23 Apr 2014

NYX // Macaron Lippies Collection

If you love the bright pastel colours from Lime Crime or OCC Lip Tars you're going to love this more affordable collection which has been released in the US today by NYX. The collection which has been called the Macaron Lippies collection consists of twelve yummy macaron coloured creamy lipsticks - this collection certainly isn't for the faint hearted. 

While this has launched today over on the NYX website we do have a while before they hit the UK *sobs* NYX USA do offer international delivery but chances are you're going to get them far easier by either waiting or trying Ebay.com 

If you're a fan of bright colours you're going to love these bright oranges, limes and blues but if you're not a hipster or just aren't adept at having lots of people looking at your lovely lips then this may not be the right collection, I fall into the latter group and absolutely hate (in person at least) drawing any type of attention to myself. I would absolutely wear the two purples, the pink and I'd like to give the light grey lippy a shot even if it never gets worn except on Halloween. 

The shades in the collection are...

Rose // Lavender pink
Orange Blossom // Orange
Key Lime // Lime green
Blue Velvet // Electric blue
Violet // Royal purple
Pistachio // Mint green
Citron // Yellow
Earl Grey // Powdery blue
Lavender // Lavender
Black Sesame // Light grey
Coconut // White
Chambord // Black 

The lipsticks cost $6 on the NYX website which is around £3-4  although I do think they'll be around the £6 mark when they launch in the UK. I'd love to know what your thoughts are on this one and if there are any colours that you would try? 

* Nothing to Disclose *

Today I'm Me // 2D Makeup Bag

Today I'm Me is a brand that I only recently heard about while I was looking for something a little bit different to normal high street offerings. What I have noticed is that the older I'm getting the more I'm appreciating [and somewhat craving] good lines, classic colours and less overall fuss. Don't get me wrong I love a good pattern and colour palette and I could literally turn my life into a rainbow but I find I become quite cluttered and disorganised; kinda like a kid in a candy shop. 

Recently I've changed quite a lot of things in my life from my decor, makeup and clothing to a much more subdued palette. I was just moaning to hubster that I would like new bedding - plain white with no colours but some detailing ideally from lace, textured or embroidery. Just like the bedding I've been craving more neutral everything - hair, walls, carpets and well everything.

So how does my need for change relate to Today I'm Me? well the brand makes the most awesome bags that link my love of fun style but in a sophisticated way that my newly found classic edge approves of, chances are you've seen the latest 2D and 3D Pixelated style bags that are growing in popularity, you may have bought one or you may have 'wanted' to buy one but realised you weren't quite hipster enough to rock it - I nearly bought one, but realised I would look too hipster! as a 30 something with 3 sons this was a huge no-no in their opinion. 

Today I'm Me's bags are the same sort of style! take a peek at some of their range in the header image - awesome huh. The smaller monochrome clutch bag pictured above and below is what I chose and here it is... 

It's the lowest priced bag on the website and is marketed both as a clutch or as a makeup bag. I personally love it as a clutch but I did try it out as a makeup bag initially and it fits so much product which really surprised me because it looks as though it wouldn't that much at first glance as do all of these styled bags, but this really does fit everything you could need. 

It's made from a wipeable rubber material that's flexible so you don't need to worry about your mascara running and bleeding through or your phone getting damaged from the rain (or by being dropping). As I mentioned I did use it as a makeup bag but then needed something small and unofficial at the weekend and this ticked every box, hubster wasn't too chuffed by the makeup pile on the floor after it all got dumped out while I was rushing though haha. 

The price range varies for these bags and they're definitely save worthy pieces that are going to last you a long time. This particular clutch however is an affordable £27 and you can check it out as well as the rest of the Graphite Me and Colour Me collections on the Today I'm Me website. 

