29 November 2013

Nail Art Brushes

I've wanted to dabble a bit more in nail art for a while now however I found myself somewhat limited as at the time all I had were simple straight forward dotting tools. They are fantastic tools which I plan to keep on using however they do not allow me to do other types of designs very easily, therefore whilst browsing the internet I decided to look for some brushes that would suit my needs.

Upon browsing Amazon a few weeks back I found this set of fifteen nail art brushes for the rather appealing price of just £1.19 plus 99p postage. Normally I would be a bit reluctant to order anything like this for such a cheap price however I decided to place an order and see what they were like when they arrived, for how cheap they were I wasn't too concerned if they turned out to be poor quality.

I've used a couple of brushes thus far and I have to say I'm really quite pleased with them. They're pretty soft considering how cheap they were and work really well with nail polish. I have had one brush head come away from the main body of the brush but that is a minor problem that can be solved with a bit of super glue.

All in all this is a rather great set of brushes for anybody wishing to start an adventure into nail art. I can't wait to start some Christmas designs now!


28 November 2013

W7 Six of the Best Eye Shadow Palette

W7 is a brand that I've overlooked a few times mainly because I've only ever seen nail polishes and we all know how I'm trying to cut back on buying those these days. I was recently offered the chance to try something from W7 therefore after having a browse and discovering a variety of products aside from nail polish I decided on the W7 Six of the Best Eye Shadow Palette*.

Retailing at just £2.99 and currently on offer for £1.99 this is a super affordable palette full of some pretty neutral shades that can be used on a daily basis. In terms of packaging this palette is rather simple as it is a very thin plastic case with transparent lid, a little eye shadow brush is also provided. I tend to never really use these little brushes that come with products however they would be handy if you're on the go or have forgotten to take an eye shadow brush with you whilst travelling.

Within the palette there are suitable shades to create a natural highlight below the brow bone or in the inner corner of the eye as well as darker shades to create a nice neutral look. The pigmentation of these eye shadows is pretty fantastic for such an affordable price; I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. I must add that these are a little crumbly in the pan however, having said that this doesn't seem to occur when applying them to the lid which is the most important thing. Once applied the pigmentation of these eye shadows is still very good however I do recommend a primer just to be on the safe side in order to prolong longevity.

Overall I'm actually rather impressed with this little palette, I would definitely recommend picking one up if you see them near you just to see how you get on with it as for the price it is worth it.

W7 products can be purchased from Xtras.

*PR Sample, this product was kindly sent to me for consideration.
I'm not 100% sure about the cruelty free status of W7, I'm trying to find that out.


27 November 2013

Bochéry Nature Nanoface Eye Cream

Bochéry Nature Nanoface Eye Cream* RRP £35

Bochéry Nature is a relatively new brand to me having stumbled across it on A Scottish Lass a few months back.  Bochéry Nature is a brand that aims to produce natural products with active ingredients which combined with nanotechnology and biotechnology produce results. All of the products produced by the brand are dermatologically tested, free from parabens, allergens, alcohol and are cruelty free.

At the time I was in need of a new eye cream having used up my little sample from Balance Me, therefore having the opportunity to try something from the range I thought I would give the Bochéry Nature Nanoface Eye Cream* a go. My first impressions of the product is of course influenced by the packaging, I have to say I do quite like the whole look of the product as it is simple, straight to the point and quite clinical looking which is something that would make me immediately pick up in store, however I do wonder what it would have looked like in white as opposed to grey. 

The Bochéry Eye Cream has been designed to help reduce dark circles, puffiness of the eye area and wrinkles. Through using a small pea sized amount of this morning and night microcirculation is increased which helps to give the under eye area a brighter and healthier look. I have being using this for over a month now and I have to say I have found it to have been a rather nice addition to my skincare routine. I pop this on of a morning after I have cleansed and toned, I then proceed with a serum of some kind and then moisturiser to seal the deal. I do suffer chronically with dark circles, mainly because I sleep quite poorly and I also do think that part of it is hereditary. To be honest I can't say that this product has helped in that area at all, they are still the same therefore I've seen no improvement there. Out of all the eye creams I've ever tried I've never had much success when it comes to tackling dark circles so please bare that in mind.

