Wednesday, 31 July 2013

July Empties

July Empties
I'm not going to make the cliched comments about July having flown past, although it has, but instead am going to jump straight into the products I've finished up this month; it's quite a long one this time, including a few products I've been trying to finish up for what feels like ages, as well as a couple I'm sorry to see the back of.
July Empties 1
Naked Sweet Almond & Sunflower Intensive Care Shampoo This smells absolutely gorgeous; a beautiful Almond scent which made this shampoo a total pleasure to use. It left my hair feeling soft, clean and healthy, although not as clean as the Volume shampoo Naked make which is my favourite of the ones I've tried. This might be something I'd use maybe once a week in the future, just to soften my hair up a little.
Repurchase? Maybe.
Boots Botanics Shine Away Mattifying Day Cream I wasn't very impressed with this moisturiser, as I mentioned in my review; it didn't do anything to mattify my skin and didn't really feel like it was imparting much hydration, either. The only point in its favour was the SPF 15 it contained, although even that wasn't as high as I might have liked. This moisturiser just wasn't for me, I'm afraid!
Repurchase? No.
Glam Glow Youthmud Mask I managed to get two masks from this 7ml sample tube and loved it; it tingled as it worked, leaving my skin, brighter, tighter and clearer, with a glow that lasted a good few days. This is a definite investment at £49.99 for the full-sized jar, but one I can see myself making in the future as it really is that good!
Repurchase? Hopefully.
Good Things Mattifying Moisturiser Another sample, this 30ml tube has lasted me around six weeks using it most mornings. It does provide a nice matte surface for applying make-up over, but I haven't found it holds shine at bay or helps my foundation last any longer, which is what I was hoping for. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I did find myself a little disappointed with this product.
Repurchase? Probably not.
Naked Coco de Mer Body Butter I loved this and raved about it in my review; although the scent wasn't one I'd go for given a choice, the amazing moisture levels this gave along with its bargain price tag meant I pretty much fell in love with it.
Repurchase? Yes.
Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover Like I've said in the past, I tend to buy nail polish remover fairly arbitrarily depending what's on offer. I did like using this as underneath the usual polish remover smell, this had a faint coconutty scent which was nice. It removed nail polish well and I don't think there's an awful lot more to say about it, really!
Repurchase? Maybe.

July Empties 2
Naked Soft Touch Starflower Body Wash A favourite of mine, this shower gel smells gorgeous! It has a beautiful cinnamon scent and leaves my skin soft and clean, containing no SLS or parabens which tend to dry my skin out.
Repurchase? Already have.
Batiste Tropical & Paisley Especially in summer, this is a must-have for me to keep my hair fresh; it can get lank and limp so quickly in the heat and Batiste works wonders at delaying the inevitable with a fresh summery scent. I picked up Paisley on a whim, just to try something different, and I have to say I really like this scent, too; there doesn't seem to be a bad Batiste scent!
Repurchase? Always.
Gillette Satin Care Shaving Gel There really isn't much to say about this, aside from it's been pretty essential in keeping my legs silky-smooth in the heatwave Britain has been blessed with in July; I don't remember the last time I was regularly getting my legs out!
Repurchase? Yes.
Miss Sporty So Matte Foundation in '02 Light' I don't even remember buying this foundation but I do know I loved it; it was pretty much the perfect shade for me, applied well giving a good level of coverage, and lasted reasonably well too. I also really liked the packaging; the style of the pump meant no product wastage, and one pump was just the right amount for my whole face until the last couple of applications, when I needed two. This applied beautifully with fingers, damp make-up sponge or my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, giving a soft, matte finish. I can't believe I've never reviewed this properly!
Repurchase? Yes, if it's still available.
Origins Make A Difference Rejuvenating Skin Treatment This featured in my May Empties post; don't worry, I've not used a whole jar in two months! I thought this was nearly full but it turned out there was less than half left and now, sadly, I've run out. I love this for a really great moisturisation without leaving my skin feeling greasy or sticky at all, and love how my skin feels slightly matte even after eight hours sleep, which is practically unheard of for me!
Repurchase? One day; sadly way out of budget currently.
Tea Tree Nose Pore Strips Not the best pore strips I've ever used, I purchased these at random in Bodycare and was pretty disappointed; I have a morbid love of seeing what's been unplugged from my pores and these gave me little to look at! I think I'll be going back to Superdrug's own brand Tea Tree Pore Strips, which are the best I've tried.
Repurchase? No.

