A Lushie Easter Collection

Nothing can beat a seasonal Lush collection. Of course the Christmas one reigns supreme, but while we await that time of year a little spring collection is more than enough to lure me in. Spring may have sprung (just) but the evenings are still chilly enough to warrant an OTT bubble bath. Here’s the damage from my latest visit…

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*Bunch of Carrots: My absolute favourite – so cute and colourful! These are three reusable bubble bars to be used as long as you can make them last. The Sicilian lemon oil and bergamot oil make them wonderfully citrusy and uplifting, perfect for springtime.

*Big Bang: This bubble bar is another a citrus number, with tangerine oil that supposedly tones your skin as you bathe. It also has avocado butter to soften and hydrate, so no need for moisturiser after using this one.

*Pop in the Bath: This super cute bubble bar is described as the lemon drizzle scented piece of bathing confectionery. Again, it’s citrusy (there’s a theme here) but with a slight floral edge from the orange flower absolute.

*Mangnificent:  This soap is fruity tropical cocktail heaven. It has fresh pureed mango and dried mango slices to gently exfoliate the skin as well as all kinds of citrus oils to wake you up in the morning.

*Happy Hippy shower gel: This grapefruit wash is one of their bestsellers, and again supposed to snap you into action with its citrus “wake up” scents.

*Golden Egg: Could you ever do a Lush collection without glitter? This is Easter’s sample of the stuff, in a cute, toffee-scented egg which leaves your bath water looking like molten gold. It’s also packed full of cocoa butter and olive oil to leave your skin super soft.

*Which Came First?: This is one of their monster-sized bath bombs. You can crack it open to reveal a chick and enjoy three baths out of it. The vanilla makes this one just sweet enough,  but not overpowering.

*Humpy Dumpty: The second enormous bath bomb. This one you do just chuck in, and Humpty Dumpty’s outer shell will disappear to reveal a fried egg. This one is also really refreshing with Brazilian orange oil and bergamot oil.

Current Skincare Picks

I have never been that into skincare. A combination of limited funds and well-behaved skin (and a certain degree of laziness) meant I was never pushed towards the skincare counters in Boots.

That seems to have all changed of late, though. My skin is still well behaved and I am still quite lazy (minimal faff skincare is what I’m all about), but with a budget that stretches slightly further my interest has finally been sparked. So today I’m going to share with you my current picks and, for those still at the minimal budget stage, I’ve also got some less pricey alternatives that have been getting me by until now…

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*Bioderma: Everyone’s heard of it, everyone knows about it, most have tried it and with good reason – the stuff is fantastic. One swipe and your make-up is gone. I wouldn’t say it’s leaps and bounds beyond the other micellar waters around though. I have Bioderma now because I was in France at Christmas and couldn’t resist popping into a pharmacy for a bottle, but I also love the Garnier and L’Oreal alternatives. If you can’t get your hands on Bioderma, those are just as great.

*Pixi Glow Tonic: I rarely exfoliate with a scrub (that counts as a skincare faff). This is a toner but the glycolic removes dead skin cells and so also exfoliates. It really does leave my skin looking less patchy and healthy, and again just with one swipe of a cotton pad.

*La Roche-Posay Serozinc: I’m not entirely sure what this does exactly, other than feel really cooling and refreshing on the skin. I love to use this after the Pixi Glow Tonic to relax everything. Tastes horrible on the lips though – watch out when spraying!

*Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream: I only use this as night because it is quite a thick moisturiser, but it leaves your skin feeling beautifully soft and amazing by morning. It works wonderfully with the Glow Tonic, leaving your skin glowing and healthy while toning down any redness.

*Garnier Pure Active: This has been my budget moisturiser for years and I still like to use it in the mornings. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and prepped for make-up and it sinks in almost instantaneously – perfect when you’re in a rush!

*Origins Clear Improvement Mask: Face masks count as faffing, but they are such a treat every so often. I absolutely love this one. It’s a charcoal mask which really focuses on ridding any dirt from your skin, and my skin feels clean, glowy, soft and amazing after using it! For a budget alternative, the Una Brennan Super Facialist range of masks are great.

*Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment: This deserves all the hype it gets. It comes in quite a shockingly small pot for the price, but you only need a tiny amount so it really does last. It’s super hydrating but sinks in quickly and feels amazing on the eye area. For a budget alternative try Simple’s Kind to Eyes Soothing Eye Balm – very cooling and super cheap.

Pamper Night Essentials

The best piece of fitness advice I have ever received was never make food your reward. 

Don’t tell yourself you can have a chocolate bar if you run 5k. Of course, you can have a chocolate bar after running 5k but you should eat it because you want to, not because you are “allowed” to. Eating by rules creates an unhealthy attitude to food and is just something to be avoided.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t reward your exercise though. With the amount everyone does in January – treats are definitely needed! Rather than food, I reward myself in several ways. I’ll buy myself a magazine, light a new candle or, if I have enough time, have a pamper night. So today I’m going to tell you all of my pamper night essentials, to help you drag your achy body through the rest of the month!

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*Bathtime treats: Lush is the obvious go-to here, but I’ve got some different goodies for you today. Bomb Cosmetics make beautiful, handmade bath bombs which use essential oils and natural butters to create amazing scents and leave your skin super soft. I also love the Oliver Bonas bath marble crackers, which I was lucky enough to find in my stocking on Christmas morning. These smell incredible and are brilliant for creating bath bomb cocktails. I love mixing and matching products to find the best bath time concoctions!

*Face masks: The ultimate skin treat, I always think there is nothing more pampering than a face mask. I love using packet ones that you can buy cheaply, as you can try all kinds of different ones rather than using the same over and over again. This particular one is a mud mask, which is my favourite kind. They leave your skin super clean, nourished and amazingly soft.

*Body scrub and cream: Even though it’s winter, having soft and nourished skin will always make you feel better, especially when you are hitting the gym. My current favourites are the body scrub and cream from Soap & Glory’s Sugarcrush line, the scent is a delicious mix of brown sugar and lime. The scrub particles are harsh enough to do their job but still feel nice on the skin, and the cream sinks in super quickly and is really nourishing. They are also pretty cheap, so you can’t do much better than these!

*Candles: An absolute must to create a calming and relaxing environment. My two favourites are Penhaligon’s and Diptique, both of which make the most luxurious candles. They are so strong you don’t even need to light them to scent a room! For slightly cheaper alternatives, The White Company make beautiful candles which don’t cost the earth, and Oliver Bonas make even cheaper ones which still look and smell amazing. If you don’t want to use a candle, then a room spray, pillow spray or reed diffuser are great alternatives.

*Go screen free: Switching off for an evening is the best way to relax, even if you get separation anxiety when you put your phone away. Instead of checking Instagram for the millionth time, read a book or a magazine. Or (my current favourite pastime), colour! I love the adult colouring books, especially the ones by Johanna Basford. I have her Lost Ocean book, and it’s such a satisfying, soothing and absorbing activity, it will keep you occupied all evening.

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Festive Make-Up Essentials

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With just five days until Christmas (eee!) I’ve started to pull out all of my favourite festive make-up items that are a bit OTT at any other time of year. Christmas calls for glitter, does it not? And even if you dress casually for the big day, it’s still fun to spend a bit of extra time on your make-up. Here are my favourite (mainly glittery) beauty bits and pieces for this time of year.

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First up, let’s talk eyes. One of the easiest ways to incorporate a bit of sparkle into your look is through eyeshadows. My absolute favourite eyeshadow quad for this is bareMinerals The Soundtrack. It has a deliciously creamy, matte champagne to use as a base and then three shimmer shades to play with! My favourite is the copper eyeshadow, and a wash of this all over the lid makes for a really easy, Christmassy look. For single eyeshadows, MAC All That Glitters (an absolute classic) and L’Oreal Pin-Up Pink are the best for a more subtle look with a hint of sparkle. And finally, bareMineral Prime Time, their brightening eyelid primer not only keeps your eyeshadows look amazing all day, but also adds a really nice glow.

