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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Empties | October 2015

Happy Halloween folks! Today is one of my favourite days of the year, I love it, although I don't think I'll be doing much to celebrate this year... It being the end of the month, it's also time to share the beauty products I've finished off recently. I've got quite a nice mix this month, so read on to see what'll be hitting my recycling!
October Beauty Empties
October Empties
Lush D'Fluff Strawberry Shaving Soap | It feels like this lasted me an absolute age! On reflection, that's probably because I have been horrendous at shaving my legs recently. I simply haven't been bothering! TMI? Sorry! I did love this, though; it smells beautiful and gave a really close, comfortable shave without irritating or drying out my sensitive skin as some shaving products can.
Repurchase? Probably.
Essence I ♥ Extreme Volume Mascara | I know I've been using this longer than six months, as I reviewed it in January - whoops! I found the brush on this one a little large and unwieldy, and the formula unremarkable. It's fine for the price but not a favourite for me when it comes to mascaras and I wouldn't seek it out again.
Repurchase? No.
Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara | I'm so bad at throwing mascara out when I should - I'm pretty sure I've been using this longer than the suggested six months, but thankfully I've never had any eye infections from doing this. So, it's not actually empty, but it's time to say goodbye anyway. This is one of my favourite mascaras, I find it works really well for me! I have quite long lashes naturally so what I really want from mascara is a nice dark black shade and a bit of added volume - this covers both brilliantly, and I find the wand really easy to work with, too.
Repurchase? Maybe, although I have an unholy number of mascaras to use up first so I won't be doing so anytime soon!
Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream | Despite not having massively high hopes for the whole CC Cream thing, I actually really liked this; it offered much more coverage than I was anticipating, the shade match was good and it lasted reasonably well on my skin. It's the first Bourjois base product I've tried and I'll definitely be trying more from the brand now!
Repurchase? Maybe.
L'Occitane 20% Shea Butter Hand Cream | A staple, I've never actually reviewed the original L'Occitane hand cream apparently but have posted about plenty of the scented versions! I find the high shea butter content makes these really moisturising and they work so well at keeping my eczema-prone hands feeling soft and loved. I've never actually bought a L'Occitane hand cream, I tend to just stock up when they're free with magazines, but I do think they're worth the £8 RRP.
Repurchase? Undoubtedly.
Yeung Moxey Coffee Cocoa Lip Balm | I received this as a freebie with an order of some handmade soaps off this Etsy seller and I have to say it's been a lovely lipbalm - it tastes amazing and works really well to hydrate my lips. I've been keeping it by my bed as I find the scent of coffee really comforting for some reason - maybe because my Mum drinks a lot of it, so I associate it with her? Anyway, I would be sorry I'd finished this if I didn't have quite so many lipbalms lurking in my stash just ready to step in...
Repurchase? It doesn't seem to be available from the Etsy shop so probably not.
October Empties #bloggers
Boots Botanics All Bring Soothing Eye Make-up Remover | I'm pretty lazy when it comes to eye make-up and generally just use my standard cleanser to remove it - unless I'm wearing heavy eye make-up, or mascara which I know takes more than that to shift. For those days, this has worked beautifully; the bi-phase formula contains oil which melts away even stubborn mascara (Benefit They're Real? Chanel Le Volume Ultra-Noire) without irritating my eyes. It does leave the eye area feeling a little oily but that's not a problem when I'm going to be cleansing anyway!
Repurchase? Maybe - it's a lovely budget option but there are others I like equally, and I'm always a fan of trying new things!
Dr Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Body Wash | This didn't smell as coconutty as I'd hoped but other than that it was perfectly acceptable as a body wash; a little went a long way and, being SLS-free, it didn't irritate my eczema. It wasn't a stand-out product that I looked forward to using but it was nice nonetheless.
Repurchase? Probably not, though I will almost certainly be trying other variants from the Dr Organic range.
UrbanVeda Neem & Botanics Daily Purifying Facial Wash | I still love this as much as the day I bought it; it smells amazing, works brilliantly as a morning cleanse to freshen up my skin whilst waking me up, and is perfect as a second cleanse in the evening as well, massaged in and splashed off after an oil or cream-based first cleanse. The tube has lasted me going on nine months so it's a really great buy.
Repurchase? Probably, although I do have other face washes to use up first.
Jerome Alexander Magic Minerals All-In-One Powder* | Technically I didn't finish this so much as explode it in my bag, resulting in a powdery horrible mess over a majority of my belongings. Lovely. Anyway, it was irredeemable, so into the bin it will be going. I found that this gave a good coverage when used as foundation, but unfortunately oxidised horrible on the oily patches my skin is so prone to - not ideal!
Repurchase? No; it just didn't suit my skin.
Yves Rocher Sérum Végétal Wrinkles & Radiance Night Cream* | I've been using this as my night cream of choice for around the last six months and have honestly loved having it as part of my routine; it has a gorgeous, subtle scent to it and has worked really well to keep my skin hydrated and nourished without breaking me out. I'm only just 24 so don't have much in the way of wrinkles yet, but I do feel like it's softened the slight line I'm beginning to get on my forehead. Yves Rocher somehow isn't a brand I think of but I think I need to look into their products a little more!
Repurchase? Possibly.
Ted Baker Lyla Purse Spray* | This has been a welcome addition in my work bag, as it's the perfect size to carry on-the-go for a little freshen up if I'm heading out after work, or just on my break if I feel like it. I really enjoyed the fresh, girly fragrance, although it maybe didn't last quite as long as I'd like once on. Nonetheless, I think it's fab for the price and certainly handy to carry round with me.
Repurchase? Maybe.

