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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Empties: May 2014

Hello, End of May - when did you sneak up on us!? Saying that, May has seemed like an extraordinarily long month, there was a point around the 20th where I didn't think payday would ever arrive! However, here we are, and here is yet another small mountain of empty packaging heading for the recycling; I've finished a lot of products in May, so apologies for the mammoth post!
May 2014 Empties
May 2014 Empties 1
Bochéry Cicatrizel* As I mentioned in my review, I used this mainly on the eczema on my hands and found it to be quite effective in rehydrating my chapped, dry skin. However, it's really quite expensive for what it is, and I found that this tube didn't last me very long at all.
Repurchase? No, as it's pretty pricey for how long it lasted and I didn't feel it was a miracle-worker.
Rimmel Clear Complexion Pressed Powder I've only used this as a touch-up powder during the daytime, as I prefer a loose powder to set my makeup as I apply it, so I really wouldn't like to comment on whether or not it's effective in clearing up the complexion. As far as I'm concerned, this is really just a pretty basic pressed powder and I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase it again; it did the job but wasn't anything special.
Repurchase? Maybe.
Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter Body Butter This huge pot of body butter came as part of my Soap & Glory Best Of All set way back at Christmas 2012; whilst I love the scent, I found that the body butter didn't really hydrate my skin as much as I'd have liked, meaning I rarely used it and it's taken me ages to finish off.
Repurchase? No, because it just didn't seem worth bothering using it!
Boots Cotton Wool Double-Faced Pads One of life's essentials for eye makeup remover, toner and nail polish remover; these are cheap and cheerful and do the job just fine, I think I bought them when they were on offer and I'd buy them again if they were on offer again, but I wouldn't seek them out because to be honest, a cotton pad is a cotton pad as far as I'm concerned!
Repurchase? Maybe.
FCUK Pure Body Spray This came in a gift set I don't know how many Christmases ago now, and I really wasn't a fan of the overly-floral scent. However, I've persevered with it and have finally finished it off! Definitely not one I'd purchase again as I haven't really enjoyed using it.
Repurchase? No, the scent isn't for me at all.

May 2014 Empties 2
Batiste Pixie Lott Fun & Floral Dry Shampoo I bought this new release purely for the sake of trying something different and have really liked the fresh, floral scent, which seems to last quite well in my hair. It's as effective as my usual Tropical choice and freshening up my second-day hair, although I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't seem to be available in my local Superdrug - I've only found it in Boots so far.
Repurchase? Already have.
PhytoKeratine Ultra-Repairing Hair Mask This was a giveaway win a while back now, and whilst I've really enjoyed using the mask and found it did have a good short-term effect on my hair, I haven't noticed any longer-term improvements, which I'd expect from a product in this price bracket to be honest.
Repurchase? Probably not, it's quite pricey for what it is.
Soap & Glory Show Good Face Foundation I've really enjoyed using this foundation, despite it not really living up to its claims of being a two-in-one primer and foundation; I've still been using a separate primer underneath. It does give a good level of coverage, though, which lasts well when set with powder.
Repurchase? Maybe.
ELF Liquid Eyeshadow I wouldn't say I've technically "finished" this product, but it's dried up to be totally unusual, so I've had to chuck it. I've had it a while (we're talking a couple of years!) but can't remember using it more than once or twice, so I probably wouldn't buy this again.
Repurchase? Unlikely.
St. Ives Apricot Scrub I won this in a giveaway and the 150ml tube has seriously lasted me around a year of using it every other day. I love St Ives scrubs and have used them on and off for about ten years, and I did really enjoy using this one. I can't say I noticed any difference from the regular scrubs and I don't think this had any impact on how blemish-prone my skin was, but nonetheless it was nice to use.
Repurchase? Probably not, as I've fallen in love with The Body Shop's Vitamin C Microdermabrasion!
Naked Soft Touch Starflower Body Wash This is an Empties staple for me, it appears pretty much every month. I love it for leaving my skin feeling clean and soft, whilst not upsetting my eczema thanks to being SLS-free. It's also often on offer at Boots, I bought a few bottles at half price a couple of months ago so I still have those in my stash!
Repurchase? Yes!

