December 25, 2015

12 days of giveaways WINNERS!

First of all, MERRY BLOODY CHRISTMAS! All of my giveaway winners have been randomly generated and are all listed below. If you are one of the winners, then watch out for a message from me within the next couple of days. If you weren't one of the lucky 17(!) then fear not as I will be holding regular giveaways from now on with plenty of exciting prizes. 

Day 1: Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner, That Gal Primer, The Porefessional, Swarovski They're Real Mascara 

WINNER: Laura @life_lipstick

Day 2: Transformulas Diamond Lift Brightening Complex

WINNER: Santasha Claus @ofthesaintsUK
WINNER: Lauren @littlelaurensbl

Day 3: Diva Jewellery 

WINNER: Leanne Frisby

Day 4: Kiss imPress Nails, False Lashes & Beautiful Brows Kit 

WINNER: Tasmin's Talk @TasminsTalk

Day 5: Monu Ampoules

WINNER: Julie Booth

Day 6: Artdeco Arctic Beauty Collection

WINNER: Jenna @JennaKateKelly

Day 7: Diva Aurora Styler

WINNER: Chantelle @musicalchants

Day 8: Dermalogica Clear Start Set 

WINNER: Kelly McKay
WINNER: Sammeh Williamson @JustSammeh1
WINNER: Ellie @ohimellie
WINNER: Callie Rose @callierose92
WINNER: Farah Ilyas

Day 9: Lee Stafford Argan Oil Shampoo, Conditioner, Defence Spray, Paddle Brush & Lazy Curl Jumbo Curling Wand

WINNER: Real Lips, Real Life @HitnMiff

Day 10: Korres Guava Body Butter, Guava Lip Butter, Guava Showergel, Basil Lemon Showergel, Bergamot Pear Bodymilk & Fig Bodybutter

WINNER: Shannon @shannonheartsx

Day 11: Toni & Guy Fluid Metal Styler

WINNER: Chloe Francis

Day 12: Foreo Luna Mini

WINNER: Vanessa @TheOtherVW

December 20, 2015

the christmas gift guide: stocking thrillers

Mandara Spa Lip Butter Bauble (£4) - There seems to be a definite theme with brands bringing out bauble shaped stocking fillers this year, and apart from the fact they're a pain to wrap up I just love how sweet they look. This version comes with two shimmering lip butters making it a lovely little gift for the party season. 

Sainsbury's Boutique French Manicure Set (£5) - Admittedly I'm more of a high end beauty girl, perhaps even a bit of a makeup snob, but that's not to say I won't give lower end products a go if the packaging is as chic and understated as this set from Sainsbury's. I think this would make a great gift for someone in their teens just getting into nail painting. 

Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy Ornament Tin Set (£9) - I always seem to find myself giving out hand creams at Christmas time, it's the kind of product that you aren't likely to splurge on for yourself so is always welcomed especially with hands in need of nourishing at winter time. 

This Works Dream Team (£10) - I've been a fan of this duo for years now, mainly due to the fact they are waiting for me on the pillow in most hotels that I stay at. Included is a mini pillow spray and stress less roller ball which is to be applied on your wrists just before bed. 

The Vintage Cosmetic Company Pedicure Purse (£13.50) - This kit includes all of the tools and accessories needed to complete a mini manicure and as I'm renowned for losing things this would make a great gift for someone who's equally as disorganised. 

Lip Smacker Coca-Cola Tin (£9.99) - The prize for my favourite stocking filler of all just has to go to this set of soda flavoured lip balms. I feel so nostalgic thinking back to the days of collecting Lip Smackers as a young'un and can't wait to get stuck into trying out CocaCola Vanilla in particular. 

Rebel's Refinery Capital Vices Skull Lip Balm (£8.50) - This lip balm is fairly similar to those by EOS but instead of the fairly bland packaging that we're all now bored of seeing, the dome shaped balm comes packaged within a grungy looking black skull. 

Molton Brown Festive Bauble (£10) - Perhaps the ultimate luxury stocking filler, these baubles come filled with either shower gel or hand wash and are available in an array of Molton Brown's best scents. 

Japanese Exfoliating Body Towel (£3.50) - Sometimes it's nice to receive a gift that's intriguing and slightly different to all of the rest. This body towel is built to scrub dead skin cells and leave skin feeling baby soft, it's also ideal to buff fake tan marks away too. 

Soap & Glory Bright and Bubbly (£10) - There hasn't been a year gone by that I've been less than hugely impressed by Soap & Glory's Christmas gift offerings, each set always looks just so sparkly and of course they are always priced so well too. This set happens to include four of my favourite products that I repurchase over and over again, so I'm thrilled to now have mini travel sizes of them too. 

