Pretty Amazing

It's a little bit arrogant to call your product 'pretty amazing', but when it is pretty amazing you're more than justified. I had a nude one of these which I adored; when I lost it during last season at London Fashion Week I silently sobbed into my Vitamin Water. The lovely people at Bare Escentuals gave me a bright pink fuschia shade and I've fallen in love all over again. This lipgloss is in a category all of its own, being thicker and more pigmented than any gloss I've come across. It stains the lips like a lipstick so the colour stays on pretty much all night long, plus it's really comfortable to wear.



The colour of this is amazing - bright pink that's not for the lighthearted. (It's called Ambition so that sums it up quite nicely.) The sculpted applicator collects the perfect amount of product and allows you to apply it precisely, creating a perfect line around the lips. The colour pops and shines, making lips look uber luscious and pouty. I don't have a bad word to say about this product, other than it comes in twelve shades which makes me want them all. It's unusual for Bare Escentuals to go into colour territory, but with this range of lip products they've touched on something spectacular.



Available online and from Bare Escentuals counters. RRP £15.00

Get musical with 17 Cosmetics

A campaign launched last year that I wasn't aware of until recently; a campaign I really wish I knew about as it's right up my street and totally different to anything I've seen in the beauty world. 17 Cosmetics launched their 'musical' collaboration in November, where they're teaming up with unsigned up-and-coming artists to launch songs inspired by their products. It works like this: 17 scour the globe searching for the next cool thing and set them a task of penning a song inspired by a piece of makeup. Out of all the entries they choose a winner, record the track, film a music video and help to promote the artist through their Facebook page. Here are the first and second songs that were launched as part of the genius partnership... (They're really rather good)


The story has moved onto the next level and I was invited down to meet the third artist they're partnering up with: Beca. Hailing from NYC, Beca's music is popstastic and she's penned a song inspired by Peep Show Mascara called 'Who's Checking Out Who'. The video was filmed in a secret location near London Bridge in an underground club that was full of secret cubbyholes, glitter balls, smoke machines and a funky stage for her to shake her thing. When they've finished editing the final cut I'll be sure to give you the first peep, but in the meantime here's a little interview with her where she talks all about her music, her inspiration, her love of makeup and why she's teamed up with 17 Cosmetics.

PS - Sorry the video is really dark, we were literally in a cave!





Check out the campaign on 17's Facebook page here.

Cheryl Cole Stylist Pick - take two

Bleugh. Just bleugh. What the hell are Stylist Pick thinking and how the hell is Cheryl Cole supposed to be a style icon? I slated her original collection here (and it seems everyone was in agreement with me) so I was intrigued to see how she developed her 'style' for the collection launching in time for SS12. Well it seems that the second collection is even worse than her first. She tweeted a picture of two of the shoes from her forthcoming collection, expressing her pride and excitement at what she's created. Chezza, we need to have a word because nobody in their right mind would part with good cash for these heinous pieces that barely pass as footwear. Bleugh. How are Stylist Pick making any money from this collaboration and who is actually buying these things???


Behind the scenes with 17

This week I popped down to a secret location near London Bridge to go behind the scenes of a shoot for 17 Cosmetics. They're teaming up with some unsigned artists to create songs and music videos around some of their hero products, and this time it was the turn of New York based popster Beca who had written a tune about the new Peep Show Mascara. More of that to come later, but in the meantime I managed to grab the 17 makeup artist Vanesa Guallar to chat through the look she was creating for the day and some of the products she was using. Take a look at what she has to say...

Sorry it's a bit dark to watch - the light was shocking as we were literally in a basement! 

An end to bad nails: Renunail

Chipped, flaky, peeling nails are the bane of my life during the winter months. A day doesn't go by when I don't swear at another broken nail or peeling tip, wishing I could find a miracle solution to the perfect talons. After moaning about the state of my hands a while back, I was kindly sent a bottle of Dr Lewinn's Renunail nail strengthener to try. It claims to harden and protect nails, eliminate peeling, flaking and chipping while promoting longer and healthier looking nails. To good to be true? I put it to the test?



Renunail is slightly different from normal nail strengtheners as it is supposed to be worn alone on nails and applied daily for six days. Avoiding the cuticle area you apply the almost watery substance to nails which creates a base to work from. It does smell pretty strong (like you're applying some kind of treatment or chemical!) so you may have to open some windows... On the seventh day you remove the formula from your nails and repeat the progress three times, leaving your nails for a couple of weeks before you start all over again. It comes in a double sized bottle too so you have plenty of treatment to keep you going for some time.



I'm not going to lie, I managed to keep the daily application up for a week and noticed a little difference. What I have noticed though is that when used as a base coat or a clear varnish, i.e. using it most of the time, it has a very similar effect. After using this for a couple of months off and on my nails are much stronger, break less and peeling as almost been eliminated. My nails have been the longest they've been in ages and I've actually had to start filing some off so I can still type quickly! There's still some way to go and my nail beds need a little seeing to, but it's definitely made a great deal of difference to the state of my nails. I'm keeping this up indefinitely.