Having said that, I have found that this eye cream has reduced puffiness around my eyes which is another thing I do suffer badly with, particularly at the moment due to one thing and another in my personal life; I have to say that this has been a bit of a relief to use when I've had to go out. The product itself is extremely smooth and applies lovely to the eye area, it also has a nice botanical type smell to it too which I appreciate.

Due to the expiry date on this coming up shortly I have shared this out with my mom so she can use it too; I know that she is really enjoying using it of a morning before she puts on her make up. I agree with her that it provides a good base for make up as it leaves the under eye area looking and feeling hydrated, allowing concealer to be applied shortly afterwards without it looking too dry.

The full retail price of the eye cream is £35 for 30ml which whilst initially this may seem expensive it will definitely last you a rather long time as you don't need to apply much at all. Overall I do think that this is a nice eye cream to use both morning and night and I would definitely like to explore the brand further, however unfortunately my quest to find an eye cream that tackles my primary concern of dark circles still remains. 

Have you tried Bochéry?

Bochéry products can be purchased from Bochery.co.uk, oh and look out for a Christmas giveaway being hosted on the site soon!

*PR Sample, this product was kindly sent to me for consideration.
Bochéry Nature are a cruelty free brand and are vegan friendly.


24 November 2013

Yankee Candles

Lighting candles for me has to be one of the nicest things you can do in order to settle down for a nice relaxing evening. Turning the lights down low and having a few candles lit really sets a nice atmosphere whether you're lounging on the sofa watching a film or relaxing in the tub. Just yesterday I finally purchased my first ever Yankee Candles, this was rather exciting I have to say as I've read so many things about them since I started my blog. 

I picked up Mandarin Cranberry and Black Cherry in the Sampler Votive size so that I could give them a try to see if I liked them as the full sizes are quite expensive. These cost me £1.50 each in the shop I purchased them from however across the road in another they were £1.80 so prices may vary, they shouldn't be more than £1.80 though. 

These both so far smell wonderful and I haven't even lit them yet, I'm looking forward to lighting one later during the beauty bloggers chat....what a life I do lead. Apparently each one of these votive candles provides fifteen hours of fragrance which is a decent amount of time in order to see if you like them.

I also picked up a new handmade glass candle holder for £3 from Wilkinson, this is technically a tea light holder from what it says on the label however I'll be putting in one of the Yankee Candles in it tonight just to be a rebel. I'm pretty certain the votive candles will look a bit odd in this but at the moment I have no other holder to pop them in, hopefully it will be ok.

So folks, the most important question I have today is which candle shall I light tonight?


22 November 2013

Luxury Christmas Gifts

At this time of year we all start to begin our Christmas shopping, yay! I'm aware there are some early birds that start way before November; however I could only dream of being that organised. Christmas shopping can be at times stressful if you have an awkward person to buy for; my dad suddenly springs to mind. I have to say I tend to find females so much easier when it comes to buying gifts, maybe that's because I know what I would like to receive so I guess maybe we're all on a similar wavelength somewhere down the line when it comes to shopping for our female friends and family. Today I've picked out some gorgeous luxurious items that I think would make wonderful gifts for a female friend, loved one or family member...or maybe even as a treat for yourself.

Diptyque Pine Bark Candle £45, Laura Mercier Bold Brights Mini Lip Glace Collection £31, Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm £34, OPI A-Z-urich £11.50, Nars Voyeur Larger Than Life Eye Liner Coffret £30, GHD White Eclipse on sale at £145, RRP £195.

Diptyque are a bit of a blogger favourite at the moment and although I haven't yet had the pleasure of trying one I would like to at some point as they really do sound wonderful. This Christmas Diptyque has released some limited edition scents for the festive holidays, choose from Chai Orange, Indian Incense and Pine Bark. I opted for Pine Bark as each year me and my family go to our local forest area where pine trees are sold for Christmas, they all smell lovely! This scent would be so nice as it would remind me of this household tradition, plus the candle itself is so pretty and sparkly!

