Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Christmas 2016 Guide To Fragrance (Part 1 - Men's)

Every Christmas it has become my tradition to work in Fragrance. Some of the stores I have worked include Boots, Debenhams, Tesco (we had Tom Ford I'll have you know!), House of Fraser and The Perfume Shop. The brands this encompasses are endless but every year I notice a similar trend as to what is popular, and what I manage to persuade people to buy when I think something that little bit different is actually better suited than the number one seller.

Here I will let you know the most popular fragrances and aftershaves I sell, as well as letting you in on some of my more unusual favourites not to be overlooked!

For this first post however we are concentrating on the men!

Paco Rabanne 1 Million

Regardless of what you think of this extremely popular Mens fragrance (also Lady Million is equally as popular!) there is no getting away from the fact that every year my customers are frantically calling the store to check if I have any left in the cabinet before making there way in after visiting every other store in the county who have sold out. When they make their way in it's like looking at the finish line of the London marathon. Infact I even point them in the direction of the free mince pies to get their blood sugars back to normal, after their breathless Yoda-like voice calls out "Did I make it in time?!" - Yes, it's that bad!

Now, where was I... Well, 1 million is warm and spicy with notes of citrus and leather. Of course it's also gold which is pretty much fool proof for anyone at Christmas! Just be aware if you buy it, it's extremely popular which can be a double edged sword if every bloke at work smells exactly the same. Unless you are copping off with one of them behind his back? In which case um let's swiftly move on!

Paco Rabanne Invictus

There is equally no escaping Invictus which is the one people buy when they are either fed up of the above or another relative has got in there first - and believe me I witness the squabbles every year!

Invictus is a little more sophisticated from the glaring gold of 1 million, and is more of a woody scent with notes of grapefruit and patchouli.  Ideal for men in their early 20's-30's in particular those are just starting to get into aftershave after leaving their Lynx phase behind them.

Hugo Boss Bottled

Don't think I'm meant to say this but I'm just gonna put it out there - I got really fed up of re-stocking this when I worked at House of Fraser Belfast.

It just sells with pretty much no effort. It's one of those that people buy year on year without even questioning changing up. The bottled is extremely popular and has notes of apple and citrus fruits with bass notes of sandalwood and cedarwood. You can't really argue with something which gives me backache year on year, can you?!

Versace Pour Homme

Now whilst I can't promise you any encounters with a blonde who must surely be freezing after leaving her dress at home for the office Christmas party, I can guarantee you a scent which is clean and manly and rather unexpected.

The Versace fragrances don't have the glitzy tv ads and they don't scream and shout with bright packaging, however they are really divine and yet so often overlooked. I was selling this last Christmas and we went from having too much stock to selling out very quickly, just for spraying it on a tester card alongside firm favourites and getting people to smell it.

Pour Homme was also very popular with our store manager who kept coming for a top up on his wrist everytime he did a loop of our section! I highly recommend if you want something a little less mainstream but equally gorgeous.

Tom Ford Black Orchid

How can any fragrance guide be complete without a bit of Tom Ford?! Black Orchid is generally considered a Unisex fragrance. It's quite strong, powerful and imposing which I guess is exactly what you'd want from paying for such a luxury item.

It's notes include Black Truffle, Black Orchid, Black Plum, Noir Gourmand Accord and Patchouli. I once owned this myself and found it lasted very long on scarves which is one of my favourite ways to wear winter fragrances.

Friday, 25 November 2016

My Skincare Routine (Updated!)

I realised it's been literally YEARS since I did any kind of skincare routine on my blog or channel. Infact, I looked at my last skincare post on here from about 4 years ago and cringed so badly! Thankfully things have changed for the better especially since discovering Caroline Hirons and meeting her in the time that has past since that post.

My skin has long been a source of self consciousness for me as it has long been blemish prone whilst being very dry at the same time. Thanks to learning about how to put together a routine and the types of products to use (and avoid!) things have gotten much better and I can now wear less makeup without worrying.

Garnier Micellar Water

I use this to remove makeup to avoid wasting my cleanser and as a brush cleaner. I remove with a warm face cloth and watch the Mrs Doubtfire-eqsue imprint appear on the cloth!

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleanser

One thing is for certain, you better be bloody sure your product really is amazing before printing it on the packaging! EH doesn't disappoint and this is a wonderful luxurious balm cleanser which is perfect for the winter weather.

