Friday, October 20, 2017

Products I Used Up | September 2017


Another delved into the pile of beauty trash I amassed over the past months starts with the usual regular appearances of Sure Maximum Protection* and The Wet Brush. Both are staples in my daily routines, although the former may be opted due to a new deodorant I've discovered recently so stay tuned for that in a later post. The Mitchum Deodorant mini is the usual type I have thrown in my bag for freshening up on the go.

I'd love to hear from other Wet Brush users and whether you have to change yours as regular as I do - especially as I don't think I have particularly thick knotty hair to battle. It's probably my only gripe that I do sometimes feel I'm replacing it every month or two but it does give me an opportunity to try out a new colour and there's nothing like a fresh new hairbrush.

Sticking with haircare and shampoo of the dry and regular varieties; Catwalk by TIGI Transforming Dry Shampoo* and John Frieda Sheer Blonde Honey Blonde Colour Illuminating Shampoo*. Both were products that worked as they should and I enjoyed using. You can read full reviews here and here but I suspect any repurchase will be made at John Frieda. As much as I loved the scent of the TIGI Dry Shampoo, I'll still with paying a few pound for the regular offerings.

The cooler temperatures means allowing my hair to air dry isn't so much of an option and it's time to reach for the hairdryer. When I was I powered through TIGI Bed Head Queen Beach Salt Infused Texture Spray* with it's beachy scent and more moisturising offering that left hair less crispy. I would repurchase again, and indeed would for my forthcoming holiday were it not for one or two other bottles lurking around I'd like to use up before the year is out. You can read my original review here.

I've been trying some new skincare items recently so we only say goodbye to Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner* and Lacura Expert Eye Gel. Interestingly and for transparency both these items were ones I loved in it's early stages but later started to find fault and hence there appearance in the basket. In the case of Dermalogica I think I was at fault and had allowed the product to hang around to long in amongst many other skincare products. At first it seemed fine when I reached for it again but the first tell tale sign with any product if the smell seems off it's time to get rid.

The Lacura Expert Eye Gel appeared in my April Favourites I liked it so much in it's early stages but as time went on I found it was a little drying and not quite doing what I wanted. That said a few other gel eye creams I've reached for I've found the same result so think in my older years I need something a little more powerful.

Two products I'm sad to say goodbye to are my Carmex Classic Wild Pot* and Revlon Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Devotion. Again I'm trying to use up lip balms I have in my collection before buying others but I really am missing Carmex although I'm not a fan of the pot. Stiletto nails do not create the perfect conditions for dipping fingers in but the product was fantastic at keeping lips moisturised.

Revlon's Devotion was my go to lip when I wanted some colour but I wasn't in the mood for the maintenance of a red lip, it also works well whatever the weather. I realised as I was wearing this week that it was becoming less easy to work with and dispense the product so I decided it was time to favour other products. I would repurchase but also as part of my decluttering I'm allowing myself time to discover if indeed I am missing certain products before hitting the repurchase button.

The ever present hand creams that I used up this month were again disappointments. Sorry for this months empties post appearing on the negative side but I guess thats how some months go. Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Hand Cream* but as with Leighton Denny Best Defence Hand Cream* I found that my hands would not feel so moisturised after I'd applied. They were not dry in the same way as when they come out of water but I still find it was my usual experience.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Power of 3 | Hawaiian Tropic Fragrance Mist

Hawaiian Tropic Fragrance Mist

Did you know I have triplet aunties? Rather great especially if I tell you one is married to a twin but as fabulous as this little bit of trivia about me is it does prove problematic because come Christmas or Birthdays everything seems to be done in threes. Of course they are well of the age when quarrels wouldn't occur if one got something the other wanted but still, sticking with something of a theme always helps.

Of course I love 3 for 2 offers but also giftsets also come in handy as often I can split the products between my aunts (or indeed any family and friends celebrating) and maximise the gift budget for them, such is the case with the Hawaiian Tropic Fragrance Miss Giftset* I received this week.

Whilst I know the leaves are turning brown and falling from the trees and if we were all playing drinking games every time someone mentioned how 'Autumnal' they were feeling or that they'd just picked up a Pumpkin Spiced Latte we'd all be needing a detox clinic but I'm still not quite ready thanks to my trip to Florida next month and as such loved receiving the 'scents of summer'.

I will admit I wouldn't necessarily head to the shops and think 'oh I need to buy a fragrance mist' or body spray as I have a healthy perfume collection and that ticks the box for me, but thanks to press samples I receive as a blogger (which this is) I do find I often have a body spray of some description lurking around which I reach for on weekends when lazing around in pyjamas or of an evening post bath when I climb into bed so maybe in the future it is something I would seek out.

The Hawaiian Tropic collection of fragrance mists are indeed all pleasant to use and then scents do provide, depending on your preference for the fragrances, a significant wear time with a smell that isn't too synthetic or heady.

Golden Paradise* is perhaps my favourite but I think it is very much due to the 'creamy coconut' scent that will instantly transport you to any Summer holiday you've had. Sunkissed Dreams* fggg feels like your more traditional perfume thanks to lotus flower and sheer musts and Summer Dreams* will be one favoured by those who love scents of passion flower and mango.

As I've said these aren't products I would typically reach for or indeed the type of scent I favour in a perfume spray or mist but they are quite enjoyable and I will definitely be ensuring I keep one for myself for those lazy days when I need to perk myself up.

Hawaiian Tropic FChristmas

Are you a fragrance mist user?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Aldi Candles | A Jo Malone Dupe?

Aldi Jo Malone Candle Review

It's quite likely if our paths have crossed recently that you would have heard me wax lyrical about the joys of Aldi and indeed noticed a smattering of Aldi products starting to appear on these pages.

Whilst my Aldi love is in full force in recent months I was only dabbling at the beginning of the year and as such the realise of the candles being hailed in the press as dupes for Jo Malone had escaped. Luckily for me Aldi heard pleas from their customers and have now made them part of their standard range so I was able to pick them up for myself to try and see if indeed they were worthy of their dupe status.

