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January Collective Haul

I have started the 2013 on a positive note (for my wallet at least) as I didn't really buy a lot of stuff this month. I know this sounds strange but yeah I'm not that much of a sales person. Don't get me wrong here...I do love a good bargain but I hate having to rummage through rails of carelessly put clothes only to find my size is sold out so January isn't really a good month for me to shop.

I did manage to get some accessories off the River Island online sale. Since it was my first time, I decided to just buy a few accessories and see how it goes. I'm pretty pleased that all mu purchases arrived safe and sound in just over a week and I will definitely be ordering again soon! I got this geometric clutch bag which in my opinion is quite unique yet elegant at the same time and it was down to only £10. I also bought this gold cross bracelet for £3 (I think) and this hand of Hamsa ear-cuff which if I'm not mistaken cost just £1.50. I also treated myself to this cute pair of hair clips from Accessorize which were €8.90 for both.

From ebay I bought two sable Kolinsky brushes for €10.31 and I got a size 0 and a size 1.  The reason they are a little more expensive is because they are made out of natural hair. I am planning to do a nail art tools post soon and I will be going through the different brushes you can find on the market so stay tuned for more details! The nail polish is a gift from my aunt and it's my first ever Sinful Colors polish and the shade is 395 Folly which is a bright pink creme.

Lastly, I bought a back-up of Effaclar Mat moisturizer (€12.14) and I have dropped my guns and decided to try the budget-friendly cosmetic brand MUA or Make Up Academy. They were having a 50% off sale and free sipping code in celebration of their facebook page reaching 50,000 likes. However, the minimum spend was £30 and I really don't need any more make-up so I just skipped the offer and ordered two Lip Booms and a Brow Kit that totalled €17.91 shipping fees included. The Lip Boom shades are It's A Situation and LMK (Let Me Know).

Monthly Favourites | January

Favourites time again! Catrice has definitely been my most favourite brand this month especially where eye products are concerned...all 4 are from the budget-friendly brand.  Again, Glamour Doll & Mini Max mascaras have made to this month's favourites. They are seriously the best volumizing mascaras I have ever tried and when paired together they give a fantastic fanned-out appearance to the lashes. 5 stars to both!

The eye pencils are both brown and they offer a very good alternative to black especially for neutral smoky eye or day make-up. With regards staying power I much prefer the Long Lasting Eye Liner Pen in 070 Puddle Of Mudd as it lasts for hours on end.  However both glide on effortlessly and I like the smudger end of the Kajal Designer in 150 Up&Brown&Up&Brown... as well as the shade which is quite a unique shade and one I don't see often in eye pencils.

Moving on to lip products, I have been using Mac Lustre Lipstick in Naked Paris and Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in 206 Nude Pink both for day and night which complement any make-up look.  I would then pair Liptini Lip Liqueur Lip & Cheek Stain in 4013 Pink Lady with E.L.F. Studio Glitter Gloss in Sparkling Wine when I want a statement lip.

Finally to keep my lips free from flakes an protect them against the cold, I favoured E.L.F. Studio Lip Exfoliator, Bioderma Atoderm Levres and Essence Kiss Care Love Lip Balm in 03 Fruitylicious when I want a sheer tint.

As for face products, my favourites were Napoleon Perdis Ultimate Contour Palette which needs no introduction here and Catrice Defining Blush in 060 Rosewood Forest which brings winter cheeks to life! 

Lastly, I have been wearing this River Island gold cross bracelet almost everyday since I received it. 

What were your favourites for the first month of 2013?

The Exit Interview Series | Volume #16

Although this month I haven't managed to use up any body lotions as is my plan this year, I still have used up a few products.

Starting with skin care, I have been trying out some face masks and the ones I actually finished (and enjoyed using for that matter) are L'Action Detoxifying Face Mask and Mudd Sea Mask. Both masks are very effective at unclogging pores and revealing a brighter complexion but with regards value for money, the one from L'Action is definitely better as it costs €2.10 and I managed 4 applications whilst with the other, there is only enough product for 1 application and it costs €1.56. I have also made my way through another tube of Effaclar Mat moisturizer and yes, I have already bought a back-up. The same holds true for the Lycia Facial Wipes.

