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Friday, 31 January 2014

January Empties

January Empties
Crazy as it seems, today is in fact the last day of January!! It's flown by for me, how about you? Nothing very exciting has been happening aside from starting my new job on Wednesday, I'm working evening shifts (3.15-9.15pm) in a care home which is a bit different from jobs I've had previously! I've got my third shift today and whilst I wouldn't say I'm loving it, it's good to be back working and it's certainly keeping me busy. I hope you've all had a lovely January! Here's hoping things start to warm up soon, I've had just about enough of not being able to feel my fingers. Without further ado, here are the products I've finished off in January.
January Beauty Empties
Lush Cupcake Fresh Face Mask This is possibly my favourite Lush mask ever! It smells like mint and chocolate and it's designed with oily, blemish-prone skin in mind; that's pretty much me. I reviewed it in full earlier in the month if you'd like to read my full thoughts, but suffice it to say that I really enjoyed using this.
Repurchase? Yes.
Sanctuary Spa Body Butter The scent of this body butter wasn't one of my favourites, although it did grow on me, but I did love the way this moisturised my skin, and it went a lot further than I was expecting too. I still have two more tubs the same size from the set I won in Ila's giveaway left to use up, so I'll have to see if they're as good and if I like either of their scents more!
Repurchase? Probably not, as for the price I'd rather pay a couple more pounds to get a Body Shop body butter and love the scent!
St Grape Aqua Bliss Bath Scrub This was a giveaway win shortly before Christmas and whilst I've enjoyed trying a product which has been so widely hyped by bloggers, I have to say I wasn't hugely impressed; the scent didn't do much for me, and this tub didn't last anywhere near as long as I'd want a product this expensive to last! I think I got six or seven uses out of it, meaning it came to almost £2 per use.
Repurchase? No.
Superdrug Tea Tree & Peppermint Facial Scrub I really enjoyed using this as the fresh, minty scent was right up my street and did a lovely job of exfoliating my skin, leaving me feeling soft and smooth. It's a really good price and has lasted well despite being quite a small tube, as a little goes quite a long way.
Repurchase? Maybe, but not until I've used some of the other exfoliators and scrubs in my stash!
Seche Vite Quick-Dry Top Coat This isn't technically empty, but as the brush doesn't reach the bottom of the bottle, there's not a lot I can do about it; what's left has gone gloopy and horrible, anyway. I did enjoy trialling this and it was handy not having to wait around for my nails to dry. I also really liked the super-glossy finish it gave, so I would consider buying again in the future; I'm just put off by the way it goes stringy and difficult to use halfway through the bottle.
Repurchase? Maybe.
Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Hand Cream This stuff smells AMAZING, which is why I have another couple of tubes in my stash; unfortunately, I bought them before I identified some of its ingredients as triggers for my eczema. I've still been using them as I hate wasting products, but only when my hands are in need of maintenance rather than when I have active patches of eczema. I'll use what I have like this, but won't be buying again because of the petrolatum content.
Repurchase? Sadly not.

Empties January
Bodycare Cotton Pads There's nothing special about these, I literally just picked them up because I saw them and remembered I was nearly out. The pads were quite thin and prone to falling apart so I wouldn't go out of my way to get these particular ones again.
Repurchase? Probably not.
Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo This features in my Empties posts pretty much every month as I use it almost daily and couldn't be without it! There's not much more to say, really. I always have a spare can in my stash!
Repurchase? Yes.
Naked Brunette Radiance Shampoo* I've really enjoyed trialling the Brunette Radiance duo although, as per usual, I've run out of shampoo and still have half a bottle of conditioner left! This has left my hair clean and soft, although I'm still not sure it did anything to enhance my hair colour - regardless, it did leave my hair looking healthy and shiny, so I can't complain. My only complaint is that my hair did seem to get oily more quickly than when using my regular Volume shampoo.
Repurchase? Yes, although I'd alternate it with the Volume shampoo in future.
Schwarzkopf Gliss Liquid Keratin Spray I've had this quite some time and have just started using it again to try and finish it up in the last couple of months; I actually really enjoyed using this and am not sure why it got pushed to the back in terms of haircare products! It makes a perfect de-tangling spray, leaves my hair feeling soft and silky, and smells really good, too. I just wish it acted as a heat protectant as well!
Repurchase? Maybe, although I do have other similar products to use up first.
Impulse New York Body Spray I couldn't even tell you how long I've had this - it's been passed around between handbags, my bathroom and my dressing table, because I just don't remember to use it! When I have used it, I've actually really liked the fresh, fruity scent, although I've found it wears off quite quickly. The scent reminds me of secondary school when the whole PE changing rooms would smell like Impulse as thirty teenaged girls sprayed it liberally over everything...
Repurchase? No, mainly because I just don't use it anymore, but also because this wasn't my last can...

