Friday, 29 November 2013

Five Things Friday: Luxury Christmas Wishlist

Five Things Friday: Luxury Christmas Wishlist

I've found myself trawling the pages of The Urban Retreat Boutique - a site dedicated to all things luxurious in the world of beauty, and I thought why not put together my ultimate luxury Christmas wish list as part of this weeks Five Things Friday, so here are five things I'd love to find nestled underneath my Christmas tree...

1) Laura Mercier steal my heart when it comes to makeup, I live by their tinted moisturiser but have never tried anything from their bath and body range. This Creme Brûlée Quartet looks and smells heavenly, with a candle to boot as you sit back and relax in the tub.

2) Morrocan Oil is something I've tried, tested and loved. I really need a new bottle to bring life back to my hair. STAT. 

3) I'm forever lusting over NARS palettes and the Guy Bourdin Crime of Passion is no exception - I think it makes the perfect night out travel kit - what do you think?

4) How gorgeous are these Diptyque Christmas Candles! I would still want this for the packaging alone, but this smells incredible. Chai Orange with hints of Indian spices - this is a real festive warmer.

5) During the winter my skin is lacking in hydration and in general needs a good spruce up, step in Omorovicza. This set looks fantastic for some luxurious pamper time with festive Myrrh and Frankincense oils. 

What's on your luxury Christmas wish list?

*collaboration with Urban Retreat

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Bourjois Colour Edition 24 Hour Cream to Powder Eyeshadows

As part of their Christmas Collection, Bourjois released a fresh take on this seasons smokey eye with their Colour Edition 24 Hour cream to powder eyeshadows. There are six shades to choose from, but I've found myself reaching most for the three used above: The Silver shade - Merveille d'Argent*, The Plum Purple (and my personal favourite) Prune Nocturne*, and finally Pétale de Glace* - a dusky rose with mauve undertones. For £6.99, these are a steal.

I love the luminous finish these cream shadows give off, and the fact that they dry to powder gives is a major plus in the longevity stakes (perhaps not for 24 hours) -  although I do suggest using a eyeshadow primer. I found these a bit rough to begin with and recommend warming up the product with your fingertips and smooth over your lids. You can build up the colour using a fluffy eyeshadow brush - I use my MAC 217. 

Above I have used Pétale de Glace all over the lid and then softly blended Prune Nocturne into the crease, with Merveille d'Argent as a highlight by my tear duct. For a more intense night time look, I'd suggest building Prune Nocturne up some more, or using these as a base before applying powder eyeshadow on top. Prune Nocturne is the stand out shade for me with flawless pigmentation, and also works well for a warmer smokey eye using the golden shade from the range, Or Désir

What are your thoughts on cream eyeshadows? Will you be picking these up?

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Neom Christmas Candle in Harmonise

Christmas is well and truly on it's way, it's pitch black by half three, the Christmas ads are out in full force and I have a yankering for pigs in blanket. I'm getting more and more excited about setting up our Christmas tree and starting up the festivities but whilst it's still a bit too early to whack out the tinsel, I've turned to candles to put me in the festive spirit.

Neom tick all the boxes when it comes to candles so I didn't expect anything less when it came to their Christmas range. Their Christmas candle in Harmonise*, is by far my favourite. I've been burning this every evening since it arrived on my doorstep, and it smells divine. 

Think crisp walks in the woods - with hits of hibiscus and deeper woody undertones. It's a really refreshing scent, whilst also warming up your room. My mum walks in just to have a sniff, it really does create a homely and wintery atmosphere with the subtle scents of pine, cedar wood, and eucalyptus lingering throughout the day. 

What are you go to Christmas candles?

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Monday, 25 November 2013

Skincare Spotlight: Antipodes

A few weeks back I attended an afternoon tea with lot's of lovely bloggers and the founder of Antipodes (for more info and lot's of foodie snaps click here). Having never tried anything from the brand I was really excited to try some of their newest items, as well as cult favourite the Aura Manuka Honey Mask*.

I particularly love the philosophy behind Antipodes skincare, for me it's a major plus that the ingredients for each and every product have been carefully selected from natural ingredients for an organic product. I find natural products much more suitable for my sensitive skin and so was extremely excited to try their products. 