May 2014 Empties 3
Naked Volume Body-Building Shampoo It's rare for me to publish an Empties post which doesn't feature this shampoo, and May is no exception; I'm still loving this for it's fab cleaning abilities which don't leave my hair feeling greasy or weighted down, whilst also being SLS-free which makes my eczema-prone skin exceedingly happy! It also smells amazing.
Repurchase? Already have!
Naked Smooth Silky Conditioner Another Naked staple here, I find this perfect for keeping my dry ends smooth and healthy. It has a lovely grapefruit scent and because it doesn't contain silicons, I've found that I'm getting a lot less spots on my chest and back since switching to this conditioner.
Repurchase? Already have.
W7 HD Foundation in 'Buff' I've raved about this foundation plenty, and this was my second bottle; 'Buff' is a perfect match for my fair skin, and the foundation gives the ideal level of coverage whilst lasting well on my oily skin once set with powder. It's love! I'm on a mission to finish up a couple of my other almost-empty foundations now, and there are a couple of new ones I'd like to try, but I'll definitely be going back to this little beauty sooner rather than later.
Repurchase? Yes.
Nivea Daily Essentials Regenerating Night Cream This hydrated my skin well but I didn't feel it was well-suited to my skin type, leaving me with quite a greasy feeling to my face come morning. For this reason, I'll not be buying this again; my search for the perfect moisturising products for my oily skin continues!!
Repurchase? No.
Collection Loose Powder in 'Barely There' This is an absolute staple for me, I use it daily to set my foundation and help keep my oily skin under control. A pot seems to last me around six months which, for the price point, is pretty good, and I don't really feel any need to try any fancier or more expensive powders when this does what I need it to.
Repurchase? Already have.
Garnier Mineral UltraDry Anti-Perspirant I have no idea how long I've had this in my bathroom, but it has lasted ages even once I started making a conscious effort to use it up! I much prefer stick deodorants to sprays, but have found this nice to spray on as I'm leaving the house for work just to freshen up a little and give my usual deodorant a little bit of a boost. That said, I won't be buying it again as I have purely been using it to get rid of the can on my shelf.
Repurchase? No.
So, there you have my excessive hoard of Empties from May! Are you impressed!? What have you finished up this month? Have you tried and loved (or hated!) any of these products?


Friday, 30 May 2014

A Moment In Mint

I am absolutely loving mint at the moment (read: all the time. ever. for at least the last three years.) and there are some absolutely stunning minty-fresh pieces around in the shops; apparently, mint is the In Thing for SS14! Who knew?! So, here are some of my absolute favourite minty hues from the interwebs right now. Enjoy, and do let me know if you've spotted any other magical mint things you think I need to know about!
A Moment In Mint
Lattice Strap Platform Shoes, New Look, £29.99
Airy Top, H&M, £7.99
Nail Polish in 'Keen', Topshop, £5
Roll Sleeve Plain T-Shirt, New Look, £4.99
Mint Oriental Print Shorts, In Love With Fashion, £28
I know perfectly well that I'd never be able to walk in these shoes, but that doesn't make them any less pretty and so summer-perfect! This H&M top looks so light and ideal for evenings with a barbecue; I can see it with a white denim skirt and flip-flops. I categorically do not need any more mint nail polishes, yet it seems to be a shade I always gravitate towards... I love Topshop's super-cute packaging, too! New Look basic tee-shirts are amazing value and I really like the loose fit of this pretty blue number. I absolutely adore the contrast collar and pleated skirt of this Lavish Alice dress, I don't think it would suit me at all but it's beautiful. Coloured jeans are something I love and why not a mint pair!? I think these would be lovely with a longline, loud floral print vest top. Every girl needs to carry life's essentials round and this handbag looks like it'd have plenty of room for all my bits and pieces. I really like high-waisted shorts, I'd wear these with a plain white vest top and a statement necklace; the print is so pretty! Finally, this TFNC dress is quite smart and would be ideal office- or interview-wear.
Which is your favourite of my picks? How do you like to style your pastels? Are you loving mint as much as me at the moment?

[Please note this post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Review: REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser

I purchased REN's Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser after reading Amy's rave review almost a year ago now; I spent quite some time deliberating over whether to splash out, but in the end I decided to use some Asos vouchers, and placed a little order. I've been using this cleanser now as part of my evening cleansing routine for around a month, which has given me a good opportunity to develop an opinion of it.
REN Clearcalm 3 cleanser
"A purifying antibacterial cleanser formulated to combat the appearance of breakouts and blemishes leaving skin visibly clearer and calmer. Results: Deeply cleanses and purifies. Gently exfoliates to improve skin tone and texture. Minimises the appearance of pore size. Antimicrobial and antibacterial. Skin looks clearer and calmer. REN's ClearCalm 3 system combats the three key causes of breakouts and blemishes; excess sebum, build-up of dead skin cells, blemish-causing bacteria... without harshness. Skin type: Problem skin, prone to breakouts and blemishes. To use: Rub one pump between the palms of slightly damp hands. Gently massage onto face for 1-2 minutes. Rinse off with warm water."
[Ingredients: Aqua, Kaolin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Cetearyl GLucoside, Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Zinc Gluconate, Bisabolol, Oryzanol, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Linalool, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Leptospermum Scoparium Oil, Tocopherol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Limonene, Crataegus Oxyacantha Stem Extract, Glucose.]
The ingredients list is what you'd hope for from a product in this price range, with plenty of natural sources and no SLS, parabens or petroleum. I haven't found that this product has irritated my sensitive skin at all, which is always a point in its favour!
REN Clearcalm 3 Clay Cleanser
I really like REN's packaging; it's lovely and simple, and I find it looks really pretty on the shelf in my bathroom! It's also super hygienic with the easy-to-use pump which dispenses the perfect amount of product each time you want to use it. I've basically been following the instructions, massaging one pump over my face with damp hands for a minute or so, before wiping off with a muslin cloth and warm water. I was expecting a clay cleanser to feel quite heavy on the skin but found that wasn't the case at all with this; on the contrary, it felt really light and honestly not much different than the cream cleansers I've used in the past. The scent is a little unusual and I must admit I'm not that keen on it, but it's certainly not enough to put me off using the product and it doesn't linger on the skin after rinsing, so it's more than bearable.
REN ClearCalm 3 Cleanser Review
I find the ClearCalm 3 Cleanser to do a beautiful job of removing my make-up, including eye make-up, leaving my skin feeling clean and soft, but not at all dry or tight as some clay-based products can tend to do. I tend to follow with a gel cleanser such as Premae's Balance Rescue Cleansing Gel Face Wash, to ensure that all traces of dirt and make-up are removed, as double-cleansing has definitely improved the quality of my skin. I found that my skin broke out a little during the first couple of weeks I used ClearCalm 3; I'm loathe to put that down to the cleanser, though, as I was definitely a little hormonal and I'd started quite a few new skincare products around the same time. Either way, my skin settled back down with a fortnight and is now looking better than it has in a long time; again, I wouldn't like to put that exclusively down to this cleanser but it's definitely helping!
In all, I've been enjoying using this of an evening and would recommend it as a gentle creamy cleanser for those with skin on the oilier end of the spectrum. I'm not sure that I'll be repurchasing, though; that's not to say it's not a good cleanser, because it is. It's just that there are so many other products I want to try!!
REN's ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser is priced at £18 for 150ml of product, and is available from Marks & Spencer and LookFantastic, amongst other retailers. Have you tried any REN skincare? Which products would you recommend? What are your thoughts on clay-based cleansers?


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Quiz Clothing Dresses + Win A Trip To Vegas!

Fancy winning a trip to Vegas? Well, as luck would have it, Quiz Clothing are offering you the chance to win a trip for you and a friend including five nights in a 5* hotel, tickets to see Britney, and five Quiz dresses for the lucky winner! All you have to do is click the competition image below, enter your email, and then follow the instructions to share your #JustWonTheJackpot selfie.
Win a VIP trip to Vegas with Quiz Clothing
Getting into the spirit of things, I thought I'd share the dresses I'd pick were I lucky enough to win! Quiz have a fab range of dresses, from prom and occasion dresses right through to day and maxi dresses. These are some of my favourites:
Quiz Clothing Dresses
Left to right:
Royal Blue & Black Lace Peplum Midi Dress, £29.99
Gold & Grey Mesh Flower Print Dress, £79.99
White Mesh Maxi Dress, £69.99
Coral V-Neck Embellished Dress, £69.99
Pink Lace Trim Skater Dress, £26.99
[Links removed due to broken links. Apologies for any inconvenience.]
I love the lace overlay of the royal blue midi dress, and find that peplum is a flattering style for most body shapes. This would be lovely for a classy night out I think! The gold and grey dress is really quite unusual in terms of colours for a floral print, which I really like, and the pleated style would give a lovely motion for day-wear. The white mesh maxi dress is just lovely, I have no idea what I'd wear it for but it's so pretty I don't really care! I really like the tribal-style embellishments on the coral bodycon dress, another one which would be perfect for a night out. Finally, the lace and the hot pink colour of this skater dress are both gorgeous, this would look amazing with a tan!
Which is your favourite of my choices? Would you pick any of these dresses if you won? Have you ever been to Vegas?

[Please note I will receive a small amount of commission if you enter this competition via my link.]

Sunday, 25 May 2014

FOTD: MAC 'Pink Pearl Pop'

I was lucky enough recently to win a MAC lipstick giveaway from Kirsty at Behind These Closed Eyes; I chose the shade 'Pink Pearl Pop', part of the Cremesheen range. I'd seen this on a few blogs and thought the shade looked right up my street! It's a bright, true pink which I think is perfect for Spring/Summer and looks just lovely paired with neutral, glowing eyes and skin. The Milani Glimmer Stripes, Natural Collection Blusher and Elizabeth Arden Highlighter are all products I mentioned in my recent Favourites post.
MAC Pink Pearl Pop Lipstick
MAC Pink Pearl Pop
Pink Pearl Pop
FOTD Mac Pink Pearl Pop
[Products used: W7 Anti-Dull Skin Brightening Primer; Pop Beauty Face Magnet Primer (on forehead); Soap & Glory Show Good Face Foundation in 'The Fairest of Them All'; Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 'Light'; Collection Loose Powder in 'Transparent'; Natural Collection Blusher in 'Sugar Plum'; Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Highlighter in 'Rose Illumination'; Milani Glimmer Stripes in 'Honey Glimmer'; Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara in 'Black-Brown'; MUA Pro Brow Kit; MAC Lipstick in 'Pink Pearl Pop']
What do you think of 'Pink Pearl Pop'? What's your favourite MAC shade? What's your go-to lip colour?


