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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Empties: February 2015

Here we are at the end of February! February has been a fairly uneventful month for me, aside from passing my driving test yesterday,  meaning I am now officially allowed out on the roads... Which is a pretty terrifying thought, so we'll move on. I've finished off a few bits and pieces this month, so read on to see what they were and what I thought!
February Empties
Feb Empties 1
OGX Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner I kept these minis at my boyfriend's and have really enjoyed using them, yet again. They smell lovely and work pretty well to leave my hair soft and hydrated without being greasy or weighed down. The ingredients list is absent of SLS which means it's okay for my eczema, although I'm still in two minds about the silicons as I do feel they break me out on my back and chest, so I'm seeing how I go over the next couple of months.
Repurchase? I've already bought another (larger) bottle of the shampoo, but I'm pairing it with a different conditioner for a bit more hydration for my dry ends!
MUA Pro Brow Kit I suppose strictly speaking, this isn't actually empty, but I have finished the shade that matches my brows best. I didn't really use the wax in this kit as I found it unnecessary, whilst the "highlighter" was actually darker than my skin and therefore pretty useless. For the price this isn't a bad kit at all and it's lasted me a good couple of years.
Repurchase? I wouldn't seek it out, but I wouldn't avoid it either; I didn't feel it was anything special and there are other budget options available.
COLAB Dry Shampoo Paris I'm really enjoying these COLAB dry shampoos, Paris wasn't my favourite fragrance as it's just a bit too floral for my tastes, but it did a good job of freshening up second-day roots without leaving a powdery white residue in my hair, as some other dry shampoos can!
Repurchase? Not this fragrance, but I will be buying COLAB again.
The Body Shop Coconut Hand Cream I love the scent of this stuff (in the words of my colleague Jane, it smells like cocktails on the beach!) and found it perfect to keep in my pocket at work to apply throughout my shift, helping to keep the dryness that can be caused by constant hand-washing at bay.
Repurchase? Yes, although I am currently using a different fragrance...
Feb Empties 2
The Body Shop White Musk Libertine Body Lotion This is a product I received as part of a giveaway prize, it's not one I'd have chosen for myself but I've actually really enjoyed it; the scent was fresh and girly and the lotion felt light on my skin, absorbing quickly and adding a nice hit of hydration. I need to alternate lighter products like this with something more heavy-duty as my skin is so dry, but it was certainly nice to try for a change!
Repurchase? Maybe.
Wilko Round Dual-Faced Cotton Pads Cheap and cheerful these do what I need them to do and there's really nothing interesting to say about cotton pads!
Repurchase? Yes.
Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil* I wasn't particularly impressed with this product, I didn't find it any gentler on my skin than other SLS-free products I've tried, and I found the scent quite off putting. I also think it's very pricey for what it is!
Repurchase? No.
Impulse Love Puzzle Body Spray This was a Limited Edition body spray, I'm not sure where it came from or how long I've had it as I don't remember ever buying Impulse for myself, but it was nice to keep in my bag for work just for a little freshen up. I'm slowly but surely working my way through my ridiculous stash of body sprays!
Repurchase? No.
So, there you have my February Empties; not a huge number but I've made a bit more progress on clearing out some "stuff", as well as the usual products I go through roughly monthly like the shampoo & conditioner. Have you tried any of these products? What's your favourite dry shampoo? I hope February has been a great month for you all, here's to March bringing even better things!

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Wishlist: Etsy Finds

My recent discovery of the Etsy app hasn't turned out to be quite as dangerous as anticipated, mainly because I actually don't have any money to spare at the moment as I'm trying to save as much as I can to put towards a car! I have, however, been favourite-ing items and shops left, right and centre, so I thought I'd share a few of the bits and pieces I'm currently loving!
Etsy Wishlist
I have a lot of love for cacti and I can't get over how cute this tiny little Snow White cactus in its wearable terrarium is - I'd be terrified of breaking the glass but it's undeniably beautiful. I also love the skull planters - so cool, I'd like to maybe spray-paint a couple of them gold as I love the way gold and white look together. I shared five things to do with washi tape a couple of weeks ago; I'm always looking to add to my collection and this love heart tape is so sweet! Typography prints are something I'd like a little collection of and this variation on 'Carpe Diem' is right up my alley. The Swarovski crystal of the Bella Luna necklace is gorgeous and I think this looks much more expensive than it actually is. The Wise Owl necklace is almost Celtic in style which again, I really like! I'm loving the way embroidery hoops look at the moment, and these two anatomical pieces are so cool - again, right up my alley. Finally, the chevron necklace is so delicate and pretty, the perfect way to up the ante with any outfit.
Are you an Etsy fan? I'd love if you could share some of your favourite shops & sellers! What's your best Etsy find?


