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Sunday, 30 June 2013

June Empties

That's it, we are now officially halfway through 2013! June has been a bit of an odd month, with my internet being off for nearly two weeks at the start of the month, and trying to get to grips with having pretty much finished Uni. I've been keeping myself nicely busy with working on my dissertation and applying for jobs left, right and centre, and have also managed to use up a nice little bunch of products once more!
This is probably a good time to say - if you're reading this through Google Reader, as of tomorrow you won't have that option, so please consider following on Bloglovin' if you'd like to keep up with Just Jess. Thanks!
June 2013 Empties
June 2013 Empties
Naked Bodycare Volume Shampoo As I've mentioned, I much preferred this shampoo to the previous Naked number I'd been trialling, finding that it leaves my hair feeling clean, fresh and soft. I have fine hair and a lot of it so this has been perfect in terms of not weighing it down and leaving it lovely, light and swishy.
Repurchase? Yes.
Naked Bodycare Volume Conditioner In contrast to the shampoo, I just didn't get on with this; it was nowhere near enough of a moisture hit for my dry ends and really didn't do anything for me.
Repurchase? No.
Ted Baker Body Scrub I wasn't massively keen on the scent of this scrub at first as it was a bit too floral for my liking, but it did grow on me as I used it. It gave quite a nice exfoliation but sadly contained SLS which meant it did irritate my skin somewhat and I couldn't use it as often as I would have liked.
Repurchase? No.
Batiste Cherry & Tropical Mixing things up a little here! I love both these scents, I tend to favour Tropical but Cherry is the one I go for if Tropical isn't available.
Repurchase? Yes.
Naked Bodycare Orange Blossom Body Wash I ordered this off the Naked website for the bargain price of £1 (I think it was reduced as it's in a different packaging, so I'm assuming this is an old-style bottle?) and was really happy with the lovely soft, fresh scent, its fab cleaning power and the way it hasn't dried out my skin or irritated my eczema at all. The Naked range has been an absolute lifesaver for me!
Repurchase? Yes, although maybe not this particular scent.
Collection Loose Powder This is a staple in my routine for setting my foundation in the morning and helping to ward off shine; I've used this for years and can't see myself straying as it does the job and it's an absolute bargain at just £2.99 and often on offer. I also like to use the pressed version for touch-ups during the day.
Repurchase? Yes; already have.
June 2013 Empties
Impulse London Body Spray I've used this spray for years, particularly in the summer months as it's a lovely fruity scent which is perfect for freshening up on the go when you've spent an afternoon rolling down hills with your boyfriend and step-kids, for example(!). Cheap and cheerful and does what it says on the tin.
Repurchase? Probably, although I have a few in stock.
Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm I raved about reviewed this a few weeks back and have since finished my pot and opened a new one - I'm still loving it for removing every trace of my make-up and leaving my skin feeling smooth, soft and nourished. Packed with natural ingredients and no nasties, this has also been doing a good job on clearing out the nasty clogged pores around my nose.
Repurchase? Already have!
L'Oreal True Match Foundation I've had this aaages, it's actually been a perfect match for my skintone until just recently when I've got a hint of a tan and it's now ever so slightly too light. It gives good coverage and lasts reasonably well for me, too.
Repurchase? Maybe, once I've used some of my other foundations up.
Alpha-H Gel Cleanser I got this mini in a trial-size set from What's In My Handbag and found it was lovely for massaging into my face to remove all traces of make-up, leaving my skin feeling clean and smooth, not tight or dehydrated as some gel cleansers can.
Repurchase? Probably not, as it's way out of my budget at the moment and I'm still having a full-blown love affair with my Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm.
Alpha-H Liquid Gold Mask I did a mini review of this one, too, a couple of weeks ago; as I said then, I was pretty underwhelmed with this mask and given its price, I'd hope to have seen results from the first use, which I simply didn't. Even three uses didn't really give me any noticeable difference in my skin, so although I enjoyed the tingly feeling whilst the mask was on my face, I don't think it's worth the price point for me.
Repurchase? No.
MUA Matte Foundation I really liked this foundation, it matched my skin really well, gave just the right level of coverage and, once finished with powder, was exactly the finish I like. I think this may have been discontinued but if not, I'll certainly be picking up another tube as it's a right bargain!
Repurchase? If I can!

How has your month been? Have you finished many products up in June?

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Review: Laidbare Spot The Difference

