Friday, November 28, 2014

The Autumn Tag

I saw the Autumn Tag over on Carissa's blog Vanilla Crush and as we are entering my favourite time of year I thought I'd share some of the reason's why. 

1. What's your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks / Costa / Cafe Nero etc
Gingerbread Latte's all the way and I'm not fussy where it comes from although I do always but the Starbucks Gingerbread Syrup and keep at home and work to use.

2. Accessories - what do you opt for, scarf, boots, gloves?
I'd say all of the above and have just picked up a lovely new pair of knee highed boots from Marks & Spencer for this Autumn. I do enjoy a pair of leather gloves although as an iPhone user they can make things a little difficult!

3. Music - what's your favourite music to listen to during Autumn?
Is it too early to start with the Christmas songs playlist?

4. Perfume - what's your favourite scent for this time of year?
Usually I don't tend to change my fragrances but for my birthday back in April Ben brought me Chanel Noir which was a little too heavy for the Summer so I'm looking forward to wearing that as the evenings draw in.

5. Candles - what scents will you be burning this season?
Having just visited the States I of course picked up my favourite Mahoganny Teakwood from Bath and Bodyworks and will definitely be enjoying that on cosy nights in.

6. What do you love most about Autumn?
So so much. From Halloween to Bonfire Night and then my nephews birthday which heralds the beginning of Christmas fun (we always take him to see Santa) there is so much to enjoy as well as crisp mornings. My favourite days are when there is a chill in the air but the sun is shining.

7. Favourite make up look?
It's only recently due to blogging I've acknowledged the changing of colours with the seasons. I have some lovely lipstick shades I picked up from the US drugstore last month which are perfect for Autumn and my shorter nails always look better when wearing Chanel Rouge Noir and similar berry tones.

8. What are you looking forward to most in Autumn?
I guess all that I mentioned in question six!

Feel free to put this tag up on your blog and don't forget to link me up if you do.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

November Empties

My favourite time of the month, it's empties time. It doesn't look quite the glamorous selection of products this month but there's a couple of reappearances and one sorely missed so lets dive in.

Sure Maximum Protection link
Are we bored of this one yet? I'm tempted to remove Sure Maximum Protection from my empties post but fear it's absence may lead you to believe I'm not using any deodorant. For the lowdown read this post.

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette link
I had mixed feelings on the Brow Wiz when I first purchased it. I used it sporadically and then the packaging let me down. The spoolie end would come off completely in the cap so I had to abandon it if I wanted to use the spoolie which meant it was able to get grubby in my make up bag. In amongst that time I started using the Sleek Brow Stylist which I enjoyed and that made me return to the Brow Wiz and I found how to work with it and it was love. Whilst in Vegas a few months back I picked up a replacement Brow Wiz knowing my current one was nearing its end and you can imagine my horror (yes first world problems people) when I opened the packaging and I'd picked up the pencil by mistake. So far the pencil is proving difficult to work with but I have a back up Sleek Brow Stylist which I'm relying on till I repurchase.

Victoria Secrets Phone Case link
A slightly rogue item to throw into my empties post but for some reason I put it into the pile and included it into my photo. Sadly this case has cracked so it's off to iPhone cover heaven for this slightly narcissistic case. Luckily I stocked up on my last Victoria Secrets trip so I have another but fyi the cover has cracked and my phone hasn't from whenever I dropped it.

VO5 Plump It Up Amplifying Blow Dry Lotion link
Another frequent entry is this beauty from VO5. You can read previous posts here and here. I haven't repurchased this yet as I'm testing a few other products and to see if I miss using it so stay tuned as I'll be sure to share with you.

Gillette Venus & Olay Sugarberry Scent Razor* link
I reviewed this razor not too long ago in this post and I can confirm that having used to 'empty' I'm even more of a fan and will be replacing the razors on my next trip to the drugstore. It was definitely handy to have although the size of shave bars is somewhat deceiving as they do start to disintigrate that they start flapping about so they're unusable. That said they lasted a sufficient amount of time to be worth my repurchase.

Molton Brown Rose Granati Soothing Hand Lotion now known as Pomegranate & Ginger link
I've had this hand lotion from Molton Brown so long it's changed names. I've also had it so long that it was purchased from QVC when they originally stocked the brand and have subsequent begun reselling. I've had this hand lotion in my bathroom, then moved to my desk at work in an effort to use up and whilst it was at it's end on my coffee table at home. It felt like it went on forever and I'm finally glad to see the back of it. Truth be told I wasn't that much of a fan of this hand lotion and will give it the benefit of the doubt that it's possible age could have a factor and if someone handed me a new bottle I wouldn't throw it back at them! I found the texture watery and greasy and a little certainly went a long way.

