Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Burberry Beauty Basics

Image of Burberry Beauty Range
While it's not always necessary to spend a fortune on beauty products, it's good to splash out and treat yourself from time to time. I'm a firm believer in spending that little bit more if it means you're investing in a better quality product. I'd been eyeing up the Burberry beauty range for a rather long time and decided that it was essential that I added a couple of staple products to my collection.
Burberry is not synonymous with the word beauty; we're much more likely to expect classic check scarves and beautifully tailored trench coats from the quintessentially British brand. If you're anything like me though, you won't be able to afford even a lapel of a Burberry coat but the more 'affordable' beauty range definitely does not disappoint if you're on the hunt for high end makeup.
This was my first experience of the beauty range - I opted to try the Burberry Kisses Lipstick and the Bold Lash Mascara - I can safely say that I've never been so impressed with a brand and the way in which they are so intent on delivering a luxurious customer experience. I was sold from the moment I opened the package and unveiled the beautiful, expensive outer packaging, even the receipt was neatly folded in a golden, embossed Burberry envelope. It really created an air of luxury and the attention to the finer details most definitely won me over.
Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Garnet no. 81 (£25)
I've fallen in love with this lipstick and I have a feeling it'll remain a firm favourite in my makeup collection for the foreseeable future. As usual, I went for a deep berry colour so it's the perfect shade for Autumn and Winter (or all year round if you're me). The formula is a bit of a dream, it's buildable to create several different looks from sheer to heavily pigmented and is so comfortable and hydrating on the lips. I did have to top up a couple of times throughout the day, I think we've all been spoilt by the longevity of liquid lipsticks and it's so difficult not to compare. In terms of a standard lipstick though, I was impressed with how long lasting it was.There is also something particularly satisfying when the innovative magnetic lid snaps shut - you can rest assured that your Burberry lipstick will not be damaged at the bottom of your handbag.
Burberry Bold Lash Mascara in Ebony no. 01 (£24)
I was pleasantly surprised by the Bold Lash Mascara; I have a real problem finding mascara's that work with my lashes as they're a bit all over the place and have a few gaps in places. The tapered wand worked really well for me - it coated my lashes evenly and gave them a lovely, natural curl. It even managed to individually separate my lashes to make them look a lot fuller and helped to conceal the aforementioned gap problem. The creamy, hydrating formula is highly pigmented and definitely gives a dark, bold look without being too over the top and dramatic. There wasn't a spider lash or clump in sight which is a huge plus point for me and it was comfortable to wear all day. It's the perfect mascara for daily wear - volumising and weightless without being too intense.    
Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of the Burberry beauty range or if there's anything you have your eye on!


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

skinChemists Caviar Skincare Range

Image of skinChemists Caviar Skincare Range
When it comes to skincare, my routine is somewhat sporadic. I'll go through periods of sticking to my routine religiously and then I can go for months just cleansing my face and nothing else. It's lazy really because you only get one face and it deserves some tender loving care so recently I've been giving it just that...

skinChemists is a UK based brand specialising in innovative, scientific skincare solutions. All products are 100% organic and cruelty free and I was kindly given the opportunity to test out a couple of products from their brand new Wild Caviar range:

Advanced Caviar Night Moisturiser* (£84.00)

The Advanced Caviar Night Moisturiser includes a combination of Caviar extract to repair the skin, Protease to breakdown dead skin cells and Shea Butter with Vitamin A and E to hydrate and nourish. After using this for around 8 weeks, I can safely say that I absolutely adore this product. It's a cream-gel type formula that feels light and cooling when applied to the skin and absorbs with ease. My oily/dry skin is prone to breakouts and I find it difficult to find moisturisers that don't cause irritation, however, this moisturiser leaves my skin firmer, more radiant and blemish free. I apply a small, even amount to my face each night and allow the product to work it's magic while I sleep so I wake up with the most beautifully hydrated skin the following morning.

Advanced Caviar Eye Serum* (£90.00)

The Advanced Caviar Eye Serum is an equally luxurious product - the Caviar extract contains Omega 3 and 6 and the Seaweed extract has hydrating qualities. The eye serum is a clear gel formula and you only need to apply the tiniest amount as it really goes far. I haven't noticed a dramatic difference around my eye area so far, it's definitely been a gradual process. I'm a little bit impatient/sceptical about eye serums as I'm so conscious about the deep lines I have under my eyes but I can see that the fine lines around my eyes are beginning to look brighter and firmer. This product is great for anyone like me who has sensitive eyes as it's so gentle and cooling; I love using this first thing in the morning as it definitely makes me look more alert and awake when I'm feeling the complete opposite.

I can't deny that these little beauties come with a rather hefty price tag but if you're looking to make a skincare investment or simply treat yourself, I'd highly recommend adding them to your collection.

skinChemists have kindly given me a discount code for my lovely readers, so you can shop the range here and use CAVBLOG1 at the checkout  to receive 70% off until 30th December.


Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Male Bloggers You Need to Know About #1

2016 has witnessed a sharp rise in male bloggers and personally, I couldn't be happier about it. Blogging is so heavily dominated by females but it's so important that there is a balance in creative spaces. Here's a few handsome fellas you need to know about within the blogosphere:

Brighton based blogger Charlie is the owner of Modish Male, a fashion, lifestyle and theatre review blog. I was immediately drawn in by Charlie's writing style; a combination of openness, sarcasm and a little bit of wit - it certainly ensures his posts are an interesting read. I love the variety of topics covered on Modish Male, there's a little bit of something for everyone and if you're a gin loving theatre enthusiast I can guarantee you will feel the same. I expect even greater things to come from Charlie in the very near future.

I've been a fan of Ben's blog Twenty First Century Gent for a pretty long time now;  it transports me into a world of luxury and I admire his timeless, impeccable style. You'll find crisp, clean photography and a sleek, magazine style blog where Ben has collaborated with several brands from ASOS to Ted Baker. For any males out there who feel they need a few tips on how to up their style game, Twenty First Century Gent will be sure to point you in the right direction. My favourite posts are his travel adventures with his beautiful wife, Katie - it most definitely inspires and encourages my Wanderlust. Definitely one to watch in the blogging community right now.

Marc Andrew is (surprisingly) written by Marc, an Avionics Technician by day and blogger by night. You'll be hard pushed to find a topic that Marc doesn't write about and that's one of the most attractive aspects of his blog. I also thoroughly enjoy his humorous, sarcastic writing style that often has me laughing out loud. He's always looking ultra suave in his style posts and he'll be sure to point out some high street bargains for you all. Tech lovers will also be in their element reading Marc Andrew and non-tech people (like me) will benefit greatly from the education!

The Yorkshire Gentleman, created by the lovely Tom, began just five months ago - a relatively new blog covering male grooming, fashion, food and lifestyle. Tom posts the most mouth-watering food reviews that will be beneficial to anyone looking for fine dining in Leeds and the surrounding areas. I particularly enjoy his fashion posts displaying his on trend, relaxed yet smart style; a natural in front of the camera! I began following Tom on Twitter when he had around 200 followers and it's been incredible to see such rapid growth and how popular his blog has become in such a short space of time.

Be sure to check all of these guys out, I promise you won't be disappointed...