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Review: Timeless Truth Charcoal Detox Brightening Mask*

Recently I received a Timeless Truth Charcoal Detox Brightening Mask* to trial; claiming to offer, "A breakthrough in skincare technology using a totally unique and patented Functionality Cloth that instantly brightens, smoothes, firms and hydrates the skin. The black powder impregnated in the cloth is the product of Bamboo Charcoal Extract created at very high temperature (around 800°C). This particular powder has been proven to be highly absorbent and deep cleansing." I am all for a good deep cleansing mask and have been keen to try more sheet masks, so I was pretty excited to give this a try! This mask is described as perfect for those with congested skin, which is me down to a T.
Timeless Truth Charcoal Detox Brightening Mask Review 1
The matte white sachet with silver print looks luxurious and expensive, though it did mean it was pretty hard to photograph... Upon opening the sachet, I found a sheet mask which has a black and white chequered pattern on one side, which is the bamboo powder; the mask is backed with plastic which is removed before applying the mask to the face, with the patterned side against the skin. I often find that sheet masks are far too big and fit poorly, so I was pretty impressed to discover how well this fit to my face, remaining securely in place throughout the half an hour I kept it on. As suggested, I kept the extra serum in the sachet to apply to my skin at a later point; it will apparently keep in the fridge for a couple of days just fine, which is nice to know, and means the effects can be extended beyond the initial face mask itself.
Timeless Truth Charcoal Detox Brightening Mask Review 2
After removing the mask, I massaged in the remainder of the serum which was left on my face. I found that my skin was feeling really hydrated and soft, and it did look a lot brighter. I actually used this mask before a shower as I was anticipating some mess from the bamboo charcoal, but that actually wasn't the case at all and in future I'd use this after showering so as not to remove the serum from my skin. I did re-apply from the sachet after showering, before following with my usual skincare routine. The brightening effects lasted a good couple of days after use which is nice - whilst we often use a facemask for an immediate effect, it's nice to see longer-term improvements too. It's recommended that these masks are used two-three times per week, so I'd be interested to see how my skin would look after a couple of months of regular use.
Timeless Truth Charcoal Detox Brightening Mask Review 3
Priced at £4.90 for a single mask or £23.50 for a box of five, available here {dead link removed, apologies for any inconvenience}, these are a mid-range face mask for me, and after trying one, I'd say it's worth the price - I could see a definite improvement in my skin for a couple of days after use. The mask is suitable for all skin-types and there are a range of masks available to suit various skin complaints and requirements, including Moisturising, Soothing and Revitalising. Have you heard of or tried Timeless Truth masks? What do you look for in a face mask? Are you a fan of sheet masks?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Three Ways: Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

