29.4.13

De-Cluttering Your Bedroom

When things get tough, when you need a break from the world and to chill out in your own company, your bedroom is the ultimate haven. There's no better feeling than closing the door, snuggling under the duvet cover and lighting a candle while putting on a DVD boxset. But if your bedroom looks like a set from Britain's Hoarders, it may not be the relaxing sanctuary you long for. De-cluttering is key, ridding yourself of the junk that's been collating over the years in favour of a harmonious and clear space that will have your mind as clear as your carpet. Here are some ideas of how to get rid of the tat, find the treasures and reward yourself with a few other treats.


1. Downsize your wardrobe.
Every season I seem to double the amount of stuff in my wardrobe and drawers, never being able to find anything to wear, so continually splashing out on new pieces. When I actually get around to rummaging around inside those cupboards (and looking beyond the top two items) there's always a treasure trove of things I'd forgotten about. You may actually find 20 new outfits from items you'd folded away, or dresses you bought for a special occasion and never worn. Not only will you get a whole new selection of pieces to play with, but you'll tidy and sort your cupboards in the meantime so you know where to grab an outfit from before that early meeting. If you have items overflowing that are simply no longer your taste (or are for those skinny days that never seem to happen,) why not clothes swap for something you truly want using a service like Big Wardrobe or going along to a 'swishing' party? 

2. Rummage through old treasures. 
Sometimes the smallest and most precious items are the ones that get packed away and forgotten about. I've found so many pieces of amazing jewellery in boxes from my 18th and 21st birthdays, as well as vintage pieces from family members, that haven't seen the light of day in years. Accessorising outfits is the easiest way to update them, the simplest ring or bracelet sometimes being all you need to add the 'wow' factor. But if your jewellery box is full of outdated bling that you'll never wear again, you can sell gold online and re-invest what you make back into some statement necklaces. That chunky gold necklace from 1998 has never looked so appealing.

3. Invest in storage.
If you've got nowhere to put your stuff there's no wonder it ends up in a pile in the corner! Buy yourself boxes, baskets and drawers from stores like Ikea or Muji - they're super cheap, sturdy and come in various forms and sizes to fit in with your decor. Start to organise your belongings into sections (beauty products, accessories, books, gadgets and so on) and give each type its own storage unit. Not only will this encourage you to put things away when you've used them, but it will be so much easier to find them the next day... How much time do you waste trying to find a hair brush each morning? (And how much extra sleep does that equate to?)

Once you've de-cluttered and organised yourself and your belongings, why not pop down to Habitat and grab some soft furnishings as final touches. Cushions, candles, photo frames and fun boxes will help to make your room cosy whilst not breaking the bank. What are your tips for de-cluttering your bedroom and making it your very own haven?

This is a sponsored post.

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28.4.13

Optrex Actimist 2-in-1 Eye Spray

Your eyes are precious, so it's essential to look after them properly. As a contact lens wearer and someone who survives on little sleep (but a lot of eyeliner,) it's sometimes hard to keep my eyes looking and feeling fresh. They get tired from looking at a computer screen all day, fiddling about on my iPhone and squinting in the sunlight - as well as the inevitable onset of hayfever symptoms now the weather is starting to pick up. I've been using eye drops for years to wake me up, help soothe tiredness and brighten dull eyes, but they can be messy to use; not only do you ruin your makeup by dropping the solution over your face rather than in your eye, but you have to find a mirror and stick your fingers in your eye to manoeuvre yourself to the perfect position. Optrex have launched a new range of eye sprays that see those issues well and truly in the past, providing all the goodness of traditional eye drops but in a handy spray. All you have to do is close your eyes and spray the solution onto your lids, providing moisture and stabilising the eyes lipid layer to soothe and comfort tiredness and irritation. The coolness of the liquid refreshes eyes and provides instant relief, while not smudging makeup or even having an impact on contact lenses. The bottle is so teeny that it's perfect for popping in your handbag for use out on the go, or even taking to festivals or gigs when smokey atmospheres can aggravate eyes. You need such a small amount to aid eyes for up to 4 hours, so the bottle can last up to 6 months - as well as removing the need to throw away eye drops after a couple of weeks for fear of infection. Although these aren't cheap as chips (you can get them for around £13.99) if you really suffer with tired, itchy, uncomforable eyes they could be an utter lifesaver. Especially if you've got a hangover...