You may remember (many months ago now) I reviewed Laidbare's For Richer, For Porer face mask and promised that a review of their Spot The Difference spot treatment cream would be forthcoming? No? I don't blame you, I'd forgotten too! Nevertheless, I'm here with my review at long last, so enjoy.
Laidbare Spot The Difference Review
I really like the packaging of Laidbare's products, using mainly white with pops of colour; the lime-green is lovely and zingy and I find it really appealing. The tube was contained in a cardboard box with plenty of product information: "Spot the difference in your skin, banish blemishes and prevent breakouts! Our treatment cream blends caffeine, a valuable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, Horse Chestnut Oil to care for and soothe sensitive skin, while Fennel calms irritation and Chrysanthemum reduces lumps and bumps."
Laidbare Spot The Difference Review
The instructions recommend applying to cleansed skin, either on problem areas or just all over to help ward off breakouts; I generally apply this thinly all over my face as blemishes aren't picky about where they take up residence on me! A blob about the size of a five pence coin is enough for my whole face, so this 30ml tube is lasting ages! The cream has a lovely, almost fruity scent which makes it really pleasant to apply, but hasn't irritated my skin at all. I'll be honest, I didn't really notice much difference from using this product, and kind of stopped using it. It didn't seem to make spots disappear any more quickly, which was the main thing I was looking for. After a few weeks, though, I noticed an increase in the number of spots I was getting, which reduced again once I restarted using Spot The Difference. I think it's the kind of product that works gradually over a few weeks so that you don't really notice it, but you definitely miss it when it's gone!
Overall, I think this is a lovely product for helping to reduce the number of blemishes you get, although I haven't found it does much to reduce existing spots; it also claims to reduce shine, although I haven't really noticed a difference, but then my skin is extremely oily and it would take a LOT for me to notice a difference, so if your skin is only slightly on the oily side this may help you there too.
Spot The Difference is available from the Laidbare website priced at £6.99 for 30ml, which will last you months even used daily, so I think it's a pretty good price, although I was lucky enough to find mine in TKMaxx for £3.99 in the January sales. Laidbare products are also stocked in some Holland & Barrett stores, so it's worth having a look there if you're interested.
Have you tried any Laidbare products? What do you use to treat blemishes?

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

NOTD: Cinderella's Blueberry

Sinful Colors' 'Cinderella' is without a doubt one of my favourite nail polish purchases of the year, but I must admit it can be a bit of a chore building up the four or five coats it needs to be opaque, so I decided to give it a go layered over another polish. I went for Barry M's 'Blueberry', another shade I love; two coats of 'Blueberry' topped with 'Cinderella' gave a gorgeous purple-blue colour with Cinderella's beautiful shimmer, making my nails truly stunning when they catch the light (I'm aware the top-right photo isn't great but it does show the purple shade the polish takes in some lights!). I previously posted about Cinderella on her own if you'd like to see what it looks like.
NOTD Sinful Colors Cinderella Barry M Blueberry

Sinful Colors and Barry M are two of my favourite budget nail polish brands, both producing an amazing shade range, with pretty good quality, for great prices; and I think this combination is just lovely!
Do you like Cinderella over Blueberry? Do you like Sinful Colors and Barry M? What's your favourite budget nail polish brand?

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Wishlist: Shopcade

Etail PR are hosting a competition in association with Shopcade to win £200 vouchers to Shopcade, as well as £200 ASOS vouchers. If this sounds like something you're interested in, you can find more details in Etail PR's blog post, but entries close this Friday so you'd better get a shake on if you'd like to enter!
Not heard of Shopcade before? Neither had I! It's essentially a personal shopping app which allows you to discover new products, save items you like, and access exclusive deals - sounds good, right!? I've put together a little wishlist of some of my favourite items from the site, to show you what kinds of things are available.

Shopcade Wishlist

Which is your favourite piece I've chosen? Have you entered this competition? I'd love to read your post so leave me a link if so!

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Recipe: Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes Recipe
It was my step-son's birthday last week and although I didn't see him on his actual birthday, I decided we should have cake anyway (any excuse for cake!) the next time I did see him. After some deliberation, I decided chocolate fudge cupcakes with Nutella icing were the way to go, and they turned out pretty well! This recipe made 13 large cupcakes with Nutella buttercream, or you could make one large cake.
Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes Recipe
Start by sifting together 175g self-raising flour, 4 tbsp cocoa powder, and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda. Add 150g caster sugar and mix until combined.
Add 150ml milk, 150ml olive oil, 2 lightly beaten eggs and 2 tbsp golden syrup, and beat until smooth. Pour into cupcake cases or two greased and lined 7" sandwich cake tins. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° for 18 - 25 minutes (sandwich cakes will require slightly longer!) or until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed. Remove from the oven and cool.
Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes Recipe
(Sorry there's no photos for this bit - it really is as easy as it sounds!) For the buttercream, beat 75g unsalted butter until soft, then sift and beat in 175g icing sugar, 4 tbsp cocoa powder, and 3 tbsp Nutella. You may also need to add a splash of milk to bring the ingredients together. Beat well until light and fluffy, then use to top the cupcakes.
Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes Recipe

These actually didn't turn out as chocolatey as I'd hoped, so I've increased the cocoa powder here, but let me know how you get on if you give these a go!

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Skincare Tag

Kat from Tales of a Pale Face posted this tag a few weeks back and I've been meaning to do it ever since, as I'm a total skincare obsessive! This was really fun to answer so do feel free to help yourself if you'd like to complete it, although I'm sure Kat would appreciate it if you could link back to her post, too.
The Skincare Tag

