Monday 29 February 2016

Benefit Do The Hoola Beyond Bronze Kit For Complexion, Lips And Eyes

Although a date doesn't really mean anything, tomorrow marks the official start of Spring, and I for one can't wait. I know it hasn't been the coldest of winters, but it's been damp, dreary and windy and I'm seriously craving a bit of sunshine. If you're a Brit though, for most us the warmth and sunshine is still long way off but there is a way to make yourself look a bit more sun kissed even if you don't necessarily feel it.

Like most pale and pasty peeps out there, in winter time my skin alternates been bright pink, grey, white and blue! At this time of year more than any other people always seem to think that I look ill, and do you know what I probably do, so I do what most of us do and I reach for my make up bag. Many moons ago I was terrified of bronzer - yes it gives you that instant glow but on most of us ghost like people, it just looks wrong, it's either too brown, too orange or just too dark. I found a few that I vaguely got  on with but then I discovered Benefit Hoola and I finally realised just what a difference bronzer could make.

As well as having the full sized boxed powder version of Hoola, I also own a couple of minis that I've got in various Benefit kits. I think I may have mentioned it once or twice ;) but I'm a huge fan of Benefit's mini kits and one of their newest releases is Do The Hoola.

Benefit Do The Hoola Beyond Bronze Kit For Complexion, Lips And Eyes, is another one of their kits that's boxed to look just like a little book.

Open the box and inside you have a small, cardboard book shaped box with a magnetic clasp, that contains everything you'd want to give yourself that healthy bronze glow.

Containing a full size fixed mirror, and  a fold out leaflet with full instructions and application tricks, this kit contains removable, mini sizes of some of Benefits best selling products, and something new, and just a little bit exciting.

The kit contains 2 lip products, 1.4g size of Benebalm, and a 6.5ml size of Hoola Ultra Plush Lip Gloss. It also contains a 3g size of the Hoola Bronzing Powder, and a mini powder brush, as well as a 3g size of They're Real Mascara in Black and a 7ml size of the brand new, and yet to be released in the UK, Dew The Hoola Liquid Bronzer.

Hoola Bronzing Powder - 3g And Mini Powder Brush

I've already talked about Hoola in a previous post ( read it here) but for me it's obvious why it's one of the most popular bronzers in the UK. When you look at what's wrong with bronzers, two of  the things that people normally say is that they are either too orange looking, or they don't look natural. Hoola is a matte bronzing powder that contains no orange, so you get a natural looking colour, with out looking orange or sparkly or as though you're actually wearing a bronzer.

I normally just sweep it over my face in the 3 and E motion to give me face a little bit of shape but in the summer, I play it up a bit more and sweep it over my nose, my forehead and anywhere where the sun would naturally hit my skin. This powder though is perfect for tanning those bits that you may have missed so you can also use it to create a fake tan look, as I've done below or you can also use it to fill in strap marks :)

This is a pretty pigmented powder , so you need a light hand particularly if you're pale like me, apply a small amount, blend well and reapply as needed, to build up the colour that you want.

Dew The Hoola Matte Liquid Bronzer - 7ml

I don't think powder bronzer will ever go out of fashion, but times change and lately there has been a surge of both cream and liquid bronzers, and this kit contains Benefit's version Dew The Hoola. Not launched in the UK in the full size, until the end of this month, this was the product that really sold this kit to me.

I love my powder Hoola but sometimes you just want the moisture and glow, that a liquid or a powder brings. Although Dew The Hoola is a matte liquid bronzer, it seems to give the skin, a healthy glow, and a freshness that it's powder cousin doesn't.

I must admit it looks terrifying when you first pump it out, and whilst it does seem to have a touch of a orange, yellow tone to it, please give it a chance. It has quite a creamy feel, and a heady floral scent, but it blends into the skin like a dream. I really like Soliel Tan De Chanel Bronzing Make Up Base but sometimes on me it just needs more blending then I have the energy for, whilst Dew The Hoola does need to be blended into the skin to avoid any harsh, demarcation lines, it takes no effort and boy does it put the colour where it isn't.

