Shopping: Boxing Day sale picks

dicembre 27, 2012

We all love a good bargain but, let's be honest, no one enjoys endless lines and getting elbowed in the ribs by some fanatic middle-aged lady while trying to grab odd lot and scraps in an overcrowded store. Scrolling online shops in the quiet of your room, wearing feetie pajamas and sipping hot coco, is so much better. Online shopping ftw!
Here are the best deals I stumbled on during my Boxing Day online beauty shopping:

sale picks
Laura Mercier Souffle body creme sampler // Laura Mercier mini baked eye color trio // Shu Uemura Rouge unlimited supreme shine lipstick // Laura Mercier petite patisserie quartet // China Glaze Luxe & luch nail polish // Bare minerals READY eyeshadow duo
SpaceNK had some of the best deals I've seen but the stocks are small so be quick if you want something. The Laura Mercier section is definitely worth a look: the reductions were crazy and I grabbed myself some amazing gift sets for a fraction of the price (001, 002 and 004). Be sure to browse the candle section as well and the Shu Uemura beauty line: I picked up a couple of lipsticks (003) but I've seen some nice cream eyeshadow shades and some gorgeous false lashes in the bunch.
The latest China Glaze collections, including the Christmas one, are on sale on Beautybay, but some of the old ones were also restocked. I'm so glad I finally got my hand on Luxe and Lush (005) from the Hunger games Capitol collection! After all this time I didn't hold out much hope in finding it.
If you're a fan of Bare Minerals (006) be sure to check Lookfantastic, Feelunique and Asos; I've seen reductions on the range pretty much everywhere but those sites have the best deals and the biggest variety in my opinion.

sale picks2
Urban Decay Naked basics eyeshadow palette // Maybelline Color tattoo cream eyeshadow // Illamasqua listick palette // Crabtree & Evelyn hand creme sampler // Mini Essie Holiday collection // Illamasqua Lip twin set Sangers & Succubus
Also on Beautybay you'll find the newest Naked palette by Urban Decay (001) on sale. It's a teeny-weeny reduction but it was a pleasant surprise anyway.
As usual Feelunique doesn't disappoint. I had to restrain myself a lot to just buy a Maybelline Color tattoo (002) and a Crabtree & Evelyn hand treatments sampler set (004) I had my eyes on since November. I'll probably have to go back and check some hair goodies tho, it's never to early to start stocking up on some favorites. Finally on Asos you'll find some good deals on the Holiday sets: along with This works, Paul & Joe, Yes to and Too faced, you'll find great bargains on the Illamasqua gift range (003). The Sangers and Succubus lip twin set (006) is seriously a stunner. And if you missed them before, now it's your time to grab some cute Essie minis (005).

Did you pick anything? Any website you want to recommend?

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Notd: Easy peasy Christmas nail design

dicembre 24, 2012

Orly mini Prince charming // Ciaté mini Cookies and cream // Ciaté mini Mistress
There's nothing better than a Christmassy nail art to get in the Holiday mood. For the occasion I decided to use two of the beautiful shades I found inside my Ciaté Advent calendar: Mistress is a gorgeous fire truck red while Cookies and cream is a creamy milky nude. And to complete the design I grabbed another mini polish, this time by Orly, that I got free with a magazine a couple of months ago.
The Rudolph design is super easy and was inspired by some cute Christmas cookies I came across while browsing the internet for some recipes. You just need a dotting tool (a bobby pin will also do) and a tiny nail art brush, but you can make do with a toothpick. It doesn't have to be neat, just have fun with it. It's an ideal last minute nail art.

Are you doing anything special to your nails for tomorrow? What nail polish did you pick for Christmas day? I think I'll take Rudolph off because he's a little worn out after a whole week on my claws and apply the ultra festive red glitter polish I found behind today's door.

Have a lovely Christmas!

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Quick reviews: Foundation remix #2

dicembre 23, 2012

I got my hands on a couple more samples recently and I thought to throw in a quick review of one of my favorites foundations as well, because why not.
wishlist8
Dior Diorskin Nude skin-glowing makeup spf15 // Burberry Sheer luminous fluid foundation // Illamasqua Skin base // Rimmel Wake me up
001 This foundation was quite disappointing. The coverage is so light it might as well be a tinted moisturizer. 010 was a perfect match for my pale skin tone at first but after a couple of hours it looked pinker and about one shade darker. I actually liked the natural satin finish and the lasting power was decent without powder but I can't be bothered to spend 40€ for a foundation that looks like a bb cream. Recommended if you have pretty decent skin already or if you have freckles and want them to show through your foundation, otherwise skip it, unless of course you enjoy doing an awful lot of concealing. And keep in mind that it might oxidize and become darker and darker during the day.

002 After loving the Velvet foundation so much I had to try the Sheer version as well. Don't let the name fool you. This is not a sheer foundation by any means. The coverage is medium, with a nice skin-like finish and a soft glow. It has the same delicate baby powder scent of the Velvet one and feels like nothing on the skin, but somehow is very noticeable. Seems nice from far away but when you look up-close it's like the pigment clung to every little imperfection, making it look more obvious. There are definitely better foundations for the same price or less on the market, but if you're curious about Burberry foundations I recommend you check the Velvet formula. That one is really great. Try-before-buy is mandatory here.

003 I just love Illamasqua Skin base so much! I always forget how much I love it until I wear it again. The pixel perfect finish is wonderful, dewy but very natural. The coverage is medium to full depending on what you use to apply; I like to apply it with a stippling brush, like the Real Techniques one or a MAC 130 to really buff it in for a flawless skin effect. It took me a couple of disastrous attempts to figure out how much product to use. You only need the smallest bit, about a pea-sized drop, to cover your whole face. It's so pigmented it takes absolutely nothing to overdo and make it look cakey. Since there's no spf in it, it's my foundation of choice (along with NARS Sheer glow) for a night out because it photographs perfectly and doesn't flash back. It's available in 26 shades (yes, you read correctly! 26! I'm shade 6 for reference) plus a golden highlighter and Illamasqua provided a very useful shade conversion chart for easy color match.

