Tuesday, June 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEW | The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry

Tasmina Perry

Tasmina Perry is one of my favourite authors and I always add her new releases to my wishlist the minute I hear one is due. I didn't love The Last Kiss Goodbye as I started to read as much as I feel I have others which is a little disappointing. It took me far longer to read than any of her other books, or those I have enjoyed recently

Everyone remembers their first kiss. But what about the last?

1961. Journalist Rosamund Bailey is ready to change the world. When she meets explorer and man about town Dominic Blake, she realises she has found the love of her life. Just as happiness is in their grasp, the worst happens, and their future is snatched away.

2014. Deep in the vaults of a museum, archivist Abby Gordon stumbles upon a breathtaking find. A faded photograph of a man saying goodbye to the woman he loves. Looking for a way to escape her own heartache, Abby becomes obsessed with the story, little realising that behind the image frozen in time lies a secret altogether more extraordinary. 

I didn't particularly to warm to the story or the characters and felt it was a very drawn out story that ran through the past and modern threads. Chapters would go in from one or other viewpoint although it just felt like it was changed to add something different to the story, and whilst necessary and the plot when you returned to the other you'd almost forgot about them. Nothing felt fully explored, more snippets here and there.

Despite the promise of Russian spies and forgotten love it didn't spark any joy with me which was very disappointing. Might you enjoy it, is it an easy read? Yes it is but not one I'd recommend you'd rush to add to your reading list.

*this post contains affiliate links

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Friday, June 24, 2016

High End Beauty Expectations

One of the reasons I changed the direction of my blog and started blogging about beauty was because I wanted to know what products were worth purchasing. Back in the day I didn't wear make up daily, I worshiped at the ground of Mac eyeshadows, lived for YSL mascaras and the only base product I wore was the now discontinued Benefit You Rebel Tinted Moisturiser.

Often I'd find myself in the local supermarket and think to myself I'd like to treat myself to something, just a 'cheap' lipstick or similar and would become blinded by choice and walk out empty handed and then there was the shopping trips with mum where we'd swoon at high end beauty counters and treat ourselves to whatever caught our eye. My obsession with Chanel Nail Polishes has already been well documented.

Nostalgic ramblings aside bring me to the point of today's post. High End expectations. I've certainly discovered a love for drugstore products in recent years and whatever your preferences it's safe to say there are some great products available for 'affordable' prices but that has led to my expectations of those more expensive luxe products being much higher.

Whilst I'm not against picking up a drugstore product or two when I treat myself to a new make up product it's often from a higher end brand, particularly when their limited edition collections can be so hard to come by.

Therein is the first problem. Chanel's Rouge Noir Collection for example, we're subjected to various images and reviews in advance of launch dates and being lusting over the the collection, mentally listing what pieces we want to purchase. Then launch date arrives and if you don't hit the store on opening there is a distinct possibility you will miss out. How often have you missed a Mac collection despite being online line at 10.01 and adding things into the basket.

After all that effort if you are lucky enough to nab the item you wanted there's a hit of euphoria. You post on instagram with a little smugness as others share their tale of woe that they missed out and if you're a blogger it'll remain untouched, stared at and stroked until you take the necessary photos and write a blog post.

Next you are finally about to add to your make up routine and after all that build up, effort you, or certainly I have some pretty high expectations. If you're anything like me you'll often have designed in your mind the perfect justification for why you 'needed' such a product. Take the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette. When this was covered by bloggers I decided this palette would change my life despite not being that familiar with the Nars brand. A large selection of eyeshadows in neutral shades this would be my go to eyeshadow palette. All I would need. One step away from bringing peace to the world. It wasn't cheap but it was worth it, I just knew it. Unfortunately I dithered and missed out on it's first run which as is often the case when you can't have something, you want it more so when it's next release occurred I was ready.

I phoned Selfridges, had one put aside and dragged myself from bed and into London to purchase. I was happy. Euphoric. Life was good. But some time later would I purchase it again? I don't think so. Are the eyeshadows good, yes there are? But is the palette more loved than my Bourjois Smokey Eye Quad? Probably not.

It was a similar story with the Chanel Entrelacs Eyeshadow Palette, again it was going to change my life, all I would need but unfortunately the pigmentation was just a little off and it's paled in comparison to other products in my collection.

It's not all bad and you could argue I should research more, investigate the product at counters but as I've already mentioned sometimes you don't have the luxury of time. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is a favourite amongst bloggers and I remember the high when I managed to purchase in the US, despite it not being on the counter at Sephora one of the assistants checked out back and they'd been released and then it fell to the back of my collection. Recently I've been using this product and starting to love it but it's definitely been a slow burn.

In contrast if I buy a lipstick from Collection or Rimmel and it doesn't favour well I'll happily cast aside without another thought but it's the high end items I have the higher expectations of. Do you think that's fair? What are your thoughts?

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Superdrug Simply Pure Skincare Range

UK Budget Skincare

Having recently tried the Natural Collection Make Up range where every product is priced at £1.99 I thought it was time to see what affordable skincare options they are. Superdrug heard my plea and sent three products from the Superdrug Simply Pure Skincare Range where everything is £2.69 - and currently on offer for buy one get one half price.

First up to try is Superdrug Simply Pure Micellar Water* a mild, gentle and fragrance free product - as are all the Simply Pure products. Nothing fancy about the packaging but it's clear which always gets the thumbs up from me. Is it the best micellar water I've tried? I'm afraid not but as a first step for removing make up before going in with a cleanser I'm able to make use of it. Despite that it does remove make up well, I often remove eye make up with a micellar water first and then go in with a cleanser and I don't find any remaining product on the flannel so it's doing it's job.

