Apart from the infamous Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, I must admit, I am a bit of a novice when it comes to the brand. When I was browsing the counter one day a few months back though – focussing, unsurprisingly, on the liquid lipsticks they had on offer – the shade 500 Blush in their Lip Maestro’s caught my eye and I picked it up on a bit of a whim. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s not often that you'll go wrong with a liquid lipstick. Some are better than others, but in general they have good staying power and unless they are ultra drying they normally turn out to be worth your hard earned pennies. ‘Blush’ is, as you might expect – a warm, rosy pink – vivid enough to brighten your complexion a little, but nothing too in your face. There are 23 shades available in the range, with most of them quite bold - reds, purples and a few brighter pink shades the prevalent colours amid the bunch. There are only three that I would consider to be real neutrals - Blush being one of them, Casual Pink another, and lastly Dolci (which if you’re into you’re 90’s brown hues might be the one to try). And so, although I think the shade range could be expanded upon to cater to a wider clientele, this didn't put me off as the thing that really made me fall in love with these was their formula. 

Yes its matte, or at least the appearance is on the lips – but it is actually incredibly creamy and feels beautiful to apply. They are marketed as being 'the first matte lip lacquers' and are by far and away the least drying ‘mattes’ I have tried. They may not last as long as the likes of the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks, but they do still stick around for a fair few hours and fade nicely when they do eventually start to wear away. They are not dissimilar to the theBalm Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipsticks that I talked about a couple of posts back, but much creamier and with less of a scent. If you’re into your high end make up then I would definitely recommend checking these out as I’m quite surprised at how they haven’t yet (at least not to my knowledge) gained more of a cult status within the beauty world. 
If you’re after a high street/drugstore counterpart though, look no further than the Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipsticks. I had seen these pop up on the shelves some time ago – in fact it must have been pretty soon after they were released. I had cast my eye over them a couple of times, yet for some reason I didn’t pick any up until quite some time later (I think perhaps because I had been unable to swatch in store and it’s always a bit of a gamble when that’s the case). I bit the bullet last week though when I had a little Boots splurge (let me know if you’d like to see the rest of the spoils from that little excursion) and the shades ‘Nude Thrill’ and ‘Nude Flush’ ended up coming home with me. Again, I was predictable with the colour choices – the former being on the beige-y nude side and the latter it's pink equivalent – not at all unlike the Giorgio Armani 500 shade. But that is not where the similarity ends. 

I can honestly say that shades aside (despite the similarity of six of the eight Maybelline shades still sitting firmly on the bold side of things with not a lot in between), the formula of these seems to me to be practically identical to the Giorgio Armani Lip Maestros. They are creamy, super pigmented and give you that soft matte finish without any resultant dryness. As with the Lip Maestros, the applicator itself is a little longer than your standard doe foot and has a little bend to it which I find is great when it comes to ensuring ease and accuracy when applying. As a direct comparison re what it is you are getting for your money, the Lip Maestros weigh in at £27 for the 6.5ml of product provided, where as for £6.99 you are getting 8ml from the Maybelline Vivid Mattes

I really love both products, but unless you have plenty of cash to spare and are a high end make up fiend, then I would definitely recommend Maybelline over Giorgio Armani in this instance. If the shade range had been more extensive on either side then that may have pipped it for me, but as things stand it’s a win for the drugstore dupe in the battle of the liquid lipsticks! 

Sarah x    

When I strolled into my local Debenhams a few months back to see that my beloved Burberry counter had been replaced by Make Up Forever; I have to say I was a little disappointed. Though I’d heard a lot of good things about the brand, I had never really felt particularly drawn towards any of their products. However, after seeing a few of my favourite ladies online testing them out, I found myself in there browsing one lunch time, and before I knew it, had picked up these three.
One of the things I was most impressed with in there was the customer service. The lady that served me was lovely and did a great job of matching me for both the foundation and the concealer. More often than not, I get told I am a much darker shade than I actually am thanks to my ruddy cheeks! But this time she got it spot on and I had no hesitation investing and knowing I had walked out of there with the correct shades. Since then, and I must admit, somewhat to my surprise, I have found myself reaching for all of these products on an almost daily basis with them becoming a permanent fixture in my make up bag. And so, I thought I would share my thoughts on them today.

Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation

Don’t let the name fool you with this one. It has decent coverage but isn’t nearly as thick or as full as I’d have imagined from the impression the name gives. I find it gives a very 'lit from within' look as opposed to the matte finish you might expect. The consistency is very smooth and quite thin in that it moves around easily when you pump it out on the back of your hand. It is also easy to apply with your fingers (in fact, this is my favourite way to apply it), and doesn’t leave your skin feeling suffocated like some foundations with a little more coverage can have a tendency to do. I wear the shade R210, and as I’ve said previously, it is a great match for me – probably the best of all the foundations I own and that’s no small feat. As with most Make Up Forever products as well, the colour range available is quite vast and so I should imagine there would be something there to suit most skin tones. I can’t claim that this is of holy grail status yet, but it has certainly been my go to recently and has (for now) replaced my NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint that I had been wearing non-stop previously.

Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer

At the time of purchase, I had managed to misplace my trusty Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer, and so I thought I would pick this up as I had seen it used both as a blemish cover up and under eye brightener and it seemed from what I could tell to be a good all-rounder. As per, I told the lady on the counter that I like to go a shade lighter with my concealer and she obliged matching me with the shade R20. Again, I have been using it on a daily basis – perhaps even more so than I had originally anticipated due to the fact that the foundation didn’t cover as much as I was expecting it to. Despite being of a relatively thick consistency though, is it still very creamy and I don’t find that it cakes. Neither does it crease under the eyes for me (though I do tend to always set my under eye concealer so maybe that has something to do with it). A little goes a long way with this and though I don’t find it quite as good for pinpoint concealing when compared with my Estee Lauder Double Wear, it still does a pretty decent job and definitely leaves a more natural finish when it comes to the general concealing of redness and slightly patchy skin that I tend to suffer with. I think if I was having a particularly good skin day and feeling the no make up make up look – some careful application of this minus any base, and a light dusting of one of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, would easily suffice. Definitely one to check out if you’re after a ‘does it all’ product that will serve as a useful make up bag staple throughout the day.

Smoky Lash Mascara

As this seems to be one of the most hyped products by the brand, I felt I had to give it a go. I’ve been really into trying out different mascaras lately, and have found a couple that I have really fallen in love with – namely the Dior Iconic Waterproof Overcurl and the Lancôme Hypnose Volume-a-porter which I have spoken about previously here. If I’m honest though, I don’t think this one quite compares. I have still been using it on a daily basis and it does a decent job of achieving a nice balance between voluminous and lengthened lashes – separating them just enough to avoid the clumpy look (something I am not necessarily against – but would prefer to avoid during the day). I can’t comment on its being able to hold a curl as, as I have mentioned in previous posts – my lashes have  a natural curl to them anyway and I have never had any issues. I can however, say that it doesn’t transfer and is relatively easy to remove which is always a plus. I am keen now to try out the brown shade as I have heard good things and am yet to try any mascara that isn’t black during my long term make up love affair.  

What are your best picks when it comes to Make Up Forever? I’d really love some more recommendations as from what I have tried so far they've really surpassed my expectations! 

Sarah x

When it comes to summer skincare I like to keep things as light and simple as possible - especially in the mornings! Something I don't like to skimp on though, is making sure my skin is prepped and ready to face the day. 

For me, this means being hydrated and protected, and lately I have been absolutely loving these three products used after a quick cleanse in the morning and underneath make up to ensure smooth application and preservation all day long.

I think we can all agree, that when it comes to sun protection (especially for the face), what we are after is something that sinks in quickly, is non-greasy and isn't overly fragranced. It may sound like a simple ask, but no matter what I've tried in the past, it has either managed to break me out, or has, despite initial high hopes eventually left me looking like a caked, shiny oil slick. This stuff though is truly magical.

It sinks in like no other SPF I have ever tried - the texture is more liquid like as opposed to cream and it applies like a serum. There is a very slight scent to it (though this isn't noticeable once it is on the skin), it is moisturising, and yet when you go to apply your base on top, it is completely undetectable! It doesn't make me oily throughout the day (any more than usual anyway), in fact I think it may even help to keep me mattified - is there anything more you could ask for?

Crucially, it contains UVA (PA ++++) and UVB (SPF 50) protection, which means not only will you be protected from short term damage but from longer term damage more likely to accelerate the process of your skin ageing as well. I have been using this every day without fail over the last month or so and am already thinking about picking up another tube as I am starting to run low. It is without doubt, one of my favourite discoveries of the year so far and has already earned a permanent place in my hall of fame. 

