The most handy pallette ever?

Oh dear me this is handy. As someone that spends as much time living out of a suitcase as I do actually living out of my bedroom, the amount of makeup I take with me on my travels is somewhat large. With the summer and mini-break season in full flow, everyone needs to ensure they're being super slight with their hand luggage and leaving plenty of room for airport purchases! This palette from Estee Lauder may be the answer to all our dreams - it contains practically everything you need to take you from airport lounge to beach bar.



The first section you see contains four lip colours and a lip brush, as well as face powder to get rid of the dreaded shiny nose. There's also a double ended lip brush and a mini mascara to ensure your eyelashes are as fluttery as can be. The best bit is to come though, as these sections part to reveal a whole other section, including blush and eyeshadows which are all in multi-tasking colours - you could totally use any of them as an eyeshadow, as well as creating blush/bronzer/highlighter combinations on cheeks.



This is why I love the exclusives created for Duty Free - they really think about what you're going to need if you're going away and provide the perfect solution. Not only is this a fab way of trying new products, but it's also an easy get-out-of-packing card... Just pick everything up at the airport! The quality of this is everything you'd expect from Estee Lauder, giving a fabulous introduction or even working as a great present for someone back home. I now have the perfect excuse to book more flights... Duty Free is calling.

Available now exclusively at airports and on planes! I'm not sure of the exact cost of this as it was a sample, but I'd estimate £25-30

Jo Malone: Velvet Rose and Oud

If you're a fan of the beautifully exquisite Jo Malone fragrances then you'll want to pull up a chair. Joining the other five limited edition Cologne Intense fragrances, the new Velvet Rose and Oud is delightfully different for a summer scent. It's certainly not light and airy, nor is it floral or fruity; this dusky and dark fragrance is designed for those of you who like an intense and musky scent. I have no idea what Oud is, nor do I know if there's such a thing as a Velvet Rose outside of table decorations, but together they make a very distinctive perfume. It's a little to heavy for my personal taste, but I can imagine my older family members liking this as their preference is for the more weighty scents they were brought up with. I love the black glass bottle though, making this feel very vintage and ladylike amongst a shelf of clear concoctions.



Available now priced £95.00 for 100ml

No7 Summer of Dreams

The summer isn't particularly dreamy at the moment, but there are certainly little things we can do to brighten up our eyes. This new seasonal pack of crayons from Boots No7 range is super cute, quirky and multi-functional. Crayons aren't just for kids - these shimmering metallic shades are perfect for grown-ups too! The pack of four contains a grey, green, silver and dusty blue; two highlighting shades and two darker hues provide a great base for changing up looks or creating complementary smokey eyes.



The crayons are cute and chunky, decorated with gold and having corresponding coloured ends to make it easy to find the shade you're after. Providing a formula that's quite creamy and not at all scratchy, these little pencils are very easy to use. Having a chunky tip is perfect for creating messy eyes or blended looks, but anything that needs more definition is out of the question!




The shades really catch the light and look great around the eyeline, but you do need to ensure you don't apply over an eyeshadow as it's much harder to get the colour to stay. These work best on naked lids and powder dabbed over the top to prevent creasing or movement. I'm totally going to be using these throughout the festival season to create face art too... They're perfect for drawing hearts, stars and lightening flashes on cheeks!



Available now for £13.00 for the pack of four. 

Going Gaga

This weekend it was one of my best friends birthdays over on the Isle of Wight. Not realising when we arranged the party that the yearly festival was happening on a teeny tiny island, I had a few issues actually getting there! When I finally did I donned a blonde wig, put on my Pokerface dress, drew a lightening bolt on my eye and channeled my inner diva... Check out LBQ going Gaga. Considering the Lady doesn't often wear clothes, it was actually quite a hard feat to pull off. However, wearing a blue dress (you don't want to see me donning a leotard) and a blonde wig complete with bow, all I needed was a pair of leather gloves, some killer heels, bright pink lips, huge eyelashes and some face art. I can safely say I didn't look like this about 2hrs into the evening, nor did the makeup stay put after walking halfway home in the rain. All in the name of fancy dress though!


The Spice Girls are BACK!

