Sunday, 29 December 2013

500 Follower Giveaway!

Just before Christmas I hit 500 Bloglovin' Followers and it made me a very happy bunny indeed. I am so appreciative to all of you who regularly read my little posts and I hope 2014 will be a really great blogging year. To say thank you to my lovely followers I'm giving away a lovely package of things, many of which I own and love myself. One winner will win all of the following:

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Gold Deposit
Bourjois Blush in Rose D'Or
Essie Polish in Case Study
OPI Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil
Sally Hasen Polish in First Kiss
Real Techniques Pointed Foundation Brush
Revlon Sparkling Nail File
Key Chain from One Delightful Button
2 x Jewellery from Jelly Button Jewellery
Natural Collection Concealer in Fair
MUA Lipliner in Softly Lined
Calvin Klein Lipgloss in Mirage
Calvin Klein Lipstick in Cosmopolitan

Enter using the Rafflecopter below - good luck! Don't forget you can tweet every day for more entries!


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Soap and Glory Marvelips

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, ate loads and spent time with your loved ones. I had a really relaxing few days and was completely spoilt with a Canon EOS 600D! If you watch Youtubers (Zoella, Tanya Burr etc), you'll know that this is the camera most of them have, so I'm really excited to take better quality photos for you this year, and maybe start a Youtube channel in 2014, eek! 2014 is actually going to be a massive year for me - I'll be finishing my degree and maybe getting a job, scary but exciting! Today I wanted to share with you a lovely little product from Soap and Glory - Marvelips!*.

Marvelips! (£8) is a double ended 'lip-sizing crayon' with a pink shade to fill and shape the lips, and a highlighting gloss to add to the center of the lips. The colour 'As Good As Nude' (gotta love Soap and Glory's product names!) is a lovely darker pink, which I think is quite a universally flattering shade. It immediately makes my lips stand out more, and when the highlight gloss is added my lips definitely appear bigger. I wouldn't say the product is very glossy, so using a gloss over the top makes the lips look even bigger. If you want a glossy effect with just one product, I've been loving Soap and Glory's Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in 'Bashful'. However, the matte finish from Marvelips! offers the benefit of being very long lasting. For the price, this little lip crayon is a very nice little product to pop in your handbag.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

An Introduction to ESPA

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you're all snuggly and warm somewhere with the people you love :) Recently I tried my first ESPA products. ESPA is a Spa brand, offering Luxury Skincare products from the purest extracts. I do love a bit of luxury every now and then, so I was excited to try their most recent releases - the Refining Skin Polish and the Optimal Skin ProSerum. Even though these are just samples, they came packaged beautifully, and I already felt pampered before I started using them.

Refining Skin Polish*
This is a gentle skin exfoliator with teeny tiny exfoliating beads which is meant to cleanse, revitalise and brighten. With sensitive skin I'm wary of using any kind of exfoliator on my face and use only my Clarisonic with it's gentle brush head. However applying this polish to the skin didn't feel abrasive at all, and made my skin feel invigorated! The scent is really spa like too which I love. The next morning my skin was looking noticeably more glowing and healthy, without any of the usual redness or even breakouts most exfoliators cause me; result!

Optimal Skin ProSerum*
This is basically a treatment oil to be applied overnight which promises to help brighten and even skin tone, enhance elasticity, firm and protect against premature ageing. Having finally got over my fear of applying oils to my combination skin, I've been using this for the past week and I'm sold. A pipette dispenses the oil, which can be patted onto the face, and the oil is absorbed immediately. Containing almost entirely natural ingredients, the herbal scent of the oil is beautiful and is quite calming before bed! I've begun seeing the effects within just a week; tighter skin around my nose and eyes, more healthy looking skin and reduced redness on the sides of my face. My skin obviously loves this stuff! It's a pricey £48 for 30ml, but I've only used a fraction of my 8ml bottle after a week, so it would last you a very long time.

