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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Empties | March 2015

It's kind of hard to believe that we're now a full quarter of the way through 2015; March has been a busy one, what with a weekend in Milan, my Mum having a hip replacement, going to see The Blackout (and McBusted tonight!!), a job interview, and getting to grips with driving after passing my test at the end of last month! I've also joined the gym, so I've been trying to get down there two or three times a week, as well as working as many hours as I can fit in, and my new voluntary job... I've barely had enough hours to sleep, and I definitely haven't been blogging as much as I'd have liked. I've finished disappointingly few products this month, hopefully April will be better! Here are the few things I have used up...
March 2015 Empties Bbloggers
Beauty Empties March 2015
OGX Renewing Argan Oil Shampoo I have really enjoyed using this shampoo (and its matching conditioner, which I've not quite finished yet); they leave my hair feeling clean, soft and smooth, and I've been finding that it takes longer for my roots to start looking oily. However, I've been breaking out quite badly on my back and chest, which I think may be due to the silicons in these products, so I'm swapping them out for now to see if it helps. If not, I'll probably be coming back to them!
Repurchase? Maybe.
REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask I bought this because invisible pores sounded like something I could roll with, but ended up being pretty disappointed - as often seems to be the case with REN products. I don't know if my expectations are just too high, but let's be honest - I wasn't expecting actually invisible pores. I was expecting to see some improvement, but sadly, I didn't; this just felt like an over-priced clay mask with no real benefits over any other clay mask I've ever tried.
Repurchase? No.
Armani Code Eau de Parfum I was so sad to finish this as I've had it about four years and absolutely adore it, it's a scent I always get complimented on and I just feel more 'me' when I wear it. It's pretty expensive so I wasn't expecting to replace it, but I actually treated myself to a bottle from Duty Free on the way back from Milan - with 10% off the already-bargain price, it really would have been rude not to!
Repurchase? Already have.
The Body Shop Wild Argan Hand Cream This smells absolutely beautiful and was a handy sized tube for keeping in my pocket at work, but I didn't find it as hydrating as some of The Body Shop's other hand creams - I'm loving their Hemp Hand Protector at the moment as it works so well to soften and moisturise my flaky, cracked, dry, sore hands.
Repurchase? Probably not.
Makeup Gallery Smoothly Does It Pressed Powder This little gem was from Poundland and lasted me a couple of months of almost-daily use; it worked well to set my foundation and I didn't find that it oxidised or anything like that. It didn't keep my skin matte all day, but then no powder I've tried thus far has, and at just £1 for a compact, I certainly can't complain!!
Repurchase? Maybe.
And that's it! Told you it was a poor effort. Have you tried any of these products? If you have any SLS- and silicon-free shampoo recommendations to share, I'd love to hear them!!


Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Weekend in Milan

As regular readers may know, I recently went to Milan for the weekend - this was a pretty spontaneous booking back in about August, when a friend and I purchased a Wowcher code for a "mystery European break", whereby we had to select dates and an airport to fly from, and our destination and hotel were chosen for us. After much excitement and last-minute guidebook and currency-shopping, the weekend rolled around. These are just a few of my photos from our weekend because I know other people's holiday photos get pretty boring, pretty quickly (unless you're super nosey like me!) and I don't want to bore you all... You may have seen a few sneak peeks from the weekend if you follow me on Instagram, too.
Lake Como 2
Lake Como
Como Funicular View
We got the train up to Lake Como on the Saturday morning; it was grey and cloudy but still absolutely beautiful, we could only imagine how nice it'd be in the sun! We had a lovely wander around the town of Como, went up on the funicular railway to see what we could see, had a peek at the duomo, purchased postcards and stamps (in Italian! Cinque francobolli per favore!) and indulged in the obligatory Italian gĂ©lato - if I thought it'd travel okay, I'd have filled my bag coming home because it was amazing.
Piazza Mercanti Milan
Mopeds in Milan
Santa Maria Presso San SatiroDuomo Sunset
Duomo di Milano
Back in Milan, we paid a visit to the Piazza Mercanti, as well as having a look round the Teatro alla Scala Opera House, the Santa Maria Presso san Satiro chapel (which is an architectural miracle!), and enjoying the sunset from the roof of the Duomo. I promise I'm not just being a massive poser in that last photo above - I sat down without realising how slippery the ledge was, so had to put my hand out to avoid sliding into the gentleman down from me, just as Rachel took the photo... We visited a lovely little cafe in the Piazza Duomo for risotto, tiramisu and coffee in the evening, and learnt how to ask for the bill in Italian from the lovely waitress (Per favore posso avere il conto?).
Castello Sforzesco
Sunday morning we entertained ourselves by travelling around Milan on the Metro to all the exotic-sounding stations (Lima, anyone? Argentina?) for a while (well, we did have unlimited 48-hour Metro tickets!), before paying a visit to the Castello Sforzesco, Parco Sempione, and a gorgeous coffee shop until it was time to head back to the airport. It was quite a short weekend, with under 48 hours actually spent in Milan, and I have to say I was pretty sleep-deprived by the time we got home, but I think we managed to fit a lot in and saw most of the things we'd wanted to see. I'd definitely love to go back to Como when it's a bit warmer some time, and I'm sure there are plenty more things to see in Milan as well.
Have you ever been to Milan? Is there anywhere you'd recommend visiting? What's been your favourite weekend break?


