Friday, 17 October 2014

The BEST buy for amazing eyebrows

Source: Cara Delevingne for Burberry
I've been thinking recently about what my essential, can't-live-without-it, make-up item would be and, if I had to pick just one great thing, what would I choose? (Yes, this is the stuff that fills my mind in-between changing nappies and doing the school run. Epic, I know.) And actually, though I use a handful of make-up products every day, I've figured that the thing I love, without fail, is my eyebrow pencil.
Every beauty editor/make-up artist/facialist worth their salt will tell you how your eyebrows 'frame your face' and it's true. It really is. Without them your eyes lose their definition and your face loses its structure and yet some of us still pluck away at them until they're barely-there - only to 'draw' them back in again, as if we're penning birds wings onto our faces, not brows. It's weird, right?
I use mine daily purely for filling-in any patchy bits but also, to define their shape, as I was never blessed with the kind of bushy brows that have gained Cara Delevingne her supermodel status - though I envy them hugely. And when I apply mine, I go for light, little 'strokes' rather than 'drawing' anything on or trying to attempt a shape that is completely different to my own. I also add a little bit of length right at the ends. The result is a slight more groomed looking me - that, a little lip colour and sometimes, if I'm lucky, freshly washed and dried hair (okay, that's pushing it a little) and I can face the school run without worry.
Brilliant brow stuff
Please don't listen to people who tell you that you need to spend upwards of £10 to get a good one. A make-up artist once told me how a certain renowned brow pencil was a brilliant match for pretty much anyone and when I paid up my £17 or so and took it home, I was horrified at how scratchy and well, 'ginger' the colour of it was. Get one that matches your brow colour or is maybe one shade darker for sure but don't opt for black when your hair is light blonde or vice versa. L'Oreal Paris Brow Artiste Eyebrow Pencil, £5.49 is the best I have ever used and just so easy. The pencil is non-scratchy, there's a brush attached for tidying and there's also a wax nib at the other end to help keep stray strands in their place. It comes in three shades and is ridiculously affordable. Job done.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Review: Hydraluron Moisture Jelly

I don't think you're ready for this jelly...
It's been a long time. It seems as if the last few weeks have, quite literally, flown by and I really haven't had a moment to sit and think about my blog. Sorry. In my defense, things really have been super busy. My little boy, Max, started school last week and with it has come uniforms (and ironing!), packed lunches, gym kits, reading books and all that stuff that you have to somehow squeeze in each night. Really, this seemed ages off not so long ago and then, suddenly, it's all happening and your baby is off to school. Sob. And you've lost your iron. And you get a ton of work to do. H.E.C.T.I.C.
 So I'm only just getting round to trying some new products I've been sent recently and I've come across a few gems I thought I'd share with you. For now, Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly, £24.99, is rocking my insane world and sorting out my skin too, which is a great thing. Don't get me wrong, my skin isn't bad (and rarely is) but of late, it's been looking a tad dull and a few dry patches have consistently been cropping up that my usual moisturiser just hasn't been able to fix. So I've been looking for something new.
Hydraluron is an amalgamation of five different moisturising ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, hydrolite 5 and fucogel, which forms a protective film over your skin to prevent moisture loss. So it really is literally packed with moisture. However, the real sell for me comes from its unique texture. Let's talk about the jelly. Okay, so I was dubious at first that this would even hydrate my skin - when you think of moisturiser, it's creams, lotions and balms that usually come to mind. Yet this really does work. I used a teeny amount (you need about the size of a pea) and it softened all my dry spots and left my skin feeling super soft. And as an added bonus, the refreshing texture of the jelly feels amazing when you're up so early you can barely see. So it's a win-win.

(You can buy Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly here. )

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My new baby clothes crush

Magnificent stuff
You may remember in this money saving post I wrote here that I swore by buying essentials like baby vests and bodysuits from H&M - purely because your baby is bound to ruin/grow out of/poo all over them in a matter of weeks. However, I also said that it's also a great idea because you can then set some money aside for the truly gorgeous stuff that you really can't resist couldn't possibly do without. And this is where Magnificent Stanley comes in.
I came across Magnificent Stanley whilst nosing through a friend's Instagram feed and it was genuinely love at first sight. The simple white and navy t-shirts, body suits and bibs are all gorgeous enough (and amazing quality) but the real hook here is that they're all adorned with beautiful Liberty print fabrics that you can have personalised to suit your little one. And they're all handmade with care and obvious affection by founder and creator Becky Belfield. How nice is that?!
Elsie in her 'E' tee
I went for a navy cotton tee with an 'E' in the 'Thorpe' Liberty print for Elsie and I have to say, I loved it as soon as it arrived, (beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and red and white striped string). It's super soft and the little turn-up details on the sleeves couldn't be cuter but of course, it's the Liberty print personalised letter that makes it really stand out. It's just so pretty. I'm already thinking of getting another, maybe in the 'Geometric' or 'Pears' print for Max and I've bought another for my friend's baby (they make the best gifts). Take a look and I promise you'll love.

