Thursday, 30 June 2011

Weekly Love - Week 72

+ This weeks Hummingbird Bakery cake book experiment: Sticky Toffee Cupcakes - I think these are the best ones I've tried so far!

+ Finishing my A Levels. Such an amazing feeling - my 18th birthday bottle of champagne I've been saving was the perfect celebration!

Sophie has written a fantastic guide to cleaning out your makeup bag.

+ Long Island Iced Tea.

+ Defining success for your blog.

+ Clinique Bonus Time - i love freebies! (For those of you who don't know what Bonus Time is, I've explained it here!)

+ These photos make me wish I lived in California.

+ Homemade scotch eggs, fresh and still warm!

+ Gala Darling gives us a rundown of Los Angeles' hottest vintage stores.
17 Nail Bar In A Bag - free
+ If you buy any two '17' products in Boots until the 12th July you'll receive a free summer nail art kit bag - make sure to pick one up in store or online!

+ The new Wildfox lookbook.

+ Trying out the amazing new mexican restaurant in town with my friend Kathryn.

+ Spending hours on Tumblr looking at pretty pictures and not feeling guilty about it, because I no longer have any exams to study for!

+ Sally has written a fantastic guide to looking polished.

+ There is a new Maroon 5 song called 'Moves Like Jagger' featuring Christina Aguilera. There are not words to describe how happy this makes me!

+ Forever 21's possible lawsuit against a California blogger makes me suddenly interested in my studies of the American Constitution, and makes me love the first Amendment...

+ Waking up with the instant thought of 'what exam do I have today?' and realising that I'd finished them and I don't have anything I HAVE to be doing today!

Trust Katy Perry to create a totally wacked out mini film/ music video for Last friday Night (T.G.I.F)  -she's even got some of the Glee guys and Rebecca Black in it!
+ Chilli and tomato baked haddock with Mediterranean couscous. 

+ Benefit has launched a new mascara - I can't wait for this to hit the UK!

+ Getting away with chocolate pudding for breakfast because I'm on holiday. 

+ Reading Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange - and absolutely incredible book - I'll post a review soon!

+ Suze reminds us bloggers that we're not in high school anymore.

+ Waking up and going to bed without looking at the clock all day, having no idea what the time is because there is nothing I need to be doing.

+ Andy Torres has filmed yet another film showing us her favourite chic spots in Amsterdam!

+ Long, country, family walks.

+ More from Gala, she's written three fantastic posts on body image among fashion and style bloggers (one, two & three)

What have you been enjoying this week?

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

French Photo Diary #2

Here are the second half of the photos from my trip to France last week. This pretty much covers everything else we did, except for our trip to the town of St Malo, my favourite place in the region which I think deserves a special post all to itself!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Girls Who Dare To Bare

Inspired by her first Makeover Sunday post, Alyse from Intergrating Alyse has launched 'Girls Who Dare To Bare' on her blog, to show the difference and effect makeup makes, highlighting natural beauty compared to what we choose to cover up with cosmetics. So far some of my favourite bloggers including Gem, Lucy and Ayden have taken part, and yesterday it was my turn to be included in her Girls Who Dare To Bare feature
Both of these before and after photos are entirely unedited, and in the first one I am not wearing any makeup at all. Actually, as a real beauty junkie, surprisingly, I don't actually wear much makeup as part of my every day look, and I wear much less than I used to - I only wear eyeliner as part of an evening look now, and I used to feel naked without it. I've also, in the last year or so become more confident being seen without makeup - now I'll be known to head out to places where I know only my friends will see me in the evenings without bothering to put my makeup on. I remember reading a copy of Glamour on the train coming back from London and how some women set the alarm to get up early and have a full face of makeup on before their other halves wake up so they don't have to let them see them without their face on - I think that is total madness!

