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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Empties: July 2014

July has been an interesting month for a number of reasons; without going into too much detail, there are a lot of big changes coming up in my life and I've been trying to prepare for those as much as possible. I've also been blogging a lot more than in the previous few months, which I'm pleased about, and really happy with the way my blog is looking at the moment. I was thrilled to launch my 500 Bloglovin' Follower Giveaway, something I'd been looking forward to for months in fact, and it'll be open for another couple of weeks so if you're in the UK, get your entries in now! All that aside, however, I don't seem to have finished a huge number of products.
July 2014 Beauty Empties
REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser I wasn't particularly sold on this cleanser, I liked it but didn't love it and didn't feel it really lived up to my expectations. I enjoyed using it but the smell was a little off-putting for me and I wouldn't say it's the best cleanser I've ever used, though it was one of the more expensive. I hear so many rave reviews on REN so I have to admit to being a little bit disappointed in this; it just wasn't as special as I'd hoped. Maybe my hopes were too high, but either way this wasn't a winner for me.
Repurchase? Probably not.
Naked Volume Shampoo My standard shampoo, this doesn't trigger my eczema and does a reasonable job at keeping my oily hair under control; I can just about manage two days between washes with the liberal use of dry shampoo, which is the best I've ever managed. If anyone has any suggestions for reasonably-priced SLS-free shampoos which are good for oily hair, I'd love to hear them!
Repurchase? Yes.
W7 City Slicker Eye Make-up Remover* This was a pretty decent biphase eye make-up remover which required shaking the bottle to mix the two liquids, one water-based and one oil-based, before applying with a cotton pad. I found it did a reasonable job at removing eye make-up without stinging my eyes, which is the main thing for an eye make-up remover to achieve after all!
Repurchase? Probably not, as it's not readily available.
The Body Shop Passionfruit Body Butter The Body Shop's body butters are a Holy Grail product for me and my eczema, without a doubt; I never buy them at full price but stock up when there are sales or offers on. The Passionfruit scent is a gorgeous summery one which I've really enjoyed using and definitely did the trick for keeping my legs soft and smooth.
Repurchase? Probably, though I do like to rotate my scents!
Superdrug Cotton Pads One of life's less exciting essentials, these do the job just fine and are always on offer. There is very little to say about cotton pads to be honest!
Repurchase? Yes.
Dove Summer Glow Beauty Body Lotion I have no idea how long I've had this bottle, but I'm pretty sure it's survived at least two house moves... I recently dug it out from the back of a shelf, failed to get any lotion out, and cut it open to discover enough for two applications to my legs. God only knows why I'd been carting that around with me for an indeterminate number of years! I'm not a huge fan, the ingredients seem to dry my skin out and I don't find it does much to give me a "summer glow".
Repurchase? No.
Ted Baker Body Spray This came as part of a gift set which I won quite some time ago now; it smells beautiful and I've been really enjoying wearing it on a daily basis over the last month or so. I'm sorry to see the back of it! Body spray isn't something I tend to buy, but I'd be more than happy to receive this as a gift.
Repurchase? I'd consider it, once I've used up all the other body sprays I seem to have accumulated over the years!
Benefit They're Real! Mascara (Not pictured because I accidentally threw it away!) This was a magazine sample which I was really excited to try, given the hype surrounding They're Real!, but again I was a little disappointed; I don't think it's anything special beyond the fact it's an absolute horror to remove! I'm lucky in that I have quite long lashes anyway, so I guess if you have shorter lashes it may work to your advantage, but for me I didn't see results which were any better than my usual, much more reasonably-priced, mascaras!
Repurchase? No.
So, those are the few products I've finished up in July; not a lot, I know, but at least I've cleared out a couple of things I've been hoarding for years! Have you finished many products this month? How has July treated you?


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Lambrini Strawberry*

I was recently sent a bottle of Lambrini Strawberry to try out in order to share my thoughts with you all; I feel I should preface all I am about to say with a confession. I don't like wine. I never have and I doubt that I ever will; it just tastes sour to me and seems like a dreadful waste of perfectly good grape juice. Give me rum any day! There are, however, occasions when it would be nice to appear sophisticated and grown-up and have a glass of wine with a meal or at a wedding, without pulling what I like to refer to as the "wine face" after every mouthful. I know Lambrini is not generally seen as a classy drink, but once it's in a wine glass, who's gonna know!? Lambrini Strawberry is described as, "A slightly sparkling flavoured fruit wine."
Lambrini Strawberry Review
As a consequence of not liking wine, I don't actually own any wine glasses. I therefore ended up drinking this from a regular glass, which didn't look half as sophisticated and grown-up, so I didn't take any photos. For me, this is possibly the answer to my wine conundrum; it looks like rosé in the glass, but tastes like those posh flavoured ciders you can get. It's slightly sparkly and sweet, didn't cause any wine face, and is remarkably easy to drink. It's only 5% ABV so a couple of glasses doesn't equate to much more than one unit - bonus! Obviously as with all alcoholic beverages you should drink responsibly and only if you're of legal drinking age in your country of residence... Lambrini Strawberry has an RRP of £3.20 for a 75cl bottle and I can see it being the perfect accompaniment to summer barbecues, picnics on the beach, and evenings in beer gardens. Do you like wine? What's your drink of choice? Have you tried Lambrini Strawberry?

PS, I'm giving away a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies to celebrate 500 Bloglovin' Followers, you can enter here!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Skincare Wishlist: Cleansers

I admit to being a little bit of a skincare obsessive; there is little I love more than buying and trying new skincare products! One of my favourite parts of my skincare routine is taking my make-up off at the end of the day - I love the feeling of fresh, clean skin. Whilst I'm pretty happy with my current cleansers, I'm always looking for new products to try, so here are a few cleansers I'm liking the sound of at the moment...
Skincare Wishlist: Cleansers
(Clockwise from top right:)
Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser, £18.50
Superfacialist Neroli Daily Brightening Cleanser, £7.99
Lush Dark Angels Cleanser, £6.40
REN Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm, £30
Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil, £22.50
Sanctuary Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser, £7
I'm a massive lover of Origins skincare and have wanted to try the GinZing cleanser/scrub since it was released; I love a good scrub so this sounds right up my street. I've really enjoyed the Superfacialist products I've tried and this Neroli brightening cleanser sounds really lovely, dull skin is a problem for me so I'd like to see how well this worked! The Dark Angels cleanser from Lush seems to get mixed reviews but as my skin is super oily, I'd like to at least give it a try. I love cleansing balms and oils, so both the REN Rosa Centifolia cleansing balm and the Origins cleansing oil sound really lovely to me, there's something about an oil cleanser that feels so nourishing on the skin! Hot cloth cleansers are another love of mine and I'm really keen to try some Sanctuary skincare, hence my inclusion of this little number (which is an absolute bargain!). I've heard nothing but good things about Superfacialist's Tea Flower range, the cleanser sounds like a joy to use! Finally, I'm loving my Camomile Cleansing Oil from The Body Shop, but the Cleansing Butter equivalent has also caught my eye, and again I've heard a lot of good things about it.
Have you tried any of these cleansers? Do you have any of these on your wishlist? What's your favourite cleanser?

PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway for a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Recipe: Chocolate Banana Loaf

Recipe Chocolate Banana Bread
Most people, so I am told, are in the habit of adapting recipes to make them healthier. Incidentally, I have discovered another way in which I am not most people; I thought about making a Banana Loaf, and then I thought, "Nah, too healthy. Needs chocolate." And thus, I adapted my recipe to include chocolate. No regrets, it's really good! Chocolate and banana are an excellent combination. Should you be interested in making a perfectly good Banana Loaf a little less healthy-sounding, read on to find out what I did!
Chocolate Banana Loaf Recipe
Start by greasing a 1lb-loaf tin and dusting with flour and pre-heating the oven to 170°C. In an electric mixer, combine two eggs and 280g Soft light brown sugar, beating well until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, mash two medium bananas, then stir them into the egg and sugar mixture. Combine 240g Plain flour, 5tbsp Cocoa powder, 1tsp Baking powder, 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda, 1tsp Ground ginger and 1tsp Ground Cinnamon. Melt 140g Butter in a microwaveable bowl in 30-second bursts.
Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe
Add the flour etc. to the banana mixture and beat until incorporated. Pour in the melted butter and stir in well. You could, at this point, add chocolate chips - I did intend to but somehow forgot! I'd use around 100g and stir to disperse evenly, or you could sprinkle them on the top once in the tin. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin and bake at 170°C for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe Chocolate Banana Loaf
This is, for me, just the right amount of chocolatey, with the banana flavour still detectable underneath and a lovely ginger kick to it. I'd love to hear if you give this a go! Are you in the habit of adapting recipes to suit your needs and tastes? Some people seem to get it naturally, whilst others insist upon following a recipe to the letter; an ex-housemate of mine was in the latter party and used to get incredibly anxious when I'd switch things around, and then confused when it still worked! What's the best recipe substitution or adaptation you've tried? Do you like chocolate and banana together?

PS, Remember you can still enter my 500 Bloglovin' Follower Giveaway for a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Review: The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment

I picked up The Body Shop's Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment a few months back, in my search for a night cream which will moisturise my oily-but-dehydrated skin without feeling greasy or heavy, and help to control my excess oil situation. I'd tried a sample of the Mattifying Day Cream from the same range, but hadn't really read or heard anything about the Clarifying Night Treatment, so I was keen to see how it would fare. Read on to see what I think after using this nightly for the last two months.
The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment Review
"Balances excess oil as it moisturises. Provides moisture where needed while you sleep. Leaves skin hydrated, soft, fresh and balanced. Oil-free. With bladderwrack seaweed. Smooth onto face and neck using an upward, circular motion. The bladderwrack seaweed we use grows wild in clean waters off the south-west coast of Ireland."
The packaging is great as far as I'm concerned; a plastic bottle which is perfect for travelling with and comes equipped with a pump for easy, hygienic access to the product. I find that one pump is the perfect amount for my whole face; the gel spreads nicely, feels lovely and light on the skin, and is absorbed quickly without feeling sticky or greasy in the slightest. The gel has a very light scent to it which is completely inoffensive and impossible to detect once it's on your face - so far, so good! The next morning, my skin doesn't feel dry or tight as it sometimes can of a morning, and I also find my forehead isn't quite its usual oil slick. Don't get me wrong, there is still a definite shine to my skin, but it's nowhere near the usual degree. For me, that pretty much makes this product a winner; however, looking on The Body Shop's website, a lot of the reviews suggest that this hasn't worked at all for a lot of people, with many reviews claiming their skin was left feeling dry and yet still just as oily. This hasn't been my experience (indeed, I've had the total opposite experience!) but it's something to bear in mind if you're considering buying this product. As always, skincare is very personal and even within similar skin-types, what works for one person isn't guaranteed to work for the next!
The Body Shop Clarifying Seaweed Night Treatment
The Body Shop's Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment is priced at £12 for 30ml of product which is pretty reasonably as far as moisturisers go! In two months I've used around half the bottle, using one pump most nights, so it lasts fairly well. This is definitely one I'd recommend for those of you who, like me, often find they wake in the morning with a face resembling an oil slick; this moisturises the skin and works well to keep excess oil under control. Have you tried anything from The Body Shop's Seaweed range? What's your favourite night-time moisturiser?

PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning an amazing Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Saturday, 26 July 2014


This is a post I've been meaning to write for a while now but never seem to have got round to; it's been moved from list to list of posts to write & photos to take, but I've finally decided enough is enough, so here you can have a little peek at what I keep on my bedside table - if that's the sort of thing that interests you! I have to admit it's not normally this tidy - I did have to put away four nail polishes and wipe up several mug rings before I took this photo...
Bedside Table
The little purple lamp is from Wilkinson's and was about £4, I got it about three years ago I think! I always have hand cream and lip balm by my bed so that hopefully I remember to apply them before going to sleep; currently, we're looking at Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream, and The Body Shop's Shea Lip Butter. I also have a sample of Badger Cuticle Balm which I sometimes remember to use and sometimes don't. I really like this, though, and am thinking I'll buy a full-size at some point! I also keep a little stack of reading material next to my bed; at the moment, we have this month's InStyle magazine, along with my Kindle and two books I purchased recently - Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe and Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay. I used to be really bad for getting into bed and playing on my phone for an hour, but recently I'm making more of an effort to read instead, which is really nice. Finally, we have my little Pied à Terre candle* which I posted about here, which is lovely to light for an hour or so while I relax with a book of an evening. What do you keep next to your bed at night? Anything you think is missing from my bedside table?

PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance to win a fab Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Introducing: Shona Elizabeth

My Featured Blogger for this month, July, is the lovely Shona from Shona Elizabeth, whose button you may have noticed (and hopefully clicked!) up at the top of my right-hand sidebar over the last few weeks. Shona blogs mainly about beauty, with a little bit of fashion & lifestyle thrown in now and again.  Here is what Shona has to say about blogging:
"I love blogging because it gives me a chance to get away for a bit, it allows me to express my love for all things beauty with people who want to listen. Being able to talk to the blogging community is amazing and has gained me some friends that, even though I haven't met, will always be up for a chat or be there for me when I'm feeling a little down. I also love finding loads of new products through other blogs and supporting other bloggers throughout their blogging journey. I love blogging as a hobby and I am so happy I started."
On that note, here are some recent posts from Shona which I've enjoyed!
Makeup Revolution Haul
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water Review
Barry M Papaya NOTD
Barry M 'Papaya' NOTD
Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub
Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub
How lovely are Shona's nails!? I do hope you'll pop on over to her blog to say hello, let her know I sent you! If you're interested in being a Featured Blogger on Just Jess, you can find more details here.


PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

NOTD: 'Elderberry' // Matte

You may have seen recently that I shared a few new Barry M polishes I picked up, one of which was 'Elderberry' from the Gelly Hi-Shine range, one of my most-purchased nail polish ranges. I also picked up Barry M's new Matte Top Coat as I'd read good things about it and I do love the look of matte nails! I decided to see how well the two would combine; starting with a base coat of OPI's Nail Envy, I applied two coats of 'Elderberry', which went on beautifully and was fully opaque within the two coats. I then added one coat of the Matte Top Coat which again applied really nicely and had the added bonus of drying pretty quickly.
NOTD Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Elderberry + Matte Top Coat
Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Elderberry Matte Top Coat
Barry M 'Elderberry' is priced at £3.99 for 10ml of product in Boots or Superdrug, with the Matte Top Coat being £2.99 for 10ml. I really like this unusual dusky blue-grey shade which is unlike anything else I own (a rare polish indeed!) and can't quite decide whether I like it better glossy or matte! What do you think? What's your favourite polish from the Gelly Hi-Shine range? Are there any polishes you'd like to see matte?

PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway!!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin

Asking for recommendations for foundations which are good on oily skin and come in fair shades, Revlon's ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin was a suggestion which popped up fairly frequently, and upon checking it out in Superdrug I found that not only was there a 'Buy One, Get One Half Price' offer on Revlon products, but the shade 110 'Ivory' looked like a pretty dead match for my skintone. Needless to say, I picked a bottle up, and I've now been wearing it for a few weeks and am ready to share my thoughts (I also picked up the ColorBurst Matte Balm in 'Elusive').
Revlon ColorStay Foundation CombinationOily Skin Review
Revlon says, "Wears for up to 24 hours; flawless look, lightweight feel", which sounds pretty good to me; I don't think anyone actually wears their foundation for 24 hours (do they!?) but that suggests it should bear up pretty well to a full day's wear. I tend to favour a medium-full coverage from my base, but don't like my face to feel like I'm wearing a mask, so the flawless lightweight formula sounds pretty perfect as well! First of all, I was pretty disappointed to see that the bottle isn't fitted with a pump; that's a real problem for me as I really like the convenience of a pump as opposed to having to bash the bottle onto the back of my hand, which is both painful and messy, and makes it difficult to get all the foundation out of the bottle. If budget brands can include a pump with a £4 foundation, why can't Revlon manage it with a £12 one? This would have to be a bloomin' good foundation for me to consider repurchasing based on the lack of pump alone, it really lets the product down for me.
Revlon Colorstay Foundation FOTD
That aside, 'Ivory' is pretty much the perfect shade for my super-pale skin, which is nice. I tend to apply over a primer, my preference being either The Body Shop's Tea Tree Pore Minimiser or Pop Beauty's Face Magnet. I've found that the foundation seems to dry very quickly, so applying with my beloved Real Techniques Expert Face Brush was pretty unsuccessful; I just ended up with a patchy finish and brushstrokes everywhere which isn't a good look! Applied with either my fingers or a damp make-up sponge, however, this goes on pretty nicely, giving a medium coverage which is buildable where necessary. As you'd maybe expect from a foundation for oily skins, this does really cling to any dry patches and looks awful, so make sure you've exfoliated and moisturised well before applying! I always set my foundation with a powder to reduce transfer and help it last longer; it's not really necessary with this foundation as it sets so quickly to a smooth, matte finish, but I've been doing it anyway out of habit. My face doesn't stay matte all day, not by any stretch of the imagination, but the combination of a good primer, this foundation, and plenty of powder, seems to keep my make-up in place and I can keep on top of the shine with more powder every few hours. It's definitely one of the better foundations I've tried in terms of staying put on my oily skin and still feeling fresh at the end of a shift at work, but I don't think I'd consider it a "holy grail" product for me.
Revlon Colorstay Foundation
[Products used: Pop! Beauty Face Magnet Primer; Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in 110 'Ivory'; Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 'Fair'; Collection Loose Powder in 'Translucent'; Natural Collection Powder Blush in 'Sugar Plum'; Elizabeth Arden Highlighter in 'Rose Illumination'; MUA Pro Brow Kit; MUA Dusk to Dawn Palette; Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara in 'Black-Brown'; ELF Matte Lip Color in 'Tea Rose']
Overall, Revlon's ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin gives a good colour match and  lasts well on my very oily skin; despite the lack of pump, I'll probably repurchase this once I'm done with this bottle. It's a little more than I'm happy paying for a drugstore foundation, particularly considering the pump situation, but it's often included in 3 for 2 offers and similar, so choosing your time to purchase wisely can save you a few pounds. Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin is priced at £12.49 for 30ml and available from Boots & Superdrug, amongst other stores. Have you tried this foundation? What's the best foundation you've tried for oily skin? Any recommendations for me on keeping shine at bay?

