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Thursday, 25 October 2012

NOTD: Violet Navigation

I promised a post on the ChitChat nail polish I picked up a few weeks back, and at length I've got round to it. A couple of my nails broke so I ended up cutting them all right down, my hands look wrong now and typing feels super weird! I'm currently wearing Essie's 'Navigate Her', which I shared in my birthday haul, with an accent nail of ChitChat's 'Violet'. Sorry about the quality of these photos - they're taken on my phone on the train, which is the only point at which I'm seeing any decent light lately!
 'Navigate Her' is a pistachio-green shade which I found tricky to apply - the photos show two coats, which went on streaky and patchy and had horrible brushstrokes in. It does dry to a lovely glossy finish, however, and I love the brush, so with a topcoat this is just about bearable as long as you're careful.

'Violet' is a clear base with small and medium-sized hexagonal glitter. I applied this by "dabbing" rather than brushing onto the nail, so I found it quite easy to get a good coverage; the photos show just one coat. The brush on this polish was average, but the one thing I would say is DEAR LORD IT STINKS. I mean really, really smells. This is definitely not a 3Free polish, for those of you who care about such things. I bought this from Poundland priced at, you guessed it, £1.
What's your favourite Essie shade? Have you tried ChitChat's nail polish?


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Review: Refresh & Revive Grape Self-Heating Facial Cream Mask

Today I've got another post in my Budget Beauty Series for you; Refresh & Revive's Grape Self-Heating Cream Facial Mask. This was an impulse buy from Home Bargains at 49p, because I'm a sucker for face masks and, come on, grapes!
The packaging is nothing fancy, a purple/grey sachet with a nice illustration which clearly tells you what it is, but I like simple and effective so this is right up my alley. According to the packaging, "Grape self-heating cream mask contains antioxidants which penetrate your skin as it heats up. The Grape, Pomegranate and other botanical extracts leave your skin feeling soft and radiant." A quick scan of the ingredients list suggests that the "other botanical extracts" mentioned include Lavender, Green Tea and Witch Hazel, all of which are known for their soothing properties and are widely used in skincare.
On snipping open the packet, I was greeted by a strong waft of scent, reminiscent of grape-flavoured sweets from when I was a child; this is over-powering so if you don't like it, you will hate this product. If you're not a fan of heavily-scented skincare, I'd advise you to steer clear. I really liked the scent, however, so I wasn't put off. The mask is less "creamy" in texture, and more "gloopy"; a thick, sticky, viscous, translucent lilac goo. It was quite difficult to spread evenly over the skin, but once it was on my face I could feel it gently heating up almost instantly. This is a sensation I love and this mask is pleasant, not making it feel like your face is on fire but rather like you're being gently warmed. The instructions suggest leaving for 15-20 minutes, which I duly did (and it still smelled just as strongly after the twenty minutes were up!), before removing in the shower. I have to say, it took some removing, and even standing with my face directly under the shower-head it took a while, so I wouldn't like to try to remove this just with a face-cloth! Afterwards, my skin was left feeling soft and healthy, so I'd say the mask lived up to its claims! I think it also helped to clear out the congested pores around my nose a little, which I'm putting down to the self-heating element.
This product is apparently made in Korea exclusively for TJM Ltd. (the company that owns Home Bargains), so I don't know if you'd be able to buy it anywhere else if you don't have a Home Bargains near you. A sachet for one usage cost me 49p from Home Bargains - this is definitely something I'd repurchase.
Do you pick up budget beauty buys like this one, or are you distrustful of cheaper skincare?


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Think Pink: Beauty Products

It's Tuesday again, and that means the third post in my Think Pink series for Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Today I'm sharing a selection of pink beauty products, both some personal favourites and some special Breast Cancer Awareness releases.
Nails Inc 'Pinkie Pink' Nail Polish, £11
Make A Difference™ Rejuvenating hand treatment & Peace of Mind® On-the-spot relief
Origins Make A Difference Duo, £10
Batiste Dry Shampoo Blush 400ml
Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo, £4.99
Louise Gray at Topshop Lipstick in 'Legend', £10
nspa Fresh Sweet Raspberry Body Butter,  £3
Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub, £5.25
What do you think? What are your favourite pink beauty products? You probably all know how much I love pink nail polish! Have you bought any Breast Cancer Campaign Pink Products?


