This Week’s Most Loved… #80.

posted on: 13 April, 2014

Ooh, a round number! Well I just had to have a jazzy (who says that) background this week to celebrate such a milestone. As you can see, my weekly selection has a slight summery theme – despite zero signs of warmth here.

To start, I finally got my hands on the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (£21), you may have noticed that this stuff has done a pretty impressive job of being sold out everywhere so I was very keen to make it mine. Always the way, isn’t it? So many of you  have recommended this stuff to me, and I love any makeup remover that whips off my makeup efficiently. I’ve used this two or three times already and I have to say I’m impressed, the balm is a little like coconut oil but slightly softer – you can get your hand in there to dig it out yet it’s still quite firm. It melts on contact with warm hands and you can massage it in to skin really easily. It really does remove makeup so well – even tough eye makeup. It doesn’t leave a film on the skin either which is ideal! I’ll be sure to review this in full in no time.

A new addition is this Dove Summer Glow Nourishing Lotion (£2.49) – I always use gradual tanners over self-tanners as I find the result it way more natural and it’s almost impossible to go wrong with. I have tried many gradual tanners in my time but I think I’m pretty settled on this Dove offering, I get the ‘Fair to Medium’ version because I like to gradually build it up, but there is a deeper offering too which I used to always get – it works just as well. This has virtually no scent when applied, although I usually do it before bed so it develops over night. Lovely stuff for us pasty girls!
To tan my face, I’ve been using the Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning (£15.80) which is a primer with a tint, that also develops in to a subtle but flawless glow within a couple of hours. I love this as it actually smoothes and refines the skin and adds an instant caramel tint to. Then, it becomes a lovely glow that lasts a few days. I tend to keep up with application though as I like more colour than just a glow. Again, you really can’t go wrong with this!

Last of all, I’ve been reaching for this Revlon ColourBurst Matte Balm in Elusive (£7.99) – I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really a matte kinda girl but this is just delicious! It’s so, so creamy – unbelievably creamy! I have quite dry lips and I don’t often care for them but this hides any chaps and helps to smooth over the lips – it’s such a velvety, flawless formula. Elusive is also the perfect pink, it’s cool-toned and effortless. Just the way I like it.

Have you tried any of these?

Some of these products may have been sent to me for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

5 Things: More Healthy Meals.

posted on: 12 April, 2014

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I decided to do another round of healthy meals as you guys seem to like these food inspiration posts, and I have to admit that I am always on the hunt for easy recipes. Following on from my first healthy food post, here’s a couple more staple eats for me…

Egg White Omelette
I usually have a cooked breakfast in the morning because it means I avoid bread (doesn’t agree with me much) and cereal (laced with sugar, again doesn’t agree with me). I have to admit that I do eat some weird things for breakfast in an attempt to keep my rubbish eating to a minimum.
I usually start the day with an egg white omelette – I use the whites of two eggs and then pad it out with a full egg. I start by frying up just about anything I have in my fridge and cupboards – usually onion, ham, cherry tomatoes and spinach. Once they’re starting to look golden, I throw in my beaten eggs and sprinkle on a tiny bit of strong cheese (it means I eat less!) and a bit of seasoning. Then I fold it (okay, Jordan does because I can’t cook omelettes) and usually serve it up with some chopped Brussels sprouts fried in butter. A good mix of protein and fats so it keeps me full for SO long – I also have a pint of water with a slice of lemon too.

Sweet Potato Hash
This is a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I start by frying up chopped onions in a pan, then I peel and grate a couple of sweet potato and add this in. I cook it all until it’s golden and then add a good amount of kale and a couple of eggs. I usually beat the eggs and add them in and then sort of scramble it up, or just pour the eggs over the top and allow it to cook.
This is also amazing if you sprinkle cheese over the top and grill it for a minute or two. Sweet potatoes are so much better for you than regular potatoes and I think they keep you fuller for longer too.

