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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Thursday, June 15, 2017

New In Skincare | June 2017

Call me a bad beauty blogger but despite my new found love for ALDI and recently discovering their eye cream I had not heard the hype around Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser which is being touted as a Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish dupe.

Luckily on my recent weekly shop I saw it on the shelves and for £3.99 it was mine; so first up it's significantly cheaper than Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish and I already consider that to be not too badly priced compared to other brands.

You'll find the packaging and many other similarities to Liz Earle from the colour palette to it's inclusion of a muslin cloth. Designed for 'all skin types' the Lacura Hot Cleanser states it 'gently cleanses and exfoliates to leave skin feeling soft and smooth' and with ingredients almost identical is 'skincare with cocoa butter and eucalyptus oil and extracts of chamomile, rosemary and white tea'.

I have to say I'd be hard pushed to identify which is which in a blind test and I'm thinking if there are any more left when I do my next food shop I need to stock up.

Other products I've been adding to my skincare regime in recent months include other high street offerings; B. Lifted Contouring Cream* and Optimum PhytoFreeze Ice Wine Eye Cream* both available from Superdrug.

I'm somewhat bemused by the name of the B. Lifted Contouring Cream*, contouring is so heavily focused on make up it was strange to see it as the name of a skincare product but it's premise is that it is 'like a yoga work out for your skin' as it delivers an instant tightening effect.

I can't say whether it's my contouring cream or dabbles with contouring of the cosmetic kind but I do feel like my face is perhaps looking 'slimmer' but that could be placebo in effect but I'm not finding any more lines on my face and don't find those I do have are any more evident.

Word of warning that is a strong scent I find from B. Lifted Contouring Cream* that may irritate or offend some. There is no smell from Optimum PhytoFreeze Ice Wine Eye Cream* and anything that helps to tighten the fine lines around my eyes I'm a fan of which is thanks to an ingredient called Vin-upLift based on premium Swiss Ice Wine produced from naturally frozen ripe grapes - so am I taking my love of wine too far?

There is a familiar metal applicator, the type I'm generally not a fan of and whilst for me I don't believe it allows for easy distribution and application of the product it has a lovely cooling effect to wake me up in the morning and soothe hayfever eyes.

Interestingly I've actually forgot to apply concealer under my eyes on one or two occasions this week and I don't feel like I've missed it. Of course the dark circles do peek through but they're certainly not as bad as they have been and this is from someone only a month back into work and having to wake to an alarm.

I could list all the various ingredients and what they do but it's somewhat unnecessary as I can simply tell you that using this cream has certainly perked up my eye area, again I'm not suggesting my fine lines have disappeared but they are certainly less noticeable and I find that it's very hydrating even after a day sitting at a computer.

As the Summer makes it's appearance you will have seen my dabbles with fake tan but I have always steered away from facial tanning until Solait Gradual Facial Tan* arrived at my door. I have tried this on a couple of occasions and it definitely adds colour to the face and gives the 'sunkissed' appearance come morning but it's not something I'm a big fan of.

I found this really drying and of an evening I'm more interesting in applying my various oils and serums as part of my nightly regime than waking up with a tanned face. As it contains glycerin I thought I'd try using in the mornings by way of a primer and allowing the colour to come through during the day and it didn't work too badly but it's just not a step I'm interested in. As I say with applying so many other products I'm removing every bit I apply so it's a little bit of pointless exercise but it's worth having in my stash if I'm in desperate need of some colour in my face.

What skincare products have you found on the high street recently?

*post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New In Make Up | June 2017

There has been a lot of make up coming way this month so today I wanted to start with a few pieces that have mixed results, starting with the GOSH Contour'n Strobe Kit* in Light. I'm new to the GOSH brand and the Contour'n Strobe Kit has been a great place to start.

My first impressions on receiving this quad were that the highlighter was a little too subtle and the blush lacking in to make it something I would reach for often - how wrong I was. This is the perfect pick up and go palette when I'm over running for work and want to have a full face of make up without hunting out individual products.

