Thursday, 23 March 2017

Illamsaqua Extinct Go Nude Lip Kit Winner Revealed

Just a quick post for you today and for one of you it's going to be a good one, because today I'm announcing the winner of my 10th blogging birthday, Illamasqua giveaway x

I've really enjoyed reading through your comments, and suggestions on what you would like to see on the blog and I'm definitely going to be taking some, if not all of your suggestions on board as I try to take the blog forward in 2017, so thanks again for all of your feedback xx

I had over 700 entries and as much as want to give you all a prize to thank you for your support over the last 10 years, there can only be one winner, and the winner, picked randomly via Rafflecopter is

Ashley Bree Perez

Congratulations Ashley x Can you please send an email with your postal address to as soon as possible and I'll get your prize sent out to you x 

You know what I'm going to say now I guess, but the same thing I always say still applies, don't worry if you weren't lucky enough to win this time, I have several more giveaways coming soon. There probably won't be another big one till around May time, but I do have a few smaller home, and beauty ones to come so make sure you're still following for a chance to win x Thanks for reading and of course thank you for following and for your continued support x 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

"I'm At A Place Called Vertigo" And It Hasn't Been Fun!

Well this little ditty from U2, pretty much says it all. Although I've still been uploading fairly regularly to my You Tube channel (thanks to an en block recording day!), I've been AWOL from the blog for a couple of weeks now, thanks to, at least in part, you've guessed it vertigo!

No not the U2 song, or even the Hitchcock's film noir,  but a horrible illness that makes you feel sick and dizzy. My mum was poorly first but I didn't think too much of it, she has a history of vertigo, but then I started feeling dizzy and that was that, a trip to the doctors, the diagnosis of a possible virus, and a box of prescription pills later, I thought I was feeling better, so on Tuesday I went on a long planned shopping trip with my Godmother and her friend, and then it came back with a vengeance.

Couple that with a fibro and CFS flare, and I've spent the last three days in bed, in a slighty blurry, not quite there haze,  believe me feeling like you've got a hangover when you haven't even had a drink is not fun! At last though I'm starting to see the light at the end of yet another long, dark tunnel and I'm starting feel less drowsy, and less woozy.

So from Monday I will be back posting regularly again with plenty more hauls, beauty reviews and who knows what else, and I'll also be announcing the winner of my Illamasqua giveaway, so make sure you keep checking back to see if you're a winner.

Until then though thank you for reading and following and I hope that you all have a lovely weekend, and I will see you next week with some new posts x

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Trimming my Stash - February 2017 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews

I know February is the shortest month of the year, but I'm still finding it pretty hard to believe that we're into March already. This year is starting the same way that last year ended, at 100 miles an hour - stop the world I want to get off - argh!

February was another rubbishy month in LouLouLand with family illness and so on but I'm trying to focus on the positives for once, including my blogging birthday (don't forget to enter my giveaway here if you haven't already, you can find it here), and all of the plans that I have to move my blog and my You Tube channel forward. I know it can sometimes be hard to find the positives in life, but if you really look hard enough, in most areas you can usually find something to be positive about or something to be thankful for.

RESEED Gingko & Sabal Fortifying Shampoo For Women - 250ml
Soap & Glory Sit Tight Sit Activated Special Low Body Firming Formula - 200ml
Soap & Glory Heel Genius Amazing Foot Cream - 125ml
Total - 3 Items 

Take last month's Trimming My Stash for example, yes I only managed to finish 3 items, but I finished one more than I did in January, and I managed to finish one product that seemed to have made itself permanently at home in my bathroom.

1. REESEED Gingko & Sabal Fortifying Shampoo For Women - 250ml

This was a product that I was originally sent to review, I loved it so much that I ended up buying another bottle. I love this as a shampoo in it's own right but by just using the shampoo and the serum and botanical solution very sparingly, I haven't really seen the same results as I did in the initial review. I would thoroughly recommend it as a gentle, body building shampoo but it's £25 and in my opinion I think it works way better when you use alongside the other products in the RESEED range. You can read my full review here x

