Friday 29 April 2011

A Right Royal Celebration

Congratulations to Prince William and Catherine Middleton on their beautiful wedding today. I hope they have many years of happiness.

We had a lovely morning watching the build up followed by the ceremony. I couldn't help but get swept up in Royal Wedding Fever and I have to say I enjoyed every minute. Twitter was abuzz with excitement and provided running commentary. Facebook statuses also reflected the mood of the nation.

The bride (the new Duchess of Cambridge) looked simply stunning in her Alexandra Mcqueen dress and her make-up understated but glowy, just perfect for the day . The groom appeared in his finery looking regal and incredibly relaxed. I did however notice how nervous his brother Prince Harry, the best man, looked.

I must admit to having had butterflies in the morning so I can only imagine what Catherine was feeling!

To celebrate the occasion I brought out the Royal Doulton and treated the family to afternoon tea:

I bought flowers similar to the Dolce Vita flowers that I had at my wedding. The menu consisted of finger sandwiches of Coronation chicken, ham and English mustard, a delicious selection of cakes and drank Twinings English Breakfast Tea. We finished with Pimms and Lemonade.

Thursday 28 April 2011

National Save Your Skin Campaign Day- 28th April 2011

Following on from my post on Fake Bake's Platinum Face  this is just a quick post to tell you that today is Fake Bake's National Save Your Skin Campaign Day.

Following Fake Bake’s successful three year Save Your Skin campaign, which has significantly increased awareness of skin cancer, reduced sunbed usage, and took 12, 876 signatures to No.10 last January, forcing the English Government to follow Scotland in banning under 18's using dangerous sunbeds, this day will celebrate all of the campaign’s achievements and highlight the work that still needs to be done.

Fake Bake salons across the country will donate profits to Save Your Skin campaign partner and skin cancer charity RAFT from every spray tan on the day, as well as many Fake Bake at Home practitioners. So on 28th April show your support and wear your Fake Bake with pride! For more information take a look at

I think this is a great cause and applaud Fake Bake for raising awareness in a fun way. Remember, all proceeds from spray tans today go towards skin cancer charity RAFT and you can find your nearest salon by emailing

Wednesday 27 April 2011

FOTD - My Bank Holiday Monday Make-up

As you all know I have been going peachy crazy these past few weeks so for a change I went all Pretty in Pink!

This picture was taken inside the house

And this one was in the car on the motorway on the way to Lakeside - No I am not driving...

On my cheeks I have Benefit's Posietint and on my lips I am wearing the gloss I wore on my wedding day - Clinique's Colour Surge Impossibly Glossy in Sure Thing (very apt don't you think ?)

The gloss is no longer available which is a real shame as I was going to say how lovely it is, great colour and not at all sticky...

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Superdrug Simply Pure Range for Sensitive Skin

I was sent the Simply Pure range from Superdrug for review purposes - as it is for sensitive skin I asked one of my oldest friends (we have been friends since we were 5!), Vic to review it for me - Incidentally Vic is a very talented photographer and craft maker, you can see what she does by clicking here.

When Bettina handed me these Simply Pure products for sensitive skin to review, I had to double-check with her that they were Superdrug! I haven’t used any Superdrug products for quite a few years and am very impressed with the look of these four items. The clean, simple packaging really suits the products’ ‘simple’ ethos and looks classy at the same time.

The four products in question are:  

Calming Cleanser
Gentle Facial Wash
Refreshing Toner
SPF15 Face Cream

They all have that unfragranced ‘fragrance’! It’s hard to describe, but I always find that fragrance-free products have that lovely fresh, distant baby-like scent. This is perfect for me as I don’t like heavy scents in facial products.

The cleanser is non-greasy and most certainly removed lots of grime from the day. I then used the facial wash, which I was pleased to find was quite a thick, clear gel. It felt refreshing on the skin and didn’t leave my skin feeling as tight as other facial washes have in the past. After the facial wash, I used the toner. I don’t always use toner as part of my skincare routine, but this again, felt refreshing and allowed me to leave putting on the moisturiser longer... I always find I have to rush and moisturise after washing my face! So, the face cream... A definite plus is the SPF15. I’d been using a moisturiser with SPF12, so a little higher for the summer is certainly a good thing. The cream itself is non-greasy and quite thick, which I liked. 

