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"A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future" Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel

Category: Top Tips

Christmas Gift Guide #6 – Last Minute/In a Rush.

Hello everyone.

Did you that today 2pm was the deadline for online shopping with next-day delivery that guarantees your shopping will arrive in time for Christmas? Well if you are reading this now, and haven’t placed your online orders, it is too late my dear… But that’s okay because there is always what I call the ‘Voucher Solution” which is perfect if you have missed this deadline, or if you are just that clueless about what to get someone.

This is just a quick guide of which gift voucher to get. Hope it helps!



I love Feelunique.com and really, who doesn’t? The online store has an enormous catalog that contains thousands of beauty and skincare products and offers free worldwide deliver. Everyone should find something nice on that online store. Just pick the value you want for your voucher, from £5 to £150 and either send it via email or print it at home.

Cult Beauty 


This is another fabulous place to shop online. Lot of cult products and exclusives are available on CultBeauty.co.uk, most of them come with reviews from professional and indeed famous makeup artists, hairdressers and other beauty specialists.

You get to pick the E-Gift Card value yourself, as long as it’s somewhere between £10 and £500, and it will be emailed to whoever you want to gift it to.

Space NK


Two good news and a bad news with this one. Good news first, Space NK is an amazing place to shop for cosmetics, the brands Chantecaille and Hourglass are both available there! The other good news is that the vouchers can be used both in store and online. The bad news is, and that’s only a bad news if you need the gift card for Christmas, you will need to go to a Space NK store to purchase one as the company doesn’t offer gift codes and the gift cards won’t get to you if you order them now.

Another thing worth noting is that the gift cards values start at £10 but you could get a £1000 one if you are buying for a very lucky person…

Apple and iTunes


Just because everyone wants something from Apple, and if they finally get it or have it already, they need iTunes cards to get Apps, music and films.

You can either go in an Apple store and purchase the gift cards there or get on the iTunes Store to buy and print the card.


We all know about Amazon and how this website sells all sort of things. If you are not sure what voucher to get, amazon is definitely a good choice, this website sells everything from cosmetics to DVDs and books and even gadgets.

I am not including a picture of the Amazon gift certificates as there are many ways to gift on this online store. You can email, print or mail gift codes, cards or even boxes and there are so many different designs. And can pick which value you want to gift, it just has to sit between £0.10 and £1000.

This is it for my ‘Christmas Gift Guides‘ series. Let me know if you bought anything from any of the guide I’ve put together this year.

Right! I am now allowing myself to buy presents… Yes, I always leave it until late! I am terrible at holding onto presents.


Bargain Alert #1 – Essie.

Hello everyone.

This is just a cheeky post for all you nail polish lovers! A few Essie nail polishes are going for a little as £1.99 here. I’d say the colours are more spring and summer shades (mainly orange colours) but at such a low price, some of you might want to get those, for the collection…

Happy shopping!


Threading, anyone?

Hello everyone.

Right, this is a weird post but I think it’s worth writing a short article about this.

Threading is an ancient hair removal technique originating from Arab countries and it has become quite popular in Europe in the past few years.

I don’t like hair, and I don’t know many women who do. I’m sure most of us take care of body hairs and our eyebrows?  Yes. Well, how about removing hair on your entire face (excluding the eyebrows obviously)? Well I do, and it’s not because I am particularly hairy, it’s because it leaves a nice smooth canvas for foundation and makeup to go on.

I’ve had my face waxed before (at home and professionally) but it’s always been a bad experience, my skin has always broken out after waxing, even just the eyebrows. And that’s why I tried threading instead, it works amazingly well, I do not get any irritation or spots afterward and the hair growth is pretty slow.

I’m pretty sure some of you are curious to find out wether it hurts or not well yes it does, just like waxing, but at least you’re not risking pulling some of your skin off with the hairs. I’m not particularly sensitive to this kind of pain so I don’t see any inconvenient in threading.


May I suggest? ‘Miracle’ Blemish Zapper.

Hello everyone.

Quick tip for you today. We all get spots every now and then but have you found anything to get rid of them overnight? I have! I am not a dermatologist, but I’ve been using Avene Cleanance K Cream-Gel for years and it has always worked miracles for me.

The gel comes in a basic tube, it’s white in colour and doesn’t have a very strong scent, I’d say it just smells clean.

I apply it on the odd blemish or all over my face (staying away from the eyes) at night after cleansing my face. It is a little sticky but I just let it dry before going to bed. It does sting sometimes, especially if you have been rubbing or exfoliating your face or if the blemishes are inflamed, I personally don’t mind, just thought I’d let you know.

I have no idea how it works, but small to medium spots are dried overnight and they heal pretty quickly afterwards, bigger spots will need more than one night but I have never had any resist, they all have always gone after one night or two.

Now, I am clearly a happy customer and think this product is amazing and that’s why i have recommended it to many of my friends and they all have came back to me saying how amazing this product was. It isn’t the cheapest product but it is worth giving it a shot if everything else has failed to impress you.

If you do buy a tube (Boots sells Avene products here in the UK) and try it, please let me know how you get along with it.


Samples, more samples!

Hello everyone.

