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Monday, 31 March 2014

March Empties

March has been a funny old month; it seems to have just run away on me without me really knowing where it's gone! I'm pretty much all settled in at work now and have been doing quite a few extra shifts to make my hours up to something approaching full time, since my contract is only 20 hours per week. March has also been a pretty poor month in terms of finishing products off, I don't feel like I've managed to finish much at all.
March Empties 2014
Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo This is an Empties post staple and an absolute essential for me. Nothing further to be said on the matter, really!
Repurchase? Yes. I've actually got a different variant to try out this month, though, just because I'd run out and my local shop doesn't do the Tropical one!
Naked Volume Body Building Shampoo This is another staple really, I seem to get through around one bottle a month and I really like what it does for my hair, leaving it clean and manageable without being greasy, and since it's SLS-free it's also eczema-friendly! It's reasonably priced and smells pretty good, too.
Repurchase? Yes!!
Naked Brunette Radiance Conditioner* This conditioner lasted really well! I've enjoyed using it, finding it to hydrate and smooth my hair nicely. I'm still not really sold on the claims of 'brunette radiance' but I do feel that keeping your hair in good conditioner, automatically makes your colour look better, so indirectly I guess it helped!
Repurchase? Possibly; I'd consider using the Brunette Radiance duo alternately with my usual Volume shampoo and Silky conditioner.
Dr. Lewinn's Private Formula Hand & Nail Cream I won this last Christmas off the Dr Lewinn's Facebook page and have had it in my bathroom next to my sink ever since; it's a thick hand cream with a lovely rose scent which did provide intensive moisturisation, despite leaving a slightly greasy feeling on my hands. I have enjoyed using this but would probably be put off repurchasing by the price, although I can't actually find it on the Dr Lewinn's website currently.
Repurchase? Probably not.
Laidbare For Richer, For Porer Facial Masque I really enjoyed the Liquorice scent of this face mask and found it pretty effective for clearing out my pores and exfoliating my skin. I got this for super cheap from my local TKMaxx but would consider ordering from Laidbare's website (once I've cleared out some of my face mask stash!) as their products are pretty reasonably priced as it is.
Repurchase? Maybe at some point in the future.
The Body Shop Papaya Body Butter This was one of the body butters I bought in the sales after Christmas and I have to say, I was surprised by just how much I loved the scent; it's really fresh and fruity, and lasts pretty well on the skin. It also adds a decent amount of hydration, which is obviously the main consideration for a body butter, and sinks in reasonably quickly. This has become a new favourite for me!
Repurchase? Yes, although only when it's on offer!
L'Occitane Subtle Violet Hand Cream A magazine freebie, this was my desk hand cream and again, moisturised my hands nicely with a beautiful scent. It also absorbed pretty quickly making it perfect for use throughout the day.
Repurchase? Maybe.
So, there you have the few products I've finished off during March; I have at least made a bit of a dent in my hand cream stash, so that's something positive!! Have you tried any of these products? What were your thoughts? Have you fared any better than me this month?


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Review: Bochéry Cicatrizel Intensive Repairing Gel*