2. Soap & Glory Sit Tight Sit Activated Special Low Body Firming Formula - 200ml

I'm going to hold my hands up and say that I don't believe that any cream or lotion can firm up your skin, and get rid of your cellulite, but my dear readers I'm always willing to admit that I'm wrong, and I do tend to get suckered in to buying things that I pray will firm up my bottom and get rid of some of those perfectly normal, shallow craters on my thighs! Did this product do that? Well unfortunately it didn't, it had a nice cream, gel texture, and it had that reassuring, cool, hot thing going that made you feel it was doing something, and boosting your circulation, but my bits are still as wobbly as they ever were. Maybe if I'd used it twice a day it wouldn't have become a permanent fixture in my bathroom and I might have seen a difference but some how I'm not convinced . Yes lotions and potions might make your skin feel softer, and smoother, but sensible diets and exercise are the only real way to firm up your wobbly bits. If you know otherwise though, and you've used a product that you found made a difference then let me know in the comments x This product actually has been discontinued now and replaced by the new and reformulated Soap & Glory Sit Tight Super Intense Targeted 4D Firming And Soothing Lower Body Serum which has a nifty massage head, and despite my ranting I'm actually tempted to give it ago so let me know if you've tried it x 

3. Soap & Glory Heel Genius Amazing Foot Cream - 125ml

This is one of my favourite ever foot creams, It doesn't have the richest or the creamiest texture, but slap a bit of this beautifully fruity, floral scented, creamy lotion onto your feet, stick a pair of socks on, experience a tiny bit of a tingle thanks to the fruit acids, give it an hour on so and your feet will look and feel a lot smoother. Thanks to a few thyroid problems my feet are ridiculously dry, so this isn't a miracle worker but it certainly makes a little bit of a difference, and thanks to the Soap & Glory star gifts at Boots, I now have a nice little stash of this one, and it's something that I will continue to buy regardless.

So this wasn't the longest empties post again, but I'm staying positive that I'm going to have a good year, and that I'm going to finish lots and lots of beauty products in 2017. Are you doing something similar this year? Let me know below x

Saturday, 25 February 2017

A Tiny Little Primark Haul And A Shopping Trip Fail

This week I managed my first proper shopping trip since just before Christmas and to be honest it was all a bit of a fail. It started off well, I got my brows waxed at Benefit in Debenhams in Newcastle, and then I had a little play with their new box blush, GALifornia and as much as I wanted it I stayed strong and I didn't buy it, on reflection though, that was probably a mistake.

My aim was to have a look in Primark, have a look in Boots, and generally have an enjoyable afternoon, pottering around the shops, what I hadn't counted on though was half term and Storm Doris.

From the minute I stepped out of Eldon Square onto Northumberland Street, to the moment I got off the bus, just up the street from my house, it rained, the wind howled and did I say it rained! I was soaked within seconds so I decided just to go to Primark, grab a cup of coffee and then go home.

Being half term,  Primark was heaving, I did think that the rain might have put a few people off going shopping, but obviously not, we're Northerners a bit of rain doesn't put us off! The store is currently in that transition phase, between the dregs of winter fashion and the arrival of spring and summer clothes but there was still plenty of new things to look at.

I saw at least half a dozen things that I would have bought in a heartbeat, but I didn't and do you know why I didn't? They didn't have my size that's why! I usually go for an 18 or a 20 in Primark, and everything that I liked only seemed to come in a 4, a 6, an 8, or a 10. I know it's stupid but I felt so down on myself, there is nothing like a Primark trip at times to make you feel obese. Larger sizes can be quite hard to find in Primark at the best of times, but during the school holidays they seem to disappear without a trace, do they purposely bring in more smaller sizes? or do the larger sizes just sell out more quickly when the store is busier? Who knows, all I know is that it was a very, very frustrating trip.

I did manage to buy a couple of bits of though, but I didn't manage to buy any clothes whatsoever and I didn't spend what I intended to, so I could have bought my GALifornia after all grrr! I only bought a few bits so welcome to what will probably be the tiniest Primark haul ever!

Hair bobbles, are like socks, Kirby grips, and earring backs, they just seem to disappear without a trace. I know one of my cats Tallulah pinches the odd one or two, but I've literally had whole packs disappear with days? It's definitely one of life's mysteries as to where they all go!

