Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Paula Begoun’s skincare tips!

I’ll admit now that I’m a sucker for skincare products; I love the thought of a face wash making my skin perfect, or an eye cream that will slow down the ageing process.  That was, until a few weeks ago when I had the chance to meet and talk to Paula Begoun (aka the cosmetic cop!).

This woman has honestly changed my whole view and outlook on skincare, ingredients and certain skin care brands.  Paula has written a tonne of books about skincare, makeup and the ingredients that companies put into their products and has researched thoroughly into what ingredient does what in almost every skincare product out there on the market. 


Paula told us her five top tips in skincare, which now make SO much sense to me and I will be following her tips religiously from now on!

1) Expensive doesn’t mean better (SO TRUE!).  Just because a product is expensive doesn’t mean it will be any better for your skin.

2) NEVER buy products in a jar/pot packaging – the minute the product is opened and circulated with air the ingredients start to immediately break down and become useless – all the goodness from them disappears.  It is also unhygienic as your dipping you fingers in and out “no matter how clean you think your fingers are, there are always bacteria lurking on them”.  You should buy products in a pump packaging for a tube with a small opening.

3) You DON’T need an eye cream!!  There is no need for a separate product to use around the eyes, all you need is a really good moisturizer with the exact same brilliant ingredients in that your whole face needs.  There is no scientific proof that the skin around your eyes needs a lighter cream (in fact eye creams are usually thicker than day creams). 

3.5) Whilst we’re on this subject, there is also no point in a separate night cream, the only difference between the day and night cream should be that the day one contains an SPF.  Again, there is no point in a separate product, the same perfect one should be good to use at any time in the day/night.

4) SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN!  The most important thing you need in your regime.  Paula explained how you need to wear a sunscreen 365 days a year and that the minute your skin is exposed to sun it and your DNA begins to mutate and break down.  Not good.  A good example of what the sun does your skin is to look at the inner side of your arm, where the sun hardly falls on – notice its smooth, wrinkle free, sun spot free and springs right back when you pinch it – full of elasticity and collagen.  Now look on the outer side of your arm – sun spots (these get worse as you age), not as supple and soft looking as the inside.  Imagine if our whole bodies looked like the inside of our arms – we’d be perfect and baby butt smooth all over!

5) There isn’t a miracle ingredient.  Full stop.  Even if there was, every skin is different and needs something different – skin is complicated and not everyone can be cured by the same miracle stuff. 

Five easy steps to save you money in chemists and pharmacies for sure!  After meeting Paula I went through my entire skincare product box and binned a lot of products and I feel so much better now.  I have also just started using Paula’s own skincare line (name Paula’s Choice) and have seen results already (her range is fragrance and irritant free, so its not going to make my skin react, but should sort out problem areas).  I will update after a month of using the range!

Paula has also just released her new book ‘Don’t go to the cosmetics counter without me, 8th edition’, which is an actual makeup bible.  In the book Paula and her team have trialled, tested and analysed the ingredients in almost every skincare and makeup item out there, so you can read mini reviews of whether the product is any good, what the texture/formula/colour is like and whether its up to scratch basically!  Before I buy any more skincare products I am now going to look it up in the book (which has 1191 pages!) to see whether its worth my money.  You can also find her mini reviews online here on

What skincare tips do you live by?  Do you check ingredients before you buy skincare products?



Sunday, 26 June 2011

Beauty UK Baked Eyeshadow

I have recently discovered a gem and it belongs to the makeup brand Beauty UK.  My sister always buys nail polishes from Beauty UK (which I always end up stealing because they are super pretty and pigmented) but I’ve always walked past their stand in Superdrug stores.  Anyway, for the past week I’ve been using this baked eyeshadow palette and its now a staple in my day makeup bag.



As you can see these shades are stunning – they compliment each other beautifully and the quality and pigmentation of the shadows are just fantastic.  They have the perfect amount of shimmer and are not chalky in the slightest.
There is also a chunky brush hiding underneath (on the bottom of the packaging) which you can slip out – however its quite big for the shadows and isn’t dense enough to pick up enough product so I don’t use it.




Above are a FOTDs using the palette.  I use the lighter gold all over the lid up to the brow bone, the lighter brown on the crease of the eye, and then I layer the darker brown on top and blend upwards. 