I'm pretty proud of how much I've managed to finish off this month, actually! A lot of them are things I've replaced or will be replacing, but even so I feel like I've cleared a little bit of space in my stash, which is nice; I'm feeling a real urge to downsize my collection at the moment. I'm sure it won't last, though, so don't worry! Have you tried any of these products? What have you finished this month?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Review | Kind Natured Haircare

Ever searching for an SLS-free shampoo which works well with my oily hair, I nearly did an excited dance when I spotted these Kind Natured products on the shelf in my local Boots a few weeks back; it's not a brand I'd heard of previously but, with my beloved Naked having been discontinued, I'd thrown a bottle each of shampoo and conditioner in my basket within seconds! I tend to choose Volumising shampoos when I'm first trying out a range as I find these tend to work best for my oily hair, but as I swim a lot and have quite dry ends I usually choose a more hydrating conditioner - in this case, from the Nourishing range.
Kind Natured Haircare
I really like the packaging, it's simple and pretty and does exactly what it needs to do. These have been my gym hair products and I'm pleased to say there's been no nasty leaks in my bag which is always good! Both the shampoo bottle and the conditioner tube are sturdy yet easy to use. "At Kind Natured, we believe in keeping it natural. Delight your hair with our carefully selected plant and natural extracts, and fabulous fragrances to leave your hair looking and feeling amazing. 97% Natural and free from Sulphates, Parabens and Petrochemicals, we aim to bring you beautiful hair, just as nature intended!"
Kind Natured Hair Products
"We have gently combined a zesty blend of Rosemary and Mint with volume-boosting ingredients to bring you an uplifting Volumising shampoo, perfect for invigorating your hair as well as your mind. With added Ginseng and Ginger, this shampoo leaves locks looking fuller, thicker and with added oomph." I was a initially a bit concerned that the combination of Mint and Rosemary in the Volumising Shampoo might leave me smelling like a roast lamb dinner... Thankfully, the scent is much more subtle than that, and really just smelt fresh and pleasant, which was a relief! I've found that the shampoo is a little difficult to work through my hair, taking a little bit more effort than I'm used to, but it's not impossible by any means. It rinses out easily enough and after I've shampooed twice (as I always do, more through habit I think than anything else!) my hair does feel clean without being stripped.
Kind Natured Shampoo & Conditioner
"We have delicately blended a fusion of hydrating and moisturising ingredients into this Nourishing Conditioner to help condition and restore hair. Ylang Ylang and Rose deeply moisturise dry hair, whilst vitamin-rich Passion Flower and Sage help to stimulate the scalp to maintain strong, healthy hair. Tresses are left feeling deeply nourished, sumptuously silky and soft." I wouldn't use this on my roots as the directions suggest, but I apply generously to the mid-lengths to ends of my hair and give it a minute or so to soak before rinsing. My hair is left feeling soft and smooth, and tangles comb out easily. There isn't much of a scent to the conditioner which is just fine with me; a luxurious scent in my haircare is more of a bonus than a must-have for me.
Kind Natured Haircare at Boots
Overall I've been impressed with the Kind Natured hair products I've tried, and I'd pick them up again; the Volumising Shampoo seems to work well with my oily scalp, whilst the Nourishing Conditioner hydrates my dry ends and keeps my hair feeling soft and smooth. Kind Natured also have a range of Bath Soaks and Body Washes which I'm keen to try - I love the sound of the Coconut & Passionflower Body Wash, £4.99 for 250ml. I think the whole range is really reasonably priced and it's certainly one I'd recommend if you prefer to use SLS-free hair products; as well as the Volumising and Nourishing lines, there's also a Colour Care duo, so there should be something to suit your hair needs! Kind Natured Volumising Rosemary & Mint Shampoo and Nourishing Ylang Ylang & Sage Conditioner are priced at £4.99 each for 250ml of product, available from Boots. Have you heard of Kind Natured? Have you tried any of their products? Have you any budget-friendly SLS-free haircare favourites to recommend?


Monday, 26 October 2015

Review | L'Occitane Verbena Cooling Hand Cream Gel

If you've seen my post on November's magazine freebies, you'll know that Marie Claire are once again offering L'Occitane hand creams when you purchase the magazine - with six variants available, it was pretty much a given that I'd have to try something new... I caved the other day and picked up the Verbena Cooling Hand Cream Gel.
L'Occitane Verbena Hand Cream
The packaging is typical L'Occitane hand cream packaging, a pretty yet functional silver-coloured tube with a screw-cap. L'Occitane say, "This unique hand cream gel turns to a matte, powdery finish, reducing perspiration and swelling sensations. Enriched with verbena extract and tapioca powder to soothe and absorb, leaving hands feeling dry and cooled. The aroma of verbena, orange, geranium and lemon tree appeals to men and women.", which all sounds rather lovely! I've found that this cream is a much lighter texture than L'Occitane's other hand creams - definitely living up to the gel part of its name. It absorbs quickly into the skin and does indeed leave a matte, powdery finish, with no hint of stickiness, which is nice. The scent is gorgeous, really refreshing and citrussy. I think this will be a new favourite for me in the L'Occitane hand cream range, although it's not quite as hydrating as others I've tried.
L'Occitane Verbena Cooling Hand Cream Gel
The ingredients list does feature Alcohol so that's something to bear in mind if you have very dry or sensitive skin, but otherwise this is a really nice hand cream and a lovely, refreshing treat - I can see it being perfect for me at work! L'Occitane Verbena Cooling Hand Cream Gel is priced from £8 for 30ml, available from L'Occitane here - if you're quick, though, you should still be able to pick it up with November issues of Marie Claire (with Claire Danes on the cover!) for the next week or so. Have you picked up any of L'Occitane's hand creams this time around? What's your favourite hand cream?