Completely irrelevant to the usual topic of conversation on LBQ, but today something special has happened... The Spice Girls are back (again)! Just look at how pretty they all are. Who knew in the 1990's that five girls that dressed worse than Katie Price would turn out to be such a beautiful and elegant bunch of fine women? Who knew that Sporty would turn out to have the best hair of the lot of them, that Scary could do ladylike and Baby would grow up to have a few babies of her own... As for Posh, she's still the moody pouty one at the end. Enjoy the moment and have a look at the ultimate Spice Girls megamix...


Meet my new friend Lily

This is what happens when I get to the airport far too early... I buy Mulberry. While waiting for my flight to Belfast last week I spotted a Mulberry store and couldn't resist going in for a look. I already own a fabulous purple Mulberry number, but it's pretty big and not really 'multi-functional'. Having seen a few of these on the pages of magazines I'd secretly fallen in love with the green Lily bag, but when I saw this nude beauty I couldn't resist. The very pale pink colour (or skin colour as my sister called it) will go with everything I own, day or night, winter or summer. It's not huge but has plenty of room for my essentials: purse, kindle, keys, phone, lipgloss.



The Lily was originally £495, but with 30% off in the sale and the airport discount I managed to bag this for £288. It smells amazing and the detail alone makes this a worthwhile investment; the little horseshoe keyring, the inner zip and the classic Mulberry lock have me drooling far too much. The metal is also a rather unusual rose gold shade, which is totally the 'must-have' hue this season, giving it an extra 'wow' factor. The distressed look of the material make this feel quite vintage, while not having to worry that you'll disturb the perfectly formed material.



The long metal handle with intertwined leather can be worn either long or doubled-back to be worn short over the shoulder - it's two bags in one! There's also a handy little zip pocket inside to hold your oyster card or ipod; even the zip has a little Mulberry branded addition. Spending nearly £300 on a bag isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for me it's an investment in something I know will never go out of style, that will give me years of enjoyment and make me feel a little bit special when it's hanging off my arm. Who needs an expensive dress when you've got some Mulberry arm candy?



Check out the rest of the Lily range of Mulberry bags here.

Dove by You

I really like the quirky little campaigns that Dove come up with. Not only do they focus on celebrating women, our curves and our bodies, but they also do it while having fun. Their latest project is something quite different - they're encouraging their fans to create a dove design using their iconic symbol, which will then be showcased online and in their Dove exhibition. You can view all the current designs on their Facebook page, as well as downloading your own 'kit' which includes stencils and doves for you to use. All you then have to do is upload your image and everyone can take a peep. The first 100 designs will also be printed on postcards, so why not get creative this weekend... It beats moping about because of the rain!

Galaxy Essential Upgrades #3: Statement necklaces

If you're short of cash with the summer holiday looming, but in desperate need of a wardrobe update to keep you going until payday, then adding a statement necklace can instantly update your look. Take a LBD, add a brightly coloured detailed neck collar and you could've stepped straight off the catwalk. Although jewellery has previously been delicate, long and boho-chic, in 2012 it's most definitely about the statement pieces. Celebrities have been seen rocking this look all season long, replicating looks from their favourite designers and draping their decolletage with all kinds of extravagant jewels. The key here is not to go too flashy, tacky or over the top, while ensuring you're making a bold enough statement.



I've been loving bold neck adornments for the last few months and appear to have purchased quite a few! This nude number from H&M goes with everything from plain t-shirts to floral maxi dresses - it's a statement piece while still being subtle enough to wear with anything. It's perfect to add a little detail to complicated patterns while not letting your accessories doing too much of the talking. On the other hand, the statement monochrome and green numbers work best with block colours and muted hues; add with a contrasting orange or blue, or tone down with a LBD or LWD (that's a little white dress FYI.) The benefit of strong pieces like these is that the eye is automatically drawn upwards towards the neckline, meaning the focus is less on your troublesome areas if you worry about lumps, bumps or boobs, and more on your eyes and pouty lips.


  
There are also simpler neck adornments you can try out if you just want to add a bit of bling to an outfit. Peter Pan collars have been all over the High Street for the last few months, but little necklaces like this one from Dorothy Perkins can create the same look over even the most boring of tops. Add a little pearl collar to t-shirts and they're instantly updated, matching perfectly with a pair of ballet pumps and candy cream nails. Why not spice things up a bit with some spikes or animal print too, using lighter necklaces like these from Topshop to funk up a traditionally feminine outfit in the same way you'd use a biker jacket to toughen up soft colours and fabrics. Miss-matching your accessories is totally on-trend right now, so using mutli-coloured spikes or zebra print with a floral or tribal print will look as awesome as Daisy Lowe on Festival Friday.



