Tuesday, 25 October 2016

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH - THE MASKOREA MASK

Once in a while a product comes along that deserves a special mention, and so I will usually give more wording and gush a bit more on the wonders of said product. I usually include no less than 5 items per feature, and only very rarely and usually if this is an advertorial (so paid for), will I give a product it's own blog feature.  For a year or so I was also writing a monthly feature for the press on 'Products of the Month' however, again this included about 5 products.

Well today I've decided to write up on just one Product of the Month, a little award that deserves a blog on it's own without any payment (although we will come to that later), as I've been so impressed.  Today that product is the Maskorea Mask.

Maskorea Masks are single use sheet masks that are soaked in various active ingredients depending on your skin condition and complaint.  Manufactured in South Korea, these masks are cruelty-free, do not contain mineral oils, parabens and other synthetic ingredients known to irritate skin. They do however, contain a great deal of Hyaluronic Acid (this holds 8 times its own weight in water) so a must for hydrating the skin.  Other ingredients include Hydrolyzed Collagen (helps bind water), skin replenishing Glycerin, skin softening Rice Extract, anti-inflammatory and skin calming SasaQuelpaertensis Extract to name but a few.

The reason why this product got my attention though is not because of the wonderful ingredients it contains but because of it's ease of use.  One packet contains a single use mask, drenched in the active ingredients, a separate facial wash and a night cream - so it's a complete facial in a packet.  An excellent choice to take a few on holiday or as I did to close your bathroom door and just have some pamper time.  The masks are available for ageing, dehydrated, hungover and dull skin types and cost just £4.99 (great Christmas stocking fillers for everyone)!
After washing my face with the facial wash provided, I applied the incredibly cooling mask to my face. It went on smoothly and didn't budge despite a 15 minute soak in the bath and a little jump around after to test (yes really).  After 30 minutes (minimum down time), I massaged in the residue and applied the night cream. My skin looked incredible and felt more hydrated and plumped up than it had in a long time.

So impressed that I contacted the PR and told her I was going to write about this first thing despite having the kids off on school hols and having 1001 other things to do!  Whilst, I don't get paid for my time on writing I am going to send a huge hint to her now and ask if any more samples could be posted my way - especially as I would like to give away a freebie with this post!!

You can buy the Maskorea Masks here

Monday, 24 October 2016

VEGAN BEAUTY, SKINCARE & LIFESTYLE

I've wanted to write about vegan beauty for quite some time now and was reminded rather forcefully to do so, when I saw a Facebook post featuring a sickening post on cruelty to animals for the sake of beauty.

I am not a vegetarian and I do not choose to live a lifestyle through vegan means however, I wouldn't be human if it didn't have a punch in the stomach and lump in the throat when presented with such posts. So with vegan month being November it seems apt to highlight products that are completely vegan.  For those that don't know the definition of vegan is

'A person who does not eat or use animal products'

This includes clothing, household products, skincare products anything that has been used or made by animals, including any form of testing.  It's not limited to just eating meat but any form of produce resulting from animals such as cheese, milk and eggs.

Of course there are many variables of veganism and a great website for more information is www.vegansociety.com. Here you will find a great deal of information on diet, products and how to incorporate a vegan lifestyle, alongside many supportive features. 

When I put a call out to PRs I was surprised by the amount of beauty and skincare products that are vegan, but more interesting that not only is quality not compromised in any way, but also is in fact even better than their counterparts. Here's my pick.

Inika Makeup prices from £16.50 www.inikaorganic.com 

Inika makeup brand has recently gone through a rebranding of image and so I was lucky enough to be given some of the latest products to test.  I first came across this brand several years ago for a mineral make-up feature and it remained one of my favourites, purely as the quality of pigments were so beautiful and so I was unsure of how they could've actually improved on what was already a great brand.  However, they have with new items added and reformulations on some of their lipsticks for even better texture and quality. 