Describe your skincare routine in five words:
Cleanse, moisturise, weekly mask, sleep.
What's your skin type?
Contrary. My skin is really oily, to the point where even with powder I look shiny within an hour, but I also get dry patches and my eczema means my skin is sensitive to certain ingredients, too.
What's your favourite skincare product?
Tough question! I don't know if I can choose just one favourite, but I think I'm going to go for my Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm as it seems to agree with my skin really well and is a good price, too.
Top blemish zapper:
Tea tree oil and plenty of water.
Face wipes - yay or nay?
Nay. No no no. I don't even own them! Even after a night out I'll cleanse my face properly. I just don't feel clean after using a face wipe, they just shift things around on your face. Blergh.
Toner - yay or nay?
Yay but I rarely remember to use it! I'm currently trialling Wonder Pore by Etude House and probably remember it roughly one in four times...
High-end skincare or high-end makeup?
I have to agree with Kat here; if I could afford to invest in one, it would be skincare, as healthy, well-looked-after skin will need less make-up or even look nice without make-up. There's only so much even good make-up can do for bad skin!
What's the most unusual skincare product you've ever tried?
I don't think I've ever really tried any especially unusual skincare, although I'm not squeamish at all and would try most things. Maybe that phase I went through at about 16 of making my own facemasks out of honey and eggs...
You're in a French pharmacy and can only pick one item - what is it?
I have no idea! I'd probably pick something with pretty packaging or an intriguing name, let's be honest.
Tell us your top skincare tip:
Drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and get enough sleep; as the largest organ in your body, your skin needs looking after and mine is always better when I'm healthy on the inside! You also feel much better when you look after yourself. A close second is wearing sunscreen - noone wants to end up looking like Madge!
Madge from Benidorm

Are you a skincare junkie like me? Do you like reading tag posts like these? Please let me know if you answer these questions!

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Review: Deborah Milano Shine Creator Lipstick

I've seen a few Deborah Milano products popping up on some of my favourite blogs, so I was thrilled when the company got in touch and offered me one of their Shine Creator lipsticks to review! Available in 16 shades, these lippies claim to "combine the shine of lipgloss with the comfort of lipstick and the moisturising properties of lipbalm." They are also hypoallergenic with UVA-UVB filters (SPF15), perfect for protecting the delicate skin of the lips. After some deliberation, I chose shade 8, which appears in the online swatch as a deep pink shade.
The following information is taken from the Deborah Milano website: "Soft, creamy lipstick in a stylo format. The consistency melts blissfully into lips, resulting in a shimmeringly shiny wet-look finisheffect and a pleasantly moisturised pout. Enriched with Hydra-Shine Pomegranate DH Complex, the formula contains Pomegranate oil, a member of the new “superfruit” family thanks to its powerful anti-oxidant properties, as well as Omega-5 fatty acids that counteract the harmful effects of free radicals, and Vitamins A and E to protect, moisturise, regenerate and soothe the lips. These ingredients hydrate, nourish and protect lips from damage caused by environmental aggressors. Emollient esters have been included in the formula to ensure the utmost comfort on application. “Jelly” and “shine” polymers join forces with silicone derivatives to create the creamiest, glossiest effect ever."
Deborah Milano Shine Creator Lipstick
Deborah Milano Shine Creator Lipstick
As you can see, my lipstick arrived beautifully packed up in tissue paper sealed with a brand-logo sticker; it's all about the little touches for me, so I loved this! The lipstick itself is housed in a sleek, curvy deep pink plastic tube which feels classy and comfortable in the hand. The bullet is engraved with the logo again, which looks gorgeous and almost makes it too nice to use... Almost! Swiped once in my swatches, this gives a pretty sheer pink wash, whilst the colour can easily be built up to a more intense shade; on the left below is one swipe, and on the right four swipes.
Deborah Milano Shine Creator Lipstick
On the lips, this shade is pretty true to the bullet and applies really nicely without any feathering or bleeding. It's a blue-toned pink which has the advantage of whitening your teeth. The lipstick feels comfortable and hydrating, and lasts pretty well, too; easily two to three hours even with eating and drinking. It gives a lovely glossy finish but doesn't feel in the least bit sticky, and fades evenly to give a pretty stain to the lips, which I love. In the lip swatches below, the left-hand photo is in natural light and the right-hand in artificial light.
Deborah Milano Shine Creator Lipstick
Deborah Milano Shine Creator Lipstick
Shine Creator lipsticks are available from the Deborah Milano website, priced at £8.50. I think this is a super reasonable price for a product which is, in my mind, similar to Revlon's Lip Butters.
Do you like this shade? Have you tried any Deborah Milano products? Which Shine Creator shade is your favourite?

[Please note this product was provided free of charge in return for an honest review; as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!]
Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Review | Naked Bodycare Volume Shampoo & Conditioner

After finding that Naked's Smooth Silky shampoo wasn't particularly suited to my hairtype, I was advised by the lovely people at Naked to try their Volume range, which is intended for fine hair which turns limp or greasy; unfortunately, that just about sums my hair up!
Naked Volume Shampoo & Conditioner Review
Naked Volume Shampoo Review
Presented in the same simple, attractive packaging as the Smooth Silky range, Naked Volume Chicory & Wheat Protein Body Building Shampoo claims, "To build body, hair needs its very own personal trainer. So we use wheat extracts containing penetrating proteins to help plump up the volume by regulating moisture levels, with chicory extract to tame annoying flyaways. Because your hair deserves the very kindest treatment of all, we don't use harsh detergents - only gentle plant based cleansing ingredients, helping you move up a whole new hair size and giving you the body you've always dreamed of."
A reasonably thick, clear gel, this lathers nicely on the hair with a faintly spicy scent which reminds me of cinnamon, which I loved! Generally speaking, my hair was left feeling clean after one use, although if I'd skipped a shampoo and gone an extra day I did sometimes need to shampoo twice to get that completely clean feeling. After use my hair felt light but not sufficiently moisturised, meaning conditioner was an essential, particularly given how dry my ends are after years of bleach-based abuse! Again, I've found that this is perfect for my skin, too, and since switching to Naked hair products I've seen a massive, massive improvement in my eczema on my body. I've also noticed a huge reduction in the number of spots I get on my back, shoulders, and chest, which I'm putting down to the absence of silicons in Naked's products; I've always felt that hair products clog up my pores and now I'm thinking I was right all these years - bonus!

