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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Empties | June 2015

We are now, amazingly, half way through 2015 - I know it's not just me that thinks this year is simply flying past!! June has been a busy month for me; I'm still car-less as I'm waiting for my car to be repaired with a part which is (hopefully!) en route from the US, meaning I'm still borrowing my Mum's car for going to work. Over the weekend I was camping near Leeds for the first of three Total Warrior weekends this year; helping out on the Saturday was a great laugh as always, and competing for the first time on Sunday was amazing - I honestly had such a brilliant time, and was extremely proud to complete the 12.5km course in 2:29:31, having completed every single obstacle. I will definitely be doing this again, it was a fantastic experience!! I was also pretty proud of making the 2-hour drive to Leeds on my own and making it there (and back!) in one piece, as my sense of direction is notoriously lacking. As always at the end of the month, I'm sharing the beauty products I've finished off, so here we go with those...
June 2015 Beauty Empties
Empties June 2015
Organic Surge Volume Boost Shampoo & Conditioner | The scent of this shampoo made me feel quite sick and I didn't manage to get over that through the whole tube, which is a shame as otherwise it was a really lovely product; a little on the runny side, maybe, but lathered well, left my hair feeling soft and clean, and worked well with my oily scalp. The conditioner didn't smell as bad and again, it worked well for me, so I am disappointed that the scent was so overpowering.
Repurchase? No, but only because I can't stomach the scent!
Nivea Anti-Perspirant Double Effect Violet Senses | I like to keep a spray deodorant in my bag for freshening up at work, and just tend to pick up whatever's on offer. I did like the twist-to-lock lid on this as it gives a bit of peace of mind with regards to leaks in said bag. The scent was neither here nor there, I love violet but this wasn't really identifiably violet which was a shame.
Repurchase? Probably not.
Maybelline Matte Maker Mattifying Powder | I had the shade 10 'Classic Ivory' which worked well with my skintone, mattifying and setting my make-up without leaving a white, ghost-like impression. It didn't particularly keep my skin any more matte than any other powder I've used, but I've kind of become resigned to the fact that there's nothing that can keep my super-oily skin looking matte.
Repurchase? Maybe, as it works reasonably well and doesn't break the bank.
June 2015 Empties
Dr Organic+ Pomegranate Body Wash | I mentioned in my review that I was disappointed that this body was smelt of rose, not pomegranate, and that it contained artificial fragrance - for a product marketed the way it is, that was a real let-down for me and I wish I'd checked the ingredients list more closely before buying! It did the job perfectly well as a body wash, though.
Repurchase? No.
Batiste Bright & Lively Dry Shampoo | Is it bad if the main reason I bought this was the pretty can?! I've gone off Batiste since trying COLAB dry shampoos, as I find that Batiste just isn't as effective, as well as leaving that unattractive white cast in my hair which takes a lot of getting out. However, this did smell lovely, and I have used the whole can, so I guess that says something. It's also a lot more readily available that COLAB, especially now I'm driving to work and not spending an hour a day hanging round town waiting for buses / buying out Superdrug.
Repurchase? Maybe, though I'd prefer COLAB.
Rimmel Lasting Finish 25-Hour Foundation | I really enjoyed this foundation; I found it gave me a great amount of coverage without feeling heavy or mask-like on my skin, and the shade I had (100 'Ivory') was pretty much a spot-on colour match to my skin. The pump on the bottle is a definite plus for me, too - I really do hate foundations in glass bottles without pumps!
Repurchase? Maybe - it did work well for me but I'm a bit of a foundation addict and I'm always trying new ones, so who knows!?
The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter | This is one of my favourite body butter fragrances, I love anything coconut-scented! It just reminds me of summer holidays, it's such a happy scent. The body butter is also nicely hydrating and generally lovely. I'm not 100% certain where this 50ml size came from, I think it may have been in a gift set I won a couple of years ago, but I've definitely enjoyed using it over the last couple of weeks.
Repurchase? Yes, although I only buy The Body Shop products on offer, generally.
And that concludes another month's worth of my Empties - not a brilliant month for clearing things out, but not a terrible one either, and it always feels like an achievement to finish off make-up products! Have you tried any of these products? What have you used up this month?


