This Week: A Birthday Trip to London

I've had quite the busy time this week (makes a change from my usual pyjama's on at 4pm schedule) and got whisked away to London for a long weekend which involved a good trawl of the shops - a haul could possibly be making it's way to you very soon, an amazing opportunity to go to Wimbledon to watch Andy Murray play on Centre Court and uh, not to mention probably the highest levels of giddy excitement I've experienced since I was thirteen after Darren surprised me with tickets to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Undoubtedly one of the best experiences my inner child and I have ever had.

May Favourites

After a unintentional three week stint away from YouTube (not sure how that one happened, sorry!) I'm back with a round up of the best of the best in beauty from May - and let me tell you right now, it's a big one. From a new skincare combo I've been trialling with great results to a lipstick I can't confess enough love for and a retraction that needs to be issued after a not so friendly product diss, here are last month's favourites!

This Week: Gluten and Dairy Free Pancakes

After making the decision to eliminate gluten and dairy from the majority of my diet two months ago it's been quite the struggle to stay strict with my eating habits, especially when it came to cutting out all the sweet treats I was used to gorging on daily, packed full of things I really didn't need to be putting into my body.

New In from MAC: Studio Fix Powder

I went through a phase when I first got into make up that was all about MAC, MAC, MAC. I think any girl would look longingly at a brand that carries a million eyeshadow colours and want to have it all, but over the last year my interest has mostly died down.

The Summer Red

Although red lipstick will always be my one true love it's not a colour that I tend to gravitate towards during the warmer months as it's not hard for it to overpower the face when there's a lot of bright light around - and who wants to think about avoiding red smudges all over your face whilst chowing down on a giant ice cream cone?

August 30, 2013

August Favourites



August has drawn to a close in what seems like lightening speed so once again it's time to share with you my favourite products from the month. From a new ultimate shampoo/conditioner duo to a well loved oldie thats been given a revamp, see what I couldn't keep my hands off over the last four weeks below!

L'Oréal Ever Riche Nourishing & Taming Shampoo | L'Oréal Ever Riche Nourishing & Taming Conditioner | Tangle Teezer | theBalm Frat Boy Blush | theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer Luminizer | Clinique High Impact Extreme Mascara | Essie Fill The Gap Ridge Smoothing Base Coat | Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair | REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser | Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Buttercream




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August 29, 2013

It's Your Prime - An Introduction to Smashbox



Smashbox is a brand I've always admired from afar, but having no counter to swatch colours and test textures I've never owned a great deal from them. All that's about to change however as recently the brand has been rolled out into larger Boots stores, making things a whole lot more accessible - oh how my bank balance weeps.

Slightly overwhelmed by such a large array of new products I decided to pick up a few 'Try Me' kits, the stand out and most popular of these being It's Your Prime.. and Smashbox certainly know a thing or two about the stuff. This one comes with a travel size of their award winning and best selling Photo Finish Primer. An oil-free, silicone based gel which glides over the skin like silk, leaving a soft matte finish which disguises pores and preps skin for your base of choice. I've been layering this all over my t-zone and places that usually start to gather foundation after a few hours wear stay even and shine free for a whole lot longer.

The most exciting product in this little kit - and probably the one that had me snatching it up off the counter at first glance is the Hydrating Under Eye Primer. As a sufferer of a multitude of sins in that region, this has definitely been a life saver. Even after a few hours my Holy Grail Origins Plantscription Concealer can tend to look a tad on the dry side, but a thin layer of this underneath amps up the hydration and creates a barrier between skin and make up, combating signs of cakeyness, the highlighting of fine lines and even helping to brighten dark circles. Check, check and check.

The stand out of this kit for me though and the product that took me most by surprise has to be the Lid Primer. This is a step that I'm afraid to say I always skimp on but having recently started to notice that eyeshadow just isn't lasting as well as it used to, I think it's time I started paying attention. Like all of the formulas in this kit it's an incredibly thin texture which glides over the lid, no dragging at all. It's tinted just enough to give a smooth base to the eye but doesn't interfere with shadow colours and I find this stuff literally works like superglue when dealing with crease-prone formulas.