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

5 Reasons to Visit Abu Dhabi

Two years ago I made it my mission to explore more of the world. I'm quite the home bird really - I didn't step foot on a plane until I was 14 and I jumped straight into a career after University so had to forgo my elaborate plans to book a one way ticket around the world. Instead, I plan my holidays around my busy work schedule and as some of you may know, I've recently returned from a luxury trip to Abu Dhabi. I was absolutely blown away by this beautiful place and these things are a must do if you're planning a trip:

1. Saadiyat Beach Club
The above image of paradise is pretty self explanatory but the Saadiyat Beach Club was by far my favourite experience. The equivalent of £40 pays for all day entry with use of the pool, beach, towels, Jacuzzi, plunge pool, gym and most importantly complimentary water (it's a must at 40 degrees!). The views were absolutely beautiful and I spent most of the day just wallowing in the pool. They don't allow too many people in to avoid overcrowding which creates such a relaxed, exclusive atmosphere and the staff ensure that you are treated like royalty.

2. Yas Island
Image of Yas Island Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi has plenty to offer in the way of white, sandy beaches and crystal clear sea. I'm used to the brown sand and brown sea of Skegness so these breath-taking beaches were a whole different world. Any Formula One fans will probably be familiar with Yas Marina and Yas Island beach is situated not too far from there - it's tucked away in the corner of the Island so it feels pretty undiscovered. Although we didn't have time to visit, Yas Island is also home to Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld if you're looking for some adrenalin fuelled fun too.

3. Emirates Palace
Image of Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
If you want to pretend you can afford £3, 000 per night for a hotel, then you may want to take a trip to Emirates Palace. It was one of the film locations for Fast and Furious 7 so I was hoping I'd bump into Vin Diesel at some point (didn't happen though). All jokes aside, this place is like a blogger's dream - gold and marble galore. We took a slow walk around inside to marvel at the beautiful interiors and strolled around the grounds to watch the fountains. You can also book Afternoon Tea here where all of the cakes are made with gold leaf (it's really that posh) it's expensive but it looked amazing if you fancy a little treat.

4. Trip to Dubai
Image of Trip to Dubai
Ok, technically this one is cheating a little bit because it's not in Abu Dhabi but I just had to include it. We took the opportunity to jump in a taxi and head to Dubai for the day while in the UAE - it only takes slightly over an hour to get there so definitely worth a visit. I was in my element in Dubai Mall - I've never been anywhere like it and I was completely overwhelmed. I have no idea how I managed to retain some self control and resisted the urge to spend every penny I had. I also managed to snap some stunning pictures of the Burj Khalifa and if you wish, for approx. £100 you can go all the way to the top for a 360 view of Dubai.

5. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Image of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
There are so many cultural aspects to enjoy in Abu Dhabi but the Grand Mosque was a real highlight for me. I'd recommend going at night to get the full effect with the lights but either way this place is incredible. Obviously it's essential that you cover up so you are given traditional robes (abaya) and a headscarf (shayla) and in some areas you will be asked to remove your shoes. Dress code really is something to bear in mind before you go because incorrect attire could mean you're not permitted entry. The architecture and intricate interiors were beyond stunning and it was just so peaceful - it's so important to me to experience at least a little of a country's culture when I'm on holiday if I possibly can.
I'd highly recommend visiting Abu Dhabi if you're looking for a relaxing, luxury holiday - it's so much better than I was expecting it to be. It's pretty expensive when you get there but it's definitely worth it!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Francesca Jayne: Blog Rebrand & New Direction

I've opened Blogger on about seven different occasions in an attempt to write this post and I can't really work out why I'm struggling. I'm a little bit scared to come back I think, I'm sure we've all been here at some point and I feel like I've forgotten how to blog - it's so easy to get yourself stuck in a rut with blogging yet so difficult to get yourself back into the swing of things. The longer you leave it, the worse it gets.

A blog refresh has been a long time coming for me. Everything about this space has remained the same since the day it started in 2015 from the writing style, the topics and the blog layout but I needed a change. If I'm honest with myself, I've never really taken the whole blogging thing very seriously but moving forward, I want to try and put much more time and effort into something that I truly love.

As I'm sure you can see, Phil over at Pipdig has done an incredible job with my blog design and I could not be more grateful to him for helping me out when my technical knowledge failed me. I'm so thankful that I now have a layout that is so much easier to navigate and is also phone friendly! I'm aware that I'm by no means close to the glossy magazine style blog that is so popular these days but, for now, that's not really me. It's slick, sophisticated and simple and I couldn't be more pleased with it.

I'd also accidentally pushed myself into the niche of blogging about beauty and felt so uninspired that I'd limited myself to one topic. I was beginning to tire of consistently writing beauty posts because there's only so much you can write about lipstick and eyeshadow. Don't get me wrong, my blog will still remain predominantly beauty based but I need the option to explore different avenues within travel and lifestyle. I have other opinions and passions that extend far beyond the realms of beauty blogging and I want to share them with you all. I want to use my platform to push a few boundaries and perhaps tackle some of those hush hush topics that we all try to avoid. These changes aren't going to be anything major but I just needed to have a choice because that's what creativity is all about, y'know?

So, Fran's Beauty Blog is now simply Francesca Jayne and I'm broadening my horizons to include beauty, travel and lifestyle so hopefully you'll all enjoy this new direction and I'd appreciate any feedback in the comments below!


Thursday, 15 September 2016

Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit Review

I finally got my hands on one of the most hyped beauty products of 2016, I think almost every beauty blogger on the planet owns the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Gleam and naturally, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

The Glow Kit is home to 4 beautifully pigmented highlighters:

Hard Candy - a shimmery pink/peach
Mimosa - a slightly deeper golden peach
Starburst - pink with golden shimmer particles
Crushed Pearl - an iridescent silver with a hint of pink
Firstly, the pigmentation of all 4 shades is absolutely incredible and my photo below doesn't do them justice at all (if you follow me on Twitter, we all know I'm the first to admit my photography skills are pretty much non-existent). I'm especially a fan of how buildable these products are as you can apply one sweep for a subtle highlight or if you're like me, you'll spray your highlight brush with fixing spray, swirl it around in the pan for 10 years (I mix Mimosa and Crushed Pearl) and pack it on until you can see that glow from Mars. I've only had this Glow Kit for a few months and I've nearly hit the pan with Crushed Pearl already, that's how much I love it.  

Obviously, I have to chuck in a couple of less positive points: if you're really pale skinned, you'll probably encounter the same issues as me and find that, apart from Crushed Pearl, most of the shades in this Glow Kit will be slightly too dark. Although it does seem a little frustrating that you're not able to make use of all four shades, a bit of extra blending goes a long way and you can definitely make them work. If you have a darker skin tone, other reviews have suggested that the Sundipped Glow Kit would be a much better match for you.