Monday, 22 October 2012

Top Five | Autumn

We are well and truly into Autumn in Britain now, with the frosty mornings, gorgeous sunsets and crunchy leaves on the ground. I love Autumn, not so much the cooler weather but the colours, smells and fashions are right up my street! These are some of the products I'm loving right now; if I've done a full post on an item, then its name will link through to my review.
1. Aapri Exfoliating Scrub Cream: This is such a bargain, I'm on my second tube with a third in stock. I really love it for helping to keep my skin soft and smooth by buffing away any dry, flakey patches brought on by the weather and by my near-constant nose-blowing. An absolute steal at £1 from Poundland!
2. Carmex Classic Moisturising Lip Balm: Like the rest of my skin, my lips can get pretty dry and flakey in the cooler months. I've been a Carmex fan for years, initially the original potted product, but I soon moved onto these squeezy tubes - I prefer not having to dig around in the pot with my fingers while I'm out and about, and the consistency of the tubed product is slightly thinner, meaning it's absorbed that bit quicker. 10ml will set you back £1.34 at Superdrug.
3. George at Asda Shimmer Me! Shimmering Brush On Powder in 'Heaven Sent': I picked this up on a whim in the supermarket last week and have been loving it ever since; even my Dad has commented on me looking like I've caught the sun. It gives a lovely subtle, summery shimmer and a pretty touch of colour, nothing over the top but enough to stop me looking pale and ill. You get 10g of product for £4.50.
4. Garnier Body Intensive 7 Days Replenishing Lotion with Mango: I suffer from Eczema, and even when that's not flaring up I get incredibly dry skin, especially on my legs. I try to use this every day (sometimes twice a day when I'm being really good!) and it's gorgeous, it does a great job of softening my skin and soothing any itchy tightness. This is available from Superdrug, priced at £4.99 for 400ml.
5. TRESemm√© Keratin Smooth Deep Treatment Mask: This is my Holy Grail hair product, I raved about it in my review (which is, incidentally, one of my most-viewed posts of all time and the first review in Google!) and it has honestly been working wonders and helping to keep my hair soft, smooth and manageable when the cold air outside and central heating indoors would normally be wreaking havoc. Boots stock this at £5.50 for 300ml.
What are your must-have items this Autumn? Are you loving any of my favourites too?


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Top Five: Christmas Jumpers

I KNOW it's only October. I'm sorry. I hate Christmas until around December 23rd - but one thing I do love (and would wear all year round if I could get away with it!) is Christmas jumpers. The tackier the better; I want snowflakes, reindeer, Santa hats, the lot! Here are five of my favourites from the high street's current offerings.

1. Fairisle Jumper, £18, Matalan
2. Illustrated People Snowflake Jumper, £55, Topshop
3. Wonderland Jumper, £34.99, Truffle Shuffle
4. Falmer Reindeer Cardigan, £30, Matalan
5. Soul Cal Polar Bear Cardigan, £50, Republic

What do you think? Are you a fan of festive knitwear or is it all a bit much for you?


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

NOTD: Halloween

Halloween is my favourite holiday (if you follow me on Pinterest, you may have seen me Pinning Halloween images like a woman possessed..) so in its honour, I have created some creepy neon nail art. I bought Models Own 'Beach Party' from the Hed Kandi collection in their recent 50% off sale and haven't yet had chance to use it, so this seemed the perfect opportunity. It applied like an absolute dream, smooth and opaque and a one-coater if only I'd been more careful - my right hand was all done in one coat, my left hand took two because I just wasn't expecting such beautiful application. I then used my Models Own x Wah Nails Black Nail Art Pen to draw on some Jack O'Lantern faces; I simply searched "Jack O'Lantern" in Google Images for some inspiration and got drawing. It's a little more wobbly than I was hoping but overall I'm pleased with it! It's actually pretty easy as long as you can keep a steady hand - I've included photos of both hands to demonstrate this, as well as one of 'Beach Party' on its own to show the amazing, smooth neon-ness!
I must apologise for the mess around my nails; my cotton buds appear to have had enough of me. I finished off with a top coat of ELF's Matte Finisher, just because (not shown in the pics). What do you think, ladies? Will you be attempting any Halloween nail art?


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Wish List: Think Pink!

My second post in my pink-themed series in recognition of October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month is focussing on clothing and accessories. Here are my picks from the shops at the moment, in every girl's favourite colour!
What are your favourite pink things at the moment?


