Week in Pictures

Posted on: Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunglasses out for summer, Pimms & revision,
Desperados, Jubilee-inspired nails

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I've got two exams this week so have been busy revising (and drinking Pimms and barbecuing...oops). Come Thursday I will be as free as a bird with lots of new posts!

Hope you are all enjoying the sunshine and have had a lovely week!

Harriet x

St. Moriz Instant Self-Tanning Mousse: Review

Posted on: Sunday, 20 May 2012

This is definitely one of those "I wish I'd found sooner" products. I've been using this for a few months and I can honestly say I would never go back to high-end fake tans or spray tans. I used to feel like you couldn't get a decent looking tan for less than £30, and I would begrudgingly part with my cash for St Tropez, Fake Bake or a Mystic Tan so often without feeling like I was getting results that felt worth the price.

I'd heard of St Moriz before but for some reason had pigeonholed it with the cheap, Ronseal-esque tans symbolic of The Only Way Is Essex and such alike without ever trying it or looking up reviews. Eventually I got to the stage where I could no longer afford to shell out £30 for a measly amount of mediocre fake tan, and that's when this caught my eye whilst I was browsing SemiChem for some Bio-Oil. At £2.99, I wasn't going to be upset if it was rubbish, and I even took the plunge and went for the 'dark' bottle (and I am pale - NW25 and very pasty in winter, damn you cool toned skin).

St Moriz says:
Get a deeper, streak free fake tan...St Moriz Dark gives you a professional, flawless tan with results that has catapulted the St Moriz fake tan range into a cult sensation. St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse Dark produces a gorgeous colour to let you have a deeper golden glow all year round. Simply exfoliate your skin, apply the mousse by gently rubbing onto the skin and let St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse Dark work its magic to leave you with a fast drying, deeper streak free fake tan.
I can't argue with them - this colour really does leave you with a golden tan rather than the awful orange ones that even the likes of St Tropez haven't really managed to get away from in my opinion. I used St Tropez all summer last year and definitely felt on the orange side of tanned. St Moriz gives me the natural brown tan that I want and lasts ages - I still have a lovely natural looking tan six days after application (this is beginning to sound like a sponsored post - I promise you it isn't - I just really do love the product).

This fake tan is a mousse, but the bottle has lasted me absolutely ages (it is a liquid base that turns to foam when you shake the bottle prior to application). It is "instant" in the sense that you could put it on and head straight out looking tanned, but that is more a guide colour and you will get a more natural, less obvious result after showering (which you should do only after the 8-hour mark has passed). I apply with a fake tan mitt and generally apply before bed so I can wash off the guide colour before going out the following day (the 'instant' result can be a little intense).

All in all I think this is an absolutely fantastic fake tan for an even more fantastic price and can't see myself swapping it for anything else anytime soon. You can buy St Moriz for £2.99 at SemiChem.

What are your favourite fake tans? Have you ever tried St Moriz, and if so, what did you think?

Thanks for reading!

Harriet x

Week in Pictures

Boy racer, dippy egg with asparagus and prosciutto,
Ginger's afternoon nap, me and my boyfriend (pulling a silly face)
Stella, gooey brownies,
glass angels, bedsheets
My face!, Clarisonic Mia,
summer flowers, Southern Comfort

The world's tiniest snail which broke my heart! My little sister (pictured below) and I found this little guy on some herbs growing in the garden. Excuse her grubby nails!


This week my boyfriend set up his own blog to showcase some of his artwork. He drew this for me which I think is pretty cool! You can see more of his work here.

I hope you've all had a lovely week and thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog!

Harriet x

The LighterLife Diet: Review

Posted on: Saturday, 19 May 2012

NB: This post may seem a little out of place but I'm intending to do a lot more lifestyle type posts as time goes on. This is also something I've been meaning to do for a while but haven't really had the outlet to do so.

I heard about LighterLife in early 2011 - before it was publicised heavily by the likes of Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson - when a friend of my mum's lost a lot of weight after following the programme. I was nearing the end of my first year at University, during which time the incessant drinking and unremitting consumption of junk food had left me very overweight and completely miserable. The diet promises weekly weight losses like you generally cannot achieve through the conventional 'eat less, exercise more' mantra by substituting food with 'foodpacks' (in the form of soups, shakes, and bars). It is a medically termed Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) which keeps your body in a state of ketosis - your body resorts to burning its own fat stores rather than energy consumed through food. You attend weekly meetings where you are weighed and given 'counselling' in a group with other women or men (they are single sex meetings).

