Real Techniques // Expert Face Brush

Last year I didn't get the whole hype with brushes, especially when I could go buy a new lipstick or nail polish for the same price (I use to be like that with belts too, especially when they cost more than some pieces of clothing) but now, having actually used a decent brush I realise how very important brushes are and also how they improve the overall look of our makeup. I actually did feel so foolish for doubting the importance of brushes and have since learnt the error of my ways - hopefully you will too if you believe that cheap brushes are good enough. 

I suppose you can akin it to a painter or professional, you wouldn't send a painter or artist to work with snapped Crayons to go and create a masterpiece - the same goes with your makeup application, you're tools are key to getting the end result that you dream off. Poor tools - poor results. 

I previously reviewed Eco Tools which I love, I still love and can't fault. This time it's the Real Technique Expert Face Brush that's on trial. The brush is sturdy and well made, you can be sure it's not going to come apart in your hands or that you're not going to spend twenty minutes picking loose bristles of your face (cheap brushes are notorious for that - grrr).  It's wider at the bottom so it can stand which is important especially if you have product on the end and don't want to get it on your carpet, dresser etc. 

The bristles are lovely and soft but because there's a lot of them packed in the brush has strength which is superb when it comes to blending quickly and evenly. I love using this brush with my Guerlain Meteorites and blushers and tend to use my Eco Tools face brush for applying foundation. The brush covers ample space which results in an even coat of colour quickly - swirl it around the apples of your cheeks and your never going to see streaks. I promise. 

While I use mine for powders you can use this for applying your foundation, it's an excellent brush for buffing your foundation so that you are left with an even, natural and professional finish. I would never apply my foundation without a brush now that I've seen how much better it looks and let's be honest here, it's a more hygienic method also isn't it. 

I also love that they've not used animal hair for the bristles, this is entirely cruelty free and so it should be. We don't need to be cruel just to apply face powders and blush do we? You can pick up your own one from a multitude of places but Boots seems to be the cheapest. They also have a 3 for 2 offer on with selected cosmetics, haircare and skincare so you may end up getting it free especially if you're planning to purchase from Boots or get your Mother's Day gift from there. 

* PR Sample *

Links of London // My Wishlist Arrived


I entered a competition with Links of London just before Christmas, my entry was via a wish list post here on Sweet Elyse Blog and to be honest I never thought I'd win - I never win anything but the difference this time for me was that I thoroughly enjoyed participating. I had real reasons for choosing the items I had included on the wish list and figured that if I didn't win I still felt the post was read-worthy. If you missed the original post and entry you can find it here.

Well I did it, I won *squeeeee* my prize was the pieces that I chose in my wish list which came to the value of £991. There were a few items out of stock which were swapped for others of a similar or higher value and they informed me of everything including what they were swapping and what for - huge big thumbs up for the excellent service guys! 

Want to see the goodies?...... 

Star Charm Catcher // Feed Apple Bracelet // Effervescent Bracelet // Hot Pink Friendship Bracelet (looks red here, it's actually fuchsia) // Red Love Bracelet 

I chose a lot of friendship bracelet styled pieces because it's true to my inner bohemian. I adore pieces that are functional, show personality but still look luxurious. I'm not naturally flashy and get more from knowing my items are quality made and even a bit expensive than physically shoving it in the faces of others. Looking at my latest arm party you'd never think this was worth £570 (includes Duepunti, Links of London and Gina Stewart Cox bracelets) but it is and dare I say it, I'm feeling a bit special today because of it. Things like this just don't happen to me - ever. 

 Laughing Buddha Charm // Three Little Words Charm // Sacred Hand Charm // Mini Emerald Heart Charm 

Apologies for these pictures because the Silver is so shiny I just couldn't get a clear focus, as soon as the sun dies down (noooo) I'll get some better snaps up on Instagram or Pinterest. Pictured above is the gorgeous (and heavy) Buddha charm, emerald mini heart charm, hamsa hand charm and the three little words heart charm with dangling hearts. 

My plan was to wear these on a necklace because they each represented something to me personally. 

Buddha // Luck, memories of my dad from my childhood rubbing his beloved Buddha before going to the horses and of course my spirituality. 

Hamsa hand // Again this comes down to my spiritual side which is super extroverted in the sense of it being something I truly care deeply for. 