I was sent Bochéry's Cicatrizel Intensive Repairing Gel* quite a few months ago now, and it took me quite a while to get round to trying it, simply because I wasn't sure how to use it; on reflection, if I'd read the packaging properly in the first place, it would have been glaringly obvious! "Anaplasis Repairing & Moisturization of chapped, irritated and damaged skin" is actually a pretty conclusive description of the product's purpose, after all. Marketed as a wound healing gel, Cicatrizel claims to give, "Active Anaplasis and Restructuring of skin. Copper Tripeptide: Innovated compound with proven efficacy in restructuring of diseased skin. Glucans of Biotechnological Process: Promote the repairing and healing of damaged skin. Provitamin B5, Centella, Aloe Vera & Willowherb Extracts: Soothe, moisturise and relieve irritation. Use: Apply a small quantity on the skin and leave on until absorbed. Repeat if necessary."
Bochery Cicatrizel Intensive Repairing Gel
The outer packaging consists of a white card box printed with all the product information and ingredients; within the box is a white plastic tube with silver screw cap, again printed with product details, though lacking the ingredients list which is a shame. The screw cap is hygienic and makes the product, a transparent gel consistency, easy to dispense. The lightly-scented gel spreads and rubs into the skin easily, leaving a slightly sticky feeling which has absorbed fully within a minute or so. I've been using Cicatrizel mainly on my hands, as my new job has been quite tough on my skin and I've been suffering with a flare-up of eczema on my hands. I've found that Cictrizel leaves my hands feeling softer and more moisturised, and regular use has definitely reduced the amount of irritation present. Cicatrizel is recommended for use on acute and chronic skin wounds, for example following surgery, burns, pressure ulcers and so on. Obviously none of these apply to myself so I can't say how effective it would be in those instances, but in terms of soothing and moisturising the intensely dry skin on my hands it has made a noticeable difference which would make me more than willing to give it a go for more major concerns such as the wounds mentioned. It's recommended for use 3-4 times per day, which is roughly how often I've been using it, though I have been using it in combination with a regular hand cream at more frequent intervals. All in all, I feel Cicatrizel has worked reasonably well in moisturising and repairing the damaged skin on my hands caused by eczema.
Bochery Cicatrizel
[Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Panthenol, Glyceryl Caprylate,
Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract,
Copper Tripeptide-1, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Epilobium Angustifolium Extract,
Aloe Barbadensis Extract, Centella Aciatica Extract, Propylene Glycol,
Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Carbomer, TEA, Sodium Hydroxide,
Levulinic Acid, p-Anisic Acid, Sodium Phytate, Syringa Vulgaris Extract.]
Priced at £22.95 for 40ml of product, Cicatrizel is available directly from Bochéry's website, with free UK delivery on orders over £50. I'd definitely recommend this if you're having some kind of surgery or have suffered a serious burn or other acute skin wound; it's quite expensive for what is essentially, to me, a hand cream, so I don't think I'd repurchase this particular product. I'll definitely be looking at trying some other Bochéry products, though!
Have you heard of Bochéry? Have you tried any of their products? Do you think you'd use a product like Cicatrizel?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 29 March 2014

NOTD: Tara's Talons 'B-Angel'

I bought 'B-Angel' from Tara's Talons a couple of months back and have been dying to use it ever since; unfortunately, I can't wear nail polish for my new job, which has meant I've been doing my nails a lot less recently. I have three days off this weekend, however, so this morning I finally cracked out 'B-Angel' for its first use! I started, as ever, with OPI's Nail Envy as a base, before applying two coats of 'Papaya' from Barry M's Gelly Hi-Shine range; 'Papaya' is a beautiful corally-pink shade which is perfect for Spring/Summer, although it doesn't suit my skintone very well - sob! I then added one coat of 'B-Angel', which applied beautifully, going on very smooth and having a relatively even glittery distribution without any fishing and with only minimal re-positioning on the nails. I finished with a coat of Jacava London's UV Filter Top Coat to smooth everything off and seal it in nicely!
Tara's Talons B-Angel Barry M Papaya NOTD
NOTD Tara's Talons B-Angel Holo Top Coat
I really love the way 'B-Angel' looks on my nails, the larger glitter particles are really striking whilst the holo gives a more subtle effect but looks absolutely stunning in direct sunlight - the photos don't really do it justice! Tara's Talons has recently had a re-brand, now called The Tara Emporium, and Tara is stocking a larger range of products, including bath bombs and phone cases. 'B-Angel' is available from Tara's Etsy shop, priced at £3.50 for 5ml. Have you ever tried a holo topper? Do you like the look of 'B-Angel'? What sort of polish would you like to see it over?


Friday, 28 March 2014

FOTD: Eton Mess

A few weeks ago, I picked up a little set of trial-sized products by B. at Superdrug as a gift-with-purchase; included in the set were an Intense Colour Lipstick in the shade 'Eton Mess', and a B. Stunning Vibrant Eye Shimmer in 'Copper'. I've been wearing the Eye Shimmer a fair bit as I really like using coppery metallic shades like this as a liner, although the lipstick has seen less use as I'm just not a lipstick person on a day-to-day basis. Here, though, I've worn both together and I think they actually work pretty nicely together and would suit most skintones.
B Eton Mess Copper FOTD
'Copper' is essentially a lovely cream eyeshadow which applies smoothly and easily, and I haven't found it prone to creasing even without primer on my oily lids, which is pretty good going! 'Eton Mess' is a pretty mid-pink shade which again, applies smoothly, feeling very moisturising on the lips. Wear time is fairly average, around two to three hours without eating, without any bleeding or patchiness. I really like that B.'s Colour Intense lipsticks contain SPF 15 as the skin of the lips is super-delicate and yet easily overlooked in terms of sun protection, so I think this is a nice touch.
B Copper & Eton Mess
B. Intense Colour Lipstick in 'Eton Mess' is priced at £7.99 for 3.6g of product, whilst B. Stunning Vibrant Eye Shimmer in 'Copper' is £6.99 for xg, both available from Superdrug. All B.'s products are suitable for vegans, and I feel like they're really reasonably-priced for the quality of the products you get.
Have you tried any make-up from B.'s line? Do you like the look of these two products?