The set retails for £14.00, only £1.50 more than the travel size Photo Finish alone so it's certainly quite the bargain! Have you tried a Smashbox primer before?


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August 27, 2013

Mom Jeans



Jacket*: She Inside
Jeans & Cami: Topshop
Shoes: Zara
Necklace: River Island

Another day, another item of floral clothing. I'm by no means a girly girl when it comes to style, but similarly with the trousers from my last fashion post I've been loving all things bright, flowery and printed. This bomber jacket* from She Inside is the perfect lightweight piece to throw on now it's getting a little colder and adds a bit of colour to an outfit, something I'm guilty of never wearing!

I talk about the obsession I have with my Topshop Mom Jeans a lot, but realised I've never actually shown me in them! I wear these all too frequently but they're so easy to dress up or down I can't seem to say no. This is actually an outfit I wore to an evening out so I paired it with a floaty cami (something else I can't stop wearing) and my good old faithful Zara Heels. They're just about the only pair I own now but why would I need more when they're perfection in a shoe? I have been eyeing up a few open toed eBay dupes though and really wouldn't say no to one in every colour..




* Gifted PR Sample


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August 25, 2013

The Skin Recovery Facial



I've found myself taking a far more laid back approach when it comes to make up these days. No longer do I feel the need to be contoured, highlighted and lined to within an inch of my life and I've really been enjoying using minimal products for a simple everyday look. The same can't be said unfortunately for skincare. I mentioned recently that only packing a basic routine for a week away had seriously taken it's toll on my face (although I'm sure the overindulgent meals and being too lazy to take my make up off every night may have had something to do with it too) and I needed a good deep cleanse to set things back to normal. Enter the three step 'Skin Recovery Facial' thats been pulling my skin out of it's slump.

I like to start with exfoliation to bring back the glow and open up all those blocked pores. As much as I'd love to reach for the nearest abrassive exfoliant I've been sticking to the rule of 'no harsh scrubs' and kept to all things chemical. The REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask* has been serving this step well and uses gentle fruit-acids to brighten skin and prepare it for a deeper cleanse. For this my product of the moment is the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask, some serious detox in a tube. The Manuka Honey which draws moisture to the skin is also antibacterial and anti-oxidising, cleansing it deeply but leaving it soothed with no signs of over-stripped tightness. Last up I like to end with a good injection of hydration and for that I turn to the La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque*. Packed with hyaluronic acid, the go-to ingredient for retaining moisture, a thick layer of this gel textured cream left on for ten minutes will make your skin impossibly smooth and incredibly plumped.

Tools should not be forgotten either and I find using an old foundation brush makes for a more even and precise application. Also polishing each mask off with a muslin cloth or flannel adds some extra exfoliation too, especially around stubborn areas like the nose or chin.

I find this combination of products work well for me but it's a simple three step routine of exfoliate, cleanse and hydrate that most masks could fall into easily. So if your skins feeling a little down in the dumps, pick out a few products and give yourself an hour for a spot of pampering, I know I'll be indulging in these again tonight!

* Gifted PR Samples

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August 20, 2013

Bedside Beauty



Certain times of day call for a certain set of products and getting in to bed is no exception. I always like to keep a small array of beauty bits on my bedside table to use in those few minutes after snuggling down into the duvet.

The main bulk of the products are hand related as I prefer to paint my nails at the end of the day to give them plenty of drying time. The polish of the moment stands in this beautiful glass dish which I picked up for a mere 50p (never underestimate a charity shop!) along with O.P.I's Avoplex Cuticle Oil which I've been trying to get into using more regularly. This stuff not only smells incredible by does and amazing job of softening and improving those ragged edges and I love the brush on applicator. After that it's a nice thick blob of The Body Shop's Hemp Hand Protector, slightly too rich for day use and a tad smelly as well but perfect when you've got all night to let it sink in. Last up I follow with lashings of the Nuxe Reve de Miel Balm, the undisputed expert when it comes to lip-nourishment.

