Monday, 31 October 2011

My Past Halloween Costumes!

HAPPY HALLOWEEEENNNN!

I thought I’d celebrate this spooky occasion with a selection of photographs from over the years of me and my gruesome Halloween outfits!  Halloween has got to be one of my favourite times of the year – I LOVE dressing up and I’m obsessed with all things scary (check out my ghost photography here).

Bat Girl – HOW CUTE WAS I?!!!  Typical little bat girl, Mum drew my face paint on.  I can’t find any photographs but I remember also being a little cat when I was little too.
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Possessed Girl – This was a costume mix between the girl from The Exorcist and Mischa Barton’s character in Sixth Sense.  Looking back at these photographs FREAK me out.  This was a few years before I developed my emetophobia (fear of vomit) – I would NEVER dress up like this again!  This was at a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Convention (oLdSkOol) on All Hallows Eve.  I popped a red tint in my hair and my mum created the 'sick’ with flour and water mixed together.  Ew ew ew ew ew.
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Marilyn Monroe – I loved this outfit and will do it again soon (I forgot to add Marilyn’s beauty spot – duh!).  Me and my girls went to Liquid in good old Romford town and caused havoc!
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Vampire – 2009 saw me dig out my cobweb dress and play around with a dribble of blood, whilst dressing up as a vampire.  I went out late that night to The Coronet in Elephant & Castle with my school friends for a dance!  We ended the night covered in UV Gel. messy.
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Ghost Hunter – Last year I had one of THE best Halloweens I have ever had and I didn’t even dress up!  On Halloween morning I travelled down to Pluckley – England’s Most Haunted Village, with my Mum & Dad (well, I wasn’t going to go ghost hunting alone!).  We spent the day and night ghost hunting with my camera, following a ‘ghost map’ to spots in the village where ghosts have been sighted.  It was very scary; it got dark whilst we were in the ‘screaming woods’ and we also stayed the night in a haunted hotel. 
Photos below are of me and my night vision camera having a hearty shandy to keep me going in a haunted pub!
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(Bonus photograph!) 2010 – Earlier in 2010 I dressed up a little ghoulish for a collaborative photo shoot with some friends.  It was hilarious walking around South London dressed up like this but the photographs came out perfectly!
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This post has made me really laugh, its so funny to look back on a specific day and see what you were doing!  This year I really want to dress up, but I have no where to go!  I’m probably going to see a scary film at the cinema, no reason why I can’t dress up, huh! 

What’s been your favourite Halloween Costume to dress up as?  What are you doing tonight?!

xxx

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Body Shop Smoke & Sparkle Palettes 2011

The Body Shop’s 2011 Winter Trend LE collection has just hit stores and today I’m bringing you swatches of the range!  Every year I look forward to TBS’s Christmas collection and this year might just be my favourite.

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There are two palettes this year (like normal) which include three powder eye shadows, one cream eye shadow, a kohl pencil an an eyeshadow brush.  TBS have never included a cream eye shadow in a palette before and so this is a fab addition as they are creamy and pigmented.

 Golden Brown Palette Swatches– How beautiful is the golden, shimmering cream!  It’s absolutely perfect for using as a base under the eye shadow or for using as a highlighter under the eye brow.  The other shadows are lovely, really soft and easy to work with.

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Silver Black Palette Swatches – Again, the cream steals the show here.  The kohl eye liner is lovely and black and the other shadows work really well together to help create a sexy, smouldering, smokey eye this winter.

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What I think – I absolutely love that with these palettes you have everything you need (apart from mascara) to create the most perfect smokey eye for the party season.  The packaging of the palettes are a classic shiny black with a gold strip across the front, and an accompanying mirror inside the lid. 
The palettes retail for £14 each which is pricey – I do generally think that TBS have really high prices for all of their products (like £8 for a single eyeshadow, really?!), I think £10 would be a better price point for this quad.