Naked Volume Conditioner Review
"There's no need to feel weighed down, and fine hair needs to be conditioner without heaviness. So we use grape and passionflower extracts which lightly smooth down the hair cuticle, with corn extract to plump it. Using plant based conditioning ingredients, this effective formulation helps leave your hair a whole size bigger and bouncier without petrochemical residue build-up."
This conditioner is a lot thinner in consistency than the Smooth Silky conditioner, which made it much easier to squeeze out of the tube. This has a similar spicy scent to the shampoo which as I said previously, I really like. It works effortlessly through the lengths of my hair and rinses out easily, leaving my hair light and clean-feeling. Unfortunately, though, I don't feel like this gives enough conditioning for my poor dry ends; once I've finished up this tube, I'll be going back to the Smooth Silky conditioner whilst continuing to use the Volume shampoo, so hopefully that'll be my ideal combination. If your hair was in better condition than mine and doesn't need quite such intensive moisturisation, I'm sure the Volume conditioner would work perfectly to give you lovely light, silky hair, but for me it's just not quite enough!
Overall, I love the shampoo and will repurchase, but the conditioner just isn't for me and I'll be switching back.
Naked Volume Shampoo and Conditioner are available from Boots at £4.19 each, or direct from the Naked website, priced at £3.98 each.
What are your favourite haircare products? Have you tried any of Naked's products?

[Please note these products were purchased with a 10% discount code provided to me by Naked Bodycare to allow me to find my perfect range from their brand for a little less; this in no way affects my review and as always my thoughts are completely my own!]
Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Introducing: Sophie Jane

Today, I'd like to introduce my first-ever Featured Advertiser, Sophie from Sophie Jane; you may have noticed her blog button in my left-hand sidebar and today I just wanted to welcome her properly and tell you all a little about her blog. I do hope you'll head over and have a read!

Sophie Jane Thorne
Sophie is 23 and is relatively new to the blogging scene, having only started her blog back in April. She blogs often and has a lovely mixture of posts including recipes, nails, beauty reviews and more. She is also currently taking part in the 30 Day Snap Challenge, sharing a photo each day, which has been lovely to read and have a little peek into her life. Some of my favourites from her recent posts include her recipe for Marinara Sauce which looks delicious, her day out at the lovely Heale Gardens Nursery, and her simple yet pretty everyday summer make-up.
Sophie Jane Blog
Sophie's blog makes for a lovely read and I really hope you'll head on over and say hello!
If you're interested in advertising on Just Jess, please have a read through my Advertising page, and email me if you have any questions at all!


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Review: Alpha-H Trial Size Set

I posted about purchasing this Alpha-H Trial Size Set quite some time ago now, and have been using the products since. I was initially intending to review each product separately, but I've decided that it's better to write about all four together in a mini-review kind of format, as I didn't feel I got enough use out of any of them to warrant a full review on each.
Alpha-H Trial Size Kit Reviews
Triple Action Cleanser with Aloe Vera
"This non-detergent cleansing gel is formulated with soothing Cucumber, hydrating Aloe Vera and Thyme - a powerful natural anti-bacterial, which helps to minimise excess oil and breakouts. It thoroughly removes all face and eye make-up whilst balancing and cooling the skin."
This was a lovely light non-foaming gel which I found did a fab job of removing make-up without drying out my skin or irritating it at all, which I was really pleased about. I got about six uses out of the 15ml sample, which sadly I didn't feel was anywhere near enough to be able to tell whether it would suit my skin long-term or even live up to its claims of minimising oil and breakouts - these are key points I'd look for in skincare, so I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get to see how effective the cleanser was. At £23 for the full-sized 200ml product, this is quite a pricey cleanser and probably not one I'd repurchase on the strength of a 15ml sample, although BeautyBay are currently offering it at £20.70.
Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid
"Alpha H's world renowned skin refining solution. A powerful night-time resurfacing and firming lotion for the skin, which jump-starts the skin's metabolism, treating concerns from sun damage to acne. This revolutionary formulation tightens enlarged pores, and delivers lighter, clearer and more even skin tone."
This is something of an infamous product in the blogging world, and I was pretty excited to give it a go! It's recommended that you use this every other day by soaking a cotton pad and swiping over clean skin; this meant I didn't use it as regularly as I should, as I can never remember whether I used it yesterday or not, and  struggle to remember about it at all as it's not an everyday product. Still, I do think it made a difference on the days I remembered to use it, and I like to think it left my skin smoother and brighter by morning. Two 10ml of sample I received altogether made for about two weeks of continuous use, although I'd say I dragged it out over three or four what with forgetting to use it so regularly. The full-sized product has an RRP of £31.50 for 100ml, which again is pretty steep, although it is a product I'd consider in future to see how it worked with my skin longer-term. (BeautyBay currently have it at £28.35 with free postage if you want to save a few quid!)
Absolute Eye Complex
"A lifting and perfecting serum uniquely designed to be applied to lash level and over the entire eyelid to combat dark circles, shadows, puffiness, hooded lids, and fine lines. Natural flower acids from Hibiscus petals smooth and brighten the skin, whilst Hyaluronic Acid and Tetrapeptides lift and plump the eye contour."
I really struggle with eye creams as I often find they leave me with horrible flaky, dry skin around my eyes - not what I'm after! I hadn't tried a gel before but am finding this really pleasant to use. It feels cooling and refreshing on the eye area and absorbs quickly when patted in. I'm fairly confident that it helps to reduce dark circles and I've been getting pretty good at remembering to use it every night and most mornings, which I'm proud of! Out of the four products, this is the one I'm most likely to repurchase. This 7.5ml trial size is lasting really well so I don't feel that £34.50 for the full-sized 15ml of product is too bad, although it isn't money I can afford to spend at the moment! Again, you can save a little at BeautyBay, where it's currently priced at £31.05.
Liquid Gold Smoothing and Perfecting Mask with Lavender
"An award-winning salon resurfacing mask which acts as a powerful once-a-week, at-home mini-peel. The 15% Glycolic Acid exfoliates dead surface cells, whilst Manuka Honey, Lavender and Vitamin E work to hydrate and plump the fresh new cells underneath to leave the whole complexion visibly more supple, dewy and radiant."
I've had three uses from the 15ml sample which I feel is enough to give me a fair indication of the effects of this product; a reasonably thick white cream, this spreads easily over the skin with a faint citrus scent. Almost immediately, it begins to tingle, although I should point out it downright stings on any open wounds, as I discovered when I applied with a cut on my finger! After use, I have to be honest and say I haven't noticed much difference - I didn't find my skin any brighter or see any obvious exfoliation benefits. The most expensive product of the bunch at £46 RRP for 100ml, this probably isn't something I'd buy, although again BeautyBay can save you a few pounds, with a current price of £41.40.