The Australian brand is the 'most Certified and Organic' make-up brand in the world, and has just launched the world's first Certified Organic Vegan Lipstick £18.  I tested a few of them and have fallen in love with Sheer Peach, a delicate, shimmering peach that has accents of gold. Applied lightly it highlights lips with iridescence making them appear fuller or applied with full coverage is an oyster/peach shade.  I also used it as a highlighter on my cheekbones and brow bone to give a quick 3 minute makeup.  

For radiance and that special glow from within, the Lip and Cheek Tint £19 gives a pretty hint of natural flush, and with the Baked Mineral Illuminisor £29.50 gives a stunning dewy effect, without that heavy handed look many highlighters give.  The BB Cream Foundation £27.50 is available in 6 new shades and I tested Cream. It wasn't the right colour for my complexion however, it blended to perfection, gave enough coverage to banish light blemishes and left my skin looking smooth. 

Whilst testing these products it's hard to believe that such amazing quality also give the skin a boost with active ingredients to help protect and regenerate.  The Cream Foundation for instance contains Prickly Pear, Pomegranate known anti-oxidants alongside essential fatty acids to feed the skin and giving barriers against environmental factors such as smoke and pollution.  All the products are non-comodegenic and so won't block the pores and of course are all cruelty-free.

Pur CC Cream £25 www.marksandspencer.com

This wonderful CC cream treats a whole host of skin complaints from brightening dull, lack-lustre skin to protecting against harsh elements, providing sun protection whilst giving the coverage of a lightweight foundation.  I tested Light (I am more medium) however, it was easy to see just the capabilities of this multi-tasking cream, as my skin was left looking radiant and smooth.  I also tested the Big Look Mascara and with just one stroke my lashes were coated with jet, glossy black. It lifted my lashes and lengthened with just one coat without giving a 'spidery' look.  They do a whole range of products, which is vegan and cruelty free.


Kat Von D Ink Liner £16 www.debenhams.com

Kat Von D has just launched in Debenhams and I've been testing quite a few of her products. So far non have failed to disappoint and so I've been even more impressed to see that many (note not all) of her products are vegan.  This liner is super pigmented meaning that it gives rich, black coverage with one swipe (please ignore my make-up skills in the photo I'm not a make-up artist). It's also waterproof and so won't budge and inch (not sure if that's great again with my make-up skills), but for those of you who love to run, play and dance in your eyeliner - this won't let you down.


Argan Liquid Gold Beauty Oil £65 www.arganliquidgold.co.uk

100% natural, vegan and authentic the Argan Liquid Gold is a luxury, product hailed from the mountains of Morocco.  Founder British-Moroccan May Hamid has a USP in that she is devoted to making sure the oil is reached to the customers in the purest possible form, by overseeing production every step of the way.  The oil is decanted into dark glass bottles to ensure sunlight doesn't tamper the end result, which is the finest grade of Argan Oil from Morocco.  Even more note-worthy is the fact it's the first Argan Oil to be registered Fairtrade in the UK, such an important and worthy status.

Just a few drops day and night will help transform oil and dry skin, by hydrating, revitalizing and giving comfort to sensitive skins.  I'm a huge fan of Argan Oil and regularly use this to keep my skin looking and feeling youthful and supple. 

Naturtint Reflex Semi-Permanent Colour Cream £10.49 www.naturtint.co.uk

Naturtint range of hair colour include shades in both permanent and semi-permanent and are all free from chemical nasties, as found in most other hair dyes.  The gentle formula is ideal for those who need to cover grey or want to change their hair colour but who don't want to over-load their hair with strong, damaging chemicals.  All of the dyes are vegan friendly and cruelty-free and many of the ingredients are organic.  

The Reflex Semi-Permanent is free from PPDs the chemical that often causes allergic reactions in hair dyes, and so makes it an ideal choice if you have finished chemotherapy or are pregnant. However, whilst the ingredients are gentle and natural, a strand and skin patch test must always be done first. 

I was sent Light Chestnut Brown but at time of publishing this online, I've not had the chance to test yet. However, I do have a friend who will only use Naturtint following her hair growth from chemotherapy a few years back - and the reason I know, is that I asked what she used to make her hair look so glossy!

