Spectrum Brushes – The Glam Clam

For the longest time I was of the opinion that make-up brushes should be bought as cheaply as possible. However, after receiving Spectrum Collection’s STUNNING Glam Clam set as a gift from my boyfriend, I’ve gone completely full circle and I am now OBSESSED with these beautiful, premium, incredible brushes.


They give the most gorgeous finish imaginable, and I’ve done a little demo to show you just how good they are. I’ve never found the time to get into makeup, so it doesn’t usually get more complicated than foundation-powder-brows-blush. But after getting these babies? I may even attempt some of the looks I’ve seen on YouTube! Let’s have a closer look at this adorable perfection…


Here are the brushes I used:

spectrum brushes

I used the large flat buffer for my foundation, the lip liner for my concealer, large domed powder for powder (obviously), the fine detailer for my eyes and the small angled blush for my blusher.


The thing that struck me about these to begin with was how soft they are. I’d been using the same cheap brushes for years so these felt like fairy kisses in comparison. The large domed powder blush literally bounces off your face as you use it, and it’s SO soft. The small angled blush gives a really soft-focus colour application, and the large flat buffer is resilient but still really soft when you’re patting foundation in – my skin is so delicate that some brushes I have actually scratch my skin, enough for it to be uncomfortable, but these are absolutely wonderful.


Top left is make-up free, then with concealer dotted on any blotches and blemishes, then after foundation, then after powder. I know I’m making stupid faces – these were my first dslr selfies! I love the even finish the brushes give – I know it was the brushes because I’ve had the same make-up routine for the past three months at least, and it never looks this good!


Here’s my finished face, with eyebrows, eyes, cheeks and lips. I am SO impressed with the small angled blush brush too, it distributed the blusher perfectly.


I know that at £60, the full Glam Clam set is definitely a luxury, and I would never have been able to justify buying it myself (thank you boyfriend!) but if you’re looking to treat yourself with some brushes, this is absolutely the way. I mean, look at how beautiful they are. It’s like having art on your make-up table. Spectrum also sell gorgeous individual brushes and smaller sets, so if you’re on a budget you should definitely check those out! But really, why not go big or go home, because if you do, your dressing table could look like mine 😉


Have you ever tried Spectrum Brushes? What did you think?

Klorane Eye Make-Up Remover


Say hello to my new best friend, Klorane Floral Lotion Eye Make-Up Remover.* What I thought was going to be a pretty standard cleansing product has turned out to be the only thing I can guarantee won’t irritate or sting my eyes, no matter what’s wrong with them (I get eczema and styes frequently, as well as constant sensitivity). As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also incredibly effective at actually removing mascara and eyeshadow, so it’s not like most other gentle eye products, that don’t irritate but don’t do anything else either. I absolutely adore this stuff!

The ingredients list is short, which is probably one of the reasons why it’s so good. The other is probably the high concentration of cornflower extract. This lovely little herbal flower has been used for centuries to treat eye problems because of some compounds in it called ‘anthocyanins’ which are anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Cornflower extract therefore helps with puffiness and itchiness, as well as the effects of pollution – tiredness and premature ageing. There’s another ingredient called butylene glycol, which is an organic alcohol which helps to preserve products but also helps to improve absorption of other compounds – therefore ensuring your eyes get as much cornflower goodness as possible.


The texture of the Eye Make-up Remover is gorgeous. A soft water, it’s much less oily than many make-up removers so doesn’t leave your eyes feeling heavy or sticky – in fact, it’s very refreshing and cooling. I always remove my make-up removers (hah) with a thermal water spray, but I can imagine this would feel lovely if you left it on too. You can also keep it in the fridge (I got this tip off a man who worked for Klorane back in the 80’s so you know it’s good advice) to make it extra cooling and soothing.

It’s true that I don’t wear eye make-up very often, but when I do, I absolutely love how quick, easy and pleasant Klorane Eye Make-Up Remover is to use. Get it here – link

Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

I have a weird problem with sunscreens. There are chemicals in most of them my facial skin reacts to, even though it isn’t really that sensitive to anything else. My skin breaks out in blotches, and feels hot. Believe me when I say I wasn’t expecting to find a solution, especially not one so pleasant and protective as Benefit Dream Screen!