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Scrapbook Accents

I posted last month about the scrapbook I've been putting together to keep some of 2015's memories; I filled almost half of it with my weekend in Milan, but I've been adding bits and pieces since from gigs I've been to and other things I've been getting up to, and thought I'd share a little update, along with some of the new accents I've been including!
The Blackout Scrapbook Page
Born Pretty very kindly sent me this roll of glittery tape* (£1.60 here) which I've been using to add a bit of sparkle here and there; I've also been adding it into my planner to highlight important days and just brighten it up a bit. There are several colours available and there's every chance I'll order a couple more as I do love a bit of glitter in my life! I also received these lovely little stickers* which are on a clear plastic backing so they look like intricate embellishments, but they're super easy to stick in! For £1.28 here you get 70 stickers in an assortment of designs - I've got hearts, bows, butterflies, and some plain shapes which will be nice layered with other stickers. This page is basically a couple of gigs I've been to  - The Used back in February, and The Blackout in March; I do still need to write in on quite a few of these newer pages...
Colour Run Scapbook Page
For my Colour Dash pages, I used my entry pack bag as a background for my race number and one photo, as I really loved the swirly rainbow thing it had going on, and I also ordered these pretty lace-effect tapes (below) from Amazon, £1.23 for five rolls here. Again, these have been lovely for adding a little something to my scrapbook pages, and I've actually been marking my (rare!) days off in my planner with them, too. These are on a plastic backing so you just cut off the amount you want, peel off the backing and stick it down - easy! The blue stars at the bottom of this page are actually stamps from a pen I ordered from Born Pretty (£1.30 here); they're really quick to add in and I think they look lovely. I still need to add some actual writing to these pages as well, but I'll get round to that at some point, I'm sure...
Colour Run Scrapbook Page 2
Remember you can get 10% off across the whole Born Pretty website using my discount code 'JESSMK31' at checkout! They stock a huge range of products from stationery supplies like these through to make-up, nail art products and jewellery, so it's definitely worth a browse.
Quite a few people commented on my last post saying they'd like to keep a scrapbook but don't have the time; I always used to think that, but I've found that even just ten minutes here and there can add up to a lovely collection of memories! I've got a massive envelope which I use to just keep tickets and other bits & pieces together until I have chance to assemble another page or two. Remember scrapbooking is meant to be a fun hobby so it's not about a massive time commitment, and I've really been enjoying adding to mine when I've got half an hour to spare. Do you keep a scrapbook? What sort of things do you use to decorate yours?

[*Product provided for consideration. Prices correct at time of writing but may fluctuate with exchange rates.]
[Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 26 June 2015

Seekers of the Sun Temporary Tattoos

Having recently purchased the Latest In Beauty Glamour Summer Edit box (check out Latest In Beauty's current boxes here), one of the items I received inside was a selection of temporary tattoos from Seekers of the Sun - not a brand I'd heard of previously, but temporary tattoos are currently having a massive moment so it stands to reason there's new brands cropping up. I have to say I do think these fit well with the theme of the box as they are something a little bit different that people might like to try at a festival or whilst on holiday.
Seekers of the Sun temporary tattoos
The sheet of tattoos I received is an exclusive selection of designs for the Glamour box, consisting of gold and hot pink foiled-effect hearts, stars, roses, dotted and lined designs, and a couple of word-based ones as well. They're really easy to use; like the temporary tattoos of our youth, you simply cut out the design you want, peel off the plastic backing, apply it to your chosen area of skin and dampen thoroughly to transfer. It's best to wait a few seconds before sliding off the paper, leaving the temporary tattoo behind on the skin!
seekers of the sun temp tattoo application
Obviously it depends where you apply your tattoos as to how long they'll last - I put my first one, a group of three gold stars (seen here on my Instagram), on my hip; they lasted a good four days there, whereas this one I've put on my ring finger and I don't expect that to last anywhere near as long as I'll be washing my hands frequently. They'd be perfect as an accessory for a festival, a weekend away, a big night out, or just for fun! The metallic, foiled effect is really striking and makes the tattoos a pretty addition to any ensemble, in my opinion.
Seekers of the sun temp tattoos
Seekers of the Sun temporary tattoos start from £10 for a sheet, which sounds pretty expensive to me but it seems to be around the norm for this type of product, available here. Have you tried any of the new generation of temporary tattoos? What sort of designs would you go for?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review | Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Mask

