Wednesday, 23 July 2014

My BARRY M makeup factory tour.

Barry M was the first makeup brand that I EVER used. Those little pots of loose pigment slowly gathered in my makeup bag, I couldn't get enough of that Barry M colour that I couldn't get anywhere else on the highstreet. Those blues/greens and any other bright pigments I could get my mitts on were the flavour of my later school years and I couldn't get or wear enough. Flash forward like 15 years and I still use a fair bit of Barry M, I love their bright eye & lip pencils in my professional kit and the Gelly nail polishes are some of my favourite polishes ever. I was bordering ectastic when I got invited up to have a look around their makeup factory in North London, I've been to a fair few factories before through TV & filming but I have never been into a makeup factory and it was so interesting to see all the empty bottles being filled and the process of making the lipsticks. (all still done by hand by the way!)

I met with Barry's son, Dean who is running the brand now and he gave us a guided tour around. Aside from showing us the ins and outs of this small factory, we learnt some interesting facts about this entirely British are some of the things I learnt, that I NEVER knew about this fascinating brand:

* Barry M, stands for founder and owner Barry Mero who founded the company in 1982 when he saw a gap in the market for vivid colours on the high street.
* Nearly ALL the cosmetics are made in this small factory in Mill Hill.
* All in-house marketing, production, warehouse and distribution 
* There are over 250 colours in the Barry M range
* Barry M is a cruely-free company and NEVER and will never test these products on animals. They will never sell in countries that demand animal testing.
* All products are vegetarian and most are vegan.
* All products are 'Big Three Free' : No DBP, Formaldehyde & Toluene. Also no acetone are in the nail polish formulations which is why they may take a little longer to dry.

  It was super interesting to see the different methods of mixing and creating the different products which I am so used to seeing on the shelves of Boots and using myself at home, I honestly found it so facinating. I got semi-involved and go to fill my own nail polish via the machine and got to keep the polish that I filled. No idea why this makes a difference but it made this polish feel super special and I don't want to give it to anyone!

At the end of the factory tour I got to make my very own customised Barry M lipgloss with the help of two of the lab technicians. I picked out the pigments and ratio, chose the fragrance (I think we went with Raspberry) and then mixed it up with the base product, a colourless gel mixture, in a special machine. I have two tubes of this one-off lipgloss which is really special and I still don't want to use them as I will never be able to get that colour again! It's really nice, a nectar peachy pink.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my insight into my Barry M factory tour, it was a great morning and I have come away with a more heartlfelt love for this British brand, after seeing the individuals who work in the factory and how the processes are undertaken amongst what is relatively a small *Barry M-style family*.

What are your favourite Barry M products? Am I missing out on anything I need to try?

Monday, 21 July 2014

Topshop AW14 & New Launches coming....

I went along to the Topshop makeup press day last week to have a preview of some of the new products that are coming out soon, for Autumn/Winter and even (gasps) Christmas. 

The newest Collection (launching August) is all about Molton Metallics, with 4 shades of metallic polish, 4 lipsticks and 2 lovely shades of cream blusher. Metallics can sometimes be done a little wrong and end up looking a super 90's & dated but these colours and finishes have a perfect modern twist and I think this will be a very popular collection. I absolute LOVE these cream blushers.
What I am really excited about is the Autumn/winter 14 range of jelly cheek tints, polishes & matching lip colours that are to launch in October later this year. The 5 matching shades are absolutely spot on, I would wear all 5 of these shades which is so rare for a colour collection, usually it's maybe 1 or 2 out of 5 but this is SPOT ON!....from the deep cherry to the bright corals and reds : Love 'em all, want 'em all! Wish these were coming out sooner.
The Christmas (sorry) packaging is a step away from the typical greens, reds, golds and silvers and it more attractive in simple yet attractive monichrome boxes shot through with touches of silver and peachy pink. There is going to be a huge range of sets with a mixture of products and pricepoints. I think these are really pretty!
Another key product to come out later on this year (September I believe) is the first ever Topshop foundation. This is really, really nice. I love everything from the serum/skincare pipette dropper type glass bottle and application to the light-medium coverage dewy finish that this foundation gives. Alongside the foundation will also come primers, concealers and a concealer palette. I swatched and played with it all and can 100% confirm it's great quality and am really looking forward to trying them out. Hannah Murray is the makeup artist behind the Topshop beauty brand so this speaks volumes as she is such a great and well-respected artist within the industry.

I'm quite a Topshop makeup newbie, what other things should I be trying out from the range? I also got introduced to the innovative *Freckle Pencils* which is ingenious! Love this idea.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Dr Ceuticals | Slimming & Firming treatments.

