June Beauty and Fashion Haul: Dune, Kate Spade, Nars, Nuxe & more...

Monday 29 June 2015

This month I have an extra special haul, packed full of really lovely items. There are a few things I’ve bought for myself, and then some items I received for my 30th birthday back at the beginning of the month, so it’s a bit of a bumper one. Think of it as a combined haul and what I got for my birthday post!

There's not an awful lot in the way of clothing - I still don't see the point in lots of maternity wear that won't get worn much, but I've probably been overcompensating on the make-up front!

One of my 'baby bucket list' things was to spoil myself a bit by treating myself to some nice make-up bits before my little son arrives and baby stuff takes over my life, so I've had a few nice items - plus a couple of eBay bargains!

Here's what I've been buying this month:

H&M Mama striped shirt dress

This is only the third maternity clothing item I’ve bought, aside from some over-bump leggings and a black dress from Topshop. Otherwise, I’ve been making do with the looser items I can find.

On the whole, I’ve found most maternity to be unbearably frumpy, but this dress did catch my eye as I was strolling through H&M before I even realised it was maternity wear. I love a shirtdress, and there’s something especially Audrey in ‘Roman Holiday’ about this one with its crisp stripes.

This dress works well in the office when smartened up with a navy blazer and nude wedges, and works equally well with flat sandals and a panama for a casual weekend look. After the baby. I’m hoping that I can use a wide tan belt to cinch it in and continue to wear it.

Dune Ennis Nude and Leopard Trainers

Its been a while since trainers stopped being 'just for the gym' and crossed over into the fashion lexicon proper, but I've been a little slow on the uptake. It occured to me that I'm going to need some nice, practical shoes for taking the baby out to the park and just generally chasing around doing mummy stuff.

So when I spotted these trainers, I couldn't resist. I loved the nude leather, the ponyskin leopard sides and the metallic gold toe caps. They're definitely a statement shoe! I thought these would look quite cool with black skinny jeans, which I'll probably be living in post-baby.

Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara travel size

Generally, I’m not one to fall for hype about the latest wonder-mascara. I’m quite selective, and having spent far too much in the past on mascaras that seemed to be everyone else’s holy grail and left me disappointed (looking at you, Benefit They’re Real…) I prefer to stick to ones I know and love on the whole.

What I like is heaps of volume with a good definition, and generally, mascaras with plastic ‘comb’ style brushes seem to work best for me to get this result. So although the cheeky name and the excitement had hit me about this, I wasn’t going to risk it, although I was intrigued.

But lately a lot of brands have been bringing out these mini, travel size versions of their bestsellers. Its such a great way to try something out and see if it suits, and I’ve discovered a few products I really like this way. So I picked up this mini – and fell in love.

Despite my doubts about the hype and the bristle brush, it delivered great volume and separation, but the best thing of all is the wonderful feathery, plush look this gives to lashes. I love it and am definitely going to invest in the full size. It’s a brilliant mascara. But is it really Better Than Sex?

Well, all I can say is, that depends how good your sex life is…

Mac Amplified – Blankety

This had been on my wishlist for a while, so when I found myself in the Mac store at Covent Garden, I decided to treat myself. It was a bit of a Kim K inspired purchase, as I know it’s a go-to shade for her.

It’s a pink-based nude, and that’s made me realise what I’ve been doing wrong all these years. Ever a fan of the Bridgette Bardot look, I always pick out very beige-toned nude lipsticks. But because I have a warm skintone, at best they sort of blend in too much, at worst they give me a bit of a corpse look!

Using a pinker tone adds some much-needed contrast and livens up my face. I cannot believe this has never occurred to me before – and I call myself a beauty blogger.

Mac Quad with Omega and Tempting

A custom Mac palette is another item I’ve coveted for ages. There’s a handful of shades I use all the time (Phloof!, Charcoal Brown and Satin Taupe) as everyday colours and re-buy a lot.

A Mac artist had suggested it would be better for me to get the empty palette and just replace the pans of colour a while ago, and although I didn’t do it at the time, it stayed on my mind. Getting sick of all the little pots cluttering my dressing table, I finally decided to make the palette happen!

The idea was to have a grab and go selection of everyday shades in one place, as too much choice can be overwhelming in the morning. I depotted Charcoal Brown (looking pretty scruffy as I’ve majorly hit pan), and Naked Lunch ( which I don’t really like as it doesn’t show up on me much, but am trying to use up), and then I purchased Omega to give me a matte crease and contour colour, and Tempting to add a bit of depth and impact.