On first impression you can't argue where their 'inspiration' has come from and indeed the fragrances are matched with Jo Malone offerings. Of course the biggest difference is the price tag. I've never treated myself to a Jo Malone candle - I'm prone to burning money at whim but the price of Jo Malone candles makes even me bulk. At just £3.99 I was happy to experiment with Aldi's offering.

I picked up each of the scents, Lime Basil and Mandarin, Blackberry Bay and Pomegranate Noir and started with the latter being my favourite scent from Jo Malone. On initial sniff the candle did indeed have that familiar scent but it wasn't as strong as I'd expected. When I use just a capful of the Pomegranate Noir Bath Oil my whole flat literally fills with the scent like no other product I've used before so I expected, even if not as strong it would still have some power behind it.

I lit the candle and nothing and I was disappointed. I belong to an Aldi group on Facebook and as with anything of it's type opinions were divided between those stating the candles had no scent, certainly in comparison to the first release which created such hype (and inflated prices on eBay) and others stating how fabulous they were. As I say for me there was nothing.

Now I am a smoker so I appreciate that any scented candle is fighting with cigarette smoke so I thought it could indeed be my 'testing conditions' but having conversations with friends and family who also tried them out they too fell the same.

I even added a dash of my Jo Malone Shower Gel to the wax to add a little punch and it did help but defeats the object somewhat.

I have since burnt the additional two scents and they were perhaps 'even worse' than Pomegranate Noir as I can smell nothing as they burn which is a shame. Even last week I saw someone shopping in Aldi with a friend, picking up a candle and declaring 'you need this in your life' so I presume she has a much better experience than I.

They have since released reed diffusers and in recent months I've had more positive effects from them in my home so I'm looking forward to trying those and hopefully finding a much better result but I will keep you posted.

Scent qualities aside as a candle they really to burn cleanly so it's just a shame they let down on scent. I will make do with stocking up on Bath and Bodyworks Mahogany Teakwood candles when I'm in the US next month - now that is a strong candle that works a treat for me.

Have you tried the Aldi candles? I'd love to hear if you had better success than I did.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New In Beauty | October 2017


As I mentioned in Monday’s post whilst things have been quiet on these pages I have been behind the scenes putting some new and old products through their paces and two old favourites are Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturiser in Aloe Sooth* and The Breath Co Toothpaste

The former is the perfect for lazy girls like me those in a hurry who don’t enjoy the laborious process of applying body lotion but still want to feel the effects of using one. I can leap from the shower, running late for me train and still find time to literally ‘spray & go’. Whilst I can forgive a sticky body lotion if I have time on my hands or indeed am simply climbing into bed, when I’m pulling on a pair of tights I do not want a battle on my hands so I’m grateful that Vaseline Aloe Fresh is not sticky at all and does dry quickly without making skin feel drying. Again often spray bottles struggle when manipulated, or just simply upside down but again, I have no battles on my hands and whenever I use this bottle I question why I bother with anything else. 
Recently I decided it was wholly unnecessary to have numerous small tubes of toothpaste sitting in my travel sized stash so decided to use those I had up (leaving one to be used and replaced as needed). I wish I could not appear so sad to ‘miss’ a toothpaste but I did notice the absence of The Breath Co. Toothpaste which I have used and repurchased many times since I was first introduced to it. £9 is ridiculously extortionate and I always look out for it when it is on offer and at a reduced price because love can only go so far. 
I’m a big fan of citrus scents but sadly in the form of Aqua Citra Perfume* it wasn’t for me. This is not through fault of the perfume itself, I’m neither a fan of Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin as I prefer something a little more woody, musky and even manly. If you are fan of this type of scent then I’m sure will like this as did a friend who was able to benefit from my passing over this fragrance which has enjoyed wearing and smells delightful on her. 



As I’ve said when I’ve previously mentioned this is the least ‘toothpaste-y’ toothpaste I’ve used and not one that offends the taste of the first drink you have post brushing yet as a smoker I find it tackles all the things it needs to for my filthy habits. 

Superdrug Natural Radiant Glycolic Toner* has caused something of stir recently as it's been hailed as yet debated as impossible to be a dupe of the blogger favourite Pixi Glow Tonic. Obviously the biggest draw is the more affordable price tag (currently only £2.95 at Superdrug) but is it any good? 

I will not claim to be a skincare guru but thanks to my experiences with testing various products for my blog I do have some amateur knowledge and have found that glycolic acid is a saviour for me, especially as someone that can be slack with their skincare regime, particularly at times when I should be more diligent. 

Simply put glycolic acid is a chemical exfoliator that can be used on a daily basis depending on your skins tolerances and needs and will help any dullness to the skin for a more radiant appearance. I have dehydrated skin and throw in a hangover or two and my skin can become almost snakelike but the morning or even a day or two later a sweep of glycolic acid can start to repair the damage I have caused.

I find that 'at my age' and due to my skins tolerance I can and do prefer more hardy glycolics but that is not any way a critism for Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner which is a comfortable dose for daily use and still performs to a high standard. In fact, before I layer on serums and moisturisers using the glycolic toner immediately shows a positive change in my skin - and I'm all about immediate gratification. 

If you're new to glycolic toners and chemical exfoliation then this is a great way to test the waters for only a few pound. 

It was only yesterday a friend at work and I were commenting how we will push our beauty treatments to the extreme; hair should be cut in six weeks, oh I'll give it eight. Such was the case recently when my balagye was taking on a brassier colour and dry as a bone and I was debating on which hairdresser to visit. Luckily I received Lee Stafford Coco Loco Hair Oil* to help me push my hair to its limit.

Despite my balayge making my hair dryer I am still somewhat reluctant with oil so I ensure to concentrate on on the ends. Coco Loco Hair Oil is fabulous both for its size, scent and pump applicator. It isn't messy and I don't find myself wiping my hands after I've run it through my hair.

