Florabundance: 2012

22 December 2012

Nars Kalahari Eyeshadow Duo

A few weeks back I finally got my hands on Nars Kalahari Eyeshadow Duo - something I have been coveting for at least a whole year now. I'm not entirely sure why I kept putting it off, but I'm so mad at myself - these 2 shades are beautiful and wonderfully formulated!

The NARS website describes this duo as gold confection and sugared cocoa. I'm not entirely sure I agree with the descriptions - I would personally describe both of these colors as medium frosty browns, one with a golden undertone, one with a taupe undertone. 

I think it is more clear in person that these 2 shades are incredibly similar, which left me a little disappointed. I mostly find myself reaching for these as crease colours, or to use them as an all over wash when I'm in a hurry. 

Both shadows have pretty good pigmentation (I've used better and I've used worse) but they do wear better than most formulations I have tried. I mostly love NARS eyeshadows because of how smooth they are - absolutely no chalkiness or crumbling here!  At £24 they are not the cheapest eyeshadows, but if you look at how much it costs you per gram then they are definitely a better deal than brands like MAC and Urban Decay which is good to know. 

Overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase and I can't wait to add more Nars Eyeshadow Duos to my collection.

Hope you are all ready for Christmas... I'm hoping to prepare some good posts over the Chistmas period :-)

Lydia xox 

15 December 2012

Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating Treatment

Today I wanted to blog about a product that has become this years winter skin care saviour for me. As a loyal fan of Origins, when my skin care wasn't quite cutting it back in early October I hotfooted it to my nearest Origins counter for a skin consultation. I have done this in the past and I find them really useful, particularly when your skin has changed with the change in seasons.

Although I have pretty normal skin with an oily t-zone, the SA actually said that my skin was dehydrated. Apparently it is very common to have both oily and dehydrated skin at the same time - something I had never known before but now I can clearly see this is true. The product I was recommended to combat this issue was Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating Treatment

This product is very clear with a thin, gel-like texture which makes it very comfortable on any oilier areas of the face, but it still does a fantastic job of hydrating the skin due to the ingredients. It is classed as a treatment, but I use this as my day and evening moisturiser as this is what was recommended to me. I only use a moisturiser on top of the treatment if my skin is feeling particularly dry that day. The product dries quite quickly and it is a wonderful base for make-up as it isn't too tacky and feels semi-matte within around a minute or two.

As for results, this product makes my skin feel very smooth to the touch and it has definitely aided it in looking brighter and clearer. I have also noticed that I have been getting less blemishes since using this - perhaps a coincidence, but either way a major positive for me. 

At £33 a pot, this product isn't cheap but I believe it is worth ever penny. Thank you Origins, you never let me down.

Lydia xox

1 December 2012

Bobbi Brown Brightening Finishing Powder

Let me start by saying I'm not the biggest Bobbi Brown fan in the world, I never keep up with their collections, but I am partial to dabbling with a few bits by them. 

I was at my local counter a few weeks ago, and with an hour to kill I decided to let the make up artist do me a 'makeover'. When I first got in to the chair I honestly never imagined I'd be spending £40 (!!!!) on a face powder. But for me, as soon as I saw this product on my face I knew it was love at first sight with this bad boy....

It comes in gorgeous mirror packaging. I think this may be a Christmas collection product? Mostly because I know Bobbi rarely srtays from the classy black packaging.

As you can see up close, the powder consists of 6 different colours and it is evident they look quite shimmery.

Fear not, despite being a shimmering multi-coloured powder (sounds like a car crash description to me!) it applies quite translucent and the shimmer isn't too harsh, it just does what it says on the tin - makes my complexion look brighter.

Above: swatch of all the colours swirled together

What I love most about this product is that I get to feel reassured that I have some sort of oil control without loosing any of the luminosity of my skin. Having oily skin means I usually have to powder my face every day and I hate how flat it can make my skin look - this product is definitely a wonderful solution to that, and I would recommend it to any fellow oily-skinned gals!

