Monday, 31 March 2014

Monthly Favourites: March 2014

1) Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

I don't know how I used to paint my nails without a quick dry topcoat - oh yeah, I didn't, cause I never had the patience to wait around for hours waiting for it to dry. After my OPI Rapidry turned into a thick, gloopy mess it was time to get a new one and this topcoat by Sally Hansen turns out to be a lot better than the OPI one. Nails are dry within about 10 minutes and rather than make the polish peel off like the OPI topcoat does, I feel like my polish lasts longer with it rather than without. Now with this in my stash I'm happy to paint my nails all the time!

2) Percy & Reed Dry Conditioner

The lid of this product keeps falling off, so I eventually just gave up and got rid of it altogether. Packaging fail aside, this is exactly what it claims to be - basically softness in a can when you don't feel like getting under the shower to wash your hair. It works great after a spritz of dry shampoo when you get that feeling that your hair's got a tad too much texture. You can read a bit more of what I thought of it in this post here.

3) Melvita Rose Extraordinary Water

This is only a little sample, but I've been loving using this on a daily basis. I've been using it in place of a serum and just tapping it into my face with my fingers - and as soon as I do it's like my skin sighs a huge sigh of relief. It's extremely moisturising without being sticky or greasy. I'm guessing it's the hyaluronic acid in it that's doing all the miracles, but no matter what it is, I can see myself purchasing the full size as soon as my sample runs out.

4) Rimmel Colour Rush Balm

I've got two of these at the moment and you may have heard me go on about them on my blog before. The colour pay-off of these lip crayons is just spot on and it leaves a lovely stain on the lips that lasts for hours, even through eating and drinking. What I also really like about these is that the colours are glossy and balmy, but don't contain any glitter unlike similar products from other brands. The packaging could be a touch better, as the writing wears off really quickly, but apart from that these are pretty much the perfect lip product.

5) Murad Pore & Line Minimizing Hydrator

Even though I've been using this product for months it's never made it into my favourites. It's a bit of a quiet, modest worker in that you don't notice what good it's doing to your skin until you stop using it for a few days. It's hydrating, but feels incredibly light and layers well with any other skincare product I might throw at it. While it's not exactly on the cheap end of the spectrum a little goes a long way. I've been using this particular tube for about six months and I'm not even halfway through it yet. Click here to read a full review.

Sunday Catch-Up #24

Just quickly nipped down to Costco... Bourbon, loud music and Articulate. I'm... Painkillers
Just popped into Costco... big mistake // Game night in with Articulate // Painkillers

Fragrance Direct orders make me happy So much Adventure Time. Oh my glob. Dog vs Swan - FYI the...
Fragrance Direct order // So much Adventure Time // Dog Vs Swan

Spring, spring, spring...
Spring has sprung

Whoops, looks like I completely forgot to post my weekly Instagram round up yesterday, so it's coming a tad late from me today.

Last week was actually the first of two weeks off for me before I start my new job. I already feel so much more relaxed and rested and ready for anything life might throw at me. We had friends over on Tuesday for a drunken game night and made the most of the glorious weather over the weekend with long walks in the park and the countryside, which our little Cockerspaniel-Boxer cross Ninja enjoyed thoroughly.

Wednesday was spent sitting around at home feeling sorry for myself after said dog jumped up at me and ripped my right earring out. It took pretty much all of my willpower not to scream and cry, but unsurprisingly some strawberry cheesecake minis made the pain much more bearable.

Joe also got me the most amazing Adventure Time leggings I've ever seen and I've basically refused to take them off ever since they arrived in the post. They might not be the most flattering item of clothing, but who cares - it's Adventure Time!

How's your week been?


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Review: Soap&Glory Sugar Crush Body Buttercream

I do love me a nice thick body butter. Even though this is called a "Body Buttercream", it's actually a bit lighter than some of your standard lotions - certainly nowhere near as thick as buttercream frosting!

The thing that drew me towards this product is the amazing, amazing smell. It's fruity, fresh and zingy and makes your skin smell a bit like a mojito. If you're a fan of the Sugar Crush scrub they do, chances are you'll love this.

As for moisturising properties it does the job very well for my dry skin, though it might get a little sticky on those who don't suffer from dry patches.

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Buttercream retails at £10.50. If you want to prolong the scent even longer, there's also a matching Body Wash at £6.50 a pop.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Review: Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Make-up Remover

There are things that are worth splashing out on. And there are things that you can pick up for a fraction of the price at the drugstore, which do the job just as well, or perhaps even better. Make-up removers, in my humble opinion, belong to the latter category. I've tried products from Lancome, Clinique and Clarins and while I'd rank Lancome the highest out of the bunch, they all left my eyes in varying degrees of greasy to downright burning. While the much hyped up (and rightly so) Bioderma is probably my favourite for removing heavy eye make-up, there are a few drugstore products that do a very effective, but nevertheless gentle job with everyday make-up. This is one of them.

I wear contact lenses for several hours almost every day, so my eyes are definitely on the sensitive spectrum and often a little on the dry side. The last thing I need is a make-up remover that leaves me with an oil slick around my eyes, or worse even, dries them out even further leaving me with a red, burning mess.

