Friday, 12 February 2016

Whether you like it or not, February is the month of love! With Valentines Day just around the corner, I've been sharing some of my favourite Valentines Day gifts. If you missed it, you should definitely check out my HUGE Valentines Day Gift Guide, it’s packed with gift ideas.

Today I wanted to give a little highlight on this fabulous gift from KORRES. This is the Wild Rose Sensations Valentine's Day Gift Set by the folks at KORRES. It’s a gift that KORRES bring out every February, especially for the season of love. It comes in really lovely packaging; the top is decorated with pretty roses stapled to a clear pouch. Inside you get three lovely mini products, all in the Japanese Rose scent.

First up is the Japanese Rose Shower Gel - a creamy body cleanser with a lasting moisturising effect. It's made with wheat extracts, active aloe, vitamins C and E, zinc and antioxidant enzymes. Together they make protective film around your skin which locks in the fragrance and keeps your skin super soft. The shower gel even enhances the immune system of your skin and prevents the signs of ageing! 

Next in the bag of goodies is the Japanese Rose Body Milk. This is a body milk that you use after the shower; it's packed with vitamins and agents that boost skin energy. It also includes almond oil, active Aloe, provitamin B5 and Shea butter, which together provide long-lasting hydration.

The Mandarin Lip Butter Stick in Rose is the last item in the bag. The Lip Butters from KORRES come in lots of different flavours and colours. As you can imagine, Rose is a red shade and it adds a delicate red tint to the lips. The Lip Butters are designed to instantly hydrate your lips; they include shea butter and Sunflower wax which deeply nourish and offer long-lasting care. The Mandarin oil soothes dry lips, so this is ideal for chapped lips. These lip butters even include SPF15, which make them a perfect option for holidays!

As someone who travels so much, this is my ideal little trio, it will definitely be coming along on my next trip! As I say, this little gift only comes out once a year! So if you like the look of the Wild Rose Sensations Valentine's Day Gift Set, get yourself to Gorgeous Shop ASAP (it retails for £19 here).

Thursday, 11 February 2016

'Thursday Tittle Tattle', is a Hope, Freedom, Love blog series which has quickly become home to some of my popular posts. The series is dedicated to breaking news of the beauty world. From time-to-time, Thursday’s blog post will be dedicated to news featuring; beauty and lifestyle news, events, discounts, and even a bit of fashion news thrown in too! This is my favourite time of year in the beauty world, with Christmas officially done and dusted, the focus in the beauty world has moved to Spring. We're talking pretty pastels and swoon-worthy palettes! Keep reading for the latest beauty news that has caught my eye this week.

Urban Decay expands range with Gwen Stefani
The brains at Urban Decay have added four new products to the Urban Decay and Gwen Stefani collaboration. There’s a brand new blush palette, a brow box, a range of lipstick and a range of lip pencils. Prices range from £14 - £35 and the range is available now.

Clinique announce more new launches 
It’s hard to keep up with Clinique at times, they’ve just announced a whole host of new products. The first is the Pop Glaze Sheer Lip Colour + Primer which is a sheer lip product which moisturises and primers your lips. Another exciting product is the Clinique Lid Pop, which follows the design of the Cheek Pops (the ones with the pretty flower embossing), they come in eight different colours. They are a combination of bold and nude shades with have a silky and longwearing formula. The third thing I love the sound of is the Clinique Stay-Matte Universal Blotting Powder, an invisible blotting powder with a matte finish that reduces shine and provides a natural finish. This sounds amazing for when I’m away travelling at work!

Butter LONDON have created a tinted moisturiser for your nails
Do your nails need a bit of TLC after the winter season of dark nail colours? Well Butter LONDON hope they have created just the thing! Their Sheer Wisdom Nail Tinted Moisturiser, will cost £15 and will be available this month. It will come in five shades (Fair, Light, Neutral, Medium, Tan and Deep) and will offer the same benefits as a facial tinted moisturiser; it will nourish and hydrate nails, while delivering a sheer tint of colour. 

