Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Last Minute Christmas Gifts from Kiko

I do love a Christmas set from Kiko - their prices are already pretty damn good for the quality of the products, and their Christmas gifts make things even better value by adding in truly lovely festive packaging.  This year is no exception - the Cosmic Starlets collection features a huge selection of gift boxes, each packaged in glowing red with constellation and star motifs.

The Magnetic Gaze Eye Pochette is a bit utilitarian - I've never really seen mascara as an exciting gift - but it's great value for money.  £18.90 gets you a black volumising mascara, a double ended black kajal eyeliner / golden highlighter, and a red satin makeup bag.  I love the word pochette, by the way.  It means 'small bag', but sounds so much more elegant.

The Twin Stars Nail Lacquer and Lipstick set is much more my thing.  A matte lipstick (Kiko make great lipsticks, and this one is no exception) and a nail lacquer with a gel-shine finish.  This shade is Radiant Mauve, and it features cool, mauve toned pinks - there are also nude, coral and red variations available.  At £10.50 it's a bit of a steal - and it's also presented in a cute box with a ribbon, so you can hang it on a tree if you so wish.

Finally, the Innocent Dreams Lipgloss Set is my pick of the sets I've tried - it contains a very cute red satin case with a popper to keep it closed, and three mini twist up lipsticks (mini lipsticks are the BEST).  Kiko call these lipgloss, but I call them sheer, glossy lipsticks - either way, the colour selection is neutral toned and sheer, making it a good match for most skin tones.  At £15.90, it's also a good deal - just over a fiver per shade, which isn't bad for something which such a lovely, balm like texture.

And here's a swatch of the Radiant Mauve lipstick (left) and the three glossy lipsticks.  Lovely, eh?

If you want to see the full range of Cosmic Starlets gifts, you'll find a giant list on the Kiko website.  If you want to buy me something, I'm quite smitten with the very cute and excellent value Angel Kiss set - a sugar scrub and tinted balm, which'll set you back a mere £11.90.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Last minute Black Friday picks

Thanks to Black Friday being somewhat of a recent invention in the UK, there's still time to take advantage of this weekend's discounts to get ahead on your Christmas shopping, or to treat yourself a little!  Here are a few of my favourites.

ASOS are offering 20% off the entire site until 8am on Tuesday morning with the code CYBER.  As well as a great selection of Christmas jumpers and party dresses, you can also get 20% off beauty - including this Stila In The Light palette, normally £25, and this NARS Dual Intensity eyeshadow palette, normally £45.

Clinique are offering a free High Impact mascara with every order over £40 with the code BLACKFRIDAY until midnight tonight.

Liz Earle are offering special prices on many products from their extensive skincare range, such as the limited edition Jasmine and Osmanthus Cleanse & Polish, which comes with two muslin cloths and costs £14 rather than £20.

Feel Unique are offering 15% off everything with the code BLACKFRIDAY15, and have some flash deals throughout the weekend too.  My picks are Naked Smoky (obvs) and this rather lovely looking theBalm matte eyeshadow palette.

GHD are offering £20 off a subset of their range of straighteners and stylers.

Origins are offering a free Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash, normally £18, with the purchase of any two products.

Ciate are offering 30% off everything on their site, with free delivery on orders over £50.

Nails Inc are offering money off their sets this weekend - including this set of 7 shimmering effect polishes for just £12.

As for me, I'm off to buy that NARS Dual Intensity palette...

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Friday, 27 November 2015

Quick Pick: Clinique Skinny Meets Chubby Christmas Set

Ample Amber & Skinny Jeans / Lavish Lilac & Petite Plum / Bountiful Beige & Slim Sable
This is the cutest little set from Clinique for Christmas - three mini Chubby Sticks for Eyes, and three mini Skinny Stick eyeliners to go with them.  The shades included are broadly appealing and wearable, with a pop of colour coming from the mid-blue Skinny Jeans eyeliner, and the slightly muted silvery purple of Lavish Lilac.  I've long enjoyed using Chubby Sticks on my eyes for a quick slick of colour; the new Skinny Stick eyeliners are firmly textured but smudgable for a quick bit of definition.  Together, they make for a great low-effort eye.

