Monday, 25 July 2011

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Quick Update...


For the past few days I've had a pretty hectic time which explains the noticeable absence of anything new on here for this week.

I'm off on my holidays tomorrow night which will again leave The Beauty Spark a little bit lonely...BUT I'll be taking lots of lovely pictures etc whilst I'm relaxing so will have lots of lovely things to share with you on my return. If I have time I might schedule some posts for you all to enjoy but that's going to be time dependent I'm afraid!

Just so this doesn't feel like a completely redundant post, I'll throw in a little In & Out post to fill you in on some bits & pieces.


- Holidays...Obviously. I fly out on Sunday night for a lovely week long sun break in Greece, it's just me and my best pal on a girly getaway. I actually cannot wait.
- Being ahead of the game: If you don't already know I'm trying to write my Masters Thesis at the moment which takes up a lot of my free time, between, that, work and actually trying to have a life it gets a bit complicated. BUT I've managed to push myself to get a big part of it done before I jet off, so now it's a guilt free holiday all around!
- Shorts: I can't get enough of them at the moment, my latest purchase was a criminally short denim pair from topshop which will probably only see the light of day in Greece without a pair of tights.


- I tweeted about this earlier but I woke up this morning with the biggest bite/spot/sting/cyst I have ever seen on my chin. It's made my entire chin go really hard and tight and it hurts! I'm currently sat here with some crushed up aspirin on it to try and combat some of the's a glamorous life.
- Luggage Allowance...I have to try and get my suitcase under 15kg. The case itself weighs 5kg...hello excess baggage charges.
- Pre-Holiday stress...Passports/Insurance/Money/Packing/The Journey blahhh just transport me to the beach and stick a cocktail in my hand!

Have a brilliant week,

Laura xxx

I shall be dancing on the beach to this...just FYI.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Battle of the Beauty Staples: Black Eyeliner.

The humble black eyeliner pencil, for somebody who doesn't wear it nearly enough, I appear to have acquired my fair share.

Like any good beauty blogger, my first thought when collecting them all together was to give them a good old test for you all...

Being put to the test:

MAC Feline Kohl Power RRP £13.00
Benefit BAD Gal Eyeliner RRP £14.00 
Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil in Zero RRP £13.00
Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil RRP £3.10 

1. How Black Are They?

I'm almost certain that to many people black is black, but take a look and you'll see what I'm talking about...

(l-r Feline, BAD Gal, Zero & Rimmel Soft Kohl)

For intenstity of pigment, Feline has to win hands down, compared to the others it's transfers far more colour and is by far the most intense.

I'm a little disappointed with BAD Gal, it took more than a few swipes to even reach the watery swatch above.

The Urban Decay also looks a little watery, almost liquid like, I did dry to a more opaque finish though.

The Rimmel Kohl looks the most grey when applied to the hand, but must be said, is not far off BAD Gal.

2. On The Eyes...

MAC Feline Kohl Power

Benefit BAD Gal Liner

Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Liner

Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero

I'm again most impressed by the intensity of Feline by MAC, it blows the others away if you want a strong black liner look. The Urban Decay 24/7 Liner comes in with a softer intensity but still delivers on colour.

I can't tell you how disappointed I am with BAD Gal, it's a watery mess. It took me several applications even to achieve the weak colour in the water line...not impressed.

Rimmel doesn't fair much better, but considering the £10 price difference between it and the Benefit pencil, I'm not to unimpressed, I'd even say it performs better.

3. Smudge Test...

In the name of science, I left these on my hand to test how the wore all at the same time.

BAD Gal & Rimmel have faired much the same, they're a weak trace of what was their before...thumbs down.

This is where the Urban Decay 24/7 really comes into it's own, it still looks black and pigmented and has worn far better than Feline, which is still looking pretty good!

4. The Verdict.

My Overall Winner Is...


Now for the bad news...It's not available at the moment! It's Limited Edition MAC but It's been released in numerous collections so keep an eye out.

If you want something very similar NOW check out MAC Smoulder...

If I were you I'd stay away from BAD Gal, for the price it just doesn't cut the mustard, not even as a smudgy soft liner.

For the price, Rimmel stood up well to some of the higher end brands, if you want a softer pencil to smoke up under the lower lash line but are on a budget, give this a go.

Comment Question: Which one of these is your winner?

Laura xx

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Birthday Bumps

I'm rushed off my feet today but I just couldn't let today pass by without celebrating 'The Beauty Spark's' 2nd Birthday!

Birthday Speech...

