Amazing Advertisers | February

Okay, this year needs to slow down. Is it really March tomorrow? I know Febuary is a short month but by goodness, its flown by! Its going to be Summer before we know it (not that I'm complaining about that). This month was a fairly busy one for me but also very productive too - I upgraded my phone to a shiny new Iphone 6, made plans for next month and also booked a holiday to Mykonos. I'm SO excited, roll on June! Anyway, before I go off on a tangent, I'd like to introduce you to my lovely February advertisers ...

Carly from Carly's Beauty World
Hi everyone, I’m Carly and I blog at carlysbeautyworld.com. I set up my blog a couple of years after I gave up my beauty salon to pursue a different career. I had been in the beauty industry for 15 years and wanted to continue to share my knowledge and help people. My friend suggested that I write a blog and I’m so glad that I did.

At Carly’s Beauty World you will find that amongst the product reviews and fun posts, I also write about and specialise in specific areas such as skincare and other beauty related topics. If you want to diagnose your skin type or learn how to choose skincare products you can come to my blog and find the advice you need easily.

I’m always chatting to people on my various social media sites so come and say hi. I look forward to meeting you all. I’m having a giveaway to win a Lush Cosmetics gift voucher so don’t forget to enter when you visit my blog (see here).

Carly x


Beky from Beky Lou
My name is Rebecca Louise Morris and I'm a 20 year old that works within IT at Siemens Rail Automation. I've never been to University and although I haven't got a degree, I really love my job. Bearing that in mind, the thing I love more than anything else has to be all things beauty and fashion related. I am an obsessive when it comes to lipsticks and bronzers and pretty dresses for work and I love to write about it all. I first started writing my blog October 2013 and after a short break recently over the 2014 Christmas break, I'm back with a fresh new blog layout and template. I really hope that 2015 is the year for me, I can't wait to see where this blog and my job takes me and I can't wait to hear about what you guys think in the comments. 

Lots of Love
Beky 
xx

India from The Jewel Beauty



Hi Lovelies! My name is India-Robyn and I’m the founder of “The Jewel Beauty” Blog! I started my blog in 2012 and it has been my main passion ever since. I also work in digital media and I’m currently coming to the end of my Business and Management degree. It's safe to say I'm looking forward to getting some more blog time!



When creating my blog I wanted to make sure it was a true reflection of myself and that’s where the “Jewel” part came from, as it’s my middle name. I then decided to add on “beauty” as if you stop by my blog you might be able to tell I’m just a little beauty obsessed!



The Jewel Beauty Blog is a friendly place on the Internet, where you can find detailed reviews and all things beauty, lifestyle and fashion too!

I would love you to stop by!

Lot’s of love
India x



Lauren from bylaurenjane

bylaurenjane is a three year old beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog written by a typical girl next door who relates to her readers. Over the last couple of months bylaurenjane has incorporated a 'My Body Series' in which readers can follow Lauren on her journey to get fit and tone up, with candid progress pictures and an honest update on her journey. There are regular product reviews, OOTD posts with the occasional personal post added into the mix.

Scarlett from Scarlett London

As an aspiring showbiz, fashion and beauty journalist - my blog is filled with all the things I love in London (and beyond). I regularly travel, which features heavily on my blog and I'm a bit of an 'eating out' addict, so prepare for lots of photographs of delicious concoctions. If you're looking for a blog with a bit of everything, then I'd love for you to take a look at scarlettlondon.com. I post something different everyday - whether it's about going 'behind the scenes' on Made In Chelsea or sitting FROW at London Fashion Week (I felt very underdressed), everything goes up on the blog!



Kayla from Sheer Beauty


Hey everyone my name is Kayla and I'm a beauty blogger! First let me share with you how my blog got started. In my last year of Fashion School I decided I wanted to start a fashion blog and as i did more post on Sheer Beauty and followed other blogs I discovered I had a love for makeup and that is what my blog became a beauty blog.

On my blog you will find reviews on products I have been using as well you will mostly see makeup looks that I create. I love doing my makeup and trying out new things and on Sheer Beauty it's the perfect place for me to show case that. So I hope you all will like what you see! :)



Natalie from ohheartsan


Stories of beauty, style, friends and food; living a charmed life wherever the wind blows her. A photographer at heart, she tries to capture the magic in every day life through the lens she carries with her everywhere. A passionate storyteller studying life from every angle.

Polly from Sighh Designs
Hi, I'm Polly, an 18 year old gap year student currently applying to study Graphic Design/Illustration at uni. I started up Sighh Designs during my A levels for a bit of fun after such positive feedback on the drawings I posted on Instagram (link). It's now become a full time job/hobby (jobby) and it's amazing to watch it grow!