Three little words heart // There's 2 shorter silver dangling hearts and one gold longer dangling heart - my two sons were born 11 months apart and my youngest was born two years later, the 2 silvers represent my eldest two as they're close together and of course the gold is my youngest Rome. The three little words also for me isn't 'I Love You' the three little words that mean the most to me personally are; Cole, Cooper and Rome. 

Mini emerald heart // Emerald is my birthstone and the heart reminds me to love myself in a non big headed way. Learning to be comfortable, non-judgemental and ultimately love myself is something I struggle with. I will hopefully remind myself of this every time I see this on my necklace 

Celeste Ring // Belcher Chain // Aurora Double Link Earrings 

The star (pictured right up the top) was suppose to be a necklace spacer which the charms then hang from neatly and tidily. It didn't fit through the chain though so I've not popped that on, the necklace shows the charms all popped on and it feels so substantial on my neck and of course is unique. The earrings are the most amazing earrings I have ever seen and I plan to wear these this weekend hopefully and my ring, well what can I say? It's so gorgeous, my sons wanted to know if this was a new wedding ring and kept commenting on how sparkly it was. 

I also received another necklace which isn't pictured above, here it is. 

Dream Catcher Necklace

I'm so impressed with everything, these are my first Links of London pieces because I couldn't justify spending so much on myself especially when I knew the money could be saved or spent on the house or the kids - now that I've got these I absolutely want more. Rome even enjoyed opening these and the pillows that came inside each adorable box he recycled... 

Beds for his Lego men! genius or what. He's also repurposed the individual boxes where he stores his Lego men in one, Lego men body parts in another, Lego men clothing in another and accessories in another. He's definitely my child anyway. 

I have a few more charms and a thinner, longer chain on my wish list now and I may even add a few more bangles and bracelets to the arm party - there's no limit to how many friendship bracelets you can wear, right? 

* I won these items, I wasn't require to post again but I just had too show you these pieces * 

Gaiam Yoga Socks // Monkey Feet

Monkey feet socks. I picked these up while mini-hauling at John Lewis along with an Origins and Kiehl's perfume (posts on those soon). I recently blogged about where I was at outside of blogging and briefly mentioned these. I badly wanted to style up my yoga wear and figured these were the best to start with. 

These are the Gaiam Yoga Socks, the name needs to explanation really do they. Gaiam are a major brand that create the coolest yoga wear and yoga accessories, I utterly adore their yoga trousers but they always seem to be out of stock clearly because they are awesome. 

So why would anyone specifically buy yoga socks? yoga socks for me are a way to stop the slip and slide that happens during downward dog - when you're doing any sort of leg work you need some support and that comes typically in the form of your yoga mat. These socks however allow you to get your yoga on with no mat - they have some serious grippage that allows you to pull off your moves without any sort of slip and slide, I'd say I even prefer these to a yoga mat and have since contemplated buying the Gaiam yoga gloves to support any head stands and moves that require a solid hand base. 

I also find it more comfortable wearing socks, I'm not a foot person and bare feet on a solid ground gives me goosebumps, I just can't handle the dry, chalky feeling that you get from a gym floor, floorboards and even lino - urghghgh. The only flaw I've found with these isn't actually a product flaw, once you try these and then come to realise you feel safer with these rather than a yoga mat it's instinctive to want more, that instinct could become very expensive *eeek*. 

These cost me £7.95 from John Lewis which is OK buy buying multiples may be less purse friendly. If you want to get into yoga, currently partake in yoga or just fancy your own monkey feet you can get your own here

* Purchased Myself *

Diets // Thought You'd Seen It All?

I post these little factoid posts every so often because I love to learn, I love finding crazy titbits and figured maybe you would too. Don't worry I won't be posting these too often. I'm all about having a healthy attitude to your body, your self and your attitude with food. Everything in moderation and of course if you start to find you're getting ill then look at what foods you've eaten recently - it maybe a food allergy. Please do not follow any of these diets listed. 

Here they are: 

Alcorexia Diet // Do you enjoy having a drink every now and again with your friends or are you a glass of wine or two gir? Dread going on a diet and watching your friends go out drinking - the calories in that alcopop are through the roof and you know it so you put off your diet until Monday? Well, Alcorexia's take it one step further. Saving up their weekly calories by eating very little, just as anorexic's do and then ''spending'' their saved up calories which are usually around eight to ten thousand on a weekend's drinking. Personally this just screams of alcoholism and an eating disorder to me. 