Friday, 23 May 2014

Introducing: Vikki from Cuteek

My Featured Blogger for May is the lovely Vikki from Cuteek.com, and today I'll be introducing you to Vikki, her blog, and some of her recent posts! I'll let Vikki introduce herself, first of all:
"Hi readers of Just Jess, it's Vikki here from Cuteek.com! Back in 2006 I really wanted to create my own little place on the internet where I could write about things I like. It was important that my domain name reflected this so I picked two words: cute and geek, mixed them together and CUTEEK was born. Because of the diversity of my hobbies: Barbie collecting, crazy makeup, Halloween, technology and playing video games, creating blog posts is always fun and surprising even for me!"
I couldn't have put it any better myself! Vikki posts about a huge range of topics; here are some of her recent posts you might like to check out:
Ikea Washi Tape
Halloween Make-Up
OMG Fashion
Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff Game
So, that should give you an idea of just how varied Vikki's posts are!! I really do think she has something for everyone, in a really easy-to-navigate layout and with a lovely, readable writing style. I have to admit to being a little bit jealous, as well, of the fact that she lives in the Canary Islands where it's warm EVEN IN WINTER. I think I may need to move house! I'd love it if you could pop over to Vikki's blog and say hello - let her know I sent you! If you're interested in advertising on Just Jess, you can find all the details here.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Current Favourites

I've never really been in the habit of sharing monthly favourites or anything like that, but I was at a bit of a loss for what to post today and realised that I have been showing a lot of love to a few products recently, so I decided I'd show you what they are! These are all products that I think are working particularly well for me at the moment as we head into summer, as they really help to give a healthy glow to the skin.
Current Favourites Summer
Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Highlighter in 'Rose Illumination' I've never posted about this little beauty which I picked up in a blog sale around a year ago, but it's perfect for brightening up the face. I like to brush it along my cheekbones when I'm wearing a matte blusher, and I also tend to run it down the centre of my nose. It's a gorgeous rose-gold sheen, as the name might suggest, which wears well and looks subtle but still glowing. The packaging is also stunning (though difficult to photograph!), which is an added bonus.
The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion This is a very new addition to my skincare routine (literally - I've used it twice!), but so far it's love; it smells beautiful, really fresh and citrussy, and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. It's worked really well at smoothing off the little under-the-skin bumps to leave my skin looking much healthier and brighter.
Milani Glimmer Stripes in 'Honey Glimmer' I did a full post on this super-versatile product last year sometime, but lately I've been using the individual strips in the compact as eyeshadow, combining all five for the perfect daytime smokey eye which really brightens my eye area up and leaves me looking polished but not over-done.
Natural Collection Powder Blusher in 'Sugarplum' I love this blusher, which is a beautiful deep, matte plum-red shade. It's super pigmented and blends out so nicely, giving my cheeks a lovely flush of colour. I find this is the perfect partner to the Elizabeth Arden highlighter and have been wearing it almost daily over the last couple of weeks. I think this was £1.99, an absolute bargain!
The Body Shop Shea Lip Butter The Body Shop's lip butters have been in my routine for years and I don't see my love for them fading any time soon; I keep this by my bedside to apply each night and it leaves my lips soft and smooth. It can be hard during the summer months to keep lips from getting dry and cracked, but this works wonders for me year-round. I have similar amounts of love for the Coconut flavour, which lives in my desk drawer for daytime use.
So, those are the products that are currently seeing a lot of love! Have you tried any of these? What are your current favourites?


Monday, 19 May 2014

Mr Nutcase Custom Phone Cases*

I was recently offered the opportunity to receive a custom designed phone case* from Mr Nutcase, an opportunity which I jumped at as I've had the same case on my Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini for the six months I've owned it and had become a little bored with it. I've found that companies offering custom cases tend to limit themselves to iPhones, which has always disappointed me as a hater of Apple products! I was thrilled, therefore, to see that Mr Nutcase offer custom phone cases for a wide range of phone brands, including Samsung, HTC, Nokia, BlackBerry, Sony and of course, iPhones. You're offered the option of choosing from a wide variety of standard designs, which you can customise with your own text, or you can upload your own image or design. You can also choose between a simple slimline case, a leather flip case, or a super-durable wrap-around case, with prices starting at just £14.95.
To make my experience as genuine as possible, I placed my order through the Mr Nutcase site, which allowed me to easily select the make and model of my phone and see what types of cases were available. I opted for the standard slimline case and decided to go with one of the pre-existing designs, simply because I couldn't choose just one photo to add! I decided against adding any text to my design due to the inability to centre-align text - this is my one slight complaint about the site, as to me text which isn't centred just doesn't look right on something like a phone case.
Mr Nutcase Custom Phone Cases
My new phone case was dispatched the day after I placed my order, arriving within two days of my order, which I consider an impressive service for a product which is printed to order! It was wrapped in plastic within a bubble envelope so should be well-protected from any bumps whilst in transit. The case was easy to fit to my phone, looks exactly as I'd hoped it would, and seems to be of excellent quality. I'm really happy with it and would definitely recommend Mr Nutcase if you're looking for a custom-designed case for your phone or other device; I'm seriously considering ordering one for my Mum!
What sort of case do you use with your phone? Would you consider a custom design site like Mr Nutcase?

