Cosmo Blog Awards 2011

27 October 2011
The Cosmo Blog Awards - created by fabulous Cosmopolitan magazine in association with Handpicked Media - began last year with 12 categories and over 20,000 entrants; following great success the 2011 awards proved even fiercer with almost double the entrants and two new categories. All shortlisters for the awards this year were invited to a ceremony at the exclusive Club Bond in Britain's buzzing capital of London, accompanied by cocktails, cupcakes and brands galore.
The setting was ultra-glamorous, adorned with pink lighting and chic accessories...not to mention the rather impressive bar! The Cosmopolitan cocktails flowed through the whole evening with thanks to Stoli Vodka, though I hear towards the end of the evening they were no longer alcoholic? Cheeky! The cupcakes, courtesy of the delicious 'Cute as a Cupcake' company, were a feast just to look at and tasted absolutely incredible. We found the canapés an interesting touch, the servers watched us eating them which caused a few giggles! Though they were delicious, I have awoken with food poisoning and remain rather dubious!
The entertainment kept us busy and active all evening with 'Nail Porn' manicurists, Benefit MUA's and Stylist Pick on hand to pamper us. I got involved with the Benefit stand to have my makeup touched up after a long day of travelling and entered the Stylist Pick competition to win a pair of shoes - luckily for me I managed to win a pair (I never win anything!!), when I receive my chosen shoes I will let you all know about it a little more but if you can't wait until then you can view the website here.
The pièce de résistance of the entertainment for me were the photo booths, kindly provided by, which were available all night for us to snap pictures to keep as a memory of our evening. It provided endless fun and the attendant was hilarious, I took these pictures with the gorgeous Vivianna, MillyLaaLaa, Amy, Zoe, Sarah, Sabrina and Corrie who are all beauty bloggers from the new and established categories.
Pre-awards us bloggers reached a consensus that we were all super nervous to be attending alone, the venue has a limited capacity and this meant no +1s, eek! Vivianna, MillyLaaLaa, Amy, Sarah, Corrie and myself met half an hour before the ceremony at the Alphabet bar to calm our nerves without arriving alone, it was lovely to see the gorgeous outfits before anyone else (my black number with the red belt was a cheeky Warehouse last-minute sale buy which can be found here!). We spent the evening mingling with others and one another, taking dozens of pictures as we enjoyed the splendour; I wish I could include them all but the above are some of my favourites.
The winners were announced at 7.30PM - the prizes a free pair of Stylist Pick shoes and a stunning Ros Shiers print on canvas. You can view the whole list of winners and highly commended's here, but the winner from my category of 'New Beauty Blog' was the gracious Vivianna (pictured), with Adrienne from TheSundayGirl receiving Highly Commended; when announced we cheered and clapped graciously (with a few ungracious whoops and screeches...guilty, perhaps). To my surprise, many bloggers left once the announcements were made; for me, LaaLaa and Amy the night was young and we partied with the remaining bloggers, StylistPick and MissGuided until carriages at 9PM. 
To my absolute happiness and surprise all attendees were handed a brimming goodie bag at the end of the evening - if you spot anything you'd like swatches or reviews of please leave a comment. The gorgeous bag was adorned with Cosmopolitan magazine covers both old and new, though to my surprise we didn't receive a complimentary magazine or anything Cosmo related at all! Regardless, I am over the moon with the products from companies which supported the goodie bag and can't wait to try them all out, I was jumping for joy when I spotted the MoroccanOil so watch out for a review.

The evening was beyond my wildest dreams, when I started this blog I never expected to achieve such great things from a hobby which roots deeply in my heart. Your support has been phenomenal, I wish I could thank each and every one of you individually but I can't so this will have to do! I'd like to make a special thank you to Cosmopolitan for making the evening so special for all of the shortlisters, to be involved once has been a true honour!

If you have any questions about the Blog Awards or just want to chat about it, you can tweet me on twitter here or drop me an email (details to the right hand side).
The NIVEA Pure and Natural range sprang onto our shelves back in May this year offering an impressive 95% natural ingredient origin (primarily Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Burdock Fruit and Argon Oil), all free from parabens, silicones, colourants and mineral oils. There is everything in the range to give you top to toe nourishment, whether it be your hands, your skin or your lips.
When I needed a new face cream I decided to pick up a pot on a trip to ASDA, the range caters for each skin type whether it be mature, normal/combination or dry/sensitive - I chose the dry/sensitive pot as my skin has been extremely dry in this biting weather here in Northampton.