What products have you finished up this month? Have you tried any of the things I've mentioned? Which are your favourites?

xo
Sophie Jane is my Featured Advertiser this month; please have a peek at her blog for fab beauty reviews, gorgeous photos and lovely recipes!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Review: Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser

I won a tube of Superdrug's Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser in a giveaway over on Jess's blog, Lovely Jubbly. I didn't realise until I received it that it's actually intended for Normal to Dry skin, which if you've read my blog before you'll know is certainly not me; my skin is most decidedly oily. It sounded like a lovely cleanser, though, so I thought I'd give it a try and today I'm sharing my thoughts!
Presented in a pretty cream plastic tube with a flip-cap, this cleanser would look at home in any bathroom and would be safe to travel with, although maybe a little on the larger side. One thing I really like about this cleanser is how informative the packaging is, giving you plenty of details about the ingredients and what they're there for: "Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser with muslin cloth is ideal for removing dirt and make-up whilst providing gentle exfoliation. This will help improve circulation, leaving skin deeply cleansed, soft and radiant. Enriched with naturally sourced Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that will help to shield your skin against environmental damage and premature skin aging by combating the harmful effects of free radicals. The rich and creamy formula also contains a skin conditioning multivitamin complex comprising Vitamins A, B, F and H, which, combined with horse chestnut extract, helps to care for dry skin."
Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser Review
The cleanser itself is a thick, rich, creamy product which is pale in colour and has a lovely scent to it. The instructions suggest that you, "Gently massage the creamy cleanser into your face and neck using circular movements. Rinse the muslin cloth in hand-hot water and wring out before polishing off the cleanser, taking care around the delicate eye area. Give your face a splash of cool water and pat dry with a towel to finish the process. Superdrug recommends using this in conjunction with other products from our trusted Vitamin E range."
Review Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser
Following these instructions, I've been massaging it into my skin for a minute or two, before polishing off with a muslin cloth. The cleanser works into the skin really well and you can see it lifting away dirt and make-up as the cream-coloured product turns murky on your face. It polishes off with a muslin cloth really easily, and the skin is left feeling well-cleansed and soft; this cleanser isn't drying in the slightest, which is ideal both for drier skin and also for oily skin, which can go into oil over-drive if it's stripped or dried out by skincare products. Although it's rich and creamy, it doesn't feel greasy or heavy in the slightest.
Despite perhaps not being best suited to my skintype, this is nonetheless a lovely cleanser which does exactly what it says on the tube and has left my skin soft and clean. I haven't been using this every day and I probably wouldn't repurchase it personally as I feel I get more benefit from using a product designed for my skintype, but if you have normal to dry skin I'd definitely recommend giving this a whirl!
Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser is priced at £4.99 for 200ml, which includes one muslin cloth.
Have you tried this cleanser? How did you like it? What's your current favourite cleanser?

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

Monday, 29 July 2013

Sea Breeze Purse from Disaster Designs @ Not On The High Street

Disaster Designs Sea Breeze Purse
I received a Not On The High Street voucher as part of my prize from etailPR's Shopcade competition, and have already begun putting it to good use, getting birthday gifts for my mum and elder step-daughter, as well as a Christmas present for my boyfriend! (Check out my organisation.) I also treated myself to a new purse; the Disaster Designs Sea Breeze Purse, which was £22.40 from the seller Lisa Angel Homewares & Gifts. It arrived beautifully packaged, although I was obviously having a Bad Blogger day as I totally forgot to take photos. I'm sure you can forgive me when you see the purse in all its beauty below, though. I love it! It has a seaside theme, as the name might suggest, with a boat and compass on the front, appliqued lace to look like foamy waves, and lots of cute little flags on the back.
Sea Breeze Purse
Inside are six credit card slots, which isn't as many as I would like but I'm making do. There's also a clear pocket for ID (I've turned my driving license round!), as well as a zipped section for coins and two large pockets for notes, receipts etc. It's a lovely big purse with plenty of room for all my essentials, and the only thing I'd change would be the ribbon on the press-stud closure; I think it's unnecessary and don't like the way it flaps around. I might end up removing it, come to think about it! Whilst £22.40 is quite a lot for me to spend on a purse, I wanted to treat myself with my prize, and it was reduced from £32 so I still sort of feel like I grabbed a bargain! I'm really happy with the quality of the purse and can see it lasting me for years to come.
Disaster Designs Purse
Disaster Designs Sea Breeze Purse Detail
What's your purse like? Have you ever shopped at Not On The High Street? Do you have any recommendations for sellers or items?