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review | Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips*

Having just finished a bottle of eye make-up remover, Clinique's Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips* arrived at pretty much the perfect time for me! This dinky purple bottle contains a bi-phase formula which you shake to activate before applying to a cotton ball or pad and sweeping off your eye and lip make-up.
Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips
"Make-up remover for lids, lashes and lips. Unique, two-way formula that loosens the grip, then speeds the departure of the most persistent eye make-up, mascara and lipsticks." It sounds pretty nifty and I have to say I've been enjoying using this; it feels gentle on the eyes and, after holding a saturated cotton pad over my (closed!) eye for around ten seconds, I find that the majority of my eye make-up does simply just wipe off. I don't tend to wear waterproof mascara so I wouldn't like to say how effective it is at removing those; I think the toughest-to-remove mascara I have is Chanel's Le Volume Ultra-Noire Mascara, and I must admit that this doesn't remove all traces, but by the time I've done a full cleanse afterwards I do feel like my lashes are clean. It's great for removing the bulk of my mascara, for sure.
Clinique Eye Makeup Remover
I'm not a huge wearer of lip products and they're not something I wear day-to-day, but on the occasions when I do choose to, I want to be able to remove them easily and without them smearing all over my face. Thankfully, this works even better for lip stains and awkward-to-remove liquid lipstick than it did for mascara! A few seconds pressing the cotton pad over my lips and I'm able to simply wipe off the lip product, without it smudging everywhere. It does leave a strange-feeling residue on the lips so I always feel the need to wash my face ASAP afterwards, but then I'm usually doing that anyway... And I didn't find it drying or irritating to my lips, either. Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips is priced at £17 for 125ml of product. What's your favourite eye and lip make-up remover? Do you have any tips for removing stubborn mascara and lip stains?

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

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Six Mini Reviews #17 | L'Occitane, Malin & Goetz, Lancôme & More

I've been powering through my sample-sized beauty products recently! Since re-joining the gym I've been finding miniature tubes and bottles super-handy for throwing in my bag to save my carting massive, heavy bottles around with me. Here are my thoughts on my most recently-sampled beauty products...
Six Mini Beauty Reviews #17
Malin & Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer | This was a magazine freebie which, again, accompanied me on a few weekends away before getting thrown into my gym bag. It worked really well for me in terms of hydrating my skin after a swim, when I always find my face feeling a bit dry and tight. I found it worked well both in the morning, giving a good base for make-up, and at night in a slightly heavier layer for a good dose of overnight moisturisation. This is £37 for 118ml, which is a bit beyond my budget at the moment, although I do have another sample tube to use. I'm not sure I'd spend that much on it, to be honest - it was nice but not amazing, it didn't wow me.
Lancôme Génifique Youth Activator | I've been trying quite hard to remember to do a proper evening skincare routine in order to give this a fair chance; applying it under my moisturiser in the morning is easy enough, but somehow I have a tendency to forget, come bedtime. Anyway, I've tried my best, but haven't really noticed any benefits from my efforts; I suppose, though, it's targeted at skin concerns that aren't really relevant for me at the moment at the grand old age of 24! Starting at £59 for 30ml, this probably isn't something I'll be splashing out on anytime soon; maybe in 20 years I'll be considering it.
L'Occitane Repairing Shampoo & Conditioner | These beauty box minis went on a couple of weekends away with me before making it into my gym bag; they did well in terms of freshening up my hair whilst camping or after a swim, but I did find that my hair became oily again quite quickly. I think the repairing nature was just a bit heavy for my fine hair, although both the shampoo and conditioner did smell absolutely gorgeous! Prices start from £17 for 300ml of Shampoo or 250ml of Conditioner, though there are larger sizes available which work out at far better value. Even so, it's not something I'd be spending that much money on, as it just didn't suit my hair that well.
The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream | This is a pretty basic, no-frills moisturiser which I've been slapping on after showering at the gym since finishing the Malin & Goetz one. It has a lovely light formula which absorbed quickly, it works well to hydrate my skin and has a gorgeous rose scent which I enjoyed. The full-sized product is pricey at £39.95 for 50ml (and I'm put off by the fact it comes in a jar rather than a tube, which is less convenient and less hygienic!) and probably not one I'd be splashing out on.
Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation | I got two faces from this little sample sachet and found it worked pretty well for me; the shade match was pretty good and the coverage was the level I look for. I don't know about the 24-hour claims but it lasted reasonably well on my skin over primer and set with powder, and it was moisturising as it claims, with no clinging to any dry areas. I do like Rimmel foundations and at only £7.99 for 30ml, there's a good chance I'll pick a bottle of this up at some point.
Lancôme Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector | I used this as a moisturiser for a few days, both morning and evening, but I don't think it agreed with my skin too well; the Alcohol Denat. could well be why, I could actually smell it before I checked the ingredients list, which doesn't bode well for a moisturiser! This is supposed to reduce wrinkles and pores whilst adding radiance but I honestly don't think a week is long enough to see those sort of results, and even for my oily skin it wasn't hydrating enough to use longer-term. I think it's safe to say I won't be spending £60 on the 30ml full-size.