I like to let this sit on my skin for a few minutes before removing which is great when my skin is feeling dry due to central heating. I know it's been around a while on the Blogger circuit but that doesn't mean it's any less effective than the newer crazes. Caroline Hirons personally recommended it to me when we met back in 2015 and she was spot on.

Foaming cleansers are an absolute no-no for me. Oil and balm are where it's at!

Nip & Fab Pads

These are my toner stage and after trying a few other acid pad brands I find these work the most effectively. I use the night version which I find helps keep my skin clear yet aren't harsh or stripping at the same time either.

I like to sprinkle on a few drops of Pixi Glow Tonic so that I am getting the best of both Worlds, without using Glow Tonic up too quickly as I used to do when I used traditional cotton pads. I now only buy Glow Tonic around once or twice a year yet use it everyday!


One of only two products to survive my original skincare list! This is a product which can hold 1,000 times it's weight in water. It plumps your skin full of hyaluronic acid and it pefect in between a toner and your other serums and or moisturiser.

I've tried competitor versions but I always return to this and it's very noticeable when I run out as my skin doesn't feel as supple or hydrated. It's often on 3 for 2 at Boots so I always stock up when it is! An absolute must to slip into your routine if you suffer from any dryness or dehydration.

Sunday Riley Good Genes

It wouldn't surprise me one bit that if the Hollywood Walk of Fame was opened up to skincare this would be first on the list. I just can't even begin to think of adjectives to tell you what this has done for my skin and in turn my confidence, but let me tell you it's the most incredible thing that even gets me compliments of total strangers.... yes it's that good!

A lactic acid treatment for when you need your skin to wow and amaze. So good I often ditch foundation when I have this on and this is coming from someone who has had a lifelong struggle with skin issues and confidence as a result. I'm about to finish up my 3rd bottle of this and I have no regrets!

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Light Lotion

Anything Aveda you just have to love, I'm going to be honest! Whether you are visiting their salon or trying out their skincare everything is wonderful and offers something that little bit different to your typical drugstore brands.

Unlike most moisturisers this comes in a huge bottle that will take you months if not over a year to work through. Works brilliantly as a top up if you are feeling particularly dry or find your current moisturiser doesn't work deeply enough.

Medyskin Vitamin C Oil

This is a facial oil perfect for anyone with dull skin and pigmentation issues. I have alot of scarring from past breakouts, and being pale doesn't help! This is a product that is affordable yet really works to help combat unwanted marks on the skin and also hydrates well too.

I like to drench my skin in this at night and add a tiny drop in with my moisturiser for daytime use without looking greasy. A fabulous find from the skincare aisles of TK Maxx!

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate

Mine wasn't in the best shape for photographing having being squeezed to death, but that's only because I love it so!

I first discovered this moisturiser after Pixiwoo used in their videos and I have to agree it's fantastic under makeup. It doesn't peel or irritate or make foundation slide off the face. It's one of those reliable staples everyone should own in their collection.

Kiehl's Avocado Eye Cream

Everyone needs an eye cream and with me being pale this is no exception as us fairer folk are more prone to premature ageing including fine lines around the eye area so every drop of hydration helps! 

This would make for a great starter eye cream for those not ready for "anti-ageing" yet still want to protect and have something which will sit well under makeup too.

P.S: There are a few more products to mention but I will save these for a separate post!

Sunday, 6 November 2016


Whilst working for a makeup brand in Boots recently, a customer asked me for advice on finding a super pale pressed powder. I realised that the one I recommended to her was one I have been using for years and have yet to mention on either my blog or channel!

The product in question is Collection's Pressed Powder in the shade Ivory 18. It's brilliantly affordable too costing just £1.99 and is also available in a range of shades if you happen to be a different skintone to me.

What I like about it is that it's very subtle in what it does yet works really well at setting makeup and keeping everything in place. This is not the case with some powders as they can be very well... powdery! Leaving a caked finish which ruins the look. The Collection powder is very discreet and yet holds really well. I'd also agree on the 10 hour hold it boasts.

The powder also contains Vitamin E and UVA/UVB sunscreen which can only be a good thing! Especially on fairer skintones we need all the protection we can get.

The reason I have never switched to a more expensive power is that for me it just works. Similar to their lasting perfection concealer which I have on constant rotation....why pay more when something is brilliant as it is?!