Using a statement piece of jewellery is an easy and affordable way of updating your outfits without the need for a huge shopping spree. None of the necklaces I've featured are above £10 either, meaning you can justify investing in a couple to upgrade your look from this season to next. Hardly a day goes buy at the moment when I'm not wearing a bold piece of metal around my neck and I don't intend to change anytime soon! Are you a fan of the statement necklace trend? How do you upgrade your look in a simple way?

This post is part of my Galaxy Essential Upgrades campaign. Read all about it in my intro post here or check out the Galaxy Facebook page. Why not check out the ASOS Galaxy Upgrades hub too?

Origins BB Cream

The world has gone a bit mental for BB creams in 2012, with brands launching them at the drop of a hat. This year BB cream is definitely taking over from the mineral makeup craze that took over cosmetic counters a few years ago, maybe illustrating our need for something meatier than a powder when it comes to creating a flawless complexion. Origins aren't known for their makeup, but they are known for their skin and body care products. Their foray into BB cream comes in the form of 'A Perfect World SPF 15 BB cream', available in six different shades. Considering most brands only do light, medium or dark shades, the offering more than doubles the variety currently available on the high street. It does have the brilliant addition of SPF 15 though, making it more than suitable for use all year round.



The formula contains Silver Tip White Tea to 'surround skin in a protective bubble' while providing hydration and moisture to skin. This is designed specifically for more mature skin, but there's no reason why anyone of any age can't use it; I love the light formula and texture of the cream and it sits well on skin. Although it claims to get you from 'am to pm' I did notice a lot of movement around my face by late afternoon, feeling the need to touch up or add a powder to remove shine. I'm a big one for the scent of products and I wasn't a fan of this, feeling it was too 'raw' and natural for my liking - I'd have preferred for them to use one of their stunning fragrances to elevate this a little bit.



Although I like this on a very basic level, I didn't feel it really gave me the coverage I needed. It's more like a great tinted moisturiser than a BB cream, not really providing a flawless finish or bringing radiance to the skin. It does highlight the skin, but my problem areas weren't concealed or brightened; I didn't have the confidence to wear this on days when my skin wasn't in tip top condition, choosing a heavier foundation in its place. After using this for a couple of weeks I'd recommend it to those of you who just want a brilliant tinted moisturiser, rather than those of us that are looking for a traditionally multi-functional BB cream.

Have you tried this? What did you think? Are you a fan of BB creams?

Available now in 6 shades priced £27.00

Benefit presents Glamouriety

On Monday night I spent what is possibly the most surreal few hours of my life at BAFTA House in Piccadilly, helping Benefit to celebrate their short film 'Glamouriety'. The founders of Benefit, Jean and Jane Ford, had decided to document the unique story of the brand in the only way they knew how - short films that make you feel like you've been hanging out with children's telly presenters too long! The 45min film includes the story of Benetint (a stripper asked Jean and Jane to make something to help the colour of her nipples stand out) as well as the customer who has been a loyal fan since the first product launch, even though he uses it in some unconventional ways. (Yep, you read that right - HE.) I don't want to spoil it for you, but suffice to say it's brilliant in its own unique way.







To celebrate the launch, and as part of their 'farewell tour' around the globe, Jean and Jane put on an extravagant party to beat all extravagant parties. Showgirls, glitz, glamour, Will & Kate, Brad Pitt, singing waiters, drag queens and the singing introduction of the film itself. Below is a sneaky peek at the film they've put together and it really is a corker. If you ever get an opportunity to see it then I'd thoroughly recommend putting aside an hour to do so. Their motto is 'laughter is the best cosmetic', so sit back, have a giggle and enjoy the show...

KeraStraight Mask

My hair is in a right old state at the moment. After growing it, dying it, straightening it every day and generally treating it like it's a pile of old hay, it's looking pretty ropey. I've always preached the importance of looking after your barnet, but recently I've not been practicing my own sermon. I heard about KeraStraight a little while ago, understanding that it was a semi-permanent straightening solution for those with extremely curly or unruly barnets - little did I know that they also did a Protein Mask to help those of us that generally just need a bit of sprucing up. I popped down to the Lisa Shepherd salon in central London last week to have a much needed treatment and to find out what KeraStraight is all about.


