Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Inside the November Glossybox

I wasn't expecting to receive November's GlossyBox as I am not a subscriber. So when the postman knocked with the familiar packaging I couldn't help but smile and feel excited to open it up and reveal its contents. I would imagine that a subscriber has those same feelings :-)

If you have yet to discover what a GlossyBox is please click here for more info.

Inside my GlossyBox (there were a few variations on products sent out)

Arbonne FC5 Cooling Foot Creme 15ml tube (full size product £19 for 118ml)
Dead Sea Spa Magik Gentle Cleansing Facial Wash 25 ml tube (full size product - £8.80 for 150ml)
Illamasqua Freak Eau De Parfum 1.5ml (full size product £59 for 75ml)
Nail Rock Designer Nail Wraps in black and white stripe design (£6.65/pack)
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer pre shampoo treatment 40ml tube (full size product £52.10 for 500ml)

My thoughts

I must admit to being a little disappointed that there wasn't any make-up in November's box however I do feel that they have fulfilled their brief... 'Every month, GLOSSYBOX delivers a mix of 5 exciting product miniatures packed in a beautiful box for you to test at home..'

Personally I haven't tried any of these brands apart from Illamasqua so will find it interesting to discover new brands and the specific products that have been chosen to represent the brand this month.

I am looking forward to trying Freak perfume as I don't manage to visit an Illamasqua counter very often living where I do, so I was pleased to find the sample included in the box as I have been dying to find out what this smelt like! My one criticism would be that it is just a tiny vial, it would be lovely if GlossyBox sent out perfume miniatures as opposed to perfume samples. 

I have yet to try nail wraps so once again it was fantastic to open the box find them inside as it has given me an opportunity to try them out.

I love anything hair related hair, especially things that are going to make my hair shiny, and to be able to try out a Philip Kingsley product (which I consider to be a high end) and not have to shell out £52 first by being sent a good size sample is fab. 

OK - a cooling foot creme is not something I would really consider 'exciting' and perhaps more suited to Summer but even so I can see it coming in handy after a long day shopping or being on my feet all day. With the facial wash, I would probably keep this as a handy travel product for night's away from home.


Mixed feelings..As a beauty blogger perhaps these were not the most exciting products to have been sent out but if I put my 'consumer' hat on, I have received what I had signed up for - 5 products to try contained in a very nicely packaged and useful box. I said way back in May that its success would depend on the quality of the GlossyBox being maintained month in month out and I think so far some months have definitely been more successful than others. 

Eyes Of The Day - EOTD

Today's Eyes Of The Day actually belong to my sister - she has beautiful big brown eyes. These were her eyes on Saturday night.

She used just 3 products

Eye Shadow - L'Oreal Quad Pro Hazel Eyes - Colour 1
Eye Liner - Collection 2000 - Fast stroke Eye Liner in Black
Mascara - Rimmel Extra Super Lash in Black/Black

Just gorgeous, I would love to have big eyes!!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick - Bitten Fig

The Estee Lauder advertising campaign for their new Tom Pecheux created Pure Color Lipsticks range completely lured me in. I had to have the actual lipstick that the model (Constance Jablonski) was wearing as it looked like something that would really suit me. I asked at many counters to no avail, none of the counter staff knew which of the 40 shades it was. I think that if a company is going to have a campaign they really should let the staff know which products are going to be featured. I know I wasn't the only one to ask!

By chance one day I was flicking through a magazine and in tiny lettering I saw the words 'Bitten Fig' on the side of the page of the advert. I have never seen an advert mentioning it since but managed to contact Estee Lauder's PR department who confirmed that Bitten Fig was the shade used. 

The next issue I encountered was that not one of the counters I visited had a sample for me to try..but I was sure this was going to be a good shade for me so I went ahead and bought it anyway.

I have been a fan of Estee Lauder products since the age of 18 and have had quite a few of their lipsticks during that time from nudes to the darkest purples. The Pure Color lipsticks packaging is very attractive and the casing weighty.

The Pure Colour range is available in two finishes - Satin, lasting creme or Lustrous, lasting shimmer. Both promise medium to full coverage and to be long lasting and fade resistant. Packed with conditioning products to keep your lips soft and smooth, they smell wonderful.

Bitten Fig is from the shimmer collection.You can see the sparkle in the swatch below. 

However, sadly I think that I built up Bitten Fig so much in my head that when I finally owned it I was disappointed as on my lips it seems to go on quite flat and I don't think that it is as flattering as I had imagined it was going to be for me..