The old greasy haired brunette I once was still worries about using an oil in my hair but the difference it made to the appearance, sleek and shiny and almost like I just stepped out of a salon. Having since had my dye job refreshed I reach for the oil sporadically when I feel like things need an extra hand although I find the oil lighter enough I could reach for it ever day and not overload my hair. 

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links


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Monday, October 9, 2017

MONTHLY BEAUTY FAVOURITES | September 2017


It feels longer than the couple of months its been since I last hit publish on a blog post and despite the impromptu break I have still been photographing and testing products 'behind the scenes' so I have plenty to hit publish on over the coming weeks. A good place to start is always by sharing my recent favourites and the first is a welcome return to reading. 

During my redundancy period reading certainly fell to the wayside without a regular commute and any journeys I did make were typically spent on my phone scrolling through social media or indeed preparing for job interviews. As the commute is now once again part of my daily routine books are making a reappearance although it's been a slow start with a couple of books that I just couldn't find myself reaching for until I picked up Beauty by Louise Mensch who you may know as Louise Bagshawe. The story of Dina Kane and her rise to power, dragging herself up from poverty and battling old adversaries. This is simply chick lit with a darker edge, enough to keep me interested rather than a basic boy meets girl tale and the story of Dina making her way in the beauty industry was enjoyable and I was keen to keep turning the pages despite knowing how it was likely to end. As a read to remind me of the enjoyment reading brings me this was it and my only criticism was the somewhat eye rolling description of Dina being such beauty and therefore allowing her such success or opportunity which added less weight to the additional struggle and hard work she was shown as putting in to build her success. 

Along with reading I've slipped back into old skincare habits but a few gems from Aldi are helping me get back on track and the Lacura Caviar 3 Minute Mask is one that also works to combat my excuse of not having enough time. I don't particularly enjoy the process of face masks despite acknowledging the benefits. Clay masks are great for congested skin but so messy and sheet masks similarly so whilst requiring a stance to ensure the mask doesn't slip and so on the excuses continues. The Caviar range from Aldi has already made waves over the years for it's comparisons to the uber expensive and luxurious La Prairie range and whilst I can fully understand the realities of skincare product duping is not really possible in the same way make up can be I do find that I can get on very well with some budget alternatives. For £6.99 the Lacura Caviar 3 Minute Mask is formulated to remove dead skin cells with caviar extract to moisturise your skin. If I've been slack with my regime, perhaps from one too many late nights a quick boost from the mask does the trick and even if your skin is tip top then using this before nights out and applying layers of make up ensures that you're looking your best.

I was very excited to receive a bottle of Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Foundation* although you would think that for my years of blogging and the beauty products that have passed through my hands I would be less prone to making assumptions or judgements about products before I have so much as swatched on my hand, let alone tried on my skin. I presumed that this foundation would be heavy but it is anything but. As it's blurb will tell you on the website it is a 'youth promoting skincare and foundation in one' and Joan Collins is known for looking fabulous as a mature woman so clearly paid great attention to working on a foundation that fellow older ladies would enjoy. 

Containing hyaluronic acid to moisturise your skin and ensure that it aids the base in which you're applying the foundation I found the finish quite flawless and radiant as it suggests. I would refer to this as a medium coverage foundation but you could easily build it up should you require although I prefer the coverage it provides as often the heavier coverage I reach for the more suffocated my skin feels and makes my fine lines more evident. It is very similar in formula to Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Foundation.  

I must also give top marks to the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty website for assisting with the shade of foundation you will need. I was able to pick, nervously, the shade I thought would suit for me based on their recommendations and it was perfect for me. They give guidance on your undertones and the like rather than simple listing shade numbers or names - we all know how those shade names can vary brand to brand.

To prep my skin for the aforementioned foundation I have been loving GOSH Primer Plus+ Skin Adaptor* which is sold as a primer which will enhance any skin tone. Before I continue I did see this in action an event with GOSH and some of the women of colour commented that it was a little ashy so that's something to bear in mind although for my pink undertoned skin I have been able to work well with it. It's quite different to other primers I've used as it doesn't have that silicone feel to it when applied, nor does it feel fluid and hydrating as it's quite a dry formula. That said on the days when I lean towards oilier skin but it does even my skintone out and create a smoother appearing canvas for me to layer make up on. 

Finally has been to remove that wonderful foundation I've been using Elemis Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil. I had this travel sized bottle in my ready to go bag of travel minis but as I continue to work through my stash I decided to dig this out and try out and very pleased I have. It's a beautifully smelling thick cleansing oil which melts away make up without leaving my skin crying out for moisture. I don't wear particularly heavy make up and will remove the bulk of any eye make up with a micellar water before I use the cleansing oil as my first cleanse but I find there is no leftover dirt and it is all removed with this first cleanse. I've mentioned how I can be lax with my skincare regime but using this product gives me an extra incentive to head to the bathroom sink and kick things off.

What products have you been enjoying recently?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review | The Affair by Gill Paul

The Affair, Gill Paul Book Review

LOVE. GLAMOUR. SECRETS.A stunning historical love story from the bestselling author of The Secret Wife. Rome, 1961. As the cameras roll on Cleopatra, the world is transfixed by the love affair emerging between Hollywood's biggest stars: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. But on the film set, tensions are running high. The money is running out, and a media storm is brewing over the Taylor-Burton relationship. When historical advisor Diana Bailey starts work on the film, she wants nothing more than to escape from her own troubled marriage and start anew. But as the heady world of Hollywood envelops her, secrets begin to emerge in the cast and crew. Is everything as it seems? And what really hides beneath the glamour of the famous film? An enthralling story of love and passion from the bestselling author of The Secret Wife, set against the stunning backdrop of one of the most iconic Hollywood movies ever made.

How long it took me to read The Affair by Gill Paul is by no means indicative of how much I loved and enjoyed reading it. If you are a fan of old Hollywood I'm sure you will love this book. I started reading this prior to returning to work so my reading time was sporadic and then it was initially hard to return to my reading habits once I was back to daily commuting but it got to the point that Ben told me he was bored of hearing how much I was enjoying it and just wished I would hurry up and finish it.

