Tuesday 17 December 2013

Getting into the spirit of Christmas

I always  liked this time of year and for me it has not lost its magic. I have learned to ignore marketing campaigns urging me to start shopping for presents in September and only really start thinking about Christmas in November.

I like the weird, wonderful and occasionally tacky decorations that are on display (honestly it wouldn't be the same without them). I like the hustle and bustle, the atmosphere in the shops. This is not mindless browsing, people are on a mission, it feels like organized chaos.

And of course seasonal food and drinks. All of these things are an embodiment of a Christmas fair.

On the weekend hubby and I decided to take things a little easy and instead of going to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (which is absolutely fantastic but super busy), we went to the Christmas market in Kingston upon Thames.

It is a much smaller affair that we both found a little more relaxing, yet still full of festive cheer. There were a few food and drink stalls (but if you are a vegetarian you would be better off in one of the local cafes), and a selection of crafts and gifts that you could expect from such an event.

You would be forgiven for thinking that it was coffee in my cup, when in fact it was mulled wine (cheekily strong one at that).

Around the corner (literally a minute away) there is a massive tent that is Eden Christmas Craft fair. And here is the true selection of some rather unique things (some are a little strange, but a real testament to peoples skills and creativity).

There is also food here, what particularly stood out was a Mediterranean and Middle eastern food stall. As I was walking by not intending to stop, I was handed an unusual black olive infused with cherry.

Apparently a traditional Persian olive, the guy was so enthusiastic that I didn't catch all of it, but the olives were absolutely scrumptious (so yeah I left with a box, ok good sales people know what they are doing). 

It was a very chilled non stressful day out for the both of us, and to me markets like these are one of the things that makes the run up to Christmas special.

Monday 9 December 2013

Spotlight on: La Bella Figura

I was all set to wait for La Bella Figura to make its way over the pond, but their seems to be some sort of delay, and I have never been known for my patience. So I thought I would treat myself to their Hair Elixir that I had my eye on and a sample of Possitano perfume that had me intrigued.

What a pleasant surprise it was to get an email from the lovely Victoria letting me know that they've included a little something extra in my package (I am not kidding I was grinning like a three year old). So due to the fact that I have received a few lovely samples and the fact that I still haven't posted about some of the products from my mini kit, I though I would do one large post on everything that I have tried from La Bella figura.

Barbary Fig renewal serum.

 I have to start by commenting on how divine this oil smells. It has this vibrant fruity scent that makes me immediately think of pineapples. I have not come across an oil that smelled this good. It is not a heavy oil but nor is it very light, it is somewhere in the middle but it packs a heavy punch in terms of combating dryness. I have been using it for almost two months, and even though I have been using it sparingly (no more than 3 times a week, and frequently less), I am very surprised that my little bottle is still about half full. It is a product that is meant for dryer skin types, so it is only suitable for me in the colder months. It works beautifully. I use it in the evenings on the days I wash my hair (as that is when my skin feels driest) and occasionally in the mornings, when I though that my skin could do with some extra TLC. The effect is pretty instantaneous, nourished looking skin with a healthy glow. There is no oily residue. Just a beautiful product that works and is a pleasure to use.

Travel therapy.

 This oil blend is supposed to have therapeutic effects due to its fragrance, but it cheer me up because of its colour. It is blue! I happen to think that it makes it even more fascinating. I have not had a chance to try this out on a flight. But I have used it the morning after a wedding ( at which I was one of the two bridesmaids), and an hours drive home, after a fairly sleepless night. It really perked me up. I am a believer in aromatherapy and this makes an exciting addition to my small collection of remedies. This has a floral scent that is ever so slightly reminds me of flower teas (when you can smell something floral, but not be able to tell exactly what type of flowers they are).

Skin aficionado.

To put it simply if there was only one body oil that I could ever use it would be this one. I do not have dry skin and I find that my skin is generally fairly soft, for that reason I only make sure to moistures properly during colder months. However when I used this body elixir, not only did it sink in without any undesirable residue, it made my skin feel like velvet. I have never ever experienced such a delightful effect, and was even double checking after couple of hours to make sure that I was not imagining things. And to top it all off, it has the most sensuous fragrance, a little spicy, a little floral, a little fruity and utterly delectable. If ever I was planning a romantic evening this is the product I would want to be using.