FACE – MAC Studio Finish Concealer NC15, BLUSH – TBS Matte & Shimmer Pink Cheek Colour, LIPS – Sleek True Colour lipstick in Barely There & TBS Lip liner in Pink Brown, BROWS – New Cid i-groom, MASCARA – Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge.

The eyeshadow palette retails at £3.99 which is a bargain for the quality of the eye shadows (although the actual packaging is rather cheap looking).  I have the shade ‘earth’.

Next from Beauty UK I’m eyeing up the metallic eye quads and the baked blushers!  You can purchase their products from their website here, or in Superdrug stores.

Have you ever used Beauty UK products?



Tuesday, 21 June 2011

M&S Summer beauty!

Now, when I think of Marks & Spencers I automatically think of incredible biscuits, gorgeous lingerie and crayfish & rocket sandwiches… not makeup.  However after attending the M&S Summer Press launch I was positively surprised at all of the beautiful cosmetics that they sell.



ms3 Firstly, the bronzing products are superb – highly pigmented, gorgeous shades of bronze and tan.

The ‘Perfection Colour Rich’ lipsticks look beautiful, a great range of colours with an added bonus of SPF 20 which is just ideal for summer. 

Tess Daly’s Spa and body range looks elegant and expensive (but they’re really affordable!) – there are a few highlighting, shimmer body oils available which I’m eyeing up for holiday.

Also – they are a fab range of lip glosses, palettes and nail varnishes available which are very affordable for all of us on a budget.

I had the chance to have my nails and my makeup done, which I jumped at the chance for (I love getting pampered/dressed up)!  I chose a pretty coral/pink shade for my nails which aptly matched my pink lemonade cocktail (please ignore my scruffy locks, I obviously need to start styling my hair properly!)



Makeup wise, I chose to be daring with a bright green for a mermaid type look.  That colourful palette in the photograph above is priced at around £3 and is super pigmented; the teal green is what was used on my eyes.


It was also fab to meet some other bloggers and members of the Handpicked Media team, which I’ve just become a part of (very exciting!).

I believe that most of the makeup in this post is out already in M&S stores, just in time for summer holidays!  You can visit the M&S website here.

Have you ever used M&S makeup before?  What are you eyeing up?



Friday, 17 June 2011

Sudocrem tube review!

I have grown up using Sudocrem for everything from burns to spots to sunburn to eczema and I absolutely love it, its a little multiuse gem.  Recently Sudocrem have released a new ‘Skin Care Cream’, rather conveniently packaged in a little tube.


The tube is 30ml and is the perfect size to pop into your bag for use on the go. 

The formula is really similar to the original sudocrem (which I was not expecting) except for the fact that it sinks into the skin really easily and doesn’t leave you greasy.  This is a huge bonus to me who likes to slather sudocrem on to all problem areas before bed (normally my bed-sheets and I would end up in a white sticky mess) where as this rubs right in and leaves me moisturized yet dry.  The image below allows you to see how well it sinks into the skin after rubbed in circular motions.


I’ve been using this on my knuckles, elbows, dry patches of eczema and sometimes as a face moisturizer and it works superbly on all.  I believe this retails at about £2 in chemists and high street pharmacies, which is fantastic value as its also quite thick so you don’t need to use too much!

Sudocrem were also offering a free ‘Bagology’ reading on their facebook page which I jumped at the chance to be a part of – I’m a sucker for all things fortune telling/tarot reading etc.   I’ve attached the photo of my bag below as well as my reading, which is scarily accurate! 

228587_10150573602910545_612580544_18082539_6625261_n bagology

How do you use Sudocrem?  Have you ever had a Bagology reading?



Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Dealing with HAYFEVER this spring/summer!

I’m probably a month or two late with this post, but my hay fever is at its peak now so this might help a few of you!


