Currently coveting

29 Jun 2016

Back to Basics | Tops Edit

Basic doesn't necessarily equate to boring in the world of fashion. There are so many different styles of 'basic' tops around at the moment, from bodysuits to barely-there crops, and most brands dedicate a section of their clothing to basics in the knowledge that we really can't live without them. Dressed up or down, the first things to go in my suitcase when packing and probably the most worn items in my wardrobe, basic tops are essential for those 'nothing to wear' days. The high-street has some to-die-for basics on offer for you to invest in, wear now and then layer up for winter.

Pair with Skinny Jeans
Low Armhole Tank Top in Cream | Topshop £10

Pair with Culottes
Halter Neck Bodysuit in Black | Zara £9.99

Pair with Denim Cut Offs
Body with Contrast Tipping in Black/White | ASOS £14

Pair with A-Line Skirts
Plunge V-Neck Cami in Black | Topshop £16

Pair with High-Waisted Shorts
Ribbed Racer Crop Top in Black | Missguided £8

Pair with Mom Jeans
Openwork Knit Top in Grey | Mango £19.99 £9.99 

What basics do you recommend?


25 Jun 2016

Gold-Plated Goodness | Z for Accessorize

My taste in jewellery has changed a lot over the past few years. Gone are the days of garish, over the top costume jewellery that is worn one day and lost the next (albeit a statement ring or two still does tempt me now and again). Although I've never been one for expensive brands like Pandora or Tiffany. I've started to spend a little bit more on pieces that are going to last, and I am always won over by anything delicate, pretty and gold. Zara Simon's collaboration with Accessorize, Z For Accessorize, launched a few years ago now, and it is a range I always find myself going back to each season for earrings, necklaces, you name it. The collections are scattered with semi-precious stones and swarovski crystals, plated with either sterling silver or gold (which is a huge pro for me as I can't stand getting attached to a ring for it to then turn brassy within a week..). 

So, you can imagine the excitement when Accessorize have a sale on (which, by the way, are usually a goldmine of bargains; think clutches, rucksacks and purses). Typically, there's a few Z pieces scattered around the sale which get snapped up quickly, but are such a good find if you manage it. I picked up these delicate gold-plated cuff bracelets, tipped with cubic zirconia-encrusted stars and circles. They are minimal, timeless and can be layered as you wish, complimenting everything from a bikini to a ball-gown.

They're half price at the moment (such a bargain for under a tenner) and probably in most stores while the sale is still fresh.  You can buy similar here online, and check out the rest of the range.

24 Jun 2016

Holiday Beauty | Wish List

There's no better way to get in the mood for a holiday than to splurge on products that will accentuate your summer glow, or atleast day-dream about those that you would buy if it wasn't the end of the month and you're eagerly anticipating payday.. This post feels slightly dangerous in that the products mentioned may go from wish-list to accidentally-just-ordered list on one of those days where you just need an impulse buy or five to make you feel better. Deviating from any products that you actually need to take away with you, these are all purely luxurious add-ons that would make your holiday complexion that tiny bit better..

L-R from top: Nuxe Prodigieuse Oil, Nars Blush, Topshop Necklace, Benefit Dew the Hoola, Birkenstocks, Keratase Elixir Oil, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, Nuxe SPF 30 Sun Emulsion, Topshop Sunglasses

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR Multi-Usage Dry Oil - Golden Shimmer | £19.00 for 50ml Marks and Spencer

After trying a sample-size Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse from Sephora, I quickly realised why this is Nuxe's cult product and wanted more. This multi-functional formula that can be used on face, body and hair combines plant oils and vitamin E with a subtle, earthy fragrance. This edition is essentially it's summer counterpart; who doesn't want to be covered in shimmer all season and get a subtle, golden glow. I think it would come into it's own after a day sunbathing, giving your natural tan a boost and restoring moisture from sun-drained skin.

Benefit Dew the Hoola Bronzer | £22.50 for 30ml Look Fantastic
One of Benefit's newest launches, a revamp of a bronzing cult classic, comes in a liquid form, leaving skin with a soft-matte, glowing finish to fake that post-holiday colour and cased beautifully in bamboo-esque packaging. If I hadn't already spent most of the month buying things I definitely don't need, this would be at the top of my list. As I have fair skin, any product that enhances sun-kissed skin without having to endure the heat for hours (and consequently, burning) is music to my ears.

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured in Opal | Space NK £30 
BECCA has taken highlighting to the next level and (literally) outshines any other brand equivalent that I've tried. I've been testing out a travel-size version of the highlighter this month after picking it up in New York, and I am completely sold by the brand. The product pigment is second to none, and creates a luminous, defining glow on your cheekbones that works amazingly with any bronzer. If it wasn't for the slightly hefty price tag, this would already be in my make-up bag.