I design all my products by hand and then scan in to edit digitally. Feedback from social media is vital for me, (I make all these products for you guys!) so whenever I'm working on a new design I post updates on Twitter @pollyvdsz) / @SighhDesigns and Instagram @pollyvdsz. I currently stock phone cases (not just for iPhones *woop*), notebooks, makeup bags, MacBook skins, mugs and stickers and have plans for so much more!



Check out the #SighhDesigns hashtag on Instagram to see some of my customers showing off their new bits. Is there anything you fancy?

Polly

xo


Hayley from London Beauty Queen

London Beauty Queen is the brainchild of Hayley Carr, who set up the site five years ago after working in the beauty industry for many years. She tackled controversial issues, lifts the lid on what's really going on behind closed doors, discusses the 'science bit' of beauty and helps to educate readers so they can make informed choices. From the latest lipgloss launch, to why mineral oil isn't such a great idea, to dissecting the blogging world one post at a time, LBQ is a one-stop shop for anyone interested in beauty and social media.


Eltoria from Eltoria.com

Ciao bellas! (Or to any amigos out there). I am Eltoria, 22, and as you can probably tell from the header, I am slightly obsessed with face masks and all things beauty related over at eltoria.com. I am also an avid YouTuber where I also love to vlog and blog about fashion, life, prize giveaways, and health and fitness. So come on over, the water is fine!

Much Love
Eltoria x

I hope you go and check all these ladies out and show them some love as they're all fantastic reads! I'm also obsessed with Polly's shop Sighh Designs - she designs the most perfect stationary / makeup bags and phone cases!



The Glow Getters | My Favourite Highlighters

Favourite Highlighting Products, My Favourite Highlighters, The Glow Getters
One of my favourite beauty products would definitely be highlighter. I'm just a little bit obsessed with their glowy appearance and radiance enhancing effects. I don't feel like my makeup is complete without them and my beauty stash has a whole section dedicated to various highlighting powders, creams and liquids. With this being said, I thought it was about time I shared some of my favourites with you guys, in case you're on the hunt for a new one and aren't sure where to start.

My favourite type of highlighter would have to be a powder as I find them them easy to use and they work well on top of my face powder. One that's been a long time favourite of mine and the first high end highlighter I ever bought is the MAC Soft and Gentle Mineralize Skinfinish. Its a stunning champagne shade with pink toned marbling and it gives the skin a beautiful glow. I've heard some people say this is glittery but I'd describe it as a metallic finish which I personally love. Another powder I'm a big fan of is the Bobbi Brown 'Pink Glow' highlighter. I believe this one in particular is limited edition but Bobbi Brown is famous for her shimmer bricks which I'm guessing are very similar. I love that this one has a gorgeous soft pink tone and a high metallic finish as it doubles up as a blush and highlight. Sweeping this across the tops of the cheekbones provides a gorgeous healthy glow - I love it! 

Finally, a more budget friendly highlighter I love is from Topshop*. The one photographed above is in the shade 'Horizon' which is slighly too dark for me in the Winter months due to its bronze tone but in Summer, its beautiful for highlighting a tanned complexion. However, I also love the shade 'Crescent Moon' (not photographed as the packaging is filthy) which is a pretty pearl shade and a very good dupe for the MAC Soft & Gentle. These highlighters are well worth checking out next time you're in Topshop as they're great quality and not too pricey!

Favourite Highlighting Products, My Favourite Highlighters, The Glow Getters
As I said, I do prefer powder highlights but there's a couple of cream / liquid formulas that have won me over. Benefit's 'Watt's Up' Soft  Focus Highlighter* is a lovely product - everything from the quirky light bulb themed packaging to the handy stick style applicator and gorgeous champagne shade are spot on. I love that I can use this on the go as you literally just draw it on your face with it and then blend the product out with your fingers. I've also found that it doesn't interfere with my foundation and powder like some cream products can.

Next up we've got the liquids and I find these ones the trickiest to work with when it comes to highlighting. I think these kind of highlighters work best if you aren't a powder wearer as I do find they can interfere with my base if I apply them on top of powder. They're also great if you don't wear foundation and just want to brighten up your complexion. I use this kind of highlighter a lot more in the Summer when I have a tan and have only used concealer under my eyes. However, I have found a way I can use them at the moment and that's to mix them into my foundation as I find this looks very natural and just perks me up (much needed in the morning)! You could also them into your moisturiser if you aren't a foundation wearer. 

