Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas Reviews and Sales

Now that Christmas is over and the subsequent sales are under way, I thought I would share a few of my favourite beauty treats that are currently available for great prices.

Emma Hardie's 'The Midas Touch Tutorial Box' is a product design marvel. It comes with video screen, which shows tutorials. Yes, of course it's unique and eye catching, especially as there are buttons to press to select the tutorials, but the tutorials are really interesting and show the different ways to use the products, even down to the way to use the muslin cloth with the lines of the face. By doing it in the suggested way, the face immediately looks more toned and tight. It reminds me of the way the face looks after a facial. Actually, the music and soft spoken instructions make the whole experience very spa like! 

The products are gorgeous and include Moringa Cleansing Balm (see review), which is the best cleansing product that I have used to date. Dry skin is transformed and makeup is quickly removed.
I am yet to try the Midas Touch Serum and Age Support Face Cream but the Serum tutorial made it look like some kind of skin medication, where it is strategically placed on specific points of the face, so I'm excited to work that one out!  

The Midas Touch Box is £99 and an online exclusive. However, in the sale, Feel Unique are offering the Morninga Cleansing Balm for £32.30 and the Midas Touch Box for £69.30 

Space NK is one of my favourite shops and their gift boxes are a lovely present. However, in the 50% off sale, the products are even better! REN, Aromatherapy Associates, By Terry, Diptyque and others are included. Hurrah! 


Debenhams are also doing some amazing perfume deals, especially perfume gift sets. Soft, floral scents, such as Marc Jacobs Daisy collections, Thierry Mugler, Jimmy Choo and Gucci are all down in price. It is also doing some amazing makeup deals, including Urban Decay and YSL. 

Amazon are doing deals left right and centre. This Christmas seemed to be the year of the watches in our house and I am particularly fond of the Daniel Wellington collection. I like the masculine, no nonsense design, which doesn't look overly manly for women, with a classic design. 
The watches have gone down from £159 to approximately £78, so it's an amazing time to nab a good deal. 


Happy shopping everyone! 

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas!

Continuing our 20 year tradition, Jen and I spent Christmas Eve together, with plenty of food, drink and friends. Eating to the point of a food coma was on the agenda and with Christmas jumpers on, we were thoroughly festive!

So, from us, Happy Christmas everyone and thank you for reading our ramblings this year! Xxx 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Last minute beauty gifts!

With only three days to go until Christmas here is a very last-minute beauty gift guide. Everything is under £100 and available on Net-A-Porter. Best of all if you get your orders in by 3pm they will be delivered the next day!

Clockwise from top left:
SMITH & CULT Nail polish in Lover's Creep, £19
NAILS INC Nail polish in Belgrave Square, £14
TOM FORD BEAUTY Lips & Boys lipstick in Tony 72, £27
BURBERRY BEAUTY Warm Glow Bronzer, £31
AERIN Large gold-toned hairbrush, £66
BY TERRY Baume De Rose Nutri-Couleur in Cherry Bomb, £36
DIPTYQUE Set of three 70g candles, £60
HOURGLASS Ambient lighting Edit £65


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

At my work's Christmas shindig, I received a lovely gift in the form of a REN facial. Whilst the bakers of the group were ooing and ahhing over cupcake stands (to be fair, they were very pretty), I stared lovingly at a product that I knew my skin desperately needed. Needless to say, it hasn't disappointed.

• Vitamin C is activated when combined with water. You are advised to apply in circular motions but I've slapped it on and it still does the job. 
• I can genuinely see results after use. My skin was smoother and more plumped. My makeup applied beautifully after using it. 
• Like all REN products, the facial doesn't contain any parabens, mineral oil or sulphates (plus other unnecessary ingredients).
• It's quick to use. Bung it on for a minute, hence the name, and wash it off. Done. 
• You can literally feel dead skin cells being removed... I'm not sure if that's what it is but it feels as if you can, which then leaves skin silky and smooth. It is as if a serum is on your face. 
• It can be used on arms and décolletage. I often experience redness on the arms and it toned that down after one use. It is also delicate enough to be used on the chest area. 
• It has visibly reduced the lines on my forehead. Hallelujah!  

• The product springs out of the tube a bit too easily! You can often waste product. 

£32 for 75ml 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Kure Bazaar Nail Polish

Kure Bazaar calls themselves an eco-trendy company and considering the range of colours, the lack of chemicals and the detoxing properties within the polish, it seems fair enough.