I picked up Origins' much-hyped Drink Up™ Intensive Mask in a gift set in the January sales; I reviewed the Clear Improvement® mask a few weeks back if you'd like to see what I thought of that, but today it's time to see how I've got on with this, described as an "Overnight mask to quench skin's thirst." This is the overnight version of the original ten-minute Drink Up mask.
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask Review
The olive-green squeezy tube is both attractive and practical; it's a nice skincare sort of colour which I find vaguely reassuring, somehow (a bit of clever marketing there!), whilst also being easy and hygienic to dispense the required amount of product. "Twice a week or as desired, gently massage onto clean skin at bedtime. Tissue off excess." I've generally been using this once or twice a week for the last couple of months, in place of my moisturiser a little while before bedtime. I've found this gives the "excess" chance to absorb, rather than having to tissue it off, which both reduces waste and hopefully means my skin gets more benefit.
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask
The creamy texture makes it easy to spread over the skin, giving a cooling effect which is really lovely at bedtime after a long day. The mask also has a gorgeous fruity scent which makes it truly a pleasure to use. I've been keeping this on my bedside table to remind myself to use it regularly, which has worked pretty well aside from that one time I accidentally used it as hand cream in the dark... Although it did work a treat!
Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask Review
I find that my skin is left soft and smooth after a night's sleeping in this; it feels well-hydrated but no oilier than normal; there's no stickiness, I haven't suffered any more break-outs than usual and my skin has shown no signs of irritation. This has really been an all-round winner for me; although my skin is oily, it does still suffer from dehydration and dryness, but this has worked well to counter those and it's a product which has fit really nicely into my routine. Origins Drink Up™ Intensive is priced at £23 for 100ml of product, which does sound quite pricey but actually, given how long the tube will last, I think it's fairly reasonable; I've been using this at least weekly for around three months and there is still way more than half my 75ml tube left! Have you tried this mask, or any other Origins masks? What are your thoughts on overnight masks?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Monday, 22 June 2015

Orla Kiely Sicilian Lemon Scented Candle*

Orla Kiely has just relaunched her home fragrance collection in celebration of its five-year anniversary; featuring three new scents and six of her instantly-recognisable statement prints, the collection consists of candles (200g, £25) and diffusers (200ml, £32). I was very kindly sent the Sicilian Lemon Scented Candle* to trial. "Blending the uplifting pure essential oils of Sicilian lemon, mint and lavender with warm hints of frankincense for a truly vibrant fragrance."
Orla Kiely Sicilian Lemon Scented Candle Review
Orla Kiely Sicilian Lemon Candle
The 200g candle is made of 100% vegetable wax and has a burn time of up to fifty hours which isn't bad at all! Presented in a glass jar adorned with Orla's Climbing Daisy print, the candle comes with a co-ordinating heat-proof mat to protect your surfaces. It's definitely a jar I'll be keeping and re-using, I'm thinking maybe as a planter! I could smell the gorgeous zesty, lemony scent as soon as I opened the candle's box (which is correspondingly pretty, printed with the same design as the jar), and it scents my room beautifully even unlit; once lit, the scent spreads throughout the whole upstairs of our house, which is really nice. The candle has burnt pretty evenly so far, melting across almost the whole width rather than tunneling through the central part as some candles do - which is great as it theoretically means it'll last longer!
Sicilian Lemon Candle
Orla Kiely Sicilian Lemon Candle Lit
As well as the Sicilian Lemon fragrance, others in the collection include Fig Tree, Orange Rind, Basil & Mint, Earl Grey and Lavender; I think this is a beautifully thought-out collection with a gorgeous range of scents for every occasion, and something to suit all tastes. The Orla Kiely Home Fragrance collection will be available from House of Fraser, John Lewis and Fenwick, as well as online direct from Orla Kiely. Which scents do you like the sound of most? Are you a fan of Orla Kiely's iconic prints?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 20 June 2015

NOTD | Nails Inc 'Kensington Passage'

I recently treated myself to the Latest In Beauty Glamour Summer Edit (£17.99 + P&P here), which included amongst other things a bottle of 'Kensington Passage' from Nails Inc's Gel Effect line; a gorgeous neon pinky-coral shade, I can see exactly how this ended up in a summer edit! This is the first polish I've tried from the Gel Effect line but I really like how the lid of the bottle matches the colour of the polish - what a lovely high-end touch. At the total opposite end of the spectrum to 'The Tide Is High', which I posted about a week or so ago, 'Kensington Passage' has a beautiful formula; it went on smoothly, dried quickly to a gorgeous glossy finish, and one coat was sufficient for a decent coverage - two might have been better but I made do with one! You can see my nail line in these photos but it isn't noticeable IRL so I'd be happy with one coat for sure.
NOTD Nails Inc Gel Effect Kensington Passage
NOTD Nails Inc Kensington Passage
It's a little bit deeper in tone on the nails than it is in the bottle, but I still love it and can see myself getting a lot of wear from this over the summer months! The Gel Effect line claims to offer a long-lasting finish which might be handy for going away, but I've not had chance to put that to the test as unfortunately I had to take this off after one day for work. 'Kensington Passage' is priced at £15 for 8ml, available direct from Nails Inc. Have you tried any shades from the Gel Effect line? Did you pick up the LIB Glamour Summer Edit?