(Prices start at £12 for a personalised bodysuit. Visit for more details).

Monday, 18 August 2014

Review: Aliens Love Underpants: Live

We love pants!
It's been a super hectic last few weeks both with work and at home which means I haven't had a lot of time to go about testing the latest beauty launches or even thinking about my next blog post. Sorry about that. However, I did go and see a brilliant theatre production with Max, my four-year-old, called Aliens Love Underpants (stay with me) that I thought I'd tell you about. Before I had my one-year-old, Elsie, I made a little pact with myself that, when we were settled, I would dedicate a whole day every couple of months or so to spend with Max. Just the two of us. It means he gets me all day long, with no interruptions and to be honest it works both ways; I get to have these special moments with him that I'll cherish as he grows. 

So, back to the underpants. Those in-the-know i.e parents everywhere, will be fully aware that this is a rather brilliant book by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort all about, well, aliens that come down from outer space to steal your underpants. (It all makes sense when you read the book) It's a genuinely funny little story, not too long or too short and the illustrations are just lovely, so I jumped at the chance to check out how they'd do it at the theatre. And really, it was great. It veers a little from the book in that the story begins with Timmy (the little boy in the book) at school and dreaming of going into space. And the aliens themselves are created with hand held, life-sized puppets which the actors hold and move about (this bit I was really dubious about but the puppets are so well done, it really works). It's classic children's theatre; there are a few songs thrown in, lots of interactive sections where the kids can get involved and a whole lot of silliness. And we loved it. I know Max did because he was singing 'Aliens Love Underpants' all the way home.
(Tickets for Aliens Love Underpants are available here and cost from £10).

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Beauty Editors with Babies: Kate Jones

Kate and Rosie
It might have taken a few lost emails, astray Twitter messages and a bit of pestering (all on my part - sorry Kate!) but I'm so happy to have finally got the lovely beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, Kate Jones (nee Turner), to fill this next 'Beauty Editors with Babies' post. I've known Kate for many years and every time our paths cross, whether it be at a beauty launch or just outside the office, we've always had so much to talk about. At first, I think it was about our shared love of soft rock (!), then, when we both had babies; nurseries, sleep (or lack of it), the work-life balance (and when will we ever have coffee) became our main talking point. As the beauty editor at what is, let's face it, a hugely successful brand such as Cosmo, Kate has got a lot on her plate. She's also a mum to a gorgeous three-year-old girl, Rosie. And she's just got married. So you can see why I was so keen to get her to do this post; she has so much going on, her beauty buys must be pretty damn good to get anywhere near her make-up bag. So here they are. And Kate, I promise, we will have that coffee. Soon.

1. Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil, £39 (
'Countless beauty editor friends recommended this oil to me when I got pregnant, and now I do the same! It's packed with plant extracts that help keep your skin firm and flexible as your bump grows. I used this religiously twice a day and didn't get a single stretch mark (and I was massive) . I also adore the spa-like scent - it felt like a mini treatment.' 

2. Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream, £23 (
'Ever since I had a baby I've been obsessed with my sleep-deprived eyes! I've become a committed-tester of line-busting magic potions, and this is my current favourite. It's light but powerful and has a really flattering brightening tint that seems to lift your whole face. Love it.' 

3. Viviscal, £49.95 for 60 tablets (
'I absolutely swear by these hair supplements. They're packed with biotin and zinc to create fuller, thicker hair and they seriously transformed my limp, post-baby locks in about six months. It's now the longest and thickest it's ever been.
They're expensive but in my opinion, nothing works quite so well.'

4. BareMinerals Original SPF15 Foundation, £25 (
'An elaborate makeup routine is pretty far down my list of priorities these days! This mineral powder foundation is a game-changer. Just swirl it on with a kabuki brush and you get a flawless, retouched skin effect in seconds. And because it's good for your skin, it doesn't even matter too much if you're too knackered to take it off at night. Bonus.' 