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Moving on to pigments, because if you want to do glitter properly, they are the only way to go. I find them a bit of a messy faff usually, but for Christmas I’m willing to make an exception. I always feel that bareMinerals is such an underrated brand. Their foundations get a lot of hype, but their eyeshadows (both loose and pressed) are amazing. Here is a selection of the bareMinerals Eyecolour in (moving left to right) Flawless Diamond, Zany and Centre Stage. All three are beautiful colours, but zany is a bit more unexpected as a super glittery forest green. bareMinerals also do amazing gift sets for Christmas, and you can get great selections of their Eyecolours in them. If you are feeling a little more bold, look out for the Illamasqua Precision Ink. This one is in Wisdom which is a gold, glittery liquid eyeliner. They have a selection of crazy (and more conventional) colours, and you can create some really fun eye looks with them for parties and the festive season.

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And finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without festive nail varnish! I always think nail varnish is so much fun to play around with and it’s really easy to build up a collection of your favourite colours. December calls for a classic red shade, and the best I’ve found is Essie Russian Roulette. It looks great on its own or as a base for glitter. As far as red glitters go, you can’t go wrong with Barry M Ruby Slippers – super cheap and super festive! For a more high end option, OPI always have beautiful Christmas collections. This is one of their’s from last year, Red Fingers & Mistletoes and probably my favourite festive nail colour, a stunning blend of red and gold glitter. If you aren’t a fan of red or just want to mix it up a little, gold, silver and copper are my favourite options. butter London have a great selection, but I love Champers (copper) and Posh Bird (silver). Sally Hansen Coat of Arms is one of the sparkliest shades I own and Essie Buy Me a Cameo  is a bit more subtle, and a beautiful rose gold shade. And if you’re looking for something a little different, Tanya Burr Cosmetics Under the Sea is an amazing blend of chunky blue, green and silver glitter. Perfect for New Year!

I hope this has given you some festive beauty inspiration, what are your favourite Christmassy make-up items? Merry Christmas, everyone!

A Lush Christmas

There are some things that are pretty good year round, but really come into their own at Christmas. Like Starbucks (with their red cups and flavoured lattes) and Michael Bublé (with that Christmas album), Lush is one of those things.

For someone who isn’t completely obsessed with baths, I’ve bought quite an embarrassing amount of Lush goodies over the past couple of weeks. Everything is just so glittery and smells delicious, how could I resist?! So today I’m going to chat you through everything for some inspiration on the perfect, festive bath…

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Moving across the picture left to right… 

*So White: This apple scented bath bomb smells Christmassy, but not in the typical way. It has a slow melting, rosy centre which will turn your bath snow white with pretty flecks of pink.

*Butterbear: Before they’ve had loads of cute bath bombs (think penguins and snowmen!) but this is one of the only ones this year. A Lush classic, it’s vanilla scented and super creamy with cocoa butter that will leave your skin feeling really soft.

*Peeping Santa: This one looks super cute, and the shea and cocoa butter will make for an amazing, creamy bath, but I don’t think it’s strawberry scent really has a place in the Christmas collection… Just me?

*Holly Golightly: This is the most eye catching of them all, with the almost ridiculous layer of silver glitter (but who doesn’t love a bit of glitter at Christmas?) It has spicy cinnamon leaf and patchouli essential oils to make you feel like you are bathing in hot toddy.

*Dashing Santa: He smells like the satsumas that lurk at the bottom of your stocking on Christmas morning, and his golden boots fizz away first which make him “dash” around your bath – cute!

*Yog Nog: This one is super sweet, leaving your whole bathroom smelling like a biscuit tin. The shea butter makes your bath really creamy, and the outside leaves the water an amazing golden colour.

*Cinders: Another Lush Christmas classic, this is meant to create the warming sense of a hot fruit punch. It also has popping candy, and the sweet orange oil makes it really uplifting (this is one of my favs!)

*Luxury Lush Pud: This one is meant to be soothing enough to put you to sleep on Christmas Eve. It creates amazing, colourful foam and smells of lavender, but not overwhelmingly so.