The eye sprays are available in two variants - for tired eyes and itchy eyes - priced between £13.99 (from Lloyds) and £15.99 (from Boots). For more info, check out their website.
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25.4.13

Flawless Feet: Scholl Express Pedi

There are lots of necessary evils that as a woman we just can't get away from. Buying tampons, shaving armpits and plucking eyebrows - all tasks we'd rather avoid, but know it's much easier if you just get it over and done with. Filing the heels of my feet is possibly the thing I like doing least in this world; not only does it mean I have to look at my manky footsies, but it inevitably sees me trying to become a contortionist and get in all sorts of strange angles to ensure my skin is filed evenly. After the deed has been completed it feels like I've just had a work out, pumping the pumice up and down to chip away at the deadness caused by walking the streets of London Town. For such a little reward it aint half hard work! Scholl are undoubtedly the King of foot care and to capitalise on this title have just launched a new little gadget that's going to save me a lot of hard work, while giving me the little boost I need to get the sandals out ready for Summer. Their new Express Pedi is a hand-held pedicure device that removes dead skin while smoothing your otherwise cracked and nasty heels. It needs a couple of batteries, you turn it on and simply hold against your heel - the little roller at the end turns around to work away dullness, leaving feet smooth in a matter of minutes. My feet went from looking pretty awful to being at least acceptable in under 5 minutes, not causing me any drama or a need to do the splits to reach a hard bit. You don't need to do anything to prepare the feet, but it's a good idea to add some Scholl Dry Skin Cream after to replenish a lot of the lost moisture. I love how simple this gadget is, how small it is to handle, the fact there's not a massive storage space issue and how quickly it can be used. You can even replace the pumice roller once it's reached its limit, ensuring you have smooth and pretty feet forever more. The device is pretty pricey at £39.99 (with 2 new rollers coming in around £12.99) but considering a pedicure is going to set you back about £20.00, it can be seen somewhat as an investment. It's comparable to other products and brands, cheaper than a full on pedicure kit and handy as hell to use. I'm sold on this and my feet are thankful.




Available now in Boots, Superdrug, Argos and via Amazon priced £39.00
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NEW: Clinique Nail Varnish for Sensitive Skin

On average, we touch our eyes over 200 times a day. With all that contact it's no surprise that eye irritation and contact dermatitis is on the increase, with nail enamel considered a significant cause. If you had an itchy eye one day, a dry eyelid the next or even an under eye rash, looking at your nail varnish may not be your first point of call. My eyes are exceptionally sensitive, suffering from constant irritation and dry patches that I've not, until now, thought were the result of my nail varnish. Clinique are very clever so-and-so's and have spent the last six years developing a nail enamel to help minimise unwanted reactions; the result is a dermotologist and ophthalmologist tested formula that is perfectly suited for sensitive skin and eyes. Called 'A Different Nail Enamel for Sensitive Skins,' it may not be catchy but it's certainly innovative. The formulas are thick, pigmented and shiny, providing a great result with only two coats; the flat brush provides a streak-free finish that apparently can last up to seven days (using their topcoat too, obvs.) I am utterly in love with the palest of the range called 'Call My Buff' - it's such a pale grey it almost looks like a pastel lilac, but makes nails look long and glam. Although it takes quite a while to dry, there's definitely less of the nail-varnish-smell you get with most formulas - bonus for those of us that get headaches after breathing in too many polish fumes! There are currently 12 shades available, covering reds, pinks, nudes and stronger dark shades in blue and black; added to the collection for Spring 2013 are 9 additional colours that include yellow, green and grape - it's great to know they're going to be treating the nail range as something that can be expanded over the year. I like these; I like these a lot. Their £12.00 price point may put off the impulse shoppers among us, but nail enthusiasts that like to invest in a few staple shades will surely be swayed into parting with a few quid for a quality product.





Available exclusively via clinique.co.uk from 25th April and on counters nationwide from 31st May. Priced £12.00 each and available in 21 shades for launch.
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24.4.13

