Florabundance: 2014

28 December 2014

2014 Beauty Favourites

Compiling my 2014 beauty favourites was quite the task; I have tried and loved so many new beauty products this year. I have also rediscovered old favourites that are now used again regularly. How could I pick?!

After much debating I have managed to whittle my favourites down to the following 8 wonderful products....

Kiehl's Midnight Recover Concentrate

This little bottle of goodness is now my new holy grail skincare product. I bought my bottle back in February and was bowled over by how much of a difference it made to my skin on first use. I apply 3 pumps from the pipet to my face every other night and when I wake up in the morning my skin is noticeably improved. When my skin has dry patches it balances my skin and sorts the dry patches out. When I have blemishes it also significantly reduces them. I can't sing its praises enough. If you're on the fence about this product I say go for it!

Dior Creme De Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm

This heavenly pot of rose scented lip balm makes me so happy each time I use it. Not too heavy or thick in consistency but amply nourishes the lips with a slight tint of pale pink colour. I have never loved a lip balm so much; bittersweet really because this product is now discontinued. Dior, you are so not in my good books. Please hear the voice of us beauty bloggers and bring Creme De Rose back!

MAC Patisserie Lipstick

Ahh Patisserie, you are the epitome of a 'my lips but better' lipstick. It rarely leaves my handbag and is swiped on my lips on a regular basis. Part of the Lustre formula line, this lipstick is very glossy and feel hydrating on the lips. If you're looking for an easy to wear, non-fussy lipstick then check out Patisserie.

Essie Russian Roulette

Red nails are my thing; it's just what I like. But how many red nail polishes can one person own? A lot, let me tell you! The one that really stood out for me this year was Essie's Russian Roulette. It's a bright red-orange colour that compliments pale and tanned skin alike. It is also very classic looking, so it's hard to go wrong with this. I love how creamy and opaque it is. Looks good with one coat, looks fantastic with two. As with all Essie nail polishes; it applies like a dream and lasts for ages (for me at least!). 

MAC Mineralize Blush in 'Petal Power'

I'm still a fan of obnoxiously shimmery blushers. A matte blusher? No, not for me sorry. I like my cheeks to have sheen! My shimmery blush of choice this year was definitely Petal Power. MAC describes this shade as a coral pink with gold shimmer - spot on in my opinion. It has a luminous glow on the cheeks with a gorgeous golden peach pink finish. Similar to Nars Orgasm and Benefit Coralista (both old favourites of mine) but just so much prettier. 

Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Cologne

I had this perfume for Christmas last year and have worn it consistently throughout 2014. I always receive lots of compliments when I wear this and I think it is a general crowd pleaser. Let's just say you aren't going to offend anyone if you spray a hefty amount before leaving the house. It is a gorgeous, girly fragrance that isn't sickly sweet or overbearingly floral. It's very much a sophisticated, feminine scent. A repurchase for me in the new year for sure!

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF15

This was probably the hardest product for me to pick. I'm a foundation junkie, ever on the hunt for that perfect one. Having thought about it recently in anticipation of this blog post, I realised I wore Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation more than any other foundation this year. When I'm in a rush I reach for this without thinking. When I travel, I tend to take this because it does well with my skin whatever condition its in (be it dry patches or an oily mess). I've actually come to the end of my bottle and plan to repurchase ASAP. 

Urban Decay Naked Palette

The original and the best in my books. I always gravitate towards this palette; whether it is for minimal weekend make-up or an evening out. For me, this palette covers all bases. I love Naked and Buck for a matte, neutral eye and also for using in the crease with any kind of look. I wear Sin on a regular basis (I've hit pan, sob!) and also love Half Baked for daytime and nighttime alike. Half Baked and Darkhorse are my ultimate gold smokey eye duo. 

On a side note, hopefully I'll be blogging a lot more in 2015. I have a laptop again now which makes blogging a million times easier! Please let me know of any requests in a comment, via Twitter or drop me an email if that's what you prefer. 

