Saturday, 30 May 2015

YBBF Challenge: Health and Wellbeing Detox

Most people seem to jump on the detox band wagon after a bit too much indulgence, which I understand. The body doesn't want any more excess yumminess. Usually, it's for a few days or even a few weeks but I am going to be doing this for six weeks. I will be eating real, wholesome food and not just juicing, taking cayenne pepper shots or whatever else is the new fad. 

This is not for weight loss reasons, although, I imagine that I will lose a bit of weight. This is so I feel completely healthy and well when I go on holiday. Having been advised to cut out sugar from my diet, having had some yucky viruses, I started to feel a whole lot better and returned to my normal self. However, I have slipped back into bad habits, which is natural when summer rolls around and prosecco is flowing! I am not one for limiting myself and not living life the way I want but the motivation of having the most amazing holiday and feeling good the whole time outweighs drinking and eating myself into oblivion for the next few weeks!

I don't know how strict I will be for every occasion. There are quite a few celebrations happening over June, so I will probably find the most healthy options and least sugary items, so that I still enjoy the celebratory atmosphere. 

I will be documenting my progress and if anyone wants to join in, please let us know via the comments, Instagram or Twitter. We would love to hear from you, see your progress, tips or just general motivation. Jen is going to be an excellent source of advice, as she is the master of eating healthily and yummily, so I will be calling on her for some new ideas and recipes. 

The thing that I am most looking forward to is having my energy levels completely back to normal. I cannot wait to be running around like an over excited child!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

YBBF Challenge: Turquoise eyeliner

As we get older it is very easy to view brighter makeup trends as total no-go areas. However, after many seasons of bare-faced beauty looks and attempts to be the best-most-natural version of yourself (whatever the hell that is!) it is fantastic to see creative makeup trends returning to the catwalk again. After all, makeup is supposed to be fun isn't it?

With this in mind Kay challenged me to come up with a wearable version of the turquoise eyeliner trend. Admittedly the term 'wearable' very much depends on personal taste. Despite being thirty I am more than happy to throw caution to the wind where makeup is concerned... but I think this look is something you could easily adapt to suit your personal style.

Please excuse the non-glam photo, this was first thing on a Sunday morning...

I decided that to keep the majority of my eye makeup simple and neutral with just a cream shadow base and taupe in the crease, winged eyeliner and black mascara. Then beneath the lower lashline I used a jade green pencil almost all the way along, before blending a lighter turquoise eyeshadow into the inner corner. On the outer corner I took a small amount of black eyeshadow on a liner brush and blended it along the outer third until it met the winged liner.

The gradual colour change, from dark on the outer corner to light on the inner corner gave the look some dimension which I think is key to making bright colours flattering. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this look so I used cheap high street products to try it out – the green pencil is the Rimmel Exaggerate Eyeliner in Emerald Sparkle and the turquoise shadow is from the MUA Winter Forest palette.

Having decided I would wear this again I think I will consider adding some green and turquoise shades to my MAC palette. High street makeup is a great way to try new colours at a fraction of the price, however brighter colours (particularly eyeshadows) are one area where you tend to get what you pay for and sadly the pigmentation didn't impress me with the MUA shadows. The turquoise looks much brighter in the pan than it is on the skin and I had to add a bit of water to intensify the colour. The Rimmel pencil had a much more vibrant colour but it contained flecks of glitter which frankly I think is just a bit weird. (Perhaps the word 'sparkle' in the name should have given the game away!...)

If you fancy trying a bright colour in a more subtle way you could always just use a turquoise pencil along the waterline. However I wanted something a bit bolder and more long-lasting as I was heading to a festival and I can report that this lasted all day with just the MUA shadow fading.

Friday, 22 May 2015

YBBF Challenge: nourishing haircare products

We extended our YBBF challenge to our followers on Instagram and @sarahhamburgers requested some advice on products for nourishing long hair, particularly natural ones. 

Jen and I both have long hair but Jen's is in much better condition than mine! To be fair, mine's been through the ringer with hair dye, dodgy straighteners and bad products when I was a young'un. But over the last few years, my hair has been pretty healthy, until recently. A bout of shingles along my hair line left the hair dry, lifeless and lacklustre.  So, the following products are the ones I have bought to help bring the life and shine back to my hair: 

I bought Pura D'Or Argan Oil Anti-Hair Loss Shampoo. As the name suggests, it is marketed as a hair loss preventative but for me, this wasn't really the draw. It was the Argan Oil, SLS free, paraben free and chemical free ingredients and I have to say, my hair has grown like a shaggy beast since using it. However the price tag is steep at £50 for 16 fl oz. The information says that each bottle lasts three months and actually, mine lasted four and a half. 