I first started LighterLife in August 2011 and stayed on the programme for five weeks. I lost two stone. That is an average of 5.5 lbs loss per week, which is fantastic by any weight loss standards and surely enough to raise a few eyebrows and "are you sure that's safe?" comments. My hair and nails felt stronger, I didn't get food-induced grumpiness and lethargy, and I was completely motivated by the visible weight loss every week.

I came off the diet in my first week of University as I thought it would be too restrictive and wanted to continue losing weight of my own accord (i.e. eating normal healthy food and exercising). This worked for the first few weeks. Then, of course, old habits crept back and by March of this year I had regained about a stone and a half of what I'd lost. My own fault, yes, but discredits somewhat LighterLife's promise to change the way you think about food for life (and I was a very keen student). The meetings claim to combine Transactional Analysis and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and try to get you to look at the reasons why you overeat and enable you to combat this having come off the diet.

By March of this year, I had resigned myself to the fact I'd put on much of the weight, and thought I'd give LighterLife another go. This time, the excitement of the weekly weight losses was overridden by the knowledge of the horrendous uphill battle and the diet's complete hold on your life. I lasted twelve days. I felt absolutely miserable throughout and found myself tearful and grumpy. All the diet's flaws which I had been subconsciously aware of during my first stint came to ahead and I found myself feeling nothing but resentful of what I'd committed myself to.

Looking back now, in all honesty, I feel a little patronised by the diet. "Food talk" is banned at the counselling sessions, as if at the mere mention of a cheeseburger or a bag of Walkers we would all have complete emotional breakdowns and head straight from the meeting to the local kebab van. Surely one must confront their personal vices, rather than completely ignoring them, in order to change their habits? To ignore the existence of food for the duration of the programme, to me, seems ludicrous. On the dedicated LighterLife forum, some members write 'f**d' instead of food. I don't think I need to put into words what I think of that! The extent of the 'behaviour therapy' made me feel that, rather than being lazy and eating a few too many takeaways, I was eating to fill some vast hole in my life, using food as an emotional comfort blanket to mask the fact that I was deeply unhappy. Was I deeply unhappy? No, I just wanted to lose weight, without being made to feel like I was some weak-willed fatty who needed some serious soul-searching.

To add insult to injury, this diet costs around £75 a week. Some people are on this diet for 18 months. That would cost them roughly £5,400, and for a diet that leaves many putting the weight back on plus more in a lot of cases, it is a steep price to pay. I looked at these reviews and the number of people complaining about gallstones is pretty unnerving too.

There is no denying that this diet produces results and produces them fast. It seems the perfect solution - you don't have to exercise and you will lose weight quickly. But this diet puts your life on hold, and that is its one major downfall. An existence of water, black tea, black coffee and vegetable protein slop is bloody difficult, and I seriously commend those who have children to cook for whilst enduring this!

I'm not denying that for some people, the willpower battle will win through and this diet will produce the results they want fast. Those who manage to keep it off, though few and far between, have some real motivation. In my eyes, this diet is expensive and leaves you feeding off some taught sense of guilt and lack of self-control, and no weight loss for me is worth that.

If you've tried LighterLife then I would like to hear your thoughts: did it work for you? Did you find the counselling sessions useful, or like me, did they leave you questioning yourself completely? Any comments very much welcomed!

A Day in the Life: Make-Up Routine

I've called this a 'Day in the Life' Make-Up Routine because it's the kind of make-up I would wear on your average day and the make-up I wear and use the most. I normally wear smoky eye make up with a pink or coral blush and nude/soft pink lips (NEVER pastel pink - I hate it on me). This would probably have made much more sense if I'd have done it as a video, but I thought the pictures were nice anyway (I roped my 12 year old sister who has a Canon SLR - lucky devil - into snapping away whilst I did my make up).

I need to apologise for the horrible state of my nails in these photos. I've decided to curb my acrylic obsession in order to grow out my natural nails. I bit them for years and now that acrylics have weaned me out of the habit I want to be able to do them myself (and save a hell of a lot of money). As you will know if you've had acrylics, when you take them off it can leave your nails in an awful condition - mine were long but so brittle and most of them tore within a few hours, so I cut them all down to little stumps to let them grow properly...hence why they are so stubby and awful in these pictures!

Anyway, here is my every day make-up routine! Hope you enjoy...

NARS Sheer Glow in Santa Fe and No. 7 Stay Perfect in Tan
Step 1: Blend Foundation
Normally I'd only use the lighter foundation you can see which is NARS Sheer Glow in Santa Fe. At the moment though I'm wearing fake tan (St. Moriz if you're interested) so I need a much darker colour. The one you can see here is No. 7 Stay Perfect in Tan which I stole borrowed from my mum a few years ago. It's not the best foundation by any means but blended nicely it looks nice and the colour match is great for the fake tan too. After blending the two foundations I apply with a large powder brush which gives a nice coverage to the whole face.

