Tuesday 30 April 2013

Be Bright Be Beautiful - The Best Of The Brights This Spring/Summer

May's iN Magazine is out now!

This month I am taking a look at the Spring/Summer trend of wearing bright make up and offering tips on how to wear it.

Take a look by clicking on the link below


As always I welcome your feedback

Bettina x

Monday 29 April 2013

L'Oreal Hair Expertise EverRiche Nourishing & Taming Shampoo and Conditioner Review

I usually add the words My Hair Loves in the title of hair care posts but the title was far too long so they were omitted but hair does indeed love these products!

I don't often write hair care posts as I am rarely wowed by a product. I have to see a real difference for me to put finger to laptop and recommend a hair care product, in this case I am very excited to share my thoughts on this Shampoo and Conditioner.

L'Oreal Hair Expertise EverRiche Nourishing & Taming Shampoo 

L'Oreal Say

This shampoo is specifically designed for very dry and rebellious hair. Enriched with botanical oils Cameling and Apricot Seed and non-sulphate cleansing surfactants, the formula leaves hair feeling intensely nourished whilst helping to protect from dryness.

My thoughts

The shampoo is opaque colour and texture wise is thick and creamy much like a conditioner. Despite being SLS free it foams up nicely to give that all important feeling of really cleaning your hair. As an aside I personally don't feel the need for loads of foam but I know a lot of people need the reassurance.

It smells divine with a very subtle coconut scent which just adds to the experience.

L'Oreal Hair Expertise EverRiche Nourishing & Taming Conditioner

My thoughts

The conditioner has the same divine scent as the shampoo, it is opaque and slightly thicker than the shampoo (as you would expect). After rinsing out I can see and feel the difference in my hair, it really feels conditioned and smooth. It is incredibly manageable and the comb just glides through it. It doesn't weigh the hair down.


Background -
My hair is thick and porous. I have been highlighting it in some way every year for nearly 20 years now. I have frizzy, wavy hair that has a mind of its own. If I leave it to dry without touching it, it goes wavy and frizzy, basically resembles someone who has been dragged through a bush.

Using this shampoo and conditioner combination I can achieve salon textured hair at home, something I have only dreamed of in the past. My hair after styling is super soft, sleek and silky to the touch and it stays this way until the next wash. My hair looks healthy and shines. In fact the first time I used the products a woman at the school complimented me on my hair and said that it looked like I really looked after it!

My usual routine is to air dry for a bit and then blow dry it and then straighten but using these products I could just blow dry it straight and leave it like that, it is that smooth. For the sake of extra sleekness I run the straighteners over it but it just needs going over once.

I love these products and as they are such a great price I would certainly purchase over and over again.

Holy Grail material.

L'Oreal Hair Expertise EverRiche Nourishing & Taming Shampoo and Conditioner 250ml cost £5.99 each.

*PR Sample

Sanctuary Spa 30 Day Youth Revolution Review

Sanctuary Spa 30 Day Youth Revolution 
Sanctuary Spa 30 Day Youth Revolution is a Glycolic peel off mask and serum duo which promises to reveal younger, smoother skin.

Sanctuary Spa say

Straight away from the very first application skin looks smoother and glowing.

After 1 week - Skin feel firmer, toned and looks brighter
After 2 weeks - Skin glows with radiance and fine lines appear reduced
After 3 weeks - 72% of women noticed a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and a glowing radiance
After 4 weeks - A flawless complexion and younger looking skin

How to use 

After cleansing skin thoroughly apply peel to dry skin. Using the brush provided apply a thin and even layer of peel avoiding the delicate eye area. Relax for 15-20 minutes allowing mask to dry. Mask should be completely dry and not tack to the touch when ready to peel off.

To remove, start at the base of the face and gently peel off mask to reveal fresh, smooth skin. Rub off any excess.

Immediately after apply a pea sized amount of the Anti-wrinkle Activation Serum.

Use peel twice a week but not on successive days.

SPF should be worn every day when completing this treatment to protect newly revealed skin.

My thoughts

This at-home facial system was really pleasurable to follow. It was so easy to do and it never felt like a chore. I looked forward to peel day as there is something immensely satisfying applying a sticky, gooey gel, feeling it tighten and dry into a shiny, clear mask and then peeling it off and seeing all the dead skin cells coming away to reveal softer, smoother skin.

It took me back to my school days when we would apply glue to our hands and then spend the rest of the day peeling it off in lessons! Happy days.

The Anti-wrinkle Activation Serum smells nice - fresh and citrusy. It is simple to add this into the daily skincare routine.