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

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Review: OPI Nail Envy

How To Treat Peeling Flaking Nails
I've always had long, strong nails which grow quickly and don't tend to break; it's partly good genes (my mum also has good nails) and partly due to drinking lots of milk! However, I have also always struggled with my nails splitting and peeling, and nothing I tried helped with this - I'm pretty sure this has something to do with the eczema I get on my hands. In desperation, I ordered a bottle of OPI's famous Nail Envy to see if it could help my poor nails. Containing hydrolysed wheat protein and calcium, Nail Envy claims to strengthen the nails naturally.
OPI Nail Envy Review
OPI Nail Envy
OPI Nail Envy Bottle
Below, you can see my nails before I began using Nail Envy; as you can see, every single one is just flaking and peeling at the tip. No matter how much I cut or filed those bits off, no amount of filing in one direction or not filing at all, seemed to help. As well as looking awful, this also meant that my nail polish was prone to chipping really quickly as the nails were weakened in the peeling areas.
OPI Nail Envy - Before
Nail Envy recommends that you apply two coats to clean, bare nails, and then additional coat every other day, removing the whole lot once a week and starting again. I'll admit, I didn't use it quite this religiously, as I couldn't bare to have naked nails that long. Instead, I've been using it as a base coat for whatever nail polish I've chosen to wear. I've then been adding a coat over the nail polish every day or two for the duration of the mani, although I use Seche Vite as a top coat when I'm actually painting my nails. I've been using it like this for around two months now.
OPI Nail Envy - After
At first, I didn't really notice a change, and then my nails seemed to get worse, before all of a sudden becoming almost perfect. As you can see above, I have one nail which is still peeling, the index finger on my left hand (on the right in the photo), but every other nail is completely free of the horrible peely, flakey mess that they were just a couple of months back. My nails are holding their length much better as they're thicker from not peeling away, and my nail polish is lasting longer as a consequence. For reference, I last cut/filed my nails around ten days before taking the "after" photos, and in the photo I'm wearing two coats of Nail Envy so you can see the subtle shiny finish it gives - perfect if you're not allowed to wear nail polish for school, work etc.!
Nail Envy is a product I would 100% recommend if you suffer from flakey, peeling nails and are willing to put in the time to reapply frequently. It's definitely a product I'll be continuing to use, both as a base coat and as a treatment over my nail polish, and I will be repurchasing once this bottle is finished. In two months I've used less than half a bottle, so I can see a bottle lasting me around six months altogether.
OPI Nail Envy is available from Boots priced at £18.65 for 15ml, or BeautyBay do a twin-pack for £35 which works out at £17.50 per bottle. I bought mine from this Amazon seller for around £9, so if you're happy ordering something like this off Amazon then that's obviously the cheapest option!
Have you tried OPI's Nail Envy? What do you use to help keep your nails in good condition?

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

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Review: Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser, Scrub & Mask

I was super excited to try Vichy's Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser, Scrub and Mask when I received it as part of a giveaway prize from Helena as it's been a popular product amongst bloggers. Claiming to be suitable for acne-prone skin, this multi-tasking gem is free from soap, parabens and alcohol, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser, Scrub & Mask Review
I like the tube, which is white and green, making it look clean and fresh, whilst also clearly stating what the product does on the front of the tube. The packaging claims, "An association of "peeling effect" ingredients; a skin soothing agent and 25% clay in a creamy texture. Results: One cleanser with three uses: 1. Cleansing cream: Reduces sebum and impurities. 2. Exfoliator: Helps unclog pores. 3. Mask: Mattifies skin and clarifies complexion. Directions: As a cleanser/scrub: Massage onto damp face. As a mask: Apply a thin layer to the face and let dry for 5 minutes. Rinse off with water."
Squeezed from the tube, this is a thick, creamy grey-green product containing tiny little blue beads; it doesn't really have a scent beyond a sort of clean, skincare smell which is inoffensive and barely noticeable. I've tried it as both a cleanser/scrub and as a mask, and I'll review the uses separately, starting with the cleanser/scrub.
Review Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser Scrub & Mask
The first thing I'll say is, if you have sensitive skin or a lot of spots, this will not be comfortable to use as it is a fairly "scrubby" scrub; whilst my skin is sensitive, it's generally to ingredients rather than scrubs so this hasn't bothered me too much. However, it is impossible to use this as a cleanser without also getting a thorough exfoliation, so if you have dry or sensitive skin, this isn't a product you'll want to be using everyday. On my oily skin, though, it's not been a problem. The cream spreads easily over the skin and does a good job of removing dirt and make-up, leaving the skin feeling soft and clean. The ingredients list features Salicylic Acid which is meant to help fight spots, and this does seem to have reduced time it takes for any blemishes to clear up. Rinsing off takes a bit of doing due to all the little exfoliation particles, and I've found the best way of removing it is either in the shower or by splashing plenty of water onto your face; using a muslin cloth or flannel makes the scrub too harsh even for me! I do find that this leaves my skin feeling toned and tight, to the extent of being slightly uncomfortable, so I always make sure to use a good moisturiser after this. I only really use this as an evening cleanser as it's just too much fuss for the morning for me personally, and I wouldn't like to use it twice a day anyway.
Vichy Normaderm Mask
As a mask, this feels gentler to apply, and dries pretty quickly to a pale grey colour, although it doesn't get as stiff as some clay masks I've tried, meaning it isn't uncomfortable. This, too, takes some removal, and I only use this before a shower as it's pretty much impossible to remove it all otherwise. Again, this leaves my skin feeling soft and clean, and seems to tighten pores nicely, though again a good moisturiser afterwards is essential. I've been using Normaderm as a mask around once a week and have noticed my skin is softer and tighter for a few days afterwards.
Overall, I do feel that Vichy's Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser, Scrub & Mask is a great multi-tasking product for people with oily or acne-prone skin, although I wouldn't recommend it be used daily if your skin is sensitive to scrubs or on the dry side. It cleans effectively, leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth, and tightens pores as well. Being a 3-in-1, I also think this would be great for travelling with to save precious space in your luggage! This is definitely a product I'd look at repurchasing once I've finished this tube.
Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser Scrub & Mask is available at £11 for 125ml from Boots.
Have you tried the Normaderm 3-in-1? How did you like it? What are your views on multi-tasking products?