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review: Amie Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask

Amie's Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask, "for clearer, deeply-cleansed skin", was yet another face mask sachet which has been lurking in my stash for god-knows-how-long; I decided it was finally time to give it a go, and I don't know why it took me so long as I was actually really excited to try my first Amie product!
"Amie's gentle formulas are your skin's best friend; bursting with natural plant extracts that work in complete harmony with your skin to help keep it clear and radiant, they are completely free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, GMO or animal extracts (except beeswax). Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask is a wonderfully refreshing deep-cleansing treatment that draws out deep-seated dirt and impurities while soaking up excess oil and helping prevent blemishes. Cools and refreshes, leaving skin feeling really clean, clear and smooth. Helps keep pores clear, dermatologically tested, pH-balanced. To use: Smooth over face avoiding the delicate skin around the eye area. Relax and allow to dry for 10 minutes. Splash off with warm water and pat face dry. Use once or twice a week."
Amie Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask Review
The 10ml sachet contained enough for two uses (and I didn't use it particularly sparingly!) which was nice, it's always good to get a little more than you bargained for from a product and I feel like this gave me a better idea of how well the product worked with my skin. The mask is a relatively thick grey-green clay which spreads easily over the face with a lovely cooling sensation and a fresh, minty scent which I really enjoyed for the duration of the mask. It dried to a satisfyingly flaky grey finish which washed off reasonably easily with a warm, damp cloth - I wouldn't say it "splashed off" as the instructions suggested, but it didn't require too much scrubbing either. After removal, my skin was left feeling soft and smooth and the few red blemishes I had were visibly much calmer; the mask really did do a lovely job of giving my skin a good "spring clean"!
Amie Spring Clean Mask
[Ingredients: Aqua, Kaolin, Zinc Oxide, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate,
Cyclopentasiloxane, Steareth-2, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate,
Cyclohexasiloxane, Steareth-21, Xanthan Gum, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract,
Menthyl Lactate, Octyldodecanol, Cera Alba, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil,
Limonene, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin,
Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, CI 42051, CI 47005]
In all, I found this face mask really nice to use and was pleased to find it effective; for me, it lived up to its claims. This mask is definitely one I'd recommend for those on a budget looking for a decent product to help clear and calm the skin. Amie Spring Clean Clay Face Mask is available from CutECOsmetics priced at £4.95 for 75ml of product - I've not been able to find it in the 10ml sachet I had. I'll most likely be repurchasing this at some point in the future as I really enjoyed using it. I'll also be looking to try out a few more products from Amie's range!
Have you tried this mask, or any other Amie products? Any recommendations for other products I need to try!?


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Saving Money on Your Summer Holiday 2014