Margaret Dabbs Fabulous Cracker (£12) - Another one of my favourites is this mini cracker filled with a nail and cuticle serum. I always find that my cuticles get super dry in the colder weather and reckon this would be such a handy (handy, get it..) gift for anyone who's into their nail care. 

That's it for this year's Christmas gift guides! I really hope you've enjoyed reading through them and that you have a wonderful Christmas. 

December 19, 2015

the christmas gift guide: purse friendly

Lush Merry and Bright (£14.95) | For pre-wrapped gifts, Lush simply cannot be beaten. Each year they outdo themselves with bright and sparkly packaging, and I would be absolutely thrilled to receive any of their bath treats this Christmas. This set contains the Beautiful Shower Gel, Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub and Celebrate Body Lotion. 

John Frieda Frizz Ease Gift Set (£10) | Although fun and quirky gifts are always wonderful, sometimes it's equally as nice to receive something that will just come in handy such as a couple of travel sized haircare products. I'm obviously getting old now that I'm asking for useful gifts this year round. 

Dermalogica Clear Start Set (£14) | This would make the perfect gift for a teen with troublesome skin who's yet to discover the world of high-end skincare products. I always find Dermalogica products to be truly effective and the Clear Start range is just what I'd recommend to someone of a younger age. 
China Glaze Mini Mixers (£9.89) | These minis are all such wonderful shades for around Christmas and are an ideal way to add lots of new shades to a collection. I'm a big fan of sets like this as I think it's such a great way to be able to give lots of colours a go for the same price as just one regular sized polish. 

Beauticology Home of Beauty Snowman Tin (£19.99) | As far as Christmas themed sets goes, this has to be one of my absolute favourites. It includes a Plum Pudding Shower Creme, Spice Orange Body Wash and a Toasted Marshmallow Body Lotion all inside a tin with a happy little snowman on the front. 

Pixi Natural Contour Kit (£22) & Eye Pen Quartette (£16.50) | These are definitely towards the high end of purse friendly and perhaps more leaning towards luxury but I thought that considering what you get within each set they are brilliant value for money. Both are limited edition though, so get your hands on them whilst you still can!  

Beauty Kitchen Create Your Own Lip Balms (£15) | I've always loved crafty gifts to get stuck into around Christmas time and I adore the Beauty Kitchen range as an idea for something a little different. Why just buy someone lip balms when you can give them a gift to make their very own?

Orla Kiely Fig Tree Gift Set (£16) | This sweet set includes not only a fragrance diffuser but a candle too, both with a woody fig scent and is of course within ultra chic packaging too. If you're a fan of the Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis candle then this is a great inexpensive alternative.

December 17, 2015

the christmas gift guide: safe bets

Slight change of plan with the Christmas gift guides. I won't bore you all on the details but life got in the way and I highly apologise as I was so looking forward to getting these up in plenty of time this year. I'm really hoping there are some of you who are as last minute as I am and will still get some good use out of my last few gift guides, and if not, perhaps just treat yourself to some of them. I was slightly tempted to just round the remaining guides all up in one post, but as I'd put so much effort into the price ranges for each gift guide I'm going to stick to my original plan. This means my next post will be purse friendly ideas and will be going up tomorrow, followed by stocking fillers on Saturday.

I've themed this post as safe bets since each product has a mid-range price point, can be relied upon to make almost anyone feel over the moon and all of which still have delivery in time for Christmas.

Label.m Fashion Fix Nouveau Knot Gift Set (£26) | Personally, I'm a firm believer that haircare is far too overlooked when it comes to gift giving. I'm not a big spender in the hair department or particularly creative with my barnet meaning I would certainly love to receive a how-to kit such as this. Included is everything you will need to create the look on front of the box, which is a concept I am so very impressed by. 

Nuxe Prodigieux Set (£30) | In the way of skincare, I'm a huge advocate of French pharmacy brands. So much so that I could happily never use anything else. Nuxe is high up there on my list of top rated and I genuinely urge the lot of you to have a look at their products if you haven't already. This set is ideal to try out a few of their bestsellers, and of course includes a pretty little candle too. I'd also like to give this set a high five for the wonderful packaging.

Clinique Days of the Week Lipsticks (£35) | Who said a girl can have too many lipsticks? I love the concept of this set from Clinique, a new lipstick shade to try out each day of the week would be a great gift for anyone wanting to revamp their lipstick collection. Or a sneaky treat for a lipstick obsessive. 

Clarins Festive Eye Palette (£35) | This year I'm going to give out some luxury hampers filled with beauty treats which is where palettes like this and lone products that aren't part of a set come in perfectly. I'm not a huge fan of the packaging of this palette but I'm pleased to report that the shades inside more than make up for that.  