This month has seen me use up another bottle of Orly Nailtrition and I have also bought a back-up for it already because I cannot imagine how my nails would be without it. Another nail product I have finished is the Essence Gel Look Top Coat. I had some issues with this top coat as it would bubble when it dries. Then I figured out that for it not to bubble, the nail polish underneath has to be completely dry. I have another bottle of this but once I finish it, I don't think I will be buying it again.

I have also finished another two Essence products, namely the Stay Natural Concealer and the Nail Hardening Nail Polish Remover (Strawberry & Passion Fruit). You all know how much I love both of these products but when it comes to the remover, I bought the blue one instead simply because it carries a cheaper price tag.

Lastly here are two perfume samples, namely B.U. Heartbeat and Narciso Rodriguez Essence. They are both very girly and seductive scents and it's a good thing I have more of each. The only reason why I won't be buying them for now is that I have way too much perfumes to go through!

Review | Born Pretty Store BK Nail Polish Remover Gel #6 Mint

Nail polish remover...GEL...sounds curious right? Indeed that is what intrigued me to give this product a try and subsequently share my thoughts with you when Born Pretty Store offered me another chance to review more of their products. 
It is easy to infer that the polish remover comes in the form of a gel instead of the usual liquid we are more accustomed to and it is supplied in a small plastic tube that holds 35ml of product. It comes with a screw-off cap and has a minute nozzle through which the gel oozes out.  The remover has a very pleasant and fresh minty scent as opposed to conventional nail polish removers and although transparent, it has a very light green tinge.


What you do is simply squeeze an adequate amount of gel on your polished nails and wait for a minute or two until the polish is dissolved (the gel will turn milky), then proceed to wipe everything off with a tissue or cotton disc.  I find it is similar to the foil removal metod with less resources and you won't be left with cotton threads on your nails.


Right hand with polish, left hand after 1 application of the gel polish remover
(approx. 1 minute wait)

However, I find that I still have to go over my nails with some liquid polish remover to remove the left over traces of polish. That said, I still do the same with conventional polish removers especially when taking off a darker polish. The gel leaves the nails thoroughly moisturized and it doesn't leave any tell-tale white residue on the nails as some other removers do.

In my opinion, this remover gel is best when used with light-coloured polishes and glitter polish as once dissolved you just wipe the polish away. Darker polishes take more product to be completely removed. The same holds true for gel top coats.

Overall, I like the concept of this innovative product and I think I would buy it again, if only for the fact that it takes the hassle out of removing glitter nail polish.

BK Nail Polish Remover Gel is available in 6 different scents on and retails for $3.80 a pop. Get yours at 10% off with discount code EBABK31 at checkout.

PR Sample

Designer Nails thanks to Born Pretty Store Gold Nail Decals

As a nail technician, I am very fond of hand painted nail art but certain designs are usually a little hard to accomplish on such a small area. A case in point are certain designer logos and detailed works such as butterflies. In such instances, I like to resort to nail decals and with such a wide variety available, you are bound to find what you are looking for.

Born Pretty Store have recently introduced a set of 12 different gold decals to their nail art embellishments section. You get a small rhinestone wheel with designs ranging from desiger logos to flower and butterflies, hearts and snowflakes, as well as Hello Kitty motifs.

There are 10 pieces of each motif, hence a total of 120 pieces and all are gold in colour. Unlike most metallic embellishments, I am very pleased with these as the gold colour is retained when you apply top coat on them.

The decals lasted for a whole 5 days on my nails and they are easily embedded with top coat. All of these decals are suitable for use with gel nails, acrylic nails and also on natural nails and can be used by professional nail techs as well as amateur nail art enthusiasts.
Get yours at 10% off instead of the usual $2.99 by entering the code EBABK31 at checkout on

PR Sample

NOTW: Louis Vuitton Inspired

Good morning all :) This week I have been sporting Louis Vuitton inspired nails after I was sent some decals from Born Pretty Store (stay tuned for the full review). Read on for the step-by-step tutorial!

