Tuesday, 18 February 2014

It's been a while...

Just thought I'd stop by and let you know I haven't abandoned my blog.  I'm having a bit of a break as I have so much going on at the moment.  I am in the last semester of my degree, so I have finals to prepare for and also a dissertation which is requiring my urgent, undivided attention.  I also got engaged on Valentine's Day and should hopefully be getting married on the 11th of April.  Oh..and in the middle of all this I am moving house too - I certainly don't do things by halves!  So, unfortunately this does mean I just don't have the time to blog as often as I'd like at the moment; I'll be doing the odd post here and there, but once the wedding, house move and degree are all taken care of I shall be back =D

Friday, 7 February 2014

Happy Haircut Day.

 Maybe it's because I'm a Leo, but there is no greater beauty treat or confidence booster for me than having my hair professionally styled.  I'm extremely lucky to have found a very talented hairdresser who knows what I like and how to make it suit me (not to mention my maintenance skills).  I had a wonderful hour or so today at Jo & Cass salon in Morecambe.  The salon is situated on the promenade, looking out across Morecambe Bay, so that's always a good starting point with me!  Whilst I had my hair washed I sat on one of their brilliant massage chairs, it really felt like someone was kneading up and down my back and also on the back of my legs.  Then, whilst the conditioner was being applied I had a head massage, so at that point I was literally being massaged from head to toe, it was sheer Heaven.  I love my new style too, I've had a fringe cut in and my hair thinned out, I think it's going to be a breeze to maintain and my other half reckons it's knocked years off me - result!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Nail Inspiration #5

Well my nail-painting techniques may leave a lot still to be desired, but I love this gorgeous berry coloured nail varnish by Barry M (Berry Cosmo).  I thought I'd give the nail sequins I bought from Clare's recently a spin too and I can't get over how sparkly they are, I've struggled to capture just how blingy the effect is, but believe me, it is stunning.  Although I wasn't very impressed with a lot of the stuff I bought at Clare's (the glitter nail varnishes being the main culprit) these sequins are amazing.  I got a huge pot in the sale and it also includes a brush for dusting off the excess sequins (presumably) and a plastic tray which is handy for capturing loose sequins so they can be recycled back into the pot.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Detox Tisane

And now for something completely different!  I don't know about you, but I still feel like I'm recovering from the excesses of Christmas and New Year.  Maybe I just had a bit too much of a good time, or maybe I'm just feeling the effects of Winter, but I definitely need something to give me a bit of a boost and a detox tisane seems a nice, gentle way of approaching this.  A tisane is basically a herbal tea, but rather than buying it as tea bags, I bought this particular one from a local tea and coffee merchant where they have a wide range of tisanes they make up themselves and you buy them loose and one of the main differences (apart from the fact it doesn't come in little tea-bags) is that the ingredients aren't ground down into tiny leaves, it's left more in its natural state so you tend to get whole little flower heads and leaves in there.  This detox tisane contains a whole host of cleansing herbs and flowers such as chamomile and peppermint and to be honest, I wasn't sure if it was something which I was going to be able to drink for pleasure, but do you know what, I really like it, it isn't too overpowering with either the taste or smell so hopefully this will be just the tonic I need!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub

It seems to have taken manufacturers years to get this kind of thing right.  I remember the original Aapri facial scrubs in the 1980s (showing my age there!) they were made of ground up apricot stones.  It felt like rubbing your face on Chesil Beach and could quite easily have been used to sandblast the town hall.  We bought them though because we didn't know any better, oh, and they smelled good enough to eat!  After that came a generation of scrubs which were just too gentle to be of any benefit whatsoever.  There were far fewer granules in these and it often felt like I was chasing just one bit of "grit" around my face.  After that, I gave up on facial scrubs for a while, but I recently gave St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub a go and it's brill!  It seems to have the right balance between being effective yet gentle.  The "grains" are plentiful yet feel gentler than anything else I've tried, I feel like I've sloughed off all the dead skin cells without leaving my skin red-raw.  As I have quite sensitive skin I certainly won't be using this product daily, but I'll certainly be using it once or twice a week just to give my complexion a really good boost.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

January 2014 Favourite

I know this is traditionally the point in the month when lots of beauty bloggers do a review of all the products they've used up during that month, but I thought I'd prefer to pick just one product which has been exceptionally outstanding and impressive, so that I can whole-heartedly recommend these to others.

