The Best of Beauty 2012

31 December 2012
2012 - the year of beauty discovery. Since I started writing this blog back in the Summer of 2011 I've discovered a truckload of new brands and beauty tricks, but for me 2012 was the year that I really made some big discoveries in that changed my beauty routines forever.
For many people a new year means a chance to make changes, set goals and perhaps start afresh with many things; it's all too easy to focus on what we want to change in a New Year than what we want to keep. Over the past week I've rounded up my top picks of 2012 that will be making their way through with me into 2013 and beyond. Of course this is only a snap shot of my favourite products, there's plenty of them lurking in the archives of my blog that will always remain firm favourites.

Tangle Teezer Original

29 December 2012
When I reach in my bag and pull out my favourite hairbrush nearly every person I've been with has exclaimed 'what is that?!' and my reply is that it is the best thing their hair will ever see. Meet the Tangle Teezer, a breakthrough hair brush that launched on our highstreets in 2008 following a rejection from famous TV show Dragons Den.
Since its launch Tangle Teezer became stocked across the nation in high street stores and online, its now available in many styles and colours and the development just keeps growing. I personally stick with the 'original' Tangle Teezer, a simple brush with evenly spaced teeth and an easy to hold design, but if you're looking for something compact to slip in your handbag or something to use in the shower then there's a Tangle Teezer specifically designed for you!
When it comes to the topic of inch loss beauty products I am entirely sceptical and personally do not reach for them; when I was challenged to give inch loss products a go I thought 'ok, why not, let's put my scepticism to the test and see if these products actually work'.
Back in October I introduced you to my Dr. Ceuticals challenge to lose extra inches on my tummy in time for Christmas; we're over two months into the challenge now and it's time to update you on the results as promised.
Dr. Ceuticals claim that their Tummy Tone lotion with a cool gel formula can reduce the waist line by 18% in just 28 days and can firm and tighten the skin throughout the entire course of application.

One of my top complaints about winter is the weather and so of course one of my top beauty complaints during winter is how badly the weather dries out my skin. Mainly it is my hands which get dry as they are most exposed to the bitingly cold air and of course they get washed and used the most (note to self: stop losing/putting your fingers through your gloves). So, during the winter it's always of upmost importance to me to take care of my hands, meaning I double up my application of hand creams, cuticle care and treatments. It's a strict regime, I tell you!
Philosophy are a brand I have always wanted to try (the hefty price tags put me off in the past) and this year I dipped my toes into the ultra indulgent skincare and bathing brand only to fall completely in love. When you're a student on a budget like me, or in any other penny pinching situation, it's not so resourceful to be falling in love with premium brands, oops, but I did.
So....when it comes to premium brands that you may feel aren't accessible, such as Philosophy in my situation, I have a couple of top tips:
For every seasonal Essie collection comes an accompanying cube of miniatures - a great way to own most of the collection on a budget or trial the shades before you pick up the larger bottles of your favourites. The Essie Winter 2012 collection was no exception (did I mention Essie are quickly becoming my favourite nail polish brand...well if I didn't, this post gives me every reason to covet them that title).
Here I bring you the Essie 2012 Winter Collection Miniatures, neatly packaged inside a cardboard cube with four inclusive polishes; does anyone else wish there was a miniature collection with all six shades or is that just me?
It's no secret that I'm a lover of sweet and fruity scents so of course my second pick out of my series of Christmas Candle posts is a fruity one (first instalment here tackling the 'sweet'). 'Cherries on Snow' is a scent I discovered out of pure chance, on a trip to the local Yankee Candle counter in Leicester I spotted this bright jar placed out of sync, I picked it up, gave it a sniff and instantly I was in love.
Ombré hair is a look I consider to be the hairstyle of 2012, it boomed midway through the year and is gradually seeping its way through from salons to our high street shelves. I couldn't end my year without giving this look a go, having not changed my style much this year at all, but due to the fact I'm growing my hair (and finally getting somewhere) I didn't particularly want to dye it.
Say hello to clip-in ombré hair extensions! The easy way to style your hair with the ombré look without the damage of dying it. Beauty Works recently launched their own range of 'Candy Colour' Dip Dye Extensions with a choice of fun coloured ends and of course the classic ombré brunette to blonde, which I've been itching to try.