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Lipstick Charms (£29)  | I've gone through all these years of beauty blogging without trying out a single Charlotte Tilbury product (shame on me), until these arrived through the door. This is one of my favourite gift ideas and is something I'd be over the moon to find under the tree. For those of you who like to treat yourself at Christmas, don't we all, this is a great option to try out a few shades of Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks before investing in a full sized version.  

Green and Spring Indulging Home Candle (£29) | I have been on the search for the ultimate Spa scented candle to light up whilst I dive into a warm bubble bath, and this my friends, is it. The candle has such a relaxing, gentle yet uplifting scent which I dare anyone to say they aren't a fan of. 

December 12, 2015


In case any of you don't already follow me on Twitter (hint hint), I thought I'd put together a little round up post on the 12 days of giveaways that I've been running across social media. I decided way back in October that I wanted to put this together, and have worked endlessly at finding some wonderful brands to work with and incredible products to include. I truly am so thankful to all of them for working with me on this, it wouldn't have been possible without their generosity! I also want to thank everyone who's been so positive about it all and who have entered so far, it's made me feel like Santa and as I just love spreading positive vibes it's given me a huge boost. 

Soppy bit out of the way. You have a chance to enter both at my Facebook page and over on Twitter, meaning if you do both then you will be entered twice, doubling your chances. I will be leaving all of the giveaways open up until midnight on Christmas eve, and all of the winners will then be announced on Christmas day itself. I know not many people like to use the internet on Christmas day, but I think a quick check won't do any harm, and I'm hoping that it will be an extra special Christmas present for those of you who win. 

I've also come to the conclusion that once I get my act together and start blogging properly again (she says for the fifth time this year), I'd like to start doing more regular giveaways. Once I've worked out all of the logistics I will let you all know about that too! 

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  | 12

Simply click each number above to head straight to the giveaway for that day, I'd love to hear which giveaway takes your fancy the most.

November 27, 2015

the christmas gift guide: luxury

I've been planning my Christmas gift guide series ever since October and have put tons of thought into the brands and products that I wanted to feature this year. I've planned a guide for luxury, mid-range, purse friendly and stocking filler products, plus an extremely exciting giveaway series too. I thought I'd kickoff with the most expensive items as they are usually what I like to get out of the way first when Christmas shopping. This lot all come in at £40 and over.

Neal's Yard Rejuvenate Frankincense Organic Beauty Collection (£40) | I could quite happily replace my whole skincare shelf with Neal's Yard products, but as I know how much my mama will love this set I'm going to be treating her to it this Christmas. I always like to find an extra special skincare set for her that I know will work wonders and doesn't include any products that she will never end up using which is why the cleanse, tone and moisturise theme of this set is just so well suited for gift giving. Plus the packaging is absolutely beautiful.

Neom Christmas Wish Home Collection (£44.95) | Last Christmas (I gave you my heart), I had this Neom Christmas Wish candle burning for the whole of the festive period, and very much intend on doing so again this year. It has all of the spicy and woody elements you'd expect from a Christmas candle without being overbearing due to its slight sweetness. It's the kind of candle you want to burn whilst cosying up in the evening watching Christmas films and scoffing leftovers.

Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Cologne (£85) | When it comes to perfume, there's no brand that I'd rather spot under the Christmas tree than a little box from Jo Malone. Usually I ask for a scented candle as a gift and spend my Christmas money on treating myself to a cologne. My all time favourite scent is Wild Fig and Cassis which is swiftly being rivalled by Pomegranate Noir, which is so perfectly suited to this time of year.

Red Carpet Manicure Vintage Glamour Pro Gel Nail Polish Kit (£89.99) | Some of you may remember that I included a similar Red Carpet Manicure set in last year's gift guide, but since then they've upped their game and have released an extra special Christmas themed set. It includes a gold lamp and gold glittery nail polish along with a stylish case to fit everything in, I'm also a big fan of the new addition of nail tools and accessories in this set too. I've had the gold polish on for two weeks now and have had endless compliments, winner!

The Perfume Studio Design Your Own Fragrance Ultimate Collection (£95) | If you want to give a slightly unusual beauty related gift, you simply can't outdo a grownup version of a perfume making kit. I'm a super creative person so get massively excited when it comes to anything do-it-yourself, and I also have an unhealthy obsession with perfume collecting, so this would be the ideal gift for someone similar. I will most likely be spending boxing day using this set to create my own bespoke perfume which I will then feel rather smug about being the only one wearing it.