22 Apr 2014

Living Nature // Summer Bronze Pressed Powder

I'm a huge fan of the Living Nature brand and feel so happy that they received a few highly commended awards in the latest Natural Beauty awards. It was this product in particular that made the cut in the blusher category and I absolutely agree it deserves it's place in that category - I'm surprised it never won if I'm being completely honest. 

I've reviewed a few products from Living Nature and I've always been blown away by their performance, I also love that they are ethical, natural and SAFE! Other winners in the Natural Beauty Awards from this brand includes the Living Nature Soft Lights Illuminating Foundation (£29.50), Clear Lights Tinted Moisturiser (£28) and of course the product I have below; Living Nature Summer Bronze Pressed Powder (£29). 

The bronzer comes in a heavy black metal flip up case with it's own soft bristled brush, it feels really substantial in weight and just so luxurious. The bronzer is quite large so is going to last for a long time and I especially love the branded embossing on the powder - what can I say I'm a sucker for a good pattern. 

This bronzer is not like most others where you have to match the shade to your skin, you have to apply it liberally for fear of looking caked or the type of bronzer that settles into creases - at first glance this like many others looks quite matte but as soon as you take a closer peek you'll notice it shimmers with the finest golden highlight. The formula itself is created with minerals and if you've ever used mineral cosmetics you'll know just how light and natural they feel on the skin, this bronzer is no exception, I do feel it's the lightness of the minerals that stops it from sliding all over the place and settling in creases on the skin. 

You'll see from the swatch that it initially looks matte, this mattifying effects helps to give the skin that HD sunkissed look everyone's trying to achieve at this point in the year. I am super light skinned so had it stayed that dark I wouldn't have been able to use it; if you blend it in you're left with this most amazing sunkissed golden shimmery tone (on the right) that just highlights the right places on your face to leave you looking radiant. 

I also use this as an eyeshadow because I am loving my nudes right now, most nudes can leave you looking too nude but because this has that shimmer it absolutely looks amazing as a stand alone blusher or eyeshadow also. If you suffer from oily eyelids I would recommend also using this as a nude base before applying colour or as your daywear shade because it seems to have some type of anti-ageing property where it smoothes crepey skin and evens out the skin tone while staying firmly put all day long. 

You can check out this product and the rest of the collection from www.livingnature.com if you fancy ordering I suggest you either call Botanical Brands who are the UK official retailers of the brand on 0845 2508455 or email them on info@botanicalbrands.com. They are social so you could ask any questions by Tweeting them or visiting their Facebook page *phew* plenty of options. If you're like me chances are you'll have a ton of questions about any new brand you're trying out - I personally have always found them more than helpful and I absolutely believe they are one of the most ethical and caring brands out there for worry worts like myself.  

* PR Sample *

21 Apr 2014

Sleek Cosmetics // Bronze Blocks

Sleek Bronze Blocks guys, these are a MUST buy! I've been really getting into my blushers and bronzers recently simply because my cheeks are no longer as healthy looking and I feel I lack radiance when I have nothing on. As a child and even up until about a year or so ago I actually didn't wear bronzers and blushes because my cheeks were naturally rosy, getting into blushers was scary and bronzers just scared the beejezus out of me if I'm being honest. 

I tend to work best with powders because I start off with a little bit of colour and build it up. Creams I've found aren't that great for my combination skin type and stains just don't look that great. My favourite blushers and bronzers were Clinique Cheek Pops because of the smoothness of the formulation and the ability to blend until my hearts content. I've tried a few more branded ones since then which simply made me realise how incredible these Bronze blocks are. 

There's two colour ways which are either light or dark. It's easy to tell which is which. There is four highly pigmented shades within each block and unlike their other bronzer this formula is more satin than shimmery which is incredible for 30 year+ skin types where excess amounts of highlight can make you look older than you actually are. 