So, without further ado, my top product of January 2014 is *drum roll*... Garnier Intensive 7 Days Ultra-Replenishing Lotion for Very Dry Skin.

So why did I choose this?  Well, I've always had a love-hate relationship with body lotions.  I really need to use them as my skin is quite dry, but I hate the fact that lotions are usually either too runny to offer any effective level of moisturisation, or they're so thick and gooey that you just end up feeling sticky all day.  This lotion gets the balance just right.  It's a light lotion which sinks into my skin in a flash, yet leaves my dry skin feeling....well, normal is the word I'm probably looking for!  Somehow, I just feel comfortable in my own skin using this lotion and the effect really does last a long, long time.  It's so fantastic that it's changed me from the kind of person who only used a body lotion when I felt I really had to, into one that uses a lotion every day now.  It has such a wonderful scent and makes me feel so good, I want to use this product, rather than just having to - big difference!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Superdrug Haul

It has to be said that, by my normal standards, I went a bit bonkers in Superdrug on Tuesday.  Well, I'd had a bit of good news you see, so I thought I would have a little treat.  I know the idea is to buy yourself treats when you're feeling down rather than up, but any excuse will do!  Fortunately - or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it - Superdrug had a fab "buy one, get one half price" offer on loads of different stuff, so I'm afraid I was almost powerless to resist.

I knew before I even set foot in the door that at least one MUA product would be going straight into my basket, I've only recently discovered this brand and I can't get enough of it.  I'd intended to buy the "Undress Your Skin" foundation and highlighting powder, as both of these products have had many rave reviews, but when I tested the powder on my skin I'm afraid it was just too shimmery by far for me, so I decided to give the All in One BB Cream a go instead (£3.00).  At £1 each, a couple of MUA eyeshadows weren't going to break the bank either.  The only trouble with MUA is that Superdrug don't seem to be able to keep up with the demand for it, the display stand often looks half empty; there were a few testers I tried and liked but then couldn't buy the product because it was out of stock.

Never mind, I soon moved onto the other stands and noticed this Collection 2000 eyeshadow palette reduced from £3.99 to £2.99.  I haven't tried this out yet, but I'll do a full review when I do.  I like the look of the colours, they're a really nice mix of pinks and purples, so I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do with those.  Also from the Collection 2000 stand I found an eyeshadow pencil in a really nice shimmery pearl colour, I think this was £3.99 and well worth it, I really like the colour and the consistency of this.

You may recall me raving about the Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser a few posts back, well this time I bought a moisturiser (£2.99)* and skin oil (£2.99)* from the same range.  I've only been using these for a couple of days but I reckon they're going to be firm favourites of mine, along with the hot cloth cleanser.

I'm really short on make up brushes at the moment so picked up a couple of basics: a blusher brush (£2.99) and a blending brush (£1.99)* which were bargains to begin with, but even more so seeing as how I got the blending brush half price.

My biggest splurge though was on a couple of make up brushes from the Real Techniques range.  Just about every beauty blogger I follow uses a Real Techniques brush to apply their foundation and although I'd had my eye on this for a while, I felt that £8.99* was a bit much to spend on just one brush whilst I am seriously tying to watch the pennies.  However, when I noticed that this range were also included in the offer I couldn't have been more excited and somehow, getting the shading brush for £3.50 instead of £6.99* seemed to make it an offer I couldn't refuse!

* These were the products included in the "buy one get one half price" offer.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Nail Inspiration #4

I never was going to be able to resist buying a nail varnish from the Gothic Glam range from Collection 2000, I struggled to choose just one of the three colours, but finally settled for "Dramatic".  I love the colour, it's very unusual and does indeed put me in mind of something wonderfully Goth to wear, like a stunning burgundy crushed velvet skirt.  The colour is actually quite multi-faceted and it was quite hard to photograph so that you could see the full effect; sometimes it looks like a deep plum colour, in other lights it appears more of a dark pink, but there's also a hint of a gold sheen in there too, though it's quite subtle.  Although I love the shade it was quite hard to achieve an even distribution of colour and there's no way you could ever get away with just one coat, so it's not for anyone in a rush.  If you have the time, I think three thin separate coats would be the answer, with a good top coat as I've just noticed as I type this that one of my nails has already chipped quite badly.  Overall, lush colour but poor quality.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Boots Botanics Moisturiser and Eye Cream

