Monday, 30 November 2015

Empties | November 2015

Here we are at the end of November - I know it's a massive cliché but I can hardly believe we've already finished eleven months of 2015! I honestly don't know where this year has gone, which I'm pretty sure means I'm getting old... November has been a reasonably good month for me in terms of finishing off beauty products, so let's have a little rummage through my Empties for the past few weeks!
November Empties
November 2015 Beauty Empties
OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo | I did like using this but am put off repurchasing by the number of silicons it contains, which I'm pretty sure cause me to break out on my shoulders and chest. It's a shame as apart from that it's a really nice shampoo and I like what it does for my hair! Repurchase? Probably not.
Rimmel Match Perfection Light Perfecting Radiance Foundation | I wouldn't have bought this if I'd read the label instead of just throwing it in my trolley on a whim in Asda... It has neither the coverage nor the finish I look for in foundation. It's a perfectly nice product and I did manage to make it work but it isn't one I'd choose in the future. Repurchase? No.
Toni & Guy Casual Matt Texture Dry Shampoo | I'm not even sure why I picked this up, I suspect there was some kind of 3 for 2 offer in Boots. Anyway, this is hands down the best dry shampoo I've tried, and it lasted ages; I think I just needed to use less per use than with other similar products I've tried. This actually left my hair looking and feeling clean and refreshed, to the point where I'd go out with my hair down - I'd only ever go out with my hair tied back after using other dry shampoos! Repurchase? Yes, though probably only when it's on offer.
Organic Surge Citrus Mint Gently Cleansing Shower Gel | I really enjoyed using this, the citrussy minty scent is exactly the sort of thing I love in a shower gel. It left my skin feeling clean and soft without irritating my eczema. That makes it a winner in my eyes! Repurchase? Yes.
Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar 3-In-1 Cleansing Solution | I'm pretty new to the Micellar Water game and this was the first one I tried but I did really like it - it works well to remove my make-up before a proper cleanse, which is really all I want from it. I wouldn't ever consider it a cleanse in itself and I certainly couldn't use it without rinsing afterwards but for my purposes this works well, as well as having a reasonably nice ingredients list and being kind to my purse.
Repurchase? Probably, although I did pick up the Garnier Micellar Water to try as it was on offer in Asda and it's lasting pretty well so far, so it won't be for a while!

November Beauty Empties
Yves Rocher Organic Oats Silky Cream* | I really liked the light texture and delicate scent of this body lotion, it absorbed quickly and left my legs feeling silky smooth and soft after showering. I also really liked the jar-style packaging which makes it look a little bit fancier than typical body butter type products. Repurchase? Maybe; Yves Rocher is never a brand I think to order from, but every time I try one of their products I love it, so I should really change that!
Collection Sheer Loose Powder | A staple for me, I don't know how many jars I've been through of this powder; not because I'm particularly loyal to it, just because it's cheap and cheerful! It sets foundation and any other cream products quite nicely without altering the shades, and it doesn't oxidise on my oily skin. It isn't brilliant at keeping me matte but I'm kind of used to that by now. Repurchase? Undoubtedly.
Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo* | I did enjoy using this after I was sent it to review, I found it left my hair feeling clean and lived up to its degreasing claims. I wasn't a massive fan of the scent but that's something I can overlook for a great shampoo! Repurchase? Probably not, mainly due to the cost of shipping it from the US!
Neal's Yard Remedies Geranium & Orange Body Lotion | This lasted me a good couple of months of near-daily use in my gym washbag, it has the perfect light texture for slapping on after a swim to re-hydrate my arms and legs, alongside a gorgeous scent. It didn't take too long to dry, either, which is good, as no-one wants to be hanging around the gym changing room in their undies unnecessarily! Repurchase? Probably not, as the full-size comes in a bottle with pump and I definitely prefer this tube-style packaging. I'd pick it up with a magazine again without hesitation, though!

I hardly dare think about the fact that we're into December tomorrow... Denial is not just a river in Egypt, as they say! Have you tried any of these products? Did you finish many things off in November?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Review | Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Despite my love for Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar Cleansing Water, I am too much of a restless spirit to stick with one product for long, hence my picking up a bottle of Garnier's Micellar Cleansing Water to try a few weeks ago! Now I know there's a fair amount of controversy around micellar waters so I'll start by making it very clear; I don't agree that a micellar water is sufficient as a cleanser and I certainly wouldn't want to depend on the one product alone to clean my face. However, I do think they have their place within a good skincare routine, and I like using a micellar water to remove my make-up before I do a proper double-cleanse.
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water Review
"Micellar Cleansing Water is an easy way to remove make-up, soothe and hydrate the face, eye are and lips, in 1 step without rinsing. Garnier introduces the Micellar technology in an all-in-one cleanser. Like a magnet, the cleansing agents capture and lift away dirt from the skin. No need to rub to remove impurities and make-up. The result: Perfectly cleansed and refreshed skin without rubbing or rinsing. Micellar Cleansing Water has a soothing and fragrance-free formula that suits all skin types, even sensitive."