I've owned Too Faced's Chocolate Bar palette for quite a few months now and whilst I originally intended to post a review/swatches post about it, I decided I didn't want to do that as let's be honest - everyone has seen the palette and the swatches, it wouldn't be anything new!
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palettes
So instead, I've decided to share three ways I like to use the shadows within the palette, to sort of demonstrate what a versatile, wearable selection of shades there are; it's the perfect palette for both daytime and for evening wear, with mattes and shimmers in a range of shades. All the looks shown are without any kind of separate primer or base, so they should give you a good indication of the pigmentation and finishes of the shadows.
Three Ways Too Faced Chcoolate Bar Palette
The first look is a very daytime-appropriate kind of look, the sort of thing I wear to work on a day-to-day basis. I started out with 'White Chocolate' all over the lid as a base, then blended 'Marzipan' over the inner corner and middle of the lid, and 'Crème Brûlée' over the outer third of the lid. Finally, I used 'Haute Chocolat' to add a little definition along the lashline and beneath my lower lashes.
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette Look 1
The second look is a little more dramatic and something I would wear during the day on days off - maybe not work-appropriate but not too much for during the day. I started with a base of 'Strawberry Bon Bon' all over the lid, then blended 'Cherry Cordial' over this, applying lightly in the inner part of the lid and building up the intensity in the outer third. I patted 'Crème Brûlée' on the centre of the lid, and used 'Salted Caramel' in the inner third, with 'Champagne Truffle' as a highlight from the crease upwards towards the browbone. I apologise the photos of this one aren't great, it was super cloudy day and I just couldn't get them to look how I wanted.
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette Look 2
Finally, the third look is a little more dramatic again and is the sort of look I'd wear for an evening out, although I'm all for dramatic shadow during the day and would happily wear this on days off as well! I started with 'Amarette' blended out over the whole lid, with 'Marzipan' in the inner third as a bit of a highlight, and 'Triple Fudge' in the very outer corner of the lid for definition. This is my favourite of the three looks I'm sharing here as I have to admit, I do like my eyeshadow to be quite striking.
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette Look 3
Overall I've been really enjoying using the Chocolate Bar palette - the shadows are easy to work with, blending nicely with minimal fallout. The pigmentation is awesome for the shimmery shades and almost as good for the mattes, and the palette of course smells beautiful due to the inclusion of Cocoa Powder in the ingredients of the shadows - perfect for a chocoholic like myself! I've also found that the shadows last pretty well, even on my oily skin, with no noticeable creasing or fading even after twelves hours of wear, which is a bonus. Which is your favourite of these looks? Do you have different looks you turn to during the day or for a night out, or are you happy to wear any shadow, any time?


Friday, 20 February 2015

Review: Ted Baker Lyla Purse Spray*

I was recently sent a bottle of Ted Baker's Lyla*, the newest addition to the brand's Sweet Treats range of purse sprays. Lyla is described as follows: "Quietly confident with an enchanting elegance, Lyla turns heads. Glamorous from head to toe and perfectly polished at all times, she is the girl everyone wants to be". The top notes include bergamot, grapefruit and peach, with floral mid-notes of rose and jasmine, and a base of vanilla, sandalwood, amber and musk.
Ted Baker Lyla Purse Spray 1
Ted Baker Lyla Purse Spray 2
The perfume is presented in a white box with rose gold detailing, which would make it perfect for gifting. The bottle within matches the others in the range and has fit in nicely next to Mia in my collection, with its frosted white finish and faceted glass detail on the lid, which sparkles prettily when it catches the light. You'll have to excuse the fact that there is no light at the moment for me to capture this...
Ted Baker Lyla Purse Spray 3
Ted Baker Lyla Purse Spray 4
The scent itself is quite sweet and girly, with the fruity notes being the ones that stand out; it's exactly the sort of thing I'd choose for myself, although unfortunately I've found that it doesn't wear particularly well, lasting three-four hours before it needs a top-up. I guess that's why it comes in such a dinky, transportable bottle! If you're the type of person who re-sprays their perfume anyway then this won't be a problem, but for me it has put me off a little; I like my scent to last all day once it's on.
Ted Baker Lyla Purse Spray 5
Overall, whilst Lyla is a pretty scent and a nice addition to the range, its lack of longevity mean it hasn't become a favourite for me. Lyla is priced at £15 for 10ml of product and is available exclusively from Ted Baker stores at the moment, launching into Boots in June. I think this would be lovely to have in your bag whilst out and about, or it would make a gorgeous gift for a younger teenager who mightn't want to be wearing heavy scents. Have you tried any Ted Baker scents? Do you like the sound of Lyla? Do you like to re-apply your perfume through the day, or prefer to spray in the morning and be done with it, like me?

[*Sample provided for consideration.]

