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Monday, 29 February 2016

Empties | February 2016

Here we are at the end of February, already! Even with the extra day this year, being a Leap Year, I do feel like 2016 is just flying by. Having been off work for the last week and a half, I've been really enjoying having relaxed days at home, having a good clean-up, getting out on my bike, and of course catching up on blogging! I've also managed to finish off a few beauty products, so let's have a root through my recycling...
February Beauty Empties
February Empties
Organic Surge Spiced Lily Foaming Bath | I've been using this as a shower gel (since I don't have a bath!) and loved it; the bottle has lasted ages as a little went such a long way. It foamed up beautifully, especially considering it's an SLS-free product, and it smells just gorgeous. I've actually just looked on the Organic Surge website and can't see it anywhere, although the Clove, Orange & Geranium Foaming Bath sounds pretty similar.
Repurchase? I would, but it seems to have been discontinued!
Kind Natured Nourishing Ylang Ylang & Sage Conditioner | I picked this up to try on an absolute whim and I did find I quite liked it; it had a nice thick texture, and left my hair feeling soft and silky. There wasn't a strong scent to the product, which I don't mind, and it comes in a pretty tube, which is always nice. I didn't feel like it was groundbreaking, and sometimes my hair needs something a little more intensive as my ends do tend to get very dry, especially since I swim a few times a week, but it was nice.
Repurchase? Maybe. I'm glad I tried the Kind Natured range, but I don't feel like it's a must-have product for me.
The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Reviver | I didn't even particularly want this product when I bought it - it just came in one of those Save 30% sets that The Body Shop do. Regardless, I've been using this as a primer and I actually adored it - quite aside from smelling of oranges, it gave a lovely smooth base for my foundation and gave my skin a subtle glow. My oily skin can, awkwardly enough, look dull even when it's super-shiny, so this was perfect for me.
Repurchase? Yes,
February Empties Skincare Makeup
Natural Collection Powder Blusher in 'Sugar Plum' | I'm actually so sad to have finished this! Natural Collection are super budget-friendly and a really under-rated brand in my opinion, and this blusher has been one of my absolute favourites. It's so well pigmented and has a lovely smooth texture; it's not chalky or powdery at all. The shade is perfect for sweeping on just under my cheekbones for a subtle contour without being OTT and I honestly am sad it's all gone.
Repurchase? Yes, although I hope to finish some more blushers first.
JOIK Skin Renewing Exfoliating Facial Scrub* | I really liked the super-fine texture of this creamy exfoliant, and found it left my skin feeling soft and smooth without causing any irritation. I wasn't the hugest fan of the jar-style packaging, although I did like the inclusion of the little spatula for hygiene purpose!
Repurchase? Maybe; it's quite expensive in the UK.
FCUK Cool Down Body Spray | I dread to think how long I've had this body spray but since throwing it in my gym bag, it's gone down pretty quickly! It's been lovely for a quick freshen up after my shower - so I don't have to carry a heavy glass bottle of perfume and risk it getting broken in my bag, but can still smell nice! Note to self, however - be careful when using body spray with wet hands, because if you slip and spray it in your eye, it bloody hurts. Not my finest moment!
Repurchase? Probably not, as I have lots of other body sprays to use up.
The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector | Another tube of this down; my hands have been ridiculously dry recently so I've been applying this pretty religiously and it really does help to ease itching and stops my hands getting bad enough that the skin cracks. As hand creams go this is pretty much my all-time favourite.
Repurchase? Yes.

Have you tried any of these products? What beauty products have you finished off in February?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Ted Baker Sugar Sweet Collection*

With Mother's Day just around the corner (March 6th FYI!), I've very kindly been sent a few bits from Ted Baker's gorgeous Sugar Sweet Collection, inspired by one of the designer's most recognisable floral prints. With two variants available, Fruity Floral Mint and Soft Floral Pink, this is a simply gorgeous collection - just look at this beautiful packaging! Stunning multi-faceted pastel jars and bottles with pretty rose-gold accents, this is some of the nicest packaging I've seen in ages.
Mothers Day Ted Baker Sugar Sweet Collection
The scent of the Mint range is described as follows; "Blends fruity top notes with violet, while the base combines sweet yet soft vanilla, patchouli, and amber." - but not mint, as I had half been hoping! Meanwhile, the fragrance of the Pink products is described thus; "Entwines the soft floral notes of jasmine and neroli, while the base of patchouli, sandalwood and musk completes the scent." I honestly can't decide which of the two fragrances I prefer! On the face of it, the Mint range is more up my street as I do love my fruity scents, but the Pink range smells equally lovely to me.
Ted Baker Mint Body Souffle
I was kindly sent the Mint Body Soufflé*, which comes in this pleasingly chunky plastic jar with rose gold accents, for a touch of luxe in your everyday routine. The texture of the soufflé is lovely and silky-smooth, absorbing into the skin within moments and leaving a beautiful fragrance behind. I also quite like the fact that the soufflé itself is mint in colour, matching the packaging, although that is obviously only a novelty factor and (thankfully!) doesn't translate onto the skin!
Ted Baker Pink Body Lotion
The Pink Body Lotion* has a lighter texture than the soufflé but again, absorbs into the skin quickly and leaves the scent lingering on the skin. Finally, the Pink Body Spray* smells very much of alcohol at first, but once that dries down you're left with the same gorgeous scent as the Body Lotion. Being a Body Spray, this isn't the longest-lasting of fragrances, but it's lovely for a quick spritz of scent - I can see this making its way into my gym bag! I can't help noticing that the Pink range is a pretty perfect match for Pantone's Colour of the Year Rose Quartz, too.
Ted Baker Sugar Sweet Collection
Both lines are simply gorgeous, with each consisting of a Body Soufflé (£10/300ml), a Body Lotion (£8/250ml), a Body Wash (£8/200ml), a Body Spray (£7/150ml) and Bath Bubbles (£12/400ml); there are also a Lip Balm (£4/8g) and a Hand Cream (£8/125ml) available in the Pink line. A selection of goodies from this range would make a beautiful gift for Mum this Mother's Day! The new Ted Baker Sugar Sweet collection is available now from Boots.