Lydia xox

26 December 2014

MAC Syrup Lipstick

The most recent addition to my MAC lipstick collection is Syrup

Syrup is a lustre formula and is part of the permanent line. This shade is described by MAC as a 'cloudy pink' but I think there is so much more to this colour than that. It is not just your average pretty pink lipstick. 

Although it definitely fits in to the 'my lips but better' category, it also has a tinge of purple to it that makes it that little bit more interesting. Perhaps better described as a cool toned, muted mauve pink. 

As you can see from the swatch below, Syrup leaves a very shiny finish when applied. This means also feels hydrating on the lips which is always a plus in my books! 

Below is a photo of me wearing the colour. I am so in love with it! It's so easy to wear and it goes with literally any kind of eye make-up. I think this will become an everyday staple for me, a lipstick that I can just grab and apply on the go. A handbag staple for sure.

MAC lipsticks retail for £15.50; I purchase mine from Debenhams.

Hope you've had a wonderful Christmas. 

Lydia xox

20 December 2014

Festive Glitter Nails with Essie Summit of Style

This blog has never really heavily featured nail polish but over the past few years I've become a nail polish obsessive. I'm particularly partial to the brand Essie, who in my opinion have the best formula with the best brush. 

As soon as December rolls around, out comes my array of glitter polish. Glitter polish = instant festive nails, right?! Last year it was all about Essie Set in Stones (a silver glitter) but this year I decided to switch it up and buy Essie Summit of Style (bronze gold glitter). It's safe to say I've had more than  my money's worth because I haven't stopped using it! 

Here are some of my favourite combos from the past few weeks...

Essie Russian Roulette with Summit of Style

Essie Fishnet Stockings with Summit of Style

Essie Jiggle Hi Jiggle Lo (Winter 2014 collection) with Summit of Style

I think for Christmas day I am going to go for Essie Lacquered Up (a bright poppy orange red) paired with both Set in Stones and Summit of Style on top. 

What are you planning to use for your Christmas nail? I'd love some more inspo!

Lydia xox 

9 November 2014

The Nars Holy Trinity; Dragon Girl, Cruella and Red Square

Some people have referred to the Urban Decay Naked palettes as the holy trinity (ok, maybe even myself...) but today I want to gush about an entirely different holy trinity... ladies, I'm talking about the only 3 red lip colours you could ever need and they all belong to Velvet Matte Lip Pencil line from Nars.

Just look at them in all their beauty...

Top to bottom: Dragon Girl, Cruella, Red Square 

Swatches top to bottom: Dragon Girl, Cruella, Red Square

Dragon Girl

This was the first of the 3 that I bought and I instantly fell in love. It is such an easy red to wear, it's not too in your face loud. As you can hopefully see from the swatches above, Dragon Girl very has a definite pink undertone to it which softens it and makes it so easy to wear. Don't let me lead you down the wrong road though, this still has some 'pow!' to it, if you know what I mean. Definitely a great starting point for people not so comfortable with reds.


First off, can I just say how much I love the name of this? Love a Disney reference. I do think it is aptly named though as this is the most vampy and daring of the trio. It's a very deep red, almost burgundy in colour. This isn't for the faint hearted and certainly packs a punch but I think it looks so beautiful, especially at this time of year. I'll be wearing this a lot come party season next month!

Red Square

I've saved my favourite for last. Words can't tell you how much I love this one. It's one of those orange toned reds that seems to be universally flattering (in similar vein to MAC Lady Danger) and instantly brightens the complexion. I wear this year round and think it looks equally flattering with a tan in summer as it does on a pale English rose. 

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are all (obviously) matte in finish and have incredibly staying power. Their longevity is why I love them so much (I rarely need to touch them up) but it does come with a little downfall, as as with all matte lip products they do have a tendancy to be a little drying. I don't think this comes across physically  as I don't notice my lips looking dry in the mirror but I often find my lips feeling a little dehydrated if that makes sense? It's nothing major though and totally worth it.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils retail for £18 each and are available from all Nars stockists; I get mine from John Lewis.