Breatharian Diet //  Please don't ever try this one guys. This cray-cray diet consists of swallowing air rather than eating food or drinking. Of course you're going to lose weight but you're risking so many more health issues, fatigue, impairing your immune system and well so much more it's not worth ever trying! There's lots of people of all ages from teens wanting the hot skinny body with that oh so important thigh gap and hip bone gap to older ladies who want to do it to achieve zen. All in all you may get skinnier, you may get more zen (I highly doubt you'd be able to do anything other than sit 'zenned' without any sustenance in your body) but ultimately you may also end your life with this one. 

The Tapeworm Diet // This is illegal but it still happens would you believe, it's also as gross as it sounds. Tapeworms are parasitic worms that eat the contents of your stomach, if you eat anything then they too will gobble up the food leaving you getting skinnier and skinnier. I've heard of some people that swallow the eggs and end up in hospital once the worms get to an unhealthy size and I've heard of people who have passed from this (not anyone I physically know of course). 

The Cotton Ball Diet // Oooh yum - cotton balls..... not. This diet requires you to eat cotton balls before you eat meals so that your stomach is full and you're unable to eat as much. Cotton balls are of no benefit to the body (other than cleaning your face of course) and you risk injuring your digestive system and impairing your health. 

Biotyping Diet // Biotyping is based on following nutritional advice based on your body biotype. If you're a thyroid-type apparently you should follow the paleo diet but of course this comes at a cost. A basic Metabolic Typing package costs £55 and there's further costly options on top of that. Surely you could just research this yourself? 

Dukan Diet // This one received some major hype across the world, celebrities and book deals, media miles by the millions so why would I put it in the cray-cray list? well, it restricts the diet and the high protein aspect can lead to cardiovascular problems. I don't get why a balanced diet could not be considered? 

One Colour Diet //  Celebrities went wild for this, basically they'd choose a colour and eat only that coloured foods - white for example would give you eggs, cauliflower, potatoes etc. 

What do you think, would you agree these are as cray-cray as they come? Don't do it guys, Pinterest offers a ton of recipes, Google, Graze boxes even - just try and eat a balanced diet. 

* Nothing to Disclose *

Oriflame // Power Shine Lip Crayons

Oriflame keep getting better and better. I tend to do my swatching and photo's once or twice a week so I spent the day swatching and just before I slicked on the Oriflame Power Shine Lip Crayon I had just swatched the Bobbi Brown Crystal Eye Palette (review here) which it super shimmery and gorgeous on the skin, wiping it off for my next shot I found the shimmer still stayed so I had to use the other arm - not a problem, I figured I'd just swatch it on and decide if I liked the formula, shade and product. 

Swatching it on I did the happy dance, I was so surprised to find this not only went on so smooth but it has an equal amount of teeny-tiny shimmery particles in it similar to the Bobbi Brown Eye Palette formula. It's hard to get it to really translate in a photo but in person this is incredibly beautiful. The Power Shine Lip Crayon goes on like a lip balm but leaves you with a super glossy sheer coat of colour that actually makes your lips look awesome. There's no gloopy or stickiness to the crayon and it contains Metashine pearls which is why it's shimmer's and is so soft on the lips. 

Had this been a blind test I would have sworn it was Clinique. It was absolutely created with a formula that is premium and since my swatching I've been using it day-in-day-out.  There's five colours to choose from, I have the Pink Delight option which is a coral pink on the lips. Also available is Glazed Strawberry (red), Dazzling Pink (bright pink), Rosewood Sheen (pink-brown) and Golden Gloss (nude). 

These currently cost £6.95 until March the 1st and then they will revert to their normal retail price of £9.95. You can pick these up from the Oriflame website here. Be quick. Which colour would you opt for? 

* PR Sample *

Katy Perry // Claire's Accessories Collaboration

When I was seventeen I worked at Claire's Accessories. I loved that job possibly because it was filled with trinkets, gems and glittery things - the customer's were always a delight (cause they were mostly kids or grandparents buying for kids) and I was in my element arranging the hair bobble wall *sigh* in colour order - that beast literally took all day when there was new stock. It was an OCD Dream let me put it that way. 

So why did I leave? In every role there's a job that we hate, or at least dislike deeply. With the Claire's job it was the ear piercing. I held it off for at least a year but finally I had to get a wriggle on and find some oblivious friend or family member to get holes punched into them with my fair little hands. My cousin hopped on board and long story short I pierced her ears - then handed in my notice, there was no way I was ever going to re-do that to some little kid or toddler *shudder* 

It never put me off the brand which is why I'm so freaking excited for the collaboration between Claire's and Katy Perry. Katy's a kooky chick and she's not scared of an awesome pattern or two so I just wonder what the Prism Collection is going to look like.  Katy's Prismatic World Tour debuts in May this year and the collection is due to launch then also. 

