Monday, 31 August 2015

Favourites | August 2015

Roger & Gallet Fleur De Figuier Eau De Parfum (Link) £27.00
I included the water spray version of this scent in my May Favourites and stated my desire to try the newly released EDP version and wow it does not disappoint; it doesn't smell exactly like the original Fleur De Figuier line it's like it's naughty sister. The notes are the perfect combination of sweet, savoury and musky and when most people would probably choose to save for the evening I love this as an everyday scent when my Tom Ford Black Orchid might not be appropriate as it's so distinctive but not at all offensive. The rrp is £40ish which is pricey but have it on offer at the moment (plus 25% off site wide) so if you're contemplating the purchase now's the time; the scent lingers all day so totally worth it.

Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer (Link) £22.50
After some recent late nights this concealer has been a total lifesaver as this can cover anything, seriously the word full coverage should have been invented for this concealer. Normally I don't tend to enjoy full cover concealers under my eyes as they can look too much but when this is blended it doesn't look heavy or cakey whatsoever and gives you some insane coverage which stays put all day and of course for spot concealing it's the dogs bol@*cks. I think this is the only Tarte product i've tried so far (until recently it was only available in the US) and I'm itching to try their full coverage foundation and maybe some of their eyeshadows.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wizz (Link) £15.50
Ok so i'm so 2008 i'm so 2000 and late I know I know, this was all the rage on YouTube a couple of years ago and it never appealed to me; the whole point is that it's a super fine retractible pencil and because my brows are so blonde and I'm faced with the mammoth task of filling them in everyday I thought it would take ages and as i'm rather heavy handed the super fine pencil would just brake. I was oh so wrong. This was love at first swipe; it is seriously the pencil I will use until I give up wearing makeup as it just works, my brows look better than they have ever because it fills them in precisely and manages to not looked drawn on. Magic / Witchcraft whichever I am joining the coven!

Roger & Gallet Bienfaits Invigorating Shower Gel (Link) £6.00
I swear i'm not sponsored by R&G, I am a rather sensitive soul with annoying skin that likes to break out anywhere that most shower gels touch so I have to be careful with the body products I use and R&G have never let me down. The Bienfaits is another line I love especially body product wise because I would consider it very unisex so great if you want a shower gel for the whole house, the notes are citrusy but not sweet at all and the bergamot makes it very rich and spicy which in the morning just wakes up all my senses and I will admit to having the hand cream on my desk at work for when I need a pick me up!

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (Link) £36.00
Last month I went to a little Kiehl's introduction at the Trafford Centre in Manchester and I was able to learn all about the brand and their heritage (which I loved, seriously pop in if you can because the staff are lovely) I was sent away with a few little testers and I will admit to never trying Kiehl's before; of course i'd heard of it i'd just not gotten round to trying their products. Another lesson learnt because the Midnight Recovery Concentrate is brilliant, it's a blend of essential oils designed to repair the skin and I have to say my skin has been loving it; it's soft and hydrated more than ever and at £36.00 I think is a must have because i've recently purchased an £85.00 oil and I think I prefer the Kiehl's one for more than half the price.

Schwarzkof Got2B All Star (Link) £2.79
I actually couldn't believe the price when I saw it, the new All Star from Schwarzkof Got2B line is a leave in conditioner designed to do it all hair care wise and to be your best buddy if you're in a pinch for time or need something for your gym bag and this was my intention for it however it never made it to my gym bag. I really like it for using everyday; it makes my hair feel so soft, it looks smooth and I find it doesn't tangle as much during the day when I've used it. A total bargain and winner for me, in fact i've been using a few of their products recently and they perform seriously well against some brands which are much more expensive.

ThisWorks Sleep Plus Pillow Spray (Link) £21.50
Another admission; I probably wouldn't have ever bought this had I not tried it first because sleep deprivation is not something I suffer from ... in fact if sleeping was a talent I think I could win some sort of medal for it much to my boyfriends dismay because he suffers from the 'I can't sleeps' and I fall asleep before my head hits the pillow most nights. I do however suffer from the 3am 'I gotsa pee's' because I drink too much tea and water at night so when I drag myself to the bathroom at night sometimes I struggle to get back to sleep; the Sleep Plus Pillow Spray has saved my bacon on a number of occasions when this happens so now I just have the routine of reaching for my bottle and spritzing it on my pillow just as i'm retuning to my lovely bed and it just lulls me to sleep quick as you like so there's no staring at the clock worrying myself about falling asleep at my desk etc just beautiful, glorious sleep. If you have issues in the sleep department as silly as it sounds try this out because it really works to help get you to sleep and keep you asleep as it is designed to gradually release the scent as you sleep.

