Matte Lips Made Possible.


Bold lipsticks and matte formulas are made for each other. If it's bright but not matte, I'm not really interested. Ain't nobody got time for endless top ups or smears halfway across your face, and whether it be to make your pout kiss proof, or just ensure that you can eat that burger without worrying, matte lips definitely seem to be the way forward. 

Unfortunately, they do come at a price. MAC Matte Lipsticks are among my favourites, especially Ruby Woo, just look at that gorgeous red, but they can be incredibly drying, and lend themselves well to that dried out prune look, not exactly what you want. There are a couple of things that you can do to avoid this effect though, and one wonder product that I have found to prevent dryness before, during and after. 

Lip balm, lip balm, lip balm. And one in particular, the Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm - it may be pricy at £19 a pop, but totally worth the results. A rich and thick formula that will cling to your lips for hours to come, seriously, this stuff is still there come morning and works pre and post lipstick. Apply once before you start doing your makeup, by the time you get round to your lips they should be lovely and moisturised and you can get to work painting the colour on. The great thing about this lip balm, is that it isn't oily, so won't create that 'slip' that you can get with some products and therefore the colour isn't going to transfer. During, if things start looking a little parched just pat a little on top and blot with a tissue to get the matte finish again. And finally, after, you want to lip balm the life out of your lips. It's no secret that matte formulas aren't kind to them, but with a little extra care you shouldn't have to feel the effects. 

Yes it's a bit more effort, but only one extra product to use and the guarantee of a pretty pout makes it all worth it in my opinion. What about you, do you think you'll be trying this lip balm?

Yves Rocher Smokey Eyes and Giveaway.



Yves Rocher is a brand that you hear about more and more and I've wanted to test other things in their makeup range for ages after falling in love with their Sexy Pump Mascara. Part of the reason that I love them so much are because they are passionate about their botanical brand values and committed to ethical product development and focusing on natural ingredients. It's always nice when something as superficial as makeup can actually bring some benefits to the world! I've been loving warm and smokey looks so decided to go for something to accommodate this, and here's what I came up with. 

The star of the show here has to be the quad in Hot Brown, a combination of dark/reddy brown shades that can be used together or as one wash colours blended all over for a smokey eye with a slightly different twist. They have incredible pigmentation and can be built up to be really quite intense. The nude shades would suit nearly all skin and eye tones I think, and a combination of them creates a copper toned smokey eye that I love and could be worn for any occasion. Here, I've layered it up with lots of kohl liner and mascara for a really intense black smudgy look and used the primer to get a really strong colour pay off. 

For your chance to win the products mentioned above, and trust me, you'll love them, enter using the rafflecopter widget below, good luck! (Competition only open to UK Residents). Plus, as an extra treat Yves Rocher are also currently offering a discount code where you can get £6 off when you spend £26, just enter 6OFF26 at the checkout - don't miss out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What do you think of this smokey eye look? 

Clarins Summer Collection



WHERE?

Clarins Headquarters in London 

WHO?

Clarins, the French brand best known for its luxury skincare and makeup collection. Often seen to target an older audience but I've now seen time and time again that this doesn't necessarily always have to be the case and that their ranges, especially the quarterly seasonal collections are also perfect for a younger demographic. They're the ones that I get most excited about, because the wearability of the brand and the luxe packaging mean I know I'm going to love everything, and the practicality means that it won't only be catered to editorial looks that I could never pull off. 

WHAT?

I was introduced to Clarins latest collection, Aquatic Treasures, a summer-perfect range of bronzed hues and smokey accents inspired by a glowing 70's glam look. For any type of summer plans, whether they be relaxing by the beach or dressing up for the races, Clarins have got the products to keep you covered here. 


THE PRODUCTS :

Summer Bronzing Compact £30 - Released as a limited addition part of the summer collection, this is definitely one to get your hands on whilst you can. It's a beauty; embossed with marine inspired motives, and with a mix of four matte shades to get your perfect bronze, it's perfect for faking that tan or cheekbones, whatever your preference. You know how much I love their original bronzer, but I'm having a hard time deciding whether I actually like this more. With a super fine and bendable texture this is definitely going to be an everyday staple of mine this summer. 

Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base £26 - I've loved these primers for a while and am happy to now have two new shades to add to the collection. I like to use them under my foundation, but you can also mix them is, and they're the perfect way to fake gorgeous glowing skin. With added anti-pollution complex you're getting your skincare in there too. 

Ombre Iridescente Eyeshadows £19 - Another product I've been a massive fan of for a while and can't wait to experiment more with the new colours, Aquatic Rose and Aquatic Grey. Apply together for a smokey eye, or separately for a one wash colour that looks a lot more impressive than it actually is. 

The mascara, eyeliner and the fixing mist are already part of the Clarins permanent line up and there's some sun care bits that I still have to show you so stay tuned for those! 

THE VERDICT :

Clarins have done it again. I was a tiny bit sceptical of the collection before, Summer ones always seem to be fairly predictable, but they've pulled it off well and included some really interesting products in there that not only will be amazing for summer but carry me through year round. The modern take on a classic seventies look that could easily be dressed down to suit the everyday is something that will appeal to everyone I'm sure, whilst there are still enough interesting products to push you slightly outside of your comfort zone. 

