Thursday, 6 March 2014

Destination: New York City

New York. The first thing that pops into my mind is Carrie Bradshaw in her Madison Avenue apartment, Manolo Blahniks cast aside, longing for Mr. Big to walk through the door. The Empire State Building, where James’ giant peach is perched; a giant cake-pop in the sky. And Central Park, just a stone’s throw away from the cafe where Phoebe is performing a musical triumph about an unhygienic cat.

So I know nothing about the real New York; I’ve never even been there for a festive shopping spree. But, in a few days, I’m packing my whole life up into just two cases and boarding a big shiny jet plane. The destination? Fabulous, darling!

But what if this huge metropolis of fabulousness swallows me whole? I mean, I've done my best to prepare - shout out to my colleagues who presented me with the most glamorous wide-brimmed charcoal hat I've ever laid eyes on - but what if I never manage to order a cosmopolitan with the sultry sass of Samantha?

Years of living the British life, with Ps and Qs, tea and cake, airs and graces, have left me frightfully unequipped for the ‘go-out-and-grab-it’ ethos of NYC. I fear that I’ll be politely waiting in line for a mustard taxi for the foreseeable future. The bolder and the braver will step off the sidewalk in their tailored macs, arms flailing, unafraid of neither man nor high-speed motor vehicle.

But I am determined to grab this experience like the first time I clutched a pair of Christian Louboutins - there's no way I'm letting go. I'll be sipping a skinny macchiato in downtown Manhattan come April, armed with a leather bound notebook and a faux fur collar for a touch of everyday glamour. I'm ready for you New York City, show me what you've got.

Motivational talk aside, I best start working out how to squeeze 23 years worth of prized possessions into one luggage allowance. I have at least ten different shades of blush, ranging all the way from light peach to bright fuchsia to soft pink. It may be a long night. Someone pass me a coffe-sorry-skinny macchiato…

Follow all my weird and wonderful NYC experiences on my other blog 'Hello New Yorker'.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Best Red Lipsticks for 2014

Whether you're a smitten kitten or single and proud, a fierce red lip is a Valentines' Day must. 

From left to right: Tom Ford Lip Color in Crimson Noir £36, Sainsbury's Boutique Lipstick in Paint the Town Red £7, Urban Decay Revolutionary Lipstick in F-Bomb £15, NARS Semi-matte Lipstick in Jungle Red £18.50, Illamasqua Lipstick in Maneater £16.50, Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Infrared £15.50, MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in Ruby Woo £15 


Illamasqua Lipstick in Maneater £16.50, with a bit of Intense Lipgloss in Touch on top, £14.50
The most vibrant of my picks, choose Maneater for a pout with a punch! An intense, bright red that makes a real statement.  

NARS Semi-matte Lipstick in Jungle Red £18.50
A softer hue, Jungle Red has a undertone of coral softness that makes it much more versatile. This shade looks amazing with darker, olive skin tones. 

Sainsbury's Boutique Lipstick in Paint the Town Red £7
A pillar box red for those on a budget, Sainsbury's own beauty range is soft on the lip and surprisingly hydrating. A classic, slightly glossy red with blue undertones.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Infrared £15.50
I absolutely LOVE this red, it's matte, deep, intense and moisturising all at the same time. This true red is flattering to all skin tones, and instantly makes me feel like a Hollywood movie star. A make-up must have in my opinion.

Tom Ford Lip Color in Crimson Noir £36
A splurge for the red lip lovers, this deep red lipstick is incredibly smooth and glossy. The texture reminds me a bit of the MAC creme sheen lipsticks, only much smoother and more comfortable on the lip. Only one-slick required for a satin-finish pout of luxury colour. 

What's your trademark red? 

Monday, 27 January 2014

RealTechniques Retractable Bronzer and Kabuki Brush

RealTechniques, Retractable Bronzer brush, retractable kabuki brush,
RealTechniques Retractable Kabuki Brush £11.99 (available May 2014) and Bronzer Brush £12.99 (available now from Boots nationwide)

I'm a big fan of Real Techniques brushes, designed by make-up artist Sam Chapman, and now they have released two retractable designs. Perfectly portable, these brushes are ideal for when you need a cheeky top up in your lunch hour. 

The kabuki brush is slightly more versatile, as you can use to contour with bronzer and fill out the apples of the cheeks with a blush. While the bronzer brush is great for soft, all over coverage - patchy bronzer is a no-no! 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream

Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream

Kiehl's have introduced a brand new anti-wrinkle cream to their impressive offering, a POWERFUL wrinkle reducing cream. Hooray!

I've been using this rich, hydrating cream for one week, and I'm already impressed with the results. My skin feels smoother and the nasty open pores on my nose are less visible. So far, so good.