After the first use of the peel I could see that my skin was brighter and smoother instantly and as the days passed into weeks I really noticed a difference in my complexion. It seems more even and glowing, the fine lines are almost undetectable now and I have noticed an improvement in my blemishes. I have had some spots on my cheeks that have been there for an age and this system made these disappear. My skin looks so much better and almost flawless that the amount of foundation that I need to use has dramatically decreased.

Sanctuary Spa 30 Day Youth Revolution Kit costs £22.50

*PR Sample

Friday 26 April 2013

Instant Relief - Optrex ActiMist 2in1 Eye Spray For Itchy + Watery Eyes

Just as hay fever was rearing its ugly head, a saviour from Optrex was presented..ironically on my way to the Press Day I tweeted that my Hay fever had started and I was suffering from really itchy and watery eyes.

I generally take Prevalin Nasal Spray when hay fever strikes and if it is really bad I take an antihistamine tablet as well. I should add eye drops into this equation as my eyes really take a pounding but I don't like to use them. I have sensitive eyes, I hate the feeling of opening the eye area up and applying the drops and then I don't like the fact for a short while after it renders you blind!

So I was really interested to see this new release from Optrex that seemed like a solution to the drops problem...

ActiMist 2in1 Eye Spray for Itchy+Watery Eyes 


Instantly cool, soothes and relieves.

Repairs the eye's natural protection moisture barrier.

Clinically proven to reduce itchiness in and around eyes

Won't smudge make-up

Safe to use with contact lenses

Instructions for use

Hold 10cm from your closed eyelied

Spray 1-2 times onto closed eyelids. 3-4 times per day.

My thoughts 

The last week has provided the perfect conditions for me to try out the spray. I have woken up with incredibly itchy eyes and one spray to each eye has given me (to my amazement) instant relief. Actually I have been wowed with this spray. It is so easy to use, just make sure you spray from 10cm away otherwise when you open your eyes they sting! (that was my first use..) When I followed the instructions it worked perfectly. I have used it with mascara too and that has been fine too.

I was a little surprised at the cost of the spray compared to the drops but for the relief and results that it provides and the ease of use personally I would pay this.

Optrex ActiMist 2in1 Eye Spray for Itchy + Watery Eyes costs £15.31 for 10ml

Also in the range 

ActiMist 2in1 Eye Spray Dry + Irritated Eyes
ActiMist 2in1 Eye Spray Tired + Uncomfortable Eyes

*PR Sample

A Summer Poem - The Friday Column

The Sun's out bringing itchy watery eyes
Sunglasses vainly try but fail to disguise
Freshly cut grass causing sneezes galore
Hay fever woes, can I take much more

Picnics in the park with wasps not far behind
Landing on Strawberry Tarts, sure you won't mind
Cricket being played on the village green
Frolicking young lovers hoping not to be seen

Sunhat, flip flops and ice bucket ready
A trip to the beach, can we take teddy?
Ice cream on the pebbles, dipping toes in the sea
Daddy drinking beer, fish and chips for tea

Strappy tops and shorts embracing the heat
The barbeque poised to cook plenty of meat
Family and friends making most of the light
Garden parties with music late into the night

Paddling pools shrill with the laughter of child
It may be cold water but to them it seems mild
British Summer so short and yet thrilling
Despite the cloud and rain we give it top billing

An original work of fiction - all rights reserved 

Thursday 25 April 2013

New - Clinique A Different Nail Enamel

Did you know a person touches their eyes on average 200 times a day?

With all that contact with hands and fingers throughout the day, there are many culprits that can irritate the eyes - My mum was always telling me to stop touching my eyes (she spends a lot of time in hospitals and has probably read every leaflet going!) and I do try to make a conscious effort not to touch my eyes or face though the day...

Apparently nail enamel can cause irritation and even contact dermatitis on the susceptibly thin skin around the eye? 

Nail enamel is considered a significant allergen source for (the rather scary sounding) periorbital dermatitis—a facial rash that develops around the upper and lower eyelids. 

People who suffer from these conditions often do not realise the connection between touching and rubbing the eye area and fresh manicures and so Clinique have come up with a solution.

Clinique A Different Nail Enamel For Sensitive Skins
Six years in the making, Clinique introduces nail enamel formulated to minimise skin sensitivity. It is dermatologist tested, ophthalmologist tested and appropriate for sensitive skins and sensitive eyes.