Lydia xox

7 November 2014

Nars Audacious Lipstick in Anna

Following a lot of online buzz I had been ogling swatches of the new Nars Audacious lipsticks online for weeks before they came out in the UK. The Audacious lipstick formula has been touted as well pigmented, long-wearing and creamy - surely what everyone wants from a lipstick?! 

I decided I wanted to go for a shade with a bit of an Autumnal berry hue to it but also something quite natural and easy to slick on without thinking about. Anna seemed liked the perfect choice so I plumped for that.

Nars officially describe this shade as a "smokey rose" which is extremely accurate. It's quite cool toned and muted, a very lovely medium pink that is very easy to wear and just what I was after. I love the semi-matte finish, it's matte enough to have some good longevity but not so matte that it dries the lips out. It's a highly pigmented with fantastic coverage; one swipe is more than adequate. 

Oh and did I mention the super luxe packaging? A huge improvement from their other products. It has a magnetic closure which I love (it's the little things, eh?!) but more importantly they have switched out the rubbery matte packaging for a metal packaging with a matte finish. Much more expensive feeling and a lot easier to keep clean. Nars fans you know what I mean, right?!

Here's a photo of me wearing it. On my lips it definitely shows up as more of a berry hue which I love. It reminds me of a more natural MAC Plumful, another of my autumn/winter favourites. I can see this becoming a huge staple for me and I'm definitely going to pick up another shade. 

Nars Audacious lipsticks retail for £24 and are now available from all Nars stockists. 

I'd highly recommend checking them out! 

Lydia xox

18 October 2014

Lush Helping Hands

Say hello to my new little saviour - Lush Helping Hands. 

"A nurturing almond, cocoa butter and chamomile hand cream to give back some of what life and washing has taken out"

Apparently this was created for nurses (and people with cracked/sore hands) in mind who have dried out hands from frequent hand washing at work. I can definitely see the logic and imagine this helps a lot.

I'll explain my story first. Back in May I developed severe dry skin on a finger on my left hand which occasionally itched and caused the skin to peel. Cue many unsuccessful trips to my GP ("there's nothing wrong") and a lot of online research and I realised I had dermatitis. Over the course of the summer it spread to 3 fingers and nothing seemed to be working. The steroid cream from the GP (which I demanded!) would temporarily clear it up only for it to come back with an avengence. I used E45 as my emollient hand cream which just sort of stabilised the problem but again, didn't clear it.

Fast forward to September, I was at Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair washing my hands in the (classy!) portaloos and saw the tubs of Lushing Helping Hands out on display for guests to use so I swiped a blob and rubbed my hands together thinking nothing of it. A little later I noticed what a difference it had made! My hands stayed moisturised for hours on end and they finally looked decent for the first time in months. Not long after I bought a tub from my local Lush and it has been working its magic ever since for me! I am so impressed. It's not necessarily a cure but it has improved the condition of my left hand an incredible amount.

The formula is sort of a loose emulsion that is quite greasy and tacky to begin with so I tend to reserve this as my "before bed" intense hand cream. When I wake up the skin on my hands feel noticeably plumped and nourished. Throughout the day I tend to use E45 after washing my hands but I do keep Helping Hands in my handbag just in case of an emergency! 

It's not just a good hand cream though. The products in it are perfect for dermatitis/eczema sufferers. Honey is a natural antiseptic, chamomile reduces redness, linseed mucilage softens rough skin and helps repair the cracks. In terms of scent it is nothing special but to be honest in this kind of situation I doubt a heavily fragranced hand cream would help me. 

Lush Helping Hands retails for £7.50 for a 100g pot. A little pricey but definitely worth in my books!

If you have any other recommendations for dealing with dermatitise/eczema then please let me know. 

Lydia xox

12 October 2014

Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss #13 Affriolant

Back in the very early blogging days I used to squeal over any and every new beauty launch. These days it has to take a majorly impressive product to get me excited over a new launch. And these new Chanel Rouge Allure Glosses are certainly impressive!