Overall, I did enjoy using these trial-sized products, although I would have liked a larger sample of the cleanser as I didn't feel I got a real idea of the product from the usage I got. It's nice to try higher-end products occasionally and although the Eye Serum is the only one I can see myself definitely buying in future, I would consider the others when I have more disposable income. I think kits like this are a lovely introduction to a brand and a great way of seeing what they have to offer without breaking the bank.
Have you tried any Alpha-H products? Which of these four would you like to try most?

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Review: Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing Eye Make-up Remover

Having finished up a bottle of Simple Eye Make-Up Remover and really not liked it due to how much it stung my eyes, I was on the lookout for something which was actually gentle yet still effective, when I saw Garnier's offering. Simple Essentials Soothing Eye Make-up Remover claims to perfectly remove make-up whilst containing no perfume, alcohol or colourants. "Enriched with plant extract and pro vitamin B5, its formula with no perfume, no alcohol and no colourants perfectly dissolves mascara from the delicate eye contour area. The eyes are perfectly cleansed and your eye contour is left feeling comfortable and fresh."
Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing Eye Make-up Remover Review
The clear packaging makes it easy to see how much you have left, and the simple flip-cap is easy to use yet secure enough to travel with. I lightly soak two cotton pads, hold one over each eye for ten to fifteen seconds, then gently wipe off. I've found this does a great job of removing my eye make-up including eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara, although I don't use waterproof mascara. I also tested it with the notoriously difficult to remove They're Real! and found that, although it took a few more swipes with the cotton pad, this remover did a pretty good job of leaving my eyes panda ring-free.
Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing Eye Make-up Remover Ingredients
Unlike some eye make-up removers, this doesn't leave an oily residue on the skin and I haven't found it dries out the skin around my eyes either, which is good as it's an area which I find is prone to eczema. And best of all, it really is as gentle as it claims; in heavy-handed moments when this has accidentally ended up in my eye, there has been no discomfort whatsoever, meaning I wouldn't be afraid to use it on my waterline. Overall, I think this is a great product at a really good price and will almost definitely be repurchasing; a definite thumbs up from me in terms of value-for-money, removal power, gentleness and lack of residue.
I got this from Wilkinson's and as I recall it was on offer at £1.99, its usual RRP is £2.99 for 150ml so it's still most definitely a purse-friendly buy even at full price! It's also currently on Buy 1 Get 1 Free at Boots so now is probably a good time to stock up.
What is your favourite eye make-up remover? Have you tried Garnier's?

Please check out my featured advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes, and gorgeous photos!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Lucky Me!

It's been a while since I've shared some of the lovely things I've won in giveaways, so I thought I'd just have a little round-up of what I've been lucky enough to win over the past couple of months! As always, I'm super thankful for these gorgeous prizes and really grateful to the bloggers and companies who have held the giveaways.

Giveaway Wins
Kel from Kel Loves held a giveaway for a fab bundle of prizes including a load of MUA cosmetics, a Good Things Moisturiser, a Witch Blemish Stick, an Amie facemask and an awesome moustache ring!

Giveaway Wins
Amy from A Little Boat Sailing, one of my favourite blogs, celebrated her first blog birthday by giving away a Topshop cream blusher, two Barry M Gelly polishes and this lovely multi-coloured skull bracelet. We all know about my love of the Gelly polishes, and I've worn this bracelet practically every day since receiving my lovely prize!

Giveaway Wins
Helena from The Edge of Beauty held a 500 follower giveaway for this lovely bundle of treats including a Yankee Candle giftset, a bottle of Molten Brown shower gel, a candle holder, Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser, Exfoliator & Mask, a Korres shower gel, and a packet of Kleenex blotting papers.