My two favourite liquid highlighters are the NARS Copacobana Illuminator* and the Seventeen Skin Wow 3 Way Highlighter*. Considering the price difference, these two products are actually very similar, the NARS one is just a touch more pigmented. Both of them have a more cool tone than the powders and watt's up, as you can see in the swatches and they're very lightweight on the skin. I really like to use these on my body too - I always apply a highlighter to my collar bones and down the front of my legs before a night out and these ones work perfectly as they're so easy to apply and blend in!

Favourite Highlighting Products, My Favourite Highlighters, The Glow Getters
L-R: Topshop, Bobbi Brown Pink Quartz, MAC Soft & Gentle, Benefit Watts Up, NARS Copacabana, Seventeen Skin Wow

So there we have it, my cream of the highlighting crop. If you want skin to rival the likes of Millie Mcintosh, these products will have you covered!

Have you tried any of these highlighters? Can you recommend any others?


Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Review

Real Techniques 101 Triangle Foundation Brush, Real Techniques 201 Pointed Crease Brush, Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection, Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Review, Real Techniques Brushes
When I heard that Real Techniques were releasing a new range of brushes called 'Bold Metals', a more luxe line promised to be even better than the originals, I was pretty damn excited. I think most bloggers and beauty lovers were. I'm a huge fan of the original Real Techniques brushes - along with Zoeva, they're my daily go-to's with the buffing brush, powder brush and blusher brush being my personal favourites. The reason I love them so much is because they're just so soft and blend products seamlessly. Another thing I love about them is the price. None of the original line cost more than £10 and you can also get sets such as the 'Core Collection' which contain four brushes for just over £20. Total bargain at just over £5 per brush.

With this being said, I was quite shocked to discover the new Bold Metals brushes were at the other end of the scale completely with the cheapest brush being £10 and the most expensive £25. Yes they are stunning to look at and I can see why people would want to purchase them for their appearance alone but I have to be completely honest when I say as soon as I saw the prices, I was immediately put off. When the original line do the job so well, I just couldn't justify spending that amount of money. With this being said, I decided against purchasing them, despite seeing some good reviews. However, I was then contacted and asked if I'd like to try some brushes from the range so I thought this was a good opportunity to give them a try. I was kindly sent the 101 Triangle Foundation brush and 201 Pointed Crease brush and after giving them a go, I'm ready to share my thoughts about their quality and more importantly, if they're worth those price tags!

Real Techniques 101 Triangle Foundation Brush, Real Techniques 201 Pointed Crease Brush, Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection, Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Review, Real Techniques Brushes Real Techniques 101 Triangle Foundation Brush, Real Techniques 201 Pointed Crease Brush, Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection, Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Review, Real Techniques Brushes

My initial thoughts on seeing the brushes was that they're absolutely beautiful - the foundation brush has a gold metal finish while the pointed crease brush is silver. They have rose gold brushes in the range too which are obviously my fave of the three colours, being a lover of all things rose gold and all. However, beautiful appearance aside, I was quite shocked when I removed them from the packaging and felt the bristles. Unlike the original line which are super soft to the touch, I found these ones had a more plastic feel and were nowhere near as soft as the originals. I was quite taken aback by this as they were advertised as being even softer than the original and for the price point, I guess that's just what I expected. I also noticed the pointed crease brush was very big and bulky which did make me think it wouldn't be great for getting a detailed and precise finish. Anyway, this aside, I held off judgement until trying them to apply my makeup.

Unfortunately, when used to apply my foundation / crease colour, they just didn't live up to expectation. Due to the strange plastic feel of the bristles, I felt the foundation brush wasn't gentle on my skin and the shape of the brush didn't work well for me either - I felt it just smeared the product over my face rather than blending it like I'm used to with the buffing brush. I also felt I couldn't get to some areas of my face, especially the eye area, without using my fingers. I read Temptalia's review of this brush here and have to agree with the points she made. Overall, I don't like this brush at all. For £22, I'd much rather buy the Core Collection and get the buffing brush plus three others. As for the crease brush, I think this one is okay and it is usable but again, the quality isn't what I'd expect for a £12 eye shadow brush. My initial thoughts were right about it being too big as its hard to apply eye shadow precisely to the crease area and because of the dense bristles, its not comfortable to blend with. However, the dense bristles does mean it picks up colour well so I've been using it to apply the colour and then using another fluffy brush to blend it out. I was hoping I'd also be able to use this for applying eye shadow under my lower lash line too but again, its just far too big.