Lydia xox 

17 November 2012

My Shavata Brow Shape Experience

Last Saturday I went along to the Shavata brow bar in Cardiff House of Fraser for a brow shape*. I was particularly excited for my appointment after learning that Shavata are the brand behind the eyebrows of this years X Factor's contestants, and the team are exclusively in charge of transforming this year’s hopefuls from raw unknowns to perfectly arched A-listers groomed and ready for their TV appearances.

The Shavata brow bar in House of Fraser Oxford Street

As soon as I arrived I was whisked in to my seat and the lady consulted me about how I felt about my brows and what I would like to change if I could. She even spent some time studying my brows, and in the end we decided to keep the natural shape but take more from one of the brows tail than the other as one of my eyebrows tail was thinner than the other. I was incredibly impressed with this, because most salons don't even ask what I want they just plonk me on the chair and get to work with the wax. I had been unhappy with how uneven my brows looked for quite some time and I am very pleased to say that  they now look much more like sisters than cousins after my experience at Shavata! Whilst an appointment at Shavata can be a mix of waxing, threading and tweezing my personal appointment just consisted of mostly threading and then some tweezing to tidy up. I was very happy with the results - I think I may prefer threading to waxing now because I feel like the results are just much more precise and sharp. 
Another thing to note about my experience is that the whole atmosphere is incredibly professional. There was no awkward chat like you get at usual salons, "going out tonight? ready for Christmas?", which I usually hate anyway. The lady was so concentrated, I felt like she was working on a piece of art haha. 

Overall, my experience was incredibly pleasant and I am thinking of booking in again with them next month - I'll keep you guys posted!

Lydia xox

*the Shavata brow shape I received was complimentary. all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

11 November 2012

Current Face Products: November 2012

As I think I've mentioned in a few previous posts, I always tend to fall in to a routine with my daily make-up due to lack of time in the mornings before work. I occasionally chop and change and eventually something just sticks. Right now I'm absolutely in a solid routine with products I really like, so I thought I'd share them with you all :)

  • Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation - something I have a love/hate relationship with, but right now I'm absolutely loving it. Good coverage, not too dewy and not too flat, this product applies like a breeze with my Sigma F80 flat top kabuki. My only gripe with this is the poor shade range. 

  • Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer Duo - my all time HG concealer. It is so highly pigmented I only need a tiny dab of this on to spots to cover them up. 

  • Nars Sin Blusher - I had a hard time getting on with this blush at first, it made me look like coco the clown no matter how light-handed I applied it. I think the key to this blusher for me personally is using it on an angled blush brush and dabbing it off on my hand first. Now that I've figured it out I'm using it every day and loving it!

  • Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in Emerveille - a lovely peachy shimmery eye colour that is easy to swipe on. Perfect for every day wear.

  • Maybelline Master Precise Eyeliner Pen - this is probably my all time favourite 'drug store' liquid eyeliner. The nib is ultra fine and it makes application a dream!

  • Benefit They're Real Mascara - another all time favourite for me, I just purchased my third tube yesterday. It lengthens my lashes really well and it's staying power is very good - on the verge of waterproof in my opinion!

  • MAC Lipstick in Dubonnet - a lovely, dark red that is perfect for this time of year. I'll be honest, I don't wear this shade every day but it usually is a MAC lipstick of some variation.

Lydia xox 

4 November 2012

My Sunday Beauty Ritual

Wow, has it really been one whole month since I last blogged? I didn't realise it had been so long and now I feel a bit rubbish. My excuse is that I have started a new (much better!) job and I am generally out of the house for 10 hours - when I come home, the last thing I want to do is sit down and blog unfortunately.

Today I wanted to share with you all my Sunday afternoon beauty ritual. I have noticed lately that I am very much in a routine when it comes to Sundays. I think it's because it's the day I have the most time on my hands, so I go all out and pamper myself silly :)

First of all I start off with a bath, usually with a Lush bath bomb or bubble bar of some sort, and I do my weekly body scrub. Lately I am loving the Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub - it smells heavenly and works a treat. 