I recently popped into Boots with the intention of using a No7 £5 voucher on either some eye cream or a day moisturiser.  I'd been using a L'Oreal moisturiser which I loved, but it didn't have an SPF in it so thought I'd get a No7 moisturiser with the super-duper SPF in and maybe splash out on the eye cream from the same range too.  The only problem is I hate the smell of the No7 skin care range, it's just soo strong!  Anyway, whilst I was "umming" and "aahing" I noticed that the Botanics range was on offer, so had a bit of a test in the shop and it seemed fine (and a fraction of the cost of No7) so my mind was finally made up.  I bought the Triple Age Renewal Firming Day Cream (£5.69, reduced from £8.49) and the Hydrating Eye Cream (£6.99, reduced from £8.99).  I've been using both daily for the last seven days and the results have been a bit of a mixed bag.  I'm pleased with the eye cream, it's nicely moisturising and sinks in easily.  Whether or not it is going to prevent any (more) wrinkles remains to be seen.  On the other hand, the moisturiser has been a bit of a let-down.  It has a weird texture, almost jelly-like and when I first tried it I put too much on my skin and it just sat there, all oily, and was impossible to put any make up on top of.  The next day, I used less product, but in doing so it lacked any substantial level of moisturisation.  I've found that if I use my uber-moisturising L'Oreal as a night cream I can just about get away with the Botanics during the day, but I know that if I was still working in an over-heated office it just wouldn't cut it.  I'll carry on using it though as it does have a good SPF, so at least I am getting the benefit of that now, but it looks like I am still on the quest for my perfect moisturiser.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Dove Winter Care

Just on the off chance that someone from Dove reads this...please, please, PLEASE, make some more of this wonderful product and don't just confine it to the Winter months either!  I stumbled across this completely by accident, any advertising has completely passed me by, I just happened to notice it sat on the shelf in my local supermarket.  As far as I'm concerned, Dove can do no wrong.  I love ALL their products, they really are fab and easy on the pocket too, so had no qualms about giving this a go.  I'm so glad I did.  I didn't think I'd find a body wash any more moisturising than my normal Dove one, but this even surpasses that by a country mile!  I use it with one of those mesh body-polisher thingymajigs and you only need to put a little bit of the product on for it to literally explode into a mass of rich, moisturising lather.  It really does moisturise my skin very nicely without leaving any sticky residue.  It's perfection in a bottle, my only problem is that it has already disappeared off the shelves in the shop I bought it from and I cannot find any trace of it in any others...great pity.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

New School Bag

I'm feeling a little flat today (most unlike me) because tomorrow is officially the start of semester 2 at uni and this is the final semester of my degree course.  Before I know it, it will all be done and dusted and then I'll have a very nerve-wracking few weeks until I find out if it's all been worth it.  Anyway, at least I get to use one of my Christmas presents, which is this amazing bag.

It's a perfect size for uni, I'll easily get in an A4 file in here (I could fit a laptop in too...if I had one that is!) and there'll still be loads of room for all my other essentials.  I like the fact that it has a shoulder strap and a grab handle on top.  I think my lunchbox goes rather well with it too!
But most of all, I love the fact that it's just a little bit different.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Fashion World Spring Tops

Dragonfly Print Peter Pan Collar TopKey's Print Peter Pan Collar TopZebra Print Boyfriend T-ShirtOwl Print Jersey Top
I've been pining for Spring for weeks, but I'm even worse now I've bought these cute tops from Fashion World.  The first one caught my eye because I basically love anything with dragonflies on!  I noticed they did the same top in a different colour and pattern - the "keys" print which looks really smart in black and cream. These are my first "Peter Pan collar" purchases, so I'm a bit behind everyone else there, but it looks as if the style is here to stay for a little bit longer yet.  Once I was on a roll with the "cute tops" theme I couldn't resist these two t-shirts; one has a multi coloured zebra print and the other has colourful owls.  For the prices I paid I'm really chuffed with the quality of the fabric.  I also really love the length of the tops too, not too long, not too short, just right on me =D  I'll probably wear these with a jersey maxi skirt and some cute pumps.  All I need to do now is get my seaside holiday booked =D

Peter Pan collar tops £14.00 each.
Zebra and Owl t-shirts £12.00 each.
Sizes 12 - 32.