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

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Introducing: Sophie Jane

Good morning, and please allow me to introduce this month's Featured Advertiser, Sophie Jane! The eagle-eyed amongst you may recognise Sophie as last month's advertiser and indeed, I'm thrilled to have Sophie with me for a second month. Sophie's lovely blog has had a total re-design and is now looking really summery and just gorgeous.
Sophie Jane Blog Screencap
Her fab posts haven't changed, either; some of my favourites recently include her reviews of Clarins UV Plus HP Ecran Multi-Protection SPF 40 and Dr. Organic Tea Tree Cream, as well as her delicious-sounding Beetroot Juice and Blueberry Crumble Bars recipes. Sophie's posts are clear, informative and well-written, and I'd love for you all to pop over and say hello!
L'Oreal Acid Watermelon
If you're interested in advertising on Just Jess, you can find more information including contact details on my Advertising page!

xo

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Review: Benefit They're Real! Mascara

They're Real! is a product I've heard a lot of love for since starting blogging, but its prohibitive price tag has always put me off buying it to see what all the fuss was about; I didn't want to hate it and feel I'd wasted my money, and then again I didn't want to fall in love and not be able to afford to keep repurchasing. So I was pretty happy to get a free mini (4g) tube with Elle magazine a couple of months ago! I've not been wearing it every day so I've taken a few weeks to try it out properly, and now I want to share my thoughts.
First up, the packaging, and we're off to a bad start; I don't like the shape of the tube as it makes me feel like there'd be product which would get trapped in the wider bit at the top, with no way of getting it out. I'm not keen on the colour of the tube, either, but I could live with it if I loved the mascara.. I'm also going to complain about the wand - it's a plastic rather than bristle wand, which I don't mind in and of itself. However, the spikey ball on the end of the wand was frankly an accident waiting to happen near my eyes, and I can confirm it hurts like hell. Also, this is the worst mascara I've ever used for failing to remove excess product from the wand on the way out of the tube - the plus-side to that being, it would be impossible to forget to do it yourself. So, I don't like the wand, although I can work with it; it just means I have to be very careful, meaning application takes longer than usual.
Benefit They're Real! Mascara Review
After all that, I'd want it to be a bloody good mascara, for the price. Nope. I know this is an unpopular viewpoint but I found this distinctly average, and to prove my point the photos below show two coats of They're Real! on the left, and two coats of my everyday Avon Super Extend Eye Accents Mascara on the right. Personally, I can't see much difference - I don't think They're Real is any better than the Avon, which is a mere fraction of the price and has a far less lethal wand. I don't think this is any better than any other good mascara I've tried. And to add insult to injury, it is the worst mascara I have ever tried to remove! It comes off quite well with my Garnier Simply Essentials Eye Make-Up Remover but does require holding a cotton pad over the eye for about 30 seconds, and my previous remover didn't stand a chance.
Benefit They're Real! Mascara Review
All in all, I don't feel like They're Real! is worth its £19.50 price tag and this isn't a product I'd repurchase - I don't like the wand, the packaging, the mascara itself, or the removal process.
Have you tried They're Real!? Did you get on with it any better than I did? What's your favourite mascara?