Laura Mercier is a brand that to me symbolises luxury beauty products, every time I see the products in stores I swoon just a little. This Christmas there are some nice little gift sets to choose from with my favourite being the Bold Brights Mini Lip Glace Collection. This set contains five different shades of various pinks and reds which can be used alone or on top of your favourite lipstick to add a bit of shine; it also comes in a nude set too if that tickles your fancy.

You've probably all seen this next product spoken about over the last year and yes, I'm still yet to get my paws on it. The Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm has been a huge cult product over the last year with people claiming it has totally changed their cleansing routine; all I know is that I need to try it as soon as possible. 

OPI  A to Z-urich looks to me the perfect shade of crimson red for the Christmas holidays. This would look absolutely gorgeous I'm sure, just don't spoil the manicure by washing up after Christmas dinner! 

The Guy Bourdin Collection by Nars this year has been hugely popular amongst make up enthusiasts, including myself. One of the latest releases has been the Voyeur Larger Than Life Eye Coffret which contains five travel size Long Wear Eye Liners in black, brown, violet, white and blue. These look absolutely stunning and if I hadn't already made a promise with myself to not buy anything else before Christmas this would have already made it to the checkout.

My last luxury gift for this Christmas is a pair of GHD White Eclipse hair straighteners. GHD have a huge following and although I personally have never tried them I sure would like to just to see how good they are. I included them as this year they have re-released their popular Eclipse styler in a winter white finish which I think sounds lovely as opposed to the original black ones you can buy.

All of these products can be found at the Urban Retreat Beautique; happy shopping!

*Sponsored Post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

19 November 2013

HealGel Face

A few months ago I started to see the brand HealGel popping up on numerous amounts of blogs. I must admit I was rather intrigued by this rather sleek, pharmaceutical packaging and wondered what the products would be like. 

Upon doing a bit of research I've discovered that HealGel is an aqueous gel which aims to soothe, repair and protect your skin. It has been designed by a team of the world's leading plastic surgeons and a renowned dermatological biochemist, whereby their knowledge has produced a range of products suitable for all skin types. If you want to read more in depth about this you're just a click away.

A little while ago I was kindly sent HealGel Face* to try which came at the right time I think as my skin was a little worse for wear. HealGel Face* is essentially an anti-ageing formula which is designed to sooth, firm and replenish the skin leaving it more revitalised. As I previously mentioned in my October Favourites post, I'm only 24 but I can't see any harm in including a product that has these benefits associated with it as let's face it, nobody is getting any younger, least of all me.

In terms of the packaging I think the design team have done a fantastic job, it really is one of my favourite product designs. I do tend to like clinical looking things that are neat and crisp therefore this was always going to be a bit of winner for me in regards to that aspect of the product. I adore the fact that the product is released through a pump dispenser as this allows the product to be kept in air tight conditions and prevents bacteria getting in. The packaging is plastic which I don't really mind as it has a nice smooth finish to it, as well as this it also is clear therefore you can see how much of the product is left which is a huge bonus point in my opinion. I hate nothing more than not knowing how much of a product I have left.

I've being using HealGel Face* for over a month now and I have to say I've been pretty impressed with the results. The product itself is so silky smooth to apply, it is the nicest product I have in terms of application as it simply glides on beautifully. My skin is quite blemish prone to be honest and is a mix of combination/oily and dehydrated all at the time. I find that this sinks in without leaving my skin greasy in any way and helps to provide a good start to my morning skincare routine after I have cleansed my face. I do use a moisturiser after using this as to me it feels a bit like a serum, however, I can't find it written down anywhere that says you should still moisturise afterwards so perhaps you and indeed I could get away with that step completely; I will leave that up to you.

I have noticed quite an improvement in my skin in terms of dry patches which I do tend to suffer from at this time of year. In fact just before this arrived on my doorstep I had noticed that they were starting to form here and there on my nose, however since using HealGel those issues have really cleared up allowing me to continue using my favourite Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation. This is most notably down to the fact that the ingredients contain a blend of Omega Oils which help to replenish dehydrated skin. 

One of my favourite things to comment on about this product is the fact that it contains hyaluronic acid which is the key ingredient within Hydraluron, the blogger cult favourite. I was initially worried about halting my use of Hydraluron in order to test this out properly however after seeing that hyaluronic acid was present my worries were taken care of as I do believe this works just as well without leaving that initial sticky tight feeling that Hydraluron does. Since using this my skin has definitely looked a lot more brighter and dare I say it plumper therefore I cannot really find any fault with it.