NUXE SPF 30 Sun Emulsion | Look Fantastic £17 for 50mls
As sad as it is, buying a new sun cream before a holiday gets me just as excited as buying that long lusted after holiday sundress or flip flops. Just to use on your face, the cream promises to activate the appearance of a natural tan, slows down the signs of premature ageing and protects against UV rays. A sun lotion that doubles up as a face cream can only be good news. 

NARS Cosmetics Dual Intensity Blush in Frenzy | House of Fraser £30
As a self-confessed addict to Nars in general, I can't get enough of their products. I swear by their Laguna bronzer and have repurchased multiple times. I don't typically wear blusher, and if I do I tend to stay away from pinky tones and veer towards earthier, browny tones. This combination is a match made in heaven and ideal for vamping up your tan post-holiday and it is taking all my willpower not to add it to my ASOS basket. 

Keratase Elixir Ultime Sublime Cleansing Oil-Enriched Shampoo | £20.40 for 250ml Feel Unique 
A brand that I am yet to try and literally see in every hairdressers (a promising sign of approval), the premium brand Keratase promote science as the key to their much lusted-after formulas.  Protecting, strengthening and hydrating, I am always keen to try a new hair oil, especially in the summer months when your locks need as much moisture as they can get.

Photo created using Polyvore


21 Jun 2016

Beauty Edit | June

Thanks to a trip to New York at the beginning of the month, an over-indulgent hour spent browsing and spending in Sephora opened my eyes to a lot of new beauty brands I'd been keen to try (the curse of getting hooked on samples..), as well as allowed me to invest in some die-hard favorites of mine. With the summer months in full force, I've recently been trying to revamp my make-up, base in particular, with a focus on the fresh and dewy (the ever-desired no-make-up-make-up) and going slightly OTT on highlighting.. Whereas, when it comes to skincare, summer tis the season to bare all after all and trying out the Ameliorate body lotion this month was one of the best decisions I've made all month.

AMELIORATE Skin Smoothing Body Lotion | Feel Unique £17.50 for 100ml

I'd heard that this product is formulated to target the appearance of Keratosis Pilaris and other dry skin conditions, so I read up and found raving reviews about it's effectiveness. It uses alpha hydroxy therapy with a combination of natural ingredients that help to encourage the skin's natural exfoliation process to re-texture it's surface. It's quite a light, easily absorbing and moisturizing formula that I tend to only use on my arms and legs. Ameliorate do advise you to be patient with the results but I found a noticeable difference in the appearance of my skin within about a week. Now that summer is pretty much upon us, and along with it comes sleeveless tops and shorts weather (hopefully), this really helps your skin become summer-ready. It comes in a few different sizes so you can essentially try before you buy and see for yourself just how good this product is. I feel as though this is something than I will end up buying time and time again.

Laura Mercier Silk Creme - Photo Edition Foundation in Cream Ivory | Space NK £35

I picked this up whilst I was in Sephora a couple of weeks ago, as I'd tried a few samples of the foundation and fell in love with it. I am always drawn towards foundations that offer both coverage and a glowy finish as the matte look can be slightly drying on my skin. It is really long-wearing, lasts on my skin throughout the day and even through the gym which is quite unheard of. It is a mystery how the formula can be so light and creamy but provide such effective, enduring coverage. It doesn't contain SPF so it does not create any kind of flashback in photographs; ideal for special occasions and evenings in particular (there is nothing worse than discovering you had ghost-face when looking back at pictures from the night before). I usually apply the foundation with a beauty blender/sponge to achieve an even layer and you don't need to use much at once.

Mac Lip Liner in Oak | MAC £12.50

Pioneered predominantly by Kylie Jenner, brown tones for lips have become extremely popular and I am well and truly on the band-wagon. Although it is brown, it is a neutral, subtle brown that means it can be worn day to evening. I don't tend to wear anything over this as I like the colour as it is and because it's a lip liner, it doesn't tend to move and you can put it on with precision. It works really well with lightly-tanned skin and works wonders in making lips look fuller and more pronounced.

Byredo Gypsy Water Eau De Parfum | Libertys £135 for 100ml

"The scent of fresh soil, deep forests and campfires illustrates the dream of a free, colourful lifestyle close to nature." An extremely indulgent purchase and potentially one for the Christmas or birthday wishlist. I have only been trying the sample-size but the full-size packaging is dreamy and almost reason enough to buy it as an ornament for your dressing table (but not quite, for over £100..) The scent is delicate, comforting and earthy. 

