Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mini-Haul and Bargain Alert

I did a little bit of lunchtime shopping yesterday, so I thought I'd share what I picked up.

First of all I went to Boots, mainly to get a new mascara. The one I got was Maybelline's new Volume Express Cat Eye mascara which cost £7.99. I never actually tried a Maybelline mascara before, so I'm curious to see how I get on with this one. I'll probably post a review anyway once I get a few uses out of it.
Secondly, I was looking for a new face mask and it was between the No.7 Heavenly Hydration Moisture Mask and the same brand's Purifying Sauna Mask. What attracted me to the latter was that it was one of the very few cleansing masks that I've ever seen that wasn't a mud mask. Mud masks may work great for some people, but I hate the mess they leave and they also tend to irritate my skin a little bit. In the end, however, I went for the moisture mask as my impurities have pretty much cleared up in the past few days (read my last post for more on that). It costs £14.00, but Boots are giving away quite a lot of £5-off vouchers for the No.7 range with your purchase, so you can get it cheaper. Again, I'll probably post a review about this product after a few uses.
The magazine was free for Advantage Card holders, so I thought I'd get it and read for the rest of my lunch hour.

After that I popped down to the Body Shop to get a new Body Butter as I'm running out again. I know there are lots of really good body lotions out there, but somehow I just find myself drawn to these over and over again. They're just a staple product that will never disappoint. They smell heavenly and make skin gorgeously soft, even in winter.
The best thing is that they're currently on offer for half price. And if you've got a Love Your Body card you get an additional 10% off on top of that! So, it should have been £12.50 for the pot, but I ended up paying only £5.63 in the end. I don't know how long this offer lasts, but I'll probably pop back into the store soon, just to stock up on these for the colder months!


Okay, I know I'm way too old for this, but when I walked past the Disney shop and saw that the entire front was decorated in Lion King stuff I just couldn't resist. I absolutely love the Lion King and I've got this weird obsession with Pumba (he's the greatest, shush now). I could have bought the whole range, but just went for a shopping bag and a mug instead.

I've also promised a bargain alert, so here goes: Tomorrow, but only tomorrow, on September 29, you can pop into your local John Lewis and exchange any empty shampoo or conditioner bottle of any brand for two full sized Ojon products. They are the damage reverse Restorative Shampoo & Conditioner which retail at a combined price of £41.50. It's only while stocks last, so I'll race you there!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Glossybox September - Tried and Tested

A few weeks ago I finally decided to jump onto the Glossybox bandwagon. Glossybox is a monthly service that sends you five luxury samples in a box so you can try out new brands and products from the comfort of your own home without having to commit to a full size and the price tag it may carry. It costs £10,00 for the box itself plus post and packaging, which is £2,95 in my case. You can currently cancel at any time.
I subscribed thinking I'd get my first box delivered next month, but they still had some left from September and it arrived within three days despite the fact it ended up at the wrong address at first. (The address on the label was correct by the way, so it was the post's mistake.)
I've now had enough time to try out all of the samples that I got, so here's my honest opinion on them. I forgot to take pictures of the packaging, which is absolutely gorgeous, but then there's loads of those out there already, so shouldn't be too hard to find if you haven't seen it yet. Also, apologies for the quality of some of the images. I injured my arm a while ago and holding a heavy camera is difficult at the best of times. Anyway, let's start with the first product on the list:

The first sample I got was a 10ml tube of GreenPeople's Day Solution which retails at £13.95 for a full-size, 50ml product. The size of the sample is decent, as I've still got a little bit left. The cream itself is 94% organic and can be used on all skin types. It has a delicate scent of chamomile and a dense, but light texture, a little bit like Vichy's Normaderm.
Now, I have rather normal skin which gets a bit oily on the t-zone in summer but dries out a little in winter. I only break up if I seriously neglect my skin, for example if I don't take my make-up off before bed. However, I've had a bit of a skin nightmare lately, as I kept getting impurities that never fully broke out. Instead, they formed lots of tiny little lumps under my skin which drove me completely mad.
After using this for a couple of days the lumps disappeared and my skin cleared up. I'm not entirely sure if that's because this moisturiser is amazing or whether it's because my previous one was awful. Either way, it sorted out my skin and makes it feel all lush and wonderful, so I am considering buying the full-size product. Being mostly organic is also a bonus, but unfortunately it doesn't have a built in SPF, so you'd have to wear a separate one on top.