Something less expensive is Green People's Sensitive Shampoo. With aloe leaf juice, pineapple, green tea, 83% organic ingredients, plus it's free from nasty things like irritating emulsifiers and synthetic scents. It's a lovely, naturally based product that really cleans the hair and doesn't pump it with chemicals.

Aveda's Invati range is also really great for encouraging new hair and healthy hair growth by exfoliating the scalp and removing build up, allowing other products a chance to nourish the scalp. I tend to use it once a week, before using the Pura D'Or.

Ojon's Rare Blend Oil has been my recent hair oil of choice. It acts as a heat protector, so I apply it to wet hair and comb through with a de-tangling comb. It's also great for fly aways after styling. 
I apply it to the ends of my hair if I'm putting my hair up in a top knot bun and I leave them to soak up the product whilst my hair is up. 

Dry shampoo. It's become a beauty bestfriend because let's face it, sometimes we don't get up as early as we should and end up foregoing a hair wash! I have been using Klorane, which has far more natural ingredients and no talcum powder. It's made with nettles and whatever those nettles do, they can keep doing it! It easily brushes out, immediately makes hair look fresher and doesn't coat the hair in lots of yucky product.

Hair masks. I tend to use a mask or treatment once a week. Just after the shingles, I massaged Moroccan Oil into the scalp and hair and left it over night. It really gave the moisture my hair needed. Morroccan Oil's Intense Hydrating Mask is also great and as I don't use a thick conditioner (it weighs down my hair), putting this on for ten minutes or so, gives a moisture injection. 

Nothing beats eating the right types of food to help hair look healthy. Don't get me wrong, products like coconut oil are great for a home made mask but adding avocado to a salad or using coconut oil in baking is so nourishing for your insides as well as being good for hair. I, personally, don't take supplements like biotin. I tried it and my stomach objected! However, I used to take Pefectil's Skin, Hair and Nails Vitamin Supplement and it certainly did work. 

If anyone has any other suggestions for a YBBF Challenge, please comment below or Instagram us at: your_beauty_best_friend. We'd love to hear from you! 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Balance Me - Natural Protection Moisturiser SPF25

As you know by now, we are always looking out for products that are natural yet effective, however sunscreen can be a tricky one. Products containing spf typically contain a variety of chemicals but as much as we like natural products, sun protection is one area where we aren't taking any risks! So if there is a natural way to protect your skin from the sun then we are all for it.

A couple of days ago an email landed in my inbox about the Natural Protection Moisturiser SPF25 from Balance Me and although I haven't tried it yet I felt it was worth sharing. Balance Me is known for its fantastic products that contain almost entirely natural ingredients and I haven't been disappointed with anything I've tried yet. (You can read our review of the Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm here.)

According to the website this moisturiser is 'deeply hydrating, plumping and smoothing whilst protecting skin from sun and environmental damage, premature ageing and pigmentation.' So far so good!

What's in it?

An innovative natural titanium dioxide-based sun filter blocks out UVA and UVB rays. I'll need to do a little more research to understand exactly what that means but I trust Balance Me! Other ingredients include*:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Blackberry leaf extract with essential fatty acid-rich rosehip
- Camellia
- Kukui nut
- Jojoba Oils

This combination should smooth and firm the skin whilst shielding it from the sun, which sounds like a winning combo to me. I think I might just have to put in an order and try this one, in which case I'll write a full review, but in the meantime if anyone has already tried it I'd love to hear your verdict!

£26 for 40ml or £9.50 for 10ml from

*You can find a full list of ingredients on the website

Friday, 15 May 2015

Friday Food Favourites and YBBF Challenge

I'm loving smoothies. I tend to make my own and most recently I've been combining a handful of blueberries, a few slices of beetroot, a small handful of kale and an apple. It's an excellent mid morning snack. If I need to go anywhere and want to take my smoothie with me, I have been putting it in a protein shaker bottle, so I can shake it up before drinking it. It's worked wonders! 