The packaging is sturdy, sleek and classy. The range of colours is extensive but to get all wintery, I picked out the deep, shimmery purple called 'Catwalk'.

The varnish applied smoothly and although I did two coats, one would have been enough. The shimmer-ness made the nails look super duper glossy but it wasn't too much. 

Although I used O.P.I's Drip Dry drying drops, the product dried quickly. Despite wearing a base and top coat, several nails chipped after two days. I'm going to try the other shades to see if they do the same.

If you are someone who is conscious about the chemicals in products, changes their nail colour every few days or wants something that strengthens the nails, whilst wearing some colour, then this brand is definitely for you. I love that they use ingredients such as wheat, cotton and wood pulp to regenerate the nail. My only complaint is that for the price (£15 for 10ml), I would expect the colour to last for several days. 

I am going to try the rose gold colour and fingers crossed, it will last a little longer!

www.amazon.co.uk (Good bargains: £7/8 per 10ml bottle.)
www.naturisimo.com (Free glass nail file with any £30 purchase.)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Too Faced Spring 2016 collection

No sooner have I got my head around the fact that yes, it is December, and yes Christmas is well and truly on its way... than spring collections start to appearing! And this is one we have been definitely been waiting for.

Here at YBBF we are a big fan of the Too Faced Chocolate eye shadow palette, not only for the excellent quality of the eye-shadows but also for its delicious chocolate scent! So we are very happy to announce its follow-up that launches today as part of the Too Faced spring 2016 collection.

The Chocolate Bon Bons palette is £35 and contains 16 shades in a range of matte and shimmers. These are mostly very wearable everyday neutrals but there are a few candy-inspired brights thrown in for good measure. Best of all it boasts the same chocolaty fragrance as its predecessor!

Other highlights from the collection include the Love Flush Blush Wardrobe and the Mr. Right Perfect Powder Brush. Although I can't vouch for this brush's performance just yet, if it's half as impressive as the design I will be a very happy bunny.

In case you needed any further persuasion to do a little Christmas shopping, Too Faced now ship directly to the UK from their website. This makes life a lot easier as you can check out all the prices in pounds too. Too Faced also receive huge brownie points for the fact that all of their products are cruelty free.

Happy shopping!

For the full collection visit www.toofaced.com/new-collections

Friday, 4 December 2015

Allergen Free Brownies

Namaste Foods Brownie Mix is free from 8 main allergens, including wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, peanuts, sugar and others. With seven ingredients in the packet and only requiring the baker to add eggs/flax eggs and oil, it sounded like my cup of tea. 

It was easy and quick to mix and didn't require any baking gadgets. However, the taste is truly amazing. The gooey middle and firm crust made it taste just like a real brownie! Actually, it tasted better. I got my fiancé (which in itself sounds like baking term) to taste it, as he usually turns up his nose at my healthy style/alternative snacks and he loved them. High praise indeed!

They only downside is the price. It costs £15.86 for 850g. To buy but with postage and packaging, it totals £26.27. That's a steep price considering that will produce 12 medium sized brownies. However, for me, something that is allergy friendly and tastes really good is worth the money. Anyone who spends any time in a supermarket's 'free from' aisle will know the expense, but for people who prefer not to be bloated/icky over Christmas or for those who are genuine allergic to the most common ingredients, it's worth buying. This is one of the best 'free from' foods I've ever eaten. So much so, I am going to ask Santa to buy me another packet. Hopefully the price won't deter him! 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The return of Tom Ford's Lips & Boys collection

Here's a little treat for all the Tom Ford lipstick fans out there... The designer has launched a new limited edition collection of mini lipsticks named after the men he admires most. Alongside 25 returning boys from last year's collection, this year sees the arrival of 25 new shades, including Rocco, Joaquin, Eddie and Drake.

Some of last year's collection in the classic TF packaging

They might be smaller than the standard Tom Ford lipsticks but they have the same beautiful packaging, making them ideal for fitting in those ridiculously small clutch bags that are synonymous with the holiday season. The collection launched exclusively at Selfridges on Friday and is now available at all Tom Ford counters. The image below offers a sneak peak at some of the shades available, but from true reds to subtle nudes, I assure you there is a boy to suit everyone...

