Thursday, 28 June 2012

Baby Girl Cupcakes


As some of you will know from my last post, one of my friends has recently had a beautiful baby girl, so before I went to visit her for the first time earlier this week, I decided to make some baby girl themed cupcakes to take with me!

For the cupcakes themselves, I used a basic Victoria Sponge recipe, which can be found here.

For the icing, I used Betty Crocker vanilla butter cream icing, mixed it with a few drops of red food colouring, and piped it onto the cupcakes. I then finished the cupcakes with a sprinkling of edible white hologram glitter, and some jelly milk bottles.

Last but not least, as I was giving these cupcakes as a gift, I placed them in some cupcake boxes. These cost under £3 for a packet of two, from my local supermarket.

Grace xXx

Label: Cupcakes

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Gift Ideas for New Mums


Just over a week ago one of my friends gave birth to beautiful baby girl (who is also my Goddaughter), so I thought it would be nice to get her a little something for herself, as I know she already has lots of lovely baby things. So I started thinking about gift ideas for new mums, and came up with this!

I had been looking for a beauty related gift for a while, but all I could find were expensive bath sets such as this, which in my opinion are just everyday bath products with fancy labels. But then when I had just about given up hope on a beauty/new mum gift, I was browsing the OPI website (as you do), when I came across a lovely baby pink nail polish called It’s A Girl!

So I headed over to Amazon (as I’m not sure if you can order from the OPI website here in the UK), and ordered one from there!

But although I decided on this gift, I did have some other ideas that would also be suitable for new mums with baby boys, as unfortunately OPI do not make a nail polish called It’s A Boy (a bit sexist I know). So here they are!

Choconchoc It's A Girl, It's A Boy
Yankee Candles Baby Powder, Soft Blanket

Each of these gifts costs under £10. The Choconchoc gifts are available from some Hallmark stores, and also from the Choconchoc website. The Yankee Candles are a lot easier to get hold of though, as they are sold in most of the larger gift shops, such as Clintons and Peter Jones, and online at Amazon.

Grace xXx

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

NOTD - Princess Grace


Another simple nails of the day for today!

For this design, I used two coats of China Glaze Princess Grace. I also applied a base and top coat. My favourites are Rimmel Stronger Double Duty Base Coat, and Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. More information about these can be found here.

This nail polish was a gift from my friend Clairabelle0306, and is actually my first China Glaze nail polish. But after trying Princess Grace, I am definitely a China Glaze convert! The product itself has a lovely thin consistency, which I much prefer as I often find that thicker nail polishes have a tendency to go gloopy after a while.

Grace xXx

Label: Nails

Sunday, 24 June 2012

EOS Lip Balm


As some of you will know from my last post, I was given a Strawberry Sorbet EOS Lip Balm by Clairabelle0306, and I’ve been using it for the past few days, so thought I would do a bit of a review.

EOS Lip Balms are highly moisturising, lightly scented, solid balms that apply clear. As the packaging reads:

“EOS lip balm is 95% organic, 100% natural, and paraben and petrolatum. Packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, soothing shea butter and jojoba oil, EOS keeps your lips moist, soft and sensationally smooth.”

But before I talk about the product itself, I think the packaging certainly deserves a mention! This is the first and only egg-shaped lip balm that I have ever seen, and it definitely makes the product stand out!

I also love the shape of the product inside, as the rounded lip balm allows for quick, easy and mess-free application. The lip balm itself is very moisturising, and stays on your lips for quite a while. I like to apply this product underneath lipstick, as some can be quite drying, and before bed to moisturise my lips whilst I sleep.

I hadn’t really heard much about EOS Lip Balms before receiving this one, as I think that EOS is an American brand, and not as widely available here in the UK. But just from a quick Google search, I found that EOS Lip Balms can be purchased online from Amazon, for around £5.

EOS Lip Balms are also available in five other scents (Summer Fruit, Lemon Drop, Honeysuckle Honeydew, Medicated Tangerine and Sweet Mint), and are all free from animal testing.

Grace xXx

Label: Makeup

Friday, 22 June 2012

Presents from Florida


Today’s post is a little different. As some of you will know, my friend Clairabelle0306 has just been on holiday to Florida, and when I saw her yesterday for the first time since she returned home, she gave me a lovely gift bag full of beauty goodies from her travels! So I thought I would share my presents with you, as I’m sure most of them will be appearing in blog posts very soon!

Above is a photograph of everything together, but I realise there is quite a lot to take in! So I’ve taken a few more to show some of the products in more detail.

Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea Hand Gel, Showel Gel, Body Lotion, Fragrance Mist

Strawberry Margarita, Nothin' Mousie 'Bout It, Popular, Princess Grace, Luxe and Lush
Peach Candle, EOS Lip Balm, Flowerbomb, Maybelline Colour Tattoo, Shea-Infused Bed Socks

I can’t wait to try all of these lovely new products and get reviewing! Thank you again Clairabelle0306!

Grace xXx

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Crème


I was given a set containing Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème just over a year ago, but when I had by bedroom redecorated last summer, I tidied it away into a box and forgot all about it! Then a few weeks ago, I noticed that my heels were getting a little dry, so I went shopping for a new foot cream and came across the Burt’s Bees section in Boots. But for some reason I thought that my Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème was only a miniature, so I invested in the full size product, only to find when I got home that I now had two the same! So I decided that if it was good enough for me to buy twice, it was definitely worth reviewing!

Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème is an intensely moisturising foot cream. As the packaging reads:

“This pampering natural foot cream combines coconut oil, lanolin and vegetable glycerin to revive and rejuvenate even the driest, most neglected feet. There’s also a hint of rosemary and peppermint oils to refresh tired feet.”

The product itself has a thick, gel-like consistency, and is slightly scented. But unlike the packaging suggests, Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème is not overly coconut scented, which I actually prefer as I sometimes find coconut products a little overpowering. Personally I think that the cream is more peppermint scented (as it contains peppermint oils), than anything else.

Due to the consistency of this product though, it does take a while to absorb into the skin, so I only ever apply it at night before going to bed. I also wear socks to stop the cream from rubbing off onto my bed sheets. But for me anyway, I definitely think that the consistency of this product is a positive, as I often find that lighter foot creams are too thin to properly moisturise dry heels.

I purchased my Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème from my local Boots for £11.99, but it is also available from Debenhams and Waitrose. This product is also free from animal testing.

Grace xXx

Label: Skin Care

Monday, 18 June 2012

Real Techniques Stippling Brush


Until recently I had been using all Clinique makeup brushes, as after trying a number of cheaper brushes by other brands, I found that these worked best for me. But although I clean my brushes regularly, I noticed that my Clinique foundation brush was starting to leave my foundation looking streaky. So after hearing a lot of good reviews about Real Techniques brushes, I decided to invest in a Real Techniques Stippling Brush, to try and solve my foundation foibles!

Unfortunately I no longer have the packaging to show you, but I’m sure that most of you will be familiar with it already. On the Real Techniques website, the Stippling brush is described as follows:

“This dual-fibre stippling brush is the trade secret for creating airbrushed, high definition results with all types of makeup.
- Look pixel-perfect even in harsh light.
- Ultra-plush, synthetic taklon bristles are hand cut and 100% cruelty free.
- Self-standing for easy storage.
- Extended aluminium handle is light and easy to use.”

There is also a Real Techniques Stippling Brush Tutorial available online that demonstrates how to use the brush, which can be found here.

This tutorial shows Samantha Chapman, creator of Real Techniques and Pixiwoo blogger, using the brush to buff liquid foundation into her skin. However, when I came to try the brush out for myself, I found this method to be a little harsh for my skin type. As you will know if you have read some of my earlier posts, I have quite dry and sensitive skin, and I found that applying my foundation in this way only served to highlight the problem.

Nevertheless I persevered, and the next time I used my Real Techniques Stippling Brush I did exactly what the name suggests and lightly stippled my foundation into my skin, which worked perfectly! This method enabled me to apply my foundation quickly and easily, whilst providing an even, streak-free coverage.

I also found that this brush is well suited for use with cream blushers, such as Stila Convertible Colours, and cream highlighters.

I purchased my Real Techniques Stippling Brush from my local Boots for £11.99, but they are also available online from the Real Techniques website.

Grace xXx

Label: Makeup

Saturday, 16 June 2012

NOTD - La Pazitively Hot


Another simple nails of the day for today!

For this design, I used two coats of OPI La Pazitively Hot. I also applied a base and top coat. My favourites are Rimmel Stronger Double Duty Base Coat, and Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. More information about these can be found here.

This nail polish was a gift from my friend Clairabelle0306, in fact I think most of my OPI nail polishes have been! I love OPI nail polishes as there is a wide range of colours that are professional quality, and apply well. The only downside though is that they are quite expensive compared to some other brands, as they cost around £11 each. 