1. Prep nails with Orly Nailtrition base coat to strengthen the natural nail and protect against discolouration.
2. Paint on a French tip with a caramel coloured polish such as Pronails no.267 on all the nails and paint two coats of the same polish on the ring fingers.
3. Allow to dry and with a light beige nail polish such as Essence Nude Glam in 06 Cookies & Cream and a detailing brush, paint on a diagonal stripe across the caramel French tip, leaving a triangle of the first colour showing through. Repeat this step with E.L.F. Nail Polish in Chocolate or any other dark brown polish.
4. Make sure that the ring fingers are completely dry and apply striping tape in the form of a grid. Paint on with the same dark brown polish and gently peel off the tape after a couple of seconds.
5. Place a small drop of clear nail polish in the middle of the nail and gently lower a gold decal. Secure in place by adding some top coat and leave to dry.
6. Top coat all the other nails and you're done! Designer nails in no time!

Guest Post | Beauty Instruments That Enhance Your Look

This is the second guest post for this week and this time it is written by Ashley Santiago. She will guide us through some must-have beauty devices that will help us enhance our looks daily. Enjoy!
A little here, a little there. The signs of aging creep up on us and manifest primarily on our faces, for the whole world to see. Fortunately, we have an arsenal of beauty instruments at our disposal so that we can combat the signs of aging and enhance our look regardless of the number of candles on our birthday cake.
Skin Care Instruments
  • Rotating pore cleansing brush. This little gadget will deep clean facial skin and get deep down in the pores to prevent acne breakouts. A rotating pore cleansing brush will also remove all traces of makeup and exfoliate the skin, leaving you with clean, youthful-looking skin that glows.
  • Facial sauna. This steam-emitting skin care instrument deep cleans pores, exfoliates skin and temporarily plumps up facial skin to eliminate the appearance of fine line and wrinkles.
Eye Care Instruments
  • Eyelash curler. A very simple device that is a must-have to enhance your look. An eyelash curler instantly makes eyes appear larger and sexier by lifting and curling upper eyelashes.
  • False eyelashes. If eyelashes are short or sparse, the addition of false eyelashes will enhance your look and draw attention to your eyes. False lashes can be purchased as a full set (one lash for each eye) or as individual lashes to be placed only where needed.
  • Gel Pads. These amazing gel pads come in full size that cover both eyes or small pads that fit under each eye. Worn during sleep, these gel pads help to firm and tone under-eye skin to help eliminate bags, sags and dark circles under the eyes. The cooling comfort of gel pads also help to rejuvenate tired-feeling eyes and reduce the appearance of fine lines around the eyes.
Wraps and Straps
  • A special hair-do requires special treatment, and wrapping hair in a silk head wrap for sleeping will extend the life of the hair-do for a couple extra days.
  • Damaged or dull hair can be rejuvenated by applying a deep conditioning hair treatment to hair at night, wrapping it in a terry cloth turban and allowing the conditioner to work overnight. The turban wrap will heat the hair and conditioner, allowing the product to penetrate the hair shaft deeply and repair hair, plus the turban will keep the conditioning product on your hair and off the pillow.
  • Sleeping in a specially designed chin strap will help prevent the development of a saggy chin or double chin by keeping the chin skin and muscles taunt during your 8 hours of sleep.
Hair Care Instruments
There is no shortage of instruments that can be used to enhance your look by changing the appearance of your hair. Several hair care tools are often needed to achieve the desired look, and since they are relatively inexpensive, it’s possible to have a plethora of hair care instruments at your disposal.
  • A blow dryer with a detachable curl diffuser is a must-have. Both a flat and curved flat iron is needed to achieve either the perfectly straight shiny hair we want or the straight-with-a-sexy-flip look we desire. Curling irons with small barrels, large barrels and brush barrels are useful hair care tools for the time when we want to dress our hair up a bit.
  • Hot rollers, barrel rollers, Velcro rollers and a host of other type of hair rollers deserve a mention, since they are the original hair care instruments that have stood the test of time to enhance women’s looks down through the ages and are still a needed beauty tool today.
Ashley Santiago is an avid learner, traveler, writer and stylist. She attended the University of Iowa and majored in International Studies, but as soon as she graduated, went into cosmetology. She now writes about beauty, health and her career as a stylist at How Do I Become A ...?