Love Hemp prices from £19.99 www.cbdoilsuk.com

I've wanted to test these products for ages, as there is such a huge debate on whether Cannabis should be legalised for it's medical properties.  These products are a food supplement and contain Cannabidiol (CBD) a natural extract from the cannabis plant.  What makes it such a newsworthy debate is that the Cannabis is proven to help with anxiety and recent studies are now looking into how it can help people function with debilitating conditions such as Parkinsons, Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis.

I'm a great candidate to test these products as a couple of years ago, following the breakdown of my marriage, amongst other traumas and I ended up in hospital with a full on break-down - caused by the fear of that 'rug being pulled from beneath my feet'.  I suffered extreme anxiety and panic attacks and subsequently was put on anti-anxiety/depressants for a year. Whilst I'm now off the medication and am functioning well, there are times when I do slip up and I can get the odd anxiety attack. I've used nutrition, meditation and exercise to help but quite frankly there are times when I could do a little boost.

I'm not going to lie as I placed 6 drops of the 800mg Hemp Extract under my tongue, it tasted pretty vile (nothing a chocolate biscuit couldn't sort out), then as I was full of cold decided to give up on the blogging and watch a film instead.  An hour later I started to feel the effects and there was no doubt in my mind that it was from the Hemp. I felt as though I had been given a tiny dose of Diazepam, almost every muscle in my body started to feel relaxed, a far cry from the normal tense state they're in.  Of course I wondered if it was the fact I was sitting down watching Come Dine With Me, but I couldn't ignore the way my body felt. I've taken Cannabis in the past (just to be clear around 24 years ago), and know the effects it can have. This was a similar feeling but just nowhere near as strong, it was just felt like a slight mellowing through my nervous system.

The above proved to me that the products do work, although I didn't feel any effects from the balm.  It also made me wonder just how my body would react with the highest strength (something I'm quite interested in testing, although it is expensive as 40% CBD is £289.99 for 10ml).  Everyone of course would react differently, but many friends and family would agree I suffer from a lot of stress, being a single mum of 2 kids (one with high functioning autism). I also have to point out that I took these when the kids were at their dads for the weekend, as I'm not sure just how my responsive my mind would be.

One thing is clear to me though, rather than pump my body full of chemically enhanced painkillers, I would rather take a 100% natural ingredient and of course vegan supplement, if it gives me the same comfort that other drugs do.


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

KATIE PRICE BEAUTY: SKINCARE AND MAKEUP


It's a pretty obvious way how to start this feature but it really was only a matter of time before Katie Price launched herself into the beauty and skincare industry, and whether you have an opinion on her  or not one thing cannot be argued and that is everything she puts her hands to (in a business sense), has been a huge success.  So she has taken the incredibly wise move and teamed up with the British manufacturers Medichem and launched her Katie Price Beauty range and here it is!

The Complete Brush Collection £20

At first glance the packaging didn't really impress me, it all looked a bit discount store cheap in the flimsy white box and so I wasn't expecting great things with the brushes. However, this is when I am reminded never to judge a book by its cover or a box by it's contents.  The brushes themselves are super soft and super packed with synthetic hair, and upon testing made the products blend seamlessly.  A special mention must go to the foundation and concealer brush as it really worked my foundation in like a second skin.  My only gripe is it would be nice for beginners to see which brushes are for what purpose, and so an engravement description on the brush would have been good touch.




Body Shimmer 50ML £12

I have tested several shimmers over the years and my favourite always remained the cult Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse but it was rather expensive (although come down in price in recent years). The reason I loved it was it did what it said on the bottle, gave a shimmer,rather than a glitter. This one does just that and at a fraction of the price.  Absent are the glitter particles often found in cheaper brands and instead this literally highlights limbs and the d├ęcolletage with a subtle golden highlight. Beautiful with or without a tan and a must for Christmas! However, before you think this is just a body oil it's not, it can also be used to give subtle lights to the hair! Containing oils of almond, jojoba, grapeseed to name but a few, it leaves hair and skin feeling wonderfully soft!


