Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April Empties

April 2013 Empties
I've finished up loads of products this month, I'm really pleased with myself! I've got a couple more that are almost empty, too, so I'll be making a start on stockpiling May Empties in the next couple of days... Speaking of which, how are we almost in May already!? This year really is going far too quickly, at risk of sounding like a complete cliché. Anyway, these are the products I've got finished in April, and what I thought of them.
April 2013 Empties
TRESemmé Salon Sleek Straightening Spray
I've been using this since before I can remember, and my hair does blowdry or straighten much more nicely when I use it. It smells really nice, too. However, in an effort to get my hair looking a bit more healthy, I'm trying to cut out products containing silicon, which means goodbye to my beloved TRESemmé! Sad times.
Repurchase? Sadly not.
Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean Cleansing Milk
I liked this at first, but as time went on I went off it, as I felt it wasn't leaving my skin as clean as it could be. The pump also broke towards the end, which made it really difficult to get the last inch or so of product out of the bottle, which was a shame.
Repurchase? No.
Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo
This is a total staple in my Empties posts, and I've gone through two cans in April! I put that down to switching shampoos and my hair not getting on with the new one so well, I ended up using dry shampoo almost every day. I love this and always stock up when it's on offer!
Repurchase? Always!
Naked Smooth Silky Shampoo
I liked this shampoo, but it just wasn't suited for my hair type. Thankfully, I got in touch with the lovely people at Naked and they recommended some other products which I'm trying out and which seem to be suiting me much better - reviews will be coming up soon! I really recommend their customer service, definitely get in touch with them if you have any questions about which products would be best for you!
Repurchase? Not this specific product, but I've already bought other products from the brand.
Naked Soft Touch Silky Smooth Body Wash
This smells amazing, like cinnamon! It lathers up so beautifully and leaves my skin feeling smooth, soft and clean. It also works well as a bubble bath, producing heaps of lovely soft bubbles. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm not the only one who loves this - my boyfriend has been smelling oddly of cinnamon recently, too.
Repurchase? Already have.
April 2013 Empties
The Body Shop Cranberry Joy Body Butter
I normally love The Body Shop's Body Butters, and I loved the smell of this one when I sniffed it in store, but sadly I've gone off it over the month - there was just a slightly alcoholic edge to it which I found really offputting. That aside, it did a great job of moisturising my legs, as they always do. I really like the pretty glittery label, too.
Repurchase? No.
Lush Mask of Magnaminty
I love this for bringing any break-outs under control! It's really good at calming down angry spots and helping with oily skin, too. I've washed this pot out and have added it to my stack which I'm saving up to take back for my free face mask!
Repurchase? Yes, once I've used up some of my other face masks.
Mitchum Advanced Control Anti-Perspirant Deodorant
Possibly the least exciting product of the bunch - I've used this since I was about 12, I've switched to others but always come back to this as it does the job and I'm not allergic to it - bonus! It's a good price and lasts a good few months, too.
Repurchase? Already have!
Alpha-H Liquid Gold
I received this sample-size in a set from What's In My Handbag; actually I received two tubes this size. I do like it and I definitely feel like it's working to brighten my skin and shrink my pores, but I'm in two minds about whether to repurchase once I've used the second tube. I also struggle to remember to use it every other day - it's not part of my daily routine so I forget really easily! I'm going to review this in full soon, too.
Repurchase? Not decided yet.
Jimmy Choo 'Flash' Perfume Sample
This was a free sample from Debenhams and I really, really like it - it's exactly my sort of perfume, I loved wearing it, and I'll probably buy a full-sized bottle once I've emptied one of my current scents.
Repurchase? Most likely.
Lancôme 'La Vie Est Belle' Perfume Sample
Not sure where this came from, it might have been a sample from Lancôme's Facebook page. Anyway, I wasn't so keen on this one; it was wearable but not one I'd choose for myself.
Repurchase? No.
April 2013 Empties
Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara
My favourite mascara! Shamefully, I think I've had this on the go for about a year - I never throw mascara away when I'm supposed to. That said, I don't share mascara with anyone, and if I'd had an eye infection it would have been chucked immediately, but luckily I don't tend to get eye infections very often. This is perfect for everyday wear and does exactly what it claims, for me. Love!
Repurchase? Already have, in my Best of All set.
Superdrug Cotton Wool Pads
Not an awful lot to say on cotton wool pads, I'm afraid. I like these because they're sort of crimped together so they don't peel apart like some cotton pads do, and I use them for exciting things like removing nail polish and eye make-up.
Repurchase? Already have; stock up when they're on Buy One Get One Free!
Clinique High Impact Mascara
I think this was another magazine freebie and I haven't actually finished it, but somehow managed to crack the lid so the mascara has dried out and I can't use it anymore. I did really like this mascara and used it quite a lot, I'd say it's as good as the Soap & Glory, although obviously more expensive!
Repurchase? No, since I prefer Thick & Fast and it's way cheaper!
The Sanctuary Spa Bath Relaxer Oil
I got this in a gift set literally years ago and have been using it recently in my baths; it smells lovely and leaves my skin feeling really soft and moisturised, although there is a slight film left on the skin afterwards. I don't know that it's something I'd buy myself but things like this are always lovely to receive as gifts!
Repurchase? Probably not.
Superdrug Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover
Although this did do a reasonable job of removing eye make-up, I feel it's thoroughly undeserving of the title 'Gentle' - oh my life it stings!! That said, it's cheap and cheerful, and it's okay as long as you're super careful, so I can't really complain!
Repurchase? Probably not.
The Body Shop Cranberry Joy Hand Cream
I had the same problem with this as with the Body Butter; I just didn't like the slightly alcoholic edge to its scent. Nonetheless, it was a lovely light, hydrating hand cream which I kept in my desk drawer and which definitely did the job for keeping my hands moisturised throughout the day.
Repurchase? No, and it was Limited Edition at Christmas anyway!