Modern radiance concentrate.

This is more of the first impressions account as I only had a small sample that wasn't enough to see any real effects. I think this is a type of product you would need to use a couple of weeks to see real results. As it stands I found it to have a lovely gel like texture, it sinks in very fast and left my skin feeling soothed and comfortable. It has a cooling effect and I have noticed extra silkiness of skin due to its use. Most importantly it has not caused any allergic reactions or sensitivities. Unlike other products from La Bella figura this serum doesn't have a distinctive scent, so it will not be overpowering as it is meant to be layered with a moisturizing product on top (the mild scent that I detect reminds me of vitamin C tablets). The cocktail of ingredients in this is very impressive, I am considering getting a bottle for spring/summer use, but I have not made up my mind yet.


Positano perfume. I will start by saying that I prefer how this perfume smells in the bottle rather than on my skin (it smells good on my skin, but somehow in the bottle it smells better), which is not the case with the other La Bella Figura perfumes. There is something very honest about this scent, it is not trying to seduce you, it is not playing games, you get what you see but at the same time there is nothing proud or haughty about it. It is welcoming you to partake in the simple pleasures in life. It is not a perfume that I would consider to be a typically feminine one, it is more for the outdoorsy sort of person, that is not afraid to get stuck in. I can not detect anything floral about it, reminds me of crisp gin and tonic. If I was pressed I would say it smells like being near a pine and I can detect some sparkling bitterness like that of a grapefruit.

San Miguel perfume. When I first put it on, I have to say I wasn't sure about this fragrance. I did like the scent, but it wasn't something I pictured myself wearing. On first inspection it seemed to have a slight masculine note to it, not so much that it wasn't feminine more that it was just a little solemn, a tad serious. Very business like, while I am more drawn to playful scents. But after half an hour, once it settled on my skin, I started to detect a more flowery vibe. I still consider it to be a very grown up scent, the wearer of it would not be taken to flights of fancy, they are the type of person that considers the consequences of their actions. Perhaps somewhat contrary to my own character at times, yet it has a remarkably grounding effect on  me. Although not on my immediate list of purchases, I do not dismiss a possibility of acquiring it at some point in the future.

Bohemia Verde.

 This hair elixir works in a number of ways as a leave in serum or as hair treatment before shampooing. With my current hair length of just below my shoulder blades ( which is much shorter than what I am used to), I only need to use about 2-3 drops, when used as a serum. I try to distribute it evenly on my wet hair (you can also use it on dry hair, but I don't), from just below my ears and all the way to the ends. I only use it on the roots as a pre shampoo treatment. At the moment I am not using any other conditioners on my hair. It leaves my hair very soft and it smells like jasmine, my all time favourite scent.

To be honest I have yet to try a product from La Bella figura that I did not like. However there are some products that really stood out to me, and those are the ones that I will most definitely repurchase.

I absolutely love the Rainforest Hydrating treatment, which I have previously reviewed. I think that Barbary Fig Renewal serum is a very unique blend of oils, which as well as being great for my skin also lifts my spirits when I use it. From perfumes I absolutely adore Istanbul (reviewed here), and I really regret not getting a full size of Barcelona when it was still available (hopefully they will bring it back at some point). And last but not least Skin Aficionado, I am getting this as soon as I have finished some of my other body oils, for it is very much perfect.

Friday 6 December 2013

Ilia beauty Cosmic Dancer

I have to confess as soon as I saw a limited edition holiday gift set from ilia on net a porter my heart skipped a bit. Yes it is rather shallow of me but I have been looking for a natural gold highlighter for about two years now and nothing quiet measured up. The only thing I already have white rabbit lip gloss so I was hesitating. And it payed off because content started stocking cosmic dancer by itself.
Well you can only imagine how quickly I added it to my shopping basket.

On to the product itself. The colour of Cosmic Dancer is a pale gold rather than a bronzed gold. Which makes it work on a variety of skin tones. It seems to have a slightly dryer texture than other cream highlighters that I have tried. And I really like that, as it doesn't slide of my skin, or make it appear oily. The highlighting effect is a pearl finish with no glitter or obvious shimmer particles. It is actually pretty perfect in terms of looks and texture.