Confessions Of A Shopaholic | The Effects Of Having A Shopping Addiction

I bet each and everyone of you has at some point in their lives turned to retail therapy to alleviate boredom or stress or simply to celebrate an achievement. I for one am a self-confessed believer in retail therapy and I do like the saying 'whoever said money can't buy happiness clearly didn't know where to shop'!
Yesterday, I was contacted by Ms. Allison Morris about a graphic she helped develop for which specifically examines the effects of having a shopping addiction after seeing one of my posts. Read on to find out what it is all about!
Shopaholics Infographic
This graphic has come in really good timing! I have made a resolution this year to try and avoid spending money on unneccessary stuff and save up for better things, say travel. To be honest I was really shocked with certain figures that reflect the extent people will jeopardise their financial well being just for an instant's gratification.
Are you a shopaholic? I thought I was one as certain points in the graphic do apply to me but definitely not to the extents shown here! Let me know what you think in the comments :)

Guest Post | Must-Know Facts About Skin Care Products‏

Good morning lovelies :) Today I have an extra special post for you from Becka Hamilton and she will take us through different ingredients and points one must consider when buying skin care products. I hope you find the post interesting as much as I did! Enjoy!

A lot of skin care products claim to be revolutionary. Of course, some truly are groundbreaking and offer a lot to their consumers. However, other skin care products pale in comparison, and are simply a waste of money. Still, many conumers get caught up in the exciting commercials with all of the promises of looking younger and better, only to find out they've blown their income on a lemon (which is ironic, beause actual lemons can in fact be very beneficial for skin). Here are a few things to know about skin care products, so that you can make an informed decision.

Anyone wanting to turn back the clock, or better yet, prevent aging, needs to be using sunscreen. A lot of good products already contain sunscreen, though sometimes the amount is not adequate. Anyone wanting to keep their skin looking young for years to come needs to use sunscreen. Ideally, a person would apply sunscreen to their face and body at least twice throughout the day. Without a doubt, sunscreen will do more to protect a person’s skin than any other product. It is never too late; even someone in their 40s and 50s should start wearing sunscreen to prevent more premature aging.

Tretinoin may not perform miracles, but it comes remarkably close. Tretinoin is often found in topical gel and is usually sold as a prescription. It can negate the appearance of wrinkles by causing new skin to form, and it also helps increase collagen production. It can also be used to lessen the appearance of stretch marks all over the body. Finally, many teenagers are familiar with Tretinoin as it is often prescribed for acne.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
Anyone who watches television or reads magazines has probably heard of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids. These are naturally occurring acids in some plants and fruits. They work by stimulating old, dead cells so they can regrow more easily. The thought is that the new skin that is growing will be much smoother and more uniform in color. Alpha- Hydroxy acids are also thought to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Money Wasted
A lot of times, you can buy skincare products without breaking the bank. Some of the most expensive products on the market are just as effective as the cheap store brands. Some makeup companies spend a lot of money on marketing, packaging and branding their products. So anytime you are researching a brand, look at the ingredients, you may be able to find a cheaper alternative that works just as well.

Mix Products
A lot of skin care companies try to convince their customers that they need to use the same product line. This is untrue; there is no real benefit to using one line over another. If you like one product from a line, and another product from another line, you should continue using both products. Skin care companies and pushy salespeople are just trying to bring in extra money by telling people that they must use the products together.

A lot of money is made by the skin care companies. In reality, there are a few basic rules everyone should follow, as listed above. Quite often, less is more, as you may only need a few basic products to keep your skin looking fresh and easy. Use the Internet to get unbiased reviews and ask your dermatologist what they suggest for your specific situation.

Becka Hamilton is a graduate of the University of Iowa. There, she studied entrepreneurial management and public health. She currently lives in Iowa City and writes about beauty, health and personal finance at the Lu Ross Academy.

