All being well, in just over 6 weeks, I’m going to be a Mum again.  To say that I’m feeling a little apprehensive about this is an understatement.  Five years is a long time for the mind to heal, forgetting about the sleepless nights and the frustrations at not being able to immediately comfort an unhappy little one.

I love being the Mum of a 5-yr old more than anything, but I’m acutely aware that I didn’t relish those first few months in my new role.  I’m not ashamed to admit that either, I much prefer the company of someone who can talk back to me.  That being said, I shall be patiently awaiting the flood of maternal love that will surely wash over me within minutes of meeting our new family member.  And then I’ll be demanding a belated Mother’s Day present, because… you know, how dare you schedule your entry to coincide with MISSING THE BIG DAY?!

Incase you’re listening little one… any, or you know… ALL of the below will suffice.

mothers-day-beauty-gift-guide-2014

1). It’s an oldie but a goodie.  Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish (£14.75) sales must hit the roof come Mother’s Day, I genuinely don’t know any women in my family who wouldn’t love to see this blue bottle pop out of a gift bag.  There’s also free delivery over on the website at the moment until the 25th March and a free sample with every order.

You could even build your own Liz Earle goody-bag for Mum by purchasing the mini 15ml tube and a muslin cloth for only £3.75 – now there’s thoughtful!

2). Each year, when Jo Malone release their bespoke Mother’s Day Floral Boxes (£120), I sit and drool at the thought of receiving something so mind-blowingly extravagant.  Complete with 100ml cologne of your choice (Vetyver for me please sproglet!), this beautiful floral display will melt the heart of anyone you’ve been privileged enough to call “Mum”.  Available from Monday 24th March, exclusively from the Jo Malone Sloane Street boutique.

3). Back down to earth with a beautifully-scented bump now, thanks to this perfectly-presented sweet little cone of bubbles and fizz!  The Mum’s Goodies (£13.50) offering from LUSH contains a limited edition Wonder Woohoo bubble bar, the Secret Garden bath bomb, and a Rockstar Soap.  The perfect way to show Mum that you care.  Just don’t steal the contents while her back is turned, ok?

4). For the ultimate glamour-Mum, look no further than this Paparazzi Compact (£27.65) from the new Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range.  The pretty duo features a classic lipstick/powder combination that makes “on the go” touch-ups a thing of true elegance!  The powder shade is a “neutral” tone to suit most complexions and depending on how bold your influential lady’s beauty tastes are, you can choose between a pink or burgundy lipstick!

5). When it comes to picking a perfume, you can’t go wrong with a delicate rose scent, the queen of all florals.  This Monotheme Apothéose de Rose (£18.00) from Marks & Spencer, offers a modern take on a much-loved theme.  Described as a soft, young and feminine scent – you won’t mistake this beauty for one of granny’s old perfumes.  The packaging is beautiful and will look a proper treat given pride of place at the dressing table.

6). If you haven’t yet heard of bathing brand Kneipp, trust me – you’re about to…

This German, mineral-rich brand offer a wide-range of bodycare products developed around the wonders of hydrotherapy.  The Kneipp Pure Bliss Bath & Body Gift Set (£12.95) will turn Mum’s bath water from boring to blissful in the blink of an eye.  With Red Poppy and Hemp as the workhorse naturals in this set, Mum will be sure to achieve complete serenity.  Even if its only until the water turns cold.

7). For the more traditional fragrant-fiend in your life, you won’t go wrong with a sneaky purchase of Floris’ Night Scented Jasmine Gift Set (£50) which includes a moisturising Bath & Shower Gel and an enriched Body Moisturiser.  This luxurious scent is inspired by the original Jasmine perfume introduced in 1806 by Mr. Floris.  It’s the kind of fragrant heritage that money just can’t buy… err, except luckily for us, it can!  The epitome of elegant gift-choices!

8). When spa-brand Elemis put together a special release that saves almost £30 on the full-price, you have to sit up and take notice.  Particularly when the items included are full-size products!  The Elemis Pro-Collagen Treats Collection (£49.00) comprises two beauty essentials from their iconic Pro-Collagen range: the Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, and the Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment.