As the synopsis says the backdrop to the book was the filming of Cleopatra, which at the time was the worlds most expensive movie to ever be made. It was plagued with struggles during filming from weather and illness and the scandalous affair of it's star Elizabeth Taylor.

Gill Paul explains that she was able to speak with two actors from Cleopatra who shared their stories of life on set and it clearly shows in The Affair as Gill has allowed you clearly visualise how wonderful and fraught it must have been spending ten months in Rome filming one of the most talked about films of the time.

I thought simply this would be a 'love story' of sorts but there are twists and turns I didn't expect if not a little easily handled and perhaps dealt with quickly but still, it added a little more depth to what could easily be a somewhat typical story of boy meets girl just with an Italian backdrop.

Once I had finished reading The Affair it left me wanting to watch Cleopatra, travel to Rome (ideally in a time machine to the 1960's) and find out what other stories Gill has published featuring similar events as their backdrop.

*this post contains press samples and/or affiliate links



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Monday, August 7, 2017

My Make Up Declutter


I appreciate it's the height of 'first world problems' and a rather nice problem to have but one of the 'downsides' as a beauty blogger is quite simply the sheer abundance of products that we own. Over recent months I've tried to take a step back from making unnecessary purchases, accepting press samples I do not need and instead focus on working my way through my collection using what I have or decluttering things I do not love or have need for. I've rather enjoyed the process and enjoyed using products to their end rather than constant chopping and changing, reigniting my love for products once forgotten and finding I'm able to gather more thoughts on the products I do or not like. Today's post is sharing some of those products that haven't quite made the cut this month. 

First is L'Oreal Paris Infalliable Total Cover Foundation which despite my claims that I am not making any unnecessary purchases shows I am still prone to be swept up by some new releases because I have no need for more foundation. As is often the case this was first released in the US and unclear whether it would indeed hit UK shores I was able to ask a friend to pick it up for me. This was way back in December yet it's only recent months I've been reaching it for and I do not like it at all. Having such love for L'Oreal Infalliable Pro-Matte Foundation I expected that it would be a case of loving what I presumed what just be a fuller coverage version. Yes it is fuller coverage but far too much for my skin which felt suffocated whilst wearing. It did nothing for my mature skin and instead highlighted every line on my face so it's certainly not something I would reach for. I actually felt like I was wearing a mask that would crack and was literally itching at my face wanting to remove it.

An old favourite is Vivienne Westwood Boudoir Perfume that was my holy grail scent of old. In recent years I do not wear very often because it is a strong and heavy scent not suitable for day, or certainly work. As such the bottle has languished on my vanity unused and as part of my declutter I reached for it and realised that either the scent is perhaps too strong for me or quite simply I left it unloved too long and it's gone off. It was sad to part with a scent that brings back so many memories - good and bad - and I can remember when my mum purchased for me when it was only available exclusively in Harrods many years ago. 

Dr Lipp's Nipple Balm for Lips - yes that is its name - was one of the products I first purchased having moved into beauty blogging and saw appearing on various other blogs and YouTube channels. I was never particularly enamoured but what for me is simply a thick balm. Designed as one of those versatile products, original as the name suggested for the nipples of breastfeeding women but not is hailed to tackle any irritation from dry cuticles to lips and even babies bottoms. Interestingly I'm currently using a pot of Carmex that I prefer in the tube yet in this instance the tube was troublesome due to being such a thick formula. I actually had some success for Dr Lipp having left on the windowsill by accident one particularly sunny day so it had melted and dispensed with ease. That said life is too short to be fighting with a product I don't particularly enjoy using.

I purchased Make Up Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Pink Lights over 2 years ago and I've rarely reached for it if at all. I prefer either a pigmented pink that works as a blush or at champagne or gold highlighter. This is just too cool toned and a bit 'out there' for me as beautiful as it is. Time to pass it on.

Like many other bloggers I loved the Sephora Lip Creams when they were first released and wore often but there is no denying that if wearing on a long day they are very drying and reapplication does bode for a clean lip look. I was always conscious of this so in latter months found myself reaching for it less and less, even when I was working through my lip collection. Finally taking the plunge I didn't make it 5 minutes from leaving home before noticing any moisture being sucked from lips and decided it was time to move on to other products such as the L'Oreal Lip Paints which are a far creamier and less drying. 

OPI Face and Body Shimmer is a product I'm once again ashamed to admit the age of and it's clearly only had sporadic use over the years. This is a very glittery product but not in an offensive way, but does mean choosing the appropriate occasion is key. I took this to St Lucia with me on holiday and love a dusting on the shoulders but decided that was where it should stay and instead I can use one of the many highlighters in my collection.

The final product in today's post is the Real Techniques Buffing Brush a long term favourite of mine and well used. Recently I've been enjoying Beauty Blenders and Oval Brushes for foundation application and seeing my Real Techniques brush looking wearing from such use and cleaning I decided to throw it out and purchase myself a new one in the future. 

I'm really enjoying relieving myself of the excess products in my collection and hope to keep continuing to do so. Are you a beauty hoarder or have you joined the current craze for decluttering your stash?

*this post contains press samples and/or affiliate links


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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Products I Used Up | June 2017


No, it's not a typo these are last months empties and very soon you'll have this months and a flurry of empties posts since I found a whole bag filled with my 'beauty trash' of products I've yet photographed and shared with you. If in any doubt my mission to work through the products I have before repurchasing is going well.

First we step into the bathroom and finally I have finished my Champney's Citrus Blush Shower Mousse*. I say finally only because I feel like I have been using this product, admittedly off and on, for years! This is a product I would repurchase and it's perfect for this time of year and unlike any product I've used before. If you're bored of the usual gels, then I'd say give this a try for a more luxurious shower companion. 