At £28 from the Clinique website (£2 more expensive at Boots!), it's a great present for a Chubby Stick fan.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Urban Decay Vice 4

Bones, Grip, Deadbeat, Beat Down, Pandemonium

Framed, Fast-Ball, 1985, Underhand, Harlot

Discreet, Grasshopper, C-Note, Arctic, Robbery

Bitter, Flame, Low, Crowbar, Delete
Urban Decay's Christmas offering this year is the pretty epic Vice 4 palette, which is modelled on the shades you'll find in an oil slick, and contains twenty shadows in a variety of shades and finishes.  The packaging is part gorgeous, part pointless - pointless because the palette itself is in a fabric sleeve, then in a box, and the fabric sleeve isn't really that necessary; and gorgeous because the palette itself is beautiful, all jewel tones, interesting angles, and matte black background.  I spent just as long staring at the palette as I did the eyeshadows inside when it first arrived.

The shadows are UD's usual mix of gloriously blendable shades which lean towards metallic and glittery finishes over mattes.  The palette is very well laid out - matching colours along either the row or the column will inspire you, even if the sheer number of shades is a bit intimidating to start.  It also treads the line between neutrals, brights and darks very well - there's a mix of everything, and nothing is too dark, too bright, or too dull.

I'd love to see UD do a completely matte palette one day, because the mattes are gorgeous - Bitter, a true matte reddish brown, is insanely pigmented, and Framed, a pale pink-champagne colour, blends matte and satin to beautiful effect.  Both are gloriously buttery, something you don't often find in a matte texture.

Outside of the mattes, there are some real standout metallic and glitter shades, particularly on the neutral or deep'n'smoky side.  Pandemonium is a beautiful deep plum with a metallic finish, Robbery is a metallic taupe of the kind that makes me automatically weak at the knees, and Flame has the most unusual pink and gold microglitter on top of an orange base which really, really pops.

On the weaker side, Grip is a matte taupe with microglitter which is a bit wishy washy - neither flat enough for a contoured eye or to use as a base, nor sparkly enough to really stand alone.  Low, a brown matte with microglitter, is somewhat similar - UD could do with amping up these matte-with-microglitter shades to be a bit more POW.

At £43, Vice 4 is expensive - but you are getting 20 shadows, working out at just over £2 each, not even including the very nice double ended brush, bumper sized mirror, and beautiful palette.  Any makeup lover would be thrilled to get this as a gift, although given that it's out now, I imagine many makeup lovers will own it well before Christmas!  Find it now at the Urban Decay website.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The best of Christmas gift sets

It's that time of the year again!  Here are a few of my favourite gift picks, starting with Boots' gloriously kitsch Hello Kitty Bath Confetti.  At just £5, this makes a great little present for small kids and big kids alike, who'll appreciate having a Hello Kitty tin to hide things in once the sherbert bath confetti within has been used up.

On a slightly more grown up note, this Box of Delights from the Sanctuary contains nine bath and body treats, with six full size products.  It's also a mere £22.50 in Boots' Black Friday weekend sale - usually £45.

Any bath lover would be pleased to receive this box of ten miniature Aromatherapy Associates bath and shower oils.  Granted, each oil is good for only one bath, and at £35, this makes for a slightly eye-watering cost of £3.50 per bath, but these silky, fragrant oils are well worth it.
Less luxe but more fun, this Soap and Glory set features bright, festive packaging, a pun-tastic name, five travel sizes featuring the brand's most popular products, a bath puff, and a pair of snuggly socks (presumably for wearing whilst your foot cream sinks in).  At £20, you get a decent amount of product for your money, and Soap and Glory's slightly quirky retro appeal means this is a sure bet for any age.

Everyone loves a Philosophy 3-in-1 - and this Christmas Cookie variety is no exception.  480ml costs a very reasonable £14,  Who doesn't want to smell of freshly baked cookies this winter?
If you're lucky enough to be heading over the pond, have someone who can send you stuff, or are happy to order online from Sephora and brave the wait, this Chroma Eye Palette contains a whopping 54 eyeshadows and 12 eye pencils, as well as a double ended brush.   Sephora's in house makeup line is often overlooked in favour of the brands they sell, despite being very well priced for the quality - and indeed, this set is only $65.

 I really, really hope I find one of these NARS Virtual Domination blush palettes under the tree on Christmas morning - three natural blush shades, a super size bronzer, and a shimmering highlighter make it everything you could need for cheeks in one palette.  At £45, it's pretty expensive, but it's also very, very pretty (and NARS blush lasts for ages, so you know, quite economical really).
 It feels like the whole world has been singing the praises of Hourglass' Ambient products - and this Ambient Blush Palette looks gorgeous.  It's rather eye wateringly expensive, at £56 for three shades of blush, but you know... Still want it.
I'm including Sephora's rather excellent Give Me More Lip set because I bought one, and I absolutely love it.  I pretty much guarantee that any lip lover will adore it too.  You get seventeen mini lip products for just $59, which is a bargain, and the cute sample sizes are guaranteed to cause cooing.
For the more adventurous lip lover, this $56 set of twelve mini Lip Tars in matte and metallic finishes promises endless creative opportunities as they can be mixed and layered for a really interesting and artistic lip.  Or, you know, just applied for a highly pigmented pout.