[*Please note that although this product was provided for review purposes, all thoughts and opinions are, as always, 100% my own.]

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Review: Lacura Anti-Fatigue Face Mask

For those of you who don't know, Lacura are Aldi's own-brand beauty range; I picked up the Lacura Anti-Fatigue Face Mask on a whim one day because, beauty junkie that I am, apparently I can't even do a food shop without becoming distracted by skincare... I'm just proud of myself for not picking up the Pomegranate version too (even if it was only because it was described as for Mature Skin...)
Lacura Anti-Fatigue Face Mask Review
"Intensive moisturising treatment. Counteracts the signs of tiredness and refreshes the skin for a bright and radiant complexion. With Vitamin C, Camu-Camu, Orange and Acerola Fruit Extract. 
Stress, poor air quality, overheated rooms and a lack of sleep can lead to skin looking tired and pale. The Lacura Anti-Fatigue Face Mask contains extracts of the fruits most rich in Vitamin C, as well as protective Vitamin E and high quality sea buckthorn oil which is also rich in vitamins. With a special combination of active ingredients, it supports the skin's own natural processes, brightens the complexion and leaves skin looking radiant. How it works: 1. Provides intensive moisture. 2. Has been especially developed to counteract the visual signs of tiredness. 3. Refreshes the skin. Results: Noticeable rapid suppleness. Vitalises. Brightens the complexion for radiant skin."
So, that's a whole lot of claims for one face mask, but essentially it boils down to moisturisation and radiance; two things I think most of us are happy to get from our skincare!
Lacura Anti Fatigue Face Mask Review Aldi
Within the outer cardboard packaging, the face mask is contained within a squeezy plastic tube with a click-off cap; application is via a brush which you twist to unlock, allowing dispensation of the product, then twist again to lock after use. I have to say, this is the best face mask packaging I have ever used, as it makes application so easy and fuss-free; you simply brush the onto the face as directed, then wash the brush out with warm water ready for next time.
Review Lacura Anti Fatigue Face Mask
The mask itself is an orange-yellow gel in colour which smells quite strongly of oranges; personally I found it really pleasant to use and the scent lasts on the skin for the duration of the mask. The product doesn't really dry on the skin, rather sitting and remaining sticky and gel-like in texture. I tend to wait 10-15 minutes before washing off with warm water and a face cloth, or rinsing in the shower.
I have to agree with all the claims made; my skin really does look brighter, more radiant and less tired after using this mask! My face is left feeling soft, smooth and really well-moisturised, which is lovely. Dry skin isn't really a problem for me but my skin can definitely tend towards dehydration, despite being oily; this mask counteracts that beautifully and I can imagine that if you do struggle with dry skin, this would be just as nice.
In all, this has been a wonderful introduction to Lacura's skincare products and has definitely left me wanting to try more from the range! Priced at just £3.99 for 40ml of product, this is an absolute steal and is a product I'd definitely recommend picking up if you spot it in store; as far as I'm aware this is still available in my local Aldi, but their products can change quite frequently, so if you'd like to try it I'd suggest looking sooner rather than later!
Have you tried any of Lacura's skincare products? What do you think to supermarket brands? Do you like the sound of this face mask?


Friday, 16 May 2014

Our Focus On: The UK's Best Theatre Shows*

Nothing is better than a dressing up in a beautiful evening dress and heading to the theatre with your friends or your partner to watch a show. There are some amazing shows on at theatres across the UK every year, showcasing the best writers and performers in theatreland. You don't even have to stay in London to see the very best shows, as they're just as likely to be in a theatre near you. Take a look at some excellent shows coming up soon:
Calamity Jane
You'll find Calamity Jane at the Edinburgh Playhouse between the 23rd and 27th of September this year. Fall in love with this hapless heroine as she desperately tries to push aside her tomboy image to win the heart of the man she loves, with lots of laughs along the way. When things don't quite go to plan she realises that love has many guises and can even be right infront of you if you know where to look. A wonderful show, with catchy songs, high energy dances and a great plot line.

Jimmy Carr
Join funny man Jimmy Carr at the Manchester Apollo on the 20th of February 2015 for a night of fun and laughter. Always popular with fans of comedy, Jimmy Carr's new show is full of witty one liners, completely inappropriate jokes and lots and lots of laughter - a great one to see.