I'm in no way a troubled sleeper but sometimes find it hard to drift off so I have a little army of tools to help the job along. For anyone who experiences this as well, This Works have possibly the biggest and best range of products to help you relax at the end of the day. Two of my favourites include their Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, a light herbal infused mist and the Sleep Balm, slightly more heavy duty product which I like to rub onto my pulse points, both of which help make me a little more heavy eyed. I also keep a notepad beside me to quickly jot down any thoughts or ideas I have swimming around in my brain that are stopping me going to sleep, a simple fix but something that really works!

Possibly my favourite part of my bedside set-up though is the actual table itself. This pretty Fretwork Nightstand* was kindly sent to me buy Out There Interiors, a website full of beautiful home-wear items from furniture to accessories that have me wishing for more space so I could fit them all in! The table is part of their Painted French Furniture collection but I've also been adoring the style of the Venetian Mirrored Furniture too which is all incredibly elegant and would make for some perfect bedroom pieces.

What are your bedside must haves?
* Gifted PR Sample


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Current Hair Care and Styling Picks


After coming back from holiday last week where I spent most of the time faffing and fussing with my long hair that just wouldn't behave I had a completely spontaneous moment and booked a visit to the hairdressers to have it all cut off. Now the scissor wielders and I haven't always seen eye to eye when it comes to the length of my hair and I was a touch afraid I'd walk out with nothing left, but for once I'm beyond happy with the results and my new 'Long Bob'.

Washing, drying and styling has become a whole lot easier, and I've been having fun experimenting with new styles, textures and products and today I've rounded up a few of my new favourites to share with you.

L'Óréal Ever Riche Nourishing & Taming Shampoo | L'Óréal Ever Riche Nourishing & Taming Conditioner | L'Óréal Ever Riche Mask | Ojon Volume Advance Mousse | Babyliss Big Hair Rotating Styler Brush | TRÉSemme Curling Wand | Bumble and Bumble Thickening Creme Contour | TRÉSemme Divine Definition Texture Spray | Schwarzkopf got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray




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Back To Mint With Butter London



When people visit a new town or city I'm sure they enjoy taking in the culture, finding great places to eat and exploring. For me however, locating the nearest Boots is on the top of the list and seeing if I can scope out and new brands that my tiny local doesn't stock. Call me sad, I know. On my trip up to Wales last week we stopped off at Swansea which to my surprise had the most decked out store I'd seen outside of London. I had a small fit of excitement when I came across the Liz Earle counter (since when!?) but I was immediately drawn to the nail section which hosted a multitude of brands including Butter London.

Always a sucker for packaging, I loved the elegantly squared bottles and on being presented with their Spring 2013 collection on the top shelf I was surprisingly drawn to the mint green offering, Fiver. Having recently professed my love for all things bright, coral and in your face when it comes to nails this is quite a departure from whats been gracing my finger tips as of late, but I picked it up anyway!

This being my first sampling of the brand and knowing how notoriously tricky pastel formulas can be, I'm not sure if it's just the one shade or all of them, but it wasn't half a pain to get on. Streaky, uneven and requiring three whole coats to get it perfect, this is but no means the best nail polish I've ever used but the colour I absolutely love. Just the right shade of mint green and pale enough for my liking. It's definitely tempted me to try more from Butter London, especially the stunning bronze glitter explosion Bit Faker. Summer holiday in a bottle!


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August 13, 2013

Bargain Buy: The Bumble and Bumble Freebie




Never one to say no to a freebie, I quickly snapped up this month's copy of Elle when I saw that nestled in it's little plastic pouch was Bumble and Bumble's Thickening Hairspray, a product that's not only from one of my favourite hair brands, but one I've been itching to get my hands on for some time now.