Garnier expands their Ultimate Blends range to include bodycare
I'm a big fan of the Ultimate Blends haircare range from Garnier, so it's exciting to see them move the range into bodycare. The range includes a body lotion and a body butter, which have been tailor-made for very-dry skin. It has been created with with 3 incredible treasures from the beehive; Royal Jelly, Propolis & Honey. Garnier say the formula leaves your skin feeling intensely nourished with smoothness restored. Check out the range at Boots

Cult Beauty launch the 'Best of Becca Kit'
If you've always wanted to try Becca, but you never know where to start, you will love this kit from Becca. The Best of Becca Kit is all-star edit of BECCA’s bestsellers! There are 5 products in each collection and it gives you everything you need to achieve the BECCA ‘look'. These kits retail for £55 and you can buy them here

Spring pastels from Barry M
The Barry M Cosmetics spring range is packed with all the pastel shades that you would expect. As well as a new mascara, a contour kit and a brow kit, Barry M have launched a whole range of pastel nail products. They are expanding the Speedy Dry range with the Speedy Spring Collection which includes four new pastel shades. The Gelly Spring Collection also has four new shades and finally the Sunset Spring Nail Collection features four new shades. All the polishes are available from 10th February at Superdrug and 17th February at Boots.

Soap & Glory talk Spring
Soap & Glory are also talking about Spring time and they have announced the launch of their new spring cosmetics collection for eyes, lips and face. My favourite annoucement is the Archery Volu-Boost Brow Fibre Gel, which will be a gel that gives you "naturally thicker brows". I can never resist a new brow product! There are also six new shades of the Sexy Mother Pucker Matte-Lip 3D Colour & Sculpt and the Kick Ass Anti-Redness Concealer.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

For my last blog post covering Valentines Day in 2016, I really wanted to do a matching 'Lips & Tips' combination. A matching lipstick and nail polish duo, which is designed to give you a bit of inspiration for the weekend ahead. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to go for pink or red, so I decided to let fate decide as I rummaged through my beauty drawers. 

As you can probably tell; in the end I opted for a red theme! I wear burgundy shades quite a lot, but there are actually very few times of the year that I go 'classic red' on my nails. The shade that I gravitated towards is Rimmel London's Double Decker Red, which comes in Rimmel's 60 Seconds Super Shine formula. I absolutely love this range from Rimmel, as the brush is so simple to use and the colour range is beautiful. The formula is made to be chip-resistant and it is a high shine formula, so it is really glossy. The best bit is that it dries really quickly, so it's perfect for a last minute Valentines manicure.

I paired the beautiful red polish with the Rimmel Apocalips shade 'Burning Lava', which is one of their matte velvet formulas. I picked this as it's a gorgeous dark vampy red, but the matte formulation also makes it incredibly long lasting. Which just means that you can count on it all night and it won't budge, whether you're eating or kissing! As you apply this lip lacquer, it feels almost mousse-like on the lips and it's incredibly moisturising. 

The best bit about this Valentines Day inspired duo, is that the whole look will cost you under a tenner (£9.98 to be exact), so it definitely won't break the bank! Whether you're out on a hot date, or spending the night with your girls, why not treat yourself to something new?

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

If you’re not celebrating Pancake Day tonight, here’s a post for you all to bookmark for Sunday, because everyone deserves a lazy weekend breakfast once in a while. If you are, I’m giving you the perfect recipe if you want to do Pancake Day with a bit of twist. I’m the weirdo who doesn’t like traditional pancakes, they are just something I’ve never really enjoyed. I’d have one to be sociable, but for me, the texture is a bit weird. 