Glossy, long-wearing colour available in an array of pretty shades. Allergy tested and safe to use for sensitive skins, helps reduce the chances that eyes will burn, itch or water with contact. 

The collection comprises of 12 permanent shades and 9 limited shades for Summer

Part of the limited collection pictured below 

70 and Sunny
Hoola Skirt
Juiced Up
Splish Splash

A Different Nail Enamel For Sensitive Skins, 9ml RRP £12.00/€16.00
Available exclusively online at www.clinique.co.uk from the 25th April 2013
Nationwide at Clinique counters from 31st May 2013

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Pur Minerals Lip Gloss Sticks - Review

These Lip Gloss Sticks from Pur Minerals are rarely out of my handbag as they are so easy to wear. Gloss sticks are one of my favourite formulas for wearing lip colour and I tend to pop a variation of any of these for the school run as they give a nice pout without looking intrusive.

These gloss sticks in jumbo pencil format are easy to apply, a glossy balm with a hint of colour, they prettify the lips beautifully, providing a subtle glossy sheen that is not sticky (essential in the wind!) and non drying. They feel really comfortable on the lips and not too wet either. Ideal lip wear.

Beach Bum - Is a coral my lips but better shade that brightens my lips and skin - a great Spring/Summer colour.

Honey Pie - Is the perfect nude my lips but better shade enhancing the lips wonderfully. I like this a lot.

Berry Pretty - Is a gentle berry shade that gets deeper as you layer it up.

Jumbo pens are the future

Swatches of Pur Minerals Lip Gloss Sticks

From L-R Beach Bum, Honey Pie and Berry Pretty

Pur Minerals Lip Gloss Sticks cost £16 each and are available to buy from Marks and Spencer new beauty halls

*PR Samples

KIKO Make Up Milano Long Lasting Lipsticks Review

There is big love in my household and amongst my friends and family for Kiko the professional make up range from Milan and incidentally I think it is the biggest selling brand in Italy. The lacquers are such good quality and the Celebration shades are so bright and beautiful, you cannot help but fall in love.

Today I am sharing more love and this time it is for the Long Lasting Lipsticks. 

The long slim mirrored stick packaging is attractive, the twist up lippie is shaped perfectly for application and the shades are so muted and wearable, despite being shades like coral and hot pink. Texture wise the lipstick is creamy and buttery soft and glide across the lips for a smooth application, the vanilla scent is yummy.

Shade 06 is a nude and I was really excited about trying this as I am a massive fan of nudes. Sadly this shade is not quite the right nude for me, a little too pale and brown sadly. A real shame because I love the whole concept of this satin lipstick.

Shade 03 is a hot pink but the satin formula means it is pigmented but not scarily so, just nice and bright.

Shade 02 is a peachy coral, once again satin in formula with a very slight frost finish. This is my favourite. A gorgeous way to add a pop of colour to the lips, this shade really lifts my face and lights up my eyes.

Kiko Long Lasting Lipsticks are limited edition, available in 6 shades and cost £6.90 each

*PR Samples

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Victorinox Victoria Eau De Toilette - Review

This Spring there have been many new scent launches, a perfect time to update your perfume collection. Amongst these there has been a plethora of lighter eau (water) scents - some of existing perfumes and some altogether new...personally I am not a huge fan of heavy scents generally, most of them tend to irritate my sensitive from hayfever nose which is a real shame as a lot are really lovely, just unwearable by me.

Anyway I digress, for those of you who love your scents strong, the type that make a statement then I have just the one for you - Victorinox Victoria. I fell in love with this from the very first spray. It is simply quite beautiful and I feel a nod to the 80's power scents that many of you believe are missing in the new fragrances.

My mother is always complaining that shortly after spraying the newer fragrances she can barely smell them and they just don't last like they used to and in this modern fragrance I have the answer.

Victorinox Victoria EDT

Victoria is described as the epitome of independent femininity

Top notes: Freesia, Plum and Blackcurrant
Heart notes: Bulgarian Rose, Lily of The Valley, Viola
Base notes: Cedar Leaf, Sandalwood, White Musk, Myrrh

My thoughts

This is a strong and classical floral fragrance that is unashamedly feminine. It is clear and fresh, a really  stunning scent for Summer. The notes that really stand out for me are the blend of Freesia and Lily of The Valley. Personally I struggle to identify the fruit notes which is not a bad thing as I am not overly keen on sweet, fruity scents, this is not sweet or fruity but the overall composition resembles the most fragrant of bouquets.

