My Ultimate Halloween Makeup Tips and Critiques

Halloween is nearly here, and while everyone else is dishing up tutorials to transform your face into sexy versions of whatever, I’m here to dish out some truth. I’m not going to show you how to do your makeup this Halloween, I’m going to show you how not to do it. Learn from these mistakes from a beauty expert. That’s me, it’s my blog, so I’m the expert right now. Watch me as I skilfully dissect some so-called iconic looks to give praise where it is due, but most importantly, to point out so big mistakes so you don’t fall into the same trap…

Captain “Pazuzu” Howdy, The Exorcist

I think it’s great that even as a Captain, Pazuzu is not afraid to experiment with some fierce looks. All I’m saying is that using eyeshadow to define your teeth is a bit too much even for the evening. But that contouring is really really good.

For you, I recommend: Colgate toothpaste, to keep those teeth shining pearly white.

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Charlotte Tilbury Stars-In-Your-Eyes Palette

I’m a massive fan of Charlotte Tilbury, particularly her eyeshadow palettes – and the words ‘limited edition’ always have me clicking on the checkout button so fast I’m sure I look like a woman possessed. Last year I bought the Instant Eye Palette as soon as it launched, which was a gorgeous array of nudes, browns, peaches and silvers which you could use to create looks called Day Eye, Desk Eye, Date Eye, and Disco Eye. Continue reading

Get Royally Lippy: Charlotte Tilbury Puckers Up For The Crown with Your Lip Service

You’re not surprised to hear that I am an absolute sucker for anything to do with royalty and my favourite makeup brand, are you? When The Crown debuted on Netflix in November 2016, like everyone else I was enchanted by Claire Foy’s charismatic portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. And, like everyone else, I coveted her perfectly gorgeous raspberry-coloured pout. Charlotte Tilbury, queen of the makeup trends, released a limited edition lipstick called The Queen, inspired by HRH and with exactly the kind of rich, deep, raspberry colour I was after.

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Fortune Teller from Ciate's Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

Ciate’s Mini Mani Month 2016: All The Swatches!

My Top Five Nail Polish Swatches from Ciate London

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll probably know that in December, I swatched all the colours from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month advent calendar. I decided to make a post featuring my favourite colours, and there’s a link below to take you to all of the swatches from the advent calendar on my Flickr account!

Starry Night

Starry Night from Ciate's Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

Starry Night from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

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Skincare regime for oily skin including Liz Earle, Clinique, Hourglass and Estee Lauder double wear foundation

My New Year’s Resolution: Skincare Upgrades!

My quest for skin perfection

Everyone else is sitting there making worthy New Year’s resolutions, like to do more charity work, or to seek inner peace, or to get fit, and here’s me, just desperately hoping that 2017 will be the year that my skin stops resembling an oil slick… I’ve tried hard to not let it bother me, I’ve given it a few half-hearted attempts at switching products around, and I’ve gone through more blotting paper than I thought possible… but really, when perfect strangers comment on your skin’s oiliness in a selfie you thought looked just about okay, you have to start thinking that maybe there’s something else you should be doing…

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My Beauty Obsession: Why Charlotte Tilbury Is The Reigning Queen of Makeup

Darlings, if you haven’t fallen under the magic spell of beauty goddess Charlotte Tilbury, then I don’t know where you’ve been these past couple of years. From cult beauty brand to mega makeup maven, with a beautiful boutique in Covent Garden, Charlotte Tilbury has waved her magic fairy wand over me and thousands of other fans, bringing her special blend of glamour to our beauty bags.


Charlotte’s positive mantra of self-love and confidence, and her ‘beautiful before, beautiful after’ tutorials give her brand a real old-school feminist vibe. Think Hollywood glamour, seductive boudoirs, and Marilyn Monroe singing Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Charlotte calls on the star power of both old Hollywood (with her lipsticks like So Marilyn and Hepburn Honey: still my favourite colour), and new (with Kidman’s Kiss, Secret Salma, and the rest of her Hot Lips collection. This is a celebration of pure feminine power – I bet you didn’t think you could buy that in a tube, did you?


One of the things I love about Charlotte Tilbury is her ten makeup looks – ten core makeup wardrobes that create stunning looks in a variety of themes and moods, collected together so you can just buy the lot and know they all go together.There are five daytime looks, and five heavier evening looks.