Giveaway Wins
Charlotte from Carlotta's Beauty Spot gave away this fab Look Beauty Pro Palette to celebrate 600 blog followers; the palette consists of three mini palettes each with a different theme - Metallic Nudes, Glitzy, and 60s Trend. Each palette contains eight eye shadow shades, two lipsticks and a blusher - everything you need to create a look for daytime or a night out. Each palette pops out of the main palette and into a smaller, more compact case for carrying around for touch-ups whilst out and about - genius!

Giveaway Wins
Ashly from Ashly London gave away this Barry M Confetti Effect polish to celebrate 500 Twitter followers. I've had a lot of compliments when wearing this polish and was super excited to get to try it before it launched in shops.

Giveaway Wins
Naked Bodycare held a weekend giveaway on Facebook and I was the lucky winner of a tube of their Little Miracle Leave-In Conditioner, as well as a Extra Shiny Smoothing Serum (both of which I already own and love - reviews will be coming soon!)

Giveaway Wins
I won this sample tube of Glamglow face mask from Krystel at Krystel Couture, which I'd been wanting to try for ages! Again, I'll have a mini review of this product up soon - spoiler alert, it's lovely!

Giveaway Wins
Peta from Peta's Vintage Boutique had a huge giveaway to celebrate her first birthday, and I was lucky enough to win this beautiful handmade candle, in a vintage creamer, from The Wendy House. I just love the way the vintage vessel has been repurposed and made super pretty with the bow and little heart, and best of all since the soy wax is non-toxic, I'll be able to wash it out and re-use once I've burnt the candle!

I've also been lucky enough to win three magazine subscriptions on Zinio from Numera at Hommes de Femmes, Catherine at Lux Life and Emma from Cosmetic Charm, and a license for CollageIt Pro software from Michelle at Thou Shalt Not Covet.
Thank you so much to everyone for these fab prizes, I really am so grateful and it certainly makes it a little easier to not spend money when pretty treats like this come in the post.
Have you won anything nice lately?

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Ten Day You Challenge #9: 2 Songs

I haven't forgotten about this challenge, promise! I'm hoping to get the last post in some time in the coming week or so, but for today, the topic is two songs. This was another tough one as "two songs" is a bit vague, so in the end, since today is Father's Day, I've gone for two songs that remind me of my Dad. He has truly tragic taste in music and there's not a lot we agree on, so that narrowed it down quite considerably!

If you enjoyed this post, you can check out the rest of the Ten Day You Challenge series to read a bit more about me.
Is there a song that reminds you of your Dad?

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

NOTD: Flawless

Just a quick one today; I received this Essie polish in my recent swap parcel from Amiiee, and couldn't wait to try it out! It's a lovely deep pink colour, I found it went on a little streaky on the first coat but two coats evened it out beautifully and it dried fairly quickly. I then added a coat of L'Oreal's Confetti Topcoat and finished with a coat of Seche Vite to smooth everything over. I really love the finished look; it makes me think of Avril Lavigne for some reason!
NOTD Essie Flawless & L'Oreal Confetti Topcoat

What do you think? Have you managed to get your hands on the L'Oreal topcoat? Do you like this Essie shade?

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Summer Blog Swap

Hello! I'm back! I hope you're all well and enjoying the unseasonal monsoons...? Sorry for the unplanned and unannounced break; my Internet provider decided I didn't need internet anymore and took aaages to get me back online, meaning I've been a bit cut off from the world for the last ten days. I'm back now though, with plenty of exciting things to share, starting today with my recent blog swap with Amiiee from It's Amiieeism! I signed up for this swap organised by the lovely Kat, a few weeks back now, and was paired up with Amiiee. We set a budget of £20 (which I went a little over, and Amiiee proceeded to ignore entirely from what I can tell) and the shopping commenced! Here is the lovely bundle of bits and pieces I received:
Blog Swap with Amiiee
Blog Swap with Amiiee
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Shade 01 'Honey'
Superdrug Naturally Radiant Brightening Renewal Face Mask
Essie Nail Polish in 'Flawless'
NARS Illuminator in 'Orgasm'
Yankee Candle Wax Melt in 'Summer Scoop'
Bourjois Cream Blush in Shade 03 'Rose Tender'
Accessorize Lipstick in 'Vintage Rose'
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Shade 15 'Rose Petal'
Accessorize Mascara
MUA Mosaic Blusher in Shade 3 'English Rose'
Amiiee also included some Creme Eggs (my favourite!) and a huge number of little samples - she really was far too generous, it was such a lovely parcel to receive. Thank you so much to Amiiee for picking out such perfect items, and to Kat for organising the swap!
If you'd like to see what I sent Amiiee, you can read her post here!
Did you take part in Kat's swap? Have you ever taken part in a blog swap? Would you like to?