PRICE: £5.10 per 50ml
- presently £2.50 in ASDA

AVAILABILITY: ASDA, Superdrug, Boots

CLAIMS: "Used daily this effective day cream gives you naturally soft, smooth skin, provides intensive 24 hour moisture and enriches the skins natural healthy glow" - product packaging (pictured)

PRODUCT: Once again the packaging is true to NIVEA design, drawing essences from the ingredients to decorate the box outer which is packed with useful information. Inside the box you will find a glass jar, sealed with foil for freshness, which is a nice touch!
The cream is soft to the touch and applies well, I'd say a penny sized amount will moisturise the face effectively without excess. The scent is very natural but heavily floral, it's a little overpowering on the skin for my liking but this does decrease throughout the day, though I was hesitant to sniff after first applying this!
The formula is cooling when applied, I agree that the cream soothes the skin but the level of moisturisaiton is average which I don't feel lasted 24 hours. The product sinks into the skin on contact without leaving a greasy residue or feeling, but the pay-off isn't what I had expected having read the claims - I still had patches of dry and flaky skin after using this product.

RATING: 5/10 - I found this to be a very average face cream with a scent too strong for the face, I certainly wouldn't be impressed if I had paid full price.

To see all products on offer with the Pure and Natural range, click here.
Think classic and couture, meet Chanel, a leading fashion brand since it's birth in 1909 by Coco Chanel in France. For those of us who can't afford hot off the catwalk pieces, Chanel offers a more affordable range to it's customers on the hight street. I'm not talking fashion here I'm talking makeup, with a full range of polishes, foundations, colours and lipsticks it's hard to resist the temptation of being involved in a brand so desirable.
One of Chanel's most popular lines from their extensive makeup range is their foundations, with Pro Lumière running highly in the stakes as best seller! With SPF 15 and claims of a 'professional finish' how could anyone not want to give this seemingly wonder-foundation a go?
'Semi-matte coverage, photo finish'

Herbalife are an America-based personal care, weightloss and nutrition company who began their journey in 1980 when founder Mark Hughes launched a weight loss program in the boot of his car. With increasing popularity the brand became an international success in just two years and developed a clear vision - healthy lifestyles made easier with a simple range of products aiming to compliment your routine whether it be working out or diet to keep your body in its most optimum condition. The products Herbalife retail may be of particular interest to sports or nutrition enthusiasts, who can find their full range of nutritional snacks, shakes and vitamins here.
Especially for winter, Herbalife have launched a range of body care and hair care products to compliment busy lifestyles, suitable for your whole family. Aloe Vera is a key ingredient in these products for its soothing and calming properties - perfect after a workout, busy day at work or even to treat minor ailments during those harsh winter months or just after your summer holiday.

Herbalife is a brand I had never heard of until Immediate PR got in contact with me offering to trial their products, I was surprised at how much this company have to offer and how tailored it is to the customer. Although weightloss and nutrition aren't particularly something I am interested in, taking care of my skin during winter is of large importance to me, which is why these products were of particular interest to me.

The new range provides a complete body and hair care system made up of ten products essential for keeping skin and hair healthy during the battle against cold weather, which can dry and redden the skin. These include:
  • Bath and Body Bar (£5.50)
  • Body Wash (£12.35)
  • Soothing Gel (£8.30)
  • Soothing Spray (£11.05)
  • Hand and Body Lotion (£8.30)
  • Hand Cream (£8.50)
  • Everyday Shampoo and Conditioner (£8.50 each)
  • Moisturising Shampoo and Conditioner (£9.70 each)
I chose to test the 'Soothing Spray' - I find during the winter my feet become tired, woollen jumpers cause redness on my skin and my face becomes extra dry from the bitterness of the cold. Claiming to 'relieve dry, irritated skin' this product felt perfect for me. 
The packaging matches the whole range of products, with essence of the classic aloe pale green shade, although I like the packaging I didn't find it particularly stylish, though this isn't a part of the companies vision. The bottle itself is huge, 400ml feels like something which will last me forever and ever, the generosity of product matches the price really well. The controlled, sprayable cap means you can evenly distribute the product where needed without excess wastage of product. A let down for me is the subtle scent, I've never been a fan of strongly scented products but the scent isn't as concentrated as I would have liked, it seems 'barely there' - on the other hand if you're a fan of faintly scented products this may be your ideal.
Two sprays (pictured) will distribute a fair amount of product which has a very fluid and liquid consistency; I'd say one spray is more than enough per foot and two per limb on an average sized body. The product is multi-use, I found it most useful for soothing my feet which ache after wearing my killer heels and this instantly soothed them - my housemates were clamouring to use it too! The sensation the skin absorbs on contact with the product is very pleasant, it's an immediate cooling and relieving feeling which provides light moisturisation - for this reason I can imagine this product will be perfect for use on sun overexposure and minor burns (for cooling purposes only, other medical assistance may be required to severely damaged skin).