I don't really see the point in spending a fortune on something that's just going to disappear into thin air, so I now buy most of my hair bobbles and ties from Primark. I'm quite liking this spiral / telephone cord style of bobble at the moment, they don't catch or damage the hair, and unlike some of the other ones out there you can actually use them to hold back quite a lot of hair. They do stretch slightly in time, but most of mine never hang around long enough for that to happen. 😂 I got two different types, I got a pack of 8 of the fabric style in a black, a brown and a cream, and I also got a pack of 12 of the plastic, rubbery invisibobble dupes, in various shades of brown, both of these packs retail at just £1 each, which is great value for money for something that I'm probably just going to lose anyway.

I had a little look round the beauty section, and whilst there was a few bits that I may go on to buy in the future (Primer Water anyone?), I only bought one other thing - a nail polish. This is one of their Precious Metal One Coast Nail Lacquers, and this one is in the colour Groupie. It isn't that easy to see the correct shade very well in this photograph, but it's one of those weird bronze, mauve, pink metallic shades. As you know I have a love / hate relationship with metallic and foil polishes, thanks to my inbuilt hatred of visible brush strokes but for just £1.50 I thought that this one was worth a try.

After looking around and feeling a bit more meh and frustrated, I headed up to the top floor and to my safe place, the home section. I really, really love Primark's home section, it's always so fresh, and it's full of those little things that make a house a home, I have a few of their bedding sets, I regularly buy their fitted sheets if I want a splash of colour, and as a family we love their micro fibre throws. They had some gorgeous things in this time round including the cutest new Disney collection, some adorable Winnie The Pooh prints, some new luxury sheets and pillowcases, and some gorgeous faux cacti. To be honest though I didn't really need anything so I just bought a couple of blogging related bits.

Well if you can't beat them, as the saying goes, join them! I've always spent my life rallying against the norm, but as hard as I've tried to ignore the trend for marble backgrounds in blog pictures and on Instagram, I've finally succumbed and do you know what I think I like it!. I know some bloggers use paper, card and tiles, but I think that in most cases these table mats will fit the bill perfectly. I'll gradually be introducing them into my blog and Instagram pictures so stick around to see what they look like. They are wipe clean and they have a non scratch and non slip cork backing, and they are just £3 for a set of 4. If you want to use these as table mats, which I may still do, Primark also sell a set of matching drinks coasters, so that you can create your own Instagram worthy dinner table.

If the marble and rose gold look, is your thing then Primark also have a few marble effect stationery items in store at the moment too, including pencil cases, and notebooks. I nearly bought one of the notebooks actually but then I saw this one.

I know a few people have issues with this statement, but I know who I am, and I probably do have more issues, hang ups, and quirks than Vogue! This is actually a really nice notebook, with ruled pages, a matte black cover, and rose gold type, and an elasticated page marker. I didn't need it but hey I love my stationery, and this notebook was just £2.50 so somehow it ended up in my basket.

Thanks to my ranting and rambling, I've managed to stretch out this haul post for way longer than I thought I would, and if you want to hear more of my rambling and if you want to see a little extra Poundland purchase, then have a little look at the accompanying You Tube video below or via this link.

Although this particular Primark trip was a total fail, I can definitely see myself popping into Primark in the near future, I'm determined to hunt down my size in a few of the bits that I saw, so my Primark love in, whilst currently on hiatus, will no doubt continue in the near future. Have you found anything nice in Primark recently? Let me know in the comments x

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Illamasqua Extinct "Go Nude" Lip Kit And Birthday Giveaway - CLOSED

Bar a brief affair with dark, vampy lips when I was in my teens and my current obsession with pink lipstick, I've always been a nude girl at heart. When I first started blogging the trend was for those blank out, dead looking nudes like Barry M 101 and GOSH Darling. They were were dry, cakey and unflattering yet we still bought them in droves and thought we looked like the bees knees! Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Thankfully though the nude lip has moved on and whilst you can still pick up a concealer like nude if that's your thing, you can now find a multitude of nude lip shades, with warmer and more flattering undertones, to suit all skin tones, and all tastes.

I have quite a few in my collection now but you know me, I'm always looking to try something new and a bit different, so just before Christmas I picked up a lip kit from one of the most talked about brands of the moment, Illamasqua.

