Bobbi Brown and Liz Earle – empties for the week

Sad to say goodbye to these – I’ve squeezed out every last drop of product!

Liked the Cleanse and Polish along with the BB Extra Repair Moisturising Balm, but special mention for the BB eye cream – expensive at over £40 a jar, but lasts ages and I will definitely be repurchasing.

It smooths skin ready for makeup and my under eye concealer sits perfectly on top.

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Varnish

After my sister bought me a bottle for Christmas, I’ve become addicted to this Hi-Shine Gel-look nail polish from Barry M.

At only £3.99 a bottle, it’s affordable to buy a couple of different shades – especially as they are currently on offer (buy one, get one half price) at Boots.

This is my latest purchase – Grapefruit – but I also love Paprika and Pomegranate.

Nail varnish doesn’t tend to last long on my nails as they peel at the tips, but this one has pretty good staying power and I love the glossy finish.

Despite the ‘one coat’ blurb, two coats looks better, but you could get away with one if you were in a hurry.

Have you tried this nail varnish? Let me know what you think!


Snowman Family

With my sister’s husband visiting from Australia, we just had to get out building snowmen last night.

Initially reluctant to face the cold, but not wanting to miss an opportunity to pop his snowman-building cherry, he soon had a huge smile on his face.



Five Brilliant Beauty Bargains under £5

We all love a bargain, but it’s only really a good deal if it does the job.  Here’s a quick round-up of some of my star products that work brilliantly, but cost less than a fiver.

1. Bourjois Paris Pencil Sharpener – £2.49

A product I can’t live without!  I’ve tried a whole range of pencil sharpeners, but even if it wasn’t such a bargain, this would be my favourite.  Sharpens two sizes of pencil, so can do your chunky lip or eye crayons as well as regular pencils.  The shavings collector isn’t totally reliable, so I pop it in a zip-lock bag when I travel.

Bourjoir sharpener

2.  Johnson’s Baby Shampoo – from £1.15

I love the mild formula of this shampoo and use it once every week or so.  Also great for cleaning my make-up brushes – it’s a bathroom cabinet essential!

Baby Shampoo

3.  Rimmel 60 Second Nail Polish – £3.69 (and often on 3 for 2 at Boots)

Dries fast, super-fat brush for easy application and a fantastic range of colours.  Lasts for days with a good top coat – a great budget buy.

Rimmel Nail Varnish

4.  Nelson’s Tea Tree Cream – £3.99

Bit of an odd ‘beauty’ product, but I really can’t live without this.  A friend recommended it to me over 15 years ago and I have never found anything else that works as well to heal cuts or grazes.  I use it on spots, insect bites, shaving cuts (yes, it stings a bit) and sunburn.   If you can get past the smell, it’s a great all-rounder.

Tea Tree Cream

5.  Clean On Me shower gel – £2.50 for travel size, £6 for 500ml

Classic Soap & Glory signature scent and with added moisturiser – ideal for anyone else too lazy to moisturise every day.  Yup, I know this doesn’t exactly fit the ‘under £5’ bracket unless I cheat and include the travel size, but I think this deserves a mention as a brilliant beauty bargain – 500ml for £6 lasts for ages.

Clean on Me

What are you favourite beauty bargains?

Faking It

Fake Tan

I’ve been faking it for years and have had the odd  tanning disaster.  Streaky legs, orange hands, and one of my favourites – too much top lip sweat creating a rather nice white moustache.

After what feels like way more than my fair share of trial and error, I think I’ve finally cracked the secret to getting that perfect (fake) tan.

Here’s a round-up of some of the products that I think  meet the grade:

St. Tropez Everyday Tan

St. Tropez Gradual Tan – Everyday Body Moisturiser

I bought this on a 3-for-2 St. Tropez deal at Boots and have been hooked every since.  It’s an absolutely cinch to apply – just slap it on like a regular body moisturiser.  I’ve never had a problem with streaking, patchiness or uneven coverage – even on the face, hands, elbows and knees.  Not the cheapest, but a seriously good tan and no need to apply everyday – despite what is says on the bottle.  I find once or twice a week is enough.  £12.99 in Boots on offer at the moment, usually £14-£15.

L'oreal Sublime Gel

L’Oreal Sublime Bronce – Self-tanning Fresh Feel Gel

This was my bathroom cabinet staple for the last two or three years.  I  do find that this requires a bit more prep and effort than the St. Tropez, but worth it for the lovely colour of the tan – a perfect golden bronze.  Essential to use a mitt or wash hands thoroughly after application as it can stain. £8.66 (saving a third) on offer in Boots at the moment.

St. Tropez Mousse

St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse

I used this last year and then chucked it to the back of my bathroom cupboard.  I found it messy to apply and just wasn’t convinced it lived up to the hype.  Yesterday I gave it another chance and I’m happy to hold my (perfectly tanned) hands up and admit I was wrong.  This stuff is good – now I see why people rave about it.  Definitely apply with a mitt – the mousse is Bisto brown.  Easy to see where you’re applying because the colour is so dark, it creates a light tan almost instantly and full colour develops overnight.  It doesn’t even have an over-the-top chemical smell to it.  What more could you ask for? £17.50 for 120 ml or £25 for 240 ml on offer in Boots at the moment.