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

Monday, 22 July 2013

Hoopla Earrings

Alice Earrings Yellow
Alice Earrings, $14
Hoopla Earrings sell vintage custom earrings (along with bracelets and headbands), at really reasonable prices; the Alice earrings shown above are a bargain at under £10 and are perfect for Britain's current heatwave. They remind me of sunflowers! I think these would be perfect for a casual outfit, maybe with little denim shorts and a stripey top. They'd also look gorgeous with a little black dress for a pop of colour.
Styling Yellow Alice Earrings
Monochrome Striped Peplum Vest, £8.99
Blue Acid Wash Faded Denim Hotpants, £19.99
Tan Block Wedge Sandals, £34.99
A Wear Black Lace-Back Dress, £24
New Look Yellow Heels, £17.99
Neon Clutch Purse, £14
How would you style these earrings? They're also available in a number of other colours including Aqua, Coral, Mint, Pink, Red, and White; which colour would you go for?

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

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Wishlist: Beach Days

With the British summer having now arrived, a mere two months behind schedule, all I want to do is sit in the sun. Preferably on the beach, so that I have the option of running into the sea at regular intervals to cool off. I'm lucky enough to live pretty close to the seaside and it's one of my stepkids' favourite places to go, so hopefully we'll get to spend a few days there while the sunshine holds out. I've put together a little wishlist today of beach-perfect items.
Beach Days Wishlist
1. Blue Teal Tote Bag, £38
2. Lightweight Nautical Stripe Dress, £28 £20
3. OPI Suzi's Hungary Again, £11.50
4. Double Finger Anchor Ring, £8
5. Little Marcel Flip Flops, £22.50 £15.80
6. Crochet Bikini Top, £14 and Bottoms, £12
7. Heartthrob Sunglasses, £15
[Links removed to clean up dead links, apologies for any inconvenience.]
The stripey dress is perfect for daytime and, being nautical-themed, is just the thing for a day eating ice-cream at the seaside. The anchor ring is also an obvious choice and would look fab with the dress. Flip-flops are a must for me on the beach, to avoid burning your feet on hot sand or cutting yourself on sharp stones. I love the colour of this crochet bikini and find that halter-neck styles are the most flattering for me. I love novelty-sunglasses and this floral pair are just gorgeous. Bright nails are a summer staple and this shade from OPI's Euro Centrale collection would match the stripes of the dress perfectly. Finally, a roomy bag is essential for holding your towel, suncream and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated!
You may have noticed I've featured a couple of items from Sugar + Style, and Nhuc has been kind enough to offer a discount code for readers; you can use the code 'justjess20' at checkout to get 20% off your order! This code is only valid until the end of July, so make the most of it.
Which is your favourite item from my wishlist? What are your must-have beach day essentials? Will you be heading to the beach this summer?

xo
[This post contains affiliate links]

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Bucket List

Money Supermarket are currently holding a competition to win £1000 to put towards crossing something off your bucket list; all you have to do to enter is write about one budget and one extravagant thing you'd like to achieve before you "kick the bucket". If you'd like to take part, you can find full details here.
Northern Lights
Photo Credit Joar Andre; photo links to source.
My extravagant item would be seeing the Northern Lights; look at this photo! They're simply beautiful and something I'd absolutely love to experience. They can only be seen from the top of the Northern hemisphere; think northern Canada, Iceland and Scandinavia. I'd love to go to Iceland, but that's a pretty pricey place to visit, and once you've factored in flights, transfers, insurance, accommodation, food, spending money.. It's something that I doubt I'll be able to justify. Luckily, I have a friend who lives in Sweden so hopefully one day I'll visit her and be able to tie the two together.
Skydiving
Photo credit Rockmantic; photo links to source.
My budget item is a skydive; maybe not the most budget of budget bucket list items (wow that's a mouthful) but comparatively, a bargain! There's a centre around an hour on the train from where I live, where you can get a two-day course including the jump for around £230; of course I'd have to take the boyfriend, so once we'd got there we'd probably be looking at about £500. I'd like to combine this with raising money for charity, so I'd ask people to sponsor me as well - two birds with one stone!
What items are on your bucket list? Is there anything you're desperate to achieve or complete?
I'm tagging Lucy, Rachael, and Bex to also do this post!

xo
Sophie Jane is my Featured Advertiser this month; please have a peek at her blog for fab beauty reviews, gorgeous photos and lovely recipes!

Friday, 19 July 2013

NOTD: Prickly Pear & Lilac Fantasy

I've blogged about Models Own 'Lilac Fantasy' previously, and mentioned that I was disappointed how sheer it was; five coats and it still wasn't opaque. I've recently got round to trying it layered over other polishes, in this case Barry M's 'Prickly Pear', one of my favourites from the Gelly Hi-Shine range. In this pairing, I love it! One coat of 'Lilac Fantasy' over two coats of 'Prickly Pear' is perfect in terms of coverage, and has a beautiful pinky-blue shimmer, seen in the photos below. I used OPI's Nail Envy as my base coat, and Seche Vite as a topcoat.
What do you think? Do you like to layer polishes up and see how they combine? What your favourite pairing?