I’m sure everyone knows about American Style Pancakes, but in case you’re not aware I’ll fill you in. American Style Pancakes are more like cakes in texture, like mini hot cakes that you smother in all kinds of yummy ingredients. Just like normal pancakes, you make these with ingredients you find in your cupboard. Here’s how you make them…

The first thing you want to do is melt two tablespoons of butter and leave to cool. Whilst you wait for the butter to cool, grab a bowl and sift in 135g of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. In a second bowl you now need to whisk together; 130ml of milk, 1 large egg and your butter. Next you need to pour your liquid mixture into your dry mixture and beat with a fork until the batter goes smooth! This can take a little while but it’s worth the persevering. Leave your mixture to stand for a few minutes before starting to cook the pancakes.

When the batter has been left to stand, you need to get a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Add in a knob of butter and then add in a ladle of your batter per pancake. Your mixture should be thick and it should hold it’s space in the pan, it shouldn’t run around like a traditional pancake mix. When your batter starts to bubble, it’s time to flip your pancake! The underside should be golden brown and you need to flip it to cook the other side. Wait until both sides are golden brown and your pancake has risen a little bit, then it’s ready to eat! The recipe should serve 4-6 people, I’d say it’s closer to 4, haha! 

These are a little treat that Chris makes on a special occasion, so they always make me feel of happy memories. Let me know if you try these, I’d love to hear your topping suggestions!

Monday, 8 February 2016

We're all a bit spoilt for choice these days when it comes for shopping for beauty online. There are literally thousands of online shopping destinations, so it can be hard to choose where to shop. Fragrance Direct has been one of my favourite online stores for a long time (see here for my full list), as I often pop there to stock up on Essie nail polishes. However, I had no idea that they stocked hundreds of brands, including both products from the high street and luxury beauty boutiques.  

Not only do Fragrance Direct stock products from the likes of; MAC, Real Techniques, Bobbi Brown, Clinique and Marc Jacobs; they do it at a rock bottom price. So if you're looking for a place that stocks all your favourite products, at an unbeatable price, Fragrance Direct is undoubtably the place to go. Here are some examples of the great products you can pick up right now!

The first item is the Real Techniques Deluxe Gift Set*, you might remember this beautiful kit from Christmas time. This is a stunning boxed gift set which has five fabulous Real Techniques brushes. Inside the box you get the Multi Task Brush (which I love using for blush, bronzer and powder), the Tapered Foundation Brush, the Angled Highlighter Brush (which is an exclusive to the kit), the Base Shadow Brush (which is amazing for applying eyeshadow all over the lid) and finally the Fine Liner Brush (which makes applying eyeliner a doddle). You even get a cream clutch bag in the kit, which is perfect for a travel makeup bag. It's on sale at the moment for £23.99, which saves you £6 off the normal retail price.

Next we have the Maybelline Colossal Go Extreme Mascara*, which promises incredible impact for your lashes. I LOVE Maybelline mascaras and it feels like I've tried them all, but this one is new to my collection. You can see in the picture that it has a very interesting wand and brush combination. Maybelline call in their "double pump wand" which adds an extra shot of volume. This is on sale at the moment for £2.99, yes £2.99, which saves you £4 off the retail value.

I could not resist the Miracle Touch Creamy Blush from Max Factor*. The Max Factor Miracle Touch Blusher has had some crazy reviews on the bloggersphere. It's designed to give "your skin the ultimate finish", it is easy to blend and the finish is radiant and dewy, which looks beautiful! It's the perfect addition to your makeup bag as we start to think about spring! Three shades of this blusher are on sale for £2.50, which saves you £4.50 off the high street price. 

Last but certainly not least is the Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint For Eyes in the shade Fuller Fudge*. I fell in love with these eyeshadows after getting a few in a Christmas gift set. They have the most beautiful colour options, which apply like a dream. They are long-wearing and they do not smudge - whatever the weather! They are the ultimate simple eyeshadow look; just apply and blend and you are ready to go. Fuller Fudge is a stunning chocolate brown shade, which is a perfect addition to my collection. These are on sale for £15.99, which saves you £1 off the retail price. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it's actually quite hard to find Clinique products discounted anywhere!