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Free Gift with any B. Purchase At Superdrug

Today I just wanted to share a little GWP which is currently available at Superdrug - I got this set on Tuesday and I'm not sure how long the offer will be running, so if you're interested I'd try and pick it up sooner rather than later! Basically, any purchase from the B. range (both make-up and skincare) qualified you for a free gift which contained B. Stunning Vibrant Eye Shimmer (cream eyeshadow), B. Rich Intense Colour Lipstick SPF 15, B. Pure Micellar Water, B. Radiant Rejuvenating Serum and B. Active Day Cream. There may be other options available but this was the only one in my local store - the bottom of the packet tells you what you're getting so you could check easily. I bought the B. Energised Eye Cream at £4.47, currently half price, so I feel like I got a doubly good deal! The gift does only contain sample sizes but the lipstick and eyeshadow are pretty generous sizes, and I've wanted to try more of the skincare for a while so this is a great way to do so! I also received a coupon for £5 off when spending £15 on the B. range in store. The GWP doesn't seem to be available on the Superdrug site, so I guess this is an in-store only promotion.
B. Gift With Purchase at Superdrug
B. GWP at Superdrug
B GWP at Superdrug
B. Superdrug GWP
B. Eton Mess & Copper
The lipstick in 'Eton Mess' is a pretty nude-pink sort of shade, whilst the 'Copper' cream eyeshadow is exactly as the name would suggest, a bright coppery, shimmery shade which I can't wait to try.
Will you be trying to track down the B. GWP? Which product would you be most keen to try? Have you tried any of B.'s products in the past?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

For Christmas, my Mum got me a slow cooker; I knew she was getting me it so it wasn't so much of a surprise, but still a gift I was thrilled to receive. I've used it a couple of times so far and have really liked the fact that I can throw a bunch of ingredients in when I make my lunch and leave it to do its business, so there's a meal all ready for when my boyfriend gets home from work without my having to spend half an afternoon in the kitchen! My favourite recipe I've made in it so far would be the Chicken Curry which I made last week with the leftovers from our Sunday roast; I didn't take photos as I went but it really is a case of throwing the ingredients in a leaving them to it, so it shouldn't be too hard to follow!
Slow Cooker Chicken Curry Recipe
Wash, peel and slice as appropriate 1 Medium-sized onion; 2 Medium-sized carrots; 1 Medium-sized leek; 1 Small butternut squash; 6 Button mushrooms. Add to the slow cooker along with 1tbsp Curry powder, 1tsp Dried coriander, and 1tsp Mixed herbs. Add around 200g Shredded chicken (I used leftovers from a roast, you could equally use diced chicken breasts) and around 300ml Water, then stir, cover and cook on medium for six hours. Remove the lid, add 100g Raisins and a small bunch of chopped fresh coriander, stir, and allow to cook for a further twenty minutes or so whilst boiling white rice to serve.
These quantities should serve 5-6 people, so make rice as necessary; we had this for dinner, my boyfriend took some to work for his lunch, and there's still some in the freezer for an easy meal sometime when I don't fancy cooking! Do you have a slow cooker? What's your favourite recipe? I'd love any recommendations!

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Spring Wishlist

I know, I know, it's still only January and it is most definitely not Spring yet - that doesn't stop me wishing for longer, warmer days and a little bit of sunshine now and then! I've not been able to help myself browsing online the last few days, looking at all the gorgeous S/S collections that various shops are starting to bring out - these are some of my favourite pieces!
Spring Fashion Wishlist
Motel Catalina Off Shoulder Dress in Morris Flower, £38
How beautiful are the summer-themed charms of the Malibu charm bracelet!? I love the little palm tree! Those who know me, will know that I have a bit of a soft spot for Malibu rum, so this is doubly perfect as far as I'm concerned. I tweeted yesterday about the gorgeous Ida bag from Ollie & Nic; I think I'm in love, it's just so pretty. It's the perfect S/S colour, with lovely contrast handles and strap, and has plenty of pockets and space for all my bits and pieces. I'm currently not talking to Clarks since they apparently no longer sell narrow-fit shoes (nowhere does! Grumble grumble.), but I have to admit these lilac ballet pumps are just stunning. I don't think there's a more S/S colour than coral and this skater dress from New Look is ticking all my boxes; skater dresses are so easy to wear, and the lattice detail on the back makes it a little bit special. The Annie skirt from Motel is also quite unusual and I love the loud print; I'd pair it with a simple blouse like this pretty lacy one from TFNC, which would be equally lovely with little denim shorts, I think. Finally, the print on Motel's Catalina dress is pretty much the epitome of summery and I want it.
Are you already dreaming about Spring? Have any of these pieces caught your eye? What are you most looking forward to about the warmer weather?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Love Tartan

You may remember the beautiful tartan dress I featured in my January Fashion with In Love With Fashion post a few weeks back - well, I'm happy to say that that dress is now mine! I used the store credit I received for that post and last week's post featuring a discount code for full price items, and placed a little order which arrived this morning. I love it just as much in real life as I did in the photos, I can't wait to wear it and hopefully even manage a little OOTD post featuring it! I'm still loving the lace edging on the hem and the exposed zip detail up the back, as well as the split skirt which makes it a little kilt-like.
In Love With Fashion Tartan Dress
What do you think of my new dress? Are you still loving the tartan trend, or have you had enough now? What's been your favourite tartan piece you've seen in the shops?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Review: W7 Candy Floss Brightening Face Powder*