At £48 for 50ml this is what I consider to be a very high end skincare product as it isn't cheap. Would I buy it in the future? I have to say that I find that I'm still rather undecided as it is expensive, to me it feels a lot more luxurious than say Hydraluron and leaves a much nicer finish on the skin therefore in that respect it wins hands down, however they are both similar products in my personal opinion with the latter being cheaper. 

I think if you're looking to really invest in your skincare and want some luxurious products within your regime then definitely go for HealGel Face as it really is a lovely product. HealGel products can be purchased from the HealGel website.

HealGel is a cruelty free brand that is also suitable for vegans.
*PR Sample, this product was kindly sent to me for consideration.


16 November 2013

Promiscuous Lip Pencil Coffret | NARS

The Nars Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection has been a bit of hit within the beauty community over the past few weeks with a number of limited edition products that have had people getting a little bit excited; myself included.

The majority of the collection is available to buy from the Nars website however Space NK (my all time favourite beauty haunt) has had exclusive items in store and online. You probably all know about the gorgeous blusher palette that was available a few weeks ago, setting you back £45 it was pricey but very much worth it! I'm beginning to regret not ordering it now so hopefully it will come back again soon, the main reason I didn't is because I already own one of the blushers featured in the palette.

So, I held off on the blusher palette but once I saw Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup post a picture of the Nars Promiscuous Lip Pencil Coffret I have to say I made my mind up there and then that it would be mine. Nars is my favourite high end brand despite me being quite new to it, it's cruelty free, luxurious and the products simply work; they also last really well on my skin too. To say I have wanted to try the lip products from Nars would be a bit of an understatement, therefore as soon as this was highlighted to me I popped in a very cheeky order....that's me done now until that January pay packet.

Within this set you receive five lip products and a beautiful little make up bag to keep them in. Four of the lip products are Mini Velvet Matte Lip Pencils in the shades Sex Machine, Never Say Never, Dolce Vita and Cruella; the remaining product is a Mini Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in the shade New Lover. They're all mini versions of the full size product but to be honest they're going to last me a long while and do give me chance to see how much I like them, this will help me to determine whether I purchase the full size in the future as they do retail at £17.50 each, ouch!

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are my first experience in using matte lip products and they do not disappoint. I don't find them drying in anyway although I do use a lip balm before hand just in case. They last extremely well on me, they're probably the longest lasting lip products I now own; I have to say Cruella is something else!

I guess the only downside to these is that you have to sharpen them which is a bit annoying, hopefully NARS will look at other brands which have gone down the twist route with similar type products.

It's rather crazy what different lighting can do to a picture, however here above I've tried to show what each shade is like. If you're on the verge of buying this then I fully recommend you to do so, it is a truly wonderful gift for someone or indeed for yourself; you will not regret it.

I adore each and every one of these shades and I know that I'll be getting a lot of use out of them; my personal favourites are Cruella and Sex Machine. At just £30 I know I've picked up one of the best beauty releases this year, I've absolutely fallen in love with it.

Remember this is exclusive to Space NK so get your orders in quick if you want one of your own.

NARS are a cruelty free brand.

15 November 2013

Autumn Nails with Barry M

I wanted to get my favourite autumn nail polishes in before we hit winter so here we have today my top five. Whilst I was choosing my favourite colours from my collection it dawned on me that all of them were Barry M, hence the name of this blog post. Barry M really do stand out to me as one of the best nail polish brands on the high street, they have an incredible shade range with a variety of different types available, such as texture, glitter and most recently matte polishes.

Whilst to me I don't find them to be super long lasting I do find that with a perfectly good top coat that they will last a good number of days. For somebody like me who changes their nail polish so frequently longevity isn't something I tend to worry about too much, Seche Vite normally has my back covered if I want my polish to last a bit longer than normal.

I chose Navy, Bright Purple, Prickly Pear, Plum and Raspberry as my top five, with Raspberry being my favourite polish from last year; see that review here.

Barry M Nail Polishes are cruelty free!

