Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Review | The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

My book reading has suffered from my lack of a London Underground commute of late so I'll refer back to a book I was sent last year and did actually manage to read, that book is The Stylist* by Rosie Nixon

If you are a fan of Rachel Zoe Project, Fashion Police of E's Red Carpet coverage and immersed in awards season right now you'll love this book. Mona Armstrong is the stylist to the stars with a diva like attitude who needs an assistant and sweeps Amber Green off her feet and whisks her to LA for Awards Season.

This is an easy read, it's nothing too complex but its a worthy read and a page turner which I read very quickly. Amber isn't your traditional ditsy character in this sort of scenario, she feels 'just like me', slightly flawed but not ridiculously so. Of course she doesn't plan to have her head turned, she's meeting and being mixed up with glitz and not so glamourous glamour so it is understandable she falls down a few rabbit holes. 

Of course there is the ensuing love story although it doesn't over take the story and is a little bit cheesy and predictable in it's nature but enjoyably so. All the characters in The Stylist leap off the page and I defy you to not to try and work out who characters are perhaps based on.

And if you're into such things this is the first HarperCollins book with a 3D cover; download the free app and The Stylist will come to life and there's many ways to share your red carpet experiences on social media. 

My reading might have suffered but being at home I've been able to test products that I would be less likely to reach for such as La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Unifiant, Medium*. You'll be familiar with my love for the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo in it's original form but last year they released a tinted version for those with blemishes they wish to conceal but without heavy make up.

I find that I'm comfortable enough in my bare skin for a quick pop to the shops at the weekend but that is obviously because I do not suffer from any serious or particularly 'visual' skin conditions or blemishes but others are not and it's great that there is now a product on the market that will assist them in their quest.

Despite my comfort in my own skin I have found that whilst being at home and perhaps rather than popping out to the shops I am heading into town for some more serious shopping I don't want a full face of make up but I am looking to look a little more polished and thats when I have been using La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Unifant*. I don't find it is a particularly high coverage but my complexiion is 'unified' and an imperfections or discolouration are visibly reduced. My skin has certainly improved in the time I have been off work in part from wearing less make up and using a product such as this which will still provide all the benefits of using the Effaclar Duo in its original form.

The Unifant comes in Light and Medium shades and is easily applied with fingers so it's great for travel and on the go. You'll find it quickly absorbs into your skin and pores do not become blocked. In 24 hours you will notice a reduction in your blemishes. If you're suffering from blemishes or redness this is definitely a product you should seek out to try.

Would either of these products be of interest to you?

*this book contains press samples and / or affiliate links 

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Review | Parissa Brow Shaper Mini Wax Strips

At Home Waxing

I was offered the chance to try waxing at home with Parissa* just as I was about to embark on my redundancy period. I thought it was perfect timing, as I was keen to ensure I didn't fritter my money away and thought I could adopt a more thriftier approach and perhaps start tackling some beauty treatments at home. 

When a selection of Parissa's Waxing Kits* arrived my initial enthusiasm had waned and I was reminded of my last at home home waxing experience and decided that I would instead look for cheaper alternative to the London salons and hid the kits in my testing pile.

Fast forward some months later and whilst you would imagine I have all the time in the world to visit beauty salons and embark on various treatments and should be primped to perfection the reality is quite different. Of course it has been a good thing as I work through my stash of false nails and catching sight of my eyebrows in the mirror the evening before I was due to meet a friend for lunch I decided to be brave and dig out the Parissa Brow Shaper Mini Wax Strips*. 

It all seemed fairly simple, press on and zip off and the brow wax strips were very small that I was sure I could avoid removing my whole eyebrow! Each box contains 16 double sided wax strips and a small vial of Azulene Oil, Parissa's treatment which is also available in a full size, for use after any wax or shaving treatment to protect and repair the skin.