W7 Candy Floss
W7's Candy Floss Brightening Face Powder* was one of the products kindly sent to me by the lovely people over at Xtras.co.uk for me to try out and share my thoughts. Presented in a glossy cardboard box which, it has to be said, is reminiscent of Benefit's boxed powder packaging, W7 claim, "This brightening face powder with its soft, silky finish will leave your skin with a healthy natural glow."
W7 Candyfloss Boxed Powder
W7 Candyfloss Brush
Personally I don't use the brush included in the box as I find it difficult to blend with; that said, it's handy to have in a pinch and it is a lovely pink colour! Generally, though, I use my ELF Studio blush brush to lightly dust the powder along my cheekbones after my foundation and powder, as I would a blusher, before softening slightly with my Real Techniques powder brush to avoid harsh lines. It blends beautifully, adding a bit of colour and a lovely subtle glow to my face, and it's also really forgiving; there's practically no chance of over-applying this and ending up looking like a clown! I find this works well on me as a blusher/highlighter in one because I'm so fair, but if you have a deeper skin tone I think it would be equally lovely just worn as a highlighter. In terms of wear time, I find this lasts all day quite easily without the need for touch-ups, and does a great job of making me a little bit perkier than I might necessarily feel.
W7 Candyfloss
[Ingredients: Mica, Talc, Magnesium Stearate, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric 
Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Propylparaben, Methylparaben. 
May contain: CI 77019 (Mica), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 15850:2 
(D&C Red 6 Ba. Lake), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77499 (Iron 
Oxide Black), CI 77491 (Iron Oxide Red), CI 77492 (Iron Oxide Yellow).]
Ingredients-wise, this does contain silicon and parabens, which may cause issues for sensitive skins, but haven't given me any trouble. To be honest, for the price point, this is pretty much what I'd expect from the ingredients.
FOTD W7 Candy Floss
W7 Candyfloss FOTD
[Other products used: Pop Beauty Face Magnet Primer; W7 HD Foundation in 'Buff';
Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer in 'Light'; Collection Loose Powder in 'Barely There';
MUA Pro Brow KitCollection Longer Lash Lengthening Mascara in 'Ultra Black';
Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette; MUA Lipstick in Shade 6]
(Yes, I did take these photos whilst sat on my stairs. Sorry not sorry. Also, don't you love my four-year-old-throwing-a-strop face in that last one!? Never let it be said I take myself too seriously, sharing that bad boy.) All in all, for me Candy Floss is a lovely product which kills two birds with one stone, adding colour to my face whilst also providing a highlight. It's easy to use even when doing my make-up in the dark, and it lasts all day on me. I'd recommend this to fair-skinned ladies like myself looking for a simple blusher/highlight, but also to those with a deeper skin tone who are after a nice subtle, wearable highlighter. W7 Candy Floss Brightening Face Powder is available to purchase from Xtras, priced at £3.99 for 6g of product.
Do you like the look of Candy Floss? What are your thoughts on highlighters? Have you tried any of W7's products?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Review: T-Zone Clear Out Nose Pore Strips

I love pore strips, and I know I'm not alone in my slightly morbid obsession with investigating the former contents of my pores on those sticky little strips; it's so satisfying! In the past I've bought Superdrug's own-brand Tea Tree pore strips as a matter of course and have always found them pretty good; I remember using T-Zone's Clear Out Nose Pore Strips back in my early teens and having not one.single.bit.of.gunk on them to investigate - sad days! However, I'd heard that T-Zone had reformulated their strips and after spotting them on offer a while ago (I don't remember where or how much, sorry!) I decided I'd give them another go.
T Zone Pore Strips Review
"It's better to prevent spots rather than having to treat them. T-Zone products contain natural antibacterial ingredients, which are scientifically proven to be tough on spots but gentle on skin. T-Zone Clear Out Nose Pore Strips have been specially formulated to grab onto blackheads, dirt and grease, lifting them clean away; help remove spot-causing bacteria; unclog pores to help skin breather; be specially shaped for use over the bridge of the nose."
The premise is much the same as any pore strips; you make sure your face is clean, then dampen your skin, press the strip on, and wait around ten minutes for it to go stiff before carefully peeling off. I tend to hold a warm cloth over my nose for a minute or so first to open my pores up a little, and find that pore strips are more effective after this, so that would be my top tip! There's a warning on the packet not to use on spots, blemishes or inflamed, swollen, broken, sunburnt, or excessively dry skin, or if you're sensitive to plasters or peel off masks - which is common sense, really, but worth mentioning.
T-Zone Pore Strips Review
T-Zone's Pore Strips have been much more effective for me this time around, removing a satisfying amount of oil and other dirt from my pores each time. They're easy to use (as are all pore strips, to be fair!) and give reasonably good results in a short space of time. I also like that the full instructions and ingredients are printed on the back of each individual sachet as well as on the box. I'd definitely consider buying these in the future if I see them on offer again, although at full price they're more expensive than my old Superdrug favourites, despite doing a pretty similar job as far as I'm concerned.
Review T-Zone Pore Strips
All in all, I'd recommend T-Zone's pore strips if you struggle with blocked pores around your nose - they're pretty good at clearing the pores out and won't break the bank. T-Zone Clear Out Nose Pore Strips are available to purchase from Superdrug and other retailers, with an RRP of £5.05 for a box containing six strips - though apparently the packaging has been changed since I bought these! Do you use pore strips? What's your favourite brand? Have you ever tried T-Zone's version?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Friday, 24 January 2014

