Lip Combo of the Mo.

This has been my go to if I want to turn the pout up a notch from my usual lip balm offering. And boy, is it a good'un!

Illamasqua Medium Pencil in Torment and Korres Lip Butter in Quince. 100% Stamp of approval! I don't think this pencil is available anymore, but you MUST try the Illamasqua lip pencils for their amazing quality. Head over to the site - they've got a wicked sale on!

The Beauty Sample: Friend, not foe.

As a gal who's worked on a counter and thus amongst the beauty department, I can safely say that the majority of counter staff I know detest walk-up customers who outright request a sample. They assume these customers have no interest in buying the product, otherwise would be handing over the cash instead and they feel this deep, troubling need to cling onto their little pots and tubes as if the Apocalypse may come at any given moment and God forbid they'll be left without their tiny tubs of lotions and potions (that they, themselves, don't even use anyway!). It's a funny thing is the beauty department...

ANYWAY, moving on, I'm here to say that if you're curious about a particular high-end product and want to try before you buy, never feel bad about asking for a sample. To the lady or gentleman on a counter, you are basically a sum of money towards a sales target (of course, many of the ladies and gents I've worked with are lovely and really enjoy spending time with clients and helping them with their cosmetic concerns!) My point is, the counter person would always, of course, prefer that you spent the money then and there. However, if you are genuinely interested in the product, willing to listen to some advice on whether that is actually the best type/version for you, then go give it a try before you buy without feeling any shame or guilt! After all, who wants to shell out £30 on a foundation for it only to end up being crap. Not me.

The above is a sample of Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF15 in shade 04 Neutral. I don't even suffer from redness, but this stuff is BEAUTIFUL and I bought it immediately. It is the perfect neutral tone that doesn't pull at all yellow or pink - heavenly. Moral of the story here? Don't be shy, try before you buy!

The Five Product Face

Like most people, I go through phases with my make-up. What can I say? I'm only human. It can be a full blown cat eye and red lip one day to a simple five minute 'slaplication' before I dash out the door the next. That's what this post is dedicated to today, my five minute, five product face.
First up, it's my trusty Origins Vitazing SPF 15. I've honestly lost count of how many of these babies I've squeezed my way through over the past 5 years or so. It is incredible stuff. Not a foundation, but totally evens out any redness whilst also making you look like you've just come back from a spa retreat somewhere fabulous in the middle of the Indian Ocean. A true Godsend. To conceal any blemishes or slap on top of my dark circles, I always turn to my Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer. Generally I use a seperate concealer for my undereyes/blemishes, but we're talking bare essentials here, so I've widdled it down to this great all-rounder. With a whopping 10ml in the tube, it'd be a great thing to take when travelling to mix with moisturiser for a base too! Hey, what's better than a foundation and concealer in the same tube?! 

Following the, sun-kissed theme, I am addicted to Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Creme Bronzer in Fiji to crank up the colour and faux-glow. I blend this with my finger onto cheek bones, bridge of my nose and lightly on my brow bone. The red-bronze colour immitates a natural tan and if I could use one word to describe the way it makes you look, it'd be healthy. I swipe a nice dollop of Miss Sporty Just Clear Mascara through my brows to make sure they behave themselves and finish off with the No7 Extreme Length Extend Mascara. No faffing, no brushes, no worries.


Rewind & Refresh

Over the past year or so, I've been suffering more breakouts than usual, and my skin has lost a bit of its glow. I've got the right products to reduce said breakouts and reignite said glow down to a tee, but that's not the point. Prevention is key, right? I don't want to keep having to combat issues, but rather do things to keep my skin clear and healthy before having to bring out the big guns.

I've been having a good think about it and what could be causing it. Of course stress plays a part, but everyone has periods of stress throughout their lives and I recognize those occasional pesky spots around my chin as being a result of that. Then there are hormones which again cause breakouts around the mouth, chin and jawline and really are a result of stress again. So that's fine - those I can link cause with effect. However, it's not those breakouts that I'm getting... I'm getting big, cystic ones on my cheeks. Big ones that hurt and linger and scar. I've never had those kind of spots before in my life!

So instead of whining about it, I'm on a mission over the next couple months to pinpoint the cause and eradicate the trigger. I'm going straight to diet of course. I've only recently been drinking dairy on the regular and so I'm inclined to think that could be the cause. But there's also sugar. Whether it's in the plethora of cocktails I've been sipping on nights out (and subsequent lack of sleep) or the growing number of crappy chocolate bars and sweets that I've been consuming over recent months.

I think I'm in need of a lifestyle overhaul and I'm really quite excited about it! One thing at a time of course, so for January it is a month without alcohol. Let's see what happens.