I'm wearing:

Benefit Coralista & Sugarbomb Blush (the ends of both, crushed up into one box)
Benefit Boi-ing Concealer 01
Benefit 'Her Name Was Glowla' Eyeshadow Pallette
Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Soft Bloom
Clinique Superbalm Lipstick 08 Current
Benefit BadGal Plum Mascara
Benefit SpeedBrow 

Do you feel comfortable letting people see you without any makeup on?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Introducing: Boudoir Privé

You only had to be following a couple of beauty bloggers on Twitter yesterday to hear the disappointment following the second GlossyBox we all received. You'll remember by very happy and excited review I wrote for the first box, which was fantastic (Nars Orgasm Illuminator and Alterna hair spray are now both part of my daily routine), but I also was not so happy with yesterdays box (mini O.P.I, body exfoliator, perfume sample, Batiste mini dry shampoo, anti ageing serum) and after hearing about the price rise I subsequently cancelled my subscription. The problem is, though I don't wish to continue receiving GlossyBoxes, I'm quite sad next month I won't be getting a pretty pink box of samples through the post - as proven by the first box, the concept of getting introduced to new products in a convenient way does actually work. However, a few weeks ago I heard about Boudoir Privé, another exciting new start up launching in July with a very similar concept to GlossyBox.
1 box Boudoir Prive
As you can see, a similar pretty pink box, this time filled with 6 samples instead of 5, and also costing £10 - I really can't wait to get my hands on one of these now!

Reading about Boudoir Privé I also think their feedback rewards system is much, much better than that of GlossyBox. Something else that has caused a lot of people to cancel their Glossy subscriptions is that the Glossy Dots you receive for leaving feedback are now worth less. When we all signed up for the initial May box you needed to collect 20 dots for a free box. They later announced that you would need 100 dots for a free box, which would take you over a year to collect. Boudoir Privé, however, give you discounts to spend in their online store of the full sized products of the samples you received in return for your feedback - much more instant, useful and gratifying!

You can sign up to get an email when registration starts on the Boudoir Privé website, and you can also follow them on Twitter!

Who here is going to sing up for Boudoir Privé? Was anyone else disappointed with their June GlossyBoxes?

*edit* You can read my review of my first box here!

Friday, 24 June 2011

French Photo Diary #1

So, everyone, I'm back! I had a lovely time staying at my house in France over the last week, and after looking through all of my photos, I've decided to split my photos into three posts: a post about the town of St Malo (one of my favourite places) and two photo diaries. Enjoy the first diary!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Product Review: Alterna Caviar Anti-Ageing Colour Hold Rapid Repair Spray

I know I already did a mini review of this spray in my GlossyBox post, but since I received it I have been using it every single day, and as it is one of the best products I've ever tried on my hair I decided that it deserved a post of its own! My hair damages easily and I love wearing it long, silky and glossy so I'm forever trying new products to try and achieve that salon finish every day! 
Basically, its a finishing mist that you spray on dry hair. I love that is smells amazing: sweet but not too much so that you would not want to wear it in your hair. It makes my hair shiny, and it really enhances the coloured bits (I have half head highlights). It also thins my hair a little where it is fluffy so that it hangs smooth and glossy. I don't get heavy clumps of product in my hair using this, as I do with most other hair serums I've used. 

It's a repair spray, and though I do already use a leave in conditioner exclusively for sealing split ends (Herbal Essences, review to come soon!) I've noticed even less since starting to use this spray every morning. I could not recommend this spray enough. 

Its £27 for a 100ml bottle, but judging by the bottle I have it will last quite a while depending on how much you use it, and if you think about how much high end face scrubs and moisturisers are from places like Benefit and Clinique, it's not too ridiculous a price if you're willing to spend as much looking after your hair as you do on your skin.

Do you have a wonder product you use to try and achieve a salon finish?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Timeless Style Icon

As some of my older readers will remember, my ultimate style icon is my mother with her timeless wardrobe and enviable shoe collection. I take so much inspiration from everything she wears, and as I always have my camera out I managed to persuade her to let me shoot her for an outfit post - though she still wanted to keep her face hidden - she hates being photographed! 
Hat: Dents, Linen Maxi Dress: Precis Petite, Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

I was thinking of maybe mixing some more of the stuff she's been wearing into this blog, outfits that inspire me, and not just my Mum, some of my non blogger friends too. Who would like to see more posts like this, outfits that are not just what I'm wearing? 

