Getting My Summer Bronze On!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

As someone who's naturally not very bronze (pretty much the opposite of bronze in fact) when it comes to achieving a healthy summer glow, I need all of the help I can get. I'm not really one for sunbeds or baking myself in the sun and so rely almost solely on products to make my corpse like skin tone look a little bit summery. Seeing as I don't tend to opt for shimmery products at all throughout the rest of the year I do quite enjoy switching it up a bit for the summer and going for something a bit more glowy too. Here are a few of the products I'm currently enjoying using, and are perfect for achieving that bronzed summery look.

Sleek used to be one of my favourite beauty brands a year or so ago, but it's been a while since I've used anything from them. Not because I stopped liking their products I just found myself gradually moving onto other things, however I love this little highlighting palette that was released this year. It comes in a really nice metallic case which gives it quite a luxe finish, and contains three cream illuminators and one powder. I'm not in love with the white shade in this, you can probably see from the swatch it's a bit stark even on my pale face and the consistency is a little patchy and hard to work with. The other three shades are beautiful and so three out of four isn't bad, it's still well worth the £10 price tag and is one I'll be getting my use out of over the summer. 

Model Co Glow Summer Bronze.
This is an old favourite that I always pull out during the summer. I don't tend to use it at all throughout the rest of the year because it's really quite shimmery and illuminating, but a nice one for when you're after that kind of look. After I've been fake tanning I apply a small amount to the tops of my cheekbones, the swatch hasn't picked it up well but there's a lot of gold in there. I've had a look online and it seems as though you can't even buy this any more which is a shame because it's gorgeous and I highly recommend it for any illuminating bronzer lovers. Luckily for me the pan is huge and so I have no worries about needing a replacement any time soon.

Sienna X Cream to Powder Contour Kit*
I've heard a lot of good things about Sienna X on blogs, but this is first of their products that I've tried. They specialise in sunless tanning products, including a range of fake tans and bronzing makeup including this beautiful cream to powder contour kit. This has been a very welcome addition to my makeup routine this spring/summer, the consistency is just beautiful and I don't own anything else quite like it. It's incredibly lightweight on the skin (ideal for this time of year) smooth to apply with great pigmentation. The rose gold packaging is really pretty too and as a bonus even contains a nice big rotating mirror in the lid. I wish the illuminating cream would have been a couple of shades lighter, although if you're using it over their false tan I imagine it would give a gorgeous subtle highlight. At just over a tenner it's bargain and definitely one to add to your summer routine if you're a fan of the summer bronze.

Kiko Essential Bronzer*
Another brand that was new to me up until recently is Kiko, but I'm completely converted after trying out some of their products. I love the huge size and beautiful wooden packaging of this bronzer but the product itself is lovely too; it does still give you a glow it's a lot less shimmery that the Model Co bronzer making it a great 'everyday' choice. I apply this with a big fluffy brush to the perimeter of my face and I find it warms up my skin tone and gives me colour without looking unnatural.  I wrote a full review on some of the new Modern Tribes collection from Kiko, you can check it out here if you're looking to pick up some new summery products.

What products do you use for a summer bronzed look?

Five Outdoor Fashion Essentials

Friday, 29 May 2015

Now that the weather is warming up, chances are you're making plans that involve being outdoors; I know I have numerous daytrips, walks and camping trips jotted onto my summer bucket list! When you’re planning a trip outdoors there are certain clothing items and accessories you simply can’t do without- with its stiles, slopes and slippery terrain, the countryside is a far cry from the manicured walkways of city centres. If you don’t dress the part, you could quickly come to regret your fashion choices, last year for example I came home from a day out with my legs completely covered in painful bites so I'm keen to be a bit more prepared this year! Here are five outdoor clothing essentials that look the part, and should definitely be on your shopping list this year if you plan on venturing into the great outdoors.

1. A Waterproof Jacket
Even if the sun’s shining and you can see nothing but blue skies when you leave your house, always be sure to take a good quality waterproof jacket with you when you venture into the countryside. Let’s face it, the British weather is fickle at the best of times and if the heavens open when you’re out and about, you can’t just dash into the nearest store, coffee shop or bar. For a country chic look favoured by celebrities like Lily Allen and Alexa Chung, check out the waxed Barbour jackets that are available. Wear with a nonchalant attitude and you’re good to go.

2. Lots of Layers
Even throughout the summer you should still prepare for cold weather, especially if you're camping as even on the hottest days it's still going to be chilly when you first wake up. It can be be tempting to wrap up in big woollen jumpers, but for added flexibility it’s better to layer up instead with items like cotton tops and shirts. This way, if you start to work up a sweat while roaming the country lanes, you can easily cool off by shedding an item or two. Sports luxe is a recurring spring/summer trend, so sports tops and vests are always a good choice.