The highlighter is subtle, but not that it goes unnoticed but balances well for office wear and the blush is in the same ilk as Wet n Wild's Rose Champagne and Milani's Luminoso in that that add something to the cheeks but compliment my often worn red lip perfectly.

I'm not really one for contouring and tend to swirl my brush in the two shades and warm up my face as I see fit but the option is there should I need it. I must also give a nod to the size of each of the four pans. So often palettes of this type can have tiny pans which means you can barely run an eyeshadow brush across them.

All the four powders have a silky texture with no dustiness meaning the shades aren't in danger of mixing, in fact despite it's use I think it's one of my cleanest looks palettes. I'm still struggling to not reach for this daily and show some love to other products but when something appeals to my laziness whilst delivering what can I do. 

I'm already earmarking this as perfect for my trip to Florida later in the year. Knowing that I will be making a few purchases on the trip I want to travel as minimally as possible where my cosmetics are concerned this would be perfect as well as working for what I expect will be a daily red lip.

There was much excitement when Sleek's Distorted Dreams collection* arrived with the comment 'oh I like Sleek' from my sister in law and my niece demanding that I put some on her which is why I broke the bloggers cardinal role and you will see one of the pans has a finger swipe in it before I was able to photograph.

Unfortunately my excitement didn't match theirs but I must stress I think my age and making peace with my lifestyle means that the current trend for metallics and holographics is not really one for me although I did have some fun playing with it.

First up is the Sleek Make Up Distorted Dreams Highlighting Palette* which is just something that will not work for my mature skin and oily eyelids I'm afraid. I found the holographic pigments were too chunky and the creams too oily. On my cheeks it highlighted every pore and whilst I loved the blue and greens on my eyes they're definitely something I'd need to apply over a base to give them a chance of holding.

If I was heading to Ibiza, festivals or had some such event on the cards I would be inclined to keep hold of this but otherwise it's heading to my sparkle loving sister. I think it's something a more younger person would enjoy although at £10.99 it is perhaps a little more pricey than I would expect to pay.

Likewise the Sleek Make Up Metallic Matte Me Lip Cream* in Roman Copper is just something I won't be rocking in the office but do like nonetheless. If I were heading off on my holidays or perhaps still in my redundancy then I'd find myself wearing this more over the Summer and it has a great pigment and metallic shine whilst still comfortable to wear. I am currently trying to streamline my make up collection and working on lips at the moment and I have faced facts that I do not enjoy a matte nude lip, but throw this metallic lip cream over the top and I'm good to go. These lip creams are only priced £4.99 and currently on 3 for 2 so they're a more affordable way to follow the trend this Summer.

Next is a 'dupe' for the beauty blender and the B. Blending Sponge* which I think on first appearances most of us would be unable to tell the difference. Having developed such a love for my Beauty Blender and being put off by the B. Sponges firmness in comparison it took me some weeks before I finally got to working with this affordable version. At just over £3 this is a worthy contender, even just for use on those in between days when you're washing your tools. I've found I have to dampen the B. Blending Sponge more so than the higher priced version but with a dowsing of Mac Fix+ it's doing great things especially for blending my concealer.

Finally is a product from the much talked about Nip+Fab Make Up range of which I'll have a post coming up next week but today it's the mascara, my favourite product that I'm sharing with you today. The Nip+Fab Make Up Mascara* formula reminds me so much of my once beloved YSL which is perhaps why I'm so in love. From the cone shaped brush which I find makes application a breeze to a thick formula which elongates and curls the lashes that even I ask myself if I'm false eyelashes. As mentioned its formula really reminds me of YSL so much so in the latter weeks I've been using as it's drying out I feel it getting thicker and drier - not that it's affecting it's application. We are in the midst of hayfever season right now but I can't believe I'm not experiencing any fall out or smudging from this mascara - it could very easily become a holy grail and is certainly filling the gap since I said goodbye to Tartes Lights Camera Lashes.