Recently I had an unfortunate accident with my beloved Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Serum which involved a broken bottle and some severe spillage. Luckily, I had this little guy lying around as a back up, and so instead of repurchasing I thought I would give it a go (in truth, not really expecting to love it as much). I've been very pleasantly surprised though, in that it has given me exactly what I look for in an eye cream - no bold claims promising to banish lines and prevent me ever ageing, just a good bout of hydration that sinks in quickly and leaves the area around my eyes feeling soothed and refreshed.

It contains beautiful ingredients that help it achieve this, including cooling cucumber, soothing rosemary and energising ginseng, along with green tea extract. And, the pies de resistance - it works wonderfully under make up. 

I've lost count of the number of lip balms I own. I certainly have a few faves, but I seem to be constantly switching them up without being loyal to anything in particular. I will normally use a balm as and when I deem it necessary but when it comes to this one, I've only had it a couple of weeks yet I've found myself reaching for it multiple times daily and have already made quite a large indentation! It's not a thick balm, but it is very hydrating and is perfect for day to day use. 

I like to pop a little bit on in the morning, allowing it to sink in whilst doing the rest of my make up before applying my lip colour of choice (sometimes I'll just wear it on it's own). It has the most divine peachy scent, gives your lips a natural pink tint by reacting with their pH and also adds a little shine to help plump and smooth. Even better, as it is in stick form, no fingers are required, and so it is the perfect product to sling in your handbag (especially with the super pretty packaging) and you can slather it on throughout the day whenever you wish to without any fuss.

What are your favourite tips and tricks when it comes to low maintenance summer skincare?

Sarah x

The Balm is one of those brands that I have heard whisperings about for a while, but have never really felt myself drawn towards. I think this might have something to do with the quirky packaging that, although fun, doesn’t have me feeling enamoured the way some high/medium end equivalents do. It was really only when a counter popped up in my local Debenhams a month or so ago that I became intrigued, and since then my love for the brand has done nothing but grow. I’ve got my hands on a couple of their ‘cult classics’ and have also made a few new discoveries along the way, and so I thought it I would share these with you today so that if you’re umming and ahhing like I was about whether or not to give them a try, you will at least know where it might be best to start. 

Starting off with what is likely the most famous product in the range – this beautiful honey-gold highlight really packs a punch and will suit almost any skin tone. The formula is buttery and buildable so that if you are a fan of taking the ‘lit from within’ look to the extreme then this is entirely possible. At the same time though, the product is blendable and very finely milled (no glitter chunks here) and so if it’s just a subtle shimmer that you’re after, this is easily achievable too. I have a lot of love (like most people right now) for the Becca highlighters, however, this definitely rivals the ones that I have tried, and in comparison to some of the peachier shades, gives a much more ‘natural’ finish. If it’s an everyday option that you’re after, this might well be it. 

Speaking of every day – this is one of those shades that can be worn without needing to think too much about whether it will clash or compliment the rest of your make up look. It is non-offensive yet incredibly pretty at the same time with its peachy-pink hues, which I find particularly suit my paler skin tone. The fact that it is matte makes a nice change and means it has become a firm favourite for me when it comes to office make-up wear. Not to mention the fact that the cardboard packaging makes it light and slim to transport around if I feel in need of a top up throughout the day. 

Now that I can claim to have mastered the art of the liquid eyeliner, I find weeding out the wheat from the chaff a much easier task than I had done previously. The biggest plus to this is that the finish it gives is super matte – a big tick in my book. The sponge nip is also relatively flexible and not too firm so as to inhibit your ability to create the perfect feline flick, plus I never get any transfer onto my slightly hooded lids. I’m intrigued to try the new Lancôme Grandiose liquid eyeliner as a comparison (the one with the twisty handle that seems incredibly gimmicky!), but for now this is sitting at the top of my list. 

In general, I don’t really find that you can go too wrong with a matte liquid lip. So long as pigmentation is good and application even, you know what you’re getting. The Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipsticks tick both of these boxes and at the same time, last well and aren’t at all drying on the lips. Of course, as with any matte lip product, they aren’t moisturising either, but there is certainly no danger of flaking or caking whilst you’re wearing these. The shade range is limited but lovely comprising plenty of peachy nudes and rosy mauves (my favourites), along with a couple of darker shades. I can’t comment on the application of the latter, as I picked up the colours ‘Honest’ and ‘Committed’ – the former a slightly brighter corally-peach and the latter a more muted pinky version. I love how when applied they have a light minty scent that lingers on your lips and this combined with their overall impressive performance undoubtedly means I will be picking up some more shades in the weeks to come. 

What products from The Balm have you tried? Is there anything I’ve overlooked and am missing out on? 