Do you like the look of the Sugar Sweet collection? Which range sounds nicer to you? I'd love to hear what you're treating your Mum (or Step-Mum, Grandma, Auntie...) to this Mother's Day!

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Friday, 26 February 2016

Wish List | Gym Wear

I know I'm not alone in finding that my motivation to work up a sweat at the gym is vastly increased by having nice fitness gear; we all know there's something about pretty new trainers and sports bras that makes you want to show that treadmill/cross-trainer/free weights who's boss! No? I'm not ashamed of the fact that I'd live in lycra if I could (it's so damn comfortable!) I figure that now is about the time that New Year's Resolutions start a-flagging, so these little beauties should get you back on track! Maybe*.
The Fitness Wish List
Mizuno DryLite Hana Tank, SportsShoes, £14.99
Sports Bra, £8, George at Asda
I think it's fair to say I like a crazy print or two on my gymwear! I honestly think that having fun kit makes working out that much more appealing; the same goes for the 'Drop It Like A Squat' bag (who doesn't love a good pun?!). A good sports bra is a must, and it's something worth investing in, although a cheaper option like the pretty one from George would be fine for low-impact exercise like yoga or Pilates - anything that's likely to cause a bit more 'bounce' requires more support, like the equally-pretty Adidas one!

Speaking of support, trainers are also worth the spend in my opinion. I hate running on the treadmill so I don't do anything in the gym that causes too much impact, so cheap trainers like these are fine, but for running outdoors I have a proper pair of Brooks running shoes which I adore, and I'd seriously recommend getting professionally fitted so you can get a pair that suits your feet and your running style - it made a huge difference for me. If you're local to Lancaster I'd really recommend The Runners Centre, as they really know their stuff (not sponsored, Ian is just brilliant!)

And last but not least - the sports watch. I don't currently have one, just using an app on my phone for running, and tracking other workouts in my Notes. I'm in two minds about whether to invest (am I serious enough about fitness?) but if I do, I'll probably go for a Garmin - it's what my brother uses and he's always been happy with them, so I'd have the bonus of having someone to explain it to me!

What are your fitness must-haves? Has anything on my list caught your eye? Don't forget to check out my Gym Bag Beauty Essentials!

[*I take no responsibility if you end up spending a small fortune on pretty gym wear and don't end up any fitter for it. Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Six Mini Reviews #20 | Charlotte Tilbury, Elemis, Clinique & More...