What have you been using this month? I really want to try some more Kiehl's and Tarte so recommend me some products to nosey at!!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Exante Diet: The Sam Bailey Diet Plan

As i've been losing weight over the past few months and sharing my progress on social media i'm often asked which diet i'm on and my reply is always the same: eating more healthily than before and exercising. Having never tried a specific meal plan or diet I thought it would be interesting to try some and see how much difference they actually make.

I came across ExanteDiet specifically their 5:2 diet (Link) which I thought would be very achievable to follow however I then saw that Sam Bailey is their new spokeswoman and recently lost two stone in two months following the ExanteDiet and they have a specific Sam Bailey Meal Plan option to choose which is all your meals for a week/ 2 weeks/ a month depending on whichever option you choose. I thought I would give it a try and share my progress on my blog, as i'm fairly busy day to day I hope it will be a great plan to follow as the pack includes all your meals and you just need to add a bit of fruit and vegetables a day so if you don't have time to plan meals I think you'll be on to a winner with this.

I think it will be a great feature over the next month on the blog and I have my posts planned out for my updates and if you want to join me on the plan and get involved there's a major 40% off discount code for the August Bank Holiday (31st Aug - 1st Sept) so if you act quickly and use BANKHOL you can get 40% off site wide or use code NICOLAEXANTE for 18% off for new customers (Link) if you don't catch the 40% discount in time.

The Sam Bailey 4 week plan is on offer at £80.00 (Link) which for a months worth of food i'd say is a really affordable diet plan compered to some i've seen which is the main reason I thought ExanteDiet was a good long term diet plan to try out. Have you tried ExanteDiet or any of their products before?

Monday, 17 August 2015

Charlotte Tilbury at Selfridges Trafford Centre

Last month saw the power house of Charlotte Tilbury introduced to the Selfridges Beauty Hall at the Trafford Centre Manchester and I went for a nosey at the new stand and to have my makeup done. You should all know by now i'm a huge fan of the brand and a total fan girl of Charlotte herself so I was really keen for someone trained in the art of Tilbury apply my favourite products to see the result.

I was my boring old self and chose the 'Golden Goddess' look because it's the look I always aim for when applying my makeup and I thought if someone actually showed me how I might achieve it one of these days. I loved the result and to say I was glowing was an understatement, the combination of the Wonder Glow Skin Illuminator (Link) as a primer, the Light Wonder Foundation (Link) and Film Star Bronze and Glow Palette (Link) had my skin more glowing than the love child of J-Lo and Kim Kardashian. I hadn't tried a base product from the line before (apart from the Bronze & Glow Palette) and I was as impressed by these as I expected to be as nothing has disappointed me from the brand before and they didn't fall short.

She used the Golden Goddess palette on my eyes which i've already reviewed (Link) and it may be strange to some to choose a palette that I'm already so familiar with but like I said she was applying as Charlotte intends not just my regular plonk it on and go mentality and I'm pleased to say she gave me new ways to use the shades and also how to use the glitter shade which I've barely touched to be honest.

On my lips I was tempted to ask for the new Matte Revolution shade 1975 from the Norman Parkinson collection (Link) which of course is a to-die for orangey red (which I MUST own) but I went for a colour that isn't a usual choice for me which is Stoned Rose (Link) a really natural rosy nude without being too nude. It is the perfect day time shade to wear and oh my god the Lip Lustre in Ibiza Nights (Link) is the most sparkly gorgeous lip gloss/lacquer i've ever tried, my lips looked so plump when it was on and it lasted through a pad thai so great for everyday use. This combo was lovely on and I probably wouldn't have ever chosen it for myself.