The first look I bought was The Uptown Girl, a palette of shimmery greys and pearly pinks for the eyes, and the pink neutral lipstick Bitch Perfect, wearable everyday. Each look is demonstrated in a YouTube tutorial hosted on the site, and many of Charlotte’s lipsticks and eyeshadows are demo’d on a variety of skintones, so you can see how it’ll look on you. There are even suggestions for how to kick it up a notch for evening time (and for Uptown Girl, try switching Bitch Perfect for the bolder Amazing Grace.)


Since then, I’ve purchased palettes for The Sophisticate, The Rock Chick, The Rebel and The Dolce Vita – a combination of gold, brown and deep, browny red, my ABSOLUTE favourite look, and one which I’ll wear any time, any opportunity I get. My most recent purchase was The Vintage Vamp, which is a glorious combination of pinks and reds. There’s just something addictive and simple about collecting makeup looks, and I think Charlotte completely nailed her themes and created a range of styles which will suit almost any lifestyle.


As far as lipsticks are concerned, although Hepburn Honey is my everyday go-to, I’ve actually purchased a ridiculous number of other colours – amongst which my favourites are Stoned Rose, Bond Girl, Secret Salma (actually a press sample!) and The Queen. The latter was a limited edition which was sold out, but given the popularity of The Crown on Netflix, they relaunched the shade! (Pictured above, from top centre going clockwise are Coachella Coral, Bitch Perfect, Nude Kate, Amazing Grace, The Queen, Secret Salma, Hepburn Honey, Stoned Rose and Bond Girl.)


If you’re a makeup novice, or you want to dip your toe into Charlotte’s world, or you want an everyday makeup look that’s easy to apply with great results every time (and easy to take on your travels), then Instant Look in a Palette: Natural Beauty is my number one recommendation. It’s currently available here as a limited edition. Inside the palette are three eyeshadows, two blushes, a highligher and a bronzer. You use all of these to create one, gorgeously understated and flattering look, which you can punch up and add to if you want to go bolder. It’s a massive favourite of mine, and works on so many complexions it’s unbelievable!

There’s even a new Instant Look In A Palette – Seductive Beauty, a limited edition version for £49 which has all the ingredients for a smokey eye and gorgeous cheeks! Yikes… that’s on my wish-list already!

This is my latest love – which arrived today along with Vintage Vamp! This gorgeous deep red clutch is actually storage for four mini makeup brushes! I just couldn’t resist – I wish CT would release a larger version that actually was a clutch you could fit a lipstick and a phone in, but for now this will certainly do!

Have you fallen under the spell of Charlotte Tilbury yet? Let me know what your favourite looks are in the comments below!

And even better, there are currently a few deals going on for special offers! If you spend £100 or more you’ll receive two red envelopes and an exclusive beauty surprise (enter LUNARNEWYEAR at checkout). If you spend over £75 you’ll receive two mini lipsticks in Kim K W and Secret Salma! And… if you use my link here for orders over £75, you’ll get £15 off and so will I!

 

Got Your Advent Calendar Yet? My Favourite Picks For 2016!

If you haven’t picked up your advent calendar yet – don’t worry, there’s still time! While some of the more popular calendars are sold out, there are still some fantastic options out there. Here are my favourites, still available to purchase!

Yankee Candle Advent Calendar, £21.49

Available from Amazon, this calendar contains 23 tea lights plus one votive for Christmas Eve. Even though there are 24 different slots, there are actually only seven fragrances, which are new for this year. The calendar is double sided, so you can get tealights from both sides of the calendar!

Inside are All is Bright, Festive Cocktail, Christmas Cookie, Macaron Treats, Snowflake Cookie and Star Anise & Orange. You’ll get around six hours of burn time from these, and 15 from the Christmas Eve votive! Check out this list on the Yankee candle page for information about all of the scents.

Check out this link to pick up the advent calendar now! It’s a great way of filling your house with some incredible, festive scents!

Ciate Mini Mani Month, £50

I get a Ciate advent calendar every year – I just can’t resist! This year, the new thing seems to be advent calendars made of boxes, rather than cardboard door, and I love it. It’s so much neater than the windows, and it’s like opening a present every day in December!