Friday, 17 June 2011

Un Affaire Très Français

So, now I've finished my exams, and school forever (though I'll be going back for fun end of term things and graduation), and because I've been stuck in England studying for ages, by the time you'll be reading this I'll be almost home. Not home being the house where I grew up, but home in rural, Northern France - one of my very favourite places in the world and that I have not seen since December. 
As regular readers will know, our house there is almost finished, and I've been holidaying there since late 2008. I've really started to get to know the area now, so rather than my usual roundup post of photos from my trip each time when I get back, I'm going to try and write some little features on some of the really beautiful historical sites and lovely little French towns in the area. That's if I don't end up sitting on the patio drinking wine and catching up on my reading every day that is! I'm lucky to live somewhere so interesting and so beautiful, so I'd love to be able to share it with you all! 
This will be the first of my two trips this summer, as I said I'll be coming back for school gradation and the big blowout with my friends, then I'll be back in France for another week. I'll have my grandparents in tow on the second trip, so I promise I'll get some of the 'places to visit' in the area to write about on this visit, because most likely I'll be revisiting sites that fall more into the 'been there, done that' category!

I've scheduled some posts to go up while I'l gone, but I'll see you all next week! (While I'm gone, why not vote for me in the Missguided Blogger Social Style competition by liking my entry on Facebook? (If I win Missguided will give me £20 to spend in their store to give away to my lovely readers!)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Product Review: Inika Mineral Eyeshadow

Free with this months Marie Claire I got a free Inika Meneral Eyeshadow, and because I'd never heard of the Inika brand before, I decided to do a quick review for you all!
I love the packaging, elegant and simple, and it is designed such that you don't get powder everywhere when you open it, something I have found with the packaging of lots of other, similar products. 
I really like the glittery sheen, and how easy it was to use. This will make a lovely shadow on its own, or as part of a slightly sparkly evening smokey eye. The top line I applied with my finger, which gave the best coverage. Below, I used a fluff eyeshadow brush (Benefit's Fluff Shadow Brush if you're interested) to apply, and the thin bottom line was applied with a hard angle brush (Benefit's Talent Brush). I really liked the texture, and I think this shade (no. 6 Gun Metal) will feature prominently next time I go for an evening out! It was easy to remove with makeup remover, but not so easy that I think that it will wear off easily. 

Each pot costs £9.75, but, as I said at the beginning of this post it is free with this months (July) Marie Claire which costs £3.60 - I really suggest you pick yourself up a copy!

Has anyone else tried any Inika products before? What did you think of them?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Missguided Social Style Competition

The ladies over at Missguided have launched a Bloggers Social Style competition, where 11 bloggers have to style outfits from the Missguided collection for an up coming social event they will be attending this summer. I've decided to style an outfit for the summer jazz concert and picnic I'll be attending in a few weeks time.

Even though red is not my usual colour, I really, really love this red dress. It is so simple and plain, and though it comes in other, more neutral colours (as well as a few other cuts) the bright colour will make it the perfect piece to dress up the outfit for the concert, but still plain enough to work as a base. The concert is in the evening so the dress won't look bad if I have to throw a cardigan or tailored jacket over it.

The hat is the little piece of whimsical fun I wanted to add to the outfit. As the concert is a casual evening affair in a marque, I could easily have gone for a sparkly hairband or a bare head, but this hat is just so cute, summery and fun!

Though I usually go for black shoes, for an evening, summery look they'd be a bit harsh with a red dress, so I've gone for these lovely cream wedges that look super comfortable! Heels are a no go because I'll have to do a lot of walking on grass...

Finally, because I find it practically impossible to put an outfit together without including something at least a little bit dark, so I'd paint my nails with this lovely black and gold nail polish, fingers and toes!

You can vote for me in the competition by liking my entry on the Missguided Facebook page! (P.S. If I win Missguided will give me £20 to spend in their store to give away to my lovely readers!)