Inside your box is a longer strip of the wax which you will need to cut into individual strips which are small, if you're all fingers and thumbs you might find it a little fiddly but persevere. The clear strips are separated to reveal the wax and where I 'struggled' was touching the wax on the sticky side before adhering to my eyebrow. 

Parissa Brow Shaper Mini Wax Strips

The wax is a in a 'straight line' which requires some manoeuvring to work with the arch of the brow, but again the size of the wax makes it easy to work with. For my first attempt I was amazed with the results and found it easier than I expected and I imagine the initial errors I made would easily be avoided on future attempts as I became used to the process. 

Thrilled with my efforts I reached for the Parissa Face & Bikini Wax Strips* and decided to tackle my upper lip. The strips contained in this kit are much larger in size and I cut to fit to my lips shape in thirds. My upper lip is always the more sensitive area to wax or thread and I was tackling a larger area than with the eyebrow strips but it was quick and relatively painless and I was pleased with the results. I'm also quite interested to see if I can shape the large wax strips for my eyebrows to treat in one go but I'll save that for when I'm a little more practised.

I usually spend between £20 and £50 on threading once a month, depending on the location I choose for treatment. That includes my brows, lip, chin and neck and it can often be in a matter of weeks that I could benefit from a further appointment but tackle with tweezers or my epilator until I can justify a further appointment. A box of Parissa Wax Strips costs under £9 and will last a couple of months at least depending on the areas you're tackling. 

I half expected to wake up in the morning with the usual spotting familiar after waxing but there was none to speak to. I did use the Azulene Oil after waxing and was a bit over zealous with the spray and found it a little greasy in nature so I am now spraying onto cotton wool and rubbing the area which is much better for me and find it helps soothe the area.

Have you tried waxing your eyebrows at home, if not do give Parissa a try I'm converted?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Products I've Loved and Used Up Recently

Rosie Bea Nails

My monthly 'products I've used up' posts have fallen by the wayside recently for one reason or another. In the case of the products I'm sharing today I've managed to use up, or they're at least on their final uses before I've hit publish on the general review so I thought I'd gather them all together to talk about with you today.

First up is the Rosie Bea range in collaboration with Eylure and Elegant Touch and I must admit that before I received the press release I wasn't familiar with Rosie Bea but of course I am familiar with the brads, especially Elegant Touch.

I love false nails as they're such a handy quick solution when time is short. Post Christmas my acrylic nails I've been enjoying recently where a little too long to manage, yet I was unable to find the time to visit the salon and have them infilled.

After removing the acrylics myself at home and deciding to allow my nails a little breathing space they were not looking their best so when I headed to Center Parcs I threw in the Rosie Bea Marina Nails* to wear. I did think these were black as they are quite dark but they are obviously a navy which I found much more flattering to me than a black nail and work perfectly with the stiletto shape. I found them an almost practical length, I was able to go about my normal business although on my return I did find typing a little cumbersome so decided to take them off. I always love when I remove false nails myself as it gives me confidence I can get through a couple of days without worrying about a nail pinging off at an inappropriate moment.

I was able to try out the Rosie Bea Spotlight Nails* on Monday when heading to a job interview and even managed to put them on during my train commute! They're that quick and easy to use. I love the nude colour of these nails but they are my lesser favourite as I'm not a fan of the polka dots nor find the rose gold metallic tips suited me but when I saw my mum later that day she kept commenting on them so it was personal taste rather than any fault of the nails.

Using false nails are perhaps not the most cost effective method but for practicality and trying out nail art when you need a quick fix they are working well for me. 

John Frieda Shampoo

John Frieda is a long loved brand for me, one I used well before my beauty blogging days and their products are those I always reach for and know exactly what I'm getting. The John Frieda Luxurious Volume* range is one that has appeared on these pages on numerous occasions and I was recently sent some products from the range to enjoy once again. I have been regularly using the shampoo* and conditioner* and it's as good as I remember.