I'd recommend to anyone looking for a product which will help set their makeup and keep everything in place without taking center stage.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


A product I have been meaning to share with you is NYX's new range of foundation mixers which cost £7.50 and come in 6 different shades. I picked up the white shade for mixing the perfect pale shade that so few companies have yet to recognise we are in dire need of!

Mixing it with my Mac Studio Sculpt in NC15 you can see it lightens the colour beautifully without leaving it ashy or disrupting the formulation. It is super easy to do and can be done on the back of the hand prior to application.

Overall I am really impressed, especially at the price point as I have tried more expensive mixers that have left my foundation too thin or watery. The NYX mixer is thick and is of excellent quality.

You can buy it here for £7.50 from Boots.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Welcome to the most epic penny saving guide when it comes to beauty you will ever see! Here I have compiled my years of thriftyness into one handy blog post so that everyone can afford to look great no matter how deep your pockets go.
I want to arm you with the tools to build a beauty collection and get smart with how you spend so that you can get the most out of your makeup wardrobe and not feel left behind.

Here are my top 20 tips to help you. If there are any more tips I haven't mentioned leave me a comment and share the budget friendly love!

1. Keep it Sleek and Edited

The very first thing you should do is assemble all of your makeup into one place. Have a look through everything and see what you use and what you do not. What isn't working for you and why, and what products do you need more of and what do you have too much of? Knowing your beauty inventory back to front will save you from making costly mistakes when you do come to spending.

Don't buy anything you already have at home - use it up first and don't buy anything you know you will use never or at best once. Neon eyeshadows anyone?!

No matter if it cost £1 or £80 - anything you do not use up to it's entirety is a waste.

2. Dupes

Possibly the most obvious point on my list but so commonly overlooked. Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury are amazing but absolutely not a must to still look amazing. Has anyone ever stopped you in a lift to question why you are wearing a dupe eyeshadow and not the Chanel?

Swatch, layer and think about adding a primer if appropriate to make the product pop if needs be. Don't fall for consumer hype if you can't afford to play along. Makeup is great but not the be and end all.

Here are my go-to dupe brands:

Base/Face - Nyx
Concealers - Collection 2000
Eye Palettes - Sleek/Makeup Revolution

Lips/Nails - Barry M

3. Real Techniques Brushes

Amazing quality brushes that blend well, wash up well and are incredibly soft to the touch. They also don't lose bristles or degenerate over time. One whole set is the same price as one single brush in Mac or Bobbi Brown. They are also sold in Tk Maxx and Asda at an even lower price than Boots and Superdrug.

Also the Miracle Complexion blending sponge is the only tool I use to apply foundation as it gives a flawless coverage. Pick one up for a fraction of the price of the original Beauty Blender - £20 for a sponge?! A SPONGE?! Lol no tar.

4. Get Sensible


Always swatch before you buy, and never ever rush a purchase especially if it's outside what you would normally spend on an item. Ask, do I need this, will I wear it? Did I want it as badly before I came into the store?

If you are unsure go to a counter and ask for the product to be tested on you or for a sample. Go home, look at the results in natural light and check out the reviews online. Also double check there isn't a dupe you could buy instead especially if it's an eyeshadow or lipstic
k which are the most commonly duped items out there.

5. Stick to your budget

I've worked on counters I know how it goes. Someone comes in for a foundation we are pressured into link selling which means showing them a blusher and powder too for example. If you can afford to indulge in this great - if not politely decline or say you will think about it.

No mascara or lipstick is ever worth not being able to pay your bills so don't get carried away if you know you really can't afford to. I've been to counters before where I just wanted that one item but they start trying to sell me unrelated items so be firm with yourself and the person serving if needs be.

One day you will be able to afford it and it will be great - until then resist temptation or find a dupe. Trust me it will feel
great initially but only until your statement comes through. If you want to be able to comfortably afford this stuff in the future it's time for you to get financially smart.

6. Beauty Card Events

Department stores frequently have beauty club card events such as 10% off all products or triple points. This can lead to big savings if you are the type of customer who buys all their beauty in one go once a year. You can sign up to alerts or ask in store when the next event will be.

7. Beauty Bags/Offers

Following on from my last point, if you are someone who buys
your makeup all in one go - look out for beauty bag offers. Companies such as Dior, Lancome, Clinique, Clarins, Estee Lauder etc frequently give out gift bags full of products if you buy 2 or more items. It depends on different stores and the offers will differ too. The best ones tend to be at Christmas where you can get an insane amount of makeup for free just for buying what you normally would just at a different time of year.