004 Rimmel Wake me up looks so much more expensive than it is with a radiant finish and long lasting formula; price tag and availability make it perfect for anyone on the market for a medium coverage foundation with an anti fatigue effect. Don't mind the shimmer, it's barely noticeable on the skin in normal lighting.
Unfortunately the shade selection (6 shades only) is unforgiving: the lightest shade Ivory 100 settles around a MAC Nw20-22 and the pink undertone is very obvious. I managed to wear it this summer with some adjustments and a bit of fake tan but at this time it's impossible for me to use it. If you can find a shade that matches yours I totally recommend it. It's a brilliant product.

Have you tried one of these products?

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Review: TheBodyShop Winter trend smoky eye palette - Smoky copper

dicembre 19, 2012

The Body shop creatives really out-bested themselves this year: after the beautiful Christmas bath & body gift sets, the brand released a gorgeous limited edition makeup collection that brings back their smoky eyes palettes with a new on-trend twist on color, along with matching eyeliners, lovely lipstick shades and body shimmer to fully embrace the Holiday spirit.

The Body Shop Smoky eye palette - Smoky copper* £14/€20
The Smoky copper palette* features 4 metallic powder eyeshadows in shades of copper and coffee with delicate shimmer, a large mirror and two decent brushes for touch-ups on the go.
The off-white shadow reminds me of a less yellow version of MAC Nylon: the frosty finish makes it perfect to highlight the inner corners but it's a little too much to use all over the lid or on the brow bone in my opinion. The pale copper color is one of those universally flattering shades, like MAC Naked lunch or Stila Kitten, that really open up your eyes for an instant pick-me up look, while the mid-tone copper-ish brown is a lovely transition shade and it's perfect for a quick wash of color. Finally the dark chocolate brown is extremely pigmented and quite multi-dimensional thanks to the beautiful red flecks. You really need the smallest amount to darken the outer V or to fake a fuller lash line.
All four shades have lovely silky-soft textures and apply smoothly without fall outs.
I enjoy the color combination a lot; the gradient is just perfect and can be easily modulated for both day and night looks. If I have to find something to complain about, I kind of miss a matte shadow, but I don't know what shade I'd give up in exchange. Not every one likes to wear four metallic/shimmer eyeshadows all together even if it's not an 'in-your-face' shimmer; I don't think it's too much, not even for the day, but I know that some people would like a matte shadow to break the metallic vibe.

I've been wearing it a lot lately enjoying the different combinations and the creamy texture. It's a great palette with beautiful easy-to-wear shades that will look good on everyone. This was my first experience with The Body Shop makeup range and I'm quite impressed. I can't wait to try something else.
What do you think of the Smoky copper palette? Have you tried anything from the TBS makeup line before?

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Giveaway: NAIL ROCK Disco rock book gift set - closed

dicembre 16, 2012

Christmas is just around the corner. Are you as excited as I am? I thought I'd pop one last giveaway before the Holidays, since the prize is oh so festive.


The winner will receive one beautiful Disco rock book gift set* by Rock nails.
The book contains four different eyeliner designs for super colorful eyeliner looks, a set of nail wraps in Chevrons for fun geometric nails and finally a gorgeous body rock tattoo which will be perfect to add some sparkle to the Holiday parties.
Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widegt below to enter.

It's open worldwide.

The winner will be randomly selected and contacted by email, so please leave a valid email address or I won't be able to contact you.
Good luck!

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Manca pochissimo al Natale. Siete eccitate qunato lo sono io? Ho pensato di organizzare un ultimo giveaway prima delle Feste, visto che il premio è intonato all'atmosfera festosa.

Il vincitore riceverà un gift set Disco rock book* di Rock nails.
Il libro contiene 4 diversi eyeliner designs per dei look coloratissimi, un set di nail wraps con la fantasia Chevrons per una divertente nail art geometrica ed infine un tatuaggio glitter perfetto per Capodanno.
Per partecipare compilate il form all'interno del widget Rafflecopter qui sopra.
Per riassumere dovete essere followers del mio blog tramite GFC o Bloglovin, dovete diventare fan della pagina FB di Nail rock e per ottenere punti aggiuntivi potete seguire Nail rock anche su twitter e diventare fan della neonata pagina FB di Strawberry makeup bag.

Il vincitore sarà estratto a caso e contattato via mail, quindi assicuratevi di inserire nel widget una mail valida altrimenti non potrò contattarvi.
Buona fortuna a tutte!

Gift ideas: ROCK BEAUTY Rock book gift sets

dicembre 15, 2012

Sometimes finding an original but not too expensive gift can be very difficult, but this year Nail beauty comes to the rescue with three cute gift sets - the Nails book, the Disco book (win it here) and the Glamour book -, created exclusively for this Christmas by the talented Zoe Pocock, creative director of Rock beauty.

Rock Beauty Rock book gift set in Glamour* £9.99
The Glamour book contains 4 different eyeliner designs for basic to very dramatic looks that can be trimmed to fit every eye shape, a set of Metallic cheetah split nail wraps to sport an aggressive yet feminine nail look and a set of gorgeous Eye rock tattoo perfect for the upcoming party season. Everything is really easy to use and the included step-by-step instructions are very useful. You can't go wrong.
The cheetah nail wraps were a little out of my comfort zone but I got so many compliments when I wore them, even from my dad that rarely notices my nails. They're not so hard to put on and last a pretty decent time before the edges start to lift (the picture was taken on day two and they still looked pretty good; not bad for my first try). They can be cut to size and you get enough for a whole manicure plus a couple of accents.
I can't wait for the right occasion to sport the lace Eye tattoo, and even if black eyeliner is pretty simple to do once you nailed the technique, the liner sheet is like a ready-to-slap-on emergency kit to keep in a drawer for a last minute occasion. Always ready, like the Marines.

The Rock beauty books are a funny and original gift idea, perfect for a makeup lover friend that already  has everything. They can be purchased from Asos or the Rock beauty website.

Have you tried Nail rock products before?

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On my wishlist this week #7

dicembre 13, 2012

Here we go again.
wishlist7
Illamasqua powder blusher duo Lover & Hussy // The Body Shop Very merry pocket mirror // Chanel Notorious Ombre Contrast/Sculpting Veil // Urban Decay Naked basics eyeshadow palette // Bliss Triple oxygen instant energizing mask

001 During the last offer on the website I almost bought it, but then I browsed my collection just in time to find out that I already own Hussy. What a shame! The duo is so beautiful and convenient... Someone should really take me out of my misery and buy it for me. You heard that, Santa?

