Sleek Makeup – Holographic Vibes*

When it comes to affordable makeup brands, Sleek Makeup is one of my favorites. With a collection which is constantly updated, and products which look, feel and perform far better than their affordable prices might suggest, if I’m in need of a bit of a pick-me-up, this is the brand for me!

The Holographic Vibes collection feels perfect for summer. Full of sheeny-shiny products, I can just see the makeup being perfect for wearing to music festivals all season long! The stand-out star of the collection has to be the distorted dreams highlighter palette.

Packaged in a super sleek shiny silver compact, the palette is made up of five highlighters – three cream formulas and two powders. The colours range from a milky opal, to brave shades of green and blue. The beauty of the product is in the buildability of the formulas. A subtle sheen, care of the opal shade is perfect for day-to-day wear, whilst a little of the blue and green formulas give skin an otherworldly glow.

It’s a great option if you’re looking to push your boundaries a little – the shades are pretty enough to release your inner unicorn, but the soft, blendable formulas sink into skin leaving it looking divine.

The range also includes three new shade of the rather popular Matte Me Lipsticks. Only this time, all three shades are metallic. Encompassing a rich rose-red to a warm orange-y copper, these liquid lipsticks are an upgrade from my usual balm. All three also smell absolutely glorious – all vanilla sweetness which is fun rather than feeling overpowering.

Matte Me Rusted Rose is perhaps the most wearable shade of the trio. A warm, rich pinky-red, Rusted Rose applies evenly and opaques straight from the tube, and the wear time is seriously impressive. I got a good 4 hours of wear before I felt the need for a touch up.

Perhaps the most interesting shade in the line up is Volcanic – a copper-rose duo-chrome, the formula feels like it should come from MAC or Nars rather than a drugstore! Slightly sheerer than the other two in terms of finish, two coats leaves lips looking perfect. The wear time is slightly shorter than the other two, but it’s easily topped up, and I just love the effect!

The last in the lineup is Roman Copper, a warm orange-toned copper which is just begging to be worn with a tan. Deeper, richer skintones, I think, would look absolutely incredible in this shade. Since I’m ghost-white at the moment, I’ve not braved the shade, but I’m just waiting until I’ve got a golden tan to crack this beauty out!

Sleep Distorted Dreams Highlighter palette is priced at £10.99 and the Matte Me Metallic Lipsticks are £4.99 and are available here.

Urban Decay Pore-Refining Peel*

When Urban Decay released their much-anticipated, I think the most talked about product was probably the Pore-Refining Peel. It might have something to do with the popularity of those black peel off masks which are all over Instagram at the moment, but considering I’ve liked these kind of masks for a few years now, I was more than a little intrigued to give this one a spin.

Packaged in a large squeezy tube, the first instructions you’ll see, is that this mask is not for use over your entire face. Instead, this is for targeting areas with a little congestion – I like it for my nose, around my mouth, and on my forehead and chin.

The mask has a thick, almost glue-y consistency,with no scent or colour. I just smooth it on dry, freshly washed skin (usually my nose) and then let it get to work. Unlike a lot of masks, there is no tingling sensation when applied. Instead, it just dries down to be completely clear, and then you’re good to remove.

I prefer to apply quite a thick layer of the mask, as I find it easier to remove once everything has dried down. Then, once it’s dried, you can find an edge and slowly pull the mask off. As long as you do it carefully, it’s not sore, instead you can see how congested your skin really was. It leaves skin feeling super fresh – and it’s the perfect pre-makeup treatment for truly flawless finish.

Urban Decay Pore Refining Peel is priced at £24 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

111SKIN Daily Orbit Energising Essence NAC Y2*

When it comes to skincare, I’m not sure you can get more exciting than products designed for space. So, when I got my hands on a few of 111Skin’s products, I was understandably excited. The product line is the brainchild of Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, a Harley Street dermatologist, who has conducted unbelievable amounts of research into preventing the anti-ageing process.

The first of the products I cracked open was the Daily Orbit Energising Essence NAC Y2. I’ve used an Essence pretty consistently for a year or two, and I was actually running low on my usual order, so receiving the bottle felt a  bit like kismet. Packaged, as most Essences are, in a frosted glass bottle, 111Skin’s offering is a gentle scentless fluid which is applied directly to skin after cleansing. I know that many brands recommend saturating a cotton pad, then sweeping over the face in an upwards direction, but honestly I find the cotton drinks up product, so I prefer to apply a few drops to the skin using clean fingers.

Since there are no scents or colorants, the Essence is great for us with sensitized skin. It disappears into skin almost instantly, leaving it feeling plump, hydrated and ready for moisturizer. Rather handily, it contains the brand’s  NAC Y² formula, which has become known as the ‘Dramatic Healing Serum.’ It gives skin a serious dose of hydration, and it’s also infused with Antioxidants to fight free radicals that cause ageing. It even has been proven to neutralize the effects of pollution, whilst sealing moisture into the skin. It’s such an easy product to add into your regime, and you can see the positive effects almost instantly (and you can definitely feel them right away!).