Diva Radiant Shine Aurora Styler (£79.98) | Have you ever seen a more pretty pair of straighteners? Not only do they look beautiful but I can guarantee they will work wonders as I've had a set from Diva that have lasted years and are still going strong. If you are particularly keen on these then you may want to keep an eye out for my Christmas giveaways coming up on Twitter.

Belle Gel Rapide Complete Kit (£69.95) | Since training in gel nails at college a few years ago, I've never looked at a bottle of regular nail polish in the same lustful way again. I really recommend that everyone should have an at home kit to have a play around with as having a system that allows your nail colour to stay on for over two weeks is invaluable. This set by Belle Gel is slightly more compact than most (the lamp folds down flat) making it ideal for beginners but perhaps less exciting if you are more advanced.

Billion Dollar Brows Best Sellers Kit (£49.50) | Having on point brows is something I have always taken seriously. Perhaps when your favourite compliment to get is one on your brows you know you have a brow grooming obsession. I also have been known to preach the importance of a great set of brows to others and for this reason would feel no greater joy than giving out a brow grooming set as a gift. This particular kit from Billion Dollar Brows includes a smudge brush, concealer and highlighter duo pencil, brow gel, universal brow pencil and a sharpener too. 

Foreo Luna Mini Skincare Device (£99) | Although I've been a huge fan of my Clarisonic for years, I've heard many good things about Foreo as an alternative cleansing device. It's much more compact than the Clarisonic and as the brush is made from silicone it will keep much clearer than a regular brush. Plus once they are charged up the power should last for 5 whole months!

BRYT Haute Couture Gift Box (£80) | This brightly packaged skincare set from BRYT includes a make-up remover, cleanser, night cream, day cream and essential serum, plus a handy little face cloth mitt too. I think this would be a wonderful gift for a girl in her teens or early twenties in need of a skincare overhaul as it includes every single product needed for a great skincare routine. 

If you're after more budget conscious gift ideas, then fear not, I have three more guides coming up!

October 23, 2015

current make-up #15

Long time no see. I think I've finally come to the realisation that I will never be an organised blogger. That being said, I've got loads of exciting posts in the pipeline for around Christmas time and some even more exciting giveaways planned. I attempted to film a tutorial of this make-up look but failed miserably and then dropped my camera on the floor. I think by the next time I give it a go I should be able to come up with something, however bad the outcome. 

For my make-up here, I went for glowy foundation, contoured cheeks, strong brows, flicked liner, taupe shadow and a brownish lip. You could say it's slightly Kylie Jenner-esque, but lets not. I will give her something though, and that is she knows how to pick a good lip shade. I recently invested in Whirl Lip Pencil (£12.50) and Twig Lipstick (£15) in a copycat move and have been in love with both ever since. If you have olive undertones in your skin, I'm more than sure that both will suit you really well. Talking of Mac, I've also been loving their Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set (£15) as of late, and have been using it in light strokes more towards the ends of my brows, after using Anastasia DipBrow Pomade (£15). Get your brows right and the rest of your make-up will fall into place, that's my motto. 

My base make-up is Lancome Teint Miracle (£29.50) mixed with Pixi Glowtion Day Dew (£24), which just gives the most dewy and natural looking skin you could wish for. I also use Clarins Instant Concealer (£21.50) to cover my dark circles which has been my favourite for months and months. 

I've always been absolutely useless at contouring, even after watching a trillion of those mesmerising tutorial videos, I could just never get the hang of it. That was until Clinqiue Sculpting Contour Chubby Stick (£19) came into my life, and honestly now I find it such a breeze. You just draw it on at your cheekbones and then blend with a brush, easy peasy. For my eyes, I used taupe and grey shades of shadow on the outer corner of the eye and underneath the lash line, and went heavy on the Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner (£7.99). All finished off with lashings of Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara (£17.50)

My hair is currently dyed black but as my roots are starting to come through I'm thinking of going back to brown with lighter ends. I usually just go for black as it's fairly easy to maintain and is always a safe bet, plus I find it looks quite striking, but it can tend to look a little too goth. Let me know what you think I should go for!

August 15, 2015

current favourites | bath time treats (02)

If you read my blog regularly, you will probably be well aware that I'm an expert when it comes to relaxing and finding the best product for a great bath time. 

I took this travel sized Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Candle (£22) on holiday for when I took evening bubble baths, and I've now come to the conclusion that I won't ever travel without one again. The scent is so calming, and for someone who gets a little stressed when going to new places, it's absolutely perfect for me. 

I've raved about Soap & Glory's The Breakfast Scrub (£8) a million and one times now, but I couldn't not include it in this post as it's my ultimate bath time treat. For my extra special and lengthy baths I always go for a Lush Bubble Bar, Lush Milky Bath (£3.75) is my new favourite and smells good enough to eat, once ran under hot running water it gives mountains of soft bubbles.  