My introduction to ESPA has been a very pleasant one indeed, and I'm looking forward to trying more from this brand.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Jewel Candle

Jewel Candle make a selection of quality candles, with the added surprise of a 925 Sterling Silver jewel (a ring or earrings depending on the candle) buried within the wax! I tried the Cookies and Cream Ring Candle* and it comes in a very solid glass jar, complete with a lid and pretty ribbon. As soon as I opened the lid I could smell the sweet freshly baked cookies scent, which is lovely. When it's burning, the candle gives off the scent beautifully and looks wonderful sat on a windowsill or desk. The candle quality and size is about right for the price (£24.95), and the ring inside each candle is worth £10-£250! Unfortunately (due to some kind of legal reason) Jewel Candle is no longer allowed to put the price of the ring on an attached tag, but I think the ring I got is definitely on the lower end of the scale. It's not really my taste, but that's just the luck of the draw! Even excluding the ring, the Cookies and Cream candle is gorgeous and I think it would make a lovely gift for any younger woman. Jewel Candle has kindly provided a voucher code for you to use with your next Jewel Candle purchase: just use the code 'thelittlekoala10'.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Festive NOTD - OPI All Sparkly And Gold

I think I'm a little addicted to taking my blog photos by the Christmas Tree - It just makes such a pretty background! On my nails today I've got a gorgeous sparkling polish by OPI - All Sparkly and Gold* From OPI's Mariah Carey 2013 Christmas Collection, it's a sparkly polish with fine champagne gold dust glitter. I've never owned a polish that sparkles quite this much! Sometimes glitter polishes can look a little tacky, but OPI managed to create polishes that look sophisticated and perfect on the nails. I think the whole of the OPI Collection for Christmas this year looks wonderful - full of festive golds and reds and lots of sparkly polishes.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette - Review and Swatches

Yes, I've gone with the blogger hype and jumped on the NAKED3 bandwagon, but who can blame me? Urban Decay shadows are my absolute favourite - so buttery, vibrant, wearable, and long-lasting. And a palette full of rose-gold hued tones? YES PLEASE. I've now been using the shadows over the last 5 days and I'm completely sold on this palette. For the daytime I prefer this palette over my beloved NAKED1, as the pink tones throughout the shadows make for such a pretty, natural and glowing look (There's a comparison photo down below so you can see the difference). As usual, you've got 12 shades, three matte, the rest shimmer, an urban decay brush (which I think is actually better quality than the last one) and four samples of the famous Primer Potions. My favourite shades in the palette are dust, buzz, trick and nooner. I do think UD has got some strange colour names though - saying "I've got nooner and dust on my eyes today" sounds a bit weird! All in all though, I'm loving Urban Decay's latest offering, and it's sure to be on a LOT of Christmas Wishlists this year!

Above - NAKED3 palette above compared to NAKED1 palette below

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

ARK anti-ageing Skin Protector

I recently discovered the brand ARK, a skincare focused brand with a range of 'Age Aware Skincare'. 'Age Prepare' Products are for Teens to early 30s, 'Age Maintain Products' for Mid 30s to 50s and 'Age Repair' for 50s and beyond. I haven't seen this idea of splitting products by age anywhere else, and I love the concept, as evidently different ages of skin have very different needs. The first product I've tried from the Age Prepare range is ARK's anti-ageing Skin Protector SPF 30 Primer*. I initially wanted to try out this product for a couple of weeks before writing a review, but having tried it just a handful of times, I am so excited by this product that I couldn't wait to tell you about it!
First of all, the packaging: I love it when a brand spends time on the packaging and ARK doesn't disappoint. The bottle feels very luxurious, and the pump dispenses just the right amount to cover my face. It smooths on beautifully, leaving a silky and glowing finish, onto which my foundation applied perfectly. Throughout the days that I have worn this primer, my makeup has stayed in place and stayed looking more fresh than with possibly any other primer I've tried. Since it kept my makeup looking wonderful for over twelve hours, I half expected there to be some potent ingredients to achieve this, and waited for my sensitive skin to break out. But every morning after using this Primer, my skin has looked fresh and radiant (It's actually all natural ingredients!). All this, and its skin protecting ingredients are protecting me from the ageing process under my makeup! The single downside I can find with this primer is the price; a hefty £36. However, I think the price tag is justified with the amazing results I got from this primer.
I'm really excited by ARK, and can't wait to try more products from this brand. Have you tried any ARK products yet?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Sparkling Studs

There's no better time than Christmas than to really go for it with the sparkles, and I wanted to share with you some particularly pretty twinkly earrings that are absolute gems (excuse the pun). Sparkly studs can add that extra something to an outfit, and being close to your face, can set off your makeup, and make your eyes sparkle. The White Gold Cz Studs* are definitely a party pair as they're quite large, and they catch the light beautifully. The Gold Lilac Studs* are slightly smaller for the day, and have a lovely pinkish tinge. And I love the Blue Crystal Studs* for something a little bit different. Have you found any perfect studs?