I've blended out quite a lot of it here, but a little goes a long way, apply a little bit with your fingers and blend it out into the cheeks, or on the forehead and nose, and your left with a healthy glow, with no glitter or shimmer. In the pictures towards the end of this post I've used it over a tinted moisturiser and a touch of powder but you can use this product equally well on bare skin, especially I would imagine if you have a darker skin tone.

 Ultra Plush Lip Gloss - Hoola - 6.5ml

This is something else that I've already talked about on the blog, in my review of the Benefit The Bronze Of Champions Total Bronze Kit but I like so I'm more than happy to talk about it again.

Although it looks quite dark and bronze toned in the swatch below, this is a proper nude lipgloss, that's non sticky, and tastes lovely and fruity. I've fallen out of love with lipglosses over the years, but I'm a huge fan of this formulation and taste.

Benebalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm 

I only own one of these tinted balms from Benefit and while it was nice it wasn't amazing but after trying this one I think I just went for the wrong colour.

Benebalm is the coordinating lip balm to one of Benefit's first ever products Benetint. It has the same rose scent and taste and it gives the lips a hint of the rose colour that you see on the left in the picture above. The pigmentation is a little bit better on this one so as well as giving your lips some moisture and a bit of gloss, you're also giving them that my lips but better colour.

They're Real Mascara - Black - 3g

The final item in the kit is a mini size of the UK's best selling mascara, They're Real. I'm not going to say too much about it here as I've got a full review coming soon but this kit gives you a chance to either try it out or to get a mini one for your on the go make up bag.

I don't think you can really judge a make up item till you try it out on your face so I've done different looks with this kit to give you an idea of what you can achieve. They aren't the best photographs I've ever taken by any means, my facial palsy was playing up, and believe it or not it was just way too sunny and my face looks washed out ! As bloggers we spend half the year complaining about bad light and the other half complaining that it's too sunny and it's creating too many shadows - you really can't win lol

For this first look I've gone all out and created a tanned face, courtesy of the Hoola Powder Bronzer. I've used it over the top of my base of foundation, and powder to give a matte tanned look, I've even used on the eyes and I've also going with a heavier more defined brow, lots of They're Real and Hoola gloss on the lips. You can see another look I've created with Hoola Bronzing Powder and several other Benefit products in different lighting here x

Here I've gone for a fresher glowy look, I've used Dew The Hoola over a tinted moisturiser and just a touch of powder, no shadow, a lighter brow, one coat of They're Real, and Benebalm for a rosy tint to my lips.

Not perfect I know but hopefully these pics give you a bit more of an idea. Yes this kit will be ideal for holidays and for the summer months, but with careful application there is no reason why you can't wear it at this time of year to warm up your face and make you look a bit healthier.

These kits are idea for trying out new looks and new products and now that you can remove the individual items they're great for your travel or holiday make up bag, or even for when your on the go and you need a quick touch up. I've had a little look round and this kit doesn't seem to be that easy to get hold of but you can currently buy the Benefit Do The Hoola Beyond Bronze Kit For Complexion, Lips And Eyes online from both Boots and John Lewis, and the Benefit website for £28.50.

If it's just Dew The Hoola that you're interested in, then you haven't got too long to wait, the full 30ml size officially goes on sale in the UK on the 26th March but I think it's available on Benefit Cosmetics UK from the 12th March. As well as Dew The Hoola though there are also lots of other goodies coming out from Benefit next month including the full size of Dandelion Shy Beam. Dandelion Dew Liquid Blush and a Hoola Body Bronzer, so if you're a Benefit junkie like me you better start saving x Are you a fan of Benefit Cosmetics? Let me know your favourite product x

Saturday 27 February 2016

Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water - A Review For My Pure*

At the moment we're slap bang in the middle of all of the fashion weeks, we've already had New York, and London, this week it's Milan and then finally Paris. As well as clothes and accessories, the various fashion weeks also showcase some of the key beauty and hair trends for the upcoming seasons, I love seeing the clothes and the bags but I also love seeing sneaky peeks of new make up and beauty products and new beauty trends.

