An evening with Lush Cosmetics: Lush Swansea new store opening event

Lush Swansea new store opening

Lush Cosmetics has been one of my favourite brands since I first ventured into one of their stores early last year, and I now love nothing more than popping in, smelling the gorgeous displays, and finding something new to try.

Living just half an hour away from Swansea, I was obviously pretty excited to hear that they’d be moving to a new bigger space. So, when I was invited to check out the new Lush Swansea store before it officially opened with my friend, Siobhan, I didn’t waste any time in accepting!

Lush Swansea new store opening 5Lush Swansea new store opening 4

The new Lush store can be found at 808 Oxford Street, which is just around the corner from their old home. It’s also conveniently located a couple of doors up from the likes of Topshop, Marks and Spencer, Next, and Starbucks, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it!

Inside, the store is a lot bigger than their old one, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by how far back it went. It’s also beautifully set out with everything in its own special place; haircare, bubble bars and perfumes can be found on the right, body products at the back, and skincare, makeup, and shower gels on the left.

You’re also greeted by a wonderful display of bath bombs and FUN as you enter the store (with plenty of sinks for you to see the products in action), and the famous Fresh Face Mask Bar towards the back (is this anyone else’s favourite part of the store?).

Lush Swansea new store opening 3Lush Swansea new store opening 6Swansea Lush new store opening - me

I swear only one of these drinks was mine…

The store opening also gave us the opportunity to see some of Lush’s new releases in the flesh, such as the Jelly Bombs, Jelly Face Masks, Body Sprays, and Hot Oil Treatments. I was very excited to be able to demo one of the new Jelly Bombs during the event, and was very grateful to be gifted some of the new products to take home with me. I can’t wait to try them out and share my thoughts!

Another highlight was making my very own Intergalactic and Dragon’s Egg bath bombs, which turned out pretty damn good (if I do say so myself). My skills aren’t a patch on Lush’s Bath Bomb Makers, though…

Although I was nervous to attend my first blogger event, I had a great evening and the lovely, friendly staff quickly put me at ease. I was also given a bunch of product recommendations to suit my needs, and I now have a wishlist as long as my arm.

I’d definitely recommend giving the new Lush Swansea store a visit if you can, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to Lush for letting me see the new store early!

Will you be popping into the new Swansea store to grab some goodies? What are your thoughts on the new store and product releases?

How to save money when buying beauty products

Saving money

If you’re as much of a beauty lover as I am, then you’ll know that it can become quite the expensive hobby; especially if you get through certain products very quickly (such as face powder or eye makeup remover, in my case), or you’re a sucker for a new release.

Fortunately, you can save a few pennies if you know the right tricks. Here are my top tips for saving money when buying beauty products…

Get a points reward card

Most of us have a Boots Advantage Card, but did you know that most beauty retailers now have their own points reward systems? Debenhams, House of Fraser, and Space NK are just a few of the stores that have their own version, and I actually prefer their systems to Boots’ because you can use your points as soon as they reach £5 (or £10 or £15…) and have been transferred to your card.

The time this takes varies from retailer to retailer, but I think it’s still worth the wait to be able to pay with a mixture of points and cash.

These retailers also often run offers that are exclusive to reward card holders (such as ‘earn double points’, or ‘spend £50 to get £10 worth of points’), so try to wait for these before doing a big restock!

Take advantage of offers and voucher codes

Feelunique and Lookfantastic are two of my favourite beauty retailers because their delivery is pretty quick and free (although you need to spend £15 for this to apply to Feelunique). They also stock a wide range of brands between them, from Estee Lauder and Urban Decay, to Oskia and Jurlique.

As well as regularly running great offers (such as flash sales or a certain percentage off your order), on the off chance that there isn’t a promotion on, voucher codes that give you between 10 and 20% off your order can often be found on Hot UK Deals.

Signing-up for newsletters can also be a good way to get offers sent straight to your email inbox (as long as you don’t mind getting a lot of emails). In fact, many retailers will send you a reward just for signing-up; Cult Beauty, for example, will give you free shipping on your first order.

Look out for free gifts with purchase

Estee Lauder, Clinique, and Clarins frequently run a Gift With Purchase (GWP) promotion when you visit their counters, and these can be a great way of discovering a new favourite product that you never would have thought of trying! As these are usually miniature products, they’re also very nice to have if you travel a lot; more often than not, they’ll come in a makeup bag.

However, one thing to be wary of is spending more money just to qualify for a free gift; you’ll typically need to purchase two products for that gift, so make sure you’re buying things you definitely want! There’s also no need to spend more money for the free gift if  it doesn’t contain products you’ll use, so always ask about the contents first.

Ask for a sample!