Phew! So, those are the products I've finished in April. Have you tried any of these? Leave me a link if you've done an Empties post, I love reading them!

xo

Monday, 29 April 2013

T*ts and Tats: A Male Blogger Discusses Tattoos

Today's post comes courtesy of Adam from #NOTListeningCollective. Recently, I decided I wanted to try and organise a little Guest Post Swap, so put out some tweets and messages on Facebook, and a fair few people were interested. So we went ahead, and Adam's name came out of the hat to write for me! I'll do a summary of all the posts once they're all posted, so for now I'll pass you over to Adam!

So when this whole Guest post swap idea was passed on to me, I was a little worried. Looking at the types of blogs and bloggers that wanted to do it, seemed very Female and Beauty/Fashion orientated and I felt a bit isolated.....being that I was a minority who didn't have boobs ( well maybe moobs, but they don't count ). So with my recent series of posts about Beauty and fashion from a Male's Perspective ( which pretty much means I have no idea what I'm talking about ) I was asked to write a guest post for the lovely Jess. After a few brief discussions we decided that I should bring my male perspective to this blog. So here it goes.......
......TATTOOS! That’s right, the cross gendered ink markings that seem to bring out a unique meaning to every individual. From full on tattoos on the forehead to subtle little butterflies on the ankle, tattoos big and small have different meanings to each person. Some tats mean something close and meaningful to them such as a memory of a dear friend or a celebration to something in their life and some mean something........ well simply a reminder of a drunken night or a messed up time in their life that they now regret.
Now I won't discuss the tattoos that people regret instead I shall discuss about two of my favourite celebs who brandish tattoos with pride.
1) Dita Von Teese
Now the wonderful Dita  Von Teese uses tattoos to complement her image. The Seductress, demeaux Burlesque Dancer pulls of the vampy look with a great array of tattoos, Notably along her arms. Now I never use to be a fan of tattoos on women that could be seen, but with the current trends and looks it works and looks incredibly sexy. The entire style of it brings out an edgy look that obviously suits her. I find this kind of look incredibly attractive nowadays and the whole alternative look is pretty awesome in itself.

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2) Fearne Cotton
Everyone’s favourite Radio and TV Host. Fearne was the first celeb whose tattoos took my attention. Her tattoos are not too out in the open, as she has some subtle ones on her wrist and some really beautiful ones on her ankle.
The ankle ones were the ones that I noticed first. Like I said before I was never a fan of tattoos until I saw these type of tatts on ladies. On the ankles they look gorgeous when they wear heels. The whole tattoo look on Fearne brings out a trend quality to her dress sense that she seems to embrace.
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Recently I saw she had more tattoos on her midriff and, thanks to her great figure, it again brings a great quality and look to her style.
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I believe that tattoos are becoming more of a fashion statement nowadays and if done right can really bring out the individual and unique style.
What tattoos have you got? What is too many? Let me know! @BarkerPodcasts

Thank you Adam for this post! Please do go and check out Adam's blog, his Male Perspective posts are really funny and well-written.
It's been lovely to get to know some fellow bloggers through this swap, and I'd love to arrange another in future, so if you're interested let me know and I can add you to the list for when the time comes! Just leave your email in a comment, or drop me a tweet or email.
xo

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Crochet Bows | Recent Buys

I've been a little bit naughty since coming off my spending ban and have made a few cheeky purchases over the last few days, so I thought I'd just share what I've been buying.

3 for 2 Barry M Nail Products
Superdrug have a 3 for 2 offer on Barry M Nail Products, so I picked up the Nail Art Pen I reviewed yesterday, as well as another Gelly polish in 'Greenberry' and one of the standard line, 'Denim', for a nail art idea I want to do. I tell you, those 3 for 2 offers are lethal!
Primark SS13 Shoes Nail Polish
I popped into Primark to find some new shoes and I was relatively successful; these gorgeous peachy coral pumps were just £6 and I love the crochet bows on the fronts. They're a bit tight but I'm wearing them round the house in thick socks in the hopes they'll loosen up a little! I also got drawn in by the pretty hearts in the glitter polish in this four-set, and at just £2 for the four nail polishes, I don't feel too guilty. I picked up some clothes for my step-kids, too, since summer's on its way - I posted a pic on Instagram if you're interested!
Naked Bodycare Shampoo Haircare Skincare
Finally, following on from my review, the lovely people at Naked Bodycare offered me some advice on products which might suit my hair a bit better, and gave me a discount code to use on their website. I put it to good use, and you can expect to see some reviews of these beauties coming up soon! How nice is the packaging, just by the way!? I love the purple tissue paper.
I'm coming up to deadline and exam time at the moment with Uni, so things might look a bit quieter on Just Jess over the next few weeks. Please do stick around, though, as I have quite a few exciting things planned!
What have you been buying lately? Have you tried the Barry M Nail Art Pens yet?