By Terry's Baume de Rose is a bit of a cult classic, and the new tinted ones have proven themselves pretty popular too.  Normally a single jar costs £35, but you can get five mini-tubes for £55 - still incredibly expensive, yes, but for the Baume de Rose lover it presents a great opportunity to play with the new colours whilst ensuring soft lips all winter long.

And on the topic of soft lips, this Kiehl's lip balm set contains two tubes of the original Lip Balm #1, and a single tube of Mango flavoured Lip Balm #1.  At £19, this is begging to be broken up into stocking stuffers for beauty lovers, or given to someone with a serious lip balm addiction.

Nails Inc's Christmas sets are surprisingly thin on the ground this year given the well-priced bunper sets they've offered in the past.  This Be Gelous set, £42, contains six shades of their very popular gel-effect polish in classic suits-all shades.

Finally, this No 7 12 Colours of the Year features twelve shades picked to follow the seasons.  At £25, each polish costs just over £2, making this a bit of a bargain, whether you give it as one gift, or split it up between multiple stockings.

What are you wishing for this Christmas?  What are you buying for others?  Let me know in the comments!

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 29 September 2014

BUY THIS NOW: Sephora Give Me More Lip Ultimate Lip Sampler

As you may remember, I'm currently in the USA on an extended work trip.  Which means, obviously, lots of browsing at Sephora.  I spotted this lip sampler last weekend (it's part of the Sephora Christmas set lineup), and despite owning a million lip products already, had to give in and buy it.  It costs a teeny tiny $59 (or £38ish, if you want it shipped to the UK), and inside are seventeen (SEVENTEEN!) lip products - sixteen mini ones, and one full size.  Oh, and a mini lip brush.

You'll have to excuse the smartphone photos, and the attractive background that is the carpet of my rental apartment, because there was no way in hell I would be waiting til I get home to crack this open and start playing with it.  Sorry (not sorry).

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Bare Minerals READY Face and Body Luminizer

Bare Minerals have a pretty comprehensive Christmas collection this year, including this whopping great big box, which contains a pressed READY luminising powder, split into three shase, and a big, soft brush.

I'm not sure why Bare Minerals have chosen to use such a large box - it could easily be smaller given the product inside.  It does have an element of "oooh, lovely big box of makeup" followed by "oh, a compact and a brush".

It is a nice compact and brush, though - the luminising powder is presented in an oversized, patterned compact with a nice big mirror, and the brush is super soft and big enough to easily add a glow to the collarbones, cheekbones, and shoulders alike.

Inside, the powder is split into three colourways - a bronze, pale pink, and soft pale gold.   My swatches of all three turned out very light - I'm not convinced you could build that pink up into a blush, unless you like your blush very, very shimmering indeed.

Swirled together with the mega brush, though, the three colours create a soft, candlelit luminescence which is very pretty applied sparingly to the cheekbones, and applied liberally to the body.  Personally, I don't usually bother with any kind of makeup on my body, but if you're fond of adding shimmer, this might well be up your street.  Find it at the Bare Minerals site now, where it costs £35.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review & Competition: Too Faced A Few Of My Favourite Things Holiday Set

Too Faced are good at palettes - and one of this year's Christmas offerings is an absolute corker.  A Few Of My Favourite Things may be quite wordy, and even worse put a certain annoying song in your head, but it's full of gorgeously soft eyeshadows and well pigmented cheek products, and comes with a mini mascara and a lipstick.  What more could you need?  Read on for an in-depth, picture heavy review and EVEN BETTER!  A competition to win one of your very own.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Boots Star Gift: Soap & Glory The Yule Monty Gift Set - Just £27!