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Review: UrbanVeda Neem + Botanics Daily Purifying Facial Wash

UrbanVeda's Neem + Botanics Daily Purifying Facial Wash featured in one of my Six Mini Reviews posts a couple of months back, after I tried a sample tube; I went on to buy the full=sized tube, so I thought I'd do a full review to share my thoughts properly! According to the packaging, ingredients include "Ayurvedic Neem infused with bioactive botanicals of Wild Mint, Eucalyptus and Witch Hazel to detoxify congested skin. • Pore refining • Mattifying • For oil-prone skin."
UrbanVeda Neem + Botanics Daily Purifying Facial Wash Review
I really like the packaging of this facial wash; the olive-green plastic squeezy tube maybe isn't something I'd think of if I was designing skincare packaging, but it's very in tune with the natural ethos of the brand, and I do think it looks lovely in my bathroom; the floral motifs and the branding are all really nice. The flip cap is easy to use and feels pretty sturdy, and here's a decent amount of product information and suggestions for use: "Ayurveda is an ancient Indian health and wellbeing system harnessing the holistic and therapeutic properties of plants. UrbanVeda Neem is designed to naturally balance environmental factors with botanicals to detoxify and refresh oil-prone skin. Our Daily Purifying Facial Wash has been naturally formulated to help treat blackheads, excess sebum and clear toxins. Cold-pressed Neem oil works in synergy with Arjuna to reduce shine, while naturally astringent herbals Witch Hazel, Bearberry and Quassia help to minimise pores. Enhanced with antioxidant-rich Wild Mint and Mulberry for a clear complexion. Instructions for use: Apply daily to wet face, massage using gentle circular movements and rinse with cold water to tighten pores and combat shine."
UrbanVeda Daily Purifying Facial Wash
The facial wash itself is a clear, colourless gel texture which is easy to dispense from the tube; a little goes a long way and I see this tube lasting me quite a while, as I honestly use less than a pound-coin-sized blob each time. I've been using this as my morning cleanse (I prefer something a little more heavy-duty in the evening to remove all my make-up) and have found that the lovely minty fragrance of the product works wonders to wake me up and liven up my dull morning skin. As suggested, I massage into my skin for a minute or so, then rinse off with the help of a flannel or muslin cloth; my skin is left feeling clean and refreshed, but with none of that tight feeling that some facial washes (especially those aimed at oily skins) can leave. I can't say I've noticed a huge reduction in shine but then again, my skin is particularly oily, and any improvement is just fine with me! My skin is generally very temperamental and fluctuates quite wildly over the month, as I'm sure a lot of ladies are familiar with; I feel like this has helped to settle my skin down a little and the blackheads around my nose are improved, which is nice. All in all, I'm really enjoying using this as part of my morning skincare routine and it's a product I do see myself buying again in the future!
UrbanVeda Neem + Botanics Facial Wash
UrbanVeda Neem + Botanics Daily Purifying Facial Wash is available direct from the UrbanVeda site, priced at £12.99 for 150ml of product. I'd consider this a mid-range product in terms of price, and for the ingredients you're getting and a British-made product, I do think it's worth the price tag. This is definitely a facial wash I'd recommend trying if you struggle with oily skin and are looking for something that cleanses effectively and helps treat the shine, without leaving that nasty tight feeling to the skin.
Have you tried any UrbanVeda products? What's your favourite cleanser for the morning?

[Please note this product was purchased using Birchbox points; this does not affect my review in any way.]