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes link
Facial wipes and an empty pack at that, the horror. We all know the deal with facial wipes, they're not the best and even a lazy cleanser such as myself prefers traditional cleansers than a facial wipe but when I found myself staying overnight without my usual stash of skincare I popped into a supermarket wanting to spend as little money as possible for what was essentially one night and one mornings cleanse before returning home. And I'd add I'd like a pat on the back for even considering removing my make up at all. Anyway excuses aside I still couldn't reach for the own brand and instead went for Simple having seen them pop in skincare routines from one or two people. I was actually suitably impressed with these wipes which was completely unexpected. Considering I literally used the wipe for removing make up and was unable to follow up with toners and moisturisers I didn't find my skin was left tight at all. As such I used these for a couple of late nights and would happily repurchase these for future flights or mini breaks where I'm accepting of the lack of diligence to my skincare routine.

Compeed Cold Sore Patches link
It was only Monday I referred to these cold sore patches as being my go to product for cold sore time. With two cold sores I went through these patches quicker than I would like but they did the job. A week later my cold sores have disappeared. Definitely give these a try instead of creams if you're a sufferer, I'm sure you'll be converted.

What products did you say goodbye to this month? I'm looking forward to seeing what the festive season's empties bring.

*PR Sample

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Brody

Today I'm allowing an indulgent post to wish my nephew a very happy 6th birthday, the little boy that first made me an auntie. Whilst I'm biased of course Brody is an adorable little man if not, and I mean this affectionately of course, a creep at times. Few things make my heart melt than him running up to hug me when he see's me, telling me he loves me and he's one of few people that would get away with waking me up at 5am in the morning that's for sure.

His birthday seems the perfect opportunity to share a how proud I am moment. A few weeks ago we were at a party together where all the children were given various balloon creations by Elsa (yes not only does she specialise in 'ice' but balloons too). Violet lost hers somewhere along the way and got rather upset and whilst me and my sister-in-law were trying to explain that she didn't need one we looked up and Brody had gone over to the Elsa who was packing away and explained his sister had lost her balloon and could she make another - is that not the cutest thing? His cheekiness knows no bounds that when Violet burst the balloon a mere five minutes later (she really was not destined to have this balloon!) and he went back to Elsa and asked for another.

So happy birthday once again Brody and look forward to your party at the weekend.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Christmas Tree Debate

This time next month we will be sitting around with friends and family, opening presents, stuffing ourselves with turkey and waiting for the Downton Abbey Christmas special to begin and I for one can't wait as this year my family will be joining my sister-in-law's for one big old celebration.

That said I'm probably feeling the least festive I have in some time. There's no drama, rhyme or reason and I have a diary packed full of various celebrations over the next month which I'm looking forward to and that is part of the reason that last week I made an announcement to friends and family that has left my brother livid and blog readers feel free to judge me accordingly. This Christmas I have decided not to put my Christmas tree up - insert shocked emoji!

Usually I would be putting my tree up for 1st December but that is thwarted this year by the arrival of my new fridge freezer and currently my kitchen contents are laid across my flat whilst I take advantage of some space to repaint the kitchen before it arrives.

The following few weeks as I mentioned will be filled with celebrations, drinks, blogging and trying to fit in the time just seems like a big pressure when I will spend much of my time outside of my flat and unable to take full advantage. Not to mention my tree is a mammoth beast and my decorations have been collected over the years and it takes almost as long to remove them from packaging as it does to place on the tree and as soon as Boxing Day is over with I like to get the tree down and there's nothing I hate more than packing it all away, fighting to fit the dismantled tree into it's box and the feeling that my home looks bare without the twinkling fairy lights.

My brother as I mentioned is not happy with this explanation and as such he is addressing me only as 'No Tree' and I'm receiving photos like the one in this post of simple pop up trees with cute adorable nephews to tug at my heart strings. You see usually I invite my niece and nephew to help me decorated the trees as you can see in posts from 2012 and 2011. Of course looking through those posts makes me feel nostalgic but sometimes you have to take a year off.

Of course I'm not a complete Scrooge and I will be digging out my collection of Christmas mugs, decorating my table with a poinsettia and a few other decorations that I have but this year the tree feels a little too much.

So what do you think, should I make the effort and put a tree up or is it fair to have a year off?

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Sick Day Saviours

Be prepared for I am going to play the sympathy card. I have been sick, for weeks. I had a shocking cold which dragged on for weeks. When it finally disappeared I was left with not one but two cold sores and to top it off my period. This shocking month was made somewhat easier by a few products which I wanted to share with you.