As soon as I heard about them I began scouring the web for swatches and reviews. Intrigued, I then headed to my local Chanel counter to see these babies in person. Oh boy, they are outstanding. And so they should be for the eyewatering £26 pricetag! I have to say the price did make me wince at checkout but they are utterly perfect for a special treat or even as a gift. 

The sleek, opaque black packaging is very luxe. You know you're getting luxury with Chanel and they have totally outdone themselves with this packaging.

My favourite thing has to be the unique click-open design. I know that it is just like the Rouge Allure Lipsticks but somehow a click-open gloss just feels very unique and special. It's not something I would have ever imagined using for a lipgloss but it totally works.

The doefoot applicator is a dream to apply with. It fits the lips just right and allows me to apply precisely with ease. I also think it holds just the right amount of product for one application so dipping back in to the tube for extra product is not required. 

Beyond packaging and the applicator, the product itself is also utterly fantastic. I've never used such a highly pigmented lipgloss before. In my opinion it almost feels like a lipstick/lipgloss hybrid but not at all drying like some other brands offerings. The texture is very smooth and feels lovely on the lips. However, it is quite sticky in consistency which I'm never too keen on but have to admit it does strengthen the staying power. I road tested it by going out for food wearing this yesterday and it stayed on very welll! Major brownie points.

Here's a photo of me wearing shade #13 Affriolant, a gorgeous mid toned pink with a hint of coral to it. I think this one is great for day and evening alike. (Excuse the rest of my face in that photo - had been caught in torrential rain!)

The colour range is gorgeous - I really struggled to just pick one shade. Some are the same as their existing lipstick shades (e.g. #19 Pirate, a stunning red!) and some are new. I'll definitely be picking another one up in the future and possible one or two as Christmas gifts!

Lydia xox

11 October 2014

Chanel Vitalumière Aqua: Holy Grail?

I'm very fickle when it comes to foundations; I have a drawer filled with them and often flit between different ones. I'm a true foundation junkie. Any new launches and I'm all over them! I guess I'm just looking for 'the one'. That HG foundation we all desire. But this morning it occurred to me I had quite possibly already found it...

Chanel Vitalumière Aqua, I'm talking about you. As I applied my makeup this morning I squeezed out the last drop of my current bottle of Vitalumière Aqua and panicked (yep, first world problems right here!) so I head straight to Debenhams to repurchase. That's when I realised that this is quite possibly my all time favourite foundation. I just can't be without it!

For starters, on packaging alone it is near on perfect in my opinion. A squeezy bottle that does not seem to waste any product. It's teeny tiny small and compact so great for traveling. It's also really light in weight so if you're the kind of person who carries all their makeup with them then this is great, it won't weigh your handbag down at all. The only negative would be the opaque bottle - you can't tell when it will run out!

In terms of the product itself (which is essentially the most important thing of course!), I also think it is near on perfect. It's very light in texture but provides a decent coverage - I would say a medium but this does layer well too. It doesn't fully cover my imperfections but it's nothing a bit of concealer can't fix. The finish is very natural; it's not matte and it's not luminous. I agree with Chanel when they say this foundation is like applying a second layer of skin. In terms of longevity, it's fairly decent considering I have an oily t-zone anyway. I never touch my foundation up (I only carry lip products in my bag!) and I wear this foundation most days to work so I can confidently say it lasts a strong 10 hours, however my skin is definitely more luminous (ahem, a shiny discoball!) by home time but I'm ok with that. 

Chanel Vitalumière Aqua currently retails for £33. 

Lydia xox

30 September 2014

The Best Of: Cleansers

Well hello there! It's always good to find a bit of blogging inspiration. I was thinking to myself the other day (as I was tidying up my bathroom shelf) that over the past few years I've become such a huge skincare junkie. How did that happen? I love cleansers and simply couldn't limit myself to just one these days. There are so many different types that serve very different (yet essentially the same?!) purposes. 

