Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Perfect Afternoon Tea with Twinings

Afternoon Tea is one of my favourite indulgences (if you live near Glasgow, Blytheswood Square, Cranachan and Cup all get the 'Magic's in the Make Up' Afternoon Tea seal of approval), and to make the most of the last of the summer sunshine, my mum, sister and I wanted to bring our love of Afternoon tea outside.  I was recently sent a selection of teas from Twinings to try, and armed with our boxes of teas and far too many cakes, we set about creating the perfect Afternoon Tea at home.  

In true Carr family style, we skipped over the Sandwiches and doubled up on cakes - my favourite was the Mille-Fieulle but my mum and Gill went straight for the chocolate gateau complete with chocolate profiterole adornment!  We tried three different teas from Twinings: 'Assam' 'English Breakfast' and 'Earl Grey'.  Twining's 'English Breakfast' has been a favourite of mine for such a long time, it's a lovely flavoured tea that's perfect any time of the day (not just breakfast!). It was nice to try 'Assam' as it was a lot stronger and richer compared to 'English Breakfast' and I would definitely choose this when I need an extra boost.  On such a lovely sunny day "Earl Grey' was perfect as we served our tea with slices of lemon - it was really light and refreshing!

I took a day off from 'Operation Disco Pants' today, however if you wanted a healthier Afternoon Tea option, the blueberry muffin recipe I posted about here would be perfect teamed with some of the healthy tea ranges available from Twinings (I love the sound of 'Sleep' and 'Defence').  I've got an Operation Disco Pants post up my sleeve where I've created a complete Afternoon Tea that comes in at under 500 calories (and doesn't leave you feeling short changed!)

What would you include to make your perfect afternoon tea?

Love Nicola

Friday, 23 August 2013

Review: Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator

I have quite problematic skin and have often struggled to find an exfoliator that doesn't irritate my skin.  In my recent skin care post I spoke about how I've been incorporating my Clarisonic into my daily routine. However, when my skin just isn't feeling it, I've been reaching for Liz Earle's 'Gentle Face Exfoliator'.  

Firstly, I was pretty much sold when I read the word 'gentle'. This exfoliator uses jojoba beads to gently buff away dead skin cells, eucalyptus oil to help purify skin and finally cocoa butter and almond oil to leave skin feeling moisturised.  After using this exfoliator, my skin is left feeling extremely clean and smooth without feeling stripped or raw.

As you can see above, the exfoliator is quite thick (I would actually describe it as cleanse and polish with added exfoliating beads, it smells pretty much the same too!), and the richness of the product makes it feel extremely luxurious to use.  To use, I lightly massage the product onto my face in circular motions before using warm water to rinse the exfoliating beads and any residue away.

If you want to add a gentler exfoliator to your collection, Liz Earle's 'Gentle Face Exfoliator' is perfect.  It provides the perfect balance of richness to exfoliation for my skin.  Importantly, on the Liz Earle website it is stated that this product isn't suitable for sensitive skin, however I have fairly sensitive skin and had no adverse reaction!

What are your favourite exfoliators?

Love Nicola

*PR Sample

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Blog Throwback: Glitter

I've been feeling extremely nostalgic recently, leading me to read back through my old blog posts.  Unlike a lot of other people I've spoken to, I don't get embarrassed by my old posts; yes my photography skills were shocking and most of the time it looked like a child had painted my face, but I started writing 'Magic's in the Make Up' when I was 20 and I'm now 25.  Instead of feeling embarrassed, it's been a perfect way of documenting how much I've changed over the last five years. 

However, looking back at the last couple of years made me realise how much fun colour could be!  Apart from the occasional bright lipstick, I haven't worn colour in such a long time and definitely haven't used glitter. So, on a recent night out I decided to recreate one of my blog posts and make it fit to my current make up tastes.  I decided to recreate the make up from this post, using two Topshop glitter pots.

Not quite as orange and shiny as my original post, I didn't apply the glitter as opaquely (and Clubland Classics has been swapped for One Direction - my taste in music has not improved).  I followed my original post and applied the dusky pink shade 'Gilt' to two thirds of my lid before applying the darker glitter 'Lagoon' in the outer corner.  As I knew I wasn't going to be applying the glitter as opaquely, I applied eye shadow underneath the glitter (Urban Decay's Sphynx, Ecstasy and AC/DC) and used Two Faced Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue to make sure the glitter stayed in place all day.

What do you think?  I might go back and do this with a few different posts - I'm intrigued how I could make yellow eye shadow more wearable! 