Baked Highlighter in Warm £6

Again for the price I wasn't expecting much and once again I was presently surprised. The compact is nice and sturdy with little touches such as the bow clasp and it contains a decent sized mirror. Open up and the baked powder is super girly with an imprinted heart.  Now I am very loyal to my Tom Ford highlighter but I can say this comes in at a close second.  The stunning pearlised colour gives a delicate pink, gold highlight that catches cheekbones and again makes them radiant without any glitter particles, making the formula spot on. Use it on the inner corners of the eyes to give that wide away look, highlight under the brow bone, on top of cheekbones or lightly brushed across wherever your bones naturally protrude!




Brow Palette £10

This contains every shade for all eye brow colours making it an excellent gift choice as you can't go wrong. It also contains a wax for holding the colour and a cream/shimmer highlight to create the perfect arch. For brow colours you can mix and match from a choice of 6 making it ideal for blondes through to brunettes (note I would've preferred a slightly darker colour for darker skin tones, but this does span the majority of shades).  It contains a brush and mini tweezers with a mirror and the compact acts like a magnet so you whilst you don't get the click on closing, it does close (I shook it to make sure)! On the photo I literally applied the darkest colour shade with just a few strokes (and without the wax), and well you can see it made a good difference.


Before the powder
After the powder (darkest shade - it can be built up - this was just a few strokes)
Body Wash £5

A super foamy body wash, and if I'm honest a bit 'heady' for my liking, but you only need a tiny amount and so it lasts ages. The smell does linger on the skin and is quite sensual with warm woody and seemingly oriental notes. It contains olive oil and so leaves the body feeling quite pampered and soft. 

So my conclusion is this. Its a mid-range beauty brand and as made by the same company who manufacturer Revolution (one of my favourite brands), I am pleasantly surprised. I wasn't keen on the packaging however, each item has been well thought of in detail and the quality is up there with some of the high end products.  Tweens will love for Christmas but don't be surprised if mum or sister nicks it too! The Baked Highlighter and Brush Set is definitely staying in my bedroom! You can purchase all these items from this link www.katiepricebeauty.com



Tuesday, 18 October 2016

HAIR HACKS AND PRODUCTS FOR GREAT CONDITION!

Hair courtesy of FourEighty, Shenfield earlier this year!
Sun, sea, salt, swimming, chlorine, air conditioning, blow-drying, straighteners - yes all these words are your hairs worst enemy.  It's no wonder the hair industry is one of the biggest selling industries with many of us, striving for the perfect glossy hair seen on ads. Sadly though unless, you've never coloured your hair, applied heat or sat in the sun you're more than likely to be spending out on countless of products, with a hope to rectifying the damage caused by some of the above.

First lets get one thing straight.  Hair is essentially dead, the part that is alive and processing is the part we don't see, the hair follicle and the work that's going on beneath it. However, once the hair reaches the visible eye it's pretty much dead but that's not to say it has to look it!  Check out these tips to get your hair into great condition and restore hydration.
  • Choose a shampoo formulated for your hair type. If it's dry choose rich, creamy formulas, and try to stay away from harsh, stripping detergents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate.
  • Pre-shampoos are great as can be left on overnight for deep conditioning before washing off, or applied for 5 minutes before shampooing. They just give that extra hydrating boost.
  • Many hairdressers and trichologists disagree on this, with many saying hair must be washed every day. However, if hair is brittle and dry then every 2-3 days will suffice.  If it feels dirty give it a rinse and if dry just apply a conditioner after. 
  • Always rinse with luke warm or cool water to seal the cuticle, which in turn adds shine and make sure you rinse for that extra minute to get rid of any shampoo or conditioner, as any residue can lead to a dulling effect. 
  • Dehydrated and dry hair lacks water and so you need to add moisture not oil!
  • Always use the pads of your fingers to wash your hair, if you use your finger-tips this will rough up the cuticle making hair more prone to breakage.
  • Check your hairdryer settings - never blast with the hottest setting, choose a medium setting then set your style with a blast of cold air.
  • Don't over-brush - twice a day is fine and always use a natural bristle brush as this distributes the oil better and stops snagging. 
  • As with above use a wide toothed comb for combing through damp hair - or a Tangle Teazer.
  • Feed your hair in a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as flaxseed, iron & vitamin B12 think green leafy vegetables and protein such as nuts.  
  • Look out for changes in your hair. If it's falling out this could be a deficiency in zinc and selenium - stock up on Brazil nuts!
  • B vitamins contain folic acid and biotin, which help transport carbon dioxide to the blood, thus increasing cell turnover and could therefore help with hair health.
  • Hormones create havoc with your hair condition so make sure if you are taking any hormone contraception or replacements you keep an eye out for changes.
  • Always use a heat protective spray before running through straightening irons or other heated appliances. Make sure it's specifically targeted for use with heat as some oils mixed with heat equals fried and frazzled!
  • For extra shine when blow-drying use the nozzle attachment as this distributes the air flow to flatten the hair structure. Make sure you point the nozzle down!
  • Always hold the hairdryer about 5 centimetres away from the hair to avoid burning!
  • If you want to colour your dry hair, always see a hairdresser as you don't want to over-lap any bleached areas - if you do, expect breakage.
  • If you enjoy swimming, put a pre-conditioner/oil on your hair and then wrap it up in a swim hat. This gives a bit more protection against the damaging chemicals found in chlorine.
I also went on the radio recently to chat about dehydrated hair and live show case some great products! To see the link go here m.facebook.com/groups/8484080…