Thera Pearl Sports Pack* link
I've grown to rather love this brightly coloured pouch from Thera Pearl which works for a multitude of ailments from period pain to general aches and pains. You can either heat in the microwave or freeze depending on your need. Following my hangover cures post last week I must add that this is a life saviour for hungover days when a cold compress is needed as was it's need on a few hot and sweaty nights when I was filled with cold. Whilst suffering with the usual back pain the first day of my period brings it was great to be able to pop the Thera Pearl pack into the microwave and tuck into the waist band of my pjs and feel the pain ease away. Far easier than bothering with boiling kettles that a hot water bottle requires and the smaller more flexible pouch makes targeting the area you want far easier.

Compeed Cold Sore Patch link
I've suffered with cold sores ever since I was young and usually rely on Zovirax to do the job. That said I always find that they tend to look worse during the process and there's nothing less attractive nor obvious than a white cream covered blemish on the lips. I can't remember how I first came across the Compeed Cold Patches but I imagine it was when I was looking for a way to either speed up it's disappearance and mask it. What I've now found is that applying these plasters disguises the cold sore to a degree and minimises the risk of spreading that can occur with cream applications and it avoids the situation of, and sorry to go into gross territory but getting moist, plain gunky and then drying out which can lead to cracking and bleeding. The cold sore patches contain the cold sore, keep it at a minimal size and require less fuss. The wear of the patches will depend on how much eating and drinking you're doing with them on and depending on the area of the lip but I now rely solely on these than any creams and find much better results.

Dr Lewinn's Instant Beauty Radiance Booster* link
During my cold spell I needed a hell of a lot of radiance and moisture and thankfully I had the Dr Lewinn's Instant Beauty Radiance Booster to hand. I was still required to drag myself into the office during my cold and to avoid looking like the sick monster I felt a good layer of this cream helped perk me up, especially around the nose which was pretty red and dry from constant nose blowing. It has a faintly cucumber scent which I'm able to identify now (no chance of smell a few weeks ago!) and it worked really well as a primer before make up too which was an added bonus. Again referring back to my hangover kit this is a great product to use as a mask, applying a layer on the skin for 15 mins before washing off or as I do leaving to sink into my skin.

Vicks First Defence link
The nasal spray from Vicks was a recommendation from my brother who swears by it. I fear I may have left things too late to catch the early days of my cold but it certainly aided my nasal passage when I was struggling to breathe and frustrated with constantly sneezing and blowing my nose. Now there's a picture for you. For those who prefer to use more natural products my friend has recommended this version.

Janjira Eye Cream*
The eyes, window to the soul they say. Well I hate to think what my soul was saying over the past few weeks. Trying to sleep whilst simultaneously stopping my nose from running and general exhaustion that I had to phone my mum on more than one occasion to pick me up the station and drop me home despite living 5 minutes walk away saw some pretty bad bags under my eyes. Thankfully the Janjira Eye Cream* contains Tumeric Extract and Caffeine which helps to reduce the dark circles an puffiness.

Of course this list isn't exhaustive and I will have a post up soon on two bath time treats that comforted me during my woe is my I have a cold days. There was also the odd medicinal glass of red wine and lots of tissues used too!

What are your sick day comforts?

*PR Samples 

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Friday, November 21, 2014

At Home Manicure with Scholl

Scholl Manicure Set* link

I was excited to receive the Scholl Manicure Kit* recently as I'm dreadfully lazy at doing my nails. As you'll have read in previous posts I dabble with Biosculpture Nails but have been known to miss one or two appointments and then laziness or lack of time prevents me to dedicating the time needed.

Hopefully the Scholl Manicure Kit would help speed up the process and make things a little easier. So what does the kit contain? Firstly you have a handy travel pouch to keep everything contained and mine has had one or two other products I use thrown in such as orange sticks and my Renunail Strengtheners.

I'm always dubious of these sorts of electronic beauty gifts as more time consuming but it's not the case with this handy gadge. The main component or 'pen' is chargeable so you only require mains access when charging and so far I have used this pen on numerous occasions and yet to need to recharge.

Nine different attachments tend to all your nails needs:
  1. Sapphire shaping disc to gently shape and file nails
  2. Fine grained sapphire disc to file thicker nails and shape them perfectly
  3. Course grained sapphire disc to shorten thicker toe nails
  4. Sapphire cone to remove dry skin or calluses from the soles of the feet and heels
  5. Felt polishing cone to smooth and buff nails for a high shine finish
  6. Flame stone to help remove difficult edges and ingrowing nails
  7. Rounded stone to gently remove corns and calluses with soft repeated touches
  8. Cylindrical stone to smooth the nail surface and remove dead skin around the nails - ideal for the regular surface of toe nails
  9. Polishing cone to smooth and polish the edge of the nail after filing as well as the nail surface.
I've found reason to use all the attachments which again is something you often find doesn't always happen. The discs for toenails are perfect and whilst I still enjoy using my Leighton Denny file for my hands it's something of a waste on the feet.