£27 / $37 dollars each
See all the shades at www.tomford.com/lips-and-boys/

Friday, 27 November 2015

Philosophy's Christmas Cookie

Philosophy's Christmas Cookie has been adding some festive flair to my shower! This shower gel/bubble bath/shampoo is thick enough to also be used as a shaving cream, whilst giving off the delectable scent of something extremely sweet. I'm not too sure what a Christmas cookie is but I seem to remember eating them in America and they were like sugar cookies, so the sweet vanilla/almond/marzipan scent is actually quite similar to what I remember.

I wouldn't say that the scent reminds me of Christmas but I am a fan of the sweet tones and it's not overpowering. If you enjoy Prada Candy or anything with cocoa butter you will definitely like this!

More than anything, it's the novelty factor that I enjoy. It's a bit of a treat for the festive period and I much prefer it to the Lush Snow Angel shower gel that I bought last year. It's far more 'Christmassy', probably because of the packaging. Dolled up in a red, green and silver sparkle (which looks like ribbon) box, it shouts Christmas. My favourite part is the cookie recipe on the front of the bottle, complete with ingredient amounts and baking instructions!

This would make a great gift for any friends who love baking but, from a non baker's perspective, it certainly has the nostalgia factor – it reminds me of coming home to my Mum's and creating some kind of Christmas kitchen concoction. Above anything else, I love smelling the yumminess every time I pop into the shower! I will certainly be buying it again and most definitely treating myself to a Christmas Cookie bubble bath.

£14 for 480ml 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Best Beauty Christmas Crackers 2015

We've already taken a look at some of this year's best beauty advent calendars, but how about beauty Christmas crackers? I don't think we're the only ones that would rather find a nail polish or lipstick in our Christmas cracker than one of those weird metal puzzles and a questionable joke! They are definitely a nice way to add something special to your Christmas celebrations.

Much like the advent calendars they range in price, but they are typically very good value in terms of the amount of product you get for the RRP. So here are five of the best:

This beautiful set contains: Cleansing Burst Body Wash 75ml, Silky Smooth Body Lotion 75ml, Green Lemon & Orange Blossom Body Wash 75ml, White Lily & Damask Rose Body Wash 75ml.
£10, www.boots.com

Each of these crackers contains a full size nail polish and a NailKale Superfood base coat.
£38, www.nailsinc.com

Exclusive to Selfridges, these crackers contain a selection of Clarins favourites, including a Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, Beauty Flash Balm and a miniature Rouge Eclat Lipstick.
£49, www.selfridges.com

You can always rely on Boots to help you out at Christmas. Not only do these crackers contain a lovely selection of lip and nail products, but they are currently part of Boots' 3 for 2 promotion.
£16, www.boots.com

Pamper yourself with this lovely selection of spa products! Includes: Citrus Blush Shower Gel, Summer dream Shower Gel, Citrus Blush Body Lotion and Heavenly Days Shower cream.
£10, www.champneys.com

Friday, 20 November 2015

Gwen Stefani for Urban Decay

You can tell the holiday season is upon us by the plethora of palettes that are hitting the shops, but none have excited me more than this little collaboration... Gwen Stefani and Urban Decay! That truly is a match made in makeup heaven. There is a beautiful mixture of neutral tones, a couple of brights and that all important true black. The colour slection, along with the balance of mattes and shimmers, means that this would be a fantastic option for travel.

From Harajuku and Danger to Anaheim and Baby, the shades have suitably Gwen-like names and, whether you are a Gwen fan or not, Urban Decay eyeshadows are tough to beat. I think this would make a fantastic gift for a fellow make-up lover. Of all the new palettes I have seen this season, this is definitely the one I want to get my hands on the most.

Available from Sunday 22nd November, £40

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Ciate Nail Varnish Advent Calendar

One of my closest friends gave me an early Christmas present and suggested that I open it before December 1st. Now, I know I sound like a big kid but Christmas presents really excite me, especially when you are allowed to open them before Christmas Day. Obviously, I opened it as soon as I got home – why wait?

It was the Ciaté advent calendar! Inside are 24 mini nail varnishes, one for each day of advent. The back of the box gives an idea of the colours that you will receive, including the mystery shades.... which makes me think that each box might be slightly different. Exciting stuff! 

