Monday 29 November 2010

BeautySwot's Best Christmas Gift Guide for under £50

I have trawled the shops, browsed online and magazines to bring to you my top picks of the most fabulous gifts to suit all budgets!

Lush Secret Santa - £5

Lush really have Christmas all wrapped up.  This is fantastic value and a great little gift for Lush fans or those who are looking for a 'Secret Santa' present. This  present is already wrapped and contains a Snowcake Star Soap and a Satsumo Santa Bath Ballistic. I love it!

This present and others to suit all budgets are available to purchase from Lush stores or online at

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Limited Edition 150ml - £17.50

The multi award-winning Cleanse and Polish comes in a beautifully embossed metallic shell and includes a muslin cloth. Every woman should put this on their list or buy it as a gift.

Available from and selected John Lewis stores.

Lancome Juicy Tubes Gift Set - £16

Lancome's Juicy Tubes were my first lip gloss collection and I think this is a pretty gift featuring 4 cute miniatures (7ml) in great shades of Fraise, Lychee Toffee R&B and Marshmallow Electro.

Available from Lancome Counters nationwide

Sanctuary Skin Brightening Kit  - £16

Ideal for those who want to treat someone to a Spa experience. This is a 30 minute facial in a box containing everything you need for a radiant glow!

Available from Boots stores or online at

Frontcover To Go Eye Collection -  Usually £35 (currently on offer with a 1/3 off so now just -  £23.33!)

Beauty lovers will simple adore this amazing palette!

  • Tips and Advice On How To Create Different Looks
  • 10 removable domed baked powder eye shadows
  • 3 removable domed baked twinkle powder eye shadows
  • 5 removable fine line pressed powder eye shadow duos
  • 2 removable pressed powder eye shadows
  • Shadowline Liquid (turns shadow to eyeliner)
  • Double ended applicator and an interchangeable compact.

Clarins Limited Edition Beauty Flash Balm  50ml - £26.50

This beauty booster instantly eliminates all signs of fatigue, promoting a radiant complexion.  This Christmas it comes with a gorgeous Swarovski crystal embellished cap. A real treat!

Available from Clarins Counters

Models Own Christmas Gift Set - £20 

Fans of Nail Polish will love this fabulous set of 6 Glitter Nail Polishes. Colours featured are Scarlet Sparkle, Mixed Up, Bluebelle, Magenta Devine, Emerald City and Disco Mix.

Available from and Boots stores

Benefit Some Beauty To Love - £29.50

Benefit have come up trumps this year with some amazing gift sets, fun packaging and perfect products to boot! This one includes: CORALista coral–pink cheek powder with brush, 12g, Eye Bright instant eye brightener 1.4g, BADgal lash mascara deluxe mini 4g, ‘That Gal’ brightening face primer deluxe mini 7.5ml. You better be quick though as these sets are selling out fast!

Available from Benefit stores and counters.

L'Occitane Nourishing Shea Butter Collection - Currently £39! (Usually £55)
For a full body pamper pack this is wonderful. Shea Butter is perfect for dry or dehydrated skin.

Also worth checking out, one I particularly love the scent of, is the Cherry Blossom Collection £46

Both are available from

And finally,

Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Collection - £49.50

This indulgent miniature Bath and Shower Oil Collection contains 9 bottles, providing an effective and memorable aromatherapy experience

Available from

Happy Shopping!

Saturday 27 November 2010

Nicole By OPI Launches New Liquid Metal Collection - Preview!

I cannot wait for the launch of these!

Notice-Me Nails!

Nicole by OPI Nails High-Impact Drama with New Liquid Metals Collection

Nicole by OPI ignites a mesmerising look for the New Year with Liquid Metals. Featuring four new metallic Nail Lacquers ranging from shimmering sea foam to sophisticated champagne, Nicole by OPI’s Liquid Metals collection offers the season’s must-have accessory.
“Dress your nails with Liquid Metals to make a chic fashion statement with a high-shine finish,” says Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, Nicole by OPI’s Executive VP & Artistic Director. “Metallic shades are perfect to wear with all clothing colors, adding some easy edge to your wardrobe.”

The Liquid Metals collection from Nicole by OPI includes:

Miss Independent
A violet with a shine of its own.

The Next CEO
A highly motivated metallic gold.