This quad has been in use every day since I put it together, as it gives me all the options I need for my ‘everyday’ eye look in one place.

No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum

Having now hit 30 (shudder), anything that claims to zap fine lines is now very much on my must-investigate list.

I’ve been pretty zealous about following a strict skincare regime for a while now, and I think that’s paying off, but I still have problem areas, especially under my eyes and on my forehead.

I’d seen the publicity about this having been proven to work independently, and be as effective as the most expensive serums out there, so I decided to swap my regular serum for it. There are two versions and I chose the ‘Advanced’ formulation, which is actually aimed at 40 year olds, but come on…why would I pick the less intensive version? I want this to work! I need the highest concentration!

At just £24.95, this is a fraction of the price some serums cost, and its rammed full of antioxidants and Matrixyl, a powerful anti-ager. Previous test have apparently shown that this is as effective as prescription only formulations, so I’ve got high hopes.

It feels light and silky on, and instantly made my skin feel refreshed. It takes four weeks to see the full result of this, though, so watch this space…

H&M necklaces

Really loving H&M accessories at the moment, especially when my wardrobe is so reduced. A bold necklace is a great way of adding interest to plain outfits, so I treated myself to a couple of new ones.

The first was this rectangular link chain. Its got rose-gold coloured metallic links interspersed with grey and nude coloured plastic ones, and I just found it really unique. I have a lot of the heavily jewelled statement necklaces, but this is much more simple and more bold.

I also picked up this long, gold drape body chain. This weighs quite a lot when you pick it up and feels really expensive – you’d never guess it was only £9.99! Both of these will add a lift to plain vests for the summer.

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac bag in Smoke Grey

A birthday gift from my lovely husband. I’ve been coveting the Mini Mac for a long time, but they’re not the easiest to get hold of in the UK, despite their popularity.

I was after something well made that worked as a cross-body for use day to evening – which is exactly what this bag is designed to do. It works as a clutch, or with an adjustable strap. It comes in about a million different colours, but I wanted something fairly easy to wear that would go with a lot of different outfits, so I asked for the Smoke Grey colour.

I love the look of this bag, it’s the perfect mix of elegant and edgy, the kind of bag you can carry in so many different situations. I will be doing a full review of it later on.

Kate Spade Meaghan Card Wallet 'Mikas Pond'

Of course, everyone knows if you get a new bag, you should have a new purse, too! And mine was this gorgeous little hot pink ‘Meaghan’ wallet from Kate Spade, another brand I love.

I don’t tend to carry much cash, so I prefer these smaller wallets that just hold the essentials and can be easily transferred into evening bags. With my new Mini Mac, space is at a premium, so having a cardholder makes things a lot easier than trying to cram a large purse in.

I love the contrast of the fushcia with the grey bag especially. This wallet is just really pretty and brightens up my day every time I use it.

D&G L’Imperatrice perfume

This perfume is rocking my world at the moment. Its part of a nine-perfume ‘scent anthology’ inspired by Tarot cards that D&G brought out a while ago – I remember the adverts with lots of different models, each representing a different one of the fragrances.

I actually bought my Dad one of the gents’ fragrances -  ‘La Lune’, I think – for Christmas a few years ago. This is not something I would pick for myself without having smelt it, purely because it’s a fruity scent and I don’t tend to like them, I find them a bit juvenile and a bit too sweet. I prefer my scents to smell ‘expensive’ (although I couldn’t really tell you what that means) and I favour light, floral Orientals like Coco Mademoiselle.

But ‘L’Imperatrice’ has changed my mind, because although it is fruity, it also smells polished and deluxe – not a little girl’s perfume.

The notes are Rhubarb, Watermelon, Pink Cyclamen, and Musk, and it manages to be both fresh, ozonic and a little peppery. Its not like anything else I own, and I’m really enjoying using it, plus the bottle is the last word in simplicity and looks great on my dressing table.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse mini & Prodigieuse Or

As a big fan of oils for the skin, I can’t believe I hadn’t tried these yet, but I haven’t been disappointed. Huile Prodigieuse is really where a lot of the trend for oils started, and my favourite thing about it is that its multi-usage. It can be used on skin and hair with equally great results, without leaving a film of grease anywhere. It smells absolutely gorgeous and a small amount goes a long way.

Applying it feels like a real treat, and is a nice relaxing ritual for the end of the day. The oil is made with six different plant extracts – borage, St John’s Wort, sweet almond, camellia, hazelnut and macadamia, plus a lot of Vitamin E.