MAC Studio Fix Concealer in NW25
Step 2: Conceal
I usually apply concealer with a MAC concealer brush and lightly blend it under my eyes, under my nose and on the pinker areas of my cheeks. If I've got particularly noticeable redness/blotchiness on a particular day, though, I will dab the concealer onto the necessary areas and blend through smudging (if that makes sense). For me, Studio Fix is a high-coverage concealer - it is a chalky formula (for want of a better word) as opposed to more liquid-based concealers like Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection.

NARS Illuminator in Super Orgasm
Step 3: Illuminate
I've put this as Step 3 but quite often I will blend it with my foundation to give an all-over glow. Normally, though, I will apply it to my cheekbones, browbones and philtrum (nerdy word for you - it's the little indent between your nose and top lip). This NARS Illuminator is a beautiful shimmery pink/coral colour and you only need a tiny dab, as you can see, so this should last you a very long time! I would highly recommend them - they come in four of NARS's most famous colours (Orgasm, Super Orgasm, Copacabana and Laguna).

Step 4: Eyebrows
A close-up of Brun
Omega is bottom left, Brun is top right
I used to do little more to my eyebrows than pluck them into shape, and only in the last year or so have I realised how crucial a good brow is! I generally prefer eyeshadows to pencils to fill my brows in. I use a combination of MAC Omega and Brun shadows to get my brows the colour I want them. Omega I originally bought to use on the lid as a pale neutral but wasn't a huge fan - it is a lot greyer than it looks in the pan. It is, however, a great shade for brows. I use an angled brush (this is a MAC one - I forget the numbers - but any will do) to gently blend the shadows into my brows.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24HR in On and On Bronze
Step 5: Eyeshadow
Normally I would use a combination of MAC Wedge and Woodwinked for the lid, but on the day I photographed this I'd just bought the Maybelline Colour Tattoo cream shadows so I wanted to try out this one. I applied it all over the base of the lid and just up to the bottom of the brow bone.

NARS Tropical Heat Wave Palette
For the crease I used NARS Marienbad II eyeshadow from the Tropical Heat Wave Palette, which is a chocolate brown colour, and blended out. I used my Bdellium Tools #781 Crease Brush for this and I think it's an absolutely brilliant brush.
Finished eyeshadow
Step 6: Gel Liner
MAC Fluidline Gel Eyeliner
in Blacktrack
Gel Liner is an absolute staple for me and I hate wearing eyeshadow without it (unless I'm doing a natural look). I use MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack. As you can see my pot is drying out a bit, but I add a tiny drop of water to it whenever it's looking a bit thirsty and it seems to be holding out so far! That's the one thing that annoys me about gel liners: they really don't stay moist for very long at all when you use them regularly (I did also leave this without its lid on for a whole night once...oops).

Step 7: Curl Eyelashes
This is pretty self-explanatory, but it's another must-do part of a make-up routine for me. Whilst my eyelashes are naturally quite long they don't have any real curl to them naturally so curling them beforehand helps my mascara to really accentuate them. These curlers are the Topshop ones and do the trick well enough for me (and they're only £5). On a night out I will curl my lashes and then apply a coat of MAC Prep & Prime Lash (a seriously underrated product - or at least not talked about enough - in my opinion) before applying mascara. Which leads neatly on to...

Step 8: Mascara
This is actually not my usual mascara - which is Max Factor False Lash Effect - but I've found myself using it a lot more recently as it gives a really natural, pretty look to the eyelashes. It is the YSL Singulier mascara and I bought this recently on BuyaPowa. I think a massive part of why I like it so much is because it smells good...anyway. Little else to say about mascara!

Step 9: Bronzer & Blusher
It's probably unusual that I leave my bronzer and blusher til the (almost) very end. For some reason I like to contour my face when the rest is pretty much done: no real reason for this, just a strange habit I suppose! I use a wide powder brush with NARS Laguna to contour in an 'E' shape across my temples, cheekbones, and chin bone, and then swept down the bridge of my nose. For blush, I use a Bobbi Brown blusher brush (completely forgot to take a photo) with NARS Orgasm blush (which you can see in the centre of the NARS Palette pictured above) on the apples of my cheeks.

Step 10: Highlight
NARS Albatross Powder Highlighter
NARS Albatross is one of my absolute favourite make-up products EVER. I seriously cannot sing its praises any more highly than I already do. It's a gold-pearl highlighter of which you need the tiniest amount to give a gorgeous shimmer. This goes roughly where the Illuminator does, and anywhere else I think needs a little boost! This I apply with the same brush I use for my blusher, the Bobbi Brown blusher brush
 So that is my average, day-in-the-life make up routine. Whilst this does obviously vary this is my 'go to' look and has been for some time. 