Here's some of my picks.

Mane N Tail £6.99 Shampoo £6.99 Conditioner www.boots.com 

Having used this for years when it was originally launched as a human hair product I can safely say that it has remained a firm favourite.  I had read many moons ago that Jennifer Aniston was a fan (when she was on Friends), but at that time it was only available across the pond.  Luckily we can now get our mitts on it and you can see for yourself what all the hype was about.  It was developed for show horses using  a special protein formula used to enrich manes and tail hence the name! I like it as it smells incredible and leaves my fine hair full of body however, I haven't tested this particular colour formula just the original! 

Christophe Robin Shampooing Purifiant Shampoo £28 www.christophe-robin.com

I colour my hair every 6-8 weeks with a home dye and I do a lot of swimming, and so I often feel my hair is in need of a really deep cleanse.  This shampoo did the job just as I had hoped (well it is £28), and left it feeling in better condition than it had done in ages.  The range is focussed on scalp health in particularly flakey dandruff caused by a dry scalp and sticky dandruff due to oilier scalps.  This particular product is ideal for an oilier scalp but through chemicals and sun etc has become drier at the ends.  It contains Jujube Bark Extract (a natural alternative for Zinc Pyrithione), known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties as well as being self-regulating and able to control excess sebum (oil).  The all natural ingredients are kind for even the most sensitive of scalps and is ideal with anyone who suffers from itchiness or dermatitis.  Cherry Blossom Extract is also added for it's moisturising properties. 

On the radio chat above you can hear me talking about the salt scrub, which I've been testing. Stupidly I didn't take a picture and I've used it all up now - but it's absolutely brilliant! The salt textured shampoo is like an exfoliator for the scalp, ridding of dry flakey dandruff and any chemicals left from dye or products. Check it out on my radio chat! 

Leonor Greyl l'Huile De Leonor Greyl £28.80 www.selfridges.com

Another product I bought many years ago and have used on a regular basis is this pre-conditioning oil.  It was one of the first of its kind on the market to focus on conditioning the hair before shampoo.  I loved its ease of use as I simply massage into my hair and leave it in for as long as I wish before I shower to go out.  It's a solidified oil so needs warming in a sink first and you only need a small amount to cover the hair.  Often I will apply a few drops before I go to sleep for a really deep condition or sometimes I will place the bottle in the bath and then slather it on whilst I'm in the bath before shampooing under the shower! It's excellent for dry, dehydrated and brittle hair especially if you have been or are on holiday. It is even waterproof so will stay on your hair and protect it during swimming.  The magic ingredients include oils of coconut, sesame, jojoba, sunflower seed and hazel seed!