 I remember sitting on my bed, writing my first review (If you want to take a look, click's embarrassing...) and really not sure what I was getting myself in to.
I'm so glad I decided to dive into the world of beauty blogging as i've met some lovely people and been given some amazing opportunities and most of all I am incredibly proud of my little space on the internet.

Just to throw the cliche meter off the scale...

I'm SO grateful for EVERYONE who takes the time to read or comment. You may hear people say that they just write for themselves, but believe me, knowing that you're appreciated and interacting with other passionate people makes this all worthwhile.

Thank you so much!

Over & Out

Laura x

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Bikini Blitz: Final Week Holiday Countdown...

Even though my normal gym and eating regime are generally healthy, after realising I go on holiday in TEN DAYS, some extra steps have been added to my regime to make sure I'm as 'bikini ready' as I'll ever be!


Yes Ladies, I'm afraid no lotion or potion is ever going to be a good enough subsitute for exercise, sad but true...

On top of my regular regime at the gym, I've added some additional excercise to help firm up any areas I need to.

- I've been doing my usual arms exercises whilst doing squats on a vibrostation and have really noticed the difference. To the unintiated the vibrostation (also known as a powerplate) causes the muscles to contract about 35-40 times a second, making every excercise you do work a little bit harder. I tend to do squats whilst i'm doing fly and press arm exercises then holding squats on the station for 30 seconds, trust me, i'm not the expert though, I do what i'm told!

- An amazing one for the lower ab area is a reverse crunch, it hurts but it really does kick your lower ab muscles into shape, to see what i'm talking about, have a look at this great video here.


- To quote TOWIE for one carbs before marbs! I don't agree with cutting carbs out long term, but the prospect of baring all in a bikini has seen me clear the bread bin for the forseeable. It's all about fish, salad, vegetables and lean meats until I hit that beach!

- In addition to this, I'm ditching the Diet Coke completely until I jet off and replacing it with Green Tea. I try to drink as much Green Tea as possible but lately i've strayed right back into the arms of the dreaded 'DC', Green Tea is a brilliant anti-toxident and will hopefully reduce any bloating and give me clearer skin for holiday time!


- Tanning: I'm cracking out the St Moriz religiously and I'm not sorry one bit!
- Exfoliate: Exfoliating Gloves & a good scrub (I'm using Origins Incredible Spreadable) will not only give you smooth lovely skin but improve circulation as well if you do it properly, leaving you with a more even tones legs/arms etc. 
- Bikini Wax...Ahem.
- Moisturise: A lovely rich moisturiser will banish any dry bits and plump up your skin, again improving appearance...what's not to love! I'm using Aveeno Daily Moisturiser at the moment, it's not fancy but it does the job. 

Comment Question:

What are you doing to get bikini ready?
Any last minute tips you swear by?!

Laura x

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Easy Summer Evening...

Fresh back from a week in the sun, Hannah wanted something that embraced her freckles and was fresh and summery.

Any tools were kept to a minimum, this is a simple post beach look that should be able to be done in minutes.

TOOLS: Angled Brow Brush
Eyelash Curlers
Large Powder Brush

I've used the products from the previous summer hit lists to show them in action:

FACE: Oilatum & Boujois Bio Detox Concealer Under Eyes
Brows: MAC Cork e/s
Highlight: Benefit Hollywood Glo

Eyes: Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara
Urban Decay Smog Under Lash Line

Illamasqua Cream Blush in Rude
MAC Stereo Rose MSF

LIPS: MAC Hue Lipstick & Barry M No11 Lipgloss


Keep the skin light and fresh, dare to go without a complete base if you can, just conceal any problem areas.

Bronze/Gold & Coral tones are your friend during the summer months, they suit a range of skintones and enhance a tan.

Keep Brows Groomed: If you want to skip everything else, keep your brows neat and slick on some mascara and lip balm, the easiest way to look lovely this summer.

Laura xxx

Monday, 11 July 2011

Summer Hit List: Lip Products

Yesterday was blush, today it's the turn of the lips...

Despite professing yesterday that it's all about the cheeks during summer, a true beauty addict can't live without a bit of lippie.

The hot products this summer are:

- YSL Rouge Volupte in No2 Sensual Silk
- NARS Barberella
- MAC Hue
- MAC Ravishing
- MAC Lady Danger

(l-r YSL Sensual Silk, NARS Barberella, MAC Hue)

(l-r MAC Lady Danger, MAC Ravishing)

The common theme with the majority of these lipsticks is that they're easy to wear, sheer formulations that take seconds to swipe on, Barbarella especially feels like a lipstick/balm hybrid. Like Sleek Flamingo in the post below, Lady Danger is the odd one of the bunch as a bright red statement lip & looks perfect with simple summer skin and a slick of mascara.