Real Techniques 101 Triangle Foundation Brush, Real Techniques 201 Pointed Crease Brush, Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection, Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Review, Real Techniques Brushes

So there we have it - not a great review unfortunately. I hate to be so negative on my blog but I have to be honest, regardless of being sent the brushes as samples. My advice would be to stick with the original line which are excellent and save your money. Yes the Bold Metals Collection is pretty but the quality just doesn't match the prices. If I were to spend that much on brushes, I'd head to MAC instead, which I know are of a very high quality. As I've only tried these two brushes, I can't speak for the rest of the range. I've heard good things about both the blush and flat contour brushes so maybe they're the stars of the show and I tried two of the not so great ones. Who knows. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to try the others in the future.

I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've tried these brushes, or any others from the range. If you haven't, will you be buying them?


4 Healthy Meals I've Been Loving Lately

Healthy Meal Ideas, Four Healthy Recipes, Low Calorie Meals, Healthy Dinner Ideas, Turkey Stuffed Pepper, Homemade Tortilla Pizza, Turkey Burgers, Garlic and Chilli prawns
I'm a big believer in the whole 80/20 rule when it comes to healthy eating - I'm pretty good 80% of the time and the other 20% I eat whatever the heck I like. I certainly don't believe in depriving my body of anything so if I want pizza or a Nandos like I had today, I'll have it. I think depriving yourself will only lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and therefore more binging on the bad stuff. 

I've been trying out a few new healthy recipes recently and after putting the above pictures on Instagram and getting asked lots of questions, I thought I'd pop a little post together with a quick overview of how I make each of them. I've been pretty obsessed with turkey mince at the moment as its really low in calories and super high in protein. It isn't the most exciting meat to eat on its own but with a sauce or some spices, its super tasty! I've also been experimenting with healthy homemade pizzas and trying to eat a bit more seafood, especially prawns which are my favourite. With this being said, here's the four recipes I've been loving lately...

Homemade pizza:
I've recently been making 'pizza' with a tortilla instead of a thick doughy base as it saves a lot of calories! These are so easy to make - you simply spread a tomato sauce (passata with basil is great) or puree onto the tortilla and then add your favourite toppings! I've been adding red onion / tomatoes / peppers and a small amount of mozzarella. When you've added your toppings, pop it in the oven until the cheese is all melted and the tortilla has gone crispy. I then like to add a bit of pesto and spinach or rocket on the top. Perfect healthy lunch!

Turkey burgers:
As I said, I've been obsessed with turkey mince at the moment and one of my favourite recipes to make with it is turkey burgers as they're so quick to make and taste like a real treat. I mix the turkey mince with some garlic, chilli powder and a teaspoon of soy sauce then mix it all together and make it into burger shaped patties. You can add lots of different things at this stage - any herbs or spices you like really. I'm going to try adding some lemon and finely chopped spring onions next time. When you've made your burger shapes, pop them on a grill pan or in the grill until they're cooked through - I also like to grill some red onion to add on top too! Then all you need to do is pop them on a bun - I usually go for wholemeal but was naughty and had white in the photo above. I like to finish the burger off with a teeny bit of cheese, sweet chilli sauce and avocado but you can add anything you like - just make sure its not too unhealthy!

Turkey Stuffed Peppers:
Another meal I've been making with turkey mince recently is stuffed turkey peppers and this recipe is inspired by Joe from @thebodycoach on Instagram. He makes 'lean in 15' videos showing his favourite healthy recipes and is often making these so I thought I'd give them a go. Like the burgers, they're really simple and are ready in around 20 minutes. All you need to do is cut your peppers down the centre and remove the seeds then pop them in the oven with a touch of oil (I use the fry light as its only 1 cal per spray) and wait for them to soften. This should take around twenty minutes. In the meantime, use your spray oil again and cook the turkey mince with some garlic, onion, a tablespoon of tomato puree, a 500ml carton of pasatta and three teaspoons of soy sauce. This makes a gorgeous bolognese type sauce! You then take the peppers out of the oven, fill them with the turkey mince and pop a small amount of cheese of top. They then go back in the oven until the cheese is melted and that's it, a yummy carb free meal. However, I tend to have a few sweet potato wedges with mine as they're sooo good!

Chilli & Garlic Prawns:
Finally we have another super easy recipe and this time its with my favourite seafood, prawns. I'm absolutely obsessed with prawns and always order them when I'm eating out - they're just so yummy! For these ones, all you need to do is marinate king prawns with some garlic, chilli, lime juice and coriander (again, add whatever else you like at this stage). I usually try to leave them marinating for at least an hour to let the flavours infuse (wow, I sound like such a foodie!) and then pop them in a hot wok until they turn pink. I like to serve them on a bed of rocket with sweet potato wedges and avocado but they're also lovely with some brown rice or rice noodles. Yum, yum and more yum!