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Baker Days Easter Cakes*

I was recently offered the opportunity to sample a cake from Baker Days' Easter range; now if you know me, you'll know I never say no to cake, particularly if it's chocolate, so lo and behold a couple of days later this lovely little package dropped through my letterbox - literally, as I received the Chocolate Letterbox Cake* with the Easter Chicks design, which you can find here. Securely packaged in an un-marked white box (perfect if you're sending it as a gift... or just don't want your family to know you're getting cake in the post!) which should easily fit through all letterboxes, the cake is presented in a lovely branded tin with clear instructions about how to remove it without damaging it.
Baker Days Easter Cake
Baker Days Cake
Also included in the box was a card, and a little packet of Love Hearts sweets - just in case there wasn't enough sugar!! The cake itself is nicely printed, with the Letterbox size being said to serve 3-4 - I actually ate it all myself over four days, because it was just that good (and I don't share cake...). The icing was sweet without being too sweet, whilst the chocolate sponge with chocolate chips is made with Belgian chocolate and tasted amazing. It actually kept much better than I expected, as well - I anticipated by the third and fourth days that the cake would be a little bit dry, but that wasn't the case at all!
Baker Days Easter Cake Instructions
Baker Days Easter Chicks Cake
You can see Baker Days' full range of Easter cakes on their website, and all the cakes are personalisable which would be a lovely touch! At £14.99 for the Letterbox-sized cake (plus a supplement for anything other than Vanilla Sponge), I initially thought this sounded quite expensive, but actually for the service you receive and when you think about buying a cake from a supermarket or bakery, it's not so bad. You could easily spend a tenner on a cake this size in a supermarket, and this comes in a lovely tin and direct to your doormat! It's definitely a service I'd consider in the future - not for myself as I have proven I'd only eat it, but as a gift for a friend I think it's a lovely idea! Have you ever had cake in the post? Is it the sort of service you'd use?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sanctum Soho Rose Script Collection*

Sanctum Soho is a luxurious hotel in (you guessed it!) Soho, London; described as London's first rock'n'roll hotel, Sanctum Soho is diversifying somewhat with its new Rose Script Collection, released in collaboration with renowned tattoo artist Dan Gold. If you've been following my blog a while, you might know about my love of tattoos (I have two so far and plenty more planned when I have the funds!), so this collection was right up my street, with its girly twist on the classic skull tattoo. The collection consists of three bags; the Cosmetic Clutch* which I was very kindly sent, alongside a larger Rose Slouch Travel Bag and a smaller Rose Skull Cosmetics Purse.
Sanctum Soho Rose Script Cosmetic Clutch
I recently went to Milan for the weekend and found that the Cosmetic Clutch was the perfect size for keeping all my beauty bits and pieces together; we travelled with carry-on luggage only so all my liquids had to be separate, but I had plenty of room in this clutch for my hairbrush, medication, brushes, and non-liquid beauty bits. The clutch features a rose gold zipper shaped like a plectrum which is a lovely touch, although I've actually had to re-attach this as the zipper came off the first time I opened the clutch! The black strap can be used to carry the clutch, meaning it can double as an actual bag for an evening out - space saver alert!! I really like the girly pink print and the rose gold detailing, I think this is the perfect bag for a long weekend away and as I mentioned, an ideal way to save a bit of space in your luggage.
Sanctum Soho Clutch
Rose Script Clutch Sanctum Soho
The Rose Script Cosmetic Clutch is available here at £19, along with the Rose Slouch Travel Bag at £26 and the Rose Skull Cosmetic Purse for £12.50. [Dead links removed - sorry for any inconvenience caused.] This collection is definitely worth a look if you're into tattoo art or are just after a pretty new washbag! Have you ever been to Sanctum Soho hotel? Do you like the look of the Rose Script Collection?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Friday, 20 March 2015

