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My August must have pieces...

I've been slightly MIA this month on social media and my blog. August has been a busy month of work, holidays and new beginnings. I've had a lot on my mind, but during this time I've still been here behind the scenes testing out new products and thinking about all things fashion, which lets face it, with London fashion week only being 2 weeks away is a good thing! This post is all about some fabulous new finds I've found in the world of beauty, fashion and lifestyle, condensed into one read for you to enjoy, and hopefully find new cult favourites as have I! Joan Collins Timeless Beauty

The first brand I want to mention took me by complete surprise, and that's Joan's Collins Beauty. I'm sure you must know who Joan Collins is, if you don't can I ask where you have been all your life?! because quite frankly Joan is a legend. Dame Joan Collins as she's now known was born in the 1930's (not that you'd ever guess) and is an English actress, author, columnist and absolute beauty. In recent years she has created and released her own line of cosmetics and her website ( describes the brand as being "a new, international luxury brand, created by one of the most glamorous icons of our time. It aims not just to inspire women, but to provide them with the tools to feel and be beautiful at any age." I don't usually shop celebrity ranges, as I'm very often let down, but after seeing many social media posts on the products by Joan, and seeing them sold on QVC, I thought I'd take the plunge.  

I purchased a set which contained a clear glitter lipgloss and matching nail polish. When they arrived the packaging felt fantastic and sturdy, it was great quality and slightly edgy with its pointed polish cap and gold colour. The gloss was a lovely texture that certainly wasn't sticky like the glosses of my childhood, it felt lovely on my lips and gave a beautiful pearlescent shimmer with hints of pink, a stunning shade to wear alone or to be worn over a lipstick to enhance a lighter colour or soften a darker shade. The polish was also fantastic, chip resistant with up to 6 days wear for me, super fast drying and it went on easily with a nice texture. The colour was also a soft pearlescent shimmer which I've worn for work many times and had lots of great complements on.  

The next products I luckily got to try and fall in love with were the Compact Duo and the First Base Foundation. I've been on a hunt for a new foundation recently as my high street favourite decided to change its formula and therefore completely ruin it! As soon as these products arrived in the post (you can order some yourself from I whipped them out their boxes to try. Wow, the compact duo was beautiful and absolutely perfect for everything from your desk at work to red carpet events. The handy compact had touch up powder on one side teamed with a lipstick in the other side all in one compact with a mirror. Not only is the compact useful and great for your Fendi clutches, it is stunning too with gold metal heart detailing encasing its matching gold lipstick. I cannot explain how fabulous I feel using this, not only is it so damn handy, but it feels extravagant and as it's unusual it is a piece that makes many people jealous - This is a must have!! (Compact Duo is usually priced at £34) 

The First Base Foundation arrived in the shade Cool Extra Fair which happened to be the prefect shade for me. The colour choice in this Foundation is great, as it has a broad spectrum of shades and takes account warm and cool tones that can occur in the same shade, great for you if you do struggle in the high street. The website describes First Base Foundation as "youth promoting skin care and a foundation in one.  It creates a smooth, flawless complexion with a radiant, natural finish, whilst it charges the skin with youthful energy to help increase collagen.  In addition, Hyaluronic Acid moisturises and fills fine lines." I found my colour choice to be Perfect for me giving natural but totally full coverage and it blended quickly and easily leaving my skin feeling soft and comfortable, like a "perfect second skin" as the website said it would. Overall I'm really impressed with the range and I'd recommend it to everyone, if I had to pick one must have purchase for you to get, it would be the totally cute, totally useful, and absolutely fabulous Compact Duo. (First Base Foundation is usually priced at £25) Murad Skincare: Skin Perfecting Lotion

I don't keep it a secret that I have problematic skin, in fact I sometimes showcase it to help show you how good a make up product is. It's something I've suffered with since being a teen, and unfortunately my face shows no signs of calming down, because of this I have to be careful of what I use on my face. One product I used to struggling with were moisturisers, well that was then, now I've found one that is perfect for me. As I have large pores and a oily/combination skin, I always hunted down light weight moisturisers that would stop my skin from being dry, but wouldn't feed my skin with extra unnecessary oils that would make me break out. Murad the brand was created years ago by Dr Howard Murad. He founded the first 'modern doctor brand of clinical skincare products' with a goal of making beautiful, healthy skin attainable for everyone. He is known for changing how the world sees skincare through his pioneering research and a 'Connected Beauty' philosophy. Murad is a scientific skincare brand, and I'm certainly happy with that! 

