Friday, March 10, 2017

Products I Used Up | February 2017


So it's not just monthly favourites that are back to Florence and Mary but here I am with a monthly empties post. This is just a small edit of the products that have made their way into the empties pile but they are the ones that I have used this month and at some point I will catch up with the backlog as it's not lost on me that I'm hoarding bags full of beauty trash which I'm not quite sure 'spark joy'.

First is L'Oreal Revitalift Bright Reveal which my friend over in the US brought over for me on her last visit as apparently they cannot be sent by post. As she said 'what is in these'? I enjoy using exfoliating pads and of course being a US exclusive it made these more desirable but I have to say they were nothing special. With so many great versions, at all price points available in the UK and even those under £5 I featured on Monday which are as good by comparison this is not something I'd seek out again as a must have.

Two moisturisers that have been used up this month are DHC Beauty Lift Cream* and SKINeffects Active Day Face Cream* which have seen to different needs and meet different price points. I first tried the DHC Beauty Lift range* last Summer and I'm currently trying to work my way through using up lots of half used products and the Beauty Lift Cream was my moisturiser of choice recently. I referenced in my original post that this was too rich for daily use at the time but during the colder months when skin tended to be drier I found it was the right formula for tackling my skins needs. This is a pricey moisturiser at around the £50 mark which I'd be anxious at repurchasing but if you have the cash to splash it's filled with wonderful ingredients to fight those fine lines and feels wonderful on the skin.


SKINeffects Active Day Face Cream* by comparison is only £7.99 and available exclusively from Lloyds Pharmacy.  I receive a lot of traffic for this being hailed as a dupe for Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream due to it's thick consistency. I have had this pot in my dish by my sofa to reach for and tackle the dry patches I find behind my ears which can be quite sore. I slather a layer of this on and it does the trick. Whilst my skin is always dryer during the Winter months it's not as dry as has been in recent years thanks to some wonderful heavy duty serums and oils I've been using so as a moisturiser for the face its too heavy for me but for those persistent dry patches it's a godsend and one I reach for to tackle my red nose if I'm suffering a cold and have spent too long blowing it.

Two products that have found there way to today's post hand in hand are the Sephora Rose Eye Mask and Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara.  The latter has been discontinued and they may give a nod to both this mascara's age and warn me of the dangers of trying to work through and declutter ones make up stash.

I've noticed on odd occasion this month that my eyes have been a little sensitive and sore which I mentioned in last weeks favourites was being helped by an eye gel. On one particular evening when I knew I had used this Urban Decay mascara and they really were causing me some discomfort I picked up my Sephora eye mask and soothed the area. These masks are affordable and great fun and probably the only product I wish Sephora was coming to the UK for. I have a few more from the range in my skincare draws so I will be trying some more out.

As for the mascara I can't say definitively it was at fault but I wasn't prepared to chance it again and as it's no longer available it seems foolish to work with something that I can never track down again. With it's curved brush which you can find from other brands and nothing amazing me on it's use it's time to say goodbye.

It was also bye bye to Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer* which has received a lot of coverage on these pages. Repeating what I've said in every post this is again a lovely primer and really does work to smooth out the skin and ready it for foundation application but is at a high price point that . In comparison to DHC Primer which I talked about in my monthly favourites this is definitely a thicker formula so depending on your priming needs I'll allow you to make your choices with what to spend and what you need.

As a blogger I should be allowed to come up with the perfect justification to buy any beauty product claiming it's 'research' or 'for the good of the blog'. The only problem with that is I only have one face and I'd rather use the products I'm lucky enough to be sent and provide thorough reviews on those products than chopping and changing more than necessary. That said there is something of a eureka moment when I find that I no longer have a particular product in my stash and can hit Boots and try out something new. In this instance it was only a deodorant but let's be thankful for the little things. It's well documented I favour Sure Maximum Protection and has ceased featuring in my empties as it was getting a little repetitive and instead sharing on Instagram but I wondered if I was indeed in a rut and decided to pick up Mitchum Gel Deodorant to compare.

Let's say sometimes you're not in a rut and simply know what product works for you. Whilst I used this completely as it wasn't dreadful and I'm spending more time on the sofa than running around an office of late it won't be something I repurchase and I will be returning to Sure forthwith. Firstly I would turn the dial to release the gel but it would almost pour out wasting a lot of product each time. I would also find that it was very wet under the arms leaving me doing a chicken dance before I could dress. That said the wetness would always feel ever present. Interestingly I discovered I tried the solid version of Mitchum and it was a fail so I think it's safe this is not a product that works for me.