What are your every day make up staples?

Thanks for reading!

Harriet x

MAC 'Up The Amp' Lipstick

Posted on: Thursday, 17 May 2012

If you've been reading my blog, you will know I am a bit of a MAC lipstick fanatic. About a month back I was having a bit of a down day and thought the one way to cheer myself up would be to go and feed this addiction in my local MAC shop! Bad idea, as of course I didn't just treat myself to one lipstick, I ended up buying £50+ worth of stuff...one of which, however, was this beautiful blue-toned lavender shade called Up The Amp.

When it comes to make-up and fashion, I would definitely not call myself daring. Whilst I'm happy to do a bright eye or lip for a night out, a daytime statement colour sends chills down my spine as I'm convinced I'm drawing unnecessary attention to myself and that everyone is looking at me thinking, what is that absolute clown doing wearing a bright yellow eyeshadow? Obviously for the lips there's only so far you can really go in the name of being bold (well, for me anyway), and this purple was that extreme for me - a little daunting to say the least. When I swatched it on my hand I immediately fell in love and my boyfriend agreed that it was a really pretty shade, and when I saw the Vera collection with its Butterfly Dream Plushglass, I was sold - I had to have this crazy purple duo!

But, actually, this isn't a crazy colour. It's certainly bold, but I get so many compliments when I wear it (and no funny looks, thankfully) that it's become one of my favourite daytime shades. It's nice to change things up sometimes, I think, and I'd become a bit too accustomed to a soft pink or a nude lip for daytime that I was getting a bit bored.

This lipstick is an Amplified Creme formula so it's very creamy and moisturising, but most importantly, buildable. Dabbing it onto the lips and blending it in gently with your finger and finishing it off with a balm leaves a more subtle bluey-lavender stain, and applying a few layers gives you that full-pelt impact perfect for a night out or the slightly more eye-catching daytime look.

I hope you don't mind the Instagram photos - I'm at my boyfriend's house so don't have my SLR. I hope they give you a good idea of the lipstick nonetheless!

Have you tried Up The Amp? Would it be a colour you would go for, or is it just a little too much?

Thanks for reading!

Harriet x

MAC Tendertones Review

I know I'm a bit late to be posting reviews of these as they were limited edition, but they may still be available on some websites (I was able to get all of mine online at Selfridges) if you want to snap them up. Nonetheless, I thought it'd be fun to do a review especially as I went a bit Tendertone-crazy and bought all four...!
Top Row L-R: Purring, Hot 'n' Saucy
Bottom Row L-R: Hush Hush, Tread Gently
These were released as part of MAC's recent Shop MAC Cook MAC collection which came out for Spring 2012 and I'm sure you'll all be familiar with it as it was a very popular collection (it was definitely one of my all time favourites; I'm not keen on their current 'Reel Sexy' collection, which is a shame for me, but a bloody good thing for my bank balance). They released four colours - Purring, Hot 'n' Saucy, Hush Hush, and Tread Gently. They are all colours that I absolutely love but they apply very sheer and glossy with just a hint of colour.

Hot 'n' Saucy
A vibrant red, this is the most pigmented of the four. It is a matte formula in as much as it doesn't have the fine glitter particles that Hush Hush and Tread Gently do.

 A matte formula like Hot 'n' Saucy, Purring is a bright warm-toned coral that gives a slightly coloured glaze to the lips. A beautiful colour for summer!

Tread Gently
This one is probably my favourite but is hard to swatch - this is the best photo I've seen of the result (scroll down to the bottom of the post to see it). Like Hush Hush it has a subtle hint of glitter but looks really pretty either on its own as a balm or coated on top of a coloured lipstick.

Hush Hush
This is an absolutely beautiful colour but as the Tendertones are sheer balms it mostly gives a glossy golden tone to your lips rather than the beautiful pinky-bronze colour that it is to the naked eye. Nonetheless it is a lovely finish! This has glitter particles similar to Tread Gently.

Swatches L-R: Hush Hush, Tread Gently, Hot 'n' Saucy, Purring

Whilst I love these, I probably wouldn't repurchase all four for the simple fact that they aren't different enough from one another to warrant spending £11 each. I'll definitely have one or two of these in my handbag all summer though, so they won't be going dusty in my make up drawers by any means!

Do you have any of the Tendertones? What do you make of them?

Thanks for reading!