Tatty Devine Name Necklace

I got my first name necklace for my 18th birthday. I'd been obsessed with Sex and The City, so thought the only way I could be a proper grown-up was to parade around with my name etched in gold on my chest. The quality was shocking, the gold more yellow than Big Bird and so the name plate didn't even last until my 19th. I got my second name necklace for my 21st birthday; by this stage I was a bit more sophisticated, so I opted for a solid silver handmade name plate that screamed 'I'm so classy, me.' I adored it and wore the fabulous piece of craftsmanship day in, day out for many years. (Even now it comes out to play in phases between statement collars.) By the time I hit 30 I clearly needed something even cooler, so I opted for a giant plastic gold necklace with little matching star hanging off the 'H'. Who says you need to be a grown-up when you leave your twenties? Tatty Devine have built an entire business upon their name necklaces, taking something a little outdated and bringing it right into 2013. I've been meaning to get myself one for some time, but it took a little push from Emerald Street to take the plunge during a boring 15 minutes at my desk. What I love about Tatty's service is that you can create your own design from scratch, picking the font, colour, finish, charm and even chain - no two designs will ever be the same with the thousands of possible combinations. I wanted something that I could wear every day, that would match pretty much everything I own and would still make me feel all trendy n such. Gold is one of my favourite colours and what I seem to wear on my hands/wrists/neck nearly every day, so it seemed silly not to stick with what works. I love the chunkiness of the result, the way that it's still delicate while making a statement, the fact that it's unique to me and will remind me of turning 30. Arriving in a cute branded box with care instructions, I couldn't be happier with the result. (I may even be contemplating getting a London Beauty Queen one!) Here's hoping they come up with a new name plate just in time for me hitting the big 4-0.





Make your own necklace here: www.tattydevine.com Prices start from £27.50
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23.4.13

NEW: YSL Babydoll Mascara

Finding a mascara that delivers all you could ever ask for is like finding the Holy Grail. You may get full lashes with one formula, long lashes with another, curly lashes with a special brush and separation with a new wand - but rolling it all together to find the mascara of your dreams can sometimes feel like a dream itself. YSL are launching a new addition to their mascara portfolio this May, simply called 'Babydoll' and fronted by girl of the moment Cara Delivigne. (See the campaign shots in my previous post here.) The new mascara has a rubber brush designed to reach every single lash along your lash line, including the teeny weeny ones that are often invisible to you at first glance.  This aims to give you the ultimate fanned out babydoll look that's become so linked with the 1960s, enabling you to manipulate your lashes and create a strinking result. The brush also has duo-length bristles that adapt to all lash types, separating, coating, and multiplying lashes for defined volume, making it one of the best mascaras I've ever tried. Not only does the new Babydoll mascara include an awesome brush, it also contains a patented formula that promises to provide defined volume, lash-by-lash separation and up-to-24-hour wear - that's one multi-talented mascara! It's not often that I nearly finish a product before getting a chance to write about it, but in this case I've been using it daily since the lovely people at YSL handed me a tube. It works for day, it works for night, it works for a quick coating, it works for full-on smokey lashes; I don't need another mascara in my makeup bag as this enables me to create whatever look I want. The formula glides on really easily, coating lashes and separating simultaneously to create length, definition and volume all at once - there's no clumping, I can apply it on a moving train and it doesn't flake or budge all day. Mascara sales are mostly dependant upon new launches, telly adverts and sneaky claims, so it's extremely refreshing to see something that simply does the job and will inevitably stand the test of time. I'm counting down the days until the end of May simply so I can get my hands on another bottle.




Launching onto YSL counters nationwide on 22nd May, priced £24.00
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Dove Real Beauty Sketches

There are few things in life that make me cry, press 'replay' and instantly share what I've just watched. This video from Dove is one of them. As women we can be a bit horrible to ourselves, not believing that we're all beautiful in our own way - inside and out. Dove have proved how harsh we can be with their little experiment; I urge you to take a few minutes out of your day to watch this... Tissues at the ready.

"Women are their own worst beauty critics. Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. At Dove, we are committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. So, we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see."


The full videos can be seen here: realbeautysketches.dove.com
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22.4.13

The Hayfever Facial at Michaeljohn

Although we seem to have been living in what seems like an eternal Winter, finally Spring has most definitely sprung. There may be blossoms on the trees, daffodils sprouting from the ground and bumble bees buzzing around our heads, but Spring also brings the inevitable onset of Hayfever symptoms. I've suffered since my teenage years from sore, runny and tired eyes during the warmer months - a nightmare when you want to look refreshed, bright and perfectly made-up. Sniffles aren't really a big thing for me, but sometimes I want to rip my eyes out rather than sit in a field surrounded by nature any longer. Michaeljohn salon in London's Chelsea have launched their very own 'Hayfever Facial' which aims to address the problems caused by the condition, both helping to prevent those horrid blocked sinuses and relieving tired eyes. The 60 minute treatment incorporates cleansing and exfoliation, as you would expect with any other facial, as well as specific eye treatments - I popped along to find out more. After the usual skin pampering, a cooling collagen eye mask is applied over the eyes and left to work its wonders, helping to reduce itchiness and puffiness that often accompanies hayfever. While this was left to relieve my eye tension, the therapist treated me to a sinus massage using acupressure points to help reduce congestion; this was the best part for me as I could really feel the tension melting away from around my eyes and across my forehead. Finally, 'eye express radiance ice cubes' (which help with dark circles, puffiness and give an instant lift to skin) were used to massage the skin and promote freshness. Although this is a really strange sensation and left me jumping up a few times with giggles, it's great at waking you and your skin up from an otherwise dull slump. I've had a lot of facials, and although my skin looked refreshed and plump after the treatment as you would expect, the big difference was how awake and refreshed my eyes felt. It had been a long, hard week with little sleep - the perfect test for this treatment - so I felt I really got the most of the facial. If you're not a sufferer of Hayfever, but have trouble sleeping or keeping your sinus tension under control, then this could be a perfect treatment to dip into every six weeks.