Inside is not just plain nail varnishes, but a nail file, toppers and nail treatments as well! I love getting these because it gives you a chance to try colours you might not have tried before – and I also like to have a variety of colours on hand for fancy dress parties as well. Sometimes you can find an unexpected favourite in a colour you wouldn’t have tried before – or you can get the perfect match for an outfit for a party! Face it, it’s basically a treasure trove.


I really love the layout and design on this – and the colour scheme of blue, purple and gold with the London skyscape images. Ciate is such a great brand – you know these formulas are going to be long lasting and easy to apply. Inside this calendar, there’s four new and exclusive shades, plus one full size bottle on Christmas eve.


Cheeky Advent Calendar, £50

As an alternative to the Ciate nail calendar, how about this one from Cowshed featuring 24 different colours from the Cheeky range? If you’ve had the Ciate calendar for a few years in a row, you might want to branch out and try something a bit different, which still focuses on nails.


The colours here look really bright and vibrant, and I can’t wait to try out a new brand for my nails. (I love the teal and hot pink colours!) Check it out here.


Marks and Spencer Beauty Calendar, £35 (with £35 spend)

This is probably the one I’m most excited about – with contents worth over £250, this is probably the best beauty calendar on the market.


The M&S beauty hall has seriously gone from strength to strength over the past few years, and this calendar contains a fantastic selection of products from all across the range, including makeup and skincare.


Just like the Ciate calendar, the items are contained in small boxes which are opened every day to reveal the present – some of which are full size items! To purchase the calendar, you first need to spend £35 in the beauty, home or fashion departments. If you don’t want to spend the £35, then don’t worry – you can buy the calendar for £250… (Yeah… no. I had absolutely no difficulty whatsoever picking up £35 worth of bits and bobs in store – the monogrammed glasses were pretty amazing for a start!)

There are some available online but I saw loads in store too.  So, don’t buy one for a rip-off price on eBay before you’ve checked to see if your local store has stock…


Hotel Chocolat Calendar, £12.50 (c/0)

Really though, it wouldn’t be Christmas without an advent calendar filled with chocolate! And if you want the best, you have to go to Hotel Chocolat – my favourite chocolate shop on the high street!


The Hotel Chocolat advent calendars come in a variety of flavours, including dark, white, caramel, and milk. Check them out here. You can even get a couples version for £26 which is such a lovely idea! Hotel Chocolat makes such gorgeously high quality chocolate, and the pieces are just the right size to be dainty yet satisfying.

So, those are some of my favourite advent calendars this year – all tried and tested by yours truly. Have you picked up one for yourself? Let me know what you selected in the comments!

Happy National Lipstick Day!

Happy 5000th birthday, lipstick! Actually, no… Today is not the 5000th anniversary of the invention of lipstick… but it is National Lipstick Day, and lipstick was estimated to have been invented around 5000 years ago in ancient Sumeria.So, put the two together, and I guess… we can eat cake?

Lipstick was supposedly originally made of crushed gemstones by Sumerian men and women (how awesome is that? Probably chaffing though…). Over the years, though, it became slightly more refined, and a bit more skin-friendly. In England, the craze for red lips was ignited by Elizabeth I, who wore a stain made of beeswax and crushed plants, contrasting her lips to her ash-white face.

However, the fashion became associated with ladies of disrepute over the years, and it wasn’t until the 1880s when lipstick began to be created commercially – before then, you would have mixed your own at home. According to a contemporary report from the The Times, makeup was finally socially acceptable for the fashionable set in London in the 1920s – and we haven’t stopped being obsessed with it since!

Original lipstick colours were limited to dark reds, but Elizabeth Arden introduced a range of colours in the 1930s, and soon other companies followed suit. These days, nude and soft browns are probably the staple of most beauty bags, but I thought I’d share five lipsticks from my own collection with you, all of which have a deeper meaning to me!

 

(Top to bottom: Burberry English Rose, Charlotte Tilbury Hepburn Honey, Dior 999, Bobbi Brown Twilight Pink, MAC Hot Tahiti)

Dior 999

This is the classic red lip, as far as I’m concerned. I love to delve into the history of established (and new!) brands, to get the stories behind some of the products we take for granted. So when it came to buying a red lipstick, I wanted one with a bit of heritage and old school glam.Dior 999 was the obvious choice for me, as it’s actually a reproduction of the first lipstick that Christian Dior created in 1955, which he called Dior 9. It’s since been reformulated and this shade was introduced in 2013 for Dior’s 60th anniversary. It’s super bold and I usually save it for occasions where I’m already feeling confident and happy!