Have you tried any of these products? What have you been sampling recently?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Autumn Eye Make-up

With the leaves turning, the evenings getting darker and the weather getting colder (as if such a thing is even possible!), there's little denying we're well and truly into Autumn. Whilst I'm not a fan of the lack of daylight or the Arctic temperatures, I do love Autumn colours, so I've put together a little Autumn-inspired eye make-up look here.
Autumn Eye Makeup
Starting with a base of B. Stunning Vibrant Eye Shimmer in 057 'Copper' (unfortunately doesn't seem to be available anymore) all over my lids, I then added a layer of 'Sunset' from Stila's In The Light palette (discontinued). From the same palette, I added 'Sandstone' in the crease and blended into the outer corner, then patted a little bit of 'Kitten' onto the centre of each lid. A coat of Benefit's Roller Lash mascara (£19.50 here) and I'm done!
FOTD Autumn Eye Makeup
[Products used: Bourjois Happy Light Matte Serum Primer; Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream in 'Ivory'; Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer in 'Light'; Benefit Sun Beam Liquid Highlighter; Collection Loose Powder in 'Transparent'; Deborah Milano Natural Blush in 'Cherry'*; Non.U Brow Pencil in #5*; B. Stunning Vibrant Eye Shimmer in 057 'Copper'; Stila 'In The Light' Palette; Benefit Roller Lash Mascara; Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain in 005 'Crush']
I think this works really well as a coppery, autumnal look which suits my eye colour quite well, and pairs nicely with a berry lip like this. My hair's a bit all over the place but then, it usually is so we'll ignore that! Do you have a go-to Autumn eye make-up look? What are your favourite shades for Autumn?

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

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Seasonal Survival for Sensitive Skin with Cuticura*

A few weeks back, I was sent some products from Cuticura's new Sensitive range, which aims to provide hand hygiene for those with sensitive skins, offering products which are alcohol- and fragrance-free. Having suffered with eczema my whole life, I definitely count myself amongst the estimated 52% of people in the UK who suffer with sensitive skin, and was keen to see how Cuticura's Sensitive range would compare with the harsh, alcohol-based hand sanitiser I'm used to using at work.
Cuticura Sensitive Antibacterial Hand Gel
Alongside soothing ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Chamomile to care for the hands, products in Cuticura's Sensitive range are formulated to kill 99.9% of bacteria. Now I know a lot of people like to keep a hand sanitiser in their handbag for use on-the-go; personally, I'm not a fan of this practice as I do believe that exposure to bacteria is important and healthy, but I understand there are certain cases where it may be necessary. I only use hand sanitiser at work, and have been carrying Cuticura Sensitive Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel* (£1.49/50ml) in my pocket to apply throughout my shift in place of the gel from work's dispensers. I've found it takes a little longer to absorb than traditional hand sanitiser (which can be awkward when I need to put gloves on ASAP!) but it's worth it as it is far less drying to my poor hands. Used alongside a good hand cream (check out this post for five of my favourites!) my hands are far less dry than they would usually be at this time of year.
Cuticura Sensitive Antibacterial Hand Wipes
Cuticura Sensitive Antibacterial Hand Foamer
Also included in the range are Anti-Bacterial Hand Wipes* (£1.49/12 wipes), which I'm keeping in my car; I can see these being particularly handy if you have small children who may need their hands cleaning on-the-go. There's also the Anti-Bacterial Hand Foamer* (£3.25/50ml), which is similar to the Hand Gel but releases a measured dose of foam each time, making for easier application. This is a little bulkier than the Hand Gel so probably won't be ideal for keeping in my pocket at work, but would fit easily into a handbag or desk drawer.
Cuticura Mildly Medicated Talcum Powder
I was also sent a tin of Cuticura's Mildly Medicated Talcum Powder* (£2.79/150g), which is formulated with Allantoin to soothe irritated skin. This is designed with dry skin conditions in mind; it may seem counter-intuitive to use a product designed to absorb excess moisture on skin which is dry to begin with, but actually, if your skin is sweating, it can begin to rub and chafe, which leads to more irritation. A gentle talcum powder like this is ideal to reduce these problems, and I've been using this after going to the gym; it's not such an issue for me in October but I know during the summer months I often get patches of eczema in those areas that can get a bit sticky, like the backs of my knees, so I'll be interested to see how this helps.
Cuticura Range
I'm really pleased that Cuticura have addressed the problem of hand sanitisation for sensitive skin as, particularly as the weather gets colder and skin conditions flare up, it's important to look after our hands. When skin gets dry and cracked it actually becomes a problem in terms of infection control so for nurses and the like, you're defeating the object a little if your hand sanitiser gives you these kinds of problems! I think the Cuticura Sensitive range is really reasonably priced and it's great to see some alternatives to traditional alcohol-based hand sanitising products; I'm really pleased to have been introduced to it. Have you tried anything from the Cuticura Sensitive range?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Friday, 16 October 2015

Review | Boots Botanics Shine Away Invigorating Face Scrub

I've posted before about my love for the brilliantly-priced Botanics range at Boots, and whilst most of my favourite products are from their All Bright collection, I do also have a couple from the Shine Away range; with my oily skin, I'm always keen to try anything that offers to take my shine down a notch or two! The Invigorating Face Scrub is one such product, claiming to, "buff away impurities to instantly mattify and reveal shine-free skin." I'll be honest, I wasn't holding out a huge amount of hope, as my skin is extremely oily and few products actually make a noticeable difference.
Boots Botanics Shine Away Invigorating Face Scrub Review
The packaging is nothing spectacular, but I think it'd be unfair to expect anything spectacular for the price of the product! The clear plastic tube with flip-cap is perfectly functional, making it easy to see how much product is left, and easy and hygiene to squeeze out just the right amount each time. It snaps closed securely and is a product I'd be comfortable travelling with; indeed, I regularly throw it in my gym bag and haven't had any leaks so far.
"This invigorating face scrub buffs away excess oil to instantly mattify, refresh and rebalance. Unclogs pores and leaves skin feeling smooth and even. Willowbark is nature's champion clarifier. Excess sebum, pollution and old skin cells can clog up pores, resulting in shine and blemishes. The bark of the willow tree is a natural source of salicylic acid, which helps to refine skin texture and actively target imperfections."
Botanics Shine Away Scrub
I've become quite wary of physical exfoliators over the last year or so, but I still can't quite get away from how effective a good scrub is for leaving my skin feeling soft and smooth. I am, however, noticing a preference for less harsh products, and this Invigorating Face Scrub has slotted into my routine quite nicely; with fine exfoliating particles in a gel base, it doesn't feel harsh or rough on the face and I haven't noticed any irritation even when using it four or five times per week. I wouldn't use it every day but it has become part of my routine most days. It does contain Alcohol Denat. so mightn't be ideal for drier skin-types, but I haven't noticed any dryness resulting from using this.
Botanics Shine Away Invigorating Face Scrub
I tend to use this in the shower at the gym after I've been for a swim; I don't need very much and I simply massage it into my face for a minute or so, focussing on the areas of clogged pores around my nose and chin, as well as my forehead which is most prone to extreme shininess. My skin does feel noticeably smoother after using this, and I think it does something to even out my skintone, but I can't say I've noticed a reduction in shine; I'm not really disappointed as to be honest, I didn't expect to. Despite that, I do think this is a lovely budget exfoliator, it does what I want it to at a price I can't knock! Boots Botanics Shine Away Invigorating Face Scrub is priced at £3.99 for 75ml, though it's currently half price at only £1.99, so now would be a brilliant time to give it a go if you like the sound of it! What's your favourite exfoliator? Do you like the Botanics range?


