Tuesday, April 18, 2017

St Lucia Skincare Regime

Clarins Eye Make Up Remove Dupe

Following on from my post on DHC Cleansers today I'm sharing some more products in my skincare line up from my trip to St Lucia last month. First up is an impressive high street favourite, B Stubborn Make Up Remover* which is a dual action formula and certainly reminds me of the Clarins version, in fact I prefer its formula and price. I'm not someone who wears heavy eye make up but still prefers to remove what I do wear, including mascara before cleansing properly and this works a treat. I don't even find there is any left over product needing removal when I follow with an oil cleanser or similar. As I tend to use this for eye make up removal, similar products can leave the eye area irritated but I do not find that with the B make up remover with it's Vitamin B5 and Cucumber Juice ingredients. As a contact lense wear I can find dual action formulas or oils will leave a greasy film on my eyes but that is not a danger with this product and currently half price at Superdrug at only £3.95 this is a bargain.

Next up are two old favourites from Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer and Liz Earle Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion . The latter is the perfect product if you're a hayfever season, and like me you're starting to find yourself reaching for the antihistamines to avoid scratching your eyes out. If you're the type to lay back and relax soaking a cotton pad with Eyebright and then taking five definitely treats suffering eyes, or in my case on holiday I used the formula to refresh eyes before a night out.

The instant boost skin tonic is one of my favourite products and I especially love it's Spritzer bottle as I find it more favourable to use. Thanks to a combination of Caribbean sun, air conditioning and salt spray from one to many boat trips a quick spray from the skin tonic ensured my skin was hydrated and radiant looking.

My serum step was met by This Works Energy Bank Skin Glow* which interestingly had been put on hold since my last Summer holiday. A a multi-tasking serum for lacklustre skin and notice a theme, adding hydration it was a light weight product that suited my vacations conditions. Applied in the mornings, or before heading out of an evening it's ingredients of Vitamin C and Red Algae Extract refine and brighten skin.

Having returned home to brighter, but cooler conditions than I was used to in St Lucia all these products remain in my skincare routine and work equally as well - the eyebright is certainly getting a lot of use thanks to the time of year.

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Friday, April 14, 2017


I'm teaming up with Lee Stafford once again to offer another fabulous giveaway for the Lee Stafford Blow Dry and Go Hair Kit* which offers everything you need to blow dry and style your hair, especially if you're always on the go.

If you favour getting ready for a night out with the girls at your friends house or perhaps spend frequent nights sleeping over your significant other then read on. I have a travel hairdryer which does the job for me in a pinch and if really desperate I can use those on offer in hotel rooms but the Lee Stafford Hairdryer has become my first choice.

This isn't a traditional travel sized hairdryer and certainly can be used for regular, everyday use thanks to a power 2200 watt motor, two speeds and three heat settings including a 'cool shot' function to set any style you have created but it's lightweight compared to the hairdryer I was using prior and is accompanied by a travel bag to keep everything in place.

The bag is ideal as it opens fully and allows you to place your hairdryer inside, along with all your hair grips, bands, sectioning clips and room for any other hair tools you might need so you can simply grab and go. If you're a regular traveller this is ideal to have ready for any adventure you embark on and keeps things neat and tidy.

If you scroll to the end of the post you will have an opportunity to win for yourself but fear not if unsuccessful the Lee Stafford Blow Dry and Go Hair Kit is a bargain at £21.99 and includes your travel bag, hairdryer, a selection of hair grips, bands and sectioning clips as well as a vent brush and sectioning comb.

The hairdryer in a fun fuchsia colour means it will not go unnoticed and forgotten on your travels and more importantly is infused with keratin to dry hair quick and safer whilst smoothing and strengthening your hair looking like you've just stepped out of the salon.

To be in with a chance of winning a Lee Stafford Blow Dry & Go Kit for yourself do enter your details below before Monday 24th April.

Good Luck!

Win a Lee Stafford Blow Dry & Go Kit #4

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy Easter with Homesense

Easter Decor UK

Easter is one of my favourite times of the year, perhaps its the extra long weekend thanks to Bank Holidays and the fact if I'm lucky it falls around my birthday or of course the fact it is the first time since Christmas it's acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast.

This penchant for Easter and the fact I'm often found spending more time in the home has seen me over the year gather all sorts of decor to brighten up my home and welcome the season. Past years saw my collection gathered from my visits to the US but recent times have led to my only needing to pop 10 minutes down the road to my local branch of Homesense*.