Although it's unlikely I'd need to purchase this product any time soon with such a large amount of it, I am tempted to try the hand cream for winter as my hands become really dry and chapped when exposed to the cold and ice. The Aloe Vera's naturally soothing properties really do the trick as the key ingredients for this range, which I'd say is excellent to have in the cupboard for a whole family to help soothe minor ailments and immediately treat mildly dry skin, but I wouldn't go so far to name it an essential.

The whole range of Aloe products available to you can be found here. For your local stockist or to place an order you will need to ring 0845 056 0606.
Clynol, formerly 'Kleinol', was launched in 1924 by hairdresser Friedrich Klein as a salon exclusive brand. Since its launch the brand has grown and grown, proudly becoming a part of the Schwarzkopf and Henkel groups.
Shaped, developed and used by hair professionals, Clynol offers customers a wide range of salon-quality products divided into simple categories to help choose the right products for you, including ranges such as Care, Repair, Colour Care, Moisture and Expert (to name a few!).
I'm a serial sinner when it comes to taking care of my hair, rarely do I treat it to a mask or deep treatment - crucial to keeping heat or colour damaged hair strong and healthy. 
'Restore, repair, revive and renew your beautiful hair'
Brand household favourite 'Kleenex' has a large heritage in the UK, with its popularity dating back to the 1920's where the original Kleenex tissues were primarily used for the removal of cleansing cream and makeup. For their time they were a revolutionary product, dubbed the 'new secret to keeping pretty skin' - it is no wonder the brand has remained in the hearts of many houses since their launch all that time ago.
Fastforward nearly a century and Kleenex are returning back to those once so popular roots, launching a purse-friendly range of four beauty essentials, including:
  • 50 Shine Absorbing Blotting Sheets - £2.99
  • 24 Eye Makeup Removal Wipes - £2.99
  • 30 Cotton Touch Facial Cloths - £1.99
  • 24 Facial Cleansing Wipes - £2.99

Ever aware of modern day concerns, Kleenex have developed Ecoform Natural Fibres with the range to help customers reduce their carbon footprint and the packaging is 100% recyclable. Ecoform contains natural fibres from certified sources, making the products' life cycle from production to consumer comparatively more efficient than 'standard wipes', as you can see from the simple graph the difference is incredible! Please click here for more information.
When I heard about the launch of this range I was eager to try it out, I've always been one to have a Kleenex tissue up my sleeve! When my local Superdrug finally had some stock on the shelves, I rushed in to grab what I could, reaching for the eye makeup removal pads and cotton touch facial cloths.
The range is simple and classic holding an air of dignity; the vintage-look product packaging which encases carefully folded products reflects the roots of Kleenex beautifully. This reflection continues through the products, which remain ever versatile and can be used for countless things - I found the eye makeup removal wipes double sided feature useful for removing eye and face makeup, perfect if you're travelling and don't want to carry two products in your bag. Furthermore, the Facial Cloth packaging usefully provides details for exactly how to use their cloths, something which had baffled me at first.
In case you're looking at the packaging wondering how small the products are considering it's all feeling very compact, I've taken a few pictures of the pads for your reference; the generous size both surprised and impressed me. I wish I could demonstrate how soft to the touch these pads are, unfortunately technology isn't so advanced yet, so you'll need to take my word for it!
Needless to say I'm now eager to try the remaining two products from the range, Kleenex have clearly demonstrated that their brand is modern and current, executing their new range flawlessly; I'm certain I will be making a repurchase.

For further information about the range, visit the Kleenex website.
After the success of the Good Things facial skin care range, the brand launched by Alice Hart-Davis introduced a new body care range back in August consisting of exfoliators, body creams, body butters and scrubs (click here to see the whole range). Most popular for their promise to use ingredients safe even for young skin without petrochemicals, parabens, sodium laureth or lauryl sulphates, Good Things have also become a more popular brand for guaranteeing no testing on or deriving its ingredients from animals - making their products fully vegan and vegetarian friendly.