Best Of 2012: Eyes

In this last post, as the title suggest, I will show you my favourite eye products of 2012. Eye products are firm favourites of mine and are usually the first section I look at in a make-up stand. Here goes!

Mascara is a must for me and my favourites have been Catrice Glamour Doll* and Catrice Mini Max*. Although they both provide great length and volume, a little help is never a bad idea. Enter RevitaLash Volumizing Primer* which primes lashes to perfection and adds an extra volume boost. Pupa Vamp! Mascara in 300 Deep Night* has also been a firm favourite and the navy blue colour is a fun step away from the usual black.

With regards eye liners and eye pencils my favourites were the following...Essence Gel Eyeliner in 02 London Baby, E.L.F. Studio Cream Eyeliner in Black, Catrice Eyeliner Pen in Carbon Black*, Catrice Kajal Designer in 150 Up&Brown&Up&Brown...*, and for added sparkle, Pupa Milano Deco Collection Diamond Eyeliner 03 in Copper Glitter Deco*.

As for eyeshadows, my favourite shades were mostly neutral but there are also some coloured ones too. Here goes! Catrice Absolute Eye Colour in 540 Rose Marie's Baby*, 560 I Like To Mauve It*, 580 Carrots Of The Carribbean*, Catrice Intensif'eye Wet & Dry Shadow in 010 Black or White Swan?!, Essence Eyeshadow in 02 Dance All Night, Essence Marble Mania Trend Edition Eyeshadow in 01 Seriously Mixed Up*, 03 Swirl It Baby!*, Pupa Milano Deco Collection Diamond Eyeshadow in 04 Emerald Glitter Deco* and lastly Wet 'n' Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow in Brulee.

And that concludes my favourite products for 2012! I hope you enjoyed these posts, stay tuned for a revamped blog layout and more posts coming your way!

Products marked with * were either gifted to me or else sent by the respective companies' PR for review purposes.

Best Of 2012: Face

For the penultimate post in this series, I will show you what my favourite face products have been throughout the year, starting with Catrice Ultimate Moisture Fresh Skin Make-up in 010 Light Beige*. Whenever I need a little extra coverage during the day, I opt for this foundation which has a light and very natural coverage. The colour is an exact match to my skin-tone and stays put all day. 

Another face product that I use everyday is E.L.F. Studio Translucent Mattifying Powder which I use both alone and to set foundation and the result is excellent each time! I cannot not mention my all time favourite concealer from Essence which is the Stay Natural Concealer in 01 Soft Beige. It conceals zits and dark circles beautifully even though it offers light coverage...perfect for both day and night! To make sure my make-up stays put all throughout the day/night, I have been loving E.L.F. Studio Make-Up Mist & Set* as a fixer.

This year I have become more acquainted with different shades of blush and consequently my favourites are E.L.F. Studio Blush in Candid Coral, Essence Marble Mania Trend Edition Blush in 01 Swirlpool* and Catrice Defining Blush in 060 Rosewood Forest*. They all offer excellent pigmentation and a healthy, flushed look to the cheeks :)

The last face product that will make this list is a recently discovered gem...Napoleon Perdis Ultimate Contour Palette*. It has three components, a highlight, a blush and a bronzer and I am especially fond of the matte bronzer that is not too dark for me; on the contrary, it is the perfect bronzer! All three components are very pigmented albeit a little powdery.


Check back tomorrow for the last instalment in the series, dealing with eye products.

Products marked with * were either gifted to me or else sent by the respective companies' PR for review purposes.

Best Of 2012: Lips

Next up in the Best Of 2012 series are lip products. Most of you know that I was in a love-hate relationship with lipsticks and favoured lipgloss more. Well, I am pleased to say that has changed! I am now the proud owner of a beautiful lipstick collection and I can't wait to share my favourites with you! However, I will start with other lip products and save the best for last!

