Sunday 30 December 2012

Red Lips and a Candy Cane Jumper - My Christmas Day Look

This year I rocked the Christmas Jumper look with this rather fabulous black with Candy Cane design jumper from New Look. On the back it was red and white striped. I did toy with the idea of a red jumper bearing Rudolph with girlie lashes but decided that this was more me. I teamed it with black skinny jeans and wedge ankle boots for a rather relaxed Christmas Look, I usually dress up in a sparkly dress but I must admit this was quite fun!

I actually have my younger sister (pictured above with me) to thank for this, it was her that convinced me I NEEDED a Christmas Jumper despite my protestations :-)

My Make Up -

Red Lipstick - Revlon Fire and Ice
Foundation - YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation
Primer - New CID Cosmetics I-Prime Foundation Primer
Blusher - New York Color - Color Wheel Mosaic Powder Peach Glow
Contour Blush - Smashbox Girls On Film Blush Rush - Silhouette
Mascara - Benefit They're Real Mascara
Eyeliner - Maybelline EyeStudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner - Intense Black

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day x

Thursday 27 December 2012

BeautySwot's Fragrance Of The Year Award 2012

I have sniffed and reviewed many scents this year, I have even attended a few fragrance launches but one scent stood out for me time and time again with me opting to wear it more than any other. At the time of reviewing I said that it was my Scent Of The Summer but I am going one step further now.. The Perfume Of The Year accolade goes to Roberto Cavalli Eau De Pafum

Delicious, sweet and incredibly sexy, this is one scent that will never be put to the back of the cupboard.

What was your scent of the year?

BeautySwot's Product Of The Year 2012 Award

As we close on yet another year I thought I would share with you my product launch of 2012. Choosing which product to give the award to was actually incredibly easy, despite trying and using many new skincare and make up products this year, one beauty product stood out a mile...

YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation

For radiant, flawless and natural looking skin in an instant.

You can read my original review here - 5 months down the line I am still loving this foundation.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Thank you for all your support this year. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas :-) x

Thursday 20 December 2012

New York Color - Color Wheel Mosaic Powder Peach Glow

Product Rave - Peach blusher - NYC New York Color - Color Wheel Mosaic Powder Peach Glow

I picked this up in Superdrug when I was going through a peach obsession last year and I have just hit pan now. Hitting pan is actually testament to how much I love this product, I have many, many blushers but this is one I return to again and again. A brightening buildable peach shade, this can be as subtle or as strong as you like and imparts a warm glow. It has no shimmer or glitter, making it the perfect matte peach that makes it suitable for pairing with a red lipstick.

You can see me wearing it in this FOTD

I bought mine for £4.09 but the colour wheels are being sold now for £3.99.

Utter, utter bargain.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant - Review

This mini size pot of Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant came in November's GlossyBox. I was quite excited to be trying this as at first glance this seemed to be like a product I used in my mid to late teens from The Body Shop - Japanese Washing Grains.

Dermalogica says

Our number one exfoliant! Gentle, Rice-based exfoliating powder activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes that micro-exfoliate dead cells, instantly leaving skin smoother and brighter. Formulated without artificial fragrances and colors.

How to use 

Dispense about a half-teaspoon of Daily Microfoliant® into very wet hands and create a creamy paste by rubbing hands together. Apply to face in circular motions, avoiding the eye area. Massage gently for one minute, then rinse thoroughly. Follow with toner and moisturiser. Daily use.

My thoughts 

I am not going to beat about the bush here, I absolutely love Daily Microfoliant. It is one of the best exfoliators I have ever tried, doing everything it promises to do.

Despite my first thoughts comparing it to the Japanese washing grains of old this is NOTHING like it. The Body Shop product was harsh and scratchy. This feels so gentle against the skin, it is a wonderful powder that turns into a smooth and creamy paste which dissolves as you massage it into the skin. The photos above show this process step by step.