The Lion King
See this amazing production at The Empire Theatre in Liverpool until the 5th of July. You'll no doubt be familiar with this popular story of The Lion King, featuring Simba the lion cub and the challenges he overcomes to become The Lion King, but you'll never have seen it told like this before. With simply stunning costumes and masks, well loved songs and high energy dancing, it's wonderful to see on your own or with the children. Absolutely awe-inspiring.
Evening Dresses at George
Whichever show you choose to see, you're bound to have a wonderful time. There are other such theatrical delights as Dirty Dancing, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Book of Mormon, Billy Elliott and The Weir to enjoy throughout the country, along with many more. So treat yourself to that gorgeous new evening dress and head to the theatre for a night of fun, laughter and entertainment you'll cherish for a lifetime!
What was the last show you saw at the theatre? I think for me it was John Bishop at Lancaster Grand Theatre towards the end of last year! Do you like to get dressed up for an evening out?

[*Please note this is a sponsored post.]

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette

I was lucky enough recently to win a giveaway over on Kate's blog, A British Sparkle, and one of the things I was sent in my lovely little bundle of prizes was Makeup Revolution's Redemption Palette, which is described as "Acid Brights"; a pretty apt description, as I'm sure you'll agree upon looking at the shades this eyeshadow palette contains! Makeup Revolution have been a bit of a "thing" on quite a few blogs recently, making waves with their reasonably-priced products and huge shade range.
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette
Packaging-wise, I have to say the Makeup Revolution palettes remind me strongly of MUA, though I do feel that these ones are slightly heavier and more durable. The shadows are presented in twelve stripes, rather than the round pans favoured by MUA; I think I prefer the longer strips as it's easier to pick up the colour with your brush.
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette1
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette2
The palette includes a foam applicator which in honesty, I only really use for swatching the shades in the palette, preferring to use my brushes for actual application. The shades, from left to right, include: deep fuchsia with a blue sheen; matte white; matte neon yellow; matte neon orange; mid-blue with shimmer; light blue with shimmer; matte mid-purple; matte olive green; matte neon pink; matte lime green; silver with shimmer; matte dark grey.
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette Swatches 1
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette Swatches 2
I find that the majority of the shades are well pigmented, the first swipe of colour can be a little washed out but two or three swipes is easily enough for a strong colour; the only one lacking pigmentation is the white, which doesn't surprise me as white shadows are notoriously poorly pigmented. The shades all seem to blend reasonably well, with minimal fall-out, though the matte shades are slightly on the chalky side. I think the range of shades is really lovely and gives plenty of scope for experimenting with colourful make-up looks. The shadows last reasonably well, easily 6-8 hours with very minimal creasing, even without primer on my oily lids. You're well equipped to create a blue, green or pink smokey eye with the shades included, and I love combining the yellow, orange and pinks for a 'sunset'-inspired look. You can see below two looks I've created using this palette, firstly a blue smokey eye using the two blue shades, and secondly the sunset look I mentioned, using the yellow, orange and two pink shades.
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette Blue Smokey Eye
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette Sunset EOTD
In all, I'm really enjoying using the Redemption palette, which is available from Superdrug or Makeup Revolution priced at £4 for the 12 shadows; Superdrug currently have a 3 for 2 offer on all Makeup Revolution products so now might be a good time to make a cheeky purchase if you're interested in trying out a couple of their offerings. I'd definitely recommend this palette as an easy and affordable way to add a dash of colour to your make-up collection and experiment with different shades on your eyes!
Have you tried any of Makeup Revolution's products? What do you think of the shades in this palette? How would you wear them?

[*Although this palette was not purchased by me, I have not been asked to review it nor am I being compensated for doing so. As always, all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.]

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

NOTD: 'Kimono'

I've had this polish for quite a while now, we're talking at least a couple of years, yet I've never featured it properly on this little blog - though I do recall mentioning it in an 'Autumn polish picks' post at some point!? 'Kimono' Nail Pop by Look Beauty is a lovely duochrome shade which switches between green and a bronze/gold colour, depending on the light. As I recall, I ordered it after seeing it mentioned as a dupe for Chanel's 'Peridot', which I don't own and have never seen on the nails in person, but looking at swatches online I have to agree there is a strong resemblance. Chanel aside, 'Kimono' applied really nicely, it went on very smoothly and I could easily have got away with one coat, though the photos below show two over a base of OPI's Nail Envy, as always. I've had several compliments whilst wearing this polish and have really enjoyed how it looks on my nails. I still think it's a perfect Autumn shade but it's still really pretty for Spring and, let's be honest, the weather at the moment is more Autumnal than anything else - if I see much more rain I'll cry!
NOTD Look Beauty Kimono Nail Pop
NOTD Look Beauty Nail Pop 'Kimono'
'Kimono' is available from Superdrug, priced at £3.79 for 10ml of polish. What do you think of 'Kimono'? Do you own 'Peridot'? Are you happy to settle for cheaper dupes, or do you have to have the "real thing"?