Grace xXx

Label: Nails

Friday, 15 June 2012

Korres Lip Butter


Korres products first came to my attention a few weeks ago in Waitrose (of all places), and I hadn’t really heard much about the brand before then. But in the past few days I’ve noticed quite a few blog posts about Korres products popping up in my reading list, so I thought I would invest in one of the Korres Lip Butters, to see if it lives up to the hype!

After searching online for Korres products, I came across the Korres website, which if I’m being honest, I didn’t find particularly user friendly. So I headed to ASOS, my new favourite online retailer, and was pleased to find that they stock a wide variety of Korres products.

But when I started looking at the Korres Lip Butters, I found it difficult to choose between the colours as I was worried that the darker shades may be too dark, and the lighter shades too faint. So I searched online for Korres Lip Butter swatches, and found this blog post through Google Images, which proved to be very useful!

From this, I chose the Wild Rose Korres Lip Butter and ordered it from ASOS for £7, with free delivery. It arrived within two days, and I’ve been using it ever since!

The product itself is very smooth and moisturising, applies well, and leaves a natural rose pink tint on your lips. I am glad that I ordered one of the darker shades though, as I do think that some of the lighter shades (such as Jasmine) may apply clear. But from trying this product alone, I am definitely a Korres convert, and can’t wait to try some of their other products!

Grace xXx

Label: Makeup

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Clinique Skin Care Routine


I switched to using Clinique skin care products just over a year ago, after trying a variety of products that caused one reaction after another, and I haven’t looked back since! So I thought I would do a review of the Clinique 3 Step skin routine (or 4 steps in my case), that I have been using.

The Clinique 3 Step skin routine consists of a cleanser, a toner and a moisturiser, each tailored to your specific skin type. These skin types are categorised as follows:

Skin Type 1 – Very Dry to Dry
Skin Type 2 – Dry Combination
Skin Type 3 – Oily
Skin Type 4 – Very Oily

If you’re not sure of your skin type, there is a link on the Clinique website entitled “Find Your Routine” that can help to determine which products are most suitable for you. Or alternatively, you can go to a Clinique counter and ask for a skin consultation.

This is exactly what I did, as I wanted to ensure that the products were suitable for my skin type and did not cause a reaction. From this, the Clinique consultant recommended that I look at the 3 Step routine for Skin Type 1, and after sampling the products I came away with all three and one extra!

The cleanser that I use is Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Extra-Mild. This is exactly what it says on the tin, but I would say that even though it is the mildest of the cleansers, for sensitive skin such as mine, it still takes a little getting used to.

The next step of the Clinique 3 Step routine is the toner. I use Clinique Clarifying Lotion 1. This is a watery solution that you apply onto cotton wool, and wipe over your face to remove any excess dry skin, dirt and oil.

Step 3 of the routine is the moisturiser. I use Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion, which is one of their most well known and best selling products. The moisturiser has a thin consistency that applies well, and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy.

Although not part of the 3 Step routine, I also picked up Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. This is a multipurpose makeup remover that can be used to remove all makeup, rather than using separate products for eyes and face.

If you’re unsure about purchasing the full size products to begin with, Clinique also sells 3 Step Introduction Kits for each skin type, which contain smaller versions of all three products for £20!

Grace xXx

Label: Skin Care

Sunday, 10 June 2012

NOTD - Peppermint


Just a simple nails of the day for today, as I thought the colour was pretty enough on its own!

For this design, I used two coats of Rimmel Lycra Pro Peppermint. I also applied a base and top coat. My favourites are Rimmel Stronger Double Duty Base Coat, and Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. More information about these can be found here.

I am a big fan of Rimmel nail polishes in general, as I feel there is a wide range of colours that are good quality and affordable. But I would say that the Lycra Pro polishes are my favourite, as they have a “maxi brush” which allows for quick and easy application. 

This particular nail polish also boasts an “anti-fade colour system”, but they jury’s out on that one! I usually change my nail polish quite regularly, so it never really has time to fade, but I don’t think it would bother me anyway even if it did.

Grace xXx

Label: Nails

Friday, 8 June 2012

Stila Convertible Colour


Until recently I had always used powder blusher, and as it worked well for me, I never really had any interest in trying cream blush. But due to the unpredictable British weather over the past few months, my skin started to dry out, and my trusty powder blusher served only to highlight the problem. So I started my search for the perfect cream blush alternative, and discovered Stila Convertible Colours!