Cauliflower Pizza
I try to avoid eating white flour where possible, so one of my favourite meals is gluten-free pizza made using cauliflower. Yep, you heard. I just make up the recipe (see here for it in full) and add on some toppings such as salami, cheese, peppers, tomatoes, red onion. The recipe is gluten-free, and it never leaves me feeling bloated or guilty afterwards. I highly recommend!

Shredded Beef Chilli Bowl
We have a slow cooker – best purchase ever – so I usually put something on in the morning while I wait for the kettle to boil and leave it to slowly cook during the day. Mostly I make shredded beef chili, using diced beef which is super cheap.
I throw in a can or two of chopped tomatoes, the beef, an onion or two, garlic, stock, some cumin, a bit of cocoa powder, chilli powder and some herbs and leave it to cook. The beef becomes all shredded and fally-apart come dinner time – incredible!
I serve it up in a big bowl with half an avocado and a big helping of sour cream. It’s AMAZING.

Apples & Halloumi 
I got this recipe out of the I Quit Sugar book by Sarah Wilson – it’s so odd but so good at the same time. All you do is fry up slices of halloumi and apple in the same pan, and then sprinkle with a little cinnamon. The sweet caramelised apples against the salty halloumi and warm cinnamon is just amazing. I will sometimes have this on the side of soup so pad out my lunch or as an afternoon snack if I can’t get through until dinner.

Any inspiration for other meals I can make?

Some of these products may have been sent to me for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

Everything You Need To Know About Primers.

posted on: 11 April, 2014

Now, primers are a big deal to me. Doubling up on primers is an even bigger deal – you may remember my ‘The Ultimate Priming Duo’ post, or even the ‘Another Perfect Priming Duo’ feature. I really am big on primer – any kind of primer…

When it comes to primers, I know the recipe for a fantastic base and so I wanted to share it with you. In case you don’t already use a primer (we need to have words), they come in many different shapes and sizes. I think they are a must, and not for helping makeup to stay in place (or, not just for helping makeup to stay in place) but rather to expertly perfect your skin so you don’t have to use a heavy foundation. Go in with a primer or two first and I promise you will be so much more smitten with your complexion.

Correcting Primers
Correcting primers are usually slightly tinted to neutralise the skin tone – yellow or green helps to cancel out redness, lavender tones disguise sallowness (a yellow tinge to the skin), peach tones help to even and brighten. The two I use most are the Clinique Superprimer Colour Corrects Redness (£20) and the Stila One Step Correct (£24) – while the Clinique offering deals only with redness (angry blemishes, acne scarring, redness around the nose etc.), the Stila One Step Correct contains three tinted ribbons to help perfect a variety of issues – redness, sallowness and dullness mainly.
I would recommend these for any skin type or concern – the Clinique Superprimer comes in 6 varieties so you can choose one to match your concern. These two have very different finishes, the Clinique primer is very matte and very smoothing – it can even be quite drying if you overdo it. I tend to mix it with an illuminating primer so my skin feels hydrated and also benefits from the brightening properties (see more below) – my favourite to use this with is the Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights in Bare Light (£11.99).
The Stila offering is much more hydrating, it leaves the skin looking very dewy. This doesn’t do much in terms of smoothing so I like to mix it with the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (£22.85) – both are light and work well together, either mix them in or layer them up.

Illuminating Primers
As you would expect, illuminating primers deal with brightening the skin. They usually contain light-reflecting pigments that soften the skin, giving it a lovely soft-focus look that blurs imperfections. Sounds like a load of rubbish, but I swear by illuminating primers – I have a lot of angry blemishes and acne scars and any sort of illuminating primer really, really helps to minimise these imperfections. Really!
Two of my most used are the Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights in Bare Light (£11.99) and Soap & Glory Hocus Focus (£11) – again, I chose two quite different options here. The Revlon option is slightly tinted, I love this because it sort of adapts to the skin and helps even more to achieve a lovely, imperfection-free finish, whilst also promoting an illuminated skin tone. It really is amazing stuff, I feel so much more confident with my complexion after I apply this.
The S&G Hocus Focus is quite a pearl shade, once blended you only have a ‘lit from within’ look to the skin so it’s not going to leave your skin a pasty shade – it’s just lovely to use. I often combine it with the Stila One Step Correct (£24) for an extra boost to my skin, the results are incredible! Such a dewy, flawless glow.
Again, illuminating primers work great for all skin types – even those suffering from redness, acne scarring etc.