What new make up have you discovered this month?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New In | Summer Fragrances

Yardley London state in their about me page that they are famous as a purveyor of luxury fragrances and soaps and admittedly that would be why I would dismiss them, as someone I'd only visit to purchase talc and soap for older relatives at Christmas time but that is about to change with the arrival of Yardley London English Freesia to the Floral Classics Fragrance collection.

My first instinct was that I would not be a fan of to a scent from a 'floral collection' but English Freesia is, as Yardley describe 'a refreshing light citrus floral fragrance' which from first spritz I've enjoyed and thought it another great scent for Summer and as English Freesia is the flower to both celebrate 7th wedding anniversaries and friendship a great gift idea.

Yarley London English Freesia* is a sweet scent and perhaps younger than what I would think from Yardley London but that's once more my preconceived ideas of the brand and these sweet floral scents but thanks to a musky amber background it's something I find quite wearable. As an Eau de Toilette it's not the longest last fragrance and I find myself needing to spray once or twice a day but for under £10 it's not something I mind and quite enjoy the refresh. I also have the complimenting English Freesia Nourishing Hand Cream* which I'd refer to as a 'vanity hand cream' and by that I mean it doesn't keep hands soft and smooth for hours after application but I favour it for that very reason. The scent isn't overwhelming and ideal for sitting on my desk in the office for multiple reapplications throughout the day.

Another fragrance I've been wearing in recent weeks is IXXI Cosmetics Tonnelle Gourmande Fragrant Water* which has notes of fig, blackcurrant, freesia popping up once again and many other notes that I wish I could explain in a more authoritative manner. Once again this isn't the longest lasting scent but during Summer I find I'm prone to reapplying perfume more often if only to protect from the sweaty smells that can linger from some passengers on the London Underground. It's slim bottle is reminiscent of the rollerball perfumes that many stockpile on trips to Sephora but for some reason haven't reached the UK but for me, it's the fact it is a spray and not a rollerball that gives it the thumbs up from me.

What is your favoured Summer fragrance?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Charging My iPhone on the Go

We've all seen the meme 'my iPhone spends so long on charge it's like having a landline again' it's surprising iPhone's are so popular when their battery life is so bad. Over the years I've spent far more than I'd like on regular chargers and testing out portable versions that I was delighted when I found this one last year.

Since I initially purchased for my trip to Florida it has treated both me and my friends well whilst out and about and on holiday ensuring that battery life was maintained and photos could still be taken and social media duties kept on top of. One of the features most complimented was that it did not require a separate lead due to one being built in.

Since it had such regular use and with a lead being somewhat delicate it has unfortunately led to the need to replace my beloved portable charge. Over recent weeks I've found it's ability to charge lacking and I was starting to fear such was my reliance on, that I'd be caught short whilst out and about so it was time to replace it.

I imagine my horror when I checked online and it was no longer available. Cut panic as I searched for a replacement, not wanting to waste money on something that didn't perform so well and ensuring that any replacement had a built in lead. My search led me to the KOBWA External Battery Power Bank.

The KOBWA Power Bank is not without faults, but focusing on the main function to charge 'on the go' I think this might be even better than the one I had previously. I'll start with what some may deem the negative, certainly as a friend commented recently 'is your charger big enough' and it is indeed somewhat larger, or more thicker than the one before. The KOBWA Power Bank is still in the iPhone sized category although as mentioned thicker and slightly heavier than an iPhone. That said I have been carrying it around in my bag for some weeks now and I've not found it cumbersome or that it is weighing down my bag - I tend to give up my make up bag before I even look at leaving the charger at home. I'll forgive the weight for it's ability to hold many charges.

I find that because of it's ability to hold more charges than my previous charger did I'm not constantly worrying about charging the charger and I can get away with a few days here and then depending on usage. Another extra tick for this portable charger is that whilst the leads fit neatly into the unit creating a 'built in effect' they are removable and have the choice of inserting any lead via a USB with multiple options included with the purchase.