xo
Sophie Jane is my Featured Advertiser this month; please have a peek at her blog for fab beauty reviews, gorgeous photos and lovely recipes!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Wishlist: Crew Clothing

Fashion Perks are holding a competition to win a Crew Clothing voucher, all you have to do to enter is put together a wishlist of some of your favourite items from their site. For more details, have a look on the Fashion Perks site!
Crew Clothing Wishlist

1. Kat Graphic Top, £18
2. Corinne Sweater, £32
3. Beatrice Scarf, £10
4. Hudson Dry Wax Jacket, £105
5. Oversized Broderie Dress, £35
I'd never heard of Crew Clothing before, but having a browse through their website I've found myself falling in love with more than just a couple of their pieces, from the pretty mint stripes of the Corinne sweater to the gorgeous broderie detailing and cobalt blue colour of the dress. The Beatrice scarf is an understated way to add floral to an outfit, maybe if you're wearing another print and aren't confident clashing coloured prints. The Kat top would be a perfect beach cover-up, and the Hudson jacket is the sort of thing the sensible country girl in me swoons over - I love the belt detail and the fact it has plenty of pockets!
Have you heard of Crew Clothing? What are your favourite items from the site? Have you entered this competition?

xo
Sophie Jane is my Featured Advertiser this month; please have a peek at her blog for fab beauty reviews, gorgeous photos and lovely recipes!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Review: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Until I started blogging, I rarely used top coat when I painted my nails; no wonder my polish always chipped so quickly! As I discovered blogs, though, I also discovered the benefits of doing my nails properly, including, of course, a proper base and top coat. I heard whispers about Seche Vite but was never willing to splash that much cash on a topcoat. So, needless to say, I was thrilled when I received one in a 'Try' from What's In My Handbag. I have to be honest; I am now unsure how I ever managed without it! It's not perfect, though, so in this post I'll share my pros and cons of Seche Vite's Dry Fast Top Coat.
Seche Vite Review
It sounds like a great product in theory; pop it on over your freshly painted nails to have them dry in next to no time so you can continue about your everyday life - scratching things that itch, going to the toilet, etc. Seche claim their product is, "Specially formulated to penetrate through nail lacquer to the base coat, forming a single solid coating over the nail plate for a much more durable finish. Guaranteed not to yellow whilst leaving nails silky, stronger and resistant to chipping and peeling." Sounds good, hey? And it is! There's a bit of a knack to applying it (you need to have a droplet on the end of your brush, and apply that to the nail in three strokes, so your brush never actually has to touch the nail) but once you get that down it's easy. Paint your nails, bang this on top, give it a couple of minutes... and boom! Nails done, with a gorgeous super-glossy finish.
Seche Vite Glossy Finish
Of course it's not that straight-forward, is it? Nothing ever is. Although your nails are dry within a couple of minutes, they will still dent for 20-30 minutes, so you do still need to be careful. I've also had a few problems with shrinkage, where the nail polish shrinks as it dries, pulling away from the tip of the nail and leaving an unattractive naked patch; I've found this happens when I've used lots of coats. It's generally fine with two coats, but three is pushing it and any more than that is not going to work with Seche Vite, as you can see in this photo where I used four coats of Essie's Sugar Daddy and one coat of glitter polish.
Seche Vite Shrinkage
I've also found that, as I get further down the bottle, the polish is becoming thicker and harder to apply, meaning I'm more prone to smudging my polish in the process. Seche do actually make a product to rectify this, Seche Restore, although you'd think if they were aware of the problem they'd fix it rather than making you buy an additional product to be able to use the one you've already bought?
One last complaint; the brush doesn't actually reach the bottom of the bottle even when the lid is screwed on, so there's going to be about 3mm of product in the bottom that I won't be able to reach - annoying!!
Seche Vite Brush
This aside, I do think this is a great quick-dry top coat, although I have nothing to compare it to as its the only one I've tried. I would like to try some other brands but can see myself repurchasing this if others don't live up to its standards. Seche Vite is available from BeautyBay priced at £8.08 for 15ml, although its RRP is £9.50.
Have you tried Seche Vite? What's your favourite top coat?

xo
[Please note I received this item free of charge in a 'Try' from What's In My Handbag. As always, all thoughts and opinions are completely honest!]
Sophie Jane is my Featured Advertiser this month; please have a peek at her blog for fab beauty reviews, gorgeous photos and lovely recipes!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Don't Believe The Hype