Aquis Hair Towel £30 www.aquishair.co.uk

This ingenious towel gives perfect a gentle solution to drying hair as hair is at its weakest when wet.  The unique absorbent fabric wicks away water without the need to rub the hair as this in turn can create split and fragile ends.  It's a great towel to put in your gym bag or take on holiday however, I use mine every day as it cuts down on the drying time for a busy mum! 

KMS California Moist Repair prices from £13.70 www.lookfantastic.com

Again another product I was recommended many years ago by my hairdresser was the KMS range. Formulated for salon use and as such use only salon quality ingredients, the results have ensured that it's stayed a strong contender on the high end market.  I love this range as it's not overtly expensive and really does give my hair that much needed drink it needs.  The products smell amazing and leave my fine hair feeling smooth but not weighed down, which other products can do.  It's good for frizzy hair types and those that have been abused by heated appliances.  A little note worth mentioning - a small internet search revealed I'm not alone in loving this brand - the reviews from customers are amazing!

Sachajuan Hair After The Sun £20 www.groomingclinic.com

This product is what an after-sun does for the body but for the hair.  The reason why I picked this one out of the many I tested was I liked the fact it can be left on or rinsed out.  Often being so busy I, like many others just want to apply a product without the hassle of having to rinse it out, knowing that our hair is being conditioned and treated whilst we get on with our day.  This especially is perfect for holidays as it treats sun-damaged hair with a cocktail of potent 'silk technology' that ensures every strand is conditioned. 

Sukin Protein Hair Treatment £10.15 www.feelunique.com

A conditioning mask that is full of ingredients to help calm and soothe the scalp, and repair and strengthen weak fragile hair.  Aloe Vera calms and soothes whilst hydrolyzed wheat protein helps nourish and strengthen the hair shaft.  The all natural product is free from harsh chemicals and is 100% vegan.  It's ideal for those that have suffered any hair trauma or loss as it's so gentle on the scalp.  My only little gripe is the pot isn't that big so for very long hair you may only get a couple of applications. However, it smells amazing and left my hair feeling nourished.

Phil Smith Hello Moisture Intensive Conditioning Treatment £3.50 www.sainsburys.com

I wanted to test a budget brand as I've tended to steer away from them in the past on the advice of hairdressers. However, this range contains Shea Butter known for its enriching properties and so I put it to the test.  I was sent the shampoo and conditioner as well and have to say that I did really like them both - however, I'm not a huge fan of chemicals in shampoos purely as my own hair is so fragile from testing so many heat appliances etc. So I probably wouldn't continue to use them on a long term basis however, the Intensive Conditioning Treatment I would.  I loved the rich consistency of the mask and it made my hair look so glossy afterwards.  I left it on for the full 15 minutes and it really gave some shine and oomph back to my flat, dull hair.  So for a budget brand its a definite thumbs up from me.
Umberto Giannini Over Indulge Nourishing Hair Mask £8.50 www.umbertogiannini.com

3 minutes is all it takes for super shiny and soft hair thanks to this little wonder product from Mr Giannini.  I've been testing some of the products given to me by the wonderful PR and have to say I'm impressed with all of them however, this one fits into this feature best.  Firstly let me say it's always the little extras that make a product stand out, and this one contains a shower cap to help retain head so the mask can really penetrate into the hair shaft.  This makes it a doodle to use in the shower as I washed my hair, quickly soaked up some excess water (with my Aquis towel) and then applied the mask. Whilst it was working I washed the rest of my body, shaved armpits etc and then rinsed it off - this eliminated the need to jump in and out of the shower as I do with other products (so frustrating). The treatment left my hair silky soft and all those wispy, frizzy ends were banished.  

Okay putting in an update here - my daughter washed her hair last night and used this on her very long thick, dry hair and it has been transformed - all my 13 year old kept saying this morning was 'mum feel my hair it's amazing'! To which my 8 year old added - 'it's really soft Phoebe'. 







Friday, 14 October 2016

Halloween Skin & Makeup Treats and the magic of pumpkin!