Can't get down to Michaeljohn's salon? Why not try these 5 steps to re-create it at home?
1. Cleanse and exfoliate skin using a mild formula with no strong scents, to leave your complexion clear and refreshed.
2. Apply cucumber slices, or cotton pads soaked in a gentle eye lotion, over the eyes and leave to cool the eye area for 10 minutes.
3. Massage around the eye area in small circular movements, focusing specifically on promoting movement around the bottom of the eye sockets and the side of the nose.
4. Use ice cubes to massage skin in smooth movements, progressing from under the eyes to around the top of the cheeks.
5. Apply a light serum and moisturiser to leave your complexion radiant and hydrated. 


Find out more about the salon and spa here: www.michaeljohn.co.uk
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21.4.13

Fashion Trends I'm SO OVER

I've always been an avid follower of fashion; even from the age of 11 I rushed out to buy the newest copy of Sugar magazine in an attempt to copy the most popular popstar of that month. I always try to invest in trends, taking elements that work for me rather than being a total and utter Topshop-wh*re. Accessories are king, as are little dresses in this season's print, taking an otherwise run-of-the-mill outfit and putting a cool twist on it. I love finding out what's coming up next and how the High Street is going to channel the Catwalk Kings, but there are certain things I am so over and ready to send to Room 101. These are the trends I am sooooo over right now.

Trends I'm over

Dip-hem Skirts

These have been around for around 18mths, building momentum to become one of the biggest trends of the last few years. Although initially they were a great way to instantly update an otherwise standard LBD, it now seems you can't buy anything in H&M without it having a ruddy dip-hem. I long for a straight finish, knowing that anything I buy with a dip-hem will only get chucked in the direction of the nearest charity shop come next season. It's a trend that will look incredibly outdated sooner than you can shout 'tribal is so 2010' so I wish the High Street would just be a little more inventive and leave the poor dips to die in peace.

Disco Pants
Leggings are not trousers. Leggings are basically a thicker form of tights, so should be worn as such - i.e. with tops that cover your lady area and inevitable bum cellulite (we all have it, so lets just agree to cover it up yeah?) Just because some leggings are shiny and have faux pockets doesn't make them cool; in fact it makes them about as sexy as my cycling shorts from 1993. The high waists draw attention to inappropriate areas, making me feel exceptionally uncomfortable in the presence of said disco pants. And another thing - I go to discos and I wear pants, but I have no clue whatsoever why these glorified shiny leggings have been christened in this way. You?

Crop Tops
A lot of women are fortunate enough to look incredible in a bikini, showing off their naturally flat stomach lounging around the pool while getting a tan. I may be jealous, but I don't begrudge them getting out what their lord gave them. Walking down the street in Southend on a Saturday afternoon isn't quite the same though, when you see half the women getting out their belly buttons before we've hit 15 degrees on the thermostat. They're not flattering, they require a ridiculous amount of coordination and if you're not careful you'll catch your death. Buy a vest top - your immune system will thank you for it, as will your mother.

Wedged Trainers
Trainers for me are worn to recognise the need for exercise, long walks or muddy situations that ballet flats are simply not going to survive. If I want to wear trainers it's because I'm dressed in my Sunday Worst and want to walk to the shops in the comfiest way possible. Why oh why would you put heels on comfortable trainers that were made for the anti-heel moments we celebrate so much? Why would you want to look like you're totally casual, but then be tottering around on stilts and still not able to carry three bags of groceries back from Tesco? I don't understand this phenomenon at all. At all. AT ALL. Someone explain it to me while I put my Converse on...

I'd love to hear which trends you're hoping will disappear as quickly as a Joe McElderry single. Maybe you love your disco pants and wedged trainers? I'd love to hear from you. 
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20.4.13

Is Barbie's body really possible?