Finally is a product that makes me weep with sadness that it is here, Jo Malone Bath Oil in Pomegranate Noir. My friend introduced me to Jo Malone many years ago and I still shed a tear that my cleaner broke the stopper on my glass bottle which I'd been refilling from the plastic packaging. This has been a repeatedly purchased product and one I love to use. The scent fills my bathroom and I just love the smell that floats around my home. My only complaint and wondering with Jo Malone is why they do not have a version with bubbles. There's something about climbing into a bath filled with bubbles and whilst the scent of this makes up for the lack of I do miss it. I'll definitely repurchase but think I might save as a treat for duty free or a reward when I finally find a new job.

What products have you used up recently?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links


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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Forgotten Favourites


Following my dabble with The KonMari Method I have been moving onto decluttering my make up stash and as such finding a few forgotten favourites along the way to share with you.

First is the Bare Minerals Powder Foundation which was one of the first foundations I ever really dabbled with on a 'serious' basis and even featured way back in 2011 in a post that is lacking photography skills and content. I picked this at the time, please don't judge for it's age and the fact it's one of two pots I've discovered, as I wanted a foundation with coverage but conscious of my lack of a skincare routine and preference for stumbling into bed complete with full face of make up. Whilst I wouldn't recommend purchasing a foundation because they suggest your skin is still able to breathe whilst wearing it and thus allowing sleep it did treat me well and I repurchased on a number of occasions.

As a foundation its easy to use and I have enjoyed the finish, making a change from the usual coverage of a liquid foundation. I don't think I'm converted back to making this a regular staple in my routine and it's coverage is lighter than what I have preferred of late and I when using I begin the dithering of what about a cream concealer, can I apply on top but otherwise it's been a nice trip down memory lane.

Next is an old blogger favourite, the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Palette which I first featured way back in 2014 - hmmm where do we stand on whether it's past it's best? I'm a little torn on this palette and whether to say goodbye to it or keep hold of as I have been enjoying it of late. As in my initial review it is the left hand side which I'm enjoying most and find easiest for daily wear but when I consider my love for the Lorac Pro Palette and those being the ones I reach for do I need this?

A lot of the shades are hailed as dupes from Mac the full down of which can be found at Temptalia but even my original Mac eyeshadows are going unloved lately. I'm wondering whether my mum might make us of it as she loves shades of green or perhaps depotting and keeping the neutrals I'm enjoying to see if I can better use of them in that state? If you're looking to get your hands on this palette in the UK check out The Vitamin Grocer.

Finally is a product I would've put in my monthly favourites when I came back from Las Vegas if there had been such a post and that is Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream which apologies is a product only available in the US. The first time I tried this I went for the light option which was too light even on my pasty skin so on another trip I went for the darker shade which was a much better fit. This is a moisturiser which smooths and evens out the skin so is perfect for holidays and I will be throwing into my suitcase for St Lucia to help 'photoshop' my legs. I need to have a little more of a play with this product and then I'll see whether I'll stock up later in the year.

What products have you rediscovered lately?

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Thirty Plus Skincare | Hits & Misses


Over the course of recent months I've amassed a routine of products that help the more mature amongst us with varying results to talk about today starting with a gift from the Egyptian Gods, L'Or Des Pharaons Face and Body Mist*.

I received this right about the time I was enjoying the ITV TV series Tutankhamun so it was very apt especially as this mist contains 'nanoclusters of gold' and gold was very popular in Ancient Egypt due to masks made to preserve and rejuvenate the skin. Apparently Cleopatra is said to have slept in a mask made of pure gold, hence her radiant complexion so if it was good enough to Cleopatra.

So L'Or Des Pharaons Face and Body Mist is a 3-in-1 purified and revitalised water, containing the aforementioned nanoclusters of gold, as well as platinum and zinc. The mist will combat the visible signs of ageing by revitalising cells, zinc will combat oil control and the platinum will tone, firm and regenerate.

Doesn't that all sound fabulous? This 15ml bottle is £40 so I would expect many wonders and see an Egyptian Goddess looking back at me in the mirror. Sadly whilst this is a nice mist I didn't really feel or notice anything particularly significant in terms of anti-ageing, certainly for the price.

Two products I did love were for the eyes, the windows of our soles, and in the instance of My Perfect Eyes* surprisingly so and Dermalogica AGE Smart Age Reversal Eye Complex* which never fails to tick the box for my skin.

My Perfect Eye's seems too good to be true, a non-surgical eye bag treatment which temporarily reduces the effects of ageing but it really works and I've been telling everyone about this £30 miracle and I'm kicking myself that I didn't try it sooner. It was actually falling asleep in front of the tv one night and waking up to an infomercial featuring My Perfect Eyes that actually prompted me to take the plunge and try it. Of course we're all used to seeing various advertisements and wondering if the claims are true but I have the product at my disposal to see for myself.