Korres Shower Gels (2 for £8) are a new discovery for me, I saw them on offer in Waitrose so picked up a bottle of the Fig version which I can't get enough of. It's so silky and luxurious, and best of all you only need to use the tiniest amount so a little goes a long way. Now that I'm back from holiday, my skin was left feeling dry and flaky, which is where Sai-Sei Body Scrub (£28) came to the rescue. It has a sea mineral scent so is the perfect combination of refreshing and uplifting, and the exfoliating beads have are tiny so buff away dead skin to leave baby soft skin which smells as if you've just left the spa. 

August 07, 2015

jo malone sakura cherry blossom cologne

My love affair with Jo Malone Cologne continues.. and this time I've fallen for Sakura Cherry Blossom (let's just pretend those tiny tomatoes in the photo above are in fact cherries). If you're all about fresh and light daytime scents with a touch of a floral note, this one's for you. It's similar to Earl Grey and Cucumber in the way that it's such a bright and breezy scent that is perfect to wear on days when you're in need of a bit of uplifting. It's probably more suited towards spring time but who says you have to confine a certain perfume to just one season of the year. Plus, how lovely is the pink detailing on the bottle too?

July 05, 2015

the holiday hotlist


I absolutely detest mosquitos. They make the most demonic noise known to man and intimidate me no end. I also hate those hideous canned mosquito sprays that smell deathly and are almost worse than the real thing. The wonderful people at Alfresco Beauty have successfully combatted both of those problems, with their Insect Repellent range. My favourite is their Fine Fragrance Spray (£30) which has a light and delicate scent whilst remaining powerful at keeping bugs at bay.


Obviously the first and foremost important thing when it comes to packing up your beauty essentials comes suncreams and aftersun lotions. Lately I've been loving the Garnier Amber Solaire Dry Mist (£8.50/2 for £11) as it's ridiculously easy to apply and doesn't have that typical suncream smell. For my face, I prefer to use Benefit Dream Screen (£25/overpriced) as it seems to last that little bit longer and is the perfect beach bag size. Talking of being on the beach, my ultimate essential for down by the sea is Avéne Eau Thermale (£6.50), it's pretty much just a fancy mist of water that refreshes and instantly perks up hot and bothered skin. 

Once things have cooled down a bit and the sun has said farewell for the day, aftersun is just as important to keep your tan lasting longer and to soothe any redness. I opt for Holland & Barrett Aloe Vera Gel (£3.99) on any burnt patches and Vaseline Aloe Fresh Body Gel (£4.99) to cool down the rest of my skin.


Models Own have just launched new five shade for the polish for tans collection, which includes every bright shade of polish that you could want after for a summer holiday. My personal favourites are Sarong Wrap (the orange) and Turquoise Sea (£4.99 each).


Aveda are killing it when it comes to skincare. I rarely ever use a product up before I get bored of it (beauty blogger problems) but stuck with their Green Science Firming Face Cream (£46.50) until the very end, and I'd go as far as to say it's the best face cream I've ever used. I absolutely cannot wait to get stuck into the Botanical Kinetics Soft Creme (£35) and Eye Creme (£28) on my hols. 

I've used the original DHC Cleansing Oil (£21.50) for the last couple of years to remove my make up and give my skin a cleanse at night, I typically have very dry skin so an oil based cleanser is an absolute must for me. The Pore Cleansing Oil (£25) is slightly thicker in texture to the original and has a delicate fresh scent making it perfect for after a long day in the sunshine.

Although you could always buy a shower gel once you get there, or see if your hotel stock your room with minis, I couldn't not pack Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Relaxing Body Wash (£15) as it smells like a holiday in a bottle, plus it's a handy size for packing.

Having a mid-holiday pamper night isn't the same without a face mask, and for dry and damaged skin, it has to be of the super moisturising kind. Clarins Hydra Quench Mask (£29.90) is the one I'm taking this year as it claims to both quench dry skin and revitalise the complexion too.


I've yet to have a go with any of these Phyto products as I'm saving them all until I get there (does anyone else do that?) but I thought I'd feature them anyway as I've read great reviews on them all. I'm particularly looking forward to the Recovery Spray (£13) and Protective Sun Veil (£15) as my frizz prone hair always plays me up when it comes to any sort of heat and humidity.

When it comes to styling, I always use a salt spray to give my hair beachy texture. This mini sized Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (£9.50) is perfect to take on a two week holiday and that along with regular hairspray is pretty much all I use whilst I'm away. 

I've got a couple more holiday themed posts coming up, including what's in my make up bag and a little guide to pre-holiday prepping, and I've also put up a huge blog post over at thejessicalife.com all about what clothes I've been buying for my trips away. 