Almost a quarter of the way through the year, you might be thinking about planning a cheeky summer break to have a little bit of time to yourself and get some desperately-needed sunshine - because, let's face it, the British summer doesn't generally provide us with an abundance of Vitamin D! If you're working to a strict budget, though, planning a holiday can be a lot of hassle. Hopefully, today's post will be able to help you out there! The key to saving money on a brilliant summer holiday is timing. You can save money on holidays by booking early and you can save by booking late with sites like lastminute.com, but what other options are there to help you along to affording a great break? Here's a list of top tips to help your time away become that extra bit special as you won't be stressing about breaking the budget, leaving you free to unwind and come home feeling relaxed!
The fact that prices of trips away can inflate hugely over school holidays has gained some unwanted attention recently. The holiday operators argue that it's the other way round and they simply slash their prices outside of these times as they feel they're unlikely to fill the spaces otherwise. It's an inconvenience but if you want a memorable family holiday with the kids you may have to pay out a fair bit extra. Luckily, the October half term is a break that is far less likely to see such a price increase as it's not in the usual summer holiday calendar. Despite this, you can find fantastic weather in the beautiful Canary Islands at this time of year. If you don't mind switching up your dates, you can get a great autumn holiday with the added bonus of adding some sunshine to your life at a point where there's unlikely to be any around locally.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Whatever time of the year you decide to fly, you should pick the time of day with the same amount of care. Flying at an unsociable hour may seem like a chore, but really there's not much to lose. If you're taking your kids they'll either be excited to be up at an unusual hour to get their adventure underway or be too sleepy to notice. Either way you'll end up saving money on your flights this way and a quick nap in-flight will help rebalance any loss of sleep – for you and your kids.
Swimwear by George at Asda
Packing planning
If you know you're planning on jetting away to a sunny destination this year then you can save money by planning your wardrobe now. Summer clothes are going for slashed prices all over the place in the winter and by picking up some great items early you won't have to pay the premium as you rush to get your outfits sorted a week or two before your flight. You can get George at ASDA's swimwear for great value prices right now, so you can be ready for your time in the sun for less. The same goes for suncream, though you should be mindful of the weight of your luggage here. You have to, quite literally, balance your savings as you can end up paying more on your luggage, resulting in an overall loss on your quest for a cheaper deal.
Everyone wants to have fun and unwind when they go on holiday, but worrying about how much money you're spending can put a downer on things. Be smart, be organised and you can have a blast on your time away this year, hassle free!
Are you planning to go away this year? What are your top tips for doing so as cheaply as you can? Where would you dream holiday destination be?

[Please note this is a sponsored post.]

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Pretty Pastels

The occasional burst of sunshine we've had over the past couple of weeks is making me (rather optimistically) think that Spring must be on its way by now! Today is, after all, the first official day of Spring, so what better time to start thinking about some pretty pastel pieces? From beauty to clothing to interior accessories, you just can't beat pastel shades for the few months of Springtime, so here are some bits and pieces I'm loving at the moment!
Springtime Pastels
3. Large Lace Neckpiece, I Love A Lassie, £395
6. Distressed Baroque Metal Mirror in 'Petrol', Out There Interiors, £66
I love the look of the new Revlon matte Colourburst blams and this shade is just beautiful. Having tried out a couple of B.'s make-up products recently, I'm keen to try more, and this Shimmer Block looks like the perfect combination of shades for a glowing Springtime complexion. I first spotted I Love A Lassie on Laura's blog and am just in love with their lace collection, cast from genuine antique lace fragments; they're so delicate and unusual-looking! One thing I miss about working at Debenhams is all the pretty shoes; these beauties from Faith are just a lovely mint-green shade. Lovely! The new Gelly Hi-Shine shades from Barry M all look super pretty and from what I hear, the formula is pretty awesome too - I suspect all three will be making their way into my collection at some point... I'm in love with the petrol-blue colour of this mirror from Out There Interiors and would love to have it at the bottom of my stairs; mirrors are doubly good because they make a room feel much lighter and airier! Lime green nails are, in my opinion, a good look, and this Jessica Custom Colour shade looks so pretty; it'd be lovely on my toes, maybe with a glittery topcoat. Finally, this polka-dotted skater dress from New Look is just too sweet, and a super bargain price too. Skater dresses are so flattering, I'd wear this with black Converse and a leather jacket!
What are your favourite pastel pieces at the moment? Do you find yourself drawn to pastel shades in Spring? Do you like my choices?


Sunday, 16 March 2014

NOTD: Glittering Gradient

Today I'm sharing some nail art I did a few weeks back now for my cousin's 21st birthday party; I was pretty proud of them but with the #NailArtWeeklyProject I haven't had chance to share them until now! As always, my base coat was OPI's Nail Envy, and I then applied a coat of Barry M's 'Blueberry' from the Gelly Hi-Shine Range. Once this was dry, I used a make-up sponge to apply 'Blueberry' and 'Prickly Pear' to create a gradient effect, which took three sponged coats. Once these were dry, I applied a coat of an unnamed silver glitter polish by Technic, followed by Jacava London's UV Filter top coat. It was actually really hard to capture the gradient effect as the two shades photograph to look quite similar, but these are my best efforts.
NOTD Blueberry Prickly Pear Gradient
Barry M Blueberry & Prickly Pear Gradient
What do you think? Have you ever attempted gradient nails? I love the effect it gives and I got so many compliments on these nails!


