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Tuesday, July 28

Too Faced Born This Way



I'm normally quite apprehensive when it comes to trying new foundations, but when I was presented with an array of the new Too Faced Born This Way Foundations, I was actually quite excited and couldn't wait to give them a try.

Oil-free, this foundation claims to diffuse the line between make up and skin, providing an undetectable medium to full coverage. It's said to conceal imperfections whilst leaving the the skin naturally radiant, and with ingredients such as Coconut Water, Alpine Rose and Hyaluronic Acid, your skin is cared for in terms of moisture, elasticity and appearance.

So, what do I think? 

I really do like this foundation and love that there's a twelve shades to choose from. The frostiness to the glass bottle makes choosing a shade without pumping and swatching difficult, but I went for Light Beige and I'm actually quite pleased that I did. 

On first impressions, I wasn't too keen on how the product applied to the skin. I always use a brush to apply my foundation but I found that it didn't blend as well as I'm used to and took a little bit of working in to really get going and banish the brush lines. Once applied, I really like how it sits and looks on the skin. It certainly isn't undetectable, but I don't mind that. The coverage is nice and buildable and I would go as far as saying it's my ideal coverage level. I personally don't have lots that I necessarily want/need to cover, but I like that look. 

For me personally, I wouldn't use a powder on top of this foundation at fear of it looking too cakey. It's definitely more matte finish than dewy and light, but equally, it leaves my skin looking really healthy which is pretty.

I'm not quite sure how far skincare ingredients can benefit your skin in a foundation, so I can't really comment on those, but I guess if they're included, that can only be a good thing?

I'm really enjoying using this foundation and so I'm really glad I stepped out of my foundation comfort zone. 

Too Faced Born This Way will cost £29.00 and will be available to buy in August, at Debenhams. 

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Clinique Eyes- Chubby Lash, Just Browsing & Pretty Easy Eyeliner


Clinique have recently been ticking all of my boxes where eyes are concerned and I've been really enjoying using three of their products combined.

Their Chubby Lash mascara, Just Browsing Brow Styler and their Pretty Easy Eyeliner Pen have been three of my top three make up pieces since receiving them and I've found myself reaching for them daily, or at least all of the days that I manage to wear make up.

I personally didn't think that the Chubby Lash Mascara would be something that I would like, as fattening my lashes isn't my main goal when it comes to mascara and I normally would go for something more lengthening, but I'm completely and utterly obsessed. 
The brush is in my opinion the perfect size and I find it gets to every lash beautifully, coating them all really well. It's a buildable consistency if you want to create lots of drama, but with results being pretty instantaneous, for the look I like to achieve, it's not necessary to build it up any further, and I wouldn't personally want to risk getting any clumps.
I was shocked to see quite how long my stumpy lashes looked on application and so I've found myself to be pleasantly pleased with the results.

I'm absolutely all about the brows and so when I saw Clinique's new Just Browsing Brush On Styling Mousse, I knew I just had to give one a whirl. 
Brows are everything for me when it comes to make up and I find that I've been using this to finish my already filled in brows to create that shape and "undone" look that I love. The tint, whilst really lovely, does just that- it tints and sadly doesn't fill in my brows, which is the look that I personally go for. 
For a quick make up ready to dash out of the house, I absolutely would use this to add a little something to my brows, but for now, I'm loving using it as more of a "setting and styling" mousse, for thicker and fuller looking brows.

For me, the Pretty Easy Liquid Eyeliner Pen is where it's at. This Eyeliner is amazing and I've found myself raving about it so many times now. It's the perfect size, pigmentation and Blackest Black finish and I personally cannot get enough. 
It's great for getting as close as you can to the lash line to create a fine and delicate line as opposed to anything too thick and over the top, plus it's fine pointed pen shape is the perfect tool for a fine feline flick and applying with such ease makes it a real winner in my opinion. 

Along with Clinique's new Skinny Sticks (£15.00) which I'm personally not 100% sold on yet, Just Browsing (£16.00) and the Pretty Easy Eyeliner Pen (£19.00) will be available to buy at the end of this month (31st July), whilst the Chubby Lash is already available in four shades costing £17.50.