Monday, 13 June 2011

June/ July Magazine Freebies

I took a trip around Sainsburys with my Mum after my exam on Thursday to stock up, and I ended up on picking up lots of magazines to read in France as there are some really great freebies on offer this month! 
I used to spend so much money on magazines, using the fact that I ran one as a justification, but since I started reading more and more blogs where I could get the same information for free and up to the moment I started only buying Nylon (and sometimes Company) religiously each month. However, if there is a freebie I know I'll use or want to try, I will pick the magazine up and read it, or if it is handbag sized, save it to read next time I have a train journey to fill! 
The freebie I'm most excited about came with Glamour magazine, that costs £2 each moth, Glamour usually have some pretty great gifts (Nails Inc nail polish every December for example, or the recent Clinique samples). They also offer a lot of Benefit samples, in the past I've had mascara and eye pencils. This month there are miniatures of their cult cheek products: Benetint, Highbeam and Posie Tint. I picked up the Posie Tint as I have yet to try it, and I'm already a dedicated user of Benetint (a rose scented lip and cheek tint liquid) and Highbeam (a pink pearl highlighter, I swatched it in my Nars Illuminator review). These mini sample bottles are £10 each from the Benefit website (and Highbeam is only avalible full sizes at £18.50), so getting a magazine and a sample bottle for only £2 if you want to try any of these products is an absolute bargain!
I had a £1 off voucher for this months Marie Claire that I'd got free with The Times so I was going to pick it up anyway, but I was so happy to find that I had a choice of either a free mineral eyeliner pencil or mineral eyeshadow from Inika, a brand I'd never heard of before. Marie Claire retails at £3.60, and both products retail at £9.75 so again there are great savings. Its a nice silver grey colour, perfect for smokey eyes, and the eyeliner was graphite, so the colours should suit everyone. I'll try and get a review up later this month while it is still in the shops. 
Finally we have a £5 Body Shop gift card that is valid until July 8th free with InStyle (that will cost you £3.70). This is not as much as a saving, but I know I'll read the magazine and I've been planning on picking up some more Vanilla Eau de Toilette and some Coconut Foaming Bath for a while now, and with this voucher my shop will cost me £12 instead of £17.

Also, not pictured because I have so many already, this month free with Tatler (which costs £3.99) are a pair of sunglasses. I absolutely love Tatler sunglasses, I find them better than most I buy in Accessorize or Topshop! I've never tried the products, but you can also get a full sized Leighton Denny nail polish with Harpers Bazaar (£4.80, the polish is worth £11) and a Jemma Kidd lipgloss worth £14 with Red magazine (£3.80). 

Have you got anything particularly great free with a magazine recently? 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Weekly Love - Week 71

+ My recent Lush haul - thanks to my friend Kathryn for picking it up for me from a shopping list! I guest posted reviews of all of the products over at Star Violet Beauty

+ My new blog tagline: Enhancing Your Everyday Life. I was walking through the supermarket car park with my mother and we were discussing my blog, what sort of things I write about and what I hope my readers take away from my posts. I explained to her that I wanted it to be things that 'enhanced your everyday life', and then I realised that it would make the perfect headline!

+ Lily Melrose talks about her blogging birthday to celebrate her 2nd blog birthday!

+ Stuffing myself with all of my Mothers incredible home cooking - I special mention has to go out to her bread!

+ Will bloggers start using QR codes? (This post is also great in finding out exactly what QR codes are!)

+ That feeling when you open an exam paper and realise that you had gone over the answers to all the questions that morning.

+ Natalie's blog is my favourite source for food and restaurant porn.

+ Getting so many great freebies with this months magazines - I'll be posting about them on Monday!

+ Lulu Guinness is launching a T Shirt collaboration with Uniqlo!
+ These vanilla cupcakes are the best tasting recipe I've ever tried - this week's adventure with my Hummingbird Bakery cookbook! 

Amanda makes Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. I might try this recipe as I already have all the ingredients - I need to get my hands on some Marshmallow Fluff to make the ones in my Hummingbird book.