I first tested the Dr Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion over a year ago, and I've purchased it ever since. It's sometimes hard to find in stores, but I've found it's stocked by and in Marks & Spencer's stores. It's a lightweight, oil free moisturiser that my skin seems to love. A small amount glides over my face giving me the hydration I need, but it sinks in instantly leaving no horrid oily residue and it doesn't effect my pore situation at all. The skin Perfecting lotion is said to keep pores clear and minimised for smoother looking skin, and this product really does just this. I don't often recommend skincare products as I really struggle to find items that work for me, but this is an item that has become a firm favourite in my routine. A must have for oily/combination skin types that are looking for a simple product to just do the job, and not overload the skin. (usually £25, last purchased by myself from M&S) Owen Drew Candles

A lifestyle product that has helped transform my apartment into a luxurious and tranquil place to live. I've been a candle fan for many years and I usually always buy Yankee Candles out of habit. However after trying Owen Drew candles I doubt I'll buy Yankee again! Owen Drew candles ooze understated luxury and smell absolutely divine. The wax is beautiful and was soft and clean to burn, plus each candle has a wooden wick that gently crackles which adds atmosphere to any room, a feature that I loved. Not to mention that the soy wax and wooden wick burnt beautifully and it doesn't leave any soot or smoke like lots of other candles do, which means I can burn them freely in any room without worrying about leaving smoke marks on walls. Oh and the fragrances? Wow! They often use fragrance oils of famous scents, such as Chanel No5 & Tom Ford, and unlike those horrid synthetic "smells" other candles have, Owen Drew candles release truly memorable fragrances that ooze glamour, class and luxury. They're also packaged really well so they'd make perfect gifts! I'm currently burning a small Creed Aventus fragrance oil candle in my living room, and the scent has filled my small apartment beautifully. A new brand giving established companies huge competition. They're a true luxury at an affordable price, a luxury I don't think I can live without! (Prices range from around £7.50 for wax melts to £100 for luxury hampers).  

Secret Scent Boxes

Ah, another new find that I'm obsessed with! Secret Scent Box is a monthly fragrance subscription that lets you discover new designer & branded perfumes or colognes for men. With each box you get a 30 day supply of three fragrances delivered through your letterbox every month for just £15. I'm a big fragrance wearer so found this idea to be fantastic, getting to try out new fragrances every month and having them sent to you completely hassle free! Each box also contains a little card for each fragrance that explains the notes in each scent, helping you become your own fragrance connoisseur.  

MasqueBar Facemasks

Ooo these little babies are something I discovered during London Fashion Week last February and I've been using them ever since. I regularly use facemasks, usually on a Sunday night with a glass of wine and on a Wednesday evening after work. My skin is very much hard work to maintain, and I use masks not only as a pampering treat, but to help problem solve issues I face. MasqueBar have an extensive range of masks available for any problem you may face, ranging from brightening sheet masks to anti-blemish masks, both of which I've tried and totally loved. For myself, my favourite is the Anti-blemish mud mask which is a mask you leave on for 20 minutes. I've noticed it makes my skin feel softer and smoother, it's not drying like some brands can be and it seems to help balance my oily skin. A perfect addition for your September skincare routines. As the weather changes many people face breakouts and changes in their skin, and MasqueBar have a product to help! Oh and one last thing, the scent of the green tea sheet masks? DIVINE! (You can check them out for yourself at 

Kiss Lashes

If you follow me on Instagram (@HOWSTE) then you'll probably have seen me mention Kiss' Mink Faux Lashes.... a lot! Why? Because they are the absolute best false lashes I have ever tried. The lashes I've got are the Lash Couture ones from the Faux Mink collection. A long, thick, feathery collection of glamorous lashes that absolutely transform my look from normal day to day to glamorous standout star. The brand has many different styles of lashes, my personal favourites are the fuller, thicker, longer length styles. I've used these now many times for nights out and blogger events and I've even pulled them off at work. They're easy to apply, and unlike some high street lashes they are such good quality that you really can reuse them over and over again! Some brands say that, but with Kiss it's a fact. The lashes are contact lens friendly and they're cruelty free, now what more could you want?! Below are a few photos, but it was hard to get a good image with my iPhone, but hopefully you get to see how good they are, if you can't, visit my instagram page @HOWSTE for videos.