14 November 2013

The Procrastinating Beauty Blogger Tag

1. Thank the tagger and link them in the post.
2. State that this tag was created by The Beau Bow.
3. Copy and paste the rules.
4. Tag some more beauty bloggers and link them to the post.
5. Title this The Procrastinating Beauty Blogger Post so readers know what the post is about.
6. Have fun!

I was kindly tagged by Jess from Just Jess to take part in this tag, thank you :)

1. Name a beauty regime that you rarely do. 
I'd like to think I'm generally quite good at keeping up most routines; however the one short fall I have is moisturising my body. I just cannot be bothered half the time, I get out of the shower or bath and want to get changed into my pyjamas as quick as possible so I'm nice and warm, I don't want to stand waiting for creams to sink in. Shame on me!

2. Is washing your make-up brushes something you do regularly?
Yes! I do keep this up quite regularly at least once a week. I tend to do it on a Saturday night or Sunday morning so that they have time to dry over the weekend before the start of the week. If I'm in over the weekend I tend to not wear make up giving my skin chance to breathe as I wear it during the week for work.

3. How long will you last with chipped nail polish? 
Not very long at all, it really bugs me. In fact whilst I was at work my nails chipped, this irritated me so much I went and purchased nail polish remover pads on my break to take it all off.

4. How long do you put off buying/ replacing a beauty or nail polish product, even if you need it? (E.g. purchasing a new top coat or foundation).
It depends on how much I need it as I'm sure I would have something lying around that would do a similar job until I had time to go and buy it. There are not many things I would consider to be a necessity that I would need to drop everything for to re-buy, if anything the one thing I would try to always keep stock of is dry shampoo...that stuff works wonders if you're running late and haven't time to wash your hair.

5. What is your worst beauty habit? 
If I have an impending spot I won't leave it alone, I know I should but I can't.

6. Name something non-beauty related that you put off all the time. 
This is actually quite hard as if I need to do something I tend to just do it to get it over with and done. 

7. When going out somewhere do you leave getting ready to last minute or not?
Not, I hate to feel rushed as I get stressed out. I like to be on time and dread being late so I always try and be ready.

8. Can you commit to a spending ban? 
I can if I need to and have done in the past; I just tend to not broadcast it for everyone to know about. I think so long as you're not stupid with your money then you probably don't need to, unless of course Christmas is coming when we all probably should be saving to buy lots of nice food and wine!

9. How organised is your make-up and nail polish collection? 
It has been relatively organised for a while now as I purchased a big vanity case to store it all in. However, this got a bit too much for everyday as I was dragging it out every morning so I've recently purchased a set of two draw Muji draws (I know I know, I wasn't going to conform but they looked so pretty and lonely in the shop, they had to come home with me). I must admit it's so much easier in the morning for me now.

10. What is the longest amount of time you have gone without writing a blog post?
I'm not quite sure and would be guessing at this, I would say it's maybe a week or two at the most when I went away with university last year. If I go away again now I'm more likely to schedule posts so a big break wouldn't really happen unless my computer broke or something.

The lovely bloggers I tag are:

Andrea Rosy Chicc

Of course everyone has the opportunity to take part in this so if you do the tag drop me a comment below so I can have a read.


13 November 2013

October Favourites

Throughout October I pretty much stuck to the same old thing therefore I haven't that many favourites; however, there are some new products that have crept into my stash so let's take a look!

First up is Heal Gel Face*, this was kindly sent to me last month whereby I've being using it every day since. I'll be doing a review of this soon so keep a look out for it if you're interested. I personally use it as a serum type product whereby I do moisturise afterwards however I do believe you can use it alone. It is essentially an anti-ageing product which whilst I'm only 24 I can't see any harm in including one of these, plus, I'm finding that it is really helping to fight off dehydrated skin which for me is a big issue come this cold weather.

Next up is the Laura Mercier Silk Créme Foundation which I purchased when Harvey Nichols had a sale, picking it up for £26 instead of £33 made the purchase a little bit easier on the heart. To be honest, I would have paid full price for it as I really do love this foundation, it is my personal favourite. It wasn't love at first use as after initially having a sample to try I did find that it clung to dry patches, however, after solving this issue on my skin I've found that it works beautifully. My shade for any of those interested is creamy ivory.