Here's my current picks -

MAC Cleanse Off Oil - great for an all in one cleanse. This removes all makeup, even stubborn waterproof mascara. A total God send in a rush. I love this one for lazy evenings or traveling as I don't have to carry a separate eye makeup remover. Probably my most repurchased - this is highly recommended by me. 

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser - this is a nice, gentle and non-offensive cleanser. Not brilliant at removing makeup so I reserve this one for mornings, a quick shower face wash or at the end of a no makeup day. 

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm - my favourite of them all! Perfect for a truly deep clean, I massage this on a to either a clean face or a face full of makeup and then remove with a hot face cloth. It works brilliantly and feels like a total spa at home treat! A 100ml tub lasts me months too which makes the £34 pricetag a little less painful. 

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water - this is the next best thing to Bioderma in my eyes and it is a heck of a lot cheaper! I use this most mornings when in a rush or also on a late night to remove my makeup when I'm too tired to make it to the sink. Not ideal to cleanse with alone but it is better than nothing and does the job pretty damn well! 

What cleansers are the cream of the crop for you guys?

Would love to know. Second thoughts,  no I wouldn't - I'd only go and bleedin' buy them all! Hahaha. 

Lydia xox

17 September 2014

MAC Lady Danger

I headed to my local MAC counter a few weeks ago to return some empty products for their 'back to MAC' recycling scheme and ended up getting Lady Danger on a total whim. Truth be told, the lipstick stands at the MAC counters totally overwhelm me and I have to do my research online before purchasing! 

Luckily, my last minute choice of Lady Danger was a huge success and I am hooked on this gorgeous orange toned red. It is a matte formula which I usually hate but this is totally unlike any other matte lipstick I've tried. It doesn't settle in to any fine lines and doesn't dry my lips out - this is all I ask for in a matte lipstick! On top of this, the colour really fixes itself on to the lips and lasts all day. I had to use an oil based cleanser to get the remnants off one night - a true testiment to it's staying power!

Here's a photo of me wearing Lady Danger. As you can see it is super bright and not one for the shy! What impressed me the most is that it didn't make my teeth look yellow which most reds can do if they aren't blue based like this one which is orange based.

On the whole I'd definitely recommend Lady Danger, especially with the colder weather and festive season in the not so distant future! MAC lipsticks currently retail for £15.50. 

Lydia xox

2 February 2014

Pai Rosehip Oil

For the past few months I have been using the Pai Rosehip Oil on my skin twice a week at night and I have been bowled over by the results. I thought it was about time I shared my thoughts on this very neglected little blog of mine! 

First off let me tell you why I started using it in the first place. Basically rosehip oil is known to help reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, fine lines/wrinkles and sun damage. I personally bought this to help reduce the appearance of my dark spots left from previous breakouts. I was a bit nervous at the thought of having to leave an oil on my face overnight, especially because I have combination oily skin that is very prone to chin breakouts and cystic spots. Reviews online reassured me again and again that this product was for all skin types and so I took the plunge! 

I personally like to use this at the weekend after using a deep cleansing clay face mask. I take 2-3 drops from the pipet, rub it between my fingertips then press it in to my skin, particularly paying more attention to my chin area where I have the most scars and also to any drier patches of skin. It sinks in pretty quickly and it is not overly greasy but it definitely leaves some residue on the surface. I find it best to whip my hair up in to a bun and keep it up overnight - otherwise my hair looks a bit lank and greasy from where it has been in contact with my face. When I wake up in the morning I notice instant results. My skin looks more plump, the texture of my skin looks visibly improved and I seem to notice less imperfections. Over the course of the past few months I have also noticed that my new spot scars heal and fade much faster, previous scars have become much lighter too. I am absolutely delighted with the results and would recommend highly to anyone with any sort of pigmentation issues on their face. It is also brilliant for dehydrated skin!

Pai Rosehip Oil retails for £20 for 30ml and is available to buy from many places online - I got my most recent bottle from BeautyBay.com

Lydia xox