This is a very quick post on freebies. I have written an article about free samples and freebies a little while back, ‘May I have a sample please?‘, and this is just another one.

I got a sample of L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream with an online purchase in August, I did absolutely love it and I was actually going to go and a full size tube this week-end. Well, I didn’t have to! There is a free sample of that exact product in the November 2012 Marie-Claire issue.

Now, I do buy this magazine every month so this wasn’t a one off buy so I could get the freebie, I guess we could call it a bonus. The magazine also comes with a Dove hair conditioner + treatment sample, which I don’t care for but will definitely try.

Coming back to the sample that interests me personally, it comes in a rather generous size, the first one I got back in August was 10ml, this one is 30ml.

Another thing to note is that they are four versions of this hand cream being given away with the magazine, I just went for the classic one, because that’s the one I like, but maybe some of you would like to get a different scent.


Cleaning your makeup brushes.

Hello everyone.

I’ve got a quick tip for you today. I had to clean my makeup brushes yesterday, and I thought I’d write a little something about the different ways of cleaning them.

I’ll just start by saying that you should aim at spot cleaning your brushes quite frequently, and deep clean them regularly as this is the best way to avoid breakouts.

They are many options available to you, let’s start with specialized cleaning solutions. Many cosmetic brands (Laura Mercier, Bare Minerals, Bobbi Brown, etc.) have brush cleansers on the market. I’ve personally tried two, Estée Lauder Makeup Brush Cleaner and M.A.C. Brush Cleanser. They are pretty much the same if you ask me. I’ve used them primarily for spot cleaning, as they dry really fast. Just put the cleanser on a kitchen paper and swirl the brushes on it, let them dry before using them again.

Other products I use for spot cleaning are plain old makeup removal wipes. I use a wipe a day in the morning to clean the foundation I mix on my hand when I’ve finished my makeup. I usually clean my eyeliner brush on it daily to avoid the liner drying on the brush. I’m not fussed about which brand of wipes as I don’t use them on my face, I currently use some St Ives wipes.

When it comes to deeper cleaning I use baby shampoo. Again, I’m not fussed about the brand, I just use a basic baby shampoo in warm water, deep the brushes in them then clean them individually in the sink paying special attention to foundation and concealer brushes. I then rinse them and let them dry on either some kitchen paper or a clean bathroom towel. I leave them overnight.

I’ve also read that basic olive oil was quite effective in cleaning the brushes without drying the bristles, I personally haven’t tried this but let me know if you have and how you got on.


A Match Made in Heaven?

Hello everyone.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have read a tweet I posted earlier today, about how I went to a Boots store to try the new No7 Foundation Match Made Service. I mentioned how excited I was about this new service in a previous post titled ‘No more excuses‘ and so now I have tried it I’d like to let you know what I thought.

Before talking about the service I think it’s best if I actually tell you a little bit about my skin tone and what sort of shade of foundation I wear.

My face is darker than my body, I think it’s just genetics. I’d say I’m of a light-medium complexion all over my body (very pale on the chest) and a medium complexion on my face. While other people don’t find the difference of tones shocking, I can see it and it bothers me very much so I’ve tried a few tricks to remedy to this situation.

Some people think you should always match your foundation to your face, well I’m inclined to disagree and I believe your face should match the rest of your body. the all point of wearing foundation is to even out skin tone, you wouldn’t wear foundation on your entire body so it will go with your face… Or would you? I am pretty sure many makeup artists would agree with me and every time I get a make over at a M.A.C. or just ask for a face product, I am matched to a light colour, sometimes as light as a NC20. Of course I avoid foundation shades that are clearly too light for me (anything under NC20) and I now only go as high a coverage as medium coverage, I do not want to look like a ghost. So I’d say I generally have foundation shades similar to NC25 and some more like NC30 if I am tanned. I have talked how picky I was with the shades I wear and I am aware this may have irritated a few beauty ladies at my local department store.

So pick me went to a small Boots store yesterday to see what colour I was in their new range of foundations. The sales assistant took makeup off both my jawlines and put the matching device on both of them, it came out as a Deeply Honey. Now, from seeing the foundation, I knew it was too dark, and it was too dark for my face and that’s not in comparison wit my body, it was just too dark. I didn’t say anything as I still wanted to see how the foundation would look like on my face. I wanted to try the No7 Essentially Natural Foundation and so the lady applied it on one cheek and blended it well. This is a lightweight foundation and blended very well. I applied some on my other cheek, took a mirror outside with me and it looked spectacular!

Because I’m curious and because I wanted to shut everyone who told me my face and body were the same colour up, I asked if we could try the device on my chest, I was matched a Warm Sand in the No7 Stay Perfect Liquid Foundation, this is a huge difference.

I stayed with the previous reading because it didn’t look as dark blended into my skin as it did when it came out of the tube. Two hours later, I wasn’t so convinced with the shade anymore so decided to go back the next day just in case.