I’ve been using these products for nearly a month now and haven’t had any adverse reactions at all and my skin is pretty sensitive! I’d definitely recommend all of Superdrug’s Simply Pure products. They do the job at an affordable price and look good on your bathroom shelf too!

Thanks so much Vic for this review, glad you liked the products. 

Superdrug Simply Pure products are paraben free, hypoallergenic, dermatologically approved and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. All products listed cost £2.59 each

Monday 25 April 2011

Waterproof Mascara - No7 Intense Volume

Every summer I have to pack away/bin my mascaras and go on the hunt for a great waterproof version as I suffer quite badly from hay-fever. I chose this waterproof mascara having read on the tube that it promises 'fantastic volume with perfect separation and curl for lusher lashes.'

Apparently this is the replacement mascara for No7's Ultimate Waterproof Mascara however I cannot tell you how it fares in comparison to the original version as I haven't tried it.

Intense Volume Waterproof Mascara

I am using Intense Volume in Black 01

As always on BeautySwot here are the before and after pics -

I actually find this mascara to be lengthening as opposed to providing volume which I think you can see from the pics above. It doesn't clump, separates nicely and provides spidery style long lashes but having tried lots of mascaras I know that I personally prefer thicker looking lashes.

As a waterproof mascara it performs well if my eyes are watering or I am sneezing but if I rub my eyes (due to the itchy eyes) I do end up with smudges so I would say it is not the best waterproof mascara I have ever used. This accolade currently is awarded to Rimmel's 100% Waterproof Mascara.

I have never really been impressed by No7 mascaras. I have always been left disappointed by the results particularly as they are not that cheap, however for a waterproof mascara it is quite a nice mascara as a lot I have tried have left my eyelashes looking a bit flat.

Would I repurchase ?- No I don't think I would.

No7 Intense Volume Waterproof Mascara costs £11.50 and is available from Boots

Sunday 24 April 2011

Happy Easter!

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Easter!

Here is what we have got up to...

A bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate

Cadbury's Mini Eggs

Melt the chocolate and stir into Cornflakes  - put in fridge to set and then add a mini egg on top


My little boy :-)

Saturday 23 April 2011

Dirty Works - Buff Your Stuff Body Scrub Review

I have been using Buff Your Stuff scrub for the past few weeks and really, really like it.

This is described as a creamy scrub that buffs away and conditions the skin with Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E. The scrub is packaged in a tube with fun, cheeky images and print that is similar in style to Soap and Glory.

I have to say I don't find it creamy but verging on oily,  it is though a great sugar scrub. It is packed with sugar but not harsh and scratchy on the skin like some sugar scrubs can be. It has a delicate and sweet floral scent that lingers on the skin after bathing. The sugar dissolves nicely leaving no residue on the skin or in the bath and the result is just beautifully soft skin.

I was going to say in my review that its major downfall was that I found it incredibly hard to squeeze the product out of the tube, it was almost a work-out in itself. However, yesterday something really strange happened, I was geared up to flex my muscles but the scrub flowed out nicely. The tube is about half full so I wonder if that has anything to do with it ? If only it had been like this from the beginning.....

Dirty Works Buff Your Stuff Body Scrub costs £3.99 for 200ml and is available from Sainsbury's.

Monday 18 April 2011

A Question of Samples

You may or may not be aware that many cosmetic counters carry drawers of samples to be handed out to customers (well I assume that is what they are for) but have you ever noticed how hard to is to get a sample of a product that you may be interested in ?

They appear to guard them as if they were the Crown Jewels unless they have been advertised as having samples to give and sometimes even then they are reluctant to hand them over. Rarely will you be asked if you would like a sample, if you ask if they have a sample, the usual response is no. Sometimes the counter staff will pop some random samples in after you have purchased something but as they have not been thought out, they may not be suitable for you which I think is a real shame.

If I am going to spend in excessive of approx £30 I like to try (wherever possible) before I buy, I don't think a tiny squeeze on the hand is enough to decide whether I am going to like/the product is going to be suitable for me.