The dark block is suited to darker skin tones but can also be used in contouring to give definition and shape to the face. I'm not quite at that stage in my makeup application and have actually worn the peach-brown colour on it's own as well as working as an eyeshadow. The two lighter shades in this palette also work as highlighter because they have the teeniest amount of shimmer in them compared to the darker colours, which are just matte. 

you can see from the fingertip swatches that the colour payoff is pretty incredible and far surpasses what you would get with the more luxury brands. These swatches were lightly done, so much so you can't even see a dent in the actual palette can you. 

The light palette is suited to lighter skin tones all the way up to olive toned skin. You can use each of these shades individually and the pink tone is my favourite for sure, it's perfect for giving you that natural, dewy, fresh look that's not too full on and it also works as an amazing base eyeshadow too. You'll notice that the pink has some shimmer in it which enables this to work as a highlighter to some degree, under the brow bone and over the eyelids or the inner corners of your eyes is where I'd recommend using this pretty shade. 

You're actually suppose to use the block all together, getting your brush and swirling it (lightly) over all four colours and applying that way to enhance your tan while naturally illuminating your face also. The formulation is so soft and velvety and I feel it definitely decreases the look of pigmentation marks and creases - especially on the eye area. 

Each of these blocks costs an affordable £7.49 and you can pick these up over on the Sleek Cosmetics website. I'm seriously crushing on this brand right now, can you tell? 

* PR Sample *

Ayurveda Pura London // Holistic Essential Skincare

I kindly received the two sample skincare products from Ayurveda Pura London who are a holistic health spa and beauty centre based in London. If you do not live in or near London you can still visit their website which is linked below as well as shop their products online. 

Their Holistic Essentials skincare products have won both the Green Parent Magazine award and the Natural Beauty Award, these commendations are pretty mega especially in the skincare field; other winners and runners up include Aromatherapy Associates, Naked Skin care and Dermalogica so you can imagine how absolutely awesome this range must be to receive those awards. 

I was especially interested in these products because I am currently in the process of doing my yoga teacher's course. Yoga and Ayurveda do go hand in hand because they both aim to unite the body, mind and soul holistically. When all three are in harmony the person becomes the best version of themselves and seriously who doesn't want that in life? Ayurveda means 'science of life' and balancing each of our inner instincts will reduce illness and disease within our body - instincts include financial need, freedom, religion and procreative. Because everyone differs from the next person the Vedic types were created to help guide you on to the right path, knowing your type, strengths and weaknesses definitely helps to cut out the mental static of am I or aren't I types of questions. 

Vedic types are basically ways of typing your body according to your 'real' body type, size and personality. For example...

Vata types according to Ayurveda are similar to today's ectomorph body type (model like or boy framed), either very tall or very short with bony limbs. Vata types find it difficult getting a decent sleep, talk fast and walk quickly, they have small eyes and thin lips as well as finding it difficult to gain weight. Personality wise they are creative, generous and try to avoid confrontation, they are natural worriers and can suffer from anxiety caused by over questioning and over analysing. 

Kapha types are the thicker of the three types, they tend to have well-developed frames and larger limbs and may carry the tag of being 'heavy boned'. Legs tend to be shorter than their bodies and fat stores around their stomachs and chest area (apple types). Because of their tendency to hold on to fat their voices are lower, speech is slower and their skin is cooler and on occasion clammy to touch. Kapha types have the most caring of three personalities and are passionate and patient, they love being treated and love to spend mother on others rather than themselves. 

Pitta types are similar to Mesomorphs who have tend to have average builds and well developed limbs. They can gain weight around the thighs and hips (pear shaped) and their skin tends to be fair which can lead to freckles and sunburn quite easily. Eyes are light blue, hazel or light grey with a sparkle to them and they can suffer from skin rashes and moles more than other types. Personality wise they are ambitious, confident and can become jealous quite easily. They are argumentative but only when they are passionate about the topic or actions, they have a great sense of humour which can come off as being sarcastic - Pitta types love their luxuries but won't overspend to feed their need of the good life. 