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Followers Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a mystery box of beauty goodies!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Review: Skinetica Anti-Blemish Super Toner*

Recently, I was asked if I'd like to try Skinetica*, an Anti-Blemish Super Toner aimed at those with blemish-prone skin. My skin has been something of a nightmare over the past couple of months, having breakout after breakout for no readily apparent reason, so I was quick to say yes please! Skinetica claim their product, "Uses the very latest in molecular science to produce a new and revolutionary product which combines 3 functions in one: Anti-blemish skincare treatment; Super toner; Base to make-up foundation. Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, and all ethnicities." I've been using it now for around a month; I was sent a 15ml sample bottle as well as the full-sized 70ml bottle which is in the new-style packaging. I have to say I much prefer the classy new blue and silver packaging to the old white bottles with green & blue print, which to me look a little too much like an acne range for teenagers... The new blue bottle looks much nicer and less obtrusive on my bathroom shelf.
Following the instructions, I've been applying my Skinetica morning and evening, after cleansing and before moisturising, using a cotton pad to sweep the clear, colourless liquid generously over my face and neck. Even after cleansing twice of an evening, I find that more often than not a little bit more make-up comes off on my cotton pad, which is depressing considering I thought my skin was clean! However, it should also mean that the Skinetica will make a difference, right!? Within the first week or so of using it, I found that my skin all but cleared up completely; going from literally around forty blemishes on my chin, cheeks and forehead to only a handful. I was mightily impressed. However, since then, my skin has gone downhill a little again; I've had new spots spring up in the same places and I can't honestly say I've noticed them going away any more quickly than before I was using Skinetica. I'm a bit bemused by this to be honest, as I had high hopes for Skinetica and at first it seemed like the product was going to live up to them, only to end up almost back where I started. I was a little concerned that the alcohol in the ingredients list would dry out or irritate my skin but thankfully this doesn't seem to have been the case. I'm not entirely convinced by the claim that Skinetica makes a good make-up base, either; I haven't found that my make-up "locks onto" my skin as their website suggested it might, and I certainly haven't found it stops my make-up melting in the heat - as always, I rely on a primer and liberal helpings of powder to avoid this curse of the oily-skinned!
Skinetica Review
Using Skinetica has highlighted for me the importance of using a toner and this is definitely a step I'll be adding into my routine on a more permanent basis to ensure all traces of make-up are removed each evening. I'm planning to stick with Skinetica for another month or two and see if my skin settles down. If so, I'd definitely repurchase as after the first week of use my skin looked bloomin' amazing! If I can get that back, I'll be thrilled, and if not, I'll try a different toner. Skinetica can be ordered directly from the Skinetica website, with prices starting at £9.99 for a 70ml bottle and getting cheaper the more bottles you order. Have you tried Skinetica? Did you find it effective right away? Are there any other toners you'd recommend for oily, blemish-prone skin?

*This product was provided in return for an honest review; as always, all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.
PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Review: Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream

You may have seen in my post about this month's magazine freebies that I picked up a tube of Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream with the August issue of InStyle; I thought I'd pop up a quick review in time for you to hopefully track one down yourself if you like the sound of it!
Neal';s Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream
[Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol,
Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax),
Cetearyl Glucoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Citrus Sinensis Peel Oil Expressed,
Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate,
Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Potassium Sorbate,
Xanthan Gum, Citral, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.]
Presented in a pretty lavender and navy plastic tube with screw cap for easy dispensation, the packaging states the following: "Moisturises and softens with the uplifting sunny scent of rose geranium and vibrant sweet orange essential oil." ...Sounds pretty nice to me! The tube came foil-sealed for hygiene purposes, which I always appreciate, and once the foil is removed it's easy to squeeze the cream out into your hand. I suffer quite badly with dry hands due to a combination of eczema and having to wash my hands a lot at work; even so, I find that large-pea-sized amount of the thick, white cream is plenty to moisturise both hands, leaving them feeling soft and hydrated but not greasy. It spreads easily and absorbs quickly - I can still feel the cream on my hands but it's in no way sticky or unpleasant; it just feels like it's protecting my skin. The scent is, as expected with Neal's Yard products, gorgeous; quite a strong one which lingers on the skin, with the obvious scent being the orange, and the rose geranium being a more subtle, background scent. Personally I really like the scent but if you don't, I feel like it would be a deal-breaker just because it's strong and does linger after application.
Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream Review
All in all, I really like this hand cream and feel like even at full price, it's a pretty good buy due to its kind ingredients list and the fact that a little goes a long way. Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream is available with the August issue of InStyle {UK edition} at £3.90, or you can order from Neal's Yard, at £10 for the 50ml tube. Did you pick up the Neal's Yard Hand Cream with InStyle? Will you be trying to track it down before the end of the month? What's your favourite Neal's Yard product?

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Budget Beauty Buys

Budget Beauty Buys
I popped into Superdrug on my way to work a couple of days ago to pick up some eye make-up remover. Unfortunately, they were out of stock of the one I wanted, but all was not lost; there was a 3-for-2 offer on Barry M Nail Paints, so I had a little browse and picked a few up. As you do. Then I went to Wilko's where I found the eye make-up remover (Garnier's Simply Essentials Soothing Eye Make-Up Remover, which I've reviewed previously here), along with the shiny new Essence stand, also with a 3-for-2 offer on. Three guesses what happened next!?
Barry M Polishes 3 for 2 Superdrug
The Barry M polishes I picked up in Superdrug were 'Mediterranean' (£3.99) from the Aquarium collection, 'Promenade' (£2.99), a Limited Edition to Superdrug shade which is a lovely hot-pink with shimmer, 'Elderberry' (£3.99) from the Gelly Hi-Shine range, and the Matte Top Coat (£3.99). In case you're wondering why that's only four polishes when I clearly mentioned a 3-for-2 offer, I also picked up a couple of shades for my 500 Follower Giveaway so don't forget to enter if you like the sound of those!
Essence Cosmetics UK Wilko's 3 for 2
In Wilko's, I restrained myself to just three items; I went for a Colour & Go polish in 'L.O.L.' (£1.60), Blush Up! Powder Blush in 'Heat Wave' (£3.50), and a 3D Eyeshadow in 'Irresistible Vanilla Latte' (£2.80). I've been wanting to try Essence cosmetics for as long as I've been blogging after seeing them on Irish and European blogs, so I'm very excited that they're finally available in the UK! Expect a post or two very soon with some more detail on these products. Have you picked up any beauty bargains lately? Have you tried Essence's products? Do you like the look of my choices?

