Having to write my Christmas Gift Guides in November and choosing the best of the products to put in, is a great job (even if it is unpaid) and so I never take it for granted! However, there is only so much sampling and reviewing one can do, and having written about 7 different guides I wanted to concentrate on other features. That was until these beauties pinged up on my inbox and quite frankly there was no way I wasn't going to let them bypass my sniff, slather and admire inspection!
For every girl out there who loves the halls of Selfridges, spends hours asking for freebie samples in SpaceNK and who still delights in decorating her arms with testers from Superdrug, these stunning products will be sure to delight her.
Kat Von D Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette £36 www.debenhams.com
The thing with contouring is it can be a bit of a time consuming effort, especially when you don't know what your doing. This genius palette really is the equivalent of painting by numbers, as it gives you 3 different makeup effects to choose from to create the perfect contoured eye. Each makeup effect has 3 colours and one base (a quad), and comes with full step by step instructions on how to achieve your look. The choices give you a natural daytime look, full on evening glamour and a 'made-up' look. Start by applying the base of your chosen look all over the lid, then use the mid shade to contour, the darker shade to line and the lighter shade to highlight. The shades come in neutral, cool and warm tones so suit all skin tones and eye colours.
With practise and following the diagrams included, you are given a tutorial on how to widen, narrow, lift and balance eyes. Its by far my favourite palette I've seen this year and not only has it changed the way I've applied my make-up, its also knocked a few years off. I was pondering whether to give to my daughter who's 13 as she would love to play around with this, but no I'm keeping for my Christmas stocking!
Grace Cole Boutique Wild Fig & Pink Cedar Bath & Shower Gel £6 Luxurious Body Butter £5 www.gracecole.co.uk
I'm a sucker for beautiful packaging and when it comes at such a reasonable price, I'm tempted to buy the whole range. This delicate pink packaging is not for the bathroom cupboard but one to be displayed next to the bath.
Even with my blocked sinuses, I could smell the uplifting fragrance of fig and graceful notes of pink peony as I poured a capful under my bathroom tap. My dried parched legs drank in the rich body butter and my skin was left with a gentle hint of exquisite rich honey.
Dermalogica Daily Cleansing Shampoo £19.80 & Conditioning Rinse £20.70 www.dermalogica.co.uk
It was a few weeks ago when I received the launch of this duo and I was incredibly excited to test. I'm an avid fan of Dermalogica skin care and have been since it first launched many moons ago. The brand have always focused on quality high end ingredients spending money on results rather than fancy packaging and PR campaigns and this is what's seen them as one of the biggest contenders on the skincare market to date.
The products themselves are packed with a cocktail of strengthening and nourishing ingredients and like their skincare, focus on hair health. Free from stripping chemicals and detergents they still produce a decent lather, which often when free from sulphates many shampoos don't.
The shampoo contains nourishing oils of argan, coconut and avocado to make even the driest of hair types feel nourished. The beautiful aromatherapy essence of lavender, grapefruit and geranium makes shampooing your hair a delightful sensory experience, and leaves the scalp feel refreshed and invigorated, not to mention your hair smelling gorgeous.
The conditioner contains Panthenol, which enables the hair shaft to look smooth and so reflects shine, and also has the same uplifting essence as the shampoo. Both products consist of ingredients to protect from heat and the sun.
After using my hair felt full of vitality, really clean and best of all my old dreary highlights had a shine to them. I struggle to find a conditioner I like, as I have very fine hair but not only did this one make my hair soft but it didn't weigh it down - bonus - in the photo I've simply washed and gone!
Anne Semonin Exfoliating Shower Gel £27 www.spacenk.com
When I see a product being sold in Space NK then I know it's going to be a higher end brand, and often the price does reflect the luxurious quality.
This superb exfoliating shower gel contains finely milled grains of wood pulp to allow dead skin cells to be removed at ease, without any harshness and so ideal for sensitive skin. With anti-oxidant Vitamin E and the beautiful smell of Jasmine and Green Tea, this allows the skin to not only feel smooth, but really uplifts your mind and promotes well-being. I loved how the gel forms into a rich creamy lather, which glided across my skin. The delicate scent of Green Tea mimics a 'purity' essence and transported me back to a once in a lifetime spa treatment I had in Dubai many moons ago. Utterly blissful.
Stak's Sprays Glittel Glitter Gel £13.99 www.stakssprays.co.uk
I love glitter I really do, to the extent my nickname was 'Magpie' as anything shiny sends me into a comatose state, where one needs to snap their fingers to get my attention. However, I also have a bit of OCD when it comes to seeing glitter on my floor or on my skin and so it can present a bit of an issue!
Thankfully this glitter gel has sorted my anxieties out. It's a light 'non-sticky' gel with the finest golden particles that when applied to the skin simply makes it shimmer. It's rather difficult to see with the photo, but it gives just a gentle golden hue and warms the skin tone up so ideal if you're bearing pasty limbs on a night out. The skin is left feeling soft and not tacky, but the best bit is it doesn't transfer onto the floor or clothes - and for this reason it's made my wish list!