I came across Stila Convertible Colours in Boots, and after a fair amount of swatching (much to by boyfriend's annoyance as we must have been stood at the Stila counter for a good 15 minutes), I decided on the colour Lillium. This is the darker shade of the two shown below, which is a natural dusky pink toned blush.

But if one blusher is good, two must be better! So as soon as I returned home I searched online for Stila Convertible Colours, and found the Stila UK website. On the website there is a much wider variety of colours, and I was immediately attracted to some of the brighter shades that are not available in Boots, and I ended up ordering another Stila Convertible Colour in Petunia. This is a much brighter, coral pink toned blush.

Petunia - Lillium

I originally started applying my Stila Convertible Colours just with my fingers, which did work quite well, but I sometimes found it difficult to achieve an even coverage. So instead, I invested in a Real Techniques Stippling Blush (review to follow), which I feel works much better.

Grace xXx

Label: Makeup

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Lush Dream Cream


I’ve been using Lush Dream Cream for a while now, so thought I would do a review.

Lush Dream Cream is a hand and body lotion that is suitable for sensitive skin. As the packaging reads:

“Our number one Lush product. A soothing and cooling cream that is designed to go on even the most sensitive and easily upset skins.”

The product itself has a light consistency, applies easily, and quickly soaks into the skin without feeling greasy. It is also recommended for skin conditions such as eczema, as it contains ingredients such as oat milk, chamomile and lavender oil, which are often used to soothe irritated skin.

This product was originally recommended to me by a friend, as I have quite sensitive skin and a little eczema from time to time. Despite this, I was still slightly sceptical to begin with, as I have tried a number of creams over the years that claim to be suitable for sensitive skin, which have either had no effect whatsoever or caused a reaction.

But I needn’t have worried! As Lush use fresh, natural ingredients, the product didn’t cause a reaction, and my skin started to feel more hydrated from the first application.

As with all Lush products, Lush Dream Cream is also free from animal testing. And best of all, if you return five clean Lush pots or tubes when you have finished the products, you will receive a free face mask!

Grace xXx

Label: Skin Care

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

NOTD - Jubilee


Carrying on with the Jubilee spirit, I decided to do a Jubilee inspired nails of the day!

For this design, I used two coats of Nails Inc St James’s, Nails Inc The Mall and Essie Picket Fence, on alternative nails. I then applied one coat of Topshop Ice Crush on each nail, to tie the look together.

I also applied a base and top coat. My favourites are Rimmel Stronger Double Duty Base Coat, and Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. More information about these can be found here

Grace xXx

Label: Nails

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Jubilee Cupcakes


As it is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this weekend, I decided to get into the spirit of things by making some Jubilee cupcakes!

For the cupcakes themselves, I used a basic Victoria Sponge recipe, which can be found here. I also used some Union Jack cupcake cases that I had left over from the Royal Wedding last year, but there are lots of similar designs available in supermarkets at the moment as well.

For the icing, I used Betty Crocker vanilla icing, piped it onto the cupcakes and finished with a sprinkling of red, white and blue hundreds and thousands.

Grace xXx

Label: Cupcakes

Friday, 1 June 2012

Dainty Doll Wonderbalm


I’ve been using Dainty Doll Wonderbalm for the past six months, so thought I would do a bit of a review.

Dainty Doll Wonderbalm is a multi-use balm that can be used for face and body. As the packaging reads:

“Dear wonder women, I have a true wonder product for use on lips, hands, elbows, knees, heels etc. Apply generously to any areas suffering from dry skin. Contains mango seed oil to smooth, soften and moisturise, natural plant waxes, beeswax and vitamin E rich in antioxidants. Alternatively, dab lightly over your Dainty Doll cheek bones, eye lids and corners or lips to give a dewy finish.”

The product itself has a soft lip balm consistency, applies well, and is highly scented. This worried me at first, as I have very sensitive skin that can be easily irritated by scented products. But the scent is not mentioned on the packaging, so I think this must just be the natural scent of the ingredients (beeswax etc).

Although this product can be used for face and body, I have only ever used it on my face, and it has never irritated my skin. The thing that originally attracted me to this product was the fact that it can be used around the eyes. I sometimes get dry skin around my eyes, particularly during the hay fever season, and although I have been prescribed some steroid ointment for this, I prefer not to use it. I was therefore looking for something a little more skin friendly, and Dainty Doll Wonderbalm is the perfect alternative!

This product is also free from animal testing, which is always a bonus. But I'm not sure if this is true of the entire Dainty Doll range, as I have only tried Wonderbalm.

Grace xXx

Label: Skin Care
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