002 If this isn't the cutest pocket mirror you've ever seen, you're lying and you know it. Red felt and gingerbread man, that's it. Who doesn't need a pocket mirror specifically for the Holidays? One you can use only for about 2 months a year? I do.

003 At first I thought the shade was a no go, especially because it has a hint of shimmer but after reading some reviews with real life pictures, Notorious started to grow on me. I'm really intrigued by the idea of a grey-ish, purple-ish taupe for both cheek and eyes.

004 Raise your hand if you can't resist to travel sizes and minis! Both my hands are firmly up in the air. I have this huge soft spot for tiny products, I really can't help it.
I like the Naked basics because there's no wasted space: the packaging is very handy, with a huge mirror that covers the whole inside lid and no silly applicators in sight. Just six good quality eyeshadows and a mirror. Perfect for both eyes and eyebrows on the go.

005 The moment I heard Lisa Eldridge speak about this mask during her Beauty gift ideas video I had to have it. It's an oxygen based mask that when you put it on starts foaming on your skin and gets rid of those nasty dead skin cells in only 3 minutes. It's like the fastest facial ever! It's a little expensive tho, so I'll have to wait for some good discount codes to buy it.

What you're lusting on right now?

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Gift ideas: L'Occitane Delightful almond collection

dicembre 12, 2012

I've been a fan of L'Occitane products for a while now. I don't know how many times I repurchased the Lavender hand cream and the Almond shower oil is one of the best products I discovered this year (I'm on the second bottle right now!). Their skincare products can be quite expensive tho, so I was really excited for the Holiday gift sets and when I saw what a good deal this set was I ran out to pick mine. I couldn't risk missing out on this one.

 L'Occitane Delightful almond collection £48/€49
Inside the Delightful almond collection you'll find two Almond delicious soaps with crushed almonds for a delicate scrub, the luxurious 100ml Almond milk concentrate for the body, a 50ml Delicious paste to exfoliate in the shower, a 30ml Almond smooth hand cream and the best selling 500ml Almond shower oil, all nicely packed in a gorgeous Christmas box. The gift is worth £71 but you only pay £48. Not bad, uh?
The almond scent is very unique in these: it's not the creamy, milky almond scent we're used to, but a fresher version of it; there's something sour-ish in the background, a hint of green apple I think, to counteract the sweetness. It's really lovely.
I love the lavender hand cream for the night but I think the almond scented one might now be my favorite of the line for everyday use. The smell is simply delicious, it's addicting! The shower oil is wonderful: leaves the skin so soft and nourished and is also a great shaving oil. Definitely a must have for every skincare addict. And I'm glad I got to try awesome products like the exfoliating paste and the Milk concentrate that otherwise I wouldn't have considered.

I think this would be a great gift for anyone really, but it would make any almond lover very happy. Personally I'd love to find something like this under my Christmas tree.
L'Occitane put together some great gift sets this year, all nicely packed in gorgeous carton boxes or cute basins. You're spoilt for choice. Just take a look to the website and I'm sure you'll be able to find something that works for your budget.
Did you add anything by L'Occitane to your wishlist?

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Review: Armani Eyes to kill 4 color eyeshadow palette 04 Effeto Nudo

dicembre 10, 2012

Along with the infamous Maestro foundation, Armani had another great product coming out this fall: the Eyes to kill eyeshadow palettes, which introduce the brand new 'perfect satin' and 'perfect matte' eyeshadow formulas. I knew they were going to be pretty expensive so I waited for a nice discount to grab mine. They come in 8 color options but given the price I decided to play safe and go for the neutral combo. You can never go wrong with those.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to kill 4 color eyeshadow palette 04 Effeto nudo $59/£49.50/€63.50
Effeto nudo is the quintessential neutral palette: includes a beautiful champagne shade, two matte cool browns and a nice midtone chocolate shade. The texture blew me out of the water, so creamy and easy to blend. The highlighter shade is extremely flattering and really opens up your eyes; is perfect for day wear and even as a brow highlighter, cause it's more glowy than shimmery. The matte shades are also very creamy and super pigmented, so different from the chalky, powdery consistency of some matte shades I'm used to. Definitely two of the best textures I've worked with.
The sculpted packaging is very sturdy and overall looks and feels very expensive. It comes with two double ended sponge applicators, hidden in a secret compartment underneath the eyeshadow tier; to be fair the price tag would require better quality tools in my opinion, like a couple of decent mini brushes, but included applicators annoy me to no end anyways, so I could have easily done without them. The little leaflet with some clues about where to place the different shades to achieve more natural or more dramatic looks was a nice extra touch.

Christmas is just around the corner and, depending on your budget of course, you may want to check this palette out: it'd be perfect for any neutral fiend like me, but it would also make a great gift for a newbie, since the formula and the color combination are seriously fool proof, or even for more mature ladies, cause these are the perfect shades to use on hooded eyes. Basic yet a must have.
Overall I think is a brilliant palette, with great quality eyeshadows. It's a little overpriced but if you have a discount code I totally recommend it. I may actually indulge in the 01 Maestro combo as well: the lightest grey shades look superb.

Have you tried anything from the Armani beauty line recently?

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Notd: Illamasqua Glitterati

dicembre 04, 2012

I struggled with my camera for a good hour trying to take a picture that would do justice to this glorious shade, but I'm afraid I couldn't fully capture its complexity.

Illamasqua Glitterati nail polish, part of the Limited edition  Nail duo Viridian & Glitterati £24 - here.
Glitterati is a deep raspberry red with tons of multi-colored holographic glitters in different sizes. There's a lot going on in the dark jelly base between super tiny micro-glitters, micro-glitters, round pink and hexagonal holographic chunks; they mostly flash pink at first but when the light catches the holo particles in the right way there's a sudden rainbow spark. It's absolutely stunning.

As usual the formula was great, after all Illamasqua polishes are some of the best on the market. Glitterati is mostly opaque in one coat, but two coats allow to create a gorgeous multi-dimensional effect, with some glitters sunk in the jelly base and some that gradually float on top. Can you tell I'm in love?
The glitters spread evenly and there's plenty of them in each coat since they're perfectly mingled with the base.