NOTD: Duchess

One of the sad things about Christmas as an adult, is buying your own stocking fillers - I wanted my boyfriend and I to have a couple of little things to open when the kids opened their stockings on "Christmas Morning" (in inverted commas because we had the kids at ours on Christmas Eve, and thus celebrated Christmas with them a day early), and although I did ask him to pick up anything little and cheap that he thought we be suitable, I inevitably ended up buying a few bits and pieces for myself, around about the 22nd of December. One of those bits and pieces was 'Duchess' from Barry M's Royal Inspired Textured Nail Paint range, which I'm wearing two coats of here over my trusty OPI Nail Envy as a base coat. I've also applied a coat of Jacava London's Top Coat, although I think another coat would be needed to completely smooth off the texture. 'Duchess' is quite difficult to describe, it's a sort of nude/rose-gold shade consisting of super-fine, densely packed glitter with slightly larger pieces of round glitter. On the nails, it's certainly striking and one I've really been enjoying wearing; as with almost all Barry M polishes, it applies beautifully, dries quickly, and lasts reasonably well (three days with no tipwear or chipping!). It is also a lot easier to remove than I'd anticipated, which is a definite bonus!
Barry M Duchess Royal Swatch NOTD
Barry M Duchess NOTD
'Duchess' is available to purchase from Boots and Superdrug, priced at £3.99 for 10ml of product - though both stores often have Barry M on promotion so they're definitely worth looking out for to save a few pennies. What are your thoughts on textured polishes - do you like them, or would you rather top coat over it and just enjoy the colour? Do you like the look of 'Duchess'?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

New Arrivals from In Love With Fashion

In Love With Fashion are currently offering 30% off all full-price items when you enter the code 'LFA30' at checkout! I've put together a few of my favourite pieces to give you some ideas of how to put that code to good use.
In Love With Fashion
Love Black Lace Up Boot With Gold Heel, £42 (£29.40)
I'm pretty much in love with the prints on both these dresses, and the feather detail round the collar of the vest top is beautiful! I think the gorgeous powder-blue colour of the shift dress is perfect for transitioning into Spring, and this would be such a versatile piece. Finally, black stompy boots with shiny gold heels!? Count me in! These definitely appeal to my inner goth girl and again, I think they'd be super versatile, either dressing up a casual outfit a little bit, or with a pretty dress and leather jacket.
If you make any purchases, I'd love to see what you choose! Remember, just enter the code 'LFA30' at the checkout to receive 30% off all full-price Love items. Which is your favourite of the items I've chosen? Will you be making an order with this fab discount code?

[Please note I am receiving store credit in return for this post. But think about it - I wouldn't want the store credit if I didn't actually like the clothes!]
My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Recipe: Raspberry & White Chocolate Cupcakes

It's been quite a while since I shared a recipe here on Just Jess, which makes me sad - I love cooking and baking, but somehow sharing what I've been making has slipped by the wayside. I've got a few things I'm hoping to share in the coming weeks, starting today with these Raspberry & White Chocolate Cupcakes. I actually made these at the weekend with my step-daughters, but trying to take photos whilst also ensuring that an enthusiastic three- and four-year-old don't eat all the cake mix / break eggs / cut their fingers off didn't seem like a good plan. This gave me the perfect excuse to recreate our baking endeavours so as to take photos - and, coincidentally, double the levels of cake in our house. Perfect. This recipe is actually just a super-easy adaptation of a really basic Vanilla Cupcake recipe, but it works so well and makes your cakes seem a little bit fancier than plain vanilla!
Raspberry & White Choc Cupcakes Recipe
Start by preheating the oven to 170°C and lining a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases. Then, sift 120g Plain flour, 140g Caster sugar, 40g Unsalted butter (at room temperature) and 1½tsp Baking powder into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture resembles sand. Measure out 120ml Milk, and pour half into the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Beat an egg and ¼tsp Vanilla extract into the remaining milk, then add to the mixture and beat for a couple of minutes, until smooth.
Raspberry & White Choc Cupcakes Recipe 1
Roughly chop 60g White chocolate (or just use white chocolate chips!) and add to the mixture. Finally, stir in by hand 75g Frozen raspberries (you could use fresh ones, but frozen are cheaper and are also easier to mix in without squashing them), and pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Pop in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until firm and light golden-brown. Allow to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes, then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.
Raspberry & White Choc Cupcakes Recipe 2
While the cupcakes cool, prepare your white chocolate buttercream frosting; in your electric mixer beat 60g softened, unsalted butter with 200g Icing sugar and a little milk, until smooth and white. Melt 40g white chocolate and pour into the buttercream, continuing to beat on high with the mixer. Add a few drops food colouring if you like - I used pink. Beat for a further five minutes or so - the longer you beat it, the lighter and fluffier it will be.
Raspberry & White Choc Cupcakes Recipe 3
Frost your cupcakes using a piping bag, or a teaspoon like we did, and add decorations - I used silver sugar balls, sugar butterflies and pink sugar, whilst the little ones also included snowmen because it is definitely still Christmas...
Raspberry & White Choc Cupcakes Recipe gp
And it's that simple! I've mentioned before that I think it's really good for kids to help with cooking, I know ours love it, and as well as keeping them entertained and being a creative outlet, I also think it's really important for them to learn from an early age where food comes from! Age-dependent, they can help with things like stirring, adding ingredients to the mixture, breaking up chocolate, helping to read the numbers on the scales/measuring jugs, and of course decorating at the end. We also talk about where things like eggs and milk come from, and what happens when we put the cakes in the oven. It's a really lovely way to spend an afternoon with your kids and as an added bonus, you get to eat cake at the end of it!
Raspberry & White Choc Cupcakes Recipe fin
What's your favourite kind of cupcake? If you have kids, do you let them help in the kitchen? What's your top child-friendly recipe?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Recent Giveaway Wins