First up, the Antipodes Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Cleanser* intrigued me as I've become accustomed to using balm cleansers instead of cream. I found this a joy to apply, I think a lot of the success behind Antipodes if the gentle formula's and amazing fragrances. Packed with essential oils such as the nutrient-rich avocado oil, macadamia nut, with patchouli and kawakawa to purify and uplift - you just know this smells heavenly. The cleanser was soft, gentle and effective without provoking any rashes or redness but instead cooling my skin. Thumbs up.

New to the range is the Delight Hand & Body Cream*. Now, it takes me a lot to get excited by a hand or body cream, but this product is something else. I can't help but whip it out and caress it into my skin, namely my hands, which are becoming quite dry and cracked due to the weather. Again, it's the scents that draw me in most. Gorgeous pangs of Gardenia hit my senses and the macadamia nut oil is silky soft and high in palmitoleic acid (Omega 7), which richly hydrates your skin with the helping hands of Marigold flower oil and antioxidant extract of Vinanza Grape for extra dry patches. My mum, my auntie, and even my brother have been known to swipe this from me to use, I just can't get enough.

I've saved my favourite for last, in the form of Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask*. You've probably seen this raved about of many a blog, so I will save too much spiel and just let you know that this is a dream in mask form. Again, soft and gentle, my skin laps this up greedily. I use this once a week as a treat to hydrate my skin, as well as tackling any pesky blemishes I might have. I apply this after the cleanser and leave for around twenty minutes whilst I potter around the house. By now you'd have guessed that this too smells divine, with hits of vanilla pod and mandarin greeting your nostrils. The manuka honey is a traditional Maori remedy to draw moisture back into your skin, breathing in new life, whilst the red pohutukwa bloom (again traditional to New Zealand, where Antipodes is based) is one of natures finest antioxidants. All I know is that science smells good, and this stuff really works at plumping up and hydrating my skin.

With all of those being such a success in my skincare lineup, I'm really excited to try some more. In particular their new Grace Cleanser* and Joyous Night Replenish Serum*, but more about that in their own post soon...

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Autumn Lip Line Up

Whether you still classify November as Autumn or not, here's my rundown of the lipsticks that have made it into my line up for the next few months...

A mixture of subtle nudes, deep reds, and berry hues are welcomed with open arms this time of year. There's even the odd occasion a full on purple (meet MAC's Up the Amp here) will make an appearance. If you're not a fan of the bold and bright, I've got a few muted options that still pack a punch for a wintery lip.

Nudes: Enter: MAC Hue and Shy Girl - not pictured above, but either one of these two is bound to hit all the nude lip check points. For a deeper wash of colour try Bobbi Brown Baby Pink* - my go to milky rose lip. Or, my much raved about Liz Earle lipstick in Heather*, a gorgeous plummy brown toned nude - looks quite grown up and somewhat 'grannyish' in tube, but applies gorgeously. 
On a budget? Elf lip pencils in Natural and Tea Rose are flawless for a matte finish, and for more of a sheen pick up L'Oreal Collection Privée (swatches here).

Reds: The festive season always calls upon a strong red lip so here's my skimmed down selection for you: MAC Ruby Woo = ultimate fail safe for a deep blue toned red, great for making your teeth look white. Chantecaille's Tiger Lily* is also stunning for making a statement - for more deets click here. Hourglass Liquid Lipstick in the shade Icon is high on my list for Christmas party lip, but more on that coming soon. For a more toned down wash of colour try the Bourjois Color Boost lip crayon in the shade Red Island*.

Plums & Berries: Possibly my favourite category, and great for this time of year day or night. During the day I love to wear Kate Moss 05 or MAC Craving, which is a gorgeous plummy rose shade that truly deserves a post of it's own alongside MAC Plumful - my most worn autumnal lipstick that's slightly more purple than Craving. Budget Berries include: Topshop Beguiled - a deep blue toned plum, great for a night out; and L'Oreal Color Riche 290 in the shade Plum Passion, which has a gorgeous creamy formula and stunning pigmentation- I'm wearing it here.