The mask contains protein particles to help rebuild the hair's inner strength, leaving you with shiny and healthier locks instantly. The mask is applied to wet hair and then dried in using a hairdryer to activate the ingredients. After your hair is dry they then wash the mask out to leave your hair squeaky clean, drying you off again and giving you a super smooth look. My hair was so soft to the touch is felt like my hair had all been cut off - hair is left so super light it feels like a miracle, especially as the whole process took less than 30mins. Working for up to 48hrs after it's first applied, the mask is a really quick and simple way to inject some much needed health into damaged and abused hair. Ever since my hair has looked and felt a lot healthier, giving me a good basis from which to start sorting it out. The results of this last for up to 30 days and it's recommended you have 2-3 a year, something I'm definitely going to keep up from now on!


Available in the Lisa Shepherd salon, as well as selected salons nationwide.
Treatment roughly around £25.00

PS - excuse the quality of the pictures; that's the dreaded cameraphone in action!

Blue Mondays: Revlon & OPI

The week starts off a little bit blue, so why not channel that emotion down to your nails and make blue mondays a little less boring? For the first time in ages I had time to actually do my nails yesterday, so I went for a little summery number from Revlon. Not feeling quite special enough (I've barely had time to pee recently, let alone paint my nails so this was exciting times...) I went a step further and added a cheeky layer of OPI glitter from the Katy Perry collection. The Revlon polish on its own sparkles a little and has a great texture, but the OPI polish complimented the blue hues perfectly.


The end result is something to start the week with a bang. Think fireworks and glitter, all wrapped up with a trip to the disco. I love the density of the OPI glitter polishes as you don't have to spend hours faffing around getting the flecks in the right place; one coat and you're pretty much done. Catching the light and changing colour like a rainbow, the glitter is so pretty without being sickeningly sweet. Looking down at the keyboard as I type, this has certainly made my Monday as little less blue... I hope it's cheered you up a little too!


The finished result

Accessorize your Lovely Day

The range of cosmetics launched by Accessorize was one of the very first things I ever wrote about, excited by the foray into makeup by one of my favourite accessories brands. The packaging was very girlie (butterflies and sparkles all over the place) and maybe not so in keeping with the ladies that actually shop in the store, so they've recently re-launched the majority of the products to bring it more 'up to standard'. This eyeshadow palette is part of the collection and contains 32 different colours all in this cute little package - it may be leopard print and rosy, but who doesn't need a little bit of tacky extravagance in their makeup collection?



The colours in the tray are all fairly neutral and form the basis of a comprehensive eyeshadow wardrobe. You have base colour nudes, bronzed browns, smokey greys and a few emerald greens, khakis and bold blues to finish the range off. There's a combination of matte and metallic colours, providing you with lots of different textures to play with. This is very much a 'basics' palette, perfect for people wanting to try something a bit different, experiment or even just keeping their eyeshadows all in one place - this is absolutely perfect for traveling or even keeping in your drawer at work for post-work spruce ups.



The texture of the eyeshadows is soft and malleable, the colour blending and moving around the eyelid well. You can really build up colour, as well as using more depth around the waterline to create a stronger look, although after a few hours there can be some bleeding or smudging on the upper eyelid. Providing a rich colour result and strong pigment, this is a complete bargain for the £8.95 price. There aren't many 32-eyeshadow palettes available for under a tenner that would be worth buying, but this is definitely one of them.

Available in Superdrug and online priced £8.95

YSL: Swimming Pool

Right now I'm feeling a bit down, a lot tired, a huge amount of fed up and a bigger amount of 'get me somewhere hot with a swimming pool'. This was not helped in any shape or form when this beautiful image from YSL's new summer collection landed in my inbox. I could stare at it for hours, pretending I was far away from the dreary and damp streets of London Town. If only we could all rock a bright blue and and red lip while hanging out by the pool...