The second product was not a sample, but an actual full-sized brow and eye palette by HD Brows which retails at £19.95! I'm not going to lie: seeing this product in other people's boxes is one of the reasons I signed up for Glossybox in the first place. This one's called Foxy and apparently there are others, but I could not find any on HD Brows' website. Rather, you have to call a hotline if you want any product information or if you want to order one of these yourself.
Some people's palettes came in a box and padded with bubble wrap to protect it, but mine unfortunately didn't and the outer casing was a little bit scratched as a result. The inside was fine, however, and that's all that matters. There are four eye and brow powders, which are called from left to right: Nude, Carbon, Warm Brown and Ash Brown. As you can see the colours are very, very densely pigmented and matte. I use Ash Brown on my eye brows which gives a lovely amount of definition without making my whole face look scary. I also use a short, flat brush on Carbon and use it as an eye liner and it has the most amazing deep colour. These powders cling on to hair like nothing else and after a long day they still cling on to my eyebrows and eyelashes for dear life.
I tried using the other two as eyeshadows, but unfortunately both creased after about four hours of wear and they're not such amazing colours that I'd use a primer underneath. It also said that Nude could be used as a highlighter, but as I'm quite pale (I'm a MAC NC15), it was actually darker than my natural skin tone, so that didn't quite work out. All in all it's a lovely product and though I'm not sure I would have bought it in a shop it certainly meant I got my money's worth with this month's box.

Another organic product was The Green Balm by MOA. It doesn't say how much was in the sample, but it was teeny tiny, so I'm guessing about 5ml if not less. This is meant to be an all over skin "miracle product" that helps pretty much anything. It has a waxy texture in the pot, but melts into an oil on your skin. It smells noticeably of tea tree oil, which is one of its main ingredients.
I can't really say much about this product, as I haven't had any skin "emergencies" as of yet - I tend to get those as the temperatures get closer to zero degrees. I've used it on my lips and it felt really lovely and nourishing and I've also put little bits on other parts of my skin and it feels a lot like Eight Hour Cream by Elizabeth Arden. I'm thinking about buying a full sized pot of this as I've just run out of Eight Hour Cream (boyfriend keeps stealing it!) and this product costs less than half at £9.99 for 50ml. This is the one with lots of potential, but I'm just not too sure about it yet.

This one's a little bit of a joke - a 1.5ml perfume sample, like one of those you'd get in a department store without even having to buy anything, or with your weekly magazine if you're a subscriber. Then again, as it's perfume you either like it and wear it or you don't like it - in which case you haven't got much use for a sample no matter how big it is.
The scent is a bit weird in that I can't quite figure out who it's aimed at. It smells very, very sweet and rich at first and then descends into warm and spicy undertones. It reminds me of sweet, mulled wine and Christmas markets. It's far too musky and spicy for a younger audience, whereas I'd imagine that more mature women will find it too sweet and sickly. Personally I don't mind it, but as opposed to other perfumes I haven't received any compliments while I was wearing it and certainly won't be purchasing the full size.

The final sample were four little sachets of Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner. Again, something you'd find in a magazine sometimes, but at least you got two of each and they were actually filled rather generously, so that there was enough in each sachet for longer hair as well. AND they put it in a pretty little tulle bag.
This one's by far the most difficult for me. The first time I used it I HATED it and the second time I loved it. I think it might be because I didn't manage to get all the product out of the sachet the first time round and there simply wasn't enough there for my hair, whereas the second time I used some scissors to cut it up lengthways and got every last drop.
This is another product that boasts organic and 100% natural ingredients. As a result, the shampoo does. not. lather. at. all. It will still get your hair so clean it actually squeaks when you wash it out (no, really, it does squeak), so it's great for people who use a lot of styling products because it will get them out without a problem. The conditioner then made my hair the softest and shiniest it's been in ages (that was the second time I used it, mind you). I did, however, notice that both products made me shed a lot more hair than usual, which was a little bit worrying.
It seems that if you use a generous amount these two products are absolutely amazing. My hair is so soft I want to touch it all the time, it smells gorgeous and I could easily skip the shine serum that I usually use after styling. Here's the problem though: A full bottle of shampoo (275ml) retails at £26 whereas the same size bottle of conditioner will set you back £27.50. Even with the discount you get on the card that comes with the Glossybox that's still way too expensive considering I get through a bottle of shampoo and conditioner each month. If you've got the budget then go for it, because these are really fantastic products, but I think I'll be sticking with my trusted Pantene for a while.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Review: Liz Earle Daily Eye Repair