It works great on my cheekbones and eyes. Although I prefer it for daytime use, it is one of those products that lends itself equally well to daytime and evening makeup looks.
Final verdict: I think this will definitely become a staple in my makeup bag, but I would also like a more intense gold version. Now I do wonder if Ilia has one in the works...

I have been using this highlighter for about a week now, so I though I would share two makeup looks that it has been most used in.

Daytime glow:

I used Cosmic Dancer on the whole of the eyelid and cheekbones. Than I used Kjaer Weis eye shadow in Magnetic like an eyeliner, very close to the lash line. One coat of Kjaer Weis mascara only on the top lashes. And on the lips I used Ilia In Paradise.

Evening sparkle:

I used Cosmic Dancer in exactly the same fashion as before, just added a little extra to the brow bone and, whatever was remaining on my finger, down the middle of the nose. I lined my eyes with RMS eye shadow in Karma, and added extra coat of mascara to my top lashes, and one coat for the bottom lashes. For my lips I used Kjaer Weis lip tint in Goddess.

I will be doing reviews for the other makeup items used in the near future

Thursday 5 December 2013

RMS beauty Lunar

I don't know if anyone has noticed but I am a Big fan of RMS beauty. Lately my taste in makeup has been changing slightly, and I have found a new joy in understated subdued tones. Which explains the latest edition of Lunar eye shadow to my RMS collection.

This shade is described as a champagne pearl shimmer. It really is a fairly pale gold colour, almost shy if you compare it Solar.

 Texture is very much like the other RMS eye shadows, creamy and works best whith a sheer application. However I have noticed that when combined with Kjaer Weis eye shadows the results are pretty great, they tend to last longer, don't crease as much and you can get away with a more intense colour.

Back to Lunar, once applied it offers a warm pearly glow, which is a lot easier to wear than a white shade. I really like combination of Lunar with a toned down peach makeup look. Actually it adds a little vavavoom to any nude look. When blended out it could make a pretty great highlighter.

Lunar is a very versatile shade and I do love using it, however if I could only have one Lunar or Solar, I would always choose Solar. It is just so much more vibrant and unique in my opinion.

Personal preference aside I think this colour creases less ( or it might be not as noticeable because it is a lighter shadow). And it livens up your face without being too obvious, perfect for any daytime look and for anyone who finds Living luminizer too white.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Shealife mango butter balm

First of all I can not believe it is already December! And even though winter doesn't officially start until Dec 21, the cold weather is pretty much here. No time like the present to winterproof your beauty routine.

I have often remarked that I don't always have time to use body moisturisers ( and in the summer I am totally ok with that), but in the colder seasons I make time. One of the reasons is that skin becomes more dehydrated under all those layers of clothing. Also I tend to have baths more frequently, and use hotter water in the shower, plus central heating (all of this contributes to drier skin). And I have noticed that applying a body oil or butter actually makes me feel warmer for longer, the initial effect is from massaging a product in, which improves blood flow, and then it feels like the product on your skin acts like an extra layer of insulation (the second part might be all in my head).

Although I generally prefer to use oils, when it is cold, butters are definitely better. And in this case I am a real creature of habit, I have always use mango body butters ( I have been using them since I was 16). They smell delicious, always remind me of summer and are superbly emollient, which makes them great for dry skin.

I have to say that Shealife mango butter ticks all my boxes. It smells divine, almost like real mangoes. And it is so easy to spread. Mango butter can be a little hard sometimes, this product is the softest one that I have been able to find, it has a slightly whipped texture, which does harden slightly when it is really cold (but not to the point that it would be a problem).

You only need a little at a time, which makes it much more economical. The 100g jar is small enough to take on your travels, and you will not have to worry about anything spilling in your luggage. I also find that the price is very reasonable £8.95 (although when I first purchased it was a few pounds cheaper).

I tend to use this balm in the evenings and my skin feels just as soft when I wake up. The scent is not overpowering but it does stay on your skin for some time ( I would say 4-5 hours), however you would have to have your nose pressed to your skin to notice it after the first half our.