Available online for £17.50

Competition: So...? Kiss Me

Is it just me that thinks of She's All That and Sixpence None the Richer when I see those words all together in a sentence? (Showing my age there.) So...? fragrances have been around since day dot and made up my entire perfume collection until I was about 15. They're a cute and quirky brand that offer a different kind of fragrance, channeling your inner teenager and providing great scents at affordable prices. Their 'Kiss Me' fragrance is a fresh and fruity scent that transcends ages - this isn't just for the teenyboppers amongst us! It teases with fresh blackcurrant, pineapple and citron before revealing layers of kissably sweet vanilla and a floral heart rounded by musks and woods... Mmmmm.



To celebrate the upcoming Valentines celebrations (love them or hate them) I've got five 50ml bottles of the scent up for grabs, so you can put that boy in a flutter all the way up to the 14th February and beyond. All you have to do is be a follower of this blog and comment below with who you'd most like to be kissing this Valentines (and an email/twitter ID). My votes with Olly Murs. Good luck!

PS... Here's the original 'Kiss Me' song, just because I'm feeling nostaligc.


T&Cs - One entry per person. Only open to followers of LBQ. Competition closes Friday 3rd Feb. Winners will be contacted via twitter/email and be given 24hrs to respond. If no communication is recieved within this time an alternative winner will be chosen.

Top knot

Although trends transcend seasons, eras and ages, there's nothing quite as timeless and sophisticated as a simple bun or up do. I spent the majority of my younger years with my hair scraped back in a bun while doing ballet lessons, so I always associate it with being a sign of elegance. Blow me if I can manage to actually put my hair in a bun though without it taking six million kirby grips though! I saw these little twiddly gadgets in Primark for an unbelievable £1 a few weeks ago and I was intrigued to see how they worked. When I bought them even the shop assistant looked at them like they were some kind of weird nutcracker, so my confidence wasn't at an all time high.



They're basically ten kirby grips in one. You twist your hair up in a bun and to hold it in position you just need to place one of these at an angle, twisting around like a cockscrew as it locks the hair in place. One in each side (think of it like chopsticks) will do the job well, keeping hair in the perfect style and secure as long as you need. If you want a casual up do these little gadgets are fantastic - I've been wearing my hair in a bun for work and keeping it in all night becasue it's really comfy. You don't get the tight, tugging feeling you sometimes get with hair bands or buns, because it's actually really loose. For a quid you can't really go wrong!





Available from Primark - £1.00 for two.


Look: it's nail varnish

The Look beauty collection is taking the makeup industry by storm. Not only is it offering great products at affordable price points, with one of the best weekly magazine's name attached, but the colour range is pretty spectacular. This is the first nail polish I've tried from the range, but I'm impressed with the standard. The thickness of this purple sparkly formula is equivalent to that of a more expensive brand, applying easily and leaving a good colour result after only one coat. It has a deep purple base and complimentary purple sparkles that run throughout, providing a three-dimensional colour and subtle glitter. One of the great selling points is also that the colour on your nail is 99% spot on to the colour in the bottle, so you know what you're actually getting when you buy - there's nothing worse than it being a completely different shade when applied to the nail. The colour lasted well for two days before a few chips started to appear, more than enough longevity for such a dark shade. More colours to be reviewed shortly no doubt, because there's a new polish princess in town...



The whole range of 32 colours is available from Superdrug. RRP £5 (ish!)

Katy Perry for Eylure

What better way to get over the breakdown of a marriage than to team up with the world's best eyelash brand to create your own flutter? Katy Perry doesn't need Russell Brand anymore as she's bound to catch the eye of another young suitor soon enough with a pair of these lashes on her lids. Katy has apparently worn Eylure lashes on her tour for years so was incredibly excited to team up with them and create her own collection. I've never hidden my love for Eylure false lashes and I'm hardly ever seen without them of a weekend, so knowing that Katy has put her very own stamp on them is somewhat exciting. All four designs are very wearable with a little Katy twist; I love the fabulous packaging and zany colours that she's chosen to represent her love of design... I can't wait to try them out for myself.

Katy says: “I have worn Eylure lashes all the way through my tour and really loved them. When it came to having a range of my own, I wanted everyone to have a great experience with my lashes. As they have such an amazing history and great quality, Eylure was really the best choice for me to work with.” 


Available from February in Boots and superdrug, RRP £5.95 each.