Sarah x
If you haven't already heard about Jo Malone's 'Community Gardens' initiative then I would like to take a minute to talk about it, as it is something that helps benefit a cause very close to my heart. 

Essentially, there are a number of gardens across the UK now, all of which are funded by Jo Malone - the most local to me being The Kirkdale Country Community Garden, Liverpool - where people who are suffering from mental health issues or who are on the road to recovery can go to hone their horticultural skills, relax and help pave the way as part of the process of rehabilitation. The gardens are filled with therapeutic scents and are intended to provide serene safe havens for the people that spend their time in them.

I know myself that when I am having a particularly anxious spell, that spending time outdoors does me the world of good and so I think this is a fantastic way to encourage people to reconnect with themselves as well as providing a beautiful place that will help benefit the wider community. The scheme even provides volunteers with the opportunity of being able to complete new qualifications that, if their passion for gardening has really been ignited, could mean their being able to gain full time employment in the field.

75% of the RRP from sales of the Peony & Moss Charity Candle will go towards funding the ongoing work that Jo Malone London is doing to ensure people suffering from mental health issues get the support they need in working towards a full recovery. All of the gardens will benefit, but in particular, their newest project - a charity garden with St Mungo's set in London.

The candle itself has a beautiful delicate floral scent with hints (as I'm sure you can imagine), of their much loved 'Peony and Blush Suede' fragrance. However, with the addition of the moss, the sweet edge of the fragrance is replaced with an altogether earthier tone. Personally, I think it's the perfect all-year-round home fragrance as it's fresh, natural and as you can see - comes in the most beautiful packaging imaginable. And, if you're a Jo Malone regular you will already know that the scent pay off and the burning time of their candles is near unbeatable.

If you want to learn more about the 'Community Gardens' project, then you can do so here. In the meantime though, if you want to help support a very worthy cause then you can pick up the Charity Candle online here or nip into store and have a sniff first. It would really mean a lot to see some of you getting involved <3 

Sarah x

It's not often that a new release really catches my eye, but when I heard that Urban Decay were ditching their entire lipstick range in exchange for a souped up new collection of 100 shades (still containing some old favourites but with 74 new additions, an improved formula and a choice of six finishes to boot) I couldn't wait to get my mitts on them to try. Released online on June 9th, I wanted to wait until I could see them in the flesh before deciding which I needed to add to my already overflowing make-up wardrobe. And so, on Thursday I popped to the in-store launch after work and spent a good half hour sifting through and deciding which were my favourites whilst simultaneously sipping on a glass of champers - perfect!

Eventually, I decided on these four - Liar, Rush, Violate - all with a cream finish - and Hitch Hike - a comfort matte. It was these two finishes within the range that I was immediately drawn to as I like my lipsticks pigmented yet comfortable on the lips. There are also the mega matte, metallized, sheer and sheer shimmer finishes available - so if it's variety you're after then this lot are a pretty safe bet.

Starting with what for me, is the most daring pick of the four - Violate is a dusty purple with a pink undertone, but, unlike a lot of similar shades, doesn't wash you out at all. I'm thinking of going blonder soon and so the thought behind this one was that it would fab with platinum locks and a tonne of smudged out black liner. More of a 'standard' shade (for me at least) is Liar - bordering on a peach but leaning ever so slightly towards the pinky-nude bracket. It's one of those every day colours that would look even better with a tan and a base with a bit of golden glow. And then there's Rush - a pinky-mauve which again would suit most skin tones and is one of those effortless shades that requires minimal maintenance. 

I love how nourishing the cream formula of these is along with how it sits so nicely on the lips - yet despite this, it lasts well. I gave it it's first test run on Friday morning for work and it stuck around for a good 3-4 hours before I felt the need to top up. Plus, the fact that it applies so evenly means that it fades tidily without any obvious patches.

Much of the same can be said about Hitch Hike - a stunning brick rose - this time in the comfort matte formula. It reminds me a lot of MAC's Brick-o-la, yet I prefer it thanks to the finish which makes it longer-lasting without drying out your lips and accentuating any patches that aren' quite as smooth as they might be.

Though I am yet to thoroughly road test the shades I have picked up, so far I am a big fan of them and can definitely see myself going back and picking up more - perhaps even trying out some of the other finishes and more adventurous shades. One thing I would advise before going into store though, would be to download the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick app (available on all Apple devices), that allows you try the shades on before you buy! It can be a little overwhelming when all one hundred lipsticks are sat in front of you at once, and so I think this is a great idea to help you decide what you're after beforehand.