Above is a shot with flash,  it comes out looking paler than it does on my lips. I have added a full face shot so you can see how it looks. This was taken in the Summer at the height of my hay fever excuse the extra tired looking eyes. 

This was the second (and last) time I wore it, since then Bitten Fig has languished in my drawers. I am not convinced it is really me.. What do you think?

This hasn't stopped me wanting another lipstick from the collection. I love the fullness of colour and the texture of the Pure Color range. I am forever stopping at a counter swatching shades to find my next purchase but this time I will take my time choosing and perhaps have it applied before buying.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipsticks cost £18.50

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Mandeville Hotel Festive Tea Menu

The Mandeville Hotel is an elegant 4 star boutique hotel located just minutes from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street.I was recently invited along to preview their Festive Afternoon Tea Menu.

The festive afternoon tea menu is a real treat for traditional afternoon tea lovers ticking all the boxes, the added element of festive treats will delight fans of Christmas food.

Afternoon tea is served on Zandra Rhodes designed Royal Doulton fine bone china and a traditional 3 tier stand

There is a small but carefully chosen selection of teas including herna

I chose to drink the Mandeville Special Blend and Whole Rose Buds

Both teas were immensely enjoyable, the rose tea was beautifully fragranced and delicate, exactly how I would expect it to be.

Starting with 5 different finger sandwiches

Home cooked ham with Dijon mayonnaise
Scottish smoked salmon
Free range egg mayonnaise
Organic turkey and cranberries
Cucumber and cream cheese

These were nice, although it would make a welcome change to be offered something other than egg mayonnaise. I really enjoyed the assortment of pastries and cakes, absolutely delicious and plentiful!

Stollen, mince pies and Christmas cupcakes were served alongside chocolate fudge brownies, macaroons and my personal favourite clementine and walnut tarts.

No afternoon tea is complete without scones, Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam (the scones were smaller than usual, which is no bad thing with the amount of food on this menu!)

I was so full I didn't manage to try the cupcake, I am not entirely convinced they even need to be on the menu, I don't think anything would be missing if they didn't feature, the addition of stollen and mince pices were enough to make it festive (and of course the turkey sandwiches).

If you are looking for an escape from retail therapy to experience a relaxed, laid back festive afternoon tea in chic surroundings, The Mandeville Hotel is definitely worth considering.

The Mandeville Hotel Festive Tea Menu is available until the 15th January 2012 and costs £26.50 per person or £32.50 per person with a glass of Champagne. Contact the hotel for more details and to book.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

NOTD - OPI - Big Apple Red

Today's Nails Of The Day feature quite possibly one of the most gorgeous red shades ever - OPI Big Apple Red.

Big Apple Red is a true glossy red, a real classic. The colour you see in the bottle is exactly the shade you will get when applied. One coat achieves opacity but in this photo I have used two coats.

Big Apple Red has long been a favourite of my mum, suiting her cool toned skin but as you can see from this photo it is just as flattering on my warmer, yellow toned skin. This is a must for red polish fans.

OPI Big Apple Red is part of the New York Collection

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Friday Column - A Lesson In Love

A work of fiction - A Lesson in Love

Callie gritted her teeth as he patted her bottom and grinned. She knew it was wrong and he could lose his job but so would she when they had found out what she had done. Callie decided this was worth putting up with briefly as what she had planned for Mike her boss would be far worse.

Mike asked her to arrange a lunchtime reservation at a nice restaurant as he was meeting Pamela. Pamela, the mistress was confident, glamorous and rich. Callie had no idea what she saw in Mike the greasy middle manager but it wasn’t her place to second guess. Pamela waltzed into the office every so often, brazen as hell. The nerve of her Callie would think, what would Maggie say if she knew.

Maggie was Mike’s poor downtrodden wife. She would have been glamorous once Callie thought, before the toll of being Mike’s slave had taken hold. Mike often laughed with contempt at his silly little wife. Callie would listen to Mike lying to her about how he had to work late that night or had to work away, all the while running off with Pamela. Callie hated having to be part of Mike’s lies as Maggie was warm and friendly and didn’t deserve this.

Callie called the restaurant and made the reservation for 1.30pm. As she ended the call, she could see Maggie was calling. This time she wouldn’t lie. ‘Mike is free today for lunch Maggie’ Callie could hear herself saying. For a brief moment she thought she detected a smile in Maggie’s voice as Maggie replied ‘wonderful news,  as I have something to tell him ’ She passed on the details and put the phone down.