You'll find in your kit a lead for an iPhone and other brands, a friend worrying about her diminishing phone battery on a recent night out was overjoyed when I shared my portable charger with her. Even more so when she replied 'my phones a Samsung' expecting it only to be suitable for iPhones and I was able to show I had an attachment to charge her phone too.

For a compact charger I like that you can adapt and tweak to your needs whether you're using Apple products or other brands. This feature will come in handy when I travel to Florida once again with my brother and his family who are all Samsung phone users - and more importantly we can keep the iPad fully charged for my youngest niece to ensure good behaviour during any hanging around in the Disney Parks.

The KOBWA Power Bank is £22.99 and worth every penny. I'm keen to see how long this charger will last for me as I put them through regular use, using a couple of times a week. Even at home I'll use the portable charger as I don't have a plug socket near enough to keep my iPhone to hand when sitting on the sofa. I find it much sturdier and the leads less delicate so I have high hopes on this handbag and travel staple.

How do you keep your mobile phone charged when you're on the go?

*this post contains affiliate links

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Blemish Busting

You may remember last year there was much hype in the beauty community when NikkieTutorials hailed Nivea Post Shave Balm as an amazing budget make up primer. There followed many rave reviews for this product, typically found in men's bathrooms, which was somewhat baffling as it's price was simply comparative to other high street primers but us beauty bloggers do love a bandwagon.

When I stumbled across a bottle in my friends bathroom I asked if I could pinch it and test out 'for the blog' and put to the test this week. If you saw my Instagram post you will know I found it quite underwhelming and worse, it broke me out, which as someone who can usually throw most things at my skin and not experience any adverse effects the Nivea Post Shave Balm received a thumbs down from me.

Today's post is to share how I managed to tackle and get rid of my outbreak in a matter of days but a few additional comments on the Nivea Post Shave Balm as a primer. If you do not like scented products, especially those of a masculine ilk then you will not like this. I actually like the scent and found it dissipated very quickly although I know others comment it lasts longer than they would like.

I found it made my skin shiny and not in a 'healthy and dewy' manner. I could argue that the time of year was not great to put to the test but interestingly other testers say how much it would dry their skins out, something I wish I'd experienced as it certainly did not create any mattifyed effect on my skin. And oh my, my pores were never so clear for all to see. I even tried with my Lottie London Pore Eraser to see if that worked but I just found it pilled on the skin. And how did my make up fair on top of the Nivea Post Shave Balm? I've never seen my foundation separate to such a degree and so quickly as when I had used this. If it needs saying, this product is a no from me.

Moving onto the side effects and break outs that appeared. As I was currently in the midst of using a regular skincare regime and make up products, with the exception of my primer I could only place the blame at Nivea's door.

Thankfully two products that had been added to my regime were Good Things Stay Clear Purifying Cleanser*, ironically a product I only reviewed last week saying break outs were not something I had to worry about. Thankfully having this in my regime to cleanse my skin in the morning and evening allowed my skin to be treated gently when I was conscious of stripping back products and not overloading an already aggravated area. The second was La Roche Posay Serozinc*, another cult product but in this instance one that I can understand. Serozinc is part of the Effaclar which is designed to target oily, blemish prone skin which I needed to tackle. It's also a wonderful toner for oily skins, even those that are marginally so during the Summer and it works far better to mattify the skin.

Finally was Dermalogica Charcoal Masque* a product that was in the forefront of my mind as I am making it my mission to apply face masks more often, if only due to the ridiculous collection I have at my disposal.

Dermalogica Charcoal Masque, as with all masks of this nature, is to draw our excess oil and impurities and calm redness, all things my skin was in need of after experiencing the 'beauty blogger side effects' of testing out new products. Charcoal and clay masks can be found very cheaply and the Dermalogica offering is certainly not budget friendly but compared to other masks of it's nature it is a little more sophisticated and is one of the least messy masks of it's type I've used.