I do have a bit of an ingrowing nail problem on one of my toes and after a day walking round in heels can suffer from hard skin and it's great that I don't have to go through the effort of soaking feet to use these attachments and I can maintain the process on a regular basis as I'm not relying on trips to the salon.

As I said I often find these are the sort of gadgets that you use once or twice and then they sit at the back of a draw but the ease and results from using the Scholl Manicure Kit means it will most definitely have a permanent place in my kit.

Are you a beauty gadget fan? 

*PR Sample
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mistletoe Ready with The Breath Co.

The Breath Co. Fresh Breath Toothpaste* link
The Breath Co. Fresh Breath Oral Rinse* link
As a single girl one of the Christmas traditions I enjoy is the hanging of mistletoe - what better excuse is there to pucker up with eligible suitors. The one thing that could lead to my downfall is the fact I am a smoker so luckily I have The Breath Co. to offer me a hand.

It's a strange thing to admit but I hate brushing my teeth, always have done. I'm not entirely sure why but I just find the whole experience traumatic, slight over dramatisation but either way I'm not a fan so I want the products I use to be quick and effective with minimal gagging - not attractive.

The Breath Co Fresh Breath Toothpaste* has a mild flavour which I find inoffensive compared to many as I'm not a fan of mint either so this mild, not really minty at all taste is perfect for me. The dentist recommended formula eliminates the bacteria that causes bad breath and leaves your mouth feeling fresh and clean rather than just minty like other brands. A major plus for me was that you can eat/drink straight after brushing which you certainly cannot do with the mintier varieties, fresh orange and regular toothpaste is a big no no. I'm also very lucky despite my smoking that my teeth aren't too discoloured and to maintain this The Breath Co combine OXYD-8 and Aloe Vera to clean and brighten teeth.

In addition to disliking teeth brushing and despite my skill for downing vile tasting shots I'm also not a fan of mouthwash, again this may be due to the overly minty taste. Once again like the toothpaste the taste of the Fresh Breath Oral Rinse says mild mint but again as a fresh taste, almost tasteless but in a positive way like I'd say water is. Again OXYD-8 is included and this aids removing sour, bitter and metallic tastes all which can be remnants of nights out or exotic meals.

It's quite amusing to me that something I saw as a necessary evil has become something I don't associate as a negative and I've got into quite the habit of using my mouthwash after meals and the like. I'll definitely be keeping up this new regime as we move closer to the festive season and don't forget to wish me luck under that mistletoe.

*PR Sample 

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Aloe Skincare Range from The Body Shop

The Body Shop Aloe Skincare Range* link
When The Body Shop contacted me to see if I was interested in testing out some items from their new Aloe Skincare range I was more than happy to. The Body Shop is a brand that I remember fondly for their make up as their All In One Facebase was the product that got me through my late teens but I have never sampled their skincare. 

I often refer to my skin as fairly normal and wouldn't consider it sensitive as I can pretty much slap anything on without fear of horrendous side effects but the reality is that even the not so noticeable outbreaks and redness can be due to sensitivity which I've had highlighted in various skin scans during my blogging days which is where the Aloe Skincare range comes in.

The first product I've been using is the Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser* which is created to ensure your skin isn't left feeling tight and dry whilst soothing the skin. I've used the product both morning and night and loved it as a morning cleanse likening it to a less creamier version of Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish. I've spoke many times of  enjoying my morning cleanse more than night time and this is certainly a cleanser I would keep in that line up. For the purposes of a well rounded review I also used this for my evening cleanse either after a micellar water or oil or simply alone. Either works well but I was impressed when using alone how quickly it dissolved my make up and removed stubborn make up. I usually don't find cleansers drying because I will tend to go straight in with toners, serums and the like but I tried to wait between the next stages to see if I noticed any difference and the noticeable thing was I didn't. I wasn't reaching for more moisture as my skin wasn't left dry or tight so it certainly works as instructed. 

If were to be critical and this is only a personal criticism I would prefer a tube to dispense the product as sometimes when hands are wet squeezing the product out feels an effort and I can imagine as you reach the bottom of the bottle this will be a struggle and I would prefer it to be clear so I could see how much is left otherwise it's a thumbs up from me.