You may have seen my glowing review way back in July of the Body Butter and since I haven't been able to get enough of this brand, I recently decided to purchase the body lotion to see how it compares.

PRICE: £4.99 for 250ml

AVAILABILITY: Boots, Superdrug, Sainsbury's

CLAIMS: 'Hard-working and fast-absorbing, our ultra rich body lotion makes the most of the natural benefits of avocado oil, which is full of essential fatty acids to help soften and moisturise dry skin. Extracts of cranberry and wild cherry have an added calming effect on skin. It smells fab too, thanks to our ultra rich fragrance of pomegranate and juicy red grape' - product website

PRODUCT: It's hard not to instantly fall in love with the matching and playful packaging of these products, it feels somewhat chic and airy. I feel completely at ease using these products knowing they haven't been tested on animals and contain completely natural ingredients, which pack an absolute punch at moisturising the skin! The consistency of the lotion is soft and fluid, a small amount goes a long way and sinks near instantly into the skin, it's wholly pleasurable to apply as the skin feels instantly soothed and cooled.
Once applied the product works deeply into the skin to provide the ultimate nourishment, after one sweep my skin felt soft to the touch - a feeling which lasted almost all day.
The scent of the product is rather sickly and sweet for me, nonetheless it's a fabulous cocktail of ripe fruits which sits beautifully on it's own but is slightly harder to match with perfumes; I wear this alone as a day to day body lotion for this reason.

RATING: 9/10 - a great value body lotion providing long lasting moisturisation and instant softness, the scent may be too sweet for some however.
Since Dame Anita Roddick founded the Body Shop it has become a well-respected and popular brand, with over 2,500 stores in over 60 markets worldwide it recently became a part of the L'Oreal family.
The Body Shop holds five core values towards the world and it's customers - supporting Community Fair Trade, Defending Human Rights, Against Animal Testing, Activating Self Esteem and Protecting Our Planet. One promise which can't be missed is the zero tolerance policy to animal testing with any of the products or their ingredients sold in stores and online, making all the products completely vegetarian friendly. With such high values it is no wonder people all over the world hold The Body Shop and it's values somewhere in their hearts and love the products it has to offer.
The Body Shop has an ever expanding range of products on offer including the well established body care range; the family has grown over the past decade expanding with perfumes, home care and facial skincare to name a few.
The Tea Tree facial skincare range has always caught my eye with its bright green packaging and naturally delicious scent. With a staggering 96% of The Body Shop online reviewers agreeing they would recommend the Tea Tree Face Mask product to a friend, I had to try it out for myself so headed to my nearest store.
The bright green packaging is pleasant on the eye and catchy; it follows the traditional Body Shop image with light information about the product in both English and French. To protect the environment, as little packaging as possible has been used, which is 100% recyclable and re-useable, I plan on cleaning my pot thoroughly after use and keeping Bobby Pins in it.
The product consistency is rather thick, as you can probably see from the above picture, which means you don't need too pick up too much product with your finger. Once applied to the skin the formula transforms to a very soft and gentle layer which glides effortlessly and evenly over the skin, I definitely noticed a cooling sensation on contact which was very pleasant.