Think Leopard: 17 Cosmetics

Have you ever seen a more beautiful bronzer than one adorned with leopard print and sparkles? It's completely OTT, blingstastic and unnecessary, but I blimin love it. This bronzer from 17 Cosmetics actually has a leopard print design on the top, with gold glitter sprinkled for good measure, to give you a golden glow whatever the season. You may think wacking on the bronzer is a bit too much in January, but never has there been a more appropriate time to de-pale yourself and make the most of the fakeness available to get you through the season.



The bronzer is a universal chocolate brown that can be dusted over face or body. The leopard print design unfortunately doesn't go all the way through, so once you use a little the gold sparkles do disappear and leave a one-dimensional shad, but it's a nice touch to an otherwise standard product. The giant size of the pack also makes it really easy to dust a big brush over, grabbing some colour to contour and highlight your white bits. It gives an instant pick me up and injects a bit of animal magnetism into your makeup routine!



Available now in Boots priced at a bargaintastic £5.49 (and it's oversized!)

Avocado, Olive and Basil

Crabtree & Evelyn is a brand I always associate with people over the age of 60, in the same way that I associate Royal Jelly with Christmas presents from my Nan. I haven't even seen one of their products since the 90's, so when a little email popped into my inbox about their latest collection I had to take a step back and scratch my head. It actually looks really nice! The new collection of Avocado, Olive and Basil launches on the 25th January and it's a sight to behold. Modern packaging, stylised fonts and sleek presentation, this is definitely something I'd keep for myself and not pass on to Nana Pam.



The collection includes a body lotion, body butter, shower gel and an award winning hand cream. The Hand Therapy is packed with ultra-moisturising ingredients, including nourishing shea butter, avocado fruit extract and avocado butter. Formulated with a blend of vitamins C and E along with myrrh extract to help condition nails and cuticles, it claims to leave your hands wonderfully soft and supple.  The formula is rich and thick, injecting a perfect amount of moisture to the skin and soothing hands. It's delicately scented too, so you won't smell like a M&S ready meal! I love the metal tube which makes getting the cream actually out of the tube a doddle.



The hand cream isn't cheap, coming in at £14 for 100ml, but it's much richer and more beneficial than a lot of the cheap and runny alternatives. This tube will last you forever, as well as being one that will take pride of place on your desk. It's so nice to see a lovely iconic-ally British brand re-inventing itself and offering something that is truly worth buying. This won't revolutionise your hands, but it will help to soothe when you need it most.

Available online and instore priced £14.00

My week in pictures

I thought I would try to do a little bit of weekly (or sporadic) sharing of the life and times of LBQ. Sometimes my weeks are pretty random, ending up in bizarre situations or just doing some uber cool stuff. Here are some little snaps of my week, including cupcakes, bands and new shoes!







Miss Piggy for MAC

I wouldn't normally recommend a pig as a style icon, but this one is definitely a bit different. Miss Piggy is a pink lady of a generation, oozing glamour, sophistication and love for a green frog. She's taken her love for makeup to the next level, doing what all celebrities worth their weight in mascara do - she's gone and got herself her very own makeup collection. MAC have created a simple look for her, featuring a limited edition (and online exclusive) pink eyeshadow, teamed with lashings of black eyeliner and false lashes. I can't wait to see what she wears to the premiere of The Muppets next month...






Available from February online via MAC's website.

Colour Matched: Collection 2000

In my head the cheaper the foundation, the more likely it is to be utter tosh. Considering the last few foundations I've used have been over £30 a bottle I wasn't holding out much hope for a great performance from a product that cost £5.99. Saying that though, the new Colour Match Foundation from Collection 2000 aint half bad. The foundation has technology that helps the colour adapt to yous skin tone, meaning you should never have that unsightly line mark ever again. Available in six shades, I've been using 'fair' which is pretty perfect for my complexion. I'm not entirely sure how it adapts to your own skin colour or if it's just a pretty universal shade, but the shade covers and unifies without looking heavy or false.


The formula itself is light, without being too light to do anything. It blends really well with your skin when applied with a foundation brush and creates a great unified look. The result you get it something I'd expect of a much more expensive product, giving a great base to build up with other products. A huge bonus for me is that it doesn't look streaky and it doesn't go mental when you put other products on top - it loves my Cha Cha Tint and a dash of powder. It lasts all day long too without a problem, the only issue being that by about 6pm it's become a bit greasy and runny as it separates from your skin so you do feel like you need to dab off excess grease. Lovely.


The biggest issue is with the packaging though. It comes in a glass bottle, which although makes it feel more premium, is clunky and heavy. The pump action bottle isn't that great and you do have to pump it a few times to get it going every day. My bottle actually split all down one side too, meaning every time I use it now it gets into a bit of a mess and foundation seeps out the side. Seeing as this is a new product they often re-assess packaging in the next batch, so I hope they solve this issue. Overall though it's a pretty good foundation for the price... I've been wearing it for about three weeks and I'll continue to do so until it runs out (or the pack explodes.) It gives me all I need for the daytime in a little pink package.