Both products are housed in a rather cute, silver presentation box that makes gifting just a little bit more glamourous!

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Inexpensive Beauty Find: M&S Autograph Gunmetal Eyeshadow

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 1 - 2013

If, like me, you’ve been searching for clever ways to recession-proof your makeup bag without compromising too much on the quality, I’ve got a treat in store for you today.

Nestled along the “this is not just any eyeshadow, this is M&S eyeshadow” (no, they’re never getting away from that slogan) lurks a rather stunning, richly pigmented, smooth-applying taupe.

You know that I’m kinda crazy for my taupes and my purples.  If the world fell off its axis tomorrow and all other shades whizzed off into outer space, I wouldn’t give a shiny shit and neither should you.  Because, at the risk of sounding a little controversial here… taupes and purples suit EVERYONE.  You just need to find the right ones.

Inexpensive Beauty Find: M&S Autograph Gunmetal Eyeshadow

Despite what the box says, this ain’t no “gunmetal”, there’s too much dusty moth-brown goodness in there for this to be a simple gunmetal *scoffs*.  Why, this is a full-on grown-up, grenache-drinking, interest only mortgage-paying taupe.  And not only that, but it’s a rather nice one lacking in both the kind of uber-metallic sheeniness that crepes at forty paces, and chunky sparkle.

It comes complete with a mirror, and most shockingly… a not-too-useless eyeshadow applicator that actually makes a really decent job at smudging the powder along the lashlines if you just use the tip.

For your meagre monies, you get a generous amount (no weight listed) of BUAV (bunny) approved product.  And for those who find this important… it looks easily depottable also.  I doooo like a neat, square pan!

Interestingly, they also sell a “taupe”… don’t get them confused… that one’s a wimpy, slightly-sandy looking incarnation. Pff.

M&S Autograph Pure Colour Mono Eyeshadow in Gunmetal* is priced at £6.00, available instore and online at marksandspencer.com

* press sample

Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s day, it’s an event that’s pretty much unmissable in terms of marketing and hype.  A walk down the high street from mid-January is all you need to be reminded of how much of a little shit Cupid actually is.  He’s not the most endearing figure from Roman mythology is he?  I mean… for one thing, what’s with the nappies?  Does falling in love make you incontinent?  I know it certainly makes some people sprout a load of crap… but that’s from their mouths.

When I was little, my Dad would send me a Valentine’s card each year… but I became pretty high-maintenance about the effort he had to put into deceiving me that my card had actually come from a secret admirer.  It’s no surprise he stopped sending me them when I reached my tween years and discovered that my solitary valentine’s card had been postmarked from his workplace for the last few years.  Having your card sent from a category B men’s lifer prison is enough to make you not want to take it into school to show your friends.

As for now, we don’t really do Valentine’s day.  That is to say… I tell my husband that I think it’s a load of old crap because he does lovely things for me throughout the year.  Then my husband doesn’t do anything for Valentine’s day and I don’t talk to him for the rest of February because he didn’t buy me anything.  It works for us.

Here are some bits and bobs that have been catching my eye in the run up to V-day.  I suggest printing them off and drawing a massive red circle around anything you want (preferably in your partner’s blood) before leaving it taped to the front door (both sides).  Taking such precaution may ensure that you at least end up with some flowers from the local Esso garage.

valentines-for-every-budget-and-taste

01: Ladyshape Intimate Shaping Tool, for err… shaping your “lady”.  The only reason I’d do this would be to see the look of confused WTFery from my husband.  We’ve been together for 12 years, he would not be expecting this.  He would point, I would laugh, we’d all have a nice cup of tea and I’d spend the next seven days scratching. (£12.99, stressnomore.co.uk)

02: Avon Perfect Kiss Lipstick*.  Currently on sale, this well-received range of full-cover lipsticks from Avon offers the full rainbow of Valentine’s appropriate lip shades.  From Berry Smooch to Lovey Dovey Pink, Naughty Nude to Red Embrace, even the shade names are getting in on the act!  (£4.99, avonshop.co.uk)

03: Be Mine Lip Balm Trio.  You don’t usually get much change from a fiver nowadays when picking up gifts but this little trio of lip-smoothing balms should get your pout ready for some kissing action.  (£3.00, asda.com)

04: Saving those pennies from my last selection will ensure that you have plenty left to pick up the ultimate Valentine’s gift.  You can’t beat the iconic Swizzel’s-Matlow Giant Love Hearts when it comes to romancing your beau… apart from maybe a sunrise jaunt in a hot air balloon over Paris, complete with Krug Grand Cuvée but who’s got time for that?!  Seriously though, nothing leaves behind a sweeter taste than saying I Love You with 30g of sugar per roll.  Yum.  (£0.35, everywhere!)