Monday, 16 February 2015

Review: Love Alpha Frozen Eye Colour*

I was recently sent a selection of products from Born Pretty Store, including three of these beautifully-packaged Love Alpha Frozen Eye Colours*. Described on the Born Pretty site as a cream eyeshadow, these shadows are available in 14 shades here.
Born Pretty Love Alpha Frozen Eye Colour
Love Alpha Cream Shadows
I chose the shades #1 (a warm-toned gold), #4 (a cool-toned gold) and #8 (a bronze/copper); all three were presented in these pretty peach-coloured boxes, which open to reveal plastic casing which looks more expensive than the £1.48 price-tag. The lids screw on quite tightly and the jars are made of good thick, heavy plastic, so the shadows should be pretty secure for travelling with. The moulded caps unscrew to reveal a hygiene seal, and the shadows themselves, which I've found to have more of a gel texture as opposed to cream; it's quite a weird consistency for this type of product, feeling springy to the touch. I was expecting something similar to the Maybelline Color Tattoos but these are quite different.
Love Alpha Shadows 1 4 & 8
Shade 1 4 & 8 Born Pretty Store Love Alpha Frozen Eye Colours
The swatches below show how you could build up the intensity of the shadows for quite a shimmery, bold look which would be perfect for evening wear, but equally these look lovely as a wash of colour for a more subtle, flattering shimmer for everyday wear.I've been applying these with an eyeshadow brush, finding that the shadows feel cool on the eyes and take a good few minutes to set and dry down, meaning you can take your time to apply them and blend out a little.
Born Pretty Store Love Alpha Swatches
Once dried, these give a lovely subtle shimmery sparkle and they don't budge; I've worn the shadows for 12+ hours without any sign of creasing or sliding, which is always a pleasant surprise, especially for a product in this price bracket.
EOTD Love Alpha Frozen Eye Colour
The Love Alpha Frozen Eye Colours have turned out to be a lovely way to add a quick wash of colour and shimmer to my eyelids, making them perfect for rushed mornings when I need to get ready in a hurry (that's most mornings, then!), as well as being quite versatile as the colour intensity can be built up if required. For the bargain price of £1.48 each, these are well worth a try, and you can even get 10% off these (and anything else on the Born Pretty site) using my discount code JESSMK31.
Have you tried these Love Alpha Frozen Eye Colours, or any similar products? How would you wear them?

[*Products provided for consideration.]

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Five Things To Do With Washi Tape

I had a little bit of a washi tape binge-buy recently, with no particular purpose in mind - not that I really need an excuse to buy cute things! Since then, I've been on the lookout for ways to use the pretty sticky tape and thought I'd share some of my favourite things to do with it...
Five Things To Do With Washi Tape
Tealights | I'm a massive tealight lover - they're super cheap, places like Poundland and Wilko's are great places to buy them as you can get massive bags for only a pound or two! However, a tealight is a tealight - the little silver cases aren't particularly inspiring... Until you brighten them up with a little bit of washi tape, that is! This really couldn't be simpler, just pop the tape around the case and Bob's your Uncle, as it were.
Washi Tape Tealights
Diary | I don't think this is particularly inspired, but I like to keep my diary looking pretty, bright and cheerful; a little bit of washi tape is ideal for this, I tend to just stick a strip in to highlight important days. I also like to pop appointments on them so they stand out at a glance; a Sharpie or similar is perfect for writing on washi tape.
Washi Tape Diary
Jam Jars | There are plenty of pretty storage jars available but sometimes the simple things are the best; a strip of washi tape around a plain old jam jar will really brighten it up and could help bring a selection of odds-and-sods together with a kind of theme. I like jars to store my make-up brushes and this was the ideal way to spruce my jar up a little!
Washi Tape Jam Jar
Print Frames | Washi tape removes from paintwork without leaving a mark or pulling off the paint, which makes it ideal for temporary frames around your favourite photos or prints. I've recently ordered a couple of prints* from Minted.com and this will be the perfect way to display them on my bedroom wall! I also really like this tutorial for the washi artwork shown below.
Washi Skyline Artwork - links to source
Technology | Washi tape is the perfect way to decorate a clear phone case or, as I've done here, jazz up your iPod a little. Yes this is an iPod Classic and yes it does still work although the battery is shot so I only use it in the dock. I think this is a really lovely way to personalise your belongings a little, and I really like the floral tape on the centre button against the white. I've also seen the tape used on keyboard keys to make them a little prettier, which I think is a really nice idea as well!
Washi Tape iPod
Do you have any suggestions for ways to use washi tape? If you like the look of these tapes, they're all from The Works; I've also got washi tape from Wilkinson's and have seen it for sale in Waterstones and Hobbycraft, whilst there are a million options available on eBay and similar sites! Will you be trying any of these suggestions? Which is your favourite?


