November 29, 2012

christmas gift guide - for the men

Over the next few weeks or so I'm going to be posting lots of beauty related gift ideas aimed at all the special people in your life, be it Mums, Dads, Sisters, Uncles, Aunties, Friends, Cousins, whoever you are looking for beauty gifts for, I will have it covered, starting with the men. As most girls will know, many men need a helping hand with skincare, which is why Christmas is the ideal time to push them in the right direction with grooming products. If you are just as clueless as the man in your life when it comes to what products will suit their needs then fear not as this post should help you both out.

Bulldog Expert Skincare Collection £20 - available from Boots stores and online

Bulldog has to be one of the best Men's skincare brands that I've seen so far, the packaging is excellent, they strive to use natural ingredients and are BUAV approved which means no animal testing whatsoever. The brand is a small, independent British company and has a 'does what it says on the tin' no-nonsense feel. And the best part of all is of course the grumpy Bulldogs that appear on the packaging. The collection includes a Face Scrub, Face Wash, After Shave Balm and Moisturiser in a stylish Bulldog Tin.

Gentlemen's Tonic - Shave Cream £19 | Aftershave Cream £26 | Pre Shave Oil £19 | Moisturising Hand Balm £12

Gentlemen's Tonic is a great brand that is aimed at the modern man yet has a gentrified twist. The products are at the higher end of the budget scale however the packaging definitely has a luxury feel. The brand also have Babershops in London that offer a variety of treatments ranging from haircuts to wet shaves and massages, so if your man is in need of a pamper definitely bare it in mind.
Yon-Ka Men's Gift Set - £62 | (full sizes) Yon-Ka Lotion YK - £34 | Yon-Ka Foam Scrub - £24 | Yon-Ka Age-Defense - £38

Yon-Ka have been a favourite skincare brand of mine for a couple of years now due to how effective I find the products on my skin. The products are used in lots of Spas that I have visited and every time that I had a Yon-Ka facial my skin was left looking bright and radiant. I'd recommend Yon-Ka to Men that are in need of nourishment for their skin that needs a good looking after. Yon Ka are quite hard to get hold of in the UK however if you click the links above it will direct to a shopping site that stocks the brand and most importantly the Men's range.

Mitch Hold 'Em Gift Set for firm styles - £22.50 (available in Paul Mitchell Salons)

For any male that likes to take good care of his hair the Mitch Hold 'Em set is ideal. The pack includes a 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner (we all know that men are too lazy to bother with both), a hair gel and a styling paste with a cool pack of playing cards.

My favourite product included in this post has to be the Essie man-e-cure nail treatment. Long gone are the days of Men excusing their rough nails as now there is this wonderful product to keep them in tip top condition. Also your man won't be moaning that he feels girly applying nail polish as it has a matte finish and comes in super cool and understated packaging.

Next up is the Clinique Happy gift set, comprising of a Shave Aloe Gel 75ml, Aftershave Balm 50ml and Happy Cologne Spray 100ml. I really like this set as it comes with some great products presented in an eye-catching bright orange Clinique gift box. I personally love the smell of the cologne and with it being 100ml I believe the gift set is great value for money too.

For any man that likes a rock and roll textured hair style, this duo by Fudge is an absolute must have. The set includes a Hair and Body Wash along with a Matte Hed Extra hair paste to create an on trend bed head look. I'm a big fan of the manly yet vibrant packaging and like how it's Christmas themed with cut out Christmas tree decorations on the sides of the box.

Last but not least on my men's gift guide are some products by a great company named 'The Bluebeards Revenge'. If you are after something a bit different and quirky looking to give your partner this Christmas these products make a great change from the big (and slightly boring) brands that are seen on most bathroom shelves. The company has a really unique style but most importantly the products work really well and have a luxurious feel.

Keep a look out for the rest of my Christmas Gift Guide posts that will be coming up soon!