Next is a product made famous by Sali Hughes causing it to sell out and Superdrug struggling to keep up with demand. That product is Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum*I find that serums are where I like to spend my money and at 37 years old I like to invest in a little more higher end purchases but who knows when my purse could feel the pinch and I might to rethinking my spending. The packaging is once again pretty simple although comes with a pump which I like. It's a typical serum texture somewhere between and a gel and applies nicely to the skin. I have been using this as a morning step in my routine and find that it sinks in and make up sits well on top. It's not so much bells and whistles but does the job if you're looking for something simple and basic.  It's not the best serum I own but for the price and perhaps if you're just looking for a hydration boost occasionally this is worth having to hand.

Finally is Superdrug Simply Pure Light Moisturiser* which is surprisingly good although my least favourite from the range of products I tried. This is a ridiculous thing to say but there's something about the tube I don't like and I'm sure if it was in a nice pot I'd take to the product much better. Packaging issues aside it's a pretty good moisturiser and I've found make up sitting on top nicely and it absorbs into the skin although I do find I'm a little tighter by the end of the day than I might be with other more expensive offerings. It has a slight tackiness which is perhaps why my make up applies on top nicely and I find that if I'm continually using this my skin errs more on the side of being dryer but if you have oily skin this could well be handy to use.

Has this budget brand convinced me to stop spending on luxury skincare, the honest answer is no. That said if I was looking to pick up some skincare items in a hurry, on the go then I would definitely reach for these. If you're a student looking to save some money or perhaps a little younger than I am then this is worth trying out.

What budget skincare items would you recommend?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Max Factor, An Introduction

Max Factor Make Up

A couple of months back I was invited along to a launch event for Max Factor Voluptuous False Lash Effect Mascara* and whilst it's not the done thing for bloggers to express excitement about goodie bags we come home with and be rather blase about the contents I was pleased for the opportunity to sample not just the mascara but more from Max Factor.

Does anyone else overlook Max Factor or is it just me? From my recent sampling I won't be overlooking them in future as I've really enjoyed the products.

Max Factor Mascara

The new Voluptuous False Lash Effect Mascara* is going to give you fuller, more lifted lashes thanks to an innovative brush wand with alternating fins and bristles to ensure all your lashes are gripped and coated with product. It's even been designed noting the typical length of lashes and allowing a 360 degree application. Believe me it was all very scientific.

At the end is a 'boost tip' designed for your bottom lashes although I don't fair too well with this and it's worth noting this is a big brush so it's not one to apply on the go or in a hurry.

Max Factor Marilyn Monroe Red Lipstick

I'm not sure how I missed the Max Factor Marilyn Monroe Lipstick Collection as it's right up my street combing too of my loves. Everyone woman should be able to find a red lipstick to suit them and this collection is there to help them. I received a couple of shades to try which I found both to be creamy and moisturising. In today's world well we're all loving liquid lipsticks and matte formulas it was nice to return to a more traditional formula.

There are four shades; Marilyn Ruby Red the original shade Marilyn was found of wearing and is your true red. If you're pale skinned and like to wear a red lip and winged liner then this is for you. Another for paler ladies is Marilyn Berry which is more of a pink toned red.

If you're looking for an orangey red then Marilyn Sunset Red is for you and is another favourite of mine. As a frequent red lip wearer but wanting to give a nod to the summer (even if the UK is barely showing any signs of the season!). And the final shade is a deeper red called Marilyn Cabernet
perhaps my least favourite shade but certainly one I'd look at wearing more in the Winter months.

I'm not really a fan of pink shades but I was happy to give Max Factor Masterpiece Nude Palette in Rose Nudes* a try. Whilst Max Factor isn't a brand I reach for and is perhaps stuck in my mind as a more traditional brand, perhaps for 'older woman' it's a shame the packaging gives a bad image. It's very cheap and plastic and why oh why are we still seeing these sponge applicators. The eye shadows themselves are nice, nothing too exciting (which is more personal preference) but with a fair pigmentation and range that you can create a number of looks from.

If you're planning to visit a Max Factor my picks would be the mascara and lipsticks but do share your favourites.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Review Strictly Between Us

Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon was a book I really enjoyed reading and polished off in a matter of days. I found it fell into a 'grown up chick lit' category with a somewhat sinister edge.

Tamsin and her best friend Michelle have been inseparable since they were teenagers. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle's handsome husband.

So when Tamsin hears a rumour that Patrick is having an affair, she is furious. Unwilling to ignore it, Tamsin plots a scheme to catch Patrick in the act, using her assistant Bea as live-bait. It should be fool proof. After all, Tamsin can trust Bea with anything. From her daily coffee order to fetching her dry-cleaning, writing reports and doing all the filing - Bea does everything with a smile on her face. 

Except Tamsin never considered Bea might have her own agenda. And if she does, then Tamsin really needs to watch her back....

I enjoyed the way the story was shared, it felt like listening to a friend over a glass of wine telling the tale of someone they knew. Tamsin was telling you the story, it was written as if it you were being spoke directly to and I almost wanted to ask questions and often found myself smiling or nodding and at the very least understanding how often curiosity can kill the cat.

Tamsin was an intelligent successful woman but flawed and we all like to think we're not so naive until we find ourselves in a situation slapping our head against the wall. Some will naturally earmark the villains and one in particularly is extremely vile with no remorse for their actions whilst others are scrabbling around trying to protect themselves.  It's interesting to see the workplace relationships unfolding and something I could relate to on some levels.

This was the first book I'd read by Jane Fallon but I'll certainly be exploring some more.

*this post contains affiliate links

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