Harriet x

Review: By Terry Lip Expert in Crazy Nude

I don't hear much about By Terry on beauty blogs/YouTube, but a close friend of mine works at Space NK and she highly recommended the brand so when this popped up on BuyaPowa I couldn't resist. This retails for £21 and I bought it for £8.50 which was a pretty good bargain I thought!

I'd never tried any By Terry products but I'm really glad I bought this. One major plus point for me is that although it's a lip-plumping gloss it doesn't have that nasty stinging sensation like so many do (MAC Plushglass...ahem), and it gives really noticeable results. When I first used it and it didn't sting I assumed it wouldn't make a difference at all - how wrong I was! My lips looked lovely and full and it just shows pain is not always beauty!

The colour of the gloss is true to its tube and this is my favourite type of nude colour for the lips (slightly golden and nicely pigmented). Because my lips are naturally very pink, sheer nudes can wash me out a little. I would say Crazy Nude is a similar colour to, though slightly darker than, NARS Greek Holiday which is my Holy Grail lipgloss, but I can see myself using this one just as much.

The one downfall of this I suppose would be that the formula is quite sticky. For a plumping gloss though I think that is fair game and it wasn't sticky enough to bother me or get attached to my hair!

Have you ever tried By Terry products? What do you make of them?

Thanks for reading!

Harriet x

Seven Deadly Sins of Beauty

Posted on: Monday, 14 May 2012

Most of you who watch YouTube beauty bloggers as keenly as I do will have seen the '7 Deadly Sins of Beauty' tag videos on many a channel, and I thought it'd be a fun form of procrastination. I hope you find it interesting! So, without further ado...

1. GREED: What is your most inexpensive beauty item? What is your most expensive?
My NARS Tropical Heat Wave Palette
This is where I have to confess that "greed" is probably my biggest beauty sin - I need to be a little more thrifty about my make-up choices because I am usually drawn to the more expensive brands! I think the cheapest is probably my Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in the medium shade. My most expensive is probably my NARS Tropical Heat Wave Palette but I got this off eBay so I didn't pay the full retail price, so the product that I'd have to say would be my NARS Sheer Glow Foundation which retails at £29.50. I have paid more for individual products like fragrances and brushes but because I always repurchase Sheer Glow when it runs out it would definitely be the product I've spent the most money on over the years.

2. WRATH: What beauty products do you have a love/hate relationship with?

This is an interesting one. In many cases my love/hate relationships are with brands - most particularly BeneFit, which I did a long post on here.

I also have a love/hate relationship with most of the NARS Eyeshadow Duos, because I'm normally lured in by one of the colours and then find that the other one has a pretty crummy colour pay-off and the glitter ends up all over my face, no matter how good my primer or how precise my application is.

In terms of type of products, I would probably say gel eyeliners. I love the effect, but hate the application process and how they usually dry up after you've only used about half the product.

3. GLUTTONY: What are your most delicious beauty products?
MAC Tendertones
I think the MAC Tendertones smell pretty delicious! They're a strawberry-kiwi infusion and remind me of the Lip Smackers lip balms I used as a kid (anyone remember them?). Other than that, it has to be fragrances: my favourites are Narciso Rodriguez For Her EDP and Thierry Mugler Angel EDT.

4. SLOTH: What beauty product do you neglect, due to laziness?
Eyeshadow primer all the way. I love it but it's that one thing I skip 9 times out of 10 just out of impatience.

5. PRIDE: What beauty product gives you the most self confidence?
MAC's 'Girl About Town' is one of
those lipsticks that adds confidence
to any outfit
Gel liner, again. I couldn't wear eyeshadow without it. Lipstick, too - a nice colourful lip adds instant confidence to any outfit. And fragrance!

6. LUST: What attributes do you find most attractive in the opposite sex?
I've always liked manly arms and shoulders and a nice shapely back!

7. ENVY: What items would you most like to receive as a gift?
The NARS summer collection at the moment is what I'm most lusting after, I think the colours are so pretty.

Boots Haul: Make-Up, Skincare and Hair Products

There are some shops that I literally cannot walk out of without buying more than I intended to when I walked in. Boots is perhaps the prime suspect - I honestly don't think I have ever set foot out of boots without a cool £30 out of my bank account, and today was no exception.

With the sole intention of buying tampons, I walked out with a whole bag of stuff...