*The Magic of Christmas: This reusable bubble bar is the one I am most excited for! Complete with a bell, it has cinnamon leaf and clove to get your circulation going, while smelling entirely of Christmas.

If only baths could be this exicting all year round… Happy bathing!

On a Budget: L’Oréal Eyes

Expensive make-up is lovely to have and own, but sometimes it’s the budget finds that are the real gems. For me, L’Oréal is one of the best brands at this and I always find myself lingering over their stand in Boots.

An invaluable tip that I have learnt about L’Oréal is that as an umbrella group, they own many of the most famous high end brands. Lancôme, YSL, Kiehl’s and Urban Decay are just some of the much hyped brands that they own. This means that while initially new products are launched into the high-end groups, the best cosmetics filter down into their budget options and this is where you can find the best dupes. Because they are owned by the same group, the products really are the same, even at a fraction of the price.

Today I’m going to chat to you about a trio of L’Oréal products that my make-up bag (and my eyes!) couldn’t live without. I’m a big believer in mixing and matching products to find the best from each brand, so it really says something that all of these are from L’Oréal.

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*Color Riche L’Ombre Pure Eyeshadows: These are some of my all time favourite budget finds and, as you can see, they are well loved. These come in an absolutely enormous array of shades with 24 colours in the range. They also have a variety of finishes, in Nude, Matte, Pop, Smoky, Cameleon and Lumiere.

On the left is Lumiere 507 Pink Up Pink. While it looks quite alarmingly pink, it really doesn’t look like that on the eye. It has a gold shimmer running through it that creates a beautiful glow, rather than being really glittery. It works really well under other eye shadows to brighten the whole look up or just on its own if you’re in a rush.

On the right is Matte 107 Macaron Vanille. This looks really boring in the pan, but it’s one of my favourite eyeshadows. Despite being matte, it is so creamy and blends easily in a way not dissimilar to the Urban Decay shadows. It is amazing as a base for any eye look, or on its own and it makes you look so much more awake on those sleepy Monday mornings!

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*Mega Volume Miss Manga Punky Mascara: I have loved all of the L’Oréal mascaras that I’ve tried (the Telescopic and Volume Million Lashes mascaras are both worth trying!) but this is my current favourite. It is marketed as creating ‘spiky lashes’ but don’t be put off by that. It’s super black and creates amazing, thick, fluttery eyelashes, rather than clumping them all together like normal spiky mascaras. I’ve also heard people saying it’s really hard to get off. I didn’t find this at all, so definitely give it a go!

*Super Liner Perfect Slim Eyeliner: The whole cat eye look does not come naturally to me. I don’t have the patience to practice and I don’t have the time in the morning to get it right. However, discovering this eyeliner has simplified the whole process for me. It’s a really thin felt tip liner, which is easier to control than most of the others, and the fact it’s so thin means you can go for a more subtle look or build it up gradually. It’s also super black and stays all day. For all the other liquid liner dummies out there, I would definitely recommend giving this one a go!

If you have any L’Oréal recommendations (for eye products or anything else) I would love to hear them!

 

Lush Picks

Lush is my latest obsession. Previously I thought it was over-rated and over-priced. Now I’ve done the full 180 and just can’t get enough.

Now that autumn is here and winter is coming, baths really come into their own. What better way to relax as it’s getting chilly outside than sinking down into a warm bath filled with bubbles? Light some candles, grab a book or magazine or prop up your laptop to watch something… It just can’t get any better, right?

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Lush is expensive, there is no denying. Especially when you start thinking about cost per bath. However, I have come to love (and justify) it through a few very specific reasons. First, I don’t have a bath every single day but usually more as a weekend treat. When you’re only having one or two a week, it isn’t the biggest expense. They are also just so much more fun than ordinary bubbles, and the variety always makes choosing what to have exciting (sad, I know). Lastly, if you choose correctly, they make your skin feel amazing. The best ones leave it feeling soft, smooth and smelling delicious. All of the products are also handmade, cruelty free and come with eco-friendly packaging, so you’re doing your bit to save the world!