Anastasia Beverly Hills also suggest that these highlighters are multi use and you can add shimmer all over the body but I'm not one for dusting highlight on my shoulders (bit too 90s and reminds me of that God awful roll on sticky body glitter) and I avoid shimmer near my eyes like the plague (far too ageing).(L-R) Hard Candy, Mimosa, Starburst, Crushed Pearl
At £39, you're really getting value for money from the Glow Kits but I'm hoping they release these shades individually at some point in the future because I'm obsessed with Crushed Pearl and Mimosa but I could take or leave the other two. I think it'd definitely appeal to a wider audience if ABH decided to go down that route!
Have you tried one of the ABH Glow Kits? Lemme know in the comments!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Benefit Ka-Brow! Eyebrow Cream-Gel Review

Oh Benefit! You've really spoilt me with this Ka-Brow! Eyebrow Cream-Gel. I won't lie, I was a bit worried, I usually have a similar relationship with brow gels as I do with liquid eyeliner: we are not friends. Not friends at all. In the past, I've found that you need both precision and patience if you want excellent results and I possess neither quality. I feel like a child colouring out of the lines and I accidentally whack way too much product on to start with so that my eyebrows resemble two big slugs. Fit.

Benefit have really upped their game with the revamp of the packaging - it's often a little on the gimmicky side for my personal taste but I'm definitely feeling this new sleek, classy exterior. The whole range is looking a lot more high end and expensive - more my kinda thing because I'm a packaging snob. It's light, compact and comes with an small angled brush for extra convenience.

The product is ideal for me because it's pretty much fool-proof. While I've struggled in the past with precision and applying too much, the angled brush has densely packed bristles that allows for controlled application. The formula is beautiful, it literally glides across my brows and the cream-gel combination gives you a little bit of extra time to work with the product to achieve the shape you're looking for. It's great for a natural look and is so easily buildable if you prefer bolder brows.

The only minor negative I have is that I was matched with Shade 3 at the Benefit counter, I have really dark brown hair and the shade is slightly too light for me so I definitely would have been better suited to Shade 4 or 5. It hasn't detracted from my positive brow gel experience though, I've just been applying a darker brow pencil over the top to correct the shade!

The Ka-Brow Eyebrow Cream-Gel is available in 5 shades and you can purchase it here for £18.50.

Have you tried the Benefit Ka-Brow Cream-Gel? I'd love to know your thoughts!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation & Under(cover) Coconut Face Primer Review

I've been pretty hooked on my current face base for a while now which you can read about here, I haven't felt the need to change because y'know if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I thought it was about time I had a little look around for something a little bit special though because I still haven't found that 'perfect' base. While the L'Oréal True Match Foundation is still my favourite affordable foundation for daily wear, Marc Jacobs has really delivered with the Under(cover) Face Primer and Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation.
Of course, it's pretty obvious that we should start by discussing the packaging - I adore the luxury appearance of these bottles - they're made of glass so that instantly indicates the quality. The design is so simple, yet so classy and they look pretty damn good on my dressing table (most important, right?).
Under(cover) Coconut Face Primer I absolutely love this primer and it really works well with the foundation. I initially tried the foundation without the primer for the first application to test out the difference and it didn't last nearly as long on my skin. The consistency of this primer is brilliant, it's so smoothing and it doesn't feel heavy or sticky on my face which is really important to me. I like to feel comfortable when I'm wearing makeup and still want my skin to feel like it can breathe. A little bit goes a long way too which I'm thankful for as it's on the expensive side and it evens out your skin to give you a great base to work with before you apply your foundation. Thumbs up from me.

Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation in Ivory I breathed a sigh of relief when I tested out this foundation shade because trying to figure out your shade when you're online shopping is up there with one of the most difficult things in the world. It's a great match for my skin, slightly yellow toned for me but with some bronzing and highlighting I can make it work. I wouldn't recommend this for you really pale skin girls as the lightest shade is still quite dark. The coverage is insane, 5 dots will do - forehead, both cheeks, chin and nose - otherwise you'll find yourself blending out for hours. I find that you get the best results with a damp Beauty Blender as it needs an extra bit of elbow grease due to the thick consistency. If you don't take your time blending, you'll find that the foundation will appear a little cakey. The staying power is impressive as I manage to get a good 6/7 hours wear out of this foundation before it starts to need a bit of a top up.

Definitely my favourite primer/foundation combination at the minute!

Have you tried the Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation & Under(cover) Coconut Face Primer?

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

New Beauty Tools: Crownbrush and Illamasqua

I decided my beauty tools needed a little refresh - I've only ever really used Real Techniques brushes but I'd seen so many good things about Crownbrush and Illamasqua flying around the blogging community so I was pretty keen to try the brands out myself. I was a little bit naughty too and treated myself to a Beauty Blender because I just had to see if the price is really justified in comparison to my trusty £5.99 Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.
Crownbrush  C473 Studio Pro Contour If you want precise, killer cheekbones then this brush is 100% the beauty tool for you. I couldn't quite believe how defined my contour looked upon application to the point where I wasn't overly keen at first because it looked so harsh. Once I'd blended and buffed it out a bit, I was much happier with the more subtle, yet still precise, definition. My friend, who is completely alien to the whole contouring concept, even commented on how amazing my cheekbones looked so I'll take that.
Crownbrush C406 Large Duo Fibre Face Brush I was a little disappointed with this brush actually, I was looking for a Duo Fibre brush to blend out my foundation and this claimed to be 'perfect for blending of fluid, cream or powder', however, I didn't find that it made much difference to my base at all. The brush is incredibly soft and feels amazing on your face but without sounding silly because the 'Large Duo Fibre' title kinda gives it away, I think the brush was too large for my face. The large surface area of the brush and the lack of density made it too difficult for me to have any control over blending my foundation out.
Crownbrush C427 Tapered Duo Fibre Blush Brush This brush is incredible and has become a firm favourite among my daily makeup brushes. It's so versatile, I've used it to blend out my contour, apply blusher, blend highlighter and foundation. Unlike the Duo Fibre Face Brush, this one is a lot smaller so is much easier to work with. It creates such a soft, subtle look no matter what product you are using. I mainly use it to blend out my contour to prevent the harsh lines created by the Studio Contour Brush and they're a beautiful combination.
Illamasqua IL120 Smoulder Brush This purchase was inspired by beauty tutorials on YouTube - I'm trying to improve my eye make up looks because, quite frankly, I'm appalling. I love the looks that are quite heavy and smoky underneath the eyes and this tool fits perfectly under the lashes/waterline to blend eyeshadow. While it's so soft, it's also really dense too so you can build up the product for a more intense look. Although I've not tried it yet, I think this brush would be great for blending or smoking out eyeliner too. A definite must for your eye brush collection.
Beauty Blender Pro Sponge I finally got one! I forked out £16 on a bloody sponge, but it's not just any old sponge it's a life saver (well, makeup base saver). Sorry Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, you've been replaced by this bouncy, soft bundle of joy. When using the Real Techniques sponge, I found it almost impossible to completely cover my blemishes as the sponge tended to move the product around my face. By comparison, the Beauty Blender coverage is brilliant and it doesn't waste nearly as much of your product as the non-Latex material is designed to absorb less. It seems much easier to clean and unlike my Real Techniques sponge, the Beauty Blender has not torn or ripped during the cleaning process. Don't get me wrong, I'd much prefer it if the Beauty Blender was a more reasonable price at say £10, however, it's not a product you have to constantly repurchase so I'm pleased I treated myself and it's well worth it.
You can shop the Illamasqua brush here and the Crownbrush collections here, I'd highly recommend you do!