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Valentine's Day | Lingerie Picks

I'm not a Valentine's Day person; this year, I'll be going to Manchester with some friends to see The Used and act like I'm 16 again, whilst my boyfriend will be working. I've told him I wish to ignore V-Day altogether, as we've only been together a couple of months and I'm not for making a big deal of the whole thing. That said, there are always some super-pretty lingerie sets around this time of year, so here are a few of my favourites - which might be handy if you're looking for inspiration!
Valentine's Day Lingerie
(L-R, Top Row):
Red Lace Non-Padded Longline Bra, £12.99, New Look
Padded Push-Up Balcony Bra, £19.50, M&S
Black Lace-Trim Strappy Back Bra, £9.99, New Look
(L-R, Bottom Row):
Peacock Sirena Satin & Eyelash Lace Bra, £49.99, & Knickers, £27.99, Esty Lingerie
Rosie Silk Print Padded Plunge Bra, £25, & Knickers, £12.50, M&S
Navy Lace Plunge Bra, £12, & Knickers, £5, BHS
I really love the way longline bras look, I own one and find it super-comfortable and supportive so I'd like to add to my collection! Every girl needs a good push-up bra and I love the delicate nude silk of this M&S one; a little bit of everyday luxury. Black lingerie is a classic and anything lace-trimmed is a little bit extra-special; the strappy back detailing of this New Look bra is also really nice and would be perfect with a backless dress. I love a lot of Esty's handmade lingerie, although it's a little beyond my budget at the moment; the Peacock colour of the Sirena set is just beautiful. I really like the rose print on this Rosie for Autograph set at M&S, and there's also a free gift available if you spend more than £30 on Rosie at the moment - bonus! Finally, navy isn't a colour I've ever gone for in underwear but this lacey set from BHS is really affordable and looks quite pretty for everyday wear!
Will you be doing anything special for Valentine's Day this year? Do you like the look of any of my picks? What's your ideal Valentine's gift?


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Six Mini Reviews #12: Benefit, Elemis, Estée Lauder & More

Another installment in my efforts to clear out my veritable mountain of sample products; I'm happy to report I am actually noticing a difference in the size of the stash now, which is really satisfying! This selection appears to be a little eye-cream-heavy, which is weird as I'm dreadful at remembering to use eye cream, but there you go...
Six Mini Beauty Reviews
Manuka Doctor ApiClear Bee Venom Skin Treatment Serum | This came with two other sample sachets as a freebie from Manuka Doctor, as I recall - it's taken me a while to get around to trying this and whilst it claims to improve blemish-prone skin in "just three weeks", I've got around two weeks' use from the sachet so I don't feel like it's quite long enough to properly judge its efficacy. The serum smells nice and feels light on the skin, soaking in quickly and not leaving behind any sticky residue... That's all well and good but I didn't really notice an improvement in my skin, and without knowing whether it actually works, I'm not sure I'd want to spend £19.99 on 30ml.
Benefit It's Potent! Eye Cream | A Birchbox sample, I was excited to try this and pretty impressed by its ability to reduce dark circles. Eye cream is generally a product I'm hopeless at remembering to use, but I have been making a real effort over the past couple of months and I do think I can see an improvement; I can't help feeling that could be down to using eye cream, full stop, rather than this particular eye cream... That aside, It's Potent! is a nice offering in a cute jar (though it does raise some hygiene issues...), though at £25.50 for 14.2g there are definitely cheaper options available.
Origins GinZing Eye Cream | I wouldn't even like to say how long I've had this, certainly far longer than I should have! I used this as a morning eye cream as it was really pretty good at brightening up dark circles and making me look generally more alive; it also claims to reduce puffiness but my eyes tend to de-puff themselves by the time I've showered, so that's not really a concern for me. The cream has a slight shimmer to it which really livens up the eye area, too. At £23 for 15ml, this certainly isn't cheap, but it's cheaper than the Benefit and one I would like to invest in in the future.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair | I don't actually remember where this sample sachet came from but I got around a week's use from it, applying each evening after cleansing and toning, before I applied my moisturiser. Maybe I'm too young to notice any significant effects or maybe it takes longer than a week, but I didn't really feel like this was doing much for me; even in terms of the claims to hydrate and smooth, I didn't notice any benefits. I wouldn't be opposed to giving this a longer trial a few years down the line, but at the moment I have no intention of spending £49 on 30ml!
Elemis Hydra Nourish Night Cream | I'm pretty sure this was a magazine sample a few months ago and I've really enjoyed using it; the 15ml sample has lasted for a good couple of months, and the cream has been so nice to use. It doesn't feel heavy or greasy on the skin, absorbing quickly to keep my skin feeling nourished and hydrated. It hasn't controlled my oiliness but it doesn't claim to and in fairness, few products seem to help with that! At £42 for 50ml, this certainly isn't cheap, but if the sample is anything to go buy it's last an age, and it is a product I'd love to repurchase.
The Body Shop Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask | I picked up this little sample jar from a lovely assistant in my local store. I've never really jumped on the overnight mask bandwagon but I did think this was worth a whirl! I found that although my face felt distinctly tacky when I went to bed, and I was a little worried I'd wake up with the pillow stuck to my face, by morning all the stickiness had disappeared, leaving my skin feeling smooth and super hydrated. At £22 for 90ml, this is at the higher end of The Body Shop's price points and probably not something I'll be investing in at the moment, though I'd consider it in the future.
So, that's six more samples cleared out and thrown away - woohoo! Have you tried any of these products? Is there a skincare product you always struggle to remember to include in your routine?