Ayurveda practice aims to join the body to the head enabling us to feel good about ourselves, this feel good nature improves our health and so on. Most people can be a mixture of two types but usually have a predominant type. I personally fall into the Pitta type but can also see that I could veer toward the Kapha type if I'm not careful. You can check what type you are here, I have to say having done my quiz it showed I was a Pitta and reading the Pitta type it's pretty spot on. 

The products that I received are...

Re-juvenating Skin Toner, De-stress Vata // This is a witch hazel and floral water toner which is suitable for normal to dry skin types.  The Vata products by Ayurveda Pura relate to the Dosha type of the customer and Vata in particular helps balance the air space according to Ayurveda practices for optimum health and wellbeing. 

This toner is gorgeous and funnily enough reminds me of hot-cross buns. It has a slight warming herbal scent to it which I feel smells like buns but hubster can't smell it at all. It cleans the skin up nicely and doesn't leave any horrid residue or worse still spots. I would absolutely buy the full sized version but would probably want to try the Pitta version first to see how it performs with my Pitta body type. 

Exfoliating Cream Re-balancing, Tridoshic cream // Tridoshic products have been blended to suit all types and this exfoliating cream contains Mandarin, Lemon, Lavender and Frangipani to help boost circulation and liven up the look of your skin. This does smell of frangipani and a hint of citrus which is surprisingly lovely - as an exfoliator I've found this does clean the skin up nicely, it has small exfoliates in it which isn't too abrasive on the skin and doesn't result in worse spots and cystic acne outbreaks. I've not been using this product for long enough to given an opinion on it's long term effects but as a exfoliator and in comparison to other brands I'd definitely reconsider this over many high street brands. 

Both of these products were created in the UK and are free from nasties such as animal by products, artificial colourings and fragrances, parabens, petrochemicals and SLS; they haven't been tested on animals either which is very important. You can check out the range and their therapies over on the Ayurveda Pura London website. I absolutely recommend looking into your dosha type, chances are you've tried crazy diets before, tried self-help books, online communities, psychic readings or detoxes so what have you got to lose by finding out your type? Try making changes according to your type and I bet you see improvements within the month that you wouldn't have otherwise noticed. 

* PR Samples *

19 Apr 2014

Sleek // i.Divine Del Mar Vol 1 Palette

This is my second i-Divine palette from Sleek Cosmetics, my last being the i-Divine Candy Collection (review here) which was incredible so I honestly had no doubts that the Del Mar Vol 1 palette would be anything other than incredible also. 

If you not heard of the Sleek i-Divine palettes before then they're basically these incredible eyeshadow palettes which contain twelve varied shades typically in varied formulations, with the exception of the Ultra Matte V1 palette which is er, ultra matte. What I will say is that regardless of which palette you purchase you are promised that each shade is absolutely jam packed with pigmentation - most brands promise to offer highly pigmented eyeshadows but fall flat upon application, Sleek on the other hand always follow through with that promise. 

Take a peek at the Del Mar V1...

Ta-da! beautiful springtime shades aren't they. It was Balearic Beat that stood out and absolutly sold this palette for me personally. 

Lounge Lovers // This is a warm shimmery gold that's delicate but can be built up easily. 
Poolside // This looks like it's light blue but it's actually darker on that it looks. Matte finish. 
Sunset Strip // Orange! incredibly wearable orange however. 
Ambience // This is the deeper purple out of the palette and is more of a satin finish also. 
Chilled Out // A satin shimmery white. 
Blue Marlin // Deep blue matte - it's incredible, especially for a smoky eye. 

Opening Party // This has the teeniest amount of shimmer but is a bold purple. 
On The Rocks // This is a coral-orange with a shimmery finish. 
Talamanca // Matte nude-beige. 
Feel Euphoric // A satin coral-pink with a teeny amount of shimmer. 
Balearic Beat // Full packed matte lime - it's lush! 
Paradise // Matte lilac - very pigmented. 