So straight off, I'm ignoring half of these claims; I would not for one second recommend using this as an all-in-one cleanser and I'd certainly always rinse afterwards! That aside, I've been using this on a cotton pad of an evening, swept over my face to remove my make-up before moving onto a "proper" cleanse - either oil or cream, followed by a gel cleanser. I'm nothing if not thorough!

I use as suggested on a cotton pad which I wipe over my face, eyes and lips; I can see base product, blusher and eye make-up being removed, although this does struggle with heavy mascara. It doesn't sting my eyes at all which is nice, but I'd use a separate eye make-up remover for heavy eye make-up as this alone won't shift it all.
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water
So, whilst I wouldn't depend on this alone to remove make-up or cleanse my skin, I do think it's a great step in my routine; I can definitely remove the bulk of my make-up with one cotton pad meaning that I just have the last traces to remove with my oil or cream cleanser. There is still product removed with my proper cleanser though, which is why I wouldn't use this as my only cleanser.

I'm not sure that this is a product I'd actively seek out to buy again, as there are so many similar options available these days and I like trying new things; that said, it's a perfectly lovely product for the price and I'd by no means avoid it! This is also really widely available making it an accessible one to try; you can easily pick it up at the supermarket with your weekly shop as well as in the usual drugstores. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is super-reasonably priced at just £4.99 (currently a third off at £3.33 at Boots!) for the huge 400ml bottle, with a smaller 125ml bottle priced at £1.99 (currently just £1!) if you'd like to try a smaller size out or want a more travel-friendly size.

Do you use a micellar water within your skincare routine? Which is your favourite? Do you rate the budget brands like this one, or do I need to try a higher-end micellar water?

xo

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Everyday Autumn Makeup

I wouldn't say I'm one for following make-up trends; I tend to wear what I like, when I like, and hope for the best. That said, changes in the seasons do seem to lend themselves to mixing up my go-to make-up products a little, with me gravitating towards more neutral shades in the Autumn. Recently I've found myself falling into a bit of a make-up routine so I thought I'd share my current products of choice.
Everyday Autumn Makeup FOTD
[Products used: The Body Shop All-in-One Instablur Universal;  GOSH X-Ceptional Wear Foundation in 11 'Porcelain'; Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer in 01 'Light'; Benefit High Beam; Rimmel Match Perfection Silky Loose Face Powder in 001 'Transparent'; Deborah Milano Natural Blusher in 05 'Cherry'*; GOSH Forever Eye Shadow Crayon in 02 'Beige'; Essence All About Nude Eyeshadow Palette; Maybelline Full 'N' Soft Mascara in 'Very Black'; Born Pretty Color My Brows Brow Gel in #1*]
When it comes to base, I battle my oily skin all year round, but it is decidedly worse in the summer, so come Autumn I can tone back the mattifying produts a little. The Body Shop's Instablur is my primer of choice year-round as it hides my massive pores and gives a nice smooth base for foundation. The GOSH foundation is one of my favourites, giving just the right amount of coverage with a lovely finish and a decent lasting power. Soap & Glory's Kick-Ass Concealer is a must-have for me too, both for under-eye circles and on any blemishes. I'm not loyal to powder in the slightest, this is the first time I've tried the Match Perfection one and it seems okay. I often go for a deeper blusher shade in Autumn and Winter to add a bit of colour to my face, this Deborah Milano one blends nicely and lasts well too. I really like the combination of the GOSH Eyeshadow Crayon as a base for the Essence eyeshadows; it really makes the shades pop and makes my eyes look that little bit brighter. The mascara is just one I'm using up, and the brow gel is a new addition to my routine but seems to work pretty well for me. For a lot of people, Autumn seems to be all about the berry lip, but I rarely wear lip products on a day-to-day basis so I've not included one here!
Everyday Autumn Make-up
What are your go-to make-up choices for Autumn? Do you follow seasonal make-up trends?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Review | Born Pretty Eyebrow Gel*