I sprayed this on my mum's arm whilst fawning about how much I love it, I left the room and when I re-entered the gorgeous scent had enveloped the room. So, so nice!

Simple and stylish.

Victorinox Victoria EDT Spray costs £51 for 100ml and is available to purchase here

From the makers of the Swiss Army Knife

*PR Sample

** Try before you buy **

Head to the Victoria e-Bouquet Creator where you can arrange digital bouquets for friends and family which you can then send as a postcard in the post alongside a sample of the scent.

You can pick your favourite flowers from a meadow and create your own unique bouquet. In addition you can place your bouquets on a voting gallery. Friends, family, fans and followers can vote for their favourites and get a chance to win. The first prize for the best bouquet is a spa trip for two and the second and third prizes are the Victoria fragrance with its golden evening pouch and leather bracelet.

Weleda Calendula Cream Bath - Review

Aaron (aged 4) has been helping me review a couple of Weleda products -  the first review was of the Weleda Calendula Weather Protection Cream and today the Calendula Cream Bath.

Bath times are I feel very precious, sometimes they can be full of fun, laughter, toys and mess and other times quiet and relaxing preparing for bed and sleep. The one thing I don't compromise on is the products that I use on my child. Around water your children trust you to keep them safe but I also feel that that includes the products that you use on them.

Personally I check all labels to ensure that the products that Aaron uses are paraben free and as gentle as possible and have a few brands that I buy regularly and rarely venture far away from. If they cost a bit more then so be it.

Weleda say

Weleda baby products care for your child's skin from the very first day with natural ingredients. The mild formulations developed in collaboration with midwives, are specially formulated to care for baby and infant skin. Our products provide comfort and promote the development of healthy looking skin.
A creamy bath milk to cleanse gently without drying. Naturally fragrant and free from synthetic detergents.

Weleda Baby Calendula Cream Bath gently cleanses and cares for your baby's delicate skin. Precious Almond and organic Sesame oils envelop your baby in warmth, keeping the skin smooth and supple and protects the skin from moisture loss.

To use - Add to running water when bath is almost full. Mix using hand.

Ingredients (taken from the Weleda website)

Water (Aqua), Prunis Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Oleate, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Sodium Beeswax, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*. * from natural essential oils

My thoughts

Well this has been a complete hit with Aaron he loves the creamy lemon scent and it leaves his skin so incredibly soft after his bath and he smells so lovely too.

As an aside I use it on him as a wash rather than popping it into the bath and I only need to use a teeny tiny amount to clean him.

Thumbs up from the both of us

Weleda Calendula Cream Bath costs £8.95 for 200ml

*PR Sample

Monday 22 April 2013

Weleda Calendula Weather Protection Cream - Review

Weleda is a brand that has until now not featured on my radar but this is all about to change having had the chance to try a couple of the products from the range and been suitably impressed.

The first product I was sent to try was the Calendula Weather Protection Cream. I have enough lip balms and this was really sent for Aaron my 4yr old to test. The Winter that has just passed has been pretty nasty, icy cold weather coupled with strong winds. Aaron's lips and the area around it have really suffered - It has been sore and red and the skin on his lips all dry and flaky. Try as I might to apply one of my balms to my despair he has declared them for girls (as he had seen me use them) and has refused to use them - cue a sad mummy!

However when this arrived he asked me what it was and I said it was for children and to my delight he let me apply it :-)

Weleda say 

Intensive protection against drying winds or cold, wet weather, for babies and all the family.

Weleda Baby Calendula Weather Protection Cream contains extracts of biodynamically grown Calendula flower and precious Sweet Almond Oil to care for dry skin, leaving it visibly smooth and supple. It spreads easily and is ideal to protect skin and lips of both babies and adults.

Can be used for face, lips and hands.

Ingredients - from the Weleda website 

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Lanolin, Beeswax (Cera Flava), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Benzyl Salicilate*, Geraniol* * from natural essential oils

My thoughts

This isn't really a cream more like a thick oil, a tiny bit squeezed out goes a long way. It has a very light herbal scent that is nice and pleasant. Best of all this really works. On the windy days I have been putting this on Aaron's lips and when I collect him from school his lips are perfect and soft and appear unaffected by the weather.

The 30ml tube is the perfect size for popping in the handbag and the bright packaging with a ladybird is fun and eye catching for the little ones.

One happy child and one happy adult.

Weleda Calendula Weather Protection Cream 30ml costs £7.95

*PR Sample

Friday 19 April 2013

Belmacz Stardust - 24ct Gold Leaf Eyeshadow - New

Stardust is the latest eye shadow addition from Belmacz Beauty. 