The countdown is ON! My Ibiza hen do is in only around  T-7 weeks now and I need to get ship-shape for my bikini. Cue 1000% more gym visits, David Kirsch detoxes and slathering on lotions and potions that promise to tighten me up. I have just started using these two wonders from Dr.Ceuticals*, and so far, so good. Am I seeing results after one week? Erm, no, but I wasn't expecting too. My skin does feel slightly smoother but I am expecting the results to become a bit more visible in a month or so. Thankfully me expectations ARE realistic and I know that it is a huge combination of things that will ensure I am firm and bikini bod ready in the next couple of months, but these will help me on my crusade.
The Tummy Tone
This promises to tighten, firm and slim the waistline within 28days. Brown seaweed extract is the key active ingredient and this is what will really help to tone and contour the waist. for best results use x2/day and combine with exercise and a reasonable diet. I apply this straight after my shower after I gym, so I'm only using it once a day currently. The formula is a really lightweight gel so it absorbs in quickly enough to get dressed straight away.

Beach Perfect Body Firmer
This is an all-over lightweight body cream that helps firm up the body, improve elasticity, hydrates and reduces the appearance cellulite. Key active ingredients include Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B3, seaweed, caffeine, coconut oil and shea butter. It's a great all rounder, and I am really RATING this already. A lot of firming/cellulite treatments I have used are gels and really lightweight so don't hydrate the skin at all, so you have to use the treatment followed by a body cream. This Dr.Ceuticals one is an all-in-one and has a wonderful buttery texture with absolutely no greasy residue so again, I can get changed straight after I have applied this over my body. This is for daily use, and I am using this in my gym bag so it's applied straight after my shower, maybe 4/5 times a week.

I have used some crazy expensive cellulite, slimming, firming treatments with no amazing results so I see no harm in trying these, which seem to have very similar ingredients for a fraction of the price. The Tummy Tone is just £9.99 and the Beach Perfect Firmer is £19.99.  Dr.Ceuticals is available from selected Boots and online.

Monday, 14 July 2014

David Kirsch | 48hr Supercharged cleanse.

I'm having a bit of a panic. I get married in like 3 months (arghhhh) and I'm a bit of a last-minute-Mary right now. First up, to detox and trim down so I am looking and feeling my best for the day. I started my regime last week with a 2-day cleanse from David Kirsch. I have done this once before and it is pretty hard going but is a perfect way to kick start weightloss. If you are unfamiliar with David Kirsch he is a fitness and nutrition superhero from America who's clients include Heidi Klum , Liv Tyler and a plethora of glitzy A-lister slebs, he is also the man to get the Victoria's Secret models *catwalk ready* AND (I think more importantly) he dresses up really well at Heidi Klum's infamous Halloween parties. 
The 2-day supercharged cleanse is similar to the 'Beyonce' diet AKA the Maple Syrup diet and is a ready-made drink that you dilute with water and sip for 2 days. That's all you have; you don't have any food at all for those two tea, no coffee, just this pink drink by the gallon and you can also incorporate his Thermo Bubbles if you need an afternoon boost. Aside from the pure lemon juice concentrate, Pure maple syrup & Cayenne pepper (as in the maple syrup diet) this also contains a blend of vitamins and natural extracts to keep the body functioning perfectly including Cranberry extract, Vitamin B12, milk thistle seed extract and Acai fruit extract. 


Day 1 : My last meal was the night before and I wake up feeling quite hungry and have my first glass of juice at around 10am. It explains how to dilute it and it's easy to do it literally like squash and just add to your taste preference. I was working today, so the easiest way was to buy a big bottle of Evian, and fill this up with the concentrate and take that with me everywhere. 

I didn't stick to breakfast, lunch & dinner, I just sipped on it throughout the day as needed. I was peeing like a racehorse all day and I think this is a sign that it is flushing toxins out, just be prepared! I did get a bit of a headache throughout the day which is apparently quite common, but this subsided after I drank loads of water and I was fine. I did feel quite hungry by about 4pm and as Space Nk had sold out of Thermo Bubbles I drank a sachet of the Super Juice instead which boosted my energy to see me through the day. I battled through but by dinner time I was REALLY hungry and irritable. Food smells made me hungry so I went to bed really early at like 10pm so I could sleep through the pangs and dream of cake.

Day 2: I was off today which I was dreading as I tend to snack a lot more when I am at home. I woke up feeling quite hungry and I had a gurgly stomach which actually got better as the day went on. I kept myself really busy so I kind of forgot about the hunger pangs and I felt really positive that I could do this. I went out and about and just took my big bottle of water/mix with me so I had that to keep me going. By the evening I did remember the hunger again but it actually wasn't as bad as day 1 . I woke up the next morning and jumped on the scales to see that I had dropped nearly 5lb in those two days! This is obviously a huge portion of water retention but I was really pleased and a great result and a good kickstart for my diet.