In a world that insists on pursuing the idea of perfection, Barbie has become a timeless icon that many young girls aspire to look like from a young age. Even fully grown adults, and women who should really know better, still insist on trying to manipulate the way they look so 'Barbie perfection' can be achieved. This info graphic was sent to me after my post 'ever wondered what Barbie looks like without makeup?' and the results are pretty shocking. Some clever so-and-so has transformed Barbie into a virtual human, taking her exact measurements and replicating them to see what she'd actually look like and to understand if that 'look' could ever be achievable. The results are astounding - not only would her wrists be too thin to ever be able to carry her handbag, but her feet are so small that she'd have to crawl around on all fours to get anywhere… Not a look Ken would approve of.  When compared to a catwalk model and an 'anorexic', Barbie still comes out on top in terms of disproportionate and completely ridiculous measurements. I know that Barbie isn't real, she's just a doll that we've all played with to pass the time before Live and Kicking starts (just me?) but I think it's about time she was updated to reflect body shapes today. I'm not saying that we should make a 'who ate all the pies' Barbie, or even a 'curvy girls rock' Barbie… Just a Barbie that could actually stand up, carry her bag and not die a painful death because there's not enough room in her torso for vital organs. What do you think?


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19.4.13

Olay Regenerist CC Cream

Every so often a product comes along that has you crossing off the days on your calendar with a big red pen, eagerly awaiting its release date. BB Creams have taken the world by storm, but they're about to take a back seat in favour of a younger and prettier sister - the Pippa Middleton of makeup and skincare if you will. CC Creams, or Complexion Corrector Creams, are an improved and refined BB Cream with added nourishing ingredients and additional makeup properties. Not only do they help bring radiance and skin perfection, but they also help to lift the skin with colour correcting pigments. Olay are soon to launch their very own CC Cream, a scientific and innovative complexion corrector that allows women to enjoy even skin tone in an instant - and over time, achieve noticeably younger-looking skin too.  The new Olay Regenerist CC Cream is the perfect hybrid of a skincare and cosmetic product, that helps women tap into this season’s dewy bare-faced beauty trend seen on the catwalks, but without sacrificing any of the all-important anti-ageing skincare benefits. Its unique 3-in-1 swirl formula blends the 3 elements together at the point of delivery, ensuring they're suspended in their purest form for the best results.

The three elements include:
1. An anti-ageing serum containing Olay’s ‘Essential Glucosamine Complex’, which comprises N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) and Niacinamide – clinically proven to reduce dark spots and wrinkles
2. A moisturiser with glycerine, SPF 15 sunscreen and anti-oxidant vitamin E – a powerful combination which hydrates and protects the skin instantly improving tone and texture
3. A sheer foundation incorporating mineral pigments which immediately blend and match skin tone delivering natural-looking and even coverage

The formula is super light and melts into skin as if it was water. It doesn't feel like a foundation or moisturiser, because the mix of three elements create a unique texture that applies to the face perfectly. Your complexion is left looking and feeling light and radiant, without even looking or feeling like you're wearing anything at all. Although I still very much need a concealer and a touch of blush to work alongside this, the formula is perfect for those down-days when you don't want to chuck on four layers of slap. It's perfect for taking on holiday to hotter climates when you haven't the time, inclination or desire for heavy makeup too, making it the perfect product to take you into Summer. If you can't wait to get your hands on this when it launches May 1st, then you can join the waiting list exclusively at Boots now! You'll be the first to know all the details of the launch and one of the first people in the UK to get your hands on it. Will you be putting your name on the list?






Join the Olay Regenerist CC Cream wait-list now at www.boots.com/Olay

NEW Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Ageing CC Cream SPF15 will be exclusive to Boots stores and Boots.com from 1 May 2013. Recommended retail price £24.99*.

P&G/Olay sponsored post
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18.4.13

Competition: Hollywood Hair at Home with Charles Worthington

The hair of Hollywood starlets is as much a dream sometimes as starring in a Hollywood film. With five hair stylists, a makeup artist and an extra person to tie their shoelaces, there's a reason that they look perfect all the time. You may have thought you'd never be able to channel your inner Mila Kunis or Keira Knightley, but Charles Worthington have teamed up with Universal Pictures to produce this video which shows, step-by-step, how to re-create some iconic film hairstyles. All you need is a curling wand, some hairspray and a brush - so what have you got to lose?

There are three looks to choose from, including: 
1. The Hollywood Wave: inspired by Amanda Seyfried from Mamma Mia
2. The Retro Wave: inspired by Kiera Knightley from Atonement (skip to 3mins)
3. The Red Carpet Up-Do: inspired by Tippi Hedren from The Birds (skip to 7.5mins)

In celebration of this collaboration, Charles Worthington have given me a huge goody bag of their products (worth approx £100) that includes everything you need to create Hollywood looks at home. It includes shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, shine spray, styling cream, repair milk and melting balm, as well as a DVD bundle to keep you occupied when there's nothing on the telly! All you have to do to enter is answer the following question by leaving a comment below with your contact details (email or Twitter.)