Friday, 14 March 2014

Review: Anatomicals Look, You've Got Chocolate All Over Your Face Anti-Stress Face Mask

And the award for the longest product name ever goes to... Anatomicals, for their 'Look, You've Got Chocolate All Over Your Face Anti-Stress Face Mask'! I received this little sachet face mask for Christmas and have just got round to using it, since the number of face masks in my stash is quite honestly obscene. I've tried an Anatomicals face mask before and was ever so slightly disappointed as I found that it didn't really do what it claimed, but nonetheless I was excited to give this little number a go - not least because I love chocolate!
Anatomicals Look, You've Got Chocolate All Over Your Face Anti-Stress Face Mask
"You're no longer four years old, sticking your head in the cake mixing bowl. But somehow, your face is still covered in chocolate. No need to ask why. Our cocoa anti-stress mask will leave your skin calm, relaxed and radiant. In fact, you'll look good enough to eat. Think we'll start with your lips. The skin healing properties of Dead Sea salt combined with the moisturising benefits of Cocoa butter and Shea butter, will have your skin feeling de-stressed, renewed, and glowing with health. Soak face with a warm, moist cloth. Blot dry. Apply contents, avoiding eyes. Allow 10-15 minutes to dry, then soften with a cool, wet cloth and wipe off. Use twice a week or as needed."
I followed the instructions by washing my face, blotting dry, then applying the face mask to my skin, avoiding the eye area. I actually found the contents of the sachet sufficient for two uses which was nice. The mask is a thick creamy consistency which is easy to spread over the skin. It had a slight warming sensation on the skin, but nothing alarming; it also had a lovely chocolatey scent which made the 15 minutes I left it on my face really quite pleasant. I washed the mask off in the shower, finding that it removed easily with a damp cloth, as suggested. After use, my skin felt soft and calm, with red areas and blemishes visibly less irritated; I wouldn't say it's a wonder cure but the mask definitely helped to calm down my skin, which is pretty much exactly what it claims! I was impressed with the efficacy of the mask and found it lived up to its claims.
Look, You've Got Chocolate All Over Your Face Anti-Stress Face Mask Review
[Ingredients: Aqua, Talc, Kaolin, PEG-400, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
Glycerin, Bentonite, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-20, PEG-100 Stearate,
Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Hydrolyzed Oat Protein, Phenoxyethanol,
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben,
Vanillyl Butyl Ether, CI 77499, CI 77491, CI 77492]
Anatomicals' Look, You've Got Chocolate All Over Your Face Anti-Stress Face Mask is available from Fruugo, priced at £2.24 for 15ml of product, which was sufficient for two applications for me. I'd definitely recommend giving this a try if you struggle with redness or have blemishes you'd like to calm down! In terms of chocolatey-ness, for me it doesn't compare to Lush's Cupcake Fresh Face Mask, but it's a totally different product and a bit more purse-friendly.
Have you tried Anatomicals' Look, You've Got Chocolate All Over Your Face Anti-Stress Face Mask? What were your thoughts? What's your favourite kind of face mask?

[I'd just like to say I've never purchased from Fruugo, but have really struggled to find a UK stockist of this product - if you know of anywhere else it's available, please let me know!]

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Review: MUA One Direction Cheek Tint in 'Pink Explosion'