I have one complaint tho: Glitterati comes in a set with Viridian, a lovely metallic peacock green part of the permanent range, which I already owned. I don't mind a dupe, 'cause Viridian is one of my favorite polishes, but I'd rather be able to buy another individual Glitterati, since it's limited edition. I really hope is going to become part of the permanent line. It's the perfect shade for the Holiday season, but I'd totally wear it all year round.

Have you tried Illamasqua nail varnishes?

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Hair heroes: HairMed range

dicembre 03, 2012

Circa due mesi fa, durante la mia visita all'Intercharm Milano, ho avuto la possibilità di sottopormi ad un test del capello presso lo stand HairMed, dove non solo ho potuto constatare lo stato reale della mia cute e dei miei capelli, ma ho anche ricevuto una consulenza personalizzata e delle raccomandazioni sui prodotti da utilizzare per curare la mia fastidiosa dermatite e ritrovare la lucentezza perduta.

HairMed N4 Fluido lenitivo protettivo* €25 // B6 Bagno eudermico volumizzante* €14 // B4 Bagno eudermico attivo per cute con forfora secca* €14
Tra quelli che mi sono stati consigliati dalla tricologa, il prodotto che ha senz'altro fatto una grandissima differenza fin da subito è il Fluido lenitivo N4*. Si tratta di un tonico per la cute sensibile o irritata, che nel giro di poche applicazioni ha curato la dermatite, liberandomi del fastidioso prurito che ormai mi tormentava da mesi. Lo applico sulla cute asciutta prima del lavaggio e lo lascio in posa per 20 minuti o più se non sono di fretta, mentre l'Elasticizer di Philip Kingsley nel frattempo nutre ed idrata le punte; è come un mini trattamento spa da fare a casa, che ormai è diventato una componente fissa della mia routine. Oltre alla scomparsa del prurito, gli effetti più evidenti sono capelli più lucidi e sani ed una caduta inferiore al solito, nonostante il cambio di stagione. Sono davvero impressionata, e poi la profumazione di pesca e miele è da perdere la testa. Non posso che dare ragione alla responsabile dello stand HairMed che mentre mi descriveva i prodotti, aveva definito la cute come il terreno di un campo in cui i capelli crescono come fiori. Se il campo non è sano e ricco di nutrienti, i fiori non crescono al meglio.

Da accompagnare al tonico, sempre per i problemi legati alla dermatite, la tricologa mi aveva raccomandato il Bagno eudermico per forfora secca B4*, uno shampoo dall'aroma di menta e pino, pensato specificamente per la desquamazione secca e la cute che si sfalda. Assolve il suo compito magnificamente, ma è uno di quegli shampoo a cui far subito seguire un balsamo bello ricco, perchè lascia i capelli un po' ruvidi al tatto quando ancora bagnati. Anche per questo motivo lo staff si era raccomandato un uso settimanale, mentre per i lavaggi intermedi mi era stato consigliato il Bagno eudermico volumizzante B6*, che forse alcune di voi riconosceranno perchè parte del famoso Hair shine kit, comparso nella prima Glossybox. Questo shampoo è un altro prodotto che dà soddisfazione immediata: chiude le cuticole del capello, che quindi risulta meno poroso al tatto e più resistente all'umidità. La differenza si nota soprattutto durante l'asciugatura, per la lucentezza del fusto, quasi 'da parrucchiere', ed il volume delle radici, di cui i miei capelli necessitano particolarmente in questa stagione.

Potete trovare tutti i prodotti su HairMed.it, dove vi aspettano anche un esperto online sempre pronto a rispondere alle vostre domande ed un test per capire di cosa hanno bisogno i vostri capelli.
In più per celebrare il nuovo look del sito, HairMed offre a tutte le lettrici di Strawberry Makeup bag uno sconto del 15% su tutti i prodotti con il codice promo HMB1212 fino al 17 dicembre. Credo proprio che ne approfitterò per fare scorta di tonico N4 e shampoo B6, visto che ormai non posso più farne a meno.

Avete mai provato i prodotti HairMed?

On the first day of Christmas...

dicembre 01, 2012

Ciaté Mini mani month Advent calendar £38
After years of honorable service, I decided to dismiss those beloved, old calendars full of chocolate and chubby cherubs, and bring the thing to a whole new level. No more Santa shaped pralines for me, but wee baby bottles with tiny ribbons, cause, as Ciaté remind us, a nail polish a day keeps the doctor away. Ancient wisdom, you guys. See for yourself.

Somewhere behind the 24 doors there are 17 best selling mini paint pots - I spotted a double in the preview on the back, but I can't really complain for extra cookies and cream, especially when it's cold outside -, 4 mini caviar pearls blends and 3 mysterious shades made exclusively for this gift.
With this calendar I probably gave the death blow to my let's-not-buy anymore-nail-polishes New Year resolution, but my figure will definitely thank me.
See what I did there? The silver lining, ladies.

The Mini mani month is sold out everywhere but the Ciaté website, where you can join the waiting list and get 10% off your first purchase, simply subscribing to the newsletter; or you can always check eBay.

Gotta dash now! It's finally time to peek behind door number 1...

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Gift ideas: TBS Ginger sparkle shower, scrub & moisture collection

novembre 25, 2012

I said it and I did it. I bought myself an early Christmas present. Woo hoo.
Guess what, patience is not my middle name. I had to get my fill of gingerbread men as soon as the Holiday collection hit the online store and along with the full size body butter, I picked what in my opinion is the pièce de résistance of the Ginger Sparkle collection.

TheBodyShop Ginger Sparkle Shower, Scrub & Moisture Collection £15/€24
The Ginger Sparkle shower, scrub & moisture set includes a full size 250ml shower gel, a 75ml body polish, a 50ml body butter and a cute little 40g soap bar, all safely packed in a gorgeous tin box shaped like a gingerbread man cookie. To be completely honest I picked this kit instead of the individual products mainly for the reusable tin box that I plan to fill with all kind of Christmas candies and goodies and put on display on my kitchen table. I'm a sucker for cute packagings, le sigh.