+ Launching my Dear Rachel feature! If you have any questions you'd like me to tackle, you can drop me an emailsend me a Tweet or ask me a question on Formspring

Ella shows us how to make a vintage camera illustration necklace - such a cute DIY - this girl is so talented!

+ Aero chocolate biscuits.

+ There is a Gossip Girl style list on Fashionlista - this makes me very happy!

+ Lady Antebellum's album 'Need You Now' is just incredible.

+ I love the black dress Andy wore to the L'Autre Chose party in Bologna!

+ This fantastic Favicon generator for your site that Kirsten linked me to. 
+ Receiving my first package exchange parcel from Kate packed with some of my favourite American candy, Essie Nail Polish, Moleskine notebooks and some other goodies for me to try out! I feel the need to inform you all that I'm totally in love with Milk Duds. (You can see the Essie 'Coat Azure' nail polish in this outfit post!)

+ My Mum & I have posted some items on from our wardrobes on eBay if you want to take a look - there is some stuff from Karen Millen, quite a few evening dresses and some vintage pieces on there!

+ There is going to be a new Red Hot Chili Peppers album on August 30th after a 5 year wait - beyond excited!

+ Insects and animals made out of Louis Vuitton bags!

+ Linguini with crab, cherry tomatoes, chilli, capers and lemon.

+ Who'd have thought Topman had such great jewellery?

+ Homemade iced tea!

+ I want to try out this bracelet tutorial!

What have you all been enjoying this week?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Outfit Post: Every Word Was Right On The Money

I'm not really happy with the photos for this outfit post, just what I wore to run some errands with my Mum, but I wanted to show off my new Essie 'Coat Azure' nail polish I got from Kate in our package exchange, and the bird skull necklace I got from Lily's JWLRY store. 
I'd wanted it ever since she'd first shown it off in an outfit post, and saw it in her store but did not have the money. When I finally did have a little bit of cash to spare, they were sold out! I hit Lily a quick tweet to ask her if she was going to get any back in stock, and she told me that she in fact had one left, and did I want it! 
Striped Tee - H&M
Shorts - N.W.3
Necklace - JWLRY
Hat - Urban Outfitters

The next question I'm going to be tackling in my next Dear Rachel post is the question of how I don't run out of money when it seems like I'm always shopping. This outfit, with some of my favourite current summer wardrobe outfits reminded me of the question, because I'm wearing all stuff that I may have spent a bit on (I seem to remember Amy's reaction when I paid for the shorts in Selfridges) but I wear again and again, getting my money worth - every item of clothing in this post you've already seen in an outfit post: the hat and tee and the shorts

What items of clothing/ accessories have you just kept on coming back to this summer so far?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dear Rachel: How To Get Clearer Skin

Recently I've been getting a lot of emails asking me different questions about things like blogging, makeup and asking for fashion advice, so I thought instead of emailing people back individually, I'd make my answers into blog posts so everyone can benefit! So, without no further preamble I'd like to introduce you all to my newest feature, Dear Rachel!
Dear Rachel,

You have such clear skin! What products do you use to get such a flawless finish?

