples with a nifty little discount booklet included. Instantly, I know that a lot of people's reaction to this box would be to scoff that these are samples readily available in stores. Now, I don't know where I'm going wrong but I just don't seem to have these samples thrown at me every time I enter a department store. On the rare occasion, usually while making a rather pricy purchase, I'll have one popped into my bag, but on several instances even with lots of sweet smiling, chatting and a genuine desire to properly sample a scent, I've been told they don't have or give out samples. Any advice or tips on obtaining these elusive samples would be greatly appreciated! Ha.

So, while I'd obviously love it if this box contained miniature bottled samples, I don't think 9 vials of perfume is anything to turn your nose up at. Plus, if you decide you love one of the fragrances, The Fragrance Shop have included £5 off vouchers for every scent in the box, meaning if you make a purchase you make your fiver back and the box works out free! I think this would make a really lovely gift for a perfume fan, especially someone who lives in a quieter area - I know I'd have really loved this box when I lived in my hometown and had to travel at least twenty miles to reach the nearest Debenhams! 

The 5th Edition box focuses on classic scents rather than new releases, and includes samples of Gucci Guilty, Nina by Nina Ricci, Very Irresistible Givenchy, Jean Paul Gualtier Classique, both Angel and Alien by Thierry Mugler, and for the gentlemen - L'eau D'issey Pour Homme Sport by Issey Miyake, and Boss Bottled and Hugo Man by Hugo Boss. It's a really nice and nostalgic selection of scents. I like to save vials of perfume for special occasions, so these have gone straight into my little dressing table drawer ready for the perfect occasion to be tested out. I'm going to Paris next month (so excited!) and I'm planning on packing a few of these rather than a hefty bottle of perfume like I normally would -  it means I get a brand new perfume to wear each day, and saving suitcase space means more shopping in French pharmacies when I'm there. Win win, right?! 

What do you guys think of this box? Does this sound like something you'd be interested in? 

*Box sent by The Fragrance Shop for consideration. Views remain completely my own.

Soap and Glory Once Upon a Lime...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Once Upon a Lime is the third and final gift set I picked up from the post-Christmas Boots sale. I've always associated Soap & Glory with their 'Original Pink' fragrance - that girly, sweet scent that first made me fall in love with the brand years ago. Since then, I've also fallen for the delicious brown sugar and oat scented 'Cream Team' range; but before now I'd never tried anything from the 'Sugar Crush' family. When I saw this set for half price (£9), I knew it was the perfect chance to introduce myself to the range. 

The gift set includes a body scrub, body wash and body buttercream, all in a delicious zesty lime scent. Soap & Glory describe the scent as "a mouth-watering blend of kaffir limes, sparkling lemons and juicy mandarins complete with a gourmand base of sweet vanilla musk and coconut oil." It's a really refreshing, invigorating scent - perfect for early morning shower as a pick-me-up. The scent is strong and lingers a little, especially after using the buttercream - good news for some, although I know some people aren't fans of scents that stick around. It's something to keep in mind, anyway! As far as the actual products go, they all work really well. The body wash is thick, creamy and leaves the skin feeling really soft and clean. The scrub is effective without being harsh on the skin, and makes your skin smooth and smelling delicious. The body buttercream is the perfect last step - it's a thick and luxurious cream that absorbs quickly and leaves skin soft and moisturised. 

Unfortunately, I think you'd have to be extremely lucky to find this gift set in store right now. I know my local Boots is currently on the very last of its remaining Christmas stock, with no Soap & Glory in sight; however every product from this set is available individually year round. If you're a fan of zesty, refreshing scents then I'd definitely recommend you give this range a go!

Soap & Glory Eyes Box

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Eyes Box is a lovely little makeup gift set from Soap & Glory, containing a generous six 'Lid Stuff' eyeshadow shades, along with a mascara and kohl eyeliner. I snapped this up for half price (£8) in the Boots post-Christmas sale - a pretty awesome deal considering the Thick & Fast mascara alone is worth more than that! 

The eyeshadow shades - Black Gold, Dandy Plum, Minky, Smokin', Wild Blue and Vanilla - are right up my street, minus the bright blue which, while pretty, is just not me. Still, there's a lovely selection of neutral shades included that can be used to create a brown-toned smokey look. My favourites are Minky - a gorgeous shimmery pale champagne/bronze and Dandy Plum, which is a deep berry toned brown shade. As far as pigmentation goes, these eyeshadows are okay. Not the absolute best I've tried, but for the price they're definitely good enough. The Thick & Fast mascara is one that I've tried before, and it's one I've enjoyed getting reacquainted with. The brush is huge and gives lashes tonnes of volume without being clumpy. My only issue is that given the size of the brush, it can be difficult to reach the roots and the smaller lashes on the inner corners of the eye, but as far as volume goes this one's a good 'un. The Smoulder Kohl eyeliner is fantastic. I don't currently own a kohl liner - I'm a liquid liner girl through and through - but this has opened my eyes a little. It's ridiculously pigmented and smudgy. Perfect for a dark smokey eye. The set also comes with a brush, which I've tried once and found it a bit too small and flimsy feeling, although I'm never impressed with the included brushes in sets like this. At least it's not a sponge-tipped one - shudder.

I have to keep reminding myself that this cost £8, which is pretty amazing value for money. If this set is still available in your local Boots sale then I would definitely recommend picking it up, although even at full price it's a nifty little set.