111SKIN Daily Orbit Energising Essence NAC Y2 is priced at £60 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Urban Decay Rehab Makeup Prep Lip Love*

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s bizarre that Urban Decay is only just releasing a skincare line? It seems like such an obvious move for the brand, I’m just surprised it’s taken this long. Perhaps they’ve been working on formulas? Anyway, no matter about why it’s taken so long, the skincare is seriously impressive, and the first of the products I tried was Lip Love, a Shea Butter Coconut Oil Lip Balm.

Packaged in an easy-squeezy tube, Lip Love is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a new summer lip balm. It’s got a fun, coconut scent and flavour, which feels very seasonal. It’s got a light, glossy feel on the lips, and it is the perfect base if you’re going to start applying a matte lip as it’s so hydrating.

I’ve been keeping my tube by my computer for keeping my lips soft and hydrated throughout the day. It’s such a comforting texture to wear, and once I’ve applied it, I can feel the balm on my lips for a good hour or two. I also love the summery scent – it’s such a nice distraction from working away at my desk!

Urban Decay Lip Love is priced at £11 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Beauty Blender Micro Mini Duo Sponge Set*

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If there is one tool in my stash which I couldn’t live without, it’s got to be my Beauty Blender. The prettiest shade of pink, and always there to provide flawless coverage, what I didn’t realize, was that the sponges had been kicking around for 15 years! In the past few months though, the range has started to expand, and when I saw the dinky little Micro Minis, I had to get my hands on them.

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Not even half the size of the original, the Micro Minis are perfect for detail makeup – getting your undereye concealer just right, blending awkward areas like nostrils, and, if you can believe it, applying products like eyeshadows and highlighter. Made from the original sponge material, which, when dampened won’t suck up product like other sponges, these leave a flawless finish. I particularly love throwing one into my makeup bag for on-the-go touchups!

BeautyBlender Micro Mini Duo are available for £13.50 here (UK) and here (US)

Glowbiotics Probiotic Instant Refreshing Gel Hydrator*

Is it just me, the moment we hit June, my skin took a real hit, so of course, it meant only one thing – a change in skincare products! Thankfully though, I had just gotten my hands on a tub of Glowbiotics Probiotics Instant Refreshing Gel Hydrator. It’s a moisturizer like no other – light enough to nourish skin, without overloading it, it’s the perfect choice for summer months.

Packaged in a sleek purple tub, the Refreshing Gel Hydrator is perfect if your skin is prone to redness, dryness or irritation. The formula is wonderfully cooling to apply, and the gel texture really calms skin down. The Hydrator itself is packed-full of good-for-skin ingredients including Glowbiotics’ Blanacing Complex.

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It’s so calming and cooling to apply – this would be perfect for slapping on after you’ve been out in the sun! It also creates a great base for makeup – smoothing skin and creating the perfect canvas for a bit of light foundation and bronzer!

Glowbiotics Instant Refreshing Gel Hydrator is priced at £55 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

ByTerry Glow-Expert Duo Stick*

So, I think it might have just been love at first sight when I got my hands on ByTerry’s new Glow-Expert Duo Stick. Equal parts highlighter and blush, the stick is pretty much a summer essential.

With a focus on giving skin a natural, lit from within glow, using the Duo stick couldn’t be easier. After applying my regular foundation, I just swipe the stick on the apples of my cheeks, then blend using my fingers or a Beauty Blender.

The stick has a soft, seriously workable formula which just melts into skin. Unlike a lot of balm formulas, it doesn’t leave skin feeling greasy or sticky, it just leaves a subtle wash of colour which is easy to build up.

The highlight is absolute perfection – a shell pink sheen which looks naturally radiant, and the poppier blush side lends skin warmth when blended out, but can be built up for a pretty pop of colour. The orange is a new colour for me, but I just love it, and I think it’s going to look incredible with a tan!

ByTerry Glow-Expert Duo Stick is priced at £39 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Oribe Free Styler Working Hairspray*

When it comes to hair dos – I like to keep it as simple as possible. I wear my hair down 99% of the time, and if I’m feeling particularly fancy, I’ll throw a clip in it (I’m currently obsessed with little pearl ones to add an easy dose of polish). But, there is that 1% of the time when I want to do something a little bit extra. Whether it’s a gentle, beachy wave or voluminous pony, I need a hairspray which leaves hair looking soft and shiny, whilst also providing a bit of grip.

So, when Oribe sent over their brand new Free Styler over, I was absolutely overjoyed. For starters, this has to be the most glamorous hairspray on the market. The black and gold can is super chic, and I think that it has to have the world’s fanciest cap!

Happily, the spray itself is as glorious as the packaging. A super fine mist which sprays evenly, leaving hair in place, but not looking weighed down or matte. Instead it leaves strands satin-soft. It also keeps hair in place for hours – it’s the perfect product if you’re wanting your style to stick around all night!