5. This Works Baby Sleep Pillow Spray, £16 (
'This is my standard gift for new mums. It's 100% natural and its lavender, camomile and vetiver blend has been proven to help babies get to sleep more quickly and to sleep more deeply. It smells divine and, yes, IT WORKS. It's part of our bedtime routine, every night (I have the one for grown-ups too!).'

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ten Time Saving Beauty Buys

It occurred to me recently that everything I use in my beauty routine, whether it's for the face, body or hair has some sort of time saving element to it. I guess that, since becoming a mum, I've subconsciously gone for faster working products because like everything in my life right now, (think eating, cleaning, traveling, working) I am constantly in a hurry.  Even taking a shower needs to be done with a certain degree of speed. And to be honest, I love all of these products. I love that taking off my nail polish now takes five minutes, when it used to take fifteen and I love that I've found a lip colour that's so fool-proof, I can put it on without even looking in a mirror. Seriously, these products are genius. And whether you're a mum or not, I think you'll love them too.

1. Bioderma Sensibio H20, £10 (
A cleansing water and make-up remover in one. This takes off everything incredibly fast (waterproof stuff too) and soothes any irritation and redness. Brilliant.

2. Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint Moisturising Lip Colour Balm, £17 (
I can't stress how amazing these are. Think Crayola-thick sticks that go on like a dream, leave your lips with a subtle slick of colour and feeling lovely and soft too.

3. Tangle Teezer, £10.60 (
I've raved about this so much but my fine hair genuinely couldn't be without it. I can brush my hair straight after showering with this and it will be completely tangle and tear-free.

4. Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover Hands & Feet, £5.99 (
Happy, happy dance. I am so overjoyed that they now do this for hands and feet. Buy this and trust me, you will never buy another nail polish remover again. It's that good.
5. Lancome Flash Bronzer Self-Tanning Mousse, £24 (
As a beauty editor, I have tried so many self-tans and though this isn't a newbie, it's still one of my favourites. It blends easily, works immediately and gives the most natural looking colour.

6. Garnier BB Cream Original, £6.66 (
I think this was the first BB cream to hit the UK and though I've tried loads of others I still think this is the best. It's so easy to wear and the best thing for transforming tired looking skin.

7. Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser, £2.37 (
I'm rubbish at applying body lotions post-shower so this feels like it was made for me. Just shower as normal, apply onto wet skin and dry off. No need for moisturising afterwards. Whoop!

8. Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo, £13.50 (
I love dry shampoos but this one really does stand out. It's packed with soothing ingredients so won't irritate the scalp and it's brilliant at absorbing oil when you haven't had time to shampoo.

9. Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara, £18 (
Clinique call this a 'does-it-all' mascara and it's easy to see why. It lengthens, adds stacks of volume, curls a little and gives the glossiest black finish. Love.

10. Percy & Reed Lovingly Light Foaming Treatment Mask, £20 (
This is great. Most hair masks invariably leave my fine hair feeling weighed down but I use this just once a week (it takes two minutes) and it's healthier, softer and shinier looking immediately.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Better You MultiVit Oral Spray

Lately, I seem to have been dealing with one cold/infection/bug after another and so I've made a little pact with myself to try and get a bit more healthy. In general my diet is pretty good I think but like most people, I'm guilty of eating way too much sugar and caffeine to up my energy levels morning, mid-afternoon and, erm, evening. And it can't be good for me. Anyway. The first thing I really wanted to do was to find some good multi-vitamins and to actually start taking them. Regularly. Not just every few days when I'm feeling really knackered and think it might do me some good. Vitamins don't come cheap and really, what's the point if I'm not going to take them every day.
This is why I love BetterYou MultiVit Oral Spray, £9.95. It's brilliantly good because it pretty much does the job for you. No need to spend precious minutes grabbing a glass of water and prizing open one of those child-proof boxes of pills. Nope. You literally spray this directly under your tongue, four times a day and you're done. Aside from ease, this is also a good thing because the spray delivers the 14 active ingredients directly into the blood vessels under the tongue, which apparently enhances their absorption. And if you're wondering about the flavour? It's described as 'delicious' sour grape, which, in all honesty, isn't quite how I'd describe it but no matter; this ticks so many of my boxes I can stand a little sourness. 
You can buy BetterYou MultiVit Oral Spray here at Victoria Health.