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Five Favourites | Hand Creams

For me, Autumn/Winter = hand cream season; my hands are dry at the best of times and my job doesn't help, but as the weather gets colder I always notice my hands getting worse. I get little patches of eczema and my skin often cracks which isn't nice at all, so anything to help avoid that is a great idea! Finding hand creams that work for me has involved a lot of trial and error, but I've rounded up five of my favourites here.

Five Favourite Hand Creams
L'Occitane Hand Creams | L'Occitane Hand Creams contain a high percentage of Shea Butter and work really well to hydrate the skin on my hands. There are a few variants available, and until the end of this month you can get a free tube with Marie Claire magazine if you're in the UK! Usually, these are priced from £8 for 30ml, which isn't unreasonable given that you do only need a tiny amount of the cream for both hands. My favourites are the Zesty Lime and original Shea variants. Review here.
Merumaya Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream* | I really love the thick, balm-like texture of this cream, which feels like such a luxurious treat on the hands. This is one I tend to pop on just before I leave the house to go to work so that it can sink in while I drive and protect my hands, at least for the first part of my shift. At £12.50 for 50ml this isn't the cheapest of my selection but it is a truly lovely cream. Review here.
The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector | This is a fantastic budget option and one that I'll repurchase time and time again as it's just so effective for intensely hydrating my hands, such that I can notice the difference within a couple of applications. It is honestly amazing for the price (from £5 for 30ml) and if you're going to try any of these hand creams, make it this one! Review here.
Neal's Yard Remedies Hand Creams | Another slightly more luxurious option, NYR hand creams are packed with gorgeous hydrating ingredients and are available in a range of scents, my favourites probably being Geranium & Orange and Wild Rose. At £10 for 50ml these are a lovely treat. Review here.
Sweet Cecily's Elderflower & Almond Hand Cream* | This is my bedtime hand cream of choice, mainly because the jar packaging doesn't really lend itself to being carried around in a pocket or handbag. It does, however, have a beautiful fragrance and a really nice, hydrating effect despite its light, non-greasy formula. This is £6.95 for 50ml, which I think is a really reasonable price for a handmade British product. Review here.

Hopefully you can find a couple of options for hand creams to try here to keep your hands soft and smooth through the colder months - or maybe you already have a firm favourite? Have you tried any of these? What's your number one hand cream?

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

Monday, 12 October 2015

Review | Essence 3D Eyeshadow

Quite a while back now (like, over a year ago) I picked up one of Essence's 3D Eyeshadows in the shade 08 'Irresistible Vanilla Latte', a duo which consists of a shimmery white/cream and a warm metallic gold. I've worn it intermittently since and I have no idea why I haven't already reviewed it...
Essence 3D Eyeshadow Irresistible Vanilla Latte Review
"3D duo eyeshadow, irresistible effects and long-lasting texture. Apply wet for an even more intense effect." Applied dry, the pigmentation is unfortunately quite naff; using a damp brush, however, you get something pretty special. The creamy white shade has a beautiful shimmer to it which makes me look wide-awake, whilst the gold just warms the eye are up really nicely. It's hard to describe but I really like the way these shadows look on my eyes for a simple, everyday look. I've found this duo lasts really well, easily managing around nine hours without a primer.
Essence 3D Eyeshadow Irresistible Vanilla Latte
[Also wearing; Non.U Eyebrow Pencil #5; Chanel Le Volume Ultra-Noire Mascara]
Essence 3D Eyeshadows are available in the UK from Wilko's at the bargain price of £2.80; I really think this is a great buy as they're really pretty shadows. There are a few shades available so you could even mix-and-match shades between them if you picked up more than one! Have you tried Essence's 3D Eyeshadows? What's your favourite Essence product?


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Five Ways To Save Money On Being A Wedding Guest*

I know we're heading out of what is traditionally seen as "wedding season" but equally, people do still get married through the winter months - and hey, it's not too early to start thinking about any weddings you may be attending next year! Did you know that one in twenty wedding guests actually has to borrow money to attend, with 31% of those people having no clear plan for how to pay the money back!? Here I'm sharing five ways to keep the costs down and hopefully make wedding attendance more affordable!
Five Ways To Reduce The Cost Of Being A Wedding Guest
Getting into debt with no clear idea of how you're going to repay is something to avoid if you can, as missed loan repayments and unpaid credit cards can all have a negative impact on your credit rating. Experian have an explanation of things that affect your credit, and why it matters, if you'd like to find out more. On top of that, none of us need the stress of debt keeping us up at night - there's quite enough to worry about! Attending the wedding of loved ones should be a happy occasion and a cause for celebration, so here are five ways to keep costs down and have a stress-free wedding guest experience...