I was recently asked to choose some products from Born Pretty Store to review; one of the items I chose was their Eyebrow Gel*, as I've tried pencil and powder brow products in the past and was curious to see how a gel would match up! If I'm wearing make-up, I will fill my brows in without fail, as they're naturally quite fair compared to my hair and I think my face looks strange without them. I really like the way doing my brows adds a bit of definition to my face and really brings a look together.
Born Pretty Store Eyebrow Gel Review
As a budget brow gel option, I think you can do far worse than Born Pretty's; the packaging doesn't feel high-end, but it's sturdy and does the job. The spoolie-style applicator is maybe a little bigger than I'd ideally like, but with a careful application it works just fine. I chose #1 which is the darkest of the three shades available; if I was going to order again I think I'd give #2 a try and see if that's a better match for me.
Born pretty Budget Brow Gel
The formula takes a few minutes to dry properly, so I do need to be careful not to smudge it in the meantime. Once it's dry, though, it's not going anywhere; it actually takes a bit of removal and seems to have a slight staining effect which is nice, though could be inconvenient if you need to do a clean-up operation - you win some, you lose some, I guess! I've been really impressed with the natural definition this gives to my brows - as long as I'm careful when applying, as it is quite easy to end up going in too heavy-handed and achieve an unintentionally fierce brow!
Born Pretty Brow Gel
(We'll just ignore the fact I've definitely blink-smudged my mascara here. I promise I fixed that before I left the house!)
I do think shade #1 is a little on the dark side for me and it's very easy to go over-the-top which is a shame, but that's not a fault of the product as such! Aside from that, I really like this product; it's easy to use and lasts well which is basically all I can ask for from a brow product. Born Pretty's Eyebrow Gel is available here priced at £2.34; with a choice of three shades I think there's something to suit most people and at this price there's really no reason not to give it a try! You can even get 10% off by entering my discount code 'JESSMK31' at the checkout. What do you use on your brows - are you a pencil, powder or gel kinda girl? Would you try Born Pretty's Eyebrow Gel?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Wishlist | Winter Warmers

With the weather here in the UK taking a turn for the (even) colder, I don't think I've been able to feel my fingers at all today - which has got me thinking about some winter warmers! I'm giving serious consideration to emigrating somewhere warm at the moment, but until then I think I may need to invest in some of these goodies to try and defrost my extremities and ward off hypothermia...
Winter Warmers
Mint Velvet Silver Grey Rib Chevron Knit, £89
I love the Mint Velvet knit for a cosy look without just being lazy; it looks warm but still quite smart and put-together. You'd be able to leave the house in it!! I don't have a bath so the Origins bubble bath would be a bit of a pointless purchase for me, but Ginger is a lovely warming fragrance and a nice hot bath always warms you up. I love my hot water bottle but this Bella The Woodland Bear one is something else - so cute!! There's nothing quite like wrapping up in a snuggly blanket on the sofa - or in bed when it's really cold - and this George one looks lovely and soft. Hot chocolate is a must for me in the colder months (with marshmallows, of course!), and the hazelnut, ginger, cinnamon & nutmeg in the Hotel Chocolat Christmas blend sound just gorgeous. I am practically living in my onesie at the moment, you've never known cosiness until you've worn a fluffy onesie! For those occasions when leaving the house is required, a scarf helps to keep the chill off, and I really like this burgundy colour. I've been burning a lot of candles lately but haven't invested in any wintery scents yet - I love the sound of Cinnamon & Ginger as a candle. Let's be honest, I love cinnamon and ginger anything... What are your essential winter warmers? How are you keeping cosy at the moment?

xo
[Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 20 November 2015

Six Mini Reviews #18 | Versace, Origins, Sebastian Professional & More...