Let me know what makes your autumn/winter lip line up!
 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Friday, 22 November 2013

Five Things Friday: For a Top Night In

This week I've been very poorly, I'm actually writing this from the hospital at the moment, and we all know hospitals suck. Tomorrow night I'm looking forward to my own bed and so this weeks Five Things Friday was inspired by a craving for a good night in, with crappy tv, hot chocolate, and my duvet.

1) You can't settle in to an evening in without having a nice hot soak in the tub, and washing all your stress away. I love massaging Soap & Glory Butter Yourself Moisture Lotion* into my skin once I've dried off. Is it me or do all Soap & Glory bath products smell good enough to eat?

2) Whilst I'm letting the moisturiser soak in and work it's magic (and having cleansed my skin thoroughly) I like to apply a face mask and chill in my towel with some YouTube videos. Mask of choice at the moment has to go to Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask* - I think I have a thing for things that smell good. The scents of Mandarin and Vanilla Pod are extremely inviting, and this mask works wonders at hydrating my skin.

3) The pampering continues in the form of beauty magazines (did you spot me in Pure Magazine, above?), and nail primping. I'm feeling rather festive at the moment so have adorned these glittery Butter London shades.

4) Pampering done, there's nothing left but to sit back and relax with some tasty treats. So, stock up on Haribo's, nachos, and your beverage of choice (I'm partial to a glass of white wine) and slip into your onesie. I love flicking through my favourite blogs and I couldn't do this post without mentioning Jenny Purr, I spent a good hour flicking through all her recent posts and getting lost in it all - a great read.

5) I find nothing sets the mood better than switching off the lights, switching on a good Julia Roberts flick by candle light. I love melting into my duvet with various tea lights flickering on my window sill. Bliss.

What makes a great evening in for you?

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Sweater Weather Tag

I'm trying to get into more of a routine when it comes to posting videos to my channel, and so filmed quite a few tag videos over the weekend. I will be trying my best to post a video every Wednesday evening and Sunday, so keep your eyes peeled and if you haven't already, I'd love it if you'd subscribe!

The Sweater Weather Tag is truly apt for this time of year and truly put me in a festive mood, with lot's of autumnal/winter based questions now that the weather is getting a bit nippier and all we want to do is snuggle up. 

I'd love to know your favourite Winter traditions and what you love most about this time of year!

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede

I usually opt for 'young' perfumes as I prefer light floral scents as opposed to stronger and spicier scents.    Jo Malone is a brand my mum loves, and has always seemed too mature for me, but I absolutely adore the subtle scent of their Peony & Blush Suede Cologne*. 

I like that this lingers on your skin throughout the day, letting you catch whiffs of the scent every now and then but not being at all overpowering. I love the mildness of this scent, and have been spritzing myself with this every morning, you can pair this up with other scents from the line such as Orange Blossom if you want to up the flirty factor.

Now, I'm not the best at sniffing out scents and noting down what they are so I'm relying on the people at Jo Malone to describe it best...

The floral heart notes that are getting my smell senses in a tingle are of course the light fragrance of peonies, with hints of jasmine, rose, and gillyflower. All mingled with a 'juicy bite' of red apple, which to me is the note that hits my senses on and off throughout the day, and base notes of soft blush suede that lingers on the skin.

I do feel slightly more glam when adorned with this soft and subtle floral scent, definitely can see me picking up a full size bottle once this one runs out. I'm eyeing up some Jo Malone candles for Christmas so my room can smell just as gorgeous....any takers?

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Sunday Post: Hogwarts At Christmas

Being a huge HP fan, I was super excited (like pinch me am I dreaming? excited) that Team Gleam were holding our Christmas party at Hogwarts. The Warner Brothers Studios aren't even that far from where I live, but I'd never been so on Thursday afternoon we headed on over with a bunch of Youtubers, bloggers, and dear friends for a very magical evening...get it?

The sets were amazing, with every little detail thought out. The guides really loved their job and parted with lot's of juicy HP gossip, much to my delight.

I don't think I've laughed so much in a very long time, Tyler pulled the sassiest faces whilst learning how to fly. I feel truly lucky to be a part of Gleam, and this has to be hands down the best Christmas party I will ever attend.

The highlight of the evening had to be feasting on a scrumptious Christmas dinner in the Great Hall itself. The windows were speckled with snow, chandeliers and goblets filled with taste bud tingling cocktails all to set the mood perfectly. I devoured the desert platter, oh my was it good. 