xo

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Review: Barry M Nail Art Pens

Barry M have recently released some nail art pens, which are available in four colours. Browsing in Superdrug, I inevitably ended up purchasing one, and I went for Silver since I already have Models Own nail art pens in the other three colours available - pink, black and white.
Barry M Silver Nail Art Pen Review Nib
In sturdy packaging which matches the colour of the product, these would be great for travelling with little risk of them getting squashed and exploding. The lid snaps off to reveal a white nib which is completely different to the Models Own nail art pens; following the instructions, I shook before removing the lid and then pumped the nib on a piece of paper until the paint began to flow. I found I got a smooth, constant stream of paint which was really easy to work with and didn't blob or bubble; that's a problem I've had with all my Models Own pens. Not having to constantly squeeze the pen meant my hand was much steadier, and in general I found the Barry M pen much easier to use, a lot quicker, and it dried in no time as well, meaning it could quickly be sealed with a top coat and I was good to go. For this review, I just had a play round on the manicure I was already sporting, which is two coats of a mint polish from Gold by Giles at New Look.
Barry M Nail Art Pens Silver Tribal Aztec
Barry M Nail Art Pens Review
I prefer this pen infinitely to the Models Own ones I've used before - they're so much quicker and easier to use, with no blobbing or bubbling of the paint as you draw, and because the nib is plastic rather than metal, there's much less risk of denting or scratching your base colour. Overall, this is definitely a product I recommend and I can see myself picking up the other three colours available and doing away with my Models Own versions - these are so much better and cheaper, too! Nice one, Barry M.
Priced at £4.99 for 3ml of product, Barry M Nail Art Pens are available from Boots, Superdrug, and Barry M online. Have you picked any of these up yet? Which colours are your favourite? [Dead links removed, apologies for any inconvenience caused.]

xo

Friday, 26 April 2013

NOTD: 'Sugar Daddy'

I received this Essie polish in the shade 'Sugar Daddy' in my April Glossybox and thought it'd be perfect for a simple, pretty manicure. It paints on smoothly and dries quickly to a super-glossy finish, but it does go on very sheer; I used four coats and could still see my nail line, as you can see in the top two photos below, but I didn't mind as I was planning to apply glitter to the tips anyway. I sponged Technic 'Sparkle' onto the tips of my nails for a pretty gradient effect, then finished with a coat of Seche Vite which I recently received in a 'Try' from What's In My Handbag.
Essie Sugar Daddy Glossybox April 2013 NOTD
Have you ever tried sponged glitter tips? Did you get the April Glossybox with the Essie polish? Do you like the look of 'Sugar Daddy'?

xo

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Thirty Ways to Save £1

To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the pound coin, Money Supermarket are challenging bloggers to come up with some tips to save money; specifically, thirty ways to save a pound! Saving money is something of a hobby for me, so I didn't think coming up with thirty tips would be too difficult, and thought I'd put together a post. Since Just Jess is a lifestyle blog, I've gone for a range of ways to tighten your purse-strings, so there should be something everyone can try, from beauty to grocery shopping to raising children!

1. If you're a student, use your status to its full potential potential! I'm pretty sure my NUS card is worth several times its weight in gold, saving me pennies every time I shop in Superdrug, New Look, Topshop, Accessorize, and a whole load of other shops. It also entitles me to student fares on the bus, student tickets at the cinema, and Concession entry at a host of museums and attractions.
2. Loyalty cards are your friends. When you think about it, getting points from things you're buying anyway means you're pretty much obliged to treat yourself with the points you accumulate! Boots, Superdrug, Costa Coffee, Waterstones... Keep them in your purse and watch how quickly your points stack up.
Boots Advantage Card Save Money

3. Related to the previous tip, make sure your contact details are up to date, as some loyalty cards send you vouchers for money off or extra points through the post or via email. It's also worth checking the points kiosk in Boots before making any purchases, as they also often offer money off or additional points on items you buy regularly.
4. When getting a coffee with your loyalty card, switch to a small - the size of a large coffee is absurd, no-one needs that much coffee! Buying a small will save you some pennies and help your waistline, too.
5. Check your direct debits. Are you paying out money each month for services you don't want or use? If so, cancel them!
6. Take advantage of schemes such as Back to MAC and Lush's Black Pots Return, which accept your empty packaging in return for a shiny new product! If you're buying these things anyway, it's worth saving the packaging until you have five or six and can swap them for a lipstick or facemask of your choice.