Time for the first review on this blog! I decided to go for this eye cream as it is my most recent purchase of a product I haven't tried before. I bought it in John Lewis as I ran out of Cleanse and Polish, another product by Liz Earle which I absolutely adore.

This cream comes in a 10ml tube and costs £13.75. It has an SPF of 10 and light reflecting particles which are supposed to brighten the under-eye area. It also claims to moisturise, protect with anti-oxidants and soothe with vitamin E.

It is very dense, so a little goes a very long way and you'll get a lot of use out of this product. There is a very, very faint herbal smell, but you wouldn't notice until you stick your nose right into the tube.

There are a few people who don't really see the point in eye creams, but personally I am quite a fan, as I suffer from dark circles and like a cream to allow me to go easy on the concealer. Unfortunately, this was a little bit of a disappointment after the sheer amazingness of Cleanse & Polish.

Let's start with the good bits: This is not a bad eye cream. It has a very nice texture and I love that it's not in a rollerball applicator, as they tend to tug my skin a little, making the under-eye shadows only worse. It feels quite light on the skin and sinks in quickly. The SPF is a fantastic idea, as the skin under our eyes is very delicate and with a proven link between UV-exposure and skin ageing I hope that this will help keep wrinkles at bay for another few years.

Unfortunately, the light-reflecting pigments in it do absolutely nothing for me. I've been using it for about two weeks now and have seen no improvement to my dark circles, not even in the short term. I also don't find it moisturising enough for me and it doesn't give me that refreshing feeling of my skin pulling itself together like other creams do.

I don't know if it's going to get any better if I keep on using it, but seeing as there has been no improvement to the skin under and around my eyes whatsoever I somehow doubt it. Seems like I'm going back to Clinique once this one runs out.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

What I'm doing here

I have finally decided to start a new blog - again. I've had numerous blogs in the past, but either got bored of them after a couple of posts or decided that I gave away waaaay too much about myself and in a frenzy of panic deleted everything I'd worked on so far. So bear with me on this one. It just took me about two hours to set up all my social media profiles and link them all together, so there's already too much effort in this one to just give up like that.
I'm not entirely sure what all this is going to be about. Mainly beauty, as I am absolutely obsessed with make-up, cosmetics and all other lovely things that help us look our best. I might also add a few posts on fashion and my day-to-day life (that's assuming anyone would be interested in that, hah!). But yeah, mainly beauty.

My love of beauty is nothing new. I started using make-up when I was about 13, even though my parents thought that was way too young and I had to do it secretly on my way to school. It didn't occur to me to take it off on my way back, so I got told off regularly when I came home until my mum finally gave up and let me wear make-up.
Beauty to me is that little bit of luxury that you can pamper yourself with day by day. I may not be able to afford a Chanel dress, but when I put on a Chanel foundation every morning I still get a certain sense of indulgence (I will say more about Chanel foundations in a later post). Likewise, I'd love to buy a new wardrobe every season, but neither space nor money will let me. With make-up, however, I can tap into all the latest trends and I can change my whole persona whenever I want to. I can be retro/vintage one day, girly the next and then goth myself up the following day without committing to a new look or busting my credit card limit.
And after a particularly long and shitty day there really is nothing better than to pamper yourself with a face mask and a bubble bath or - even better - a trip to the spa.
There's also not much in the world that's better than opening the packaging of a brand new lotion or powder or other product (Okay, that might be a bit of weird one. I've got this thing about opening things that gets me really excited...)

Here, I'm hoping to share my love of everything new and breakthrough to make you look and feel better. Apologies about the uhm "basic" layout of this blog - I'll try and sort out something slightly funkier when I get the time!