I don't own a lot of Illamasqua products compared to some other brands out there but I really like the ones that I do have, and I also love the ethics behind the company. I love both their powder and their cream blushers, I love their nail polishes, and I'm a big fan of some of their cream eye products. I've got to be honest and say though, the only thing that I've ever been disappointed with was one of their lipsticks. On reflection I think it was the colour and the texture that were to blame, Sonnet is described as a matte peachy nude, and looking back it was one of those nudes that just didn't flatter my skin tone, and I wasn't a huge fan of the matte finish at the time. Every brand deserves a second chance and the perfect way to try three different lip products at once was to get my hands of one their Christmas kits.

Released as part of the Extinct collection, the Illamasqua Extinct Go Nude Lip Kit was a limited edition for the festive season and retailed at £40 which was a pretty decent saving compared to buying the 3 products inside individually. The products come in a beautiful magnetic fastening box which features a metallic, holographic butterfly design.

Open the box and you're greeted by more metallic, holographic loveliness, and three full sized lip products, in three different formulations and in 3 different, flattering shades of nude.

Illamasqua Glamore Lipstick - Starkers - 4g

As I said before my previous Illamasqua lipstick experience wasn't the best, the colour wasn't that flattering, and I wasn't really a fan of the matte finish. The lipstick in this kit though is one of Illamasqua's Glamore Lipsticks which has more of a satin finish.

The shade that you get is Starkers, which is officially described as a soft flesh pink tone. Compared to a lot of nudes from back in the day, Starkers has a lot of warmth to it, it isn't too brown though, and instead it's a nice balance between peach, brown, and pink, and I think that it's a colour that would suit a lot of different skin tones.

As you can see the pigmentation is excellent, it applies easily without dragging and whilst it's not the most moisturising lipstick I've ever worn, it feels pleasant on the lips and it wears well, and fades evenly. 

All in all this is a decent formulation it wears well, and the colour is a nice wearable nude, that doesn't make you look ill lol. Illamasqua Glamore Lipstick in Starkers retails at £19.50 for an 8g tube.

Illamasqua Lip Lure - Bloom - 2.5ml

One of the biggest trend in lips at the moment, has to the liquid lipstick. Thanks to a certain reality TV star, liquid lipsticks are the thing to have in your make up bag. Whilst the real trend at the moment is for a matte liquid lip, the Illamasqua Lip Lure that you get in this kit actually has more of a semi gloss like finish

The shade that you get is Bloom, which is described as a pink nude, it definitely has a lot more pink in it then Starkers does, and in fact I would probably describe it as more of a neutral, warm pink, than an out and out nude.

Although this product is very pigmented, the precise shape of the sponge applicator makes it super easy to both outline and fill in your lips.

As I say this product is described as having a semi gloss finish, it's very pigmented and it feels quite wet on the lips, and it definitely behaves more like a lipgloss than a conventional lipstick, but it doesn't have the shine of a gloss, and because of the pigmentation it lasts a lot longer on the lips than a normal lipgloss would.

I've got to be honest and say that matte liquid lipsticks scare me a little, I've seen a few online that look really, really drying and as someone who has dry lips already, the idea of lipstick and crusty lips is not a good one. If you feel like I do then maybe the Illamasqua Lip Lure formulation is a one to try. You get the convenience and the pigmentation of a liquid lipstick but with none of the parched, matte look, and feel. Illamasqua Lip Lure in Bloom retails at £19.50 for a 2.5ml tube.

Illamasqua Lip Colouring Pencil - Woo - 1.4g

Lip pencils are one of those things that go in and out of fashion - I'm sure like me you know or knew somebody that insisted on wearing a dark liner with a pale lipstick. Terrifying and  unfortunately a trend that never seems to die with some people. It's frightening and unfortunately I think it's put some people off lip liner for life! I must admit I don't always use lip liner, but when I do use I can never understand why I don't use it all the time.

Done right lip liner can make all of the difference, if you have uneven lips like I do, then you can create your own even lip line in an instant and if you're clever you can even give yourself a fuller pout without a needle in sight. It's all about getting the colour right though, so go for a clear / silicone pencil or go for a one that goes with a few different lipsticks. This particular kit comes with an Illamasqua Lip Colouring Pencil in the shade Woo which is described as a soft nude. Again it isn'\t a concealer nude shade, it has a lot of brown in it, a bit of peach and a bit of pink. Personally I wouldn't use it alongside the Lip Lure which I think it a bit too pink but with careful blending and application you could definitely use it alongside Starkers which is just a touch lighter.