My experience with hay fever - I have suffered with the worst hay fever every spring/summer since the age of about 13. Exam times at school were always extra terrible for me because trying to revise and sit in school halls scribbling was bad enough in the heat (blame the school blazers) without the extra stress and suffering from hay fever. I used to have to scrape my fringe off my face (to stop it irritating my itchy eyes) and carry around a bag of tissues everywhere I went. This also meant that I could never go to the park with friends, school sports days were terrible, no picnics or BBQs unless I was prepared to deal with the consequences of suffering.
I DID find a cure that I was given from the age of 17-19… an injection called Kenalog which was provided by the NHS. I had the injection at the start of every spring for about three years that I literally used to have to beg my doctor for (it contained steroids which have side effects - such as stunting growth – I’m 4’11’’ anyway, I really didn’t care about that!). I haven’t been able to get the injection since because my doctor refuses to give it to anyone anymore so I’ve had to carry on suffering. (You can read about Kenalog here)

I’ll let you know the basics of what I use religiously at this time of year to lessen the effects of hay fever.

Beconase Nasal Spray – I have no idea if this actual works or not, it doesn’t really ever seem to do anything than make me more snotty and sneezy than usual, but I like using it because it might be doing something and it does clear my nose for a short period of time after using.

Optrex Eye Bath – Optrex is my absolute saviour at this time of year. I suffer with the most itchy, red eyes which are unbearable – they get particularly bad at night before bed but this stuff really helps. You pour the liquid solution into the little eyebath, place it over an eye, swing your head back and slowly you open your eye in this solution to give it a good rinse/clean. This feels incredibly soothing and takes the itching away for a while, although its super messy and I always end up with the liquid all over me.

Optrex Itchy Eye Drops – This stuff is also incredible and I always carry it in my handbag. If I start rubbing my eyes or if they start to feel drowsy after taking hay fever tablets, I just squeeze two drops into each eye and they immediately feel better.

Hayfever tablets – I have tried them all and none stand out any better than others, they don’t completely take all the symptoms away but I take them every morning anyway. I have given up buying the expensive branded ones and nowadays just opt for chemist own-brands because they include the same ingredients to the dearer ones anyway.

Tissues – You can never have enough!


Last year my Dad bought me the contraption above – Medisana, Medinose Plus (I believe he got it in Amazon for around £60 – its probably a bit cheaper now!). You basically have to stick the little prong bit up your nostrils for five minutes whilst a red light glows in your nose, three times a day. I don’t know how on earth this works, but it really helped my hay fever last year. It cleared my nose and lessened the symptoms ALOT. I know what you’re thinking, it looks RIDICULOUS, yes, yes it does, I get teased all the time when I use it but if it helps then I’ll do anything! You can read reviews on Amazon here. ( I don’t mind if you laugh your head off at the photo above, I forgive you!)

So that’s' my guide for surviving hay fever this year, I’d love to know what you all use also.

Have you got anymore tips/products to help me?


EDIT - Last weekend I visited 'same day doctor' and had the Kenalog injection! I am no longer suffering with hayfever (it took about three days to kick in fully). My amazing mum payed for the injection (it is pretty pricey) but its very worth it.


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Kiss Ever Easy Eye Lashes

You wouldn’t believe the amount of girls (friends and customers at work) who ask me if I can apply their false eyelashes for them (I personally think I’m terrible at applying lashes on myself, let alone anyone else!  I always end up getting annoyed at myself for it not going ‘right’). 
Anyway, Kiss have recently launched their new ‘Ever EZ Eyelashes’ which I believe will have every girl applying their own false lashes easily in no time.


The things that makes these lashes so easy to apply are the tiny pieces of red strings either side of each lash strip.  These work well for two reasons – 1) you don’t get glue everywhere (all over your fingers) because you can hold onto the strings instead of the strip, and 2) you can hold the strings to guide the lash strip on your lash line, following the natural curve of your eye easily.


Once you’ve used the string to direct the lash strip onto your lash line, you simply hold onto the lashes and pull each string off (they come off super easy, no tugging is involved).  I’ll admit it does look ridiculous and feels rather uncomfortable with the strings still attached so best do this alone (although I have included a picture above so you can see what I mean!).

Once you’ve applied the lashes I always wait a few minutes, then add a tad more glue on each end of the strip and apply liquid liner over the top so that they are well disguised.  These sets include the little tube of glue which is handy.



Kiss have also made a video showing you how to apply the lashes – I watched this whilst I applied my own for the first time and so I knew exactly what to do!