1. If you need to travel, plan in advance. Will anyone else be travelling from nearby? If it's possible to car-share and split the costs of fuel, you could offer to drive, or suggest that you'll buy dinner in return for a friend driving? I'd also recommend looking into trains and coaches; if you book in advance and have a Railcard, trains can be really affordable, and if you're willing to travel at ungodly hours then National Express is definitely worth a look! Even if there isn't a way to save, travel can be a major cost in attending a wedding, so knowing in advance how much you're going to have to spend will help you plan for the cost.

2. Think about where you're staying. Do you have family or friends close by who you'd be able to stay with? Maybe you could arrange a house-swap weekend so they get a holiday too? If you can lose the cost of a couple of nights in a hotel, you're onto a winner! If not, think carefully about where you stay; hotels may offer discounts on rooms to guests of a wedding party, so it's worth speaking to the couple in question, but I'd still suggest looking at alternatives. It might work out cheaper to check in to a Travelodge round the corner even after a 10% discount on the usual price of a room in that posh hotel! Your stay might not be quite so luxurious but I've always found Travelodges to be perfectly adequate for a night or two. You could also consider sharing a hotel room with friends (sleepover!) or check out Airbnb.
3. Consider your outfit. Weddings are traditionally considered an excuse for a new outfit, and whilst that might be nice, if you have a few to attend in a short space of time, the costs can quickly stack up! Do you really need a new dress for each event, or can you switch up your accessories and make it look like a new dress!? Alternatively, if you decide to have a different dress each time, try to choose simple, neutral accessories that can be re-used with each one, to cut your spends. It's easy to get carried away with the whole new shoes/bag/fascinator thing, but if you have a selection that go well together and will go with any dress, you could easily save yourself a few quid.

4. Shop around. This follows on from #3 really, but do think carefully about where you buy your wedding outfit, particularly if you're only going to be wearing that dress once or twice! A handful of new designer dresses might be nice but it isn't the best way of keeping costs down. Have a look around and see what's on offer, you might be surprised at what you can pick up even in the supermarket... like these lovely dresses, which are all £40 or under from George at Asda!
Wedding Guest Dresses From George at Asda
Floral Stripe Prom Dress//Red Lace Shift Dress//Navy Floral Print Wrap Dress//Red Beaded Dress//Floral Border Dress
5. Re-think your gift. If the happy couple have a wedding gift list at a certain store, by all means choose a gift from that list - but think about seeing whether you can get the same thing for less, elsewhere. If you do end up buying elsewhere, you should be able to contact the store with the list and ask them to remove the item you've purchased - just explain that you've bought the item but "forgot" to do so through the list... Alternatively, could you make a thoughtful gift and save yourself even more cash? Pinterest is a great resource for this type of DIY project!

I hope some of these tips will be helpful - it's easy to get carried away with the excitement of your loved ones tying the knot and forget that you'll still need to eat next month! Do you have any tips for saving money on attending weddings? What's the most you'd spend on being a wedding guest?

[*Please note this is a sponsored post.]

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Tarte Miracles From The Amazon

Tarte is a brand I've wanted to try for the longest time but since their products are only available in the UK via QVC, I've never really got round to it; that all changed recently thanks to Michelle, who led me into a little birthday treat to myself... Behold, the Miracles From The Amazon set!!
Tarte Miracles From The Amazon Set QVC
Containing an Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara, a Lipsurgence Liquid Lip Shine, an Amazonian Clay Cheek & Eye Palette and a dual-ended eyeshadow brush, alongside a pretty purple and gold cosmetics bag, I thought this seemed like the ideal way to sample Tarte's products. All the make-up items feature the Limited Edition mosaic-effect packaging which is really pretty; I especially love the lid of the palette, isn't it stunning!?
Tarte Be Your Own tarteist Palette
Contained within the 'Be Your Own Tarteist' palette are six eyeshadows and one full-sized blusher; to my mind, the three shadows on the left work well together, and equally the three on the right combine beautifully. The blusher is very much a versatile, wearable shade for everyday which I think will suit most people. The shadows included are 'Pink Beyond', a pale matte pink; 'Taupe For The Best', a shimmery taupe; 'Dreams Plum True', a deep matte plum shade; 'Out Of This Pearl', a shimmery champagne; 'Thistle Be The Day', a mid-toned matte lilac-grey; and 'Paint The Brown', a deep chocolate-brown matte. The blusher is named 'Talented', a mid-peach/pink which looks to have a slight shimmer in the pan but appears pretty matte on the skin to me. The palette also contains a full-sized mirror which is printed with the Tarte logo.
Tarte Be Your Own Tarteist Palette Shades
Tarte Miracles From The Amazon Set Swatches
I found the shadows easy to work with, smooth and buttery-soft, though there was a little fall-out. Nonetheless, they're well-pigmented (with the exception of 'Pink Beyond', which may just be too pale) and blend beautifully. All six shades are wearable and give you a range of options in terms of wearing just one shade all over the lid or creating a more sophisticated look using several shades. The blusher, too, is well-pigmented but blends out really nicely to give a gorgeous flush of colour to the cheeks, which could easily be built up if your skin-tone is a little deeper than mine. The brush is lovely and soft, works well with the shadows, and has washed up nicely so far as well - a lovely inclusion.
Tarte Be Your Own Tarteist Palette & Brush
I'm not a lipgloss fan and have found that the Lipsurgence Liquid Lip Shine in 'Exquisite', whilst a pretty shade, is just too sticky for my liking; the Liquid Lip Shines are supposed to be a gloss-meets-stain type product and I have to say I do prefer it once the gloss has worn off and I'm left with a pretty tint. The Smart Mascara is not something I'd buy again as it just doesn't feel like anything special to me, although the wood-effect tube is stunning. I found it took a bit of building up to get the kind of length and volume I look for, and it did flake a little after around ten hours' wear, which is a shame.
Tarte Miracles From The Amazon
This make-up look used 'Thistle Be The Day' all over the lid, with 'Paint The Brown' blended into the crease and outer corner, and a sweep of 'Out Of This Pearl' to brighten the inner corners. I'm wearing two coats of the Smart Mascara, and I blended out the 'Talented' Amazonian Clay Blusher over my cheekbones for a pretty pop of colour which is easily suitable for everyday wear.
Tarte Miracles From The Amazon FOTD
Benefit Sun Beam; Collection Loose Powder in 'Transparent'; Makeup Revolution I ♥ Brows
Kit in 'Fairest Of Them All'; Tarte Lipsurgence Liquid Lip Shine in 'Exquisite';
Tarte 'Thistle Be The Day', 'Paint The Brown' and 'Out Of This Pearl' eyeshadows
and 'Talented' blusher from the 'Be Your Own Tarteist' Palette; Tarte Smart Mascara]
Tarte Miracles From The Amazon EOTD
Tarte Miracles From The Amazon is priced at £34 from QVC (plus £3.95 P&P); I'm really happy I decided to treat myself and I do think it's been a great introduction to the brand. I think for what you're getting this is actually a really reasonable price and I do see myself ordering more Tarte products from QVC in the future. I think the palette in particular will be brilliant for travelling with as it combines a selection of versatile shadows with a really wearable blusher, all in a compact case with a mirror!! Have you tried any Tarte products? Any recommendations for me? Do you like the look of this set?