Personally, I have quite often purchased the product having been given a sample - Quite a few of the big companies now provide 7 day samples of their foundations which I think is excellent and I have made full use of this service. I have bought Estee Lauder Double Wear, Lancome's Teint Miracle and am about to buy Clinique's Anti Rednesss Solutions Makeup after receiving generous samples.

Most of us are not after a freebie but genuinely want to try a product, and let's be honest the 5ml is not exactly going to last forever is it!

I find the best way to try make-up before buying is to have a makeover. Although some companies charge for them, very often the fee is redeemable against purchase. Some companies do however offer free makeovers. I have had quite a few makeovers over the years and have bought some if not all the products that were used to make me up. Makeovers are a great way of seeing what suits you and learning more about application and techniques.

What have been your experiences? Are some counters better than others? Do you like to try before you buy?

Saturday 16 April 2011

Lush' Street Party' Bath Ballistic

It's back! The Street Party Bath Ballistic

Brought out for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, this bath ballistic is being reintroduced for a limited time only in celebration of the Royal Wedding

To create a party in the comfort of your own bathtub, throw in a Street Party and marvel as it explodes with glittering golden specks of gold, festive streamers and golden stars. Adding to the party mood, the fragrance is an intoxicating blend of cognac, orange and lime to refresh and uplift the senses – it will really get the party going! Each ballistic even flies the Union Jack flag – a right royal treat for the patriotic among us.

I think this sounds like a lot of fun! 

Street Party is available now from Lush and costs £2.95

Friday 15 April 2011

The Friday Column - My Life In Books

This is the first of a new feature on - Every Friday I will use my blog to talk about something a little different. As always, I welcome your feedback :-)

My first Friday Column is inspired by a feature in Easy Living Magazine. Every month a well-known person is asked to give their life in books. I really enjoy reading about their choices, so I thought I would do the same...

Charles Dickens - David Copperfield 

This is my favourite book of all time. My parents gave me a copy when I was at Primary School. Bizarrely, it was a condensed version for students learning English as a foreign language and so was easy to read -.much easier than the "Penguin Classic" copy I bought when I was in my teens.

David Copperfield has been suggested to be an autobiographical account of Dicken's life. It is the story from birth, his teenage life and on through careers, romances, marriages and deaths. I love the way this book evoked so many emotions, and I had empathy for pretty much all of the characters. The tale cleverly interweaves the connections between the characters - the way they meet, come together and ultimately depart. It is one of the few books where the characters really come alive. I never tire of this book.

However, I was very disappointed when I first sat down to watch David Copperfield on TV thinking it would be an adaptation of the book - only to find some magician appear on my screen!

Margery Williams - The Velveteen Rabbit 

I was such an avid reader when I was young, so when a friend of the family visited from America and presented me this book I was delighted.

This is an utterly charming tale about a stuffed rabbit longing to become real through the love of his owner, having been told by the Skin Horse that a toy becomes real if its owner really loves it.

As a child I loved the idea that somehow toys came alive and talked to each other, so this book - and its lovely illustrations - holds a special place in my heart.

I have the book safely boxed up in my loft as a memory of my childhood.

Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider - THE RULES Time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr Right

This book was all over the press when it was released and caused uproar at the time. It was published in 1995 when I was 18.

Being a curious sort, and it would seem not wishing to waste my time dating lots of Mr Wrongs... I purchased it to see what all the fuss was about.

It came with such pearls of wisdoms as:

Don't accept a date for Saturday night any later than a Wednesday.
Don't go dutch on a date.
Always end phone-calls first.
Always end a date first - The idea being you leave the man wanting more.

I think the best advice I read was to never chase a man. If you have to do the chasing then he just isn't that into you and it will lead to disappointment.

What can I say - I read the book and promptly ignored all the advice. I went on to have some very bad relationships!

So I changed tact and followed the rules. Some things I just couldn't follow though, like not talking too much (I cannot help it) and not opening up too soon (well sometimes I wear my heart on my sleeve).

It may be a load of nonsense, but it bagged me a husband and I had a lot of fun along the way!