I chose to wear Kiss lashes #04 out to my degree show a few weeks back and they looked superb, if I do say so myself.  #04 are long and fluttery but also quite natural looking and not too heavy which are my favourite types of lashes.  For my next night out on the town I might embrace #07 which are thicker and more dramatic!


You can pick up Kiss Ever Ez Lashes in Boots for around £6.50-£7.50 and they have a good variety of lashes to choose from.  You can re-use these eyelashes and apparently you can also re-attach the little red strings (I haven’t tried this out myself yet though!) which makes them better value for money. 
I think these beauties are a great idea and will hopefully get girls to become more confident applying false lashes – I always feel more sexy and confident in myself when wearing lashes so everyone should be able to experience this!

Have you tried these lashes with strings?  Have you got any tips for applying false eyelashes?



Sunday, 12 June 2011

My Photography Shows!

Warning: Picture heavy post!

Those of you who follow me on twitter will know that I have been VERY busy lately, because I have been in two photography exhibitions/shows in London!  On Thursday 2nd June I had my BA Photography Degree show in my university (London College of Communication) and I am also exhibiting a photograph in none other than Tate Modern!  I will explain more about each later, after the photographs!

BA Photog Degree Show!

classphoto Class Photo!

5803525129_bbf985a91f_o Me & my work! (please excuse my ditzy eyes, I was tipsy on champagne and was buzzing from the atmosphere and excitement!).

So I’ve finished my photography degree!  Instead of exams we put on a big exhibition to showcase all of our Final Major Projects and we get marked on presentation etc.  The private view was so amazing, my best friends and family came and it meant so much to me for them to see the work I’ve been creating, as well as getting to meet my class mates.  After the private view my class & teachers and I went to our local pub and stayed there all night drinking and having a laugh.  I’ve really enjoyed my degree and its sad that its come to an end! 

We took the class photo above before the university became open to the public on the night of the degree show.  That massive frame that we are gathered in is actually a guy in my class’ final piece – impressive, huh!

Exhibition ‘After we arrive, before we leave…’ at Tate Modern

Tate group photo!  This is a few of us that have photographs in the exhibition – there are 13 of us exhibiting in total.

MAY 032Over excited to be in the Tate!

tate My name plaque (aaaaahhhh!!) and my parents and I next to my photograph!

So for the past two years I have been working/interning at Tate Modern as their Public Programmes (events/workshops/symposia) photographer with 12 other people doing their Photog degree at LCC.  I have enjoyed every second of it – being able to take photographs in the Tate, after hours has been wonderful.  Amazingly, the Tate decided to put some of the photographs we have taken over the internship into their new gallery space, the MacAulay gallery.  We collaborated as a group to curate the show with our boss and its now open to the public until June 25th!

If any of you are around the Tate, do pop in to visit!  The MacAulay gallery is on the first floor and its free to enter!

I do apologise that I haven’t been posting as much recently, I hope you can understand why!  I also moved out of my cute little flat in South London and back to my parents house in Essex because I simply can’t afford it anymore without a student loan.  I’m planning to spend this summer finding assisting/internship jobs, making money and sorting my life out, and blogging lots of course!  All of the products I need to review are currently all in bags/boxes from the move, so bear with me whilst I get back into the swing of things!

What are your favourite galleries in London?  And who else has finished their degree?!



Tuesday, 7 June 2011

NARS Reviews (illuminator & pro prime!)

My first NARS products! Waaahhaaayy!  I’ve been using these babies for two months now and I’m converted, I can’t wait to try out more of their products.  On to the reviews -


Super Orgasm Illuminator


As you all know I do have a bit of a thing for peach/orange and shimmery things, so this illuminator is like heaven in a tube for me!  I’ve never tried the famous ‘Orgasm’ powder blush before but I can’t imagine it being much better than this!  This is the prettiest illuminating cheek colour I own and it goes SO well with my pale skin (I actually think this would look gorgeous on any skin colour).  It gives me a lovely radiant, peach twinkle when I wear it on my cheeks and it really brightens my face.  I love how it looks like a rose gold peach in certain lights, but comes to life with a dainty shimmer when in sunlight. 