Review | Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment*

I was recently sent a few products to trial from Direct Cosmetics, one of which was Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment*. You may have noticed me reviewing quite a few hand care products lately in my search for the perfect handcream; I suffer quite badly with eczema, especially on my hands, which is made worse by the frequent handwashing in my job as a carer. I'm therefore looking for something pretty heavy-duty to try and keep my hands in the best condition possible!
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment Review
The product information on the box is as follows: "The perfect companion to our original classic. This fast-absorbing gel-cream for the hands moisturizes for up to eight hours. Soothing emollients smooth and soften rough, weather-exposed skin. Signs of dryness and cracking are reversed so hands look and feel soft and touchable. No greasy residue. To use: Apply liberally as often as necessary." Looking at the ingredients, I find it bizarre that a product of this nature would contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which is well-known as an irritant and personally, it's one of the major triggers for my eczema, so I was more than a little wary trying this out. There's also a long list of parabens which is another ingredient I try to avoid; for a high-end product, I have to admit I'm disappointed with the ingredients list here.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment
Review Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment Direct Cosmetics
The cream has a light gel-like texture which absorbs quickly upon rubbing into the hands, without leaving behind any greasy residue or stickiness, so the product lives up to its claims on that point! It does have a strong botanical scent which I'm personally really not a fan of, and that does linger for quite a while after application, which honestly has put me off using the cream - I only really use it at bedtime as I can't stand the scent during the day, it's okay while I'm asleep... Honestly, this is far from the best hand cream I've used, as well as having one of the highest RRPs. I expected more and I have to say I've been disappointed. It provides some moisture to my hands, but it doesn't last anywhere close to eight hours, and I don't feel like it's offering any longer-term benefits to my skin. I wanted to love this but sadly, it just isn't for me. I'll probably finish the tube but I won't be repurchasing, and I'd be careful to check the ingredients before buying any other products from the Eight Hour range.
Direct Cosmetics Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment
You can find Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment at Direct Cosmetics, priced at £9.99 for 75ml of product, which is a saving of £16 off the RRP; it's definitely worth ordering from Direct Cosmetics if you like the sound of it! I'd also recommend having a browse of the site as they have some great deals on a huge range of skincare, fragrance and make-up products so you'll be sure to find a bargain. Are you a fan of Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream? Have you tried the Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment? What's your favourite hand cream?

[*Product provided for review purposes.]

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Review | Good Things Argan Oil Nourishing Cleansing Oil