I hope this has given you some inspiration guys - do let me know if you try any of these recipes as I'd love to hear what you think of them. You can tweet me @k_leexjx! As I said, they're all really easy to make and really quick too so great if you're like me and want something quick after a long day at work. Healthy eating really doesn't need to be difficult or expensive like people think! 

What's your favourite healthy recipes? Would you like to see more of these posts?


New Clarins Products | First Impressions

Clarins is one of my favourite brands so I'm always excited when I'm given the opportunity to try their new releases. They never fail to impress me with skincare or makeup and their products always do exactly what they say they will on the bottle! They recently released a range of new products for spring and I can't wait to share them with you all as I can already tell these products are going to become absolute must haves for me.

Firstly, I have to talk about their new lip products which are both new additions to their popular 'instant light' line. The Instant Light lip perfectors are loved by many, and I have a feeling these new products will be just as well loved. 

The Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil* (currently sold out) is an innovative new lip care treatment and unlike the usual lip balms, this is an oil infused with various plant oils such as organic jojoba oil that help to nourish, plump and soften the lips. I was really intrigued by this when I was saw it and was worried it might feel greasy on my lips but its actually very light and feels like a none sticky lip gloss. I haven't used this enough to comment on the effect its had on my lips but it certainly feels very comforting upon application! I shall report back with my thoughts!


The other lip products I've been trying are the Instant Light lip balm perfectors* and I'm completely in love with them. Super moisturising and shiny, pretty colours that transfer well on to the lips and a a lovely hydrating formula that feels like its doing the lips some good! The three shades I've got are Coral which is a pale peach, Orange which is a true orange and Red which is a nice raspberry pink shade. The names aren't all that original but the colours are beautiful - my fave is 'Red' which is what I'm wearing in the bottom image. Clarins claim that these provide 4 hours of non-stop hydration and make lips look fuller and perfectly shaped. Whilst they don't last on the lips for four hours due to the glossy formula, I'd have to agree that they do hydrate my lips and make them look nice and full. These are a must try!

Next up is a product I haven't yet tried (I'm saving it until the weather warms up) but I thought I'd include it anyway as its another new release. The Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Multi Protection SPF 50 Day Cream (wow, what a mouthful) which is set to be released on 8th March is designed to keep the skin hydrated and more importantly protected when the sun is shining. I get very conscious about getting burnt and damaging my skin in the Spring / Summer months so I imagine this will become a daily essential for me if its anything like Clarins other day creams which are all light on the skin by nice and moisturising. I'll keep you posted on this one!


Finally we have the new Everlasting Foundation+* and I've saved the best till last as I bloomin well love this foundation! Its a full coverage foundation which I really like - it covers redness and uneven skin tone without making my skin look cakey. It has what I would describe as a semi-matte finish - its definitely more on the matte than dewy side but it still lets your skins natural luminosity shine through. I've got the colour Beige which is a perfect match for me as its yellow toned without being too yellow and look unnatural. 

However, what I love most about this foundation is its staying power. Clarins claims it last up to 18 hours on the skin and while I'm not sure about that as I don't tend to wear my foundation for that length of time, it definitely lasts all day. I'm the type of person who is usually touching / picking at my face all through the day at work and by the time I leave I look like I've not got any makeup on. However, with this foundation, I've noticed my makeup still looks fairly flawless after my eight hour shift. Amazing! I'll definitely be using this a lot in the Summer months to stop my face from getting too shiny and it also contains SPF15- win win! I might do a more in depth review on this as its definitely a new favourite!

 photo NewClarinsLaunchesClarinsInstantLightLipBalmPerfectorsClarinsUVPlusMulti-ProtectionSPF50ClarinsEverlastingFoundationClarinsI_zpse9f6054a.jpg  photo NewClarinsLaunchesClarinsInstantLightLipBalmPerfectorsClarinsUVPlusMulti-ProtectionSPF50ClarinsEverlastingFoundationClarinsI_zpsc9808c17.jpg

I have to say I'm so impressed with these new products from Clarins and I can't wait to use them more! The lip balms and foundation will definitely be a Summer makeup bag must have and I'm looking forward to keeping my skin protected with the moisturiser. As for the lip comfort oil, I'm going to keep that in my bedside table so I can treat my lips before bed each night!

Do you like the look of these new Clarins products?


High End Beauty Haul | My Beauty Matches

My Beauty Matches High End Beauty Haul, My Beauty Matches, Luxury Beauty Haul

If you're a beauty lover but are forever feeling overwhlemed by the endless choice of beauty products on the market or confused over which product work best with your skins needs or hair and eye colouring, then look no further as My Beauty Matches (formerly known as My Beauty Compare) does all the hard work for you. By answering a simple questionnaire, you'll be given a set of perfect matches that suit all of your beauty needs. If that wasn't good enough, they also give you a break down of where you can buy the products and where is selling the product cheapest. You can then click the product you'd like to buy and be directed to the retailers website. Its that easy!

