A Lashious Fairytale – Summer Series ep1

Oh darlings if you’ve read my blog before I’m sure you’ll already be well aware that I am personally a HUGE lover of bargain beauty.

Yes I know that my Lancôme foundation is the love of my very single life and I know if I didn’t buy my favourite contour palette from Diego Dalla Palma I would save enough readies to buy at least 4 coconut milk lattes from Starbucks (other less impressive coffee chains are available on your local high street, I’m sure); BUT having said all that, there is nothing more thrilling (well, thrilling as far as beauty goes) than exploring the cheaper brands on the high street and finding some real gems.

So naturally when someone suggests that I try a new expensive product, I’m a huge skeptic.

But my old friend from college has recently become a Younique Presenter and managed to convince me to buy and try the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara duo.

To be honest, the idea of 2 full sized mascara tubes bulking out my beautifully organised (ha that’s a lie) makeup bag was already enough to put me off. Especially since I already use and love a cheaper Fiber mascara that is all in one tube.


HOWEVER, £23 later (yes, I was pretty shocked at those digits too) I’m pleasantly surprised.

Pros:

  • Lengthens your lashes to an unbelievable length.
  • Not much clumpage in comparison to other Fiber mascaras
  •  A REAL false lash effect. I was really impressed with how dramatic it made my lashes look.

(The left is the 3D fibers, The right is Benefit:They’re Real. I haven’t curled my lashes in this photo, I also hadn’t slept much so apologies for those bags for life setting in there.)

Cons:

  • Time consuming to apply since you have to start with the gel, then put the fibers on then go back in with the gel to seal the fibers in. Others on the market are usually fibers and gel combined.
  • As I’ve said before, two tubes. They could made it double ended as a space saving idea.
  • The fibers tend to fall out on my cheeks before my day is out. Nothing major but I could do without it.
  • When removing the fibers you MUST NOT rub back and forth. Use one pad with remover, wipe away from your eye when closed and throw straight away. If you go back in with the same pad, you risk getting fibers into your eye which will cause a lot of irritation!
  • £23 RRP. Most good quality lash extending mascaras are no more than £17 and will do a pretty good job for day to day use.

Despite me being pernickety, this is a damn good product. And if, like myself, you are embarrassingly terrible at applying false lashes (I end up with one on my eyebrow and the other on my knee) then this is pretty much a spot on alternative.

So if you fancy checking out this wonder mascara for yourself, contact Shannon, here’s a link to her Facebook page:

https://m.facebook.com/makemeup95/

I love you all, beauties.

S xo

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Summer Series 2016!

Good day to all of you beautiful people! Summer is finally knocking on our doors which has to be the perfect excuse to up your bronzed beauty game, not to mention getting your baking groove on! So get yourself dolled up, crack open a few bottles and invite all your loved ones round for a good old knees up in the sunshine.

The irony here is that as I’m writing this, the weather in sunny Southend on Sea is significantly un-summery, (after todays’ downpour I’m hoping that the lower region of my trousers dries off before I start work. Wishful thinking, I know, since the amount of water they’ve soaked up is enough to make them fall down every time I stand up.)

But there’s still hope! Last weekend saw some utterly glorious sunshine and I’m sure there is lots more to come (well hopefully; but then again this is England)

So, when you throw this epic garden party this summer, there are 2 things I would like you to do:

  1. Invite me, of course. I’m a hoot.
  2. Keep checked in weekly with The Baking Beauty Blog.

I say this because my new Summer Series for 2016 will be your own epic guide to summer. For all my go to seasonal recipes, naturally beautiful summer beauty tips trick and everything you will need to achieve them, plus lots of other holiday posts and fantastic summery delights.

Since the British summer usually leaves a lot to be desired, I think we need a bit of inspiration to make the most out of any scrap of sunshine we are happened to be blessed with.
So check back weekly; Firstly you’ll get a peep into my beauty archive for my go to holiday beauty favourites, then the first wondrous recipe will be the magic that is Lemon Amaretti. Which according to my family, friends and colleagues are absolutely gorgeous; not to mention ridiculously easy to make!