Click here for Fashion World online.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Statement Necklaces

Queen of the Night Gothic Necklace

Statement necklaces are popular right now and look great with a high-neck top or under the collar of a buttoned-up shirt.  For something a little different why not try one of these necklaces and make your statement really stand out!


An Ode to Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...

  1. You are half the price of my normal hot cloth cleanser.
  2. You smell divine, like creamed coconut.
  3. You remove my makeup as quickly (if not quicker) than a cleansing wipe.
  4. You have a rich consistency which does not dry my skin out.
  5. You even remove my mascara without stinging my eyes.
  6. Unlike some other products, you cause me no allergic reactions.
  7. You contain vitamin E which is super good for my skin.
  8. Your muslin cloth is a good size and quality.
  9. My skin is gently exfoliated by the muslin cloth.
  10. You are currently "buy one, get one half price."
In short, you are my perfect "forever" choice of hot cloth cleanser <3

Thursday, 23 January 2014

New Make Up Trial

 When I started my blog (not that long ago, admittedly) I felt that there would be no chance of me ever posting photos of myself on here because although I have been really interested in makeup and beauty for donkey's years I never really felt 100% happy with my own makeup application.  I guess that's why I got into blogging in the first place, because in my desperation to find hints and tips on how to make my eyes look bigger - or whatever - I found all the wonderful beauty blogs and vlogs and became addicted!  I've still got a lot to learn, but what I have learnt from those blogs in such a short space of time has been phenomenal!

Anyway, doing this blog has been a good excuse to buy loads of new goodies and I thought it was about time I gave some of them a full test drive, so this evening this is what I came up with.  The products I have used for this look are listed below (can't believe I used five eyeshadows!!)

Max Factor Colour Correcting Cream (Fair)
Rimmel Hide the Blemish Concealer (Ivory)
i.d.Bare Minerals Foundation (Fairly Light)
MUA Mosaic Blush (English Rose) - used as a kind of bronzer
MUA Blusher (Cupcake)
Eye primer from my NYC Individual Eyes palette
MUA Undress Me Too eyeshadow palette (Shy and Wink shades used)
MUA Ever After eyeshadow palette (Chino and Fog shades used)
MUA eyeshadow single (Pearl)
Boots 17 Perk & Paint liner (black on upper outer lashes, pink on inner corners)
Boots 17 eyeliner pencil (White)
Max Factor Tonal Black Volumising Mascara (for blue eyes)
MUA eyebrow pencil (blonde)
Max Factor Lipfinity (Glowing)

Accidental Haul @ Claire's Accessories

In my blog I've had a go at a few looks for nails; the problem is, my nails aren't in the best of health, what looks ok with the naked eye looks far from professional when photographed and displayed on a computer screen.  This is where beauty blogs really come into their own.  I had a look through a few different blogs on nail care and decided that I'd benefit from a nail buffer and some proper base coat.  I was in town this morning and whilst my lovely partner Sean was in M&S doing a food shop I nipped across the road to Claire's Accessories, with the aforementioned purchases in mind.  I found what I was looking for and then noticed a few sale racks (lethal!) and found a set of nailvarnishes in lovely pastel colours which had been reduced from £8 to £4.  "Bargain" I thought and headed for the till.  The lovely assistant pointed out that the sale items were all 3 for £5.00, so I could pick out another couple of items for just an extra quid.  This certainly made good economic sense to me and so I added another nail varnish set (glittery) and a pot of nail sequins to my basket.  In the car on the way home I worked out that my 3 for £5 items would originally have cost £22 so thought I'd copped a real bargain.

I might be judging a bit prematurely here, but I've been having a bit of a play around with my purchases this afternoon and I have to say that it's a bit of a mixed bag quality-wise.  The base coat seems ok, though I've yet to give that a proper test-drive, but the nail buffer...erm...I think I'm going to struggle to buff anything with this!  The glitter nail varnishes are just useless.  You could put 20 coats of these on and still not see any glitter on your nails, not without binoculars anyway.  The pastel shades, on the other hand (excuse the pun) are much better, I'm sure I'll get a lot of use out of those.  The only real redeeming purchase was the pot of nail sequins.  Oh my goodness, these are brilliant, such a pretty range of colours and ever so blingy, they certainly catch the light.  I like the fact that the pot comes with a little brush so that you can knock any excess sequins back into the pot to use again.  So overall, something of a disappointment from Claire's, I won't be rushing back to try anything else from there, after all, a bargain is only a bargain if the product does what it's supposed to.