Rich in Spirit
This metallic silvery blue-green is all you really need.

It Starts with Me
A metallic champagne that channels your inner shine.

Nicole by OPI Nail Lacquers and Nail Treatments contain no DBP, Toluene, or Formaldehyde

Liquid Metals will be available January 2011 from RRP £7.95

For more information on the products or for details of stockists call Lena White Ltd on 01923 240010 or visit

My favourites are The Next CEO and It Starts with Me - Which ones have caught your attention?

Thursday 25 November 2010

Susan Posnick Cosmetics Review

A bit of background - Susan Posnick is a make-up artist of 20 years who developed the COLORFLO Foundation after having skin cancer. She wanted to create a range that had high sun protection that felt light and did not melt in the heat.COLORFLO was her very first product

COLORFLO Foundation -  £39.95 - I used colour M3 although other shades are available.

Readers of this blog will know that I really struggle with mineral foundations, finding the powder messy and application taking an age. So when I spotted this on twitter I was really keen to see this in the flesh as the casing looked interesting and attractive. Here was a mineral powder contained in a tube and was self dispensing, it seemed ideal and mess free.

In addition this claims to be sweat and waterproof with a SPF of 26 - Impressive.

Well the instructions seemed easy enough - Prep the brush- firmly press button at base of COLORFLO 1-2 times before first application to get minerals flowing.After initial prep, simply tap brush on wrist 1-3 times until mineral are visible in brush. Apply in circular motion.

What happened - I followed the instructions and as this is quite a light colour I couldn't work out whether anything was coming out so I kept pressing the button - when I did put it on my face I was covered in a cloud of mineral powder - Ooops! Well I did manage to laugh, so much for the non messy application.

Once I had the hang of it I actually found it really easy to apply. The brush was gorgeously soft and the application even. Yes, it still took a lot longer than my usual liquid foundation but the result was amazing. I had no need to use a separate concealer and I felt great, as if I wasn't wearing anything at all.

This is pricey for a foundation and I have no idea how long it would last. It is portable so you could retouch when out and about. It is also refillable - refills costs around £21. I do like it and will continue to use it.

This is a picture of me wearing the foundation and the blusher. Readers will recognise this as one of my FOTD's as I was so pleased with it.

Susan Posnick COLORME Cheeks and Eyes - £21.00 in Camelia. Available in 7 shades.

This was a Winner of The Green Beauty Bible Awards.

The blusher is my favourite product, I like the fact that the powder is in a self dispensing pot. It has an attached puff and mirror on the lid. It goes on really nicely and has a very, very slight shimmer. Very pretty and easy to use. I found it had good pigmentation and was long lasting.

Here it is on my hand and of course on my cheeks on the picture above.

Susan Posnick COLOREYEDEFINE - £25.00 in Bronze/Copper. Available in 8 Duos.

Note - The picture above is of the product with the lids off.

This is a duo of a slender angled eye liner pen and a self dispensing eye shadow sponge.

This is a lovely duo, the shadow has a gorgeous and slightly metallic sheen to it that reflects light beautifully and the applicator is fantastic, for easy, even coverage on the eyelid. The eye liner is incredibly soft to apply so there is no dragging and blendable for a more softer look. That said I do feel this is quite expensive.

Overall, I definitely think this brand is worth a look at.

What do you think?

Th range is available from spas and salons nationwide and online at
For stockists check online at

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Cologne

I must admit before getting a sample of the latest Cologne English Pear & Freesia I had heard a lot of good things about Jo Malone products but had never actually smelt anything in the collection. When I was on Honeymoon in San Francisco I visited the newly opened Westfield Centre but was unable to get near the counter it was so busy!. This cologne had a lot to live up to so I was pleased to find I was not disappointed.

Pear and Freesia is described as the essence of Autumn,capturing the scent of just-ripe pears gathered from an English orchard.

Key notes in this scent are -

King William Pear: A classic, crisp pear variety with a fruity fresh first impression that mellows as the addition of quince in the heart of the scent adds warmth and depth.

White Freesia: Loved for its exquisitely fragrant flowers, the scent of freesia is freshly green with a surprisingly soft depth.

Patchouli: An intensely woody, autumnal base note with a sweet balsamic scent and spicy, earthy undertones.