Containing 24ct Gold Leaf combined with warm copper pigments this creamy shadow lends a mesmerising and beautiful lustre to the eyes.

A little background behind the brand - 

Belmacz Beauty is the offshoot of Belmacz fine jewellery. The make-up and skin treatments within the line are imbued with the luxuriance of Belmacz jewels. Stardust’s formula is infused with 24-carat gold leaf. Since ancient times, this natural ingredient has been highly prized as a luxurious treatment to enhance and heal the skin.

With flash



With Flash

The texture of Stardust is wonderful to work with, really creamy, it has wonderful pigmentation and has a superb metallic sheen and quality to it. I have worn it as an eye shadow and the copper shade with gold flecks really makes my green eyes pop and makes the whites of my eyes whiter. So pretty!

A little pot of gorgeousness

I am looking forward to trying out the other suggested uses...

Mix with moisturiser and apply to cheekbones as a highlighter.
Apply Stardust with a thin tipped sable brush for dramatic flicks.
Add to your body moisturiser for an all over body shimmer.

Stardust 24ct Gold Leaf Eyeshadow costs £29 and is available to purchase from today (19th April 2013) online at www.belmaczbeauty.com and exclusively in the USA with Woodley & Bunny stores www.woodleyandbunny.com 

To celebrate the launch Belmacz will be giving away a *FREE* Moonstone Glow lipgloss (RRP £26) with every purchase of Stardust*

*Offer from 19th April until 25th April only.

*PR Sample

A Life Loved and Lost - A Poem

As the sun sets, the glow in my heart fades
For where there was hope, now there is pain

Caresses and whispers deep in the night
Memories of stolen kisses in the pouring rain

As darkness arrives, it mirrors my soul
Certain and sure never to feel love again

Infectious laughter surrounding the air
Silence is golden too soon a deathly stare

My mind all twisted and tortured
Muddled it makes no sense I am aware

Time passes as leaves rustle in the wind
My life lain cold and laid bare

An original work of fiction - all rights reserved

New Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Ageing CC CREAM SPF15

Just as I am getting the hang of the trend for BB creams and their benefits along come CC Creams - Complexion Correctors (also known as colour control or colour corrector creams)

CC creams provide more intense levels of tone-correcting and anti-ageing skincare ingredients than BB creams, at the same time as leaving the skin with a sheer, natural coverage. New Olay Regenerist CC cream takes it one step further with a unique 3-in-1 swirl system – the first and only cc cream to blend three core elements together – a serum, an SPF15 moisturiser and a sheer foundation so that skin is perfected now and over time. with a light texture the all-in-one corrective product gives complexions an instant gorgeous glow whilst balancing skin tone

Olay say

Olay Regenerist CC Cream’s 3-in-1 swirl blends the 3 elements together at the point of delivery:

• an anti-ageing serum containing Olay’s ‘Essential Glucosamine Complex’, which comprises N-acetyl glucosamine (Nag) and Niacinamide – clinically proven to reduce dark spots and wrinkles.

• a moisturiser with glycerine, SPF 15 sunscreen and anti-oxidant vitamin E– a powerful combination which hydrates and protects the skin instantly improving tone and texture.

• a sheer foundation incorporating mineral pigments which immediately blend and match skin tone delivering natural-looking and even coverage.

A pump of the CC Cream

My thoughts

Readers of BeautySwot.com know that I love my coverage to be medium/full so I am always wary of trying things that have the words 'sheer' in them..

First of all I love the clear packaging and swirl effect of the product, it look so pretty on my dressing table. The pump dispenses the right amount of product so this gets top marks for ease of use.

The CC cream has a pleasant light scent, not the usual stronger scent that is associated with many of the Olay products. It blends beautifully and seamlessly.

I have been trying this for a few days now and whilst I obviously have not tried it long enough to see any skincare benefits I find it to be hydrating as a moisturiser. The foundation is so light that it essentially is undetectable, if you really don't like to look like you are wearing foundation this is fabulous. Impressively just as promised my skin tone is evened out and the redness is concealed (which is always my main concern).

I am already using the serum/moisturiser duo and am a fan of Olay products in general, I feel that this is a great 3 in 1 product time saving product, perfect for busy mums like me who sometimes just don't have time to apply so many products but still want our skin to look and feel good.

Available in 3 shades - Light, Medium and Dark - I am using the Medium.

AVAILABILITY: NEW Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Ageing CC Cream SPF15 will be exclusive to Boots stores and Boots.com from 1 May 2013. Recommended retail price £24.99.