When I first started using wash products for 'the intimate area' I thought it would be too much bother swapping between that and a regular shower gel but it's become something I don't even realise I'm doing now. Soft & Gentle Daily Wash* is less intrusive than the more well known offering Femfresh in large part because it's less 'obvious' in the bathroom. If you're a little shy about these matters then this is the product to use. I would repurchase, although it was Femfresh I did this month only because it was on offer and cheaper.

Another month, another stick of Sure Maximum Protection and this month a small mini that I have been carrying around in my handbag to ensure that I'm not 'that commuter' on the London Underground. I think we know the answer is a resounding yes to repurchasing.

As I had a spring clean of my bathroom I was amazed how much shampoo and conditioner I had in half used states so it's been my mission to ensure that they make there way to these posts. Last month it was TIGI S Factor that I finally said goodbye to. You can read my original review of the range to find out more but the only reason I wouldn't repurchase is the packaging - no one wants to fight with a shampoo morning when they just get out of bed.

I've moved onto salt sprays in recent weeks but prior to that I was using Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Texture Spray*. This is more subtle than a salt spray but still adds some texture and better suited to cooler weather if hair is already a little dry and brittle. You can read my review of the Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion range here

I've found that since returning to work I'm more active in applying hand cream once again and one I have used is Crabtree & Evelyn Pomegranate. This style of tube is one of my favorites as it's both small without lacking on product. I loved the scent of this as it was sweet and perfect for the Summer without being overpowering. 

Skincare Review

The first three products that I used up last month you will note from my St Lucia Skincare regime and they are favourites. Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic is a long term favourite and I absolutely love it in the spritzer version. Again I'm trying to use the toners that still sit in my stash but I will certainly repurchase again in the future. Liz Earle Eyebright I'm not so sure about repurchasing. I do love it, it's fantastic when eyes are particularly suffering due to hayfever but it's a product I forget to reach for or think about it so it goes a little unloved. I think I'll see whether it's missed.

A product that is missed is the B. Effective Stubborn Make Up Remover*. I thought this was just a nice product and happily returned to the Garnier Micellar Water once it was used up but I'm not enjoying it so much and missing the former.  The B. Make Up Remover is a bi-phase solution and I find it gentler on my eyes which is what I use micellar waters and the like for. I'll definitely be repurchasing this again in the future.

Ren Glycolactic Mask I have little to say about unfortunately as I think it sat on my shelf too long and when I have attempted to use it the smell is a little off so into the bin it goes. Let me know if you've used before and whether it's something I need to seek out in the future.

Janjira Illuminating Day Cream* is a product from the stash sitting half used that needed to be used up. The packing for this product is sleek and lux and I like the pump dispenser to avoid product finding it's way under my nails. It's a nice light moisturiser to use in the warmer months when my skin is oiler and sits at a mid range price point of £24 I would think about repurchasing if there wasn't so many other offerings on the high street that I'm keen to try. Or more importantly a basket filled with moisturisers I need to use up first.

Finally is Perricone Md Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment which I used as a second cleanse. This was an interesting product to use as my second cleanse as it's not one you use to wash off and it's somewhere between a liquid and gel that is nice to apply but I think I prefer my wash products and certainly those which aren't so expensive.

Beauty Review

I was gutted when my travel sized Mac Fix+ came to an end and I had hoped to refill from my larger bottle but the cap has beaten me. For now I've got a couple of other fixing sprays I'd like to use first but I will be repurchasing soon as I love having this in my handbag to freshen up make up if I'm heading out after work.

As part of my declutter process I'm trying to be more diligent at discarding mascaras when they have been in use for some months and it's been a success. I don't wish to tempt fate but I've not had what was a sporadic but frequent eye infection since I've been adopting this tactic. Last months mascara empties were two from Chanel, the Le Volume Mascara and the L'Oreal Superstar. Interestingly I had the smaller travel sizes of the Chanel Le Volume and loved it but once I'd purchased full size I was less impressed and actually found it disappointing and with fall out. The L'Oreal Superstar Mascara I enjoyed and would repurchase but mindful of it's something of a faff applying the primer first and it's quite large and bulky packaging for a mascara.

Wet n Wild Illumi-Naughty Highlighting and Concealing Pen is a great concealer perfect for the better days when you've had a good nights sleep, or at least want to fake having had one. It's not a must have in that I would seek it out from a UK seller but if I come across it when I'm in the US later this year I'm sure I'll throw one into my basket.

Finally a perfume that I enjoyed but didn't love, YSL Black Opium. It's a strong heady scent with a slight sweetness so it's perfect for Summer evenings.

What products have you been using up recently?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New Launch | Nip+Fab Make Up Range

Nip Fab Make Up Review

Nip+Fab is a brand best known for affordable skincare found in your local Superdrug but it cannot have escaped your notice thanks to it's popularity across social media that they have recently launched a make up range. Products range from £5 to £15 if purchased without any of the offers you'll often find in Superdrug stores where it is exclusively available. I was sent a selection of products from the range that I have been testing out in recent weeks, and if you read my New In Beauty post last month you will already know that the Nip+Fab mascara was heading straight for years favourites post. 

Nip+Fab Liquid Lipstick Biscuit Swatch

We'll get the two products I'm least enamoured with out of the way first, although the reason for that is down to personal preferences than any criticism with the products abilities. First, in packaging akin to Kylie Cosmetics are their Matte Liquid Lipstick* in which I have the shade Biscuit. I am currently in the middle of decluttering my lipstick collection and accepting that I'm not really a lover of nude lips, especially in the matte variety and this is no different. When applied I don't 'hate' the shade on me I just don't really feel like myself without a bright red lip or similar - and I wish they would expand beyond nude shades - but it was comfortable to wear whilst I pottered around home. I paired this during my testing period with the Sleek Metallic Lip Cream to see if either product could find a home in my lipstick collection and I much preferred both products worn together yet it's not really for me. If you love nude matte lips the range is definitely one to explore. 