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Bookshop Haul

As I mentioned yesterday, I'd planned a picnic with friends on Monday which was unfortunately rained off; instead, we ended up spending a good hour or so in Waterstones. I really love bookshops, there's something so calming about being surrounded by words, and we made friends with a man called Neil who worked there. I say friends, he was probably a bit scared, but we enjoyed having a chat. I also ended up succumbing to the 'Buy One, Get One Half Price' offer Waterstones were running on a whole host of paperbacks - twice over! Here are the books I've bought...
Bookshop Haul 1
Bookshop Haul 2
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life, Nina Stibbe (Penguin Books)
"In 1982 Nina Stibbe, a twenty-year-old from Leicester, moved to London to work as a nanny for a very particular family. It was a perfect match: Nina had no idea how to cook, look after children, or who the weirdos who called round were. And the family, busy discussing how to swear in German or the merits (or otherwise) of turkey mince, were delighted by her lack of skills. Love, Nina is the collection of letters she wrote home gloriously describing her 'domestic' life, the unpredictable houseguests and the cat everyone loved to hate."
// I mainly chose this because I loved the front cover (shallow, me!?), but the story does sound pretty intriguing and I'm keen to learn more about the "weirdos" who visited, and why Nina's family were so impressed by her incompetence!
The Girl With All The Gifts, M. R. Carey (Orbit)
"Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh."
// Vague blurbs are like crack to me, I immediately want to know more! Who is Melanie, why is she in a cell? I love anything vaguely related to crime, psychology or both, so I'm expecting this to be right up my street.
Bookshop Haul 3
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson (Hesperus)
"Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn't want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not... Escaping (in his slippers) through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, Allan's earlier life is revealed. A life in which - remarkably - he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century."
//I've looked at this book a few times and finally picked it up. Since working with the elderly myself, I've developed a new appreciation of their stories, and I have to admit to identifying a little with Allan here - I'd almost definitely run away from my own hundredth birthday party! I'm looking forward to hearing what he gets up to upon making his bid for freedom.
Never Saw It Coming, Linwood Barclay (Orion)
"Keisha Ceylon is a psychic. So she says. The truth is, she watches the news for stories of missing family members, gives it a few days, then tells these families she's had a vision. She may be able to help. And, by the way, she charges for this service, and likes to see the money up front. Keisha's latest mark is a man whose wife disappeared a week ago. She's seen him on TV, pleading for his wife to come home, or for whoever took her to let her go. So she pays him a visit. The trouble is, her vision just happens to be close enough to the truth that it leaves the man rattled. And it may very well leave Keisha dead..."
//For some reason, this puts me in mind of Jodi Picoult, one of my favourite authors, so I couldn't leave it behind! I'm a sucker for a good thriller and this one sounds a little bit different, I'm really looking forward to it. As a complete cynic with regards to anything psychic-related, I'm interested to see what sort of take this book has on the matter.
Bookshop Haul 4
The Fault In Our Stars, John Green (Penguin Books)
"Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten."
// I didn't actually buy this but was lent it by a friend; another one I've been meaning to read for a while and want to read before seeing the film! It sounds like a real tear-jerker and I really do enjoy stories written around the theme of terminal illness - as twisted as that may sound, it's a really interesting topic to me.
Have you bought any books recently? Have you read any of these? What are you currently reading?

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Recipe: Blackcurrant Drizzle Cake

Yesterday, I went for a picnic with two friends; sadly, the whole thing was rained off (that's what happens when you make outdoor plans in the North of England...) so we ended up shopping instead, before heading back to one friend's house for cups of tea and the crossword. Don't ask. Anyway, the upshot of this change of plans was that my friend had something of a glut of blackcurrants from her garden, and offered me some along with a recipe for Blackcurrant Drizzle Cake, which I made last night and am currently definitely not eating for breakfast... Nope!
Blackcurrant Drizzle Cake Recipe
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Start by beating 6oz Unsalted Butter (very soft), 6oz Golden Caster Sugar, 9oz Self-Raising Flour, 2 Large Eggs and 2tsp Vanilla Extract with an electric whisk, until light and creamy. Meanwhile, wash 6oz Blackcurrants and top-and-tail them (if you have the patience...) This took me about eight minutes because my butter wasn't very cold, but the original recipe suggests five. I also added 1tbsp Milk as the batter seemed a little stiff and dry. Spread a third of the batter into the bottom of the loaf tin, then sprinkle with a third of the blackcurrants. Spread another third of the batter over the currants, then sprinkle on more currants. Top with the rest of the batter and bake in the preheated oven for around an hour; mine took more like an hour and twenty minutes. While the loaf bakes, place the remaining 2oz or so of blackcurrants in a small pan with 5oz Granulated Sugar and 2tbsp Lemon Juice, then heat gently and stir well to squash most of the currants; you'll end up with a runny kind of jam which will be your drizzle. Once the loaf is golden on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, remove from the oven and poke holes in the top with the aforementioned skewer. Pour the drizzle over the top and allow to cool before serving.
Blackcurrant Drizzle Cake
Blackcurrant Drizzle Cake Slice
Once cooled, the top of the cake is kind of crunchy, whilst the inside is soft and sharp with the taste of the blackcurrants; it's quite tricky to slice as it's prone to crumbling, but even as a heap of crumbs on a plate it tastes good! Best eaten with a fork and a nice hot cup of tea.
Do you like blackcurrants? Do you grow your own fruit and vegetables?

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Darccy London

I've recently been introduced to the brand Darccy London and have fallen a little bit in love with their gorgeous selection of lace & pastel gems; I have to admit a lot of these pieces are not my usual style in the slightest, but nonetheless they're just too beautiful to resist! Lace is perfect for summer; I can see most of these with bare tanned legs, leather sandals and loose waves. I think there is a range of gifts and homewares to come on the website which I can't wait to see; I'm envisioning more pastel hues and shabby chic and expecting to love it all! Here are a few of my favourites from the site:
Darccy London
The beautiful lace jacket/cardigan-type garments are ideal summer attire and something I can actually see myself wearing, maybe with denim shorts and a vest top. The layered necklace is lovely and just the ticket for making a plain top a little bit special. Whilst the pastel lace dresses are undeniably super-pretty, I think the grey china-print dress and the lace top / plain skirt dress are the two I'd be most likely to wear. Have you heard of Darccy London before? Do you like the look of the pieces I've chosen? Are you a wearer of lace? You can get 10% off with the code 'darccy10' if anything catches your eye, and I'd love to see what you buy if you end up ordering anything!!
[Please note this post contains affiliate links.]