May 03, 2015

skincare sunday | (02)

Three weeks after my first skincare sunday post and I'm back with another, yes, I've even surprised myself in managing to keep fairly consistent for once. I've been addicted to trying out new skincare products as of late, and have found some real gems as a result.

I've tried out plenty of day creams but have never tried anything as lightweight yet affective as Aveda Green Science (£45). This has been part of my daily morning routine for the past month or so now and it's soon become one of my all time favourites. I have typically dry skin so prefer a moisturiser that is hydrating yet doesn't coat my skin too much so that my layer of foundation can sink in properly, usually I've found that you can't have best of both worlds but this little pot delivers everything I'd want from a day cream. The same can all be said for Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream (£40), which is similar in the way it works but is slightly thicker and is what I go for on days where my skin needs that little bit extra loving.

With the weather starting to warm up it's super important to make sure you're dosed up with a good level of SPF. Benefit Dream Screen (£25) is perfectly lightweight and applies like a dream. I've also been getting my scrub on with Soap & Glory The Greatest Scrub of All (£6) which I use in the shower every couple of days and always reveals bright and radiant looking skin.

My favourite product of all lately has most definitely been Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair (£69), seriously, why have I only just got round to trying this stuff out. I've known about it for years and years due to it's holy grail product status and rave reviews. I've now been using it for a fair few weeks each night and have noticed a big difference in the overall brightness of my complexion. I've even noticed that I haven't been wearing as much foundation as I have that natural looking glow to start with. I know it's on the pricey side, but if you are to invest into one special skincare product then make it this.

April 28, 2015

how to achieve killer brows

It's taken me a good number of years to finally achieve brows that I'm happy with. They started off life full and bordering on bushy, then at the age of around 13 I had a terrible waxing experience consisting of the therapist taking it upon herself to shape them down to half of their original thickness. I spent a good few years trying to grow them back properly, then ended up with them looking uneven until I discovered brow serum and started to gradually get them to a decent shape. Even after all that, I'm still learning the best products to use on them and have gone through pretty much all forms of pencil, shadow, gel and cream to find the best brow routine. I let my brows grow as unruly and unkept as I could bare for the before photo above, just so that you could all see what a huge difference using the right products can make. Here's what works for me. 

| Regularly use a brow growth serum. Even if your brows are already nice and thick, you may want to consider applying brow serum to any sparse patches to get them looking a great shape when you aren't wearing make up. I've been using M2 Beauté Eyebrow Renewing Serum on the inner part of my brows as they are a little too sparse for my liking but have so far noticed more hairs coming through since starting using the product.

| Only pluck/reshape your brows once you've drawn on the shape you want to achieve. Over plucking your brows is the ultimate sin and is something which I think is fair to say we've all been guilty of. To avoid any disasters, first draw in your brows as you normally would, and only then start to pluck away stray hairs. I always find this is far easier than trying to guess at the shape I want to go for without seeing what they will end up looking like.

Use an ash toned shade. This one is completely personal preference, but I've had a rule for a couple of years now to never ever use warm toned shades on my brows. I found in the past that doing so gave the danger of me ending up with almost orangey looking eyebrows and I just generally much prefer the look of an ashy tone. I always go through my brows using Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade and then set with a powder. No prizes for guessing my most loved shade from the HD Brows palette.

| Start by applying product in the middle of the brows, then outwards, and use the product left on the brush for the most inner part. Having a thick, drawn on and fake looking brow is my absolute nightmare. Sharpie brows don't do anyone any favours. Use short and gentle strokes and take time to go through each brow. The Nars Brow Defining Brush is seriously incredible for this and is unlike anything I've ever come across before, it makes filling in brows absolutely foolproof. It's hard to imagine that one brush can make that much difference, but I promise, you need this.  

Brush through brows with a spooly (real word). I'd heard about this trick a while back but for some reason had only waited until recently to put it into practice, not expecting it to work half as well as it did. I'd always hated before how I so easily applied too much product to my brows and they ended up looking too drawn on for my liking. The spooly trick brushes away all excess product to ensure brows are left looking natural yet defined, if there's one trick you take from this post then seriously give this one a go. You will be amazed at how much of a difference it will make.

| Set the brows using a clear coloured brow gel or mascara. I tend to prefer using a clear coloured brow gel over one with pigment in as it means that I'm not overloading my brows with different shades of product. If you want to ensure that any product you use stays set all day then be sure not to miss out this step.

As you can probably sense, my eyebrows are what I consider to be the most important part of my make up routine and what I spend most time trying to get just right. I'd absolutely love to hear what  you favourite brow products are and what your routine consists of, please do leave a comment and let me know.