This is a nice soft pencil with good staying power. It isn't too soft though so it is easy to sharpen and it's easy to create a nice and defined line.

Obviously you can use it with any lipstick to line, define and reshape the lips, but like you can see below I've actually been using this pencil to fill in all of my lips. Not only does this give you another colour option, but you can also use it underneath either a sheer gloss (Benefit Hoola works really will with this one) or underneath another lipstick to make you lip colour last even longer.

Despite the bad press that they've had over the years, I really think that the lip liner does still have a place in our beauty routines. Get a good, wearable shade like this one and you can use it reshape and even up your lips, and you can also use it to get the most out of the other products in your lip wardrobe. Illamasqua Lip Colouring Pencil in Woo retails at £16 for 1.4g of product.

I think that kits like this give you a great opportunity to try out some new things, and I'm pretty pleased that I took a chance on this one. I've really enjoyed using all of the products in this kit, and I've enjoyed experimenting with different textures and different shades of nude. My best discovery is without a doubt the Lip Lure, I loved the colour, and the almost buttery, cushiony texture, and I definitely prefer the semi gloss finish, to some of the matte liquid lipsticks that I've seen elsewhere, Throw in the fact the Illamasqua are a ethical and animal friendly brand, and this kit really was a winner in more ways that one.

I have to say this though, after searching online I can't find this specific kit anywhere :( It was a Christmas kit and it looks as though the stock has gone for good. Don't worry though you can still buy all of the products individually all be it for a little bit more money, from various retailers including the Illamasqua website, Selfridges, Debenhams, and Beauty Bay.

However, I did mention in my previous post that I would be holding a little giveaway to celebrate my 10th blogging birthday, so if you want to get your hands on your own, and now very hard to find Illamasqua Extinct Go Nude Lip Kit than all you need to do is fill in the entry form below before the 18th March.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will be open worldwide, and you must be a follower of my blog in order to enter, I will be checking so please make sure that you fulfil all of the entry criteria x If you have any questions please leave me a comment and good luck x

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Happy 10th Birthday LouLouLand! - Reflecting On 10 Years Of Blogging

You can't celebrate a birthday without cake, but unfortunately for me or should I say unfortunately for my stomach, all I could get my hands was these yummy and super sweet Tesco cupcakes.

It isn't my birthday of course, but it's the 10th birthday of something that's slowly become to define me, and become a part of me, my blog! It's hard to believe that 10 years ago today I made the decision to sign up to blogspot and I decided to start sharing my life and my loves online.

Since I started celebrating my blogging birthday I've posted quite a few of these Happy Birthday posts now and they all say something pretty similar - I usually talk about how much blogging has changed over the years, and how grateful I am for all of the opportunities that have came my way, and to be honest today, my feelings are exactly the same. I've been very lucky over the years, I've worked with some amazing brands and I've met some lovely people ,all through farting about on the Internet as one of my relatives describes it!

As I've said before though, blogging really has become my lifeline, it's given me something to focus on and something to do when various aspects of my life on turmoil, it's helped me meet new people, it's helped me learn lots of new skills, and I'm now lucky enough to class as a part time job.

The last few years have been hard for me personally in a lot of ways, and unfortunately I feel as though my blog has suffered, I haven't spent as much time and effort on it as I would have liked, and as I've said previously my posting and my content has suffered, but you're still here and you're still with me. So I want to say a huge, huge thank you to every single person out there that's read or followed my blog over, and I'd also like to say a huge thank you to the brands and companies that I've worked with, and I'd also liked to thank all of my follow blogging friends both new and old, if it hadn't been for all of your support and encouragement there is no way I would still be prattling on 10 years after that first not very exciting post x

After a couple of frustrating months I'm just about ready to get back to where I want to be - I have lots and lots of plans and ideas for the future and I'm looking forward to my blogging future with both optimism and enthusiasm. As I say I can't thank you all enough for your support so as a way of expressing my gratitude I will be hosting another high end beauty giveaway on the blog which should be live in the next few days x So Merci Beaucoup again and I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Real Techniques Your Picks Berlin Brush Set Winner Revealed

Hi Guys x I hope you all had a lovely weekend, I know I'm a little bit late but it's now to time to announce the winner of my Real Techniques giveaway! I had over 2,000 entries and I've really enjoyed reading through some of your new years resolutions and I'm definitely going to take aboard some of your blog post suggestions in 2017.