Kiehl's claim that this magical cream can improve elasticity by 32% within 4 weeks, which really is something. With copper PCA and abyssine as active ingredients, the scientists at Kiehl's say that copper is essential for stimulating the production of elastin (that keeps skin supple) and also acts as an antioxidant to improve the skin barrier function.

But that's enough of the sciencey stuff. In consumer tests, a cross section of fifty 35-55 year old women trialled the cream for four weeks, and 84% said that their fines lines looked visibly reduced, while 83% said the look of pores had decreased.

Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream (and eye cream) will be available from from February 2014.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Clarins New Opalescence Spring Collection 2014

Clarins have released their new opalescence spring make-up collection, with luminous lip colours, shimmering shadows and beautifully sheer blushes. 

Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipstick in Coral Tulip and Pink Orchid
Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipstick in Coral Tulip and Pink Orchid, £18
I love these super sheer, spring-fresh lip colours. They're soft, sheer and bright all at the same time, gorgeous for day wear. In true Joli Rouge style, they are lovely and hydrating on the lip, but they have added shimmer power. Great for adding a subtle fullness to your pout.

Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipstick in Coral Tulip
Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipstick in Coral Tulip 
The 'Coral Tulip' shade is my favourite for spring, it's bright and zingy without being too much for a pale skin tone. 

Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipstick in Pink Orchid
Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipstick in Pink Orchid
This sheer pink shade is subtle and pretty, just perfect for adding a 'natural' flush of colour to the lip. 

Mineral Eyeshadow in Smoky Plum
Mineral Eyeshadow in Smoky Plum, £17
Ooohhh, ahhhh! Shimmery delight! This eyeshadow is actually a deep plum colour, but it has so many shimmering, reflective particles in that the flash of my camera makes it look light. Pigment rich, this shadow is intense and smouldering, and really easy to blend. You can also apply wet for a stronger look. It's a must-have for those who love a sexy, smokey eye. 
Mineral Eyeshadow in Smoky Plum
I only applied lightly here, but you could create a more dramatic look by building up the shadow.

Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base
Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base, £26
I cannot express strongly enough how much this radiance cream will enhance your beauty regime. I ALWAYS add a cream like this to my regular foundation, and I always get compliments on my 'dewy' complexion. 

Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base
What's more, this formula by Clarins smells gorgeous and helps protect the skin against pollution. It's a really versatile product, you can apply before foundation, mix in with foundation, apply a few dabs as a pick me up to the under-eye area, or blend along the cheekbones for an added glow.

Multi-Blush Cream Blush in Peach and Grenadine
Multi-Blush Cream Blush in Peach and Grenadine, £18
Cream blushes are the perfect way to add a dewy flush of colour to the cheeks, instant healthy glow at your fingertips. The soft peach shade is perfectly warming for light and medium skin tones, while the grenadine offers a punchier blush for a more dramatic look.
Clarins Multi-Blush Cream Blush in Peach
Multi-Blush Cream Blush in Peach 
Clarins Multi-Blush Cream Blush in Grenadine
Multi-Blush Cream Blush in Grenadine
Clarins Limited Edition Eye Quartet Mineral Palette
Limited Edition Eye Quartet Mineral Palette, £31 
This new limited edition quad palette is beautiful and versatile, the shades can be used for a striking, smouldering evening look or a fresh day look. The colours are well-suited to blue and green eyes, as the purples and grey tones will really make them pop. As with the Smoky Plum shadow, you can dampen the applicator for a richer application. 

All products featured coming soon to Clarins

What's your favourite product for spring? Let me know by commenting below. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Detox your beauty regime

After all the glorious excesses of Christmas time, I always try my best to throw myself into a life of health and vitality… Give or take a few left over mini Toblerones. They're mini, it's fine

But it isn't all about the steamed vegetables and super berry smoothies. You can also transform your complexion into a vision of health with a few handy little helpers from the beauty aisle.

Clinique Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer, £35
This serum is complexion-enhancing magic in a squirt. By prompting cell renewal, it helps create skin that is more luminous and radiant. Surface imperfections are reduced and skin is smoothed. What a January hero! 

When it comes to TLC, Kiehl’s knows the score. Their Skin Rescuer formula actively works to minimise the appearance of the visible signs of stress, with key ingredients to promote a healthy, strong skin barrier to protect against those pesky external aggressors. 

After the festive party season, we all need some held shifting those heavyweight bags. This light reflective formula by Benefit instantly brightens the under eye area, with soothing raspberry extracts to reduce puffiness. I use underneath concealer for a fresh, bright-eyed look. 

If, like me, you're not blessed with the dewy skin of an angel, this foundation is the perfect cheat. It's a cream compact, which gives a luminous, natural glow.

Part of Bobbi Brown's New Year, Nude Glow range, this all-over powder is a beautiful must-have. Sweep across the face (avoiding the eye area) for a healthy, illuminated finish.