Apparently the collection is going to be inspired by collectibles, lyrics, seasonal and novelty pieces. Sooooo, let's get our guessing game on? 

Lyrics // Lion (Roar), Double Rainbow (Double Rainbow), Dark Horse (Dark Horse), Cupcakes (Birthday) and Clouds (Walking on Air).

Seasonal // Flowers, butterflies in summer tones (pink, green, yellow, white and lilac)

Novelty // Triangles or pyramids, all seeing eyes, cats, Egyptian inspired objects

I definitely think it will take a kawaii approach which is great although I'm not sure how wearable it's going to be for the non-hipster thirty pluses (I know it's an age but when you hit that magic number you feel it fashion wise). I hope she brings in a more bedazzled, bejewelled and glitzy metal on metal collection similar to what she's wearing in the picture but toned down. A bit gothic and dark even - I would so buy into that. 

So what are your guesses for designs? What would you like to see included in the Prism Collection? Once it's launched you'll be able to pick it up in store at Claire's. 

* Nothing to Disclose *

The Raw Chocolate Company // Raw Chocolate Mulberries

We hear so many stories about how chocolate's good for you, next it's not, then it cures migraines, then it causes them but it's never clearly explained is it? Chocolate typically is made from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and a sweetener (on occasion).  When it's made with these fine ingredients it's actually good for you in moderation but big brands add a heap of sugars, a heap of creams, preservatives and flavourings - at that point it resembles less and less like real chocolate and more like processed plastic, tasty plastic granted but it holds no nutritional benefit. 

Due to having celiacs I've had to watch what I eat and that includes the sweet stuff I munch. I adore good quality chocolate and have made my own raw chocolate in the past which was delicious but it just doesn't give you that naughty feel unless it packaged in some cool wrapping does it? 

I recently found out about The Raw Chocolate Company just before Christmas and yes *bows head ashamedly* have had this post on ice since then (oops). My first foray into their wonderful wonderful product catalogue was the Organic Raw Chocolate Mulberries which are pictured below...  

These babies are incredible. At first I thought they'd be like any other chocolate covered dried fruit but oh no - these - are - so - much - more. They at first feel like chunky of chocolate, the cocoa's neither too sweet or bitter, that quickly dissolves and you're left with the smoothest, silkiest chocolate covered mulberry that feels cool on the tongue. At this point you'd be forgiven for thinking there was no dried fruit in this product. 

As you bite down they taste slightly crunchy, chewy and the mixture between the cocoa and the sweetness, almost caramel-like flavour from the mulberries hits your palette - you won't taste anything like this on the high street or in any local chocolate store. 

I also love the packaging, you know me all too well now. If you're not aware of my packaging penchant you will notice it soon enough. I've not decided what to reuse the container for but I'll find a use sooner or later. 

Overall my opinion of these and the brand is a huge YUM! These are Fairtrade and Gluten Free and you can check these out and the rest of their delicious wares on their website here. 

* Nothing to Disclose *

HERRA Protect // Hair Perfume

So. Perfume for your hair. You maybe thinking 'whatever next' because that's exactly what went through my mind when I heard about hair perfume, I even said to hubster - surely you can just use normal perfume for your hair? he was a bit bewildered because he has no idea, the poor wee lamb. 

I was kindly sent this bottle of HERRA Protect Hair Perfume to trial which I happily said yes to because I kinda wanted to know more about the brand, the concept and of course the product. When it arrived I was still confused but, reading the information I had a huge 'ah-ha' moment and finally all of the Herra marketing and concept made oh so much sense. 

I'll stop confusing you here and get to the actual nitty gritty.  Apparently thirty minutes after leaving home the hair shaft opens and leaves our hair prone to serious damage such as free radicals during the day, chemicals, pollution, food odours, smoke, humidity, sweat, stress, elastic from bobbles and scratches from hair grips and UV damage. We really treat it like a neglected side kick if you think about it so what do you put on your hair to protect it? I have in the past used a Kerastase cream product that was aimed at blocking UV damage and keeping my hair soft but, it just weighed my hair down so it sat unused for well over a year. It was expensive as well which is frustrating because I dislike waste. 