Also in the range are two shimmer mists (in the cutest spray pump packaging – pictured below), as well as four new mini hi-shine lip glosses (one pictured below)!
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The ‘Sparkler’s’ are incredible – I already had the pink one from last year but they’ve introduced a gold one as well this year and I adore them!  The packaging is so cute and they give you the most dazzling shimmer – perfect for hair, legs, d├ęcolletage and clothing!  They also have the nicest scent; they smell delicious and retail at £12.

Will you be wearing shimmer this Christmas?  What palette do you prefer?

xxx

Friday, 21 October 2011

Vivo Cosmetics Blush & Palette Swatches!

When out for my weekly food shop, I always without a doubt manage to find myself in the makeup aisle.  That’s why I was super excited to hear about an affordable and good quality makeup brand, Vivo, launching in Tesco stores this Autumn. 
Vivo have an absolutely beautiful variety of products to choose from, this Baked Shimmer Palette and Blush being two of them.  Reviews and swatches below!

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Baked Shimmer Palette in Divine £6
Baked makeup in general in absolutely beautiful and this baked shimmer palette is no exception.  The palette includes four eye shadows and a blush.   The two brown shadows are so lovely and perfect for everyday use, if you don’t mind a bit of shimmer!  I normally steer clear of green eye shadows (I’m really not sure why), but because these ones are so muted (the light one almost looks gold and the dark almost grey), then they too are really easy to wear.  The blusher is a gorgeous hot pink with bronzed veining which adds a lovely flush of colour to the cheeks. 
All of these powders are really pigmented, and because they are domed shaped, I suspect this palette will last a long time. 

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Blush with Highlighter Duo in Sweet Peach £2.39
My absolute dream blusher – a pretty peach which you can build up for more colour, accompanied by a light, subtle light shimmer highlighter.  For only £2.39 its pretty amazing!

What I think – I think Vivo is just what Tesco needed in its health and beauty isle, but its bad for me who will be tempted to purchase new makeup whenever I pop in there!  I can’t really find any faults with this range – the quality of the products are really high and the packaging isn’t too bad for a range that retails from £1.50 - £6.

Have you purchased any Vivo products yet?  What are you eyeing up!?

xxx

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Glossy Box - October

I was upstairs in my bedroom on Monday having a strop (I turn into the devil when I’m hungry), and my Mum called my phone (she was downstairs – yes, we do that!) and told me that a package had just arrived for me. I wasn’t expecting anything so I asked what it was and she said ‘it says Glossy Box on it’. Instantly my bad mood vanished and I ran downstairs to rip open my box. Easily pleased.

Anyway, Octobers Glossy Box is extra special because it is their 6 month anniversary! Because of this, the lovely girls at GB HQ decided to include an extra product in everyone’s box – such a nice idea.

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Inside the box - Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Thermafoliant, Multivitamin Power Recover Masque, Renewal Lip Complex & makeup bag, a Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner, Leighton Benny Expert Nails polish in Sex Kitten and three Robert Piguet fragrances.

I squealed when I saw the Dermalogica makeup bag – I need a new one and this is the perfect size to carry around the bits I use when out and about. I’ve never used their products before, but I’ve already fallen in love with the lip balm – its absolutely lovely, makes my lips really soft and smells like a jammy wagon wheel (it took me a while to work out what it reminded me of). I will repurchasing a full size of this when I run out.

Again, I’ve never used a Leighton Denny nail varnish but I’m impressed so far – I painted this shade on top of a dark polish and only needed one coat to cover it. I personally don’t think blue polish suits me, but because its so pearly it isn’t as hard to wear as other blues.

The Stila eye liner is amazing – so pigmented, I want more shades! And finally, the fragrances aren’t to my liking, but I quite like the red one ‘calypso’.