Nip+Fab Make Up Review

I've barely got my head around contouring and highlighting and now it seems like colour correctors are the next product range to be hitting the high street and I was sent Nip+Fab Colour Corrector* in the shade Banana which is, as the name suggests, a yellow concealing product typically used to correct dullness and brighten so ideal for under your eyes. When first using this product I had never used a yellow concealor, or colour corrector so I was keen to see how this would work for me. This was a nice concealer and ticks my most important box where concealors are concerned, it doesn't crease although I don't think it's necessarily the perfect product for me, and I've actually been testing another brands colour correctors which have been working better for me. The formula has made me keen to try their range of traditional concealers so that's next on the list for me.

Nip+Fab Eyeshadow Swatches

Lets move onto the really good products, starting with the Eyeshadow Palette, 01 Sculpted*. If you've been desperate to find a matte eyeshadow palette on the high street, unprepared to pay the extortionate cost of Visiart palettes then Nip+Fab might just have offered you the solution. Containing ten matte shades of brown and two shimmers this is the palette that matte lovers have been waiting for. The powders feel stiff in the pan and when you put your brush in these is slight kick back but certainly less than my beloved Lorac Pro Palettes and there is no fall out on the eye. Because of the aforementioned favoured red lip I prefer I often keep eye make up very simple and I'm certainly not skilled with creating fabulous smoky eyes so I'd argue there is two many matte shades for me to want to work with but if for example you have a selection of pigments or eyeshadows like L'Oreal Infallible Eye this palette is the perfect addition to make your eye design come together. My limited skills and laziness mean I want a more evenly mixed palette than solely mattes, or to reach for multiple products. Whilst the two shimmers are pretty, again I want a little more significant colour difference or choice from the shades. Again Nip+Fab have only released one colourway of their eyeshadow palette and I'll be interested to see if they add more to their range - an Urban Decay Naked Heat Dupe perhaps? 

Nip+Fab Highlighting Palette Swatches

Nip+Fab Highlighting Palette Swatches

Before I delve into the beauty that is the Highlighting Palette* I must reference the packaging for the Nip+Fab range, especially on these palettes. For the price point these palettes feel strong, study and more luxurious than the cheaper alternatives for what is something very similar. As I say the quality of the materials does stand out although the mirror lovers may have cause to complain. In fact when you compare this packaging to Zoeva at comparative pricing Nip+Fab win here. 

So the Highlighting Palette which is available in one colour way 01 Stroboscopic is going to appeal to all the highlight lovers in the world. Recently I have become more enamoured with highlighting and loving seeing that glow on my cheekbones and as the sun shines it's something I'm sure to apply - but would I want nor need a palette containing such variety? Of course I can argue the case for and against that but I will say I rather like this palette and it will be finding a home in my stash and dare I spout the overused blogger phrase 'its perfect for travel' but it really is. A couple of weeks ago I was staying overnight at a friends. Applying my make up the next morning I was able to utilise the various highlighting shades in conjunction with the eyeshadow palette and had the slight shimmer I wanted.

I'll say little about the Nip+Fab mascara* has it's been a product I've talked of in numerous posts of late, not least yesterdays favourites. It's a fantastic mascara that lengths and gives volume to your lashes. My only negative is that it does dry out and clump very quickly so it's one to use and enjoy than pick at sporadically. 

In summary the Nip+Fab make up collection is certainly one I've enjoyed using and am keen to try out some more products from the range. Have you tried any of their products before?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Monthly Beauty Favourites | June & July 2017


It's extremely cliched at the end of each month to exclaim 'where did this month go' but really, where did July go? It was only as I was sitting last weekend thinking I really must sit down and hit publish on my June favourites when I realised that people were sharing their July favourites so in blogging terms I was definitely behind.

It then occurred to me that the month had moved so quickly that I hadn't even made my usual notes for the coming month of items that would appear the following month and it was still many of these being staples in my everyday routines.

Enough with the excuses and let's have a look at what products have made an impression of late, starting with Imperial Leather Banana Bath Cream. Yes Imperial Leather heard 'my' pleas and brought out the accompanying bath cream for my much loved shower gel. This makes a nice break from either the muskier or zesty scents I often find in my bath room and pairs wonderfully with the Coconut Shower Gel from Aldi if I want to have a little cocktail in the bathroom.

A frustrating hit in recent weeks has been the Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser, frustrating as it was only available for a limited time and I didn't have the foresight to stock up. I do hear it's back in November so take note if you're looking for an affordable Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish dupe. As I shared when I first tried out this cleanser it's indistinguishable to it's higher end counterpart. I enjoy a creamy cleanser for days when I'm disinterested or too tired in double cleansing and the like and I find them especially nice for a morning cleanse of a weekend when I'm preferring to go make up free.

I wasn't too keen on Urban Beauty United Brush* No 22 (the brand has had a redesign since so products are numbered differently) for make up application and then one evening when I wanted to apply a clay mask I reached for it rather than using my fingers - especially with stiletto nails - and found I much preferred the application method. Using the brush to apply face masks has seen me using less than I need and distribute far evenly. How do you apply your face masks?


Finishing the skincare favourites is La Roche-Posay Anthelios Face Mist*, a new release in the Anthelios line. SPF is really key to your skincare regime but I must confess outside of my holidays I tend to rely on the SPF in my skincare and make up items than applying a separate cream but the new Anthelios Face Mist has changed that. I apply a layer after my moisturiser and only particularly sunny days over make up whilst it's handy size makes it perfect to throw in your handbag for touch ups throughout the day.

Whilst I wouldn't rely on this in sunnier climes for days when I only see the light of day during my commute to work I find it works perfectly. I was skeptical at it's mist name but it really does apply as such and has a nice scent which makes it a pleasure to use and again, how it would sit on top of make up was of concern but it doesn't interfere at all. It's a product I will definitely repurchase and use, even for my trip to Florida later in the year, this will be ideal throughout the day to add more coverage.