I received the What Makes You Beautiful Cheek Tint in 'Pink Explosion' from MUA's collaboration range with One Direction, as a giveaway prize back in January. I wasn't really sure what to expect from it at first, but it's definitely become one of my more-worn cheek products over the past couple of months, perfect for a pretty flush of pink.
MUA One Direction Cheek Tint Pink Explosion
The outer packaging was cardboard, with the product name on the front and the shade on the back. The packaging also gave some suggestions for use: "Give your cheeks a rush of colour! Apply three stripes of creamy blush colour across the apple of your cheeks. Using your fingertips, blend up and outwards along your cheekbones to give complexion a real flirty glow! Tip: Match your lips with your cheeks! Using your fingertips, pat the colour over lips for an instant hint of a tint!"
[Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Trimethylsiloxyphenyl, Dimethicone, 
Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Cersin, Cera Alba, Caprylic/Capric
Triglyceride, Isohexadecane, Paraffin, Glycol Montanate, Synthetic Wax,
Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
[+/- CI 45410, CI 15850, CI 77492, CI 42090, CI 77891]]
MUA 1D Cheek Tint Pink Explosion
Within the cardboard packaging, the product itself is housed in a dusky pink plastic tube with a pop-off lid, with the product in stick form, twisting up like a lipstick as needed. I definitely think this is nicer than the packaging of the lipsticks from this range, but it's still very much obvious that the target market for these products is young girls, which is a shame as the products are far better quality than the packaging might lead you to believe. The shade 'Pink Explosion' is pretty much exactly as you'd imagine, a deep pinkish shade without shimmer, which is very strongly pigmented, giving excellent colour payoff on the skin. As you can see on my hand below, applying stripes as the packaging recommends will give you a very strong colour.
MUA 1D Pink Explosion Cheek Tint Swatch

I've been choosing instead to dot the product gently onto my cheekbones, before blending out with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which is my favourite tool for cream cheek products and prevents my fingers getting stained. The Cheek Tint blends out nicely to give a natural glow, but could easily be built up for a more dramatic effect if that's what you're after. It also looks lovely on the lips as per the tip, although I haven't taken any photos of it used that way. On the cheeks, this easily lasts all day on my oily skin once set with loose powder; on the lips, I've only been getting an hour or so of wear from it.
1D MUA Pink Explosion Cheek Tint FOTD
MUA 1D Cheek Tint Pink Explosion FOTD
Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer in 'Light'; Collection Loose Powder in 'Barely There;
Natural Collection Eyeshadow Duo in 'Mocha'; MUA Pro Brow Kit;
Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara in 'Black-Brown']
(Please ignore the hole in my face where my lip bar ought to be, I'd taken it out for work!)
MUA x One Direction Cheek Tint in 'Pink Explosion' is available from Superdrug, priced at £3 for 1.4g of product. I'd definitely recommend this as a lovely, easy-to-wear pink cream blusher with good pigmentation and a reasonable lasting time on the skin, especially if you're on a budget!
Have you tried any products from MUA's collaboration with MUA? What are your thoughts on celebrity make-up collaborations? What do you think to this shade?


Monday, 10 March 2014

Spring Homewares with Out There Interiors

We enjoyed a few days of sunshine last week and I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping that this means Spring is well and truly on its way; it seems like winter has gone on forever and I for one am ready for some longer, warmer days. Living in a rented home as I do, I'm not able to redecorate as the seasons change, but I do like to switch up our interior accessories a little, so I've been having a wee browse of Out There Interiors looking for some inspiration, and have put together a little wishlist of some of my favourite homeware pieces!
Spring With Out There Interiors
[Clockwise from top left:]
For me, Spring is all about bright white with pops of colour; the purple mirror would look gorgeous against our pale cream walls and would brighten the place up beautifully. I love the floral design on the Chinese lantern ceiling lamp and think the structure of this piece is really unusual. The Devil's Horns hook might not go so well with the other pieces I've chosen, but I couldn't resist; my boyfriend and I are both rock and metal fans, so it would suit us pretty well whilst providing functionality as we always seem to be short of places to hang things up! I love the Display Board, which I'm sure would come in handy for keeping appointment cards and the like in one place. The Barcelona chair comes in several colours and I love the sleek, minimalistic design. The French Cabinet and Bedside table are both lovely pieces and both quite unusual, providing essential extra storage space whilst also looking pretty. Finally, the White Porcelain Teapot would be a beautiful display piece, essentially summing up what Spring accessories should look like to me!
Which are your favourite pieces? Do you like to redecorate or re-accessorise your home as the seasons change? What are your top tips for keeping your home updates on a budget?

[Please note I have been offered a product from Out There Interiors in return for this post. This doesn't affect my views or opinions!]