Alas there can only be one winner, and the winner picked at random from Rafflecopter is.....

Deborah Smith
AKA kungfupidge21 on Instagram

Congratulations Deborah x If you can send your address details to  before this Saturday, then I'll post your prize out to you next week x

If you weren't lucky enough to win this time round don't despair, this weekend marks my 10th blogging anniversary and I may be hosting another high end giveaway on Sunday that you won't want to miss if x Thanks again for all of your entries, and of course for all of your follows, comments and support xx

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Trimming My Stash - January 2017 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews

Well that's the first month of 2017 out of the way, and do you know what good riddance to it. January wasn't a great month for me in a lot of ways so I'm pleased that it's done and dusted and that I can now hopefully move forward with optimism.

The Body Shop Glazed Apple Shower Gel - 60ml
Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner - 250ml

Total - 2 Items

I guess January 2017's empties probably sum up my start to the year as a whole - lots of endeavour, enthusiasm and effort but with little or no reward! I've been digging half empty bottle, tubes and jars out of my stash and trying to use them up but it was very much a case of close but not cigar - I know already that February is going to be a way better month but in January I only managed to finish 2 beauty products.

1. The Body Shop Glazed Apple Shower Gel - 60ml

It's a little one but they all count - This little shower gel was part of The Body Shop's 2015 festive offering, and although I wasn't sure about it at first this scent really grew on me. In the beginning I wanted this to by a pure apple fragrance, a bit like one of The Body Shop fragrances of my childhood, Green Apple, unfortunately it wasn't to be instead it's a mixture of apple, and orchard fruits, combined with a sugary sweetness that makes your mouth water. Alas this fragrance made way for Spiced Apple in 2016 which I thankfully I also love but I still have a few Glazed Apple bits in my stash, ready and waiting for when I need that sugared apple hit.

2. Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner - 250ml

What can I possibly say about this product that hasn't already been said? Championed by the skincare Queen herself, Caroline Hirons this product has a cult following, and I can most definitely see why. This product that contains 5% glycolic acid takes the humble toner to the next level. A lot of people panic when they here the words glycolic, but this product is perfect for even the most sensitive of skins, it is alcohol free and it contains extracts of ginseng, aloe vera and which hazel to both purify and soothe the skin . Obviously anyone can be allergic to anything but this toner isn't an afterthought it contains good for you, skin care ingredients that can make a real difference. In my experience this toner brings my skin back to life, my skin looks brighter and more even, and it feels smoother.  I really can't recommend this product highly enough, I was sceptical at first but it really has made a difference to my skin. You can buy at a variety of places including Marks and Spencer , QVC UK, Look Fantastic, Cult Beauty, and of course from the Pixi Beauty website

So that was a pretty disappointing start to the year but onwards and upwards! As I say I'm just about done on a couple of bits already so hopefully February will be a better month all round x Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please leave me a comment and don't forget if your doing something similar this year or if you've posted a empties post or video recently then I would love to see it so link me up below x 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

the Balm Manizer Sisters Luminizer Trio And My Highlighting Journey

I don't know about you but I'm so over this winter already! Although the weather hasn't been too bad in my little corner of the world, I'm sick of the rain, the wind, and the cold, and I'm spending my free time fantasising about tropical holidays and sunshine! I'm sick of being cold, I'm sick of my achy muscles and I'm sick of looking tired, pasty and ill.

Alas I can't see a tropical beach vacation on the horizon, but spring and summer will be here before we know it, and until then I'm going to wrap up warm, and use a bit of make up to give my skin the healthy glow that it's so desperately lacking.

If you're a new follower or a new reader, then you'll quickly realise that I have quite an obsessive personality when it comes to beauty products, and one of the things that I'm absolutely obsessed with is the humble highlighter. Nowadays you can't open a magazine without being greeted by a strobing tutorial or by a model with perfectly sculpted and shimmering cheekbones. Do you know what though? I was way ahead of the trend and even as a tiny little human I remember playing with a beautiful loose highlighting powder that my mum had from Oriflame, and spilling it all over the carpet!