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Review | Born Pretty Monplay Corrector Magic Glow Ball Powder*

I was recently very kindly sent another package of products to try from Born Pretty Store; one of the items I chose was the intriguingly-named "Magic Glow Ball Powder"* in Shade #3. There's very little detail about the product on Born Pretty's website, but basically was anticipating a highlighter in a pearl format... which is pretty much what I got!
Monplay Corrector Magic Glow Ball Powder Review
Magic Glow Ball Powder
Presented in a screw-cap plastic jar which comes complete with mirror in the lid (always handy!) and a little powder puff, I think the Magic Glow Balls look higher-end than they are. The information on the bottom of the jar is a dubious translation and doesn't really tell you much other than the shade you've got and that there's 25g of product. Shade #3 contains a combination of white, lilac, mint and peach pearls, which are packaged between two layers of foam to keep them safe.
Monplay Corrector Magic Glow Ball Powder Review Born Pretty
Monplay Magic Glow Ball Powder Born Pretty
I've found that the powder puff provided is pretty much useless for picking up any pigment from the pearls; I've been using my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush instead, I think you need quite a firm brush with dense fibres to get much payoff. The effect once brushed onto the skin is a very subtle brightening; you'd really struggle to go over-board and end up looking like a disco ball with these! I tend to just brush gently down my nose, across the tops of my cheekbones and on my browbones to highlight my face, which is what I've done in the photo below - it's difficult to see, but it does give a nice, subtle brightening effect with is perfect for day-to-day wear.
FOTD Monplay Corrector Magic Glow Ball Powder
These are great on a day when I want a subtle brightening effect without much visible shimmer; the jar also looks really pretty on my dresser! Monplay Corrector Magic Glow Ball Powder is available from Born Pretty Store here, priced at £5.01; remember you can get 10% off store-wide with my discount code 'JESSMK31'!
Have you tried Monplay Corrector Magic Glow Ball Powder, or any similar products? What's your highlighter of choice?

[*Product provided for consideration.]
[Prices correct at time of writing but may fluctuate with exchange rates.]

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A Haircare Hero

I don't often post about hair products, which is basically because I am the laziest person when it comes to my hair. I shampoo twice in the shower, followed by conditioner, wrap it in a towel for ten minutes when I get out. Maybe once a week I'll remember to use an oil or leave-in conditioner... And that's about it. I very rarely use a hairdryer, the last time I used my straighteners was Christmas, and it's only on the odd occasion when I remember to use any kind of styling product. I like the idea of nice hair but my locks have other ideas - my hair is long, almost waist-length, and thick, and has a tendency to tie itself in the most incredible knots within ten minutes of being brushed. I keep saying I'm going to cut it all off but I know I won't because I hate my hair short - and it doesn't behave any better anyway! However, I have recently discovered a little hero which has made a surprising difference for me. Introducing my new toy, the Tangle Teezer Original.
A Haircare Hero
Tangle Teezer
Yes, yes, I know, I'm very late to the party on this one; these are by no means a new product, but I honestly didn't believe it could make any difference to my hair, so I only just got round to buying one a couple of months ago. I've always bought cheap hair brushes, reasoning that no brush can make any difference anyway, only to struggle with static and the little beads on the ends of the bristles falling off within a few months, meaning the brush scratches my scalp and tugs at my hair... But I didn't learn! I finally decided enough was enough and invested (cough) £7.80 plus postage on Beauty Bay for this little gem.
Tangle Teezer Blueberry Pop
I actually pretty much immediately posted about my new Tangle Teezer on Instagram, because I was amazed at how easily it ran through my hair, loosening and removing knots without pulling uncomfortably, leaving my hair feeling smooth and manageable, at least for a while - I don't think any brush will change my hair's inherent knottiness for long! The Tangle Teezer can be used on wet or dry hair - I find it's great for detangling after washing my hair. It's shaped to fit comfortably in my hand meaning it's easy to control how much pressure I'm applying; the bristles don't have beads on to fall off, yet don't scratch my scalp or feel uncomfortable. There's no annoying static when I use it, and whilst my hair does still shed at an alarming rate, it's really easy to clean the Tangle Teezer after brushing as well! In all, this was a tenner well spent and I'm really wishing I'd taken the plunge sooner - this might well be love! ♥ I have the Blueberry Pop colour combo, which you can find on Beauty Bay for £7.80 here.
Do you have a Tangle Teezer? What are your haircare must-haves - products or tools? I'd love to hear any recommendations!!


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Review | W7 Photo Shoot Foundation