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Six Mini Reviews #5: The Body Shop, Vichy, REN & more

I've been making more progress in my quest to clear my stash of samples, so here are another six I've finished up and cleared out! I'm sharing my thoughts on each product, along with whether I'll be buying the full size. I suppose this is technically seven samples, but the shampoo & conditioner came attached together so I'm only counting them as one!
Six Mini Reviews Body Shop Neal & Wolf REN Vichy
Vichy Idealia Pro Deep Corrector It does annoy me when a sample sachet gives you no indication of how you're supposed to use a product, and this was one of those; no suggestion whatsoever of whether this is a moisturiser, a serum, a primer... I had to guess. I used it as a serum, before my moisturiser, in the mornings, and found that it helped to smooth my skin and even my skintone slightly, though not enough that I'd consider skipping a proper base. Looking into it, this is actually designed for dark spots, which isn't something I suffer from at the moment, so I don't think I'll be investing in the full size anytime soon; currently on offer at Boots online, £21.75 for 30ml (25% off full-price £29).
The Nail Junkie Cutie Balm This was the first cuticle balm I ever used and this tiny pot has lasted me literally about a year of using it every evening I remember. It feels quite greasy on the skin, taking a few minutes to soak in, which is why I've preferred to use it of an evening rather than during the daytime. That said, it did do a lovely job of hydrating my cuticle area, along with smelling beautiful! It's also actually really good value at around £2.42 for a 10g jar, but it's probably not something I'd order due to it having to be shipped from the US.
REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream This was a magazine sample which I've really enjoyed using; it smells gorgeous, soaks into the skin quickly leaving it feeling soft, hydrated and slightly matte, and didn't cause me any break-outs or other skin concerns. A little also went a really long way with this moisturiser, so the full-size 50ml would last ages - despite being a little beyond my current budget at £27.
The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream A sample I picked up at the #TBSXmasBonanza, this smelt gorgeous (just like marzipan - yum!) and hydrated my hands beautifully without leaving them feeling sticky or greasy in the slightest. It's basically everything I look for in a hand cream and I do see myself purchasing the full-size of this, or at least one of the Body Shop Hand & Nail Creams, once I've used up a few more of my existing hand cream stockpile! This is £5 for 30ml, or £10 for the huge 100ml tube.
Neal & Wolf Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo & Daily Conditioner Another product I could sit and sniff all day, both the shampoo and conditioner smell absolutely beautiful! I found the shampoo cleaned my hair well, whilst the conditioner left it feeling soft and manageable without being greasy or weighed-down. I wouldn't buy these again but that's purely due to the SLS in the shampoo, which is okay as a one-off but for me it's a no-no in everyday products as it triggers my eczema really badly. These are pretty pricey, at £38 for the duo, although you do get a huge 950ml of both the shampoo and the conditioner for your pennies, there.
The Body Shop Vanilla Bliss Body Butter Another gorgeous-smelling product, this body butter smells exactly as you'd expect; a deep, almost musky vanilla fragrance. The body butter spread easily over my legs and soaked in relatively quickly to give a decent amount of hydration to my dry skin. I'm not sure that I'd choose this particular scent again as I seem to favour the fruity scents more at the moment, but it might be one I'd pick up as we head into winter again; this is actually a Limited Edition festive scent which isn't currently available.
Have you tried any of these products? Have you used any samples up lately? How do you decide whether to buy the full-sized version of a sample you've tried?


Friday, 9 May 2014

Dotty For Polka Dots!

I'm not sure what it is but I'm utterly obsessed with polka dots at the moment; from Topshop's super-cute make-up packaging, right through to every spotted accessory, I want them all! Here are some of my favourite pieces featuring the polka dot!
Polka Dots
Neon Coral Polka Dot Bikini Top, £7.99, and Bottoms, £4.99 , New Look
American Apparel Polka Dot Blouse, £56, ASOS
I think the UK may have had what Summer we're getting this year, judging by the gales and torrential rain at the moment, but I still love this pretty neon bikini with frilled detail! How cute are the lace-trimmed skater skirt and loose sleeves of this pretty peach dress from Love!? eBay is always a great place to look for cute jewellery and these spotty button earrings are no exception, at a bargain price too. The heart-print clutch is so sweet and would be lovely with a plain white top and denim shorts for a casual outfit once we get a bit more sunshine! I love the ruched waist detail of the Iris skirt, and again I think this'd be lovely with a plain white vest top and some tan sandals. I still have a bit of a love affair with satchels going on, and Zatchels have a beautiful polka dot range with several colourways available; this baby blue is so pretty and spring-perfect! I mentioned Topshop's make-up packaging earlier, but how pretty is this spring green shade?! Finally, I love this sheer American Apparel blouse from ASOS which has two pockets, making me love it even more!
What are your views on polka dots? Which is your favourite of my picks? What's your current favourite print?