8. TK Maxx


Quite simply, it's an amazing treasure trove of different skincare and makeup brands at heavily discounted prices. It's a pick and mix for beauty lovers and the stock differs greatly everytime you go in. Illamasqua, Nars, Lauder, Essie and OPI are just some of the brands I have spotted in there recently.

9. National Beauty Events

Imats, The Clothes Show, Beauty Con and Professional Beauty are just some of the events that happen every year and offer massive discounts against the original price. Granted, you have to buy a ticket to get in, but you can guarantee you will make your money back in savings especially if you are a MUA in need of lots of products for your kit
or if what you need is quite specialist. 

10. Competitions

Over the years I've won hundreds of pounds worth of products which you've probably seen me blog about if you've been following me for long enough! I've won items from Sunday Riley, Nars and Sleek on caption contests run on their official social media channels (p.s: I never en
ter ones where you just enter your details and they sell these on for profit...)

My Tip? Never start with "I want to win because". Give it a bit of thought, sass and something unexpected for the judges. Don't believe me? I haven't lost a single one I have entered up to now.

11. Experiment with what you have

Don't have money for endless eyeshadows and lip colours? Get into custom blending (you can use separate pots to make your own lip products for example) you can also layer different toned eyeshadows together to create a completely custom colour.

Also, some products are multi-use such as benetint which is designed for lips and cheeks. These are
perfect for travel too!

12. Know what's important


Only spend more on products on what is most important for you. For me this is the base. I need a good foundation that will last well and gives me good coverage as if the base is wrong, nothing else is right! If you struggle to find a colour match for your skintone you should also factor in a mixer shade to alter up the colour/undertone as well.

I personally feel high end foundation cannot be duped to the standard of other makeup products which is why I don't cop out on my base
but do with other products.

13. Research before you buy

Just because a brand has a new contour or eye palette out doesn't mean it's right for you. If you can
- swatch on your own skintone, read reviews and check for cheaper dupes before you part with your cash.

Makeup Revolution have duped pretty much every Urban Decay palette at 1/10th of the price. If you're in a financial tightspot this is a godsend. Granted,
sometimes there is a difference in the quality but not always so do your research. You'd be amazed at what can be found as a cheaper alternative if you don't settle on the first thing you see.

14. 3 for 2 offers

Boots and Superdrug frequently have 3 for 2 offers across all beauty. Save up for these events and make the most of it by buying 3 similar priced items. Don't spend £30 on skincare then £2 on your cheapest item which you'll get for free - get crafty with it to maximise your savings.

15. Seasonal Sales

Christmas sales aren't just for onesies and tacky jumpers. Often companies will sell Christmas themed items such as beauty advent calendars or gift sets with a
seasonal theme on the box which they wouldn't be able to sell after that date. It's the exact same stuff just in a festive box which you'll recycle once you get it home anyway.

Look out for these offers right after any seasonal holiday in makeup, skincare and fragrance - you'll be amazed! Selfridges for your higher end items but do try all online retailers depending on where you live.

16. Magazines

Every Month keep an eye on what the magazines are giving away as a free gift. In the UK it's not uncommon to see products from Benefit, Eyeko, Estee Lauder and Ciate amongst many other brands as the free gift. Sometimes the price of the magazine only costs a fraction of what the gift is worth!

Also, some magazines offer makeup as a free gift when signing up to a subscription so if you were planning to do this anyway it can be an added bonus. 

17. Ask for samples


Great if you have a job interview but cannot afford a new foundation for it. You can always return and purchase it if you get the job (and love the product of course!)

Whether they will give it to you varies on the store as much as the brand. If a brand declines but there is another counter in a different store - try there instead. I know I have given hundreds of foundation samples out in my time covering counters and the majority of brands are more than happy to oblige. 

18. Book a makeover

If you have a special event coming up or are just stuck in a makeup rut and don't want to spend money on products you are not sure if you will love - call up or visit your nearest counter or store of your favourite brand.

Some brands will offer a makeover free on the spot, and for others you will need to book ahead. Some brands charge a fee that's redeemable against a product and others may charge a flat fee so it's worth finding out in advance to make sure you can afford it.

Many brands offer this service and some of the most popular include Mac, Bobbi Brown, Lancome and Urban Decay. For prom and event makeup it always works out cheaper than hiring a makeup artist or visiting a beauty salon - plus you get all branded products which isn't always the case depending on where you go.