I’ve recently woken up to the fact that I’m in my mid-twenties, and have never used regular sun protection unless it’s the SPF 15 I used to get in my foundation. Did you know that sun damage breaks down the collagen in your skin more than anything else, including poor skincare and even ageing? Especially when you’re as pasty as I am, you need something high protection otherwise you’re screwed.  So when I was pottering around a Benefit stand a while ago I decided to ask for a sample. The lady gave me two little tubs which lasted for ages – giving me more than enough time to know that my skin loved it.


A couple of things I’ve read about Dream Screen moan that it makes your skin feel greasy – if you’ve read that too (because let’s face it, it’s impossible to avoid paula’s fucking choice when looking for reviews) let me tell you that it’s a load of rubbish. When your skin feels greasy it feels like there’s thick oil covering it, when you put this on, it feels silky. Soft, matt, calm, smooth and ready for anything, including fierce summer sun.

It sinks into your skin immediately, leaving invisible, broad spectrum and incredibly high protection as well as a soft, gorgeous feeling. It sits under my makeup perfectly, and I’ve been using it instead of my primer this summer. Since I started using it my skin has stayed exactly the same colour, so I’m confident the protection is exactly what they say it is. Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45 is an amazing solution for anyone who usually struggles with sun protection, as well as anyone looking for gorgeous, fuss free sun care. Get it on Feel Unique for £25 – link

Beauty Wishlist for Summer

I’ve never done one of these before, but there are certainly a lot of products I’ve been mentally wishlisting lately so I thought I’d make physical note, and you never know, you might get some summer inspiration too!wishlist

1. Jurlique Rose Finishing Powder – My No.7 Translucent Powder is about to run out, and I’ve been lusting after this light, gorgeously scented rose powder for as long as I’ve known what Jurlique is. I’m pretty sure it can be used over makeup, and if so, this is definitely my powder most wanted.

2. Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick – How on earth could you not want this in your life. First of all I tried it on my hand in Space NK and the colour was stunning – it’s a slightly translucent, beautiful pink, which is perfect for me because thick, heavily pigmented lipsticks just don’t work for me. I never really put anything luxurious on my lips, so this would be a lovely change.

3. Mario Badescu Flower Tonic Mask – I’m an absolute sucker for anything with a name like ‘Flower Tonic’ so this was always going to be on my list. However after reading that the ingredients include kaolin and Balsam of Peru (an extraordinarily effective healing extract) I was desperate to try it. Pore-clarifying and healing are two things my skin really needs.

4. Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub – Living right up to the stereotype I made for myself in the previous paragraph, the name of this scrub got my attention right away. However this does look amazing, with extracts of basically everything you need to restore a healthy, glowing and balanced complexion. Ginger, gingko, green tea, aloe and coconut together with palm seed powder to buff away dead skin….like…hell yes.

5. Philip Kingsley Geranium and Neroli Elasticizer – The reviews of this stuff are amazing, as are the awards it’s been lauded with. I love the idea of a ‘pre-shampoo’, as well as the fact that you can sleep with it on your hair. I’ve never actually seen it in stores so I have no idea what it smells like, but I can’t see how it wouldn’t be absolutely gorgeous. I just can’t shake the idea that my hair would be left silky smooth after using this, so I shall have  to try it.

6. Sukin Natural Deodorant – I’m anti antiperspirant, but the summer heat in London is proving too much for the lovely Deo My BO solid deodorant bar from Lush (despite it working wonderfully before it got so hot!) I definitely want to give this one a try, as I love everything I’ve tried from Sukin so far.

7. Frog Prince Wash Bag from Catseye – I’ve been lusting after this for over a year – I love the happy, cute design and it’s the perfect size for all the stuff I bring with me everywhere. Really I should just get a grip and buy it, but every time I go into Selfridge’s and see it, it just seems so frivolous (it isn’t, it’s only £15 so I don’t know what I’m on about really).

8. & Other Stories Nail Colour in Dot Peach – I recently bought the most gorgeous sandals from Topshop, but I need a muted nail colour to go with my work clothes. & Other Stories have really lovely nail polishes, and I adore this cute pink colour.

9. Bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads – I’m really curious about these. Both my boyfriend and I get ingrown hairs occasionally (it’s really common for guys to get these on their legs!) and they’re bloody annoying, so if these work it would be fantastic – it is shorts season after all!

What’s on your summer wishlist? Any of these?

Dr Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm

I’d heard about the Australian love of paw paw as an ingredient years ago, when I used to use Aussie hair care (I am aware that Aussie isn’t Australian, don’t worry). So when people started talking about how paw paw ointment is a staple in every Australian’s life, I was curious. Dr Paw Paw isn’t actually Australian, but it’s a great product and I’ve really enjoyed using it.


I stumbled across Dr Paw Paw in Urban Outfitters and decided to go for the red tinted one because I’m always on the lookout for fuss free ways to apply pigment to my lips (lipstick stresses me out SO much). As well as the un-tinted original, they do a peach pink colour, and a giant tube of the original version.


The reason for the giant tube is that paw paw ointment is a multipurpose antibacterial and antimicrobiral balm. Fermented paw paw (aka papaya) is an antioxidant, and helps repair the skin. There’s aloe in there to help calm and soothe, as well as olive oil to nourish and petroleum jelly to protect. This is one of those multipurpose magic balms that does it all for chapped, irritated or dry skin. I put mine to the test on the dry, cracked skin between my fingers. Aside from looking distinctly pink from the red pigment, the skin is smooth and soft, with no white bits at all. That’s something that almost all hand creams and balms struggle to get rid of, so I’m very impressed, and will be purchasing an original colourless balm as soon as I can!


As you can see, the Ultimate Red Balm is a gorgeously rich colour, and I’m actually really impressed with the colour payoff. It’s subtle, but way better than any other coloured lipbalm I’ve tried. Because my lips are quite full and there isn’t a clean line between my lips and the skin around them, I find it really hard to get lipstick to look good. So a balm like this is perfect.


This balm is great. It’s only £6.95 for a 25ml tube, and leaves the skin soft and nicely coloured for a good while. I think the clear one will go down really well with my boyfriend, who’s lip cracks in the middle a lot (poor baby), as well as with my cracked hands. After applying the red stuff between my fingers, it’s actually kept the dryness at bay for about 3 hours now, which is really impressive!

What’s in my makeup bag

This combination of Laura Mercier, Eve Lom, Clarins, Benefit and No7 has transformed my skin over the past few months. Basically after I came back from North America my skin went rapidly downhill and I had dryness, dullness and spots. I had to change my routine completely, and I want to share all the things I’ve found, because they are uh-mazing.

Fair warning before we begin: Recently I’ve been on a what can only be described as an Eve Lom binge. Prepare your blog-reading eyes because this is just the first instalment.


It’s kind ironic that I chose this Pamela Barsky bag while staying in New York in the summer. Since then I’ve been doing admin work and become horrendously well organised. Or have I? Perhaps I’m pretending…


May as well start at the beginning of my routine. Also, sorry, these photos are not as good as I was hoping, I didn’t realise until I started writing but now I want to share, DAMMIT! I don’t have time to wait until I’m home during daylight hours again! Ok anyway. To be honest, I chose Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Primer because I was idly walking around Brighton with my boyfriend, went into a shop,  someone I used to work with was there, and she recommended it. But I’m really grateful she did.


My foundation lasts longer, comes off easier, and looks WAY better. This stuff, if you have oily or combination skin, is perfect. It feels silky when it goes on, and there’s no colour to it, or GLITTER. I can’t stand glittery primer (it’s not ‘shimmer’ either, don’t start that now).  Get it for £29 – it lasts for quite a while too!


This is such a bad picture. Urgh, just click the link and save me from myself. Clarins Instant Concealer is pretty good, I’d say it’s the only product in my makeup bag that I don’t love, just tolerate though. It’s £21, and it does last for a long time, but they only do three shades and I happen to be really lucky that one is my skin tone. While the concealer does do the job well, the bottle is horrendous. it holds air inside it because it’s a stiff plastic which doesn’t shrink down when you use the product, which I feel must mean it ruins the concealer after a while, or there are lots of preservatives in it. If you have any suggestions for better concealers, PLEASE COMMENT! Help me perfect my makeup bag.