Once I have hopped out of the bath, I usually smother myself in a body lotion or body butter depending on how dry my skins been feeling. My product of choice this week is The Body Shop's Shea Body Butter - not my particular favourite but incredibly moisturising.

Next up is to get to work on my face. I do my weekly face scrub with the Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion Polish which is incredibly effective and leaves my skin super soft. I follow this up with the Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask, I only apply a light layer and leave it on all day and night as a heavy duty moisturiser rather than a mask.

At this point I'll give my hair a wash with a clarifying shampoo, usually Unite Weekender, and follow it up with the Matrix Conditioning Balm as my hair masque which I leave on for about 30 minutes.

With the hair masque still on and my hair wrapped up in a towel, I get to work on my nails. This weekend I'm going for matching fingers and toes with OPI Danke-Shiny Red from the OPI Germany Collection.

Finally, I will slather on Soap and Glory Heel Genius foot cream and pop on some socks. At bed time I also give my hands a treat by slathering on The Body Shop's Hemp Hand Protector hand cream. 

I then finish off my evening with a candle lit (Yankee Candle Christmas Eve my current choice!) and snuggling up on the sofa :)

Do you have a Sunday beauty ritual too? Would love to know!

Lydia xox

2 October 2012

September 2012 Favourites

Hello all! I can barely believe it is that time of the month again - monthly favourites time! Despite that, I am absolutely welcoming October with open arms. I am more than happy to be entering Autumn/Winter and to be embracing cosy knits and hot chocolate. 

Enough babbling, here is what I have been loving in September...

  • Aussie Mega Shampoo - I have used Aussie many times in the past, usually favouring the moisturising formula, but on a whim a few weeks ago I decided to pick up the Mega shampoo and conditioner. Me and my mum have both been using this and we both cannot believe how clean and light our hair feels. As a person who suffers with oily roots on day 2 hair, I have been desperate to find an every day shampoo that clarifies enough to keep my hair feeling fresher for longer. This definitely does the job for me!

  • Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Special Edition Rose and Lavender - I bought this a few days after it had come out, purely because I was running low on the original formula and I thought I'd give this a try. Initially, I wasn't sure if I would get on well with this because I'm not a fan of lavender, however it is so subtle that it doesn't bother me. It feels really soothing and is perfect for use before bed time. I love this so much, perhaps even preferring it to the original, and will definitely repurchase before it disappears from the shelves! 

  • Soap and Glory The Righteous Butter Body Lotion - I have already been through multiple tubs of the body butter version of this product, but after spotting the huge bottle in a lotion formula I snapped it up. It has the same gorgeous scent, provides good moisturisation but is much lighter and soaks in to the skin much quicker. I love that it has a pump for easy application and the bottle will last me ages.

  • MAC Pro Longwear Foundation - after saying goodbye to MAC Studio Fix Fluid a few years ago, I never thought I'd see the day I would buy another MAC foundation. Lately, the long days at work in a stuffy office have resulted in my make-up disappearing before the end of the day, and I guess I was drawn to the long-wearing promises of this foundation. I ordered it when there was 10% off cosmetics at Debenhams and I have really been enjoying wearing this. It dries matte but it definitely looks like a more satin finish to me - it isn't completely flat. It lasts all day and provides good medium coverage.

  • Stella McCartney 'Stella' Eau de Parfum - a lovely rose scent that is perfect for the change in seasons as we step in to Autumn/Winter. This lasts well on me and always seems to get me a compliment! The print bottle is also gorgeous. 

Hope you all have a wonderful October :-)

Lydia xox 

15 September 2012

MAC Springsheen Blusher

Today I wanted to share with you all my most recent blusher purchase, MAC Springsheen, which has quickly become one of my favourite blushers out of my collection. 

Springsheen has a 'sheertone shimmer' finish, and whilst I don't think it's very sheer I can definitely notice some shimmer. Don't panic though - it's not shimmer crazy, it just adds a gorgeous sheen to the cheeks. Very similar to Benefit Coralista in my mind.