Watch this space beauties,
All my love,

S x

#SpringSummer16 (Did you miss me?)

Good morrow to you all! Spring is already upon us which means Summer and the warmer weather is fast approaching and I could not be happier to be back writing to you beautiful people. Heavens knows I’ve missed it! Since I’ve had a fair few weeks off from the blogging front I think it only fitting to get straight back into the swing of things with a bang and not bore you half to death with why I’ve been absent. Because let’s face it, you don’t really care. You’ve tuned in to radio Sophie due to at least one common reason; and that reason is to find a brand spanking new excuse to splurge the majority of next months salary on fancy new beauty products. And if it’s got good reviews, then you simply must have it, right? Right. Which is also your excuse to your other half when he/she asks why you’re so poor a week into the month – well, that’s what I’m assuming. 
Not that I know because the closest I’ve come to having a boyfriend in the last 6 months is having my personal bubble invaded whilst on the Jubilee Line in peak rush hour (yes, my love life really is that sad) And even if I did have a bloke I doubt he’d question my spending habits unless he actually fancied paying for everything for the rest of the month.

Anyway, I digress. What better to review first of all than some fabulous Spring newness from some fancy brands, as well as one sparkling new brand. 

First of all I can’t NOT mention the Matte lip revolution that’s happening on the high street and designer makeup front! I’ll do an in depth Lip favourites post soon enough but for now let me just tell you how wonderful the Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream collection is. They come in a range of shades (not as many as I’d like) but since I’m in a Nude mood of late, it caters well to my needs.   

  
Matte lip colours have an infamous reputation for being so uncomfortable and dry to wear; however people, if you want to achieve that dreamy, flawless matte lip without your lips looking all gross and flakey, the liquid lipstick/lip cream is the route to go down. I have a whole selection of Matte lip colours ranging from a standard lipstick or a chubby crayon, to lip creams and soft matte balms, and I can honestly say the best long lasting result will always come from a liquid lip cream that dries matte. However make sure you frequently use a lip balm before applying lipstick to ensure your lips stay moisturised which will also keep your lippy on for longer.

Next on my newness list of wonderful products is the brand spanking new Rosie for Autograph makeup range. My goodness, what a joy it is to finally have these products on the shelves after months and months of anticipation. And I can honestly tell you that this range is as fabulous as you would expect anything that Rosie designs to be, and more. I have convinced many friends and colleagues to buy some Rosie products and brushes and none of them have had a bad word to say about them. Rosie’s range is a sister brand – if you will – to the already popular and highly rated Autograph makeup range; so we already knew that the quality would be top class. The range is endorsing a more natural makeup look since there are no heavy products; everything is light and buildable but made to a high enough standard to still be elegant and look exquisite.

   
 My favourite Rosie product – and I know that the majority of other Rosie fans will agree with me here –  has to be the Amazing Radiance cream. This decadent moisturising cream is the most versatile and truly spectacular face cream I have ever used. Formulated with minuscule light reflecting particles and SPF6, you can wear it on its own when you’re having a slobby no makeup day just to look a little more human, or as a perfect highlighting base for your foundation. It will make skin of any age and colour glow, which aids in giving your face some dimension. Alternatively I saw online that a few people, including the fabulous Lisa Eldridge, mix a tiny bit of the radiance cream with the foundation you’re using, which makes both products go a lot further, saves time when finishing and highlighting because it’s already done and it puts you in total control of your artwork. Because that’s what your makeup is, artwork. A true masterpiece. If you are altering products you buy by mixing them up and changing them to suit you and what you like, then painting them onto your personified canvas then you, my friend, are most definitely an artist.

Also, where the hell have all these fabulously pristine eyebrows appeared from?! Alongside the matte lip revolution has come the Big Brow Revolution. And – trust me – even if like me you have thick dark brows already and don’t think you need to do anything to them: take my advice and fill them in, or simply brush them with a clear gel as part of your morning routine. Goodness me what a difference it makes! Give it a go and thank me later. 