I had been using Clarins Everlasting Foundation for a long time, and it stopped feeling good. I got a sample of Eve Lom’s Radiance Lift Foundation and adored it, but I was concerned by the way it seemed to streak a bit when I applied it with a brush. This was why I was kind of absent mindedly browsing for a primer, and by using a makeup sponge to blot over it after I put it on, I have pretty much the smoothest face of my life (well, maybe since puberty hit).

IMG_5510Eve Lom Foundation is incredible, I love the colour and the way it feels on my skin. It’s £50, so do with that information what you will. I think it’s completely worth it though…

IMG_5499Yet another terrible photo. This is No7’s trusty Perfect Light Pressed Powder. You really can’t argue with a product like this, it absorbs oil and keeps my super greasy lids perfectly matte all day. I used to apply it all over when my skin was seriously oily, but I don’t need to do that anymore, just my lids. Very simple, very affordable, I highly recommend it as a powder for someone who doesn’t need to use powder very much. Plus it’s only £11.50!


Lastly, here are my applicators. I’ve had this brush, and the one below, for about seven years. They’re from The Body Shop, and wow were they worth the investment. I buy cheap eyeliner brushes which I have to replace every few months, but these two have lasted so well…actually…WHY do I still buy cheap eyeliner brushes? Maybe it’s time for another minor investment. This is my foundation brush, it’s really soft, and spreads foundation perfectly.


And this is a powder brush, which is what I use to apply powder to my eyelids. I wash these every few months in gentle shower gel like Dr Bronner’s or Weleda, and I think that must help them last longer too. They’re just great. Get them here – because mine are so old I don’t actually know exactly which ones they are, but I’m sure the new ones will be just as good!


Ending on a slightly boring note…this is what I use to apply concealer and blend my foundation. I use the pointy bit for concealer, and the rounded bit for foundation. This came in a pack of 8 from Superdrug and cost basically nothing, but the great thing about it is that it doesn’t seem to absorb much makeup at all. I washed it for the photo, but very little actually came out! To be honest I bought it because the sponges were arranged in a flower shape…but they do a great job anyway, luckily.

IMG_5495So there you go! My current makeup essentials. What are yours? Any recommendations? 🙂

Bringing the beauty – a Travel Post!

I’m super excited. Tomorrow I’ll be going to New York for the first time! And then up to Canada, to stay with a friend. I can’t wait, and I thought that before I go I’d share how I roll when it comes to travelling.


These are my essentials for hand luggage. A good book. Palmer’s lipbalm. Weleda Skin Food (for my face). Weleda Rhinodoron spray for my nose (the dry air doesn’t like my sinuses). A mini Jurlique Rose Hand Cream (luxurious and nourishing, because I’ll be using a tonne of antibac hand wipes too). Pacifica Coconut Milk Wipes (for freshening up). Urbanears Headphones (the best, and prettiest). Gin Gin ginger sweets (for ear popping purposes). Benefit’s They’re Real! (because my eyelashes are more or less see through so I need mascara at all times). Buddha Nose Girl Balm (the smell is calming and refreshing at the same time).


I’m so glad I invested in a few new mini bottles to decant all this in. Because it went from all that…


To just these! So satisfying. I’m going to need to wash my hair while I’m away which is annoying, because I need to use so much shampoo and conditioner I have no choice but to bring whole bottles. But being able to shink the rest of the products down to just this has helped SO MUCH. Most of these bottles came from Muji, with the exception of the Travalo perfume bottle, and the oil bottle, which actually came from a Weleda Body Oil set.


I’ve kept it super simple with make up. To be fair, my make up routine is very simple all the time anyway, as I rarely experiment. I just decanted a couple of broken eyeshadows into my tiniest travel pots to save a little space.

So that’s it! I’m really pleased with how much space I’ve saved with those Muji bottles. Happy travels, touch wood! And if you’re going away yourself this summer, I hope you have a great time 🙂