I vaguely remember picking up this bottle of W7 Photo Shoot Foundation in B&M around a year ago; I found it lurking in a box of beauty bits a couple of weeks ago when I was having a major sort-out in my room and got round to actually opening it! You know you have a problem when you can lose an un-opened bottle of foundation for a year and not even miss it, right...!? Anyhow, having recently finished off a couple of bottles of foundation (Revlon ColorStay & Rimmel Lasting Finish), I've been using this as my daily base for a couple of weeks now and thought I'd share my thoughts. W7 claim that this is a, "16 hour budge-proof foundation." Sounds too good to be true...
W7 Photo Shoot Foundation Review
W7 16 Hour Photo Shoot Foundation
First up, the bottle; a frosted glass bottle with black screw cap, this looks more expensive than its ridiculously-cheap price point. I was disappointed to discover, however, that this is lacking a pump, which for me is always a massive let-down. Seriously, Makers of Make-up, what makes you think I want to bash a glass bottle on the back of my hand in an effort to get foundation out of it? Just give me a pump!! Anyhow; once I've managed to shake/cajole/bribe/otherwise extract some foundation from the bottle, you can see below that the shade I have, 'Buff', is a lovely match for my skin-tone, which is nice - when you're as pale as I am, that's a rare treat! The best way I've found of applying this is with a dampened Beauty Blender; it goes on okay with my fingers as well, but I find it sets too quickly to get a nice finish with a brush. Just something to consider. The coverage is medium and feels light on the skin; I sometimes build a couple of layers on particularly bad-skin days and it doesn't seem to cake.
W7 Photo Shoot Foundation
W7 Photo Shoot 16 Hour Budge Proof Foundation Review
You can see below that this works well to tone down redness and cover the majority of my blemishes, although I do still need a healthy covering of concealer on the dark circles under my eyes (there's actually no hiding them at the moment)! For an oil-free formula, I do feel like this looks quite shiny and oily on my skin, which was a concern at first; my skin is oily enough, thank you very much! However, it powders nicely to a matte finish and, whilst it doesn't stay matte for more than a couple of hours, it doesn't seem to slip on my face or fade as the hours pass, and I haven't noticed any oxidation either. It's easy enough to blot and dust on a little more powder after a 3-4 hours so, whilst this isn't the longest-wearing foundation I've had, it's definitely workable. It's a far cry from the claimed 16 hours, but no-one ever believes those claims anyway, right!? The back of the bottle does claim that this won't transfer to clothing which I have to point out isn't true - I change my top when I start work and again when I finish, and I almost invariably end up with foundation around my collar!
FOTD W7 Photo Shoot Foundation
[Left to right: Bare skin; Nanoblur + Photo Shoot Foundation; Full Face. Please ignore the annoying stray hairs across my forehead!]
[Products used: Indeed Labs Nanoblur; W7 Photo Shoot Foundation in 'Buff';
Natural Collection Cover-Up Cream in 'Fair' (I think - the label's rubbed off!);
Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in 001 'Translucent'; NARS Powder Blusher in 'Deep Throat'; 'Crème Brûlée' from Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette; Benefit Roller Lash Mascara;
Make-up Revolution ♥ Brow Kit in 'The Fairest of Them All';
Overall I'm really pleased with W7's Photo Shoot Foundation; it gives a good, buildable coverage and lasts reasonably well through the day, even if I do need to touch up with powder a couple of times. For less than a fiver per bottle, you could do far worse! I can't remember how much I paid for my bottle but I've found it at Xtras for £4.49 for 28ml here. Have you tried this, or any other W7 foundation? What's your favourite base product?


Friday, 12 June 2015

Father's Day With Debenhams*

Public Service Announcement: Next Sunday, June 21st, is Father's Day! You can thank me later for that little reminder, but in the meantime I've got some gift ideas to share in collaboration with Debenhams. I've always been a bit of a daddy's girl and, whilst my family isn't great at talking about feelings and all that carry-on, it's nice to be able to show my Dad that I love him once a year! Some of my best childhood memories are from times spent with my Dad - he was a postman when I was little, and he'd bring me Dolly Mixtures from the Post Office at the weekend; when I was a bit older, we'd take a frying pan and some bacon and bread & butter into the field to have a "camp fire", where he'd let me build bricks up before we lit a fire and fried our bacon for bacon butties, ruining my mum's frying pan in the process; aged ten, I went on a three-day school trip and came home to discover my Dad had bought an iguana in my absence... Life was far from dull! Soppiness, aside, however, let's get back to Father's Day...!
Father's Day Gifts Ben Sherman Polo Shirt Carven Pour Homme Eau de Toilette
My Dad is a man of approximately six outfits, which work in a kind of hierarchy from the old, battered and holey "playing out clothes", through reasonably presentable outfits for things like going to work, doctor's appointments and shopping, and then "nice" clothes which are for going "out-out". Once an item of clothing has had its day in one category, it simply moves down the hierarchy, until it becomes more hole than clothing and is finally parted with in a most traumatic manner - my Dad is a hoarder of the greatest extreme. All that said, you can see why getting him clothes is a great investment! This Ben Sherman Polo Shirt* (£45 £36) has a cool print which is a little bit different than anything else my Dad has, and is made of a truly lovely, soft material; a little bit of luxury! Smellies (that is, anything nicer than whichever Lynx is on offer!) are pretty much reserved exclusively for "going out-out" outfits - something like Carven's Pour Homme Eau de Toilette(£70 for 100ml) will be saved for absolute best and the 50ml bottle I was very kindly sent would probably, at a guess, last him about ten years...
Debenhams Father's Day Gift Guide
There are plenty of other gift ideas in Debenhams' Father's Day Gift Guide, I've picked out some of my favourites here!
Father's Day Gift Ideas with Debenhams
Do you know what you're getting your Dad for Father's Day this year? I've love to hear any other ideas and suggestions! Which of these is your favourite?