This whopping great Soap and Glory set goes on sale at Boots on Friday for just £27.  It contains a ton of product for such a tiny price:

·         HAND FOOD™ Hand Cream
·         SUGAR CRUSH™ Body Wash
·         THE RIGHTEOUS BUTTER™ Body Butter
·         PEACHES AND CLEAN™ Deep Purifying Cleanser
·         HEEL GENIUS™ Foot Cream
·         BUTTER YOURSELF™ Moisture Lotion
·         THE SCRUB OF YOUR LIFE™ Body Buffer
·         THICK & FAST™ Super Volume Mascara
·         SEXY MOTHER PUCKER™ XL in Pink Out Loud

Run, don't walk, down to Boots on Friday to snap this one up.  Soap and Glory specials always sell fast, and this one's a great deal.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

NOTD: Seche Nail Lacquer in Sparkle, Clink, Kiss

This is a very, very Christmassy little number from Seche - called Sparkle, Clink, Kiss, it's made up of bright gold and bronze glitter in a clear base with larger red glitter suspended in it.  It goes onto the nail surprisingly smoothly for something so glitter-tastic, and two coats left me suspecting it was opaque, but not really sure.  At most angles, looking at this polish just gives you a burst of bright, bright gold with red flecks - but at some angles, you can see the gaps between the glitter particles and the nail looks a little patchy.

It's a fairly minor point, though, and one easily remedied by layering the glitter over a solid base coat, or applying three or four coats (I'm wearing two above).  I can't wait to try this over a black cream or a red cream - I reckon it'll be even more strikingly, dazzlingly, sparklingly Christmassy.

Wear was reasonable, at around four days before chunks of glitter started pinging off my nail, and removal, as you'd expect, was an utter pain in the arse, requiring a good soak before the glitter would budge.  At £9.99, it's not cheap, but this polish is a bit of a star - I have a lot of polishes, and I've got nothing that looks anything like this.

Find it now at BeautyBay, where it's currently on sale for £7.99.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Eight Gorgeous Gifts

There are some wonderful gift sets out for Christmas this year.  Here's my pick of the most gorgeous gifts any beauty lover would be pleased to find under their tree.  Kicking off with one of Boots' mega-value weekly deals, this Nails Inc capsule collection includes eight mini colours and a full size Gel Effect topcoat.  It's a bargain at £25, particularly when you consider that the topcoat is £12 by itself normally.  Find it at Boots.

I love Aromatherapy Associates - their oils are gloriously luxurious, with uncomplicated scents which are truly relaxing.  At £35, this little box contains 10 3ml bottles of their famous Bath and Shower Oils, each good for one bath or shower experience.  Yes, that works out at £3.50 per bath, but that's not far off the average price of a Lush bubble bar nowadays, and these are infinitely more luxurious.  Find it at Space NK.

As usual, Stila have a set of Lip Glazes - this time there are nine of them in one box, and what's even better is that they're packaged in sets of three, so you can give them as separate gifts, or as one whopping great set.  Colours range from reds to pinks to neutrals, and they're just £29.50.  That's under a tenner a gift if you split them up!  Find them at the Stila site.

It wouldn't be Christmas without a Soap and Glory set.  Relax Station contains everything you need for a smoothing shower experience - it contains The Scrub Of Your Life body scrub, Clean On Me moisturising body wash, The Righteous Butter body butter, Hand Food hand cream, Heel Genius foot cream, a bath puff, and a hair turban, all for a rather bargainous £20.  Find it at Boots.

This clever Bare Minerals palette features twelve READY pressed eyeshadows in an ingenious packaging system - you can pop out the middle part of the palette and take it with you!  The eyeshadows also pop out of the whole palette, so you can choose which three shadows out of the twelve makes it into the portable three-pan.  It also includes a double ended eyeshadow/liner brush, and costs a mere £45.  Find it at the Bare Minerals site.
Smashbox also have an impressive palette - the £49 Wondervision palette contains a whopping 30 eyeshadows and four cheek colours, with matte, metallic and shimmer finishes.  Find it at the Smashbox website.

This Elemis Indulgent Treasures collection contains Relaxing Bath Elixir and Nourishing Shower Cream, a full size Quiet Mind Temple Balm and a tube of Pro Radiance hand and nail cream.  This is the perfect body gift set for me, because I rarely use body cream and I always feel like any set with it will go to waste somewhat.  At £25, it's very reasonably priced for something from Elemis.  Find it now at Time To Spa.

And finally, for the lipstick lovers out there... this Perfect Pout set contains six full size Illamasqua lipsticks, in shades of red, pink and violet.  At £60 this isn't a budget gift, but you'd be looking at £99 for six Illamasqua lipsticks on their own, so if you're a fan of their high pigment, long lasting shades, it's a worthy investment.  Find it at Illamasqua's website.

What are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year?  Let me know in the comments!

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.
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