The gingerbread scent is to die for, warm and refreshing at the same time, with spicy notes and a candied feeling in the background that reminds me of the happy cola gummy candies. It's the most unisex scent between the Christmas ones and a real boost of festive mood, even if it'll work well across the seasons.
The soap free shower gel is very gentle on the skin and lathers well, especially when used with a loofah; leaves a light gingerbread scent on the skin that lasts for some time without being too intrusive.
The body polish is perfect for quick everyday exfoliation: the crushed walnut shells gently scrub the skin while the gel foams a little, leaving the skin baby soft and smooth. The smell was very strong in the shower but I couldn't sense it on my skin afterwards.
The body butter is creamier and less thick than the Vineyard peach one I previously reviewed; the lighter formula will work well on all skin types, melting on the skin and keeping it deeply hydrated for 24h without greasiness. The butter has the most lingering scent, it's like walking in a candied ginger cloud all day; I love putting my lounge-around-the-house-clothes on in the morning and get a whiff of the gingerbread scent.
Finally, the soap is a nice extra treat, perfect to keep near the sink to instantly refresh the zingy ginger scent on your hands or even have a quick hand scrub thanks to the ground walnut shells.

Kits like this one are a great way to approach TBS range without breaking the bank and the tin box is simply adorable; but if you're looking for something a little cheaper, maybe for a Secret Santa gift or as stocking filler, be sure to browse the gift section on the website, cause there's something for every budget, from the butter up duos, perfect to hang on the Christmas tree, to the super cute pudding sponge or the Very merry mirror.

Will you be picking up anything from the Holiday collection?

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Review: The Body shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 scrub mask

novembre 22, 2012

Also known as 'the impulse buy that for once turned out to be a hit'.

The Body shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 scrub mask £10/€14
This mask reminds me of LUSH Oatfix, but with a softer, creamier texture. The smell is absolutely divine, like oatmeal and marzipan, quite strong but not overwhelming.
It spreads nicely and I only use about half a teaspoon of product for my whole face, meaning I should be able to get 30+ uses out of this 100ml tube. Definitely a great value for money.
The moist oat flakes are quite delicate but knowing how badly my skin reacts to dry scrubbing, I prefer applying to slightly damp skin. Then I gently rub in focusing on the sides of my face where I tend to get some flakiness during the colder months, and leave in for up to 15 minutes to get the most out of the moisturizing properties of this mask. It doesn't set completely so it's easy to remove with just a splash of warm water or a damp muslin cloth. It cleans the skin and leaves it baby soft and bright, without tightness or greasy residues.
The Body shop recommends it for normal to dry complexions and I couldn't agree more: while is very gentle and nourishing on my faintly dehydrated skin, it would probably be too moisturizing for oilier complexions.
Overall I really like it. It's a nice weekly treat that both cleans and moisturizes the skin, smells delicious and keeps all its promises. Huge thumbs up!

Have you tried any TBS mask?

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Quick reviews: Foundations remix

novembre 20, 2012

Hello. My name is Beatrice and I'm a foundation addict.
I probably own more than a normal person needs yet every time a new foundation hits the market I get really excited and want to try it right away.
While swatching the products  and give them quick test directly at the counter can be useful, I find the best way to see if a foundation really works for me is to try it at home, in natural light, with my usual skin prepping products and my own brushes. Not many brands understand that and sometimes the counters aren't even equipped with sample jars; that's why I took the habit to carry 3-4 samples jars in my bag all the time. Obviously not every foundation I try makes it to my to-buy list or even to an in-depth review on the blog, but I wanted to share my thoughts on some of them anyways.

foundation reviews
Bourjois Healthy mix serum // Laura Mercier Silk crème // Lacome Teint idole ultra 24h // Laura Mercier Oil-free supreme // YSL Le teint Touche eclat

On my wishlist this week #7 and some Christmas gift ideas

novembre 11, 2012

One month and a half to Christmas and I'm practically bouncing off the walls! Have you started thinking about what to buy to your loved ones yet? Hating rushed gifts and last minute purchases, I already started browsing Christmas cathalogs and the gift sections of my favorite websites to find the perfect presents for everyone. And it's not like I can't stop wanting stuff for myself as well, right? Better give Santa more options, says with a serious face.

wishlist5
Burt's bees Body nectar softening set // Diptyque candles // China Glaze Holiday joy 2012 set // The Body shop Ginger sparkle body range
001 Burt's bees is a brand I became somewhat obsessed with over the past weeks. I didn't have the chance to go shopping for it yet, but I've been browsing the internet looking for good value sets, which are always a great way to approach a new brand, especially when you don't know what to try first. This set contains foot cream, hand cream, honey lip balm and the milk & honey body lotion I already had my eyes on. A head to toes set to give a nice try to Burt's bees' line and would also make a lovely gift for a natural skin care fiend.

002 I've never been a candle person but over the last year or so I really enjoyed them: they can make the house warmer and more personal in matter of minutes. Obviously there're many cheaper options on the market, but Diptyque candles are more of a threat because of the price tag and something I'd like to receive as a gift; after all we don't often indulge in expensive buys for ourselves. They're quite popular in the UK and after smelling them the other day at the mall I can understand why: gorgeous scents, elegant packaging and different sizes for all budgets. A candle could be a nice gift for a fragrance lover and among other things definitely less risky than buying a random perfume.

003 China Glaze knows how to do glitter polishes and there's nothing better than sparkle galore and Christmas tree shades for the Holiday season. Nail polish sets are usually very good value for money and this China Glaze set looks very festive, so it'll make the perfect Christmas gift. Or, even better, you could split the nail polishes and use them as stocking fillers: you'll be making your beauty-loving friends happy while keeping secret Santa's budget low at the same time. It's a win/win solution.

004 Usually the Body shop Christmas range is by far one of the best Holiday releases and this years' collection doesn't disappoint. Along with Vanilla bliss and Cranberry joy, TBS will release in these days the Ginger sparkle body range, with cute little Gingerbread men on the packaging and extra zingy ginger scent. The moment I saw the press release I added the whole range to my to-buy list. Can't resist to cute Gingerbread men!

What kind of beauty products you'd like to get for Christmas? Or you'd rather receive a gift card to go shopping for beauty stuff on your own?

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Review: Liz Earle Cleanse & polish Lavender and rose

novembre 09, 2012

The classic Liz Earle Hot cloth Cleanse & polish has been a favorite of mine for almost a year now and a staple of my evening routine: I like to alternate it to my Clarisonic to remove my makeup and I reach for it every time my skin is a little stressed out by the all new products I'm testing and needs a little back to basics. 