As for the colour, MAC describes it as a "peach with pearl" - pretty fitting, however I would call it more of a pink coral with a golden sheen to it. Again, very reminiscent to Benefit Coralista. Both blushes give a nice, subtle every day glow which can be amped up for evening wear with a heavier handed application.

I find that it is incredibly pigmented but the sheertone formula stops it from looking too over the top (clown cheeks anyone? no thank you!) - see the one swipe swatch below. It also blends pretty well and manages to stay put all day long, even if my foundation starts to melt off a little.

I have been wearing Springsheen a lot lately and I would highly recommend it. It strikes me as the type of colour that would work well on all skintones. 

Springsheen is in the permanent MAC collection and retails for £17.50. You can purchase it here  from Debenhams where cosmetics are currently 10% off!

Lydia xox

12 September 2012

Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm

In the recent FeelUnique.com sale, I picked up a product I had been lusting after for a while - the Matrix Biolage Hydratherapie Conditioning Balm

A huge 500ml tub set me back around £13, although full price is usually £15.25 - still not bad for such a large tub I'm sure you'll agree!

The idea behind the conditioning balm is that it is a heavy-duty deep conditioner that you use like a hair masque.

Having used products from the Biolage line by Matrix before, on first use I instantly recognised the herbal scent which smells very fresh in my opinion. As the 'balm' in the name would suggest, this product is incredibly thick like a paste as opposed to the more runny consistency of most deep conditioning hair masques. You can hold this tub open upside down and nothing will drop down - it is pretty solid! As you can imagine, a hair masque this thick is incredibly nourishing and suitable for very weak and damaged hair.

Although my hair is in pretty good condition right now, I like to use a very small amount of this product as my daily conditioner. It really conditions the lengths of my hair and keeps my ends looking and feeling very healthy.

I am absolutely in love with this product and I can definitely say I would repurchase this when I eventually run out. I think it will work out to be very good value for money because it looks set to last so long. It also means I don't have to pop to Boots every few weeks to buy a new conditioner - win!

Lydia xox

9 September 2012

August 2012 Empties

This post is a little late I know, but I had gathered a ridiculous amount of empties in August and really wanted to share them with you all! I am so happy I can chuck these all in the recycling now - collecting empties really is a bit of an inconvenience but I love posting about them so hey!

My overflowing basket of empties....

And here's the contents....

  • Lush Snow Fairy
  • Soap and Glory Flake Away Scrub
  • Soap and Glory Righteous Butter
  • Jergens Natural Glow Gradual Tan
  • Dove Silk Glow Body Wash
  • Nivea Creme Soft Shower Gel
  • Aussie 3 Minute Miracle
  • Radox Spa Soothe Bubble Bath
  • Radox Relax Therapy Bubble Bath

As you can see I really have been ploughing my way through bath and body products lately - I just have so many and I am pleased to be getting through them. 

am currently uploading a very overdue video to YouTube so expect a post with that soon :-)

Lydia xox 

31 August 2012

Chanel Glossimer #169 Jalousie

I'm not usually one for lipgloss and after purchasing so many that have gone to waste over the years I made a conscious decision to stop buying them. Well that was until I found myself at the Chanel counter on payday last week and I just knew I had to make the exception!

Jalousie instantly jumped out at me. It is a gorgeous hot raspberry shade. It's undeniably a bright pink but it also has a red undertone to it. I think this shade will be perfect for both a fresh summer look and a more bold winter look.

As you can see from the swatch, it's incredibly pigmented and almost opaque in just one swipe, something which I believe to be incredibly rare with a lipgloss. Whilst Jalousie will look fab over any pink lipstick, this is definitely a gloss that can pack enough punch on its own.

Here is a photo of me wearing it with just one thin layer. I have been wearing this to work a lot lately and find it not to overpowering at all for the office. On a night out I would definitely amp it up though.

I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend you to check it out in store, I definitely think Jalousie is a shade to splurge on if you like hot pink lips.

What do you think of Jalousie? Are you a lipstick or gloss kind of person?