Even though this is only 30ml it is going to last forever as its quite pigmented so you don’t need to use much!  I also like the fact that you can mix it with your foundation/primer or moisturizer for a lighter, healthy look.  £21.50 for 30mls.

Pro Prime, Multi-Protect Primer SP30/PA+++

L-R Squeezed from tube, rubbed around, fully rubbed into the skin giving a matte effect.

I’ve always been a bit scared of primers just for the fact that my skin is acne prone and the thought of layering yet another product onto my face makes me cringe a bit, but I’ve been using this in the morning instead of my day cream and its quite nice!  I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it makes my makeup stay on longer, but the fact that it has SPF 30 in makes it a winner for me.  The formula isn’t like other primer’s I have felt (silicone based ones mainly) and its texture is more like a moisturizer than something that fills in ‘fine lines’ etc.  It comes out quite thick and white, but does sink in well to the skin.  I also like that this is oil and paraben free AND includes anti-oxidants and anti-irritants which is good for dodgy skin like mine.  I do think this is pricey - £24 for only 30mls, but if its taken place of my moisturizer and sunscreen and doubles up as a primer then I guess its not too bad.

What are your favourite NARS products?  And what’s your favourite primer?



Friday, 3 June 2011

Lip Balms!

Today I am talking on the subject of lip balms!  I think every girl must have at least five lying around, I have way too many but you can never have lips soft enough in my opinion, haha!


Palmers Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Lip Balm – This balm smells identical to the Palmers Cocoa Body Lotion, which is absolutely gorgeous.  Really moisturizing and smells like chocolate.

The Body Shop Shea Lip Care Stick – This is one of my favourite lip balms but I think it may have been discontinued in TBS; it was always sold in a pack of two and the proceeds when to charity, so I’ll try and find out if we’re getting any back in stock.  This just smells delicious, nicer than the actual Shea Body Butter in my opinion and is just so silky and nourishing on my lips.

Cherry ChapStick – I don’t know anyone who doesn’t own a chapstick.  I used these all through my schools years (especially that tingly minty one) and I’ve been using the cherry one for the past few years.  I don’t feel like this particular one is particularly helping my lips, just feels like its putting a seal on top instead of actually restoring moisture, but it smells and tastes gorgeous so I don’t mind.  The balm itself is pink but goes on clear.

The Body Shop Strawberry Lip Balm – Sometimes I open this just to smell it, it smells AMAZING and always makes my mouth water.  Smells really similar to Strawberry Hubba Bubba or something along those lines.  I actually really like this lip balm and I especially like to wear this over lipsticks as it gives them a clear sheen as well as putting some moisture back if the lipstick your using is quite dry.  Also you get quite a good sized pot for just £2 which I think is good!

The Body Shop LE Cranberry Joy Lip Balm – This was released along with 2010’s Christmas Cranberry range.  The year before these balms where glossy (which I loved), but this one is more of a cream, which is more moisturizing but means you can’t wear it out as it makes your lips white!  I like to layer this on before bed so no one see’s me wearing it, but so I wake up with soft lips!

Living Nature Manuka Honey Lip Balm – I love anything with honey in it, so I love this lipbalm.  I like the packaging – simple but stylish and the balm itself is lovely.  Its very light, almost like water and not heavy or tacky on the lips, so its perfect to wear at any time of the day, or year.  Again, I like to apply a dab of this on top of lipstick.  It also contains shea and other natural oils and works to seal in moisture to prevent drying or cracking lips, and its in fact made of 100% natural preservatives!  Thumbs up from me. 

The Body Shop Aloe Lip Care – I also really like this balm and its actually quite similar to the Living Nature balm (in price, packaging and formula) although this one is slightly more heavy and tacky, but I still like it.  This is great for sensitive skin and doesn’t have a fragrance. 

Ted Baker Lip Gloss – Definitely more of a lip gloss but I decided to include it here anyway.  This is clear but super tacky so I don’t wear it often, but it does have a great minty, tingly smell/taste.  I like the packaging but its way to sticky for everyday use for me!

Carmex – I LOVE the smell and taste of Carmex Cherry.  I much prefer the squeezey tube to the little pot as its more hygienic .  This works really well on chapped lips, love it!

What’s your favourite lip balm?  Favourite lip balm flavour?


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