Charlotte Tilbury, Hepburn Honey

Hepburn Honey wasn’t my first CT lipstick (that was Bitch Perfect), but it definitely is my favourite. It’s part of The Sophisticate Look, and I love the neutral brown tone. I also love the philosophy of Charlotte Tilbury herself – her ethos of enhancing beauty and adding a massive dose of glamour to everyday life. Personally, I’m not at all a beauty expert, but Charlotte’s products make it so easy to put together polished looks that I’m currently addicted to buying her palettes. Right now, Hepburn Honey is usually in my bag somewhere whenever I go out.

Burberry, English Rose

Burberry isn’t exactly one of the big names in make-up, but when they launched their new nail varnishes in 2014, I loved the colours so much I rushed out and bought about four of them in the first few months. One of the colours I picked up was English Rose, and when I noticed there was a lipstick with the same name, I snapped that up too. It was part of my everyday make-up for a long time, before I turned to Hepburn Honey. It’s a lot pinker than my usual colours, but I couldn’t resist the name, and it’s a great colour to wear if you’re after a neutral that’s a little bit more striking. It also has a creamy consistency, and a slight floral scent that reminds me of my nan!

Bobbi Brown, Twilight Pink

This is the colour I wore on my wedding day. I had my make-up done at Bobbi Brown to try out some ideas, and loved the blue-tinged, shimmery pink shade so much that I bought it right away and then insisted the beauticians use that colour instead of the one they’d already picked out when they put together my wedding make-up look. Back in 2010 I was only starting to get into make-up – especially spending a lot of money on make-up – and so this was the first proper ‘I’m now an adult’ colour I had. It means a lot to me because of the association I have with my wedding day, but I have to confess I rarely wear it now – and they don’t make it any more, either (I’ve linked to a Twilight Shimmer gloss instead!).

MAC, Hot Tahiti

This was the first red lipstick I ever bought, and I associate it with happiness, sunshine and buckets of confidence. I wore it all the time during my honeymoon in the Caribbean, and so when I think of it, I just think of beaches, tropical flowers and sparkling waves. The colour isn’t one of MAC’s classic reds, but it’s the one that suits me best – it’s actually a soft coral-red, and it’s a bit darker than 999’s true red. It’s still available, and something’s telling me to buy another tube…

What’s your favourite lipstick colour? Are there any shades that are dear to your heart for the memories they hold? Let me know below!

(Top left, clockwise: Dior 999, Burberry English Rose, Charlotte Tilbury Hepburn Honey, MAC Hot Tahiti, Bobbi Brown Twilight Pink.)

 

 

 

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Tralala from Penhaligon’s and Meadham Kirchhoff

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Now available directly from Penhaligon’s (previously exclusively from Harvey Nichols) comes Tralala, a fantastically heady blend created in collaboration with the fashion house Meadham Kirchhoff. I love Penhaligon’s – it’s such a traditionally British perfumery, originally founded in the 1860s and perfumer to Queen Victoria herself! The signature blends are complex and daring, and Meadham Kirchhoff has used several different blends to scent their shows before uniting to create Tralala with Master Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. When I found about about this new blend, I contacted Penhaligon’s, who were kind enough to send me this pretty little atomiser for review. The 100ml bottle is available from Harvey Nichols and Penhaligon’s for £150.

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I’m no trained oflactor myself, but the spicy, warm and complex scent of Tralala make it the perfect evening perfume. With heady, eccentric and headstrong notes, this perfume will certainly make an impression – it’s become my favourite scent since I first tried it! To get technical, the head notes include Aldehydes, Saffron, Whiskey, Ambrette Seed Butter, Galbanum, Violet Leaf Absolute, with heart notes of Carnation, Leather, Tuberose, Ylang Ylang, Orris, Incense. Base notes include Myrrh Resinoid, Opoponax Absolute, Patchouli, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Heliotrope, Musk and Vanilla. This is described as a unisex scent, and with its earthy overtones, I can definitely see why.

20140506-202310.jpgPlus, it comes in such a cute little box too! Head here to purchase from Penhaligon’s, and click here to purchase from Harvey Nichols.

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