I was also sent the Aloe Soothing Day Cream* to add into my skincare regime so this has been my morning moisturiser during testing and I'm pretty impressed with this petite pot which is an affordable £4. The Aloe Soothing Day Cream offers hydration from it's light texture which sinks into the skin without leaving it greasy. Due to both it's efficiency and size this would be the perfect product to take on holiday with you if you're going to warmer climes and forget your SPF without a doubt and it'll be on my travel shopping list next time I'm heading to the beach. It's soothing and calming formula was welcome after a threading trip when I was experiencing extra sensitivity.

Which leads nicely onto the Aloe Soothing Gel* which I wasn't able to test too throughly but did reach for after the aforementioned threading appointment when things were looking a little red and it certainly did the trick. The Aloe Soothing Gel contacts Community Fair Trade organic aloe vera which is just the thing to cool and moisturise and again would be a perfect holiday staple.

The Body Shop has had many skincare products over the internet which I've had on my list to try and the experience with the Aloe range has definitely enhanced my desire to try more and it will certainly be a staple in my travel beauty bag next year.

Have you had any experience with The Body Shop's skincare products? I'd love to hear your recommendations. 

*PR Sample
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Leanne's Lockets Charm Bracelet

Leanne's Lockets link

My friend Lisa seemed rather disinterested last week when I mentioned how I wanted a bracelet. There was no bracelet in mind just a decision that I needed a new one for my collection but she didn't seem too keen to help me find one.

It all became clear when she produced a gift for me at the weekend which was in fact a bracelet. Lisa has long been a fan of Leanne's Lockets and has a floating charm necklace and when she saw that there was a new bracelet range she decided we both needed one.

The bracelet is of course adjustable and due to the locket face is quite bulky which I like from a bracelet. Obviously the joy for this sort of product is choosing the charms to go inside. She picked an angel wing and crown for me but said I could pick others as I wished.

I think these would make such a personal gift for friends and family as you can choose from over 100 charms which are most significant to the recipient. The necklaces are affordable at £25 including four charms or £22 for a bracelet with two charms and due to such a speedy turnaround from Leanne you can order right up to the last postal dates (in the UK) of 18th December.

The lockets themselves are made of stainless steel so they will not rust of tarnish and hypoallergenic and you can choose from either gold or silver colour options to create a bespoke gift for someone special or even yourself.

Leanne has just launched her website which you can find here or you can find her on Facebook.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

GHD Curve Classic Curl Tong Review

GHD Curve Classic Curl Tong* link
In all my 35 years I've never owned a pair of GHD straighteners prefer a more natural and or curled look so I was pleased to get my hands on the new GHD Curve Classic Curl Tong's* recently and put them into action.

I've used numerous curling tongs over the years from the cheap to the expensive and daren't think of the damage I have done to my hair so thankfully the GHD Curve features tri-zone technology to ensure healthier looking hair due to the barrel keeping at the optimum curling temperature without causing heat damage. The tri-zone barrel delivers a constant heat evenly across the barrel which ensures that the curl will last longer than your night out.

The barrel is a comfortable 26mm size with a ergonomic lever to stop that burning of fingers I've experience in the past with other curlers when you have to keep hold of the curl to set it to hold. 

I'm in no way a professional at curling my hair but my first attempt at home with the GHD Curve Classic Tong was fuss free and a breeze. I found I was able to work quickly through my hair and left with a universal look which I was pleased with. 

The curling tong comes with all the usual things you would hope, long leads, automatic sleep after 30 minutes and a plus for this limited edition set is a rose gold heat mat and bag to keep them stashed away tidily and stop any carpet burns.

These would be the perfect Christmas gift for an curl fans out there and to see them in action here's my selfie.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

My Hangover Kit

It is no secret that I enjoy a glass of wine or two with a side of jaegarbombs which often leads to hideous hangovers and some serious making up to do where my skin is concerned. As we head into the party season where drinks will likely be flowing freely I thought I'd share a few of my saviours to repair the effects of a boozy night out.

Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask* link 
I commonly have the Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask's in my stash for flights but lately they've been having a more positive effect the morning after the night before. Drinking leaves the skin seriously dehydrated so the boost from these masks containing the famous Hydraluron serum is necessary and there's something comforting from just lying still with nothing more than let the mask do it's work. Due to their ability to lock in moisture they're handy to pop on the night before an event to start the repair work early. Thankfully these sheet masks whilst scary to look at whilst on do stop you from looking so scary the next day!