{Linking up with Makeup Monday Linky Party!}

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

November 2015 Magazine Freebies [UK]

It's looking to be another pretty good month as far as freebies with the magazines go; I've finally managed to get my hands on them after the Sainsbury's I usually use has replaced its magazine stands with a Halloween display, and the Booths I popped into on my way home from work didn't have the November issues in yet. WHSmith's turned out to be the one!
November 2015 UK Magazine Freebies
I've actually one picked up one, so far; Marie Claire (£3.99, Claire Danes on the cover) comes with a choice of six 30ml L'Occitane Hand Creams. I went for Zesty Lime, which I have previously reviewed, but there are also Lavender, Peony, Rose, Vanilla and Verveine, These have an RRP of £8 each so it's a great way to grab a bargain - I love L'Occitane hand creams so it's pretty likely I'll pick up a couple more before the end of the month! You also get testers for Viktor & Rolf's Bonbon perfume, and Valentino's Donna, as well as sample sachets of Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation and L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Oil-in-Cream.
Magazine Freebies November 2015 L'Occitane Hand Cream Marie Claire
ELLE (£4, Carey Mulligan on the cover) is offering a choice of four Orly nail polishes; these are full-sized bottles worth £10.50 each.
InStyle (£3.99, Cheryl on the cover) has a set of three REN skincare minis including a day cream, night cream and eye gel. The only reason I didn't get one of these is because I've had the same set in the past and haven't actually used it yet...
Finally, Glamour (£2, Ellie Goulding on the cover) comes with one of four Nails Inc nail polishes, which have an RRP of £11 - so again, a reet bargain!
Have you picked up any of these magazine freebies yet? Are there any you'll be keeping an eye out for?


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Introducing Veeda | Natural Feminine Hygiene*

I was recently contacted on Twitter by a company called Veeda, and offered the opportunity to try out some of their products*. Now feminine hygiene isn't something I've ever discussed on my blog and let's be honest, it's not the most pleasant of topics - but the majority of women have to deal with periods so I do think it's important to talk about it every now and then!
Veeda 100 Natural Cotton Tampons
Veeda offer 100% cotton feminine hygiene products including sanitary pads, tampons and liners, so there should be something for everyone, no matter your preference. Tampons are available in a range of absorbencies, with or without applicators, whilst the pads come in regular or super-long options, with each pad being individually wrapped for convenience.
Veeda 100 Natural Cotton Sanitary Pads
Veeda chose cotton for their feminine hygiene products for a number of reasons; not least, it is soft and comfortable, whilst also being the most absorbent natural material, absorbing up to twenty times its own weight. It's also renewable, sustainable, and skin-friendly. Veeda's cotton is oxygen-processed, avoiding the use of bleach, dioxin and pesticides - which, when you think about it, probably aren't things you want to be putting in or near your intimate parts!!
Veeda Natural Cotton Tampons
Using natural tampons is also thought to reduce the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, which can be fatal - there has never been a case of TSS associated with the use of all-cotton tampons, thought to be because pure cotton does not promote the growth of the bacteria which lead to TSS.
Veeda Natural Sanitary Pads
I honestly expected a product like this to be quite expensive; I begrudge having to spend money on tampons at all - let's be honest, it's not really a treat - So I'd be reluctant to spend much more. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, to find that the prices of Veeda's products are actually comparable with what I'd consider the leading brands of pads and tampons - all under £3 per pack. They're also more accessible than you might imagine, with products available online as well as in Boots stores. I'd like to see availability through major supermarkets, as I know that's the most convenient place for me to pick up feminine hygiene products and I'm sure I'm not alone in that - but Boots is a good start and I for one will definitely be switching over to Veeda. Have you heard of Veeda before? Have you ever given any consideration to the origins and environmental impact of your feminine hygiene products?

[*Product provided for consideration. I have not been asked to write this post, nor am I being compensated for doing so - I just felt this was an important topic to share!]