Fake Tan line-up

Top Tips

  • Use a mitt.  I don’t bother when I use the Everyday moisturiser, but everything else goes on a lot more evenly if you use a mitt or glove.
  • Keep your tan looking fresh by moisturising regularly, but steer clear of oils – they can fade the tan and make it look patchy.
  • Exfoliation?  I’m not convinced this is necessary.  I used to do this religiously but have given up – I’m too lazy and don’t see any difference unless you have very dry skin.
  • If you’re in a rush, it’s better to stay pale.  I’ve made this mistake and messed up far too many times!
  • Apply a tiny amount (5 pence piece) of fake tan to the face if you feel like you need a bit of a pick-me-up but don’t have time to apply full body.  It will still look natural, as long as you blend over the jaw line and down the neck to the collarbone.
  • Short skirt situation but you’re out of tan or no time for it to develop?  MAC Face and Body is a great alternative – once applied it doesn’t budge and gives your legs an airbrushed finish.

How to apply

When I trained as a make-up artist I was taught to always apply foundation in the same order (forehead, nose, chin, cheeks) so that you don’t get confused about where you’ve applied.  I follow the same logic with fake tan.  Remember – you tend to only get a patchy finish if you miss a bit, so it’s better to apply a bit more if in doubt.  This is the order I always follow:

  1. Left leg – ankle to knee, front then back
  2. Left leg – knee to top of the leg, front then back
  3. Right leg – ankle to knee, front then back
  4. Right leg – knee to top of the leg, front then back
  5. At this point I use whatever tan is left on the mitt to brush lightly over my feet and ankles
  6. Stomach and chest
  7. Front of the arms and then using whatever is left on the mitt to do underneath of arms
  8. Finally I finish with face and neck – don’t forget ears and back of the neck
  9. Back – only on special occasions I rope my husband in to help apply to the back, otherwise I don’t bother and I have no idea how, but I can never see a line where the tan ends – just remember to blend really well down the sides of your body

I’m always interested to hear about top tanning products, so let me know your favourites!

My Top 5 Bronzers


Searching for a golden glow to make you look sun-kissed with a quick swipe of a brush?  Then one of these products might be just what you’re looking for.  Whether your skin tone is more Nicole Kidman than Nicole Richie, there is definitely a bronzer out there to suit everyone.

I’ve rummaged through my make-up bag to show you a selection of some of my favourite bronzing products.

MAC Mineralize

First up is the MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural (£21).  It’s not really a bronzer (okay, not at all), but I’ve included it here as it’s a great way to add a bit of warmth to your face without going overboard on shimmer.  This matte face powder comes in 10 different shades and can be used to set foundation, alone or to touch up throughout the day.  Lasts forever.*

Use if: you want to add a bit of colour to your face without looking like you’ve stepped through a shower of fairy dust.

17 Instant glow

Sadly I’ve just discovered this Boots 17 compact isn’t stocked any more, but I’ve kept it in as a good example of a non-shimmer bronzer and highlighter.  Such a shame it’s been discontinued as it was a great budget buy.  I’ll update this post as and when I find a good replacement for it.   For anyone unsure where to apply highlighter and bronzer – this  great video from Lisa Eldridge is really simple to follow.

Chanel bronzer

Don’t be put off by the scary colour of this Chanel bronzer (£34) – it’s one of my all-time favourites and I promise it won’t make you look like an Oompa Loompa.    Chanel change the packaging and shades occasionally, but it’s essentially the same product .  The latest powder bronzers seem to be similar to the Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks – a few colours in one compact that you mix together.  Quite pricey, but even with regular use, a compact will last me a year or more.  (See how I managed to justify it to myself there!)

Use if: you want natural bronzing effect with subtle shimmer.

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel

This Chanel cream-gel bronzer (£31) is another great product if you want all-over colour, rather than highlighter or colour on cheeks.  Best applied with a big powder brush, it gives a really natural tanned effect without any over-the-top shimmer.  A little goes a long way, and I’m too ashamed to admit how long I’ve had this pot on the go!  It can apparently be worn under or over foundation, but I always apply after.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick

A lot of people use the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (£32) in place of a bronzer or blusher – in other words, they brush a thick coating of it all over their cheeks.  This isn’t really what the brick was designed for, rather it should be used for highlighting.  So, a light dusting on cheekbones after blusher is a good thing.  A thick layer of shine all over your cheeks doesn’t really flatter anyone.  I don’t use this as much as other products, but is great if you want to add a touch of shimmer.

Available in five different shades.

Use if: you want to highlight.

I’m a huge fan of bronzers – especially at this time of year, so I’d love to hear from you if you have any top products to recommend.

*Not literally.

Elle magazine offer – Rodial gift with subscription

Elle magazine subscription offerJust a quick post today to let you know about a great subscription offer from Elle magazine.  I had been thinking about renewing my subscription for a while and I’ve also recently started a small love affair with Rodial products, so it seemed the stars had aligned!

The deal is you get a 12 month subscription to Elle for £15, plus the Rodial Skin Care on the Go kit.  You can check out the full details here.

I’ve had a little play around with the Rodial products and too early to give a full review, but first impressions are good.

Rodial gift

Here’s what you get in the kit:

  • GLAMTOX Cleansing Balm
  • GLAMTOX SPF15 day cream
  • GLAMTOX night cream
  • GLAMTOXY Snake Serum
  • GLAM BALM lip balm