You are supposed to use it up within 6 months of opening, and judging by how little I need to use (about 1,5 fingerfulls  for each limb), and the fact that I use it about 3 times a week, that is exactly how long it will last me.

I do absolutely adore this product, and will repurchase, but there is something that bugs me. On the label it says 100% mango butter. Which in my head  equates with the fact that mango butter is the only ingredient, yet that is not the case. I was aware of this prior to purchase, as I always check ingredients, nevertheless I find it somewhat misleading.

The ingredients are:
mango seed butter, hydrogenated vegetable oil, shea butter, tocopherol.

Friday 29 November 2013

Pre Christmas deals

I have no idea where the time went, because I just woke up and realised that it is less than 30 days until Christmas!

So if you haven't started your Christmas shopping, or are just looking for a few last bits here is a list of some of my favourite places to shop that are offering discounts (for the next few days).

If you are looking for beauty products:
1. Being content( http://www.beingcontent.com/ )has a discount of 10% on everything until midnight Monday with a code CONTENT. So if wanted to try something from May Lindstrom, RMS, Ilia, W3ll People we could save quiet a good deal of money.

2. Naturisimo ( http://www.naturisimo.com/Index.cfm )has a discount of 10% until Sunday with a code HAPPY. I would take advantage of this offer to get something from Kjaer Weis.

3. A beautiful world ( http://abeautifulworld.co.uk/collections/christmas-13-beauty-boxes ) still has a promotion of 10% off with a code Xmas10. And their gift boxes are still the best value for money that I have seen anywhere, plus they come beautifully packaged. 

4. Cocktail cosmetics (  http://www.cocktailcosmetics.co.uk/brand/z-palette )has an offer until the end of Saturday for 20% discount with a code BF2013, this is where I get my Z palettes from.

If you are looking for fashion:

1. People tree (  http://www.peopletree.co.uk/ )have a great promotion on and you don't need a code for it. Until Monday you get 30% off, Tuesday and Wednesday 25%, Thursday and Friday 20%. I especially love their dresses and knitwear.

2. If you are feeling generous towards yourself or others Chinti and Parker ( https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151717881615728&l=cb4d2dd20c ) have 20% off on most of their items until tuesday morning. They do casual chick like no one else. Super cosy and flattering pieces that are a pleasure to wear.

Now will you be using these discounts to get presents for others or yourself? That is the question.

Friday 8 November 2013

Marble and Milkweed bathing salts

I have to confess that I am not a big fan of cold weather. While I do appreciate an opportunity to wear heavy knits, awesome boots and drink hot tea all day, without people thinking you weird; I am sort of over it after a few weeks. What can I say, if it ain't summer weather it is just bad weather in my books.

To get me through this rather difficult, long period of feeling cold all of the time, I try to trick myself into thinking that this time of year is actually enjoyable. And big part of it are long, relaxing bath times.

To me baths have always been special, it is just a time when you allow yourself not to worry about anything. Enjoying that lovely feeling of bliss and contentment in your body, that warm water brings.

While I don't really like bath oils ( I just always feel so slippery, an accident waiting to happen), salts on the other hand, bring my bathing experience to the next level.

My latest discovery is this wonderful concoction by Marble and Milkweed, a New York brand of  beautiful, hand made products.

Rose and cardamom bathing salts. These salts come packed in a clear glass jar, while there isn't anything extra fancy about it, it does allow the beauty of the product to speak for itself.

I for one appreciate how  pretty these salts look in my bathroom. Himalayan pink salt is the reason for the pretty colour, it is a salt full of minerals and is known for its relaxing properties.

The salt is mixed with a small quantity of nourishing oils (coconut and sesame), and fragranced with essential oils of rose otto and cardamom. The addition of oils left me with slightly softer skin (in comparison to plain salts), but didn't make the bath feel slippery. And I absolutely love the aroma from the essential oils, not too strong but noticeable.

After bathing with these, I get a lasting feeling of warmth ( I have somewhat poor circulation, my hands and feet are always cold), and in turn that means that I get to enjoy a good night's sleep.
I have been fairly scrimpy with this product, and a jar lasts me about 5 baths.