Q: Who played Amanda Seyfried's mum in Mamma Mia?



T&Cs: Competition open to UK residents only. Closes 11.59pm 1st May 2013. Only one entry per person. Winner chosen at random and notified within 48hrs. Winner must respond and claim their prize within 48hrs or an alternative winner will be chosen. LBQ is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Contents of the goody bag may change depending on availability. 

Check Universal Pictures out on Facebook here. 
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17.4.13

Cloud Nine kinder styling: Know Your Hair, Love Your Hair

With great power comes great responsibility. Hair straightening irons, tongs, curlers and crimpers can be the ultimate tools to help make our hair look beautiful, but they can equally damage our locks almost beyond repair. The automatic reaction when handed a styling iron is to turn the dial up as far as it will go - steaming hot irons mean better styling and longer lasting results right? Wrong. Cloud Nine are launching a new campaign called 'Know Your Hair, Love Your Hair' which focuses on educating hair enthusiasts about which settings they should be using to ensure hair looks and feels healthy, whilst minimising damaged caused by electrical tools. Cloud Nine products have unique technology that allow the styling tool to maintain a temperature without losing heat, meaning lower temperatures are just as effective. You can use the Cloud Nine online 'decision tree', answering a few simple questions about your hair texture/length/style, to get your personalised heat prescription for creating luscious looks without the damage. Not only will the outcome provide you with the best way to style your barnet, but it will also provide sectioning tips and even a how-to guide to re-create a celebrity's look that's perfect for your hair type. The outcome of my 'decision tree' was Cheryl Cole's long, bouncy, curly look - no surprise seeing as I currently have long, flowing extensions! Her sexy and sassy look is really easy to create using the classic Cloud Nine Wand; all you need to do is section your hair into rough 1inch amounts, wrapping hair around the wand (away from the face) and holding for 30-60 seconds. Once the curls are formed, scrunch the hair in your hand to set, brush through and finish with a dusting of hairspray... Voila! You can create this look on any hair length; it's a really easy and quick way to inject a bit of glamour into your look. Below is a quick video how-to guide, as well as a sneaky look at the finished Cheryl Cole look on yours truly. I love this campaign and urge everyone who uses straighteners or styling tools regularly (so that's 99% of us) to turn down the dial whenever you can. Know Your Hair, Love Your Hair!






This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cloud Nine.
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16.4.13

Jo Malone Home: Would you pay £20 for a clothes hanger?

My bedroom is my sanctuary and my wardrobe the holy grail. A weekend doesn't go by where I haven't bought a new fragrance diffuser, invested in some cushions or just had to have another makeup storage unit. I'm very much into making my surroundings as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, quite happily burning a £40 candle before bed to make me relaxed and ready for the land of nod. But some things I have to draw the line at - and I think I've found my limit. I was kindly sent these new clothes hangers from Jo Malone London in celebration of their new Home range extension. They're very beautiful and contain one of my favourite scents, Freesia and King Pear, to diffuse into your wardrobe and keep your favourite garments smelling fresh. My issue with these is that they're £40 for a set of two clothes hangers, meaning you're paying £20 for one. Twenty English pounds for a hanger to put your clothes on. Even my Mulberry-bag loving, champagne tasting, holiday booking brain can't compute spending this much money on something you hang up a dress on. They come beautifully wrapped and look stunning in their black box, but I can't imagine anyone buying these for themselves or even giving them as a gift. Can you imagine the look on someone's face if you gave them a box and they opened it to find a couple of hangers inside? Considering the price of these is more than a 30ml bottle of the beautiful Jo Malone fragrances, it seems like an unecessary extravangance. The only scenario I could think that these would be relevant for is a gift for a bride-to-be who wanted to hang her wedding dress on something special, both before and after the ceremony. Then you can just about understand the purchase, when she's just spent £2000 on flowers and has matched her table decorations to the 3rd course. Although these are certainly beautiful, you could spend that £40 on a new dress rather on something to hang the new dress on. What do you think about forking out this kind of money on something so simple?






Jo Malone clothes hangers are £40 for a pair. Available in boutiques now.
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15.4.13

Clinique CC Cream: The new BB Cream?