Friday, 6 February 2015

A Treat For The Feet (And Legs)*

Alongside the Long-Lasting Moisturising Hand Cream I received to try from Yves Rocher, I was also very kindly sent an Anti-Fatigue Iced Gel and a Silky Body Cream with Organic Oats; I've been using these over the past couple of weeks as a bit of a treat for my feet and legs, so it's time to share how I've been getting on!
Yves Rocher Anti Fatigue Gel & Silky Body Cream
The Anti-Fatigue Iced Gel* contains lavender and peppermint essential oils, claiming to "instantly soothe heavy-feeling legs and feet"; I have to be honest, that's often me after a shift at work as I'm constantly on my feet running about, so I was thrilled to have a little something to help them feel better. The purple gel smells beautifully refreshing, a lovely minty scent and I couldn't really notice the lavender; applied to the feet, it instantly feels cooling and my feet felt less tired and achy within minutes - winner! Yves Rocher Anti-Fatigue Iced Gel is priced at £2.50 for 50ml which is an absolute bargain, I'd definitely recommend ordering a tube if you're on your feet a lot or often suffer with tired, aching legs and feet!
The Organic Oats Silky Body Cream* comes in a lovely plastic jar which is the sort of thing I'll keep and re-use; the cream claims to offer "incomparable suppleness and softness to the skin", which is something of a dream for me as an eczema sufferer! The cream smells lovely, has a beautiful light, silky texture (as the name suggests!) and absorbs quickly, without leaving any kind of residue or sticky feeling behind, which is always a bonus. I found my legs felt softer and the cream worked reasonably well to soothe the dryness and itching I often experience - another great experience! Yves Rocher Organic Oats Silky Body Cream is available at £9.45 for 200ml, which is a little higher in price than some of their other products, but still an affordable price point.
Yves Rocher Anti Fatigue Iced Gel & Organic Oats Silky Body Cream
All in all, I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to try a few more Yves Rocher products, and they're definitely a brand I'll be keeping in mind this year to try a few more bits and pieces from; I love the look of some of their make-up! Have you tried any Yves Rocher products? Do you like the sound of these? Do you have any tips for relieving tired legs and feet? I'd love to hear them!

[*Products provided for consideration.]

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Born Pretty: Leopard Necklace*

Recently, Born Pretty Store very kindly offered to gift me with a couple of items to review; one of the pieces I chose was this pretty leopard necklace*, which has attracted a few compliments so far and I've only been wearing it a couple of days! It's a gold-coloured split chain with a leopard's head pendant, with the detailing on the face being cut out and the leopard's nose being 3D; it's quite an unusual design and I've not seen anything similar. The necklace is relatively easy to fasten (which is important for me and my clumsy fingers!) and is super light, so much so that I don't even notice I'm wearing it - again, important, as I can get pretty annoyed at heavy jewellery clunking around my neck. I haven't noticed any discolouration of my skin so far, which is nice because there's no bigger giveaway of budget jewellery than green skin!!
Born Pretty Leopard Necklace
I actually think this is really pretty and when I told a colleague how much it costs, she literally didn't believe me, saying it looks a lot more expensive; this leopard necklace is a mere £1.97!!! It's the sort of necklace that is perfect to dress up a casual outfit or go beautifully when you're making a bit more effort. I've had a few packages from Born Pretty Store, both PR samples and actual orders, and all have been really well packaged and arrived safely; this time around, the parcel took ten days from dispatch to landing through my letterbox, which is really good, though the estimated shipping time is 2-4 weeks so you do need to be prepared to wait a little while for your purchases.
Born Pretty Store have very kindly provided a discount code which will allow you to get 10% off any orders; simply enter "JESSMK31" at the checkout! Have you ever ordered from Born Pretty Store? Do you like the look of this necklace?