Nearly every makeup brand is featuring a lot more brow-defining products of late; however, here are my top products (containing a couple of affordable and a couple of high end ones too):

  1. Sleek Brow Duo Palette – £8.99
  2. Diego Dalla Palma Brow gel/pomade – £15.50 
  3. Rimmel Brow this Way defining pencil -£2.99
  4. PIXI Natural Brow gel/pencil Duo -£12.50
  5. FREEDOM Brow Studio Pomade – £5

So girls (or guys, as I’ve said before, no stereotypes here) whether you’re trying to combat the volume, shape or colour of your brows, there is definitely something on the market that will be able to do the trick. I’ll do an in depth brow know how guide soon for the novices amongst you that may need a little guidance as to what to spend your money on this month brow-wise, and how to use them correctly and get the most out of them.

Before I go, thought I’d let you know in the next week as a gift from me to you, I’ll be posting a short and sweet recipe; and all I’m going to say is MUD CAKE. And it’s delicious. 

And yes I know I’m wonderful, thank you.

All my love, S x

Boxing Day pampering… Very late Boxing Day pampering

Happy New Year one and all, I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and consumed double your body weight in chocolate, liquor and Brussels sprouts of course. I detest sprouts with a passion yet my mum could eat a mound of the creatures and still be loving life. Except she puts vinegar on hers for some bizarre reason. 

Anyway after that epic fun fest that is Christmas Day, I have no doubts that the vast majority of us that are above the age of 14 will now have an abundance of toiletry sets, with no idea what to use first. My one rule for December is DONT BUY TOILETRIES. Even if you only have a tiny bit of shower gel left, make it last because come Christmas, you’ll be swimming in shower gel. And body lotion. BODY LOTION. Who needs this amount of scented body lotion? I’ve mentioned before that I have better things to do with my time than to use lotion, so at Christmas I’m always displaying the bottles, tubes and tubs in a neat little display on my dresser (force of habit coming from the day job, constantly tidying my beauty products) and there they shall stay. Unless they are an expensive fancypants moisturiser in which case I will make a bloody good effort to use those just for the feeling of sheer luxury. 

So all these toiletry and perfume sets and no idea what to use first. The only thing on every girls mind right now is PAMPER SESH. At this point on Christmas Day I had already made the executive decision to stay comfortably in my sparkly PJ’s and to crack open a bottle of sparkling wine instead of one of my new toiletry sets. So my pamper sesh had to wait until Boxing Day (yes I know I’m a slob) 

So Boxing Day morning arrives, I wake not so bright eyed and bushy tailed with a SLIGHT hangover to attempt my planned pamper sesh. The slight hangover and my lack of care to remove my makeup from the night before made my reflection in the mirror first thing in the morning turn into something quite scarily resembling that of Edward Scissorhands. Or someone as equally unkempt. This must be fixed before the guests arrive. 

So naturally my first task is to wash that hangover right out of my hair, and for this I use my new Josh Wood shampoo that I received half way through Blogmas from the M&S advent calendar, combined with the SWELL hair masque which is also from the advent calendar. I have always deemed hair masques unnecessary for me however this one is just sublime and I will be rebuying it when this one runs out. I also used my new soap and glory ‘Rich and FOAMOUS’ shower cream which has a beautifully subtle perfumed scent. But of course this is a pamper session so I really went to town and used my new ‘Breakfast Scrub’ too, also a soap and glory product. This smells like maple syrup, which made me want to eat it. But luckily I didn’t. 

Okie dokie so now I’ve gone full on spa experience and wrapped my hair in a white hair towel, ready to do the facial routine. What I didn’t show in the picture is my Soap and glory ‘Peaches and Clean’ cleansing milk which is my saviour. No Joke. This cleanser is the most fantastic facial product I think I have ever used. You don’t need much because it goes a long way, but boy is it mighty. It removes any trace of makeup and is so gentle on your skin you wouldn’t realise how tough it is. I just massaged this onto my dry face then rinsed off with warm water. I’m now into toning my face which is still a bit of a novelty, but I’m only doing it because the PIXI glow tonic that I got from the advent is unlike any other toner I’ve tried before. I use a few drops on a clean cotton pad and massage it onto my now super duper clean face using upward motions to make sure I’m not stretching my skin. A toner isn’t essential after washing your face or showering however after exposing your face to all that steam your pores will have opened up. You may have cleaned them but with them being open, they will get very dirty again, very quickly. You can close up those squeaky clean pores with a toner, or just splash cold water on your face a few times, and that’ll do the trick. Next up after stripping your skin of all its’ natural oils, you need to put some moisture back in there; so I moisturised with my new Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream. 