First up are two products that proved to be lip saviours...literally! I forgot to pack a lip balm for my trip to Paris and the first thing on arriving was pop into a pharmacy and I got Bioderma Atoderm Levres. It soothed my lips in an instant and left them feeling smooth and supple. Definitely a repurchase if I can find a Bioderma stockist here. Product number two is E.L.F. Studio Lip Exfoliator, a product I had been waiting for ages to be available on the UK website and I purchased straight away as soon as it was uploaded! I was so glad I bought it and I have been using it every other day to keep my lips smooth and it also improved the staying power of lip products on me.  I will need a replacement soon! I have also been able to try out Essence Kiss Care Love Lip balms* which provide the moisture and care of a regular lip balm with a sheer, pearly tint and I can confirm they work excellently!

My favourite lip liner this year has been Revlon ColorStay Lip Liner in Nude. It matches my lips perfectly and is great for use with any lip colour.  This year I have also discovered lip stains and my favourites have been Liptini Lip Liqueur in 4013 Pink Lady*, and Catrice Liquid Lip Tint in 010 Red My Lips*.

As for lipglosses, my favourites were E.L.F. Studio Glossy Gloss in Berry Blush & Merry Cherry, E.L.F. Studio Glitter Gloss in Sparkling Wine and Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss in 020 Wood Of Roses*.

As previously said, I left the best for last! Here are my top lipsticks for 2012! Chanel Rouge Coco in 16 Taffetas Rose, Givenchy Rouge Interdit in 20 Illicit Raspberry*, MAC Lustre Lipstick in Naked Paris, Catrice Ultimate Colour Lipsticks in 030 Ginger & Fred and 190 The Nuder The Better.  All these lipsticks have excellent pigmentation and staying power and I am also very pleased to say that I have found the perfect nude in the latter Catrice lipstick.

Moving on, these lipsticks have sheer to high coverage and although the staying power is not as good as the ones above, they still cut it for my 2012 favourites because of their moisturizing formulas. Here are Catrice Ultimate Lip Glow in One Shade Fits All*, Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in 206 Nude Pink, Kate Moss for Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick (matte) in 107 and Essence Lipsticks in 02 Sparkling Romance, 62 Rockin' Red*.

What were your favourite lip products during the past year?

Part 1: Nails
Part 2: Skin Care

Products marked with * were either gifted to me or sent by the respective companies' PR for review purposes

Best Of 2012: Skin Care

Time to reveal which were my top skin care products in 2012! Those of you following me for a while know that I have had some issues with my skin up to August of last year; for those of you who are new here, I basically started getting a whole lot of zits on my face and I thought it was all due to starting my job etc... turned out I was using too much products to try and eliminate the spots and I ended up making matters worse. That is until I only used La Roche Posay products.

So here are the winners in the Skin Care Category! La Roche Posay Effaclar Foaming Cleansing Gel...honestly, the best cleanser I have ever used that is specifically targeted for my skin type. It doesn't dry out my skin whilst doing an excellent job at cleansing away excess sebum; paired with La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat Moisturizer, they really do care for my skin and it has now become less oily and I am getting spots much less frequently and they tend do disappear quicker.  The moisturizer has a very nice skin mattifying effect and is also an excellent make-up base!

Roberts Rose Water has been my choice of toner this year as with its gentle action, it cares for my sensitive skin yet it refreshes my skin effectively with a light rose fragrance.  Nivea Visage Young Mild Exfoliating Scrub continues to be a winner with me as it is mild enough to use everyday to keep my skin peachy smooth!

As for make-up removal, besides the above products, I like to use Nivea Refreshing Cleansing Lotion and Lycia Make-Up Remover Wipes to remove eye make-up effectively without irritating my eyes. The wipes need no introduction and I am very fond of the cleansing lotion simply because unlike other make-up removers, it doesn't leave an oily residue.

Lastly, a little shout-out to this Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash that I have been using while in Paris because of it's compact size.  While the smell is definitely not pleasant, I like the fact that the product is of 98.8% natural origin and it didn't break me out or leave my skin overly dry. Since this was a freebie with Glamour magazine, I cannot get it in Malta so I will enjoy it while it lasts!

And those, dear readers, have been my favourite skin care products in 2012!

Part 1: Nails

Products marked with * were either gifted to me or else sent by respective companies' PR for review purposes.