05: Fluttering lashes go hand-in-hand with hearts that are all of a flutter no?  What greater excuse do you need to customise your next purchase of YSL’s best-selling False Lash Effect mascara with a Swarovski crystal heart.  Still not convinced you need this extra sparkle in your life?  How about when I tell you that you can get this bespoke addition for no extra cost… available from February.  (£23.50, selected YSL counters at Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Fenwicks, Brown Thomas and Fraser’s)

06: Ahh la rose.  The quintessential flower of love.  The problem with a dozen roses is that it’s not long before the flower’s fresh scent changes from ravishing to rancid once the petals begin to droop.  Prolong the good-feeling with this beautiful limited edition candle from Diptyque.  The Rose Duet, so-called because of its marriage of two wonderful fragrances in one candle (Rose and Baies) will ensure that the scent continues to linger perhaps even longer than the relationship (harsh!) (£42.00, instore and online at diptyqueparis.co.uk)

07: Looking a lot like a pencil tips/gold-dipped Madonna boob hybrids, these From Dusk Til Dawn massage bars* from LUSH offer a convenient excuse for a foot rub.  Or a back rub.  Or a bum rub.  Whatever floats your boat.  They smell delicious in a just-stepped-out-of-the-orange-grove kind of way and leave behind a subtle sheen on the skin.  They melt beautifully and I don’t mind admitting that I prefer to use these solo while I’m still warm from the shower, as Charlie from LadyoftheLane advised me, they’re brilliant for dry shins! (£4.95, lush.co.uk)

08: M&S have released a few makeup cuties just in time for Valentine’s Day.  The Limited Collection Multi Blush* features a variety of pink-hued blush hearts compressed into a single pan to deliver a rose-tinted flush to cheeks.  Sparkle, flush and glow get it (ho ho ho) from your nearest store.  (£6.00, marksandspencer.com)

 

Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day?  And how much of a diva-strop do you throw if you get nowt?

* press sample

M&S Limited Collection – That Owl-Inspired Eye Shadow Set!

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 4 - 2012

I don’t have quite the owl fascination that I know many people share but I can’t fail to appreciate a pretty design when I see one and this owl-inspired eyeshadow set is sure to get many of you hooting (groan – sorry).

The eyeshadow palette from the M&S Limited Collection features five neutral shades, and one flash of bold colour in the form of a jewel-toned blue.  All shades are shimmery, but is it a case of style over content when it comes to usability and value for money?  Or should you be owl over it before it flies from the shelves? (sorry, SORRY!)

The packaging is lovely, a substantial cardboard design reminiscent of many popular palettes featuring some extremely cute owl motifs on the front.  There’s no obvious mention of M&S as a brand, the packaging alludes simply to the Limited Collection rather than the shop where you buy your comfiest knickers.

Under the lid sits a generous, distortion-free mirror and six eyeshadow pans, each featuring a cut-out owl design.  These cutouts prove to be a little tricky when it comes to accessing the eyeshadow and I imagine that the sharp edges will begin to look fairly worn shortly after the initial use.  The palette comes complete with a sponge applicator… an actual brush wouldn’t have gone amiss when you have six shades to work from.

The textures are quite hard and sadly, I achieved little to no pigment from the top left shade, which on paper, was easily my favourite.  Taupe anyone?  The other shades deliver better results, some only marginally.  Swatches coming right up…

As previously stated, the top left shade is no bueno – don’t buy the palette because you think you’ve fallen in love with a new pretty taupe, you’ll be disappointed.  The remaining two shades on the top row are also a bit of a let-down.  They’re patchy and unpigmented for such strong colours (the swatch shows two swipes for each) – workable, but they make you graft to get a result.