What I think - You would not believe how happy receiving this package one a month makes me. And the more I think about it, the more I think that I could easily give up a few lunches out a month in order to afford a box. £12.95 isn’t too bad, especially when your discovering products that you fall in love with. I also still love the packaging of the box – I now need more ideas with what to do with my pink boxes!

What was your favourite product in the October Glossy Box? What do you use your GB boxes for?

xxx

Thursday, 13 October 2011

FashionistA palette!

At the FashionistA press launch a few weeks back (with The Saturdays, post here), us lucky bloggers got a sneak peek of the new FashionistA stand that will be appearing in Superdrug, and were given an empty palette that we could fill with blushers or eye shadows.

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I chose two eye shadows and two blushers, but I’ll admit the activity was really difficult – all of the products on choice were absolutely beautiful, I wanted them all!

There are 42 core eye shadow shades available, as well as 12 blushers, around 30 nail varnishes as well as gel liners, kohl pencils, foundations and lots more.

Each of the eye shadows/blushers pop out of the compact they’re in and then you can pop them in the palette.  The empty palette is £5 which has a massive mirror in it (very handy) and each individual shadow & blush is £4, so you can get the whole palette for £21 BUT at the moment there is an offer which is 5 for the price of 3 which means you can get it for £12 which is a bargain I think!

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1) Double Take Baked Eyeshadow in Bella (shade 5) – I feel in love with this shadow as soon a I laid eyes upon it – the baked marble look with gold slivers running through it are just stunning.  This makes a lovely golden silver highlighter shade depending on how much of the gold you pick up onto your makeup brush. 

2) Eyeshadow in Brunette Bombshell (shade 24) – I fancied getting a dark brown shadow that I could use for smokey brown eyes and this does the job.  This does have quite a bit of fall out when applied with a brush though.

3) Blush in Juicy Apricot (shade 6) – The most perfect peachy pink blush for summer and to brighten up winter days – absolutely gorgeous and very pigmented!

4) Blush in Butterscotch (shade 10) – This looks so boring in the case but it really reminds me of my favourite Body Shop blusher (#05).  This honestly does look beautiful on the skin, it gives me a very natural blush to my cheeks and really suits pale skin – I really recommend this shade!

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The FashionistA stand -
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What I think: These shadows and blushers are so pigmented and are great quality and for £12 I think the full palette is a steal.  The palette itself is perfect for carrying around because the mirror in it is big and the design is simple and sleek.  I love the idea that you can customize your own palette daily depending on what look you are wearing that day.  I can’t wait till I can pop down to Superdrug to pick myself up some more of these beauties!

Do you like the look of the new FashionistA range?  Which colours would you pick for your palette?

xxxx

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

New Hair Colour!

October 1st 2011 saw me getting my hair dyed!

I knew it had to be done – I’ve graduated from university, I’ve just started my first paid photography internship, I’ve been bleach blonde since the age of 16 (I’m 23 now!) and I was well due a change, and I’m SO glad I did!

I decided to have my hair coloured at the same Toni and Guy salon that I had it cut in a few weeks earlier because of familiarity, convenience and because I felt comfortable there .  Two days before my appointment I had a skin test to make sure my skin didn’t react to the dye, which was fine.  I arrived at T&G at 10.30 on Saturday morning and was out by 1.30 – it was quite a lengthy and complicated process but my hairdresser (Abby) was fab.

I bought in a few pictures of how I wanted my hair, one of Hayden P, Emma Watson and MK Olsen.  Abby told me that Emma’s (below) would be really good to do because we have a similar skin tone, and because it looks like she only has two colours in her hair which would be easy to do.

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She then explained exactly what she was going to do with my hair (I was SO anxious and worried, but she calmed me down, ha!).  She got the book of hair colours out and we chose one which was a shade lighter than my natural mousey blonde colour.