When it comes to beauty samples, I seem to acquire them as quickly as I can use them - which is fine as it means I've always got new things to be trying! It does mean, however, that I have to make an effort to keep using things up in order to avoid drowning in a sea of sachets and tiny tubes - I fight a valiant battle... Ahem. Enough of my weirdness, have a peek at the most recent beauty samples I've been trying out...
Six Mini Beauty Reviews Origins Versace Garnier
Origins Youthtopia Firming Eye Cream | It appears I've had this sample for so long that the product has actually been discontinued, as I can't find it anywhere on the Origins website - whoops! Anyway, unfortunately (or not?) I think I was allergic to something in this eye cream, as I never usually get eczema on my face, but everytime I used this I got a little patch pop up on each eyelid, which is why I haven't actually finished the sample. This isn't one I'd be buying in full-size even if it was still available!
Versace Eros Pour Femme Eau de Parfum | This was one of those scents that grew on me; I didn't like it at first and actually almost gave the sample to my Mum after the first spritz, but for some reason decided to give it another go and found I quite liked it! Apparently it is a "fine accord of lemon and jasmine, exalted by sensual and smooth woods" - whatever that means!! Starting at £50 for 30ml, this would be a lovely treat, although there are probably other fragrances I'd choose over it.
Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream | This is described as an all-purpose skin cream but I found that it was just too much for my oily skin to use as a moisturiser. It suggests using as a make-up primer which I can only imagine would end terribly for me! It's quite nice on patches of eczema, though and worked well as a lipbalm for me. This is £29 for 118ml from Boots which is actually a lot more than I'd expected and certainly more than I'm willing to spend, although I do think it would last a good while.
Sebastian Professional Color Ignite Multi Shampoo & Conditioner | I love miniature hair products for my gym bag! The shampoo isn't one I'd repurchase as unfortunately it contains SLS; it do a good job of cleaning my hair, despite not really being designed for my hairtype as my hair hasn't been coloured in a good couple of years... The conditioner was a foam formula which is unlike other products I've used and at first I thought it was just a bit of a gimmick, but it did actually make it really easy to spread through the lengths & ends of my hair - and it smelt gorgeous. A £14 for 250ml of shampoo and £17 for 200ml of conditioner, these are more than I'd usually spend on haircare, but I am considering getting the conditioner for the smell alone!
Origins Clear Improvements Mask* | I've actually done a full review on this mask which you can read here, but this is a sample tube and I've used it, so I'm damned if I'm not including it in this post! I really love this mask, it works well for me for calming my skin down and leaving it smoother and clearer. This isn't cheap at £23 for 100ml but it works well and if you can get your hands on it in a gift set it works out a little more affordable. I already have a full-size of this and I will most likely replace it when I run out!
Garnier BB Skin Perfector for Combination/Oily Skin | I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much coverage this offered - far more than I'd expect from a BB cream, though I did still need a healthy covering of concealer under my eyes. I also needed to powder this well as it had quite a shiny finish on my skin which I wasn't a fan of, but once powdered down it gives quite a nice base! Sadly, I found that it didn't last as long as I'd like on my skin; within about five hours it had started to look patchy and cakey, as well as oxidising a little. It is quite affordable at £9.99 for 40ml, but it's probably not something I'd buy as there are base products I prefer. It was, however, a lot more suited to my preferences than I was anticipating, which just goes to show you shouldn't be afraid to try new things!!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourite products you've discovered through beauty samples?

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

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Review | MONU Instant Radiance Peeling Cream*

Ever looking for anything that will sort out my skin, I was thrilled to be offered a tube of MONU Instant Radiance Peeling Cream* to try out; MONU claim that their Instant Radiance Peeling Cream "refines the surface texture of the skin for a truly professional finish", with natural Kaolin clay to gently cleanse and exfoliate, and Beeswax to soften the skin. This claims to be suitable for all skin types, but it sounded especially perfect for my oily, blemish-prone skin, which I do find can often look quite dull.
MONU Instant Radiance Peeling Cream
You get quite a large tube for your pennies, with 100ml of product; MONU suggest spreading a thin layer of product over the skin after cleansing and toning, avoiding the eye area as always with these types of products. They then say to allow a few minutes to dry (I find just two or three minutes is sufficient) before holding the skin taut and removing with "a sweeping action of the fingertips". Now, I initially thought this sounded a bit odd, and I was right; any time gained by the quick drying time, you lose in the time it takes to remove the peel from the face. It's also quite a messy process, probably best carried out over your sink or a towel.
MONU Peeling Cream Ingredients
A little goes a long way with this, I find that around a two-pound-coin sized amount is plenty for my whole face. It has a nice smooth texture which spreads easily over the skin, and a pleasant lavender scent which is strong but not too strong. After a couple of minutes drying and a good few more minutes removal, followed by washing my face to remove the residue, I do feel like my skin looks brighter and more even, and feels soft and smooth. I do find I need to apply a good amount of moisturiser afterwards as my skin feels quite delicate (probably due to all the rubbing!) and the results really only last a day or two. Now, it's suggested that you use this twice a week; I have to admit, I've not been that good and have been using it more like once a week... So maybe with more frequent use, I'd see more results? I do think that with products like this which give short-term effects, you do need to use them regularly, so I will be trying to fit this in twice a week to see if the results last any longer!
MONU Peeling Cream Review
MONU Instant Radiance Peeling Cream is priced at £35 for 100ml of product, which will last quite some time given how little you need to use each time. I do think it's a little on the pricey side for what is, essentially, a clay mask with a bit of lavender, but I can't deny that it's nice and it works well for its intended purpose. I'm not sure that I'd buy it again, though; I think I'd want more than nice for £35! Have you tried any MONU products? Do you like the sound of the Instant Radiance Peeling Cream?
xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Monday, 16 November 2015

