Pots of Joy

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My post winter, dehydrated, flakey yet still threatening outbreaks of blemishes skin is in desperate need of some TLC and a large dose of moisture. Reminding myself to not be a total consumer and give in to luxurious packaging and adverts that promise instant and restored beauty I started flipping back through my blog and racking my brain for tips that wouldn’t break the bank. Remembering the wise words of my Parisian friend’s grandma along with a good friend at Condé Nast I popped into Boots and splashed out a whole £1.49 for 50ml of cult classic, the original Nivea Crème , hey, it was so cheap I bought one to leave at my boyfriends. Anyhow, that night once I had removed my make-up, cleansed and toned like a good beauty blogger, I pealed opened the rather novel seal from my little blue pot and inhaled that classic, classic smell of old school crème that promised comfort and restored hydration. Using clean hands I scooped about two generous blobs onto my face, and spent a good five minutes massaging it in, using the pads of my fingers and strength of my thumb to apply pressure to my skin which works to increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Honestly girls, adding just a few extra minutes to your skincare regime to do this will give you healthier, glowing and plumper skin in an instant. I particularly recommend this technique for the Nivea’s Crème as it’s thick and rich texture can feel a little sticky after application so it should definitely be reserved for your night-time regime.  Once fully absorbed in the morning however, your skin will feel as soft as a baby’s bum!

Continuing my frugal quest I got in touch with the lovely ladies who do the PR for Nspa who suggested I tried their Deep Hydrating Facial Oil for my parched complexion. An exquisite combination of Baobab oil rich in vitamin A, D, E and F helps improve skin elasticity whilst Rosehip oil helps rebuild and strengthen, not forgetting to mention the delightful smell which comes into its own when massaged into cleansed skin. I still can’t believe all of this deliciousness costs a meager £7 (asda.com) and it even comes with a handy drop stick to prevent wastage. I admit, I am often a snob when it comes to facial oils, but this little beauty really does what it says on the bottle. Even with one use my skin felt hydrated and restored.

10/10 for Studio 10

I feel like I’ve won the beauty blogger’s equivalent the lottery. Good luck round one was  having the most amazing hair styling and colouring at the Jo Hansford salon (5 weeks on and it’s still looking glossy and natural). Good luck round 2 was a ridiculously generous delivery from new make-up kid-on-the-block, Studio 10 who sent me the most amazing array of make-up. Good luck number three was a free a BEYONCÉ ticket (which was in addition to the one the £100 ticket I had already bought… That’s Beyoncé x2 in one week. Now I know that’s not beauty blogging specific but it definitely worth mentioning when you’re as much of a superfan as I am).

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Super excited to test and try my wonderful array of Studio 10 treats, I took the beautifully designed bags of joy home and spent a solid hour gleefully playing make-up artist with my new goodies. Here’s how the products measured up.

The best product by far from the collection is the face brush. It’s divided into a stippling brush at one end and a more defined pointed blush brush at the other. Using this brush is like being tickled with a thousand goose feathers, so light and soft that applying my make-up every morning is the most, enjoyable, luxurious stroking exercise. It miraculously turns my dull and blotchy morning face into high definition perfection, giving an excellent, flawless finish whether it be used with a cream or liquid foundation (it has fast become the new staple piece in my make-up bag). The blush brush is great for applying a perfect pop of colour on the fleshy part of your cheeks (top-tip I then blend this out with my Mac powder/blush brush to keep the finish natural). If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be that investing in good brushes is the key step to creating a flawless, finish. As they say, a workman is only a good as his tools.