7. Try not to be drawn in by 3 for 2 offers; I know they're lethal to all women and to beauty bloggers in particular, but try to think clearly! Stocking up on essentials like dry shampoo, cotton pads and make-up remover while they're on offer is one thing; buying three lipsticks when you really only need one is not saving you money, however you try and think about it.
8. Carry a shopping bag in your handbag; many shops have started charging for plastic bags now, so popping to the shop on your way home from work can end up costing more than you planned! By carrying a reusable shopping bag, you're always prepared and you're helping the environment - bonus!
9. Never go shopping without a list, you're just asking for impulse buys and overspending. Decide what you need and buy it.
10. Look carefully at special offers in supermarkets; 2 for £3 is great if one product costs £2.50, less great if it's £1.50. Think about whether you'd use two before they go off, as well; there's no point spending the extra 50p to then throw one away because it's out of date.
11. Use a penny jar and periodically empty your small change into it. I have a giant piggybank and empty everything smaller than a 50p from my purse into it at least once a week. Change from pockets when I'm doing the washing also goes in here! It's surprising how quickly it adds up and you can either use it for bus fares and buying a pint of milk from the shop, or take it to your bank to use one of the change-counting machines (am I allowed to say they're dead good fun, too?!)
Piggy Bank Small Change Saving Money

12. When going out with children, remember that they get hungry and thirsty and have accidents. Carry drinks, snacks, and clean clothing, especially around potty-training age, to avoid unexpectedly having to purchase new outfits whilst out and about!
13. Buy a Railcard if you're eligible. Given that my train fare would be £30/day when commuting, it's well worth me having a railcard as it saves me £10 per journey; mine was free as a perk of my student account, but even if I'd bought it, at £28 I'd have made it back in three trips.
14. Don't be scared to ask for samples! If you're looking at spending £30 on foundation, you want to be sure it's the right shade, so ask a counter assistant to shade-match you and request a sample to take away so you can check it in natural light.This also allows you to see how well it wears with your skin-type and whether it works with your other products.
15. Use vouchers! I always Google 'discount codes New Look' or 'Vouchers Pizza Hut' if I'm shopping online or eating out. Pizza Hut, for example, often have 50% off vouchers available, so it's always worth checking!
16. Don't use your credit card in cash machines - there's no need for you to pay the ridiculous charges. If you need cash, ask for cashback when making a purchase, or ideally use your debit card instead.
17. On the topic of credit cards, try not to treat yours like extra cash. Having one for emergencies is great, but it's not an extra £500 a month to spend - this is a surefire way to get yourself into mountains of debt. Try not to spend anymore on it than you can afford to pay back IN FULL the next month - this way, you don't pay any interest on it.
18. Make sure you're using the best bank accounts. Some offer incentives if you pay in over a certain amount per month, or even for switching to them.
19. If you don't pay tax, then register your savings accounts for gross interest so you don't have to pay tax on the interest, either. You should be able to get a simple form from your bank or building society to do this! Remember to inform them when you start paying tax, though, to avoid getting hit with tax fraud fines.
20. As a blogger, this is an obvious one; if you're considering a big purchase, read reviews of the product first! If people with your skin-type/body shape have had problems with the product, you might be wasting your money, too. It's always good to be informed! Makeup Alley is great for this.
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21. Interact with brands on Facebook and Twitter. Ask for advice. Sometimes, brands will recommend a product and offer you a discount code or voucher if you've not been happy with one of their products. For example, I posted on Naked Bodycare's Facebook Wall linking my review of some of their products, which I'd liked but hadn't suited my hair at all. They very kindly advised me on some products which might suit me better and offered a discount voucher for their website.
22. Use your freezer to its full potential. My boyfriend and I don't get through a full loaf of bread before it goes mouldy, so to avoid throwing half of every loaf away, I just freeze half.
23. Take packed lunches with you to work, school or Uni. You can knock together a sandwich or a salad in five minutes and save yourself two or three pounds compared to buying lunch out; if you have access to a microwave, you could even take leftovers to warm up.
24. Invest in a travel mug which you can fill for your commute, thus avoiding buying coffee en route. Many coffee shops also offer you a small discount for using travel mugs when you buy drinks from them.
Debenhams Keep Calm Travel Mug

25. Use and abuse Groupon; again, don't use it for the sake of it, but if you need a haircut, have a browse and see if there's something you can use to save yourself a few pounds. It can also be great for gifts.
26. Sites like Buyapowa also allow you to save on the RRP, although you do run the risk of buying things just because they're cheap rather than because it's something you actually need! You can also request co-buys on Buyapowa, so if there's something you're thinking of buying, you might be able to save yourself a little by requesting it first.
27. Don't be scared of discount shops - you can often find branded items in places like Poundland, Home Bargains and Bodycare. There's no reason why you shouldn't take advantage of good prices on products you'd be buying anyway!
28. Grow your own; this is second nature to me as almost all our vegetables were homegrown as a child. With my more limited space (I only have a yard now!) I'm growing tomatoes and pumpkins with my boyfriend's kids, as well as some herbs. Every little helps!
29. Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping; this way, you can buy the things you need and won't end up giving in and ordering takeaway on Thursday night because you can't think of anything to make with mushrooms, ham and yoghurt.
30. Shop around for things like insurance, energy suppliers and foreign currency. It's always best to make sure you're getting the best deal and there's no point paying for extras you don't need when a cheaper, more basic package might suit you better!