Models Own Utopia is hands down one of my all-time favourite nail polishes. I've being using this to pop a hint of colour (despite it being somewhat of a nude shade) to my nails whilst I'm in the process of growing them again. I find that having my nails painted really does help me refrain from biting them; I know it is a gross habit but it is a very hard one to break also. I adore the formula of Models Own polishes, I currently own only a few but all of them so far have been wonderful, I just wish the smell wasn't as strong as it is.

The 17 Stay Time 18 Hour Concealer is my most recent purchase from Boots, with the only reason being that my Collection concealer (yes that one) had finally ran out therefore I needed a replacement. I did consider repurchasing the super hyped up Collection concealer as whilst it's not in my opinion worth the hype that it receives I do think it is relatively good at covering blemishes; I just tend to  steer completely away from my dark circles with it as it cakes up horrendously. So, after seeing this new concealer from 17 mentioned a fair few times I thought I would give it a go; I'm happy to report back that it is really good! I use this under my eye area without the fear of it looking cakey, it is isn't as viscous as the Collection version so in my opinion isn't as good as covering blemishes, however, I do prefer it because it isn't as drying. For some reason it isn't on the Boots website at the moment, however keep checking as I'm sure it will pop up online soon.

Laura Mercier is currently not cruelty free.
*PR Sample, this product was kindly sent to me for my consideration.

11 November 2013

October Empties

I'm behind with this post but considering I saved these throughout last month to be featured I thought I had best write about them before they made it into the recycling. Therefore without further delay here are the products I used up throughout October.

The VO5 Nourish Me Truly was a relatively nice conditioner to use after washing my hair as normal. This isn't overly priced at £1.99 therefore I think it's good value for money, particularly as the range is normally on offer in Boots, Asda and places alike. I can't say that this was a fantastic product as it did nothing out of the ordinary, having said that it did do the job of making my hair feel soft after washing it so I can't complain too much. I probably would buy it again if I was looking for something cheap and cheerful.

I did a review on the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Night Cream back in April, whereby since then I've being using it pretty much every night; it has lasted me such a long time for the price of just £5.99. I really did like this as I think it smelt nice, applied nicely on the skin without leaving a greasy residue behind and was affordable; along with making my skin feel super soft. I still do like it however I only wish it did not contain some questionable ingredients in it. I have long since recycled the packaging this came in and unfortunately the ingredients are not listed online however after having a quick check in store I was left disheartened, I only wish I could remember what the ingredients were! It's a shame as I would have repurchased this.

The Soap and Glory Whipped Clean Shower Butter was a bit of a treat buy at the beginning of the year. I found myself really enjoying using this mainly due to the smell! Scents of pistachio, vanilla and almond are really prominent within this product which is similar to the scents in Smoothie Star. I've yet to try that however after really liking this I'll be sure to pick it up in the near future. Retailing at £8 Whipped Clean is a bit expensive for a shower butter which you rinse off although I must admit I would like it again.

I've not had that much experience with the brand Clinique, where I have I've had good and bad experiences therefore I really can't quite make up my mind on the brand as a whole at the moment. The Liquid Facial Soap was part of the three step routine which I'm not that keen on, on a whole I found this product quite drying so I was glad to finish it off; I wouldn't buy it again.

ProVoke Daily Maintenance Silver Shampoo is something I like to use every now and then to help tone out any brassy tones within my hair. I actually purchased this by mistake instead of buying the twice a week treatment shampoo which works a lot better, I'll be buying this again though to use in conjunction with the former. Pretty cheap if you buy it from Bodycare in particular but it can also be found in Boots and Superdrug.

Last up is the Kind To Eyes Simple Eye Make Up Remover which I had being trialling for a mini series I want to do on high street eye make up removers. I thought this was ok; it's relatively gentle and super affordable and can be found in a variety of stores so is easily attainable for many. I wasn't that impressed with this as I found I was left with panda eyes after using a number of cotton pads so I highly doubt I will buy it again as the Garnier one I'm using at the moment is better.

Clinique and VO5 are not cruelty free brands however as far as I'm aware ProVoke may be but I'm not 100% sure, if you know then let me know.
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