Beautiful christmas: my selection of beauty gifts

Ho ho ho. It is December and I feel I am officially allowed to say the C word without attracting some dirty looks (and the “already?!” expression n their faces). Obviously, I am talking about CHRISTMAS, silly.

Most people know someone who is a beauty fanatic and if you are not one yourself, choosing the right thing can be quite difficult. But fear not, So Many Lovely Things will give you an easy solution that is certain to cause a good impression.

I went through my favourite places for beauty buys and here are my picks:

Up to £25

studio_smokey_eyesA good all rounder for a great price. Studio products are great value for money. This Smokey eye kit, for £6, is certain to please. New Years eve eyes, sorted!


I love the Eyeko Skinny liner – it is my favourite and I use everyday. This double pack from QVC is excellent value for £14 and after trying you will certainly need a second (and a third – you won’t live without it, ever!)

nivea_kitClassic skin care brand Nivea pulled together a lovely pampering selection with Honey Face Masks, Body lotion, Pearly Shine Lip, Cleansing Wipes, Moisturising Day Cream, amongst others. For £15, this gift goes a long way. Available at Boots.


Post Chirstmas excesses will show on your face. Pull yourself together with this L’Oréal Port-Party Beauty SOS and be ready for the next one in no time! £10 from Boots.


A pretty bauble from Rodial, with its lovely Glam Balm inside. A tiny bit of luxury to plump those lips for that all important unde the mistletoe action! £14 from Harrods.


I love this book. Rae Morris’ classic Makeup: The Ultimate Guide will help you get the grips with makeup and look even more fabulous! Only £12.50 from Amazon.


The Sanctuary’s Best Sellers Collection is a great body indulgence kit with their classic scent. £15 from Debenhams.


Clinique’s Chubby stick Whole Lotta Candy collection means you will have three beautiful shades to choose from for the New Year’s party! £20 from House of Fraser.


Pretty doll eyes with YSL Baby Doll Mascara Set – to put it on and remove later! Find it at Boots for £24.50.


Must Have minis from Nails Inc – lots of shades to start well the year – fro nudes to neons – this will keep your talons colour going for a while! Great value of £23.52 from QVC!


Festive talons courtesy of Clinique’s Party Tips nail polish set.. Three pretty shades for sensitive skin for £20 from House of Fraser.


Discover Elemis’ great Tri-enzime kit with this 4 piece set, for only £24.12 from QVC.


OPI’s Fit to be Tied #2 has two beautiful nail shades and delivers glitter in the right amount. £18.55 from QVC.


Clinique’s classic 3 step kit is one of my favourites cleanse, tone and moisturise sets. Have a go with this intro collection and see for yourself. £20 from Debenhams.


The Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is a classic – and is has a special edition for Christmas – £26.25 for 200ml cleaner and 2 muslim cloths!

Over £26


I couldn’t leave out the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay, coming out on the 12 December for £37. Hurry!!!


Beautifully packaged MAC’s Stroke of Midnight eye kit in Smoky got me hooked. Smokey eyes paradise with Chillproof, Retrospeck, Gaelic Gold, Well Put Together and Carbon (my fave matte black eyeshadow). At £32, exceptional value for money.



Benefit’s Groovy Kinda Love gift set has their best sellers to keep you pretty – and all for £29.50 from Boots.


Sparkle! The Urban Decay Starlight Glitter set can help with that! £30 from House of Fraser.


Guinot has brought some lovely gift boxes this year, each one looking to fix a “problem” in a girl’s life.

Ready Set Glow will deliver complexion brightening tools; Damsel in De-Stress will pamper and help relief stress; Supercharged Youth Boost delivers a boost for ageing skin. They also have a male grooming gift set called Tied up, with a face wash, after shave and shaving brush! They are priced between £46 and £64 and can be found at your nearest salon using Guinot products or at the Salon Skincare website, amongst others. website


Reveal a younger you with YSL Forever Youth Liberator Serum set, £64 from Boots.


Lancôme’s Visionnaire is of my favourite serums – and this set has lots of amazing goodies to accompany it! It costs £82 from Boots.


This classic selection of half size MAC brushes is amazing – and a fantastic value too at £42.


And finally, a girl can dream…. fro £300 you can get the WHOLE Alber Elbaz collection for Lancôme at Harrods. Sigh…

Eye make-up look challenge – black liner

After the super indulgent green witch eyes, I went for something a bit “simpler”. Still, I love the impact of the under the eye liner. It doesn’t pop out as much as I thought it would, so is more wearable then I expected…and simpler to achieve!