Richard Nelson Bolles - What Color Is Your Parachute

I was given this as a leaving present from a brief job in IT Recruitment. I had quickly worked out that the recruitment game wasn't for me, but I needed a little guidance as to my next career move and the Director of the Company recognised this, hence the gift,

This is an excellent and useful book for people job hunting and anyone wanting a career change. It contains lots of advice and exercises to help decide and steer you to the most suitable job.

It asks - WHAT skills do you most love to use? WHERE--in what field--would you most love to use them? And HOW do you find such jobs without depending on agencies, ads, and online postings?

It offers practical job hunting tips. As the manual is published every year the advice is bang up to date.

I can highly recommend this book if you are at a cross roads in your career or starting out on the job ladder..

Anthony Capella - The Wedding Officer

I found myself drawn to this book merely by its title and the attractive cover when I was actually in the book store buying a guide to Italy's Amalfi Coast. It must have been fate as this novel is set in Naples... I didn't purchase it then but came home,  read the reviews and decided to buy it from Amazon.

The story revolves around my favourite things, food, Italy and romance. It is an enchanting and erotic tale. A vivid story that transports you back to wartime Italy. 

The premise - A young soldier arrives in Occupied Naples in 1943, where his duties include dissuading Allied soldiers from marrying their beautiful Italian girlfriends. A beautiful young country girl joins his staff as a cook. Under the twin influences of Italian food and Italian passion, they conduct a romance and as he realises that his heart is more important than his orders, an eruption of Vesuvius sets in motion a series of epic events that will change their lives for ever. 

I don't think I have ever read a book this well written and a story that I quite simply did not want to end. The Wedding Officer is full of historical reference which I found fascinating, the use of food being central to the plot is inspiring and the love affair so sensuous and yet raw.

What books hold meaning for you ? I would love to read about your choices.

Thursday 14 April 2011

New - Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms

I love my lip products and the latest launch from Clinique has really caught my eye, I love the sound of these and the choice of colours sound really appealing.

CLINIQUE CHUBBY STICK MOISTURIZING LIP COLOUR BALM provides a sheer hint of colour that glides on effortlessly, leaving behind a natural blush of colour and sheen.

Infused with Shea Butter, Mango Seed Butter and Jojoba Seed Oil, the 'chubby stick' delivers a surge of moisture leaving lips soft, supple and soothed.

Packaged in a playful, shade-matched crayon-esque carrier, the balm-like formula provides stay-true colour and buildable coverage. To apply, simply twist the base to expose more balm and twist back down before replacing the cap. Available in eight mouthwatering shades, ranging from nudes to pretty pinks and deep purples.

Available in:

Chunky Cherry
Richer Raisin
Super Strawberry
Whole Lotta Honey
Woppin’ Watermelon
Fuller Fig
Mega Melon

Allergy Tested. 100% Fragrance Free. Dermatologist Tested.

1.5ml RRP £13.50 €19.00

Available at Clinique counters nationwide from 15th April 2011

Wednesday 13 April 2011

My Spring Perfume

You may remember I recently wrote about this from Jo Malone.

Well I was very kindly sent these two scents

Ever since I have received them, I have worn them every day, they are just beautiful. Worn alone they smell fabulous, combined amazing!

The first time I applied it, the postman had just delivered them and I couldn't wait to have a spray. My husband came home and straight away asked what the delightful smell was, if he likes it I am half way there ;-)

Earl Grey and Cucumber Cologne is a really unusual scent but hugely appealing. I like the addition of musk

Sweet Lemon is fresh (fruity) but certainly not overpowering. I am not a fan of fruity scents and this manages to keep the right side of Lemon for me.

As I was bought English Pear and Freesia for Christmas (someone must have been reading my blog..) I am completely set up for Spring.

I cannot wait to try Sweet Milk Cologne as I think it would appeal to my scent buds!

What is your favourite Spring fragrance?

Tuesday 12 April 2011

My 'Mini' Current Obsession....