Homesense whilst filled with an abundance of home decor to suit any home that sees me always leaving with something really makes its mark seasonally, you may remember my Valentine's Day post and Easter is no different.

Whilst supermarkets are filled with the more childish items, paper garlands and Easter Egg Hunt kits, Homesense will have on display some beautiful items that will bring festive flair to any home. One of my favourite items is this faux chocolate bunny which would usually be housing some mini eggs had they not mysteriously disappeared. This bunny sits alongside another much loved item the Easter Egg tree which I will be sad to pack away once the weekend is over.

Items range in price and style and if you're entertaining family and friends a few decorative touches could make all the difference. If you need another reason to get down to Homesense they will be hosting craft events in store such as egg decorating for you to get involved in. Something for the little ones whilst you treat yourself to what could become a family heirloom and a sign of the season.

Homesense Harlow

Will you be decorating for the Easter weekend?

*Homesense provided a gift voucher to use in store but views and opinions are my own

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

St Lucia | Inside My Shower

Wilkinson Sword Bikini Razor

One of the exciting things about heading off on holiday, apart from the sun sea and sand of course is heading out to pick up all your toiletries in dinky travel size and I have a pretty healthy stash of travel minis I could reach for. That said I always panic, will I have enough for the duration of my trip, what if I run out before departure and then there are the products I already own in full size, is it worth duplicating with their smaller counterparts?

Over thinking aside when I headed to St Lucia last month my travel allowance was not something to worry about and as I continue to enjoy working my way through products I actually own or have been sent all concerns were allowed to be ignored and it was full size ahead in my shower.

During vacations there's a lot of showering, shaving of legs and prepping for a night of cocktails so I decided that Champneys Citrus Blush Enlivening Shower Mousse* was a perfect travel partner. I can't believe it's still going as it appeared in my August favourites last year as a Summer favourite so I thought it was ideal for my trip. From the Champney's 'A Little Pick Me Up' it designed to add zing to your shower routine with it's lemon scent so fitted nicely whether it was used following an early morning call for a boat trip or to liven me up for a night of cocktails after a lazy day poolside.

As a mousse rather than a gel it's perfect for regular shaving duties required during holidays yet still adds a pampering feel to a monotonous task. I also paired the shower mousse with the matching scrub which became a 'house favourite' and found it's way into my empties pile so keep your eyes peeled for that post coming up soon.

BEDHEAD by TIGI Totally Bleachin

During the Summer months, or indeed those I'm holidaying in the sun Bumble & Bumble Surf Shampoo and Conditioner are my go to products, and they did travel to St Lucia with me but went rather unloved thanks to the Totally Bleachin' duo from TIGI Bed Head*.

I'm sure I've said this before as there are a lot of TIGI Bed Head products I'm working with at the moment but the always smell amazing and the Totally Bleachin' range is no different with it's totally tropical mango and tangerine fragrance.

TIGI Bed Head Totally Bleachin' Cleansing Jelly Shampoo* and TIGI Bed Head Totally Bleachin' Mellow After-Sun Conditioner* are will both maintain colour vibrancy thanks to their protective UV complext and use Vitamin E to target signs of damage and leave hair soft and nourished.

As my hair is coloured and dryer in recent years I found that just using a salt spray was sufficient and was conscious of drying out further with salt shampoo formlas. Using the Totally Bleachin' shampoo and conditioner ensured that my hair was left looking soft and shiny, even after a day travelling by boat at high speeds left me resembling Worzel Gummage and barely able to run a brush through.

Bikini Razor review

Every time I'm on holiday I'm reminded I really should look into laser hair removal, spending too much time keeping my legs hair free. For this trip I was sent the updated Wilkinson Sword Hydro Silk Bikini razor* which has the new added benefits including Pro-Vitamin B5 and Shea Butter to protect the skins natural oils and add a boost of hydration - no one wants scaly, red or bumpy legs on holidays do they.

I have used the earlier version of this 2 in 1 trimmer with adjustable bikini trimmer with success and was once again pleased with it's use. 5 'curve sensing blades' provide closeness will reducing irritation and I do find this a gentle and more subtle shave. I wouldn't favour this for a heavier shave but for daily use it's perfect.

I'll also give a nod to the replacement blades I purchased which come in handy travel sized packets so you can throw one or two into your make up bag without finding all sorts clinging to them when you go to use.

What products must you have in your shower on holiday?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Holiday Cleansing with DHC

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Review

I'm always torn when travelling abroad how far to take my skincare regime, sometimes I want to keep it simple other times I embrace the luxurious bathroom and enjoy the evening ritual of preparing for bed - even after one or two cocktails.