MEOWWWW
Waterloo…..
I love a bit of fancy dress whether it's strutting my stuff as an Abba chick (here's the proof), or last years Halloween outfit that thanks to the cat mask didn't give my age away, and so every year I join in with the kiddies and take them trick or treating.  It's just a bit of fun and a nice way to actually nose into other people’s front hallways and judge if I should let my kids play with their kids.  It's also a great way to gauge the neighbours to see which ones are game and frankly which ones are miserable old sods.


I also have to admit that I do like decorating the outside of the house, although this year I won't be leaving a bowl of candied delights on the doorstep, whilst we venture off around the roads. Yes, I spied the teenage idiot that ignored the 'please pick one and leave some for others' note, I had thoughtfully placed on the bowl.  I wouldn't have mind so much but he took the friggin bowl too.  I also won't be buying any spiders this year as I really don't need the anxiety attacks of seeing any 8 legged creature fake or not, hovering by my front door.

So this year I've been looking at products that sound scary, have the odd pumpkin ingredient but can be used all year round.  The great thing about these products is they make a great gift for your hostess if you've been invited to any Halloween parties, that's if you don't decide to keep for yourself!

Lush Halloween 2016 collection prices from £3.50 www.lush.co.uk

Every time I feature Lush I have a strange dejavu occurrence. It could be as I always repeat myself on how fun the products are, how cheap they are and how my kids both end up in fisticuffs (well almost), over who has what bath bomb. This year they've spoilt the whole family rotten with something for everyone. My favourite is the Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar that acts as nourishing body moisture that leaves delicate shimmering sprinkles wherever you want to sparkle.  It’s packed full of gorgeous essential oils such as uplifting grapefruit and bergamot and leaves your skin soft and gently fragranced.
For my son the Monsters Ball Bath Bomb was his favourite, whilst it's supposed to emulate the Abominable Snowman it actually looks like Mike from Monsters Inc. However, it was me that used it, as I couldn't resist the abyss of fruit salad with revitalizing lime and neroli.  Also the Himalayan rock salt, known for its skin soothing and healing properties removed the irritation from my itchy skin (caused by recent stress).  He also loved the Boo Bath melt that smelt in his words like ‘donuts’!

For my daughter, she loved the Autumn Leaf’s woody scent and the fun factor as we all watched the colourful change mimicking autumn colours, as the bomb fizzed green, yellow and red! (Didn't catch on camera as last time it fell into the water - lesson learnt). 


Too Faced Melted Matte Stain Evil Twin £16 www.toofaced.com

The must have colour not just for Halloween but for this Autumn/Winter is the dark, red claret as seen on nearly every model from runway to magazines. 

Evil Twin is the perfect shade for a deep, mystic look and can be worn in a multiple of ways. For a daytime look, lightly tap the colour to the centre of the lips and spread out for a hint of a deep berry stain. Or apply all over and then wipe off with a baby wipe to leave lips with a stain just slightly darker than your natural lip colour.  For evening vamp it up with full on coverage and if you dare, apply gloss over the top for pure glamour. It contains Vollulip, which helps prepare lips plump and smooth the lips for the matte texture and also treats lips with nourishing Avocado oil and Vitamin E.  Best of all it lasts all night! Tip - use a lip pencil in a neutral shade or same shade to stop any bleeding, as dark colours can do this! Or use a wet wipe to remove any slight excess that may seep into fine lines around the mouth. 


Pur Hydrating Lip Lacquer £16 www.lookfantastic.com

The opposite end to a matte this hydrating lip colour is full of glossy shine and is like a drink for parched, dry lips.  I tested Mystic, a rich berry shade that made my lips glisten.  The applicator itself is unique as the sponge head contains 14 tiny holes, giving a ‘showerhead’ effect to ensure even coverage upon application.  To get the colour to the sponge tip you do need to twist the applicator quite a few times, so don’t panic as it the colour does push up!  I love the texture as it leaves lips with light reflecting shimmer, giving the illusion of plump and youthful lips and as for the colour - it's like a bite into a juicy punnet of raspberries. 


Kat Von D Makeup www.debenhams.com

I was so excited to see this brand come through my post, as it’s only just been launched in the UK.  The brand itself is 100% animal-cruelty free and many of the items are vegan, (note the company are working towards all the products becoming vegan), and has a huge following in the States and it’s easy to see why.