Review | Benefit They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer

A few days ago, I posted about December's Magazine Freebies, one of which is a miniature size of Benefit's new They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer - so new, in fact, that it isn't actually available to buy in the shops yet; this is an ELLE exclusive for now.
Benefit They're Real Tinted Lash Primer Review
Now I wasn't a fan of the original They're Real! mascara for a few reasons; namely, I found the brush cumbersome and impractical, didn't really find the formula that impressive, and found it to be a complete nightmare to remove. Benefit claim their They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer "Works two ways! 1. Wear as a mascara primer to dramatically boost length and separation. 2. Wear alone to tint and define lashes for a natural, feathery look."
Benefit They're Real Primer
The packaging is in keeping with the rest of the They're Real! line; a silver plastic tube emblazoned with the They're Real logo in brown and orange, rather than the typical black, to reflect the mink-brown shade of the primer. The brush is the same as the original mascara which is a huge negative for me as I found it really difficult to use.
Benefit They're Real Tinted Primer Brush
The formula is quite nice, it goes on smoothly without clumping and does work quite well alone to lengthen and define my lashes, as you can see below; They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer on the left of the photo, bare lashes on the right. I'd happily wear this alone as a day-to-day mascara.
Benefit They're Real Primer vs Bare Lashes
I don't actually have They're Real! at the moment so I used this under Benefit's Roller Lash mascara, which I much prefer! At first I was quite impressed with the difference between the two eyes; again, I've used the primer followed by one coat of Roller Lash on the left below and on the right is just one coat of Roller Lash. I do think there's a bit more volume and definition with the primer than with Roller Lash alone.
Benefit They're Real Primer & Roller Lash Mascara
However, I then wondered what the difference was from just applying two coats of mascara - and it turned out, very little! My lashes were a little more clumpy with two coats of mascara as opposed to the primer and mascara, but even that you'd only notice really close-up. For me, I don't think it's worth the hassle of using two separate products, particularly as I'm generally happy with my lashes with just one coat of mascara anyway! If you do have shorter or sparser lashes then this could well be worth a try to build up a slightly more natural-looking length and volume.
Benefit They're Real Primer vs two coats of mascara
Benefit They're Real Tinted Lash Primer Review & Comparisons
Benefit's They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer is priced at £18.50 and is available now. Have you picked up Benefit They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer with ELLE this month? Will you be buying the full-sized product when it launches next month?

xo

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Christmas Gifts 2015 | For Him

Last week I shared some suggestions for Christmas gifts for the ladies in your life; this time, it's the turn of the men... I personally find shopping for men really difficult and, although I'm single this festive season, I still have a dad and a brother to shop for - and my inconsiderate brother also has a Christmas birthday to think about! I've put together a few suggestions below but I'd love to hear any of your ideas for fun and unique Christmas gifts for men!!
Christmas Gifts For Him 2015

I love skincare so it's obvious really that I'm a fan of gifting other people with skincare! I really like The Body Shop's products and whilst I don't really agree that men need different lines of face wash and so on, I do think it makes them more likely to use them, and this does sound rather nice! I don't know anyone who actually uses a hip flask, but this would be a nice one to have on display in a cabinet maybe? It's quite pretty! Board games are something of a Christmas tradition in our family so something like the Pub Quiz Trivia would go down really well. Back to toiletries with the L'Occitane shower gel; most men don't splash out on things like shower gel, so Christmas may be a good time to treat them to something a little more luxurious... I don't feel I need to say any more about the penguin cufflinks - they're so cute!! I love the bottle of the Lancôme Hypnôse EDT and it's currently half price to save you some pennies - bonus! Socks are, of course, a Christmas staple and whilst these are quite expensive socks, I have to admit they are suitably awesome. And finally, what man doesn't love a gadget!? I don't think you can go wrong with a decent pair of headphones and again, these are currently half price. What will you be buying for the men in your life this Christmas? Any suggestions to share?