FYI darling readers, all full reviews of advent calendar products are available in my previous posts for Blogmas.

Since we’re going all out on this pamper sesh I thought I’d get my body butter groove on; But not before putting my new Bieber Album on. If we’re going to be pampered we need good music and since I’ve recently become a belieber, I thought this was a good option. Anyway, back to moisturising, I went with the Soap and Glory Butter Yourself that my darling mother bought me. Like most soap and glory products it’s a subtly scented, very well made little concoction, and I love it. Being in a pump bottle makes my life a hell of a lot easier too since I don’t have to worry about screwing a lid on afterwards with butter on my fingers. However more importantly it prevents any germs getting in the rest of the butter. 

Now I’m clean, moisturised and loving life with my new album playing and my fabulous sparkly pjs on (we may have guests arriving but there’s no way I’m not putting these new pjs on) it’s time to sort out my wild Barnet. 

Ever heard of a salon chain called RUSH? Thought so. This salon also did a collab with M&S to launch their own range of hair styling products and I have tried them all. Since I love getting as much volume in my hair as possible, I think that the Root Lift Gel is the best thing for the job. Massaging a small amount into my damp hair is enough to blow dry my locks with incidence that it’ll look beautifully bouncy once I’m done. 

Now all thats left is to have a spritz of my new fave scent, which is the Jack Wills Hope Cove mist. It’s lovely and light but you don’t need much of it which is always a bonus. 

I am sorry this post was very late but I’ve been working on other fabulous recipes and beauty ideas that will be coming your way soon! 

I love you all. (Kiss emoji) 

The last day of Christmas gave to me…

Firstly allow me to offer my most sincere apologies (well that’s pushing it, not sincere) that this post is over a week late but I’m sure like everyone else I deserved a little break. This last week and a bit of my busy life was spent at home being extremely merry with my crazy family, not to mention working in retail over the Christmas period which I’m sure most of you are aware is similar to being thrown to the lions in the arena. So 3 days off over the Christmas weekend was greatly welcomed by me and my huge bottle of Moscato d’Asti, which along with the baileys Yule log, made my Christmas Breakfast pretty sexy. Yet again, a big fat win for me.

So bouncing back from my little Christmas break I have 5 wonderful new gifts from the M&S beauty advent calendar to share with you and since I’ve let them build up, I’ll keep the reviews short, sweet and to the point.

  
The excitement that coursed through my veins had me jumping for pure joy when I opened the 20th purple window of the advent and saw a L’Occitane product. Which to the readers that aren’t beauty geeks, may seem a little sad, but let me tell you, receiving a 100ml bottle of wonderful L’Occitane verbena shower gel from a mere advent calendar is like pulling out gold dust. Anyway being L’Occitane you are guaranteed the sublime natural scents of essential oils such as Geranium, lemon tree, orange and (of course) verbena. These scents mingle together to make your bathroom smell like an oasis of tranquility when you shower. Not to mention the natural ingredients making this suitable to cleanse even sensitive skin. Oh and it’s a unisex product so hide it from the blokes, ladies.

  
The 21st day presented me with the Glow Tonic by PIXI. And boy, is this a good one girls (well and boys, if boys are into glow tonics). I’m not usually a huge fan of toners since I already use micellar water to cleanse my face, I suppose I deem it unnecessary in my skincare routine. However after trying this little miracle product I have discovered that toners are more than a fancypants translucent water to clean your face and close your pores up with. I used this water for 3 consecutive evenings during my nighttime skincare regime. And each morning I woke up with a face that felt fresh and glowy with minimal redness. Which for a fair skinned young maiden like myself, any tonic to minimalist redness is a winner. With natural Aloe Vera extracts, combined with the alcohol free formula which is tested as hypoallergenic, it’s ideal to cleanse sensitive skin, and even dry, spot prone skin too. So for a toner disbeliever, I have been converted.