Once again, it's been a while since I've shared some of the lovely things I've won in giveaways and competitions, so I thought it was about time to have a little catch-up - particularly since I was lucky enough to win a few amazing things in the run-up to Christmas!
Ciate Velvet Manicure Set
I won a Ciaté Velvet Manicure set in red from Gemma at Flutter and Sparkle in her Ten Giveaways of Christmas giveaway, which I've yet to try but am excited to have won as I love Ciaté products!
Gift Box Giveaway
Lauren from What Lauren Says gave away a whole box stuffed with lovely goodies, which have been such fun to try out and play around with - there'll be a few reviews coming soon, and I've already shared the Revlon Scented Nail Polish in 'Mint Fizz' and the Natural Collection Lipstick in 'Sorbet'! Everything was beautifully wrapped up but in my excitement I totally forgot to take photos...
St Grape Aqua Bliss Bath Scrub
I won a pot of St. Grape's Aqua Bliss Bath Scrub in their giveaway, which I was really excited about trying as it's such a blogger favourite! You can check out my review to see what I thought.
Yardley Polaire Gift Set
Fei from Peonies & Lilies gave away a Yardley Polaire perfume gift set. I've never tried a Yardley scent before as I've always associated them with more mature ladies than myself, but this one is actually gorgeous and definitely a scent I'd have chosen for myself. This couldn't have been better timing, really, as I'd recently finished my beloved Armani Code.
Pukka Teas
Birchbox gave away three Pukka Teas on Twitter; I received one box each of the Earl Grey, Three Cinnamon, and Elderberry & Echinacea varieties, which have been perfect as I've been trying to explore my tea tastes a little more in recent months; the Elderberry & Echinacea is gorgeous!!
Bochery Cinnamon Soap
Bochéry sent me a Cinnamon Body Soap from a giveaway on their Facebook page which smells absolutely beautiful - Cinnamon is something of a favourite in our house, so this will go down well. Can I also point out how beautiful the little cardboard packaging is!?
Max Factor The Face
Layla from Sprinkles of Style gave away a couple of Max Factor The Face sets, which include a Glossfinity nail polish, a False Lash Effect Mascara and a Lipfinity lip duo. This is a lovely set and a great way to try Max Factor as, believe it or not, I haven't previously used any of their make-up!
Organic Surge Spiced Lily Bath Foam
I also won a lovely Organic Surge Spiced Lily Bath Foam in Jennie's giveaway, which smells beautiful! I'm really looking forward to trying this as it's SLS-free and it's always nice to have new options which hopefully won't irritate my eczema.
Finally for this post, I won some lovely One Direction make-up goodies by MUA in Georgina & Laura's 12 Days of Christmas giveaway - I received a What Makes You Beautiful Cheek Tint, and a Nail Crush duo including a red polish and a pot of little heart shaped glitter. I've mostly really like the MUA products I've tried in the past, and so far I'm loving the cheek tint, so this was a lovely gift.
Have you been lucky lately and won any gorgeous prizes? I'd love to hear about them if you have, so let me know in the comments or leave me a link to your post! Which of these goodies would you most like to have won?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Introducing: Anna at AnnieeMac

Today I want to introduce my January Featured Blogger, the lovely Anna who blogs over at Annieemac; you may have noticed her button at the top of my right-hand sidebar and her links at the ends of my posts, but if not please do pop on over and say hi as she has some lovely posts, including beauty tutorials, fashion reviews and lifestyle posts - like her recent trip to the zoo!
Colchester Zoo
A day out at Colchester Zoo.

Prairie Charms
Prairie Charms.
NYE Make-Up Tutorial
New Year's Eve make-up tutorial.
"Annieemac is a blog dedicated to bringing you the latest facts and finds in beauty and fashion, with some helpful lifestyle posts along the way! I love blogging and trying out new things, so my readers can see what works and what doesn't, and choose their picks. This year I want to blog much more, and aim to post daily! Come visit my blog and have a look."
Please do pop on over and leave her a comment, I'm sure she'd love to hear from you! You can find her blog here, and you can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Thanks to Anna for advertising with me in January; if you're interested in advertising with Just Jess, you can find out more here, or drop me an email to discuss your needs!