The result is that I am left with incredibly soft, ultra smooth skin that feels fantastic and looks bright.This makes a great addition to my skincare routine.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant costs £38.50 for 75g

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Melvita Christmas Gift Sets - My Top Picks

This Christmas top French skincare brand Melvita have a wonderful selection of luxury organic gift sets featuring some of their best selling products, once again I have selected my favourites to make choosing easier for you. Each one comes in an attractive gift box apart from the Red Fruits Duo which is packaged in cellophane and ribbon.

Rose Discovery Gift Set £14 

Rose Floral Water 50ml
Fresh Moistursing Body Milk 30ml
Rose Hands & Nails Beauty Cream 30ml

Red Fruits Duo £19.5

Berry Body Wash 200ml
Berry Body Milk 200ml

Honey Gloss and Body Gift Set £23.50 

Apicosma Body Milk 200ml
Honey Lips Gloss Balm

Apicosma Luxury Gift Set £30

Gentle Shower Gel 200ml
Apicosma Extra Rich Hand Cream 150ml
Mini Apicosma Body Balm
Mini Acacia Honey

To see more gift ideas visit 

Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening & Tone-Correcting Serum - Review

Regular readers will know that I was using a nightly drop of rosehip oil that did a wonderful job of keeping my skin plumped and hydrated through these winter months..when this finished, whilst I was very tempted to purchase a bottle of it, I knew I had a bottle of Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum in my to use box so I opened this instead. This is my second experience of the brand, the first was the   Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser.

Antipodes say

A water-based corrective serum to help target pigmentation, brighten your skin and restore even tone. It is destined to have a leading role in your daily beauty ritual with its revolutionary bioactive ingredients from New Zealand nature. Waiwera mineral water from an ancient spring voted the world's best water* restores essential moisture to parched skin. Antioxidant-rich Vinanza Performance Plus addresses facial redness and the melanin production that can cause discoloration. Add in the subtle exfoliating action of superfruit kiwi enzyme and soothing Oxifend from red grapes, and your skin will be gloriously glowing! Mamaku black fern and Reishi mushroom assist with healthy cell renewal for the ultimate fresh-faced beauty.

Apply to face, neck and decolletage morning and night.

My thoughts

I have been using this alongside the Juliet Cleanser. The glass bottle has a dropper to dispense the serum. I am used to using clear serums but this one is the same dark brown shade of the cleanser. It has a fruity sweet scent similar and is runny in texture.  This applies nicely with my skin drinking it down but it does dry feeling sticky and tight. It is a good thing that I follow with a moisturiser as I find the tightness uncomfortable.

I am almost at the end of the bottle now so it is a good time to share with you a review.

My skin has looked nice and bright, the dry patches have not returned so hydration wise this really works. I am feeling really happy about the overall condition of my skin and my redness is calm. There has been a very slight reduction in the obviousness of a pigmentation spot which I am pleased about.

However, the issues that stop me from loving this serum are that I am not very keen on the strong fruity smell. Whilst it is nice in a cleanser that is going to be washed off it doesn't work so well for me on a product that will remain on my face. Also, I really dislike how tight it leaves my skin feeling. I am well aware however that although these things bother me, they may not be such an issue for you.

Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening & Tone-Correcting Serum costs £41.99 from various UK online stores.

For more details visit

*PR Sample

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas From Marks and Spencer Your Beauty

This year Marks and Spencer dusted off the cobwebs and introduced a revamped beauty department in many of their stores. Called 'Your Beauty' the new beauty department repackaged their own brand beauty products and for the first time introduced new and exciting skincare brands from around the world. The result is a brighter area full of tempting products that frankly offers a far more enjoyable beauty shopping experience. The beauty offerings are available to purchase online for those whose beauty departments have yet to be updated.

I recently attended an event to showcase the Christmas gift selection and during the evening we were invited to decorate a gingerbread man. Here is my finished effort, I was rather pleased with it as was my 4yr old son who finished it in one sitting!

Here are my pick of the gifts

Autograph Cracker Gift Set £9.50

A trio of Sorbet nail polish, nude gloss and an eye shadow duo.