For a beauty lover, there’s no worse feeling than buying a pricey foundation, getting it home to try out, and realising the colour or the formula just doesn’t work for you. This is especially annoying considering the fact you can only return beauty products in the UK if you’ve kept the receipt and have had an allergic reaction (and even then, not all brands will take it back).

Foundations, primers, moisturisers, cleansers, and many other skincare items are just some of the products you can get samples of before you splash the cash, and many high-end counters will be happy to give you one if you ask! MAC, Dior, Benefit, BareMinerals, Chanel, and Estee Lauder are just some of the brands I’ve  snagged samples from without needing to spend a penny, though they’re usually pretty generous if you do ask for one when you purchase something else…

Search for affordable dupes

Finally, if you really can’t afford that £40 eyeshadow palette (or can’t justify buying it if you’re not going to use it all that often), then check out Makeup Revolution; they make really good quality dupes of some of the most hyped-up beauty products. Many of Sleek‘s products have also been claimed to be similar to certain high-end products.

NYX and KiKo are also very affordable brands with a wide colour range, and the quality of their products is comparable to that of more expensive brands. Definitely check them out!

What are your top tips for saving money when buying beauty? Share them in the comments!

Brand focus: 5 products to try from Charlotte Tilbury

Best products from Charlotte Tilbury 1 copyBest products from Charlotte Tilbury 3 copy (2)

Alongside NARS, Bobbi Brown, and Urban Decay, Charlotte Tilbury is one of my favourite makeup brands- and it’s not just because of that luxurious rose gold packaging. I just love that many of the products have been collated into specific looks (making it super easy to pair them together), and the colours are gorgeous.

It’s not just that, though; the quality of the products inside definitely live up to their outer packaging.

Having been a fan of Charlotte Tilbury for a few years now, I’ve tried a number of products from the range, and I’ve found a few firm favourites. So, if you’re unsure of what to try from the brand, here are the top five products I’d recommend…

All of the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palettes are lovely, but it’s the Dolce Vita that has my heart. The brown and red shades are really pigmented, and they work perfectly together to create a warm toned smokey eye. The red can also be used with the lightest shade for a more day appropriate look, making this palette more versatile than it looks at first glance.

Best products from Charlotte Tilbury 2 copy

When it comes to base products, Charlotte Tilbury just gets it. The Filmstar Bronze & Glow is probably one of my most used palettes, and for good reason; the contour in the Light-Medium version never looks muddy on my paler complexion, while the highlighter adds some serious glow.

I also love The Retoucher for brightening up my dark circles (although I do layer it over another higher coverage concealer), and the Magic Foundation. A little of this goes a long way, and it gives a good level of coverage with a satin finish. Definitely a good option for more oily or combination skin types!

Best products from Charlotte Tilbury 4 copy

Finally, I’m a big fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s matte lipsticks. Not only are they really comfortable to wear, but they do stick around! My favourite shades are Glastonberry from the Matte Revolution range (a very vampy dark plum), and Super Cindy and Hell’s Bells from the Hot Lips collection. The first is a peachy nude, while the latter is a more pink-y version of Glastonberry.

Have you tried Charlotte Tilbury makeup? What are your favourite products from the brand?

Foundations for every occasion (and mood)

Foundations for every occasion (and mood)

When it comes to my makeup, I’m all about that base, and I have quite the hefty collection of foundations to back this up. In fact, if I was in a rush and didn’t have the time to apply a whole face of makeup, I’d opt for foundation, concealer and powder over eye makeup and blusher.

However, this doesn’t mean that I’m just a fan of super high coverage foundations; as my skin has become less oily and more even in tone, I’ve also discovered a love for some lighter bases, too. So, here’s my round-up of my favourite full, medium and light coverage foundations for all occasions and moods…

Best for: high coverage

If you have a lot of redness and oiliness, then the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in-Place-Makeup is the foundation for you. This might be a little too thick for some people, but it pretty much covers everything; in fact, I could probably skip concealer with this. It’s great for those days when you need your makeup to last all day, though it does leave a matte finish, so you may want to get a sample first if you have dry skin.

The Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation also offers a good level of coverage, but it’s lighter and not as matte as Double Wear. Nonetheless, this is the foundation I reach for the most as it’s really quick to apply, and never looks cakey on the skin.

Foundations for every occasion (and mood)

Best for: medium coverage

The NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is really popular in the blogosphere, but I don’t use this half as much as I should; being a water-based foundation that offers sizeable coverage, I find it needs quite a lot of buffing and blending. This is something I don’t have time for in the morning, but it’s worth going through the extra work for a night out as this foundation gives such a nice glow to the skin.