[*Products provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

NOTD | Nails Inc. 'The Tide Is High'

This little beauty was actually a freebie I picked up around a week ago; if you've seen my post on July's Magazine Freebies, you'll know that the July issue of InStyle (which is on sale during the month of June!) comes with a free full-sized Nails Inc. nail polish in one of four shades, inspired by 80s music. I went for 'The Tide is High', a gorgeous minty shade. A day off over the weekend gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out... I have to admit, these aren't quite as neat as I'd like - I'm a bit out of practice with the ol' nail polish brush!!
NOTD Nails Inc InStyle The Tide Is High
Photos show three coats and I'm still not 100% happy with the finish; as with many pastel nail polishes, this went on streaky with the first coat, and didn't really improve with the second, either. It's a really pretty shade and it'll look gorgeous with a tan if summer ever makes it to the UK, it's just a shame the formula lets it down a little!
NOTD Nails Inc The Tide Is High
Have you picked up any of the Nails Inc. freebies with InStyle this month? Do you like the look of 'The Tide is High'? What have you got on your nails at the moment?


Monday, 8 June 2015

Six Mini Reviews #14 | Clinique, Garnier, Laura Mercier, Clearista & More...

Yes, I'm still on a mission to use up some of my vast stash of beauty samples, and share mini reviews of the products I trial in the process. I've got quite a nice mixture this time of skincare, make-up and haircare, so read on to find out what I thought of these little bottles, tubes and sachets!!
Six Mini Beauty Reviews Clearista Garnier John Frieda Clinique Trilogy Laura Mercier #bbloggers

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Smooth Start ShampooConditioner & 6 Effects Serum | This trio came with a Boots order a while back now. I used these knowing I'll never buy the full-sized products because of the ingredients list (SLS and silicons both feature), but wanted to get rid of them from my stash - I've actually a couple more sets to use as well! The shampoo foamed nicely and left my hair feeling well-cleaned; the conditioner sank in well and did leave my hair feeling silky and soft. The serum felt so silicone-y that I was reluctant to put it on my hair but I did in the end and, whilst it did leave my hair nice and smooth, I know silicons are not a great way of achieving that. The shampoo & conditioner are both £5.99 for 250ml, whilst the serum is £6.29 for 50ml.
Clearista Retexturizing Gel | This was a free sample via London Beauty Queen; I just want to take a moment to commend Clearista's customer service, as there was some kind of error in sending out these samples, meaning I got landed with a £20 Customs fee - which they promptly paid for me! That aside, I was a huge fan of the luxe packaging and whilst the 'gel' wasn't what I expected (it's more of a scrub) and the smell was a little strange, it did actually work well to smooth and clear my skin. At $79.99 for 120ml this is far from cheap and I probably won't be buying the full size, but it did live up to its claims, so if you can afford to invest that much in skincare then I'd say go for it!
Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner | This smells beautiful, and I really like the little spritz bottle it came in, although it did leak everywhere when I took it to Nice with me last year... It's the sort of product that's really refreshing to spritz over your face, but I kind of freak out when things are sprayed on my face so I mostly used this for dampening eye brushes when I wanted to apply eyeshadows damp - for which it works beautifully! A full-sized 100ml bottle retails at £17.50, which I think is quite pricey, and I probably wouldn't shell out that much for it.
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion | This was a magazine freebie and to be honest, I didn't have particularly high hopes for it - I don't really know why but I just wasn't expecting much. I've been keeping it at my boyfriend's and using it both morning and evening when I've been staying over there, and I've actually been pleasantly surprised. The lotion is light on the skin, absorbs quickly and moisturises nicely, without leaving my skin feeling greasy or sticky. I don't think it's anything special but it does do what it's supposed to really quite well. This starts at £17.50 for 50ml.
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer | I got this sample tube from What's In My Handbag? quite a while ago and had really high hopes for it; it's the first Laura Mercier product I've tried and I've always heard such positive things about the brand! This felt lovely and light, and sank in quickly to leave a matte finish to my skin. However, in terms of keeping my skin matte and improving the longevity of my make-up, I really didn't notice much of an effect, which was a disappointment to me. I do ask a lot from a primer but this just didn't meet my requirements, unfortunately. This is £29 for the full-sized 50ml tube.
Garnier Moisture Match for Combination to Oily Skin | I think this sample sachet came in a magazine; I found it had quite a weird texture on the skin and didn't do much (read: anything) to control my oily skin. I was left distinctly unimpressed, and more so by the inclusion of Alcohol Denat, which is a very drying form of alcohol, in the ingredients of a product that claims to be a moisturiser. This isn't one I'll be buying again, even at an affordable £3.99 for 50ml - what were you thinking, Garnier?!
And with that, another six of my beauty samples bite the dust! I feel like I should have so much more space without all these samples in my room but it doesn't seem to work like that - I think I acquire more as quickly as I can use them up! Have you tried any of these products? What's the best sample you've tried recently?