Autograph Moisture Colour Lipstick made with SWAROVSKI® ELEMENTS in Raspberry £11.00

Autograph Pure Colour Baked Quad Eyeshadow Made with SWAROVSKI® ELEMENTS in Smoke £15.00

Pampering Gifts

Cowley Manor Nurture Body Butter £12 

Body butter with a fragrance of rose and geranium, blended with fragrant honeysuckle, British hops and milk thistle.

NUXE Huile Prodigieuse® Or Dry Oil Golden Shimmer 50ml £25

With its unique concentration of 6 Precious Oils (Borage, St. John's Wort, Sweet Almond, Camellia, Hazelnut and Macadamia) and Vitamin E, this is a wonderfully scented, easily-absorbed, multi-usage shimmering dry oil. Suitable for face,body and hair.

The new perfume section is outstanding with a wide selection of brands, pretty bottles and scents to suit every taste. Spoil someone this Christmas with a gift from the woman behind legendary perfume brand Miller and Harris - Lyn Harris exclusive for Marks and Spencer.

Lyn Harris La Poudrée Coffret Gift Set £25

La Poudrée eau de perfume 50ml
La Poudrée body lotion 100ml

The scent - An oriental classic; raspberry and peach nectar with soft rose and orange flower on a base of Florentine iris, vanilla and musk.

Oral-B Professional Care 600 Design Edition - Electric Toothbrush Review

Last week a rather nice package was delivered containing a limited edition pink version of the Oral-B Professional Care Design Edition Electric Toothbrush.

I have mentioned before that I love using an electric toothbrush and in fact my dentist could tell that I was using one as opposed to a manual one, so I have long been extolling their virtues.

My current electric toothbrush is quite a basic one and I was actually looking to upgrade it so this package was rather timely.

Oral-B say

Gently removes plaque
Recommended by Dentists. British Dental Health Foundation SILVER endorsement
Approved by the British Dental health Foundation, featuring superior 3D technology from Oral B for a thorough and effective clean

This advanced toothbrush system delivers outstanding plaque removal with 3D Cleaning Technology.

Plaque removal
It’s easy to use, with just one brushing mode – yet still removes up to 100% more plaque.**Vs. a regular manual brush. It’s gentle too, surrounding each tooth for a deep clean while stimulating gums. 3D Cleaning Action oscillates, pulsates and cups each tooth.

2 minute timer
A timer in the handle helps ensure you brush for a full two minutes.

Brush heads
Compatible with all brush heads (except Sonic) - Comes with one brush head - the Oral-B Precision Clean Brush Head. Cups each tooth for cleaner teeth, healthier gums vs. a regular manual toothbrush.

My thoughts

Before using for the first time you need to charge the brush by placing it on the charging unit. There is an indicator to show you that it is charging and once it is charged this will turn off. Once charged it should give you 7 days of brushing twice a day for 2 minutes before needing to be recharged.

The toothbrush is quite long and slim, has grips on the back to prevent your hand slipping whilst using and is generally comfortable to use. 

I like this electric toothbrush a lot, it feels really gentle but afterwards taking my tongue across my teeth I can   feel the difference. My teeth feel super clean and ultra smooth after using the PC600. 

I love the fact that it has a timer function on it (my old electric toothbrush doesn't) it stutters at 30 second intervals to remind you to brush all four corners of your mouth equally and a longer stutter signals that two mins is up (sure beats counting 2 minutes in my head!)

There is a note in the instructions that your gums may bleed in the first few days of using an electric toothbrush, this didn't happen to me but that is probably because I am a regular user of one.

Another handy feature included in this brush is a Pressure Sensor so that if too much pressure is applied, the oscillating will continue but the pulsation will stop.

As with most Oral-B toothbrushes it features the light blue indicator bristles to help you see when the head needs replacing. (Usually within 3 months)

To sum up

Fun shade, easy to use, affordable and it works

This box set includes a travel case and the product comes with a 2yr warranty.