Herra tackled the issue of hair damage by working with industry experts which is where Herra Hair Perfume was born. Herra Protect not only offers a fresh, feminine fragrance that delicately scents the hair but it also hydrates and protects all day long. Herra describe it as an 'umbrella for the hair.'

I absolutely see the benefits of this product now and it's really lovely to use - it definitely feels like a little bit of luxury every morning when I spritz on my hair perfume. I wish the marketing was a little bit clearer as I know there will be a ton of people out there who will just think this is a hair perfume, I know it says protect on the bottle but it isn't really apparent why it's protecting. Taking a look at the ingredients it's clear to see 'how' it manages it. 

Ingredients include: 

Sunflower Extract // to protect the hair structure, help provide UV protection and reduces fading of your hair colour. 

Olive Fruit Extract // Rich in antioxidants to protect against free radicals and pollution. 

Glycerin // Seals in moisture while providing some serious hydration. 

Fragrance // Notes include Italian Bergamot, Loquat Fruit, Midnight Orchid, Rose, White Jasmine, Mimosa, Heliotrope, Lily, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood and Musk. 

As you can see it's all good stuff, I actually love wearing this and would wear it alone as a perfume too. You can pick up your own from the Herra website here, how do you feel about hair perfumes or products that aim to protect your tresses? 

* PR Sample *

Duepunti // Unconventional Diamonds

When it comes to jewellery my tastes have changed - a lot. I used to love anything that was 'out there' and crazy and bold but these days I shudder at the thought. I can definitely admit to going through stages especially as a young adult, I would wear what I thought others expected me to wear rather than what the real me wanted to wear - I bought was was in style because everyone else did and while I thought I showed personality I can now see this wasn't the case. 

I blogged about making 2014 a year where I planned to build up my jewellery collection - I use to have a lot of gold, silver and white gold jewellery with an array of coloured gemstones. I especially loved Malachite and blue topaz but when the damned financial depression hit the U.K and we found hubster out of work I was forced to sell my gold in the 'sell your gold rush' it was too good a deal not to, especially when you're trying to put food on the table for your children. Now however I regret it, I wish I had more jewellery because when it comes to accessorising I'm all about real gemstones and metals. 

While I've definitely matured in my jewellery style I still like pieces that are functional and fun. I'm allergic to a lot of things including metals - this was a deciding factor in the change from cheap vs luxury jewellery and I've also found a lot of stores and big brands (Swarovski, Tiffany's even) are now selling more and more plated pieces - I can't wear plated and gold seems to be extortionate or non-existent in the affordable jewellery categories these days. 

Bring on Duepunti, the answers to my every need... 

Duepunti launched into the UK late last year and are the first company to set a real diamond into a silicone ring or bracelet. There are also nineteen colours to choose from such as navy, graphite, yellow, plum and even baby pink but as you'll see I loved the white, turquoise and the red the best. It was too hard to choose from but factoring in the rest of my wardrobe, these colours went the best. 

Initially, I did worry before adding them to my Christmas list. I ummed and ahhed about whether they'd be durable whether the stone would fall out if they'd snap or break if they snagged in something and if they'd actually be comfortable. Well, after wearing the red bracelet now for nearly three months I'm happy to say it looks brand new. It's so tough and durable that it doesn't have any scratches on it and the diamond is set firmly into the bracelet - more sturdy than some of my diamonds and stones that are set into metal. 

I don't take my bracelet off and it doesn't aggravate me what so ever, it feels light and so many people compliment me and enquire about where I got it when they see it. The rings are also far more comfortable than any other brand, they don't swirl around the finger like metal does although the white ring was too big. I love that I can wear luxurious and fun pieces that represent my personality without breaking out in a rash. I've noticed that Duepunti also just released a fluorescent collection across the pond, I hope it arrives in the UK because it's amazing! I need the fluoro pink bangle to clash with my red - I love a good clash.  

Each piece is set in Sterling Silver and holds a 0.02ct brilliant diamond. They were made to be non allergenic and if you fancy joining me in this colourful revolution you can pick up your own piece from Ernest Jones or Argento. The trouble is, which colour would you choose? 

* Nothing to Disclose * 

Illamasqua // Glamore Collection

Launching on the 27th of this month is Illamasqua's Glamore collection. You may have seen this across the blogosphere already but It's too pretty for me not too feature it. Keeping in mind I don't blog for the brand or receive samples from their PR's, I know a lot of other blogs do and that it can be difficult for some readers trying to weed out the real reviews from the false reviews or the reviews that are biased based on free products (you will not see that here). 