If you've only just gotten your head around BB Creams (read my BB Cream 101 here) then I'm sorry to bring you the news that there's a new kid in town, going by the name of CC Cream. A CC Cream, or Color Control Cream, is an improved and refined BB Cream. While BB creams offer predominantly skincare benefits, CC creams were developed to retain all the skincare benefits of BB cream with added nourishing ingredients and additional makeup properties. CC Creams supposedly provide better coverage and a foundation-like finish so there's no compromise on the end result. (Are you still with me?) Clinique are one of the first to release their version of a CC Cream, claiming that its 'smart colour correcting technology' helps to conceal skin undertones that can make our complexion red, sallow, dull or ashy. The formula also contains SPF and is oil-free, meaning you get all the concealing benefits with added skincare protection. I've been trying the CC Cream in Light, but I have to admit I'm not entirely convinced that CCs are better than BBs. The formula is creamy and applies perfectly well to the skin, helping to blend away imperfections and create a more unified tone, but the coverage is quite light. This would be the kind of product I use on Sundays or for a low-key day in the office, needing a touch of concealer and a little blusher to make me look refreshed. It doesn't give me the completely unified tone I get from a foundation or the radiance I've found BB Creams provide, making me think that this CC Cream isn't really providing anything above and beyond what's already in my makeup bag. It does subtly change the tone of your skin, but I felt I was missing the radiance quality I so love from BB Creams and lacked the obvious colour result you get from a foundation. Although this is perfect for people that don't like wearing heavy makeup on a day-to-day basis, for my slap-loving face this is a little too light. I'm extremely interested to try out some other CC Creams and to see how this product evolves in the market though - will the CC be better than BB in the long term? Who knows. I'm just waiting for DD and EE.





Clinique CC Cream available in six shades for £28.00, exclusively in John Lewis until May.

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14.4.13

Caroline Flack supports Sure Compressed Deodorants

The best things come in small packages, so my mother always told me. You may have seen them already in your local Boots, but Sure have recently released a compressed version of their deodorant that sees the same amount of product be housed in a container half the size. This is the biggest shake-up in the market since the 1960s, moving a traditionally unfriendly product slightly more towards being green. I'm not too fussed about the environmental factors, but what does fill me with joy is the amount of room this creates in your overnight bag - more lipstick, an extra perfume, or even another pair of ballet flats! Caroline Flack is quickly becoming the nations sweetheart, so she's a great ambassador for celebrating little things with mighty power. Will you be switching your deodorant can for a smaller and slicker version?



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Does Bioderma live up to the hype?

Since I've been blogging about beauty products, there's one brand that's always spoken of as if it's the holy grail of skincare. Until very recently it wasn't even available in this country, but beauty enthusiasts seemed to cross the channel to stock up on Micelle Solution as if it was a sought after and rare red wine. Gone are the days when we'd jump in a car and get on the ferry to Calais to fill our boots with cheap booze - it's now all about as much Micellar Water as you can carry. Bioderma appears to have taken the world by storm, with no launch in the UK being greeted with such enthusiasm since Crunchy M&Ms. When a couple of the products landed on my doorstep I couldn't wait to actually find out for myself if they were actually worth their iconic status. The question is, is Bioderma worth the hype? In a nutshell, yes it kind of is. Micellar Water is still a pretty new concept in this country, but essentially it's a non-rinse water based cleanser that removes impurities without drying the skin out. It works with the skin, rather than against it, leaving the complexion looking clear and feeling fresh. It's a perfect product to use after you've washed your face (or god forbid a cleansing wipe,) as it removes all of that deep-down dirt that normally doesn't budge. It even gets rid of makeup and fake tan, leaving skin clean as can be without the tight or uncomfortable feeling you often get. Perfect for sensitive skin, I've even been using it on very dry and broken skin after my face reacted badly to another product - there's no stinging sensation and it feels like you're using purified water, rather than a beauty product. I've used a few Micellar Water products before, but this is exceptionally fresh and really helps to control sebum production over a longer period of time too. The perfect accompaniment is the Hydrating Serum, which re-stimulates the skin's ability to moisturise itself effectively. It's designed for very dehydrated faces and contains an ingredient that helps to hold essential water close to the skin, so the complexion looks brighter and feels much more supple. Again, I've been using this on my very dry and uncomfortable face of late and it has thoroughly helped it to re-balance and recover. It's perfect for applying under makeup, as the very light gel texture is absorbed quickly to leave skin plump and fresh - there's none of that horrid flaky stuff and certainly no greasiness. Considering I have endless serums and moisturisers to choose from, it's quite the test that this is what I'm continually reaching for in the morning. I can understand the hype behind Bioderma, because it works and feels like a premium brand while not costing the earth. If you have sensitive skin, need something to keep your complexion radiant, or even are just a little curious, I've no doubt that Bioderma will deliver what you're after. Cue the stampedes...