Oral-B Professional Care 600 Design Edition costs £25

*PR Sample

Monday 17 December 2012

What's Inside My December 2012 GlossyBox

The much anticipated December GlossyBox was delivered to me on Friday. With Christmas being very close the theme for this month's box is 'Festive Celebrations'.

Ripping open the outer cardboard box revealed a silver box and the contents all wrapped up in black and silver star print tissue paper. Tied into a bow with a silver ribbon. As ever the packaging was pretty and attention made to detail.

The usual content description card gave way to a more expansive information booklet with an explanation on the box, contents and Christmas shopping perks.

The contents

Seche Nail Laquer - Shade Elegant 14ml £9.95 (full size)

Seche Vite Top Coat is legendary and this is an introduction to its new colour line. Elegant is from the Fall 2012 collection. This is a copper/orangey metallic shade. In the bottle it doesn't grab me and I will probably be gifting this.

Sebamed Anti Dry Hydrating Body Lotion 200ml £6.99 (sample size 15ml)

I have not heard of this brand but apparently it is a brand specially designed for sensitive skin. It is ph neutral. I don't really suffer from dry skin so once again I will probably pass this onto someone.

Mary Greenwell Lemon by Mary Greenwell Eau De Parfum 50 ml £60 (sample vial 1.5ml)

Description of Lemon 'From the sweet blossom to the cool fresh fruit, lemons are steeped in delicious fragrance'. I quite like the fresh and zesty scent of real lemons, however this has more depth and a sharpness almost as soon as the initial burst disappears. Sadly this scent is not one that appeals to me.

Milk_Shake Conditioning Whipped Cream 200ml £14.79 (100ml sample)

Now this I am really, really excited about trying out on my hair. This is a new brand for me. The bottle looks just like a can of whipped cream and smells utterly delectable, fresh, sweet and creamy with a very slight hint of coconut - Yummy! This is actually a leave-in conditioning foam with milk, wheat germ and casein proteins promising to treat, protect and strengthen hair for smoothness and shine. I will do a full review very soon.

Sleek Makeup True Colour Lipstick - Shade Coral Reef - £4.99 (full size)

Coral Reef is a nice and bright coral shade. It glides on smoothly to give even and highly pigmented colour. I may just have to do a face of the day post with this gorgeous lipstick.

Bonus Item 

GlossyBox Blusher in Glossy Rosewood

I haven't tried the blusher on my face yet but it is made by Kryolan Professional Makeup for GlossyBox and has a smooth velvety feel to it. Glossy Rosewood is a warm pink shade.

My thoughts 

Value wise this is not a bad box at all but in all honestly this box didn't get me as excited as a few of the previous ones, the fact that we are now on Monday and I have barely touched the box says a lot to me, last month I had already started using two of the products on the day the box arrived.

GlossyBox is a monthly subscription beauty box whichs costs £10 plus p+p - you can find out more here

*PR Sample

Perfume Sample Saturday - Valentino Valentina Assoluto

Valentino Valentina Assoluto Eau de Parfum 

New for 2012 Valentina Assoluto is a variant on the Valentina theme and is described as a more seductive,sensual and sophisticated perfume than the original Valentina which was more floral based.

I haven't actually tried the original Valentino so am not able to make a comparison of the two scents.

Top notes - white Alba truffle, bergamot and smeggia peach
Heart notes - Jasmine, tuberose and delicate vanilla
Base notes - Cedar wood, oak moss and patchouli

My thoughts

I have been wearing Valentino Valentina Assoluto all weekend. If I am honest I would say that I think that I works far better worn as an evening perfume than as a day one, purely as it is quite intense and warm with a real trail of depth. This eau de parfum is elegant and grown up, I find the top notes sweet and the floral bouquet light but the vanilla comes through beautifully. As it fades the sweetness disappears to leave a sensual and woody scent that is refined..

Although the scent is quite intense I don't think that it lingers all that well on my skin but remains on clothing longer. The bottle is pretty and feminine.

Valentino Valentina Assoluto Eau de Parfum costs £61 for 50ml.