I was recently invited to try out the website and buy some products up to the value of £100 so I could get a feel for how it works and give you guys my feedback. I really enjoyed using the site as it only takes a matter of minutes to fill out your beauty profile and receive your results. I found it interesting to see which products would be recommended to me and I like that they offer three 'best matches' for each product. They even recommend shades and whilst I don't think these can be 100% accurate, its a nice touch and gives you somewhere to start when looking to make a new purchase. I spent a good while look through the site and ended up picking five products with my budget. I've been using them all since they arrived a couple of weeks ago and thought I'd give you a quick overview of them all.

My Beauty Matches High End Beauty Haul, My Beauty Matches, Luxury Beauty Haul

First up is two NARS products - I'm a massive fan of NARS so when I saw the brand on My Beauty Matches, I knew I had to get a couple of items I've been lusting after for some time - the Copacobana Illuminator and Radiant Creamy Concealer. I've heard rave reviews about both of these products so couldn't wait to try them and I haven't been disappointed. I'll be doing full reviews soon but I really like mixing the highlighter with my foundation to make my skin look more radiant and the shade copacabana is a beautiful pearl shade - as you can see from my swatch below, its seriously glowy! The concealer is a bit of a cult product in the beauty world and I've been using it under my eyes as it has a fairly thick and creamy consistency but isn't cakey at all. I got the shade 'Honey' which has a peach tone and is great for covering up dark circles but I'd quite like to get the shade 'Custard' too as that's more yellow toned and would be better for brightening!

Next up is another thing that's been on my wish list for absolutely ages, the Bobbi Brown corrector. I've heard its best to use a corrector under the eyes to cancel out dark circles before applying a brightening concealer and as all  my concealers are fairly yellow based which doesn't cover dark circles all that well, I decided this would be perfect. I haven't had chance to give it a proper go yet but I went for the shade 'Light Bisque' which I think is right for me (its always hard to know without trying first). I'm going to do a full review on this with before and after photos when I've had a proper play around with it! Keep your eyes peeled for that.

My Beauty Matches High End Beauty Haul, My Beauty Matches, Luxury Beauty Haul

I've been in need of a new liquid liner for a while now so I decided to try the Stila stay all day waterproof liquid eyeliner in the shade 'Intense Black' as I liked the look of the felt tip style applicator - I always prefer these to brushes as they're much easier to use! I've been really impressed with this so far - its super black and so easy to use, totally fool proof in fact. If you struggle to perfect liquid liner flicks, this is one to try! 

Finally, I picked a YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vintage lipstick in the shade 'No.19 Fuchsia Pink' as I already have one of the Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks and absolutely adore it. I'm not sure why this one is 'vintage' but I'm so glad I chose this as its the perfect colour for me and I already know I'm going to wear it so much in Spring / Summer. As you can see from the swatch, its a very bold shade but I love bright lips and the blue undertone makes my teeth look nice and white. The formula of these lipsticks is brilliant too - creamy with a slight sheen, pigmented and long lasting. A definite favourite!

My Beauty Matches High End Beauty Haul, My Beauty Matches, Luxury Beauty Haul

So there we have all the bits I picked up from My Beauty Matches. All of the items were delivered to me from House of Fraser, Beauty Bay and John Lewis and they all arrived super quickly. I'd definitely recommend having a look at their website and filling out the questionnaire if you want some help picking products that will match your needs!

Lots of love,

A Few Tips To Improve Your Instagram Feed

Instagram is fast becoming the 'IT' social networking site - it recently surpassed Twiter in user numbers and in the blogging world specifically, there isn't many bloggers who don't use it! Its definitely my favourite social networking site as I love scrolling through my feed and looking at all the pretty and inspirational photos. I'm also addicted to uploading photos to my own account and not a day goes by where I haven't uploaded something. Whether its beauty products, an 'ootd', my dinner, an inspiring quote or a selfie, you'll find it all over on my instagram. You can follow me here if you're interested in seeing more! 

I think the reason Instagram has become so popular is because images are more appealing than text. You could write the most inspiring / funniest or sweetest tweet in the world but if its accompanied with an image, its 10x more powerful and will catch people's attention a heck of a lot more. 

Instagram is also another form of blogging - there's a lot more 'instagram bloggers' who promote companies solely on their instagram accounts and brands are becoming more interested in how someone can promote their brand to their hundreds or thousands of instagram followers. Its also a great way to promote your actual blog if you have it linked in your bio and post sneak peeks of your new posts! With this being said, I thought I'd share a few tips I've picked up over the past couple of years I've been using the famous app. I'm not saying my Instagram account is perfect by any means but there are a few things I do to ensure its visually appealing and encourage people to click follow...