  
Next up in the countdown to Christmas I was shown the wonders and magic of REN and their fabulous 1 Minute Facial! I am already a huge lover of this product since my manager recommended it to me and it’s one of those little things that really makes you feel all dewy and pampered. Let’s go back to basics and talk about what it will do for you when all is said and done. After doing my research I have discovered why it makes my skin feel so wonderful, and apparently it’s down to the water activated Vitamin C formulation. Okay, once you’ve applied the flash facial to your dry face, you need to wet your fingertips and massage again, and it’s this touch of H2O that brings the vitamin C to life and gives it the wake up call to get to work on my skin tone. Other ingredients that really make this a beautiful party happening on your face is the boswellic acid to smooth fine lines and the glycogen magnesium to give you that radiant glow. You have to leave this on for a minute after massaging with your wet fingertips to allow all these brilliant components to do their jobs. Then rinse off. According to REN, if this facial is rotated with the Glycolactic radiance renewal mask, it will give you a facial routine that means serious business! However they have specified it’s potent ingredients will probably not suit sensitive skin types  which is the only downside for me. Otherwise, a truly magnificent product!

  
As the big day is starting to loom the gifts are seriously upping their game from this advent, since on this day I managed to get my hands on the Stila lip Glaze. And with lipsticks and makeup you’d imagine that in a beauty advent they would put in a product that the company want to try and get rid of, a shade that isn’t that popular that they want to try and showcase to get it a bit more attention. But I have been pleasantly surprised with this product since it’s a beautiful everyday dusky pink colour that suits nearly every skin tone. With pink you can either wear it as a simple chic day look with a nude eye and peachy cheeks, then really give it a vamped up vibe for the evening by smoking up the eye with a charcoal grey colour and a good highlight/contour combination going on to really structure the rest of the face. The people of this world that wear a colour on their lips are a demographic that’s divided by one simple factor. Lipstick or Gloss. As a glaze, it’s inbetween a lipstick and a gloss. You get the intense pigmented colour and lasting power of a lipstick, with all the wearable shine and fun of a lip gloss. So it pleases both parties, everyone wins. I certainly do.

  
Ah my lovely readers that followed my Blogmas posts, this is it. The final little gift from the magic that is M&S. And they’ve really outdone themselves with this one. It is the highly anticipated Morgan Taylor Professional Nail Lacquer in the down right sexy shade of ‘From Paris with Love’. I’m a huge fan of deep red wine coloured nails so I did a little dance of joy when I discovered this little gem. Well what can I say; it’s a professional company that’s used worldwide, the colour is fantastically rich and on trend, and as you know from my previous posts, I am a sucker for a full sized product and this is a whopping 15ml. And for a nail varnish that is a pretty mighty size. Although I must stress do use a good base coat before applying this lacquer, since without it, your nail will get stained. And don’t forget a decent top coat afterwards too, to prevent the wear and tear of daily life getting to your beautiful nails.

Now beautiful people I must say how much I have enjoyed starting my blog journey with Blogmas 2015. Thank you so much for reading my whacky reviews and recipes; I can promise you there are plenty more to come. I hope you all had a wonderfully Merry Christmas and I wish you all the best for this new year. Stand by for more fabulous beauty posts and lots of delicious recipes.

Sophie x

Santa Baby… 

4 more sleeps to go and I am still yet to wrap the vast majority of my presents. You know those people who can’t switch off from work, they take their work home with them… Well I’m going to be doing the opposite. I’m almost 100% positive that I will be taking the gifts I’m supposed to be giving to my family, to work with me on Christmas Eve so during my break I can wrap them all up. Goodness, being a grown up is HARD.

Anyway fellow Internetees I have a corking couple of products to talk about today. The 18th window sprung open to reveal a fantastic little bar of joyous Crabtree and Evelyn La Source soap. I love La Source but mum loves it more so that’s going in her stocking (Christmas stocking, not leg stocking, Just to clarify. Mums not THAT odd.) 