Winner Of The Elemis Freshskin Peachy Perfect Giveaway!

Thank you so much for the entries to the Elemis Freshskin Peachy Perfect Giveaway!

I can reveal that the winner as selected by is ......

Lee-Ann Sapsford

Congratulations Lee-Ann can you email me your address to claim your prize please -

Friday 14 December 2012

Wonderful Gifts from L'Occitane This Christmas

L'Occitane are one of my favourite brands, as soon as I tried my first item I was converted and I have converted many others to their wonderfulness too. They do many fantastic Christmas gift boxes and stocking fillers so I am certain you will be able to find something to suit everybody in their stores and stockists. The box sets come in pretty boxes complete with gift tag so you literally have to do nothing but sign it. Perfect :-)

My stand out gift collections

Best Of L'Occitane Collection £60

As an introduction to the brand you cannot go wrong with this box of bestsellers.

 250ml Almond Shower Oil
 250ml Cherry Blossom Shower Gel
 100ml Almond Milk Concentrate
 100ml Lavender Foaming Bath
 75ml Shea Butter Hand Cream
 30ml Shea Butter Foot Cream
 20ml Verbena Eau de Toilette

L'Occitan Men's Collection £48

Smart packaging and a manly scent with peppery nutmeg makes this a winning gift.

50ml L’Occitan Shower Gel
150ml L’Occitan Shaving Gel
100ml L’Occitan Eau de Toilette
100g L’Occitan Soap
30ml L’Occitan After-Shave Balm

Delicate Cherry Blossom Collection £48

One of my favourite scents from the brand, cherry blossom is wonderfully fruity

250ml Cherry Blossom Shower Gel
100ml Cherry Blossom Eau de Toilette
75ml Cherry Blossom Shimmering Lotion
50g Cherry Blossom Soap
30ml Cherry Blossom Hand Cream.

Delightful Almond Collection £48

This set is my ultimate gift. The almond shower oil is my holy grail of bathing products, it possess the most delicious scent that I have ever had the pleasure of using and leaves skin feeling nourished and incredibly soft.   

500ml Almond Shower Oil
100ml Almond Milk Concentrate
2x 50g Almond Delicious Soaps
50ml Delicious Paste
30ml Almond Smooth Hands 

New this Christmas

Marvellous Flowers Trio £18

Marvellous Flowers a gorgeously floral scent of peony, rose and red fruits

50g Perfumed Soap
30ml Hand Cream
75ml Shower Gel

Note - the picture shows the entire range of Marvellous Flowers products. I can highly recommend the Shimmering Body Oil £22 which is a scented dry oil which provides a beautiful golden radiance. Just divine. The EDT fragrance is also quite simply to die for, such a bright and pretty fruity floral.

Magical Leaves Trio £18

Magical Leaves is a bright citrus blend with notes of verbena with hazlenut and vanilla.

75ml Magical Leaves Shower Gel
50g Magical Leaves Perfumed Soap
30ml Magical Leaves Hand Cream

Note - picture shows available products in the range.

For more gift ideas visit

Soap & Glory The Best Of All - Boots Star Gift Offer

It's here! The offer you have all been waiting for..

Boots Star Gift Of The Week - Soap & Glory The Best Of All £27 (was £60)

A pampering extravaganza from head to toe featuring 9 products in a jumbo tote bag

The Righteous Butter Body Butter (300ml)
Hand Food Hand Cream (125ml)
Sugar Crush Body Scrub (300ml
Smoothie Star Body Milk (500ml)
Clean On Me Shower Gel (500ml)
Heel Genius Smoothing Foot Mask (125ml)
Peaches & Clean Cleansing Milk (200ml)
Super-Colour Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Plumper (3ml)
Thick & Fast Mascara (10ml)

Hurry, these are going to sell out fast!

The Friday Column - Her Storybook Life

As Katie settled down to sleep that night she wondered how on earth her life had come to this.