Quality over quantity
When it comes to the photos you post on instagram, quality really does matter. Much like a blog, out of focus imagery just isn't appealing and people are less likely to click follow if they see blurry images. The kind of instagram accounts I like to follow all have a similar theme - they're light, bright and have sharp clear images. A good tip I have for this is to use your actual camera to take the pictures - I often take a batch on a weekend when I've got lovely natural light and I then email them to myself ready to upload throughout the week. Obviously this is quite extreme if you're not a blogger and just have instagram to share things with your friends but if you want to make it more professional, I'd highly recommend doing this. You can even get digital cameras that you can upload photos straight to instagram from. I'm definitely adding one of those to my birthday wish list!

Keep it consistent
As I mentioned before, all of the instagram accounts I like to follow have a few things in common - their photos are light, bright and high quality. If I click on a account and see these things, I'm likely to follow! With my own feed, I tend to stick with the same filter on every photo as this gives it a nice consistent look. My favourite app for filters is VSCO cam - I'd highly recommend it if you want to try out some new filters! I also really like 'Valencia' on instagrams own filters as this gives a nice creamy candlelit finish! I also like to use Afterlight to brighten my images - I often adjust the brightness, exposure shadows / contrast and highlights until I'm happy with it. I've popped an example below - as you can see, it makes a huge difference! For this, I added a VSCO cam filter, upped the brightness and contrast and then cropped it!

Post at peak times
Its probably quite an obvious one but if you want your posts to be seen by more people, think about the time your posting. For example, if you post a picture at 2am in the morning, its less likely to be seen as people will be in bed. However, if you post at 7pm when people are likely to be home from work and scrolling through their phones, your post will be seen by more of your followers and therefore get more engagement. I usually post two to three times a day and find posting around 8:30am or between 6 and 9pm in the evening works best for me! Its best to just play around and with different times and see when your followers are most engaged.

Analyze your activity
If you're really interested in what works and what doesn't on your instagram, you can always use Iconosquare (formerly statigram) which gives you monthly instagram stats. You can find out which posts were your most liked / commented on, how many followers you gained / lost, where your followers are based and the times / days in which your followers are most engaged. The only reason I really know about this is because I sometimes use it for work but it can be interesting to have a look now and then to see what's working best for you and how your account is growing month on month. 


Follow and comment
Just like its important to follow and comment on blogs to build relationships and get your blog out there, the exact same applies to instagram. There's been so many times recently when someone has commented on my photo and I've clicked on their account, liked what I've seen and followed them back. Its important not to do just for the purpose of gaining followers or spam people with 'SFS' or 'follow for follow' type comments but if you genuinely like a photo, let the person who uploaded it know. I love having discussions with people on my posts!

Relevant hash tags
Just like leaving comments, using hash tags can become spammy if you use too many. However, using a few hash tags that are relevent to the thing you are posting is great as people who are interested in what you're sharing might see your image and like / comment or follow you. For instance, I usually always hash tag #beauty #makeup or #bbloggers if I'm trying to promote my beauty posts or #fashion #style #outfit #ootd and #fbloggers if my post is more fashion based! Its entierly up to you what you use - just make sure they're relevant and don't use too many!

I hope this helped in some way - I'd love to hear any tips you have for improving your instagram feel and promoting your images!

Lots of love,

The Perfect Red | Chanel Rouge Allure Incandescente

Chanel Incandescente Lipstick, Chanel Incandescente Lipstick Revew, Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick Review
When it comes to make up, Chanel is up there with the most luxurious of the bunch! I only own two lipsticks from the brand, one of them being this one but I'm always hearing rave reviews about their foundations and cream bronzers so its definitely a brand I want to try more of, despite the high price tags. The most recent addition to my teeny Chanel collection is the Rouge Allure lipstick* in the shade 'Incandescente', a beautiful orange toned red.

As I mentioned, I do own another Chanel lipstick but that was one of the Rouge Coco Shine's and I wasn't too keen on it as I much prefer a bold and highly pigmented lipstick, especially when they're high end. I don't know if that's just me but if an expensive product lacks pigmentation, I feel I could have got the exact same effect from a cheaper brand? Just me?