Join the Boots.com wait list now to be one of the first to hear when NEW OLAY Regenerist CC Cream hits the shelves in a Boots store near you!

Join the Olay Regenerist CC Cream wait-list now at www.boots.com/Olay.

*P&G/Olay sponsored post

Thursday 18 April 2013

Beauty Blazes - London Fire Brigade Issues Warning

I was sent this press release from the London Fire Brigade and I thought it was worth sharing as a gentle reminder about the dangers posed by our 'beauty tools and the shocking statistics that they have provided.

London Fire Brigade has today issued a warning about ‘beauty blazes’, following a large house fire that is believed to have been caused by a hairdryer in Harrow this week.

New figures from the Brigade show that there is a ‘beauty blaze’ every fortnight in the capital, caused by items like hairdryers, straighteners, tongs, vanity mirrors, and bathroom candles.

Tom George, Acting Deputy Head of Community Safety at London Fire Brigade, said:
“Firefighters in London attend at least one of these ‘beauty blazes’ every fortnight. Whether it’s candles used during a bath or straighteners used in the morning, people need to make sure they include fire safety in their beauty routines.

“Many of the straighteners available today can reach temperatures of over 200 degrees celsius, which is hotter than the oil in a deep fat fryer, so it’s vital that people take care.

”Candles are popular in the bathroom, but if they’re not placed on a heat proof surface, they can melt through your bath or toilet. This is especially important with tea lights, which get very hot on the bottom.”

The fire in Harrow this week caused severe damage to the first floor of a terraced house. The blaze is believed to have been caused by a hairdryer which was left on a bed. It heated up the bedding which then caught fire, and quickly spread to the rest of the room.

The fire comes just days after the Brigade issued a press release warning about the dangers of Hair Straighteners after two house fires.

In the first of the two recent incidents two young boys were rescued from a fire, which is thought to have started when a woman left her straighteners on a pile of clothes when she went to the door to collect a takeaway pizza .

The second fire saw a woman rescued by fire crews wearing breathing apparatus from a house in Southgate after she left her hair straighteners switched on while they lay on a laminated floor.

The Brigade’s top three tips for avoiding a ‘beauty blaze’ are:

1.Hairdryers, hair tongs, and straighteners can get extremely hot, so it’s very important to remember to switch them off and leave them to cool on a heat proof surface, such as a cork mat.

2.Shaving or make up mirrors should be kept away from direct sunlight, along with any canisters, such as deodorant or hairspray.

3.Candles need to be placed on a surface that can’t melt or catch fire, such as a ceramic plate. Always blow them out when you leave the room, and never leave them burning without supervision.

I leave you with some sobering images of 'beauty blazes' 

Candle on bath

Hairdryer on bed 

Mirror fire

Wednesday 17 April 2013

St Ives Natural Beauty Challenge

I was recently contacted by the St Ives team and asked whether I would like to take up the challenge of capturing and defining my idea of Natural Beauty, I duly accepted the challenge and will share my photo a bit later on in this post.

I think that nearly almost everyone of us girls has picked up a tube of St Ives Facial Scrub or two along the way of our skincare journey, I know I have! I have enjoyed the gorgeous scent of Apricot whilst cleansing...

St Ives say

St Ives facial scrubs are made with 100% natural exfoliants and extracts that deeply cleanse so you will have younger, fresher and healthier looking skin in just 7 days. That's a promise!

I haven't tried one of the scrubs recently but I am looking forward to giving it a go as I love my skin appearing brighter and more radiant.

Now when I was thinking of what I would like to capture that defined natural beauty I immediately thought that the most naturally beautiful thing in life is the birth of new life. I really do believe this. I went back and looked over old photos to try to find a photo of my son in those magical first few hours after his birth but none were really what I was looking for.

Last week I was heading to the tube station and on this journey I have to pass by a pond and I came across some ducks..nothing unusual about that you may say, however as I got closer I noticed that there were fluffy young ducklings too!

Nature at its best.

Virtually everyone that passed by, stopped to take a look and enjoy the moment. It is such an adorable and charming sight.  In the background of the photograph is the huge duck pond but the ducks and ducklings had ventured to a small puddle.

I call this picture - Ducklings in the Training Pond

I hope you like my vision of Natural Beauty.

The images will be judged by a well known beauty photographer, who will select an overall winner. The winner – along with all the photo submissions – will be revealed and displayed at a gallery style event held in May in central London for all entrants.