I honestly don't know how I still have beauty samples to use up, but I do still seem to have a fair ol' stock of tiny sachets and tubes, despite my best efforts to work my way through them! I've been having another go at the sample box and have been trialling another round of skincare... Read on to see what I thought of these wee tubes, as well as whether I'll be purchasing the full-sized products!
Six Mini Beauty Reviews - Pilaten Elemis Charlotte Tilbury Clinique Malin & Goetz
Pilaten Blackhead Pore Strip | Despite its name, this was actually a peel-off mask, rather than a traditional pore strip... It was painful and gross, and yet strangely satisfying, to use; there's something about peeling off a rubbery black mask and seeing all the gunk being ripped from your pores! So, yeah, I did enjoy using this and the effects were noticeable for me, particularly around my nose where I have a lot of clogged pores and blackheads. I did think there was a little too much product in the sachet, leading to me applying a slightly thicker layer of mask than I'd have liked - I think a thinner layer would have been easier to peel off! This isn't one to get anywhere near your brows or sensitive areas of skin (I'd be tempted to use it just on my nose), but at £4.30 for 60ml it's certainly affordable and worked well enough that I'd consider buying a full-sized tube!
Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel | This was a magazine freebie, and I really liked it! I got a good few uses from the 15ml tube, and found it really pleasant to use; it had a lovely scent, didn't sting or cause any discomfort whilst on my skin, and didn't leave behind any redness or irritation. It worked well to brighten and smooth my skin. You can't really ask more than that, can you!? I'd definitely consider buying a full-sized tube of this (£32 for 50ml) as I found it really effective, and a product I looked forward to using. I do feel like the 50ml would go quite a long way as I definitely got five or else six uses from just 15ml!
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Rescue Cream | Urgh. This was way too heavy for my skin, it felt like spreading grease on my face, and my skin was ridiculously oily come morning - it honestly felt like the product just sat on the surface of my skin rather than actually sinking in and doing any moisturising. I know a lot of people rave about Charlotte Tilbury's skincare but this certainly wasn't for me. Unfortunately, I just didn't think this was worth anywhere even close to its eye-watering price tag of £100 for a 50ml jar! As a side note, these sachets really did not want to be photographed...
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream | This fared a little better than the night cream, by which I mean it wasn't actively unpleasant to use. The cream actually had quite a nice texture, and left my eye area feeling suitably smoothed and moisturised. I didn't really see evidence of its big claims, though - no massive improvements to my fine lines and no turning back the hands of time. It's a nice enough eye cream, in my opinion, but I can get a "nice enough" eye cream for far less than £40 for 15ml.
Clinique For Men Face Scrub | I believe I signed up for this sample on either Clinique's website, or their Facebook page; either way, I wasn't about to be put off by the "for men" claim - and I actually ended up really liking this scrub. It had a gorgeous minty scent which I found really invigorating, and the texture of the scrub was absolutely spot on for me - lovely and fine so it felt really gentle on the skin. I think the £20 for 100ml is pretty reasonable and I'd consider this one again at some point down the line.
Malin & Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer | This isn't my first tube of this moisturiser and my thoughts remain much the same; it's a nice basic moisturiser which sinks into the skin quickly and works well to leave it feeling soft and smooth without being sticky or greasy. I'm not sure I'll be spending £37 for 118ml of nice basic moisturiser anytime soon, however!

Have you tried any of these products? What beauty products have you been sampling recently? I'd love to hear if you've found any gems!

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Monday, 22 February 2016

Review | Balance Me Lip Quench Balm*

A few weeks ago, I was very kindly sent a pre-launch tube of Balance Me's latest lip-care offering; their Lip Quench Balm* claims to hydrate and protect against chapped lips, whilst soothing and repairing sore, dry skin. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can really suffer with dry, chapped and sore lips during the cold winter months, so I was keen to see how well this would live up to its promises!
Balance Me Lip Quench Balm
The packaging isn't anything ground-breaking; a plastic tube with a screw-cap and a slanted applicator, it serves its purpose well enough, and I do like the green and white colour scheme it's got going on. I also really like Balance Me's swirly patterns - I think they're really pretty! The balm itself appears yellowish in the tube, but this doesn't translate onto the lips at all; it's just a clear balm which gives a subtle shine to the lips, leaving them feeling smooth and not in the least bit sticky. In terms of hydration this works pretty well for me, although I do apply lip balm frequently out of habit. It's packed with hydrating ingredients, however, so it ought to work well. These include Lanolin, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax, and Mango Seed Butter - just a few amongst a lengthy list!
Balance Me Lip Quench Balm Review
In all, I've really enjoyed using this lip balm over the past month or so; it works well to hydrate the lips, gives a pretty, glossy finish without feeling sticky, and has a lovely minty-fresh scent which is a nice bonus! Balance Me Lip Quench Balm is priced at £8 for 10ml of product, available direct from Balance Me here. I do think it's a reasonable price for a decent, British-made product with a list of lovely skin-friendly ingredients, and no Petroleum in sight! What's your favourite lip balm?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Review | Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Brush Gel

Over the last few years, Real Techniques have built up a cult following for their affordable, high-quality range of make-up brushes and tools. Recently, they've expanded their range a little to include this Deep Cleansing Brush Gel, designed to keep your make-up brushes in tip-top shape. We all know how important washing our make-up brushes is (or at least, we ought to by now!), though we do seem to be divided into those who dread Brush Washing Day, and those who find it strangely satisfying. I'm in the second camp.
RT Brush Cleanser
The instructions are straightforward enough; you simply dampen your brush, add a little of the gel, and rub between your fingers to remove all the make-up and other dirt. You then rinse until the water runs clear and leave flat or pointing downwards to dry. It all sounds simple enough in theory, right!? I've found the flip-cap on the bottle easy to use, although the gel does have a tendency to spurt out in much larger quantities than I need, which can be quite wasteful.
Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Brush Gel
The gel lathers nicely in the bristles of my brushes, which I believe are all synthetic, so unfortunately I can't comment on how this would work with natural-hair brushes. Once rinsed, however, I'm just not convinced by how clean my brushes are; anything that's had cream or liquid products on it needs at least two washes, sometimes three or four. I've tried this with my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge and felt like it had only shifted a fraction of the foundation from it. Even my powder brush takes two washes, which I can't understand, as I usually wash it twice a week so there isn't even that much product on it!
Real Techniques Brush Cleanser Review
Overall, this does the job, but sadly not as well as my usual brush-washing method which involves a budget-friendly bottle of antibacterial hand soap - the ingredients of the this Brush Cleanser don't really leap out to me as doing anything to condition your brushes (and the inclusion of SLS is a bugbear for me). For the price, I'm decidedly underwhelmed with this - Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Brush Gel is available from Boots, priced at £7.50 for the 150ml bottle; I do think it's expensive for what it is and it's not a product I'll be repurchasing as, for me, it's definitely not an essential! Have you tried Real Techniques' brush cleanser? What did you think?