The Studded Kiss lipstick £16 is multi-purpose product insofar as it’s infused with antioxidants and vitamins to treat the lips and keep them in top condition, whilst at the same time delivering a highly pigmented colour.  Vampire is the deepest, blood red ideal for Halloween and Christmas parties.

Everlasting Liquid Lipstick Damned £16 lasts for 24 hours and passed my drink, eat and kiss test, without transferring onto the boyfriend! The formula is applied like a gloss but finishes to a very soft matte and leaves lip with almost a veil of the softest powder. Best of all it didn’t highlight the tiny cracks on my dry lips, which other matte products often do. I have to say this is one of my favourite textures as it's so wearable for day or night!


Innerstellar Eyeshadow Palette £36

The only palette you will need this Autumn/Winter to take you through day to night, is the Innerstellar.  The names of the colours speak for themselves such as Nightcrawler, 3am, Moonshine, Killing Moon and Astrological. Think shimmering, night-time shadows oozing mystery and glamour, whilst day-time go for the neutral, nude base shades. The palette contains 3 base shades with complimentary matte and shimmer shades underneath, and so you can play and create many different looks, and the colours suit all skin tones and eye shades. My favourite is the lilac, which really accentuates brown eyes and the silver, which makes blue eyes appear icy. The quality of the pigments ensures no creasing and most importantly are a doodle to blend - note that I have literally just used my finger to apply the lilac shade to my eyelid - without blending or using any brushes or base colour.








Angela Langford Rest & Regenerate £39 www.angelalangford.com

If you’re finding the cold weather and long drawn evenings are leaving your skin looking dull, then this wonder cream is your perfect pick me up. The magical ingredient is Pumpkin, which is rich in omegas 3, 6 and 9 as well as zinc, magnesium, vitamins A & B, betacarotene and potassium! Phew! This cocktail of active ingredients, alongside oils of argan, jojoba, rosehip, evening primrose and macadamia, will help regenerate your skin, whilst giving a lifting effect and is ideal for mature skin types or those who need a little bit of oomph.

I loved testing this as the texture is completely luxurious. A rich, semi-solidified balm packed full of oils, but just a tiny amount warmed in the palms of my hands and then pressed across my face, left my skin glowing.  It’s used as a night cream as this is when your cells regenerate and make the most of the ingredients, so when you wake up your skin feels sooth and rested. It smells utterly divine and was just the tonic my dehydrated skin needed however, I would avoid if you have oily skin.


Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel £29.50 / Renaissance Bright Light £85  www.oskiaskincare.com

I've been using Oskia for the last month but not these specific products, and judging by how my skin is looking and feeling I was very excited to test the above.


Oskia only use the highest quality of ingredients and have included pumpkin enzymes in both these products.  However, the process of transforming this ingredient to the skin is achieved by fermenting the fruit with lactobacillus lactis (good bacteria) which breaks down other biomolecules in the fruit.  For us readers this basically means that the enzymes which are left, focus on exfoliating the dead layers of the skin, the dull layers and the ones that leave us with that dreary complexion.  Added to this potion are other fruit extracts such as papaya again known for it's exfoliation properties however, unlike harsh synthetic exfoliators these are all natural fruit extracts and so ideal for sensitive skin. Both these products used alone or in conjunction with each other, are perfect for achieving a bright, clear complexion and especially for those who suffer from pigmentation. The cleansing gel is lightweight and perfect for both myself who has dehydrated skin and also my daughter who suffers with hormonal, teenage stressed skin. It didn't leave skin feeling tight, like some cleansers do and so I would recommend it for sensitive, dry skins.
The Renaissance Bright Light contains an abundance of active ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, which aids in plumping and adding hydration to the skin. A fermented mineral complex, which includes magnesium, iron, zinc and silicon to heal and boost the skins cell turnover. Most importantly it really targets brown patches caused by sun, general ageing and hormones with a cocktail of Bearberry Leaf Extract, Swiss Cress Liposomes and vitamins proven to combat future pigmentation.