  
Then much to the excitement of me, the 19th purple window in the M&S beauty box gave to me a beautiful Autograph twist up lip shine in Nude. I have been rocking this everyday at work and absolutely love it!

  
Okie dokie I have used products from the La source range of Crabtree and Evelyn before, and the scent is just sublime. It’s so fresh and delicate it just makes you want to run through a summer meadow in a white dress with some classical track playing in the background. No? Just me? Okay. Well, the formula of this soap has conditioning Shea butter in the mix which moisturises deep into the skin. The triple milling of this soap combined with the primrose and wheat germ oils, make it a brilliant aid to soothe dry skin, especially during these bitterly cold winter months. People tend to forget about the extra moisturising their skin needs during the winter so by starting with a simple soap to nourish and protect your face from further dryness, you’ve already got a head start ready for when you moisturise.

Onto the autograph lip shine. This product was featured previously by Mary Greenwell in her ‘Get the Look’ campaign for M&S as the key lip colour on the flawless face look. Not as boring and beige as you’d imagine, this nude lip colour has a slight glitter running through it which just looks stunning. It really vamps up a nude lip rather than just having a really flat colour. I’m a huge fan of a nude lip, but I’m also a fan of lip balm; and seeing as this product combines the two, I was seriously loving life that I got this in the advent for free. Totally winning at life.

When I use this lip shine I prefer to use a lip balm first, then line my lips with a nude liner, and colour my lips in with said liner, and finally finish it with the autograph lip shine. This is how you can get a bit creative with your makeup since there are so many different things you can do to create a new look, depending on how you like your makeup to come across.

I’ve got a feeling the products still to come from the gorgeous purple advent calendar are set to be real joys. So sit tight lovelies, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Sweet, Swell, Seventeen.

Happy day 17! And this morning my little M&S advent window sung the hallelujah chorus and opened to reveal the Swell Ultimate Volume Hair Masque!

Swell. I’ve never heard of this brand. So if you’re after a real unbiased first impression review, congratulations! You have conquered the Internet and found one.

So what is this product supposed to do? As any other hair mask, this should really be a ‘every so often’ product rather than a ‘every wash’ product because it is so concentrated, you just don’t need to use it more than that if your hair isn’t in such a bad way. I would probably suggest no more than once a fortnight, unless your hair is in a bad condition and you have been recommended otherwise. 

  
The first thing I noticed when I read the label for this product was that it varies the instructions for use. Which is really handy since one size definitely does NOT fit all (yes other generic hair product brands, I’m talking to you). This is usually where people go wrong, they say a product doesn’t work for them, they spent a small fortune on a fancy product that was recommended to them, they use it according to the instructions and it literally makes no difference to the condition of their hair. Now, this is where I say, what is wrong with your hair? What are you trying to combat? If your hair is dry and you’re using a mask to deeply nourish your locks, use a bit more or the product to ensure all your hair gets some, leave it in a bit longer if the recommended time didn’t work for you. Use it a little more than ‘every so often’. You need to tailor it to YOU. 

As you can see this mask tells you how long to leave the product in for, depending on hair length, if it’s coloured and if you have dry or normal hair. Because of this little feature, I’m already a fan. 

Now down to the actual product. I find the scent really fresh and not artificial like some fruity scents which just make the product in question seem less likely to do the job. I put it on my hair for the specified amount of time for my hair type and let it work its magic. And seeing as I’ve only ever used a hair mask once before in my life and that was when I was training at college, I’m not too clued up on the expertise of how my hair should feel after using one. If the answer is ‘so soft your hair could literally be velvet’ then I think it’s worked. 

My hair is in a pretty good condition at the worst of times but after using this mask it’s so silky soft I can’t stop running my fingers through it. The shine is really amplified and as I’ve said before I’m a sucker for a bit of volume, and volume is what I’ve got! Really really pleased with this product. My hair smells beautiful, it looks like I’ve just been to the salon and remortgaged my house to pay for the treatment. I would highly suggest giving it a go. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.