After priming, I swept a metallic beige all over my lid up to my brow bone. I then applied a metallic light brown from the inner corner  following the crease, just up to where my eyebrows start, blending with the lighter colour.

Using a felt tip eye liner, I lined my upper lash line, pulling it from outside the inner corner, and finished with a flick. On the lower lash line, I used a white eye liner, from about 2/3 of the way towards the outer corner. I then created a white flick, slightly smaller than the black one from the upper lash line.

I followed with crushed pigment from about 1/3 from the inner corner to the outer corner.

Finally, I drew the line parallel to my lower lash line, following my eye shape and flicking it downwards towards the inner corner. I blended some crushed pigment in the centre of the upper lid and finished it off with false eyelashes.

Products I used:

  • Urban Decay eye shadows in Midnight Cowgirl and Midnight Rodeo
  • MAC crushed pigment in White As Snow
  • Studio eye liner in Winter white
  • Collection 2000 Extreme felt tip eye liner
  • Eylure lashes number 155
  • Duo eyelash glue
  • Urban Decay eye primer
  • MAC brushes 239, 231, 208
  • Maybelline Falsies mascara


Eye make up look challenge: blue butterfl-eyes

Click to enlarge

The highlight of a make up show I attended (which was so rubbish it doesn’t even deserve a review or mention) was the Paperself stand, where they were doing free applications of their gorgeous lashes, and I chose to try the gorgeous “Deer& butterfly” small.

Now, I don’t think they are everyday lashes, but they are so pretty, but so pretty, that I actually feel like using them everyday. Their London skyline one is gorgeous, and their “smalls”, shorter versions of a full design, just for the fluttery outer corner, is actually wearable, on occasions. For a fashion shoot, they are just splendid! I love the peacock ones!!!

Inspired but the delicated butterly lashes I had applied, I decided to create a Blue Morpho butterfly wings look.

I started with the primer, followed by a generous sweep of a light blue powder pigment. I then applied dark blue crushed pigment from the outer corner in, blending towards the middle of the lid. Using a brush pen, I drew the oval shape of a wing, and blended into the darker blue.

I applied white eye liner on my lower water line, and then the blue eye liner followed by a little bit of  lighter blue pigment to 2/3 of my bottom lash line from the inner corner. After that, I put a lot of black eyeliner on the outer lash line and topped up with a little bit of the dark blue pigment.

I added white crushed pigment to the brow bone and the inner corner of the eye blending into the lower lash line and also as a half moon to the curve of my “wing” shape,  go give it a bit of a glow.

After that, I re-enforced my wing-shape drawing, with black eye liner, and blended a bit to make the line less harsh, but still visible.

Black eyeliner and mascara followed and then I applied a set of lashes to finish off the look. Of course, the jewel of the crown, the butterly lashes, were applied to the outer corner of my eye, on top of the other lashes.

I love this look. It is different but very pretty!

Products I used:

  • Collection 2000 Dazzle Me Heavenly light blue powder pigment
  • MAC crushed pigments in White As Snow and Wintersky
  • MAC eyeshadow in Carbon
  • MAC eye kohl in Smolder
  • Urban Decay eyeprimer potion
  • MAC brushes 209, 238, 219, 263 and a MINX fluffy one
  • Studio eye pencils in Blue Velvet and Winter White
  • Collection 2000 Extreme felt tip eye liner
  • Maybelline Falsies mascara
  • Duo eyelash glue
  • Ardell 107 lashes
  • Paperself small “Deer&butterfly” lashes

Difficulty level:

Eye make-up look challenge: rainbow

The sun has been out and I am in a more colourful mood. I always wanted to try rainbow colours in my eyes, but never had an occasion. as it is quite bold and not your week day in the pub kinda look. For that reason, I think my eye make-up look challenge is the perfect way of trying this!

Just as a reminder, the challenge is my way of venturing into looks I would probably never try; it is also a good practice for techniques.

I looked online for some inspiration, but ended up coming up with my version. I am not sure I would ever wear it, may be appropriate for carnival or other flamboyant occasion, but it ended up looking quite pretty – *maybe* I should have the black liner thinner (shhh, don’t tell anyone, I was going to, but had a little accident and as the six-colour blending was already in place, I decided to overlook the mistake and build it up a bit). Still I am very pleased with it. If I were to use this, I would probably slap some fake eye lashes on.