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Review | Nuxe Masque Crème Fraîche de Beauté

You may remember I mentioned in my 'Ten Brands I Want To Try (More Of) in 2016' post that Nuxe was a brand I was keen to try more products from; the lovely Sasha noticed this and very kindly offered to send me an unused tube of their Masque Crème Fraîche de Beauté she had, giving me the opportunity to tick the first of these brands off my list! I've tried this mask a few times now and it's time to report back...
Nuxe Masque Creme Fraiche de Beaute Review
The screw-cap squeezy plastic tube is easy enough to dispense product from, with the masque being thick and creamy-white in consistency. It's probably worth pointing out that this product has quite a strong floral fragrance, which obviously won't be everyone's cup of tea. The masque spreads readily over the skin, feeling pleasantly cooling, and once on it isn't obvious that you're wearing a face mask. It's gentle enough to use all over the face, including the eye area, which is nice. The instructions suggest leaving it on for ten minutes but I do tend to leave it a little longer than that to make sure I can really soak up the hydration benefits; I've even used it as an overnight masque, which has worked well for me!
Nuxe Creme Fraiche Mask
The instructions do say you can massage excess product in with your fingertips, but I think it's a little heavy for me to do that; drier skins may love it but for my oily skin it just feels too much, so I do remove it with a micellar water (I'm currently using Garnier's) before applying my make-up. My skin is left feeling soft and hydrated, and looking smoother and plumper. I've been using this masque a couple of times per week as my skin has been struggling this winter; it's dealt with my little dry patches beautifully!

This is definitely a masque I'd recommend for anyone who could use a nice dose of hydration, particularly for drier skintypes or those with dry patches. However, even on combination or oily skins, it's perfect as a gentle, soothing way to plump and perk up your skin. You can find Nuxe's Masque Crème Fraîche de Beauté priced at £18.50 for 50ml of product on FeelUnique. Have you tried the Masque Crème Fraîche de Beauté, or any of Nuxe's other products? Are there any other gems in their line that I need to try?


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Review | Seventeen Miracle Matte Loose Powder

As an oily-skinned girl, setting my foundation is a vital step in my make-up routine if I don't want it to slide straight off my face; for that reason, I will always have a powder in my stash, and my preference is generally for loose powders. Although they can be a little messier than their pressed counterparts, I find they're far easier to use and last me longer; they also don't have the issue of smashing and/or crumbling, which I find often happens with pressed powders, particularly once you've hit pan.
Seventeen Miracle Matte Loose Powder Review
I've never been particularly loyal to a powder, loose or pressed, and am always picking up new things to try! Seventeen's Miracle Matte Loose Powder fell into my basket on a Boots trip a couple of months ago - Seventeen are a brand that I think are often overlooked due to being at the lower end of the budget, but they definitely have some make-up gems on offer. I really love the bold black and pink packaging of this powder, which matches the rest of the Miracle Matte line - there's also primer, foundation, and concealer in the range.
Seventeen Miracle Matte Powder
The screw cap removes to reveal a plastic sifter, so you can tap a little powder into the lid; as you can see in my photos, I've found this to be a particularly messy powder, so you do need to be careful with this one to avoid a cloud of powder reminiscent of a volcanic explosion! The powder itself is soft and silky in texture and, although there's only one shade available, it's described as "sheer" and I'd call it translucent, so I do think it'd work for the majority of skintones. I tend to buff this into my skin with my Real Techniques Powder brush.
Seventeen Miracle Matte Powder Review
In all, I'm a fan of Seventeen's Miracle Matte Loose Powder; aside from being a little messy, it works well for me in terms of setting my base make-up and mattifying my skin. It doesn't look cakey or powdery on my face, even after touch-ups. It doesn't manage to keep my face matte or even semi-matte all day (nothing does), but there's a definite improvement compared to no powder, and I'm happy with it - particularly for this price!
Seventeen Miracle Matte Loose Powder
Seventeen Miracle Matte Loose Powder is available from Boots, priced at £5.49 for 10g, though it is currently on offer at £2.99. There's also a pressed version available if you prefer your powders in that format, priced at £3.99. Are you a fan of Seventeen's make-up offerings? Do you prefer loose or pressed powders to set your make-up?


Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Eyeshadow Junkie Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Alice of Alice's Beauty Madness to complete the Eyeshadow Junkie Tag; you can see her answers to this fun tag here! I wasn't sure how I'd find this tag, as whilst I'm definitely more of an eye make-up girl than a lipstick lover, I know that I don't have anywhere near as much eyeshadow as a lot of bloggers. Anyway... It's been a while since I've completed a tag on my blog, so here we go...
The Eyeshadow Junkie Tag
  1. What is your favourite drugstore line of eyeshadow?
  2. This is a tough one, as I don't really have one brand that I'm loyal to... However I have a few Makeup Revolution palettes and I do think they're all fab, so I guess if push came to shove, I'd probably have to choose MR.
  3. What is your favourite eyeshadow primer?
  4. I don't tend to use a dedicated eyeshadow primer because I'm far too lazy, but recently I have been layering a cream eyeshadow under powder shadows - mainly because I really like the look it gives rather than for priming purposes, but whatever. I really like GOSH's Forever Eyeshadow Stick in 'Beige' for this, and Born Pretty's Love Alpha Frozen Eye Colours*.
    Eyeshadow Junkie
  5. What is your first ever eyeshadow purchase and do you still use it?
  6. I honestly can't remember my first-ever eyeshadow purchase! I do remember having a Maybelline eye quad in a green colourway when I was about 16 - I'd say it was a dubious selection of shades but I loved them at the time... and would probably still wear them now! I have no idea what happened to that quad.
  7. What is the best eyeshadow dupe you found?
  8. I can't say I've ever really looked for dupes; I tend to favour more budget-friendly products but I've never really been too fussy about "duping" higher-end products! That said, I did post about Makeup Revolution's Awesome Metals Eye Foil last year, which is meant to be a dupe for Stila's Magnificient Metals shadows - but since I don't own the Stila version, I can't really say for sure... I also have two supposed dupes of Urban Decay's Naked3 palette (W7 In The Nude & Makeup Revolution Iconic 3) but I don't think either of them really live up to the quality you'd be getting with the original - I don't have Naked3 but have Naked2 and the quality is way better than these "dupes". 
    Eyeshadow Junkie Makeup Rev Iconic 3
  9. Which is the most underrated eyeshadow?
  10. Another tricky question! Especially being part of the blogging community, I don't really find that products get underrated very often - if a product is good, we all want a piece of that hype! Can I name an overrated eyeshadow instead? For me, that would have to be my Charlotte Tilbury palette, as I was just so disappointed with the formula and pigmentation of the shadows.
  11. What are your favourite single shadows?
  12. I don't own all that many single shadows to be honest, and the ones I do own don't get used very often... Having had a little dig through my stash I've come across this Maybelline Eye Studio Mono Eyeshadow in the shade 'Silken Taupe'*, which I do love; it's a very easy shade to wear. There are very few single shadows that I own more than one of from the same line, though.
  13. What is your favourite cream eyeshadow?
  14. I don't own a huge number of cream eyeshadows but the two I find myself reaching for almost daily are GOSH's Forever Eyeshadow Stick in 'Beige', mentioned above, and Wild About Beauty's Creme Eyeshadow in 'Edna' which is a slightly deeper shade with a bit less shimmer. I love both pretty much equally, although the GOSH one is definitely more affordable and has the benefit of not needing a brush to apply due to its stick format.
  15. What is your favourite neutral eyeshadow?
  16. Why are all these questions so difficult!? I have so many neutral shadows and they do tend to be what I wear the most as they're work-appropriate. At the moment I'm really loving Stila's 'Kitten' which I have in their In The Light palette. It's so easy to wear and a really beautiful shade! (It's the one in the top row that I've hit pan on...)
    Eyeshadow Junkie Stila In The Light Palette
  17. What is your favourite coloured eyeshadow?
  18. I don't wear coloured eyeshadow as much as I'd like these days (see above - I always seem to be at work so I just don't seem to get chance. Sad times!) but I do have a bit of a thing for a pop of colour on my lids! Some of my favourites for when I'm being a bit more adventurous are MAC's 'Cranberry', W7's Purple Haze Quad*, and this Born Pretty Cream Eyeshadow Pen* I was recently sent.
  19. What is the best eyeshadow palette ever?
  20. I think the most versatile palette I own is probably my Makeup Revolution Beyond Flawless palette, which has a gorgeous selection of shades. For me, there's something for every occasion, from subtle barely-there shades right through to more dramatic looks. So on those grounds I'd choose Beyond Flawless. 
Eyeshadow Junkie Makeup Revolution Beyond Flawless
Phew, that was way harder than I anticipated! Who knew eyeshadow was such a tricky topic? I'm not tagging anyone as I never know who to tag in these kinds of posts, but if you like the look of the questions then feel free to do the tag, and please do let me know so I can read your answers!


Friday, 12 February 2016

Valentine's Day | Refresh Your Bedroom!