It's been a long journey, but it's been a fun one, I don't care that my shimmer highlights my pores, I don't care that people say that highlighters are just for teens, I want glimmery cheekbones and I want them now!

Well, given the amount of highlighters, and luminizers that I own, I can have that supermodel look any time that i choose, but up until Christmas 2015 one particular highlighter alluded me, and now that I own it, I'm wondering why on earth I didn't get it sooner.

The product I'm talking about is Mary-Lou Manizer by the Balm. A lot of bloggers and beauty junkies out there own this product and even at first glance it is easy to see why. It's beautiful honey, champagne colour that works on just about any skin tone, and gives it that bathed in light, angelic glow. After seeing it and swatching it in my local Superdrug, I added it to my Christmas list and on Christmas morning 2015, I was lucky enough to receive not only Mary-Lou in my stocking, but her sisters as well.

Packaged in the Balm's signature cardboard packaging, with a magnetic clasp, the Balm's The Manizer Sisters Luminzer Trio, not only contains Mary-Lou Manizer, but it also contains their other two highlighting / luminzing shade, Cindy-Lou Manizer, and Betty-Lou Manizer.

As well as just using them on the cheeks as a highlighter, a bronzer, or a blusher, each of these triple milled powders can also be used as an eye shadow or as an all over face colour, and radiance booster.

The first shade that you get is probably the best known of the three, Mary-Lou Manizer, AKA The Luminizer, as I said before this is a beautiful honey, champagne colour, that gives the skin that real lit from within glow. The next shade is Cindy- Luminizer AKA The Con-tour Artist. This is described as rose pink shade, and whilst I do think that it looks quite pink in the palette, in my opinion it looks warmer and peachier on the skin and when it's swatched. The final colour that you get is Betty-Lou Manizer AKA The Bronzing Bandit. This as the name would suggest is a beautiful deep, copper bronzer shade, with an almost metallic shimmer to it

I've had quite a while to try these out now but unfortunately I still haven't managed to get a good picture of them on my face, so I'm afraid the swatches will have to do for now x All of these shades are actually very different and that's one of the reasons why I think that this palette is so versatile. I've mainly been using Cindy-Lou Manizer as a blush, and the Mary-Lou Manizer on my cheekbones, and at the moment because I'm quite pale I've actually been using the Betty-Lou Manizer as a beautiful coppery, bronze eye colour, with just a hint of the Mary-Lou Manizer to highlight my brow bone.

As you can see from my swatches the pigmentation is fantastic, The triple milling means that these powders are soft soft, and almost creamy to the touch, and whilst they all contain shimmer, they don't contain chunky glitter, and they don't have that gritty feel that you can often associate with some powder highlighters.

For me (and Charlie!) this palette is a winner, and I'm really pleased that I got this, rather than the Mary-Lou Manizer on it's own. The pans admittedly are smaller than full size, with the total weight of this palette being 11.3g compared to each individual full size weighing in 8.5g but for me personally I'll probably get more use out of this whole palette than I would out of one individual luminizer. The three colours are both multi functional, and super versatile, and this palette is definitely something that I'll use all year round.

the Balm Manizer Sisters Luminizer Trio retails are around £24 and is currently available from Debenhams, Look Fantastic, and Feelunique. If the whole palette isn't for you though you can buy each of the colours in the larger sizes individually from various retailers including ASOS, Debenhams, and Superdrug for a variety of differing price points ranging from £15-£20 Have you tried any of these luminizers or any other products from the Balm? Let me know in the comments x

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

OPI Breakfast At Tiffany's Nail Polish Collection - Holiday 2016

Even though nail posts have been a bit thin on the ground lately, I'm still as in love with nail polish as I ever was, I'm just battling a set of very short and gnarly fingernails. Thankfully I'm starting to see an improvement, so hopefully it won't be long but I can get painting and get trying out some of my newest polishes.

I own a hell of a lot of nail polishes but one brand that I just keep coming back to is OPI. The quality of their polishes in my opinion is second to none, they're easy to apply, and they're always one of the first

Over the years OPI have teamed up with numerous celebrities, movies franchises and well known characters to create fabulous, and highly collectible limited edition collections, and in my opinion 2016 was one of their best years to date.