Where once it had shown promise it seemed now that her life was following in the pattern of the very books that her mother had read to her as a child and the books she had read whilst seeking solace in her bedroom.
A childhood devoid of happy memories things hadn’t got off to a good start when she started school. With deep fiery red hair and tight ringlet curls the other children poked fun at her, how she yearned for straight blonde wispy hair and blue eyes just like the popular girls – She felt like The Ugly Duckling.

At least her home life was warm and loving she thought as she ran home, as fast as her gangly legs could carry her. Until one day, instead of seeing her father sat in his favourite chair, she spotted an unfamiliar man bent yet rigid chuckling to himself. Her mother beckoned Katie over as she walked through the front door and introduced her to her new father, she never saw her real father again. Just as had happened in David Copperfield, this new man was cruel and violent to both Katie and her mother and Katie knew she had no option but to escape his evil clutches as soon as she could.

The streets of London were paved with gold she remembered reading in Dick Whittington and so she made her way there to seek her fame and fortune only to find a distinct lack of gold but plenty of people ready to take advantage of her or look down and walk past.  Alone in the world with nothing to get up for day to day, she would sit and cry or beg in order to afford a morsel of food.

Days weeks and months merged into one, with no concept of time her only clues were the changing of the weather and the window displays in the shops. As the lights went up and people gathered for the lighting ceremony she knew Christmas was impending, people bustled past laden with bags, the shops full of seasonal merchandise and cheerful tunes bellowed from the doorways Katie felt sadder than ever and less hopeful of her future.

At the next corner Katie turned and started to walk away from the shops, she felt no festive cheer and for what was probably the millionth time she felt a tear drop fall down her cheek. As she passed by the houses she saw yet more things that reminded her of everything that she was missing out on. She had barely eaten in days, there was no roof over her head, she had no one to chat to and share laughter with.

Approaching a house she peered through the window, against a backdrop of opulence she saw the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree, she witnessed a family coming together at the dining table ready for a feast, her eyes widened in awe at the most magnificent display of food she had ever seen.  Katie felt her knees wobble, she was cold and so very hungry, her eyes were struggling to stay open.  Just like in the Little Match Girl, the saddest book she had ever read, she wondered if this was real or just a vision and laid down to bed.  That night drifting to sleep she wasn't certain she would ever awake.

On Christmas morning Katie felt a gentle tap on her shoulder, a lady dressed in white from top to toe with long flowing blonde hair smiled warmly and invited her in..

An original work of fiction - all rights reserved
Illustration from

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Elemis Freshskin Peachy Perfect Beauty Giveaway!


I have got together with the lovely people at top skincare brand Elemis to offer one lucky reader the chance to win this rather fabulous gift set starter kit from the Freshskin range.

Peachy Perfect Collection worth £45


Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash 100ml FULL SIZE
• Peachy Perfect Gentle Face Wash 100ml FULL SIZE
• Super Boost Moisturising Serum 30ml FULL SIZE
• Softly Softly Daily Moisturiser 15ml
• Dreamy Sleep Night-Time Moisturiser 3ml

Freshskin by Elemis products were created and designed for teens to mid twenties skin.

How to enter & rules

You MUST be a follower of this blog - please leave a comment below with how you follow BeautySwot.

The winner will be selected at random using and the giveaway will close at midnight Sunday 16th December. The winner will be announced on this blog the following day when you will have 48 hours to claim your prize.

Giveaway open to UK residents only.

Good luck!

BeautySwot's Best Christmas Gift Guide 2012

Christmas is less than two weeks away, If you are still on the hunt for gift inspiration I have picked out a few beautiful products that I think will make fabulous gifts this Christmas and to suit every budget.

Pictured above - Wilkinsons Honey Jar Bath Foam with Drizzler £3

Toyko Milk Honey Blossom Lip Balm £12.95

Stila Written In The Stars Eye Shadow Palette £15

Butter London Holiday Lips and Tips - Chancer £21

Philosophy Winter Escape £22

Lush Merry Christmas £23.95

Benefit Upgrade To Gorgeous £35

Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Collection £50

Lulu Guinness Ellis Street Dual Compact Mirror £125


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