Lady Gaga's perfume: first peek

Yesterday Lady Gaga tweeted: “Looks like photos of my perfume are being leaked. Oh you fashion editors I could just crinkle my hands at you!” Apparently someone got a little bit too excited and started talking about/showing/generally parading the bottle around to anyone who'd listen, must to the distaste of Gaga. Like any good PR woman, Lady G decided to undertake the big reveal herself before the official launch later this year, tweeting the first glimpse of her much anticipated fragrance. Called simply 'Fame' and being housed in quite a non-controversial bottle, it left me a little underwhelmed at first. Does anyone else think it looks a little like one of the Avon perfumes your Nan used to have?


However, Gaga channels a little of her quirky self into some unusual product attributes; the bottle is filled with black fluid, which apparently changes color once the wearer puts it on their skin. It's also been much discussed that the fragrance would contain blood and semen - Gaga explained: “I wanted to extract sort of the feeling and the sense of blood and semen from a molecular structure, so that’s where that came from. You just get the after feeling of sex from the semen, and the blood is sort of primal, and it was taken out of my own blood sample, so it’s a sense of having me on your skin.” Erm, ok then.  As for the fragrance, the description goes a little like this... “Tears of belladonna, crushed heart of tiger orchidea, with a black veil of incense, pulverized apricot and the combinative essences of saffron and honey drops.” Can't decide if it sounds like a witch's spell or a cake mixture.

Will you be counting down the days for the launch?

Jewellery, Personalised

I like a bit of bling. There's nothing that makes me feel more like Carrie Bradshaw than a nameplate necklace and plane ticket to NYC. I was given a sold silver name necklace for my 21st birthday and have treasured it ever since - although it does make for some interesting introductions when people start nattering away to you using your name, and you have no clue who they are! I was contacted by Jewellery Personalised to find out if I was interested in them making me a necklace with my blog namesake on and I jumped at the chance to be adorned with 'LBQ'. A couple weeks later this arrived in the post to a round of 'oooohs' and 'aaaahs' in the office. It's blingtastically beautiful.


The necklace is solid gold (9ct) and quite a bright colour, featuring an 18 inch chain and quite a heavy 'LBQ' chunk of metal. The letters were much bigger than I imagined, but that's what I love about it and makes it stand out. Being really comfortable to wear and matching everything I own, the nameplate makes an impact and has had comments from everyone in the last couple of days. I know how much personalised jewellery costs and what poor quality it usually results in, but this necklace was nothing short of a delight. Although not cheap as chips (coming in around the £79 mark) it's a lot cheaper than what you'd expect to pay elsewhere for similar quality (about double that price.) Here's a picture of it on while I was hanging out with Daisy Lowe yesterday (more on that later,) so it's safe to say I'm hearting this a lot right now.


Are you a fan of personalised jewellery? Check out their website here

Celebrate 10 years of Girls Aloud

Something kinda oooh, makes my heart go boom boom. Can you believe it's been a whole ten years since five unknown girls called Sarah, Nadine, Kimberley, Nicola and Cheryl formed a little pop group called Girls Aloud? Who knew that even a year later they'd still have pop songs in the top ten, let alone numerous albums, tours, solo careers and OK cover shoots to boot. The girls have been singing tunes for many a year now, so in celebration they've launched a '10th anniversary lash' with their eyelash brand Eylure. I've babbled away on many occasion about how much I love the eyelashes Eylure make, the Girls Aloud collection being no exception.



The lashes are great quality, the binding rim flexible enough to apply to the eye easily, the length just right and the adhesive the best on the market... I heart them.  The 'anniversary lash' is a perfect design for anyone who wants to add some 'boom boom' to their look - it's not too big, not too small, not to fancy, not too simple; in the words of Goldielocks, it's just right. To celebrate the impending GA reunion and ten year anniversary, I've got my hands on ten pairs of these lashes to give away to you lovely lot. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning a pair is to comment below telling me your fave Girls Aloud tune and why. Just be a follower of LBQ and get your entries in ASAP! The promise I made, promise I made...



Just because some of the GA songs remind me of amazing times past, here's an awesome megamix for you to get your groove on to. I was 19 when they first came out, so GA tunes kept me bopping all through Uni and out the other side. Love Machine was the song we all rushed to the dancefloor to on a Friday night when I got my graduate job and even Jump was the tune played at my 21st birthday. Oh Girls Aloud, never leave us. Promise?


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