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Review: ELF Cream Eyeliner

A while back, I made an order from ELF and received a free gift which, included this ELF Studio Cream Eyeliner in the shade 'Metallic Olive'; I've used it a couple of times and been meaning to get a post up for ages, but haven't got round to it. Finally, here we are! I'd not tried a cream eyeliner before, so these are my first impressions.
I really like the packaging of this; it's a sturdy-feeling glass pot which makes it easy to see what shade you've picked up, and has a sleek black screw-cap. It comes with a small angled brush for easy application. In the pot, it's a lovely colour, a definite olive-green and really suited to its name. Sadly, application wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped; the liner seemed a bit "dry" and altogether less creamy than I expected, which made it hard to apply smoothly. You can see this in the photos below, where the outside of my eye ended up with three quite distinct lines of liner. It actually looked okay, although it wasn't the look I was going for!
I also found that the gorgeous colour didn't translate very well; it ended up looking kind of like a faded black rather than the metallic olive-green seen in the pan. I was disappointed by this, although it did last well - I didn't use primer for these shots and it hadn't budged ten hours later, which is no mean feat on my oily lids! If it wasn't for the disappointing consistency and colour translation, this would be a winner! Obviously I've only tried the one shade so this may not be an issue that applies to the whole range.
ELF's Cream Eyeliner is available in a choice of eight shades (I love the look of 'Gunmetal' and 'Punk Purple'!), and is priced at £3.75 for 4.7g; the price includes a small angled brush.
What's your favourite type of eyeliner? Have you tried ELF's Cream Eyeliner?

(This product was received free of charge in a goodie bag when I placed my order through the ELF website. I have not been asked to write this review, and as always these are my own, honest opinions.)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Review: Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezers

For as long as I can remember, I've been using a cheap pair of tweezers I got in a manicure set when I was about fourteen, and wondering why on earth people would spent in excess of £10 on tweezers, when I managed perfectly well with a pair you can buy for about £3. I decided to treat myself with some of my birthday money in an attempt to find out, hence I spent fourteen and a half of the Queen's English Pounds on a pretty lilac polka-dot mini slant tweezers in Boots.
On first impressions, they come nicely packaged, in cardboard and plastic with plenty of information. They also come with a handy carry tube to keep them in; this protects the tweezers and also reduces the risk of stabbing yourself whilst digging around in the bottom of your make-up bag searching for eyelash glue (yes, this has happened). I love the cute purple dotty design; this is a lovely way to brighten up your beauty routine. Apparently, the tips of the tweezers are hand-filed to make use easy and precise; you can return the tweezers to Tweezerman, free of charge, to have them sharpened as long as there is something left to sharpen. This is the sort of service that I love and I think is really worth paying for.
So, I've parted with my cold, hard cash in return for something pretty and pointy. What did I think?
Well, I won't be going back to cheap tweezers, that's for sure. The Tweezermans grip even the tiniest hairs with ease, removing with no pain at all, and getting even the hairs I can hardly see. They've made plucking my eyebrows a genuine pleasure - and that's not something I ever thought I'd be saying! Honestly, they're so precise and easy to use, I completely recommend splashing out on a pair if, like I was, you're hesitating. It is SO worth it!
Do you use Tweezerman's? Do you love the cute lilac polka dots as much as I do?


Friday, 12 October 2012

NOTD: Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Prickly Pear

Barry M are one of my favourite nail polish brands due to their reasonable prices and awesome quality. This is another item from my birthday money haul, 'Prickly Pear' from Barry M's new Gelly Hi-Shine collection. This is a range of high-gloss shades which dry to a super shiny finish without the need for a top coat, much like gel nails. The photos below show two coats of 'Prickly Pear', with no base or top coat. I found this okay to apply, although it did drag a little, and it dried super quickly which is always a bonus! It definitely lives up to the "Hi-Shine" name, which I love. However, I did experience a little bubbling of the second coat on my right hand.

These polishes are priced at £3.99 each and are available from Superdrug or direct from the Barry M website.
Have you got any of the Gelly Hi-Shine polishes yet? Which is your favourite shade? I'm definitely eyeing up 'Watermelon' as my next purchase!


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Real Techniques Powder Brush

As I mentioned in my Birthday Hauling post, I recently treated myself to the Real Techniques Powder Brush, as the powder brush I'd been using previously was reaching the end of its days. A couple of people asked if I could do a review of the RT Powder Brush, so here are my thoughts!
Like all of the Real Techniques brushes, the Powder Brush comes packaged in a clear plastic packet so you can easily see what you're buying. The packaging tells you clearly what the brush is used for and provides a web address to get further tips.