Simple Purifying Cleansing Lotion & Soothing Facial Toner, £2.99 each
So yesterday morning I received in the post the product I've probably been most excited about owning so far this year (maybe on par with my NARS Tropical Heat Wave Palette), the Clarisonic Mia. I'm a believer in fate so when I saw them on sale for £90 on BuyaPowa just as I'd finished a 5,000-word dissertation, I thought convinced myself I could afford it to treat myself for all my hard work! I'll do a review on it in a few weeks time when I've begun to see the results, but I'm already in love with it after only a couple of uses. Anyway, the Clarisonic came with a sample size bottle of cleanser which smells and feels lovely but is obviously not going to last forever. The full-size version also costs a not-so-purse-friendly £21 so, considering my skin is not that problematic, I thought I should pick up a bigger bottle of cleanser and get a toner to go with it (because you can't have one and not the other). Serious skincare addicts will be horrified to know that I've never had cleanser and toner as part of my daily routine: I used to remove my make-up with wipes, then wash my face thoroughly with warm water, exfoliate, polish and then moisturise. Anyway, I digress. I used these last night and this morning and my skin is feeling lovely. I can't obviously do a full-blown review after only a couple of uses but I've always liked Simple's skincare products as they really are, as they say, 'kind to skin'. And at £2.99 a pop are very purse-friendly indeed. If I end up not liking these, I will be sure to let you know, but I doubt I'll do a full review because to be honest I think most people have tried Simple products so will have their own opinions already (which I would be very interested to know, by the way!)

Simple Soothing Eye Balm, £3.99
This was one of those products you see and think, 'I definitely need one of those' even if you've never given its purpose a second thought. Bloody good advertising. So the premise of this is that it will "reduce puffiness and relax tired eyes" and is suitable for sensitive skin. Whilst I don't have sensitive skin or any real problems with it, I do get a bit sore around my eyes if I've had my make-up on too long or had to scrub a bit harder than usual to get it off and it can make my lids quite swollen when I wake up (which looks like I have one giant sty basically - not nice). So, I thought, this might just do the trick, and my eyes did actually feel really lovely and refreshed this morning! I'll keep using it and update you on how it goes but again for such a small price I'm really happy with it.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Eyeshadows in 'On and On Bronze' and 'Eternal Gold', £4.99 each
I honestly think I was the last person on the planet to hear about these little beauties. Over the last week as I've been reading various blogs I've seen these mentioned everywhere and given generally very positive reviews. The colour range is, as everyone's said, pretty crap, but I love golds and bronzes so I was quite happy with these two - 'On and On Bronze' and 'Eternal Gold'. As you can see from the swatches, they are nicely pigmented.
They're called "cream gel" - I definitely wouldn't call them a gel, and whilst they are a cream, they dry to look like a regular powdered eyeshadow which for me is brilliant because I find creams always sink into the creases of my eyelid and look a bit blotchy. Overall very happy with these. One minor niggle is the lack of colour range but I like these two a lot so I'm very happy for now!

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Strawberry Shortcake, £7.99
This is another product that's been doing the rounds and getting very good reviews and I must admit for a long time I was reluctant to shell out £8 (a bit ridiculous given that I will happily pay £13.50 on a whim for a MAC lipstick) for what looked like a slightly hyped-up lip balm. But having worn this all night and all day I am very happy with it and tempted to pick up a few more! The colour range is good and I swatched the ones I liked the look of before deciding on this one which is called Strawberry Shortcake. The formula is lovely and creamy, somewhere between a gloss, a balm and a lipstick, and glides on beautifully. The colour pay-off is what you would want it to be for a 'butter' and it lasted ages on my lips. My one issue is that there's not a massive amount in the tube and it is a product I would be quite generous in applying so I imagine this will run out quite quickly. I do love this but I think the price is still a teeny bit steep for what it is.

L'Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Crystal Sparkling Shampoo & Conditioner, £3.89 each
I picked these up about a week ago so they aren't technically part of this 'haul', but I thought I'd put them here rather than give them a separate post. I've just run out of the L'Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Light shampoo and conditioner which I've been absolutely loving, so wanted to repurchase, but when I saw these - the crystal version with little sparkles in - I couldn't resist. The sparkly shampoo looked so pretty and I assumed they'd be much the same formula - sadly, I was wrong. The Nutri-Gloss Light range always left my hair feeling so soft and silky and I honestly think it's just as good, if not better, than most of the higher end shampoos and conditioners I've tried. This was a little bit...meh. They weren't bad, they just didn't live up to my expectations, and whilst my hair did look quite shiny it got lifeless and dull a lot faster than it did with the Light range. I will use them until they run out but I probably won't repurchase.

That's all for my little haul: let me know if you've tried any of these products and what you thought.

Thanks so much for reading!