xo
[Post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Review | The Body Shop French Lavender Massage Oil*

I was recently very kindly sent a product from The Body Shop's new Spa of the World range to try out; the French Lavender Massage Oil*, which is part of the Relaxing Ritual product range. Now I'll admit straight off that this isn't a product I'd have chosen for myself as Lavender is never my first choice of fragrance and, being single, a massage oil isn't a product I'd have chosen. That said, I have actually quite enjoyed using this, which just goes to show you can always be surprised!!
The Body Shop Spa of the World French Lavender Massage Oil
I really like the bottle, which is an unusual shape, and the gold labelling makes it look that little bit more luxurious and high-end than The Body Shop's usual offerings, in my opinion. I have to say, the packaging of the whole Spa of the World range is gorgeous!! The cap screws on tightly to prevent any accidents, and unscrews to reveal a small aperture so you don't end up with way more product than you need. "In the 14th century, King Charles VI of France demanded pillows filled with lavender to soothe him to sleep. Lavender essential oil has a natural relaxing scent which promotes a sense of well-being. Focusing on tensed areas, massage onto skin to help relax body and mind."
Relaxing Ritual French Lavender Massage Oil
The oil is quite thin in consistency, which makes it easy to spread onto the skin, and it has a silky rather than greasy or sticky texture; I've found it actually absorbs into the skin as you massage, so you'd hope it will have some moisturising properties alongside a nice relaxing massage! With a base of Sweet Almond Oil, Sesame Seed Oil and Jojoba Seed Oil, alongside the Lavender Oil which offers a subtle but definitely noticeable scent, these are all skin-friendly ingredients - although, as always, you can be allergic to anything so don't take it for granted. I really like using this Massage Oil on my lower legs at bedtime, as I often have tired, aching calves, so this is a lovely soothing treat to myself.
The Body Shop French Lavender Massage Oil
All in all this has been a lovely way to treat myself at the end of a long shift at work and I have found the scent really quite soothing and relaxing, although I never need any help dropping off to sleep! The Body Shop Spa of the World French Lavender Massage Oil is priced at £14 for 160ml, which I do think is a little on the pricey side for what it is. However this would make a lovely gift for a special someone, and with the frequent offers at The Body Shop, you can usually save a few pounds by shopping at sensible times! Have you tried any products from the Spa of the World range? Any recommendations for me? I really like the sound of the Lemongrass Massage Oil as well!

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

Monday, 9 November 2015

December 2015 Magazine Freebies [UK]

December is looking like another good month when it comes to magazine freebies; I've spotted a few gems amongst the shelves in the newsagents! I'll be honest, I very rarely actually read the magazines these days (so many other things to do!) but I still regularly pick them up as I think the freebies are a brilliant way to try out new products or stock up on old favourites.
December 2015 Magazine Freebies
ELLE (£4.10, Alexa Chung on the cover) comes with an exclusive Benefit They're Real! Lash Primer, said to work in two ways. You can wear it alone for a natural, fluttery look, or layered with mascara for full-on, dramatic length and separation. I wasn't hugely impressed with the They're Real! mascara but I'm interested to see how this fares for me!
ELLE Benefit Freebie December 2015
InStyle (£3.99, Anne Hathaway on the cover) comes with an Eyeko mascara; I have way too many mascaras as it is so I skipped this one, but I know a lot of people rave about Eyeko's mascara so this could be a great way to try it out!
Red (£4.10, Nigella Lawson on the cover) comes with a card redeemable for a free tall Starbucks drink; now obviously the value depends on the drink you choose and I'm not sure what terms & conditions apply as I haven't picked this one up, but I'm not sure it would be worth the price of the magazine for the Starbs alone!
Glamour Clinique Freebies December 2015
Glamour (£2, Tanya Burr on the cover) comes with one of four Clinique products; I've picked up a Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ but there's also a High Impact Mascara and two shades of lipstick to choose from. I'll definitely be grabbing the red lippie if I spot it anywhere, it looks like a lovely shade!
Have you seen any other magazine freebies around this month? Will you be searching down any of these little beauties?

xo

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Review | Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash

I've been using Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash for around a year now, on and off; I mentioned it in my post on the Botanics range, but haven't actually got around to sharing a proper review... Until now!
Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash
"This lightly foaming soap-free wash gently lifts away make-up and impurities, leaving skin feeling detoxified and beautifully cleansed. Hibiscus is nature's brightness booster and a wonderful hue of pink. Natural AHAs from the flower act as mild exfoliators to help leave skin smoother and brighter." The face wash is presented in a simple white plastic tube with a pretty floral design on; it's easy to squeeze product out of the tube, and it feels sturdy enough that I'm happy travelling with it.
All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash Review
I actually use this both morning and evening; in the morning it works really well for me to just freshen up my skin and remove any oil and grime that's gathered overnight, I just massage it into my skin with damp hands and then remove with a warm flannel. It doesn't really foam or lather so the name is a bit misleading in that respect, but foaming products are often quite drying so that's not a bad thing in my book! Of an evening, I remove my make-up with micellar water, then use an oil or cream cleanser as my first cleanse, and follow up with this - again to make sure that all the make-up, dirt and other nasties are properly washed away. I usually splash this off with running water rather than using a flannel in the evening, but that's just personal preference! I find this works really well, it fits nicely within my skincare routine and is versatile enough for both morning and evening. I have used it as my only cleanse in the evening and found it worked okay, I just prefer an oil or cream as my first cleanse - again, personal preference. As for the brightening claims - I'm not sure, to be honest, whether it's made any difference for me, but I figure it can't hurt!
Botanics All Bright Foam Wash
All in all, I do think this is a bloomin' good cleanser and even better when you consider the price - Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash is priced at £3.99 for 150ml, though it's currently on offer at just £1.99 which is an absolute bargain, making it a brilliant time to pick this up if you like the sound of it! I'd really recommend this if you're after a budget-friendly face wash which won't dry your skin out. Have you tried any products from the Botanics range? What's your favourite face wash?

xo

Friday, 6 November 2015

Christmas Gifts 2015 | For Her

Despite having an aversion to anything Christmas-related until mid-December at the earliest, I am actually trying to be a bit more organised this year - I'm hoping to have at least some presents bought by the end of this month! That said, I've put together a few gift ideas for anyone shopping for the ladies in your life...
Christmas Gifts For Her
Origins Mask Marvels, £30
Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette, £38
Sweet Cecily's Make Your Own Lipbalm Kit, £15.95
Christian Louboutin Mexicatchy Sheer Voile Lip Colour, £60
The Body Shop Frosted Plum Tin of Delights, £28
I picked up an Origins mask set in the sales last year and it was brilliant, they're a great way to try out a few masks - this one has four 50ml tubes with a total value of £46, so it's a bit of a bargain! The UD Naked Smoky palette has been a big hit with beauty lovers this year and would be sure to go down a storm. I love the idea of a DIY gift like this kit from Sweet Cecily's - a novelty gift that will actually get used rather than shoved in a cupboard or drawer! The Louboutin lipsticks are as gorgeous as they are expensive, these would be an investment but would make a lady feel very special... Although with 36 shades to choose from, you might need some input from the lady in question! I was very kindly sent a pair of Jimmi Jamms pyjamas* a few weeks ago and they're lovely, so soft and cosy, and the packaging is super-cute too! I'd recommend sizing up, though, if you're uncertain between two sizes. The perfume gift sets that come out around this time of year are always brilliant deals; here you get a 50ml EDP, Shower Gel and 10ml Rollerball EDP for less than the usual price of a 40ml EDP! If you know your sister, girlfriend or Mum loves a certain fragrance, definitely look out for sets like this. And finally, The Body Shop's festive scents are always gorgeous and I'm loving the Frosted Plum scent this year! This lovely tin contains a Shower Gel, Body Butter, Shimmer Fragrance Globe and Lip Balm so it would be a nice pampering treat.
Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Any ideas what you'll be getting for the ladies in your life?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration. I have not been paid to mention any of the items included in this post. Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Review | Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot

I've been meaning to try Soap & Glory's One Heck Of A Blot Super-Translucent Mattifying Powder for as long as I can remember and eventually got round to picking it up a few weeks ago on a 3 for 2 offer in Boots. It's no secret that I have super oily skin and am always on the look-out for anything that will keep my face from gaining a mirror-like shine within a couple of hours of doing my make-up. But how have I been getting on with One Heck Of A Blot..?
Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot Review
The packaging is pretty typical for Soap & Glory's cosmetics line; it's nice to look at and, perhaps more importantly, feels good and sturdy - indeed, I've thrown it in my bag with no mishaps so far! The compact clicks open to reveal a full-size mirror (always handy!) and a sponge-y thing which I initially thought would be great for touch-ups on the go. Sadly this didn't turn out to be the case; trying to apply the powder with the sponge-y thing results in a cakey horrible mess, it turns out. Using my Real Techniques powder brush didn't fare much better, at which point I got a bit cross and didn't bother with it at all for a few weeks. Then I read this post by Jasmine and tried my ELF stippling brush instead and that worked much better! It turns out you need a really really super-light hand with this one, and then it works pretty well at toning down the ol' shiny forehead. I haven't found it to last particularly well, maybe a couple of hours on my skin, before I need to top it up - so not really any better than any other powder I can pick up in Boots for half the price or less!
Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot Super-Translucent Mattifying Powder
As for the super-translucent bit... I'm so pale I'm practically translucent myself so I'm maybe not the best judge, but it seems fine when used with a light hand. Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot is priced at £12 for 9g of product, available from Boots. It's probably not one I'd purchase again just because I feel like there are other options which work equally well for me, for far fewer pennies. I feel like I'm paying for the packaging and a sponge-y thing I'm only going to throw away anyway because it doesn't work with the product! Have you got on any better than I did with One Heck Of A Blot? What's your favourite powder to keep your face shine-free?

xo

Monday, 2 November 2015

Hello November!

I refuse to make clichéd comments about how time is flying. Refuse. However is is now November and I'm quite liking the little habit I seem to be getting into of setting myself some goals at the start of each month, and looking back over the ones from the previous month (you can see October's post here).
Hello November! Converse In Autumn Leaves
So, without further ado, here is a round-up of my success with my goals from October...
See friends: I set myself the target of seeing friends at least twice in October and I managed this nicely - including a bit of a night out with a few friends from school, Afternoon Tea with some other friends, and a catch-up walk with another friend. I also went down to Sheffield for Halloween weekend to visit my friends from Uni, most of whom I hadn't seen in going on two years which is shameful.
Afternoon Tea
• Transfer things to my new laptop: This one is in progress. I've backed everything from my old laptop up onto cloud storage (which took two weeks, no exaggeration!) but have yet to actually move stuff across onto the new one. I feel like I've made a good start, though...
• Throw some more things away: Yeah. I don't think I did this. What can I say? I'm a terrible person. I do need to have a good clear-out thought so I'll be carrying this one over to November!
Start thinking about Christmas: Well, I made a spreadsheet with a list of people I need to shop for and also a list of people to send cards to, I consider that a good start for October! I'm usually on board with anything I can make a spreadsheet for...

So all in all, I don't feel like I did too badly in October; I've also been making good use of my gym membership and have been swimming three or four times each week, as well as managing a couple of nice walks. Excitingly, there's the possibility of a paid role (one or two days per week) coming out of a voluntary position I've had for almost a year, working with young people with eating disorders. I'm not 100% certain yet on where that's going to go but the potential is exciting! I've also been doing some extra hours at my paid job in an office/admin role which has made a nice change.... And I gave blood, which is something I've been meaning to do for ages but have never got round to til now. So I'm quite pleased with myself for that one! Heading into November I'm setting myself a few more goals:
Renew gym membership & keep going regularly: Fairly self-explanatory, this one! My gym offers a six-week membership which includes access to the gym & pool for less than £30 which is an absolute bargain - as long as I go regularly! Since I don't start work til 3pm most days, I really have no excuse, and I have been feeling really good through October when I've been swimming a few times a week. It's ace seeing my fitness improve! I'm aiming to continue going at least three times a week as this is easily achievable for me.
Start Christmas shopping: This is a big commitment for me as I hate Christmas until mid-December at the earliest, but I feel like I need to get organised this year. I haven't really got any gifts planned yet but I'm putting together a few gift guides over the next week or so - as much for my own inspiration as for anyone else's! So hopefully, by the end of the month, I'll have at least a few gifts purchased. I have a penfriend in Sweden so hers will need to be posted fairly early!
Have a clothing clear-out: My wardrobe is overflowing and as much as I try to blame my Mum (we do share a wardrobe; she has six inches on the left and the rest is my stuff...), that's unfair and I need to have a clear-out. There's stuff in there that I've worn once, six years ago, and am clearly never going to wear again - it needs to go! Anything donate-able, I'll be taking to the charity shop - anything else can go straight in the bin.
Have a general clear-out: See last month's uncompleted goals - I have way too much stuff and some of it has to go. It's probably time to accept I'm never going to read all these magazines (I only bought them for the freebies, let's be honest!) and just get rid.
How did you get on with your goals in October? Are you setting yourself any this month? I'd love to hear what you've got planned, as well as any tips for achieving your goals!

xo
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