Have you visited Anna's blog before? How do you like to find new blogs to read?


Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Blogger Made Me Buy It! Tag

I was tagged to complete The Blogger Made Me Do It tag by the lovely Amy; I've seen a couple of people posting their answers and I think it's really interesting to see how much we're all influenced by blogs! This tag was created by Danniella at Famous In Japan, so pop over to her blog to see the original post. For now, though, I hope you enjoy reading my answers, and do let me know if you've completed this tag too!
The Blogger Made Me Buy It Tag
Who are your most influential bloggers? Who are the ones that you really rely on for reviews and swatches?
This is a tough question - my absolute favourite blog to read would have to be Jennie over at Sailboat., and I adore her product photography. She makes me want almost everything she posts about, and it helps that we're both fair-skinned! Amy from A Little Boat Sailing also posts some really in-depth reviews and again, we're quite similar in skin-tone so I tend to trust her thoughts on make-up products etc. I think Amy and I also have quite similar skin, which did lead me to buy Ren's ClearCalm Clay Cleanser after reading her review, although I've yet to actually try it... Generally, though, any blog with clear photos and well-written reviews has the potential to make me lust over products I didn't even know I wanted!
Do you buy a product solely as a result from one review from your favourite bloggers, or do you look for more reviews from others?
It would depend on the product - for example, nail polish is nail polish, it works the same for everyone, and if I liked the look of the colour/finish then I'd more than likely buy it. Foundation on the other hand, works differently for everyone, so I'd prefer to read a few reviews by people with my skin-type, as well as swatching to see how the shades match up to my skin-tone, before committing to buy. Other products like eyeshadows and blushers are somewhere in between, price-dependent; for a few pounds I'm not too fussed and one review from a trusted blogger would be enough for me to make a purchase, whereas something expensive like an Urban Decay palette would require a few reviews and a bit more consideration.
What is your most favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
I'm going to say my Una Brennan Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil as I do absolutely adore it, it smells incredible, does a beautiful job of removing my make-up, and leaves my skin soft and happy.
What is your least favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
This is a toss-up for me between the Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer (although I did find a way to make that work for me) and Collection's Lasting Perfection concealer, which is just a slidey creasey cakey mess on my face. I suppose I'll have to say the concealer as I just haven't found a way to make that work.
Name 5 products you have bought recently as a result of blogs.
I haven't actually bought much recently at all, but the five most recent products I can think of would be; Illamasqua's 'Faux Pas' nail polish (I hadn't even heard of Illamasqua until I started blogging!), OPI Nail Envy (same goes for OPI, actually), Indeed Labs Nanoblur, Lush Santa's Lip Scrub, and my beautiful Tara's Talons polishes.
Have you ever given into blogger hype? If so, which hype?
Oh yes. Models Own springs to mind, along with the obvious Rimmel Apocalips mentioned above, and the Revlon Lip Butters (although I did only get one of those!)
Have you ever avoided blogger hype? If so, which hype?
I've not even been slightly drawn in by the Maybelline Baby Lips hype - for one thing, I think the product name is kind of creepy ("Baby Lips"? Seriously?) and secondly, I think the ingredients lists leave a lot to be desired.
Is everything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items you buy without checking out a review?
Actually a lot of what I buy is just things I pick up on a whim. I tend to turn to blogs for specific product recommendations, and sometimes if a product catches my eye I end up buying it, but mostly I love to browse in Boots or Superdrug, reading packaging and swatching until something intrigues me enough to make a purchase!
So, those are my answers to The Blogger Made Me Buy It tag! I'm tagging Anna, Laura, Kel and Rachel to answer the questions too; if you'd like to answer them and you've not been tagged, then by all means feel free to do so and leave me a comment to let me know, as I'd love to read your answers.
How do you feel about tag posts like this one? What are your thoughts on buying products after reading about them - do you tend to seek out reviews for things you need, or just buy things because you've seen them!?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Six Mini Reviews #3: PhytoCare, Erno Laszlo, Vichy & La Roche-Posay