[*Products provided for consideration.]

Monday, 2 February 2015

Five Ways To Maintain a Positive Outlook

This is a little bit of a different post for me but it's one I've been thinking about writing for a while; I'm incredibly lucky in that I'm a naturally optimistic, upbeat, positive person, and I'm thankful for that. As I've got older, though, I have found I've had to make a more conscious effort at times to keep a positive mindset; without going into too much detail, sometimes life can seem pretty tough, so it's always good to have a contingency plan to help keep yourself thinking positive. Just a little disclaimer here; these are things that have helped me over the years, I can't guarantee they'll work for you, and if you're really struggling with negative thoughts it might be worth speaking to your GP and seeking some professional support.
Five Ways to Maintain a Positive Outlook
Take time for yourself | Life can be hectic and I know it can be hard to find the time, but making just five minutes here and there to treat yourself can make a huge difference in how you feel. Valuing yourself as a person is so important and taking five minutes to paint your toenails once a week or spending an extra minute with your moisturiser of a morning to give yourself a mini facial massage can help to make you feel special. In and of itself, that makes it so much easier to look on the bright side of things!
Catch the negative thoughts | This one takes a little bit of practice as often, you're not even aware of negative thoughts, but trying to notice when you're being unnecessarily negative can be a really important step towards improving your outlook. When I catch a negative thought, I try to work out where it's come from, and then consciously replace it with a positive thought. So that might look a little something like this:
• Negative thought: I didn't get the job I interviewed for, I'm never going to get the job I want.
• Why am I thinking this?: I'm disappointed that I wasn't successful this time because I really liked the sound of the job. It's okay to be disappointed but that's not going to stop me!
• Replace with a positive thought: It was good to gain the interview experience and the feedback. I know I'm heading in the right direction, it's just a case of time and getting more work experience. Out of so many applicants, I did well to get an interview at all!
Make a happy playlist | Something as simple as five songs to listen to while you do your hair and make-up or on the way to work can really make a difference to how your day goes; pick songs that have happy memories for you or just ones that make you smile, and listen to them. This is such an easy way to pick your mood up when you're feeling a bit low and can help you get into the habit of starting your day off with a bit of positivity.
Levens Park
Get out and get moving | A little bit of fresh air and exercise can work wonders to improve your mood and your mindset; even if it's just ten minutes to go for a little walk, the change of scenery and the endorphins released by exercising can really make a difference! I know I'm super lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and I'm trying to make more of an effort to really appreciate it and get out there as often as I can, particularly because I find being out and about really helps to keep me in a positive mindset.
Be thankful | It can be so easy to get caught up in things you'd like to have, that you forget to appreciate what you already have. Yes, a new lipstick/dress/car might be lovely, but there's so much to be grateful for in everyday life. I try to make the effort to think of five things I'm grateful for each night, which I tend to do as I'm getting ready for bed, though you could try jotting them down in a notebook or journalling them if that's your cup of tea. Sometimes it's things as simple as having enough food to eat and a beautiful dog who's always pleased to see me, other times it might be catching up with a friend I've not spoken to in a while, or hearing a song on the radio at just the right time. It's so refreshing to take a minute or two to refocus on what's important and how lucky we really are.
Just to reiterate, these are all things I've found work well for me to help me stay in a positive frame of mind, but obviously we're all different and what works for me might not necessarily be helpful for you! That said, this might give you a few ideas for starting off towards becoming a more optimistic person - do you have any tips to add? Have you found any of these ideas helpful in keeping yourself in a positive mindset?

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