I'm pleased to say having these products in my routine during this break out changed my skins appearance in 24 hours and in 48 hours there was little evidence of any trouble.

What do you use when you have an unexpected break out?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Monthly Beauty Favourites | May 2017

I didn't expect to have many favourites this month as I went from enjoying my final days off to starting a new job and wanting to rely on products that I was familiar with but as I glanced around at those that had been reached for repeatedly I found I had a nice selection for you.

First is a product I wish I had stuck with my enjoyment of and avoided the trip to have my eyebrows threaded, Parissa Brow Shaper Mini Wax Strips*. I first tried these strips at the beginning of the year and whilst trying to adopt a thriftier lifestyle. As I shared in my full review of the Parissa range I found these wax strips easy to use and ideal to tidy up brows between threading appointments. Unfortunately in the days before I begun my new job I decided to 'treat myself' to having my brows threaded and the threader was rather overzealous and thinned them out a little too much than I would like. Apparently they were uneven! Now I'm debating whether to return (elsewhere!) for a tidy up and assist with the reshaping or tackling them at home with my Parissa kit.

One of the joys of working my way through my skincare cupboard has been rediscovering old favourites, one of which is the Trilogy Make Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm*. I first tested this product over a year ago and it had fell to the back of my stash in favour of oils, and a slight lax approach to my evening skincare regime. Interestingly during my time off work my evening regime became my favourite and reaching for the Trilogy Cleansing Balm has been a pleasure. I have not used many balm cleansers so I have little to compare this too but I find it removes make up and has a nice slip to move the balm around my face to add a little facial massage which again is not something I've been prone to do. Under £20 this is a balm that I would happily repurchase when the time comes and am pleased with it's make up removal.

Another cleanser that I didn't expect to favour so was Good things Stay Clear Purifying Cleanser* due to it's 'anti blemish' claims and it marketed for younger skin than mine. My skin does become oily in the Summer and I do have the odd hormonal spot at that time of the month but otherwise I'm pretty much in the 'normal' camp. Despite this, if only for the delicious smell it's become a cleanser I'm enjoying using as my morning cleanse and I can't deny this months 'visit' went by without my typical blemishes that would appear. Thanks to extract of mango, blueberry and willow-bark to purify and decongest the skin to manage oiliness it has actually come into its own the past week as I've battled the London Underground on one of the hottest weeks of the year. If oiliness or blemishes are an issue for you I'd recommend giving this affordable cleanser a try.

I reference The Hero Project and their Glow Drops* in my new in post last week and whilst I've not dabbled the past week with adding to my foundations due to the aforementioned Underground commute it's a product I was enjoying before my return to work and especially over the Bank Holiday when I abandoned make up and felt that just wearing the drops gave my skin a fresh radiance that meant make up wasn't necessary.

Two make up favourites were Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder and Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze and Glow*, the latter being another product I've never quite fallen in love with and been of the mind I could take or leave it. Starting a new job and again referencing that hot and humid weather and commute I wanted to look my best without piling on too much make up, and of course there were the early mornings when contouring to any degree was the last thing on my mind. Everyone loves the Filmstar Bronze and Glow palette and I've never quite understood the fuss. I won't go so far to say this is a must have but I'm certainly warming up to it. Using the bronze and glow adds enough definition and warmth without overkill and likewise the highlight is suitable enough for wear in the office. As I type I have no desire to swap this duo out any time soon.

Similarly the Coty Airspun powder is a product I picked up on a US trip due to many mentions by Glam Life Guru Tati. Typically I would use my Chanel Les Beiges powder but as you will see in a forthcoming post I need to replace and before I do so I wanted to tackle other products in my collection. Tati uses this to bake under her eyes and I haven't gone so far as that just yet but a dusting to set make up before a spritz of Mac Fix+ is working for me. The packaging is quite cumbersome and it's by no means suitable for anywhere other than the dressing table but it might add some longevity to my future Chanel powders, saving them for on the go.