You can browse the entire Vice Lipstick collection here, along with the fifty corresponding lip liners that have been released. Currently retailing at what I would consider to be a very reasonable £15, in my opinion you're really getting a bargain as on first impression I would without doubt compare them to some much pricier high end counterparts. 

Have you tried anything from the new Vice collection yet? Have any of the shades caught your eye?

Sarah x
Fellow beauty addicts far and wide will already know that if it’s high end you’re after – not to mention luxe packaging and some seriously swoon-worthy products, then Tom Ford is where it’s at. Their new range has recently landed at John Lewis, and so of course, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world when I was asked if I would like to try out a couple of the latest additions to the collection. 

If you’re a regular visitor around these parts, you will know that I have a tendency to spend my lunch hours lingering around the counter in store – constantly swatching and sniffing what’s on offer, and am a particularly big fan of the beautiful lipsticks and nail lacquers in the range  (Ruby Rush and Scarlet Chinois are, without doubt, my favourite classic red pairing).

This time though I opted to  try out some of their eye make up – the much talked about Eye Defining Pen in ‘Deeper’* and one of the incredibly beautiful Eye Colour Quads in ‘Nude Dip’*

If eyeliner is normally your nemesis, then the former is definitely for you as it makes application such a breeze and sticks around so well that it means the usual worries of having to faff around to ensure an even wing and to avoid transfer are made  a thing of the past. This stuff wont budge and is so pigmented – it really is the blackest black. In addition, the fact that your are provided with two liners – one slight shorter and stumpier, the other longer and finer – means that no matter what your eye shape it is easy to achieve the perfect line and create definition by getting right into the lash line/any spots you might otherwise miss. I also really love how gloriously weighty it feels, which, for me, makes it easier to manoeuvre than the vast majority of liners out there. If you’re a big fan of a feline flick then I’d say it’s worth investing in this as despite the hefty price tag, it won’t be easily beaten. 

The Eye Colour Quad itself is, as you would expect – fantastic quality again, with a buttery, super blendable collection of shades ranging from a golden champagne to a deep brown - each with a slight satin finish. Though very pretty, there isn’t anything particularly unique about each shade on its own, but as a collection they work beautifully and the convenience of being able to cart them around in such a stunning little one stop compact makes it worth the price tag for me. There is an incredibly beautiful range of shades within the Quads available. Two of my favourites are Seductive Rose – a mix of lighter pinks, mauves along with a deep sumptuous plum, and Honeymoon – a set of warm toned neutrals including a couple of striking coppery shades and a rich, frosted cranberry.

I feel like sometimes the Tom Ford make up line can be overlooked in favour of their fragrances, which, are without doubt some of the most spectacular on the market. If you really want to treat yourself though and you have the budget, then I would highly recommend checking out the fabulous range of products on offer. There isn’t one that I have tried that I haven’t been thoroughly impressed with so far, and that I haven’t felt like a princess whilst wearing/applying it. Next on my list is the Shade and Illuminate compact – this might be the start of a slight obsession! 

Whether you want to spoil yourself or are just looking for a special gift for the make-up lover in your life, you can find the entire range online here, or alternatively,  pop into your local John Lewis store (just don’t blame me when you return home having spent a small fortune!). 

Are there any of the Tom Ford products that are currently on your wishlist? I’d be interested to know what other ‘must haves’ I might need to invest in! 

Sarah x  

I’m a little late jumping on the bandwagon with this (or rather last) months most loved products this time around. I thought I would throw my two cents worth in though and run through quickly, what I’ve been enjoying and reaching for on a regular basis throughout May. As the weather has been pretty glorious of late, I’ve generally been going for skin and bodycare products over anything else so as to keep me feeling refreshed, and have been keeping make up natural and to a minimum, as this little selection tends to reflect. 

Cream cleansers are one of my favourite products when it comes to wanting my skin to feel plump and nourished. I’d had my eye on this one for a while but had wanted to use up my Una Brennan Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Cleanser before splashing out (another lovely product, especially if you are on a budget). After eventually deciding to invest though, I am so glad I did. The formula is so soothing – packed with nutrient rich ingredients like avocado oil and marigold flower, and contains vinanza oxifend which helps combat any inflammation/redness/irritability. Though the product itself claims to be scent free, personally I find that there is a slight scent to it which is delicate and has a hint of floral. It isn’t at all overpowering though and I actually find it to be one of the main reasons that I enjoy using this cleanser so much – spending ages massaging in it as it feels so nourishing and luxurious. I use it as a second cleanse in the evening and also use a small amount on its own in the morning, leaving my skin feeling clean, calm and super soft. If you suffer with sensitive skin then this is definitely one to try.