Tinted Primers
Tinted primers are pretty few and far between; I can really only think of the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer (£38) – I like this but in all honesty I think you’re better off with the Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights in Bare Light. The Sunday Riley offering is quite a thin fluid, it comes in three shades and helps to perfect the skin while allowing it to still “breathe” – something I don’t really agree with, skin is always breathing, surely?! It’s nice enough, but it didn’t wow me. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely product but I don’t think it’s worth it.) You would be better of using a budget CC cream or similar for a fraction of the cost – applying it lightly under your foundation for a more natural base.
When I do use it, I find that although it does perfect the skin a little, it doesn’t do much for refining the texture or helping to brighten, so I tend to mix it in with one of the above – usually the Clarins Instant Smooth to get more results from it. Mixed with the Clarins offering it really makes for a lovely product – expect a concealed complexion and a lovely soft look to the skin.

Smoothing Primers
These are some of my favourites, you won’t believe you ever lived without one of these until you try one! Does that make sense? My favourite is of course the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (£22.85) – I’ve been through POTS of this stuff! It’s been a staple in my routine since I can remember, probably about three years. I always have a tub in my makeup bag. If you buy it on Escentual (linked above), it’s cheaper  than in store and I find a pot (when used liberally) lasts about a year. Pretty good going!
The best bit about this is that it really helps to minimise acne and blemishes – the smoothing formula really manages to hide the size of those big under the skin spots that look like a mountain on your face. It’s also amazing for combination types as it deals with oil, reducing shine – yet it also helps to keep dry areas hydrated. It’s amazing stuff – oh, and it does wonders for helping pores!
You do get quite a few smoothing primers, but I find that the Clarins one never breaks me out, always does an immaculate job and really results in longwearing, flawless makeup.

Primers are designed to be used over moisturiser and under makeup (if you wear any) – they can be used alone, but it’s usually always over moisturiser. You only need a tiny amount, just use fingers to blend.

A lot of people avoid primers because they see them as comedogenic – meaning they clog pores, cause blackheads or irritate acne. I have a blemish-prone skin type and I never see any evidence of this from the ones I use – but I think it’s really, really important to double cleanse in the evening to make sure you remove every trace before you go to bed. By that I mean you use a cleansing oil/balm to remove makeup thoroughly and then another good cleanser to purify the skin and give back whatever your skin needs. I usually follow this up by toning (usually twice) and so I know that there’s no way any product can be clogging my skin. Even if you don’t tone, make sure you double cleanse at night – it makes a world of difference!

I never really use primers to help improve the wear of my makeup because I never notice my makeup slipping away during the day! This may be because I always wear a primer. I swear by the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder (£42) for keeping makeup looking perfect all day – you can dust this on like a primer or apply it over makeup to set, it’s completely translucent.
If your makeup isn’t lasting the day, I would reconsider what you’re already using; a too-rich moisturiser perhaps? Too much or the wrong type of foundation? I do think that all primers help to keep both skin and makeup fresh, but if your makeup is slipping off throughout the day, I would think about what you’re using currently as that might be the source of the problem, or try a makeup setting spray.

Acne: I tend to find that some of the illuminating primers can make acne more obvious; since illuminating primers use light particles to make the skin appear brighter and more dewy, these particles can make bumpy skin stand out. Therefore, I think it’s best to use a smoothing primer in this instance – stick to the Clinique Superprimer that helps to neutralise redness, and the mattifying properties will help to keep lumps and bumps to a minimum. As I said already, the Clarins Instant Smooth is also amazing for helping acne and pores. Remember, you can always apply two different primers but to different areas of the face – an illuminating primer where you need it, a mattifying/colour-correcting option over problem areas.