Not only do I love the product selection and the discount prices at Fragrance Direct, I love that I can get so many brands all in one place. I often find myself hopping from one online store to the next and getting loads of little parcels delivered, paying a fortune on delivery costs. Delivery at Fragrance Direct starts at £1.99, which is pretty low compared to a lot of places out there and you can get free delivery when you spend £40! Let me know what you think of Fragrance Direct in the comments below, what is on your shopping list?

Sunday, 7 February 2016

I do love a deep red or a slate grey nail in the colder months, but sometimes I think it’s nice to switch it up a bit. Especially when you’re feeling a bit low and suffering with a cold. Enter Essie’s Fashion Playground, which adds the perfect pop of colour.

Fashion Playground is a pretty blue-toned mint shade, which is not a world apart from Mint Candy Apple. It’s greener than Mint Candy Apple and it has that classic pistachio colour.  It’s a lovely pastel shade with some shimmer running through it. 

Pastel shades are something that Essie do really well; they are lightly, they dry quickly and they do not go streaky as you apply them. This means that you can just keep applying thin coats of colour until you get an opaque finish. I find that it takes me two-three coats on my nails. It has the classic modern Essie formulation, meaning that it has the fabulous thick tapered brush. It also lasts really well on the nails, meaning you get minimal chips and long-lasting wear.

What nail colour do you opt for when you need a bit of a pick-me-up?

Saturday, 6 February 2016

KIKO was definitely one of my favourite brands last year. I tried a few products and I became quickly obsessed with the quality and the formulations. Of all the products I’ve tried, my favourite product has to be the Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows. I was almost a bit cautious to try them at first as they get some rave reviews on the bloggersphere. When I went to place my KIKO order, I had five different shades in my basket and it was pretty hard to whittle it down. I first started with the started with the Golden Mauve shade, which is a stunning pink-purple shade. 

What I love about these is that the formula is incredibly creamy, so it is really easy to apply to your eyelid and doesn’t drag or pull. The colour is really pigmented and it’s really easy to blend. After blending they set in place and they set in place and they don’t move for the rest of the day. They look fabulous on their own, but they also provide a great base for other eyeshadows to go on top. 

I recently expanded by collection and added the shade ‘Golden Brown’ which I’ve swatched above. What I love is that this shade is more of a neutral colour, which means it’s a shade I can use on a daily basis. It’s a very pretty taupe shade, which is finished with some pretty golden shimmer. It’s work suitable and you can layer literally any colour over the top to give it a bit of a golden finish.

I absolutely love this shade, when you consider that it’s only £6.90, you’re getting a lot for your money and you’re compromising on very little. I think it might be time to expand the collection a little further…

Friday, 5 February 2016

Bronnley is brand that only came to my attention recently but I’m quickly falling in love with it. It’s was started by James Bronnley way back in 1880 and it’s a fabulous British success story (I actually have a full feature coming in a couple of weeks). He had the dream of creating homemade English fragrances, which quickly expanded to soaps, dry shampoo, hand creams and toiletries. 

Bronnley have recently announced the launch of their brand new scent; Zealous Flower*. Let me start by saying that this comes packaged in the most beautiful box. It’s a white box that is decorated with a bright geometric pattern, finished with gold lettering. You expect the bottle inside to follow the same vain, but instead it’s a chic black bottle finished with the name of the fragrance in gold. It looks really impressive on my dressing table, swoon!

The launch of Zealous Flower in 2016 joins the popular Eclectic Elements Collection. It’s a innovative fragrance which Bronnley say is created for the “aspirational, imaginative woman”. It’s quite a complex fragrance as it’s a blend of dark and light notes. It starts with notes of mandarin; soft pear and plum; which makes it feel light and fresh. As it wears there are base notes of amber, suede, patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood and cedarwood, so it starts to get very woody.

Zealous Flower retails for £35, which is for 50ml, so it’s really not pricey. I think this would make a lovely gift, especially during Valentines Day season! You can pick it up from the Bronnley website here, in a variety of different sizes!
© Copyright 2015 - Stephanie Usher - Beauty Blog