The 48hr supercharged cleanse costs £24.50 and is available at Space NK. I don't think the price is too bad as it's your *food* for 2 days plus if you did the Maple Syrup diet the grade B maple syrup costs over £30 alone. It;s quick, it's relatively easy and it does give you results. I am going to see how I get on over the next few weeks, but am considering doing it again soon before I go to Ibiza at the end of August. I am going to do his 5-day detox next up, which allows food and shakes and I'm looking forward to seeing how this works for me.

Have you done something similar to this, the maple syrup diet or a juice cleanse??

BEAUTYBAY | Little Black Box.

BEAUTYBAY is one of my favourite online beauty shopping destinations that sells a huge selection of brands, some really well-known, some more niche and quite a few that are tricky to get hold of. They have recently launched their own line of affordable makeup that includes everything from lip colours to nail polishes, eyeshadows and hair accessories and alongside this, a great little Beauty Box where you can try out a selection of the products for nearly 50% off! 

I have the Summer Edition* which contains a foundation blending sponge, a lipstick, a lipgloss, a mascara, a lip brush and a detangling brush. There are some handy holiday must-haves along with everyday essentials and I am loving the detangling brush in particular. A great and cheaper dupe for the Tangle Teeze and it has an elongated handle which I find easier to use.

This Beauty Box costs just  £15(with FREE P&P) with a saving of £14 which is unquestionably a great deal. You can have a look at their collection here and it is exclusively available from BeautyBay.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Balance Me : Super Toning Oil

Balance Me is a brand that I started to use and try out over a year ago now, I use their daily balancing face cream, I have just purchased their face wash and I really rate the congested skin serum. It's a lovely British range of natural skincare and it's packed full of plant/flower extracts and essential oils, and it's stocked in my local Waitrose - yay! 

The Super toning body oil* was developed over 20 years ago and is now a cult classic from the range. This is the first body product I have actually tried from the range and it thankfully didn't disappoint. It's a lovely, aromatic dry body oil than can be used to hydrate, plump and soften the skin, all over the body and on a daily basis. I love to use it straight after I have got out of the shower, whilst my skin is still damp and the oil absorbs in beautifully without any residue. Like the rest of the Balance Me products I have tried, this has quite a strong herby smell, which I really like ; it smells 'natural' and of goodness! The oil is infused with Bergamot, Geranium, Rosemary,  Lavender and Juniper and also contains skin-loving sweet almond oil, wheat germ oil, macadamia oil, Jojoba oil and vitamin E. It's literally packed with goodness.

The toning properties come from the essential oil blend, in particular the Juniper (toning, diuretic, stimulating), Lavender (stimulate blood circulation), Bergamot (boost liver function) and Geranium (tones, reduces inflammation, improves skin health). Replace your daily body cream with this for one week and you will really notice a difference in your skin. As with all the Balance me products, it is formulated without any *nasties* : parabens, sulphates, petroleum, mineral oils, silicones, deas, pegs, artificial colours or fragrance. This is also perfect for post pregnancy to help your body bounce back into shape.

Balance Me is available online, Waitrose, Debenhams and Look Fantastic.

Monday, 7 July 2014

NARS Dual Intensity eyeshadows.

I was invited along to the NARS pop-up shop within the Space NK, Soho last week to check out the newest addition to the NARS eyeshadow family, the Dual Intensity eyeshadows*. I am a huge fan of the NARS eyeshadows, they are, for the most part, super soft, really pigmented and easy to blend, they are some of my favourite eyeshadows and 'Codura' has been my go-to duo for the last 6 years at least. It's been a long time since they launched a new formula of eyeshadow into the line so I was intrigued to see what these new ones were all about.
There are 12 shades, all single shadows and the key-selling point about these new eyeshadows is that they can be used wet or dry to get the intensity that you are after. Used dry, as most people probably will, they are a nice wash of metallic pigment which can be built up pretty much like their normal eyeshadows. Used wet (just dampen your synthetic brush) they give a much more intense punch of colour, similar to a cream eyeshadow. The 12 shades are all pretty wearable, as normal I veer towards the golds, browns, wines which there is a nice selelction of. I was given a few to have a play around with and here above I am wearing the Dione and Subra, both dry.
The packaging is the typical NARS slightly rubberised black but the shape and compact is totally different to the normal NARS we know. It has a magnetic snap-shut mechanism and the shadow is embossed with a quite 90's kind of print. you get a little bit less for your buck with these new eyeshadows as they hold 1.5g of product (original singles you get 2.2g) and they cost £21.

These are currently exclusive to Space NK for the whole month of July, and after this they will be available as normal on all other NARS counters.

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