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Review | George Matte Primer

There is no getting away from the fact that I am a massive impulse buyer, which is why I came home from Asda with this George Matte Primer - despite knowing full well that I already have a ridiculous collection of primers I need to work my way through. Anyway, here we are, with one additional primer in our stash - so we may as well review it, right!? It claims to, "reduce shine worn alone or under make-up" and "help to create a shine-free matte complexion", as well as boasting Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E amongst its ingredients, which sounds pretty good to me.
George at Asda Matte Primer Review
Packaged in a simple white plastic tube with screw-cap and the product information printed in mint, it doesn't look anything fancy, but we all know it's what's on the inside that counts! The primer is easy to squeeze out of the tube and is peach in colour with a light, gel-like creamy texture; it's easy to spread over the skin and does give a nice smooth surface for applying make-up over. Although the primer states it can be worn alone or under make-up, I'd never wear it alone as it doesn't offer any kind of coverage or even blurring of imperfections; if you had clear skin and literally just wanted to mattify, I guess it could work. I have noticed a slight scent to the product which reminds me of PVA glue at primary school, but it thankfully doesn't linger on the skin!
George Matte Primer Review
I've found that whilst this does mattify my skin initially, and make-up goes on nicely over it, the effects don't really last with my oil-slick face; even using powder to set my foundation, (which I always do anyway!) within a couple of hours I'm super-shiny again, particularly on my forehead and nose. I know my skin is exceptionally oily so if you're more of a combination skin-type, you may have better luck, but for me, there are better products for helping to keep my skin matte for longer. It's probably worth pointing out that the formula does feature several silicones (cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, cyclohexasiloxane) as well as methylparaben and propylparaben, so if you try to avoid these ingredients in your products then this is one to skip. The silicones should theoretically act to blur out pores and fine lines, but I haven't noticed that to be the case.
George Matte Primer
George Matte Primer is priced at £3.50 for 30ml, which makes it an affordable option to try out; for me, I'll use this tube up but I wouldn't repurchase it as there are other products which work better for my skin-type. I'm certainly not put off trying other products from the George range as I do think this is a good product for the price, it just happens to not suit me very well; they look to have some lovely blusher shades. Would you buy make-up from a supermarket brand? Have you tried any of George's make-up?


Friday, 2 October 2015

Hello October!

We are heading for the end of 2015 at what feels like a ridiculous speed, although when I think about it January does feel like a lifetime ago, so who knows what has happened to my perception of time!? Anyway, October it is - a month of many birthdays for me and, of course, Halloween! I really enjoyed my post sharing my September goals so I thought it'd be nice to look back at how I've got on with those as well as sharing a few more for the coming weeks.
Hello October
My September goals were:
See friends more: I set myself a target of twice for this one and I'm pleased to say I smashed it; September included a weekend away with my Total Warrior friends, a house party, a late-night walk, several swimming rendezvous, three tea-at-a-friend's and two lunches out with old school friends. It's been so nice to catch up with people!
Find a way of getting to the Harry Potter Studios for my birthday: Well, it wasn't on my birthday but I did have a brilliant day out with my Mum and brother, which you can read about here should the mood take you. I was in my absolute element at the Warner Bros Studio Tour and I really want to visit again some time!! And yes, I really did smile like this the whole way round the tour.
No4 Privet Drive Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Sort out the paperwork: I swear as soon as I file away all my bits of paper, I get a credit card bill, a student finance statement and an MOT certificate! Nonetheless I have had a good old sort-out of paperwork and tidied things away into my excessively-organised lever arch files. Now I just need to try and make myself keep on top of it...
Throw some things away: Yep, I did this too. I had a little make-up clear-out and chucked some dried-out eyeliners and out-of-date lip balms, as well as throwing out some random things I've been hoarding for no readily apparent reason. I also assembled all my little beauty samples into one place to hopefully encourage me to use them up! And I threw away all my receipts for my driving lessons. Don't know why I still had those. Mystery.
Get a haircut: Possibly the most traumatic item from my list but I did this one as well! We have a hairdresser who comes to our house and has been cutting my hair since I was about four, and she's really good at doing as she's told and not touching my head too much. I had about five inches cut off my hair so it is still long but in much better condition. I'm not sure about it yet (I only had it cut last week) but I'm getting used to it!
So... that's five out of five goals achieved for September! I also bought myself a new laptop as a bit of a birthday treat to myself, as I've been saying for months that I need to, and it's so nice having a computer that does things when I tell it to rather than thinking about it for a week and a half then crashing. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to up my blogging game a little with all the extra time this will give me! I'm also hoping I can make October just as successful as September with these little aims:
See friends: Like I say, it was really nice to catch up with so many friends in September, so I'm carrying this one over to October! I'm going with the same target of at least two meet-ups with two different friends as that should be achievable - there are a couple of people I have in mind as targets I've not seen for a while!
Transfer things to my new laptop: As mentioned, I've got myself a lovely shiny new laptop. However, I've been putting off moving things across from my old one, partly due to a fear of slowing it down and partly because I'm laaaazy. I need to have a good sort-through my photos, music and other files, delete the excess, and shift everything else across into nice organised files. I'm dreading this one.
Throw some more things away: I still have way more stuff than I could possibly need so I'm planning to downsize a little further. My desk (I use the term very loosely as I can't actually access it to use it as a desk, it's basically just storage at the moment) will be my first port of call for this one. I don't even know what's in these heaps!
Start thinking about Christmas: I really can't be doing with Christmas in October, in fact I usually hate it right up until about the 23rd of December, but I do plan to start thinking about presents a bit earlier this year. I'm thinking a spreadsheet will help me keep organised and also act as an incentive to get myself into gear because man I love me a good colour-coded spreadsheet!

What are your plans for October? Do you like to set yourself monthly goals? What are your tips for achieving your aims? I'd love to hear what you're planning this month!!

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