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Review: REN Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel

I've been trying quite a few REN products recently after reading so many positive reviews of them on my favourite blogs; the next one I've tried is the Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel, which I thought sounded perfect for my oily skin! REN claim this is, "A balancing, antibacterial facial cleansing gel for skin that is prone to oiliness and breakouts, particularly in the t-zone. Results: Removes dirt and dissolves excess sebum. Unclogs pores. Reduces the appearance of pore size. Antimicrobial and antibacterial. Skin type: Combination skin, prone to oiliness and outbreaks, especially in the t-zone. To use: Gently rub between hands. Massage onto face. Rinse off with warm water."
Ren Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel Review
So from the description, this pretty much sounded perfect for me! My skin is definitely prone to oiliness, though that's not just confined to my t-zone, and I do struggle with breakouts, so am always keen to try any product which offers to help with one or both of these problems. The active ingredients include Flavonoids which decongest the skin, Salicilin to exfoliate and reduce pore size and Guaiazulene to calm redness and irritation, whilst the formula is free of Parabens, Sulphates, Mineral Oil and other nasties.
Ren Mayblossom T-Zone Gel Review
[Ingredients: Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Glycerin,
Coco Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol,
Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Lactic Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids,
Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Linalool,
Crataegus Oxyacantha Stem Extract, Limonene, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil,
Glucose, Callitris Intratropica Wood Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin.]
The cleanser's outer packaging consists of a white cardboard box which looks really sleek and clean, giving all the relevant information including directions, description and the ingredients; the ingredients list is fairly brief, mentioning several natural ingredients including Willow Bark Extract which is good for treating spots, Lavender Oil which is known for its calming properties, and Glycerin which moisturises. Within the box, the clear gel-like product is housed in a clear plastic bottle with a pump top, which makes it really easy to dispense the product for use. The packaging is pretty secure and travel-friendly, although it is quite big and bulky for travelling with and is certainly too big for hand luggage if you're flying!
Ren T-Zone control cleansing gel review
I find that a full pump is more than enough to wash my face, so I tend to use around half a pump, rubbed between my palms and then over my face. I've mainly been using this as my morning cleanse in the shower, although I've also used it as a second cleanse in the evening after removing my make-up; either way, I really like the fresh botanical scent it has, and find that it lathers ever so slightly on contact with damp skin, making it feel like it's really lifting away dirt and oil. It rinses away well to leave the skin feeling clean and soft, with no sticky residue left behind. Whilst I feel it does a good job of cleansing my skin, I can't say I've noticed any difference in how oily my skin is, or in how noticeable my pores are, in the month or so I've been using this product. I have to admit to being a little disappointed as although they were big claims, they were the reason I bought this particular cleanser!
Overall, I've found that REN's Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel is fine as a cleanser for both morning and evening, leaving my skin feeling soft and clean, but doesn't really live up to its claims of controlling excess sebum in the t-zone area for me. I'd like to point out that my skin is very oily, so if this is less of a problem for you, you may find it more effective. Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel has recently been renamed as Clarimatte T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel, and is available from M&S at £15, and direct from REN's website, priced at £17 for 150ml, making it a mid-range product in terms of price. Have you tried this cleanser, or any other REN products? Do you have any recommendations for cleansers for oily skin?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

August Magazine Freebies [UK]

This month is an absolute gem in terms of freebies available with magazines here in the UK; the August issues currently on sale have an amazing selection of goodies to choose from. I've picked up a few already and there are a couple more I'm trying to track down as well!
August 2014 Magazine Freebies
Magazine Freebies August 2014
Glamour (£2; Ellie Goulding on the cover) has a choice of Clinique products; you can choose from High Impact Mascara, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion +, and Chubby Sticks in 'Woppin Watermelon' or Super Strawberry. I have the Dramatically Different Lotion but am still on the look-out for either of the Chubby Sticks. I've had the High Impact mascara before so I'm planning to give that a miss.
InStyle (£3.90; Cameron Diaz on the cover) comes with a full-sized Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream, I love Neal's Yard hand creams so had to get this one and it smells incredible, as always!
Marie Claire (£3.90, or £2.50 at Tesco; Katherine Heigl on the cover) comes with one of two Balance Me products; I went for the Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm, but there's also the Luxury Face Cream available. I've been wanting to try some more Balance Me products for a while so I just had to pick this up, and may search out the Face Cream as well...
Red (£4; Fearne Cotton on the cover) has a Rodial Stemcell Super Glam Lip Balm which I'm in two minds about whether to try; I don't need any more lip balms but this one sounds bloomin' amazing - and it'd want to be, with an RRP of £19!
Cosmopolitan (£3.70; Nicole Scherzinger on the cover) has a choice of four New CID products to choose from, including mascara and three shades of cheek & lip tints. I'm going to give this one a miss as I don't need any more mascaras and don't really wear lip products to feel like it's bothering.
Elle (£4; Cheryl Cole on the cover) has a trio of minis from Malin & Goëtz, which isn't a brand I've heard of before, but one I'm considering picking up as minis like this are a great way to try new brands. You get a 10ml Grapefruit Cleanser, 10ml Vitamin E Moisturiser and 5ml Lip Conditioner in the set.
Harper's Bazaar (£4.20; Michelle Dockery on the cover) isn't a magazine I've ever bought but I'm sorely tempted this month thanks to the choice of four mini 7.5ml L'Occitane Eau de Toilettes from La Collection de Grasse; choices include Jasmine & Bergamote, Thé Vert & Bigarade, Magnolia & Mûre or Néroli & Orchidée.
Have you picked up any magazine freebies this month? Are there are any of these you'd like to try? Have you seen any others that I've missed!? Let me know!!

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway!