Fortunately, I had a little delivery in the post this morning which cheered me up, these lovely nail stickers which I bought on Ebay.  I got dragonflies, ladybirds and pink flowers.  I'm really looking forward to trying these out.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Superdrug MUA Undress Me Too Palette

I've been having a bit of a test run (for test run read "play around") with the MUA Undress Me Too palette I bought yesterday.  For £4.00 I am absolutely blown away by the quality of these eye shadows and what a stunning collection of colours they are too.  As usual with MUA eyeshadows, they have really good pigmentation and blend easily.  My last MUA palette was all matte shades, these have a beautiful shimmer to them and I can see me using all the colours - just not all together!  I reckon the shades Devotion, Fiery, Reveal and Wink being especially well-used though.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Accessorize, Boots, Superdrug and TK Maxx Haul

I think my favourite kind of shopping day involves buying lots of little things rather than a single, more expensive purchase (although I quite like that too!)  I had a couple of hours in Lancaster today and did really well, both in terms of time and money.


    Gloves £3 (reduced from £10).
        My bargain of the day.

Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser £4.99
I've only ever used No7 hot cloth cleanser which is more expensive so I'll be interested to see how this compares.
Anti-Ageing Moisture Mask 99p
Eyelash Curler £1.99
MUA Eyeshadow "Pearl" £1.00
MUA Eyeshadow Palette "Undress Me Too" £4.00
I've been so impressed with most of my recent MUA purchases I couldn't wait to try some more.
NYC Individual Eyes "Midtown Mauve" £2.49
I was so surprised to find this palette, with its four shadows, primer, highlighter and applicator for such a bargain price I didn't realise that this colour combo is meant for people with brown eyes (mine are blue) but I love these colours and at that price I really don't mind!

Botanics Triple Age Renewal Firming Day Cream £5.69 (reduced from £8.49)
I've been loving my L'Oreal moisturiser but it doesn't have an SPF and this one does.
Botanics Hydrating Eye Cream £6.99 (reduced from £8.99)
17 Perk and Paint Eyeliner £3.99
This nice chunky eyeliner is black at one end and has a pinky-white highlighter at the other end for brightening and opening up your eyes.
Natural Collection Blusher "Pink Cloud" £1.99*
Natural Collection Eyeshadow "White Opal" £1.99*
Natural Collection Eyeliner "White" £1.79*
*Individual prices, or £5 for three items.
17 Eyeshadow Brush £2.00

L'Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara "Black" £3.99
Mercury Effect Bathroom Tumbler £3.99
I'm going to use this to store make up brushes on my dressing table.
Glass Trinket Box
Also destined for my dressing table, thought this would look pretty filled with some nail varnishes.
Don't forget to follow me so that you won't miss out on the reviews I'll be doing of all the beauty products bought today.

Nail Inspiration #3

Max Factor Glossfinity (55 Angel Nails)

This nail varnish is meant to last for up to 7 days.  It went on nice and smoothly and dried really quickly as it's got quite a thin consistency.  There's a good depth of colour though and you could get away with just the one coat, but I added a second coat to get the full on colour effect.

I love the colour - a sort of cross between silver and bronze - and it has loads of tiny sparkly particles which aren't too blingy but catch the light to give it a really shimmery finish.

It even matches my new Paul Smith purse!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Winter Essentials

Ok, I know it's all my own fault, I went and mentioned Spring and then the next thing is I'm watching the weather forecast on Winterwatch and surprise, surprise...not good!  So I've made up my mind, I'm going to make like the hedgehogs and mice - I'm going to hibernate!  I'll need a few things though...

A fleecy throw/slanket (Christmas pressie) and fluffy socks (Primark) to snuggle up in.

A good book: Wuthering Heights seems appropriate, as does my Bleak House DVD boxset.

A pretty journal (Christmas pressie) to keep myself busy by jotting down ideas for my blog, or maybe planning a Summer holiday!

Cosy candle light: Winter Wood candle (Christmas pressie) and vanilla jar candle (Garden Centre sale).

Something naughty but nice to drink: hot chocolate (Clipper) crammed with mini marshmallows in my favourite mug (Emma Bridgewater limited edition mug for York Minster fund) and some mini gingerbread men to dunk (Sainsbury's)