I actually keep things really simple with my skincare routine: when it comes to your face I'm a big believer in less is more. 
All of my products are by Clinique or Benefit, both brands developed of hyper sensitive skin, it's important to find something that works well for your skin type. 
First is my makeup. I know a lot of people don't count it as part of their skincare routine, but I do because, after all, it's something that you put on your face! I'm lucky that I don't need to wear foundation, just a bit of cream concealer now and again, but I'd apply the same theory to foundation that I do to my concealer, work to find a product that does not either dry out of break out your skin. I use Boi-ing by Benefit. This way, your skin is not being affected by the makeup you're using. I know a lot of my friends with problem skin use Bare Minerals powder foundations so their skin can still breathe without being caked in heavy foundation.
Next, what I wash my face with. I only use makeup remover when I'm wearing waterproof makeup, because makeup does have to be removed, but I find regardless of the brand I use it burns my skin. Water is harmless, so usually I just flush my eye makeup off over and over again with water, its usually easier to do this in the shower using a couple of cotton buds to make sure that it is all removed. Then you need to find a good face ash that works for you. I like a scrub that exfoliates my face so I use Clinique's 7 Day Scrub Cream which is fantastic, but I'll soon be switching to Benefit's Refined Finish Facial Polish because I prefer the size of the exfoliating beads in it, the smell and the fact it gives my skin a brighter finish. Play around with samples of different products and see which one works for you, then use it every day.
The final step to my routine is when I step out of the bath or shower I pat my face dry with a soft clean towel and apply my face cream. Since I started using eye cream on a daily basis I've found I don't get dry skin around my eyes anymore. I'd really recommend Clinique's All About Eyes. Then, on the rest of my face if I'm going to bed I use a heavier moisturiser, I love Benefit's Total Moisture Facial Cream, but if I'm going to be putting makeup back on or just seeing people but without any makeup on, I go for the lighter Clinique Moisture Surge.
I deal with problem areas of my skin like redness, sores created by bad reactions to products I've tried or just general dry skin by using Clinique's Comfort On Call Allergy Tested Relief Cream. I remember reading about this a few years ago when in first launched in Vogue on the train to London and thinking that it was the perfect product for me, specially formulated for skin that reacts to stress and allergies. It's got a hefty price tag, even for Clinique products, weighing in at £35 a pot, but after about 2 years I'm only just coming to the end of my first pot and it works absolute wonders.
Finally I eat well and drink lots and lots of water - these things do make a difference! I love fresh fruit, so thats usually all I snack on, I avoid fatty, fried and high sugar foods because I don't really like them, and every evening I flush my system out with about 6 - 8 mugs of water. During the day I mostly drink fruit tea, or homemade iced tea.

I hope that helps!

*edit* 7/06/11: A lot of you in your comments have said that you'd love to try Clinique products but their really expensive, but your mothers use them, if she does, you should utilise Clinique Bonus Time to get free samples - I've written about it in my How To Save Money On Makeup post!

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer, be they on blogging, beauty or books, you can drop me a quick email, contact me on Twitter or leave me a comment on Formspring

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Weekly Love - Week 70

+ Receiving the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. My Mum and I baked these chocolate fondant cupcakes on Friday afternoon, and they taste delicious, with chocolate fondant centres!

+ M. Robot talks about sexism among style journalists.

+ There is going to be a IFB conference in London. BEYOND excited!

+ Making these blueberry pancakes while I watch The Andrew Marr show. I can only really cook properly in my Mummy's kitchen.

+ Very important now the summer is almost here: How To Pack For A Holiday

+ My Tumblr has basically turned into a resource for food, fruit, flower and palm tree porn.

+ IFB's recap of their first ever Twitter chat about promoting your blog.

+ Eating home produce. At the moment I'm enjoying cherries, strawberries and lettuce.

+ How to appeal to your blogging audience: most of your readers are non bloggers - this is a really thought provoking read with some really useful tips!
+ This packaging my Mum's new maxi dress from Presis came in!

+ I need a Laduree macaroon wall chart in my life!

+ Pink Port.

+ A fashion writer does not wash her hair for six days, all in the name of research, and there are some very surprising results.

+ Another Pokemon related link to make us nostalgic of our childhoods, eggs painted to look like Pokemon - so cute!

+ Following and joining in with the Sunday night Beauty Bloggers #bbloggers hash tag chat.

+ How to wear pigtails without looking like a Lolita style stripper - I love the title of this article!

+ Finding half an unopened packet on Strawberry & Grape Wonka Nerds in one of the bags I was using in San Francisco - my favourite candy!

+ Andy Torres takes us on a tour of her favourite spots in Amsterdam.
+ My bird skull necklace from JWLRY - they were sold out so I asked Lily if she was getting any more in, and it turned out she actually had one left!

+ Nubby Twiglet has put together the most incredible, beautiful and stylish press kit for Kat's Rock 'N' Roll bride blog!

+ My Mum's super tasty and super healthy rice, chicken and fish meals - and her salads - I feel so good for what I've been eating since I've been home!