Best for: low coverage

Like Sheer Glow, the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup (what a mouth full) has a thinner, more watery texture, so it requires a little more blending time and the right primer. You can’t use anything with too much silicone underneath this, as it will go patchy. This is still one of my favourite bases though as it evens out your skintone, and leaves a very fresh and natural looking finish. I do find this isn’t that long-lasting on my oilier patches, but I think it would be a great pick for dry skin!

In my opinion, the L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation is the lightest of the bunch, so I reserve it for good skin days. Like the Lancôme cushion, it’s really quick to apply, though the finish is far more dewy and natural; you can still see your own skin shining through.

Do you prefer a high, medium or low coverage base? Which foundation is your favourite?

Affordable beauty: 5 things to buy in Boots

Affordable makeup products 1Affordable makeup products 2

Like a lot of beauty bloggers, it’s no secret that I do love a bit of luxury beauty in my life. With its pretty packaging, high quality formulas, and the wider choice of options that tend to be available, I admit I can be a sucker for it sometimes.

However, that’s not to say that there aren’t still plenty of areas where you can save your money; from face masks to makeup removers, to mascaras to makeup brushes, the ‘drugstore’ offering is getting better and better when it comes to more affordable, yet effective, beauty products.

Boots is typically my store of choice, as it has such an expansive range of products from most price points. Plus, there’s always some sort of offer on, and I find it’s easy to build-up points on the good ol’ Advantage Card and save a few pennies!

There are also plenty of great, affordable brands that are exclusive to Boots, with one of the best known being Soap and Glory. Although there’s no denying that their bath and body care products are lovely (smell them. Seriously), there are some hidden gems in their makeup range. The One Heck of a Blot Powder is just one example; a translucent face powder that’s mattifying, but never looks cakey. Unlike a lot of the pressed powders I’ve tried, it also doesn’t go patchy when you apply other powder products over it.

Another brand I like to pick up in Boots is Una Brennan’s Super Facialist range. I’ve tried more expensive clay masks, but the Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Clay Mask is hands down one of the best I’ve tried. It’s not drying on my skin (which is pretty normal lately, yet sometimes oily in the t-zone), and I can always rely on it to heal spots quickly.

While we’re on the subject of skincare, I don’t see much point in paying a lot for eye makeup removers. As I wear waterproof mascara 80% of the time, I tend to use a lot and go through them far too quickly to justify spending more than a few quid. The Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover does the job and it costs less than £4, even when it’s not on offer. You just can’t go wrong.

Back to makeup, and two other affordable products I’d recommend picking up are the Max Factor Crème Puff Blush in Seductive Pink and the Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara. The latter is quite a wet mascara with a thick brush, but don’t let that put you off as it’s one of the most lengthening ones I’ve tried. The blush is also a lovely light, mauve-y pink that flatters my pale skin tone.

What are your favourite makeup and skincare products to spend your Boots points on? Chuck me some recommendations!

Current beauty and style favourites: March 2017

Favourites 1

Favourites 2 - Copy (2)

It might seem a little early for a monthly favourites post but hey, I’ve been loving (and trying) a lot of new things lately!

Plus, as I haven’t updated in a while (I’ve been really busy with a combination of work, driving lessons, and going on holiday last month), consider this as a bit of a two-in-one as these are products I’ve been using a lot over both February and March.

So, as I have a few makeup favourites, let’s start with those…

I’ve been really into warm eyeshadow looks lately, and have been searching for the perfect red and orange toned palette. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette seemed like it would really fit the bill, and I must say I’m not disappointed. There’s a good mix of warm and cool shades, as well as mattes and shimmers, so you can achieve a variety of looks for both day and night with this. The quality of the shadows is also a lot better than I expected; extremely pigmented and easy to blend.

Make Up For Ever is a brand I’ve been wanting to try for a while, so when I stumbled across the counter in the Bristol Debenhams, I knew I just had to try a few things! One of the items I picked up was the Ultra HD Foundation. Not only does this have a great shade range (the lovely girl on the counter tried 3 colours on me before finding my match), but the finish is perfect on my combination-oily skin. It gives a medium level of coverage, seems to smooth my pores better than any other foundation I’ve tried, and lasts an 8-9 hour workday with minimal fading on my chin and around the sides of my nose.

Lipsticks are something I’ve been wearing a lot lately, and I’ve recently discovered two new favourites. The first is the Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Super Cindy, which is described as being a “taupey nude”. I just find this to be really flattering on my paler skintone, and it’s versatile enough to be worn with a range of eye looks. The second lipstick to make it into my favourites is the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita I. This has a great formula (very creamy and long-wearing) and I love the mauve-y nude shade; it’s very 90s.

Primark are killing it lately; especially in the jeans department. When I visited the Bristol store a few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the style and colour range of their skinny jeans, and I just couldn’t resist grabbing a few pairs as they were all priced at around £8-12 each. The only thing I’d advise? Try them on in store, if you can; although I bought the same size, some were harder to wiggle into than others!

