Sunday, 30 June 2013

Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow in Liquifuschia

On a recent trip to Space NK, I picked up Kevyn Aucoin's 'The Creamy Glow' in 'Liquifuschia' on a whim and I haven't been this excited about a blush in such a long time.  

I love cream blushes, especially when the formula stays dewy rather than powdery.  'Liquifuschia' is a bright fuchsia shade that can be worn substantially sheerer on the cheek than it looks in the pan.  The formula is beautiful - I would describe it almost like a gel.  Because of this, I've found it's easiest to  apply it using a stippling brush, as the product isn't as emollient as other cream blushes I've tried (e.g Illamasqua's cream blushes).

What I love most about 'The Creamy Glow' formula is how long lasting it is - it literally doesn't seem to budge after it sets and lasts perfectly all day.  It feels very light and comfortable to wear and is the least 'greasy' feeling cream blush I have ever tried.

As you can see below, it's not nearly as intimidating to wear as it first appears in the pan.  However, it can be easily built up for a more dramatic look.

I've definitely got my eye on some of the other 'The Creamy Glow' shades - in particular Pravella.  Have you tried any of 'The Creamy Glow' shades?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Love Nicola

P.S Going with the masses and letting you all know that you can follow Magic's in the Make Up on Bloglovin' here :) 

Friday, 28 June 2013

Operation Disco Pants: The Breakfast Swap

One of my absolute favourite work breakfasts pre-diet was a caramel latte and blueberry muffin from Costa.  However, when I found that this breakfast costs me a massive 715 calories and 33.2g of fat, I knew I had to change my bad breakfast ways.  As always, whenever I need food inspiration, I turned to Skinny Taste and found this amazing recipe for wholewheat blueberry muffins.  


  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda (bicarb for us Brits)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of blueberries
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or margarine

If like me you live in the UK, it can sometimes be difficult to finding all of the ingredients needed for Skinny Taste recipes.  In this case, for the flour I used one cup of wholemeal flour and one cup of plain flour.  If you are unable to find unsweetened applesauce, head to the baby food aisle! 

The muffins are unbelievably easy to make.  Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl, mixing well.  If like me you are using two different types of flour, sift these together first to ensure they are combined evenly.

In another bowl mix the egg, applesauce, melted butter and vanilla extract together before adding to the flour mixture.  Stir until combined and then gently fold in the blueberries.  I was a little apprehensive about the consistency at this point as it was quite thick but don't worry, this seems normal after reading the comments on Gina's original post.  I've included a photo below demonstrating the texture of the mixture.

I lined a muffin tin with cases and spooned equal amounts of mixture into each case (you should be able to get 12 muffins).  I've found with a lot of low fat cakes, that they have a tendency to stick to their case, so you may want to lightly spray the cases with a cooking or baking spray first.

Pop the muffins in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 25 minutes.  The muffins should rise and be golden brown when ready. To make sure they were cooked I pierced one of the muffins with a cocktail stick - it should come out clean when cooked.

To replace my caramel latte, I've been teaming my morning muffin with a cup of 'Smooth Caramel' Flavour Collective from Douwe Egberts with a splash of milk.

I normally pair my muffin with some more fresh fruit if having it for breakfast, however they also make a perfect afternoon snack for days at home like today!  If not eating on the day, I normally refrigerate my muffins, you can also freeze them and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds in the morning for a healthy breakfast on the go!  I want to experiment with different flavours next - cranberry and orange, apple and cinnamon - I could go on!

Calorie Swap 

Costa Blueberry Muffin and Regular Caramel Latte: 715 Calories, 33.2g of Fat
Skinny Taste Blueberry Muffin and Caramel Coffee: 147.3 Calories, 2.7g of Fat

In total I've saved 568 calories and 30.5g of fat!  

Let me know if you try these muffins!

Love Nicola

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Some Recent Favourites

I haven't written a collective favourites post in such a long time (these were always my favourite posts to write, I'm not sure why I ever stopped!).  This could probably also be categorised as a 'Worth the Hype' post as a lot of the products featured here have been quite hyped up in the beauty community lately. That's exactly why I love blogging, you ladies always keep me right!

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm

I wasn't sure what to expect from this product having never used a balm cleanser before, but trusted the numerous rave reviews I had read.  Emma Hardie's cleansing balm has quickly become my favourite night time cleanser.  Firstly, it smells incredible thanks to the numerous essential oils contained within (including orange, neroli, mandarin, jasmine, cedar wood and rose). To use, I mix a 10p amount of product with water to emulsify the balm and massage it into my face.  The balm literally melts all of my make up away, which I then remove with a muslin cloth.  My skin is left feeling cleansed and moisturised.  

The whole process of using this Moringa balm feels luxurious.  From it's oil based texture to the massage techniques used to work the product into my skin, I'm left feeling relaxed in the evening.  I'm now on my second tub and can't see being without it in the near future.  However, it has made me curious about other cleansing balms - I would love to hear any recommendations you have!

Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm

After failing to fall in love with By Terry's 'Baume de Rose', I turned in hope to another hyped lip product, 'Reve de Miel'.  This lip balm has such an usual texture; it's quite thick and feels slightly gritty to touch. However when applied to my lips, the product melts into a beautiful soft balm. I absolutely hate when a lip balm just sits on the surface of my lips - 'Reve de Miel' actually feels like it's doing something!  I've used this balm to prep my lips before wearing a bright lip, however I always pat it off before I apply my lip colour to help with longevity.   I also love the scent - a mixture of honey and lemon!

Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray

As a long time sufferer of oily skin, I have always wanted to try the Skindinavia setting sprays. When I read that Urban Decay's setting spray range was made by Skindinavia, I immediately snapped up 'De-Slick', formulated for oilier skin types.  Urban Decay claim that 'De-Slick' will help control oil, give a matte finish to the face and help make up last for 16 hours.  While I don't think my make up would last 16 hours shine free, I have seen a noticeable difference in the longevity of my make up while using 'De-Slick (predominantly a result of my skin being a lot less oily).  I normally spritz the product across my face after foundation and again when I've finished the rest of my make up.  I have quite sensitive skin so was a little wary of breakouts or blocked pores, however I've had no problems so far.  

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Primer

Another new product added to my oily skin arsenal is Kevyn Aucoin's 'Sensual Skin Primer'.  There's no getting away from the fact that this primer is expensive - for £34 you get 10ml of product.  However, it blew me away.  My foundation lasts all day (without using 'de-slick!) and without having to touch up.  It feels cooling on the face and left my skin feeling a little tacky (not uncomfortable or sticky) which seemed to help my foundation stay in place.  My pores and fine lines are minimised when using this primer and my foundation applied smoothly over the top. Kevyn Aucoin's 'Sensual Skin Primer' is probably the best I've tried - overpriced yes - but amazing.  I'm going to have to reserve it for special occasions!

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil

I seem to be getting drawn more and more to oil based products and L'Occitane's shower oil is one of the best I've tried.  It is quite strongly scented of almonds and lasts well on the skin throughout the day.  It foams slightly when emulsified with water and leaves my skin feeling so moisturised (but not oily) and clean.  Since using this shower oil, I've had to use a lot less body moisturiser which I love! Especially in hotter months I hate waiting for lotion to sink in (by now you should all know my love/hate relationship with body butters) making this oil perfect for me!

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette 

I never intended to buy the 'Naked Basics' palette and solely attribute this purchase to Megan's You Tube Channel.  Comprising of 5 matte shadows and one Satin (Venus) the 'Naked Basics' Palette is surprisingly versatile.   I have a serious lack of good quality, matte shadows in my collection making the 'Naked Basics' palette a perfect addition.  I've got a post lined up demonstrating my go to day and night time looks created with this palette - hopefully this will show just how versatile this little palette really is!

Link me up to your recent favourite posts!

Love Nicola

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Real Techniques Duo-Fibre Collection

I was excited when I heard that Real Techniques were releasing a limited edition duo-fibre collection.   I've loved duo-fibre brushes ever since my first dalliance with my M.A.C 187 as they provide precise but light application.

Duo Fibre Face Brush

While the face brush seems aimed at face powder application, I absolutely love it to apply bronzer.  The brush deposits such a fine amount of product to the face that looks natural but sunkissed.  As I have quite oily skin, I prefer to use a brush that buffs face powder into my skin. However, if you have a normal skin type, I can imagine this brush would be perfect for applying a light dusting of powder where needed.

Duo-Fibre Contour Brush

While the duo-fibre contour brush is perfectly shaped to be used for contouring work (it's quite a flat brush that fits perfectly into the contours of the face), I've found that it amazing for highlighting.  It deposits the perfect amount of product to the tops of my cheekbones down to its shape.  The brush is quite narrow with the bristles fanning out at the tip, meaning colour is dispersed evenly and lightly.  It's perfect to use with quite pigmented highlighters such as Smashbox Soft Lights in Shimmer as it diffuses the pigment lightly onto the cheek.

Duo-Fibre Eye Brush

The shape and density of the eye brush makes it perfect for blending.  It fits into the crease of the eye well, tapering out at the tip, helping it blend out any harsh lines easily.  It may not be the densest blending brush I have, however this gives the brush a degree of flexibility, making blending easy.  The duo-fibre brush is also perfect for applying cream products to the eye. It works amazingly well with the Maybelline 24hr Colour Tattoo shadows that I have been addicted to lately.  I can use this one brush for application and blending - perfect for early morning work make up!

I've included a picture of the three brushes side by side to give you idea of their size.  All three brushes are quite flat and very soft.  While the collection may not be a necessity, for a make up lover they provide a lot of different uses which I really like.   All three brushes work particularly well with cream products which make them perfect for the summer months.  The duo-fibre collection is available to buy from Boots priced at £23.99.

Lots of Love