Before I would even call myself a 'beauty blogger' I shared my purchase of the Bare Minerals Foundation and it's one I've repurchased often although not used so much in recent years. Again please don't judge me for how old these foundations might be but I recently rediscovered it as I was working my way through decluttering my make up collection and have been using it regularly as skin has been oiler due to the (occasional!) warmer days.

Whilst the Bare Minerals Original Foundation as a loose powder isn't ideal for travelling at home I find it quick and easy to use, and it's allowed me to play with some cream products and change up the way I do my make up which has been fun. Such is my enjoyment of late I have already used up one pot and have started on a second I had in my stash.

When I'm in a hurry in the morning, or just feeling generally lazy about my make up and want to apply and go it's the GOSH Contour'n Strobe Kit* in Light I've reached for. As I shared in my earlier review this palette pairs perfectly with a red lip, another of my lazy day saviours.


When I first received the Nip+Fab Make Up Mascara* I compared it to the YSL and it's certainly proved as much as since I have been using it has dried up in exactly the same way as that would - luckily this is a much cheaper product for repurchasing and it's finish would see me do so without worrying that it does dry out and clump very quickly.

I'm not sure if my final beauty favourite is strictly 'allowed' as I have only used once but I loved it so much I felt it only right to share. Mac Fly By Twilight foiled eyeshadow was part of the Faerie Whispers collection I picked up over a year ago and a few weekends ago as I got ready for a party was the first time I'd used it since buying it.

I tend to pick bronze and browns for my eye make up but I liked the change with some silver and this eyeshadow applied wonderfully. A spray of fix plus gave more pigment and sparkle but it was thick enough to not cause a bad finish on 'older eyelids'. It's definitely one I'll bringing out for party time in the future.

I'm going to end my favourites with something a little different and the website Foxella. It was mere days before I started my new job i saw a Tweet from Jane at BBB tagging Foxella, had a nosey as one does and then fell into a black hole of celebrity gossip and 'blind items'. In short Foxella is a celebrity gossip site that shares gossip about celebrities indirectly but adds the suggested celebrity the gossip refers to in it's post. As I can't bear to add views to the Daily Mail, even for their sidebar of shame, Foxella has filled that void so I can be sure to Keep Up With Khardashians and other such celebrities from the Z to A list. I follow them on Twitter and find it's the simplest way for me to keep 'informed' and will tell anyone who is a fan of such salacious gossip that this is the site to follow. Often I will print screen particularly 'interesting' gossip and sharing with friends creating shock, conversation or denial as we see fit. Predominantly it is American celebrities that feature and some I am not familiar with and will skip over but you find the odd British celebrity featured such as the Beckhams and One Direction members. One such hungover day I actually scrolled through the entries since I'd discovered Foxella and read every one - it was the perfect day. Judge me accordingly but I dare you to dip into the site and not become like me anticipating the next tidbit that appears in your Twitter feed. 

What have you been loving this month, or indeed the past two months?

*this post contains press sample and affiliate links



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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Hair | TIGI Bed Head Queen Beach Salt Infused Texture Spray


There are many things to love about Summer and the warmer weather but for someone like me who will always hit the snooze button and enjoy an extra five more minutes in bed, one of those things is allowing my hair to air dry.

As soon as I'm able to pack away the hairdryer, out comes the salt spray. The salt spray I'm currently enjoying is TIGI Bed Head Queen Beach Salt Infused Texture Spray* which has a gorgeous beachy scent which belies the train journey that lies ahead and it's made a nice replacement for my typically favoured Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray.

My routine is simple; once my morning skincare and make up has been applied I spray a little Queen Beach, brush though, tousle a little, perhaps add another spritz and then walk out the door. In the current hot and him weather it's always a plus when able to avoid blowing hot air around adding to sticky conditions.

I find TIGI Bed Head Queen less drying that Bumble & Bumble thanks to Balinese sea salt and marine algae extra. I do find that there's less texture for this reason but it creates the right balance for me on a day to day basis and is a nod to Summer whilst in the office but without looking like I have indeed stepped off the beach.

Volume is not something I look for from salt sprays but because it is less drying and I am using after a regular shampoo I find that my hair doesn't lose it's natural volume and the subtle texture means my hair looks healthier rather than crispy.

As for the packaging it's cute to look at but the circular shape is a little troublesome and would be a nightmare to slot neatly into a make up bag - and no chance in hand luggage but thats a minor gripe and I can always decant.

Are you a fan of salt sprays?

*this post contains press samples


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Monday, June 19, 2017

Products I Used Up | May 2017


May I continued to make headway with my mission to use up products I own but it's always sad to see Chanel in an empties post - and costly if I'm going to repurchase!

First is Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Twist & Spray travel set, the final bottle since recently appearing in my April favourites. A classic signature scent that I would typically repurchasing but for now I'll be enjoying my new Summer scents and other perfumes in my collection and I'll save the repurchase for later in the year when I hit Duty Free - now if there was ever a mission to declutter that perfume collection.

Once again another 'holy grail' and favourite product, Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder which due to broken packaging, not reaching for so often of late and it being the 'final dregs' I decided to say goodbye. I'm certain this will be a product I'll repurchase but for now I want to try and use and test alternative products I own before I do so. I'm not back at work and this was previously a handbag staple so I'm keen to see if it's absence becomes something I need to replace urgently.


Regular staples and repurchases come in the form of Sure Maximum Protection Deodorant* and an evening bubble bath. This month I'd tried Imperial Leather Relaxing Sleep Bubble Bath and unfortunately wasn't a fan. A strange gripe was that I found it 'dolloped' into the bath rather than poured out of the bottle. I don't know why this bothered me but it did. I also found it didn't create as many bubbles as I usually find with my Radox. For now I'm enjoying This Works Deep Sleep Bath Salts.

Two hand cream minis, L'Occitane Vitoria Regia and Liz Earle Orange Flower Hand Repair both of which were enjoyable but nothing I'm rushing to repurchase. I found the L'Occtane a thinner formula than Liz Earle but the latter was a perfect mini size for travel or in your handbag.