I know that Jen has mentioned Ruby's of London before and they so deserved to be mentioned. They made the most amazing red velvet cake for my birthday and coming home to a slice has made the working week very bearable! Especially when it's vegan, gluten free, naturally sweetened and seriously yummy.

I have also found an amazing farm shop that is a healthy food haven. I picked up Doves Farm Agave Nectar Flapjacks, which gives a sugar fix without actually eating sugar. Hurrah! 


All over Instagram, Pinterest and online, I keep seeing the turquoise eyeliner trend. I really like it but when I've tried it, it hasn't looked quite as I wanted it to. Below is an example – the water line is lined with a blue liner but it doesn't make the eyes pop.

So, my challenge to Jen is to find a wearable turquoise eyeliner look that is striking but not too much. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Christopher Kane for NARS collection – Neoneutrals

Designer collaborations seem to be announced on a daily basis of late, but when an innovative designer like Christopher Kane joins forces with a powerhouse like NARS we certainly deem it newsworthy! Kane's shows are undoubtedly one of the highlights of London Fashion Week and he has been working with with Nars on them since 2012. A collaboration was the obvious next move and for Summer 2015 they have released the Neoneutral collection which, as the name suggests, consists of 10 complementary products in nude and neon shades.

Although some of pieces look extreme, such as the Starscape blush, they are in fact very flattering shades if you use a light hand. The lip glosses above are £19 and (from left to right) in shades: Nucleus, Mezmer, Glow Pink and Nebulous.

Above, clockwise from top left:

Duo eye shadow in Parallel Universe, £25
Blush in Silent Nude, £23
Blush in Starscape, £23
Shimmer eye shadow in Outer Limits, £18

Below is the Illuminating Multiple in Violet Atom.

The Christopher Kane for NARS collection is currently available exclusively to Selfridges and will be available on from 15 May 2015 and nationwide on 1 June 2015.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

How to look socially acceptable when you're tired!

Makeup is great and all but nothing compares to getting a good night's sleep. However, sometimes that's just not possible and quite frankly, if I've been out late the night before, I look like a swollen chipmunk the next morning!


The following steps are everything that I do, if I can be bothered to do it all and when staying in my jammies all day isn't an option! Sometimes, I just pick and choose from these tips. I know that some of my friends who have recently had babies wouldn't have the time or inclination to do all of these things and for other friends, if they have had a night of one or two (thousand) drinkies, they might fall back asleep after the first few steps!

Step 1. When you get home, before you go to bed, take off your make up. No matter how tired you are and how good the bed looks, take off the makeup, use a serum and hydrating moisturiser. 

Step 2. The next morning, it's important to cleanse and exfoliate. I use an oil based cleanser because I have dry skin and I use a natural exfoliant but if things are really dodgy, I use the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. 

Step 3. Put two tea spoons in the fridge whilst you are showering and then, put them under your eyes, which cools and de-puffs them. You'll look like a total loon but it's worth it. 

Step 4. Serum, moisturiser, eye cream, tea tree oil. If you break out when tired, hormonal, over indulged or for any other reason, something natural like Dr. Organics Bioactive Organic Tea Tree Pure Oil on a cotton pad will help you out. Dab onto the dodgy areas. This will reduce redness and sort spots but it won't dry out the skin, like Quinoderm or other spot treatments. The serum that I use is the REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Oil. It's so hydrating and feels nice even on a good day. On a bad day, it's like skin medication. However, I keep it away from my eyes. Otherwise, my make up slides everywhere.

Then, use a light moisturiser, which is hydrating to tired, worn out skin. I use Ole Henriksen's Truth Creme Advanced Hydration. Finally, I try to use an eye treatment of some kind. At the moment, I use the Aveda Botanical Kinetics Energyzing Eye Creme, which depuffs and feels luxurious without being too much. I had a treatment using that range and have used it ever since.

Step 5. Let the moisturiser soak into the skin. 

Step 6. Use a wrinkle filler, an illuminating primer and a pore filler. 
You can't close pores, it's not possible but you can make them look smoother. I use Olay's Regenerist 30 second Wrinkle Filler to blur my wrinkle lines and smooth the pores on my cheeks. 
Something illuminating for a primer is useful because skin can look sallow if tired. I use Benefit's That Gal. 