Vichy Idealia Life Serum* link
This is my current serum of choice as I find it suits my lifestyle perfectly and thanks to it's effects against 'daily excesses' such as stress and pollution. Thankfully this serum transforms the appearance of the skin quality and masks fatigue especially when you have crawl out of bed for a day in the office.
The Idealia Eye Cream is also a hit for tired eyes and you can find out more about that in this post.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+] link
The Effaclar Duo from La Roche-Posay has been mentioned countless times on my blog so we'll keep this short and sweet. Let's just say after strolling in drunk from a night out it's not unheard of me for me to skip a thorough cleanse of my skin leading to the appearance of one or two spots. A dab from this handy tube means they disappear in time for the next night out.

Urban Veda Reviving Exfoliating Facial Polish* link
As part of my daily skincare routine I rely on exfoliating toners but as mentioned above these routines fly out the window when I arrive home late and I'm lucky if I remove my clothes let alone my make up. Even the morning after if I'm feeling particularly fragile the thought of tending to my skin is farthest from my mind which causes my skin to feel like sandpaper and I go in with the manual exfoliating. My current product of choice is the aptly named Reviving polish from Urban Veda. Containing pomegranate juice, borage and jasmine which all help to hydrate and nourish the skin as well as rose hip, Evening Primrose and Geranium which help preserve the skins ability to retain moisture. This is cream exfoliating with light gritty particles which aid bringing my skin back to life and a scent which is comforting when feeling sorry for myself.

Liz Earle Instant Skin Tonic Spritzer link
Finally the product which is needed for a wake up call when I need to be wide awake and ready to face the day no matter how hungover I am and that's Liz Earle's Skin Boosting Tonic. A few sprays from the pump and I'm just about ready to take on the world. It's the refreshing boost my skin needs especially after sleeping in a layer of make up.

Let me know if some of my recommendations become of use to you and don't forget to share any secrets you have after a night of indulgence.

*PR Sample

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Top Four Winter Body Lotions

Applying body lotions seems for many a beauty lover the most unloved task, myself included. I go through phases sometimes enjoying the ritual and others finding it a complete bind but it's something I want to change for many reasons. Today I have four different types of body lotion all which serve different purposes and as such have seen an increase in their usage.

Ameliorate Skin Smoothing Body Lotion link
I first heard about Ameliorate from the British Beauty Blogger and so intrigued was I that I ordered immediately. Ameliorate is your, shall we say treatment body lotion, it's main draw being that it helps improve Keratosis Pilaris what's more commonly known as 'chicken skin'.

I am lucky in that I don't suffer from this in great amounts but do have a patch on one of my legs from crossing them that over the years no exfoliating or body lotion applying has helped and I thought that maybe Ameliorate would do the job, so much so that I paid £27.50 for a tube of body lotion which wasn't sitting in the luxury bracket.

There were some high expectations from me on this product and I'm pleased to say that it met them. Due to it's cost and the realisation that it would have to be applied with frequency to do it's job meant that I have been rather diligent in application and as such have certainly seen a change in the skin's appearance in the area. Obviously I'm not perfect so I have had moments of not using this product and/or using the others that I'll mention so I'm happy that miracles haven't occurred especially as when I'm still crossing me legs and thus causing the main reason for the problem only so much can be done.

It was actually quite rewarding seeing the tube start to empty even if I am mindful of it's cost to replace which I will happily do so. If you suffer from exceptionally dry skin and or chicken skin this is definitely worth looking into.

Roger & Gallet Lait Sorbet Body Lotion* link
When I was asked if I'd like to try the Sorbet range from Roger & Gallet I was keen, especially as I'd always only associated them with soaps for some reason. It's one of those brands that seems to pop up at Christmas or in independent pharmacies that I'd never paid much attention to which will certainly change now.

There are four scents of which I have two, Bots D'Orange and Gingembre. As you can imagine due to my love of Citrus scents Bois D'Orange is my favourite and suited perfectly to this time of year as we move into Clementine and Satsuma season. Each Sorbet body lotion is enriched with botanical oils which help to keep skin hydrated as well as others to leave a luminous finish on the skin. These are my pamper time favourites and the pump bottle is perfect for ensuring tubes aren't slipping out of your hands. The texture is almost gel like yet thinner in that it glides over the skin and sinks in without having to stand around before you can pop clothes on - which is of particularly interest due to the colder evenings. All components of these body lotions makes using them a pleasure rather than a chore.

Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Lotion* link
The Vaseline Intensive Care range of body lotions sits nicely in your no nonsense budget category. A particular favourite of mine is the Cocoa scent although lately it's been the fresh cucumber scent from Aloe Soothe Lotion that has been reached for on days when skin feels a little drier than I would like or I've been a bit overzealous with a razor. I like to use this on my knees and elbows which have slight psoriasis and find this does just the trick to cool the area. This would be amazing in the summer if you were to find yourself with a little sunburn and proved just as useful when I've burnt my fingers on the oven. You might expect a body lotion from the high street for only a few pounds would be watery or sticky but this range sinks into skin nicely and leaves skin moisturised.