The bottom row, however, tells a different tale.  All three shadows sitting across the lower half of the palette are quite delightful.  Rich in colour, smooth to apply and softly shimmering without any chunks of glitter.  The highlighter on the bottom right in particular is a very pretty warm champagne which will open up the eye area beautifully.

Ultimately?  Unless you absolutely must have it because you’re batshit crazy about owls, you don’t need this palette.  The shades are infinitely dupable in better formulas on the high street and because of the underwhelming performance of those top three shades, it just doesn’t offer value for money.

If you are a bit of an owl-obsessive, who cares what the shadows are like because let’s face it – you’re probably just going to stroke the box anyway.

M&S Limited Collection Shadow is available to buy instore and online at M&S, priced at £7.50

* press sample

Inexpensive Beauty Find: M&S Limited Collection Nail Polish in Leaf

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 30 - 2012

Going a bit ga-ga in the search for a lovely green polish to see you through the drearier months?

Green isn’t a colour you’d usually associate with the final weeks of Summer is it?  We’re used to seeing the shade fill Spring collections and lead the way when it comes to the pastel trends but put that thinking aside because I’ve found a rather lovely green that will work beautifully for the more subdued months ahead…

Introducing, Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Polish in Leaf.  A dusty green creme that will set you back just £3.50 for an 8ml bottle.

Two coats will achieve opacity from a formula that doesn’t need chasing around the nail to get it to lie smoothly.  For the shiniest of finishes, you’ll need a top coat but don’t let that put you off because this mini-marvel packs a punch when it comes to pigmentation.

Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Polish in Leaf is priced at £3.50 and available both instore and online at marksandspencer.com

Have you tried any M&S polishes since they revamped the line?  How do you find them?

You know how I love to come across an unexpected beauty bargain?  Well, this one is my latest and it’s from the M&S debut Limited Collection make-up range.  The range went live last month, you can read more about the brand’s new beauty ventures in this post but the main thing you need to know about the M&S Limited Collection is that everything comes in at under £6.00

The Limited Collection includes almost everything a girl needs for her daily makeup bag from foundation to bronzer, nail polish to cheek tint and most things that fall in-between.  I was sent a few random bits and bobs from the new collection and I’ve got enough of a feel for the products to confidently call this one out as worth a look next time you’re in store.

The shadows come in a range of finishes and although I suspect that some of the base products will be a little hit and miss when it comes to shade selection (light, medium and dark anyone?) there are some funky nail shades on offer and this little gem of a liquid liner really turned my head…

This liquid liner in turquoise packs one hell of a tropical punch in the colour stakes.  It’s incredibly pigmented and doesn’t do that annoying liquid liner thing of pushing the pigment to the edges of the line, leaving the centre colour-free and in need of seven more layers.  The above swatch images show a single sweep of colour (except for the very outer “v” on the eye where for neatness’ sake I had to go over it).  My only caveat with this product is that it takes a while to dry… I’d say around 90 seconds to set, that’s quite a long time when you’ve only got five-minutes to do your face in the morning.

Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Liner in Turquoise is a complete steal at only £4.00 for 6ml.

* press sample

This is not just any beauty hall…

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 24 - 2012

… you know what’s coming don’t you?

This is an M&S beauty hall.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.

The press release is indepth but the highlights of the new M&S Beauty Halls (which will roll-out to 100 of their nationwide stores by Summer 2013) include:

~ a range of fragrances created for M&S exclusively by Lyn Harris (of Miller Harris fame)
~ a “virtual makeover” counter to experience different looks with a single photo
~ trained and impartial beauty advisers, with a “no-hard sell” ethos
~ External brands you can’t access easily on the high-street, including: Filorga, Skyn Iceland, and Comptoir Sud Pacifique
~ New/repackaged/reformulated M&S beauty ranges including: Hello Kitty (teen cosmetics), Pure Skincare (natural, eco line), and Formula (targeted skincare)

I just keep thinking how much fun must it be to go to work and choose which brands to stock? Gizza job!

 The new M&S beauty hall is currently debuting at the High Street Kensington branch with all products and new brands available to purchase online at marksandspencer.com

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