Soap & Glory Be Your Own Gloss

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Be Your Own Gloss is a lovely little gift set released for Christmas 2013, consisting of five adorable miniature versions of Soap & Glory's popular Sexy Mother Pucker lip glosses. The shades included are Candy Gloss, Clear, Punch Bowl, Half Naked and Yummy Plum; and they all contain S&G's "plumping microspheres" and an "exclusive microcirculation-stimulating extracts" which visibly enhances lip volume. The glosses all have amazing scents, including chocolate orange, vanilla, chocolate cherry and buttered popcorn... Yum. When applied the first thing you will notice, besides the gorgeous flavour, is the slight tingling sensation on your lips. This is supposedly the formula working its magic and making your lips look plump and voluminous. I honestly don't think that the results are hugely noticeable. There is a slight difference, but I tend to find my lips appear bigger when I'm wearing lip gloss, anyway. I don't expect completely life changing results from a high street product, though, so it's not a disappointment.

Included in the set is one clear gloss, and four tinted glosses. The tinted ones aren't massively pigmented and don't claim to be, but they do offer a nice sheer wash of colour, and in one case, subtle sparkle. I love the finish of these glosses - they make the lips appear really plump and juicy, and the formula is thick and quite sticky which means it stays put for a while. This does mean it's probably not the best gloss for a windy day, as I can imagine the whole pesky hair-stuck-to-lips thing occurring... Not the best look!

I'm definitely glad that I bought these glosses - I love the cheeky name, gorgeous scents, and I'm even a fan of the weird tingly, pins and needles effect they have on the lips! I only have one or two lip glosses in my entire collection so it's nice to suddenly have five shiny new options for when the mood to wear gloss strikes. And, this set only cost me £7 - half the RRP as it's one of Soap and Glory's Christmas 2013 gift sets that are currently half price at Boots. Bargain!

Soap & Glory Be Your Own Gloss - £14 (or half price in Boots stores)

EcoTools Fresh & Flawless Five Piece Complexion Set

Saturday, January 11, 2014

When it comes to make-up brushes, I am a Real Techniques girl through and through. Every single brush in my collection, bar perhaps two, is Real Techniques, yet lately I added five brushes by EcoTools into the mix. It was a completely impulsive buy, spurred on by two things. One, I'd read a good review of the set a few days earlier; and two - just look how cute they are! 

Firstly, these brushes are miniature sizes. This perhaps isn't obvious in photographs and could disappoint people who purchase online, so I'd recommend having a look at them in your local stockists before buying to make sure you know exactly what you're getting. The good news, though, is that this makes these brushes absolutely ideal for travel. Included in the set is a Flat Concealer brush, Buffing Concealer brush, Precision Foundation brush, Complexion Blending brush and Full Powder brush. 
I've used all five of the brushes and while they're all well made, good quality brushes with lovely soft bristles, there are some that stand out above the rest for me. The Full Powder Brush is great for a light dusting of setting powder, and the size ensures that you don't overdo it and end up looking cakey. The concealer brushes are fabulous, too. The flat version is a good alternative for your finger and is great for targeting specific areas and blemishes, while the Buffing Concealer brush (easily my favourite of the lot), and is perfect for blending in under-eye concealer to achieve a really flawless finish. I do like the Complexion Blending brush, but find it a tad small for initial application of foundation. It's a good option for touch-ups throughout the day or for travelling though, as long as you don't mind taking a little more time with your blending. The only brush I haven't found much use for is the Precision Foundation brush. I image this could work well for difficult to reach spots, such as the areas around the nose, but I've never got on too well with flat foundation brushes and just haven't found myself reaching for it.

For just over a tenner for five brushes, this set is really incredible value for money. The brushes aren't all totally mind-blowing, but there are two or three winners in there that make the price more than worth it. And to top it all off, EcoTools are a lovely, natural company with a passion for both "beauty and the environment." Have you ever tried EcoTools brushes?

You can pick this set up for £11.99 from Feel Unique or your local Boots. 

Soap & Glory Half Price Gift Sets at Boots

Thursday, January 09, 2014

We all like to indulge in a bit of post-Christmas sales, and for me Boots is one of the first places I head when I'm after a good beauty bargain. With 50% off all Christmas gifts, it's the perfect time to grab a gift set (or three). Soap & Glory are always spot on with their gift offerings, and this year was no exception - from body products, to makeup and skincare, there really is a gift set that will suit everyone. I was slightly naughty and purchased three sets: Be Your Own Gloss, Eyes Box and Once Upon a Lime. I'm currently writing up individual reviews but just thought I'd give you all a heads up about the great deals first, just in case they happen to sell out over the next couple of days - although my local Boots seems to still be pretty well stocked so it's not looking too likely! While I would recommend hunting out the Soap & Glory section first, there's loads of other fabulous gift offerings so it's worth a good browse in store. In total, I bought £48 worth of S&G products for £24, and that includes a full sized Thick & Fast Mascara worth around a tenner. I'd definitely recommend a trip to your local Boots to see if you can grab yourself a bargain!

Instagram #17

Thursday, January 02, 2014

I've been loving this brush set from EcoTools - review coming shortly / Chorizo roll and mulled wine at the Manchester German Christmas Markets / Starbucks frap / Throwback Thursday - me at Disneyland Paris / Dyed the ends of my hair pink courtesy of Bleach London / Possibly my favourite meal ever - fish tacos / Christmas tree in the lobby of our building / Urban Decay Naked 3 - still absolutely head over heels in love with this palette! / Lunch at Katsouris Deli. 

Also, my apologies for becoming a bit of a sporadic blogger over the Christmas period. Lots of travelling, working, seeing family and several bottles of wine kept me very occupied! My New Years resolution is definitely to be more organised and blog more regularly. I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas and fantastic New Year!

As always, feel free to follow me on instagram here: 

And Katie © // QUINN CREATIVEs