Friday, 11 July 2014

My ELF Sales Haul

It's been a while since I've placed an order with ELF, so when I saw that they were celebrating their birthday with a 51% discount code for orders over £25, I decided to have a little browse... And ended up placing an order! I've not received my order yet but wanted to share sooner rather than later, as the code is only valid until 3pm (BST) this afternoon, so if you're interested you'll need to get shopping! Here's what I've ordered:
        ELF Sales Haul
(All prices before discount code):
I really like ELF's Studio make-up brushes, I think they're amazing quality for the price; I had the eyeshadow C brush but somehow lost it so I've ordered a replacement, along with the Stipple brush as I've wanted to try one for ages! I'm always on the look-out for a decent powder and the HD Powder sounded lovely, so I'll be giving that a go and probably reviewing it in the coming weeks.
Altogether, after the discount, my order came to £20.95, which I think you'll agree is an absolute bargain! You can get 51% off orders over £25/€30 using the code '510714' for the UK & the EU, or '510715' if you're in Italy; it's valid until 3pm (BST) today, so get a shake on! Have you ordered anything from ELF recently? Will you be using this code?

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to win a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

500 Followers {Giveaway}

I've recently reached a milestone on Bloglovin'; 500 followers might not sound a lot to some, but to me it's a huge achievement and I'm so proud of it! I have a truly hopeless attention span, so the fact that I'm now approaching my third Blog-iversary and have somehow managed to post frequently enough to gain 500 people who might want to read my posts, is a little mind-boggling to say the least! I know I'm not saying anything original here, but that doesn't make it any less true; I'm genuinely so thankful for all the opportunities blogging has brought me, and all the people I've got to know through it.
Just Jess 500 Bloglovin Follower Giveaway
So, to celebrate, I thought I'd hold a little giveaway! I'm not telling what the prize will be (in fact, I don't even know myself yet, I'm going shopping next week, although I do have a few ideas!), just that it'll be a mystery box of beauty goodies; keep an eye on Instagram, though, as I may share a few sneaky hints on there.... You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below, but please make sure you've read the rules first, as any entries which don't abide by these rules will be removed!
1. This giveaway is open to UK residents only due to postage restrictions - the prize will include nail polish which I can't post overseas. Blame Royal Mail for this one, I'm sorry to those of you living overseas.
2. If you're under 16, please make sure you have your parent or guardian's permission to enter, as I'll need your address to post your prize if you win.
3. You MUST complete the mandatory entries; these are: following me on Bloglovin' and leaving your email address in the Rafflecopter form. Email addresses will only be used to contact winners, and will not be held once the giveaway is over.
4. The giveaway will run until 11.59pm on the 11th of August, one month from today; 1 (one) winner will be selected at random from all valid entries. I will email the winner and will also announce the winner on Twitter and on this page. The winner will then have 48 hours to respond to my email; if they have not responded within this time, a new winner will be drawn at random and contacted by myself. The prize will be sent via Recorded mail and I will supply the winner with the tracking details; however, I cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage which may occur during shipping.
5. You MUST provide the requested information to validate each entry; any entries which cannot be validated will be removed. If you say you've completed an entry without actually completing it, ALL your entries will be removed. Play fair people!
6. Please DON'T share this giveaway on competition sites etc.; my giveaway is to thank readers and followers of my blog and I don't wish to attract compers who have no interest in my blog.
7. Please don't follow purely to enter if you intend to un-follow once the giveaway is over - that's just bad manners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thank you once again to everyone who's followed my blog, left me comments, or interacted on Twitter. It really does mean a lot! Good luck to everyone who enters the giveaway!


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Review: CCS Foot Care Cream & Foot Warming Cream*

I was recently sent some CCS Foot Care products to trial and review; as I may have mentioned previously, I'm really not a fan of feet (although I've got much better at dealing with them since working as a carer!), so anything that helps keep mine that little bit nicer is a good thing to have as far as I'm concerned! CCS Sweden began in 1981 and since then, they have been developing professionally-inspired products to keep feet healthy and looking their best.
CCS Foot Care Products
CCS Foot Care Cream
"CCS Foot Care Cream is extremely effective in the control of dry and rough skin. Containing 10% URea, the moisturiser found naturally in the body, it softens hard, dry skin helping to keep it soft and supple, and helps prevent further problems developing. It is lanolin free and dermatologically tested. See the difference in 5 days! - 78% of consumers noticed improvement in foot smoothness and texture within 5 days (UK Consumer test 120 adults Sept 2011). Directions: Initially, apply twice daily and then massage in as required to help keep feet in good condition. For best results it is recommended to use at night and cover feet with socks."
[Ingredients: Aqua, Paraffinum Liquidum, Glycerin, Urea, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Myrtrimonium Bromide, Benzalkonium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Limonene]
The Foot Care Cream is a thick, white cream with a slight scent to it which I think is the Eucalyptus; it's easy to spread over the feet and, once I've popped socks over the top, my feet feel pampered and immediately softer! I used this twice a day for the first five days, as recommended, and did notice that my feet became softer and smoother over the course of the five days. Since then I've been using it around every two days, of an evening just before I go to bed. My feet are still feeling much softer and smoother than they did previously, which is a winner for me! This is a product I can see myself repurchasing once I'm done with this tube.
CCS Foot Warming Cream
"CCS Foot Warming Cream contains the renowned warming ingredients Pepper extract (Capsicum), Camphor and Menthylsalicylate to help warm up feet and legs. The formula also includes 5% Urea, the moisturiser found naturally in the body, to help soften and condition your feet. Directions: Massage well into the skin until fully absorbed to help your feet become warm and smooth. Apply as often as required."
[Ingredients: Aqua, Canola Oil, Urea, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Camphor, Methyl Salicylate, Phenoxyethanol Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium PCA, PEG-100 Stearate, Saccharomyces/Capsicum Annuum Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Lactic Acid, Limonene]
The Foot Warming Cream is also a thick white cream, this time with a slightly stronger scent coming from the Menthol, which immediately puts me in mind of a warm tingly sensation! I've not found as much cause to use this, although I can imagine using it for the sake of it come Winter as I have perpetually cold feet in the cooler months. It does give a nice warming sensation to your feet for a few minutes after application, but I can't really see the point of the product - I almost feel like it would have been better as an alternative Foot Care Cream variant. I'll probably use this tube up but I don't see myself repurchasing this one.
CCS products are available from Boots and Superdrug, with the Foot Care Cream being priced at £7.99 for 175ml, and the Foot Warming Cream £7.49 for 100ml. The range also includes a Heel Balm which is £7.49 for 75g. I personally think this is a really well-priced range, I'd like to try the Heel Balm and I'd definitely recommend the Foot Care Cream as an affordable and effective way of softening up your feet. Have you tried any CCS products? Do you like the sound of these? What do you use to take care of your feet?