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Recipe: Creme Egg Brownies

Bandwagon? Jumping? Well, I can't really deny that, but nonetheless I thought my improvised take on this sickly-sweet recipe was worth sharing; if you happen to have a dozen spare Creme eggs or a horrendously sweet tooth, this will be right up your street!
Creme Egg Brownies Recipe
Start by popping ten Creme eggs in the fridge, and pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Beat three medium eggs with 320g Caster sugar until white and creamy; I used an electric mixer but you could probably make do with a whisk and a lot of elbow grease!
Creme Egg Brownie Recipe 1
Melt 200g Dark chocolate with 175g Butter (blast in the microwave for thirty seconds at a time, or pop in a bowl over a pan of boiled water), then pour into the egg and sugar mixture and combine to form a thick, chocolatey mousse-like consistency.
Creme Egg Brownies Recipe 2
Add 110g Plain flour and mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into a 12" x 8" tin lined with baking paper, and pop in the oven for twenty minutes.
Creme Egg Brownies Recipe 3
This is where it gets messy! Remove your Creme eggs from the fridge, unwrap, and slice each one in half lengthwise; as you can see, mine tended to collapse, but that's okay. Pop them back in the fridge until your brownies have had 20 minutes in the oven. Remove the tray from the oven and press the Creme egg halves into the brownie, remembering that the tin will be hot! Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
Creme Egg Brownies
Creme Egg Brownie
Allow to cool in the tin before slicing into squares. As you can see, my Creme eggs kind of melted a bit all over the place, but that's okay - these are never going to be neat, and I can assure they still tasted amazing!
Have you tried baking with Creme eggs? What recipe would you like to try them in? Or would you find the whole thing too sickly?


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Review: Naked Love Me Heaven Scent Rose Body Wash

Although I'm pretty loyal to Naked's Starflower Body Wash, when I saw their whole body wash range on a half price promotion in Boots recently, I decided to pick up an alternative to try; I went for the Love Me Heaven Scent Rose Body Wash, which is described as follows: "Gorgeous rose oils produce an aroma so addictive, people want to eat it, and the extracts in here are bursting with antioxidants to help protect and soothe skin. This body wash is heaven on earth, so wake up and smell the roses (they were picked before dawn, after all). To use: Rub onto wet skin and use a buff puff for more lather. Enjoy the bouquet then rinse away. Naked truth: Made with lots of naturally derived ingredients, without sulphates, parabens or petrochemicals, this is goodness in a bottle."
Naked Love Me Heaven Scent Rose Body Wash
[Ingredients: Aqua, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate,
Sodium cocoamphoacetate, Lauryl glucoside, Coco glucoside, Glyceryl oleate,
Rosa centifolia (Rose) oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Clove) bud oil,
Cymbopogon martini (Palmarosa) oil, Parfum, Rosa centifolia (Rose) hip oil,
Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, Citric acid, Geraniol, Citronellol, Linalool]
Packaged in Naked's standard translucent plastic bottle with the press-down-and-squirt cap which is easy to use with wet hands whilst in the shower, this has a beautiful font on the front of the bottle which makes it look really pretty in my bathroom. The scent upon opening the bottle is a lovely typical rose-scent which, despite not being a rose person, I've actually been really enjoying. It's quite a strong scent but doesn't overly linger on the skin so shouldn't interfere with your perfume etc. The body wash is quite a thick gel-like consistency which is easy to dispense and produces a lovely lather when rubbed over the skin. I tend to use it with my exfoliating gloves, but it lathers just as nicely with a flannel or shower lily. I find the body wash does a lovely job of cleaning my skin, leaving it soft and ever so slightly scented. It doesn't irritate my sensitive skin and has fitted nicely into to my daily routine, helping to keep my eczema at bay! I've also used this as a bubble bath, finding that it produces a good amount of foam, although it doesn't last very long in the water; I'd recommend trying their Bath Foam if baths are more your cup of tea. I prefer showers so I'm really not too fussed about this!
All in all, this has been a lovely change from my usual Body Wash and has kept my skin soft and clean, with a beautiful scent. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, Naked Love Me Heaven Scent Rose Body Wash is priced at £3.98 for 250ml of product and is available direct from the Naked website, or from Boots stores (for the slightly higher price of £3.99!).
Are you a fan of rose-scented products? Have you tried any of Naked's products? What's your favourite scent for a body wash?