The blogger with the photo judged to be the best depiction of natural beauty will take home a Tree House getaway for two, along with a professional camera for themselves and one to give away to one of their readers.

Winner Of Ginvera BB Cream and Green Tea Marvel Gel

The winner as selected by random.org is......

Sarah Berryman

Congratulations Sarah - please email within 48 hours to claim your prize - bettina@beautyswot.com

Thank you to everyone who entered, I loved reading about your favourite holiday destinations and have put a few on my to visit list!

Tuesday 16 April 2013

What's Inside The April GlossyBox 2013 - Pearl Lowe Design

The April Edition GlossyBox has been designed by Pearl Lowe in a collaboration with GlossyBox, now as I reuse my boxes to store makeup and have them on display, I have to say this is a very pretty floral print and I am looking forward to filling it!

As ever it is the attention to detail that makes this such a pleasure to open

However, pretty is all very nice and good but do the contents please ...?

What's inside my box 

Billed as the Spring Fever box it contains all you need ready for Spring - As I am writing this the weather has warmed up nicely so pretty well timed :-)

I have to say I was pretty excited when I opened it up and saw the contents happy - it has the perfect mix of makeup, skincare and scent. Value wise I feel that this is an excellent box.


Sunsense Daily Face SPF 50+  10g (Full size is 75g and costs £18.50)

This is described as a light, soft cream tinted for a sheer matte finish. It has a high SPF and is oil free making it ideal for all skin types. I haven't opened this yet because I think it has a snap top and I am not ready to try it yet. I would think this would be perfect to pop in your bag if you were going away.

So Elixir Purple - Yves Rocher Eau de Parfum 5ml ( 50ml costs £44)

I am saving this for a Perfume Sample Saturday post - cute bottle! However the blurb says that this is 'an intoxicating and magnetic fragrance boasting a unique infusion of Tuberose,Vetiver and Patchouli culminating in a floral-woody elixir'.

ModelCo Cheek + Lip Tint in Rosy Red Full Size 10ml costing £15

Multi tasking lip and cheek tint in a nice shade that provides a pretty flushed appearance. I have a real problem with these products as I cannot get on with the runny gel formula on my lips and this was true to form for me but as a cheek tint this is ace. I applied a tiny amount to my cheeks and it stayed there all day. Easy to use and blend.

Nip+Fab Dry Skin Fix Body Butter 50ml (200ml retails for £9.95)

Available in Mango, Coconut Latte or Pistachio I was sent the Pistachio. This looks and smells exactly like pistachio ice cream. The body butter comes in a generous 50ml tub and is heavily scented and sweet so if you don't like  pistachio you will hate it! Happily I do like this scent and the butter is nice, soft and creamy which makes it easy to apply and absorbs quickly, leaving skin satin smooth.

and finally..

Essie Nail Lacquer in shade Nice is Nice Full Size 13.5ml £7.99

A perfect Spring pastel shade - this lilac is beautifully creamy and delicate. I love it against my skin tone and I don't own anything like it in my collection. I think most people will be pleased to receive an Essie polish in the box.

Final thoughts 

2 full size products totalling £23 and 3 decent sized sample products ensure that Glossybox have pulled out all the stops with this box, complete with a collaboration with Pearl Lowe for the box design mean that this box is one that will be pretty sought after....

For more details on Glossybox and how to subscribe visit www.glossybox.co.uk

*PR Sample

Monday 15 April 2013

The Other Woman - The Friday Column

The Other Woman - A poem 

Bound by the chains of emotion
I couldn't see right from wrong
Hurt by past indiscretions
I'd never felt love this strong

Waiting for the phone to ring
Tears falling down my cheek
Coming together at midnight
I know I shouldn't be so weak

When I am with you I feel so secure
Heaven knows why I feel this way
Safe just for tonight held in strong arms
Come morning I know you won't stay

Forever condemned as the other woman
Missing out on all that life brings
Never fear my love I'll be waiting
For the day you make my heart sing

An original work of fiction - all rights reserved

The Tea Guild Announces The Winner of Top London Afternoon Tea 2013

The Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea 2013 Award has been announced and the winner is .....

The Goring Hotel!

Congratulations to The Goring Hotel 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, d├ęcor, ambience, and presentation. 

The Goring Hotel in Belgravia, Central London, received the top award for London tea destinations after gaining a near perfect score by the Tea Guild’s very impressed judges. Guests can enjoy an elegant afternoon tea by a roaring fire in the hotel’s lounge. In more clement weather The Goring boasts a delightful garden, offering one of the few al fresco afternoon teas in the capital. Its afternoon tea menu consists of dainty finger sandwiches, homemade buttery scones, and numerous hand-crafted patisseries, all served with an excellent selection of carefully selected and perfectly brewed teas.