How Now Brown Cow Gradual Tanning Cream* link
MooGoo Skincare is a brand I was not familiar with that hails from Australia and specialises in products for psoriasis and eczema suffers. Apparently Gwyneth Paltrow recommended How Now Brown Cow Gradual Tanning Cream in GOOP so I certainly thought it was worth trying. I always find it funny that we faux tan in Summer when the sun is out doing it's thing but come Winter and the festive season when there's more change of us being dressed in our finest and photographed to the max we look like Caspar the ghost. A gradual tanner was just the thing to see me through the next few months with a formula that still acts as a moisturiser for the skin. This is definitely a product for those wanting the subtle effects. Again like Ameliorate I probably do not use diligently enough to see myself go from Caspar to Gisele but it certainly takes of the edge of Winter skin and gives me a warmer colour in between faux tans. This is a very thick cream which does take some working into the skin so you would need to leave some time before popping your pi's on but the yellow tinge of the cream means you are able to see where you have applied. Don't be fooled into thinking my subtle talk means you don't need to wash your hands after this because I made that foolish mistake and was demonstrating some lovely brown patches between my fingers for some time! If you love natural products and a bit of colour to your skin this could be just the product for you.

So there you have some current favourites I'm using at the moment. Let me know in the comments if you're a diligent body lotion user or like me need some encouragement.

*PR Sample

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bourjois Quad Smoky Stories Eyeshadow Palettes Review & Swatches

Bourjois Smoky Stories Quads* link
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the launch of some festive releases from Bourjois and the stand out product from the range were the Smoky Stories eyeshadow quads. I was particularly excited by these as Bourjois had been my eyeshadow brand of choice back in my clubbing days piling on a dark grey glittery shade from their round potted shadows range. It seems Bourjois is an oldie but a goodie as since getting these new palettes in my hands I have abandoned all other eyeshadow products with Good Nude becoming a firm favourite of mine .

Each quad features a light, medium and dark shade to create a smoky eye along with what they're calling the 'light touch' which is a glittery shade which can be used as either highlight of packed on to give a sparkly look as you transfer your look from day to evening.

L-R: Over Rose, Rock This Khaki, Good Nude and Grey & Night
As mentioned Good Nude has been my favourite but I'm starting to cheat on that with Rock This Khaki which is perfect for this time of year and nice to go outside of the usual comfort zone. Grey and Night is perfect for the traditional grey smoky eyed lovers and I found it easy to work with and no fear of panda eyes. I have since passed it on to a colleague at work who prefers this shades.

The most impressive thing I've found from these palettes is the longevity. I have oily eyelids and always expect some creasing from eye shadow towards the end of the day no matter what primers and such I use but these stick around long after I've left the office which is perfect as we head into party season.

The shades are all well pigmented and blend well together and have me even thinking I'm a master at the smoky eye look. The medium shade is perfect for applying in the crease and I've been using the darker shades as liner by day but can intensify the look in outer corners by night along with the light touch to sparkle under disco lights.

For £7.99 this isn't the cheapest palette nor the most expensive but it's definitely value for money and would be something I could rely on in most eventualities.

If interested you can see photos from the event here.

*PR Sample

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Renunail Nail Colour in Pomegranate Review

Renunail Nail Colour, Pomegranate* link
It wouldn't be unfair to say I love planning my holidays almost as much as the holiday itself and my Vegas trip was planned down to the exact detail including beauty treatments prior to departure, one of which was a Biosculpture Manicure.

Unfortunately 'just one drink' after work on my last day in the office led to many and as I was leaving a club at 830am the next morning it was quite evident I would be not be making that 9am appointment. Thankfully Dr LeWinn's latest release in the Renunail's range was on hand to save the day.

With a lingering hangover which confined me to the sofa there was no way I would be making a trip into the outside world until I was ready to board my flight so it was time for an at home mani, about all I was up for. I was conscious that whilst there are many top performing nail colours in my collection after a day or two there would be the inevitable chips appearing and I didn't want to take an arsenal of nail polish remover, nail colours and top coats to spend my evenings repairing any damage. 

The Renunail Nail Strengthener is a cult product in the beauty world and you may remember my review of the Nude shade I posted back in May here. It's a great product to aid nail strength and I've actually been using it a lot lately whilst suffering from a cold and lack of motivation to dedicate time to a painting my nails but wanting to avoid breakage. 