Monday, 3 March 2014

Review: Max Factor False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara

I received Max Factor's False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara in the shade 'Black Brown' as part of a giveaway prize from Layla over at Sprinkles of Style; I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and thought it was about time to share my thoughts! Firstly, I just want to mention that I usually choose black mascaras and wouldn't personally have gone for 'Black Brown' out of choice; however, I've tried to give it a fair test run!
Max Factor False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara Review
I have to admit to not being a massive fan of the tube; whilst I like the black with the blue band indicating that this mascara is the waterproof version, I feel like the tube is a lot chunkier than it needs to be, and I would personally prefer a slimmer, more compact option. This takes up a lot of space in my mascara jar and in my make-up bag. I was initially dubious about the wand, as although I'm perfectly happy with either a traditional 'bristle' spoolie-style brush or a plastic comb-style one, I wasn't sure how bristles this short would apply mascara to my lashes. I like to be able to wiggle the wand through my lashes and really coat each lash with product, but I found that that just wasn't possible with this style of wand; trying to do so meant ending up with smudged mascara over my eyelids, which is never a good look!
Max Factor Mascara Swatch
I ended up applying two coats of mascara to achieve any kind of length or volume, whereas usually I'd only apply one coat for daytime wear, occasionally using two for a night out. This isn't a massive problem but does mean it takes a little longer to apply my mascara in the morning. Despite my reservations, the colour of this mascara was actually fine and whilst it was maybe a little less dark than my usual choices, I don't think it's noticeably so. For me, the wand is what lets this mascara down. Removal was, I found, a nightmare; I know this is a waterproof mascara but I use an eye make-up remover, an oil cleanser and then a cream or gel cleanser depending on my mood, and still found that there were smudges of mascara under my eyes come morning. To put that into perspective, even They're Real! came off relatively easily in comparison to this! I don't tend to purchase waterproof mascaras and this is why.
FOTD Max Factor Mascara False Lash Effect
My final comment is that I think the name of this product is quite misleading; 'False Lash Effect' mascara makes it sound like it's going to give a dramatic effect whereas even with two or three coats, this is as far as I'm concerned very much a 'daytime' mascara and not something I'd choose for a night out. The description on the tube does say "Full lashes, natural look" so I'm really not sure why they went with the 'False Lash Effect' name as it is most definitely a natural effect!
FOTD Max Factor False Lash Effect
[Also wearing; Pop Beauty Face Magnet Primer; W7 HD Foundation in 'Buff';
Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer in 'Light'; Collection Loose Powder in
'Barely There'; Natural Collection Blusher in 'Sugar Plum'; 'Suspect' Eyeshadow from
Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette; MUA Pro Brow Kit]
Max Factor False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara is available from Boots or Superdrug, priced at £10.99 for 13.1ml of product. Personally, the extra time taken to apply two coats coupled with the awkwardness of removal meant this isn't a mascara I love and I won't be repurchasing; I might consider trying the non-waterproof version but even then, I don't see it being a product I love. If you habitually apply multiple coats of mascara and aren't after any dramatic false lash effects, this could be the product for you, but otherwise, I don't think I'd recommend Max Factor's False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara.
Have you tried this product? What were your thoughts? What's your all-time favourite mascara?

[Please note this product was received as part of a giveaway prize; this has not affected my review and as always, all thoughts are entirely my own.]

Saturday, 1 March 2014

#NailArtWeeklyProject 5: Glitz & Glam

The fifth and final week of Danni's #NailArtWeeklyProject is themed 'Glitz & Glam'; I had a lot of ideas for this theme but sadly not the time to really do any of them properly, so I ended up going for something of a cop-out in the form of a glittery topcoat. I started with Nail Envy, as always, followed by two coats of 'Plum' from Barry M's Gelly Hi-Shine range. I really love the rich, deep purple shade of 'Plum' and the lovely glossy finish it has! Once this was dry, I added a thick coat of 'Frenzy' by Sinful Colors, which is a gorgeous mix of fuchsia and aqua glitter in a clear base. My nails are quite short at the moment as I've had to cut them for work (sob!) but I think this actually looks pretty good on shorter nails. The photos below are without topcoat, and sadly they really don't do justice to how sparkly the glitter in 'Frenzy' is!
#NailArtWeeklyProject 5 Glitz & Glam Sinful Colors Frenzy
I think 'Frenzy' worked really well with 'Plum', although I'm also looking forward to trying it over lighter shades to really make it pop! What do you think of this week's mani? What would you have chosen for the theme 'Glitz & Glam'?

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