English Pear & Freesia is everything I imagined and more. I fell in love with it the moment I sprayed it on. The scent is delicate, fresh, elegant and classy. This is exactly what I expected from Jo Malone. I cannot wait to try some other colognes now and will be heading to Selfridges as soon as possible.

English Pear and Freesia pictured is £68 for 100ml or £34 for 30ml and is available from and Jo Malone counters.

Do you own any Jo Malone products?
What do you like from the collection?

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Marie Claire Launches 'Beauty Genius' iphone App

Marie Claire recently announced the launch of its first iPhone app - Beauty Genuis and it has done so well it made Apple's App of the Week in its 1st Week!

This App has 34 amazing how-to beauty videos and 45 minutes of expert hair and beauty master classes.
Taking the hottest, latest looks from the catwalk and showing you easy ways to recreate them at home and including recommendations on products to achieve this.

Stumped over a smoky eye or baffled as to how to achieve the perfect pout ? Top make-up artists and stylists , including top celebrity make-up artist Jackie Tyson (she has worked with Sienna Miller, Lily Allen, Katy Perry and many more) will show you how in step by step guides. The App currently contains Tips and Tricks on Smoky Eyes, Red Lips, Classic Blow-dry, Groomed Brows, False Lashes and Flawless Skin.

One of the features that I love on this App is one where you can save your beauty wish list by selecting products used in the videos to store in your Make-up Bag. You will then have a handy list when out and about shopping.

In addition Marie Claire has carefully selected 6 celebrities whose looks we most want to emulate and created videos on how to create their eyes, skin, lips, hair and total look.

Choose from these fabulous ladies -

  • Cheryl Cole
  • Jennifer Aniston 
  • Kate Bosworth
  • Jessica Alba
  • Lea Michelle
  • Rihanna

I love it!

Beauty Genius is available to download now from the iTunes App Store for £1.19 and will be soon available for the iPad.

I think it makes an excellent mini gift this Christmas for any beauty lover!

Monday 22 November 2010

My 'Lust Have' Christmas Wish List

This Ted Baker Make-up Bag - £22 - is so pretty! Available from or Ted Baker stockists.

It is big enough for all my beauty essentials and has a fab print inside too - best of all it is wipe clean.

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Glamour Quad - £30 Available from and Bobbi Brown Counters.

This stunning palette contains 1 highlighter and 3 smouldering, smokey-eye-shadows, all infused with fine, light-catching glitter!

Jo Malone Red Roses Cologne £34 for 30ml - Available from

I am a huge fan of Roses, in pretty much any form so this scent containing seven varieties of rose and balanced with lemon and honeycomb makes it onto my must have list.

Connock London Candle £36.80 - Available from

I would like this as it is infused with the sensual, exotic fragrance of Hawaiian flowers with floral notes of Jasmine and Gardenia. It will evoke memories of my Honeymoon in Hawaii - good times!

Blusher Brush from Shu Uemura - £41 - Available from and Shu Uemura counters.

Blusher Brush - 20B - One of the best blusher brushes out there - Made of Pony Hair, it has soft, flexible bristles for sharply defined cheeks and precise and delicate shading.

And finally this gorgeous and luxurious looking Burberry Make-Up - Available exclusively from Harrods

Burberry Beauty Sheer Eye Shadow in Trench or Gold Trench £22

I love the fact this is a light and creamy long-lasting formula and is embossed with the signature Burberry check! It also comes in a compact case with a brush and presented in a pouch with embossed check design.

Burberry Lip Cover in Nude Beige £22

Obviously this is not a picture of the Nude Beige but it gives you an idea of the type of packaging that it comes in. This is beautifully designed and really must take a place in my cosmetic bag...The Lip Cover is a satin lipstick contained in Burberry check casing. Benefits include - continuous hydration, anti-aging ceramides for fuller lips and UV filters to protect from environmental damage.

I hope you enjoyed reading what is on my list, what is on your 'lust have' list this Christmas ?

Thursday 18 November 2010

Eyeko Cream With Extra Glow

Every so often comes along a product that you simply want to rave and shout from the rooftops about how great it is and this is one of those ..

Described as a moisturiser, highlighter and eye cream in one, this product has made it onto my must have list. 

The outer packaging is cute and distinctive. The actual tub is pink and girlie but I would personally prefer a tube or something similar that I could put in my handbag if necessary.