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Beauty Blogger Confessions

There are certain stereotypes and clichés around being a beauty blogger; you know, the products we all own, the things we all eat, the places we go and things we do...? Except it's not all of us! I thought it would be fun to put together a tongue-in-cheek post of "beauty blogger confessions" to share the ones that I just don't live up to - and I'd love to hear yours! Here are some of the ways I'm "failing" at being a beauty blogger:
Beauty Blogger Confessions
I've never had my brows waxed.
I've actually never had any part of my body waxed, come to think about it; sure, I've waxed my own legs and so on, but somehow the thought of someone waxing me just doesn't appeal to me! Equally, I've never had my brows professionally shaped in any way, tinted, dyed, anything; no-one except me has ever done anything to my brows!
I've never bought a Benefit product.
Yep, you read that right! I've had plenty of Benefit freebies with various magazines over the years, but I've never bought one of their products from a counter or whatever. For one, I think they're seriously over-priced for what they are - and for another, there's really no need, when there are regular freebies with magazines! Benefit are really on point with their pretty packaging but I think that a lot of the time, the product inside fails to live up to expectations. That said, I am considering buying Roller Lash when I finish up my sample as I do really like it...
I've never had my nails done.
Wow, I really am a dreadful beauty blogger, aren't I!? I've never had my nails done - at the moment, there'd be no point as I can't wear nail polish at work, but even before getting my current job, I never bothered for a few reasons. I never wore the same nail polish for more than a couple of days, so it would seem like a waste of money in that respect, and doing my nails is something I really enjoy - so it's never made sense to pay someone else to do it for me!! I've also never worn false nails - but that's mainly because I have abnormally long nail beds and have never actually seen any false nails that are long enough.
I don't own a single item from Cath Kidston.
Cath Kidston is one of those stereotypical blogger brands but I don't own a single item; worse than that, I think the brand is massively over-rated! Sure, they have some pretty things, but I really don't think they're all that - and they are definitely waaaay over-priced. See also: IKEA. I don't own anything from IKEA. This is mainly because there isn't a store locally and they charge a small fortune to deliver to my area.
I don't use eyelash curlers.
This is partially because I had a bad experience with a cheap pair when I was younger, where I actually sliced half my eyelashes off altogether. It's also because I'm lazy and can't be bothered with the extra step. Also, my lashes are naturally pretty long and hold a curl nicely, so I'm lucky that I'm happy with how they look without the faff of eyelash curlers - which reminds me of my German teacher back in high school finding a pair once and declaring that they looked like an instrument of torture - I quite agree.
I don't own a Canon camera. Nor even a Nikon.
My camera is a Fujifilm point-and-shoot thing I bought second-hand off of eBay for around £20. It's not brilliant, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does the job and until I can afford to replace it, it will continue to do so. The benefit of having a cheap camera is that I'm not paranoid about taking it places with me - I know how clumsy I am, so the thought of taking a £500 camera anywhere with me is mildly terrifying. I've dropped my Fujifilm countless times and it's survived beautifully!
There are no fairy lights in my room.
I'll be honest, I do love the way fairy lights look; they're so pretty & girly, I would love to have some in my room... But seriously, our house gathers dust like you wouldn't believe (we have a large dog and an open fire...), so once again this comes down to my laziness - I can't imagine having to dust fairy lights! There are plenty of things I'd far rather be doing with my time.
I've never had a macaron.
Am I missing out? Who knows!? I'd love to try macarons but thus far, the opportunity hasn't presented itself. I live in the rural north-west of England so I don't think the macaron thing has quite made it here yet... Maybe one day, in about three years, I'll finally get to try one. I may give up and try making my own before then...
So, now you know the truth about me and my beauty blogging shortcomings... Do you have any beauty blogger confessions to make? Any stereotypes you aren't living up to? I'd love to hear!!