Like a lot of people I've been surfing the net, and checking out magazine and blogs for behind the scenes pics from some of my favourite designers catwalk shows, and I have one word manic! The preparation that must go into the shows, and  the stress backstage is something that looks way beyond me, everything needs to be done quickly and perfectly and that includes the skincare and the make up.

There is no time for a full cleanse in between outfit changes or shows, so a lot of make up artists tend to use the quick fire option. In the old days a lot of artists used to use baby wipes and I'm sure that many still do but something that you now see backstage at a lot of shows and shoots is micellar water.

Whilst I still buy wipes for swatch clean ups and emergencies I've really grown to love the convenience, speed, and skincare benefits of micellar water, and I for one am grateful that it's something that's now available to all and at all price points. I've tried quite a few micellar and cleansing waters now, and whilst I've found a couple that I love I'm always looking to try new ones just in case I find something better. I've tried a couple of micellar waters from My Pure now, but recently a new one popped up on the site so I decided to give it a go.

Back in November I tried my first product from Australian, brand Sukin, and I was impressed not only by the product but also by the fact that they are a ethically run family business that are committed to producing high quality, affordable and effective beauty products using only the finest botanical extracts, essential and natural ingredients. Their range encompasses a variety of hair, body and skincare items and I was delighted to see that they produced a micellar water.

The Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water is suitable for all skin types and is designed not only to gently cleanse the skin, removing make up and impurities but it also contains a variety of ingredients to help soothe and soften the skin including chamomile, cucumber and aloe vera.

The cleansing water comes packaged in a quite, utilitarian plastic bottle with an easy to use flip top cap. It might not be the most attractive bottle ever but it's certainly practical, with the dark plastic protecting all of the natural extracts inside.

Although it looks quite blue is this picture it's actually just a clear liquid, that looks and feels a little bit like water, but strangely it has more of a moisturising feel than water on the skin.

Micellar waters are simple to use and this is no exception, just pour some out onto a cotton pad, and gently wipe it over the face to either freshen and cleanser the skin or to remove make up. I've been using this are my morning cleanser for the past few weeks but I've also used it to remove both a light, and a heavy make up


You can't get a fuller make up than what I'm wearing here, not the best pictures I'm afraid thanks to a strange thing called sunlight, but I'm wearing a full base - foundation, concealer and powder, powder bronzer to create a tanned look on the face and eyes, a heavy brow product, lip gloss,and a mascara that's supposedly so difficult to get off that the brand actually sells a specific remover. A pretty big test I'm sure you'll agree but how did this micellar water perform?


Arghhhh scary no make up face but as you can see this ordinary looking bottle of clear liquid did the job and it did it well. It took just four large double sided cotton pads, and a gentle sweeping motion to remove all of my face make up, and my eye and brow make up. I held the pads on the eyes for a few seconds to loosen the mascara and then with just a few gentle wipes, the mascara just melted away, with no eye bogeys left over if you what I mean. 

The product felt pleasant and cooling on the skin, and it had a pleasant fresh, vanilla scent, thanks to the inclusion of vanilla in the ingredients listing. My skin looks a touch pink in these photos but that is completely normal for me and nothing to do with the product which does feel gentle and non drying on the skin. The skin was also feeling super soft and above all clean and fresh. The only issue I had was a bit of tingling when I used too much of the  product on my eyes, my eyes can be quite sensitive so this unfortunately is a pretty regular occurrence for me.