Comment Question: What's your ultimate summer lip product?

Laura xx

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Summer Hit List: Blush Products.

When it gets to summer, I tend to focus more on blush and less on eyeshadow/lipstick etc.

The blush products to reach for this summer are:

- Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Emerge
-MAC Style Blush
-MAC MSF Stereo Rose (No Longer Available: BUT check out MAC Rose Quartz MSF for a similar hue)
- Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush
- Sleek Flamingo Blush

(l-r Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Emerge, Illamasqua Rude Blush)

( l-r MAC Style Blush, MAC Stereo Rose MSF, Sleek Flamingo Blush)

As you may have noticed, peach and coral tend to be my weapon of choice during the summer months as they compliment a tan and feel fresher than something more plum or pink toned. Sleek's Flamingo Blusher has crept into my favourites though as a dab of this on the apples of the cheeks with Style run over the cheekbones is a lovely summer look.

What are your favourite blush products for summer?

Laura xx

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Prime for your Life...

They say behind every good foundation lies a good primer...well, I for one, have never subscribed to that school of thought.

I always presumed that primers were a bit of an unessesary step, developed by cosmetic companies to squeeze a few more pennies out of us. I will admit, I've had several brief affairs with primers (Smashbox Photofinish, L'Oreal Studio Secrets) and have never been left with the sense that I need this in my routine.

Therefore, when this primer by Arbonne dropped through my letterbox, I didn't hold much hope for the little black bottle, but I have to say, I'm actually remembering to use it, and it's a lovely little product.

A few points to consider:

This is a silky primer, it applies with cloud like smoothness. This can only mean one thing, stay clear of this is you have even the slightest aversion to silicone as this is packed full of the stuff, it definately prescribed to the Smashbox school of thought, in fact the two products are very similar.

The primer claims to dimish the appearance of fine lines and pores, and I will give it that, it does reduce the appearance of some of the larger pores around my nose and makes foundation glide over, rather than magnifying these areas.

In terms of pricing, £25.00 for 30ml puts it slightly cheaper than Smashbox, yet If you suffer from really oily skin, that might not be the best option.

Overall, if you're looking to try something a bit different, I'd give this a go, it certainly suprised me. But, I do still believe that it's a luxury step, and if you don't miss it, don't do it!

Available from

Laura xx

Monday, 4 July 2011

Products I Am Loving Right Now...June Edition.

So, It's July, the sun is just about out and I'm traditionally late telling you what I've been obsessed with over the month of June.


Arbonne FC5 Oil Absorbing Day Lotion SPF 20+: I'm a little bit in love with this cream, it's a brilliant lightweight base for the summer that prevents me from being on constant shine patrol. I've been trying out a few new Arbonne products & this has clinched the top spot.
Liz Earle C+P: This is always a favourite, I don't think i'll ever use another cleanser. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a Holy Grail Product!
St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse: I FINALLY took the plunge and decided to take a gamble on this £2.99 wonder last week and boy is it a little gem, application with a mitt is foolproof, it dries in minutes and leaves you with a natural olive glow. I applied it on Saturday and it's still looking even and hasn't dried my skin out. It really is an amazing cheap alternative to other higher end tanning products, ahem, St Tropez Bronzing Mousse...
Xen Tan Face Tanner: I'm very picky about what I put on my face as I live in constant fear of reacting to the unknown, so I've stuck with Xen Tan Face Tanner, it's the bees knees. It look natural, blends flawlessly. job done.
Exfoliating Gloves: Believe it or not, I bought some exfoliating gloves for the first time a few weeks ago...god knows why I waited so long. I think it might be the idea of wearing gloves in the shower...shudder. Or the mental image of Mario & Lisa (Veteran Big Brother Cretins for the uninitiated) indulging in mutual exfoliating wearing these little wonders...double shudder. BUT they're genius, paired with Origins Ginger Scrub they're a match made in smooth skin heaven.

(I'm considering a career in glove modelling...)


MAC Style: This is a repeat appearance for Style blush, it really comes into it's own during the summertime and makes me love it even more.
Urban Decay Naked Palette: Despite having this for a while, I felt I neglected it slightly. I've made a conscious effort to indulge in a bit of nakedness during June and it's living up to it's cult favourites? Buck for eyebrows, Virgin for lazy days and Darkhorse for a gorgeous smokey crease.
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation: I'm going to say no more on the subject, just read HERE to get why I'm obsessed.

Comment Question: What's been your stand out product(s) this month?

Laura x

PR Samples: Arbonne Face Cream, Xen Tan Tanner & Illamasqua BB Cream, Everything else was purchased with my own pennies!

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