[*Please note these products were provided for review purposes, this does not influence my opinions in any way and as always my review is 100% my own, honest thoughts.]

Monday, 7 July 2014

NOTD: Ibiza Jade Stone

A rare three days off in a row this weekend meant a few things, one of which was NAIL POLISH TIME! I'm not allowed to wear nail polish to work for health & safety reasons, so I have to make the most of my days off for having something pretty on my fingertips. This time I went for two coats Models Own 'Jade Stone', a creamy mint-green which has been sitting in my collection for a while and has only been used once, I think. I decided I wanted some glitter to go with it, in the form of 'Ibiza' by a brand called Jess which I found in Poundland and simply had to buy! 'Ibiza' is a clear base with tonnes of blue micro glitter and little holo particles, which gave a pretty good coverage in one coat and really added some sparkle to my nails; the blue glitter makes the base shade appear more blue than green. As usual, my base and top coat are OPI's Nail Envy.
NOTD Models Own Jade Stone Jess Ibiza
Are you a fan of Models Own nail polishes? What's your favourite shade? Have you spotted (or tried!) any of the Jess polishes in Poundland?


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Review: Paul Penders Aloe & Lavender A.M. Moisturizer

I received Paul Penders Aloe & Lavender A.M. Moisturizer for Dry & Sensitive Skin as part of a giveaway prize a couple of months back, and since I'd just finished the day cream I'd been using, decided I'd give it a go, although my skin is definitely on the oily end of the spectrum rather than being dry. I do have sensitive skin, though, so I thought this would be worth a try! "Light, rapidly-absorbing moisturiser with aloe vera, calendula and linseed oil containing natural SPF. Replenishes dry and sensitive skin, protects against dehydration. Directions: After using Paul Penders cleanser and aloe toner, apply moisturiser and spread evenly onto face every morning."
Paul Penders Aloe & Lavender AM Moisturizer
[Ingredients: Aqua, Cocos nucifera Water, Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice,
Caprylic/Capric triglycerides, Glycerin, Cetearyl olivate, Sorbitan olivate,
Simmondsia chinensis Seed Oil, Sodium hyaluronate, Titanium dioxide,
Ascorbic acid, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) flower extract, Lavandula angustifolia Oil,
Sorbic acid, Angelica archangelica (Angelica) extract, Arnica montana (Arnica) flower extract,
Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) flower extract, Sambucus nigra (Elderflower) flower extract,
Zingiber officinalis (Ginger) root extract, Panax quinquefolium (Ginseng) root extract,
Lonicera japonica (Honeysuckle) extract, Humulus lupulus (Hops) extract,
Equeisetum hyemale (Horsetail) extract, Juniperus communis (Juniper) fruit extract,
Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) flower extract, Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) leaf extract,
Urtica dioica (Nettle) extract, Centella asiatica (Pennywort) extract,
Mentha piperita (Peppermint) leaf extract, Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary) flower extract,
Salvia officinalis (Sage) extract, Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) extract,
Curcuma longa (Turmeric) root extract, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel) extract,
Archillea millefolium (Yarrow) extract, Tocotrienol tocopherol, Xanthan gum,
Linun Usitatissimun Seed Oil, Citrus grandis seed extract, Tocopheryl acetate, Beta-Carotene,
Ananas sativus fruit extract, Carica papaya fruit extract, Ubiquinone, Retinyl palmitate.]
The outer cardboard packaging is a classy green and white combination which gives all the product details including the ingredients and directions. As you can see above, the ingredients list is lengthy, which would generally speaking put me off; in this case however, there are a lot of natural ingredients included, such as Witch Hazel, Ginger and Chamomile, which somehow didn't bother me as much. There's also a little bit of information about Paul Penders: "At the heart of all our products is the Paul Penders Levens ESSENTIE Gold, a 100-year-old time-tested holistic extract prepared from 22 certified organic herbs. Paul Penders herbal cosmetics are made using a cold process technology that keeps bio-active ingredients at full strength, resulting in maximum potency for more effective products. All product batches are certified by an international accredited laboratory to guarantee their maximum effectiveness."
Paul Penders Aloe & Lavender Moisturiser Review
The tube contained within the box is white plastic with a flip cap which makes for easy dispensing of the product; it's easy enough to get just the right amount. It doesn't give the ingredients list (possibly because it's so long!) but the product description/directions and the expiry date are printed on the tube. Importantly, I haven't found this moisturiser to break me out, despite it having quite a strong scent of lavender; I found this off-putting to begin with as I'm not a great lover of lavender, but I have to admit it's grown on me, and it certainly doesn't linger on the skin. I find that a tiny bit really does go a long way with this moisturiser; a pea-sized amount is easily enough for my whole face and neck, as the moisturiser spreads so easily and absorbs readily with a little massaging into the skin. I find that my face is left feeling hydrated but not sticky or greasy; make-up applies nicely over the top. The fact that the moisturiser contains SPF is a bonus for me as I regularly forget to apply a dedicated SPF to my face (I know - slapped wrist! I'm trying to improve!), although as the strength of the SPF isn't stated, I'd expect to need to apply a separate sunscreen for full protection. I'm very much of the view that something is better than nothing, though!
Paul Penders AM Moisturiser SPF
The product is organic, suitable for vegans, and never tested on animals. Overall, my impressions of the Aloe & Lavender A.M. Moisturizer have been positive and have left me keen to try some more products from the Paul Penders range; despite being targeted at dry and sensitive skin types, I feel this moisturiser would suit most skin types, and it certainly hasn't given my oily skin any problems. Paul Penders Aloe & Lavender A.M. Moisturizer is available from The Natural Skincare Company priced at £19.95 for a 30g tube; I'd just like to state I haven't personally ordered from this store so I can't comment on their service! Have you tried any Paul Penders products? Do you tend to stick to products designed for your skin type, or are you willing to try anything?

[Please note that although I received this product free of charge as a giveaway prize, I have not been asked to write this review and am not being compensated for doing so; as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!]
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