And finally it's two tanning products I've shared with in their own reviews lately, St Moriz Dry Oil Self Tanning Mist* and Skinny Tan Ultimate Dark Mousse*. Both have found their way into my routines, namely due to how tired I may be feeling of an evening or how much effort I wish to put into my tanning efforts. Skinny Tan Mousse tends to form part of my Sunday evening back to work pamper routine and then adhoc through the week St Moriz mist works as any colour might be fading as I have to shave my legs whenever they will be on show. I was concerned the St Moriz mist might cause streaking from the Skinny Tan but so far I've been lucky and they appear to work in tandom perfectly.

What products have you been loving this month?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Hello Kitty Party Time

Today's post is a little later than planned as I have been over at my brother's home celebrating my nieces 2nd birthday, but that also makes it rather appropriate that I'm sharing with you a fabulous bundle of goodies I received from Party Bags and Supplies*, a supplier of everything you need for your themed parties.

My first choice was to pick my parties theme and I was spoilt for choice. You will find every possible character you can think of to choose from; Disney, Pokemon and even Paddington Bear as well as your typical every day choices such as Dinosaurs or animals.

I decided on Hello Kitty under the guise of my niece would like that but really it's because I've always wanted to have a Hello Kitty party. I received the Hello Kitty Party Tableware Pack* for 8 guests which contains plates, cups, napkins and a tablecloth. I decided to share my Hello Kitty party with my nieces over the Easter weekend when we were enjoying lunch at parents. My nephew and I set everything up and it was so easy to just grab the box and set up and at the end of the evening throw everything away. Although my mum kept the tablecloth a used again another weekend so you'll get one or two uses from it.

Perhaps most exciting for my nice was her goodie bag and this is where I think Party Bags & Supplies excels is their pre-filled party bags. I've helped many friends over the years either buying or filling party bags for their little ones parties and it can often be an expensive task buying the random toys, which often the children will abandon for the sweets not to mention the time spent preparing them ready for the event.

I received the pre-filled Hello Kitty party bags* which for £1.60 each contain Hello Kitty Bubbles, stickers, a bracelet and some sweets so all you need to add is some birthday cake. I particularly liked that you can buy individually so whether your child is having a party for just one or two friends or the whole class you can ensure you have a bag for everyone without a number left over being wasted. Of course if you want to add one or two extras to your pre-filled bags of perhaps make your own you can always pick from the range of items available online.

In the ever competitive world of childrens parties sometimes it's nice to keep things fun, simple and anything that makes things less stressful for the parents has to get a thumbs up.

What party theme would you choose?

*this post contains press samples

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Products I Used Up | April 2017

I have a mixed bag of empties from last month to share with you, including many that were a number of products all waiting to have their final dregs used up and had been hanging round longer than necessary. The first such products were the PRO:VOKE Liquid Blonde Colour Care Shampoo and Conditioner* which prevent any colour build up from those of us who like a little helping hand to have our hair looking sun kissed.

I hadn't reached for this duo for some time as I'd been testing other products but having left some time between appointments with my colourist as I waited for the start of my new job I was keen to ensure the blonde tones that were growing out were still looked after. I still have other products from the PRO:VOKE brand sitting in my bathroom but I will happily repurchase any of them when the time comes.

Radox has received so many mentions throughout the years on Florence and Mary, most often in these types of posts. Whether it's shower gel or bubble baths you will quite often find a bottle sitting in my bathroom in one for or another. My favourite is the 'For Men' (why?) Muscle Therapy Bath Soak, which despite my eye roll at it's name, I do indeed love for it's 'manly scent' a mix of peppercorns and ginseng. I feel that it holds it's own for filling my bathroom with any of it's high end competitors and for just £1 I will happily repurchase for many more years to come. That said stay tuned as I'm testing one or two other brands at bath time I'll be sharing with you in coming posts.

Another favourite is Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Hand Cream* which smells amazing and I can guarantee whenever I apply someone in close proximity will comment and ask 'what the lovely smell is'. This is a hand cream I will definitely repurchase, in fact I'd purchase any of the products from the Fleur de Figuier quite happily. This handy size is perfect for throwing in my handbag and adds another layer of fragrance if you're missing your perfume.