Lydia xox

25 August 2012

Payday Spendin'

On Thursday I took the day off to go shopping with my auntie who was down visiting, it also happened to conveniently be payday - so of course I had to do some spending! Whilst I'm having a nice chilled out Saturday afternoon I thought I would show you what beauty things I picked up...

Of course I couldn't resist picking up 2 more Essie's. Having the diffusion line in Boots is very dangerous for my bank account! I chose Fiji and Mint Candy Apple. I have owned and loved Fiji in the past but my bottle went all gloopy and gross and I threw it out - so happy to now own it again!

We also took a trip to the Chanel counter. I picked up a gorgeous hot pink Glossimer called Jalousie and another Rouge Coco Shine lipstick in the colour Boy - both have been on my wish list for a while.

After hearing a lot of buzz about Maybelline's new mascara, The Falsies Flared, I decided to pick it up and give it a go. Big thumbs up from me so far...

I popped in to Lush as my bath stash seems to be running dangerously low. I got Honey Bee bath bomb and Karma bubble bar. Both old favourites of mine, oldies but goodies indeed :)

Finally, I was in desperate need of a new shoulder handbag because my cross-body satchel just wasn't big enough to keep my lunch in for work etc, so I headed to Accessorize. I came away with this lovely bucket-style navy bag which I'm very happy with!

I also bought some clothes but I find them so hard to photograph so I've left them out of this. Perhaps they will pop in a haul, video style, soon.

Have you been payday spending? I'd love to know what you bought in the comments below!

Lydia xox

19 August 2012


One of my absolute favourite make-up brands, Illamasqua, have started a really important campaign called FIGHT FOR A FAIR BEAUTY PRICE

Basically, they are making a stand against the global giants of cosmetics, who force Australian customers to pay up to 61% more than UK prices. It is entirely unjust that someone in the UK pays just $24 for a lipstick, while a man or woman in Australia has to pay $40 for exactly the same product. 

I have always known that Australian cosmetics prices were higher, but now that I really think about it, I wonder why hasn't anyone made a stand against this sooner? It is no surprise to me, however, that it is Illamasqua to take the initiative on this - they are always pushing the boundaries and surprising us. 

Please please please click > here to sign the petition, and hopefully make a difference. 


Lydia xox

18 August 2012

Lanolips Lip Ointment with Colour SPF15

For the past two weeks I have been trying out and loving Lanolips Lip Ointment with Colour SPF15. Having heard a lot of buzz about Lanolips in the bloggersphere over the years, I was really keen to try something by the brand. Whilst I think the original Lanolips Ointment still sounds great, I think a tinted version is much more fun and great to keep in my handbag for a pick-me-up. It still provides the lip-smoothing benefits of lanolin, with added high gloss and noticeably pigmented colour! 

What draws me the most to Lanolips is the fact that it is so natural yet still effective, deemed by the brand itself as "nature's wonder moisturiser". Lanolips contains over 60% ultra-pure medical grade lanolin and the rest? Pure pigment, Vitamin E and some lovely natural oils - that truly is it! I can hardly believe that something that's so hydrating has such little ingredients. I can imagine the super moisturising ointment is also going to be amazing for winter - I'm excited just thinking about it!

The product comes in 4 colours, however the one I have been tsting is Sunshine - a gorgeous deep coral. I am keen to try Rhubarb next - described as "the prettiest fruity deep pink". 

Obligatory hand and lip swatches....

On my lips, which are naturally quite pigmented, it is definitely a lot less coral looking but I have found if I apply it a little heavier the colour really becomes vibrant.

Lanolips Lip Ointment with Colour SPF15 costs £7.99 and is available from Boots stores nationwide.

Lydia xox

Disclaimer: this product was sent to me for free with no obligation to feature the product. I will always only blog about what I genuinely like.

12 August 2012

Belated July 2012 Favourites

Aloha everyone! I have had these photos ready for a July Favourites blog post for quite some time now but l haven't seemed to be able to find the time or drive to actually sit down and put together a blog post. So I am sorry this monthly post is a little late but better late than never I figured.