As well as their amazing Hello Kitty collection, their 2016 holiday collection also saw OPI celebrate the 55th anniversary of the iconic Audrey Hepburn film, Breakfast At Tiffany's, with a collection of limited edition nail colours, and limited edition collectible kits.

My mum is weird she doesn't see the appeal of either Audrey Hepburn or Breakfast At Tiffany's, but I do, I've always loved the book and the film, and the whole sophisticated, glamorous and iconic look of Audrey Hepburn, so this collection was an absolute must have for me.

As I say the collection comprises of 12 shades in OPI's classic formulation, and 6 (including a couple of duplicates) in their gel like, Infinite Shine formula. That's a lot of polishes and as tempted as I was to buy every single shade, it just wasn't that essential or practical, so instead I just bought 3 limited edition kits that contained some of my favourite shades.

The first set that I got was the I Believe In Manicures Duo, this kit contains a free limited edition fabric make up / manicure bag with the words "I believe in MANICURES" written on it.

It contained two, full sized 15ml nail lacquers in probably the two, most iconic shades in the collection, Black Dress Not Optional, a deep, glossy black that's reminiscent of Audrey, gorgeous understated Givenchy number,

and I Believe In Manicures, which is a beautiful pale, turquoise blue, that resembles the colour of a box from where else, but Tiffany's. Unfortunately it isn't the exact shade of a Tiffany box because apparently the colour is trademarked but it's a gorgeous spring summer colour regardless of how authentic it is.

The next kit that I picked up was the Breakfast At Tiffany's OPI Style Icons set. I'm a huge fan of mini polishes, for reasons that I've probably talked about more than once, and this kit contains 4, 3.75ml bottles of nail lacquer, including again I Believe In Manicures.

It also contains (from left to right), Apartment For Two, a rich raspberry shade, Rich & Brazilian, a beautiful burgundy, plum which is shot through with gold, and finally Got The Mean Reds, a deep classic red.

Despite being mini bottles the coverage, and consistency of these polishes was still decent and the brushes, are nearly identical to the brushes in the full sized bottles.

Whenever you buy anything online, you should always make sure you know exactly what you're buying! I bought this last kit online and to be honest I didn't even look at what colours it contained, I assumed it would just contain all of the colours from the collection in a mini size, but I was wrong.

The Breakfast At Tiffany's OPI The Classics Collection doesn't actually contain any of the shades from the Breakfast At Tiffany's collection, instead it contains 10 of OPI's all time best selling and most popular polishes. The kit contains, two individual boxes of 5 polishes and the first box contains 5 of OPI's most popular pinks, and neutral shades.

The furst two colours in the set, are OPI's classic French manicure shades, Alpine Snow, a crisp, snowy white, and Bubble Bath, a warm, creamy, sheer pink. Next up you have their classic, nude, Tickle My Francey, the bright pink Suzi Nails New Orleans from last years New Orleans collection, and finally another deep red shade, Madame President (sob!) from winter 2016's Washington DC collection.

The next box comprises of five, 3.75ml polishes, in an assortment of deeper, and more dramatic shades.

Again from left to right, the colours are, Big Apple Red, which is a warmer shade of red, and Malaga Wine, a deep rich wine shade. The next two shades are both from the Washington DC collection you get Squeaker Of The House, which is a taupe, chocolate brown and CIA = Color Is Awesome, which despite looking black here is actually a deep, dark dusky, teal blue. The final shade is one of OPI's all time classics Lincoln Park After Dark, which is officially described as a midnight plum.

Despite the fact that this kit wasn't exactly what I'd hoped it would be, I'm still really pleased that I got. These colours are a mix some of OPI's newest and oldest classic shades, and they're all really wearable, and usable colours no matter what your taste or your age.

I always get quite excited about OPI's Holiday collections and this has been one of my favourites to date. What I like about it, is it's versatility, none of the colours particularly scream Christmas, yes it contains a few classic reds, and there are a few glitters in the wider collection, but there is nothing that you couldn't wear all year round.

Although we're heading towards the launch of the new Spring collections, most of these kits and these polishes are still available in selected stores and online, and if you're lucky enough you might be able to pick them up at a sale price.

Apologies again for lack of pictures of the polishes on real nails, but I will try and do some nails of the days with some of these colours when my nails grow up a bit. I hope you've found this post useful, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this collaboration so leave me your comments and let me know x