Redness: I think I’ve just about covered this, remember that anything with a yellow or green tone should minimise redness. If you want a dewy glow, go for Stila. If you want more of a matte complexion, go for Clinique. They’re both pretty amazing in terms of correcting. There’s no reason you can’t use a brightening primer with redness, remember these ones help to soften flaws and promote a healthier glow to the skin. I also love the Revlon Bare Lights for helping to minimise redness.

Scarring/Uneven Tone: I use a lot of different options to help minimise my acne scars, namely the Revlon Bare Lights, the Sunday Riley offering or any of the illuminating primers. I mix them up to see best results, but I think the illuminating products do the most good – they really help to blur out uneven tone and create a healthier tone.

Oily Skin: If you have quite an oily complexion, I would stick to something mattifying – the MAC Matte Gel (£15) is really good, I haven’t included it here but it’s a great product. You can apply this over makeup throughout the day, it doesn’t wipe away your foundation but instead it absorbs any excess sebum. The Clarins Instant Smooth is also really great for balancing the skin – apply it under your makeup to keep skin fresh but not shiny.

Dry Skin: Anything offering to hydrate the skin or keep the complexion fresh will help with dryness. I love the Clarins Instant Smooth and the Stila Option – both keep skin in check.

I think I’ve covered everything now! As you can see, I’m quite the primer fan – do you use one in your everyday routine? If not, why not? Maybe I can change your mind…


Some of these products may have been sent to me for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

Makeup Medley #8.

posted on: 10 April, 2014

As usual, my monthly makeup bag staples are pretty full on – I wanted my entire makeup bag to be in this post but that kind of defeats the purpose. I’ve rounded up a few new additions that are winning me over at the moment, most of them I use everyday…

My primer of choice at the moment has to be this Body Shop All-In-One InstaBlur (£14), this isn’t actually out until next month but I had to include it. It’s a mattifying, perfecting priming base that is incredibly smoothing – it feels gorgeous to apply and instantly makes my skin look a whole lot better. I have only had this for a few days so far but it’s definitely a good ‘un.
Also here is the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster (£18) which I reviewed in full here. This stuff, like all of the Clarins facial glow products, works miracles! I absolutely adore it, I cannot recommend it enough if you have a less than perfect complexion. The tiny vial contains tanning drops, which you can then add to your moisturiser or serum to boost your complexion. It helps to give a subtle glow, minimise imperfections and scarring, hide redness and just help the skin to look flawless. I just three drops every few days and after use I’m always so much more content with my skin.

Next, the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation (£32) – I had heard a little bit about this before I got it, but I wasn’t really sure if I would be all that keen on it. As soon as I dispensed it out on my hand and noticed that it was almost the exact same mousse-y formula as my all-time favourite Laura Mericer Silk Creme foundation, I knew it was going to be a winner. I use medium to full coverage foundations a lot, I find that the trick it to use a pea-sized amount to get a flawless but natural result. It means that the formula blends well, conceals imperfections but doesn’t leave a heavy, obvious look to the skin.
The brush this comes with is amazing; easy to use, soft on the skin and no shedding. I’ll have a full post on these coming soon.
Another Tarte winner at the moment is the Amazonian Clay 12-Hr Blush in True Love – these aren’t online at the moment but hopefully they’ll be back. I haven’t used another blusher since I got this, the vibrant shade is super flattering on my skin and the formula of these blushers is incredible – they’re so soft and easy to blend, I’m just obsessed!

Also on my much-loved list at the moment is the L’Oreal SuperLiner Blackbuster (£6.99) – a fat, Sharpie-like liner that contains loads of pigment and is surprisingly easy to use. Someone pointed out to me recently that it smells like a Sharpie too, which is definitely true! I really like this for doing winged liner, it makes getting the flicks even an easy task.
Lastly, my favourite lip product of the moment – NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Biscayne Park (£17.50) – I have named this my lipstick of the moment, it really is the most perfect nude. I reviewed it here, and you can see it on – isn’t it perfect?

Have you tried any of these picks?

Some of these products may have been sent to me for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.