Step 7. Use a highlighting concealer under the eye, making a triangle shape, with the point of the triangle hitting the top of the cheeks. The key here is to not use too much product. I use a tapered kabuki brush to blend the product, dabbing it onto the skin. Let's face it, the eyes are probably a bit delicate! Dabbing is probably the best option! To see the brushes that I tend to use, click here.

Step 8. I will wear foundation, especially if I am looking a bit poorly, but again, less is more and I tend to use it in certain places, such as my cheeks, where I can get some discolouration. 
I use a Real Techniques Stippling Brush to buff the product into my chops! My foundation of choice is Georgio Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation because it's light, leaves a beautiful natural finish and covers any discolouration. 

Step 9. This step is a bit of a weird one. Before I add anything else, I will use a moisturiser again. Yep, I know, odd. I press the moisturiser between my fingers and then, press it into my face and allow it to absorb. Again, not loads, just a top up of hydration. It makes the skin look perkier and somehow, helps the product settle into the skin. 

Step 10. Eye primer. A must because my eyes water when I am sleepy or hungover and feeling very sorry for myself. 

Step 11. I brush my brows and apply a brow product, either powder or gel. Again, less is more but definition will help you to look more pulled together. 

Step 12. On my eyes, I make sure that I use a light, brightening colour that counteracts the redness. I will also use some kind of neutral colour as a base. Some people use paintpots or eye shadow sticks. I tend to go for something that is cool toned. I suit cool toned colours, especially if I have redness around my eyes. I also avoid any dark, sultry eye looks. My eyes just can't pull it off at this point! 

Step 13. I contour. When tired, my chops get crazy! I use the Hourglass Ambient Light Palette. With an angled contour brush, I apply the subtle warm shade (Radiant Light) and I make sure that I have some definition. I also use Sigma's Tapered Highlighter (F35) brush to apply the highlighting shade (Incandescent Light) on the brow bone, down the nose, above the brows, on the cupid bow and just below the contour line, above the jaw line. Here comes some definition! Hurrah. 

Step 14. Now my eyes have gotten over the fact that they have product on and hopefully, stopped watering, I do winged eyeliner. This gives my puffy eyes some shape. I set that with some light setting powder, usually Laura Mercier. 

Step 15. I use mascara that gives long, voluminous lashes without clumping or depositing too much product. I am a big fan of Armani Eyes to Kill. I used to use some natural mascaras but they ended up half way down my face. Not great! 

Step 16. Spray a setting spray or even something like the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I know it's not meant for setting but it hydrates, seems to illuminate the skin and for me, it has actually helps makeup look revived on dull skin. 

Step 17. Try and nap during the day! Everyone loves a power nap! 

Step 18. Drink lots of water. Hydrate. 

Step 19. Make a smoothie with veggies and fruit to nourish body and skin. 

Step 20. Remind yourself that tomorrow is another day and enjoy life...even if you're feeling a little under par. A wonderfully, happy personality is far more fabulous! 


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The best friend beauty challenge...

This month we're going to be introducing something a little different – the YBBF challenge – where Kay and I will set each other beauty-related tasks. Think Challenge Anneka without the shell suits! For her first challenge I've asked Kay to devise a routine to help us all look like we've had considerably more sleep than we have. I might eat a healthy diet but I'm a pretty busy lady and my social life often incorporates too much alcohol and not enough sleep. Hopefully Kay will come up with some products and tips that will help us all look a bit more sparkly after a weekend of over-indulging...

Hope you all had a fantastic bank holiday weekend. Roll on the next one!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Olivia Palermo's first collection for Ciaté

Earlier this year, Olivia Palermo was named as guest creative director for nail brand Ciaté. She will create several collections throughout 2015, the first of which has just been unveiled on It consists of three polishes in classic shades inspired by her own lifestyle; Hutch, Sundays and Nantucket.

Hutch is a classic red named after her mother, who wore a similar shade whilst Olivia was growing up. Sundays is a nude and the name pays tribute to her husband, whose weekly Instagram post of the pair are always entitled 'Sundays'. Finally Nantucket, my personal favourite, is a beautiful coral shade named after one of her favourite holiday destinations. All three are very classic wearable shades, an unsurprising first collection that is true to Palermo's own classic style. I look forward to seeing if she throws us a curve-ball with the next collection!

From left to right: Hutch, Nantucket and Sundays

Available from June 2015,

Images via