The first time I applied the product at home to one to compare and was shocked when I looked in the mirror and saw the difference. I love a product that provides instant gratification. Now it's a product that I will apply for any occasion when I want to erase the fine lines around my eyes.

So how does My Perfect Eyes work? The light formula dries to form a fine and transparent film under the eye which compresses and covers any wrinkles, bags or puffiness. You do feel a tightening sensation as the product creates it's film and it does feel a little strange but it's not uncomfortable and dissipates quickly. I do get the tingling or fluttering at occasion throughout the day but I'm sure that's because I keep touching the area because I can't believe what I'm seeing. I applied around 10am and when I last looked on the occasion I was keeping tabs at 6pm it was still doing it's job so it'll certainly work for long days in the office or nights out.

It's easily applied, just remember to wait for it to dry before applying make up on top and avoid any moisturiser in the area and a little really does go a long way. If you are tempted to buy one product from today's post make it this one and see for yourself.

Your more traditional eye product is from Dermalogica, and whilst I'm not sure it reverses the signs of ages it is definitely slowing them down. Containing retinol you are advised to apply on alternative nights for a couple of weeks to build up your tolerance levels and then you're good to apply nightly as part of your routine. I'm always conscious to not apply too much eye cream to the area and a little of this goes a long way and in the months I've been using this despite suffering jetlag, Christmas celebrations, too much sleep to not enough I'm pleased to report my eyes are not showing any signs of sleepless nights. Again this is another costly option at the £50 mark but I have been using for approximately five months now so it's definitely cost effective.

Proto-Col Moisturising Facial Gel* is known as being an award winner amongst men's grooming although it of course can be used by anyone with a face. Its a shame they advertise this product as being available in a choice of 50ml packaging, being a 'manly' silver pump for the men and a 'delicate 'and luxurious glass jar for us ladies rather than simply 'choose from these two options' but perhaps there are men that would not want to reach for a moisuriser in a glass jar?

Moving on from such issues this is a fairly priced and good moisturiser which I used for a number of weeks before passing onto my brother to get his thoughts. It's a very light moisturiser of gel consistency as the name suggests which 'suits all skin types' and can be used 'day or night'. Of course I imagine from the simple 'instructions' and 'claims' they are again marketing the male market who apparently don't want anything more thank slapping some cream on their face.

For my skin I would find this better in the Summer months as it felt a little too light for Winter use but it applied nicely and make up would sit comfortably after applying. As for my brother's thoughts, he has no complaints. It's always a little difficult to get a thorough commentary out of him on such products but he has been using, has had no irritation or break outs as a result and something he's happy using.

Finally is the No Bleeding Lips Lip Liner* from Know Cosmetics, a brand from the US finally on our shores and found in Superdrug. Apparently one No Bleeding Lips Lip Liner is sold ever 2 minutes so I'm surprised that I'd never came across it nor spotted on blogs until it's UK release.

It's simply a clear lip liner but also doubles as a filler or sorts which creates an invisible line around the lips and stops your favourite lipstick bleeding and feathering. Despite being a smoker I'm quite lucky with the lines around my mouth so I passed it on to my mum who both enjoys a liner and does suffer from lipsticks bleeding.

I had forgotten I'd passed it over before Christmas until she mentioned in passing how much she was enjoying it and how good it was. As well as being able to wear her favourite bright orange shades of red over the festive season she is pleased that this lip liner doesn't require sharpening and is a twist design - be warned twist too far and you'll be unable to wind back. I'm a little jealous now I gave this to mum and might have to pick one up for myself.

*this post contains press samples and /or affiliate links

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Monday, March 6, 2017

More From the Natural Collection


With so many beauty releases in addition to my ever growing stash I often find myself turning away and avoiding the Boots make up aisles for risk of spending my rent money. That said I do keep lingering a little longer over the Boots Natural Collection* display because for £1.99 an item and from experience some hidden gems I could be tempted to part with cash.

Before I started buying more products to share with you I think it makes more sense to talk about the recent items I was sent by Natural Collection* causing my lingering desire to part with more cash. 