DHC have ticked the box for my travel needs of late and you may remember they previously accompanied me to Center Parcs so with a new addition to the line up it was time to spend a thorough 10 days putting them to the test in St Lucia.

My morning cleanse came from DHC Mild Soap* which as I've shared before is my surprise favourite. Using facial cleansers in soap form is something we in the West aren't usually fans because of fears they would be drying and soaps by nature can often be messy things that aren't ideal for travel.

Firstly let me assure you it is travel friendly, it's a small compact size and comes in its own case, or soap dish if you will so does not leave residue on sink tops or cause a mess in your bathroom. I've been using this for any overnight stays in recent months and it slots into the smallest of make up bags.

Throughout my trip I'd cleanse my face in the morning and before getting ready for our evenings out to remove SPF and the grime from a day around the pool or travelling the island so I was conscious that anything too drying could cause me issue. I'd also find myself cleansing my face, then perhaps pausing for a conversation with a friend, answer a text or taking impromptu photos of rainbows and did not find any tightness to be my skin even before I began layering facial sprays and moisturisers.

It's simple to use and it's method of use is like any other soap you've tried, add water, massage in hands and then onto your face. Of course there is 'foaming' but it's light and doesn't irritate skin, even after a day in the sun or following a dehydrating long haul flight. Soaps aren't a product that I would expect to be a luxurious experience but DHC Mild Soap really does and I'd highly recommend trying.

A cleanser that slotted into my regime as and when it was needed was DHC Face Wash Powder*. This was a completely new product and concept to me I was unsure how I'd react but again, the unexpected impressed me.

I had initial concerns that the DHC Face Wash Powder would be too harsh for my skin in it's powder form but it's nothing like a scrub and as soon as water is activated with the powder it turns into a creamy formula which can be lathered onto skin. Protease enxymes exfoliate the skin but are soft enough to use on a daily basis. I didn't want to risk using this daily and destroy my tan but in lieu of acid toners and the like it was great to refresh skin and remove any dull skin every couple of days or so.

I did find that I had some peeling around my hairline and after one particular day in the sun the chance of my nose shedding but after using this face wash powder any damage was lifted without causing irritation and I thanked the lavender ingredients for it's soothing qualities. I'm certain depending on your skin type and requirements it would be a lovely product to use daily.

This is a great product to travel with, especially as hand luggage thanks to it not being restricted by liquid allowances and allows you to forgo acid toners if space is limited. Having returned home and wanting to maintain my tan whilst ensuring that any dead skin is banished this product has found a home in my bathroom for regular use.

Finally is the product that is one of DHC's most talked about and loved, DHC Cleansing Oil*. I was due to write and publish this post yesterday but as time ticked on and I was trying to work how adequately to talk about a product that is certainly great but I just don't love I suspected it was down to it's travel bottle. The travel size of this product requires you to shake the product into your and due to it's consistency I find myself quite aggressively fighting with the product which is often the last thing I want to do at the end of an evening before climbing into bed. I'm aware that the full size is in a more traditional pump so I decided to decant into a pump bottle I had to hand and see if that changed my opinion.

I appreciate that packaging shouldn't be the main driver when using a product as this is a great cleanser that cuts through make up but if you are like me it's worth noting. This is a concentrated oil which I think is where my issues with 'shaking it out' come from as it doesn't flow with ease, far better from a pump but a little goes a long way and isn't greasy to use and feels very light on skin. I used with a flannel and followed with the KYPRIS Cleanser Concentrate as my second cleanse.

There is always a danger on holiday from the combination of factors from SPF to one two many heavy meals skin can show the effects but I'm pleased to say that throughout the time I was away thanks to this trio of products my skin didn't suffer at all. Of course there were one or two other products that leant a helping hand and I'll be sharing them later in the week.

Have you used any DHC cleansers before?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sponsored | Would you buy a second hand Rolex?

Unlike women who can chop and change our bags, jewellery, make up and accessories depending on the occasion for men they are somewhat limited. Many of the men I know have if not an obsession, at least an interest in expensive watches. They will tell me like us women are checking out the red soled feet of colleagues or admiring the latest Givenchy bag sitting across from us on the train for me it is the glimpse of watch across the board table.

For as long as I can remember my dad has talked about Rolex watches, friends have received them as wedding gifts or perhaps on a special birthday because without evening walking into a store and asking 'how much' I think we all have a pretty good idea that we're talking not hundreds but thousands of pounds and hey I wouldn't say no if one were presented to me on my birthday this weekend.