Have you tried any of these beauty tools? What other brushes would you recommend from Crownbrush & Illamasqua?

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Lancôme Énergie de Vie Liquid Moisturiser Review

So it seems I have taken one of my unintentional blogging breaks again but while I've been away I've been testing out this little bottle of dreams, Lancôme Énergie de Vie Liquid Moisturiser.

I'm not a huge fan of face moisturisers; I think it's because cream moisturisers make my face sweat (sexy) and my oily skin tends to feel a bit suffocated. This product, however, as stated in the name is a liquid moisturiser with a consistency only slighter thicker than water. More like a less concentrated serum I'd say. It's so light and soaks into the skin almost immediately, it's been perfect for my skin during this humid UK weather and it's worked really well as a base for my makeup. Dream.

Lancôme note that the Énergie de Vie range is inspired by new Korean beauty technology (thank the Lord for Korean beauty technology) and the ingredients include Goji Berry extract and Lemon Balm oil. I love products with a fruity zest so the fact that this moisturiser is enriched with the above, I knew I would need this in my skincare routine.

You really don't need much of this as a little goes a long way. I use one small pump for my entire face and I've seen really positive results using this daily - I've not suffered any breakouts and my skin is gradually looking less dull and tired. It's on the expensive side with prices starting at £28 for 30ml, however, the bottle will last for ages considering you use such a small amount.

The formula is so innovative and it's a godsend for anyone who doesn't get on with heavy, cream based moisturisers. After application, my skin feels refreshed, hydrated and silky soft and it's by far the best moisturiser I've ever come across for my skin type.

Have you tried the Lancôme Énergie de Vie Liquid Moisturiser?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Travel: Things to Do In Budapest

View across the Danube from the Siklo

A little bit of a different post from me today - not related to beauty in the slightest. I'm a little nervous stepping outside of my comfort zone as beauty products have always been my main focus on this blog. I decided to leave the decision up to you guys and posted a poll on Twitter - would any of you be interested in a travel post? 100% of you voted to see what I got up to on my little trip away to Budapest, so without further ado....

We got the most amazing deal when it came to flights and accommodation; we booked a package holiday through Expedia for 5 days costing a grand total of £179 per person. I'm never too fussed about staying in a luxury hotel when I'm on a short city break - as long as I get to see a lot of the city and have somewhere relatively comfy to catch some z's I'm more than happy. We opted to stay in the Ibis Styles Budapest Center and I have no complaints at all. The location was fantastic and so close to one of the main Underground Stations so everywhere was easily accessible. The rooms were spacious and clean and the staff were really friendly and would go out of their way to help you. If you're looking for luxury though, this hotel won't be for you but I'd definitely have no problem staying here again.

I'll attempt to condense this section into 'must see' areas of Budapest as there is plenty to do and it caters for so many different interests. During city breaks, I enjoy a mix of culture, sightseeing and relaxing and this city most definitely doesn't disappoint.

If culture/buildings/monuments is your thing then you need to take a trip to Parliament in the
Lipótváros region. You'll find the most well kept, beautiful buildings; I couldn't quite believe how clean these buildings were considering their age. Heroes Square is well worth a visit too where you can find the impressive Millenium Monument. My favourite was most definitely the Basilica of St Stephen, the architecture was just breath taking and I loved it so much that we went back to see it again!
Parliament Building
After enjoying the sights of Heroes Square, we opted for some well deserved relaxation in the form of the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. I can't recommend this place enough, granted, it's a little bit strange as you're technically having a large bath with loads of strangers but it was so relaxing; wallowing in a warm thermal pool for hours surrounded by beautiful old buildings is my idea of heaven. I was slightly disappointed as I was expecting the water to be boiling hot (the signs said it would be 28 degrees), however, it was definitely more lukewarm than hot. Still lovely, but warmer water would be my personal preference. I'd also highly recommend taking your own swimming costumes, flip flops and towels because we hired ours and it was so expensive!
Széchenyi baths

Next, we hopped on the Underground heading for the Víziváros district and spent a whole day sightseeing in the gorgeous weather- this was probably the most jam packed day of the entire trip. We stopped just before our destination so we could stroll across the Széchenyi Bridge. We then took the Castle Hill Funicular Railway (Sikló) to the top of the castle where there are some spectacular views across the Danube. The Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastian and the Magdelene Tower are all a must see in this area too. If you're not a fan of crowds then this area will probably not be for you as it's full of so many tourists all trying to photograph the same stunning views. I swear I even saw some elbowing for the best space going on at some points!

I need to mention the Gellért Hills too, while there is not too much to do there, it is also famous for it's fabulous views - we walked along the Liberty Bridge and you can see miles and miles of Budapest. There's some quirky cafes and restaurants in this area too; we stopped for a cold drink in an Alice in Wonderland themed café!
Liberty Bridge
There is such a relaxed vibe and a real buzz when it comes to the nightlife in Budapest. The Hungarians seem to know how to have a good time; there is something for everyone from quiet restaurants and bars if you'd prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle to packed nightclubs if you want dancing and a little craziness.
Two venues really stood out for me; the Vintage Garden Restaurant and the 360 Rooftop Bar. We had a delicious meal at the Vintage Garden Restaurant and ended up getting accidentally very drunk on their amazing cocktails. The Oreo cheesecake and the chocolate dipped strawberries we had for dessert were to die for. It's very aptly named as the interior is all in the style of a vintage garden!
The 360 Bar is an absolute must - it's a rooftop bar that allows you a '360' view of the whole of Budapest which is just incredible. There are fairy lights everywhere, a DJ and so many varieties of wine, beer and cocktails. It was so busy we couldn't find a seat at first - they have everything from high tables, benches and bean bags. I did feel like I wasn't really cool enough to be in a place like this as it was extremely cosmopolitan but the staff were so friendly and really made you feel welcome. I've never been anywhere like it before; it's expensive to get in but well worth it just for the experience.
360 Bar
Budapest has jumped right up there as one of the best European cities I have ever visited, I loved everything from the culture to the people and the nightlife. I'd highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance!
Have you ever been to Budapest? Is there anything else you can recommend when taking a trip to this beautiful city?

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Fran's Beauty Blog Turns One | Reflections

So this post is a little overdue as my blog birthday has already been and gone - 17th May 2016 to be precise. However, I wanted to take a little time to reflect on the past year of blogging; what I have achieved, how far I've come and what blogging means to me. A whole year of blogging seems to have passed in the blink of an eye, so here's an update now Fran's Beauty Blog has turned one.

It goes without saying that this part of the post won't be for everyone, but stats and figures are all part of my blog's progress and development. I figured some of you would want to see/ have a nosey at how far my blog has come statistically in 365 days:

Twitter: 2, 445 followers
Pinterest: 401 followers
Bloglovin': 630 followers
Page Views: 21, 904
DA: 20

Stats wise, while my blog is by no means 'well known' or 'recognised', it's still quite overwhelming to go from creating an account on Blogger in the hope that one person in the world may possibly read your posts, to building a loyal following/readership. I'm so happy and grateful that I've managed to hit 20K+ profile views, 2K+ Twitter followers and over 600+ followers on Bloglovin' all of which have been significant milestones for me personally. Some may not agree, but I'm a firm believer that number of followers does not equal success; engagement and retaining the interest of my readers is much higher on my agenda.