Abby then applied one strip of that dye, then a strip of bleach to my roots, then the dye, then the roots etc in layers until my whole head was covered.  Then Abby applied a ‘neutraliser’ to a lot of my still bleached hair (whilst the dye was wrapped in tin foil).  This toned down my bleached locks and made them more ‘neutral’ into a light natural blonde.  After about 40 minutes I then went over to the sink to have the dye washed out.  A toner was applied to my hair after it had been shampooed and left on for a minute (apparently it worked instantly to just tone everything down a bit).  Then my hair was conditioned as usual, brushed through and blow dried on a low heat.

The Results:

I LOVE IT!  I just think I look so much more healthy and glowing now – I don’t look as pale as I used to and my eyebrows aren’t as standout-ish which is good.  4

I am fully aware that my roots were atrocious before the dye – I hadn’t bleached them in 10 weeks because I knew I was going to dye it anyway.
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As you can see there is still a lot of bleach blonde in it, especially on the ends where the dye hasn’t held as much, the top of my head is much darker which I like.  There is also still quite a lot of my old roots in there which is fab because I’m hoping it’ll be less obvious when they grow through.

Now, one problem has definitely been the colour fading.  Every time I wash my hair, my shower turns brown after shampooing which I hate seeing as I don’t want the colour to lighten.  The colour has faded quite a bit now, but in the light its still quite a dark blonde and you can still see the different colours in it.

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The whole head of highlights cost me £75 – I got 20% off because I work in the same shopping centre as the salon (it would have been £98).  I was expecting to pay over £110 so I’m quite happy with the price.

One thing that is worrying me though is what I’m going to have to do when the roots come back.  I definitely can’t afford to get them topped up in a salon every month – have you got any suggestions?  What would happen if I put an ‘at home box dye’ on my hair? 

What do you think of my new look? 

What products can I use to stop the colour fading and how can I maintain this colour cheaply?

xxxx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Paula’s Choice skincare reviews!

I know a lot of you are interested to find out how I got on with Paula Begoun’s skincare range ‘Paula’s Choice’, after reading her top five skin care tips in this post.  Read on for reviews!

Skincare Background info:
I always find it very difficult using new products on my face because my skin is very acne prone and I always get spots when using new products.  My skin is very confusing – dry, oily, acne prone, sensitive and so I normally just stick to baby wipes and Simple’s gentle cleanser to take my makeup off, and just use water to wash my face in the morning.  You can read my skin care history (and all about my acne hell) here

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After learning Paula’s top skin care tips I was convinced that her products would be miracle workers because her ethics and tips would obviously be applied to her own range, and I was not let down, I think these ARE miracle products.

I was lucky enough to ask Paula’s PR assistant which products would be best suited for my skin and I was given the following products to trial: Clear Normalizing Cleanser, Clear Targeted Blemish Relief Toner, Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion and Skin Balancing Moisture Gel.  I have been using the products religiously for two months now and here are my thoughts.

Paula’s Choice Clear Normalizing Cleanser Pore Clarifying Gel (£12.75)
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I have never ever washed my face with a gel before, because I always thought that my skin was dry so I stuck to creamy cleansers, but after using this gel wash I think I actually prefer it.
To use this product you wet your face, and use a penny sized amount of cleanser and rub it in the face ‘with gentle but vigorous movements’. I normally hate using a wash to take my makeup off because its messy and it never takes my makeup of properly (hence why I normally use baby wipes instead), but this surprisingly does the trick.  I wash my whole face with one squirt of the wash, and then I concentrate another squirt on just my eye makeup (because I wear a hella lotta eyeliner & shadow).  My face afterwards feels really soft and clean and is completely makeup free.  My skin normally feels dry and tight after using a wash but with this I don’t feel any tightness on my face. 
This wash is also colour and fragrance free, but it does really sting if you get it in your eyes!