What do you think of the look of these products? Do you think you'll be sold like me?

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The Balm Nude'Tude Eyeshadow Palette


A brand that I've really been loving recently is The Balm and of course, one of their stand out products for me was always going to be their Nude Eyeshadow Palette- surprise!

Made up of twelve shades, Nude'Tude is home to both shimmery and matte tones and I must say, I'm a huge fan of them all minus maybe one or two at a big push.

Sassy, Stubborn, Selfish, Sophisticated, Sexy, Serious, Snobby, Stand-offish, Sultry, Seductive, Silly and Sleek are the twelve S's and each of them provide really great pigmentation and colour payoff. I'm not so keen on Sassy and Stubborn, purely down to the fact that they're shades I hardly ever reach for due to the fact of them not doing much for me, but besides that, they're still great quality.

A shade that I'm particularly fond of, is Sexy and I just know that come Winter time, that will be a shadow that will be rocked a lot.  

Sultry and Seductive are the two tones that I'm wearing in the in look above, they're both perfectly wearable tones for daytime but can also be jazzed up for something more special of an evening.

The Balm Nude'tude Eyeshadow Palette costs £30.00 as is available to buy at Feel Unique.


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Monday, July 20

BELLES BOUTIQUE IS BACK

It's been a while since I last sat down and gave my blog any attention, but I'm pleased to announce, that I'm back.

Being a mum is certainly more demanding than I ever imagined it would be, and in turn, over the first year of parenthood, it left me with minimal time to myself and even less time to even consider blogging.

My blog is my thing and it's what I've loved doing for the past five or so years and so to go from posting daily to barely posting at all has been a genuine struggle and brought me heartache. That might sound extremely dramatic to some as I've equally been in the happiest place in my life, but honestly, not posting as frequently as I had hoped effected me more than I ever thought it would.

Before becoming a mum, I was under no illusion that being a parent would be hard, but I never considered that my blog would have to take a back seat in my life. I am a blogger, and I wanted to blog. To see something that I had put so much effort into building up over the years almost disintegrate in front of my own eyes, well, lets just say it hurt. It took me to a really low place at times as I felt I'd lost a part of me, but now, a year in, I'm finding a little more balance and I'm determined to get Belles Boutique back on track.

Some of you may question why I took to giving YouTube my online attention if blogging was my original passion, and the truth is that because throughout those weeks of Harrison's first year, it was the outlet that I needed. Being a mum is hard, but YouTube allowed me to share my journey and document the most precious moments in my life to a community that I felt "got it". Uploading my real life was and is for pleasure and I get great satisfaction putting together videos of my weeks with Harrison and engaging with an audience, but posting about make up, when I barely had time to shower, wasn't real life for me and it would have felt fake. 

Fortunately, I have now found the perfect balance, well at least I think I have, and I intend on spending at least two days a week whilst Harrison's in nursery focusing on my blog. 

I'm most likely going to mix things up a little bit, although Belles Boutique is and will continue to be predominately beauty based. 

If you've stuck around, thank you so much. I genuinely appreciate all of your support and I'm so pleased to be back.

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Tuesday, June 16

Clarins 'Mum and Me Time' at Ragdale Hall Spa



Life got a little crazy recently and some me time became very necessary and what better way to spend it than with my mum, in the countryside at a spa.

A three-hour-something road trip up the M1 took my mum and I to Ragdale Hall Spa in Leicestershire, and boy did we have a great weekend.

Two days of pure luxury soaking up the fresh country air in our fluffy White gowns meant we had time to relax away from daily stresses and just be. It's often only when you take a moment to breathe in an environment of silence and calm, that you realise just how much you needed that moment to breathe, chill and unwind.

Ragdale Hall is a traditional Victorian building and homes both traditional and modern luxury with state of the art equipment and facilities, current brands and fabulous treatments. 