Sunday, 15 December 2013

J2O Glitter Ball

The party season is well and truly upon us, and just in time, J2O have released an intriguing new flavour; the J2O Glitterball*. It's a cherry, grape and Amaretto mixture with actual edible glitter to give your drink some festive sparkle! This is a lovely drink to provide at Christmas get-togethers, both for those who would like something alcohol free, and also as a mixer - much more interesting than lemonade or coke. If you don't have  a particularly sweet tooth, you may not be a huge Glitterball fan (my Mum remarked that it reminded her of cough syrup!), but personally, I don't find it too sweet, and when mixed with a little tipple of Disaronno, there's the added sweetness of that marzipan flavour, delicious. I think J2O has has done good with Glitterball -  an alcohol free alternative with an enticing taste, gorgeous bottle and drinkable Christmassy glitter!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Garnier BB Cream - Miracle Skin Perfector

When my skin is behaving itself, I prefer to use a BB cream rather than a foundation, and cover any areas that need more coverage with a little concealer. I've used Clinique's CC Cream for quite a while now, but I wanted to try a cheaper alternative. Garnier's Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream for Sensitive Skin claims to soothe, hydrate, illuminate, protect (SPF 25), even skin tone and reduce redness! A long list of claims for a product costing just £6.66 (current lowest price).
I picked up the Shade 'Light' out of the ridiculously small shade range of 'Light' and 'Medium'. I don't have super light skin, yet the the Light shade is still a bit too dark for me. I tried applying this product with both a buffing brush and a damp beauty sponge and had better results with the sponge. The product seems to cling to any slightly dry patches of skin, making it hard to get an even base. This BB Cream has a very, very light coverage, much lighter than my beloved Clinique CC Cream, and a lot lighter than I'd prefer. It does give an illuminating effect, but this doesn't last very long. Throughout the day the Cream broke down upon the skin, leaving a patchy look, even when powdered and set with fixing spray. It claims to be hydrating but I found it to just the opposite. The day after I first used this, I broke out across my chin, and my skin generally felt bad - more greasy in some areas, and increased dryness in others. I'm going to give this BB Cream another go, but I'm not holding out much hope for this product.

Have you tried Garnier's BB Cream? Did you have a better experience than me?


Monday, 9 December 2013

Eyeshadow Love - Maybelline Colour Tatto in Pink Gold

Just a very quick review of one of my all time favourite eyeshadows. This beautiful Gel-Cream eyeshadow is an iridescent golden pink, which can be worn alone as a wash over the lid, or with a darker crease colour. This is one of those products that just makes you look more healthy, glowing and gorgeous, with barely any effort. I've constantly found myself reaching for this little pot, and have been using it with 'buck' from the NAKED1 palette through the crease. Make sure to apply over an eye primer to prevent creasing.


How To Make Your Makeup Last All Day

With Oily/Combination skin, a key concern for me is making my makeup last all day. When you have such difficult skin, it's hard to find ways to keep your makeup looking good for any length of time. I want to share some of the products and tips that work for me, and hopefully help some of you out.

1. Start with a good base. Have your skin in the best condition it can be. If you've got combination skin, make sure to keep the skin moisturised to avoid flakey patches. Makeup with stick to these areas and won't last long at all. Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream is a great product for combination skins as it doesn't make the skin any oiler or cause breakouts, but keeps the skin soft and hydrated.

2. Thin layers are key. Every products that you use should be used sparingly. Make sure everything is applied smoothly, evenly, and buffed in.

3. Prime, prime, prime! My favourite eye primer is Urban Decay's Primer Potion, and I'm loving Clinique's SuperPrimers for the face. Primers create a smooth base for foundation, helping it last longer, and reduce shine throughout the day.

4. Use a suitable foundation. Find a BB Cream, CC Cream or Foundation that is right for your skintype. Revlon Colourstay for Oily/Combination skin is a long lasting foundation that doesn't react with my skin.

5. Apply a good powder. Press a small amount of powder onto the skin to set your foundation in places where you have covered blemishes. Use a large powder brush to dust a little powder over the entire face, and a dedicated small brush to set the concealer under your eyes. I'd recommend Rimmel Stay Matte  Pressed Powder as a great long lasting affordable powder.

6. Set it! Use a fixing or setting spray like MAC Fix + or an Urban Decay Setting Spray. These mists fix your makeup in place and protect it from heat and wind. Urban Decay's All Nighter even lowers the temperature of your makeup!

7. Blot! Remove excess oils throughout the day with blotting papers. I use Boots own Oil-Absorbing Sheets, which I've found to be as effective as more expensive brands.

Have you got any tips for making your make up last longer?