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My other favourite pieces from the collection were the various liners, just “oh-so- creamy”! The pencils are designed to offer defined perfection and like the brushes, they are all double ended to add extra definition whether it be your lips, brows or eyes. I adore the lip liner because it is the perfect natural shade of rosey pink and back it to suit everyone whether you be fair, olive, dark or a blonde, brunette or red-head. The handy online videos on the Studio 10 website give some brilliant, expert advice on how to use their lovely products that make it simple for the most inexperienced of amateurs whilst offering tips you had never thought of to make-up obsesses such as myself. When it comes to lip liner, Studio 10 explain how to start at the top of the lips and draw a defined x on the Cupid’s Bow following your natural lip line all the way round, adding more colour to the lips as you go. Switching to the cream end of the liner, trace around the edge of your pout, blurring the liners together to avoid that harsh, lip liner 80s look.

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The people at Studio 10 have thought of everything when it comes to contouring and definition. Whilst I’m yet to master the art of face contouring, using my previous Benefit Cosmetics experience I have managed to create a lovely bright eyed look using their eye shadow pallets which is made up of a blend of soft neutral and darker shimmery shades to create that irresistible doe eyed look – (there is no better explanation on how to apply these than Studio 10 video). I most recently put it to the test at this year’s BAFTAs where I was working the red carpet, whilst he didn’t even catch my eye I slept soundly that night knowing that during my 2 minute photo bombing of none other than Leonardo DiCaprio I had my best eyes on.
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And last but not least let’s talk about the Age Defy Skin Perfector concealer pallet which is an absolute must for any girl’s make-up bag. Various shades allow the inner make-up artist in you to cover in the most brutal and threatening of blemishes as well any fine lines or areas of shadow that could jeopardize your flawless finish. Using a flat end brush, mix and blend the various shades to focus the coverage on an area you wish to conceal. Quick cheats guide to choosing the right shade? See below:

Green is for redness (eg angry blemish/Rosacea)
Peach is for shadow
Light/Medium is for any blemish/area

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So there you have it ladies. If you want the flawless finish, head to Studio 10 – it get’s 10/10 😉

Baby Bump… Not mine

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Nobody panic – especially you Dad, who follows the blog religiously in an attempt to show support to someone other than my super intelligent, no overdraft, graduated with job, win-every-sport-I-play, little brother.

The baby bump in fact belongs to a work colleague. Other than a change in tea drinking habits none of us had a clue. Fankleless (fat+ankle+less) and still super slim until her celebratory announcement it was unbeknown to us that she was in fact three months pregnant. Although the bump is yet to show we both heartily agreed one morning it was never too early to start investing in Asos maternity ware as well as applying oil to keep any form of stretch marks at bay. We decided that early prevention is the best form of attack and that if she were to start now in six months time her figure will ping back like an elastic band.

She happily agreed to be my guinea pig in return for free products. Using my very kind PR contacts I requested the staple no frills, no fuss beauty product, Bio Oil which is famous for nourishing and hydrating skin as well as fading scars. A huge fan myself I was keen to hear about its effects on stretch marks in particular. We thought we would compare this with something a bit more fragrant and luxurious such as he Sanctuary Mum to Be Stretch Mark Oil. Whilst we will have to wait for the baby arrival to find out the physical effects of both oils, in terms of consistency, smell and value for money, here is how they measured up.

Bio Oil

No frills no fuss, super nourishing and easily absorbed this was my tester’s favourite. When applying to the body quick absorption is key as no one wants to get into bed still drenched in the residue. My tester said the best thing about this product was that it was almost like a dry oil, excellent news for when month seven of pregnancy kicks in and we will up her regime to morning AND night application. I would have to agree with her on this one, I love the fact that the non-greasy consistency of Bio Oil means it can even be used on the face. At a very reasonable £8.99 for 60ml and an excellent multi-tasking product, mine and my tester’s love for Bio Oil remains high.

The Sanctuary Mum to Be Stretch Mark Oil

This stretch mark oil boasts ingredients such as rosehip oil which promises to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks whilst smelling like a French flower garden. Whilst my tester personally prefers the clean, nourishing smell of Bio Oil, with calming and relaxing essential oils The Sanctuary Mum to Be Stretch Mark Oil would also be a lovely addition to a well-needed hot bath. A cheaper and more fancy looking bottle, think Clarins without the price tag, £10.25 for 100ml.