Here I’m going to talk about the latest products I picked up to give you some inspiration the next time you walk past one of their shops. Let the glitter commence…

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Yuzu and Cocoa Bubbleroon: First up is one of my absolute favourites, the Yuzu and Cocoa Bubbleroon. This is one that you crumble into the bath to create big bubbles while turning the water a yellow colour (not the most appealing but I can look past that). You could easily break it in half by taking the ‘macaroon’ top off, but I just chucked the whole thing in as I don’t think you’d get enough bubbles with just half.

The scent was what drew me to it. I love citrus scents, and it has a blend of citrus oils in it so it smells wonderfully fruity, but with cocoa absolute it has a chocolatey undertone. It has cocoa butter and shea butter in it so it leaves your skin feeling so soft I  just couldn’t get over it! Paired with the citrus scent this is without doubt one of my all time favourites.

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Frozen Bath Bomb: Do you want to have a bath bomb? Do you want to splash and play..? This is one that I had been eyeing up for a while before I bought it. It just looked so exciting, big, blue and glittery! Unfortunately, this turned out to not be one of my favs.

Before I start, I will just throw out there that this has a very fresh scent, and I much prefer fruity sweet offerings. So I think it’s me rather than the bath bomb… It has a mix of grapefruit, rose and neroli oil in it, creating the fresh scent. As you can see from the pictures, it does make your bath look amazing as the bath bomb fizzes away, but one of the things that I didn’t like about it was that it just didn’t last. By the time I’d faffed around, got my book, taken my make up off etc etc and finally got into the bath, the swirls of bright blue and white and its bubbly, glittery mixture had pretty much disappeared. It did leave bright blue glittery water, but I would have preferred for the effects to last longer.

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The scent also isn’t very strong. My skin didn’t smell of it afterwards and I couldn’t even really smell it while I was in the bath. Again, I can see how some people may enjoy something slightly more subtle, but I feel that when you are paying the money of a Lush bath bomb it should have more impact. So I probably won’t buy this one again, but that’s not to say that you may not enjoy it…

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Brightside Bubble Bar: This one is another of my favourites and I’ve repurchased it which speaks for itself. It is one of Lush’s pricier offerings at £4.95 but you get two decent baths out of it. The Bubble Bars are very similar to the Bubbleroons in that they create nice big bubbles while colouring the water, have strong scents and usually leave your skin feeling soft.

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This is another citrusy one which perhaps explains why I love it so much. This one has mandarin, bergamot and tangerine essential oils in it, so it has an amazing, orange scent. As you can see, it also looks beautiful and creates amazing big bubbles. This bubble bar leaves your skin feeling so soft and the scent really lingers on your skin afterwards (but not in a way that just makes you smell like a walking orange).

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Even though it does seem like quite an extravagance compared to some of the other bath bombs, I would highly highly recommend trying out this Bubble Bar or one of the others if you prefer a different scent (the Comforter is another really popular one, which smells of blackcurrant). One tip I have for the Bubble Bars.. Lush tell you to crumble them under running water. I’ve found that simply holding them under the water and letting the water break it up actually makes more bubbles. It takes longer but is definitely worth it.

Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar: Last of all is the Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar, undoubtedly one of their cutest concoctions! This is limited edition for Halloween so unfortunately you can’t get it any more, but they currently have the Holly Golightly bubble bar in for Christmas (which looks like a silver, sparkly Christmas pud) and that’s a similar idea.

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This Bubble Bar is very, very glittery. I think that is the unanimous first impression that everyone has of it, and I actually haven’t tried this one yet! It smells delicious with a blend of juniperberry, grapefruit and lime oils and it has a little cinnamon stick on top. I imagine that it will be very similar to the other Bubble Bars in the amount of bubbles it creates (meaning that it can only really be used for one bath). I’m slightly nervous about the glitter situation, as I don’t want to come out looking like a glitterball. The Frozen Bath Bomb actually left lots of glitter on me, but that had disappeared by the morning – so I hope this will be the same!

I’m now starting to get excited about Lush’s Christmas collection and I’m sure some of the bubble bars and bath bombs will feature on the blog soon! What’s your favourite thing from Lush?