With the boom of beauty advents left, right and centre, it is hardly surprising that they are becoming coveted gifts. The price range for each advent means that every budget can be satisfied (we went into Liberty's the other day and unsurprisingly, the luxury advent was over £100.) However, they are novel, beautifully packaged and allow for the Christmas gift giving to start early! Jen looked at some of the more popular ones (including Ciate and Liberty's) in a post earlier this month and if you want a unique gift and have decided upon a beauty advent, snap them up quickly. They are selling out fast! You can read that post here: Best Beauty Advent Calendars

Friday, 13 November 2015

Benefit's Roller Lash Mascara

I know I'm late on this but I have only just tried Benefit's Roller Lash mascara. I received a full sized product in a goodie bag and decided to stop using Armani Eyes To Kill and give Roller Lash a go. Luckily, I have already got a back up one (actually, I nabbed a second goodie bag... remember, stealing is great kids!)

Why this works: 

• The wand is easy to manoeuvre and there are brush grabs (Benefit's term, not mine) that lift and separate the lashes. 

• The brush grabs are not painful to the eye area and do exactly what they say they are going to do. 

• The lashes look natural but with glamorous edge. 

• In my opinion, this product is much better than Benefit's 'They're Real' mascara, which I didn't like.

• Roller Lash wears well throughout the day. The lashes stay put and I haven't noticed any fallout. 

• The mascara itself is fairly wet, which I like but not to the point where the lashes look weighed down by it. 

• I will use the wand with other mascaras (tried it with Hourglass) and it works pretty well. Those grabbers really work. So, if you like a really wet, clumpy mascara but need something that will separate the lashes, the Roller Lash wand is much better than any lash comb. 

• I haven't needed to use a lash curler with this product. 

I would buy this product again.... after I have used up my two freebies! 

£19.50 for 0.3oz 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Chanel Rouge Noir Absolument – Holiday Collection

Chanel's Rouge Noir nail varnish celebrated its 20th birthday last year and the brand is celebrating with the launch of an entire Rouge Noir collection, just in time for Christmas. The original nail colour launched in 1994 and quickly became iconic after gracing the nails of Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.

Fans of the seductive shade will love the way that it has been adapted and used as inspiration for a variety of new lip and eye products. There are even items that are designed to complement the Rouge Noir, such as a gold sparkle top coat – perfect to transform the original red-black into something a little more festive for the holidays.

Clockwise from the left:
Le Crayon Khôl Intense Eye Pencil, £17
Illusion D'Ombre Long-Wearing Luminous Eyeshadow, £25
Le Vernis nail colour, £18
Le Volume De Chanel Mascara, £25
Creation Exclusive Signé Particulier, £44
Rouge Allure Intense Long-Wear Luminous Lip Colour, £26

To see the full collection and tutorials visit www.chanel.com

Friday, 6 November 2015

Burt's Bees Citrus Facial Scrub

The Burt's Bees Citrus Facial Scrub was one of the products I wrote about on my Beauty Wish List post last month. Now that I've had it for a little while and thoroughly put it to the test, I thought it was time to share my verdict...

On opening this, it smelt like Christmas. Forget citrus, it smelt like Christmas spice... I'm not going to lie, that made me very happy! However, when using the product, the citrus smell kicks in. It's subtle and refreshing.

The scrub itself is fine and non abrasive. Actually, to the point that I couldn't work out if I needed to add more. However, after using it, my chops were exfoliated and have looked less pore-filled. 
The ingredients are 99% natural and the product is designed to remove makeup as well as moisturise, thanks to the sweet almond oil.

The only negative is getting the product out of the jar. That may sound ridiculous but because it's a thick product and it's quite dry, I have been known to ping citrus scrub across the bathroom. It can also break up when you first combine it with water, which all in all makes it a messy product. It's not the kind of thing that I would take away with me, for fear of leaving a trail of citrus scrub behind me, but I like that it has natural ingredients and that it has improved my skin tone. Also, the Christmassy smell will work out over the festive period! 

£10.99 for 2oz 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Best Beauty Advent Calendars 2015

First of all I must apologise for talking about Christmas when we are only three days into November. Yes, we all know people who have finished their Christmas shopping already, however (if you are anything like me and want to keep Christmas in December where it belongs) please bear with me...

Beauty advent calendars have been getting bigger and better over the last few years. They are now available to suit every budget and the high street is getting involved in what was once a solely high-end domain. Most are either 12 or 24 days and (as much as I love chocolate) what could be better than getting a beauty-related present each morning in the run up to Christmas?! There's only one problem – many of the most popular brands sell out quickly. So if you fancy treating yourself, or someone else, you will need to get in quick. Hence the unnaturally early festive post from me.