At the end of 2016 Natural Collection joined the brow party and added a selection of products for your to dabble with. There is a Brow Pencil*, Brow Kit* and Brow Gel* all at that £1.99 price point, so did we have any high dupes here? The first thing you'll notice is that they are all shades of brown and whilst I can just about manage with the Medium Brown Brow Gel* that's as someone with dark browns so if you're a blonde or fair you may struggle. The Brow Pencil, again in Medium Brown is one I can work with although I prefer the newer brow wiz styles these days. The Brow Kit* really reminds me of the sort of product I used in my younger days with its wax and powder duo and again whilst I'm more about pomades, brow wiz and the like these days it is a nice product to play with but only if you're in the brunette play field. Unfortunately the only real hit from these products is the Brow Gel* playing to my lazy love of such products that I can sweep into brows and go without too much attention to detail. The wand is a little larger than I would like and it is very pigmented and cream so you do need to be cautious when applying but thanks to it's coverage it gives a fuller brow that I would usually only achieve with multiple products. Brow gels are well known for drying out quickly so if you're finding yourself spending out more thank you would like this is handy in a pinch before pay day or to be used on days when you're not facing anyone other than the supermarket staff.


Also new from Natural Collection was their Highlighter Sticks* available in three shades; rose, copper and coral glow. Coral Glow has become a favourite and one I'm using often when I want a flush of colour and a little highlight without needing another product. As you can see from the swatches they are pigmented but a little thick so you might want to play with application methods that suit you. The copper and rose shades haven't worked for me, the latter being as you will know from reading my Wet n Wild review recently that I just can't get on board with highlighting sticks. 

Finally were some regular items from their line I was able to try. If you remember Lancome Juicy Tubes and miss them you might want to check out Natural Collection Tinted Lip Balms*. These are a little sticky as you would expect and certainly only provide a tint but if that's your thing you might want to check them out.

Natural Collection Nail Colours* are also only £1.99 so if you need something in a hurry these aren't bad to look at. I didn't test for very long I must confess and was happy that there was no instant chipping. If you like to try different colours out regularly then these might be for you rather than spending twice as much on alternatives.

Finally the Natural Collection Water Guard Mascara* which was a little too dry and didn't really do much to my lashes other than enhance their natural appearance but not in a 'I have long fluttery lashes' natural way. Of course if like me you've arrived at work, looked in the mirror and realised you forgot to apply mascara then it'd be worth popping to Boots and picking this up to cover you for the day but it's nothing something I would seek out.

Since my first experience with Natural Collection I now remain a little bit baffled by the brand and who they are marketing at. On that first use I thought I had it sussed, natural looking, no nonsense affordable make up but I assume for their price point they'll appeal to younger girls and adding highlighters and brow gels to the line up they're trying to compete with other brands but why such a limited colour range?

What are your thoughts on the Natural Collection brand?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Monthly Beauty Favourites | February 2017


It has been far too long since I've typed up a favourites post for one reason and another but the past couple of weeks I've found myself repeatedly reaching for the same products and thinking 'oh I must put that in this months favourites' and so here it is.

Starting with the KYPRIS Cleanser Concentrate* which I have been using morning and night and who wouldn't with such a high end, luxurious and costly cleanser. As I shared in my original review of the KYPRIS range I don't think I would justify repurchasing at £50 but if I had a spare 'pink one' as my SIL and I call them laying around I might just treat myself. In the morning it's lovely to refresh and awaken the skin and of an evening as my second cleanse my skin feels clean and looks radiant.

As you'll see in my empties post, yes there's one of those returning next week too, I used a mascara that hasn't agreed with me and I was glad to have InstaNaturals Eye Gel* to hand from my trip to Center Parcs. As I explained in that post I was indifferent to this eye gel as I like an eye cream to treat the area I identify most as 'showing my age' but when I was suffering some sensitivity and need something soothing and cooling this product was fantastic. As I suggested it'll certainly come in handy once hayfever season hits.


Moving on to some base favourites and the DHC Quick Film Smoother* which I have been using a primer to soften the appearance of my fine lines. This is a light gel like cream, the type of which I've been enjoying lately as I've found that since I'm not back and forth on the London Underground every day my skin is thanking me for it and more country air than from the London streets. You'll recognise hyaluronic acid but it also contains egg shell membrane (!) which apparently act to firm - who knew. My test with a primer is if I put it on and am almost, I say almost, apprehensive to put on foundation as I think my skin is looking so good without it. Often primers can feel heavy due to silicone and the like but this is so light yet works at plumping the skin that it's a worthy addition to the make up bag.

I'm rather excited that I have been enjoying IXXI Skin Enhancing Daily Defence Care Light Elixir* and found the Medium tint version in my stash as I will definitely be taking this along to St Lucia with me at the end of the month. It is the perfect base when you want a natural 'no make up' look but without being too natural. This will be perfect for the evenings we have a chef preparing our dinner (yes really, this holiday will be the dream!) and know there will plenty of photos taken but I'm reluctant to pile on too much make up and want to enjoy the tan forming.