I have noticed that  a beautiful world have a gift box with these salts and a Marble and Milkweed body oil, that would make a wonderful present (or even a treat for yourself). Plus you can get 10% off with a code XMAS10.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Fall lips

If you read my fall makeup post you will remember that I wanted to break it down a little, so here are the swatches for the lips category.

Osmia lip luster. Just a great product, it is nourishing like a lip salve, has a great glossiness to it and a beautiful hint of colour. You can also layer it a little bit for the colour to be more intense (which is what I tend to do), it is a berry red.

Ilia funnel of love. This is a creamy lipstick in a gorgeous peachy nude. This will work wonderfully with slightly more adventurous eye makeup.

Ilia lip conditioner in Lust for Life. This is a perfect day to night colour for this season. I do find it slightly dryer than the other Ilia lip conditioners that I have, but the colour is simply beautiful. I got a lot of compliments when I wore it for the first time. One word of warning it is best to exfoliate your lips (no need for a special scrub, a little sugar and honey will do the trick), because if you have any dry skin on your lips, it will be very obvious with this deep wine colour.

Organic glam Dark pink. (By The Organic Pharmacy).This shade is pretty much a staple in my autumn/winter makeup bag ( I have been getting it for at least three years now). It is just a perfect classic shade of pink, it has a touch of raspberry to it and is just one of those shades that you can wear anytime, no matter what is fashionable.

So this was my take on autumn lip colours, and the eye shadows and nail colour swatches will be in the next few posts.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

RMS Beauty Diabolique and Beloved

When I heard that RMS released a limited addition Lip2Cheek colour for autumn I really wanted it. I asked Content if they would be stocking it, and the answer was at the moment it was on RMS website only. So I made my peace with the fact that I won't be getting it....

And last week Content sent out a tweet: For those who were asking, we currently have a limited number of Diabolique in store. But then on the website I saw another new colour, Beloved (this one is not limited addition).

After a ridiculous amount of changing my mind about which Lip2Cheek colour to order, I went for Diabolique and requested a sample of Beloved..

Diabolique. This is a rather brave shade for me. Very intense dark cherry colour. It does, however, look very different depending on how you apply.

On me it looks best applied over a glossy lip balm. This adds a slight see through quality to otherwise a very intense colour.

Personally I think it is more of an evening shade, but you can play around with it to give just a touch of wine stain, that will be more suitable for daytime. This is a colour of the season if there ever was one.

Beloved. Now this is a very exciting bright red (think a field of poppies). If you are one of those people that admires red from a far, you could totally pull this one off.

 The beauty of this product is that it is doesn't have a heavy opaque consistency of a lipstick, therefore with a light application, you can absolutely achieve a beautiful, touch of red pout.

However if you want a full on red lip all you need to do is add another layer of colour. For a more understated look I suggest applying with your fingers, for more colour payoff applying with a lip brush would be best.

This is a great all year round shade, which you can easily take from day to evening. Beloved is a very apt name for it.

As I was playing around with both colours, I wanted to see what happens when I mix them together. And the effect is a truly spectacular deeper red shade.

I was a little worried about Diabolique, RMS products last forever, since you only need to use the tiniest amount, and if I am perfectly honest burgundy is not my go to colour. But now if I get bored with it, I will just mix it with any red colour that I have (well maybe even Beloved, not sure how long I can resist before getting it).

So here is a quick comparison of all the three variations on the lips.

I have to say that I am glad that I got Diabolique as it is a wonderful addition to my makeup bag. The quality of these is just as good as any other Lip 2 Cheek from RMS, but I think these colours are just a little more exciting.

Monday 4 November 2013

U little Beauty foaming cleanser review

When it comes to cleansers I always like to have a heavier oil based cleanser to remove makeup, and a wash off cleanser to make sure there is no residue left. As I have skin that is both on the oily side and sensitive, it can be really tough finding a product for the second category.

So when I had an opportunity to try the U little Beauty foaming cleanser I was very excited.

U little Beauty is an Australian brand, that has a range of products created around a star ingredient Kakadu plum. You might have heard about Kakadu plum, as it's claim to fame is a very high concentration of vitamin C (over 50 times more than the concentration found in oranges). Which is the vitamin you want for brighter, healthier skin.