Liz Earle Cleanse & polish Special edition Rose & Lavender £19.75/€24.70 - LizEarle.com
For this limited edition the already fabulous best-selling formula, made only of natural active ingredients, was enriched by rose petal and lavender essentials oils, to soothe the skin and help relaxing after a long day. In case you're not familiar with this product, one pump of the buttery texture dissolves all the makeup, the grime and the dirt that pile on the skin on daily basis, then the muslin cloth, soaked in warm water, removes the cleanser while gently lifting the dead skin cells to reveal a soft, radiant skin, ready for the next steps of your night routine.
Being a huge lavender fan, I love the deep calming scent and much prefer it to the standard herbal one. Honestly I'd love a permanent rose & lavender C&P, maybe with matching night cream and toner; the Liz Earle instant boost toner is one of my favorites - and also one of the few toners that don't dry me out - but I find the regular scent a little too refreshing to follow a relaxing facial.

Even if the special edition graphic design is gorgeous, I'm not particularly keen on the packaging: it's pretty and does its job, but you can't really tell how much product is left in the bottle until it's over; thankfully the regular C&P comes in a tube size as well.
This special edition is slightly bigger than the usual one - 150ml against the standard 100ml -, which justifies the higher price; also 2£ for each sale will be donated to the Prince's Trust, a youth charity that mentors young people either into further education or business opportunities, helping them build a solid future for themselves.

Keep in mind that it comes with two muslin clothes - at least mine did - so there's no need to buy the extra ones.
I'll be buying a couple of back-ups with my next order for sure, 'cause unfortunately once the Rose & Lavender C&P is gone, is gone for good. All good things always come to an end, after all.

Are you a fan of the regular Cleanse & polish?

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Peach-tastic: The Body shop Vineyard peach range

novembre 06, 2012

I've been a fan of The Body Shop since when I was a kid and I always look forward the end of the year because of the amazing Holiday launches of the brand. This year tho, things got exciting a little early with the Vineyard peach collection launch early last month.
At first I was a little surprised by the choice of a fruit I associate with summer for a fall collection, but the fresh yet warm fragrance of succulent late peaches goes surprisingly along with the autumn vibe.

The Body Shop Vineyard peach body butter* £13/€15 and shower gel* £4/€6
What I like the most about TBS products is the realistic scent: they don't have that synthetic and sometimes sickening smell that some food scented products have, but they smell almost like the real thing. The Vineyard peach range is no exception and smells like the sweetest ripe peaches, the ones that almost melt in your mouth at first bite and have a honey aftertaste.
The limited edition range includes shower gel, body butter, body scrub and body lotion. I had the chance to try the first two so far.
The shower gel lathers well and leaves a delicate peach scent on the skin without being drying or irritating. I find some shower gels a little too harsh as they leave my skin itchy for a while but I never had this issue with TBS products.
During the colder months I can't be lazy and I try hard to keep up with my post shower moisturizing routine and body butters from TBS are my absolute favorite thing to use. They're thick yet light on the skin and sink in quickly leaving the skin extra soft without greasiness. This one in particular was formulated for dry skins and thanks to coconut oil and karitè butter leaves the skin deeply hydrated for 24 hours straight. And the peach fragrance is quite persistent as well: I just love waking up in the morning still smelling like peaches and honey. The scent is so addicting I've been using it as a hand cream as well lately and I'm this close to spread some bread with it - clearly they had to put a 'don't eat' sign on the packaging for silly girls like me -.

The Vineyard peach collection is limited edition and you better rush, 'cause I can tell this stuff is gonna fly off the shelves. I already added a back up of the body butter and the body scrub with crushed peach stones to my to-buy list but if I could only pick one product from the range it'd be the butter for sure. It's truly ah.may.zing.

Have you tried anything from the range?
Do you have a favorite TBS line?

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Notd: China Glaze Fast track

novembre 04, 2012

China Glaze fast track £6.75/€6.50 2 coats
Fast track is a creamy toffee beige packed with gold glitter and some green and copper holographic flecks that my camera couldn’t pick out. In the bottle it looks like a mushroom-y taupe but dries slightly warmer, like pale caramel. It’s absolutely gorgeous and a nice take on the usual nude nails but with an interesting twist. The coverage is surprisingly good for a neutral and it’s completely opaque in just two coats. Application was a little tricky only because the brush tends to pick up too much product but the issue can be easily fixed with lighter and more careful strokes. Like all China glaze varnishes, Fast track has a firm but flexible rounded brush and it’s 3-free.

This nail polish is part of the Capitol Colors collection, which is inspired by the Hunger games trilogy – go read the books if you haven’t already! – and was released around March; each shade represents one of the 12 Districts of the dystopian world described in the books and Fast track is supposedly inspired by District 6 Transportation. I’m so glad I was still able to find it after all these months, because it was one of the two shades that really caught my eyes back then. Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to put my hands on the extra pretty Luxe & Lush flaky top coat as well. Fingers crossed.

Did you pick anything from this collection?
Did you read the books?

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Review: Burberry Velvet foundation

novembre 02, 2012

About two weeks ago I was hanging around the mall waiting for an event to start and I took the chance to check some of the new arrivals and swatch a couple of foundations I had my eyes on. I stopped at the Burberry counter out of habit and I was pleasantly surprised to see the new fall collection on display: while the lip and eye shades we recently saw on the catwalks were definitely interesting, the one thing that really caught my eyes was the Velvet foundation, a brand new addition to the beauty range for Fall.

Burberry Velvet foundation trench n°201 £35/€43
At first I thought the name Velvet was just another way to say matte. Instead the finish of this foundation is something I've never seen before: it's silky soft to the touch, and looks like velvet on the skin, like a foundation and a setting powder all together. It's hard to nail a description here, but instead of looking matte and flat, this base looks soft and healthy, like the skin of a peach.
Since the formula is quite thick, I find the best way to apply this foundation is with a dense buffing brush to really work the pigment into the skin and pack the product only in those areas were you need a little more coverage, or with a sponge to achieve maximum coverage.

I didn't have the chance to wear it for more than 8-9 hours, but it lasted very well on me, with just a little bit of shine breaking through on the tip of the nose at the end of the day. A primer didn't make any difference in the longevity of the product and there's no need for a setting powder, even if oilier skins might need to set it.