Please check out my Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane, for beauty reviews, fab recipes and gorgeous photos!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Review: Santhilea Magnetic Lash Mascara

Santhilea's Magnetic Lash Mascara is a unique 1-2-1 system whereby you coat your lashes with the special "magnetic" mascara, then brush on tiny velvet-like fibres which act as instant lash extensions, before sealing them with another coat of the mascara. Santhilea claim this is an easy alternative to false lashes or lash extensions, and as someone who's never quite mastered falsies I was keen to give these a go, so jumped at the chance when I was offered a set to review. Presented in two matching mirrored silver tubes, the product feels high-quality, even if it was awkward to photograph properly!
Santhilea Magnetic Lash Mascara Review
The lid of the first tube unscrews smoothly to reveal a chunky, curvy mascara wand with jet-black mascara which applies evenly and gives a good lengthening effect even on its own. I found that the wand was easy to use, although the opening of the tube doesn't remove excess mascara very well so you do need to remember to wipe the excess off before you start applying. The second tube opens to reveal a thinner, fluffy-looking wand which is covered in the small black fibres which provide the lengthening effects.
Santhilea Magnetic Lash Mascara Wand Review
The instructions tell you to apply one thick coat of mascara, then dab on the fibres from the second tube whilst the mascara is still wet, so it's probably best to do one eye at a time. You then apply a second coat of the mascara to seal everything in, giving you lovely thick long eyelashes with none of the fuss of falsies and without the expense of extensions (I hope you enjoyed my alliteration there!? ;D)
Below, you can see my bare lashes, and then on the left on the photos there's (1) mascara alone, (2) mascara + fibres, and (3) mascara + fibres + top coat of mascara. As you can see, it does give a dramatic thickening and lengthening effect, although it is a little clumpy if you're not careful.
Santhilea Magnetic Lash Mascara Step by Step Review
From the first go, I found this easy to use and really liked the effect it gave; it does exactly what it claims and is perfect for those like me who struggle with false lashes pinging off the corners of your eyes within five minutes of applying them. The mascara also contains Vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, which work to condition and strengthen your lashes, meaning they may end up growing longer and thicker just through using this mascara - I've not been using it long enough to notice a difference, and my lashes are quite long anyway, but for someone with shorter or sparser lashes, this might be something to consider!
Santhilea Magnetic Lash Mascara Review
In terms of wear, I didn't have any problems with the mascara smudging or flaking throughout the day, although I did find that some of the fibres dropped off onto my face around lunchtime; these were easily wiped off and didn't seem to make my lashes look any less long and full than when I first applied. This might just be due to not having fully got the hang of the technique yet or applying the fibres too heavily in the first place. I was a bit worried about removing this mascara, as other products I've tried with lash fibres in the mascara itself have been a nightmare to take off. This, however, was a dream; I simply held a cotton pad soaked in eye-makeup remover over my eye for about ten seconds, then swiped off - and that was it! It's actually easier to remove than most mascaras I've worn.
I don't think this is something I'd wear on a day-to-day basis, much like I wouldn't wear falsies daily, but for a night out or special occasion this gives a little extra without spending all night worrying whether my lashes are still stuck on. I only usually wear one coat of mascara during the day, so this took me a little longer to apply, but if you wear three coats, this won't take much longer; any extra time would come from switching tubes between application, and doing one eye at a time.
Safe for use with contact lenses and not tested on animals, Magnetic Lash Mascara is available from LookFantastic priced at £24.99 for 12g of mascara and 1g of fibres, which Santhilea claim will last as long as your average tube of mascara.

[Please note, this product was sent to me free of charge in return for an honest review; as always, all views are my own and I'd never say I liked a product if I didn't!]

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Review: Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm

After becoming less than enamoured with my Peaches & Clean cleanser, but unable to get to Asda to repurchase my beloved nSpa Hot Cloth Polish, I had a wee browse in Boots for a reasonably-priced cleanser which didn't contain SLS or parabens, and came away with the Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm from Boots' Botanics range. I've been using it for about five weeks now, and thought it was time to share how I've been getting on.
Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm Review
As you can see, it comes packaged in a white cardboard box which houses a white plastic pot. You also get one muslin cloth in the box, which I've found to be really good quality with a different texture on each side, depending how much exfoliation you're after. According to the box, "This organic deep-cleansing balm contains a fabulous blend of Shea butter, Rosehip and Jojoba Oil to leave skin smooth and beautifully clean. The ultra-rich, softening formula swiftly lifts make-up, while the gentle polishing action of the muslin cloth helps dislodge pore-clogging debris, revealing your beautiful radiant complexion. Muslin cloth included. Rosehip is nature's nourishing gem. The seeds are a rich source of essential Omega oils, which help to improve suppleness and keep all skin types beautifully soft and healthy looking."
I like the packaging; it's simple and does the job, telling you everything you need to know. It's easy to get just the right amount of products out of the pot, and you can easily tell how much you have left. As long as you wash your hands before use (which you should do before washing your face anyway!), I don't feel that digging your fingers in to get the balm out is a hygiene concern, either. The balm smells lightly of a botanical kind of scent, nowhere near as strong as the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish but definitely noticeable, although the scent fades as you use it and hasn't irritated my skin at all. In the pot, the balm feels hard and waxy to the touch, but within a couple of seconds it softens so you can scoop some out, and it just melts into the skin as you use it.
To use this, I massage a blob around the size of a pound coin into my skin for about a minute, using my fingertips to get right into the creases around my nose, and concentrating on areas which tend to get congested such as my chin. Then, I rinse the muslin cloth out in hot water, wait a second or two for it to cool slightly, and use it to gently polish the balm off in small, circular motions. I find it does a really good job of removing make-up, and on the occasions where I've been naughty and not removed my eye make-up first, it doesn't have a problem taking that off either. I tend to remove the balm, then rinse the cloth and repeat the removal process, as I do find it can be hard to get all traces on the first go. Once removed, though, my skin feels clean, soft and smooth; since using this, I've noticed the number of blackheads around my nose has reduced, too. I won't say it's a miracle worker because I do still have blackheads, but there's definitely fewer of them! I've also had fewer spots, apart from a week or so where my skin had a breakdown over me switching my Pill. I should also point out that I use a fresh muslin cloth each day, to avoid bacteria build-up which can lead to spots; my skin has been way better since I started doing this!
I've found this lovely and gentle on my skin and I do plan to repurchase this because I think it's a really good cleanser, especially for the price, and something which really seems to suit my contrary oily-but-sensitive-and-eczema-prone skin. I wouldn't like to draw comparisons with other cleansing balms such as the ever-popular Emma Hardie number, since I haven't tried it, but with products like this available at a fraction of the price I don't see any need to!
Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm is available from Boots, priced at £8.99 for 70ml, although it's currently on a 3 for 2 offer and it's always worth checking the Advantage Card kiosks for some cheeky offers or extra points!
Have you tried the Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm? How did you find it? What's your favourite type of cleanser?