With Valentine's Day just a couple of days away, now is a good time to think about refreshing your bedroom décor a little! Okay, so it's probably a bit late for a full-scale redecoration project, and you maybe won't be repainting the whole room or replacing all your furniture - but there are simple changes that can really make a big difference to the "feel" of your bedroom.
Easy Ways To Refresh Your Bedroom Decor for Valentine's Day
Bedding is an obvious place to start when refreshing your bedroom décor; it can make a huge difference to the look of the room, and won't break the bank! Habitat have a lovely range of bed linens; a personal favourite for me is the simple white stonewashed duvet cover 'Washed', which starts at £40 for a double. I really like the look of white bedding, I think it's a lovely way to brighten up a room and of course, it's easy to accessorize and switch the look up as white goes with everything! For something a little brighter, the 'Strips' multi-coloured duvet cover is perfect as we come into Spring, and starts at just £20 for a double - now that's a bargain, and that price it's easily affordable to switch up your bedlinen for the seasons.
Washed Duvet Cover Habitat
Of course, when replacing your duvet covers, you can't forget the sheets! There are few things nicer than sliding into a fresh bed at the end of a long day - Yorkshire Linen have a gorgeous range of sheets at pocket-friendly prices, so there should be something for everyone. I'm all about fitted sheets (ain't nobody got time for hospital corners in real life!) and I love the look of a bright sheet with white bedding - a secret pop of colour! Of course, for Valentine's Day, what could be more perfect than red? This Percale fitted sheet starts at just £12.99 for a double.
For a luxurious boudoir feel, adding extra-cosy throws and cushions can take your décor from standard to hotel-worthy - I don't think I've ever seen anything that looks cosier than this Gray & Willow ribbed throw. Doesn't it just make you want to snuggle up with a loved one?!
Gray & Willow Throw
Meanwhile, the gorgeous bright colours of the Authentic Weave Cushion, a bargain at just £12, and the Peruvian Birds Cushion, £19.50, both from M&S, would really pop against white bedding and add a beautiful touch to a room.
And of course, what's the good of all this lovely bedding without some mood lighting? Not only is low lighting supposedly more flattering (if you're bothered about such things!), but it really adds to the general atmosphere of a room. This bronze mosaic lamp, just £20 from George, is really striking and would add a little drama, in my opinion. Candles are also a lovely touch, although of course you do need to be careful with lit candles and never leave them unattended! This Yankee Candle Valentine's Gift set, £29.99, includes a large jar candle in the Red Raspberry scent, and a metal hearts illumalid.|
George Lamp
Will you be making any changes to your bedroom décor for Valentine's Day? What are your favourite styles or looks for bedlinen and soft furnishings? Don't forget to check out my suggestions for unusual Valentine's Day gifts here, and some unique date ideas here!

[*Collaborative post. Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Review | Born Pretty Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen*

Ever a lover of cream eyeshadow sticks (seriously, how can you not love a shadow you can just swipe on and go!?), I was thrilled to be sent this budget-friendly Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen* from Born Pretty. I went for Shade 4 which is a pretty pale green pearl; there are twelve shades available in total, ranging from a pretty silvery-white, through neutral champagnes and browns, to brighter shades including blues and purples - there should be something for everyone, and you can check out the full range of shades here.
Born pretty Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen
The packaging is pretty basic (although the outer packaging was really pretty - a lovely floral box with holographic accents), which is fair for a product of this price bracket; a sleek black crayon-style product with a click-on cap, you twist up the product to use. I'm a fan of this format as it's quick and easy to use, with no messy, wasteful sharpening of pencils. The band of colour around the base of the crayon is a nice touch and would certainly be handy if you had a few of these crayons, to help you pick out the shade you're after without uncapping them all.
Born Pretty Cream Eyeshadow Stick
Born Pretty Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen Shade 4 Swatches
I've found the formula to be pretty nice - it's smooth and creamy, transferring easily onto the lids without any tugging or dragging. The pigmentation is really nice, with a good colour pay-off from one swipe, and the option to build up a little more intensity with a second swipe, for a deeper colour. I really like greens on my eyes and would wear this alone as a liner shade (first photo below); my favourite way to wear it, however, is as a base for a gold powder shadow (shown here is Stila's 'Champagne'), whereby it gives a lovely olive-y, antiqued-gold effect which I think is really pretty and super wearable! Excuse my tired early-morning eyes here...
Born pretty green cream eyeshadow
Born Pretty Cream Eyeshadow EOTD
In terms of lasting power, I've not had any problems with fading or transferring on my oily lids; even after a busy shift at work, this is still going strong after a good ten hours of wear, which is always nice for those days when you just don't have time to be checking your eye make-up and neatening up smudges. Born Pretty's Waterproof Eyeshadow Pens are available in twelve shades, priced at an affordable £3.23 each - you can check out the available shades here! Don't forget you can also get 10% off site-wide when you enter my discount code 'JESSMK31' at checkout. Are you a fan of cream eyeshadows? Would you try these out?

[*Product provided for consideration. Prices correct at time of writing but subject to change with fluctuations in the exchange rates.]

Monday, 8 February 2016

Valentine's Day | Lingerie Picks

With Valentine's Day now less than a week away, it seemed like as good a time as any to share my picks of all the pretty lingerie that's floating around the shops at the moment; you can't beat a set of gorgeous underwear to brighten you up on even the greyest of days. Is it just me that feels like I'm adulting ten times better when my underwear matches?!
Valentine's Day Lingerie
Bluebella Ella Bra, £34, & Briefs, £16, House of Fraser
Entice Floral Balcony Bra, £8, & Briefs, £4, George at Asda
Loren Lace Bralet, £18, & Thong, £10, Figleaves
Rosie for Autograph Silk & Lace Bra, £26, & Knickers, £12.50, Marks & Spencer
Pink Hearts Mesh Bra, £18, & Briefs, £8, BHS
Lace Body, £27.50, Marks & Spencer
Calvin Klein Intimate Plunge Bra, £30, & Briefs, £21, House of Fraser
Ann Summers Luella Waspie, £20, House of Fraser
[Dead links removed, apologies for any incovenience.]