Good Things have recently launched a new range in the Argan Oil line, which consists of a Moisture Boost Serum, Facial Oil, Cleansing Oil and Day Cream. Having recently come to the end of my Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil from The Body Shop, I was keen to give the Argan Oil Cleansing Oil a try so popped into Boots to pick a bottle up. If you're not familiar with the Good Things brand, there's a little bit of background information on the bottle: "Good Things facial skincare has been developed by award-winning beauty writer Alice Hart-Davis using her years of expertise in the beauty industry. Combining antioxidant-rich Argan Oil with intensely nourishing and moisturising ingredients, the Good Things Argan Oil range has been expertly developed to help target and treat signs of ageing. Free from: parabens, mineral oils, sulphates, animal ingredients."
Good Things Argan Oil Nourishing Cleansing Oil Review
The bottle is quite nice, with pretty branding and plenty of detailed information about the product and how to use it; I have to say, though, that I'd prefer a pump to the flip-cap which requires you to pour out the oil, just because it's so much less messy! "Keeping skin hydrated is key for a younger looking complexion, and using this moisturising cleansing oil is a step in the right direction. Packed with vitamin-rich Argan Oil, Macadamia Oil with essential fatty acids, and deeply nourishing sweet Almond Oil, this cleanser is the quick route to a soft, make-up free and delicately renewed complexion. Directions: Apply a generous amount of the oil to clean hands and spend  a minute massaging it gently onto dry skin. Add water to transform the oil into a milky solution, and rinse off thoroughly."
I've been using the Good Things Argan Oil Nourishing Cleansing Oil as my second cleanse of an evening, after removing the bulk of my make-up with a micellar water. As suggested on the bottle, I dispense a little of the oil into the palm of my hand, then gently massage it in for a minute or so to ensure that any remaining traces of make-up and grime are dissolved. I then wet my hands to emulsify the oil into a milky solution, before removing with a dampened flannel or muslin cloth. The first thing I've noticed is the lovely scent of the oil, I can't quite put my finger on what it is but it smells beautiful, as well as feeling silky-smooth as I massage it into my skin. As I add water to emulsify, I can see the make-up and grime lifting away from my skin, and yet more comes away on my facecloth as I remove the residue. I generally follow up with a toner and only rarely do I find traces of make-up on the cotton pad, which reassures me that the Cleansing Oil is doing a good job of removing the day from my skin.
Good Things Argan Cleansing Oil
In all, I'm really enjoying using the Good Things Argan Oil Nourishing Cleansing Oil and find that it works really well to remove dirt and leftover make-up from my skin. I have an oily skin-type but this doesn't seem to have broken me out or caused my skin to become any oilier, which is good! Good Things Argan Oil Nourishing Cleansing Oil is available from larger Boots stores, priced at £5.99 for 150ml of product, making it a budget-friendly option for those who enjoy oil-based cleansers, or those looking to try a cleansing oil for the first time. I'd actually really like to try more from this range as well - I'm loving the sound of the Facial Oil and the Moisture Boost Serum. Have you tried anything from the Good Things range? Do you like the sound of the new products with Argan Oil? Are you a fan of cleansing oils, or would you like to try one?


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Three Ways | W7 In The Nude Palette*