Harriet x

BaByliss Pro Wax Heater Review

Posted on: Saturday, 12 May 2012

The wax heater with the protective circular paper to stop hot
wax going all over it (as you can see, I still managed to drip
it all over the front...)
For a long time I've been wanting to get a professional wax kit to use at home. Paying £15 for a half leg wax is a bit ridiculous and shaving just doesn't do the trick. So, after speaking to my friend who has her own wax kit at home, I decided to have a browse on eBay and found this nifty little set for just over £55. Pricey, yes, but it's a one-off purchase and hopefully a lifetime investment. As well as the wax heater pot, you get all the equipment you need to use it (this product is intended for salons but there's no reason you can't or shouldn't use it at home): 2 pots of wax (a lavender one which made my room smell lovely and a honey one which I haven't tried yet), fabric strips, spatulas, and before-and-after care lotions. It all comes packaged in a bag (see the image on eBay) so if you ever needed to transport it you easily could. All in all a very good buy!
The extras! I found this little IKEA fabric drawer to store them
in, which fits into my cupboard

After a very quick delivery I got started straight away on my legs. Having had my legs waxed a few times I thought I knew how it was done...turns out I don't. So after watching some trusty YouTube tutorials, I had another go, and all was well and I now have lovely smooth legs.

I think this gave me a bit of false confidence as I then thought it would be a good idea to do my armpits. Bad move on my part! I definitely need some practice...I did dry my armpits and use the pre-wax spray that gets rid of deodorant etc, but obviously I did something wrong and wrenched the strip off my armpit...and it didn't come off! It just yanked my skin about a metre upwards and left me with a waxy messy and very sore armpit. This is my fault - not the product's - so don't take this as a negative review, because it's the opposite! I just need a LOT more practice.

Anyway, I'm so glad I went ahead and bought this and once I've got a bit better I'm sure it will transform my beauty routine!

Do you have a wax pot at home, or do you only entrust the painful process with professionals? Let me know :)

Thanks for reading!

Harriet x

My MAC Lipstick Collection

Posted on: Thursday, 10 May 2012

I'm a self-confessed MAC Lipstick addict. I honestly cannot walk in to or past a MAC store without shelling out £13.50 for a new lipstick ('tis a bit pricey, granted), so I thought I may as well do a collection post, with some photos etc which I hope you will enjoy!

Anyway, to the right is how I store my MAC and NARS lip products (there are a few that have to live in my 'miscellaneous' drawer like my Viva Glam Ricky Lip Conditioner, and sadly I had to rehome my NARS lipglosses in another drawer too). This is one drawer of six I keep for my makeup, and they all stack on top of each other which is pretty nifty! Anyway, without further ado, here is my current collection of MAC lipsticks...

Viva Glam V (Lustre)
This is a cult favourite of MAC lipstick lovers, and though it's not often a go-to lipstick for me personally, I do love it. It's described as a 'clear, smooth, pure neutral pink', and is a Lustre finish. As most of you will know, the proceeds from all Viva Glam sales go to the MAC AIDS fund, which I think is a brilliant show of philanthropy from MAC as well as a bloody good reason to invest in a couple of the products! The lipstick itself I find a little dry at times so often end up wearing a nude or a pale pink gloss over it (NARS' Orgasm lipgloss looks lovely for a gold/pearl finish).
Viva Glam Nicki (Satin)
The most recent addition to the Viva Glam line is 'Nicki', endorsed by Nicki Minaj. It's a bright yellow-pink in a Satin finish and I personally think it's a fantastic colour. Some have said it can bring out yellowness in your teeth, which isn't very pleasant, but I personally haven't felt this myself. This is certainly a bold statement lipstick but I think will look lovely come the summer months, and as with any of the brighter lipsticks, can be significantly muted if you wear just a little bit with a gloss on top! 

Frenzy (Frost)
This one was an unusual colour choice for me. I don't usually go for browns, and I would class this as a nude-brown (though MAC describe it as 'pinky-peach beige with shimmer...?! Always found their descriptions/images a little off target). This lipstick looks absolutely amazing with a tan and a nude smokey eye, and the muted shimmer in it is absolutely gorgeous. If I was tanned I could happily just wear a bit of bronzer, this lipstick, MAC Woodwinked eyeshadow and some mascara. It's my only Frost lipstick but it was a worthy investment and I don't hear enough about this lipstick!

Shy Girl (Cremesheen)
Shy Girl is one of my favourite nudes. I hate pastel baby pinks and sometimes a pure nude can wash me out, so this is the perfect mix. MAC describe it as a 'creamy neutral coral beige', which sounds about right. This is perfect for every day and I'm not surprised it's one of their bestselling lipsticks. Cremesheen is a beautiful formula and glides on to the lips with no trouble, and colour can be as subtle or as built-up as you want it. If you're considering an addition to your MAC collection and like nude shades, then I would 110% recommend this. You won't regret it (if you do, I'm sorry)!