Available now from Boots, Superdrug and online priced £5.99.

The first Muslim face of Lancome

I saw this story pop up in the paper and I read it thinking 'oh that's good then'. It then struck me that it actually shouldn't be the big deal that it appears to be. Lancome have signed their first ever Muslim model to be the face of the brand and she'll be seen in adverts across the country from February. The 22 year old Tunisian has made her debut on catwalks across the world, including Vivienne Westwood and Oscar de la Renta, as well as appearing in magazines like French Vogue. She's certainly very beautiful and certainly had a very successful career, so why is it such an issue that she's been signed as the face of a makeup brand? Hanaa Ben Abdesslem is surely going to be everywhere in the next few months, but what should be striking is her beautiful face and flawless complexion, not the colour of her skin or religious background. Why is this such an issue? What do you think?



Read the original article here.

Nicki Minaj for OPI

If there was a lady of 2011 (who wasn't Lady Gaga) then I guess it would have to be SuperBass herself, Nicki Minaj. I'm not entirely sure where she crept up from (I blame those two singing kids from Essex that went on Ellen) but by the end of the year she was pretty hot damn property. Known for her colour, crazy fashion and pushing the boundaries, it was only a matter of time befor OPI snapped her up to immortalise her look in a range of nail polish. The range consists of five brand new shades and a great purple crackle, all pretty gordy and clashing - but that's what Nicki is all about. The collection is meant to be worn over eachother, be it through nail art, layering or simply using the crackle. This is certainly a colourful rainbow of nail stuffs.




Available from Lena White - £10.50 each.

Roberto Cavalli

Another day, another new fragrance launch. This time it's Roberto Cavalli telling you not to go unnoticed, but in fact to prance about with a tiger. It's Wednesday... knock yourself out.

Loving my long hair..

I've had short hair for so long I'd forgotten the swinging feeling of long, flowing locks. Just call me Rapunzel, because now I'm absolutely addicted to my Halo hair extensions. I blogged about them a while back, but a weekend hasn't gone by when I haven't jumped at the chance to wack in the hair extensions and flick my head around. It's amazing what a difference a little length and little volume makes to how you hold yourself and how you can turn a mess of an 'inbetween hairdo' into something that get complements wherever you go. I've been styling this out in one of two ways - either messy and long with a little bit of curl, or volume at the root while tied to one side. I thought I'd share a couple of photos from the weekend, just because!



L'Oreal Hair Expertise

Hair care is something I feel extra passionate about. I worked for a professional hair company straight out of Uni and studied the science of hair and hair products, so I'm probably more well versed than the normal beauty addict. I've always been anti silicone, anti sulphates and anti nasties because they're just not really needed. The silicone in hair products makes your barnet superficially shiny, creating build up that's much more difficult to budge than it is to create. The sulphates are foaming agents which help to create that rich lather we all associate with a good clean, but these are actually creating excess foam that doesn't actually do anything other than look good. The nasties in products are often the reason behind itchy, flaky and sore scalps that we inevitably spend a fortune on trying to combat. It's basically a viscous circle. Up until now you've had to invest a lot of money in professional or natural products to get good results without causing more problems than you need, but L'Oreal are just about to launch their very own solution to that problem: Hair Expertise.



Hair Expertise is free from sulphates and silicone, while containing sunflower extracts and lots of other lovely botanical oils. L'Oreal have stripped away all of the unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients to create a product range that works, while maintaining a really affordable price point. Quite often you pay a premium for sulphate free products (think Liz Earle) but this range is claiming to do the same job. Using the philosophy of taking haircare back to basics while meeting the demands of the busy woman, the range is split into three categories - Ever Strong for weak and brittle hair, Ever Sleek for frizzy and unruly hair, as well as Ever Pure for colour weakened hair. What I love about the range is how it's split out for multi-needs; I for one have colour treated and weak hair, whilst not wanting to weigh my locks down with product. Sometimes a smoothing shampoo isn't enough or a nourishing conditioner doesn't quite protect your colour... This whole range completely addresses those requirements so you can pick and choose what's right for you.



The whole range comes in these large tubes, making them perfect for the shower whilst not using excessive packaging. The products are colour coded for easy navigation and give you all the info you need straight up. I was fortunate enough to try the products myself at a launch event and was really quite impressed - using the Ever Pure range, my hair felt swishy, strong, nourished, vibrant and not at all weighed down by the feeling of product. Even more impressive is that it's from a brand who I've been avoiding in Boots since 2005! I'll be giving you my thorough thoughts on the range soon, but for the meantime it's about time a mass brand brought decent products to the market, with good ingredients, at under the cost of a Ferrari.

The whole range launches in Boots in February. Shampoos and conditioners RRP £5.99. The range also consists of intense masks and serums.

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