I was recently sent a few bits and pieces to try from Direct Cosmetics, one of which was W7's In The Nude palette* - described as a "Natural nudes eye colour palette", In The Nude contains twelve powder eyeshadow shades in a mixture of matte and shimmer finishes. The tin casing is obviously inspired by another, somewhat more expensive, palette of nudes, as I'll mention later; it's quite nice to look at, although it feels quite light and cheap as you hold it. If we're going to split hairs, I also feel like a mirror would be a nice thing to include in a palette like this.
W7 In The Nude Palette Review
The shadows within the tin are presented in a foam insert which is removable and would make for easy de-potting of the shades. The shades are named on the reverse of the tin, meaning you can't see at-a-glance which shade you're using; you'd have to turn the tin over to check, but the shade names are there which I know we beauty bloggers appreciate! The applicator provided is dual-ended, with a sponge applicator on one end and a small brush on the other. It's pretty naff, but then free brushes usually are.
W7 In The Nude Palette Three Ways
Rather than just share a straightforward review, I thought I'd post a couple of ways I like to wear the shadows within the palette - I did a post like this a couple of weeks ago for Too Faced's Chocolate Bar palette and had a great response!
Three Ways with W7's In The Nude palette
First, though, a little run-down of the shades within the palette:
Latte - A matte cream shade
Angel - A shimmery champagne
Venice - A shimmery peach
Marilyn - A pale matte ash-brown
Copper Pot - A warm-toned mid-brown with shimmer
Sun Kissed -A shimmery warm-toned copper
Alice - A matte cool-toned mid-brown
Bad Manners - A shimmery warm-toned mid-deep brown
Coffee Cup - A warm-toned shimmery bronze-brown
Mud Slide -A cool-toned shimmery mid-brown
Tokyo - A shimmery cool-toned ash brown
Fashionista - A deep brown with red shimmer
W7 In The Nude Palette Swatches
In The Nude is supposed to be a dupe for Urban Decay's Naked3 palette; I don't own Naked3 so I won't be offering a comparison, but at first glance the shades do look similar. As you can probably see from the swatches above, In The Nude's shadows aren't particularly well-pigmented, with the matte shades being quite poor and even the shimmers taking a little building up to achieve a colour comparable to that in the pan. Pigmentation would be improved with use of a primer, but all my photos are without primer to give a true representation of the colours and pigmentations. My other problem with this palette is that in the pan, it looks like a reasonably nice range of shades, but once swatched, they're actually all really similar, which I found a little disappointing. The shadows themselves wear reasonably well once on the lids, lasting me twelve hours with no primer with only minimal creasing.
W7 In The Nude Palette
So, onto the looks I've created with these shadows; first up, a very wearable day-time look, which started with 'Venice' all over the lid, 'Angel' in the centre of the lid, 'Bad Manners' in the outer third of the lid and blended inwards, and 'Fashionista' along the lower lashline. This is a very subtle, work-appropriate look which gives you just the right amount of brightness to look wide-awake without being a heavy look.
W7 In The Nude Palette Three Ways Look 1
For the second I look used 'Marilyn' all over the lid, with 'Tokyo' blender in the outer third and 'Bad Manners' in the crease. I used 'Venice' on the centre of the lid, and 'Angel' as a highlight for the inner corners; I've found that the lighter shades take quite a lot of work to build up any kind of pigmentation, and you can't really see that I've used 'Angel' at all in the photos below, but I promise I did! This is another very wearable, daytime look and one I'd wear on a day-to-day basis.
W7 In The Nude Palette Three Ways Look 2
Finally, a bit more of an evening look, using 'Sunkissed' all over the lid, with 'Fashionista' to define the crease. I blended this out with 'Angel' and 'Venice' to soften it a little, before adding 'Tokyo' in the outer third. All my photos of this look seemed to be at a bit of a jaunty angle so I apologise for that! This is once again my favourite of the three looks as I do like something a little bit more dramatic from my eyeshadow, and I did wear this for work, though it'd be a lovely evening look too.
W7 In The Nude Palette Three Ways Look 3
W7's In The Nude palette is available from Direct Cosmetics, priced at £4.99 which I think is a fair price to pay - I wouldn't say it's worth its RRP of £9.99, though. Overall, In The Nude is an affordable option and a nice addition to my make-up collection, though its quality just doesn't compare to Makeup Revolution's Iconic3 palette, which for me is a much better buy at only £4. Compared to other W7 products I've tried, I have to admit I was pretty disappointed with the quality of this palette. Direct Cosmetics have a huge range of fragrance, skincare, haircare and makeup at massive discounts off RRP, though, so they're definitely worth a browse to see if anything catches your fancy! Have you tried any of W7's products? Do you like the look of the In The Nude palette?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Shopping The Clearance Shelves

A few days ago, by complete chance, I happened to pop into Boots just as one of the store assistants was putting out huge baskets-full of stock onto a clearance shelf; amongst the gems she had to offer were these two super-pretty Essie polishes for just 20p each. I honestly couldn't resist, I did so well to restrain myself to two as there were plenty more available. Have a peek at the two shades I chose!
Shopping The Clearance Shelves
Clearance Essie Polishes
Essie Over The Edge & Ignite The Night
'Over The Edge' is a lovely silver/gunmetal chrome polish with a subtle shimmer, which I wore on a day off a week or so ago; two coats take this up to full opacity and with careful application, the brushstrokes which you often get in chrome polishes are barely noticeable. 'Ignite The Night' is a gorgeous glitter which I'm wearing on my toenails at the moment; silver glitter in a clear base, with shots of colour when it catches the light, it took three coats for full opacity but it dried so quickly that I didn't mind. It really is the perfect party polish, though I must admit I'm not looking forward to removing it...
Have you picked up any bargains lately? Do you tend to browse the clearance shelves?


Sunday, 8 March 2015

April 2015 Magazine Freebies [UK]