Packaging is a very functional pump action bottle. The product itself is not a gel that foams mixed with water, it is an actual foam. It is fragrance free and has a very mild scent that doesn't really smell like anything in particular.

According to the bottle, it is suitable for all skin types.

Method of use: apply to wet skin and wash off.

I have been using this face wash for a little over a month once or twice a day. Sometimes I would use it only in the morning, other days I would use it in the evenings as a second cleanse, and sometimes I would do both. You only need one pump, but I occasionally get carried away and use two, because I really like the woosh noise the pump makes (yes I have been told that I am like a child).

After using it, my skin feels very clean but not tight, and I have noticed that the products I apply after, mainly oils and serums, seem to absorb a little better.

I think this is a good choice for anyone with normal/combo/oily skin all year round, and for dryer skin types in the summer.

As well as Kakadu plum, ingredients include calendula extract and aloe vera, both are great for sensitive skin. Towards the bottom of the list there is witch hazel and rosemary extract, very beneficial for occasionally problem skin. This product does contain phenoxyethanol ( I know some people like to avoid it, I just limit the amount of products that contain it).

Ingredients: Aqua; Decyl Glucoside; Calendula officinalis Flower Extract; Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice; Glycerin; Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate; Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Oil; Kakadu (Terminalia ferdinandiana) Plum Extract; Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) Gum; Oak (Quercus robur) Bark Extract; Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Extract; Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Leaf Extract

I have to say that I really like this face wash, it doesn't make ridiculous promises, and works very well without irritating my skin. And at £11.50 for a bottle, it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Now they also have a vitamin C serum, which I have my eye on. I am very happy to announce that currently there is a completion going on instagram where you can win the whole range of U little Beauty products. Here are all the details on how to enter.

This was a PR sample, the review is my own honest opinion.

Saturday 2 November 2013

On trial: vapour

Somehow I have amassed a small collection of Vapour makeup samples. It was an interesting experiment trying this brand out as I haven't chosen any of these colours myself. I had some eye shadows, multi use blush, siren lipstick and a lip gloss.

Eye shadow. Normally a strictly powder girl, I have been swayed towards cream formulations when I discovered RMS. I am so impressed with this formulation. One thing to remember with these is to warm it up on the back of your hand ( or with your finger, if you want to save some product). You need to give some time for oils and butters to melt a little and create a perfect creamy texture, then you can glide it on directly from the tube (otherwise you will be just dragging the skin on your eyelids, causing discomfort and wrinkles).

Amber. This is a sparkly dark brown ( looks like dark chocolate with fine glitter). When applied you can use it just as wash of colour for a hint of smokiness or build it up to be quiet dark and intense.
Now I am a bit funny about brown shadows, on the one hand I have blue eyes and browns offset them marvellously, on the other hand I find them a little boring and some shades can make you look fatigued. This colour does not have red undertones, so it is one of the flattering browns. I try not to have more than two shadows in similar colour, and at the moment I have three browns. So this one is going on the approved list for possible future purchases.

Cinder. Now this one is a hidden gem. It is a sort of shimmery beige, with very slight hint of pink colour. When applied, it instantly brightens up your eyes, transforming them from tired to sparkling with vitality. I would have never have chosen this colour myself (clearly a mistake on my part) thinking it a little safe. After seeing the effect of this eye shadow, I can assure you that my makeup collection has been updated to include some nude shades.

Overall this has become my favourite brand for cream eye shadows. I have already purchased a couple, and have my eye on a few more. They feel very comfortable on my eyes, don't irritate them whatsoever and they only start to crease after about 7-8 hours (and that's without any extra steps of priming beforehand or powder on top).

Aura Multi Use Blush. This is a cream blush that you can use as eye shadow and lip colour. I can tell you that I did not like the feel of it on my lips (it might be because both samples I have are a shimmer formula), but they do feel very comfortable on the eyes.