The Thermal Spa which is made up of both an indoor and outdoor heated waterfall pool, a candle pool, a thought zone, a colour flow cave, a volcanic salt bath, a scented room, a rose sauna and a cave experience shower was a favourite of ours and so I'm sure it will come as no surprise when I tell you that we spent the majority of our time in there, switching between facilities.

In between pruning our fingers and toes, we were very kindly treated to a Mum and Me Time Clarins Serenity Facial which was an absolute dream. 40 minutes of treatment which included an in depth skincare consultation and a Clarins gift of an Eau Dynamisante Fragrance, Moisturising Body Lotion and a Clarins Beauty Bag, meant that we had the opportunity to relax even further- so much so that I actually fell asleep mid facial. It was such a nice treat and it was so lovely to be pampered alongside my mum, who following the treatment was floating on cloud nine. 
With the added bonus of the clean air and spa facilities, my skin had never looked and felt so clear and I can't wait to continue to use the Clarins products that were recommended for me to use day to day.

Breakfast in bed, an incredible three course buffet lunch and dinner were equally beautiful and going to enjoy them were the only times that we were away from the tranquil settings of the spa. Dressed in our gowns and slippers for mealtime was an extra special treat for us and made the days even more relaxing and I now just wish it was socially acceptable to dine out like that everywhere. I'm a girls girl and love getting dressed up for fancy meals, but in that environment with the calming nature of the trip, dressing gowns were the only way and it was absolutely completely heavenly. 

Set in the middle of nowhere, with bunnies hopping into the distant fields, Ragdale Hall is the perfect spa getaway for all ages, shapes and sizes and I for sure can't wait to return. 

Whether it's gym classes, swimming, treatments, garden games or spa facilities you're into, there's something for everyone, although having experienced the most gorgeous quality time with my mum, I can't recommend taking your mum along for the Clarins Mum and Me Time Package enough.

I'd love to know if you've been to Ragdale Hall or whether you're interested in visiting. What's your favourite spa treatment?

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Friday, June 5

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

First Aid Beauty's Facial Radiance Pads- where do I start? These are just what I've been on the search for and they have become a very welcomed part of my skincare regime.

I've been a fan of acid exfoliator pads for some time now, but the ones that I've used in the past have all come with pretty hefty price tags. Now on a bit more of a budget, I've been looking for a more purse friendly alternative.

 Having researched these a little bit before purchasing, I kind of knew I was onto a winner but nothing quite prepared me for just how good these would be on my skin.

Designed to exfoliate, tone and brighten, these pads contain lactic and glycolic acids which always work absolute wonders for my skin. Alongside Cucumber, Lemon Peel and Licorice Root, this potion of goodness soaked up into pads leaves your skin glowing and smooth and both looking and feeling incredibly clear with my pores noticeably reduced, which is something I personally look for in products.

I would say that these are a lot more on the gentle side than similar pads that I've used, which may be why the price tag isn't as extreme, but they do just as excellent a job and I'm so thrilled with the results.

I sweep these over my face after I cleanse in the evening and I really couldn't recommend them enough.

Available to buy on Feel Unique, First Aid Beauty's Facial Radiance Pads are available a pot of 20 (£12.00) and a pot of 60 (£22.00).


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Thursday, May 28

Sachajuan Leave In Conditioner


I've been on the market for a good leave in conditioner for some time now and I've finally found one that ticks all of my boxes.

Well worth the wait, Sachajuan's Leave In Conditioner is the a really lovely lightweight formula that sprayed into your hair after washing it, can be left to just sit and work its magic without the need for rinsing. For someone like me, who doesn't have the time to wait around in the shower like I once did, it's a dream.

Unlike other conditioning products, I apply this all over my hair including on the scalp area, which again, ticks another box. It's oil free which makes for a lovely formulation and I simply cannot get enough. Even the packaging is a simplistic little wonder.

For the majority of my washes, I now tend to leave my hair to air dry and I find this helps it to do so in a much more luxurious way. My hair dries knot free and once dry, it boosts a gorgeous shine and an excellent amount of body.

Available to buy on Feel Unique, this 250ml bottle costs £22.00.