I know I'm becoming something of a bore talking about the L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows but I really really love them. I picked up Iced Latte when I was in Vegas last year and on a friends recent trip to the US I asked her to pick up Eternal Sunshine for me. I think I just need to accept the fact that when I hit the drugstores in Orlando come my November trip I will be buying them all. Iced Latte is a pale champagne shade and Eternal Sunshine is a pale gold that you can build up nicely. On the nights out I've had since Christmas I've always reached for one or the other of these as they're such a quick and easy product to use and look like I've spent far longer on my eye make up. Usually I'm conscious of creasing or wearing metallics and shimmer on my 'older eyelids' but these are so forgiving. And pair them with the DHC Gel Pencil Eyeliner* in brown and I'm good to go. I actually had this eyeliner in situ to photograph when I was getting ready to head out the other evening and so returned to an old favourite, the Chanel Kohl Eyeliner in Brown and was disappointed with the effects. The DHC eyeliner will be a staple going forward.


I am surrounded at home by lip balms, forever reaching for one out of my bedside draw or the box I keep next to my sofa filled with my beauty treats. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Creamy Coconut Flipbalm* is the one by my bedside and the one that always makes me smile since I heard someone refer to it as looking like a brussel sprout. Of course similarities will be drawn to EOS Lip Balms understandably so but for me, aesthetics aside that is where the similarity ends as I'm not a fan of EOS balms, actually casting one aside as I wasn't finding it worked for me. My bedroom is very cold so I find the balm stays solid but still warms onto the lip and glides on easily keeping my lips hydrated and of course there is the scent and faint taste of coconut that we know and love Palmer's for. Interestingly whilst it's sat in my warmer lounge during photography and drafting this post it has become softer and has more slip so I guess depend on your surroundings will depend on how it works for you. Either way it's a product I love to reach for.

Now my lips are hydrated I able to add some colour and that is from the new Benefit lip releases. It's no surprise that Revved Up Red* appears here but I've had equal love for Nude Scandal*.  If you read my initial review the concept is a liner and lipstick in one. You tilt the bullet and apply the liner and then fill in with the wider end, flipping to do the bottom lip. I do find this is a little bit of a gimmick and whilst it works I'm not diligent enough to make sure I  follow 'correct practice' every application and you will find the liner end wears down quicker thus becoming harder to make a definitive line for me I'm happy enough applying as a regular lipstick. I'm currently in the midst of interviewing and am not prepared to abandon my signature red lip but do acknowledge perhaps toning down and this is the perfect shade to feel like myself without being too OTT. And the nude, well as I said I'm not one for being completely happy with a nude lip but Nude Scandal looks fabulous and works great when I'm wearing my L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows and need to pair down the lip colour or if I'm going out for a meal and don't want the hassle of reapplying a red lip.


I'm still yet to hit the nail salon and as such am enjoying relying on my false nails from Rosie Bea and Primark when I want to hide my stubby broken nails. Yes most of these nail kits come with glue and whilst I can work with them I've been using Elegant Touch Brush on Nail Glue for ease - especially as I'm often applying whilst I wait for my taxi to arrive.

First use of a regular nail glue bottle is no problem, second use chances are you're hunting for a pin or similar to clear the blockages and allow the glue to flow. No such problem with the brush on glue which you literally paint on like nail polish. This is genius and is a favourite of both mine and my mums who has just picked up her on bottle.

And finally we are ending with a product which I'm sure will amuse, Bush Oil* which yes is as it sounds, an oil designed to groom your intimate hair area. You simply warm of a few drops of this 100% natural Bush Oil into your hands and then massage through 'your bush' providing an instant sheen.

Now I don't think it's necessary for us to discuss the look we're going for down there but just let it be known that thanks to the likes of Vitamin E, making it a great moisturiser for hair and skin and it's lack of colourants, soap or parabens you can use Bush Oil for a closer shave and it will soften hair follicles for a less painful wax - not that I can vouch for that as I'm too scared to let a waxer go down there (or allow the lengthy growth period!). I can vouch that as a moisturiser of sorts for this area when shaving or using hair removal creams and the likes this is a fabulous product.

If you're into multi use products you can of course use this on cuticles or dry skin and it really does smell lovely, but Bush Oil are clear to let you know that this is a beauty product and not a sex aid and should be fitted into your routine like body lotion. And fear not men, there is a Bush Oil for you too.

What has been on your favourites list this month? Would you be tempted with Bush Oil?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links


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