It is a pink silvery colour cream, which has no real scent. I find it to be of a very soft creamy texture that blends in amazingly well, I apply it with my fingertips. It does dry quite quickly but once it is there it is long lasting.

This is a fabulous highlighter, I put it on my cheek bones and it gives an amazing sheen and brightness that I have become hooked on! I feel just stunning and radiant when I turn and the light catches it.
You can apply it wherever you would like a lovely sheen - brow and cheek bones, collarbone, even your shins.

I must admit I haven't used it as a moisturiser as I think it would be quite shiny (I have normal/combination) but I would imagine it could be used mixed with your foundation if you feel your skin is looking a little dull. I also haven't tried it as an eye cream.

This is an absolute steal at £8 for 28ml when compared to similar products on the market and I urge you to get this... suitable for all skin tones.

Eyeko Cream With Extra Glow is available to purchase from and don't forget to use my ambassador code ;-)

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Organic Surge Skin Perfecting Polish & A Great Offer!

I'd seen a few adverts for Organic Surge and all the chatter on twitter about it, so naturally I was curious to try this brand. When the fabulous sounding "polish" was mentioned I knew I had to get my hands on it. I LOVE the name Organic Surge. It has a real "must have" factor about it.

When I found a £2 off coupon in my weekend newspaper, I rushed out to Boots to pick one up. I was pleasantly surprised how reasonably priced this brand is considering it is organic and "nasties free"!

You will find none of the following in their products:
  • Parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate
  • Synthetic perfume, artificial colourants
  • Chemical antioxidants mineral oils, propylene glycol
  • Aggressive foaming agents

Skin Perfecting Polish 

The packaging is clean and smart and it looks great on my bathroom shelf

The product is suitable for all skin types. It claims to stimulate, smooth and rehydrate. Active ingredients include organic rosemary and lemon essential oils. The exfoliating granules are made from finely ground apricot stone and walnut shell. 

I love this product, it smells fabulous - like lemon sorbet. It comes out quite runny but creamy. There are a few granules, but not as many as there would be in a traditional scrub - it is a polish after all! I found it really gentle and it felt like it gave me a real good clean.

It left my skin feeling clean and incredibly soft and smooth. This is a fantastic light exfoliator. I also noticed that my skin looked more radiant - so an extra plus point there!

To use - Massage onto damp skin using circular motions and then rinse off. Avoid the delicate eye area.

I now use it twice a week and use a mask once a week.

I am looking forward to trying more from this range as I was so impressed. 

It is such a great value, quality product.

Skin Perfecting Polish 150ml is priced £5.99 from Boots or direct from


Between the 16th and 25th November 2010 if you purchase 3 Organic Surge skincare products from Boots, Organic Surge will send you £10!

See here for more details, conditions apply.

Monday 15 November 2010

Afternoon Tea at Claridges - Review

It has been almost a month since my last Afternoon Tea review so I thought it was about time for another, especially as Christmas is fast approaching and people are looking for gift ideas....

Claridges was my first experience of Afternoon Tea - English tradition at its finest - and we booked it for my mum's 60th Birthday as she had always wanted to try it.  I chose Claridges as that year it had won the Tea Guild Award of Excellence.

Booking it was straightforward. I did it online through the Claridges website, although you can also book via telephone. I have to admit that although this visit was 3 years ago, we did return 6 months later and the experience was exactly the same.

We went in February 2007 which unbeknown to us was the exact same time that Mariah Carey was staying there for the opening of Pinko fashion store in SW3, and there was quite a buzz in the wintry air!

We arrived by foot as it is just a short walk from Bond Street Station.When we stepped through the doors we were greeted with smiling faces and were promptly ushered into the delightful foyer (where afternoon tea is served) This was an intimate, yet stunning room that oozed charm and sophistication and yet the atmosphere was incredibly relaxed and unimposing.

Behind us was the hugest vase of flowers you could imagine - we were seated in the middle section and just opposite us was the pianist. I love having live music playing, so this for me was a real treat and at one point a violinist even joined him.

There was a mix of diners, some just enjoying a drink, others there for the whole experience. A mix of ages and nationalities and all appeared to be enjoying themselves and soaking in the atmosphere of this establishment and listening to the delicate music being played in the background.