Out of the packaging, the brush has a large, super-fluffy head, with a sleek bronze-coloured handle and rubberised end part, which is flat-bottomed so as to also act as a stand. I've found this very useful when applying my make-up as it means you can put the brush down if you need to, without getting powder everywhere.


The dense, fluffy bristles mean that you pick up the perfect amount of product and make applying it a pleasure - it's so easy to blend for a flawless look. I'd read a couple of reviews suggesting that the only problem with this brush lies in cleaning it, as it apparently takes ages to dry. However, I've cleaned this and had no such problems; in fact, it dries faster than many of my eyeshadow brushes! As long as I squeeze all the excess water out carefully once it's clean, it's dry within a few hours.
Overall, this is a really lovely brush to add to my collection, does exactly what it should and is functional as well as attractive. I'd recommend this without hesitation and look forward to picking up some more of the Real Techniques collection!
The Real Techniques Powder Brush is available from Boots, priced at £12.99, or from this Amazon seller for £10.99 (please note I haven't bought from this seller so cannot comment on them).
Do you own any of the Real Techniques brushes? Which is your favourite? I think the next one on my wishlist is the Kabuki Brush!!


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Review: Benefit ChaChat Tint & Sun Beam

You may have seen that this month's InStyle magazine comes with a pretty awesome freebie, a choice of three of Benefit's liquid pigments; 'Benetint', 'ChaCha Tint', and 'Sun Beam'. I couldn't resist and in fact ended up buying the magazine twice, so today I'm reviewing ChaCha Tint and Sun Beam. Miniature versions of the full-size products (each sample is 4ml, compared to 14ml full-size), these come packaged in pretty boxes which open to reveal shiny, nail polish-style bottles with screw-cap lids.

The lids unscrew to reveal small, precise brushes which can be used to apply the pigment. Benefit recommend dotting onto the cheeks or lips before blending in with the fingers. The photos below show each pigment swatched on the back of my hand; as you can see, 'Sun Beam' is a pretty golden-bronze colour with plenty of shimmer, whilst 'ChaCha Tint' is a mango/coral coloured cream.

'Sun Beam' blends out really nicely to give a subtle, golden shimmer to the skin. It'd be perfect with a tan in the summer but I'm not so sure how well it'll work through the colder months. 'ChaCha Tint' is harder to blend as it very quickly stains the skin - you need to work fast with this! If using on the cheeks, I'd recommend doing one cheek at a time. As you can see below, in the time it took me to snap a couple of photos, an obvious dark patch has stained the back of my hand. I also found that my fingers became slightly stained whilst blending it in. However, it does give a lovely soft coral/pink glow to the skin, which is easily buildable depending on your skintone and the situation.

These last couple of photos show 'ChaCha Tint' on my cheek and lips - it's a natural-looking shade which gives a really pretty glow. It's not drying on the lips and lasts quite well - five or six hours on the lips before it's completely faded, and all day on the cheeks.

With 'Sun Beam' being priced at £18.50 for 14ml, and 'ChaCha Tint' at £24.50 for 12.5ml, these aren't the cheapest of products, although you don't need much for a good colour pay-off. I think 'Sun Beam' is reasonably priced given how pretty and easy to work with it is, but for the price of 'ChaCha Tint' I'd like it to be a little easier to use - I don't feel it's that unusual or special a product. ('Benetint' is also £24.50 for 12.5ml).
Benefit products are available through their website or from Boots, Debenhams and House of Fraser.
Have you picked up any of these tints with this month's InStyle? Which is your favourite?


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

NOTD: Think Pink!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and in recognition of this I'm doing a few pink-themed posts over the coming weeks. Today is the first of these; an NOTD using one of my new Models Own purchases, 'Blooming Pink'. Part of Models Own's Kaleidoscope Collection, 'Blooming Pink' is a hot, red-toned pink which applied streaky in the first coat but was lovely in two coats. It dried quickly to a super-glossy pearl finish. These photos show two coats with no top coat.

Models Own polishes are priced at £5 for 14ml and are available from Boots, where they're currently part of the 3 for 2 offer, or direct from the Models Own website.
Are you going pink for Breast Cancer Awareness? What's your all-time favourite pink polish?

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