If you're near the Trafford Centre Selfridges pop in to see the girls, they're so lovely and they have some skills I can tell you! You can't miss the new stand as it's slap bang front and centre where all Charlotte Tilbuy stands should be and I was told the products are flying off the shelves but I wish the every day women would leave us Bloggers some to buy because my shopping list has tripled after my visit and the new Magic Foundation to launch soon will definitely get me paying another visit because it sounds like it could be 'The One'

Have you tried any Charlotte Tilbury? What have you thought?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Currently Obsessed With: Urban Fruit

‘I don’t get the whole diet thing … I mean it has the word ‘die’ in it ‘ … yes I’m actually seriously quoting a Kardashian but it’s true. We all agree that Khloe’s body is banging and she obviously works mighty hard at it and she talked about cutting out fizzy drinks and how she achieved it and I love picking up little tips along the way to help challenge myself to give up the elements of my diet that I’m not happy with.

I think it’s always great to share healthy tips so I thought I’d show what I’m currently obsessed with snack wise. I seem to crave something sweet after my evening meals at night and it’s so tempting to reach for the biscuit tin or the freezer for some ice cream but I’ve managed to kick this little habit by eating dried fruit instead, now you do need to watch out for hidden sugar in some as I’ve found a lot of places like to sweeten up their offerings which is no better than eating that ice cream really so my favourite brand of fruit is the Urban Fruit range.

There’s plenty of choice and you can buy larger packets or more handbag/lunch box friendly sizes too and I always have some in my handbag because there’s nothing worse than being caught out somewhere and being hungry but not having any healthy options so having some of these in my bag has helped me out a pickle or two. My favourite has to be the strawberries and I admit I need these taking off me so I don’t eat the entire bag at times because I probably could eat about 5 bags in one sitting they’re so nice. In the correct doses they counteract my sweet craving and I don't feel in the slightest bit guilty. Urban Fruit is available at all major supermarkets so I always stock up when I'm shopping as they're so handy.

What are your guilt free snacks that keep you on track?

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Tutorial: Bronze Smoky Eye + Orange Lip | With Mac + Illamasqua for Metquarter Liverpool

The lovely people at Metquarter Liverpool challenged me to create a makeup look using Mac and Illamasqua, of course being festival season I wanted to create a minimal effort maximum effect look that suited as many skin tones as possible and what better than a bronzy smoky eye with a bright orange lip; the epitome of Summer Makeup.

Let me know if you recreate the look and send me a pic i'd love to see them, thanks to Metquarter for the challenge I definitely recommend you take a visit if you're in Liverpool there are great beauty brands like Mac, Illamasqua and Jo Malone as well as great fashion shops and most importantly for a shopping trip ... Food!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Favourites | July 2015

1. Pureology Hydrate Shampoo (Link) + Conditioner (Link) - £14.10 each
I've never tried Pureology before and I found these on offer on HQ Hair so thought i'd give them a whirl and I have been loving them. The shampoo is seriously thick and produces a really thick foam almost like shaving foam so it takes a while to distribute through the hair so not one for quick showers, the conditioner isn't the thickest so washes out really well and you're not left with any residue or heaviness. I have to say I love the smell of both products; the shampoo smells almost herby and the conditioner like mint which is quite odd because mint is usually used as an ingredient for oily scalps not hydration but they're nice and fresh and a really refreshing change compared to the more sweet fruity scents you usually get from shampoo and conditioners. This combo leave my hair really soft and hydrated without any heaviness so I really recommend them if you have dry hair.

2. Vichy Beautifying Cleansing Micellar Oil (Link) - £13.75
This oil cleanser has just been released from Vichy so I had to try it, the product is very thin so you need very little as it distributes over the face really well. It makes taking my makeup off a breeze including my waterproof mascara and is very affordable mainly because it's mineral oil based (which I only really have an issue with if brands are charging premium prices for which Vichy are not) I will definitely re-purchase this because of how effective it is and the price point and availability.

3. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ (Link) - £15.50
I would say this is a product i've re-purchased more than any other i'm probably on my 15th tube, basically if I don't use this I get spots. I made the mistake of not repurchasing last month thinking I've got loads of other day creams I can use and it resulted in a MAJOR break out so I hot footed it to Boots and stocked up. I recommend this to anyone who gets spots as it seems to just prevent me getting them and If I get the odd one it helps to clear them up quickly.

4. MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Radiant Rose (Link) - £19.00
I saw Makeup By Tiffany D use this liquid highlighter as a under eye corrector and naturally I had to be a copy cat and try it out and i've been loving it. It brightens my under eye area perfectly which means I need a lot less concealer to cover my dark circles so my eyes look brighter and fresher.

5. MAC Pro Longwear Paintpot in Indianwood (Link) - £16.00
I love using cream shadows as a base under my eyeshadow and this is a classic from MAC reformulated for their Pro Longwear line and boy is it long wearing; I have oily eyelids and this doesn't budge. I tend to wear it under my shadow and it remains creaseless for 15 hours and has lasted through work out classes after work, you can also use it on it's own so great for a quick makeup look in the morning that will last you all day. There are loads of shades available so you're bound to find one to suit you and Indianwood is my typical bronzy gold I adore.

6. MAC Amber Times Nine Eyeshadow Palette (Link) - £30.00
This is a fantastic palette, the shadows are smaller than MAC standard eyeshadows but gram for gram this works out cheaper and at £30 for a palette a complete bargain I think especially when every shade is very wearable for me and I've been using it everyday since I got it plus it's so compact for in your makeup bag.

I've been loving trying so many new products recently and getting out of my usual routines so let me know what you recommend and what were your July favourites.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

What's In My Bag: Phillip Lim Edition

God old school YouTube flash back or what??

But lets face it it's just an excuse to show off my new bag to the world. I've wanted a 'mini bag' for a while and since i've started driving that want became a 'need'; most of my bags are quite large and I found myself just grabbing my keys, phone and purse and running out the door rather than carry a bag because there wasn't need for such a large one ... Enter the Phillip Lim 3.1 Pashli Mini. It's so small and adorable, it's surprisingly roomy inside so fits all my essentials (see below), you can carry it via the handles or the strap on your shoulder or cross body and those are all the check points when I buy a new bag. Quality wise it's very good, the leathers nice and at this point I can't say how it will wear but for now i'm very happy with my purchase and could see myself getting it in more colours.

So what is actually in my bag?
  • Sunglasses - These are the Dior 'So Real' Sunglasses which are the new blogger/vlogger must have it would seem and I fell into the trap because day to day life they are very unique and I love to not wear the same as everyone else and lets face it these ain't no wayfarer.
  • Blotting Sheets - These DHC ones are really compact and have rather pretty (and practical) packaging so perfect for a miniature bag such as this.
  • Perfume - My beloved Tom Ford Black Orchid which is my signature scent (although there is a contender which i'll blog about soon) I always forget to put on perfume when i'm in the house so if it's in my bag I always get it out for a spritz.
  • Lip Products Galore - I'm one of those weirdo's that panic if I don't have some sort of lip balm with me at all times and if I don't and then realise I don't my lips get suddenly dry and i want to scratch them off. So I always make sure I have a Carmex in every bag plus an extra just in case (I'm using one from a GlossyBox I got) and I always have a bright lipstick just in case i'm invited to anything after work, Tom Ford in Wild Ginger is the perfect orangey red.
  • Bronzer - I always carry a bronzer/highlighter combo with me and the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze + Glow is my all time favourite, because I get oily during the day I often find using a face powder isn't always the most flattering for a touch up and so a quick sweeping of bronzer gives me glowing skin without the oilies or overly matte skin from a powder. 
  • Phone - I'd rather my right arm be taken off me than my phone ... it's my lifeline to the world and I have been an iPhone user since 2008 and it's not likely to change in future.
  • Purse/Card Holder - As this bag is so teeny tiny a big purse isn't practical so my Kate Spade purse and card holder do a perfect job of making sure I can pay for things, get my advantage card points, get into the gym etc without taking up half the space in my bag.
  • Chewing Gum - I was always brought up not to chew gum because 'it's rude to talk with gum in your mouth' and I still maintain this so I literally have it in my mouth for 30 seconds for a quick freshen up and then it's in the nearest bin. I really need to buy the Listerine mint strips that they seem to have stopped selling in the uk apart from on Amazon.
Of course this is the clean cut version by this time next week there will be about a dozen receipts in there, to-do lists galore and also a pack of yogurt coated blackcurrant flakes or dried strawberries that accompany me wherever I am.

What manner of things do you lug around with you?