The Glamore collection is very feminine with a glitzy, sophisticated edge. Like a high class socialite leaving a prim and proper party and sneaking away with her rebel lover to go drink cider on the streets and dance with no shoes on. It's the only way I get my opinion of this across. The classic, sophistication comes in the form of the rose and champagne shades and the inner rebellious streak comes from the brighter tones and the spangly shimmery polishes.

The collection includes: 

Satin Finish Lipstick (£16.50) // Available in three shades, each shade is a satin finish. Bold Pink (bright pink), Vibrant Orange (self explanatory) and Candy Pink (lighter pink).  

Shattered Star Nails (£15) // Available in three shades of one dimensional glitter; Trilliant (champagne), Marquise (orange) and Fire Rose (pink). 

Eye Brow Cake (£15.50) // This comes in the one option as far as I'm aware although I don't know what it's name is. 

Angled Brush (£19) // A staple brush in my opinion, although it's cray-cray that the brush costs more than the other products in the collection isn't it? 

So.... thoughts? are you going to purchase any of these products? I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to - I love it don't get me wrong but I feel like I really need to cut back on my spending and it seems like the more I see a product on the net the more I'm swayed to buy it or put off. This has been spread pretty majorly across so many sites and blogs that by the time it launches, I maybe sick of the sight of it. Chances are as the hype dies down I'll want it badly - I'm a weirdo like that. 

You'll be able to purchase this from the Illamasqua website here once it's launched. 

* Nothing to Disclose *

Bobbi Brown // Nude Glow Crystal Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown launched their Nude Glow collection back in January and I had my sights firmly set on the limited edition eye palettes. There are three palettes but it was the lightest one which is called Crystal, that garnered my interest due to me preferring to wear nude shades. I have since received the palette which you will see below... 

Ahhh, it's a beauty isn't it. You'll see the other two palettes pictured above - the centre and the right-hand side are the ones I don't have yet. The palette I do have is called Crystal, the warmed toned palette is called 'Bronze' and the palette on the right which is a warmer nude is called 'Nude'. 

Each palette holds four eyeshadows in an array of formula's and finishes. The aim of each is to brighten your look while leaving you radiant and gorgeous and you know, Crystal certainly does just that. I think the name Crystal is apt for this because it's so light but so shiny and precious on the skin. 

The lightest pink shadow (top left) is called Porcelain. It's the lightest shade and has the least amount of shimmer in it, the formula has a matte appeal to it also and it works as a great all over base colour. The darker pink (bottom right) is called Angel Pink and as you guessed it's a nude pink with a hint of rosiness to it, it also has more shimmer and it's my favourite from the whole palette. 

The lighter gold (top right) is Opal Sparkle, it's a nude cool toned shimmery shadow that is very introverted but beautiful, the darker gold tone (bottom left) is called Mica Sparkle which has an almost gold and silver quality to it which is why it looks slightly darker on the skin.  

1. Angel Pink // 2. Porcelain // 3. Mica Sparkle // 4. Opal Sparkle

These are the dry swatches, stupidly I didn't swatch them in order from light to dark so I've popped the names above. You can see they're very nude and all have a shimmery quality with the two sparkle shadows, of course, having much more sparkle - the sparkle however is minuscule. I have super light skin so the tones may show up better on more tanned or darker skin tones. I'd love to see swatches on tanned skin. 

1. Porcelain  // 2. Angel Pink // 3. Opal Sparkle  // 4. Mica Sparkle 

I couldn't just leave you without doing some wet swatches. The wet swatches definitely give the colours more of a visible edge but you know I kind of prefer the angelicness of the dry swatches especially for a pretty day to day look.  

Overall with a great makeup base, these do make you look radiant, I've also used the Angel Pink on the apples of my cheeks as it's rosy and slightly luminescent - as a solo blusher it would be incredible. Layering each of these up allows you to get some colour definition - especially with the Mica Sparkle in the creases and the Angel Pink as your overall wash of colour. If you prefer more of a glitzy eye you can then top your eye base with the two gold toned sparkles, the Opal Sparkle looks fantastic in the corners of the eye and under your brown line to highlight and the sparkle doesn't migrate down your face like some other brands shimmery sparkle products do. 

Big thumbs up to Bobbi Brown I'm hooked! I really want to try the Bronze version now and I'll quite happily part with £35 for that knowing how lovely the formula is for this palette. If you fancied picking up your own you can get them from the Bobbi Brown website. They're selling out fast however. 