Sometimes, there's so much hype around a product that you just have to try it. This is, I think, especially the case for bloggers; you see your favourite blogs mentioning how amazing a product is and eventually you give in and splash out on something which you probably don't even really "need". And then, of course, you've heard how wonderful it is so many times that inevitably you end up being disappointed. Today I just want to share a few products which have been disappointments to me; either because they haven't suited me, or they just haven't met the standard I was expecting from all the glowing, raving reviews I'd read.
Products That Don't Live Up To The Hype
Soap & Glory's Hand Food is a much-loved product featuring in many a bedside table or "What's In My Handbag?" post; for me, it simply doesn't cut the mustard. It smells lovely but does nothing for my hands, in fact it dries them out, which I put down to the parabens and petroleum it contains. I reviewed Rimmel's Apocalips a few days back and as I mentioned there, I just can't find a way of making this work for me, although I love the shade. {Edit: I've since found a way to make Apocalips work for me, but I'm still disappointed it took so much effort!} Collection's cult Lasting Perfection Concealer hates my skin; it goes on cakey and creases within minutes of application, finding its way into every fine line and pore in reach and pooling there, generally looking dreadful. Finally, two Benefit products I've been less than enamoured with; The POREfessional is a good product but for me I think I'd heard one too many people claim it was amazing and was always going to be disappointed. It doesn't help my foundation last any longer and that's ultimately what I want from a primer. They're Real, meanwhile, isn't anywhere near as good as it claims, in fact it's no better than mascaras less than half its price, and several times more difficult to remove. I'm glad I got this free with a magazine before I gave in a purchased it, as it would've felt like wasted money.
Have you tried any of these and loved them? What's been your biggest disappointment product?

xo
Sophie Jane is my Featured Advertiser this month; please have a peek at her blog for fab beauty reviews, gorgeous photos and lovely recipes!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

NOTD: Slapper in a Storm

Happy Sunday, ladies and gents! I was in the mood for a summery bright turquoise on my nails, and butterLONDON's 'Slapper' fit the bill perfectly; this is my only butterLONDON polish, which I actually won in a giveaway. It's a lovely bright shade, leaning a deeper green in low light and more decidedly turquoise in the sunshine. Sadly, I've found it to chip fairly quickly, even with a topcoat; this lasted about three hours on my nails before I noticed there was a chunk missing from my little finger. I topped it with a coat of NFU.Oh's 'Storm In A Teacup', a gorgeous flakie topcoat which switched between gold, green and red-orange depending how the light catches it.
NOTD Butter London Slapper & NFU.Oh Storm In A TeacupNOTD Butter London Slapper & NFU.Oh Storm In A Teacup
What do you think? Do you own any butterLONDON or NFU.Oh polishes? Do you like multichrome topcoats?

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

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Mini Review: Glam Glow

I received a sample tube of Glam Glow in a giveaway over on Krystel's blog, and have had two face masks from the 7ml sample I received. I don't feel this is enough to give a full, in-depth review but I thought I'd share my initial thoughts nonetheless.
Glam Glow Youthmud Mask Review
On first impressions, the black and silver tube is attractive and appealing, although the full-sized product comes in a screw-top jar rather than a tube.
Claims on Glam Glow's website include:
- Leaves skin noticeably radiant and glowing.
- Activates moisturizing collagen synthesis.
- Provides gentle resurfacing exfoliation.
- Helps to leave skin smoother, brighter and softer.
- Provides tighter skin texture and tighter pores.
- Helps to provide a more youthful appearance.
- Absorbs impurities without removing natural oils.
- Helps to protect against free radical damage.
...All of which sound pretty good to me!
Squeezed from the tube, this is a mid-grey cream with a gritty texture, delivering exfoliation as you apply to your face. It has a scent but doesn't really smell of anything in particular to me; just a standard skincare sort of smell. It tingles on the skin which makes it really feel as though it's working, and as it dries it turns to a light grey colour.
Glam Glow Youthmud Mask Review
After around ten minutes, I wash off with plenty of warm water and a muslin cloth; if you have sensitive skin, I'd recommend doing this in the shower as you do get a fairly intensive exfoliation. Once my skin is clean and dry, I find it looks brighter and feels softer and smoother, with blackheads around my nose visibly reduced (although not gone altogether!) and my large pores shrunk. Some mud masks can dry the skin out, but I don't find that to be a problem with Glam Glow, although if you have a drier skin-type than me you may find you do need a little extra moisturisation. So, I'd say this mask definitely lives up to six of its eight claims, and I think the other two (more youthful appearance and protection against free radical damage) would require more long-term use to see full effects. I'd say the results lasted two or three days in terms of my skin looking brighter and feeling softer and smoother, which would be perfect if you had a special event and wanted your skin to glow!
Glam Glow Youthmud Mask retails at £24.99 for 15ml or £49.99 for 50ml, which is definitely on the higher end of the face mask price range for me; however, I feel like the results I've had from just two uses would make it worthwhile if I had that kind of money to spare. Based on two usages from 7ml, I'd expect the 50ml jar to last maybe 14 usages, bringing it in at around £3.50 per usage. You can order a 7ml sample tube from Glam Glow's website for £4.99, which bizarrely enough, actually works out cheaper than the larger-sized products, and would definitely be worth purchasing before you decide to make an investment.
All in all, I think this is a great mask, which does what it claims and works really well to clear and brighten the skin. It's definitely on the pricey side but would be a good investment if you can afford it, and if not then the sample size won't break the bank and will allow you a quick treatment before a special event.
Have you tried any of Glam Glow's masks? What are your thoughts? Would you spend this much on a face mask?