Now I must be honest here – this was a completely accidental purchase! I had been perusing what was on offer at The Cosmetics Company Store - hoping to find a few bargains - and spotted the Amber Musk Body Cream. I already own Aerin’s Evening Rose Body Cream which smells incredible and is beautifully moisturising, and, with one sniff I decided I needed this one too. However, in my excitement I picked up the wrong box and only discovered when I got home, after unwrapping it, that this was the case. Not one to be deterred, I tried the body wash out that evening in my bath as part of a little pamper sesh. It created fabulous bubbles, and filled the whole of upstairs (never mind just the bathroom), with its beautiful scent encompassing a mix of slight floral hints, amber and deep creamy musk. My favourite part though, was how this lingered on my skin even the next day. I love the Aerin fragrances, but if you’re looking to save a few pennies, then picking up the body wash instead might just suffice, as it lasts for just as long on the skin! Considering I only picked this up two weeks ago,  I am already nearing the end of the bottle – a rarity for me when it comes to body products. It’s also so much less faff than using a body cream and so I think I get my moneys worth through that fact alone, as so many of my body moisturisers lie unused for weeks thanks to nothing but sheer laziness on my part!

Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in ‘Adrienne’ 

This is actually the first ‘neutral’ Chanel lipstick that I have picked up. For some reason, before this (and very unlike me) – the others all fell into the pink category with one coral – the latter being the only one I have really gotten any wear out of since purchasing. I had nipped into John Lewis to see if I could pick up a couple of the new summer nail polishes the day before they hit the shelves. Having heard a few people mention ‘Adrienne’ as being one of those perfect everyday shades, I went and gave it a swatch whilst the lovely lady on the counter went in the back to search for me. I was expecting it to be similar to one of the many other day to day shades I have in my collection, but I was pleasantly surprised. I love peachy tones, but find them hard to pull off, and they also more often than not, tend to go patchy and cling to my naturally rosy lips. Yet this shade has a very slight hint of brown to it mixed in with a muted peach undertone and does none of the above. It suits my pale skin tone beautifully and would, I should imagine, suit most skin tones. The formula is of course hydrating and feels remarkably comfortable on the lips – containing mimosa, jojoba and sunflower plant butters to nourish and condition. At last, a no fuss Chanel shade that I can rely on to carry me throughout the day! 

Whilst meandering around my local Space NK a few weeks back, I noticed that they had acquired a new Smith and Cult stand (they hadn’t stocked the brand there previously). ‘Bitter Buddhist’ had been on my wishlist for a while but had been sold out online the last time I checked and so I saw this as fate intervening and picked up a bottle. I have a couple of Smith and Cult polishes already, and though the colours (not to mention the packaging) are beautiful, I can’t say that I am a huge fan of either the brush or the formula – though far from terrible, they’re nothing special in my eyes. However, I do find them to last well, and, in this case, it has been the beautiful unique opaque celadon green (or as I like to think of it – mix between a dusky blue and a mint), that has had me hooked. I must say though, after picking up a selection of the latest Essie Gel Couture range last week (see my previous post), I can’t see me straying far away from them for the foreseeable! 

My biggest bug bare is my brows and I am always switching the products up that I use to try and achieve the fuller, more natural effect I‘m going for. One of my all time faves though, which I have repurchased a number of times now is the Anastasia Brow Wizz – its fine nib, non waxy formula and great range of shades meaning it caters to all my needs. The new brow definer in the range, caught my eye though as it combines what to me feels like the same formula (though I have heard others comment differently saying it is a little waxier), the same great range of shades (I use medium brown by the way), but also with the flexibility of a nib that allows for defined strokes yet quicker application at the same time. Personally, having quite sparse brows – I find it much easier to obtain a natural shape with this, especially at the front of the brow, thanks to the wider nib that also has a pointed end for more precision. Once this is pressed flat, it does a great job at mimicking brow hairs on its own and also works wonders at lengthening and filling in any barer patches. It appears very similar to one of the products Benefit are set to launch as part of their new overhauled brow range – the Goof Proof Brow Pencil, which, coincidentally, comes alongside a finer nibbed option – the Precisely My Brow Pencil – and so I will have to put these to the test and do a comparison at some point. For now though, I am pretty content with this latest option. 