Lots of Love
Nic xx

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Duo

REN has featured quite heavily on Magic's in the Make Up recently but I seem to fall in love with every product I've tried!  This has only been made worse with the opening of a new Marks and Spencer beauty hall five minutes from my house...I swear my bank account cried the day I heard about this.  

My most recent REN purchase is the Moroccan Rose Otto Duo gift set, which contains a 200ml body wash and 200ml body cream (a gift to myself for meeting my 2 stone slimdown target but more on that later in the week!).  The REN moroccan rose products smell absolutely amazing.  Often, I can find rose scents a little overpowering, however REN have managed to create a scent that is subtle, not too sweet but also long lasting.

The body wash has quite an unusual gel formulation that is a lot thinner than the majority of other shower gels I've used in the past.  The body wash leaves my skin feeling clean, but not stripped and after I've stepped out of the shower I always notice how soft my skin feels.  I can't stand using a body wash that leaves my skin feeling tight or sticky.  Admittedly, it's not the most foaming of body washes, however I would rather this over the inclusion of sulfates.  Despite this, it still feels extremely luxurious to use and is perfect to use as part of a pamper session

As I've mentioned previously, I dislike thick body creams and the REN Moroccan body cream has the perfect consistency.  It's not too thick but still leaves my skin feeling extremely soft.  It sinks in well and doesn't leave my skin feeling sticky.  I've found that layering the body cream over the body wash allows the rose scent to subtly stay on my skin all day.

I love the packaging of both REN products, it feels well made and the pump makes both products  clean and hygienic.  However, I can imagine it might be quite difficult to reach the product at the bottom of the tube - I'll keep you all updated.  Individually, you can buy the body wash for £17 and the body cream for £26, however if you buy the duo together it costs £38 saving £5.  The set comes beautifully packaged making it a perfect gift - even if it is a present to yourself!

Have you tried any REN body products? I really want to try the Sugar Body Polish next!

Love Nicola

Sunday, 4 August 2013

My Current Skincare Routine

The skincare I've been using recently has changed substantially from the last time I posted (almost a year ago!).  I've always had a love/hate relationship with my skin.  It's sensitive, oily and prone to hormonal breakouts that scars easily.  I've struggled to find products that work without irritating my skin but I'm really happy with my current routine.


REN 'Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk' - If you're looking for a gentle cleanser, REN's 'Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk' is lovely.  The cleanser is quite a thick cream and has a fresh, herbal scent.  In the morning, I massage the cleanser into my skin before removing it with warm water and a face cloth, to remove any oil or dirt that has built up overnight.  In the evening, I use the cleansing milk as a second cleanse after Emma Hardie's 'Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm'.  It removes any remaining make up and residue well, without being harsh on my skin.  My face has never felt tight or stripped after using 'Hydra-Calm' and as with all REN products, the cleanser has no parabens, sulphates, mineral oil or synthetic scents or colours.  You can pick up 'Hydra-Calm' for £18 for 150ml.

Emma Hardie 'Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm' - I recently blogged about this cleansing balm recently and my views haven't changed - if anything I love it more! Nothing has removed my make up so thoroughly and left my skin feeling so clean but moisturised.  I use the EH cleansing balm every night as my first cleanse with warm water and a face cloth.

'Clarisonic Mia' -  I have wanted a 'Clarisonic' for such a long time, but was always a little nervous to risk spending so much money on a cleansing tool that might not work on my skin.  However, now it's part of my skincare routine I can't imagine life without it.  Yes, I had to go through the dreaded purging phase but it was worth it.  I wanted a 'Clarisonic' predominantly to help with acne scarring and my uneven skin tone, and so far I have seen a slight improvement (it will come with time) however there has been a huge improvement in the number of breakouts I have.  Although having quite sensitive skin, I use the deep pore cleansing brush head to help with oiliness.  I use my 'Clarisonic' every second day, (personally I think it would be too much for my skin to use it every day) with the REN 'Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk' which work wonderfully together.


Origins 'GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturiser' - Based on the best selling eye cream, GinZing is a light, gel based moisturiser.  It is less illuminating than it's eye cream counterpart making it a great all rounder for most skin types but is still light-weight and oil free which makes it perfect for me. Ginseng and caffeine help to vitalise and refresh skin and, as it's gel based, provides a great deal of hydration without making my skin look shiny.  'GinZeng' is priced at £23.