I love nothing more than engaging with other bloggers, taking inspiration, discussing common interests and just generally having a good ol' friendly chat. I'm not going to sugar coat it though, the blogging community is one of the best and worst parts of blogging in equal amounts. It is a fact that you will never see eye to eye with everyone, personalities will clash and people will not always agree with your point of view. I'll openly admin that I've thrown shade and people have thrown shade at me, it's just life and life is not all sunshine and rainbows much though we would love that to be the case. Don't get me wrong though, I have struck up some incredible online friendships with the most innovative, kind, supportive and creative individuals and that is something I wouldn't change for the world.

It's a common misconception that every blogger receives PR samples/'freebies' from brands on a regular basis. I have rarely been contacted by brands in my first year of blogging and that aspect is only starting to gain some traction now as my blog reaches a slightly wider audience. I have collaborated with Hugo Boss on this fragrance post and Debenhams on this Chloé Perfume Review  here , both of which were fantastic experiences and have given me a small insight into dealing with brands professionally. I am, however, extremely picky as to who I choose to work with and what I will review on my blog. I have rejected around 90% of PR/brand opportunities because my blog will only ever include relevant product reviews that I believe my readers will find interesting/helpful. If you're considering starting a blog in the hope that you will receive several 'free' products, I can promise you you're starting a blog for all the wrong reasons.

As it stands at the minute, I don't measure my blogging success/achievements in terms of numbers. While I have included my stats in this post for any of you that are interested, that is not something that is overly important to me  - I get excited when I reach a milestone, but blogging is much more than that for me. Before starting my blog, I felt that my life was lacking in something but I couldn't quite put my finger on what that 'something' was. My blog is my hobby and it hasn't been life changing but it has given me an outlet to explore my creativity once again which I thoroughly enjoy and it was definitely as aspect of my life that needed reigniting.

Here's to another year (hopefully 10) of Fran's Beauty Blog - thank you so much to every single person that visits/engages with my little space on the internet, I'm forever grateful!


Sunday, 29 May 2016

Boots Haul: New Beauty Additions

So, nipping in to Boots in your lunch hour is up there with one of my most dangerous things you can do. I went in with the intention of "browsing" and £50 later, came out with a little haul. My makeup bag was in need of a refresher though, so that's how I'm justifying it. Had to be done. There seems to be a bit of a pink theme going on, this wasn't intentional I just picked up the products that caught my eye at the time!

(L-R) Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lipstick in Pommiegirl, Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream in Velvet Slipper, Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream in Shabby Chic, Barry M Illuminating Strobe Cream
Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lipstick in Pommiegirl - firstly, as you can imagine, this product caught my eye because of it's beautiful, shiny packaging - it comes in 3 colours pink, red and rose gold depending on the finish of the lipstick. I opted for a matte finish as I can't get enough of matte at the minute. The berry colour is gorgeous and it feels so comfortable to wear on the lips. I thought the bright shade would be great as we come into the Summer months. I was really impressed with how long lasting this lipstick was too and you won't need to reapply continuously.
Barry M Illuminating Strobe Cream in Frosty Pink - I absolutely love this highlighter. I swatched it in store and couldn't quite believe the intensity. It's a full on 'my face looks like the moon' kinda glow and my blog swatch really doesn't do it any justice. It comes in two shades Frosty Pink and Iced Bronze, I opted for Frosty Pink as it suits my paler skin but Iced Bronze would be great for anyone with olive/darker skin. It's so easy to apply and gives an intense, dewy finish. Like most cream products, it does slightly move your foundation so you may require a couple of foundation touch ups.
Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream in Shabby Chic - I only purchased this a few days ago and I've already worn it every single day, I'm obsessed. The shade is a dusky pink which is ideal for my skin tone and goes with so many different looks. I love the formula as it dried quickly and I didn't experience any drying or flaking which often happens with matte lipsticks. I didn't find it overly long lasting but you can excuse that because the shade and formula is brilliant.
Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream in Velvet Slipper - Strangely, while I was really impressed with 'Shabby Chic', this shade/formula just didn't quite compare. I was initially drawn in by the shade as it looked stunning, however, when I applied it I found that it didn't apply evenly and dried darker in some areas than others which made it look patchy. I'm also not the most careful when I'm applying lip products and tend to make mistakes but when I tried to neaten this product up, it stained the skin around my lips. It's a real shame as I wanted to love this as much as I loved Shabby Chic.
Benefit Hoola Bronzer - I've been lusting after this for a while but being so pale I tend to avoid bronzer at all costs. However, this product is perfect if you have pale skin like me. I apply this to the areas that I would usually contour for a more subtle, warm glow - it blended well and didn't leave me with that 'muddy' look that I was dreading!
Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette - I'm yet to try this product but thought I better include it considering it was part of the haul. I'm really excited to swatch it as I've seen/read lots of good things but I felt it needed a post of it's own with swatches included. So far, I love the variety as it includes two baked powders, a shimmer powder and a cream highlighter.
Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Acai Smoothie - I can just tell that this nail polish will grace my fingernails on several occasions this Spring/Summer. I love pastel colours as it starts to get warmer and they look great with a tan (if I ever manage to get one). It appears lilac in the bottle but I'd say it's more of a deep pink with slight purple tones. Either way, it's beautiful and the application felt seamless thanks to the smooth formula.  
Have you tried any of these products? What new additions have you got in your makeup bag?

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Spring Lip Picks 2016

It's only as I type up this post I realise that while I very rarely wear lipgloss, all four of my favourite Spring lip products are glosses. Look at me stepping out of my comfort zone, eh? I'm just enjoying something a little lighter on the lips as the weather gets (sort of) slightly warmer because I'm pretty sure that lipstick makes your mouth sweat right? Nope, just me then....
(L-R) L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Extraordinaire in Rose Symphony,  MAC Cremesheen Glass in Loud & Lovely, Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Celestial, Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Nude-ist.

L'Oreal Color Riche Extraordinaire this gloss is a blogger's dream when it comes to the packaging - shiny and gold! It's an orangey-pink shade which I wouldn't normally go for but it looks really pretty when applied and brightens up my makeup for Spring. The formula is slightly on the thick side for me and the applicator is what I can only describe as fluffy which can make application a little messy. I always need to clean up the edges. Nothing too major though, I'm still a big fan of these.

MAC Cremesheen Glass I feel so girly and feminine when I wear this bubblegum pink gloss, it's gorgeous. I tend to wear this if I go out as it's glamorous and adds a little extra something to your makeup look. It feels so comfortable to wear, it's not sticky or drying in the slightest. It's more long lasting than a lot of lip glosses I've tried, however, you will need to keep this in your handbag so you can reapply every now and then throughout the day.

Rimmel Apocalips I can't stop wearing this gloss, it's probably the one that I am most impressed with out of the four - it's so wearable and suits so many different looks, it's not drying and it's long lasting. I also really like the applicator as it has a little groove around the edge that seems to fit the shape of your lips. So pretty much the whole package. I definitely need to purchase some more of these!