It’s the perfect thing to keep stretchmarks and lines at bay, and I’ve been using it religiously on my tummy, in my hair and on my face as a treatment at night. I also got the ‘Or’ version, which contains golden shimmering particles.

These are really subtle and don’t make you look as if you’ve fallen off a Christmas tree, they just give a nice luminosity to skin or hair. Its especially nice on bare summer legs to give that polished, super-model esque glow.

Nars Dual Intensity palette

Okay, okay, the last thing I need is another eyeshadow palette. What can I say, its an illness. But as a fan of high-impact, metallic shades it seemed like this offered something a bit different than my usual neutral favourites, and my goodness, is it ever gorgeous. I was so excited to open this!

From the beautiful, sleek mirrored packaging to the jewel like shades nestled inside, this is the last word in make-up geekery. There are some more wearable pinks and neutrals and wonderful deep, dramatic blue and black.

In total you get eight shades to play with, and a synthetic brush to apply them with. This was the ideal gift to put a massive smile on my face. Of course something so beautiful warrants an in-depth review, so you can read mine here…

Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Serum

Regular readers will be in on the saga of my terrible nails. I’m a serial biter (I know, horrible habit) with generally weak, rubbish nails. For years now, I’ve been having salon extensions and infills to keep my nails nice. But with moving house and the baby on the way, I fell out of the habit of maintaining them and just let them grow off.

My nails underneath the extensions were paper thin and kept splitting and breaking off, which lured me back into biting them, and now they’re just ugly. I really want to get my natural nails into a good state – not super long, but just nice. When I first stopped biting, I used an older version of this product with brilliant results.

It speeds up the nail growth dramatically – in just a few days I could see noticeable results, and that encouraged me to grow them out and stop biting. I need that magic again! My plan is to use this to get a bit of length going and then use a hardener treatment to get them in better condition. Then I get nicer looking hands and I won’t be a slave to the nail salon. Wish me luck!

Mac 190 foundation brush

Although this is a foundation brush, I bought it for the purpose of applying concealers and contour creams really, but I prefer the wider head to using a concealer brush as I just find it easier, especially when blending out the triangles under my eyes.

I haven’t used a traditional foundation brush for quite a while, as I’m more into kabuki style brushes, so it seemed like time to treat myself to a new one.

Makeup Blender Foundation Sponge

This was a cheap eBay find, and I’m hoping its going to be a good dupe for my Beauty Blender. I love my original Beauty Blender but I must not have dried it out properly before putting it away last time, because it got dark spots on it that looked like mould (gross!), so I had to chuck it.

I love the flawless finish it gave but I still struggle with paying out so much money for what is essentially an egg shaped piece of foam, so I decided to give this version a go. If its any good, then I’ve saved a fortune.

If its not as good, I may end up buying another Beauty Blender, but at least I’ve only wasted a couple of pounds (and got a back up in the process!). Because these sponges do need replacing fairly often, I guess I’m a bit funny about them costing so much – with a brush you know it will last for years, but these always get gross eventually due to them constantly being used damp. I’ll report back on how good it is!

15 Colour Cream Camouflage Concealer palette

Another cheap eBay find, I’ve seen a lot of people getting these generic, non-brand palettes so I wanted to join in the fun. They’re a great way to practice contouring and colour balancing without splashing out on a high-end concealer palette, plus there are so many shades in them I probably won’t use much, I just wanted to have a go with this and see what is actually useful to me. 

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

Despite being a big fan of UD’s Naked range, I actually only own the Naked Basics, On The Run and Naked 2 out of the eyeshadow palettes. I wasn’t sure about 3 when it launched, so I actually bought Makeup Revolution’s Iconic 3 which is an amazing dupe.

Then I realised that I was using that so much, I would probably get the use out of Naked 3, I decided to invest some of my birthday money in the real thing! I'm not going to be reviewing this, because its been out for ages and there are countless reviews out there. But I am looking forward to having a play and creating some looks with this.

And that was my awesome haul this month, I've been very spoilt! What have you been buying?


  1. I am loving those leopard print sneakers; they're really funky & cool. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  2. Hiya babe, lovely staff,
    love the concealer pallete.
    thanks for sharing this with us.

    Visit me whenever u can;

    Have a lovely week!
    Stay in touch.

    Dominica S.

  3. Oh the brush of the Two Faced mascara looks interesting! Lovely post btw <3
    Nati xx

  4. Happy Birthday! Love your Mini Mac bag<3 thanks for sharing hope you have a lovely day
    follow for follow?:)


  5. I've heard good things about this nuxe krem product. Going on my wish list now!