The Aquatic Treasures collection will be out from May so be sure to purchase quick and get your hands on those limited addition pieces whilst they are still available!

What do you think of this collection? Would you like to see me create a look from these products?

Lemon Meringue.



The Easter weekend is an eggsellent (Geddit?!) time to do a spot of baking, and I've found a cracking (okay I'll stop with the puns now) recipe that you should all try out. This light, fluffy lemon meringue cake is the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday lunch, and will be perfect right into Summer. The combination of the cloudy meringue, sharp curd and combination of cream and cake is a winner, and sure to have everyone asking for more. 

The separate components can be made well ahead of time and assembled when ready. A word of warning though, once put together it won't keep for very long (if it isn't devoured all in one go anyway!)

You will need: 

125 grams very soft unsalted butter 
4 large eggs (separated) 
300 grams caster sugar (plus 1 teaspoon) 
100 grams plain flour 
25 grams cornflour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
zest of 1 lemon 
4 teaspoons lemon juice 
2 teaspoons milk 
½ teaspoon cream of tartar 
150 ml double cream (or whipping cream) 
150 grams good quality lemon curd

Method:

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C/400ºF. Line and butter two 21cm / 8 inch sandwich tins.

Mix the egg yolks, 100g / ½ cup of the sugar, the butter, flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb, and lemon zest in a processor. Add the lemon juice and milk and process again.

Spoon the mixture into one of the tins and spread calmly with a rubber spatula until smooth.

Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form and then slowly whisk in 200g / 1 cup of sugar. Spoon into the other tin and create soft peaks with a spoon.

Put the tins into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

With a cake-tester, pierce the cake to check cooked. (It will have risen now but will fall back flattish later.) No sponge mixture should stick to the tester. Remove both cakes to a wire rack and let cool completely in the tins.

Turn out onto a wire rack. 


Whisk the double cream until thick but not stiff and set aside. Layer the sponge, curd, cream and meringue in that order when you're ready to eat. Tuck in and enjoy! 


Are you a fan of this twist on the classic lemon meringue pie? Will you be trying out the recipe anytime soon? 

Happy Easter!!

Bronzed.


A good bronzer is essential in anyone's makeup bag. Our annual quota of thirty minutes of nice spring weather seems to be other for now, but we can at least combat the grey sky and pretend we witness some semblance of sun with a good dusting of sun-kissed powder. And my favourite new one on the scene is an offering from Clarins. It's not one you hear about often, hidden from view by the big players like NARS Laguna and Benefit Hoola, but definitely worthy of a mention and my own personal favourite. 

Clarins Bronzing Duo in Light is a little different to most high end offerings. Made up of two sides, a shimmer and a matte it gives three different options for the look that you want to create and with a slightly red undertone creates a beautiful sun kissed and natural look. It doesn't sound all that great, and it's definitely not the type of cool tone that you would want to contour with, but it's such a believable colour, and one that will actually make you look like you've been in the sun. And the slight shimmer running through means it blends perfectly with the skin, no caking in sight and gives a lovely glowing, healthy finish. If you want to look like you've been on a tropical weekend getaway to top up your tan, this is the one for you. 

What's your favourite bronzer? Do you have any favourites that aren't so well known in the beauty world? 

Is it Worth it?


It's hard to know where to splurge and where to save in the beauty department, and with the knowledge that several corporations own both high end and drugstore brands, effectively promoting the same products under different labels, it's even more confusing to work out whether what you are buying is worth the price tag or not. 

What you pay for isn't always what you get. From L'Oreal owning both Maybelline and Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Bourjois being made under the same roof and MAC and Topshop being made together the industry is rife with duplication and showing the incredible effect that marketing and basic psychology can have on a person. If parting with more cash doesn't necessarily proffer better quality, what's the point in opting for higher end products? 

I'm a big believer that both have their time and place. In terms of skincare, I do think that the more you can spend, the better, since the ingredients don't ever tend to be the same in their lower end counterparts, but the distinction becomes more shady in the land of makeup. It's all about what's important to you. If the product itself is all you're after, then the drugstore's the place to go. But for those concerned with aesthetics as well, and a collection that looks nice on a shelf (let's face it, if you're into beauty on your face, you're probably a little shallow when it comes to the packaging too), there's no better place than the exclusive beauty halls. And no-one can deny that spending that little bit more makes the product so much more luxurious and special to have. A lipstick from Boots doesn't have quite the same effect. If you have the budget, I don't see anything wrong with that.

What I am completely against in the culture of feeling you have to own everything, and in particular the mindless spending when it comes to lower end products; buying everything on impulse just because it's cheap and ignoring the fact that you will never ever wear it. I also can't stand the mindset that just because something is more expensive it will be better quality, or limiting yourself to only high-end due to snobbishness. At the end of the day, if it works, looks good, and you can pay for it, that's the only thing that matters. 

What do you think? Where do you buy your makeup from?