I decided to pack Champneys Heavenly Days Sleep Pillow Mist* for my holiday to St Lucia and on my return carried the habit of spritzing my pillows before bed until the bottle made it's way into my empties bag. More costly than the Ragdale Hall Pillow Spray I have repurchased many times I expected to continue as I was. In fact I've found that the Champney's Pillow Mist is perhaps worth the higher price tag as I've found myself missing it and the Ragdale Hall offering a little too overpowering and synthetic for my liking. It's currently buy one, get one half price so it seems like a good time to make the investment.

Moving onto skincare and the vials of KYPRIS' serums and oils I was sent to review back in February. As I said in my initial review depending on your needs and more importantly if you have the budget the various offerings were a pleasure to use. My favourite was the pictured Moonlight Catalyst and I found it complimented my skin.

The next two products, Sarah Chapman Skinesis Intense Hydrating Booster and Bobbi Brown Hydrating Gel Cream were as you can see only samples so I have no lengthy time period with which they were tested for review but I both found them enjoyable to use. Sarah Chapman is a brand I'm keen to explore more and I used the Hydration Booster during my flight to St Lucia and I'm happy that I look far more refreshed than I felt and that my skin benefited from it's use. Bobbi Brown is better known for her make up than skincare but I found this Gel Cream sample in my stash and decided to use post my holiday to ensure I didn't suffer from skin drying out as my tan faded. It's certainly lightweight on the skin and make up, as I would expect, sat nicely on top but I don't feel a need to buy full size, nor able to say don't because I only received a couple of uses from the small size.

Interestingly as I went back to some earlier posts featuring Radox and labelled them appropriately I saw that the YesTo Cucumber Facial Wipes* featured way back in 2014 and as I said then they were a perfect flight accompaniment which was indeed their purpose in 2017. Whilst I didn't wear any make up on my outbound flight by the time I was ready settle down for my a film and post-lunch snooze I wanted to freshen up and the YesTo wipes were perfect for that, and saved the day when my friend, jealous of my in-flight pamper routine was disappointed she had worn make up and I was able to say 'I have just the thing'. I know wipes aren't the best thing for our skin but they are 'allowed' on flights and whilst I wouldn't rely on them as part of my cleansing regime I will certainly ensure a stash is available for when needed in a pinch or on my next flight.

Two very sad additions to the empties bag were a vial of my Chanel Coco Mademoiselle perfume and L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation, both having holy grail status. Spoiler alert the final vial from my Chanel travel set will also be making it's way into my empties next month and I will be using as an incentive to use up many of the other perfumes in my collection. Coco Mademoiselle was always my favourite perfume, and I'm sure it's one I'll continue to repurchase although I like to change with my moods these days rather than adopting the 'signature scent' approach. And on the note of Chanel, you'll see Suddenly, Lidl's interpretation of the scent which I don't think is too bad. Of course for about £4 you cannot expect much but I used to have it sitting on my desk at work to touch up perfume when I felt I needed a refresh for the journey home but rather not waste the 'real thing'. On the note of the Lidl scents I picked up the Chanel No 5 dupe for my mum recently as I was more impressed with that. I actually sprayed in the store on entering, carried on with my shopping and kept getting a whiff of 'my mum' that I had to buy for her to try.

Back to my favourite foundation, which despite a back up in situ and numerous other foundations to pick from I am still squeezing every last drop out of this tube. I wear the US version and find the coverage flawless and one that will last well for me throughout the day, even tested yesterday for my first day back to work.

Another old office favourite was the Maybelline Lips in Cherry. Purchased as it compliments my often worn red lips whilst allowing added moisture. This has been repurchased and is waiting for the appropriate moment to be added to my new office stash.