Do you do any of these things? What's your top money-saving tip? Please leave me a link if you've done one of these posts, as I'm always up for more ways of saving pennies!

xo

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Wishlist: ChiChi Clothing

Etail PR are hosting another blogger competition, this time for the chance to win a £200 voucher for ChiChi Clothing. I've been lacking inspiration for blog posts the last few days, so I thought I'd enter and try my luck! If you'd like to enter, you can find more details on Etail PR's blog here.
I've not actually bought any clothes since the January sales, so my wardrobe is definitely starting to look a bit sad and tired - I'd love the opportunity to freshen it up in time for summer, so I based my choices around some pretty summer staples which could be worn in a variety of ways!
ChiChi Jakinda Dress
ChiChi Regina Dress
ChiChi Allegra & Letitia Dress
ChiChi Ceri Dress
{All images courtesy of ChiChi Clothing; each image should link through to the product}

Which of my picks is your favourite? Have you entered Etail PR's ChiChi competition? If you have, leave me a link below; I'd love to see what you chose!

xo

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Using Up Leftovers #2: Chicken & Mushroom Pie

Photo Chicken & Mushroom Pie Recipe
I have to admit, this is one of my favourite leftovers recipes - there's just something about chicken & mushroom pie, potatoes, broccoli and gravy that takes me back to my childhood. I'd have roast chicken every week just to be able to have this! The best part is, it's also super easy to make.
How to make pastry
Start off by mixing your pastry; mix 50g of butter, cut into small cubes, into 100g plain flour with your fingertips until it forms breadcrumbs. Gradually add around 2-3 tbsp cold milk until the mixture comes together to form a ball, being careful not to over-mix. You can find more in-depth instructions for making pastry in my recipe for Salmon & Broccoli Pie. Wrap your pastry in cling-film and pop in the fridge whilst you prepare your filling.
Making Chicken & Mushroom Pie
Next, prepare to make your filling - slice five or six mushrooms up, and strip the meat off your chicken, tearing it into small chunks. You could use a couple of chicken breasts, grilled and cut up, if you don't have any leftovers; I used about 200g of cooked chicken.
In a pan, melt 30g butter and mix in 30g plain flour, then gradually add 300ml milk, a little at a time, to form a white sauce. More detailed instructions for white sauce can be found in my Lasagne recipe. Season with black pepper, then add the chicken and mushrooms and mix well.
Lightly flour your hands, rolling pin and work surface, and roll out just over half the pastry to around 0.5cm thickness. Grease a pie dish (I used a 1-Litre Pyrex casserole dish..) and drape the pastry over it, carefully lowering it in and pressing down; you'll need to make three or pleats so it sits properly. Spoon in your filling, then roll out the remaining pastry to make the lid of the pie. Cut in two or three vents to allow steam to escape, before moistening the edge of the pie crust and draping the lid over. Cut the loose edges off and crimp with your fingers or a fork to finish. Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes.
Chicken & Mushroom Pie Image
What's your favourite recipe for leftovers from a roast chicken? Is pie your thing? Let me know! If you've never tried a roast dinner, you can check out my Tips for a Successful Roast Dinner post to help you out.

xo
PS: Happy St. George's Day!!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: Collection Extreme 24-Hour Felt Tip Liner

Collection Extreme Felt Tip Liner Review
As part of my prize from Jenni's giveaway, I received a Collection Extreme 24-Hour Felt Tip Liner in shade 1 'Black'. Eyeliner used to be my staple makeup item in sixth form and I wouldn't leave the house without it, but gradually my priorities have shifted towards evening out my skin and adding some colour, so that eyeliner had become an item I only really wore on special occasions and nights out. I've played with liquid eyeliner a time or two, but never had the patience for it with my wobbly hands and inability to get both eyes looking the same. So I was excited to see this in the box of goodies Jenni sent me, hoping that it might re-kindle my love for eyeliner.
Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner Nib
Collection claim their Extreme 24-Hour Liner offers, "All day wear felt tip liner for perfectly defined lines. Easy to apply, fast dry formula."
The packaging is great, a simple black pen with silver writing and a snap lid which fastens tightly to prevent the product from drying out. The lid snaps open to reveal a black felt pen-style nib which allows you to easily trace lines of any thickness onto your skin. The product flows smoothly without fading or blobbing, both problems I've experienced in the past, and dries quickly to a smudge-proof finish which generally lasts all day, though it's not a waterproof eyeliner, so if it gets wet it smudges quite easily.
Collection Extreme Felt Tip Liner
It removes quickly with eye make-up remover - no scrubbing and tugging at the delicate eye area. My only slight concern with this product is the scent - quite a strong solvent-y smell which is a little off-putting although it disappears quite quickly once dry.
All in all, this is a lovely eyeliner, easy to use and giving great results! I'll almost definitely be repurchasing this once I've used this one up. It's become a staple product and although I don't wear it every day, I do find myself reaching for it a few times a week for a quick way to define my eyes.
Collection Extreme 24-Hour Felt Tip Liner is priced at £2.99 and is available from Boots, Superdrug, and other retailers. I'm most likely going to find myself trying a couple of the other colours available - Teal and Purple both look lovely!
Have you tried Collection's Extreme Felt Tip Liners? What's your favourite liquid eyeliner?