If lingerie isn't your thing, you can check out my suggestions for more unusual Valentine's gifts here - or maybe you're after some unique Valentine's date ideas?! Do you like to receive underwear as a gift, or do you prefer to choose it yourself? Which is your favourite of these sets?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Saturday, 6 February 2016

First Impressions | TurBliss Bioactive Face Mask for Problem Skin*

Adding fuel to the fire of my slightly excessive skincare addition, I was recently sent a jar of Bioactive Face Mask for Problem Skin* from Estonian brand TurBliss, which I've been using for a couple of weeks; I'll have a full review up in a few weeks but I wanted to share my first impressions of the product as so far, I'm really liking it!
First Impressions TurBliss Mask
First up, can we just talk about the packaging?! Seriously, how pretty is the jar? I admit, jar-style packaging is not a favourite for me for hygiene reasons, but I feel like in this case I can almost let them off, given just how beautiful it is! On the plus side, the screw-cap closes nice and tightly so there's no fear of the mask drying out before you get chance to use it all. The use-by date is hand-written on the outer packaging so you'd need to hang onto that or make a note of it.
TurBliss Bioactive Face Mask For Problem Skin First Impressions
The mask is thick and dark brown, as you might expect for a natural peat mask; the texture is quite smooth but with a slightly grainy feel to it, such that you can get a little bit of exfoliation by gently massaging into the skin. The instructions state to "wet the mask slightly to avoid drying"; I've found the easiest way to do this was by spritzing my face every minute or so with a facial spray, although it did still dry out a little in places by the time my ten minutes were up.
TurBliss Peat Face Mask Problem Skin
I found the mask quite messy to remove, which I was anticipating, and a shower is probably the way to go; after removal, I did find that my skin was a little reddened (you could see the pale rings around my eye and lip area!), but that only lasted around an hour, and is said to be due to increased micro-circulation. Containing Humic & Fulvic Acids from the natural peat, the mask aims to penetrate deep into the skin in order to improve its functioning, causing it to produce more collagen and hyaluronic acid to maintain the skin's elasticity and plumpness.
TurBliss Bioactive Peat Face Mask
My skin felt quite tight after use, but that was eased with my regular moisturiser, after which my skin felt soft and smooth. The mask also claims to regulate sebum production, clean clogged pores, and alleviate a number of skin concerns from rosacea to eczema, so I'm looking forward to seeing what prolonged use can do for me!
TurBliss Bioactive Peat Face Mask First Impressions
TurBliss Bioactive Face Mask for Problem Skin is available from LoveLula, priced at £18 for 60ml of product; you can also buy a larger 180ml jar which is priced at £32, so that obviously works out at better value. If you like the sound of it, do keep an eye out for my full review early next month! Have you heard of TurBliss? Would you try a peat mask?

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

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Five Guys You Should Be Prepared To Meet On Tinder

I'm kicking off February by introducing something a bit different here on The Indigo Hours; I wanted to add more of a lifestyle slant and discuss something new. Dating isn't something I've ever really talked about on my blog, mainly because I've been in long-term relationships for most of the time I've been blogging. However, since breaking up with my last "serious" boyfriend last August, I've been experimenting with the world of Tinder, and thought this would be quite a fun way to share my experiences!
Five Guys You Should Be Prepared To Meet On Tinder
For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Tinder is a dating app; you set up a profile, add some photos, and off you go. You're presented with a series of men (or ladies, or both - whatever floats your boat!) and can either "swipe" left or right on them. The left swipes go in the bin, the right swipes are the ones you like the look of. If you swipe right on someone who also swiped right on you, you get a "Match" and can start chatting. So, here are five types of fella who seem to pop up quite often in my stream of Tinder Matches!
The build-up-to-creepy creep | This guy seems nice at first. He can hold a decent conversation; he asks questions, tells you about himself, and after chatting for a while, asks if you'd like to meet up. You exchange numbers. The date goes well. You agree to see him again, and do so. And then it begins - sometime between the second and third dates, he becomes a bit - keen. He texts, and if you don't respond pronto, you receive the same message eleven minutes later via WhatsApp and then, six minutes after that, by Facebook message. Then another text, "You okay?" followed by a sad face Snapchat and another WhatsApp, "You ignoring me?" and another text, "Have I annoyed you?". And then you get out of the shower or go on your break at work, and look at your phone, and think, "What the-?" and are forced to tell him he's not really what you're looking for, by which you mean you like having space to breathe without him assuming you've died / left the country on a permanent basis without telling him / run off with some other guy.
The explicit-messages guy | This is probably the man every woman dreads when signing up to dating sites and apps; you match with this guy and are immediately bombarded with personal questions about your sexual history and preferences, and messages about what he'd like to do to you / have you do to him. On the bright side, Tinder have removed their 'Moments' feature (which was a bit like Snapchat whereby you could share images with your matches for 24 hours), so no more unsolicited dick pics... I'm not sure if this ever works for any guy (I feel like it must because they keep trying it?) but it sure ain't gonna work for me. Unmatch!
The scarily-intense | This is another guy who seems nice at first. Maybe you swap numbers. He becomes very intense, pointing out how much you have in common (like, say, a football team and the last movie you saw at the cinema) and telling you really in-depth things about his life, exes, work... Everything. No filter. Before you've ever even met. If this isn't enough of a warning for you (please, learn from my mistakes!), and you do happen to meet this guy, he will treat the date like a job interview, and text you again before you're out of sight.
The disappearing act | This one, too, seems nice. He's funny, you message back and forth, things seem to be going well... And then he vanishes. No explanation. Maybe he died? Maybe he met someone? Maybe he had a girlfriend all along and got caught out? Who knows!
The actually quite nice, reasonably normal one | This one will probably take you by surprise - you might be becoming a bit jaded, wondering, "When will you turn out to be a weirdo, too?", just waiting for a slightly obsessive text or a revelation about a wife. And all of a sudden you'll find you've been on half a dozen dates, have swiped neither left nor right in days, and actually really like this one. Who knew - there are actually some nice, reasonably normal Tinder guys! Spoiler alert: I'm still seeing this one and have actually deleted Tinder; things could get serious! I even drunkenly told my brother about him on a sibling night out.