It's been a while since I've shared one of these posts, primarily because it's been a quiet few months for magazine freebies (with the exception of the Benefit Roller Lash everyone went mental for last month with ELLE!) and there's simply been nothing to share. I'd actually heard nothing about any freebies this month but I just had a little look on the off-chance in the Co-Op a couple of days ago, and ended up picking up this little gem:
April 2015 UK Magazine Freebies
Balance Me Freebies Glamour April 2015
Glamour (£2, Shailene Woodley on the cover) has a choice of four Balance Me products; choose from Radiance Face Mask, Pure Skin Face Wash, Tinted Lip Balm, and Super Moisturising Body Wash. I picked up the face wash and the mask, as I literally have enough lip balms to last me at least the next decade, and I'm quite picky with shower gels and the like. Collectively, Glamour claim these are worth £41, so it's well worth the £8 it'd cost you to grab all four!
Marie Claire (£3.99, Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover) is offering a choice of four full-sized Nails Inc nail polishes, worth £11 each. 'Fiesta' is a hot pink; 'Fashion' is a muted lilac; 'Fizz' is a baby-pink; and 'Festival' is a brown shade, so there should be something for everyone! I'm giving this one a miss as I simply can't justify any more nail polish (no-one needs in excess of 100 bottles, particular when I'm not even able to wear it for work!), but it's a great offer if you're in need of a new spring-ready polish or two!
Have you spotted any other awesome freebies with this month's magazines? I'll be sure to update if I come across any more I think you need to know about! Will you be picking up any of these freebies, or have you already got your hands on some?


Friday, 6 March 2015

Wishlist | Spring Florals

"Oh, March. Spring is here at last!!" - or so I foolishly thought, only to be greeted with more snow, hail, wind and rain than I think we've seen in the preceding four months. Off to a somewhat shaky start, then, but I'm optimistic that things will start to warm up soon and we'll be able to start wearing some of the beautiful Spring trends we've been eyeing since January in the shops! Here are some of my favourite pieces for Spring so far - mostly florals, it has to be said. I'm having a huge urge to literally empty my wardrobe and drawers into bags, take the whole lot to the charity shop, and start again from scratch - if only I could afford it...
Spring Florals
1. Phone Case, £10, Accessorize
2. Blue Floral Zip-Front Skater Dress, £19.99, New Look
3. Tropical Bird Rib Top, £32, Warehouse
4. Charlotte Flatform Trainers, £22, Topshop
6. Belinda Scarf, £45, Hobbs
7. Mint Green Wrap-Back T-Shirt, £7.99, New Look
8. Folk Floral Skirt, £35, Topshop
9. Totally Tropical Halter Neck Dress, £54.95, Joe Browns
I don't own an iPhone (nor do I wish to!), which sadly leaves my options for pretty phone cases somewhat limited; this Accessorize one is beautiful but wouldn't fit my phone. I find skater dresses very flattering on my figure, and the blue and white print on this New Look one are perfect for daytime wear during Spring. I'm not entirely sure how I'd style this top from Warehouse - it makes me think of holidays, though, so I love it despite that! I've wanted a pair of flatforms for the longest time and these lovely pink ones from Topshop are bright, cheerful and actually pretty reasonably priced. Olivia Burton watches are simply gorgeous and despite being called 'Winter Garden', I think this burgundy number would be beautiful year-round. I'd love to add a little bit of grown-up cool to everyday outfits with the super-pretty scarf from Hobbs; I recently left my favourite scarf on the bus, though, so I'm not sure I'd trust myself with this... I'm a huge fan of basics with a twist, like this wrap-back top from New Look, with its pretty pastel colourway and wrap detail at the back; the perfect way to dress up a pair of skinny jeans. The print of this Topshop skirt is just lovely, I can see it paired with a plain white top or shirt and tan accessories. Finally, I'm having a little bit of a moment with Joe Browns at the moment; I want basically everything from their new Spring catalogue, and I'm loving the print of this halterneck dress! What are you craving this Spring? Has anything on my list caught your eye?


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review | Non.U Eyebrow Pencil*