If you are working to a budget then perhaps a preloved watch is something to consider? I am seeing an increasing trend in people buying and selling designer goods from shoes to handbags so why not a second hand watch? My mum often buys seconds hand jewellery and who remembers Carrie giving Big a vintage watch for their anniversary in the Sex and the City films?

Xupes sell a range of high end pre-owned luxury goods, specialising in top-of-the-range watches and is a great place to search for your coveted second hand Rolex. Long gone are the days of buying 'second hand' being frowned upon, your purchase will still provide the same high end experience, only if you're lucky you might make a saving.

I do glance at high end watches when accompanying friends and family on their buying missions but for me the handbag will always win out and I did get lost on the site searching the pre-loved Chanel bag selection and there is even coveted Birkin's available if that is on your wishlist.

Where do you stand on purchasing pre-loved designer goods?

*this post in sponsored by Xupes but all words and opinions are my own

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Products I Used Up | March 2017

A small handful of products were used up during March prior to leaving for my holiday that I have t share with you today, starting with a product that made an appearance in both April 2016 and my end of year of favourites. That product is the L'Oreal Brow Artiste Plumper in Medium which I will definitely be repurchasing. I've probably dragged out use of this product longer than necessary and naturally found that the coverage became lighter in the latter months of use. It seems to last longer than Maybelline BrowDrama and I find the smaller wand easy to work with.

I was surprised how quickly I went through L'Or Des Pharaons Face and Body Mist* since it's appearance in my Thirty Plus Skincare post and as I said in that post it was a lovely product to use, what product with 'nanoclusters of gold' wouldn't be but for around the £40 mark I'm looking for something more.

I've become a big fan of Imperial Leather in recent months, especially their Sweets range of which I've tried a number of the scents (my favourite is the Banana) but today it's the Imperial Leather Shower Cream in Sherbet Lemon that's found it's way into the empties pile. This is probably my second favourite and once I've completed my 'mission' to use up the numerous half used products in my bathroom I will be repurchasing. They have also brought out a Marshmallow Bath Cream
in the range to compliment so I'm hoping they add the other scents although following a tip from Caroline I did test this out as a bubble bath and it worked quite well so perhaps I won't need two separate products.

Another disappointment was the Zoella Fizz Bar. I appreciate I'm probably not the target audience and I think I pinched this to try from a stash of products I was gifting the teen daughters of friends I know. I am partial on occasion to bath bombs and the like but I found this, used with and without bubble baths didn't add anything but grit to my bath water.

Soap & Glory Orangeasm was limited edition and unfortunately no longer available which is a shame because it's a nice, more subtle scent to their sweet and citrus to Sugar Crush. I paired this with the orange scented Patisserie de Ban products I was enjoying recently which made for a great combination. Never fear all of the Soap & Glory scrubs are great but if you favour the tube style of dispenser then try Scrub of Your Life.

Keep an eye out as there will be a holiday installment of products I used up coming up soon.

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bombshell Blue Beauty Products

Blue Bombshell Wet Brush

When I first added beauty blogging to my repertoire what fascinated me most was how little bloggers appeared to wash their hair thanks to dry shampoo. As some with oily roots that was lucky to get through a day unfazed, the fact some went a day without washing let alone numerous days was mind blowing.

Now thanks to a little help from dying my hair can now last a day longer on occasion and whilst I'm happy with the affordable options such as Batiste and Colab from the high street it's always nice to try something a little high end that isn't as bank busting as Oribe.

Catwalk by TIGI Transforming Dry Shampoo* is around £10-15 depending on retailer and my first impression was that it looks far more sophisticated than the aforementioned budget brands. Even Colab has adopted a more colourful rebranding which I think is a shame as it stood out against Batiste. But back to TIGI Catwalk Dry Shampoo which I'm rather impressed with and could justify the more expensive price tag.

It has a musky masculine scent which I enjoy and its one of few dry shampoo's I've used that really doesn't leave a white cast in my brunette roots and doesn't leave hair powdery. The oily roots I'm usually trying to disguise are perked up and left looking a lot fresher. For it's price I really wanted to be a little blasé about it and say it wasn't worth the tag but if you're a brunette and struggle with the more affordable options available this might be worth a try.

Next, just like Britney I did it again, I justified purchasing the Wet Brush Bombshell Blue Hair Brush because of the colour palette and setting up this photograph. Yes I know I only just picked up a new Wet Brush recently but in my defence I had spotted this gorgeous blue colour on a dash through Boots one afternoon and could't stop thinking about it. Yes I know, sad isn't it I couldn't stop thinking about a hair brush but you all know by now I'm a big fan of the Wet Brush.