Whilst I'm not sure whether I would purchase this product again for that reason, I would thoroughly recommend it if you want to remove a heavy make up and long wear mascara quickly and easily and if you prefer to use ethically sourced, natural products. The Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water comes in a 250ml bottle and retails at £9.99 from My Pure. Are you a fan of micellar waters? Let me know x 

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Primark Haul - February 2016 - Clothes, Home And More

So far this year hauls have been a bit thin on the ground for me - I really am trying to be good this year but for the past month or so I'd really been craving a Primark trip. I hadn't been to Primark since before Christmas and I was suffering for severe withdrawal symptoms! So last week I eventually managed to get my fix and predictably I bought a few things.

I love watching haul videos and reading haul posts and the first thing that I got was something that I'd seen on quite a few blogs and instagram posts...

According to Mummy Lou I have quite an obsessive personality, and two of the things that I'm slightly obsessed with are bedding, and daisies, so buying this duvet set was pretty much a given. This cotton and polyester mix duvet and pillowcase set is double sided - one side features large daisies and flowers on a back ground and the other side features a daisy chain pattern on a coral, pink background. I got the double which was just £11. I'd just made my bed so I haven't put this on the bed yet but I'll stick some pictures onto Instagram when I do x

You can also get matching cushions in two sizes and whilst I stayed strong on the day, my cushion obsessions is kicking back in and I'm really tempted to go back and get one of the larger ones. Primark's home wear collection just keeps getting better and better and whilst I didn't buy anything else on this visit, I can't wait to see some of the new additions when the Metro Centre store completes it's expansion.

Although it feels like it's still winter in my little part of County Durham, the shops are now full of Spring and Summer fashions and Primark is no exception. To be honest I don't need any clothes at the moment especially since I'm trying to lose a bit of weight so I only bought two things, something for now and something that will ideal for the warmer weather.

I know they aren't always the trendiest or coolest things but I'm a big fan of jeggings, You have the comfort of a legging but the look and feel of a skinny jean, but without all those zips and buttons that seem to embed themselves into your flesh! I buy most of my jeggings in H&M or Asda, but a few months ago I tried a pair of Primark's and for the price they were pretty decent. They had a couple of new colours in this time round a real stone 80's stone wash and this bright blue pair. They look a bit more of a navy blue in these pics but in real life they are a much brighter blue. These jeggings  are only £7 and they are stupidly comfy.

I wear jeggings all year round but the next thing that I got is probably more suitable for the warmer weather.

This pretty sleeveless ivory lace detail top was just £10, it's quite sheer so I would need to wear a vest or a camisole underneath it but I just thought it was unbelievably cute. It has a little collar, a tie at the neck, lace detail around the neck, shoulders and decolletage, and little lace trimmed cap sleeves. It also features little pleats and pin tucks.

That was it for clothing but I did buy a few accessories, including two lots of hair bobbles.

I got some Invisibobbles in a recent beauty box, and I really liked them.  Although my hair is in a pretty good place at the moment  (find out why soon!) I've suffered from quite a  lot of hair problems over the years, and having long hair I;m always careful what I use to tie it back with. I normally use Primark Opia plain, metal free, bobbles  (read my review / rave here) but I really liked the Invisibobbles. Marks and indentations in the hair don't really bother me but I like that way that they don't seem to pull out chunks of hair when your take them out. They aren't cheap though so I'm really hoping that these Primark alternatives do the trick. I first saw these on the lovely Ray's blog Who Is She, and whilst I couldn't find find the exact ones she had, I got the metallic rubberised coil rings, which have little charms on them that you can see above, which were £2 for 5, and a pack of black, fabric hair rings, which were £1 for 6.

I think that the rubber ones might stretch a bit overtime but I'll see how I get on and I'll let you know. The next thing that I bought was something that I nearly bought over Christmas.