So without further ado, here are 8 of the best beauty advent calendars:

The Book of Makeup Magic is a fabulous calendar by the one and only Charlotte Tilbury. It contains 12 of her most popular products: Magic Cream 15ml, Take It All Off 15ml, Wonderglow 15ml, Multi Miracle Glow 15ml, Supermodel Body 15ml, Goddess Skin Clay Mask 15ml, Mini K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick, Matte Revolution lipstick, Lip Magic, Mini Rock n Kohl liner, Nocturnal Cat eyes Eyeshadow, Magic Night cream.
£150, www.charlottetilbury.com

The Selfridges Beauty Workshop Advent Calendar is a lot like their seasonal beauty boxes – exceptional value for money. The 24 little beauty treats are worth £226 in total and include Tweezerman tweezers, Eyeko skinny liquid liner, Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, Caudalie Divine Oil and lots more.
£60 www.selfridges.com

This limited edition calendar contains 24 iconic Kérastase deluxe travel size products and one full size Elixir product worth £28.50 alone. If you are a Kérastase fan you won't want to miss this one. Visit the link below for details of all the products included.
£79.99 www.kerastase.co.uk

Fans of Lush can enjoy 12 days of bath bombs, bubble bars, bath melts and body lotions! All products are vegan making it an ideal gift for anyone who likes to buy cruelty-free brands.
£49.95 www.lush.co.uk

Fellow nail-polish addicts will love this Mini Mani Month advent calendar by Ciaté. This is another one that is excellent value for money as it contains 23 nail polishes and a nail file worth £124 in total.
£49 www.selfridges.com

The Body Shop's 24 Happy Days calendar has a really wide variety of treats, from cult classics to new products, including bath and bodycare, skincare, fragrance and more. Check out the full list at the link below
£60 www.thebodyshop.co.uk

This calendar is a real luxury treat.. possibly the one I want to get my paws on the most! Who could resist that beautiful packaging with the iconic Liberty building illustration? Yes it is a little pricey at £149, but with over £400 worth of products inside, my beauty maths tells me it is actually a real bargain! It even contains 11 full-sized products alongside the deluxe sample sizes. Gifts include skin care from Eve Lom and Dr Sebagh, candles by Diptyque, cosmetics by Surratt and haircare from Davines.
£149 www.liberty.co.uk

Jo Malone's advent calendar is always a hot favourite and rightly so. However, as a result it sells out very quickly. It is currently unavailable on their website but it might be worth checking your nearest store. If you can get hold of you one you will have 24 days of beautiful treats to look forward to! This is another one that scores highly on the packaging front too, with the brand's Georgian townhouse illustrated on the front.
£260, www.jomalone.co.uk

Other brands worth checking out include L'Occitane, Benefit (although I believe this has sold out online!), No7 and M&S Beauty. If you know of any others we would love to hear from you!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Barefoot SOS Repair + Renew Intensive Treatment Oil

Up until recently, I have been using Algenist Advanced Anti-Aging Repairing Oil (see review), which is amazing but not wanting to pay out 60+ pounds, I have turned to Barefoot SOS Repair and Renew Intensive Treatment Oil.

• Oil absorbs into the skin quickly but skin still feels moisturised. 
• I can use it under makeup and my makeup stays put (I do use primers) 
• I haven't had used other moisturisers with it
• Not overly greasy
• Sensitive enough to be used around the eye area so I haven't been using eye cream
• Thick enough to use on the body and hands
• Good value for money – £28 for 25ml 
• Vegan 
• All ingredients are naturally derived, so I feel all at one with the Earth! 
• This has made my skin tone more even and toned down some of the redness
• A little goes a really long way
• My wrinkles seemed to have plumped up

• The applicator does not hold the oil when it is taken out of the bottle. It immediately starts dripping, which is annoying.
• I am unsure how those with oily skin would find this. I have dry to combination skin, which the product has moisturised but not made oily or caused any breakouts. However, people with oily skin might find this too much. 

Despite the applicator irritation, this is a really good product and one that I wasn't expecting to like very much. I thought it would be a gap filler until I forked out for the Alegenist Advanced Anti-Aging Repairing Oil again but I was wrong. I am going to buy another bottle to use as a body moisturiser and now I have got a handy flick technique sorted, there shouldn't be oil dropping all over the carpet!