I'm back today with Part Three of my epic battle with Sample Mountain, sharing six more samples I've used along with my thoughts on each and whether I'd shell out the cash for the full-sized products! I do like sample sizes for trying out products I maybe wouldn't have otherwise, but find I have a nasty habit of saving them up in my bedroom drawers/bathroom shelves, meaning I have stacks of the things I need to shift!
Six Samples 3
PhytoCare Papaya Ointment This is a really thick ointment with a slightly odd fruity scent which is aimed at extremely dry skin; as an eczema sufferer, that's me! I tended to use this of an evening before bed, as I found the ointment sat on my skin leaving it slightly sticky rather than fully sinking in, but I don't mind that so much given that it did also do a fantastic job of hydrating dry bits on my elbows and cuticles. It's also quite nice as a lip balm! That said, I don't think I'll buy the full-size of this because I have so many similar products.
Erno Laszlo Morning Beauty Rescue I used this as a kind of serum under my moisturiser and again, I really liked using it, finding that it brightened my skin really nicely, although it did leave my face feeling slightly sticky. Looking on their website now, it turns out this is meant to be used as more of a primer - whoops! I've not heard of Erno Laszlo previously so I'll be looking into the brand a little more having tried this sample, although I'm not sure that this particular product is one I'd repurchase.
Jergens Ultra Healing Body Moisturiser Yeah this wasn't for me at all, probably due to the presence of Petrolatum and Paraffinum Liquidum in the ingredients list, both of which I've previously identified as ingredients which dry my skin out. That's exactly what this "moisturiser" did to my legs, so it's not one I'll be buying in the future!
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Dermatological Anti-Ageing Corrective Concentrate I'm not 100% certain whether I'm cheating by including this as I have previously done a dedicated review post on it, but hey, it's a sample and I've finished it so in it goes! As I said in the aforementioned review, I don't feel like a sample this size is enough to get a good idea of whether this type of product works for you, but I've enjoyed using it nonetheless and would consider a full sized purchase at some point down the line.
Vichy Idealia Life Serum Again, I've been using this serum of a morning under my moisturiser and have actually really like it; a sachet this size contains about four uses, so a full-size would go a long way! It was lovely for brightening my skin and gave a great base for my make-up, so this is something I'd consider splashing out for.
Yves Rocher So Elixir Purple A Glossybox sample, I adored this fragrance; it's sweet and slightly fruity which is my absolute favourite kind of scent. Don't ask me about notes and such because I have no idea and I'm generally dreadful at describing perfumes, but this was gorgeous and one I will almost undoubtedly be buying in full-size at some point.
So, that's six more samples down in my quest to rid my house of tiny sachets of product! Have you tried any new samples recently? What are your thoughts on sample-sized products?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Friday, 17 January 2014

NOTD: Illamasqua 'Faux Pas'

As I mentioned in my post about my Sales Purchases, I couldn't resist ordering Illamasqua's nail polish in 'Faux Pas' for the bargain price of £5 compared to its usual RRP of £14.50. Then, of course, I couldn't resist trying it almost immediately! The polish applied beautifully, with one coat giving a perfect, opaque coverage. It dried quickly to their rubber finish, which I'd describe as semi-matte; a striking look, but one I was slightly disappointed by as I was kind of hoping for a latex-like finish which obviously I didn't get - that's just me, though! I also found that the rubber effect wore off after around a day and a half, with the polish starting to look like a regular glossy polish, as is the case with most matte polishes. The colour is gorgeous, a deep rich purple with cool undertones, which I've really liked wearing. Unfortunately, I haven't found that it's worn particularly well, probably due in part to not using a top coat so as to get the most of the rubber effect. Within two days I'd experienced significant, noticeable tipwear, which I find quite a let-down from a brand as hyped (and expensive!) as Illamasqua. That aside, this is a shade I would wear with a topcoat for a glossy finish as the colour is worth it for me. The photos below show one coat of 'Faux Pas' over my old friend Nail Envy; on the left of the collage, photos taken with flash show the semi-matte finish, whilst the ones taken in natural light on the right are more accurate in terms of the colour.
Illamasqua Faux Pas
NOTD Illamasqua Faux Pas
Did you grab any bargains in Illamasqua's sale? Have you ever tried their Rubber Effect polishes? What do you think of 'Faux Pas'?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Review: Pop Beauty Face Magnet Primer

I purchase Pop Beauty's Face Magnet Primer from ASOS some time ago now, but was very restrained and didn't start to use it until I'd finished up some of my many existing primers. I'm always on the hunt for a product which will help to keep my oily skin looking matte and prevent my make-up disappearing through the day, and this sounded pretty promising.
Pop Beauty Face Magnet Primer Review
"This anti-shine primer maximises makeup stay for all day wear. Firming, brightening and UV-light protective antioxidant primer works like a magnet for all face makeup. Formulated with Caffeine to energize the skin, reduce puffiness and slim face contours, and Liquorice Root extract to soothe and reduce redness while evening out your skin tone. Oil-free and Vitamin E infused, it eliminates shine and leaves skin looking flawlessly smooth with a delicate porcelain finish."
Review Pop Beauty Face Magnet Primer
The flat lid means the tube stands upright on my dressing table, which means it's easy to dispense the white, cream-like product through the fine-tipped nozzle. I follow the directions, massaging this over my skin before applying the rest of my make-up. I have to say, it has a very bizarre smell, and not in a good way - I really do not enjoy the scent of this product. I have also found it quite difficult to apply; it takes a fair bit of blending to work into the skin properly. However, these are both points I can overlook if it works well for me!
I've only tried the primer with liquid foundations, and have found that applying them with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush as usual just does not work; no matter how much I blend, I haven't been able to get rid of the brush strokes, and have resorted to working my foundation in with my fingers, which is much more effective. This is annoying but again, I'm prepared to overlook this if it means my make-up lasts better and my face doesn't go shiny! (It also means less make-up brushes to wash, which I guess is a bonus..!)
And, believe it or not, it does just that! I have, at last, found the product which can keep my forehead shine-free all day. This is quite frankly verging on a miracle as far as I'm concerned, since my skin is so oily that usually my forehead is shiny within an hour or two of doing my make-up. So for me, it's more than worth the unpleasant scent of the product and the hard work taken to blend it into my skin and then blend in my foundation on top, because it means my make-up stays put until I'm ready to take it off. I couldn't believe how effective this was the first couple of times I used it, but now if I use another primer instead I really notice the difference, particularly on my forehead.
All in all, I'd say this does exactly what it claims, acting as a magnet which sticks my foundation to my face and does not allow it to shift. Okay, so the scent leaves a lot to be desired and it takes a little more effort to apply my make-up over it, but for me it's worth it as my skin is so oily. If this isn't something you struggle with then I wouldn't suggest it's worth it but if your skin is anything like as oily as mine then this is worth a try for certain!
Pop Beauty's Face Magnet Primer is available from ASOS priced at £16.50 for 35ml of product; yes, it's quite expensive, but less so than the likes of Benefit's The POREfessional and, in my experience, a lot more effective to boot. This is definitely a product I'll be repurchasing and, as I said, one that I'd recommend to anyone who struggles with oily skin, face-shine, and their make-up sliding or going patchy. I'm seriously considering trying the powder from the same range!
Have you tried any of Pop Beauty's products? What's your favourite primer?
[Please note this product was purchased with ASOS gift vouchers; I have not been paid or compensated for this review in any way, and as always all opinions are 100% my own!]
My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Review: Lush Cupcake Fresh Face Mask