* PR Sample *

January Empties // Better Late Than Never

January oh January, how you came and went in a flash. So much so I hadn't realised that my empties post wasn't published *oops* I know it's not overly exciting either because January was the month of haircare and skin issues, I really tried to not use anything extra except was really needed and that was mostly basic skincare and tea-tree shampoos (which you'll find in my February empties most probably). 

So here are my somewhat dull empties. At least it shows versatility and that not every beauty blogger uses £50 onwards eye creams and facial products all of the time. We also don't always wear faces full of makeup, it's nice at times to be 'naked' to take care of the basics and get our skin and hair back to it's healthy self. 

Here's what was used: 

Burt's Bees Almond & Milk Hand Cream // This is amazing, it smells like marzipan and is so nourishing. I used this everywhere from my hands to my feet and surprisingly the little jar lasts quite a while even with twice daily usage. 

Etat Pur B28 Light Moisturiser // This was an amazing product but the formula put me off using it. It somehow reminded me of egg whites, the stringy not quite lotion not quite goo formula. Once you get over the consistency it works wonders for your face, not sure I'll buy this one again but the brand itself is incredible. 

The Body Shop Hemp Foot Cream // I got this small pot in a Hemp gift set I purchased in the sale, it didn't last long but I fell in love with it. I was actually using it on my hands, cuticles and feet and I will be buying the full size asap. The whole Hemp range has me hooked to be honest. 

Moa Green Balm // I wanted to love it but I just couldn't. It's a balm that can be used from the lips, brows, cuts, pimples and dry patches but I didn't feel it worked very well if I'm being honest. The scent also put me off as it was a strange waxy scent - I'm guessing au-natural but not nice though, especially if you're using it on your face. 

Cuticura Hand Sanitiser // My go to hand sanitiser because ASDA have it and I get the home shopping but it lasts a few days at best. We go through SO much sanitiser in my household. 

Dermaco Collagen Cream // Love Dermaco and this cream. This is my second or third purchase of this cream and I will definitely be repurchasing, it's expensive granted but it actually works. My skin looks fresher and soft but without the greasy residue you get from super moisturising creams. 

Olay Moisturiser // I grew up on the Olay brand. I use to be in love with the Olay brand but things have changed over the last few years. I realised that their products were filled with nasty ingredients and their animal testing background was a bit ski-whiff (again being P.C). This cream actually had a little bit left but I couldn't force myself to use it, I tried but it was scented and reminded me of creams my gran used to use. 

Next Define Body Spray // I don't tend to purchase scented body sprays but I do pick up the Define spray from time to time, it reminds me of Giorgio She perfume which I adore. 

4711 Miniature // I blogged about 4711 and what it means to me here. Although this is a perfume it has a really fresh, clean scent. It also has a super high alcohol percentage and my family use it for something entirely different. Check out the blog post to find out what we use it for. 

Pantene Shampoo // My hairs back to falling out... in masses. I find a lot of products contain wheat, gluten and keratins and because of this I had to find a shampoo, any shampoo that was free from those. The only one I had to hand was Pantene and although I had the ingredients in it, my hair and scalp are feeling the difference, see any hair product that has wheat and gluten (and keratin) in it causes me to break out in weeping sores and blisters due to celiacs disease. I've since found another shampoo I prefer back I will keep another bottle of Pantene as a backup. 

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream // Meh, this was pretty 'meh' for me which was a shame. The cream is pretty fluid although I'm not sure if it was reformulated since I purchased my one. I wouldn't purchase again purely because it was so fluid and I didn't see any improvements or benefits while I was using it. 

Organic Babies Organic Rescue Balm // This is an excellent little balm from Green People, I've used this on my sons cuts and scrapes, my lips, spots, dry patches on my sons, cuticles and even my under eye area and brows. It's scented with lavender which any herbal lover will know that lavender has potent healing and antibacterial properties. I definitely want to try more of the Organic Babies, Green People range. 

Simple Invigorating Body Wash // This was another ASDA boo boo, they're pretty good at boo booing up my orders especially with beauty and body care products. I hated this but had to use it up as I hate waste. Everytime it came to bath time I was cursing this body wash under my breathe as I do think it dries the skin out even though it's suppose to be 'gentle'. 