We couldn't resist getting a group snapshot of the evening, with smiles firmly planted on each and every one of our faces. Truly was a night to remember, from the tour, to delicious food, to dancing to Bump n' Grind in the Great Hall. Amazing.

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Video: A Very Belated October Favourites

Yep, it may be mid November, but I have finally put up my October favourites. As I said in my last Sunday post, I've been having a rough ride of things recently and so although this was filmed in time I just haven't mustered up the effort to edit and upload until now. I'm still learning and there's a lot of things I want to do editing wise to make my content the best it can be for you.

As always, let me know your thoughts and any video suggestions you may have! 

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Clinique Redness Solutions

When it comes to skin complaints redness is my main issue, not on the scale of having rosacea or anything, but my irish skin does fall victim to rosy face syndrome. I don't tend to wear blusher that picks up on the pink pigments in my skin opting for plum browns instead, however I think I've found a regimen from Clinique to help combat my clown cheeks.

Now, I've raved about Clinique Super Primers before here, but I am particularly fond of their primer specifically for correcting redness*. I love the yellow mousse formula that melts into my skin, and the yellow pigments really do help to counteract any rosyness I may be having and calming it down. I find this works best having used the Redness Solutions Day Relief Cream* beforehand. This is a really cooling moisturiser that is suitable for sensitive skin and those that suffer with mild rosacea. It helps to hydrate my skin and reduce any visible blood vessels hence muting any flushing to the skin. I love how this dries matte on the skin and although can feel quite heavy when first applied, it's oil free and doesn't leave any annoying film to the skin.  

Lastly the Redness Solutions Instant Relief Pressed Powder* (phew!) was something that I was really excited and intrigued about, however, I wasn't wowed. Again the yellow pigmentation to the powder does aid redness correction, but I found this very drying on my skin and not to last long at all. I think I'll be sticking to the former pair, which have helped my skin woes ten fold.

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Perfect Nude: L'Oreal Les Nudes Collection Privée

Being fair skinned I find it hard to pull off nudes, they either wash me out or lean far too dark so it's difficult to find that happy medium. I was really intrigued by L'Oreal's Collection Privée, which boasts a custom nude lip shade for every skin tone, and had to try them out for myself. I love the collaboration with various spokes models, including Cheryl Cole, Eva Longoria, Frieda Pinto, and fellow red head, Julianne Moore.

I tried and tested three nudes from the collection, and found that some shades meant for more olive, honey toned complexions still looked flattering on me, so it's worth giving these a swatch before choosing your staple nude.

Above, I'm modelling the Cheryl Nude noted as a 'greige glow' that compliments honey tones complexions, yet this was my favourite of the bunch. I found it warm and inviting, plumping up my lips without going too bold with colour. The Julianne Moore shade, which is aimed at delicate and paler skin tones such as mine, is a gorgeous rose pink. I tend to blot this on as I prefer a more subtle lip, this definitely seemed to be the brightest of them all going more towards the your lip but better route.

I found these to last on my lips a maximum of three hours, so these are one for re-applying but I do find that with most nude lipsticks. I love the creamy formula and pigmentation of these, definitely going to be braving a nude lip more now.

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Sunday Post: Afternoon Tea with Antipodes

Yesterday morning I braved the rain and wind all in the name of afternoon tea. I headed back into London to meet the lovely Megs for an afternoon of scone scoffing and the best tea I've ever tasted, all courtesy of Antipodes.

Now, Antipodes is a brand that I've heard only good things about but never tried for myself, so it was lovely to meet the founder and have a chat about their latest products with a nice hot brew. When testing something out it's always best to rely on your senses primarily. Whilst my taste buds where being treated to an assortment of miniature puddings, I fell in love with the fresh scents of gardenia and macadamia and the soft, butter consistency of their hand cream.

I can't wait to review their products properly for you all, when I got home that evening for my brother's birthday buffet my family were lining up to give the hand cream a go for themselves. A very big thumbs up from LR HQ. I'm really looking forward to testing out the night serum this evening as my skin is really getting battered by the wind lately.

How are you spending your weekend?

 photo lauren-signature_zps4149a168.png

 photo homeeee_zps214aed0e.jpg