xo

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Glossybox April 2013

I've never subscribed to any of the various beauty boxes before, because much as I like the idea of a surprise piece of mail every month, I just can't afford to spend £12.95 a month on a box of beauty products that, at the end of the day, I might not even like. That said, I was obscenely fast to subscribe to Glossybox after seeing a couple of blog posts about the April box, with my mind being made up for me by The Sunday Girl. I was really impressed with the service, actually, with my box arriving on Thursday after I'd ordered it on Tuesday. So, what did I get?!
Glossybox April 2013 Essie Nip + Fab A-Derma Sleek Yves Rocher

I plan to review the products I received in the coming weeks, so I'm just sharing my initial thoughts and reactions in this post. The box itself is a limited edition design by Pearl Lowe and is absolutely beautiful; it'll be a welcome addition to my nail polish storage as the four boxes I had were full...

Essie 'Sugar Daddy' Nail Polish, full-size, worth £7.95.
I'm really happy to receive this pretty pale-pink shade as I don't actually have anything similar (amazing, I know!) and have been wanting to try some more Essie shades.
Yves Rocher So Elixir Purple Perfume, 5ml sample, worth £4.40.
I love that this came in an actual miniature perfume bottle rather than the normal perfume sample vials; it just makes it feel a bit more special. As an added bonus, this smells gorgeous, it's definitely a perfume I'd choose for myself and I can see myself buying it to replace one of my current scents once I run out.
Nip + Fab Coconut Latte Dry Skin Fix Body Butter, 50ml, worth £2.12
I was excited to see this in my box as I've never tried any Nip + Fab products and I love Coconut scents. I lost a bit of this initial excitement upon reading the ingredients list and discovering it contains Mineral Oil, which is something I try to avoid in skincare. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to trying it!
A-Derma Lip Balm, full-size, worth £7.95
I'd never heard of A-Derma before so was happy to discover a new brand in my Glossybox. I'm not short of lip balm so this is the product out of the box I could take or leave; on top of that, the packaging is all in French making it difficult for me to understand much about it (I understand it's a French product but since it retails in Britain, you'd think they could translate their information?), and its main ingredient is Petroleum, which again I try to avoid in skincare.
Sleek Blusher in 'Suede', full-size, worth £4.49
I own one other Sleek blusher ('Rose Gold'), which I love, so I was happy to see this in my box! This is a lovely matte shade which I'd describe as a deep-peach; I'll have a FOTD post featuring this soon.

Altogether, my box had a value of £26.91, so even without the lip balm and body butter I've more than got my money's worth! I have, however, seen other boxes with Balance Me and Illamasqua products, which I'd have loved to receive. Overall I'm happy with the items I received; I have, however, now cancelled my subscription as I don't want to commit to spending £12.95 per month on beauty products I might not want or need, particularly while I don't have an income. I realise that not all months would be as good as this one, and at the moment I don't want to take that risk! At the time of writing, limited numbers of the April box are still available, so if you want to sign up you can do so here.
Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes? What did you receive in your April Glossybox? What are your thoughts on beauty boxes in general?

xo

Saturday, 20 April 2013

NOTD: Matte Exposure

Kelly Brooke Expose Matte NOTD Photo
Looking for a pretty, summery shade amongst my nail polish collection the other day, I eventually chose this Kelly Brook shade I received in my giveaway prize from Annie. Housed in a cute bottle with a polka-dot design on the lid, 'Expose' is a lovely coral/orange shade which was for the most part opaque in one coat, although a couple of nails required a second coat where I had slight streaking. I found this dried weirdly; it went tacky almost straight away, but seemed to stay at this tacky stage for ages. I topped it off with a coat of Technic 'Spangle', a clear base with small golden glitter, and finished with my ELF Matte Finisher, which has gone a bit gloopy. This did still work, but it was quite tricky to apply, so I think I may have to replace it before long.
NOTD Matte Coral Glitter Nails
I really like how this looks, and the matte finish is a little bit different to the everyday glossy coral polishes which I'm sure everyone will be wearing before long once the sunshine gets a bit warmer!
Kelly Brook nail polishes are available from New Look at £2.99 for 15ml, and the ELF Matte Finisher is available through the ELF website priced at £2.50 for 10g.
Do you like matte nails? What's your favourite matte top coat? I've heard good things about the Rimmel one, so I may end up picking that up to replace my ELF.

xo

Friday, 19 April 2013

Review | Naked Smooth Silky Shampoo & Conditioner

On the hunt for a shampoo which didn't contain SLS, in an effort to help my eczema, this was the best I found my local Boots had to offer. After a quick browse through the range, I went for the Smooth Silky Shampoo & Conditioner for long/straight hair, as my hair is most definitely in the long category. Naked products are free of sulphates, parabens and petrochemicals, and are suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans!).
Naked Smooth Silky Shampoo Conditioner Review Photo