At 1.30pm Mike and Pamela were sat at the table waiting for the red wine to be poured, just like teenagers in love they were playing footsy under the table. Giggly and caressing each other, Mike wished he had asked Callie to book a hotel room. At that moment Maggie walked through the door with a tall, handsome man on her arm. Mike stood up and with genuine remorse said ‘Maggie, this is not what it looks like!’ Maggie smiled, she finally had the proof to get rid of her miserable excuse for a husband ‘And this Mike is exactly what it looks like’.

Returning to the office a furious Mike yells out for Callie. ‘Callie, what the hell were you thinking?’ The office was silent, the sun shone in on the white walls and a light breeze rustled the papers. Callie was long gone and with her the contents of the safe.

An original work of fiction - all rights reserved

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Party Season Make-up Essentials

I am guest blogging over at Tesco Magazine sharing my party season make-up essentials. To find out what beauty products will be helping me get through the season and which trends I will be embracing click here

Happy partying!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Pearl Lowe for DP London - Limited Edition Candle Collection

In a creative collaboration, DP London has partnered with British designer Pearl Lowe to create a range of collector's edition candles in its 3 iconic fragrances.

"For me scent is quite simply the ultimate home accessory. I love transforming the mood with these candles and find candlelight so decadent. They envelop a room with scent that lingers for hours, and create complete calm in my home. The travel candles are also amazing as they help me to take a little home comfort with me and also work equally well in a guest room at home" Pearl Lowe

Pearl Lowe for DP London Spiced Punch (100% natural wax) £30 for 190g

Spiced Punch is the perfect winter scent. A blend of bergamot, orange peel, cedar wood and cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla. Can anything evoke the scent of Christmas quite like this?

I have been burning this candle for the last few evenings, it is incredibly calming and wraps the room in a gorgeously light spicy scent. This is neither overly masculine or feminine.

Pearl Lowe for DP London Candle Trio (100% natural wax) £30 for 3 x 50g

This set would make an ideal Christmas Gift,  it features 3 equally wonderful scented mini candles all with a Pearl Lowe design.

Spiced Punch - as above
White Flowers - A heavenly blend of exotic Jasmine, the purest Moroccan roses and sweet Orange Blossom in bloom.
Citrus Fruits - A warm blend of Sicilian lemon peel, juicy orange combined with the fresher, green citrus notes of Italian bergamot and a spicy twist of root ginger.

DP London candles have strong eco-credentials, being neither damaging to your health or the environment -All candles are made from 100% natural wax, containing a sustainable beeswax and EcoSoya with an organic fragrance. They may be used singly or together to create an alluring aroma. They contain no paraffin (the mining of which is unsustainable) or palm oil (a product which contributes to deforestation). The candles are presented in a reusable bespoke, handmade Japanese porcelain container.

These candles are beautiful and I think this is a perfect partnership of Pearl Lowe's style and design and DP London's beauty and lifestyle brand.

The Pearl Lowe for DP London Candle range is available from Selfridges and as well as from DP London's own site

*PR Sample

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

My 'Lust Have' Christmas Wish List 2011

On my 'lust have' Christmas list this year I have included

An evening bag - although I cannot decide between these two...

The Glitzie Bow Clutch Bag from Ted Baker - £55

Glitter Clutch in Pewter from Dune - £60

A bottle of perfume

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle from £45

Eye shadow but not just any eye shadow

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eye Shadow in Epatant £22.50 - a beautiful silver/green that I swatched here

Something for my lips

Laura Mercier Nude Lip Glace in Champagne £18.50

And finally some makeup brushes 

EcoTools Bamboo 6 Piece Eye Brush Set - £14.99

These may not be the most expensive brushes but I was really pleased with my EcoTools blusher brush so I am hoping that these are just as good!

Look out for my Christmas Gift Guides coming very soon

Monday, 21 November 2011

An Autumn Make-Up Look - FOTD

My Autumn Face

I have done this makeup a few times now and think it is ideal for daytime. I find it warm and fresh.looking.

Products used 

Primer - Benefit Porefessional 
Eye Primer - Urban Decay EyeShadow Primer Potion Eden 
Foundation - Estee Lauder Double Wear in Pale Almond
Bronzer - Accessorize Baked Bronzer Duo in Bali 
Blushers - Accessorize Merged Baked Blusher in Scandal, Nars Deep Throat Blush
Skin Highlighter -MAC Semi Precious Rose Quartz Mineral Skinfinish (lightly brushed all over face).
Eye shadows - Cult GD Lazy Days, Max Factor Earth Spirits Eyeshadow in Burnt Bark
Mascara - Flawless You Forever Luscious in Black
Eyeliner - Clinique Cream Shaper for Eyes in Chocolate Lustre
Lipstick - Lord and Berry 20100 Shining Lipstick in Intimacy

Have you adapted your makeup colours for winter?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Nails Of The Day (NOTD) - OPI - Lincoln Park After Dark

Today's Nails Of The Day come courtesy of OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark.