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

Friday, 12 July 2013

Review: Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer

Rimmel Apocalips - a product which has received mass hype from bloggers since its launch, and which I was  keen to try out in an effort to find a lip product which would give the colour and longevity of a lipstick but with a more comfortable wear. I also thought the product name 'Apocalips' was really clever, and liked the way the shade names fit in with the range title.
Rimmel Apocalips Review
Rimmel Apocalips Review Apocaliptic
I chose shade 303 'Apocaliptic', which is a hot pink shade that I loved the look of both in reviews and when I swatched it. And that, sadly, is where the love ended. I've tried and tried, but I just cannot get this product to work for me. It's awful to apply, pooling dreadfully around the edges of my lips due to the wand; I'd rather dip it back into the tube a couple of times than have this amount of product on the wand, making it impossible to apply neatly. Even once on, I can't like this; it doesn't dry at all, meaning it transfers to everything - glasses, teeth, skin, boyfriends. It bleeds badly where it's pooled around the edges of my lips, giving nasty feathery lines. It dries my lips out something chronic, and fades horribly, leaving a ring of colour round the outside of my lips and nasty, patchy, uneven colour on the lips themselves. The photos below show how Apocaliptic wore on me over around an hour, from the pooling on application, through the bleeding and fading to the nasty dry patchy end result.
Rimmel Apocalips Review Apocaliptic
Rimmel Apocalips Review Apocaliptic
Rimmel Apocalips Review Apocaliptic
Rimmel Apocalips Review Apocaliptic
I'm sorry, Rimmel, but Apocalips and me just do not get on. I'm really disappointed that this just doesn't work for me and it does feel like a waste of money. Updated: I've found a way to make Rimmel Apocalips work for me!
Do you own any of the Apocalips? Have you had better luck with them than I have? Which is your favourite shade?

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

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Stylight

Have you heard of Stylight? I'd describe it as what would happen if Polyvore and Pinterest had babies; a site where you can browse, create "looks", follow other members whose "looks" you like, "heart" looks items, and (perhaps most importantly!?) shop.
Stylight Profile
First up, you create a profile. This shows basic information like how many people you follow, how many people follow you, and items/looks you've "hearted". This is also where people can find "looks" you've created. You can see on my profile that I'm not very popular, but that I'm following a few people and have created two "looks".
Stylight Look
A "look" is sort of akin to a Pinterest board or a Polyvore set; clicking on a look allows you to see all the items in it. You can resize images, rearrange them, and also upload your own photos, add music or video, and type in quotations, as I've done above, which means you can personalise each look and make it your own. Looks are a great way of putting together outfit ideas; you could choose a key item such as a dress, and then create a look of accessories and other clothing which would go with it. You can also create looks around trends, for example neon or Aztec, or a colour scheme, as I have with my 'Green With Envy' look.
Stylight Homepage
On the Stylight homepage, you can see trending looks, members, and products, allowing you to find members to follow, browse what other people are creating and gain inspiration. From here, you can heart products and people's looks, and add products either to an existing look or create a new one. You can also sort products by type (for example dresses or shoes), and then search by price, colour, etc., making it easy to find the sort of thing you're after.
Stylight Trending Members
One of the best ways to interact with Stylight is by following other members; the Trending Members page is a great way to do this as it allows you to find people who are currently creating popular looks. You can also choose all-time most popular members, popular members this month, and new members, to liven up your Stylight feed.
Stylight Feed
From the homepage, you can also access your feed; this is where people you are following show up, so you can see new looks they've created, products they've hearted, and people they've followed. You can then find more people to follow, heart their looks, and add products they've used to your own looks.
Stylight is a fun-to-use site and an easy way to while away a few hours finding inspiration and creating new looks and dream wishlists. If you're a fashion fan, or just like looking at pretty things, I'd recommend having a browse - but don't hold me responsible when you find you've lost an hour! I can imagine this being a great tool for fashion bloggers, too, as you could upload an image of your outfit, add in the products you're wearing, and link to your blogpost.
Have you tried Stylight? If you have, or do, do give me a follow!

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