So - have you ever used Tinder, or another dating site or app? I'd love to hear about your experiences! Would you try something like this, or have you heard too many horror stories?


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hello February!

One month of 2016 down already - can you believe it!? It seems like this is going to be another year which just flies by. I'm carrying on my goal-setting and sharing this year, you can have a peek at the goals I set for January here. Today, I'm sharing how I got on with those goals, as well as setting some new ones for the month ahead.
Hello February!
• Read four books: Well we're not off to a good start, I didn't even manage to finish one book! Poor effort Jess. I have been trying to read on my breaks at work rather than mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, but as I'm working less shifts at the moment (due to my second job elsewhere), this hasn't translated to as much reading time as I'd hoped. Ah well.
Clear out desk: Well, sort of. I did throw some things away and had a good sort out of what was left so things are a bit more organised and less precariously-heaped. I think I need to have another go at this at some point but it'll do for now.
See friends at least twice: I did a pub lunch in Keswick with two friends, a couple of pub quiz / pub board game nights with another group of friends (I promise not all my social interactions occur in pubs!), a night-time walk with a different friend, and a pre-work walk with a friend from work. I feel like I did good on this one!
Work on my fitness: I'm quite pleased with how I got on with this; I wanted to continue to swim three times a week, hopefully upping from 30 to 40 minutes per swim, and include a run per week as well. I started by coming up with an actual swim "program" (using the term very loosely!) rather than just getting in and swimming, and then increasing it until I was swimming for 40 minutes - so I'm pleased with that. I've also been using the weights in the gym and have been really enjoying that - I'd forgotten how much I used to love leg day! It's not as  much fun on my own but still. My gym has had reduced opening hours for maintenance over the last couple of weeks which has been annoying, but they're due to be done by the end of this week so I should be able to pick things up a little more. As for the running - I'm asthmatic and my lungs really struggle with cold air, so I didn't manage one run per week as I'd hoped, but I did get out a couple of times which is a good start. I'll be building on this one for sure!
February Goals Sheep at Hincaster
So three out of four goals achieved for January - I think that's a good start! As we head into February, the shortest month of the year (although it's a Leap Year so we do get an extra day!), I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks off work at the end of the month and the beginning of next month - I had a lot of annual leave left to use up before the end of March, so I've basically ended up with three weeks booked off! I'm hoping to fit in a few fun things while I'm not working, although I think I'll still be doing my new job and also volunteering, which will eat up two days a week. Anyhow, some goals for February:
Bake something. I like baking. I don't bake enough anymore, mainly due to living with my parents and just not having the space. So while I'm not working stupid amounts of hours, I'd like to do a bit of baking - maybe try something new, maybe just go with an old favourite like chocolate brownies. Because you can't go wrong with brownies, can you!?
Walk somewhere new. I have a car. I can go pretty much anywhere I choose. And yet I always seem to go for the same couple of walks, both within five miles of where I live. I'm within half an hour of the gorgeous Lake District so I really want to get out and explore a little more, and discover a walk somewhere new. (The photos in this post are actually from a new walk a friend introduced me to, but that doesn't count as it was in January!)
See friends at least twice. I'll really have no excuse for not achieving this, with all my time off! It's always nice to spend some time with the people I love, so I'm aiming to meet up at least twice with friends, whether it's for a full-on pub night or just a cup of tea.
Neaten up my blog. This will include working on my About page so it's a bit more interesting and up-to-date, thanks to a really helpful worksheet from the lovely Hayley. (Seriously, if you haven't signed up to her newsletter, do it! It's full of useful tips & exclusive bloggy worksheets, I'm finding it so interesting and informative.) If you have any suggestions for improvements and tweaks I could do to make, please let me know!!

Are you setting any goals for February? How did you get on with any goals you set in January? I'd love to hear what you're hoping to achieve in the coming weeks!

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