April 20, 2015

grey tipped nails

Any manicure that is easy and quick to do along with looking effortlessly chic is my kind of manicure. Lately, I've been loving the effect of applying a nude base colour and adding small details, be it dots, flowers or coloured tips. I'm a big fan of how this kind of look is much more natural and pretty looking than just a block of colour, plus it's ideal if you're going for a fresh spring vibe. Barry M Nude is my all time favourite base shade, and this time I opted for Barry M Grey for the tips.

April 18, 2015

spring body prepping

With the past few days being absolutely gloriously sunny and with the world feeling like it's come back to life once again after winter, I've decided that spring is most definitely my favourite season. Once the weather starts to get warmer, dresses start getting shorter and it's time to start showing your body off once again. Which means it's time to make sure it's looking in top condition too. 

I always find that around this time of year I'm looking especially pale and pasty and in need of a good tan which is why it's even more important to be sure that my skin is looking healthy and moisturised. I'm a big fan of the Soap & Glory Butter Yourself Moisture Lotion (£10) as I find it's easy to apply, smells wonderful and doesn't feel at all thick or heavy. For a touch of radiance I go for Girligo Moisturising Mist (£6.50), also by Soap and Glory, which adds a subtle shimmer to my skin and looks especially nice on the legs and arms. 

In the shower, I've been opting for Anatomicals Rose Body Cleanser (£3), not just because of the fabulous packaging but because it also smells like a fresh spring morning. To buff away any dry winter skin and leave my skin feeling baby soft, the Elle Macpherson Dry Body Brush (£21) does wonders. It switches on to whizz round and be used head to toe on dry skin, meaning there's no effort involved in using it whatsoever. If there's one thing you buy to leave your skin feeling great in the transition between cooler and warmer weather, make it this. That and a good helping of fake tan. 

April 16, 2015

and other stories fragrances

Although I'd already featured these in my Christmas gift guide a few months ago, I've come to love them so much that they most definitely deserve a blog post of their own. They are all such unique combinations and put most other brands of perfume completely to shame.  Plus they are priced really well too.

Fig Fiction | I'm utterly obsessed with beauty products that have a sweet fig scent, most of which being Wild Fig and Cassis by Jo Malone. If your budget doesn't quite stretch far enough for the Jo Malone version, most definitely check out this one as an alternative. 

Botanical Whisper | This is a grown up scent with a slight zingy sharpness and is the one I'd say probably has the most different notes going on. For a truly different from the crowd type of fragrance, this is it. 

Moroccan Tea | There's something strangely satisfying about having a tea scent integrated into a perfume. If you're on the hunt for a completely uplifting, yet fresh and slightly sweet scent then this is your answer. 

Punk Bouquet | This is just about my favourite of the bunch. Think Britney Spears Fantasy but with a much more refined and sophisticated edge. It has a sultry sweetness that I simply adore, plus the bottle of this one looks so effortlessly cool.

and other stories fragrances | £26

April 14, 2015

spring pastel dotted nails

Nail Dotting Tool | Ciaté Sugared Almonds | Models Own Indian Ocean and Apple Pie | Bourjois Fashion gris-gris | Maybelline Surreal

It's been far too long since I attempted any kind of nail art, probably because I've been feeling a bit lazy and just sticking to nude nails for the majority of the time. With Spring in full swing I've been inspired by pastel shades (check the new blog design!) so thought I'd get back into nail dotting too. It's a super easy look to create, just use a nude base colour and then put a splodge of each colour on a piece of paper and grab your dotting tool. I'm never too precise about where I put my dots and generally just have fun with it, it's surprising how quickly you can make them look so cool in no time at all, especially if you use a glitter shade too.

If you're after some more Spring nail inspiration, check a couple of my old posts here and here

April 12, 2015

skincare sunday | (01)

Not much is better than cosying up in a duvet on Sunday afternoon reading through skincare related blog posts, so I've come up with the idea that on a Sunday every now and then, I'm going to update you all with my current favourite skincare products. In reality, the posts probably won't go up all that often because I'm terrible at any form of schedule, but I will give it a shot. 

I've always been on the hunt for a thoroughly moisturising eye cream, and have finally found one in Emma Hardie Amazing Face Eye Cream (£39), that's thick and luxurious enough to do a good job at soothing my dehydrated skin. For any dry skin on the rest of my face, Dr Organic Snail Gel Cream (£19.99) works wonders and has been noticeably perking up my complexion on a daily basis. 

Whenever my skin is in need of a deep clean but I truly can't be bothered to do much about it, I sweep over my face with the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix pads (£12.95). It's beyond belief how much dirt and grime these babies do away with. I've noticed that over time my skin ends up looking much more bright and radiant whenever I use these, the ultimate lazy girl option. 