3. Waterproof Boots or Wellies
I practically live in sandals in the summer, but when it comes to the great outdoors you're going to need something a lot more substantial (especially if it involves traipsing through long grass and up rocky paths!) Sturdy hunting boots and wellies are your best bet as they protect from the elements and give you grip, Hunter wellies and boots are a perennial British favourite. From the Originals collection to innovative fashion-led designs, Hunter give you all the support you need and offer impressive grip. For a personal touch you can also get Hunter wellie socks in an array of colours and patterns, which fold over and show off the classic branding.

4. Comfy Trousers
Forget skirts and dresses when you’re roughing it in the outdoors, you can be sure that they'll lose lose their glamour when you’re shimmying down hillsides or hopping over fences! Instead opt for clothing items that will keep your legs covered, I don't think you can go far with legging or jeggings as they're comfortable as well as allow you to move around freely (and are also inexpensive so easy to replace if they get snagged). Jeans might also be an option if you have a pair that are not too tight or restrictive. 

5. Accessories
Finally don't forget the all important accessories. If it’s chilly out be sure to take some gloves and a scarf, and in the summer some stylish shades are a must. Add some feather details for a bohemian vibe, like earrings or a headband. For some real country charm, pop one into the rim of your fedora hat. Don't forget a water bottle, mobile phone powerbank charger and some basic first aid- if you go with something like a rucksack you won't be weighing down your shoulder and will keep both hands free.

Are you planning any trips to the great outdoors this summer?

Japonesque at QVC

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

If you watch American beauty Youtubers, chances are you've heard of Japonesque. They're well known in the cosmetics world for their beautifully crafted luxury tools, but have recently introduced a range of makeup products too. And best of all, they're now available here in the UK thanks to QVC! Japonesque is a brand I've admired from afar as a beauty blogger, it was previously difficult for us here in England to get our mitts on and so I'm so excited to finally be able to give them a whirl. Here are some of the Japonesque products available on QVC, but check out their site for the full range. 

Velvet Touch Finishing Powder With Brush: £30.55
I love products that give a 'velvet' finish, I find they give an almost airbrushed effect with a natural matte finish that's neither glowy or too flat looking. Despite this being a rather scary looking bright white shade in the pan it's most definitely a translucent powder, it's universal so you don't have to worry about colour matching which is always handy when buying online. The brush is made with super soft synthetic fibres, it's not too densely packed meaning it's great for applying the powder without accidentally piling on too much. Always a good thing as too much powder really can be disasterous, there's been more than one occasion where I've glanced at my face during the day and realised I've been overly generous with my Rimmel Stay Matte- hello chalky skin! I think £30 for this set is pretty good, they're in no way budget products but £15 each for a high quality brush and a powder that leaves a beautiful finish is more than reasonable in my book. This is Japonesque's best selling product globally; and seeing as they're such a top selling highly respected brand, that speaks wonders about the product.

Japonesque's Velvet Touch primer is a weightless gel that glides over skin to create an invisible canvas, smoothing and mattifying the complexion. It really does make your skin feel like velvet too- it smoothes out the skin and so if you suffer with things like enlarged pores, fine lines or patches of dryness this works to even everything out creating a perfectly smooth base ready for foundation. It's been quite a while since I've regularly used primer as I can be quite lazy with my routine (and let's face it, primer is a step that can easily be skipped) however after using this it's definitely something I plan on incorporating into my makeup routine again. I've been getting a much nicer overall finish, my base makeup lasts longer and my skin can still breathe which is especially important now that the weather is warming up.

I think this eyelash curler has to be one of my favourites of the products I've tried. I never used to believe that eyelash curlers really worked (probably because at the time I'd only ever used rubbish ones) but this is amazing. They're made from high-quality stainless steel with a unique pivot design, which applies a consistent straight-line pressure on the lash for even results. You get three replacement silicone pads too so you'll get the best performance for a really long time. I can't believe the difference it makes to the lashes, it makes mascara look better and even if you're not wearing any makeup at all- a quick curl with these gives way more definition to the eyes. When you buy this from QVC it comes in a set with Japonesque's Lash Loading mascara, I haven't tried this myself but judging by how great everything else is I'd put money on it being amazing.

Lipstick Duo: £25
When you purchase one of Japonesque's lip duos from QVC you get the choice between the 'bronze and berry' set or the 'nude and coral' set. Colour wise the bronze and berry set would be a great autumn/ winter choice while the nude and coral look like pretty shades for the summer- I only have the berry shade on it's own but I absolutely love it.  Not only do you get a bit of the pretty colourful themed packaging on the lid (the packaging for the colour cosmetics range is individually hand crafted meaning no  two designs are the same!) the colour and formulation are everything. A stunning deep berry shade with the smoothest formula that just glides on leaving amazing pigmentation. Plus berry is a universally flattering shade that will suit all skin tones regardless of how light or dark- I know this is going to become a favourite when the colder weather rolls back around but it's also a gorgeous, sophisticated shade for nights out too.

Have you tried anything from Japonesque?