And so I went to a bigger Boots store today (just because the colour range they stock is wider and I wanted to have a look at some Essie nail polishes), this time with a sample of what I believe is my most perfect match, YSL Teint Touche Éclat, BD40 and BD50 mixed together. I explained what my situation was and the lady was very helpful, when we reapplied the same colour and foundation I tried the previous day, we both could see it was too dark, we tried the shade Warm Beige as it also has yellow undertone and is lighter, we were not convinced. And so we decided to do another reading on my cheeks, today I was a Warm Sand… Now, this shade is much lighter than Deeply Honey and it is the same as the one found for my chest. It would have been pretty amazing but it doesn’t exist in the  No7 Essentially Natural Foundation and the foundation in which it exists has a matte finish, which I steer clear of.

Not one to give up, I took everything off half of my face and put on that Warm Beige all over my clean skin, it looked very good and it blended alright with my chess, I took a gamble and bought it. When I got home a few hours back, I applied it all over my face ad looked in a natural light, I think it’s the right choice, and I’ll have a review for you soon.

So what do I think of the service? How accurate is it?

Both the No7 ladies yesterday and today were very good and knowledgeable. Considering it was a new service, they knew everything about it and managed to answer all my questions and the first one recommended the right foundation in the range to me. I went in half an hour before closing yesterday and the lady spent most of the end of her shift helping me. Today I was helped for probably thirty minutes and the sales assistant knew from the beginning I was only exchanging a shade for another. In this aspect this is such a high-end service, I am very impressed.

If you are in a hurry or don’t want to buy anything on the day, you’re given a leaflet with more information. In it, you will be able to complete a skin assessment that will help you find which foundation of the range would suits you best. I completed it out of curiosity and  the lady did indeed recommend the right foundation.

Now I did get two different readings on my face in less than twenty four hours, should I think the match making device isn’t accurate? I’d say no. I have some scaring from my jawlines making my skin tone pretty uneven on these specific areas of my face. Maybe yesterday’s reading came from a darker patch of my face? If you have the same problem maybe consider asking the ladies if it would be a good idea to take the reading on a very even part of your face.

I must touch on something that I was disappointed with though. I went in thinking every single one of the new foundations would have all the new shades and it turns out that they don’t. When I was match to Warm Sand today, I was looking forward to try it but the only foundation it is in is No7 Stay Perfect Liquid Foundation which has a matte finish and a heftier coverage than what I am after. Maybe the range isn’t complete yet and more colours will be added later on?

The service itself seems to be very popular, many ladies came in to get themselves matched while I was there.

Though there were few hiccups and it wasn’t as straight forward as I hoped it would be I think this is a fantastic service. This is a genius idea the No7 team has been working on for years and it is absolutely amazing to see a high street brand offer such a service for free. I can’t begin to imagine how much work they’ve put into it.

This week, I went to Boots and got a high end service, twice. Thank you. I think you should go too.


May I have a sample please?

Hello everyone.

Sorry, this is going to be me rambling again, I’ll try to make it short. It won’t be short.

I just wanted to go more in depth on a subject I touched on in my last article, The Perfect Canvas?, asking for a sample before buying beauty products. Please bear in mind this article applies primarily to high end brands.

While in the US it seems like customers can return unwanted products for a refund, it isn’t the same here in the UK and so I think it would be wise to ask for samples so you get a chance to try the products before buying them.

So, how do I get samples?

1. The ladies at beauty counters are generally happy to help and to ‘demo’ de product on you. Just ask ‘May I have a sample please?’ when you feel like you might want to buy a foundation straight away. They should give you a sample and write down the shade and the name of the product on a card.

And because it doesn’t always go that way, here is an example of what shouldn’t happen :

I was doing some shopping with a friend a few weeks back, we walked by an Urban Decay counter. The lady stopped us and insisted on applying their new Naked Skin foundation on me. I was curious, I agreed. When she finished, she handed me a mirror so I could have a look all that while asking if I’d like to buy the foundation there and then. I asked for a sample, she said they didn’t give any out, she lost a sale right there and then.

I’m sure she was a very lovely lady, and she wasn’t rude at all, maybe she genuinely hadn’t been given any samples for her customers, the trouble is I really don’t think I (or anyone else) should be forced to buy a product after only having it on for a few minutes.

2. When you are buying some products at a beauty counter, ask for samples if they haven’t given you any. They always have moisturizers, perfumes, etc. to give out to customers.

3. High end brands often have deals, ‘spend £40 on skincare and get a free gift!’, generally a makeup bag with larger samples of makeup and skincare products. These free gifts do come at a price but I managed to avoid buying eye cream for a while that way!

4. There are always perfume and shampoo adverts with samples in magazines! And of course the monthly freebie.

5. Some online stores do have sell/give samples. I recently found zuneta.com, they have free samples that you can order for free, you will only need to pay the delivery charges. Just be aware that it is £3 for the delivery (if you spend less than £30)and each order can have up to three samples.

6. I’m sure many of you have heard of sample boxes like Glossy Box and Jolie Box, these are excellent ways to get to try new products. I would however point out that while they are good schemes, you still need to pay for them and you don’t get to pick which samples you get.

Below are samples I’ve picked up in the last few week. And yes, I did get my hands on a Naked Skin sample in the end, it came free with an  order I placed online. Ha!

Where do you get samples from? Can you think of any other way to get samples?