Have you tried out any of these products? What beauty bits have you been enjoying using this month? 

Sarah x 

As soon as I heard about the latest Essie releases to hit the shelves, I couldn't wait to get my hands on them. The Gel Couture polishes come in twenty-five new shades; A mix of darks, brights, pastels/neutrals, nudes and pinks, as well as a new gel top coat to use alongside. They retail at £9.99 a pop, though Superdrug is currently offering buy one get one half price (hence why I ended up picking up five on this occasion!).

Essie is without doubt my favourite nail polish brand on the market, with what is in my opinion - the best range of shades, the most effective formula, and of course having lead the way with those thick 'one stroke' brushes that we all now know and love. I hunted high and low the day this lovely lot were released (June 1st) to find them, and after trying every Boots and Superdrug in Liverpool city centre I eventually tracked them down in the Superdrug on Parker Street (for anyone else having the same issue!).

It might just be the fact that we are within the warmer months now, but I was much more drawn to the lighter pastel and nude shades once I had the chance to inspect them up close, and ended up adding the following four to my collection;

Part of the 'Nudes' collection within the range - Sew Me is a creamy caramel rose with what I would also describe as having a very slight touch of peach to it. I could quite easily have picked up all of the colours in this collection as they were so super flattering (it's rare that I can find a nude that doesn't wash out my pale skin). 'Fairy Tailor' and 'Spool Me Over' are next on my list.

This is described as being a 'ladylike pink', but after trying it out I would say that it applies and dries less dusky and a little brighter than it appears in the bottle. More of a muted barbie pink, but still a very pretty one and flattering nonetheless as it still isn't too in your face like I find a lot of lighter pink shades to be.

The first of the colours from the 'neutral/pastel' collection that I picked up - this reminds me a lot of Essie's 'Merino Cool' (one of my faves), and is a plush taupe - grey with a lilacy tinge. It's one of those 'go to' shades that you could slap on and wear no matter what the time of year, no matter what the occasion.

Definitely the most unique shade amongst the four I chose - a slinky satin mint, that has a very slight iridescent shimmer to it which appears in the bottle but that isn't as detectable once applied (it more or less just adds to the shine). Again, it's particularly flattering against pale skin for such a light shade, and I am super pleased to have finally found a mint green that suits me.

Left to right; Top Coat, Stitch by Stitch, Sew Me, Take Me To Thread, Zip Me Up

I was pretty sure that I was going to like these polishes having read the reviews, even before I had seen them in the flesh - and I have not been disappointed. Though it is perhaps a little early to comment on their longevity as yet, (I have only been wearing the shade I have on now for four days - so far so good though!) I am completely in love with the formula and am amazed at how even the lightest shades apply beautifully with the signature wide brush and only require one coat for a flawless finish. 

They give a hefty amount of shine with a gel finish on their own, but with the addition of the top coat, provide you what I would consider to be a salon quality manicure with minimal effort required. 

Essie say that the polishes can last fourteen days - chip free, and so I will report back as to whether this claim turns out to ring true. However, for the beautiful formula (hence easy application) alone, I would highly recommend trying these out for yourself if you get the chance. My only criticism, is that of the forty-two shades being released in the US, we in the UK are only getting twenty-five of them! Fingers crossed this will change soon though, as there are plenty more that I already have my eye on...

Sarah x

If you aren't already clued up on this one, The Estee Edit is the latest collection to launch from Estee Lauder, who have teamed up with Kendall Jenner and Irene Kim to create what is a make-up and skincare line aimed at a slightly younger, more fresh faced clientele. As you can see from the packaging, it has a much edgier vibe than that a lot of the more traditional Estee Lauder products, which personally, I think is beautiful. And, since the moment I saw US bloggers starting to mention the new line when it was launched there, I just knew that the moment it landed here in the UK I would have to get my hands on it.

After reading/watching many a blog post and YouTube video, I eventually managed to whittle things down and create a list of my most coveted products from the collection, and, when it officially launched yesterday, I got in there quickly and placed an order - next day delivery. Today, I've had fun playing around and giving everything a good test drive, and so I thought I would share with you on here, my first impressions on what I picked up;

I don't want to speak too soon, but after wearing this all day today in what have been pretty sticky conditions I think I may have fallen for it big time. What is essentially a tinted moisturiser with a light finish (though it can be mixed with something heavier for a fuller coverage) the Skin Glowing Balm claims to enhance rather than cover your natural skin. I would completely agree with this assessment as I felt it gave me a gorgeous glow and was so hydrating throughout the day once applied. I had been a little worried that after spending a few hours outside in the sunshine, combined with the slightly oily skin I suffer with would mean my looking like an oil slick but in fact it was the complete opposite - I still looked fresh faced and thanks to the long list of lovely ingredients including shea butter, evening primrose oil and peony extract, my skin stayed feeling nourished and soft the entire time.  