I have a teensy weeny makeup obsession this Spring/Summer. I am finding that when I am out shopping I am being increasingly drawn to all shades peachy, orange and coral and happily for me there is quite a selection for me to choose from as this is one of the Spring makeup trends ...  Funnily enough, as a clothing colour I really detest orange, I see this as a compromise :-)

In my collection -

Click to view full size

The find of the century - I absolutely love the NYC Color Wheel in Peach Glow. I am wearing it in both of my FOTDs linked to below. This is an absolutely super blusher for the princely sum of £4.09! I actually have to credit my sister with this find as she purchased the Pink Glow and I was so impressed with it that it prompted me to buy the peach.

Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess Sand and Sea EyeShadow (from a couple of years ago) I use the shade Ginger Drop (furthest right on the palette) when I wear these colours. It is a lovely shimmery colour.

Lancôme Juicy Tube in Mangue - Looks a scary bright orange in the tube, looks fab on the lips. Will post picture soon of me wearing it.

Revlon Super Lustrous Matte Smoked Peach Lipstick - As seen on my lips in this FOTD.

My newest purchases -

Sleek Makeup from the Avoir la Pêche Collection - i-Divine Paraguaya Palette - 12 fabulous colours for me to play with, I cannot wait to try some eye looks out with this palette! I have been itching to get hold of it for some time now but all the Superdrugs I had tried previously didn't stock Sleek.

Sleek Makeup Pout Polish in Sugar May - I have used this already in this FOTD but I will no doubt be using this in future posts too, it smells amazing (Vanilla). Goes on beautifully and is non drying on the lips.

On my list to buy (sadly it wasn't in stock when I bought the above) Sleek Makeup Pan Tao Blusher

I am still on the hunt for other fab products in these hues so please leave me a comment with your suggestions.  I am particularly interested in a peach/orange gloss with shimmer.

What is your current makeup obsession ?

Monday 11 April 2011

Face Of The Day - FOTD

If you follow me on Twitter (@BeautySwot) you will know that it is no secret that my latest love is peach, coral and orange make-up.  The look that I went for yesterday is quite light and balanced with the focus and definition on my eyes, I think this shows how wearable this trend is.

I was quite pleased with my eyes as even with my hay fever I managed to make them stay like this for a good few hours!

My hair would have been straight but my Son managed to break the hair-dryer just as I was about to use it (sob, sob!)

What do you think ?

Sunday 10 April 2011

NOTD - Me! Me! Me! No7 Stay Perfect Nail Polish - New Colour!

No7 are releasing 20 new trend- led shades this Summer. The formulation of the polishes have been updated and they now contain Okume extract to stop nails from becoming brittle while increasing flexibility. Lumiere powder using diamond core technology lifts the colour brightness in the polish. I found this really easy to apply, it comes with a wider brush but it was perfect even for my small nails :-)

I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the new shades. I chose to wear it today as the sunshine has really perked me up and I fancied something nice and bright to mirror my mood.

This is a vibrant hot (shocking) pink shade. Perfect for Summer don't you think?

I used 2 coats as I found that one just wasn't enough.

New No7 Stay Perfect Nail Polishes cost £7.50  for 10ml.
Available from 15th June 2011 

Thursday 7 April 2011

I feel like Cleopatra! Mandara Spa Honeymilk Dream Body Butter

Legend has it that Cleopatra bathed in honey and milk. Sadly, I haven't bathed in milk and honey yet but I hope to experience some variation of this very soon ... I am however using this lovely product after my baths.

Mandara Spa Honeymilk Dream nourishing body butter - £9 for 350ml

This body butter has become my favourite body moisturiser.  A super moisturising and luxurious enough to feel pampered body butter. It is thick but non greasy and massages in easily, drying quickly. Honeymilk Dream leaves no residue just smooth, silky soft skin. As it is thick a little will go far.

The scent is sweet, not sickly, so delicate and subtle that it doesn't overpower as some scents can do, but just gently lingers on the skin.

The ingredients include three natural butters; cocoa, mango and shea. This is blended with sweet almond oil and acacia honey. Vitamin E is also there in the ingredients. All fab stuff and my favourite honey! 

As this is a sister brand to Elemis it also leaves out the nasties so it is free from SLS, SLES, Parabens, Mineral Oil and DEA. I am making a real effort to seek out products that avoid these so this is a real bonus for me.

Mandara Spa Honeymilk Dream is available from Sainsburys.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

The Tea Guild Announces The Winner of Top London Afternoon Tea 2011

The Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea 2011 Award has been announced and the winner is .....