Girl About Town (Amplified Creme)
If you've read my last blog post, you'll know how much I bloody LOVE this lipstick. It really does suit absolutely anyone, whatever your complexion. A beautiful bright fuschia, this is a seriously stand-out lipstick, but not in a tacky way - it's classy and elegant and really adds a bit of oomph to an outfit. This is one of those "if you could only use one lipstick for the rest of your life" contenders. It's an Amplified Creme formula, so there's no shortage of pigmentation, but it's also moisturising and very wearable on the lips.
Vegas Volt (Amplified Creme)
Vegas Volt was, along with Creme d'Nude (see bottom), one of the first MAC lipsticks I purchased way back in October 2009 in New York. It is, according to MAC, a 'full-power coral' (this picture makes it look a little too pink I reckon) which I can agree with. I can't say anything bad about this lipstick, because it has fantastic lasting power, a lovely formula and the colour is fab, but I think it's probably one of those things I've worn a bit too much and am a bit bored of!

Dubonnet (Amplified Creme)
 This was a lipstick that I ordered on a whim from the MAC website thinking it looked like a beautiful colour. For some reason when it came I really wasn't impressed, I didn't think it would suit me and I thought the colour was so different to how it appeared on the website. But actually, I'm so glad I didn't see this in-store because I wouldn't have bought it; and it's such a beautiful, deep red colour that can make any look instantly classier. It's an Amplified Creme formula but I actually don't think it's as bright or "wet look" as some of the others.
Watch Me Simmer (Amplified)
This was released with the Shop MAC Cook MAC collection and has now been re-promoted with the Reel Sexy collection. It's a shade VERY similar to Vegas Volt which I hadn't anticipated, but slightly more pinky (in my opinion). I do love this shade but like I say, because it's so similar to Vegas Volt it wasn't a massively exciting addition to my collection (like, for example, Girl About Town or Up the Amp - see below). I do slightly regret not buying more of the Shop MAC Cook MAC lipsticks but I more than made up for it by buying every single one of the Tendertones (I know, a bit ridiculous - I will do a post on these soon to justify, at least slightly, this ridiculous splurge...)!

Impassioned (Amplified Creme)

Impassioned is another one of my favourite favourite favourite lipsticks. It's a true hot blue-toned pink and has brilliant colour payoff and a moisturising formula. Impassioned is one of the colours featured in the Fashion Sets that MAC have just released and for good reason! I am surprised that this isn't one of their bestselling lipsticks because I think it absolutely deserves to be! If you love pinks this is an absolute must-have in my book.
Up The Amp (Amplified Creme)
This is a cool-toned, lavender purple lipstick that I think is absolutely amazing. I never imagined I'd wear purple on my lips but it actually looks really refined and pretty, even though it is highly pigmented. I did a bit of snooping around the web to see what other people were saying and I thought this review had some good things to say and some pretty pictures too. I don't get to wear this very often but when I do I get lots of compliments! I'd be very interested to know if any of you own Up the Amp and if so, what you make of it.

Creme d'Nude (Cremesheen)
This is a cult favourite, and for good reason. The quintessential nude, this is great for a subtle every day look or a glamorous night time look (I like to pair it with my NARS Greek Holiday lipgloss for nights out). Alongside Vegas Volt this was one of my first MAC lipsticks and I have repurchased it whenever I have run out. One of them I accidentally took to the beach in Turkey (stupidly left it in my bag) and it melted, and it looked bloody awful after that so I had to buy a new one! Such a waste. Anyway, if you're a MAC lipstick obsessive like me, you no doubt have this already, but if you don't, it's one of those beauty staples that I think everyone needs!

Pink Plaid (Matte)
Pink Plaid I do actually own, but cannot for the life of me find. Very sad times. It's a lovely cool toned matte pink and I used to wear this all the time until it went missing (in my bedroom...?!) Anyway, as and when I am reacquainted with it, I will put up some photos, but for the meantime you can have a look at this review if you're interested!

I've swatched all the colours mentioned (bar Pink Plaid), and whilst the photo isn't the best quality/lighting, it should give you an idea of the lipsticks general colours/formulas.

Top row (L-R): Viva Glam V, Viva Glam Nicki, Frenzy, Shy Girl, Girl About Town
Middle row (L-R): Vegas Volt, Watch Me Simmer, Dubonnet, Impassioned, Up the Amp
Bottom row (all on its lonesome): Creme d'Nude

Hope you enjoyed reading/having a little nosey at my collection. I'm always reading/watching MAC lipstick collections on Blogger and YouTube so if you've done one please do leave the link in the comments as I'd be very interested to have a look!

Thanks for reading!

Harriet x

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