Why on earth I didn't buy it at the time I'll never know - it was only £1 for goodness sake. Never mind at least I managed to get it in the end. All it is a gold tone ring, in a sort of cage design, with a thin, black oval stone. I liked the idea of cage or kiss rings like this but I wasn't sure how comfortable they would be. Surprisingly though despite the size and the shape this ring is actually really comfrotable and easy to wear, and it was a bargain.

The final thing that I got (apart from some Minion Tic Tacs!) was an old favourite and something I buy every time I go into Primark...the duo pack of the PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes For Combination Skin

These wipes are just £1 for two packs of 25 wipes, and to be honest I've lost count of how many packs I've used. I very rarely use them for my face though, I normally use them for either freshening up on the go or for cleaning up swatches. I used nearly two packets already this month for swatch cleaning so I thought I better stock up.

I had intended to have a look at the new look Primark Beauty range, which I'd seen online and includes some new foundations, some velvet lip pans, and a pretty exciting Urban Decay Naked Palette dupe, but the usual stands were nowhere to be found. I'm presuming that they were missing either due to the store makeover or due to the new launches but I'm hoping they'll be back soon.

I'm already planning another Primark trip to pick up a few things that I left behind, and to look for a few things that I couldn't find, so if you have any recommendations or you've done your own haul post or video then please let me know x In the meantime please take some time  out to watch the video to accompany this haul either below or via my You Tube channel x Thanks for watching and thanks for reading x

Monday 22 February 2016

Restarting My Weight Loss Journey Featuring XLS Medical Max Strength*

It's hard to believe but it's been nearly 3 months since I put the breaks on my latest weight journey - doesn't time fly. A lot of water has gone under the bridge and I've eaten a lot of chocolate since then but after a few months worth of trials and tribulations I'm ready to start again.

Although I couldn't eat anything too hard, or too sticky or too crunchy I still managed to put on quite a bit of weight over Christmas. Salvation came though when the tooth said goodbye, 7 days of liquids and sloppy food meant that my weight loss journey started without me even trying. 

In the month that' followed I've had some good days and some bad days but since I first stepped on the scales on the Monday before my surgery I've managed to lose 6lbs by just making little tweaks here and then.

From today though I'm back on it good and proper and I'm going to be resuming my XLS Medical Max Strength trial. I started using this weight loss aid last June, and I really think it made a difference (Find out more about my previous experience by typing XLS Medical into the search box or have a read of some of my previous posts, here, here and here. Thanks to the tooth though and various unrelated health issues I had to put the trial on hold. From today though I'm back on it and for the next 3 months I'm going to be taking 4 tablets a day, whilst watching what I eat, drinking plenty of water and trying to increase my activity levels. 

What I was doing before seemed to be working so I'm going to try and do the same thing again - I'm a bit of a devotee of calorie counting so that's what I'm going to do. It makes sense really, eat less calories, and you'll lose weight - simples! Well I know it's not that simple. it's tough, it's hard and it needs serious willpower, but by making small changes, taking my XLS Medical supplements,eating 3 healthy meals a day, cutting down on the cheese and the chocolate, and by moving my body a bit more, hopefully I'll be able to shed those pounds and feel a bit more confident and a bit happier.

I still don't feel confident enough to reveal my full weight on the blog at the moment so all I'll say it at the moment I weigh:

1%st 8lbs

I have quite a bit  of weight to lose, and I know that it won't be a quick fix but I'm hoping that the XLS Medical tablets can do there thing, and at least help my kick start my weight loss over the next 3 months. I'm only going to be posting monthly updates on the blog, so if you want to keep tracks on my progress please follow me on either Instagram or Twitter where I'll be posting my weekly weigh in's every Monday. Thanks as per usual for your support, if you have any questions let me know and if you're interested in XLS Medical in general or the XLS Medical Max Strength supplements then don't forget to check out their website for more information x


Wednesday 17 February 2016

NOTD - AVON Gel Finish - Nude Shimmer

You can't beat a classic nude nail - it goes with absolutely anything, and it can be worn on any type of nail - long, short, round, square or even stiletto. At the risk of committing beauty treason though it can be a little bit boring! I still wear it and love it though but these days a nude nail doesn't have to be boring.