I absolutely LOVE this shade for Autumn/Winter. I have been lusting after a shade exactly like this for a little while and this hits all the right notes. Dark and vampy, this is a stunning purple/black and it is so glossy!

Two coats will achieve opacity.

OPI Lincoln Park After Dark is definitely one that should appear in every nail polish lover's collection!

From the OPI Chicago Collection

*PR Sample

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Max Factor Ageless Elixir 2-in-1 Foundation + Serum - Review

I have spoken before about Max Factor being one of the first brands I tried when I bought foundation.Ever since then I have always held a soft spot for the brand.

I was sent the latest Foundation Ageless Elixir 2in1 Foundation + Serum to review in shade 50 Natural. The latest offering from Max Factor is described as a full coverage foundation - covers appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It contains serum and has an SPF of 15 which helps to protect against the signs of ageing (discolouration and age spots), with daily use.

I have to say I absolutely love this foundation. This is currently my favourite day to day foundation. I cannot fault it at all, I loved Xperience foundation but I would now repurchase this in its place. In my opinion this foundation has it all.

It comes in a handy pump action bottle. One pump is all I need.

The shade Natural 50 is the correct one for my skin tone. I love the gel like texture (which I am assuming is thanks to the inclusion of the serum) of the foundation, it quite literally glides across the skin. It is not runny at all and is effortless to blend, I find it incredibly light for the coverage that it provides. It has a pleasant fresh, fruity scent, not dissimilar to Olay Total Effects Wake Up Wonder Moisturiser 

I have blended Ageless Elixir foundation into my skin in the above swatches. It is barely detectable but gives a beautifully smooth finish.

The same effect is achieved on my face, my skin is covered well, flawless and radiant in just seconds. It leaves it looking so lovely and smooth. The foundation is not matt or dewy but sits somewhere nicely in-between. This is a perfect base for my makeup. It lasts well and keeps shine at bay, perhaps occasionally appearing after many hours of wear but impressive for the price tag.

Max Factor have really come up trumps with Ageless Elixir, I cannot fault it at all. My only criticism (if I had to have one) is the lack of choice of shades. It is available in just 6 shades.

Max Factor Ageless Elixir 2-in-1 Foundation + Serum costs £12.99 for 30ml and is available to purchase now 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Diet Coke Christmas Kisses Collection By Models Own

Diet Coke and Models Own have come together and created an exclusive range of 4 lip gloss shades that have been inspired by the hottest A/W 2011 trends.

The Christmas Kisses Collection comprises of four appealing shades -

Vamp it up with Pure Plum
Glam it up with Lacquer Red
Be girly with Glossy Pink
Go Hollywood with Golden Nude

All you have to do to get your hands on one, absolutely free, is 

pick up two 500ml bottles of Diet Coke in one transaction at 
selected Boots stores nationwide from 16th November to 27th 
December. Each lip gloss is worth up to £6.

Which one will you be picking up?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Benefit Watt's Up! Soft Focus Highlighter

Benefit Watt's Up!

I was most surprised when this popped through my letterbox but nevertheless delighted to have been given the opportunity to try Benefit's newest highlighter.

I am a huge fan of facial highlighters, I can really appreciate the effect it has on my skin and love how radiant it makes me look.  Highlighters really do have their place as an essential item in your makeup bag.
This is increasingly so as you age as the skin begins to lose the natural youthful glow that it exudes when you are younger.

Benefit's latest highlighter Watt's Up! is designed for the face and is a cream to powder highlighter in a gorgeous champagne shade. One end of the packaging has the highlighter (pan stick style) and the other end features a soft sponge to blend with.

Sponge blender
Watt's Up Champagne Highlighter
I love the Champagne shade as it is a really natural colour, it blends really well into my skin to provide an effect that says I naturally glow!  On the three occasions I have worn this highlighter, I have been complimented on my skin's appearance. That is the real testament to the product.

Watt's Up! is really easy to apply and as it is not a liquid highlighter, non messy. This glides on beautifully from the stick, I personally prefer to control and blend with my fingers so am not sure I would get much use of  the sponge. Being a cream to powder finish it does not remove my foundation/powder blusher that liquid highlighters have a tendency to do. This highlighter is long lasting, it stays put for a good 5-6 hours on my skin.

Watt's Up Swatch
Watt's Up Blended

For a highlighter that shouts 'I am naturally radiant!' this is the one to buy.