Eye Care   

Origins 'Starting Over' - 'Starting Over' is quite a thick eye cream that is formulated to help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and smooth 'crepiness' on the eye lids.  I bought 'Starting Over' as a preventative measure and it's a perfect eye cream to use every day.  It sinks in well and leaves a lovely, smooth base on the under eye area for make up application. I use 'Starting Over' every and is priced at £28.

No.7 'Beautiful Skin Overnight Revitalising Eye Balm' - This eye balm is formulated to improve dark circles and puffiness.  Initially, I was a little surprised at the consistency of the product as it's definitely not a traditional balm - instead it's a gel formula.  It's very cooling on the eye area and sinks in quickly as it's extremely light.  If you don't want to buy two separate eye creams, you could easily use this in the morning and the gel consistency would make concealer application a dream.   The 'Revitalising Eye Balm' is £12 and can be bought in Boots.

Face Masks

I've built up a collection of masks that help deal with a number of different skin complaints.  

Origins 'Out of Trouble' is perfect to use on days when I have breakouts.  You can read my review here

I use the Super Facialist by Una Brennan 'Rose Hydrate Intense Moisture Mask' on days when my skin feels a little dehydrated - full review here.

I use the REN 'Glycolactic Radiance Renewal' Mask once every week to help with acne scarring and my uneven skin tone.

I would love to hear if you've used any of the products I've mentioned!

Love Nicola

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Top 10 Under £10: A Collaboration with Giggles and Make Up

On a recent #bbloggers chat on twitter, I met a lovely blogger called Katy who runs a blog called 'Giggles and Make Up'.  After chatting for a while, we decided to do a collaboration together and it's been so much fun! We decided to post our 'Top 10 under £10' and settled on the following categories:  Lipstick, Nail Polish, Blush, Eyeshadow and Skin Care.  Below you can read my five picks before  heading on over to Katy's blog to see what she has picked.  We've kept our products a secret from one another so I can't wait to see what she has chosen!

Lipstick: Maybelline Colour Sensational Vivid 'Fuschia Flash'

I am head over heels with the formula of the ColorSensational Vivid lipsticks.  They are so creamy and unbelievably pigmented.  'Fuchsia Flash' is a blue toned magenta (my favourite) and leaves a beautiful glossy look to the lips.  It's extremely hydrating and long lasting -  everything I look for in a lipstick.   I have a full post scheduled about my favourite ColourSensational Vivid shades so I won't go into too much detail - if you like bright lip colours, you need to go and swatch these lipsticks!  The ColourSensational Vivids retail for £7.19.

Nail Polish - Sinful Colors 'Island Coral'

If you can get a creamy neon, Sinful Colors 'Island Coral' is it.  A beautiful peachy-coral polish, Island Coral applies smoothly, dries quickly and is opaque in two coats.  I've managed to get a full week out of 'Island Coral' when I use Seche Vite, which is amazing as my polish often chips after 2-3 days because of my job.  The best part - Sinful Colors are only £1.99 in Boots!

Blush: Bourjois Little Round Pot in 'Rose D'or'

 'Rose D'or' will always have a special place in my heart as it was the first blush I ever bought many, many years ago.  It's a beautiful rosy pink with tiny gold particles that help give my cheeks a pretty, but subtle glow.  The formula is smooth and blendable plus it smells amazing! The little round pot limited edition packaging is always adorable!  You can pick up 'Rose D'or' for £7.99. 

Eye Shadow: Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hr 'On and On Bronze'

'On and On Bronze' (or 'Bad to the Bronze' depending where you live) is an amazing cream shadow that can be used as an all over wash of colour or as an eyeshadow base.  It has such a pretty metallic sheen that translates well to the eye.  Although, I don't see it lasting 24 hours it does see me through an average work day which I didn't expect on account of how creamy it is.  A perfect product for lazy Monday morning make up! The Colour Tattoo's are priced at £4.99.

Skincare: Super Facialist by Una Brennan 'Rose Hydrate Intense Moisture Mask'

This moisture mask by Una Brennan is lovely.  In the summer, although my skin is very oily,  can often feel dehydrated and this mask has helped inject some much needed moisture back into my skin.  Initially, I was a little surprised at the texture of the mask as it's a little gritty and instead of staying wet, it dries down on the skin.  I leave the mask on for around 10-15 minutes before removing it with warm water and a face cloth.  My skin is left feeling very smooth and moisturised.  The mask is scented quite heavily with rose which I love! You can buy the mask from Boots for £8.99.

I can't wait to go and visit Katy's blog and find out what products she has chosen!

Lots of Love