If pamper time is underway and I'm involved in a bubble bath/hot chocolate type situation then I will without fail slap on a face mask too. My favourite of late has been Origins Out of Trouble (£23), it's a white clay consistency with a minty scent that works at deeply cleansing and awakening the skin. It calms any problem skin down instantly and for that reason is one of the best face masks that I've tried. 

A quick mention to two of my all time favourite products before I sign off. Both are by French pharmacy brands, no surprises there. Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre (£13) is the best daily moisturiser for dry skin in the world and I'm convinced that nothing I try will ever beat it. If you are looking to try a new skincare product, make it this. For when I'm generally feeling a bit washed out, Claudalie Beauty Elixir (£10.90) is my saviour and comes to my rescue every time. It has a deeply uplifting scent so not only makes your skin look brighter but lifts your mood too. 

April 11, 2015

personalise your hoola

There's something strangely satisfying about owning a product with your name on it. Call me self obsessed, but ever since buying pens and fridge magnets with "Jessica" on in gift shops on school trips I haven't grown out of the habit. If you fancy getting your name stamped on a box of Hoola and carved into the brush, pop over to the Benefit website to do just that. I think this would make a wonderful gift for anyone you know is into their make up too, and on a practical note, at least there won't ever be "is it mine or yours" mix ups. 

March 31, 2015

cost effective teeth whitening and brightening

| Oral B Pro 600 | £24.99 (1/2 price)

We all know by now that brushing regularly with an electric toothbrush is by far the best way to healthy, whiter teeth. There are tons to choose from but if you're keeping an eye on your spending then check out this Oral B version that's currently on sale at half price. If you fancy investing into a fancier version then have a lookout for the Oral B Pulsonic, which is by far the best I've ever used. 

Oral B Pro 600 Review

| Crest Whitening Strips | £34.99

In my experience, absolutely nothing works as well at brightening up my teeth than Crest Whitening Strips. I've used them for years but only ever use a course of 20 strips around every 6 months or so to be sure that my teeth aren't made to become overly sensitive. I have to buy mine from eBay as they aren't available in the UK but I always make sure to find a reputable seller and spend a little more to buy them in a sealed box. 

| Pearl Drops Instant White | £2.99

Whenever I'm taking a break from whitening strips I use this whitening toothpaste which always keeps my teeth looking pearly. You won't ever notice a huge difference with using just a whitening toothpaste alone, but I've found that this version works better than any other.  

Crest Whitening Strips Review

| Coconut Oil Pulling

I'm yet to ever try coconut oil pulling but I've heard great things about how it can naturally whiten your teeth. Track down a jar in your local supermarket and simply swish a teaspoon sized amount around your mouth for 20 minutes, spit the oil out, then rinse with warm water. This method is far better for your teeth than using any kind of bleach type product and also cleans away any bacteria too. I will most definitely write up and update once I've given it a go. 

March 18, 2015

male grooming products | (01)

Although I tend to natter on mainly about lipsticks and girly things I thought it would be a good idea to feature some male grooming products every now and then too. I realise that there is only a tiny percentage of actual males viewing my blog (if any), but even so, the products that I include are all ideal for gift ideas too. 

Fudge Urban Tin Waxes | £6.99 (currently on offer at £4.66) |

These little tins come filled with hair wax and vary in strength of hold and finish on the hair. I tried these out on a friend of mine and can indeed report back that they work brilliantly. I don't usually get that excited about male grooming products as a rule but the packaging and design of these has me won over completely. 

Wingman Face Scrub, Face Wash and Moisturiser | £3.99-£5.99 |

For any man on a bit of a budget or one who isn't overly fussy with the skincare products he uses, this trio of skincare products from Wingman are great. I like the minimal yet masculine packaging of these and can imagine them being what most guys would reach for first in the shop. 

Cornerstone Subscription Service | £30 every 12 weeks |

Possibly one of the most genius ideas I've come across in the male grooming category is this subscription box from Cornerstone. Inside comes a Pre-Shave Scrub, Shave Gel, 6 Razor Blades (along with a free aluminium holder for your first order) and Post-Shave Balm. There are options on their website to pick and choose how often you'd like for your order to be sent out, from every 6 weeks, to 12 and then 24. I'm a firm believer that every man needs to sign up and have their skincare/shaving situation sorted without ever having to go out to the shops again. 

The Real Shaving Co Face Scrub, Shave Gel and Soothing Balm | £4.59-£4.99 |

Last but not least, another budget friendly trio but this time from The Real Shaving Co. This set is almost identical to the Wingman products featured above but with slightly fancier packaging.