Head of The Tea Guild Irene Gorman said: “Afternoon tea at The Goring Hotel is a truly special experience. The elegant surroundings and faultless presentation make it a memorable occasion aided by friendly, efficient and knowledgeable staff. It is easy to understand why this leading establishment attracts so many, of all ages, to take afternoon tea.”

I have yet to try the Afternoon Tea at The Goring Hotel but it has been on the list for some time. Really looking forward to trying it now!

Once again congratulations to The Goring Hotel on being named Top London Afternoon Tea 2013

Friday 12 April 2013

The Office Fling - The Friday Column

The Office Fling - A Poem

Was it just a fling or an office romance
All I knew was my heart started to dance
Our eyes met, pure escapism started
I knew then we should never be parted

Back at home I stared at my life full of drudgery
Long gone the feelings that made us all fluttery
Temptation was calling, grass greener on the other side
Yes looking at this I had made up my mind

So there it happened I said goodbye to one
Ready for my new life, a life in the Sun
Full of hope this time I had made it right
A love like no other, the future looked bright

My intentions were good please don't doubt
I will let you into a secret, the truth be out
The grass greener was not the solution
In my desperation, it was just an illusion

So here I am five years later, oh the shame
Because it seems my life is just the same
Let this be a warning oh whimsical one
You can't turn back the clock, it can't be done

An original work of fiction - all rights reserved

Thursday 11 April 2013

Hampstead Tea London - Iced Teas Reviewed

I was recently sent some Iced Teas to review from Hampstead Tea. Now the last time I drank iced tea was way back in the late 1980's when my dad brought some back from America in a 'look at what I found over there' gift haul.

As a child I didn't drink tea so I was suitably unimpressed with the iced tea he brought back .. my tastes have changed a lot since I was a child and I love tea now so was only too happy try these iced teas out.

When I opened the parcel I was instantly taken by the cute carton packaging and design. These mini cartons are adorable and looked fun and bright in my fridge - I know it is all about the taste but aesthetically these are very pleasing and tempting!

Hampstead Tea London say 

Great taste from fine leaf tea
Low calories, full of antioxidants
No preservatives
Recyclable packaging

My thoughts 

I was sent all three flavours in the range

Raspberry Darjeeling Organic Iced Tea

Just like a fruit tea but whereas they smell much better than they taste this is full of delicious fruity raspberry flavour, a really nice tea blend.


Darjeeling tea
Raspberry Juice (4%)
Lemon juice (0.6%)

Elderflower Oolong Organic Iced Tea

Out of the three this was my least favourite. It had a nice subtle taste and scent of elderflower but I found the aftertaste a bit too bitter for my palate.


Oolong tea
Elderflower (3.5%)
Lemon juice

Lemon Green Organic Iced Tea

The Lemon Green was my absolute favourite, bright and refreshing this tasted fantastic. A green tea with just the right amount of lemon flavour. I love how natural this tastes, no nasty synthetic lemon flavour in sight!


Green tea
Lemongrass tea
Lemon juice (2%)

Final thoughts

When the hot weather hits I love an ice cold frappe but these Iced Teas are thirst quenching, refreshing and low calorie. They make a great alternative. Best served ice cold.

For more details visit Hampstead Tea www.hampsteadtea.com

*Samples sent for review

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Barry M Lash Vegas Black Mascara - Review

Barry M says 

New Lash Vegas Mascara features a new spiral shaped brush that has been specifically designed to separate, define and reach the smallest of lashes giving exceptional length and unrivalled definition.

Featuring bristles that work close to the root for ultimate oooomph, this brush promises to give you show-stopping volume!.

The mascara wand



My thoughts 

I had my reservations when I saw the wand, it looks so messy!

Consistency wise the formula is neither wet or dry. The after shot shows one swipe of mascara and this is really impressive. Two coats of mascara just ended up being a gloopy, clumpy mess. This mascara is brilliant if you are in a hurry as one swipe is all you need and you are ready to go.

I am really impressed with this mascara from Barry M. The black is nice and rich, the length for one coat is insane. The wand separates the lashes and defines well, really opening and widening my eyes. The curl holds too for hours.

Brilliant mascara and at a very affordable price.

Barry M Lash Vegas Mascara costs £6.49

*PR Sample


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