It hydrates the skin without the typical dewy finish of moisturizing foundations, and provides medium coverage with an oil-free and long-lasting formula, which is still lightweight and very comfortable to wear. It contains wild rose extract to hydrate and shields the skin from natural elements. The faint baby powder scent is quite pleasant and this comes from a person that usually hates scented foundations.
Extra brownie points for the matte packaging with signature check on the lid that feels very elegant without being too heavy and the pump that has a lock position.

The shade match with my skin tone is so perfect I want to cry: the lady at the counter said that I have a 'very Burberry skin tone' and it's true. If you're pale and struggling to find the right foundation match maybe Burberry is the answer you were waiting for: the lightest shade, Trench 201, is perfect for me - I'm N10 for the record -, and the shade range includes other 7 shades to cover pale to medium-dark skin tones.

It's a high-end foundation and in this case you get exactly what you pay for. Even if you don't feel like splurging, the unusual finish makes it definitely worth a try at a counter.

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On my wishlist this week #6

novembre 01, 2012

Christmas is coming - Whohooo! - and it's time to start dropping gift ideas here and there for family and friends. Let's throw subtle and discrete out of the window like that, why not.
wishlist4
Clarins Odyssey face palette // NARS Luster blush // Burberry Complete eye palette // MAC Making pretty Sheer mystery powder // Ojon Rare blend oil

LUSH Popcorn lip scrub review

ottobre 29, 2012

LUSH Popcorn lip scrub €7.35/£5.25
 As I previously said in my LUSH wishlist, I can be pretty lazy when it comes to lip scrubs and even if they’re super easy to make at home, I need to see the jar sitting in my lipstick drawer to be reminded I should include this step in my beauty routine as well.
Last week I was checking out after a little Halloween/Christmas shopping at LUSH thinking ‘I should probably grab a Bubblegum scrub as well’ when I saw Popcorn, the new limited edition for the Holidays and being a huge popcorn fan I couldn’t resist.

If you don’t feel like splurging and you’d rather DIY, the ingredients are pretty basic: caster sugar, jojoba oil, sea salt, Polenta, coconut oil and popping candy; just watch the salt balance or you’ll end up with a drying mix instead of something good for your lips. I’m not sure about the popping candies thing, can’t really tell if they’re there or not, but the popcorn flavor is lovely: it tastes like those warm, sweet and buttery popcorns with random salty bursts you can buy at the movies.
I like to prep my mouth with a muslin cloth soaked in warm water before dipping my finger in the scrub and then rub it gently over my lips in circular motion. The caster sugar lifts and gets rid of dead skin cells while the oils calm and moisturize the lips, getting them ready for your favorite lipstick. The best thing about LUSH lip scrubs is they’re 100% naturals and completely safe to lick off, just find your favorite flavor and try not to eat the whole thing with a spoon!
Lip scrubs are such an underrated product but they can make a huge difference, especially during the colder months.

Do you have a secret lip scrub recipe or are you a member of the ‘let’s be lazy’ club like me?

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My top 3 mascaras

ottobre 25, 2012

NARS Larger than life volumizing 25€ // MUFE Aqua smoky 23.50€ // Clinique Bottom lash mascara 13.5€
When you have super straight lashes that stubbornly point toward the floor no matter how many times you curl them, the search for the perfect mascara can get extremely frustrating. Obviously once you understand that waterproof is the way things get easier but unfortunately not every WP mascara does the trick: for instance the Estée Lauder Sumptuos waterproof mascara I use on my brides doesn't hold the curl all day on me. 
After years of mascara hoarding I finally managed to find my holy grails and I thought I'd share them with you.
The MUFE Aqua smoky mascara was a total life saver back in the days and literally the first mascara to get me through a whole day with luscious, curly lashes. I like it because is extra black and doesn't clump easily; the brush coats and thickens every lash for a dramatic look, but also defines. The downside is the formula dries very quickly: in about a month the mascara gets drier and drier. The final result doesn't change but the application gets a little trickier. Overall is a lovely mascara but I don't think I'll buy it again, simply because I found something even better. NARS Larger than life is the newest addiction to my collection. The wand is huge and may look a little scary but is super easy to use and the honeycomb bristles grasp every single lash for both volume and beautiful definition. What I like the most about the Larger than life is the natural look: one coat is perfect for everyday but you can also build up for a more dramatic effect. It's a real winner and I wish it came in brown as well for those no-makeup makeup days. Last but not least the blogger sensation, the Bottom lash mascara by Clinique. It took me a little while to go over the whole 'that's a gimmick' first impression and give it a chance, and I'm so glad I did. My bottom lashes are quite long so normal mascaras with basic lengthening and volumizing effects make me look like a crazy person. This guy helps me make my fair lashes visible, without adding any rama. The tiny brush is also very good to apply mascara on those hard-to-reach inner corner lashes without pocking your eyes out; and even if it's smudge proof it removes with ease. It's a life changer, ladies, trust me on this one.

Do you have a holy grail mascara?
And speaking of lashes: do you know any lash growth serum that actually works? I'm always afraid all these hard to remove products will end up damaging my lashes or stress them out.

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Notd: OPI I don't give a Rotterdam!

ottobre 23, 2012

OPI I don't give a Rotterdam! 3 coats €13.90
I don't give a Rotterdam! - which by the way is one of the best names for a nail polish I've ever heard - is a dirty, dusty blue with gold, copper and silver glitters. I like how the creamy base isn't completely opaque but sheer enough to let the glitter particles peek through, giving the polish a nice multi-dimensional effect. I had to apply 3 coats to hide a couple of flaws on the nails - gosh, I hate those random white spots! - but I could have gotten away with two. Texture and dry time were great. It dries to a softly faded finish that I really like, but the misted effect can be easily fixed with a shiny top coat.
It's one of those chip-resistant varnishes that last forever on the nails with only minor tip wear: 6 days so far and still kicking.

I don't give a Rotterdam! was part of the Holland collection but hopefully you'll still be able to find it online. I really like dusty shades like this one; it's such an elegant and fall-ish way to wear colors.
Did you pick anything from this collection? Any must have OPI shades for fall?