As someone with blonde balayage I need to ensure that the shampoo and conditioner I use do not strip the colour, or with my dark roots they don't appear greasy. John Frieda ticks the right boxes and I find I can manage an extra day or two from my hair (of course with some assistance from dry shampoo).

The new to me product was the John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day In Shower Treatment*, a semi-permanent treatment with 'volume boosting polymers' designed to thicken your hairs individual fibres. You simply shampoo and condition your hair and then apply 3-4 pumps of the product to your hair. You're advised to focus on the roots which always concerns me with a treatment of this kind as I worry about it look greasy so I tentatively used only a couple of pumps and was happy with the results. I find I apply and tend to leg shaving or something similar as you need to leave on for 3-5 minutes before rinsing. Its not an additional step I find I need to use often but it is an extra one I take two or three times a week depending on the occasion.

Patisserie De Bain* is a brand I've often seen on the shelves of Superdrug so I was excited to be sent a couple of products to try which in the Orange Crush scent smell amazing. I have powered through the Orange Crush Bath & Shower Creme* which I adore for using at bath time. The scent pairs perfectly with my Soap & Glory Orangeasm Body Scrub and this little duo has been a regular staple.

The Orange Crush Hand & Body Lotion* which whilst smells amazing hasn't been as big a hit. It's a thick lotion which I find doesn't sink into the skin without ease and as someone who finds body lotion a faff and a ritual I'm lax in following I am less inclined to reach for it. I have instead been relying on it as a hand lotion, the application of which has suffered from my current at home state. A small amount is easier to apply and sink into hands and whilst it is a little tacky initially that disappears quite quickly and the lingering scent is enjoyable - and thanks to the size and how much I need to use this will take some time longer to use up than the shower cream.

What products have you been using up recently?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review | Footner Exfoliating Socks

There are few beauty treatments I really enjoy for pleasure but a pedicure is one of them. That said during the Winter it's hard to justify the expense when feet are hidden in thick tights and the thought of departing the salon in flip flops when there is snow on the ground isn't particularly enticing either. I had been intrigued by exfoliating socks for some time and when Footner* asked if I would like to try some out I thought now was the perfect time.

I think it goes without saying if you're not a fan of feet and have even clicked on this post you're not going to enjoy the content, things may get a little gross. Even my friends have hung up the phone on me as I've rambled about my 'shedding foot skin'. On that note lets start with the less than attractive Footner packaging which I think lets them down. I don't think anyone but perhaps a foot fetishist would be drawn to the feet on the box and whilst it is not a 'cheap' product it is one that works. I think they could take a leaf out of the Sephora's book and follow their packaging for their masks as it would be  far more desirable.

Footner Exfoliating Socks* contain active AHAs which you'll also find used in cosmetic skin peels and will soft the hard skin build up and start the exfoliation process naturally unlike the beauty salon where your beautician will use whatever their tool of choice is and in the hands of the wrong person painful or dangerous.

I had the Footner Exfoliating Socks* in my testing pile for some time and was apprehensive to test for three reasons; what would happen, I needed to remove my nail polish (I hate my toes polish free) and that I needed to commit to the 60 minutes of wear time. Fast forward to hard skin appearing heralding the need for a pedicure appointment and my friend telling me she had tried them out and loved them it was time to dive in.

The instructions are all very simple; remove the plastic socks (you will need scissors to cut them open), slip onto your feet and there is an adhesive strap to close them around your foot. I didn't realise this and just put my own socks over them to secure and didn't experience any issue with this. You must leave them on for 60 minutes but can easily go about your business in this time.

My first impressions were that there was an alcoholic chemical scent from the socks but not one that lingered once my own socks were worn. I've referred to my notes at the time of application and I described wearing Footner Exfoliating Socks like wearing crisp packets on my feet and whilst it wasn't uncomfortable they did 'crunch' as I moved about. I was also initially concerned about the liquid/gel from escaping onto my sofa but any fears were unfounded.