I always enjoy when I find make up appearing in my empties, and more so at the moment as I continue my declutter. With a brand new Clarins Bronzing Duo sitting untouched in my drawer it was madness I was clinging to this older version to avoid wasting.  I've spoke of the Clarins Bronzing Duo often and remembered how much I loved it back in March this year and it'll be nice to make a dent in a fresh one.

Another product that I dread to think how old it is (but I know my Mac lipstick collection moved from my parents to my flat over 7 years ago!) is Mac Cremesheen Lipstick in Hot Gossip. I'm quite impressed that I obviously loved this product enough to have almost used it up but somewhere along the line it had become too hot and was broke and in a right old state so I've added it to a pile of products I have to 'Back to Mac'. For fans of Syrup lipstick from Mac you might like this shade. It's lovely for this time of year.

Wet n Wild Ultimate Brow Mascara is your typical product of it's type which I enjoyed using. I have since repurchased L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper which is not dissimilar although as a slightly smaller wand to work with. With Wet n Wild not readily available on the high street it's not something I'd need to hunt out but I might throw one into my basket when I'm next in the US.

The Portuguese toothpaste, Pasta Medicinal Couto was one I used for travel and in later weeks everyday to use up and it's not for me. If you're a fan of the traditional toothpastes that taste more like bicarbonate of soda them you may favour this. The tube was also a nightmare to squeeze from.


Peel of masks have been one of the latest trends and a source of great amusement of late and even my friend tagged me in one on Facebook but I'm pleased to say that Superdrug Black Seaweed Peel Off Mask* isn't one of the pain inducing ones. If you are one of those people who was a fan of painting your hands with glue to peel off then pick up one of these affordable masks from Superdrug at just 99p.

Containing Seaweed and Sea Buckthorn which will cleanse and detox the skin I didn't find this harsh at all and skin looked fresh and cleansed. I kept on for approx 15 mins and some of the thicker parts were still a little wet and had to be washed rather than peeled off but I appreciated that it was less messy than clay masks so can certainly see the appeal.

Skincare products used up recently including ALGENIST Genius Ultimate Anti-Ageing Cream* after using in Center Parcs and my previous years holidays. As I've said in previous features it's a mousse like texture which is step up from a thinner lotion but not as thick as heavier creams. It's a high end brand so perhaps a little more than I'd like to spend but never say never.

The Hero Project is a brand I only discovered last month and the Hyasoft Instant Moisture Boost* was my least favoured of the products. It's a gel like product, similar to Pixi's H20 Skindrink Hydration Gel which I prefer.

Dermalogica is a brand I feature regularly and their Intensive Eye Repair* is a great eye product I enjoyed using and as you will hear me talking often in my reviews of late I do feel that I have seen a significant improvement in my fine lines around my eyes and dark circles resulting in my concealers applying far better than ever without any creasing to speak of thanks to my under eyes being so hydrated.


It may be surprising that the only purchases I made from Sephora when I visited Las Vegas last year were from the Sephora mask range. I'm not yet fully on the sheet mask band wagon although we did enjoy one or two in St Lucia and I do appreciate them for ease.

The Sephora Collection Eye Mask, Pomegranate and Sleeping Mask are the ones I used prior to my first day back to work and both were pleasant to use. The pomegranate masks are to 'awaken and tone the skin' and reduce the signs of fatigue so it's something I picked as I was typically in the 'always tired' camp through lack of sleep.

I used some DHC eye masks during my trip to St Lucia and they were amazing, they are scheduled for review and whilst the Sephora versions were nice enough for their price they felt inferior to the DHC offering. They felt very thin yet evident on the skin and not quite the 'right fit'. As I say these are only niggles and wouldn't stop me using nor repurchasing but not quite a must have.

The Sleeping Mask was very interesting. It's size makes it great for travel and I was able to get two uses out of this capsule. It was somewhat like applying jelly to my face and I was particularly surprised how cooling it felt on the skin so I imagine it would be a lovely product in the current weather we're experiencing in the UK.

Another sad addition to my empties bag this month was What Skin Needs Hydrating Facial Serum* which is a saviour for tired, dehydrated or dry skin. I was introduced to the brand via PR and it's one I will repurchase in the future most certainly. You can read more about my usage here and I won't say much more because I just might have a little giveaway featuring this product very soon.

Maybe it's my age but I'm just not jumping on the full lip bandwagon so I was less inclined to be overly impressed with Transformulas Lip Volume* than others but I can't denying, whether that placebo effect or not as I added a swipe in the mornings by way of my skincare regime I did feel like my lips look plumper.


I used the This Works Energy Bank Skin Glow* as part of my Holiday Skincare Regime and continued using on my return. Interestingly it reminds me of my current serum from B. which I talked about in my New In Skincare post. This Works offers hydration but is a light formula so was perfect for the Carribean climate and would suit the current one in the UK right - the last thing I'm keen to do is pile too many oils and heavy serums onto my face. I'm also a fan of the pump dispensers. I'm currently experiencing a rage against pipettes which I find one a product gets halfway used they seem to stop picking up an product so instead I'm pouring onto my hand.

I am laughing to myself as a I have read the blurb on A-Derma Exomega Cleansing Oil* reading to link and have had the realisation that this cleansing oil is for the body not the skin which is how I was using it.  What is a shower product for eczema-prone skin I am able to tell you was amazing as a cleansing oil on my face so you could argue it does double duty. Perhaps not my smartest move and it'll teach me to read up about a product before I pile onto my face although it's a shame as I really enjoyed using this product.

Finally is a travel size of Colab Extreme Volume Dry Shampoo*  a product I will certain repurchase in it's mini form as I love to have a supply of this in my handbag of desk at work to give myself a little volume throughout the day. I have talked about Colab many times if you'd like to read more.

There ends my bumper post of empties throughout May; what products did you use up this month?

*this post contains press sample and / or affiliate links


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