"Keeping hair kink free can be high maintenance. So we use highly moisturising and smoothing aloe vera and marshmallow plant extracts to add weight and gloss to the hair shaft, helping prevent the kinks and annoying flyaways that can stop your hair looking gorgeously sleek. Because your hair deserves the kindest treatment of all, we don't use harsh detergents - only gentle plant-based cleansing ingredients, creating long-term moisture so you get to hang straight. To use: Apply to thoroughly wet hair for a feather-soft lather. Rinse really well and repeat if necessary (you will achieve a better foam second time around). For best results follow with Naked Smooth Silky Conditioner."
Naked Smooth SLS-Free Shampoo Photo
I like the shampoo packaging; it's easy to see how much is left, and the press-style lid makes it easy to open in the shower with wet hands - great for me as I'm forever dropping shampoo bottles on my feet and it really hurts! It smells absolutely lovely, citrussy and fresh, which is just what I need to wake me up in the morning. Given what I've read about SLS-free products, I wasn't expecting this to lather very well; that actually hasn't been a problem, and it produces plenty of bubbles. I have struggled, however, with getting it to work through my hair, and once I've rinsed my hair doesn't feel clean. Even after shampooing twice or even three times on one occasion, my hair feels slightly greasy. This impression lasts after drying my hair; it doesn't quite look clean, it feels like there's product build-up going on, and I struggle to go two days between washes. I do have quite an oily scalp so I have had this problem with other shampoos in the past, but sadly this shampoo is not for me; I'm going to try some other Naked shampoos as I suspect this is just too heavy for me, with its anti-frizz properties.

"We use Jojoba Oil because it's a super rich, deeply conditioning liquid wax that coats the hair shaft to help reduce frizz and give hair the appearance of satin sheets. Using plant-based conditioning ingredients, this effective formulation reforms rebellious hair, getting it back on the straight and narrow by creating long-term moisturisation and reduced static without the heaviness of petrochemical residue build-up. To Use: After washing, squeeze out excess water. Massage evenly through the hair for a minute or two, then rinse away. Gently combing through will help tackle any tangles before rinsing off. For even better results, finish with Naked Style Frizz Fighter Smoothing Serum."
Naked Smooth Silky Conditioner Photo
The conditioner comes in a flip-cap squeezy tube rather than a bottle, and I feel that the aperture is too small for the consistency of the conditioner; it's really quite hard to squeeze it out! This has a similar scent to the shampoo, which I really like, and is easy to work into the ends of my hair. It does a great job of untangling and leaves my hair relatively soft and smooth. The conditioner is a winner, and since I haven't gone through it anywhere near as fast as the shampoo, I still have about three-quarters of a tube left (although it's hard to tell as the tube is opaque - yes, another packaging moan).
Naked Smooth Silky Shampoo & Conditioner Consistency Photo
The good news is that switching to SLS-free shampoo and body wash seems to have completely cleared up the eczema I had in my elbows and the backs of my knees, and even my hands are feeling much better, so I'll be looking at some other options and hoping they're as good for my skin! Overall, this duo has suited my skin well but sadly the shampoo just doesn't work with my hair type. I'd recommend it if you're looking for SLS-free products and don't have an oily scalp, but if your hair goes greasy quickly then give it a miss!
Have you tried Naked products? Can you recommend a good SLS-free shampoo for oilier scalps?

xo

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Review: Bee Lovely To Your Hands Hand Cream

Neal's Yard Bee Lovely To Your Hands Cream Review
I broke my spending ban to purchase Marie Claire because it came with a full-size tube of Neal's Yard Bee Lovely To Your Hands. I was good and waited until I'd finished a tube I already had open before starting this, and immediately wished I hadn't waited!
"Softens hands and helps save the bees. Moisturising organic honey is blended with energising orange essential oil to nourish the skin and lift the spirits."
Neal's Yard Bee Lovely Hand Cream Ingredients
NEal's Yard Bee Lovely Hand Cream
Quite aside from the pretty, sunshine-yellow plastic tube with black screw-cap, and the gorgeous soft scent of Orange, this is an amazing hand cream! Before using it, my hands were so dry that rubbing them together sounded like rubbing paper together. Within two uses, all the dry flaky patches had disappeared and my skin felt softer than it has in months; I couldn't stop rubbing my hands together.
The gorgeously scented cream spreads easily over the hands and rubs in beautifully, although it is slightly greasier than I'd ideally like and does take a few minutes to fully soak into the skin. Given how dry my hands can be, that's just something I'm willing to deal with for a product which helps this much! If your hands aren't as dry, this would be perfect to pop on at bedtime for an overnight moisturising treat. Free from parabens, silicons, mineral oils, synthetic colours and fragrances, and GM-products, Bee Lovely is perfect for those of us with sensitive skin, although obviously if you're sensitive to Orange Oil you should give it a miss!
Bee Lovely To Your Hands is available to purchase from Neal's Yard at £10 for 50ml, with 25p from every purchase going to Bee-Friendly Projects, which you can read more about here. This is definitely a hand cream I'd consider repurchasing, maybe not at the moment due to the price point, but in the future once I'm earning slightly more; for sure!
Have you tried this hand cream, or any other products from the Bee Lovely range? Do you like Neal's Yard Products?

xo
(This product came as a free sample with a magazine. This does not affect my opinions in any way - it's a bloody good hand cream!)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