Nude Shimmer is one of AVON Gel Finish Nail Enamels and it's a real beauty. I'm a huge fan of AVON polishes and for me their Gel Finish line is even better. As well as protecting and strengthening the nails, it also leaves them with an ultra glossy finish without the hassle of having to use a UV lamp or special removal techniques.

Although it has the typical nude, milky coffee, almost taupe base, Nude Shimmer takes the nude polish look to another level. It's crammed full of multi coloured sparkles and shimmer but in a subtle way. No glitter balls here just pretty, subtle sparkles.

The Gel Finish formulation is a little bit thicker than the usual Nailwear Pro + formulation but the extra wide brush makes it super easy to apply. This is probably one of the most self levelling polishes that I've ever used. I had a couple of dints and chips in my base coat and this polish covered them with ease. I'm wearing two coats here but I could have got away with one for a lighter colour.

I'm wearing no top coat here and you can really see the gloss and shine for the gel formulation. These polishes take a little bit longer to dry but they're worth the wait and the wear time is definitely better than the traditional formula. AVON Gel Finish Nail Enamels have a recommended retail price of £7 for a 10ml bottle but take a tip from me and never pay that. They're currently online and in the most recent brochure for just £3.50 each - the offers vary but that's normally around the price that you'll pay. I'm definitely going to pick up some more of these polishes so if you have any Gel Finish recommendations please let me know x 

Friday 12 February 2016

Happy Birthday LouLouLand - What 9 Years Of Blogging Teaches You

It might be missing a candle or 9 but you can't celebrate a birthday without a cake. It isn't my birthday though it's my blogs. On the 12th February 2007, LouLouLand was born. I published my first post on this little old blog of mine and 9 years later I'm still here.

There have been a lot of changes over the years, but I think that my blog has stood the test of time. It's changed with me but at it's core it's still the same and still my place to escape and explore some of the things that I love.

It hasn't always been a bed of roses though and  I've fallen in and out of love with blogging more than once over the years but at the moment I'm enjoying the opportunities and challenges that it brings and I think I've finally found my niche.

Nowadays blogging seems to be all about statistics, followers, events, and press packs, it's a far cry from those early days when there was no such thing as Google Friend Connect, and SEO. We've come a long, long way since then, and it's amazing that the internet has changed so much and given bloggers, You Tubers, and armchair journalists so many amazing opportunities and so much recognition, but for some us maybe it's only increased the pressure

I am eternally grateful for all the opportunities that blogging has brought me but sometimes I wonder if some of us are losing the love.  It's great to have lots of followers, fab to receive press samples, and amazing to get invited to events but it shouldn't be the bee all and end all. It's great to have blogging aims and ambitions but please, please enjoy what you do, enjoy writing, enjoy taking photographs, and don't be disheartened if the numbers don't climb and the invites don't rush in.

I've spent a huge part of the last couple of years comparing myself to other people, obsessing over my follower count, and contemplating why I haven't been invited to certain blog events but I need to build a bridge and get over it. If you love what you do why should somebody elses approval matter. I might not have as a many followers are some other bloggers who've been around for as long as I have but I love and appreciate the ones that I do have. Yes an invite, some press samples, or a new follower can make you feel better about your blog but when things don't go the way you hoped, don't let it get you down x

It's taken 9 years but at last I'm starting to feel comfortable in my online home, yes I might feel the pressure and have spells of negativity, and self doubt but that's me. So many blogs have been and gone in those 9 years but if there was an award for longevity you never know,  I might win it. I'm still here writing rambly posts, and struggling with bad light, and I'm determined to still be around this time next year to celebrate the big 10. Thanks to all of you for being there and don't forget to enter my 9th anniversary giveaway x