Bourjois Velvet Lipstick I'll get the negative out of the way first - I've seen quite a few bloggers comment that these matte lipsticks aren't drying on the lips but that isn't the case for me, I find them so drying so I was a little bit disappointed about that! However, I do love the way these look as they do give a velvet effect on the lips which is a little different and the dusky pink colour is just beautiful and perfect for Spring.

What are you current favourite lipsticks? Do you prefer lipstick or lip gloss?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette Review & Swatches

So, it seems that I've taken an accidental blogging break and I'm not overly sure why. I guess it's a mixture of working long hours and feeling a little bit lack lustre and uninspired with blogging recently. I'm not one to put pressure on myself to blog though so it hasn't been a huge problem for me, I apologise if you all missed my presence greatly ;) I'm back though with my new favourite product that I've constantly been reaching for: the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette.
(L-R) Sweeter End, Warm Notes, Subtle Blend, Pure Ganache, Substitute for Love, Freshly Toasted, Delicate Acidity, Infusion, Beans are White

What I am most impressed with is that Zoeva have clearly spent a lot of time thinking these shades through in terms of what compliments another at the same time as including a great variety. Unlike most eye shadow palettes I purchase, there isn't a shade among these that I haven't used.

The pigmentation is incredible and also buildable if you are looking for a really intense eye look. My favourite combination is Bitter Start as a base colour, Substitute for Love blended as the transition shade, Warm Notes packed on the outer corner of the eye and Delicate Acidity to deepen the crease. 
I have also found that the staying power of these shadows is brilliant - when I went out the other night, my eye makeup pretty much looked the same when I came in even after 1 or 2 glasses of wine too many. Considering this palette was a mere £18, I really wasn't expecting it to stand up against it's high end rivals but it does and I use it more than my Naked Palette.

The only minor complaint I have with this palette is that the fallout is insane. I'd strongly recommend applying your eyeshadow before your foundation as you'll only end up having to reapply it again. It also means that the packaging is constantly covered in shadow fallout too - I like my palettes to be pristine but hey, I'm sure I'll live!

Have you tried the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette? What is your favourite shade?

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Boots Haul: 10 Products Under £10

I'm the first to admit I'm a bit of a makeup snob and I always justify expensive products by telling myself that you 'get what you pay for'. So much so that I almost purchased a moisturiser for £110 - I'm totally out of control. I'd say I have more money than sense but I have neither the money nor the sense. So, I set myself a little challenge to purchase a full face of make up with each product costing no more than £10. Obviously headed straight to Boots....
L'Oreal Lumi Magique Primer £9.99
Seriously impressed with this primer - I've never come across a drugstore base with a consistency that works well with my skin, usually they're way too sticky or really drying there's no in between. I can only describe the consistency as a watered down melted marshmallow, in a good way (how amazing are my descriptions of beauty products?!). It felt so smooth to apply and a little bit goes a long way. It created a lovely even base for my makeup and it stayed put until the end of the working day. This has gone straight into my daily makeup bag.

Collection Illuminating Touch Foundation in Ivory £3.99
Completely guessed my shade with this one and surprisingly, it was a great match for me! I'm pale and opted for Ivory which is very similar to MAC NC15. I didn't love this foundation because I much prefer full coverage but can you really be that negative about a foundation for £3.99? This would be great for a light coverage, daily work foundation and I'll definitely still get some use out of it for those 'no makeup' makeup kinda days.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Light £5.99
I'd seen so much hype surrounding this concealer so I was excited to try it but I disappointed myself because I opted for the wrong shade. I was really impressed with the creamy formula and it covered my blemishes really well but I couldn't test it as an under eye/highlighting product because it was way too dark for me. If you're pale like me I'd recommend going for the 'Fair' shade rather than the 'Light' one.

Natural Collection Solo Eyeshadow in Willow £1.99
A little bit of creativity went into my highlighter - while I was having a look around for an eyeshadow, I spotted this little glowing, shimmery little beauty that I could double up as an inner corner eyeshadow and a highlighter. The photo doesn't do this justice at all as it's so pigmented and gives an amazing cool toned, silvery glow. Absolute bargain for £1.99 too.

Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit £6.49
I'm a bit on the fence with this product because it's aimed at all skin tones on the light-medium spectrum and neither of the shades worked well with my skin tone. The first thing I would say is go easy on the brush swirling, you really do just need a little bit. I gave my brush a generous swirl and woah this contour is pigmented, I ended up blending it out for a good 20 minutes after applying way too much (maybe slight exaggeration but y'know). I only used the middle shade and even then my cheekbones were left looking a little muddy.

Seventeen Blush Powder in Damson Wine £2.99
I wasn't fond of this blusher really - out of all of the products this was the only one that I could tell was actually cheap. It was too shimmery for me and it didn't blend out easily which left me with overly rosy cheeks because the product was too concentrated in one area. I like a natural blush and I didn't get that from this one!

Soap & Glory Archery 2 in 1 Brow Filling Pencil and Brush in Hot Chocolate £8.00
I just love this brow product! It's saved me from brow despair after my Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz ran out last week. The brush is great for combing through the brows initially and the precision from the actual product is amazing. Eyebrows definitely on fleek with this.

Maybelline Blushed Nudes Palette £7.99
I'm not going to go into too much detail about this palette because I wanted to write a separate post with a review and swatches. So, for now I'll just say 12 gorgeous shades in Rose Gold packaging for £7.99. Yes, I'll have some of that, thank you.

Sleek MakeUp Lethal Length Mascara £6.99
The name of this mascara really drew me in because who doesn't want 'lethal length' lashes but unfortunately this product didn't quite live up to it's name for me. It's not horrendous but I didn't notice any volume in my lashes whatsoever and it was pretty clumpy as the product was a little to thick. Thumbs down from me on this one I'm afraid.

NYX Lip Lingerie in Bedtime Flirt £6.50
Definitely one of the best products among my Boots haul and I've been so impressed with NYX as a brand recently. The shade is absolutely stunning and the formula is incredible - it's not sticky or drying in the slightest like other matte lipsticks I've tried out. I'll definitely be adding several more of these to my collection.

All in all, a bit of a mixture of drugstore gems and others that didn't work so well for me but a full face of makeup for a total of  £57.93 is not something to grumble about!

What are your favourite drugstore products? Have you tried any of the products in this post? What did you think of them?

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Products for Dry Lips

I suffer pretty badly with dry, cracked lips throughout Winter/Spring to the point where they start to bleed (attractive) and I've tried an abundance of products to try and solve the problem. Some have been absolutely rubbish and made the problem even worse than it was previously, others have been great so I thought I'd share them with you all. (I'm nice like that, you see).

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
Just the best product for dry lips ever, it really is my saviour when I'm having a really bad time with cracked lips. It has many uses but I mainly lather this on my lips before I go to bed to let it soak in and work it's hydrating magic. My lips always look noticeably better after I've used this for a good few days.

Maybelline Baby Lips in Mint Fresh
These are perfect to carry around in your handbag to keep your lips hydrated regularly. They do claim that they hydrate for up to 8 hours but I'm not sure I agree with that statement as I find I have to apply it a fair few times throughout the day. You can't really complain for £2.99 though, they're so handy and the flavours are lovely. The mint one that I own is really refreshing and I'd love to try Pink Punch as that has a hint of colour too.