Thursday, 4 June 2015

July 2015 Magazine Freebies [UK]

Another month, another round of magazine freebies to be had! I find the summer months are often pretty good for little treats amongst your reading material, presumably because all the magazines are competing to be your choice for your summer holidays? I don't know. Anyway, here are the beauty freebies I've spotted with this month's magazines so far.
July 2015 Magazine Beauty Freebies
Red (£4, Yasbin Le Bon on the cover) comes with a 15ml REN Vita Mineral Lip Balm; now I've got mixed views of REN products, and often find that my expectations of them just aren't met, but I'm always keen to try more, so I did pick this up after umming and aahing for a while. This is a full-size product worth £9.
Red Magazine Freebies July 2014 REN Lip Balm
Marie Claire (£3.99, Emilia Clarke on the cover) comes with a choice of two Elemis samples; you can have a 15ml Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm (£35 for 50ml), or a 15ml Papaya Enzyme Peel (£32 for 50ml). I've not tried either of these products before, so I bought two copies of the magazine so I could try both - compared to the full-sized prices, these are an absolute steal!
Marie Claire Elemis Magazine Freebies July 2015
InStyle (£3.99, Jessica Chastain on the cover) comes with one of four full-sized Nails Inc. polishes worth £11; I went for 'The Tide Is High', which is a gorgeous minty shade. You could also have 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', a bright coral/red, 'Boys Of Summer', a hot pink, or 'When Doves Cry', a cool-toned blue/grey. There's also a 10ml sachet of L'Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Luminiser High Shine Shampoo in the magazine.
July Magazine Freebies Instyle Nails Inc Nail Polish
ELLE (£4, Ellie Goulding on the cover) comes with a little Malin & Goetz set including a cleanser, moisturiser and lip balm - I've had this very set as a magazine freebie in the past and really enjoyed using all three products so I didn't hesitate to pick this up! I even featured the lip balm in my recent Lip Care Must-Haves post, so it's great to add a back-up to my stash. I also got another sachet of the L'Oreal shampoo inside the magazine.
July Magazine Freebies ELLE
Cosmopolitan (£3.99) comes with a pair of sunglasses; there are three styles available to choose from and there's also a packet of Mentos in there.
On an absolute whim, I also picked up Crafts Beautiful (£4.99) which comes with 3m of ribbon, a set of butterfly-themed stamps and a colouring book; I've been wanting some stamps for a while since starting scrapbooking, so this seemed like a great opportunity to try some out, whilst also hopefully getting a little crafty inspiration from the magazine! Adult colouring books seem to be a massive trend just now and I have to admit I've been wanting to have a go, but I know my attention span probably isn't up to a whole book - so this 15-design freebie is perfect.
Crafts Beautiful July 2015 Freebies Stamps Ribbon
Crafts Beautiful Art Therapy Colouring Book July 2015 Magazine Freebies
So, those are the July freebies I've seen around so far - have you seen any other magazine freebies this month? Will you be picking up any of these?


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Review | Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Solution

I've just started my second bottle of Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Solution and, although I mentioned in my post on the Botanics brand, I've never done a full review - so now seemed like a good time!! Micellar waters have taken the beauty world by storm over the last couple of years, widely touted as the perfect way to remove your make-up without so much as having to rinse off afterwards... But is it that straightforward!? Keep reading to find out what I think!
Botanics All Bright 3-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Solution Review
A micellar solution is basically a solution of 'micelles' (essentially tiny spheres of oil) in water (usually); in terms of skincare, a micellar solution basically works by attracting make-up and oils to the micelles, removing all the nasties without the need for rinsing - or that's the theory. Claiming to dissolve make-up, unclog pores and remove impurities in one easy step, for all skin-types, with natural AHAs to act as gentle exfoliants, the Botanics All Bright Micellar Solution sounds like a bit of a wonder product to me!
Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar Solution Review
I use this Micellar Water as my first cleanse of an evening, to remove the bulk of my make-up before I use a cleansing oil as my main cleanse. I simply soak a cotton pad with the solution before sweeping over my face; I tend to start with my forehead and cheeks, before moving onto my nose and chin, finishing by gently pressing the pad over each eye for a few seconds. I find that a satisfying amount of make-up comes away on the cotton pad, and there's no stinging to the eyes. However, I wouldn't for one second recommend using this as your only cleanse - when I follow with my cleansing oil (currently the rather lovely Good Things Argan Oil Nourishing Cleansing Oil) I still remove a goodly amount of make-up and other miscellaneous grime. So, whilst the Micellar Solution is great as a pre-cleanse to shift the bulk of your make-up, there's no way I'd depend on it alone to cleanse my skin! I'm not sure about the claims of brightening, to be honest, although I do think my skin looks brighter on the whole since incorporating products from the All Bright range into my routine. In  my view, there's nothing to lose; I need to remove my make-up either way, so I may as well use something that might give additional benefits. Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Solution is priced at £4.49 for 250ml, though there are often offers available so you should be able to get it for a bit less than that! What do you use to remove your make-up? Have you tried a Micellar Solution? What are your favourites from the Boots Botanics range?

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