Starlet. This is a beautiful pink shade with pearly shimmery effect. The colour is stunning, just like slightly flushed cheeks (and if not for the shimmer it would look totally natural). I just can't get over how good it looks. The shimmer has more of a pearl effect rather than sparkle, which I like. I think it would be a good option for a night out or maybe in winter (basically times with not a great amount of sunshine)

Intrigue. This has all the same qualities as Starlet but instead of a pink this is more of a coral. And where I would find Starlet  a little too pink to put on as eye shadow, intrigue looks gorgeous. A gorgeous multi stick for summer.

Overall I really like the formulation of the blushes and I have my eye on the shimmerless version in Courtesan ( I prefer my blush products without sparkle). But I do really like the effect of Intrigue, so I might get it in the summer.

Siren lipstick. These were a pleasant surprise. I wasn't to keen on the way they looked in the pots, or when I swatched them on my arm. Yet on the lips they looked so good. They feel moisturising but still nicely pigmented, and look very flattering.

Tempt. this is a sort of mauve pink. One of those your lips but slightly brighter more vibrant colours. I am just starting to appreciate a toned down lip (but no I am not giving up my red lipstick completely) and this shade is on top of the list for a more neutral look.

Saucy. This is a toned down coral shade. One word, sublime. I am a huge fan of warmer colours and this one ticks all the boxes. It happens to be brightening and understated at the same time. You can probably tell that it will be becoming part of my collection.

Overall I had very low expectations of these lipsticks. It just proves how wrong first impressions can be. They are very long lasting ( I find that I only need to reapply after eating/drinking, but I'm sure if I took smaller bites it could survive it) and have a wonderful finish (almost like you just have colour on and not lipstick). All the colours look really great, and I would love to try them all at some point, but Saucy and Courage are going to be the ones I will get first.

Elixir plumping lip gloss. I very rarely buy lip glosses nowadays. Just sort of fell out of love with them. I did like the way this one looked and felt but it is not a product I would purchase myself. However if it was a gift from someone I would most definitely use it. If you like lip glosses, this one is very good quality.

Pout. This is a nude colour with very fine almost imperceptible shimmer. It looks truly gorgeous when it catches the light. I also found that it was really nicely pigmented. And to top it all off, it wasn't sticky or have any unpleasant smell (yes even natural glosses don't always smell nice), in fact it didn't seem to have any fragrance, and I actually appreciate it in a colour lip product. I do like my lip balms to have a scent but not my lipstick, it just gets too much.

I have been pleasantly surprised by Vapour. I was all set and had my favourites for pretty much every make up category. These samples have been a game changer. Just need to free up some space in my make-up bag (ok I mean bags, most girls have more than one right?)

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Ambre botanicals Costa Del Azahar soap

My shower times are very special to me. It is a time when my body gets to relax and I get to reflect on the events of the day (or plan out the day ahead). Everything has to be in balance for the most enjoyable experience: temperature, water pressure and the products I use.

I have an array of products on rotation, and I don't always know what I will be using until I am actually in the shower, completely depends on my mood. Lately  I have been reaching more and more for the Ambre botanicals Costa del Azahar warming and moisturizing soap, and it is no mystery why.

I am not really a cold weather person, I do love the change of seasons but I always miss summer terribly. And this soap is like a little slice of summer.

First of all, it has very cheerful orangey colour  and you can see flower petals going through the soap. It comes beautifully presented in black cardboard, in keeping with the handcrafted aspect of the soap. The inspiration behind it are the orange plantations in the Spanish Costa del Azahar. I have to say when I first used this soap (before reading the description) all I could think of were spiced oranges.

The fragrance of the soap is very subtle, yet distinctively warm. I actually like the fact the scent isn't very strong, it is just there at the back of my mind rather then assaulting my senses in my time of contemplation. I get a hint of something citrusy and a hint of spice.

When you pick up the bar it feels very creamy, it doesn't melt in your hands but you can instantly tell that it is full of skin loving oils and butters. It leaves my skin super soft that I don't feel horrified if I skip body moisturising products (which happens fairly often) due to lack of time or forgetfulness.

Now this soap has ginger essential oil for its warming properties on the skin. I can't really tell if I notice the effects because I do have rather hot showers (according to my husband, I look like a lobster when showering). But I cannot dispute that whenever I use it, this soap does give me the same feeling as a nice cup of tea on a cold day, it leaves me relaxed and content.