Avène Cold Cream
The consistency of this product is similar to the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream it's a thick, rich cream rather than a balm. It's more like a lipgloss - I do find it a little bit sticky for my liking but it's so good for rehydrating your lips so I can forgive that. It contains sucralfate which is a skin repairing agent apparently and it really works for me.

Neal's Yard Bee Lovely Balm
This is a new edition to my collection and it's really impressed me (you all know I'm a bit addicted to Neal's Yard products at the minute). I haven't been disappointed by anything yet. It's main ingredients are cocoa butter and beeswax, so yummy. It's got quite a matte feel to it which I like because it's not sticky and soaks in quickly. Like the Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream, it has multiple uses and can be used on any dry skin patches.

Dr Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm
I'm really late to the party when it comes to Dr Paw Paw. I'd seen lots of hype surrounding it but I was a bit sceptical that people were raving so much about a lip balm. I received this in a Love Me Beauty Box which I have reviewed here. I agree with the hype - it isn't life changing but it's a really good product and is so nourishing on the lips.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourite products for dry lips?


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Current Favourite Lip: Charlotte Tilbury Stoned Rose & MAC Whirl

It's always a risk shopping for beauty products online because you can never really see the true colours and shades in photographs. I had a bit of a moment recently when I ordered Charlotte Tilbury's Stoned Rose Lipstick, tried it on and thought "Oh no this is way too orange for me!" £23 wasted. Distraught.

However, I thought I'd do something out of the ordinary for me and use a bit of initiative, I had a little play around with some of my lip liners and lipsticks to see if I could mix it with another colour until I achieved a shade that I was happy with. MAC Whirl Lip Liner saved the day.
As you can see from the photo above, the shade isn't what I would describe as Rose at all - it's much more of a peachy/orangey colour. Peach based lipsticks just don't suit my skin tone at all - I'm more of a berry lip or barely there girl. I outlined my lips with MAC Whirl Lip Liner and then applied it all over as a base and after, added the Stoned Rose Lipstick on top. The muted lip liner shade really toned down the orangey colour in the lipstick to create a deeper Rose colour and I was really happy with the outcome. It's my go to lipstick look at the minute for day to day wear. A bit of DIY meant I hadn't actually wasted my money on something I wouldn't wear!

Have you tried Charlotte Tilbury's Stoned Rose Lipstick? What is your favourite shade?

Sunday, 13 March 2016

New Skincare Favourites

I've recently mixed up my skincare routine and discovered a couple of little gems that are working really well for me. I've been struggling with my skin lately - it's had so many blemishes and I've had a lot of dry patches so I've been trying my best to stick to a routine and look after it a little bit more than normal.

Liz Earle Sweet Orange & Mint Hot Cloth Cleanser
I feel a bit mean reviewing the Sweet Orange and Mint Cleanser because it was a Limited Edition that I received for Christmas. It's out of stock on the website but it's too good to not share it with you. This products works just as well as the original, the only difference being the gorgeous Sweet Orange & Mint scent. I personally prefer a fragrance when it comes to cleansers but if that doesn't float your boat I'd just stick to the original. Keep your eyes peeled for the Limited Edition Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleansers, they're currently stocking a Rose & Cedrat one which sounds equally as lovely.

Sudocrem Skincare Cream
Sudocrem has been helping me hugely when it comes to controlling my angry blemishes. I pop this on my spots over night to allow it to work it's magic and by morning, my spots are visibly reduced. I made a bit of a mistake the other day though and applied a Sudocrem mask all over my face then woke up with the driest skin ever. From now on, I'll just be applying it directly to the affected areas to avoid stripping my skin of all it's natural oils!

Rodial Stemcell Super-Food Cleanser
I love this product so much - it's a cream cleanser and face mask in one. What more could you ask for?! I've been using it as a daily cleanser to remove my makeup. You only need a tiny bit for this, you massage in a thin layer and then remove with a muslin cloth and warm water. I've found that it has left my skin looking radiant and haven't experienced any breakouts. I've also been using it as a face mask once a week to target the dry areas on my face - you need to apply a thicker layer for this to allow it to rehydrate your skin.

Caudalie Radiance Serum
I'm usually a bit wary of serums because sometimes they can upset my oily skin and leave me looking like a sweaty mess (attractive). This one, however, is quite a matte formula which feels lovely and soft on my face and leaves me glowing! I've been applying this under my makeup which has really helped the appearance of my foundation while I've been suffering with these dry patches. I'd highly recommend this as part of your daily skincare routine.

Have you tried any of these products? What skincare products are you loving at the minute?

Friday, 11 March 2016

Neal's Yard Remedies Skincare

Neal's Yard Remedies Review
Back in October, I featured on Emma's blog Glossy Boutique reviewing Neal's Yard Remedies Skincare. I love Neal's Yard so much that I've rapidly expanded the number of products I own so wanted to share my updated collection with you all. If you want to see my reviews of the White Tea Facial Mask, Vitamin E & Avocado Night Cream and the Honey & Orange Facial Scrub, hop over to Glossy Boutique to take a look here.

If you haven't tried Neal's Yard before, they're a cruelty free brand that use as many natural ingredients in their products as possible. Their gorgeous blue bottles are made from recycled materials and are also easily recyclable when you've used up all of your product. Everything about the brand is made in the UK too. Love a bit of environmental friendliness and supporting local businesses, don't you?!

White Tea Enriching Facial Mask £26.50
The face mask of dreams! Maybe slightly dramatic but it's my favourite product that I've tried so far. If you follow me on Twitter you know I'm a huge fan of Face Mask Sunday so it's a regular step in my pamper routine and I use it a lot. It's packed full of antioxidants and I find it so nourishing. My skin is definitely better off after using it regularly.

Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil £6.20
I pop a few drops of this in my bath to let it soak into my skin - I love the zesty scent of this and I also massage it into the really dry areas of my body likes my knees and elbows. My beautician was telling me you're supposed to add a carrier oil to it but I just use it on it's own (little rebel, me).

Rehydrating Rose Toner £16.00
I've been suffering a lot with bad skin recently and this toner has really helped to settle it. It's cooling, refreshing and the rose scent is just divine. I've been alternating between my Liz Earle and this and I really can't tell much of a difference between them. It doesn't give that usual tightening that you get with most toners, it's not harsh on the skin at all. The bottle lasts for ages too which is great.

Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil £20.00
This is a little bottle of luxury that brings the spa to your home. I do try to avoid facial oils as I worry that they will make my oily skin even oiler but I haven't had this problem with this product. I always apply it at night though so it has plenty of time to soak in. You don't need to apply much as the product is very rich, it leaves my skin glowing.

Organic Aromatherapy Room Spray  Calming £17.00
The actual fragrance is gorgeous - I spray it excessively in the centre of my room before I go to bed and a little bit on my pillow (they do advise not to spray it on fabric though!). I find it so relaxing and it lives up to it's 'calming' name. A little bit on the pricey side for a room spray and I'm not overly sure that I would repurchase purely on price.

I've recently had a facial with the Wild Rose Beauty Balm which is incredible so that's next on my Neal's Yard wish list.