Essie 'Sand Tropez' Swatches

19 December 2012
Meet my favourite neutral nail colour, ever - Essie's 'Sand Tropez' - the perfect colour for when you're feeling down with the neutrals or need something with a little sophistication. I love a neutral nail colour, it's easy to wear, timeless and suits all occasions; when I'm not feeling wild with neons and glitter top coats Sand Tropez is the bottle I reach for.
Throughout the festive season I go candle crazy, there's a candle burning on my bedside table as long as I'm in my room whenever I'm there (you may have noticed a number of bloggers going candle crazy, it appears to be contagious)!
There are plenty of glorious luxury candles in the shops this year but my favourite brand to turn to is Yankee Candle. Yankee Candle have a huge range of scents suited to anyone's tastes, and of course the sweet, sugary and fruity scents land right up my street. If you're a fan of Yankee's Vanilla Cupcake then this will be up your street too!
You guys know I love Batiste dry shampoo, but, I have a confession to make, I had never tried their miniature versions of their top selling products until recently. Dry shampoo is something I apply to my hair every other morning and then I get on with my day, so owning a large can of it has never been a bother to me. However, now I'm back home, travelling between places and visiting friends a mini can is a vital addition to my handbag to keep my hair looking fresh should I need to stay out a night or travel away for a Christmas party.
So I've gone a little Soap & Glory crazy lately and that's definitely reflected here on my blog; its just that something happens in December and every year without fail I become obsessed with Soap & Glory products and stock myself up for practically the whole year ahead!
Meet my latest shower-time buddy - Soap & Glory's 'Clean, Girls' Body Wash - a shower gel I feel is often overlooked by the classic ''Clean on Me', which I find sometimes smells a little too much like a bubble bath.
Meet my new favourite concealer, the 'No Concealer Concealer' by Perricone MD, don't be fooled by the name, this is a concealer and oh how it conceals well. When I first received this product I had a little sit down and thought 'what do I really want from my concealer?' - the answer was...well, concealment of course! Long lasting, good coverage, anti caking concealment, and that is exactly what this product gives. Until now there has been a little something or other that just hasn't pleased me with other concealers on the market - the lack of a true colour match, too thick or too thin formulas or an unhygienic application method.
Soap & Glory really have topped the gift set charts this year with their fun and girly, good value for money gift sets, lets face it they're pretty much the star of the show every year! This year I've been excited by all their gift sets, and when I saw this set I had to pick it up, it was the last on the shelf and I snapped it right up and headed straight for the till!
Home Made Gems is a unique online shop retailing home made shabby chic accessories for your home, including home made cushion covers, hanging decorations, door stops and more. The items are all unique because they're hand made with love, available in a selection of styles and colours.
Ted Baker are throttling themselves forward as the one stop shop for Christmas gifting, beauty and fashion this year. With release after release they have impressed the nation with their jam packed gift sets (they're the Star Gift on Boots this week cut to half price!), glistening bows adorning their popular accessories and fantastic new beauty releases.
Back in October the Ted Baker Nail Duos hit our high street shelves available in three beautiful colours - Cherry Bomb, Blue Moon and Golden Girl - they're a permanent addition to the Ted Baker beauty lines meaning they're not just around for Christmas but for the new year too.
This is the most excitable blog post I have written this year; after months of uncertainty about whether the highly acclaimed, holy grail beauty product Diorskin Poudre Finish would be discontinued it has been confirmed that it will remain a permanent part of the Dior makeup lines, for now. Now, this may be old news for some but having searched high and low for what feels like months for this product, only to find it out of stock or no longer stocked everywhere I looked (up and down the country, seriously), I finally own it!
For those unaware, Dior retail a luxury line of cosmetics available in high street stores and boutiques across the country, their Poudre Shimmer All Over Face Powders are available in two colours - Amber Diamond and Rose Diamond - and have a formula jam packed with mica micro-particles to reflect light and oil free ingredients to keep your skin looking fresh and matte.
With the party season already in full swing and the countdown to Christmas edging shorter and shorter I had to make my final Christmas giveaway something special. Gorgeous Shop - one of my favourite websites to pick up beauty products at a bargain price - have provided me with one fantastic Party Season Pamper Package worth over £70 to giveaway to one lucky reader!