These swatches were just lightly applied swatches, I shall upload wet swatches to Instagram this weekend for sure so keep your eyes peeled on that. 

I love that these palettes carry a theme, most brands seem to pick a name and a colour palette that doesn't have any sort of link between them, this does. I absolutely see the sun, sea and sand theme from this and the link between that and the title 'Del Mar' which means 'of the sea.' I love that these colours as much as they are bright are all absolutely wearable either as eyeshadows or as eyeliners, or both. 

These palettes cost £7.99 which is incredible because the formulation of these is even far superior than my Dior eyeshadows. The pigmentation is akin to premium brands, honestly I know I'd be silly to pay three times that price or more for any other brand. I think the problem with some beauty lovers is that they view Sleek as being in the same category as MUA or Elf which are both fab but the pigmentation just doesn't compare. 

You can check out the many i-Divine palettes Sleek have on offer as well as their other products (I've yet to find a bad one) over on the Sleek website

* PR Sample *

Childs Farm // Hand & Body Lotion

Having previously blogged about Childs Farm products (review here and here) and loved them, the kind peeps at Childs Farm kindly asked if the kiddos wanted to put their hand & body lotion to the test; my response? HECK YES! 

I adore skincare and I am one of those parents that whips out the creams and the balms at the first sight of dry skin or skin that goes bumpy (as kids arms tend to do don't they?) I do it so much that my sons now come to me when they're feeling a bit dry or if they see me applying creams to my own arms and legs - honestly they just love rubbing it in themselves and getting covered in cream, Cooper my middle son just looking like WWE's Sheamus! Google him you'll see what I mean and why he resembles him with cream on. 

When it comes to my sons however I take a lot of persuading when it comes to what I actually apply to their little bodies, they are after all my pride and joy and being an over protective mumma bear I absolutely go conspiracy cray-cray when it comes to parabens and carcinogens and would absolutely never take the risk with anything that has an ingredients list as long as my arm. If I use it and it reacts in any way shape or form the boys will never have it applied; regardless of how child friendly it claims to be (yes Johnson's & Johnson's I'm looking at you!). 

So long story short I did use this myself and yes it also passed my rigorous mumma bear testing, so much so the boys have been using it for weeks, daily. They love that they can get the cream out themselves because you simply press down the pump just as they do with hand wash. The cream itself is a lotion but is absolutely more hydrating and nourishing than typical lotions, it absorbs into the skin but the soft silky feeling that comes from applying this cream lasts longer than most high street brands also. 

The scent is delicate but fresh as the fragrance is created with organic tea tree oil and organic grapefruit essential oils. Personally I can't smell the tea tree but the grapefruit certainly smells zingy but with an edge - a good edge which I'm guessing is the tea tree. For those that love natural and beneficial oils grapefruit and tea tree are both amazing antibacterial oils that also reduces mental confusion and improves mental clarity. I do love grapefruit and tea tree and use them as pure oils in my sinks and as antibacterial sprays (homemade), the boys are so use to tea tree now from me adding some to spray bottles as homemade hair sprays to stop any nits from making home (so far so good) and I use those oils as bathroom cleaners and a ton of other things. 

What I do love about Childs Farm and other 'real' kid friendly brands is that they take their no paraben policies extremely serious. Childs Farm also do not have any SLS's, mineral oils, artificial colourings or perfumes and is actually made from 98% natural ingredients - that's pretty amazing huh. So if you have sensitive skin, little bubba's or even just want to use a cream that's not going to ''possibly'' causing untoward health issues down the line then I would recommend Childs Farm; otherwise it wouldn't see the light of day on Sweet Elyse Blog if I'm being honest because I would not recommend a childs product that didn't surpass my high expectations. 

You can get your hands [and body] on this over on the Childs Farm website, oh also if you enter code EASTER14 at checkout you'll get 30% off your order until the end of Easter Monday.  

* PR Sample *
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