Paula’s Choice Clear Extra Strength Targeted Blemish Relief Toner (with 2% Salicylic Acid) (£19.95)
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I never use toners because I think they are a waste of time and money but this has to be my new holy grail product, and I think that using this is what has made my skin so lovely.  Although this is called a ‘toner’ it is actually an exfoliant because it includes a 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid.  (Just to let you know what BHA does because I didn’t know before I started using this - The BHA removes the outer layer of dead skin cells, allowing healthier cells to come to the surface. Removing this dead layer can improve skin texture and colour, unclog pores, and allow moisturizers to be better absorbed by the skin.)
So the BHA in this works as an exfoliant to remove all the rubbish stuff from our skin and helps to unclog pores and sooth blemishes.  To use this you pour a tiny amount on a cotton pad and then apply it over the face, paying special attention to problem areas (all over in my case!).  This liquid does not smell of anything and is again colour free. 
I started off using this once every other day in the evening because I was worried about it drying my skin out (which it did a tiny bit at first, nothing a bit of moisturizer can’t help).  After a few uses of this my skin was very different – it was so smooth, my skin tone was evening out and my blemishes were fading.  After about a week and a half of using this, blackheads became SO easy to come out, literally a pinch and they’d pop out and so I now have far fewer blackheads.
I now use this about three times a week in the evening and my skin is lovely.  If you do apply too much of this product then your skin can get tacky but you can pat the excess off with a tissue and its fine. 

(Paula’s choice recommends gradually building the use of this up as it can make your skin really dry at first, but this soon goes.  I think that if you do find this happens with any products containing BHA, just use it twice a week and gradually use more – ease your skin in to it!  Also, always use an spf whilst out and about after using this!!).

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion (with SPF15 and Antioxidents) (£21.75)
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I was really excited about using this product because I’m a bit of an SPF freak and its now a staple product in my skin care routine if the foundation I’m using on that day doesn’t contain an SPF.  This moisturizer is ideal for combination skin which suited my dry/oily face perfectly.  I normally get blemishes when using a face cream with an SPF because they are normally really greasy and thick, but this didn’t give me one spot!  The formula is perfect, a white cream that sinks into the skin easily.  I can wear makeup over this cream easily and it doesn’t make my skin oily at all. 

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Moisture Gel (£19.95)
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Again, I have never used a moisturizer that is a gel rather than a cream but this is an amazing moisturizer.  I think the reason I love it so much is that because it is a gel, it sinks in to the skin in a second and feels a lot like a primer (without the unnecessary fragrance that most primers have!).  This is again for combination skin, it doesn’t clog pores and because its a gel it doesn’t leave any residue on the face.  If my skin does feel tight after washing then this is what I’d use afterwards.

My bare skin after a month of using the products!4

My bare skin last weekend!

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What I think:
Guys, I have had only TWO spots in the whole past two months.  This is unbelievable to me who seemed to always have one popping up every day (I’m pretty sure the only reason I got those nasty spots was because I slept in my makeup after a drunken night out and didn’t use the toner afterwards, my own fault, and possibly because of a new foundation I’m using).  I have less blackheads, my skin tone is more even and its not too oily or too dry anymore.  I still have slight redness around my nose and on my chin from old spots but it doesn’t bother me at all.  My skin looks perfect in foundation (which it never has before) and I’m confident and happy!

You can see my skin in foundation since using this skin care range here and here.

Obviously, Paula’s products live by her skincare tips; all the products are in bottles and tubes (no pots) with a small hole or nib to get the product out.  I wear the moisture gel underneath a foundation with an SPF and I wear the SPF moisturizer underneath if not.  There are no separate day or night creams in the range as they’re perfect for both.

I think the prices are quite expensive, but that wouldn’t stop me repurchasing them because I know that they work.  (I think you can order sample sizes on the website to try before you buy which is good).  I will definitely be repurchasing all of the products I have been using once they run out and I might need to add on a few more with my purchase as now my Mum and Sister want the products too

(I have also been using Quinoderm in my daily skincare routine, but I will do a proper review on this soon!)