Saturday, 1 June 2013

'Would You Rather?': Beauty Edition

I've seen this tag floating around on quite a few beauty blogs lately and thought it was quite an original idea that allows you to get to know a little more about how bloggers use their make-up, so today I'm sharing my answers! I hope you enjoy reading, and do link me up in the comments if you've done this tag, or feel free to use the questions.
Beauty Blog Would You Rather Tag

Would you rather lose all of your mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks, and lipglosses, or all of your palettes and eyeshadows?
To be honest, I rarely wear lipstick or lipgloss and could live without mascara and eyeliner, so I'd lose those and keep my palettes and eyeshadows, I think! You can easily use shadow to imitate eyeliner which would probably be the product I'd miss the most from the bunch. Yeah, keep the palettes!
Would you rather chop off all your hair or never be able to cut it again?
Given my hairdresser-phobia, it's tempting to say the second option as it would be wonderful to have an excuse to never have to go to the hairdresser again! That said, my hair does get ratty and dry around the ends eventually so I'd be better chopping it all off (assuming it's just the one chop!? I can let it grow back, yeah?) and at least it'd grow back lovely and new. My hair grows really quickly anyway so it'd be back in no time.
Would you rather have a coral cheek or a pink cheek?
Tough one and I don't think I really have a preference, I think most of my blushers are pinky but that's just because that's what I buy. Anyway given my purchasing choices I'll say pink, but it doesn't really bother me either way.
If you had £1000 to spend, would you rather buy clothes or make-up?
I'd rather buy make-up, but my practical side would go for the clothes I'm afraid! I'm in desperate need of a wardrobe overhaul but sadly lacking the funds, so if I unexpectedly received £1000 to spend on make-up or clothes then I'd be off to Primark like a shot!
Would you rather apply lipstick as eyeliner, or eyeliner as lipstick?
The thought of lipstick on my eyes grosses me out a little, so I'm gonna go with eyeliner as lipstick. With plenty of lipbalm, as I imagine it'd be pretty drying.
Would you rather only shop at MAC or Sephora?
[Controversial statement alert] I think MAC is kinda over-priced and over-rated, so I'll say Sephora - now we just need to get Sephora in the UK!
Would you rather only use one eyeshadow colour or one lip colour for the rest of your life?
One lip colour, definitely; I only really wear two or three shades on my lips, whereas I love to experiment with eyeshadows, so I wouldn't be losing much this way round.
Would you rather wear winter clothes in summer or summer clothes in winter?
Tough one. Does moving to somewhere warmer count as cheating!? I hate being cold but on the other hand I get warm pretty easily if I'm busy and moving around, so I think I'll say summer clothes in winter, then at least I could layer up and thermoregulate, rather than cooking in two jumpers and a hoodie in the summer.

All that said, there hasn't been much difference between summer and winter in the UK thus far, so maybe I could work the winter clothes...?
Would you rather dark nails or bright nails all year round?
Bright! I rarely wear darker colours to be honest, I think bright colours are more fun and more 'me'.
Would you rather give up your favourite lip product or your favourite eye product?
I don't think I really have a favourite lip product so I'm not sure what I'd give up! It'd probably be a balm so as long as I could find another lipbalm, I'll give up the lip product. Mind you, I don't know if I could choose a favourite eye product either, so I'm not sure what I'd be losing! Maybe my Thick & Fast mascara, or my Urban Decay Naked2 palette - neither of which I'd like to be without.
Would you rather only be able to wear your hair in a ponytail or a messy bun?
Messy bun - there's just more options, ponytails get pretty boring after a while!
Would your rather never being able to paint your nails again or never use lipgloss?
I so rarely wear lipgloss as I can't stand the sticky texture, so this is a super easy one for me! I love painting my nails and friends comment if they're bare, so I'd definitely choose to lose the gloss and keep on painting my nails.
Would you rather shave your eyebrows and have none at all, or Sharpie them in everyday?
I think I'd Sharpie them in; my face would look so weird without brows! Does it have to be black Sharpie? I could totally work like a mid-brown Sharpie!
Would you rather live without makeup or nail polish?
Another tough question! I'm getting better at going out without make-up, whereas my nails are almost always painted. On the other hand, not having the option of make-up for special occasions would suck, whereas nails can still look nice if you look after them properly.. I think I'd have to say I'd rather live without nail polish, but I wouldn't like it!

And that's that! Do you disagree with any of my answers? I hope you enjoyed reading this tag, and like I said let me know if you've answered the questions, I'd love to have a nosey!

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