You may remember I picked up Lush's Cupcake Fresh Face Mask whilst doing a bit of sales shopping; I've had good experiences with Lush's face masks in the past, but this was not one I've tried before so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it!
"Chocolate heaven for oily and teenage skin. Helps absorb excess oil and calm breakouts. Cocoa butter, linseed and cocoa powder soften, with balancing peppermint, spearmint and sandalwood oils."
Lush Cupcake Mask Review
Let's be honest, anything described as "chocolate heaven" has basically been designed with me in mind, and my skin certainly falls into the oily camp, so I was intrigued to see how this chocolatey wonder would work out for me. Housed in the standard Lush black pot, the packaging is minimalistic and to the point; it's also recycled and recyclable, as Lush accept their packaging back and will even give you a free face mask if you take them five pots!
Lush Cupcake Face Mask
Let's start with the smell. Oh my goodness this is like smearing mint chocolate chip cookie dough (or something equally delicious) over your face in the best way you can imagine - I think I'm in love. With a face mask. I'm not kidding, if you like chocolatey scents then this is perfect. Lush's Fresh Face Masks are all meant to be stored in the fridge as they're preservative-free, which is exactly where mine has been living. This means it feels beautifully cooling as you spread it over your skin; it can be a little hard to spread at first, but quickly warms up and melts slightly, so it becomes much easier to get an even, generous layer over your face. The mask has a slightly grainy texture, which lends an exfoliating effect as you massage it over your skin.
Lush Cupcake Face Mask Review
In my experience, as this dries, it becomes a little crumbly which can get quite messy, so this isn't a mask I'd recommend whilst doing anything that requires you to stay clean / not drop lumps of mask in your dinner / your laptop keyboard / over your child etc. However, it does wash off really easily; I just use a muslin cloth and warm water to remove it as suggested. Once removed, my skin is left looking a lot calmer, with any redness including blemishes noticeably reduced. It also absorbs any oiliness and leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft. I've not noticed any dryness after use, although I do always use a moisturiser after a face mask and would recommend you do the same.
Lush Cupcake Face Mask Ingredients
[Ingredients: Rhassoul Mud; Linseed Infusion (Linum Usitatissimum); 
Glycerine; Talc; Cocoa Powder (Theobroma Cacao); Cocoa Butter
(Theobroma Cacao); Fresh Mint (Mentha Piperita); Sandalwood Oil
(Santalum Austrocaledonicum Vieill and Fusanus Spicatus); Vanilla Absolute
(Vanilla Planifolia); Spearmint Oil (Mentha Spicata); Peppermint Oil
(Mentha Piperita); Limonene; Perfume.]
As far as I'm concerned the ingredients list is pretty friendly, although obviously if you are sensitive to the essential oils used then slathering this over your face is probably not a sensible idea. Otherwise, there's no nasty preservatives or anything like that, just lovely natural ingredients (and perfume). The only one I'd question is talc, but I think as it's in the form of a cream product rather than just as powder, even that can be excused (it's included to help the mask spread more evenly).
Lush's Cupcake Fresh Face Mask is available from Lush in-store and online, priced at £5.95 for 75g of product which in my experience will provide 5-6 uses, thus working out to just over £1 per use which is an absolute BARGAIN. You should bear in mind however, that these masks have a limited shelf life, generally three weeks from the date of manufacture, so you do end up having to use it fairly frequently (say twice a week) to get the full use out of it. All in all, this was a really lovely face mask for me, smelling incredible and leaving my oily skin visibly calmer, smoother and less oily. I'd recommend this if like me your skin is oily and/or blemish prone, and it is one I'll be repurchasing in the future.
Have you tried any of Lush's Fresh Face Masks? Which is your favourite? Do you like chocolate-y products like me?

My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!
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