Long hair can be weighed down easily and most of my styling attempts just result in a lifeless flat mess after a few hours, particularly when it comes to curls or waves. Unlike a conventional hairspray this product can be applied liberally through wet hair. It's almost like reversing the process and setting the style before you've styled it. I find this works incredibly well when it comes to adding volume with a big blow dry and curls stay defined for a whole lot longer.

Not too shabby for the price of a magazine. Get your while the issue is still out!


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August 11, 2013

This Week #48



This week you might have noticed a little silence here on the blog as I've been away on our annual family holiday to Wales. We stayed in St Davids which is honestly the most charming coastal City, wedged between two incredible beaches and full of quaint little shops and cafes. I've been visiting Pembrokeshire pretty much every year since I was born so this place feels like home to me and it's sad to say goodbye again!

I did something a little different this year and decided to pack the absolute bare minimum when it came to make up and skincare and while I've really been enjoying the au natural look (I didn't even bring an eyeshadow!) I can definitely tell that my skin is crying out for it's regular routine and I can't wait to get home and treat myself to a good hour of skin-pampering! I've got a deep cleansing combination of products in mind so I'll be sure to report back on the results!


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August 04, 2013

August 02, 2013

A Floral Affair



Shirt* & Trousers*: OASAP
Boots: Primark
Necklace: Topshop
Lipstick: MAC Impassioned

It's been quite some time since a fashion post appeared on I Covet Thee, but after being surprised to find out a few of you lovely people actually missed them, I dusted off my awkward posing skills and started snapping away. If you're an avid reader of my OOTDs you'll know that I'm usually pretty weather dependant when it comes to dressing, and todays outfit is no exception. England is experiencing some pretty mad weather at the moment, raging hot and sunny one moment, monsoons the next which makes for quite a challenge when getting ready in the morning.

I can't seem to get enough of printed trousers right now and these amazingly garish ones from OASAP fit the bill for Mid-Summer wear perfectly. They're incredibly thin and lightweight but somehow managed to disguise a multitude of sins, thumbs up in my book. I felt like being a little dressy today and paired them with a bit of risqué shoulder flashing in this cut out shoulder shirt, a trend that I may be months behind on but am seriously enjoying. Although it does make for some odd tan lines..

Last up I cant forget to mention the footwear thats been taking my fancy every day this month. Although I love a sandal I'm very much a 'Summer Boots' kind of girl. Paired with jeans, dresses or just about anything really, I love the way they can transform an outfit so when I saw these tasselled numbers during a recent Primark binge, I couldn't help but make a a b-line for them.
* Gifted PR Samples

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August 01, 2013

The Monthly Roundup: July

This month I've taken a look back at the best posts featured on I Covet Thee in July.
Here's 10 to catch up on if you missed any!


(Click on an image to be taken to the original post)



01. A look at the new miniature Summer offerings from Essie's 2013 collection.



02. A round up of last month's favourites which include the ultimate duo for messy beach hair and an exciting new body moisturising concept.



03. Two of my favourite tried and tested toners get put under the spotlight.



04. Four of the best sheer bases for a natural look that couldn't be more perfect for Summer.



05. I may not repurchase products all that often, but when something gets a thrown in the shopping basket for a second time, it's more than likely going to be one these stand out products.



06. The serious damage I inflicted on my bank account and the Selfridges beauty haul comes to light in my London Birthday Haul.



07. A small thank you for all the lovely people that nominated I Covet Thee for Best Beauty Vlog in the Cosmo Blog Awards, and how to vote in the next round!



08. I take a look at my top picks for bold Summer lips ranging from the bright and glossy to the matte and long-lasting.



09. GolssyBox's latest offering is a Summer themed affair with everything you could possibly need for effortless beach cool.



10. Meet Honey, the newest addition to the Marc Jacobs fragrance family and let me tell you why it smells so good!



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