Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #12 - Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense

Right! Here's my 12th and final Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea.  I hope you found my 11th hour guide useful, and you could always treat yourself to something in the sales.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be an amazing year for everyone (now that we've survived the ending of the Mayan calendar and all!).  Thank you so much for hanging around during 2012 which was a difficult year for me in a number of ways.  I plan to be a much better blogger in 2013 and am going to set some bloggy resolutions for 2013 which I'll share with you in a few days.

This is more of practical present, maybe something you can treat yourself to, but I would sure like to find this in my stocking on Christmas morning.  I've tried a few hair masks from Kerastase and this by far leaves my hair in the best condition.  The best way to use it is to shampoo your hair, towel dry it and then apply a glob of Masqueintense, pop on a shower cap and leave it for about half an hour.  You can immediately feel how nourished and restored your hair feels after one of these treatments.  I would like to have the time to do one once a week, but even getting to it once a month helps.

I paid upwards of £25 for this in a salon, but have found it on Feel Unique for £21.

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #11 - No7 Skincare Heros

If you haven't tried No7's Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum you must have been living under a rock for the last 5 years, but if you have then you know what a great little product it is to get dull, tired skin feeling smooth and cared for again.  I'm on my umpteenth tube of this (I do miss when it was in glass bottles as it just felt so much more luxurious to use) and will always have it in my skincare collection.  They recently changed the packaging to the tube form after customer feedback as it's such a cult product women want to be able to travel with it and not have to decant into lighter packaging.  I've also tried the slightly more expensive Intense version of the serum but it broke me out as it's just too intensive and aimed at mature skin. 

The Instant Illusion Wrinkle Filler is something I picked up on a whim during a No7 promotion.  It's essentially pollyfila for anyone with noticeable pores and the beginnings of wrinkles.  It smooths on a lot like Benefit's Porefessional but is white in colour rather than flesh toned.  It creates a wonderfully smooth base for foundation and just helps to you give you that 'airbrushed' look.  You can also just pop a bit of powder over the top of it for a low key face base if you haven't got the time or inclination for liquid foundation.  

No7 Instant Wrinkle Filler, £17 from Boots
No7 Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum, £22 from Boots

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #10 - Estée Lauder Pure Color EyeShadow Palette Topaz Mosaic

Luxury make up is one of the nicest things to receive at Christmas, and Estée Lauder is a great option for pretty packing and great quality product at a pretty reasonable price. This Estée Lauder Pure Color EyeShadow Palette Topaz Mosaic* is £35 from Harrods and offers a great mix of neutral shades with the option to take them from day to night with the the gorgeous plummy-brown shade.

The palette consists of four satin shades and one metallic. These orange toned shades really make blue eyes stand out, but if you have brown eyes I would recommend the Pure Colour Palette in Blue Dahlia. The only shade in this palette I would change is the bright yellow in the middle for a paler, champange colour which would work better as an inner corner crease, centre of the lid highlight or brow highlight as I find the yellow just a bit too overstated to work with for these areas - example below.

Did you know that Estée Lauder do lots of other funky powder compacts? They got gold ones with signs of the Zodiac and a few other designs, and there's even a Christmas Bear perfume compact exclusive to Harrods - check them out here.

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #9 - Michael Kors Parker MK5616 Rose Gold Watch

If you're looking for something special for someone special and have a substantial budget, you can't go wrong with a Michael Kors watch.  The craze kicked off a couple of years ago for 'boyfriend sized' gold and rose gold watches and Michael Kors does these best.  

I picked up the Parker MK5616 model when I was in New York last Spring and despite how fickle I am, my love for it is still going strong.  I think the MK5616 is one of the more wearable styles and won't date as easily as some of the larger funkier models. I picked mine up in Bloomingdales for $250 less the 10% discount for being a foreigner, woo! You can get it here at House of Fraser for £229.  The complete indifference of retailers to the currency exchange rate mechanism is lamentable, but if you don't know anyone going Stateside soon you will just have to bite the bullet on good old GB prices! 

One word of warning about Michael Kors watches - they are in fact made by Fossil.  While I love my Fossil watches, I find it very cheeky that you're paying such a mark up just to flash the MK badge for what is just Fossil quality.  I do think that the rhinestones have dulled a little since, but at least none have fallen out.  Remember to be careful not to spray perfumes or other aerosols near it as it may discolour the metal.

All in all, it was $250 dollars well spent - who wouldn't love to open a rose gold beauty on Christmas morning?!

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #8 - Liz Earle Botanical Skincare Saviours

You really can't go wrong with Liz Earle skincare.  The products work, smell lovely and the packaging is very pretty and they don't break the bank.  

The Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer* is a great toner and in this spray bottle it reminds me to Caudalie's Beauty Elixir, and is much better value at only £13 for 200ml.  While this is a great product to keep in the fridge in the hot months for a refreshing boost, I've been using mine through winter to perk up my skin.

The Foot Spritzer* might not be the most glamorous present to give someone, but after all the running around of Christmas parties and present shopping fee, ankles and legs need some pampering too.  It contain aloe vera, rosemary and peppermint essential oils.  Great value too at £7.75.

I recently ran out of my No7 two phase eye make up remover so have been reaching for the Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion*.  While I think it's meant to be more of a 'treatment' for eyes, I've been using it to gently remove eye make up.  I have quite sensitive eyes and it doesn't sting at all and even does a pretty good job with stubborn mascara.  It leaves my eyes feeling clean and soothed.  It's £10.25 for 150mls.

For anyone jetting off to the sun after Christmas, the Botanical Aftersun Gel* is a must have, formulated with 92% aloe vera, it soothes and rehydrates sun-exposed skin along with cucumber, lavender and Vitamin E. The 200ml tube will set you back £13.50, but a little goes a long way. 

Liz Earle products can be found online here, in John Lewis and they've recently opened a counter in Boots at Westfield.  

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #7 - Real Techniques Blush Brush

This Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman (Pixiwoo) Blush Brush is my most recent brush acquisition but it's become a firm favourite in my make up routine, so I think it would make an excellent stocking stuffer.  I was a little sceptical about it at first as it's pretty huge for a blush brush, but it works best instead as a powder/bronzing brush or to wash out blush if you've applied it too heavily.  While I would say it's too large to apply blush, it does deposit the perfect amount of colour.  It feels gorgeously soft and is such a pleasure to use.

You can see some images below where I've put it next to MAC 168 and 138 brushes to give you a size reference.  I actually prefer it a lot more to the 138 tapered face brush which I'd hankered after for ages but isn't as useful as I hoped it would be.

You can pick up this Blush Brush from Boots in store or online here for £9.99.

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #6 - Versace Woman EDP

Angel introduced me to this perfume many years ago - it was one of those that made me ask 'what are you wearing?!' every time she had it on as it smelt slightly different but beautiful every time.  It's not one of those scents that is instantly recognisable, but I find really blends with your own chemistry to become a unique and understated scent. 

The bottle is a beautiful addition to any dressing table and quite understated by normal Versace standards.  The best bit about it is that the 50ml bottle is on offer at Boots now for £15! The 100ml is shown in these photographs as I repurchased it a couple of months ago.  It's rare for me to repurchase perfume as I have so many, so it really is something special.

The scent is described as a modern floral and the top notes include jasmine, wild rose, frangipani and bergamot, middle notes of lotus, plum and raspberry and base notes of musk, grey amber and Inoki wood.  There isn't another perfume out there I can compare it to, it's just a lovely light but sophisticated daytime scent - I now prefer it to D&G Light Blue and Marc Jacobs Daisy which are just too overdone. 

You can find it at Boots on offer now for £15 in store or online here.


Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #5 - No7 Eyelash Curler Stocking Filler

This present suggestion is more of a stocking filler idea, but sometimes finding little knickknacks for a stocking can be more difficult than buying a large present. 

I've have a hoard of eyelash curlers - a few at home, one at work and one in my bag.  They're a great way of perking up your face without messing around with make up out on the go.  I love my Shu Uemura curlers but these No7s run a close second and in some ways I think fit my eye shape better.  

They're great value at £7.25 and if you happen to catch one of those No7 £5 off voucher promotions, unbelievable value! 

You can pick one up in store at Boots or online here


Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea #4 - Viktor + Rolf Flowerbomb Giftset

A few months ago my cousin gave me this gorgeous Viktor + Rolf gift set and it's easily the prettiest perfume set I've ever received, so I thought it would be ideal to feature in my Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide.  

I normally chuck away all packaging to save space but the box is actually a sturdy plastic rather than cardboard and I have it sitting on top of my bookcase as it's just too pretty to part with.

It opens out into a beautiful set with a 50ml perfume and mini shower gel and body lotion.  Flowerbomb itself is a beautiful scent.  I can't believe it's actually been around since 2004 as I still think of it as a modern perfume.  There have been a few imitations (Jimmy Choo, anyone?) but it remains the ultimate feminine power perfume.

It's a sweet, spicy, musky oriental scent - definitely a night time aroma, but I wear it whenever.  It's the ultimate transition perfume of that difficult late 20s to mid 30s age where you don't want to smell like a sugary teenager, but you're still to young to be reaching for the Chanel No. 5.

The top notes are Bergamot and tea, middle notes are Jasmine, Freesia, Orchid and the base notes are Centriflora Rose and Patchouli.

You can find this set or ones similar here, here and here from about £50 - £75. 

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