November 24, 2012

24 days of christmas with liz earle

This year I've decided to ditch the usual chocolate advent calendar in favour of an amazing skincare themed calendar from Liz Earle aptly named '24 Days of Christmas with Liz Earle'. The calendar is jam packed with travel sized beauty goodies ranging from their famous cleanser to face masks and moisturisers. This means that you can try out most of the range for a fraction of the price of what it would cost to buy all of the products separately, and you will also have handy travel sizes of your favourite products to take in your suitcase. I'm not saying that everyone should rush out and buy a £100 advent calendar however I would say that if you have yet to try Liz Earle products you should definitely consider purchasing the calendar to have a go with the products. If you think about how much skincare products cost these days you would pay around the same price for two high end skincare products so 24 trial sized products is great value. Alternatively the calendar would make a fab gift!

November 19, 2012

essie winter collection

A couple of days ago the Essie Winter Collection arrived through my door, and I was definitely a happy girl when trying out all of the beautiful shades. I love how the collection has a really nice mix of Autumnal and Winter shades with both warm and cool tones. I found that the formulations of the polishes made them both easy to apply to the nail and long lasting when sealed with a topcoat.


"She's driven, all right. Catch a ride with elegant, gorgeous turquoise that never fails to drive them wild."


"To get a little closer, don't be shy. Invest in golden sparkle power that gives a new meaning to legal tender."


"To the victor go the spoils. Work hard and treat yourself like a VIP with outrageously luxurious scarlet."


"Twinkle, twinkle major star. Rule the red carpet and land the coveted role in glittering high-wattage crimson."


"Voulez-vous get a lot of attention? Eye-popping vermilion is impossible to deny. With just one snap of her fingers, this colour gets noticed."


"This rapturous, blue-blooded siren simply adores being waited on hand and foot, thank you very much."

The Essie Winter Collection is available now in Boots and Superdrug stores at £7.99 per polish.

November 17, 2012

christmas beauty hamper giveaway!

Soon I'm going to be posting lots of Christmas Gift Guide posts to give you all some great ideas of what to give as gifts this Christmas, however to get in the spirit I thought I'd post a giveaway beforehand for you all to enter. There are some great products up for grabs and I tried to keep a theme of items that will help to get you all dolled up for the party season.

| Mister Mascara Mega Lash Kit | Pixi Sheer Cheek Gel in 'Peachy' | Especially Escada Eau de Parfum 30ml | RMK Irresistible Lips in '12' | OCC Lip Tar in 'Demure' | Avon Lipstick in 'Smooth Mocha' | Burt's Bees Lip Balm Gift Set | Bare Minerals Ready Luminizer in 'The Love Affair' | Three sets of Nail Rock Designer Nail Wraps 
| This Works Beauty Ball | Avon Smokey Eyes Palette |

To enter the giveaway just use this nifty gadget below. The giveaway ends on the 17th of December so that the winner will get the prizes just in time for Christmas day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

[Terms: you must be following my blog via Google Friend Connect or your entries will become invalid.]

November 11, 2012

selfridges' the beauty workshop lucky bag

A few days ago I received a lovely little surprise package from the team at Selfridges including a 'lucky bag' from The Beauty Workshop which is soon to be launching online and in store. I don't know about anyone else but I've always loved lucky dip bags ever since being a kid so having a grown up beauty version is my idea of heaven. The bags include at least five products ranging from full sized to travel sized that are all from great brands. There is also a good chance of receiving a voucher anywhere from the value of £15-150 to spend at the Beauty Workshop to treat yourself to a pampering experience.

James Read Wash Off Fake Tan - Travel Size 30ml - (price for full size £18.50)
REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash  - Travel Size 50ml - (price for full size - £17)
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant - Travel Size 13g - (price for full size - £26)
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Demure FULL SIZE (£10)
Disco Duck Creme Brulee Lip Balm FULL SIZE (£3.99)
Nails Inc Nail Polish in Notting Hill Gate - Mini Size 4ml - (price for full size £11)
Anatomicals Snog Me Senseless Mints FULL SIZE (£1.55)

This little fella is definitely my favourite thing to come out of the bag, he's a little pot filled with creme brulee flavoured lip balm!