I expected the scent to be overpowering and fully prepared myself for watery eyes, I was quite surprised that the cocktail of Menthol, Tamanu oil and Lemon Tea Tree oil was gentle and fact, I couldn't get enough of the delicious and natural scent which fully soothed and relaxed me!
The even layer of product was easy to remove from my skin (which I left on for about twelve minutes), probably because the mask doesn't dry but settles gently on the skin. Instantly my skin felt softer and clean, it was 100% oil free. The real test for me was whether the mask had removed all impurities from the skin as it claims; to test this I used a cotton pad soaked in toner and swept it gently over my skin - to my surprise no residue, oil or dirt was present on the pad, I am truly impressed with this result as I half expected at least some dirt to be left present on my skin.
With prolonged use of this mask - about once a week - I have noticed a significant difference in the texture and cleanliness of my skin. Although I can't say it prevents or reduces blemishes in their entirety as the product in no way claims this, it has noticeably reduced the oiliness of my skin and helped it to appear clearer.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Mask retails for £9/100ml.
Betty Hula is an exotic brand offering high quality, hand made body butters made from all natural ingredients for women. In a range of three Hawaiian inspired scents including Champagne & Spice, Rum & Blackcurrant and Kiwi & Lime, your body is sure to be sweetly scented in the most individual of ways.
Following the success of their body butters, Betty Hula has launched a 'Secret' anti-aging oil, which has already been a hit with the press and customers - it is currently shortlisted for a Sainsbury's beauty award (vote here).
When Betty Hula got in touch offering me a trial-run of their products I was more than happy to give them a go, especially after reading Emily's glowing review! I was sent super-miniature versions of the body butters and a small sample of the 'Secret' Anti-aging oil; a big thank you goes out to Keren for sending these products to me.
The butters have an extremely thick consistency, they melt into the skin really well after a bath or shower to give the most divine nourishment; because they're so thick in consistency you may need to use a little more than usual but the moisturisation pay off is definitely worth the extra use.
The products are very heavily scented, something to keep in mind when buying the products if you prefer softer scents. For me they are a little too powerful, I personally prefer feminine scents opposed to spicy, full bodied scents - it was nice to explore something I wouldn't usually pick up though. The Champagne & Spice was much more gentle than the Rum & Blackcurrant, so I would probably only repurchase that scent again based on my own preferences. I'd describe the scents as sexy, powerful and strong over all, if this is your ideal scent then these are perfect for you.
The moisturisation and scents lasted for a very long time, I'd say for around 14 hours, a very impressive time scale!
The body butters retail at £14.99 and are available online and in selected larger Sainsbury's stores.
It is harder to give a full opinion on the Secret Oil as I have young skin which doesn't need anti-aging yet. However, I quickly found that this little product really truly does have secret properties and is great for clearing up colds and nourishing the skin. I dabbed a little on my chest when I felt poorly and the gorgeous scent cleared my sinuses really quick - this isn't a recommended or suggested use for the product but it really helped to relax me, I reckon a few drops in the bath tub would be lovely too.
I also found the oil could be gently swept over the skin to remove excess dirt and provide nourishment to dry areas. Although I don't need something to anti-age my skin just yet, I'd definitely repurchase this for the other uses described.
The consistency was hard to picture, it is very smooth and dries quickly on the skin without leaving a greasy feeling to the touch.
Secret Anti-aging Oil retails at £15.99 online and £12.99 in selected larger Sainsbury's stores.

Betty Hula products are half price at selected Sainsbury's stores, thats a tiny £6.49 for 120ml!
Since Sleek Makeup stormed Superdrug stores with their popular eye-pallettes and brightly coloured lipsticks strap-lined 'My Skin, My Shade, My Makeup', they have become a well-established makeup brand throughout the world.

The pout polish received much press this summer for its balmy texture and bright range of colours with an SPF 15; I was lucky enough to have Sleek Makeup representatives handing out Pout Polish samples of the new shade 'The Afterparty' at my university freshers fair. I'd say this shade is most similar to 'Pink Cadillac' if you can't get your hands on this one.

The Pout Polish has a very silky and balmy texture, it applies easily on the lips with a finger and stays put for hours with no sticky feeling. The darker shades tend to stain the lips a little so you need to be cautious with application! If you dislike using a finger or prefer a more precise application, lip brushes work fine with the Pout Polishes but will need cleaning regularly to prevent staining.

When I saw this shade at first I was apprehensive, I'm not one for wearing bright shades and stick to nudes so I was surprised by how wearable it is. The colours are very buildable, making it easier for you to tailor the shade to your preferences, here I have applied the product twice with my finger.
As you can see, the shade isn't as shocking as it is in the pan but remains pigmented and leaves a very dewy finish on the lips. I've been wearing it over nude lipstick for a duller tone and it's working really well for me for everyday wear.

Pout Polishes are available in a range of colours and retail at £4.30 for 10g in Superdrug. Internationally the Pout Polishes are available from Sephora, Colorii, Foschini and Edgars.

Find the Pout Polishes on the Sleek Makeup website here.
Brit Wit is one of six shades in the MAC Cremeblend blush range, I'd say it's one of the most unique shades with lilac undertones and a pastel finish. As you can see, the product is very dewy, a popular catwalk trend and a finish I'm extremely fond of.
Once again I'm making a slap on the wrist for photographing used pans, this was the first creme blush I bought way back in June and it's taken me a lifetime to get round to swatching it.
The shade looks very grape-purple in the pan, once applied to the skin it appears a lot softer - the gorgeous lilac hues begin to come to life. The shade is so pigmented that you will only need a tiny tiny amount, unless you want super lilac cheeks! If blended and applied properly this shade can give a gorgeous pale pink/lilac glow to your cheeks, Im in love with how individual this shade is and can't get enough of it.

Cremeblend blush retails at £17.00 and can be purchased here or in MAC stores.
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