Dr LeWinn's have now added colour to the famous Renunail Nail Strengthener which meant that whilst I would not have the sturdy biosculpture mani I would have both the perfect shade in Pomengranite for a holiday in the sun whilst ensuring my nails were strengthened and the colour would last during my trip.

I was extremely impressed that whilst I went for two coats, just one gave the high shine glossy finish I love. I did take the bottle with me and it's actually taken so long for me to post this review as I couldn't find the bottle and feared I had left it as a parting gift to Caesar until mum turned up having pinched it from me!

I did experience a few minor chips during my trip towards the end which wasn't unexpected due to fighting with luggage and playing around with cameras and such but I was able to apply another coat to tidy things up and because of it's glossy coverage no top coats were needed. Mum too put some on her nails and wasn't fussed about top coats either. 

Currently there are only five colours in the range, with I'm sure one to suit everyone from Marshmallow, a pale pink to a very season appropriate Dark Plum. I'd love to a see a fuchsia pink and true red appear in the collection as this range is definitely one that appeals and saves some pounds on other treatments. 

*PR Sample

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Lush Seasonal Haul

Cinders Bath Bomb link
I must confess I've never been a big Lush fan finding their products gimmicky and can remember days out shopping with friends when I would refuse to go into their overwhelming scented stores. Obviously over recent years I've become more open with my beauty tastes and have begun dabbling with various Lush products and been pleasantly surprised. As you will see with the following items I've recently used it's actually the products qualities I'm impressed with and less the gimmicky side so it shows how wrong you can be. I must also add that my bath is beige so I don't always get the colour benefits that a white bath would give so do bear that in mind if I'm critical there.

First up the Cinders Bath bomb which is part of the Christmas range launched recently and was a bit of a disappointment for me. I don't know if my water was too hot but it appeared to disappear rather quickly with no crackling to speak of. The colour doesn't lend itself to anything to pleasant turning a mustard shade and there minimal bubbles to speak of. Luckily the scent saved it from being a complete dud although again I didn't find it overwhelming which having a look around it seems most people state the size of this bath bomb may be where the problem likes.

Fizzbanger Bath Bomb link
The Fizzbanger I did enjoy and as implied above maybe the size of this bath bomb is where it comes into it's own. Nothing to look at but a big yellow ball it took quite some time fizzing around my bath and I can't deny I was amused watching it take effect. It didn't kick into it's fizz banging qualities till the blue colours were released but there was the distinctive snap, crackle and pop which made me smile and of course watching the small square of paper shouting 'bang' release itself. 

The scent was stronger from the Fizzbanger and lingered during my bath although not overwhelming but I was particularly impressed with how soft my skin felt just from the soak in the tub. Apparently this product contains Petitgrain which is used to calm breathing, slow the heartbeat and reduce feelings of anxiety. Whilst none of these are cause for concern I definitely felt that I had had a relaxing bath and was able to climb into bed quite relaxed.

Sparkler Bath Bomb
Another disappointing product which was saved only for the glittery sparkle in the bath that was left. Again this bomb disappeared quickly, no bubbles and just a milky film in the bath with the mustardy colour which doesn't feel enjoyable to lay in. Again the gimmicks aside the scent was pleasant if short lived and skin was left feel soft to touch.

Candy Mountain link
Candy Mountain part of the famous Snow Fairy scented products  that hit Lush every Christmas. As mentioned these products have escaped me each year so far and I can't quite understand how a sweet smelling range becomes such a Christmas institution. That aside I love vanilla scents and found that this filled my bathroom and created a mountain of bubbles to provide an enjoyable bath time treat. Would I mark this out as part of my Christmas traditions, probably not but as a standalone product I'm a fan. 

Finally we have the Halloween Sparkly Pumpkin which unfortunately already appears to have disappeared from the website but you may find in stores. I was able to get too baths from this bar and both had an abundance of bubbles having mastered my bath running technique to ensure maximum effect from the Lush products. The disappointment with this product is that it isn't pumpkin scented which I would have enjoyed as a preference but otherwise this is a great seasonal gift for teachers or Halloween party hosts. Most people seem to complain about cleaning the glitter from their baths after using this product but I'm pleased to say that I didn't find it a problem so that is a thumbs up from me.

As you will have read the products were mixed in favour for me although I did find it a pleasure to use them all and was definitely impressed with how my skin felt after bathing which is more important than where I received sound affects of colour displays. Lush bath bombs are definitely fun to explore and if you want to treat yourself to something for a few pounds these are a great idea if not pricey for a per use breakdown.

I'll definitely be returning to my Lush store shortly as there's a few more items from the Christmas range I want to try out. What about you are you a Lush fan?

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