Have you tried Paula’s Choice products?  What are your favourite products to beat acne?

xxxx

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Sleek’s Molten Metal Swatches!

Today I am bringing you swatches of Sleek MakeUP’s Molten Metal Cream Duos.

I’ve had the gold duo for a while now & now that Sleek have just released the silver duo, I thought why not show off these sparkling gems for you. 

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L-R Molten Metal 715, Molten Metal 714.

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L-R Steel, Ash, Pewter, Gold Leaf.

How pretty are these!  They are shimmering cream eye shadows which you can apply on the eye lid for a gorgeous sparkling look.  These colours are really flattering for all skin tones (especially the gold – looks dazzling on darker skin) and because they are shimmery, they really open your eyes up and make them appear wider.

These creams are so easy to apply – to create the looks below I used the lighter colour on the inner corner of the eye and the darker shade on the outer corner of the eye.  I applied the creams with an eyeshadow brush.

Gold Duo -  I love the shades in this duo and I’ve even started added a bit of Pewter (the lighter shade) to the inner corners of my eye daily for a twist on the neutral brown look.
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Silver Duo – This duo is absolutely perfect for a dark, gothic look (perfect for a night out on the town).
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Below, I’ve used both palettes, Pewter on the inner corner, Steel all over the lid, Gold Leaf on the outer corner of the eye and Ash to line the eye underneath.
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What I think: At only £6.99 I think these are a steal and a must have for any girl’s eye shadow collection.  Adding a touch of this shimmer to any look really emphasizes the eyes.  I’d love to see a darker brown duo, or a purple/blue duo too.
I have unfortunately found that these creams do crease on the eyelid, a few hours after application which is a shame, but I’ve been using my finger to blend it out if this does happen.

What’s your favourite Molten Metal Palette & what’s your favourite shimmer?

xxx

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

No7 Skincare Challenge, Part 3!

This is the final chapter in my Mother’s No7 Skincare challenge.  She has now been using the products for just over a month, religiously and here is the long awaited before and after!

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As I said in the last post, her skin tone is now more even and looks a lot more healthy.  I haven’t noticed any reduction of wrinkles throughout the past month but perhaps this will change with consistent use over the next few months.  Mummy Snooks has gained a few spots since using the skin care regime (she, like me, is acne prone and gains them when changing her skincare products), but these have gone down quite quickly (nothing a bit of spot cream can’t sort out).  I think her skin looks more radiant and glowing (you could say illuminated, ha!) in the after picture.

In the last post (here) I included a review of the day cream.  Reviews for the Night & Eye cream below -

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No7 Lift & Luminate Night Cream – This is an intensely thick and nourishing night cream which really helps to pop all moisture back in to the skin over night, which is probably why Mummy Snooks’ face is a lot plumper and firmer.  This cream can leave your skin a little greasy if you apply too much because it is so thick, but you can always pat off the excess with a tissue.

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No7 Lift & Luminate Eye Cream – Mummy Snooks has been squeezing a dot out of this on her ring finger, and then pats it in gently around her eye area (under my instruction!) as to not further drag the skin and cause more wrinkles.  This eye cream is light and blends in easily, which is perfect for the delicate skin around the eye area.

What I think:  I love the elegance of No7 products and the fact that they cater their skincare products to every age.  The packaging is very luxurious but both Mother Snooks and I agree that the glass packaging is a bit heavy for travelling and would be more suited to a lighter pump or something similar. 
The actual products work really well together in a regime and I can see my Mum using this range for a very long time now!

You can purchase the products in Boots stores or online, prices and links below!

No7 Lift & Luminate Day Cream - £21 (50ml)
No7 Lift & Luminate Night Cream – £22 (50ml)
No7 Lift & Luminate Eye Cream - £18 (15ml)

Will you be trying No7’s skincare range? Can you see the difference in Mother Snooks’ face?

(please note this is a sponsored post!)

xxxx