You can find Neal's Yard Remedies here if you want to check them out!

Have you tried Neal's Yard Remedies before? What products are your favourite?

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Chloé Love Story Eau De Parfum Review

Chloe Love Story Perfume
I've been really lazy with perfumes lately (I know you're all shocked to hear that I could possibly be lazy!). I usually have a rather large collection on my dressing table as I like to alternate my scents. However, I seemed to have let my collection dwindle and I've been sticking to my Jimmy Choo regularly. Debenhams have come to my rescue though and very kindly gifted me the Chloé Love Story Eau De Parfum*.

Firstly, the packaging. I feel like I really don't need to elaborate any more on that sentence but as it's a review, I probably should. I'm a bit in love with the cute padlock design, it looks so beautifully classy sat on my dressing table. The glass and gold combination is especially pleasing for us bloggers too!

When I first sprayed this I wasn't sure that it would be my kind of scent - my usual perfumes are really sweet and fruity and this is fresh, floral and sophisticated. However, when it settled I was really impressed and I've learnt that in future I need to give perfumes more of a chance before I decide they're not for me! It's the perfect perfume for Spring - subtle, mature and fresh.

The only minor negative I have about this perfume is that I found that the scent lost it's intensity pretty quickly. I did have to top it up a couple of times throughout the day but I do understand this could just be my skin and 'own scent'.

Overall, I love my first ever Chloé perfume - if it takes your fancy, you can purchase the Chloé Love Story from Debenhams here.

Have you tried the Chloé Love Story Perfume? Do you prefer fruity or floral scents?

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Best Brow Products

Best Brow Products
Brows....where do I start with brows? They've always been the bane of my life - any dark haired person will know the struggle in maintaining thick, fast growing eyebrows. Up until the age of about 13, I was lucky enough to sport a beautiful, dark monobrow and I very much owned the au natural look. In the latter half of 2004 my brows were getting the life plucked out of them until I had approximately 3 strands of hair left above each eye. Got to love the noughties, eh?!

Fast forward swiftly to 2016 - needless to say, I am over the moon that thicker brows are now in fashion and that eyebrow grooming is very much a thing. Filling in eyebrows is an absolute life saver for me, especially for those days when you're in desperate need of a wax but you just haven't had time!

These are my favourite products to keep my unruly brows in check:

Sleek Makeup Brow Kit
I'm on my 2nd one of these brow kits so it's a testament to the product - I can be pretty fickle so if I buy something twice I really like it. It's such a handy little kit with a wax to keep your brows in place, a powder, 2 brushes, tweezers and a mirror. I love the wax/powder combinations as I find they work best for my brows. I get quite a few stray hairs that won't stay in place so the wax fixes that problem. The pigment is great too - even though I have dark hair I use the light shade.

Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade
I was so excited to own this product but after trying it out (as you can see from the photo I've dipped the brush right in there) it's WAY too dark for my brows. I was impressed with the formula though, so easy to apply and really stayed put. I need to purchase one in the right colour but it's pretty expensive so might have to wait until pay day.

Benefit Gimme Brow
I'm a bit on the fence with Gimme Brow - while I like the whole combing the product through the eyebrow and it's a great colour match, you can't really get the same precision that you get with brow pencils or products you apply with a brush. I do use it often but I also find that it leaves my eyebrows a little crispy when it dries. It's nothing major and it wouldn't put me off buying it again but definitely worth noting.

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz
My ultimate favourite brow product. This is hands down my most used brow pencil - I'll need to repurchase soon as I'm running low. The colour match is perfect for me and I love how thin the pencil is so you can really get that definition. It has a brush at one end too so you can give them a tidy up before you apply the product. I never need to top up with this either, it stays put all day. Total dream.

Sephora Retractable Brow Pencil
This is pretty much a dupe for the ABH Brow Wiz - it is the same concept with the brush/thin brow pencil combination. I much prefer the Brow Wiz brush though as this one is so small it didn't neaten my eyebrows up as well. You also need to build this a lot more to achieve the same intensity but there really is very little between them.

What are your favourite brow products? Do you struggle to maintain your brows too?

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Love Me Beauty Box Review

Love Me Beauty Box Review
My very thoughtful sister got me an amazing present for Christmas - a 3 month Love Me Beauty box subscription. When I opened it she said "I thought this would be good for you to blog about, Fran" so here we are! I've only ever tried the Glamour Beauty box before so was interested to see how these boxes compared.

Most beauty boxes seem to pick the products for you so there's that whole surprise element! However, with Love Me Beauty, you pick the products - I hate being surprised as I'm a control freak so the 'choose your own' system is great for me. For £10 per month, you receive 60 credits to choose whatever takes your fancy from their boutique. Most items are 10-20 credits and the boutique is refreshed each month.

Here is what I selected for my January and February boxes:

Nails Inc Polish in Victoria (£11) I absolutely love this deep cherry colour, it's perfect for the Winter months and I just wish that my nails were in a better state so I could wear nail polish more often. The staying power of the Nails Inc polishes is great too.

Dr PawPaw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm (£6.95) Obviously, I told myself I wasn't going to buy a Dr PawPaw lip balm because they had been so hyped in the beauty world....but I have to agree with the hype on this occasion. They feel so good on the lips - nourishing and natural. I love the slightly red tint in this too for a little bit of colour.

Therapie Skin Repair Serum (£12) I'm always wary of serums on my oily skin but this was gorgeous. It's not too heavy and sinks in to leave your skin feeling renewed and glowy! This is one to leave over night to allow it to works it's magic.

Omnisens Fresh Cleansing Tonic Water (full size £29) There isn't much to say about this product, it does what it says on the label - it's fresh and it cleanses. I don't think I would pay £29 for a bottle which is the price for the full size as it wasn't anything life changing. Refreshing and left my skin feeling clean though.

Percy & Reed Invisible Dry Shampoo (£12) I was so disappointed with this product. I had really high hopes because the only thing I dislike about the Baptise dry shampoo is the white tinge it leaves in your hair. So, invisible dry shampoo got me all excited. However, I'm not sure if it's just my naturally oily hair but it left it 10 x greasier than it was before and I ended up having to go and wash my hair!

Lord & Berry Lipstick Pencil in Kiss (£10) For some very strange reason, I decided to choose this lipstick in red....and I NEVER wear red lipstick?! Not really sure what I was thinking but it turned out pretty well because this orangey-red seems to suit me. The creamy formula is great, it lasted well on the lips and wasn't drying at all.

Lord & Berry Magic Brow (£10) Probably my favourite product that I opted for as I'm obsessed with trying new brow products at the minute. I can't fault it either, it's a brow pencil and brush combination (just like the Anastasia Brow Wiz) and the formula is blendable and buildable (not sure if either of them are actually words but they are now).

Overall, I'm impressed with Love Me Beauty. I like that you can pick the products yourself as you are more likely to use every single one - I always find with 'pre-packed' boxes there are one or two things that you would just never use. It's great value for money, you really can't complain for £10 per month + postage & packaging and there are some great brands to try out.

If you want to give Love Me Beauty a try, you can click here to check out the subscription packages.

Have you tried Love Me Beauty? What do you think?
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