Nivea Men Body Wash // I asked hubster to buy some wash hoping hes buy something natural or skin friendly. Nope he went and bought this mens one. I really try to stay away from brands such as Nivea due to their not so skin friendly ingredients. While it's not 

Own Brand Hand Sanitiser // This was something like 50p from Home Bargains. My sons liked it and I liked the large size and price but it had an off perfumed undertone, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was but it's enough to make me never purchase it again. Yuck! 

L'Oreal Age Perfect Toner // This was aimed at mature skins but you're never too young to tackle the signs of ageing. Overall this was an amazing product, I have absolutely no issues with this toner and it's one of the best I've tried over the last 12 months. 

Dr Lipp Nipple Cream // Cult Beauty stock this because it's loved worldwide for it's ability to soften and smooth any skin and not just the nipples, it's used on the lips mainly so I wanted to give it a go. I actually received this in a beauty box and while it's a teeny sample, it actually took me ages to use it. I just couldn't get use to the thick consistency and waxy taste. The good thing is if you're into balms such as this or the Moa Green Balm then Dr Lipp's version is 100% natural. I'd recommend this one but for me I doubt I'll purchase it again. 

Carex Hand Sanitiser // I prefer the scent of this to the Cuticura but it's much more expensive, this also gets used up in a couple of days so being thrifty I tend to buy the Cuticura. 

E45 Hand Cream // An old trusty cream, it's sat downstairs in the junk drawer for a while and due to having my gel mani removed and my nails being so dry I started using it. It works as it should but the hydration doesn't last as long as I'd like. I doubt I'd buy it again because there's so many more exciting brands out there to try. 

Sjal Samples // I can't remember where I got these samples from but I do know it was with a purchase of another brand. These were the first products I'd tried from Sjal and they were amazing. Seriously amazing in all honesty, the pack included samples of... 
  • Sapphir Concentrate Facial Oil // Light facial oil that left me looking radiant, it was non greasy formula that left my skin feeling silky. It's made with rare essential oils and is infused with sapphires and aquamarine. 
  • Balans Deep Pore Cleanser // A non foaming deep pore cleanser that really does clean extremely well. Infused with nano gold, silver and germanium and pearl extract that's suppose to heal, repair, detox and brighten the skin. I'd say it definitely cleans, detoxes and brightens. I'm not sure if it heals but it's an excellent product. I'd love to say I'd repurchase this but it's so expensive. Maybe as a treat, later on in the year. 
  • Kura Intuitif Creme // A repairing moisturising cream that aimed at mature skin and is infused with sapphires, nano gold and silver to heal and repair. If you hadn't been aware of that you would have just presumed it was an absolutely normal cream. It hydrated my skin - but not amazingly, it left my skin feeling soft - but for a short amount of time and it was OK. I wouldn't pay the huge price tag for it though. 
  • Serum 1 // This resembles and acts like any other serum on the market, it absorbs really well and doesn't feel greasy although it's thicker than the Sapphire Concentrate Facial Oil. It contains 50 active ingredients that are said to lift, volumise, hydrate, oxygenate, tone and boost your skin at both topical and cellular levels, as if that wasn't good enough it's infused with amethyst, platinum, nano gold, blue copper, green copper and germanium which help support your skin. I'm not sure if it does all of these things due to the sample being so small - sounds pretty amazing though doesn't it. 
Sjal Kashmir Sapphir Mask //  I adore this mask but I don't adore the crazy prices. It's infused with sapphire essence and it really does clean your skin up amazingly but I doubt I'd repurchase as I don't think the results benefit the price. It was nice to test it though. 

Nivea Men Deodorant // Again this was a ASDA boo boo. You order a female deodorant and they send a male one, regardless of the error it was surprisingly good - it lasted about two weeks with daily use and didn't leave white marks on my clothing. 

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Body Butter // Ah I love this body butter. I personally can't eat grapefruit (although I've tried so many time) as it tastes like acid (not that I've eaten acid) and I just can't get it down, but this body butter allows me to dabble in some fresh, zingy grapefruit goodness. It's scent is true and fresh and this is an excellent morning body butter as it makes you feel all happy and fresh. 

Right Guard Roll On Deodorant // I adore this deodorant, it goes on, leaves no sticky mess and doesn't stain. It also leaves you dry and stink free (if you suffer from odour that is) all day. On a cost per use I find the roll on also lasts far longer than a spray. This one lasted me two and a half months were as a spray tends to last a week or two at best. 

What do you think? Were there any empties you've loved or hated? 

* Includes products purchased myself and PR Samples *