The formula of these lipsticks is absolutely out of this world with real flower petal waxes from rose, jasmine and lavender along with muru muru butter helping to hydrate - meaning they apply super smoothly and feel incredibly comfortable on the lips. They are much sheerer than they appear in the bullet, though they can be layered to create a more intense colour and are so creamy and lightweight that you barely know you're wearing them. I went for the shade 'So Bare' - a muted deep rose with a definite hint of brown to it and I LOVE it.  So much so that I will definitely be placing another order to pick up my second choice - 'In the Flesh' - a slightly lighter, muted peachy shade and will also be giving the mattified lipsticks in the range a go to see if they live up to their counterparts.

Again I picked up the shade 'So Bare' to match the lipstick I went for. The shades match the lipsticks in the Barest Lip Colour line and are creamy and easy to apply. It is recommended that you use them more heavily/lighter dependent upon how it is you wish to contour your lips though I have yet to try this. However, I found the liner to make the perfect partner to the lipstick and ensured that the more sheer formula lasted well on my lips.

Until now I had been yet to try a contour and highlight in stick form. I went for the light/medium shade and it works really nicely as a subtle alternative to some of the other options out there. It's easy to blend and I also really love how precise you can be with your application - a little nose contouring and Cupid's bow definition is super simple to achieve!

These are without doubt one of the standout products within the collection, due primarily to the stunning packaging and the metallic spray-over that helps add a subtle shimmer. They are wonderfully pigmented and, infused with sunflower seed oil, have a smooth, buttery texture that applies evenly to give a natural finish that can be built upon easily. I chose the shades 'Purr Pink' and 'Coy Coral' - a brightening pink that adds a slight flush, and a subtle tangerine perfect if you want to achieve that summer glow.

Giant brush on one side, plastic bristles on the other, this stuff has everything I look for in mascara and more. It claims to give big volume and curl, the first of which I can definitely attest to (I have pretty 'curly' lashes even without mascara though so am perhaps not the best qualified to comment on the latter). The smaller plastic brush is perfect for separating and use on the bottom lashes, and, as promised, it is completely budge-proof. I have heard a few people saying that it is a nightmare to take off, but personally I managed it without too much difficulty at all using my normal cleansing oil and muslin cloth. A huge winner if you're into super black, super defined, voluminous lashes.

Having inherited my mother's skin when it comes to larger pores, until now I had come to accept this. When I read about this product's oil absorbing qualities as well as its targeting pores in order to help blur and create a flawless finish though, I thought I would give it a go, not really expecting miracles but curious nonetheless. Essentially it is a primer and concealer in one, and does a lovely job of softening the appearance of pores (of course nothing is going to make them disappear completely) and ensuring oil is kept at bay. I used it across my t-zone and on my chin and found that it provided a really nice base underneath the Skin Glowing Balm.

The main reason I picked this up was because I liked the idea of it being an eyeshadow/liner multi-tasking duo. I chose the shade 'Spiced' as it fits my usual copper-ish brown bracket and it works amazingly as a great way to define the lower lash line (my favourite way to use it so far), and, used as an eyeshadow - doesn't crease and applies nicely, being both blendable and buildable.

It was the gimmick surrounding this gloss that had me suckered in as soon as I heard about it - containing blue micro pearls that are undetectable once applied but which help to make teeth appear whiter both in person and on camera. Some more road testing is definitely in order here as I didn't notice any immediate difference but that may be because I haven't long have my teeth whitened. The gloss itself is a nice consistency though (not to sticky) and has a sweet smelling vanilla scent, so if you like a bit of shine this might be one for you.

The Verdict?

The products I invested in from the Estee Edit have definitely lived up to my expectations. I am seriously impressed with almost everything I have tried and I am excited about giving some more bits including some of the skincare from the line a go. It is without doubt worth the price tag for me, with the Skin Glowing Balm, the mascara, the Barest Lip Colour lipsticks and the Barest Blushes being my favourites on first impression. 

The collection is available exclusively at Selfridges now, and I would seriously recommend you check it out if you're into your dewy, fresh skin and natural nudes i.e. if you're looking to channel your inner Kendall!

Sarah x