Becca Opal Glow on the Go Collection | Cult Beauty £20

Another thing I picked up whilst perusing the aisles of Sephora, the Becca highlighter is something I have tried before, fell in love with but could not bring myself to buy in full size (as I already have a pretty much brand new theBalm Mary LouManizer which is almost as good). So when I saw a travel-size duo nearly half the price (travel-size items are my weakness), I thought it would be a fair middle-ground. The set contains a Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed and a Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight Wand, both in Opal. The spotlight wand is amazing and teamed with the powder creates such a beautiful, glowing shimmer which is unlike any other. You need the smallest amount of each to last all day (it is very easy to over-apply as they are quite addictive..!) and the effect is so striking. This pair does have the edge over their highstreet theBalm alternative, but obviously you have to pay for what you're getting. 

Mac Pro Longwear Concealer in NC20 | House of Fraser £17.50

My friend recommended this to me a few months ago and I finally picked it up in Duty Free before a flight recently . The coverage is medium to full and I find it is perfect for covering dark circles or using in areas of redness (a saviour for fighting jet-lag bags). It lasts all-day and if you are using a shade that is lighter than your skin-tone, it can really brighten your complexion. My only criticism is the packaging, as the pump action does not allow you to only release a small amount of product which is a common desire with concealer. Aside from that, I'm sold by the coverage and have used it everyday since buying it.

Kiehls Olive Fruit Oil Nourishing Conditioner | Kiehls £19 for 200ml

Something I've raved about before but can't get enough of. Teamed with the Olive Fruit Shampoo, this Kiehl's duo is such a luxury to treat yourself to. I only tend to apply it to the ends of my hair as they are the dryest part, as well as it being expensive stuff that needs preserving..! This is such an unnecessary purchase but I can't help re-buying this as soon as it runs out it makes my hair feel softer than any other conditioner I've tried. I don't feel as though it makes my hair look any different but the texture is that just-stepped-out-of-the-hairdresser feel and you can notice the difference as soon as you apply it in the shower. 


19 Jun 2016

Marks and Spencer | Summer Beauty Box Edit

The Marks and Spencer beauty boxes always seem to crop up when there is absolutely nothing I can justify buying it with, containing coveted premium products; some that only M and S stock exclusively and usually an add-on item. This time round, I managed to get one before they went and it is jam-packed with cult brands such as Rodial, Stila and Ren. Beauty boxes are an amazing way to try things you'd have never picked up yourself and consequently fall in love with (and maybe give you an indication occasionally of which brands to steer clear from..). Here is a breakdown of the contents..

Percy and Reed Volumising No Oil Oil (30ml) | Un-greasy hair saviour that creates sleekness and shine. Also contains B5 for strengthening and heat protection

Swell Ultimate Protect and Renew Serum (30ml) | Another hair product that defends hair from frizz, split ends and heat damage

Ren Instant Firming Beauty Shot (10ml) | Very mini and bound to get me hooked; promises to dramatically firm and plump skin for a youthful visage..

Philip Kingsley Citrus Sunshine Swimcap (50ml) | Hand-luggage size, chlorine-protecting conditioning swimcap that is a hair savior on holiday
Pure Instant Radiance Hot Cloth Cleanser (50ml) | If it's anything like Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser then it must be worth a try

Rodial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic Tonic (50ml) | Multi-functioning toner that promotes lasting moisture, to brighten and refresh your complexion

Island Escape Eau de Toilette (25ml) | A blend of bergamot and sea salt ideal for holiday and exclusive to Marks and Sparks

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (10ml) | Nuxe's cult product; luxurious oil to nourish hair, face and body

Ultrasun Face SPF 30 (50ml) | A skincare and suncare all-in-one hero product that delivers all-day protection and an anti-ageing formula 

Sun Smart Sun Lotion SPF 30 (50ml) | See above! Ideal size for hand-luggage only

Stila Lip Glaze in Raspberry (1.5ml) | One of the best lip glosses I've tried, long-lasting and SO glossy

Nails Inc Gel One Coat Nail Polish (10ml) | Fucsia pink, perfect for summer and you can't go wrong with Nails Inc

Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Quick Dry Top Coat (12ml) | Premium, high-shine top coat to lengthen the longevity of your nail varnish worth £12

Pur Correcting Primer Illuminate and Glow (10ml) | Promises to hold your make-up in place whilst illuminating your skin


17 Jun 2016

NYX Edit

 Coverted by beauty fanatics and professional make-up artists alike, NYX offers unbeatable value items aligned with the latest trends in cosmetics. As this US brand slowly takes over the UK, one Boots store at a time, I've quickly racked up an ever-growing handful of NYX products that I decidedly can't live without..