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Thursday, May 7

Bobbi Brown Everything- Everything Eyes & Eyewear


Two posts ago when I spoke about the Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil, I mentioned that I'd been swooning over a few new bits and couldn't wait to share them with you. Well, I was right- I couldn't wait to share them with you and so here we are.

Last week I was given the opportunity to have breakfast with the Bobbi Brown and I can't explain to you how incredible an opportunity it was. Hearing her story first hand was so inspiring and listening to her talk through her passion and her products was dreamy.

As well as excellent make up, Bobbi Brown is a best-selling author and the newest book in her collection is Bobbi Brown Everything Eyes. To compliment her eye makeup collection, she launched this book to teach you everything you need to know to create stand out eyes. The book covers everything you need to know and last weekend, I had a lovely time with a cup of tea in the bath, reading up on how to perfect the smoky eye. 

Of course being all about eyes and representing those that wear glasses beautifully, to compliment the lessons that are available at counters which teach you about makeup behind glasses, Bobbi's newest launch is spectacular (see what I did there?)- Bobbi Brown Eyewear. 

With both sunglasses and optical glasses in the range, there's absolutely something for everyone and since I've been researching further into the collection, I've absolutely fallen for The Taylor and The Anna and quite frankly need them in my life- swoon. These have been launched a while in the US but here in the UK, they're now available to buy in Liberty.

Bobbi's Hydrating Eye Cream is a product that I've been using for some time now, however I've never blogged about it. Not a day goes by where I don't apply this- mainly because it's a dream to use underneath concealer and I need concealer. It's so gentle and keeps my under eyes hydrated and smooth and keeps them from creasing when I apply my corrector and concealer duo. It's formulated with Avocado and Jojoba Oils, Squalane and Glycerin as well as Vitamins A, C and E and whilst I won't pretend to know the scientific stuff- together they do an excellent job.

The infamous Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges are a lovely product and the shade Powder Pink is everything I've needed recently. Inspired from a moment that Bobbi saw her grandma applying her lipstick to her cheeks, Pot Rouges have been designed to be a multipurpose product to add a flush to your cheeks and a stain to your lips and I personally can't get enough. They're the perfect product to see you through your day and great to just keep in your handbag incase you need a little touch up.

I'm a huge fan of the skincare range and Bobbi actually admitted that she sometimes thinks she loves it more than the make up, but surprisingly I'd never tried the Vitamin Enriched Face Base. Since getting my hands on it last week, I've reached for it on all of my make up days and it really is very lovely to use. It's a mixture of both a moisturiser and a primer and it feels incredible on the skin. It's oil-free so it doesn't feel greasy how I imagined it would when I saw that it included Shea Butter in the ingredients and it sits on the skin and underneath make up really well, whilst giving off a lovely fragrance.

I've mentioned Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear Cream Shadows a few times in the past and Golden Bronze is now up there with my favourites. That probably comes as no surprise- it's stunningly pigmented, compliments my Blue eyes and as described, like the other shades, it's super long wearing. I always reach for these went I want a pretty eye with no effort as they apply in a stroke and blend out beautifully, with a finger or a brush.

Two lip products that I'm really pleased to add to my collection are Bobbi's Art Stick in Harlow Red which again, can be used both on the lips and cheeks and another Creamy Matte Lip Colour in the shade Jenna- a perfectly pigmented Orange Red which is perfect for Summer. Bobbi does eyes and lips so well and I rarely use a product from the collections that I don't love.

Finally, in my little Bobbi Brown round up, is the Full Coverage Face Brush. Again, I've spoken about my love for Bobbi Brown brushes before- they really are incredible. They apply make up to perfection, wash beautifully and are such good quality that they stay perfect. This brush that has been designed for powder formulas and homes tightly packed bristles that pick up just the right amount of product for a soft application, ultra polished "HD" finish.

All of these products are available now and although the glasses aren't as readily available, you can quite easily get hold of Everything Eye's and pick up all of the make up and skincare online and at Bobbi stores and counters.


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