As I’m like a magpie (as I’m attracted to anything shiny and sparkly), I also just had to get the silver loafers on the same trip. I love how they look with a baggier style of jeans (such as the Mom or Boyfriend fit), and if I remember correctly, they were only around £8 so they were a total bargain.

Still with me? Good, cause we’re nearly done! In terms of haircare, there’s only one product I’ve really been loving; the Bumble and Bumble Cityswept Finish. This is my go-to for nights out after I’ve straightened my hair as it adds volume and texture back in. As someone with a lot of fine hair, I find my hair can easily look flat without it.

Lastly, I’ve been slowly making my way through Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes, a book that I’ve really been enjoying. I think her attitude (e.g. that “it’s perfectly normal to love both lipstick and literature”) is great, and I like how the book gives honest advice on a variety of things, such as how to shop at beauty counters and apply makeup on public transport, as well as which skincare items you actually need to invest in. If you’re a beauty junkie like I am, I’d recommend picking it up!

What are your current beauty, style and lifestyle favourites? Have you tried any of mine? Chuck me some recommendations!

My 2016 beauty favourites: the best of makeup and skincare

2016 beauty favourites.jpg

For someone as indecisive as I am, choosing my 2016 beauty favourites turned out to be surprisingly easy.

Nonetheless, if you’d have asked me to do the same thing this time last year, I think I would have struggled a tad; and this is no surprise really as I still didn’t know how to balance my combination skin without drying it out, and my idea of an adventurous makeup look was a bit of neutral eyeshadow and some blusher.

Fortunately, I think I’m finally finding my feet with this whole applying-makeup-thing. I now know (for the most part) how to control my oily t-zone and dry chin, I’m a master of eyeshadow blending (well, nearly), and this is thanks to a number of products that I’ll happily sing the praises of.

Cue my 2016 beauty favourites… (be warned: it’s going to be a long one!)

Starting with skincare, there’s one product that I’d recommend time and time again; the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. As many have said before me, this is unlike most gel cleansers as it’s quite thick and turns into a light oil, making it a great option for all skin types. It’s also gently exfoliating thanks to its pumpkin enzymes. While we’re on the subject of cleansing, Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Waters are another product I’ll always repurchase as they’re gentle, affordable and effective at removing makeup.

Now, let’s talk hydration. Although I am still on the hunt for the perfect moisturiser, I think I’ve found the oil for me. The Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil provides just the right amount of nourishment for my drier patches, while balancing my oiler areas and lessening oil production. It smells amazing as well; very herbal and spa-like. And when it comes to my under eyes? So far, nothing has helped with dehydration as much as Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado.

Last up in the skincare round-up is the Pixi Glow Tonic. This is an effective exfoliating toner that contains 5% glycolic acid, as well as soothing aloe vera and witch hazel (which is a good one for spots, just FYI). As my skin can get quite sensitive I only use this every other day, but I still find it brightens my skin and helps to keep it smooth and clear.

2016-beauty-favourites-2

Are you still with me? Good, because it’s time to move onto makeup… when it came to applying my base in 2016, there were two clear standouts; the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation and the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in-Place-Makeup. The former has pretty much been my daily go-to for the past few months as it’s really quick and easy to apply (I use the applicator it comes with) and provides a good medium coverage. The latter is the one I bring out for long days or nights out as it covers everything and is the only foundation that lasts for more than 3 or 4 hours on my t-zone. To set my foundation, I’ve also been loving the Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot Powder as it’s very mattifying but not too heavy.

For me, 2016 was the year that I really begun to hone my eyeshadow application skills (next on the list? Liquid eyeliner). As well as being thanked by the discovery of the MAC 217 Blending Brush, I’ve also fallen for a few creamy eyeshadows that can be applied in around 5 minutes. These are the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock (a taupey, silvery purple), The Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Mirage (a golden bronze) and the Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24HR Eyeshadow in Pink Gold. All of these are great shades for the lazy girl as the shimmer makes them multidimensional, meaning they can be easily worn on their own.

I won’t harp on about these too much as I’ve already mentioned them a few times, but the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are definitely my favourite lipsticks. As I’ve said before, their shape makes application a whole lot easier, they last pretty well on the lips, and I’m convinced they have a red for everyone.

The Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks also come in a great shade range and I’ve loved Glastonbury from the Matte Revolution range; it’s a purpley-plum that leans a bit red on me, making it vampy but wearable. In terms of shades, another I fell in love with towards the end of the year was the MAC Viva Glam Lipstick in Ariana Grande II. It’s a hot orchid pink that instantly brightens up my face and I really like that it’s matte; these are the best of MAC’s lipstick formulas, in my opinion.

What were your favourite beauty products of 2016? Did we share any of the same favourites?