NOTD: Pastel Daisies | Tutorial

I got the idea for these nails from Rebecca at Ribbons & Bows; hers are really pretty and I wanted to give them a go! They're really easy to do but I've included a little tutorial in case you want to have a try yourself. If you're new to nail art, something like this is a great place to start as it's not too detailed. Mine are a bit messy but if you're patient and use a steady hand, it's a piece of cake!
Daisies Nail Art Tutorial
Start by painting your nails with a base coat and your chosen base colour. I used Models Own 3-in-1 as a base, then two or three coats of ELF 'Mint Cream'. I also decided to do an accent nail using Sinful Colors 'Social Ladder', which is a gorgeous shimmery pinky-cream colour, which was reasonable opaque in two coats and dried really quickly.
Once your base is completely dry, use a dotting tool (or improvise - head of a pin, hair grip, old biro...) to place five dots of a contrasting color onto the nail in a little circle, leaving a gap in the middle. Add three or four of these to each nail, depending how many will fit. I used 'Social Ladder' on the mint nails, and 'Mint Cream' on my accents! On reflection, something a little darker than 'Social Ladder' might have been better but hey ho - you live and learn, eh?! The daisies turned out quite hard to see if the light doesn't catch them.
Then, once your "petals" are dry, use your dotting tool to add a dot of yellow polish to the centre of each daisy - I used Missguided 'Misslead', which I love! Again, wait for this to dry completely before sealing with a top coat, I used the Models Own again; it does the job and I'm trying to use it up!
Pastel Daisies Spring Nail Art
Daisy Nail Art Tutorial
Nail Art Pastel Daisy
 Pastel Daisies Nail Art

What do you think? Do you like daisy nail art? Will you be giving these a go? My daisies mostly look like yellow polka dots unless the light catches them, so next time I think I'd use a slightly darker or more opaque colour!

xo

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Bath Night

Due to the joys and wonders of public transport, if my boyfriend is working on a Sunday he can't get in to work on time, and so he has to stay with a friend who lives closer on the Saturday night. Sometimes, I take the opportunity to visit my mum or a friend, and other Saturdays I have an evening in on my own and have a little pamper session. This is exactly what I did this weekend just gone, and I thought I'd share the products I used!
Bath Night Treat Products Pampering Session

Firstly, I worked a blob of Macadamia Deep Repair Masque through the ends of my hair and tied it back in a bun. Then, I ran a lovely hot bath and added a capful of Sanctuary Bath Relaxer Oil and a drizzle of Naked Body Wash to add some bubbles. After soaking for half an hour whilst reading on my Kindle, I exfoliated my face with B. Refined Exfoliating Cream and applied Lush's Mask of Magnaminty for a deep cleansing treat. Whilst the mask worked its magic, I exfoliated my legs with the Ted Baker Scrub I recently won in Annie's giveaway, before shaving them for silky-softness. After shampooing my hair twice to remove all traces of the Macadamia Masque, and removing the face mask with the aid of a muslin cloth, I towelled off and massaged The Body Shop's Cranberry Joy Body Butter into my whole body to help retain the lovely soft feeling the bath oil had given my skin. Finally, I moisturised my face with Origins Make A Difference Skin Rejuvenating Treatment, and popped some Soap & Glory Heel Genius onto my feet and pulled some socks on over the top so they'd become gorgeous overnight (hopefully!)
So, that's my somewhat extended routine for a lovely night of pampering. What are your favourite products to use for an evening of indulgence? Have you tried any of the things I mentioned?

xo

Monday, 15 April 2013

My Makeup Storage

Last weekend, I decided that it was time to sort out my make-up once and for all. I kind of intended to do this when I moved in, but we've been here almost six months now and it was getting beyond a joke; I basically had everything stacked together in one box, with no lid, which meant I had to dig through every time I wanted to find something, and things got dusty very quickly. You can see in the photo below what a mess everything was, and how much better it looks now!
makeup storage overhaul
I started by emptying everything out of the box and giving it a good wipe to clean the dust off. Then I sorted into eyeshadows, lip products, and face products. I liked the system I already had for my larger palettes, which are stored in a letter rack from Wilkinson's, so I decided to stick with that. Similarly, my everyday make-up brushes are in a pretty re-purposed jam jar, which I didn't want to change, my primers are for the most part in a pen pot which matches the letter rack, and I have a desk tidy which holds mascaras, eyeliners, and lip crayons/ lipglosses - I didn't want to change any of these things, so I just gave everything a good clean and left as it was. In fact, all I really changed was to empty the big box onto my bed and carefully re-sort it into a three-tier stacking plastic box which I bought from Aldi; it's not the prettiest of solutions, but it works for me! I moved the empty box into the top drawer of the chest of drawers, and used it to hold samples and little jars containing hair grips, rings, etc. I also unplugged my hair dryer and straighteners, which I rarely use, and moved them into the drawer to get rid of the mess of wires everywhere.
makeup storage before photo
makeup storage stacking boxes
makeup storage overhaul stacking boxes
makeup storage drawer
Doing my make-up is so much nicer now I don't have to sift through heaps of products to find what I'm looking for, and it's nice to have a bit more space on the chest of drawers - my boyfriend definitely agrees!
How do you store your make-up? Do you like to reorganise it or do you stick with one system?

xo
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