Final word goes to the pricey but fabulous By Terry Terrybly Growth Booster Mascara* which became a regular after it accompanied me to Center Parcs. The brush is big, thick and coats lashes that boosts volume that as I type this I want to hit buy now as I realise I'm missing it.

What products have you used up this month you wish you hadn't?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Monday, May 22, 2017

New In | May 2017

Without sound cliched one of the great things about blogging is not so much the 'free stuff' (because nothing is ever 'free') but the introduction to brands that you may not have been aware of or discovered otherwise. This month one such product was YOPE Verbana Natural Liquid Soap*.

I hate the dry feeling after washing hands and I'm always reaching for my hand cream to relieve that feeling so a liquid hand soap isn't something that would typically excite me despite a bottle of 'something' always sitting by the kitchen and bathroom sinks but YOPE has impressed me.

Firstly I love the scent of Verbena, a citrus that makes it perfect for me to freshen hands after the task I hate most, washing up although it was how my hands feel after using. In fact after the first time I used it I was waylaid by my laptop before sitting on sofa where I would usually reach for my hand cream and as I was typing away I suddenly realised that I had indeed not felt the urgent need to rehydrate my hands.

Housed in a hefty 500ml pump bottle with cute imagery you'll find 90% of the ingredients are natural, free from parabens, silicones but does include Vitamin B5 and allantoin which will soothe irritation and makes it great for sensitive skins, or indeed those who find they're washing there hands often.

UK reality starts are giving Kylie Jenner a run for their money with the release of make up products, one of those being Chloe Ferry of Geordie Shore range. In addition to sunglasses and eyelashes is a range of Matte Lip Glosses and I was recently able to sample the By Chloe Ferry Matte Lip Gloss* in shade Rose. When I hear gloss I think of something sticky and what I would shy away from and I would argue this is more akin to a liquid lipstick but it doesn't feel as drying and far more comfortable to wear. The shade Rose is great and perfect for Summer. For me it's a little to on the bright and almost neon side for regular wear, I wish I was returning to Ibiza in the Summer as I could see this being a staple and it'll certainly make an appearance over weekends but not quite suitable for the office. I'm quite keen to hit purchase on the shade Rouge, you know I love my red lip products and having recently decided the Sephora Lip Creams are not something I can wear this would be a great alternative.

Last month a new skincare brand hit QVC, The Hero Project* and I was sent a couple of testers from them to try out, one in particular The Hero Project Glow Drops* I am loving and interestingly it was the product I was less keen to try, the other being The Hero Project Hyasoft Instant Moisture Boost*.

Starting with the Glow Drops which is your typical facial oil to brighten your complexion thanks to Vitamin C but I wasn't excited enough to swap it out for the current products in my rotation but it was their recommendation to apply before make up that made me take the plunge and since then there has been no going back. I applied on my skin after moisturising and was impressed with how my skin literally 'glowed' but not in that usual way other oils can. I was interested to see how my foundation would apply and sit on top of the Glow Drops and it complimented my favoured L'Oreal Infallible Matte Foundation wonderfully and if you're smarting the L'Oreal Pro-Glow Foundation has not yet reached the UK shores this is a great way to create for yourself. If you have dry or mature skin this is a great way to regain that glow and it's priced at £20 which makes it one of the most affordable products of it's time.

As I alluded to The Hero Project Hyasoft Instant Moisure Boost made less of an impact on me, although a small sample isn't always enough to give a full impression or review. It's similar in consistency to Pixi's H20 Skindrink Hydration Gel, which I favour although I've had more opportunity to put to the test and you will pay about £10 more so it will depend on your budget.

Finally is a repurchase of the L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper, a product I favour for quick and easy brows on a day to day basis. I find the brush is the right size for me to work with and it dispenses enough product to fill my brows without overloading them. I do find that this new product provides more colour and hold at it's early stage and as someone who plays with their eye brows do suffer some piling until it dries out a little but nonetheless it's a product that I appreciate the price and finish off when I'm not interested in using products to give a finer finish.

What new products have you been trying out this month? Do any of these spark your interest?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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