From the minute we arrived to the moment we left we were taken care of. The staff were incredibly friendly, knowledgeable (in advising on the different teas available) and helpful. We had a dedicated staff member standing discreetly on the side, which meant that not once did we have to refill our tea cup - he did it all for us. This was a lovely touch that made us all feel very special indeed.

There were 30 teas to choose from, a delectable selection of finger sandwiches, warm freshly baked raisin and apple scones with tea infused jam and Devonshire clotted cream.  If that hasn't filled you up then the serving of delicate pastries and desserts will!  The staff kept on bringing out the sandwiches and scones until we were full. They looked tiny but we found them deceiving as very soon we were feeling full up, so as I mentioned in the Dorchester review, it is a good idea to pace yourself.

I chose the Claridges tea and a rose option. Both were delicious and neither needed milk or sugar. I love the subtlety of flavour that these tea leaves infuse.

As a first experience we were thoroughly spoilt and left with huge beams on our faces. The service and food were outstanding, and then we bumped into Mariah Carey on the way out! What a truly special day.

Mariah Carey leaving Claridges - Not bad for my husband's camera-phone!

We loved it so much we returned 6 months later for my mother in laws 60th, and it was exactly as we had remembered it. A fantastic time was had by all. This is an establishment that really cares, and is eager to please. I truly believe that you will not get better service in any other establishment serving Afternoon Tea.

Claridges bills itself as the best Afternoon Tea in London, and although I haven't been to every establishment yet.. so far I am inclined to agree.

I award Claridges 10/10 for all aspects.

Standard Afternoon Tea costs £35 per person, £45 for the Champagne option and is served daily 3pm, 3.30pm, 5pm and 5.30pm.

If you would like to book Afternoon Tea  at Claridges then please see the website for booking details

Sunday 14 November 2010

Strictly Come Make-Up!

If you are a fan of BBC1's Dancing Competition Show - Strictly Come Dancing - then you will love this Make-Up range available exclusively at Boots.

I am a huge fan of the show. It cheered me up no end when I had complications during my pregnancy and was housebound, and I even managed to watch it whilst in hospital too! There is nothing like a bit of glamour and glitz to perk you up!

Watching the show you can clearly see the importance of the costumes and the make-up to create high impact drama  - there are lots of different looks for all the different dances that are featured. This range consists of 16 beauty products but I will be focusing on just a few of them.

In the style of Strictly - the packaging is fun, glamorous and sparkly

Strictly Come Dancing Fab-u-lous Lip Collection - £12

I love lip glosses and in this set you get 4 double ended lip glosses meaning you have 8 super glosses!

My favourites are the peach/apricot colour, the deep raspberry colour and the gentle, light shimmers for a pretty pout. They are good quality, the applicator sponges are nice and some of the colours have lovely scents too - I think this is a  great gift!

Strictly Come Dancing Strictly Fab-u-lous Face and Decolette Bronzing Powder - £12

The dancers always have deep tans and you can recreate this with this bronzer - it gives a nice deep colour when swirled around. A clever product that contains - Translucent face powder, blusher and baked bronzer! It also includes a retractable brush. Great value, but I think the packaging looks a bit cheap and there is so much waste of plastic and cardboard unfortunately..

And on to my favourites - the books.

Strictly Come Dancing Stunning Look Book - £10

Containing 3 eye shadows, a blusher, 3 lip glosses, a mirror, and mini brushes - it is a fantastic value gift for a fan to recreate looks from the show. The second page of the book even includes instructions on how to do your eyes. I adore this product, the make-up is really good quality and the colours are fab and fun.

Strictly Come Dancing Latin Look Book - £10

This is my favourite one - Once again it contains 3 eye shadows, a blusher, 3 glosses and mini brushes and mirror in one handy book. The colours are rich and well pigmented. There are instructions on how to get that 'Latin' look on the second page. I just think these books are such good value and am impressed with them.

Here is a look I created from the Latin Book:

And a close up:

This was for daytime but you can obviously vamp it up for night. A very versatile book!

I don't tend to pick up products that are inspired by celebs or tv programmes, but in my opinion these are well worth a look and could make a great choice for Secret Santa's.

All products are available in Boots and on and are part of the Christmas 3 for 2 offer.


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