+ Amy explains Book Crossing.

+ Watching The Good Wife.

+ Mari has made this fantastic video with ideas of how to wear a Little Fille Headband. I can't wait to wear mine!

+ Wagamamas and lunch time clothes shopping with my friend Kathryn. Also, Kathy coming over to hang, swim, eat cupcakes and, unfortunately, study.

+ Shelling fresh peas as study snacks.

What have you been enjoying this week?

Friday, 3 June 2011

Outfit Post: Yellow Lady (My DIY Block Yellow Wedges)

So many of you wanted to know what I was going to wear my DIY yellow colour block wedges with, I ended up wearing them to the cast lunch for a play I worked on earlier in the year!

Jumper - Boden
Tank Top - Topshop
Black Skinny Jeans - French Connection
Clutch -Zara
DIY Wedges

Has anyone tried the DIY yet? How have you/ how would you style these shoes?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Gradual Tanning Lotions

I have ghostly pale skin, and I don't tan very well. This is alright in the winter, because it means I can have that fantastic porcelain skin (hello Russian blood!) However, in the summer this can be a bit of a pain because my bare legs just look horrible and puke like. Because of this, I've been on the quest for the perfect high street gradual tanning lotion. Frankly, I'm absolutely terrified of using any type of instant tan, because I'm so pale!
I've tried Johnson's Holiday Skin, Nivia's Sunkissed Skin Firming Gradual Tan, Garnier Summer Body and Palmers Natural Bronze with different degrees of success. 
Johnson's Holiday Skin

This was the first lotion I ever tried and its my least favourite. It has a thick, clumpy gel like consistency and smells awful. The smell lingers, and back when this was one of the only gradual tanning lotions on the market it was that tell tell smell that let people know that you'd been faking it. That being said, it does give one of the best colours, but you've got to be careful not to use it every day because you'll get quite orange. Also be careful around your knees and ankles as they hold onto the colour a lot! Because of the thicker consistency this lotion also streaks very easily. However, if you use it sparingly, after exfoliating and you're careful to avoid streaks and let is dry and develop, you'll get a really nice colour. 
Nivia Sunkissed Skin Firming Gradual Tan

I remember getting this bottle in a goodie bag at Clothes Show London way back, and it has been one of my favourites since. It has a really light and thin consistency which makes it go a long way, it does not streak as badly as the Johnson's version (but it does still a little bit, but not if you're careful). However, it still gathers around your knees and ankles a bit! it has a really, really nice fragrance with is a bit like yogurt, but in a really, really good way. I love the way it makes my skin smell, and its really moisturising too. It gives a good colour, but, again, be careful not to use it too much or you'll go slightly yellowy this time!
Garnier Summer Body

This is once of my most recent purchases, and I really love it. It is basically the same as the Nivia lotion, apart from it is more moisturising and smells beautifully of Apricot. It also streaks *slightly* less and gives a better, browner colour. It still gathers on the knees, and does not look as bad if you have a build up, but still use it sparingly. I think not using gradual tanners everyday might be the way forward. However, as much as I like this product apparently I'm allergic. It made my legs itch. A lot. 
Palmers Natural Bronze Body Lotion

I picked this one up special offer in Boots a while back because I use their body butter all the time and swear by the stuff. The pump bottle is really useful, and it has the same smell and texture to the usual body butter, but with a slightly bitter after scent that stays on the skin, but fades mostly after a few hours. This also gives the very best brown colour, and if you give even application in one go (which is not that hard to do) it does not really streak. It also have the best brown colour. However, I have not worked out if I'm allergic to this product or not, I'm too scared to try it again! It was fine on my arms, fantastic even, but on my legs (albeit freshly shaved) it made them a bit red and sore, and they were really, really itchy for days. Though, I don't think, if it was this lotion, it will do this to everyone. In some cases with some products I have hyper sensitive skin. 

So which one is my favourite? It would have been Garnier if I had not been allergic, but it will have to be Nivia which came in a close second!

How many of these lotions have you guys tried? How did you find them?