First up is Kerastase Critalliste Bain Cristal Shampoo (I chose the version for thick long hair as opposed to the fine long hair version if you are interested).  If you have read my blog for some time then you'll know I'm a huge Kerastase fan. What drew me to this product in particular is that it is paraben free, silicon free and colourant free which is wonderful. On top of this, the Cristalliste line has been created for young people with long hair prone to weighed down roots and dry ends - totally my hair type! It claims to remove impurities whilst respecting the hair and to smooth the lengths without weighing it down. I cannot agree more with the description, it totally lives up to the claims and I have thoroughly enjoyed using it. 

I have also been continuing to enjoy using the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. I have reviewed this product not so long ago so I don't really want to repeat myself too much, but basically I love this product because it deeply hydrates my skin without making it greasy, helps get rid of blemishes in record time and generally helps sort my skin out whether it be dry patches or spots.

MAC Viva Glam V Lipstick has probably been my most worn lipstick in July. It is such an easy nude to wear, perfect for throwing on as I am leaving the house for work. I also like that it requires no mirror for touch ups throughout the day - it's hard to get it wrong because the colour is so natural!

After reading earlier in the month that Katy Perry loves the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer Duo I decided to dig mine out to see if I could fall in love with it; having previously not been so keen. I had originally disliked the concealer because I found it too solid and hard to blend. This time around I totally fell in love with it - repetitive use has made the concealer really creamy and much easier to blend and now I absolutely could not be without this! I would go as far as saying it is my all time favourite. It is very high coverage, non-cakey and super long lasting. I use the shade SC-2.

Next up is the Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24h Eyeshadow in On and On Bronze. I picked this up on a whim in Tesco because it was on offer for £4.99. I didn't realise how much I was going to love it - it is the most perfect taupe with a slight shimmer. It's so easy to whack on in the mornings, I have been wearing it to work almost every day since buying it. I either wear it alone with a flick of black eyeliner or with some MAC Sable eyeshadow blended into the crease and outer V.

Finally, my last July favourite is an oldie but a goodie. After using the Sigma F80 religiously for quite some time now, I decided to try out my Sigma F84 with my foundation instead. I absolutely love the effect it gives, it blends my foundation seamlessly and the fact that it is angled means the tip can get in to smaller places like around my nose and eyes a lot easier than the F80.

Hopefully normal blogging will resume as of this post, I have lots to talk of products to talk about :-)

Lydia xox

4 August 2012

Weekend Shopping: Beauty and Heart Spoons!

The past few days I have been on a girly little shopping trip to Birmingham with some fellow beauty bloggers - Lydia, Sinead and Carla

I finally added another Real Techniques brush to my collection - this time the blusher brush. Very excited to use this on Monday morning.

Another Essie nail polish in the very pretty, Barbie-esque shade called Lovie Dovie. I'll let you know how I get on with that one.

Something that caught all of our eyes was the new MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadows. Me, Sinead and Lydia all bought the same 2 shades - Pure Flash! (left) and Superwatt (right). They are gorgeous, quite similar to the Chanel Illusion D'ombre eyeshadows in texture however they are a lot more lightweight with a bit more sparkle to them!

At the Laura Mercier counter I swatched the most beautiful blusher, it was playing on my mind that evening so I ended up going back to the counter today to pick up their Second Skin blusher in the shade Sweet Mandarin. It is so so beautiful.

Also at Laura Mercier I purchased my first ever lip glace by them. I went for the very pretty, peachy shade called Bellini - probably their most famous one. I wore it last night and think it's great so far. A little too sticky for my liking but it lasted a really long time which is rare for a gloss.

Finally, in Selfridges I picked up 2 Alessi heart spoons - the cutest things ever! At £4.95 each they didn't break the bank but they were definitely a little luxury splurge. One is for me, one is for my mum :)

Et voila, that is all! It's safe to say I am absolutely shattered after my trip and I cannot wait to hit the hay tonight. I also wanted to quickly mention that as I am now finally in the iPhone club I have set up an Instagram account. You can click here to check out my latest photo and follow me if you so wish to :)

Lydia xox