Intense Butter Gloss in Chocolate Apple and Chocolate Crepe | £5.50 each
Whilst planning what to wear to a university ball this month, I wanted to get the glossy, red-carpet lipstick look that Charlotte Tilbury achieves so effortlessly in her make-up tutorials to go with a simple LBD. Although I am obsessed with her range, my budget for make-up that I don't really need couldn't stretch to cover the cost of her lip products, so I headed straight for the better value alternative. I was reluctant to commit to wearing something as bold as the Chocolate Apple gloss for an evening event, as if it smudges at all, it was going to be very noticeable. I bought both shades Chocolate Apple and Chocolate Crepe, basing my final decision on how brave I felt on the night. Both are really striking, pigmented and SO expensive looking. They do not have as much longevity as the matte lip creams, but patted down with some loose powder and re-applied made a lot of difference to it's staying power. I would recommend these to anyone looking for an expensive-looking but not-so-expensive high shine gloss. Similar to its matte counterparts, it comes in all sorts of shades to fit any occasion 

Soft Matte Lip Cream in London | £5.50
The Soft Matte Lip Cream was the first product I tried from the NYX range and is therefore responsible for my current addition to the brand.. I was so impressed with the colour, longevity and value of the product, and it is something I still wear over and over again. My reluctance to wear lip products to an occasion primarily comes from the dread that they will wear off within about five minutes, but I have finally found something that I trust to stay on for as long as needed. The range of shades for the lip creams is so varied and there is undoubtedly one for any kind of look you are going for. Although it is quite drying, this is not visible when you're wearing it and it is much more wearable than other matte lipstick's that I've tried.

Pump It Up Lip Plumper in Kim | £6.50
When it comes to lip glosses, who doesn't want one that promises to plump your lips and is named after the beauty queen herself Kim K. Although the colour is subtle, it is a soft pinky-nude that is perfect for when you've got dark eye make-up and want a barely-there colour on your lips. It tingles when you put it on (which is a sign it's working, right?) and does last a fair while. The gloss creates the illusion of fuller lips and with a lipstick underneath you get a really expensive looking high shine gloss. If you can get over the stickyness, this lipgloss is definitely one for your handbag on a night out.

Left to right: Intense Butter Gloss Chocolate Apple; Intense Butter Gloss Chocolate Crepe; Lip Cream in Cairo; Lip Cream in London; Lip Plumper in Kim

Concealer Wand | £5.50
In terms of face products, this is undoubtedly my favourite and it has become a staple item in my daily make-up routine. I was reluctant to buy it as I find concealer sticks give slightly less coverage than creamier ones in jars (e.g. Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer), but this has changed my mind. The formula is very creamy, not drying and blends really well under or on top of foundation. The coverage is unbelievable and gives my MAC Concealer a run for its money. I would recommend this concealer to anyone who struggles with blemishes or dark circles as I have been so impressed with its effectivenses (especially considering value for money). This particular shade is slightly darker, or very similar to my skin-tone so I don't tend to use it under my eyes, but mainly for blemishes and around the areas where I would be more naturally tanned. After trying this, I am very inclined to try the NYX Concealer Jar, enriched with coconut oil, promises to be just as good. 

Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Taupe| £5.00
I was drawn to this pencil mainly due to the rectangular shape of the tip which makes it easier to create straight, hair-like lines within your brow. It also comes with a brush which is so useful. It contains a blend of vegetable coconut and soy bean oil (?) that creates a more fluid application of product. I find it quite difficult to find brow products that suit fair hair, and although I can use this quite easily, the shade is not quite as good as the L'Oreal Brow Artist Pencil, however the shape of the NYX is much more desirable. You can't have it all!

Studio Perfect Primer in Green | £10.00
After completing a Make-Up course at the beginning of this year, I quickly realised the effectiveness of colour-correcting make-up, particularly in base make-up such as primers and concealers. The green shade, although a little scary, aims to reduce redness as it absorbs. NYX also offer two other shades: clear to minimize pores and lavender to reduce yellow tones. I love how easily this blends into my skin and it really makes my make-up slide on a lot easier.

Next on the to buy list: Lip Lingerie Lipstick in Bedtime Flirt and Ruffle Trim; Concealer Jar in Light; Pro Lip Cream Palette and the Sculpt and Highlight Brow Contour. Not much then..