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Review: W7 City Slicker Eye Make-Up Remover*

I was recently sent a few W7 bits and pieces to try out, one of which was their City Slicker Eye Make-Up Remover*; I wasn't even aware W7 did any skincare products so I was pretty keen to see how this would fare in terms of removing tough waterproof mascara without stinging my sensitive eyes! The packaging of this product is very basic; a clear plastic bottle with a white screw cap, and very minimal details printed on the label: "Shake well before use. Apply eye make-up remover to cotton wool. Removes all eye make-up including waterproof products." So, er, that didn't give me much in the way of expectations!
W7 City Slicker Eye Makeup Remover
[Ingredients: Aqua, Isohexadecane, Cyclopentasiloxane/Cyclohexasiloxane,
Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol/Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA.
May contain: CI 61565, CI 42090 (FD&C Blue 1).]
The product itself is a bright blue in colour, consisting of a oil/water mix which combines when you shake the bottle prior to using. I've been soaking a cotton pad with the liquid, pressing against my eye for 10-15 seconds, then wiping away before repeating on the other eye. I've found that it easily removes all traces of eyeshadow, and the majority of my mascara is also removed; I'm currently alternating between Benefit's They're Real!, which is notoriously difficult to removed, and a waterproof Max Factor mascara, which is removed almost completely by this product. Any last traces are easily removed with my regular cleanser. I do find that City Slicker leaves a slightly oily feeling to my eye area, but again once I've cleansed my face properly this is no longer a problem. I haven't found it to irritate my eyes or sting at all, which is an obvious bonus!
I've really struggled to find stockists of this product, although I have found it on eBay and on Amazon at £3.99 for 140ml; at that price I think it's pretty good value as this size bottle will last me around two months, but I don't see myself going to the hassle of re-ordering it when it's no better than the Garnier product I was using previously, which is much easier to find! It's by no means a bad product, it just isn't readily available enough for me to continue using it.
Have you tried W7's Eye Make-Up Remover? Did you know the brand offered skincare products? What are your thoughts on using budget brands like this on an area as delicate as the eyes?

[*This product was provided for review purposes; as always, all thoughts are 100% my own.]

Friday, 2 May 2014

Review: Premae Balance Rescue Cleansing Gel Face Wash*

The lovely folks over at Baobella Boutique recently sent me a bottle of Premae Balance Rescue Cleansing Gel Face Wash* to try out. Designed with Oily/Combination skintypes in mind, the cleanser sounded right up my street and I was keen to give it a try! Presented in a 100ml plastic bottle with a pump, I can't help but feel that the packaging doesn't sell the product as well as it might; the label isn't stuck on straight and honestly looks a little unprofessional. I'm not one to judge a book by its cover, though, so I didn't let that put me off.
The ingredients list is short and sweet, containing Lemongrass and Aloe Vera amongst others; based on this, I was expecting the product to have quite a noticeable, fresh scent, but I've found that the clear colourless gel is actually almost scent-free. This isn't necessarily a bad thing and doubtless sensitive skins would prefer it this way, but I must admit to being a little disappointed there.
Premae Gel Cleanser
So, onto the product itself; I find that one full pump is far too much product, so I've been using about half a pump to massage onto my face with damp hands. I double cleanse in the evening, so I've been using this in conjunction with a cream cleanser; Superdrug's Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser at first, and now I've finished that, REN's ClearCalm3 Clay Cleanser. Used first, I don't feel that the Premae Gel Face Wash removes 100% of my make-up, so I'd definitely not be comfortable using it alone, though in the morning it's perfect to freshen my skin up for the day. Used after a cream cleanser, the gel does a lovely job of rinsing away any last traces of dirt, leaving my skin feeling clean. I've not really found the cleanser to make much difference to my skin, in all honesty; it's no more or less oily than previously, and it doesn't seem to have affected the few hormonal blemishes I get.
Premae Cleansing Gel Face Wash
Overall, this is a nice gel cleanser but for me, it's nothing special. I've also found that within about three weeks of using this twice daily, I'm halfway through the bottle, which is a lot faster than I'm used to getting through a cleanser. For these reasons, I probably wouldn't repurchase this, as there are other gel cleansers which I feel do more for my skin and are better value for money than the Premae Balance Rescue Cleansing Gel Face Wash, which is priced at £22.50 for 100ml.
Baobella Boutique
The Baobella Boutique is basically a members-only online beauty store, offering a wide range of products at really great prices; new deals are added daily and are available for a limited time, so you have to act quickly to snap up a bargain. Some of the current deals available include Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream at 45% off and Ciaté nail polishes at 35% off. I'd definitely recommend signing up to their newsletter to keep up-to-date with current offers and grab yourself a bargain or two!

[*Please note, this product was provided free of charge in return for a 100% honest review. As always, this doesn't, and will never, affect my review in any way.]
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