Oribe Free Style Hairspray is priced at £39 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – Fiery*

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I’m not sure quite why, but I feel like my makeup gets more exciting in the summer. I experiment with different products, colours and textures far more than I do in winter months. So, When Stila sent over a tube of their gorgeous Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiery I was over the moon!

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These have been all over the internet, and I regularly see them rated as the best liquid lipsticks, so I couldn’t wait to give it a whirl. Fiery is a deep, rich red with flattering blue undertones. This means that teeth look ultra white when you’ve got it on. It applies like a lipgloss, and I adore the sweet vanilla-y scent. It has a light, mousse-y texture which glides on, and starts to dry down pretty much instantly. The colour is deep and rich, and is pleasingly opaque, even at first swipe, and I have to say, once this stuff is on – it’s going nowhere! Crucially, this is a liquid lipstick which both sticks around but doesn’t dry out lips.

Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick is priced at £16 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Clean Reserve – Sel Santal*

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Clean Reserve fragrances are one of those things you wonder why someone didn’t think of sooner. A collection of perfumes to make you smell good. Not of flowers, or candy or fruit; just shower fresh. It’s exactly what I want to smell like for day-to-day wear! The perfumes also feel deceptively simple, which means that layering a couple of them results in a stunning, custom fragrance, which you’re unlikely to smell on someone else!

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Since the Clean Reserve perfumes are so fresh smelling, they’re seriously unisex-friendly, and it feels perfect for wearing this summer. Sel Santal is described as a Woody Oriental fragrance, so I was expecting something a little out of my comfort zone. Happily though, what I actually find is, wearing the perfume, that the notes of fig and sandalwood are the most prominent.

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When I first apply the Sel Santal eau de parfum, I get big whooshes of fig and green leaves. It’s so different from the fragrances I usually wear (I’m a big white-flowers kind of a girl), but I’m obsessed with it. Once it warms up on the skin, it gets a touch woodier thanks to Sandalwood notes, as well as Amber. It’s reassuring, and it’s one of those fabulous perfumes which you get wafts of during the day. Speaking of which, the lasting power is impressive – even if I’ve applied it first thing in the morning, by the time I get back to the house, after a full day at work I’m still smelling sweet.

Clean Reserve Eau de Parfum in Sel Santal is priced at £79 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

 

Dinner at Steak on Stones Edinburgh*

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Going out for dinner, although delightful, can sometimes feel a little same-y. You sit somewhere nice, get a glass of something, and have a good chat with whoever you’re out with. It’s nice, but it’s predicatable. So, when I was invited to Steak on Stones a couple of weeks ago, I jumped at the chance. Housed in the same building as Edinburgh favourite Steak (review here), Steak on Stones is a slightly more casual offering, and, as you might have guessed from the name, steaks come served on volcanic rocks, allowing diners to cook their meals themselves, and control how ‘done’ you have your steak.

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We popped in on a Friday night, starving after a busy day at work, so started with a Mezze Platter (£15). It sounded incredible on the menu, and what we were presented with was even better.

A huge board heaving under it’s contents, we kind of wondered how we would manage a main meal after all these goodies!

We dipped the crisp garlic bread into the pots of garlicky hummous and rich Baba Ganoush. I was obsessed with the mix of olives and grilled hallumi – it was pleasantly salty and very moreish. The inclusion of pickled vegetables rather than the regular raw crudite was a welcome change too!

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After savouring the Mezze platter, it was time to move on to the main event – which of course, was steak! Steak on Stones have a surprisingly exotic menu. In addition to the cuts of steak you might expect – rump, sirloin filet etc, they also offer Kangaroo! There is even the option to choose ‘Meat Roulette’ where you and a dining partner can share a selection of Kangaroo, Mystery Meat as well as Rump. The restaurant prefer not to let you know what you’ve been chowing down on until you’re done,

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Since we are both cowards (and we know how good Steak on Stones’ steak is) we both opted to grill our own Fillet Steaks (£30). Lean and flavourful, we both found that layering a little salt on the grill, (and letting it cool down a touch) resulted in the most fabulously tender and flavourful steak!

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We couldn’t resist a couple of portions of fries too! Hot and crisp, we alternated between mouthfuls of Beef Dripping Chips (£3.50) and Sweet Potato Fries (£3.50). Although the chips were great, the star of the show were the Sweet Potatos, which were absolute perfection!

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Even though we were both stuffed, neither of us could resist giving a couple of desserts a go! The Treacle Tart served with Ginger Ice Cream (£6) was delicious. The ice cream mixed creamy richness with firey ginger, whilst the tarts were deliciously sweet.

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I opted for the Creme Brulee served with Shortbread Biscuits (£6) and it was a delight! Rich vanilla custard wobbled under the glassy top, and the buttery shortbread was delish! I’m not going to lie, we couldn’t finish our desserts (although not for the want of trying!) and we positively rolled out of the restaurant!

Many thanks to Steak on Stones for having us! You can see their whole menu here