Once the 60 minutes wear time has elapsed I removed the socks and washed in warm water to remove any residue. For the rest of the evening I was glued to looking at my feet and nothing. I woke in the morning and still nothing. This is not unusual, Footner advise that the skin will start to shed between 1-3 days and if you want to speed up the process soaking in warm water does that.

True to form in a matter of days the process of shedding skin begun and if like me you have a guilty pleasure of enjoying peeling skin when you've been sunburnt or remembers sitting in class at school pouring glue on your hands to peel off once it was dried you are going to love this.

You are of course advised not to forcefully remove skin during the peeling process but in many instances it would easily peel off although some days later I have one or two particularly hard skinned areas, namely on my big toe which are still peeling but at a painful stage.

You are not to use foot creams during the process so when skin becomes dry I did find on my particularly firm carpet that bits would catch and be a little painful but that was isolated areas and generally there was no discomfort.

I have subsequently noticed a tip from Footner that if you do not want specific areas to be affected, such as the tops of feet then you can apply petroleum jelly which I did not do. That said it was quite nice to have areas that are usually unreachable to the usual files and blades such as between the toes that were prone to dead skin shedding.

You are told that in 10 days the process will have ended and I imagine that would depend on how often you are soaking your feet. I found myself jumping in and out of the shower to soak my feet throughout the days when I was at home to speed things up and of course it will depend on the 'state' of your feet when applying. To date I still have one or two stubborn areas that have not fully shed and still offer hard skin but overall my feet are definitely improved and this product undoubtedly works.

Footner Exfoliating Socks are recommended to be used every 2-3 months with at least three weeks between treatments if you want to apply more regularly. I'm not sure how practical this product is for regular use throughout the year. Yes it was fine over the Winter and during a quiet week at home but I wouldn't dream of using this in the Summer as I would never expose my feet in their shedding state in a pair of summer sandals.

Another word of warning, yes I was a picker but you will find socks and carpets covered in dead skin. Yes I know it's gross but it is the reality so you have been warned.

My final thoughts are that Footner Exfoliating Socks are a fantastic product, I think it'd be great for me and women alike but you need to be prepared for the period of time that your foot will not be looking their best. If you're on your sickbed or prepared to hide in socks for over a week then go for it.

I'd love to know if you would or have given these a try.

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Disney Memories

Last week my family and I booked a trip to Walt Disney World so currently I'm in full on excited planning mode and following some funny conversations with the family I thought I'd share with you a couple of my Disney memories.

My earliest memories is sometime in the early eighties, not long after my brother had been born and my dad took me to see The Lady and the Tramp at the cinema. It's probably so memorable as I'm sure that was the last time my dad went to the cinema and he brought me a box of Malteasers. Just seeing a box now reminds me of that feeling of a child to be given this HUGE box of chocolate.

The next is from our trip to Walt Disney World last year. We always have a list of things we each want to do and one of mine was to meet the Lady Tremaine and the Ugly Stepsisters. For those who enjoy the Disney character greetings this trio are well known for providing some great experiences and we indeed got one, unfortunately at my 'expense'.

My brother had picked up a white Mickey Mouse Vinylmation figure that he was asking the characters to sign and as I queued to meet the ladies he handed me the figure for signing, instructing me that I had to ask them to sign in a specific place. I replied that I couldn't do that as they would tell me off. He persisted, I asked them to sign it where he asked and they did indeed tell me off replying 'no' when I pointed out where they should sign. As we were with my niece and nephew who were a little apprehensive about them at first, they were certainly giggling as they watched my dressing down.

And finally it's another character greeting that provides fun memories and once again giggles from my sister in law and I's trip to Epcot back in 2012. Mulan is Sarah's favourite character so of course we were sure to meet her in her spot. After the obligatory photos my sister then put her hands together and bowed. Obviously we are all fans of Disney but even we can be surprised how we embrace the Disney magic and believe we are meeting prince and princesses. As we walked away my sister in law turned to me and said, did I just bow to Mulan.

What are your Disney memories?

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