This giveaway is now closed.
It's a late night post from me but here's a product thats freshly applied right in this moment and felt that sudden need to blog about it...at gone 11pm at night of course. I've been applying this sample of Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser for a couple of weeks now and I have to say, it's excellent.
Superskin Moisturiser can be applied morning or evening, I most prefer applying it in the evenings before I go to bed thanks to its creamy texture that sinks in quickly. The formula is enriched with Cranberry Seed Oil, Rosehip Oil and a good helping of Vitamin E to leave your skin feeling super smooth, plumped and rejuvenated.
Meet my new favourite body butter for the winter months where my skin drys out like no tomorrow - Naked 24 Hour Coco De Mer Body Butter. Gosh, this is such a thick, luxurious treat for the skin and although I don't usually get on with thick butters this one has me head over heels.
I'm thoroughly enjoying Christmas shopping this year, usually its a real chore for me to get it all done in time for Christmas day (and not to mention it being an utterly stressful, busy, rushed nightmare) but this 2012 it's been a breeze thanks to the high street shops upping their game with their Christmas gift sets and latest opening hours to date.
New retro bathing, beauty and accessories brand on the block Bev Ridge & Friends have released some light hearted and utterly fantastic gift sets ranging from £4 to £16 meaning there's something for everyone's budget whether its a secret santa gift, a treat to yourself or something a little more special. Meet my top pick from the Bev Ridge & Friends gift set range, 'Say, Anyone Fancy A Dip?' Bath Set, with three bathing products and a satin eye mask to help you relax and unwind after a busy party season.
Every year the only gift sets I make an immediate b-line for are the Soap and Glory gift sets - hands up who will be up at 6am to snap up the first of the half price S&G Bumper Pack on Boots this year? That's right, my hand is firmly up.
There's a huge range of Soap & Glory Gift Sets to choose from this year, every year the sets get better and better. This years star set that gets my top pick and seal of approval is the Shower Trip Travel Bag.
I've been really enjoying felt tip/pen style eyeliners ever since I bought the NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Carpates as part of the Edie Collection. I love the sleek and precise application that the pen style nib gives - my only qualm with the NARS Stylo is its hefty price tag; on the hunt for an alternative I came across Pixi Beauty Lash Line Ink.
Pixi Beauty formulate their products without parabens, sulphates or phthalates, they're dermatologically approved and absolutely not tested on animals.
Butterfly Twists started out as an exciting concept for four friends - one shoe that can be folded up into your handbag, clutch or travel bag - and has since transformed into a widely enjoyed, salon endorsed and celebrity favourite brand! Since the launch of Butterfly Twists in 2009 the brand has gone global and expanded beyond just a plain pair of fold up shoes. Now available in a range of styles, colours and sizes alongside a small accessories range Butterfly Twists are quickly storming their way onto the shelves of department stores and boutiques across the UK. Butterfly Twists are a handy pair of shoes that fold into themselves so you can slot them into your clutch bag and travel them easily, they're lightweight on the feet so you can wear them to and from the salon between treatments such as manicures, pedicures and spray tans.
Ever since the launch of OPI Rainbow Connection last Christmas, chunky coloured pieces of glitter have been adorning the fingertips of nail polish lovers, many similar shades have been launched by other brands but the one that most caught my eye recently is Topshop Brazil. Chunky colourful glitter pieces are so fun and quirky so I can see why the obsession totally took off, Topshop Brazil offers all the bright and fun of OPI Rainbow Connection for a snip of the price.
Hair extensions aren't something I often wear but I've got a few sheets of natural human hair extensions with an Ombre Effect for the party season. I find extensions are a nightmare to store away in a way that keeps them in good condition - usually I have to fight with the original packaging to slide the extensions back into the plastic casing, which always causes lots of knots and tangling.
Have you ever painted your nails in the most beautiful colour and then had to wait a lifetime for them to dry? I'm sure you have, I sure have! All polishes need time to dry properly but it can be a real pain to wait for when you have other things to be doing. OPI 'Drip Dry' Lacquer Drying Drops aim to dry your manicure thoroughly in five minutes and leave your nails touch-dry in just a minute -  a saviour to those who want to mani-and-go!
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