The bags will be available online from 14th November priced at just £15 but with only 1,000 available so you will have to be quick in line to snap one up. I think the concept is a fabulous idea and can definitely imagine the lucky bags being a big hit amongst beauty lovers wanting to give themselves a little treat before Christmas time.

November 10, 2012

how not to handle pr and social media

Over the past few days I've found myself in the centre of some twitter controversy, which is what appears to be the unfortunate right of passage for most bloggers. I've been mulling over whether to write a post explaining what has gone on in detail or not, after all a 140 character limit on Twitter makes it a limited outlet for opinions. If you follow me on twitter then you may have already seen parts of what has been going on but to put it into context for those of you who have not, I have unfortunately been personally targeted by the person that runs the twitter page for Lifehouse Spa. I got into contact with them initially as I thought it would be a great idea to feature a review of the spa on my blog and for that reason enquired as to if they'd like to work with me on this. I then got a response stating that they would like for me to go ahead with the review however they asked that I pay a press rate for my stay to which they would add a complimentary treatment at the Spa for me to write about, which I completely understood. A couple of emails and agreements later I asked if a three night stay would be possible, as I would be paying for this I didn't see that it would be a problem but expected to be offered a two night stay as agreed in a previous email. I then received a reply stating that the two night stay was never offered and neither was the free spa treatment to which I responded by copying and pasting their offer from the previous emails. At this point I was starting to receive a cold vibe from the person handling PR for Lifehouse Spa and felt as if communication with myself was becoming a burden for them, not the greatest way to treat a potential customer. In the end I decided to decline their final offer of a two night stay at press rate as I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of reviewing the Spa without as little as a complimentary Spa treatment to review on my blog. I think it's important at this point to state that the press rate is 2/3 of the normal price so obviously I was left feeling deflated with their broken promises and sent a tweet to Lifehouse to explain this. An hour later I decided to delete the tweet as I had not received a response and thought I should leave the disagreement to myself and not involve the world of twitter. 

A few hours on from the deleted tweet I received a threatening email from the woman in question about the tweet and decided not to respond as I had already dealt with the situation. I feel it's necessary to include the email in this post just to put my point across about the threatening tone that I believe borders on blackmail.

I then logged into Twitter to find a whole host of offensive tweets directed towards myself trying to ruin my reputation. As I said before, I never at any point asked for a three day complimentary stay at the Spa, which means that they decided to lie about myself to all of their followers. Not to mention their snipe at my age, I'm very unsure as to what relevance that has to my dissatisfaction with their way of handling things. As you can see from the tweets below it was obvious that they came from the same person as the email above from the threatening tone directed towards me.

Personally targeting a blogger for simply having an opinion via a company's Twitter page that you handle the social media for is an extremely unprofessional step to take as it is but then things turned from nasty to something that mirrors a hate campaign. The person in question then decided to take to the Twitter pages of the Hotel companies that she handles the social media for to try and tarnish my reputation further by retweeting the nasty comments on the Lifehouse Spa Twitter page on all of those company pages too. So in total that is a whopping 12 companies that she took upon herself to include in the hateful comment and put all of their reputation at risk by doing so. I can confirm that I have been in contact already with all of the companies and received replies stating that they had no idea what was going on and that they would remove the tweet.

I would like to receive an apology from Lifehouse Spa for attempting to put my name as a reputable blogger on the line for the sake of one woman's lack of professionalism, I don't take being lied about lightly. I'm very touched by all of the lovely tweets that I have been receiving offering support and would like to thank everyone for that.

UPDATE: Last night I received the following email threatening legal action if I do not remove my tweets and blog post. I think it's obvious from this post that I have never tried to 'attack' this individual personally which is why I have kept her identity anonymous. Since when did writing a tweet complaining about the bad service I have received a justification for these kind of threats.