There's nothing I like more than repurchasing a new Wet Brush as you remember how good they are and tick yourself off for allowing your older brush to outstay it's welcome. As I type this I'm on holiday in St Lucia and following a day on the boat coated in really salt spray and deciding to let my hair whip around in the breeze rather than tie up my hair is something of a knotted mess but my Wet Brush, and admittedly it's the older of the two which I'm planning to leave behind has been far kinder to my hair as I try to brush it out.

How are you treating your hair at the moment?

* this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Monthly Beauty Favourites | March 2017

Monthly Beauty Favourites

Before I jetted off to St Lucia I found myself reaching for a small handful of products as I dashed about prepping for my trip to the Caribbean that I'm sharing with you today. First is an oldie, that having scanned my blog pages I'm somewhat horrified to discover is nearly three years old.

The Clarins Bronzing Duo was one my first blogger inspired purchases and one I reached for and used frequently. In fact I was so overjoyed when I hit pan that I repurchased during a duty free visit yet I still haven't managed to use up completely. That said it may be time to pop this in the empties pile and crack open the new one.

The Clarins Bronzing Duo is as the name suggests complementing lighter and darker shades. I either swirl across the pan using both shades or if I'm feeling attentive use the darker for some basic contouring; the former is my usual preference. Its a gorgeous finely milled powder that adds some much needed warmth to the skin and is perfect for those days when I'm not looking to be too exact with application.

A similar product, and again one I'm using for quick and simple make up looks is the Wet n Wild Color Icon Blush in Rose Champagne. This is another double duty product, allowing a flush of colour to the cheeks and enough of a shimmer to act as a subtle highlighter without needing additional products. If I'm just looking to bronze and add a red lip this is the perfect addition to my line up.

Wading through products trying to decide what is to be used or passed over I found the Laura Geller Pout Perfection Lip Liner in Cabernet and its become a firm favourite, even joining me on holiday. The shade is a pink, not nude enough for such looks, but coloured just right if you want to make more of an impact without going all out fuchsia. It's a lovely liner that feels creamy to apply thanks to Vitamin E and Jojoba Oil. I'll definitely check out more shades from Laura Geller's Lip Liner collection.

I first received the By Terry Light Expert Click Brush* a year ago and it had fallen to the back of a draw till a recent rummage and I dug out thinking it would be perfect for my current preference of light coverage bases. I don't know if I had simply forgot how lovely this product was or it was the fact it meets my current needs but I'm reaching for this often and enjoying the coverage it provides.

You can read my initial review to find out more but what I can tell you now is that you simply click the brush and four drops of product are released into the brush and you then buff into skin; its actually a great product for travelling and I only left it behind because the shade is too light.

It's such a light feeling product that blends beautifully into the skin and feels like satin and with my Clarins Bronzer and Rose Champagne it's a perfect combo that's quick and easy to apply. Whilst the colour range is small they have added another three shades to the line up so if you can find a good fit it's one to try.

Finally is another hit from Palmer's, the Raw Shea Body Lotion* containing raw, natural Shea Butter which has been sustainably sourced in Africa. I favour the pump dispenser, I find I'm more likely to apply a body lotion if I can pump the product out and I wanted to ensure skin was moisturised in advance of hitting the St Lucian beaches.

I did expect this to heavier than it is, and I mean that in a positive way. If I've bothered to apply body lotion I certainly don't want to hang around waiting for it to dry or spending what feels like hours rubbing into skin. The scent is enjoyable and combining Shea Butter, Marula, Oatmeal, Grapeseed Oil and Vitamin E, all ingredients that help to seal in moisture and calm any irritation.

It's a simple no nonsense product that keeps my skin feeling great and for a few pounds. Also shout out to Raw Shea Hand Cream* which again, I expected and does feel thick on application but is rubbed in quickly and easily and has been placed by sofa at home for reapplying as I need - and no tackiness which I appreciate.

What products have you loved this month?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Products I Used Up | February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What products have you used up recently?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Forgotten Favourites

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

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

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

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

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

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

What products have you rediscovered lately?

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Thirty Plus Skincare | Hits & Misses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*this post contains press samples and /or affiliate links

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Monday, March 6, 2017

More From the Natural Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your thoughts on the Natural Collection brand?

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Monthly Beauty Favourites | February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*this post contains press samples and / or affiliate links

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