Braun Satin Hair 7 Hairbrush Review

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Braun Satin Hair 7 hairbrush*: around £30 from Argos, Amazon and Tesco

It's been quite a while since I've used or owned a hairbrush; my everyday hair tools are a Tangle Teezer and a wide tooth comb and they're the only things I've brushed or styled my hair with for probably close to three years now. But my old faithful Tangle Teezer is beginning to look a little worse for wear with the bristles starting to bend around the edges, and so for the past few months I've been on the lookout for something new. Step in Braun's Satin Hair 7- where technology meets hairbrush. Oh yes, containing 'Iontech' technology this nifty little device works to reduce static in the hair leaving it smoother and sleeker just through brushing. And as someone who battles with static-y flyaways on a regular basis I thought this sounded like something I needed to try!

The sciency bit behind this is that hair generates its own positive charge of atoms on the surface of the strands, this causes them to repel each other which leads to that horrible static feeling in the hair. Once switched on the Braun Satin Hair 7 releases a jet of ions; ions are always trying to get back to a 'neutral' state and so efficiently absorb the positive charge from the hair. So what you end up with is hair that looks sleeker and shinier, and completely eradicates the unmanageable static buildup. The brush head itself is fairly large meaning it's great even for longer hair, and the cushion base is removable which is handy if you prefer brushes without these on. I do find that this isn't quite as gentle on my hair as the Tangle Teezer, however the rounded ends of the bristles glide nicely though the hair without snagging so wont cause damage. It uses three AAA batteries, but there's an automatic switch off so there's no need to worry about forgetting to switch it off and running them down within a day! I find that the static in my my hair tends to get worse at this time of year when the weather is warmer, but since using this I've not had to think about it at all.

All in all this is the ideal brush for me, usually brushing my hair makes the static become worse but this seems to get rid of it well (which in turn makes my hair look a lot nicer!) If you don't suffer with static and flyaways then this brush probably isn't going to do much for you and you'd be better off just going with something cheaper, but for certain people it will be an absolute lifesaver. If like me you look like you've been electrocuted when a balloon goes near your hair or brushing it causes it to 'stick' to the hairbrush, this is something you'll appreciate. While it's more expensive than a regular hairbrush, at just under £30 it's not going to break the bank and is well worth the price for what it does.

Is the Braun Satin 7 brush something you'd buy?

Bringing a Touch of Colour Into Your Home

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

image source
A century or more ago, the majority of people who painted their homes used white because it was considerably cheaper than coloured paint. These days, white and neutrals are a popular choice as they give your home a nice bright and clean look, I'm very much a neutrals decor fan myself but they can definitely leave a room looking a bit stark and bland if you're not careful. But the good thing about white and neutral rooms is you can bring in any colour you like, and can easily change up your colour scheme without having to completely redecorate! Here are some of the ways to bring in a touch of colour to your home. 

Develop Your Colour Scheme
First of all, you'll want to decide on which colour to use. As a general rule, white walls will compliment cooler colours and magnolia/ cream walls will look best with slightly warmer colours. You can choose the colour based on season, function (relaxing hues in bedrooms etc) or just be daring and pick a colour you love as your accent shade. Bringing in colour doesn't necessarily mean a bright colour, in cool toned rooms you could go for a mixture of grey and black shades and in warm toned rooms try varying neutrals like light brown and taupe.

Use Colourful Accessories
Once you've decided on your colour palette it's time to go shopping! The easiest way to bring colour into a room is definitely with accessories. There are the obvious things like cushions, rugs, throws, curtains and lamps- but don't forget things like clocks, candles and silk flowers. Even if you fancy a complete change of colour later down the line it's easy to switch out accessories and use them in other rooms, if you think you're likely to change your colour later down the line just be sure to choose your pieces wisely. For example, a colourful lampshade can be changed for another colour if the base is neutral. The artwork in frames can be switched up, and the flowers in vases can be replaced with another colour providing the vase itself is a neutral shade.

Add Colour With Plants
Another great way to bring some colour and contrast into a room is with some living plants. The bright green of the leaves looks really nice against a plain, light backdrop and you can use colourful plant pots to tie in with your colour scheme. Use striking Dartington Crystal vases to display fresh flowers throughout the year, I love having fresh flowers in the house and always try to make sure I have a bunch in the house. You could go with a bouquet that picks out your colour scheme- supermarkets are good for this as they tend to have bunches that are dyed all kinds of colours

Consider a Feature Wall
Putting up wallpaper is more of a commitment than simply adding accessories, but the good thing about feature walls is they're usually quite small and therefore are a lot less expensive and time consuming than completely redecorating. A feature wall will really tie your chosen colour into the rest of the room, and can add a bit of interest especially if all of the other walls are plain. Be sure to choose your feature wall well, it should be the wall your eye is naturally drawn to when you enter the room. Often they're the wall where the fireplace/ chimney breast is.

How do you bring colour into your home?
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