One of the products I was recently sent from Born Pretty Store was this Non.U Eyebrow Pencil in Shade 5, which I chose as I was coming to the end of my MUA Pro Brow Kit and thought this would be handier for travelling, since it doesn't require a brush for application - you can literally fill in and go! If you're looking for a super-easy way to give a really nice put=together finish with minimal effort, I find that sorting the brows out is usually the way to go as they really do frame your face and bring your features together.
Born Pretty Store Non.U Eyebrow Pencil
Available in a choice of five shades, this pencil comes packaged in a nicely designed cardboard outer box, with the black plastic pencil within having a secure click-on lid and twist-up pencil - which is convenient as it means there's no need to sharpen it. The pencil is decorated with a purple design which not only looks nice, but makes it easy to find amongst my other pencil products and mascaras. The shade number is given on a sticker on the end of the pencil, which would be useful for make-up artists or anyone owning more than one shade.
BornPrettyStore Non.U Eyebrow Pencil Review
The product itself is in a flat angled format which makes for an easy, precise application. I find that I need to go over an area a couple of times to build up enough pigmentation to match my brows, which means it would be hard to mess up - the first stroke is barely noticeable; the swatch below shows the colour built up with a few swipes of product.
BPS Non.U Eyebrow Pencil Review
I mostly fill in my brows to hide the patchy parts from years of over-plucking as a teenager; I also thicken and lengthen the tail part of my brows to define my face a little more. I actually find this pencil the perfect tool for the job as there's no faffing with separate brushes or sharpeners, I can literally just twist up product and draw in where I need to; I do tend to use a brow comb just to soften the edges of my brows for a more natural look, though you could leave them if you prefer a defined finish to your brows. I find that this product lasts really well with no smudging or fading during the day; my make-up regularly goes through 14-hour days and my brows are still in place which is pretty impressive!
BPS Non.U Brow Pencil Before & After
I've got a full face of make-up on in the photos above, with the only difference being that I've filled in my brows with the Non.U Eyebrow Pencil in the second photo; you can really see the difference it makes in bringing everything together and making me look far more polished. (I think the lighting may also be slightly different, but they are both taken in natural light so you can blame the British weather for that!) For the bargain price of £1.98, I think this is a fantastic product, which works really well, does its intended job, and has pretty, functional packaging! I'd definitely consider a repurchase once I've used this up. Non.U Eyebrow Pencil is available from Born Pretty Store in five shades, so there should be something to suit most people given how buildable they are, and they offer free worldwide shipping. You can also get a 10% discount using my code 'JESSMK31'.
Have you tried Non.U Eyebrow Pencil? What products do you use on your brows, or do you just let them get on with doing their thing?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Monday, 2 March 2015

Intensive Winter Handcare with The Body Shop

My poor hands have really been struggling this winter; I always suffer with dry skin during the colder months, but working as a carer and the frequent hand-washing that entails have left my hands dry, cracked and weeping. I've recently taken to keeping a tube of hand cream in my pocket whilst at work for applying after I wash my hands - it means I'm getting through a lot of hand cream, but my hands are merely dry at the moment, as opposed to red-raw and sore when I move them, so it's worth the effort! A few days ago, I picked up The Body Shop's Hemp Hand Protector and Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream (there was a Buy One, Get One 50% Off offer on hand- and body-care so I thought I'd try two!) and I've been super-impressed with how effective they are.
Intensive Winter Handcare with The Body Shop
The lady in The Body Shop explained to me that the Hemp Hand Protector is ideal for very dry skin, whilst the Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream is antibacterial and therefore suitable for people such as myself who need to be sure of having clean hands. The Absinthe also helps to neutralise odours, which is always handy in a job like mine! Also available in the range are the Almond Hand & Nail Cream, which works (as the name may suggest)  to condition hands and nails, and the Wild Rose Hand Cream, which has SPF 15 and provides anti-aging benefits.
The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector & Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream
The Hemp Hand Protector has quite a thick, almost balmy texture, which nonetheless sinks into the hands quickly without leaving a sticky or greasy feeling. Within a few hours of starting to use it, I noticed a difference in my hands; they felt softer, and it no longer hurt to bend my fingers. I have to admit I was mighty impressed as I'd expect even the best hand cream to take a couple of days to have that kind of effect! I've not used the Absinthe cream as much, but I have noticed alongside its lighter, more lotion-like consistency, it has a lovely light, fresh scent and leaves my hands feeling lightly moisturised and really refreshed, with a calming effect on itchiness.
Both the Hemp Hand Protector & the Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream are available at just £5 for 30ml of product, or £11 for 100ml. I have the 30ml sizes as they're so handy to keep in my pocket, but I will for sure be picking up a larger tube of the Hemp Hand Protector to keep by my bedside at home! I'd definitely recommend both of these products for anyone struggling even a little bit with dry hands; having seen what they Hemp Hand Protector in particular did for me, I'd expect it to work magic on plain old dry skin! Have you tried either of these, or any of The Body Shop's other hand creams? Do you have any hand cream recommendations for super-dry, chapped hands?

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