15 Jun 2016

Sephora Favorites | The Ultimate Travel Bag

When I was recently in New York, I picked up the Sephora Favorites - The Ultimate Travel Bag ($42) containing 14 travel-friendly, sample-size products from some of the most coveted brands around the world. Most of the brands I am already a big fan of, including Bumble and Bumble, Origins and Murad. I have been keen to try the highly rated Sunday Riley products for a while, along with Jurlique and Kate Somerville which are constantly raved about. I was so impressed at the price, at just over $40 with a $118 value, it is amazing value for money (especially as most of the brands included usually have a premium price-tag..). Being travel-themed and focusing on face, body and hair, each product would be perfect to have with you on a summer holiday, and will fit nicely in your hand luggage.. 

Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Conditioner | 40 ml ($11) AND

Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo | 40ml ($11)Alterna is a brand I had never tried prior to buying this set so I was intrigued to use this Shampoo and Conditioner pair. They aim to restore moisture, protect hair from colour-fading and accentuate your hair's natural radiance and silkiness. After using them only once, I noticed such a difference in the texture of my hair. They have a similar effect to the Kiehls Shampoo and Conditioner which I swear by.

Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder | 14g ($12)

I'd already tried this dry-shampoo from Bumble and Bumble last year, as I was instantly sold by the packaging as the product itself. Although it is small in size, the 14g pot lasts surprisingly long as you only need a few shakes to cover your roots for the powder to make a difference. It is quite different to use in comparison to the spray-on dry shampoo's that are all the rage, but it works just as well (if not better). This one is ideal to have in your hand-bag all year round.

Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist | 15ml (about $7 value)

In a beautiful little frosted, ceramic bottle, if you like the scent of Rose, you will love adding this spray to your skincare routine in the morning. It works to refresh, lightly moisturise and even set your make-up. One of those things that is totally unnecessary but you just have to have it..

Kate Somerville Skincare ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment | 15ml ($25)

Similar to the Sunday Riley Oil, I wasn't expecting it to come out green.. but aside from the colour it is such an effective exfoliant that renews the texture of your skin. It is very similar to the Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial; both leave your skin feeling revitalized and fresh instantly. I would be very tempted to buy this in full-size.

Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Mini Deodorant in Pure Vanilla | 25g (about $7)

Perhaps the prettiest looking deodorant I have ever used, this is perfect for those of us with sensitive skin as the Lavanila formulas are so gentle, aluminium-free and entirely natural. It smells lovely, very long-lasting and perfect for your handbag.

L'Occtaine Almond Shower Oil | 75ml (about $10)

Usually I am not very fussy about shower gels and only really buy on scent, in the summer when your skin is a lot drier from the sun and needs as much moisture as it can get, a shower oil is perfect. L'Occtaine's products are so luxurious and smell amazing, this oil is no exception.

Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel | 10ml (about $11)

An intensive peel that you use once or twice a week for about 10 minutes a go, this Murad product is small but very effective. It instantly smooths the texture of your skin, leaving it clearer, nourished and clean. I love using Murad products as I really trust the thinking and science behind the formulas. If only their sample sizes were bigger! 

Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation | 7ml ($14)

A lightweight, refreshing moisturiser which aims to target uneven skintone with the multi-fruit AHA complex it contains (means nothing to me but if it works..). I love using moisturisers that can be doubled-up as a base for make-up, and this one is light enough to do so. 

Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay | 30ml ($4)

I am pretty much sold by anything that uses (or smells like) Rose, and clay masks have really become one of my favourite things to use when my skin is not at its best. This feels so luxurious to use, it is non-drying and leaves your skin feeling silky-smooth, hydrated and refreshed.

Sephora Collection Triple Action Cleansing Water | 50ml ($6)

As a fully-fledged convert of cleansing water over face-wipes now, to have a travel-size version for holiday season is ideal. This micellar water is non-greasy, so effective at removing make-up and very gentle on delicate skin.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil | 5ml (about $17 value)

As I've never tried anything from Sunday Riley, I really wasn't expecting the oil to come out bright blue.. Thankfully, the colour disappears as you rub it into your skin. I had a slight moment of dread when putting it on, as getting addicted to a crazily expensive night oil is not ideal right now.. but it is so luxurious to apply and leaves your skin feeling plump and moisturized all night. 

Tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | 7ml ($12)

I tend to use a higher SPF factor on my face as it is a lot more prone to burning, so this is perfect for holidays if you want to bring a lower factor sunscreen for your body. It is really moisturizing, non-greasy and fits perfectly in your beach bag.

Too Cool For School Egg Cream Sheet Mask | 28g ($6)

A concept that I haven't come across before, the egg cream sheet mask is a microfiber mask created with egg white and egg yolk that aims to hydrate and refresh your complexion. You leave it on for about 15 minutes to reveal plumper, firmer looking skin. 

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