Chanel Incandescente Lipstick, Chanel Incandescente Lipstick Revew, Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick Review
Chanel Incandescente Lipstick, Chanel Incandescente Lipstick Revew, Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick Review

Anyway, unlike the Rouge Coco Shine, I absolutely LOVE the Rouge Allure lipstick - everything about it is perfect. Firstly, the packaging is pure luxury. I love the sleek black tube with Chanel wrote across the bottom and the gold double CC's on the top. I also love how it opens - you push the gold part in like a little button to release the lipstick. Little things like this are what defines high end for me - its those finer details that make using a product feel so much more luxurious.

As well as the amazing packaging, the formula and pigmentation of this lipstick is spot on. The colour is amazing - a very vibrant orange toned red that instantly boosts my complexion and its SO pigmented. The finish is what I'd describe as Satin or Velvet - it isn't glossy but it isn't matte either, somewhere in between I'd say. It has amazing staying power too due to the formula not being too glossy and sliding off the lips. However, I can't say I'd mind pulling this from my clutch bag to touch up.

Chanel Incandescente Lipstick, Chanel Incandescente Lipstick Revew, Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick Review

Overall I'd say this is the perfect red lipstick and its definitely going to be my lipstick of choice for Valentine's Day tomorrow! Nothing says Valentine's better than a red lip - its glamorous, sexy but very classy at the same time. I think I may have found a new lip love!

Are you a fan of Chanel lipsticks? What do you think of this shade? You can get it here from Debenhams.

Lots of love,

Lush Valentines Day Goodies

LUSH Valentines Day Collection, LUSH Bath Products, LUSH Limited Edition Valentine's Collection
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, its time to start thinking about how we're going to spend the day - will you be spending it with your other half, having a night out with friends or just showing yourself some love with a good old pamper? Whatever you decide, there's always time to fit a LUSH bath into your routine and they've released a limited edition Valentine's Day collection especially for the occasion. Much like Christmas or birthdays, Valentine's is just another excuse to treat yourself so this range of bath products couldn't be more perfect. Plus, they'll leave you smelling sweet if you've got a big date night planned!

My boyfriend and I have decided we're going to cook a nice three course dinner and get a bottle of our favourite fizz instead of going out and although we won't be leaving our flat, I still intend to get glammed up and make a bit of an effort so I'm looking forward to having a pamper in the bath with some of these treats. Here's a bit more about the range which I was very kindly sent to review.

LUSH Valentines Day Collection, LUSH Bath Products, LUSH Limited Edition Valentine's Collection
As you can see, the whole range is made up of pretty red, pink and pastel tones - all of which are perfect for Valentine's day! The two most obvious Valentine's products are Heart Throb, a bright red heart shaped bubble bar with lots of glitter in the middleand Cupid's Love soap. I really love both of these, especially the bubble bar as it contains essential oils and softening shea butter so its perfect to use before a date as your skin will feel super silky! Plus, it will make the bath red, glittery and bubbly! Soap isn't something I'm too keen on buying from Lush, not because it isn't great but because I'd rather spend money on the more fun products. However, if soap is your thing, this one has a gorgeous fruity fragrance thanks to Bergamont and Rosewood as well as fresh figs, passion fruit juice and soya yoghurt nourish and soften the skin.

Next up is another two bath products, Unicorn Horn bubble bar and Floating Flower bath bomb. These two products are made up of pretty pastel shades so they don't have the stereotypical Valentine's theme but they're very pretty regardless and will make your bath a pretty and pink! I do love a LUSH bath bomb so I'm excited to use Floating Flower as I love the colours, its full of fab skin softening ingredients and it smells lovely too.  However, Unicorn Horn would have to be my fave from these two - the rainbow colours, stars and glitter are just too damn cute! I almost don't want to use it and just keep it to look at instead, haha! As well as looking pretty, it also contains beautiful neroli and lavender essential oils to nourish the skin.

LUSH Valentines Day Collection, LUSH Bath Products, LUSH Limited Edition Valentine's Collection

Finally we have the Prince Charming shower gel and The Kiss lip scrub and these are both such fun products for Valentine's Day as they're both love themed. The shower gel smells sweet and fruity thanks to the marshmallow root, fair trade vanilla and fresh pomegranate juice and ingredients such as almond oil will leave the skin feeling silky smooth! The lip scrub is perfect for ensuring your pout is soft and kissable before date night and because its made of caster sugar its safe to eat when you lick the excess of your lips (the best part). It even has red edible hearts and hundreds and thousands mixed into it too. Yep, literally good enough to eat! 

I have to say, I'm very impressed with all of these products and other than the soap which I could take or leave, I'd definitely purchase these products with my own money. They're all reasonably priced at no more than £5 each and they're the perfect pamper products to get you in the mood for love this Valentine's Day (sorry, that was cringe!). Will you be getting your mitts on these LUSH goodies?

Lots of love,

© Couture Girl

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