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Looking sharp: my business cards

ottobre 20, 2012

MOO Rounded corners business cards
When I started attending blogger events and product presentations I thought it was finally time to take the next step further and order some business cards for the blog. I already own some cards for my MUA job that I designed on Vistaprint for a handful of euros but for the blog I wanted something different, less 'hey, I run a business' and more 'look, I'm a passionate beauty blogger'. 
After a little search I found MOO. The website is hilarious and super easy to use, and the cards are fully customisable and very good quality. When I received my order I was so impressed I almost ordered another full pack just in case.
What I like the most about the MOO cards is you can upload even 50 different images and transfer your whole portfolio on your business cards, letting your work speak for itself.
You can use your own picture like I did or use one of the many ready to use designs; you can also request 10 sample cards for free, to test the paper and up to 10 different designs. It took me forever to choose between the classic cards and the cheaper mini ones, but in the end I gave in to the rounded corners. Can't resist to those...
Yes, these cards run on the expensive side but they make my Vistaprint cards turn green with envy: they're bigger, with thicker paper and look so much more fun and artistic. My MUA cards feel more professional but these show a little more personality and hopefully my passion for beauty blogging. I was so proud to hand them out during the last exhibition I attended.

What do you think of bloggers with business cards?

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Skincare wishlist (please, send help!)

ottobre 17, 2012

After ages of slapping on my face any random moisturizer within arm's reach and a half-hearted interest for basic products to complement makeup during the last few years - as in once I found the right product I stuck to it with no interest in trying out something different -, in the last months I've been seriously obsessed with skincare products. Even with a huge french pharmacy haul on its way to me and a bunch of new products sitting on my desk and waiting to be tried, I still want to buy MORE. I thought a little online window shopping could help with the crave...
skin care wl
Emma Hardie Amazing face natural lift and sculpt Moringa cleansing balm // REN Glycolactic radiance renewal mask // Origins Clear improvement mask // Burt's bees Almond milk beeswax hand creme // Antipodes Kiwi seed oil eye cream // Aesop Parseley seed cleansing mask

Jack Black Intense therapy lip balm with Lemon spf25

ottobre 14, 2012

Jack Black intense therapy lip balm with Lemon 7.25£/9.43€ available at Feelunique
You probably know by now how much I like to try current blogger obsessions to see if they're really worth the hype and the Jack Black lip balm is really popular in the beauty community. Actually popular doesn't even cover it: this is Kristine from Temptalia - the closest thing to a beauty prophet of the Lord - favorite balm and given the amount of lip swatches she does everyday has to be her favorite for a reason, right? So when Ale aka Dotted around told me it was available on Feelunique I had it in my cart in matter of seconds.

I picked the Lemon and chamomile one, but there's a mint scented one as well.
The tube is ok, I guess. It's suppose to be a balm for men and I imagine any kind of frill would be pointless. Mine came in a sturdy box but I hear the tube is now only shrink-wrapped and doesn't come with the ingredient list any more. I took a picture of the list so you can draw your own conclusions.
The smell is quite nice and delicate - reminds me of lemon meringue - and it lingers for a while.
The balm itself feels like vaseline or the Elizabeth Arden Eight hour cream, although not so shiny. The texture is a little slippery and requires blotting if you want to use it under lipstick.
It softens the lips really quickly but I can't tell if they're also moisturized or if the balm just locked the moisture in, like vaseline does. It feels nice on the lips but I'm not sure it's being nice to them as well, if it does make any sense.

In short, I don't hate it but I didn't hear the angels sing either. No life-changing moment I'm afraid. It's a nice balm and I'll be keeping it in my bag for application on the go but I'm not crazy about it. Definitely it won't replace my beloved Nuxe Reve de miel balm.
Gosh, this is such an hyped up product I almost feel guilty saying I don't like it...
Have you tried it?

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Notd: butter LONDON Dosh

ottobre 12, 2012

butter London Dosh $14/£12/€15 2 coats available at Zuneta
Soooo, another Notd. It looks like I can only do these kind of posts recently, sorry, but I've been a busy bee during the last weeks, and while I tested many products, I didn't really have the time to sit and write down a decent post. I'll go back to the usual variety in the next days, pinky promise. Now back to business.

Given the name you would expect a dollar green, instead butter LONDON Dosh is a bright yellow based apple green with gold and green shimmer. 
The texture is gorgeous: the shimmer is so finely milled it applies like a cream finish. It was opaque in two coats and lasted 7 days on my nails, with a coat of Sally Hansen nail growth miracle as a base and a tin layer of Seche top coat. To be honest I didn't want to apply a top coat at first, cause Dosh dries to a lovely satinized effect, not quite matte but definitely not glossy. It's quite a unique shade, unlike anything I own.

I went a little nail polish crazy recently, so I won't buy any for a while - if I had a penny for everytime I said it... let's be honest, I'd probably have a penny now cause I'm that bad at saving money - but in the future I plan to buy the well-known Yummy mummy and the most recent UK blogger obsession, Bossy boots, which isn't really a fall-appropriate shade but you know I can't resist to greens. Are there any other butter LONDON must have shades I should add to my wishlist?

So, yay or nay for green nail polishes?

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In October we wear pink

ottobre 09, 2012

breast cancer awareness
OPI You glitter be good to me & I think in pink nail polish duo // Glamglow Cure Sexy mud mask // Nails Inc. Pinkie Pink nail polish // Origins breast cancer duo // Clinique Breast cancer awareness Chubby stick set // Estee Lauder Dream collection lip set // Bobbi Brown Pink peony set
October is Breast cancer awareness month and once again the beauty industry got involved to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and support. Breast cancer afflicts millions of women worldwide but this year's Estee Lauder Pink ribbon features a touch of blue to represent the 1% of breast cancer cases diagnosed in men too. For each sold product the brands will donate part of the sale to the various foundations fighting for the cause around the world.
In the picture above you can see only a handful of the many limited edition products hitting stores right now: Ciaté, Crème de la Mer, Elemis, Tweezerman and many others joined the fight with luxury hand creams, skin care sets, nail polishes and makeup products, giving you the chance to 'Think pink' and give something back while staying beautiful.
You can also make a donation to your local Breast cancer reaserch foundations; even a dollar can make the difference. And remember to get checked, cause breast cancer can be fought if diagnosed in time.

Is there any special product that cought your eye? I'm already in love with the nail polishes, especially with the Ciaté Paint the town pink set, and the Origins Peace of mind & Make a difference set. Such a shame the brand isn't available here...

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