Benefit Watt's Up! is available to purchase now and costs £24.50

*PR sample

And The Winner Is... (Superdrug False Lashes Giveaway)

My latest giveaway gave the chance for one lucky person to win 5 sets of false lashes from the Superdrug Collection.

Each design includes glue and instructions for easy application.

The prize -

Natural Edition 11 - Natural volume and length
Natural Edition 12 - Natural volume and length
Volume Edition 20 - Added volume and length
Volume Edition 21 - Added volume and length
Double Volume Edition 40 - Ultimate volume and length

I assigned all of the entries a number and let Random.Org select the winner.

I am delighted to announce that the winner is ......

Max Bowden

Congratulations Max, you have 48 hours to contact me to claim the prize before another winner is selected.

Please email me - - with your details so that I can post out your prize.

Thank you all for entering and look out for more giveaways coming up on Beauty Swot

Bettina x

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Only Way Is... BeautySwot!

Popping into Loughton this afternoon for a quick coffee, there was a noticeable whiff of excitement in the air. As I was sat sipping my Latte in Costa, I couldn't help but notice all the people milling around the shop opposite. What could possibly be causing this commotion?

The shop in question is called "Bella Sorella", which is owned by a certain Lydia Rose Bright from a certain BAFTA winning programme called "The Only Way Is Essex".

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I am an avid fan of this show, so I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about and decided to pay Bella Sorella a visit.

Inside, I found a fairly substantial selection of vintage style clothing and a delectable choice of cup cakes - which I managed to resist. (Definitely wise to go after my coffee!). There was also a quaint Christmas decoration range. I particularly liked the wooden "train set" style advent calendars - very nice and reasonably priced. 

All of this is wonderful, but does it really explain why so many people were there? No - the real reason was the presence of not one, but two TOWIE stars in-store today!

Lydia Bright was working hard behind the till and Lauren Goodger was also there making a special guest appearance, bringing her "Lauren's Way" fake tan collection.

Both girls are absolutely stunning in real life. And I was particularly struck by how beautiful and sweet Lauren is.

Here are a few photos of my visit....

Watching the crowd gathering outside "Bella Sorella"

Me with Lauren Goodger

Me with Lydia Rose Bright
I didn't manage to purchase anything on this occasion as it was too busy, but I fully intend to pop back during the week when it is quieter.

Along with other TOWIE star Jessica Wright's "With Love Jessica x" lingerie shop and the celebrity haunt "Nu Bar" at the other end of the High Street, Loughton certainly is the place to hang out!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

No7 Limited Edition Eye Colour In Pewter

When I attended a sneak preview of the No7 Autumn/Winter Minimalism Collection, one of the stand out products from the range for me was the Eye Colour in Pewter.

Pewter is a really lovely cream formula eye shadow in dark grey. The applicator is soft and easy to use, you can use it to create just a simple wash of colour or layer it on for a more intense colour.

As you can see from the swatch above though, this is far nicer than just a flat dark grey. Pewter is actually a gorgeous metallic shade with traces of warm gold and bronze.

In this picture you can see the metallic flecks coming through.

When I have my eyes open it looks something like this


I have lined my lower lash line with Bourjous Regard Effet Duochrome Eyeliner in 60 Gris perle which is a two toned grey/purple liner. In natural light it looks the perfect grey match for this eye shadow but under certain lights the purple tone becomes more prominent.

Both grey and purple are really flattering for green eyes, I love this combination.

No7 Limited Edition Eye Colour In Pewter costs £9.50 and is out now.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream - Desert Rose

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream in limited edition Desert Rose is complete and utter gorgeousness in both packaging and scent.

This attractive and eye-catching packaging design has been inspired by a traditional fabric from West Africa called bogolan cloth, the cloth is decorated with patterns specific to each village, indicating where it was made. You won't have any problem finding this cream in your handbag.

The Desert Rose from Morroco -The scent is truly sublime, a beautiful blend of rose and lemon. This is a delight to the senses, it is so fresh with a hint of rose, I love it.

I do hope L'Occitane make Desert Rose part of their standard collection.

At £7.50 for a 30ml tube this is a great price and the perfect size to pop in the handbag.

The limited edition collection also features two other scents - Cocoa Flower and Hibiscus in equally colourful packaging. Also available in all three scents are Shea Butter Lip Balms  (£8 for 15mls) and Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream (£16 for 100ml)

If you are a fan of the original L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (£17.50 for 150mls) you will be pleased to know that it has been given a makeover with its own limited edition collector's design reflecting the African theme.

*PR Sample


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