Congratulations to Claridges on the well deserved Award.

In case you are wondering how the Tea Guild choose the winner of Top London Afternoon Tea, they use the following criteria to base their decision on -

The anonymous judges award points for the variety, flavour and knowledge of the teas offered, together with the quality of food, service, décor, ambience, and presentation.

Claridges won after impressing Tea Guild judges with its exceptional service, great quality tea and extensive knowledge of the staff.. The Foyer (where afternoon tea is served) gained a near perfect score from The Tea Guild's inspectors. The judges praised it for its tasteful art deco style and fine furnishings, as well as friendly and efficient staff and excellent selection of scones, sandwiches and cakes. Claridge's surpassed expectations with an excellent selection of teas, and knowledgeable and friendly staff who excelled firstly in advising customers on the choice of tea blends on offer and then serving those teas perfectly. The judges concluded that Claridge's offered "a very enjoyable and relaxing tea experience in splendid surroundings."

I really love Claridges, so much so I have been for Afternoon Tea twice. I am so happy that the Tea Guild agree with me. You can read my review here.

Once again congratulations Claridges on being named Top London Afternoon Tea 2011

Tuesday 5 April 2011

My Facebook Page

Just a quick note to tell you that if you visit and like my facebook page  you will be able to see albums of my eyes, lips, face of the days and nail polishes.

Each time a new review goes up the pictures will be added to the relevant album.

I hope you like it :-)

Thank you for looking!

Monday 4 April 2011

A Fabulous Tinted Moisturiser - Madara Decoface Tinting Fluid

Madara decoface Tinting Fluid in Moon Flower - £23 for 50mls - Suitable for all skin types.

One of the nicest things about beauty blogging is trying a fab product and finding out about companies that you simply cannot wait to share with your readers..and this dear reader is one of them.

You may not have heard of Madara, I will admit I hadn't.

A little background - Madara is an entirely natural and organic range of cosmetics manufactured in Latvia. Its ingredients include biologically certified flower and herb extracts from the Baltic region, as well as other natural substances.

The tinting fluid contains - Baltic algae, chamomile, plantain, rose water and St John's-wort, cocoa, jojoba. The colour and shimmer are obtained from natural plant minerals and mica, how good does this sound?

I was lucky enough to be sent this tinting fluid to try but I will definitely be purchasing it once I have finished this bottle as I really think it is one of those 'must have' products.

I will admit my first impression of the tinting fluid was not entirely positive. I wasn't keen on the scent, I found it a little strange, yet it only took another sniff before I was hooked.

The scent is verdant - think grass, meadows and greenery, think peas in a pod freshly shelled. Actually it is really addictive and yes even me, she who suffers from hay fever now finds it utterly appealing.

I am always a little reluctant to move away from my foundations to a tinted moisturiser for Spring/Summer as I have been used to the coverage all winter.

I needn't have worried though as this provides great coverage, yes it wont hide huge blemishes but it does even out skin tone and small imperfections. I love how light this feels on the skin and the fact that it is pretty long lasting. I found it easy to blend and build coverage if necessary. It also felt quite cooling, a plus point I would imagine in the heat. This is such a great lighter alternative to foundation.

I have been using it both after applying my moisturiser and without and it does feel really moisturising and glides across the skin and absorbs well to leave a beautiful finish, which I haven't always found with tinted moisturisers. In sunlight it looks dewy but I wasn't able to capture it for the camera. I have a feeling though there will definitely be some more face of the day (FOTD) pictures using Madara, so I hope to be able to catch it on camera in the future.

If you are looking for a tinted moisturiser that illuminates the skin and leaves it looking radiant and healthy looking then you should try this.

Click on pic for a close up to see coverage

Madara tinting fluid is available in two shades - Moon Flower which I am using and a darker one (Sun Flower) for slightly more tanned skins and comes in a handy pump action bottle.

Don't just take my word on how great it is though.. The Beauty Bible agrees with me as as The Moon Flower Tinting Flower has just been awarded an Anti Ageing Beauty Winner Award.

For more details on where to buy worldwide, including UK click here and buy online here at


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