19. Turn your powder products into liquid liners/shadows

Damp eyeshadow brush = amazingly pigmented eyeshadows

Damp Eyeliner brush = dip in shadows to create liquid liner from powder pigments.

The sleek palette in Storm is my favourite for this. You can do eyes, brows and liner all in one palette. Don't overload the brush with water to avoid turning the shadow into mush. Make sure you use the same amount of water on each eye to get the same intensity.

I love this tip and share it with customers all the time. It allows you to re-invent what you have and create a whole new set of products from using exactly what you had already! Try using a bottle lid to keep your water in so you don't keep having to run to the tap. 

20. Avoid waste

When applying foundation with a sponge, don't apply the product directly onto it as it will soak it straight up and you'll end up going through your foundation much quicker.

Also be careful when "tapping off" powder based products to avoid the excess product floating into mid air and not back into the container.

Finally, watch you close up your nail polishes directly after using them to avoid them drying out as you won't get the ml's you paid for and you'll have re-purchase much quicker.


Monday, 22 August 2016

Narciso Rodriguez For Her (EDT)

Whilst I hate to admit it the weather is definitely turning more autumnal. This might be bad news for our summer wardrobes, however it's amazing for updating our fragrance collection. During the warmer months many perfumes can become overbearing especially if they are quite heavy which is something I find tough as I love my perfume, not to mention I work in fragrance when not designing so it's something I am around alot.

I have had a crush on Narciso's For Her (black bottle, pink box!) for quite some time now after smelling it in a magazine years ago and deciding I had to have it. Infact, everytime I walked through a department store I'd find the Narciso section and have a spray whilst comparing prices!

I was in the Metro Center at the weekend when I finally managed to pick a bottle up. Previously I'd worn all of the Dior scents which I still love and Alien by Terry Mugler (although annoyingly too many people bought this in my circle after asking me what it was) - so it no longer felt like "my" scent. Therefore I was hesitate to re-purchase for a 3rd winter.

Narsico is along the same lines as Alien but it is much more grown up and refined and less "You can smell me a mile off" which isn't always a bad thing when you'd paid good money, however change is good too. I think as you move out of your teenage years and into your mid twenties naturally your tastes change anyway.

I picked up the 35ml bottle from the perfume shop for £35 and I just can't get enough. The notes include lily of the valley and patchouli. The smell is unusual but not woody or overly heady - only lightly so. I would recommend this one for anyone looking for a change this fall.

If you want to know what the perfume girl actually wears herself.... in my case this is it!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Sleek i-Divine Palette in Storm

The amount of eye palettes you can buy these days are pretty eyewatering (I'm sorry!) so it's little wonder most of us find the process of choosing one a little too much sometimes.

Back in 2012 I won tickets to The Clothes Show along with a goodie bag courtesy of Sleek. Out of everything I was lucky enough to win, the item I loved the most using it pretty much everyday was their I-Divine palette in Storm. After using it to the point where the mirror had broken off and I'd accidentally hoovered one of the shades clean off the pan (next time I'll use a wipe to clean my makeup!) I decided it was time for out with the old in with the new.

I had planned to re-purchase this palette during my recent beauty spree to Meadowhall however with a shopping list as long as Kim K's surgery record I simply ran out of time! I was delighted to see Sleek had now brought itself to my local branch of Boots within the last week meaning no more two hour treks to the nearest outlet.
As you can see I pulled out all the brand new tester slots and had a good old neb n' swatch!

Since I last owned this palette they've since named the shades which is brilliant for being able to describe my favourites to you. Two of my can't live without shades include Firestorm and Dust Storm which are shimmery yet not glittery and extremely pigmented and long lasting especially if applied with a damp eyeshadow brush. You'll never lust over a Tom Ford palette ever again!


I think compared to other Sleek palettes, Storm is the most wearable and the shades really can be used from day through to night. It's all well and good having pretty bright colours in a palette - but if you are not going to be able to use them everyday then to me it's just a waste. With storm you can do day or night and even brows (Eye of the storm) and liner (blackout) so you can truly get the use out of every single colour. 

This palette costs £8.99 and can be picked up from Boots. For this price you get 12 wearable pigmented shades and a huge mirror in the lid which I love. For those of you who can't face paying £40 for a naked palette I highly recommend you try Sleek first. Try my damp eyeshadow brush trick and you will never look back... infact you will look forwards straight into the mirror astounded at your mesmerising eyeshadow colours!