Bioderma Micellar Water is available for £4.99 for 100ml or £9.99 for 250ml. Hydrating Serum is available for £17.50 for a 40ml tube.
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11.4.13

Illamasqua: David Bowie is all Yours

As one of the most iconic British performers the world has ever seen, embodying the spirit of David Bowie within a makeup collection was always going to be a challenge. Known for pushing the boundaries of fashion, piling on the makeup and wearing his hair in futuristic styles that only a man fully comfortable with his sexuality would dare fashion, Mr Bowie's style is instantly recogniseable. As the V&A stages the first major retrospective of one of the most influential musicians and performers of modern times, the museum is also collaborating with Selfridges on the launch of the store’s own homage to the British icon. Illamasqua, the British brand known for pushing creative boundaries, have been chosen by Selfridges to collaborate on their 'David Bowie is all Yours' tribute experience. Fans of Bowie and makeup alike can swing by the stand in Selfridges (from the 4th – 28th April) for a vibrant Bowie inspired makeover. Illamasqua’s very own Creative Director, Alex Box has created 3 custom-made Bowie illustrations to be showcased in store alongside the Illamasqua pieces used for the looks, which you can see below. I'd love to see what this actually looks like on a face, as opposed to a piece of paper, but I'm not sure how many women will be coming out of Selfridges showcasing makeup inspired by The Labyrinth - although it is one of my favourite films ever. These images really are a work of art and thoroughly do David Bowie's iconic status justice. Do you fancy a lightening bolt eyebrow this Spring?

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Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates 20 years of his classic fragrance

When I was 16 I owned one bottle of fragrance. I loved that fragrance, using it sparingly to ensure it lasted as long as possible, but spritzing it all over myself in a fine mist that probably left men choking in my wake. I adored the feminine bottle, the slightly sexy and musty base notes, the way it made me feel like a grown up. That fragrance will forever bring back memories of Gucci-inspired black skirts, platformed soles, curly up-dos and an endless supply of Bacardi Breezers. That fragrance is Jean Paul Gaultier Classique and it's currently celebrating its 20th year adorning beauty counters. To recognise this rarely achieved status, Jean Paul Gaultier has designed a special edition bottle which he's named 'Belle en Corset', epitomising all the codes from the JPG house. He's even re-designed the iconic tin can casing to give it a pale pink finish, making this a truly collectable treasure. Over the years there have been 20 different designs of the bottle, re-invented for special occasions and celebrations, which are all showcased in a mini gallery below. Classique provided me with many years of happiness, so I can only hope this inspires the next generation of perfume enthusiasts to go French and keep this on counter for another 20 years.


Available exclusively in Harrods this April for £71.00, available nationwide 6th May.
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10.4.13

NEW: Avon Speed Dry Nail Varnish

I love painting my nails, taking thirty minutes out to pamper my hands while watching a rubbish television programme. It's quite a therapeutic process and one which I used to do every other day - until life got so busy I didn't have time to pee, let alone faff around with nail varnish for the length of an Eastenders episode. Speed is everything to me, as is the ability to go to bed with immaculate nails and wake up with them looking the same (rather than having my bed sheets imprinted on my ruby red varnish.) The only time I ever get to paint my talons is about 10pm, just before I start getting ready for bed, so no need to explain the dilemma I face. When I was sent a box of colour in celebration of Avon's newest nail launch, I was definitely looking forward to putting it to the test. Speed Dry in 30 seconds you say? Well, we'll soon find out if you're telling porkies! I applied the dark griege shade, picking the colour I thought would take the longest to dry and be the easiest to budge. I'm happy to report that both coats I applied did actually dry to the touch within the 30 seconds promised, leaving a strong colour result and flawless finish. Even after sleeping on the varnish, the following morning I had no marks or indentations, just a super glossy nail that was ready to face the day ahead. The reason they dry so quickly is because of the thinness of the formula, so it does wear off and chip quite quickly (within two days,) but as someone who looks for speed over longevity this is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. All of the shades I've tested so far live up to expectations; although some last longer than others, chipping is definitely an issue so you will need to re-apply after 2-3 days. The good news is these are usually £6.00 each, but for the time being you can choose any of the 25 shades available for only £2.50 - you've got nothing to lose other than beauty sleep!






The Speed Dry 30+ nail varnish is available in 25 shades for £6.00 each. Currently on offer for £2.50
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