I didn’t have many problems, only blending the blue and green was a bit odd; I had to really pile eyeshadow on  and complement with eyeliner, which I also blended a bit, to get a good distinction of the colours and some definition.

It is a good practice for blending, as the colours are so distinct, and I experimented with a few brushes and eyeshadows rarely used before, so I am glad I tried… my word for it is vivacious, and it really cheered me up!

Products I used:

  • e.l.f. eyelid primer in sheer
  • beautyuk eyeshadow collection in number  2
  • Collection 2000 Extreme felt tip eyeliner in black
  • Smashbox Photo-op under eye brightener
  • MAC pigment in vanilla
  • MAC eyebrow set
  • Maybelline One by One mascara in black
  • MAC brushes  – eyes: 212SE, 219SE, 231, 217, 239SE, 208SE and 263; face: 190 and 167SE (the face brushes were used to clear spills and apply powder/brightener under the eyes)
  • Studio eyeliners in winter white, summer green and blue velvet
  • MAC eye kohl in smoulder

Level of difficulty:

Eye make-up look challenge: white and gold

This week I tried to re-create this quite minimalist white and gold eyes. They are meant to be a techno-chic kinda look; to me, they look a bit futuristic and frosted. Kept thinking I should be using light blue and silver instead of gold, for a snow queen look!

I am not sure in which occasion I would, if I wore to go out with this eye make up. I quite like the white “line” in the middle,  there is plenty of shimmer, and when you close you eyes, it looks very pretty and quite unusual.

Instead of using gold leaves, I used Kryolan’s Supracolour from the Charles H. Fox shop in Covent Garden, so even though my look was quite close to the one in the book, the finish was much smoother, as Supracolour is a paste-like product.
The lashes were meant to be quite clumped, but I don’t like that look very much,  so I just clumped it a little bit.  This look is, overall, quite easy to achieve.

Products I used:

  • Charles H. Fox Kryolan Supracolour metallic in gold;
  • Eyeshadow from Sephora pallete (white and shimmery light gold)
  • MAC pigment in Vanilla
  • Smashbox Photo Op Under eye brightener;
  • Studio eye pencil in Winter white
  • E.L.F. eyelid primer in Sheer
  • Soap & Glory Thick and Fast mascara
  • MAC brushes 208, 231, 239 and 263
  • MAC eyebrow set (discontinued)

Level of difficulty:

Product review: Studio eye pencil set

I have more eye make up that I could possibly wear in my lifetime, even if I were a spider, with eight blinkers. Still, in my world you can never have too much of (almost) anything so I could not resist when I came across this 7 eye pencil set by Studio, in Superdrug.

Usually, I am a bit sceptic about cheap make up, especially those in a “Christmas gift pack”, as I’ve had plenty disappointment in the past with poor pigmentation and durability. For £6.99 (and also part of their buy 3 for 2), it sounded like too good a deal to overlook, as it is less than £1 per pencil and the colours were appealing basics.

Just to have an idea of how good (or not) they were, I tried it at home one night, after work, pretty much on top of my worn out, basic day eye make up.

The pencils are really soft and the colours really bright, even though they are not super solid when on the eye, and the shimmery ones reflect light well. I also like that the colour have rather cute names, such as “silver moonbeam”. Application was easy, the pencils glide smoothly on the lid, and following the instructions inside the box to emulate the suggested design was quite easy, taking me well under ten minutes (even though the photo on the cover of the pack is definitely not done with the pencils in question) . The green and blue colour seem to mix quite a bit, and although when side by side they are quite similar, separately they are distinctive.

Durability was standard – I went on doing my usual things at home, and it seem to stay put, but losing intensity quite rapidly. I tend to think that if I had prepped my lids properly, as I do before applying make up to go out, they would have held better. Still to see if it passes the “night out” test.

I also used the green one to draw on my face, as a pumpkin stalk coming out of my orange eye make up for Halloween, and application was easy and it lasted well.

Overall, a pleasant surprise;  a good purchase that won’t break the bank with a very versatile colour range. I found great it also came with the eye-opening basic white pencil and the classic black, which are always welcome in any make up bag. Dare I say, the black is quite close to my current MAC black liner (Smoulder Eye Kohl),  and even though it is not a like-for-like swap (the MAC one is, in my view, far superior in quite a few aspects), it seems to be an acceptable budget alternative.

I might check out more of the Studio products available at Superdrug, they have a Eye Create Large Look Book (£9.99) and  a Lash Set (£14.99) I quite fancy!