None of this was an issue with this product. Make-up melted off without having to rub frantically - just soak two cotton pads and gently press them down on each eye for a few seconds and mascara, eye liner and shadow will just melt off. I could even use it on stubborn bits of liner on the inner water line without any irritation. Having said that I tend to avoid waterproof mascara, so I don't know how it would perform on that. With a very heavy smokey eye I found that I'd have to sometimes use two cotton pads per eye to really get everything off, but it's not often that I'll go that heavy on the make-up anyway, so it's not much of an issue. For everyday use, this is right up there with Garnier as my favourite drugstore make-up remover.

And the best bit? At £3.25 for a 125ml bottle it's an absolute bargain!

Review: Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray

A few months back these travel sized sprays came for free with a magazine - I think it was Elle, but don't quote me on that. And I'm glad it did, as it's not something I would have picked up at a store, but I'm certainly happy to have it in my stash!

You spray this onto wet or damp hair and then just blow dry as usual. Trust me when I say that a little goes a long way. Upon first application I used a tiny bit too much and while it didn't load up my hair or cause it to become sticky or crispy, my hair went literally horizontal after blow drying! It certainly took some serious work with my straighteners to get it back to normal.

To cut a long story short, this does exactly what it says on the tin. While it doesn't quite thicken individual hair strands, it gives insane volume, instantly giving the impression of thicker, bouncier and more voluminous hair. An absolute winner!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review: Organic Surge Refreshing Toner

I was introduced to Organic Surge as a brand several months ago through a beauty box which featured one of their cleansers which left me pretty impressed. I soon ventured online and ordered this toner to go alongside it in my skincare routine.

And just like the cleanser, this toner really made me look twice. It's a very light, refreshing liquid that doesn't sting nor does it leave your skin sticky in any way. The rosemary and lemon oils it contains make for a very refreshing scent and although it doesn't linger, it just adds to the experience making it a pleasure to use morning and evening.

As for skin benefit it's a tricky one to judge. I never found toners to make a huge impact on my skin, but I feel like this one has just very nicely slotted into my usual skincare regime and seems to make other products work just a bit more effectively.

The only thing stopping me from repurchasing it at the moment is the fact that you have to buy Organic Surge products from their website directly - I prefer being able to just pop into a shop and grab something or make bulk online purchases from more than just one brand. On the plus side, they constantly seem to have some sort of discount going on and at £6.50 a pop, it's certainly affordable and a great price for the quality you get!

Have you tried anything from Organic Surge?

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Shu Uemura Lash Curlers - Is this even worth my time?

For a very long time lash curlers were something I just didn't get. Why would you want to put an object that looks this dangerous right into your eye to squeeze your lashes. And don't even get me started on heated lash curlers - I thought that surely those were only made for women bordering on masochistic. But try to watch a Youtube make-up tutorial in which lash curlers aren't used - I dare you to find one! Eventually I gave in and purchased some Shu Uemura lash curlers expecting to be totally converted.

Only, that never happened. To be fair it was a lot easier to learn how to curl my lashes than I expected. They're lightweight, grip the lashes easily and don't tug on the eye lid. Where they struggle is in the outside corner of my eye where I often have to go in a second time just to get those few corner lashes. The lash curlers are sturdy and come with a replacement rubber part, though I've had mine for over a year and there's hardly any signs of wear and tear on them.

It's just that the results didn't wow me... it might just be that I have really really curly lashes naturally. To be honest with you, I can't say I've ever looked in the mirror and thought "Dayumm, I wish my lashes were curlier". Longer - yes, fuller - yes, but curlier? Never. And I think I should have thought about that before I purchased these.

After seeing this photo they've been downgraded to the bottom drawer of my make-up case and only ever get dragged out on special occasions or if I'm putting on false lashes. On one side I used my eyelash curlers before applying mascara and on the other I didn't. If it wasn't for the labelling, would you even be able to tell the difference?

I guess if you have really straight lashes which you find to be a bother, then these lash curlers would be a good investment. I really can't complain about the quality. They're sturdy, well made and have served me exceptionally well. For me, this is now one less step in my daily make-up routine.

Do you use lash curlers? And do you swear by them or is it something you'd happily skip?

Monday, 24 March 2014

Review: Palmer's Cocoa Body Scrub

Even though loads of people love the Palmer's Cocoa body butters it's not a product I ever felt completely convinced by. Oddly enough, even though I love chocolate, I'm also not a huge fan of cocoa smell in beauty products. But this little gem is a happy exception and I've been loving using this up until the very last drop.

To start with, the texture of this body scrub is completely different to any other I've ever used. Imagine a rich, thick butter-like cream, not entirely dissimilar to a balm with various sizes of grains suspended within. I've never had this with any other body scrubs, but this one actually feels moisturising to use. But don't think that the texture somehow detracts from its scrubiness (technical term here).

The grains are perfectly sized to be efficient, but not leave skin red and raw. It also doesn't just slide straight off your skin and down the plug hole like so many other body scrubs, but is sticky enough to give you plenty of time to rub it into the skin properly.

As for the scent it is absolutely divine. It manages to be chocolatey and delicious, but without in any way being sickly sweet. It doesn't last on the skin, but is an absolute pleasure to use. Like I mentioned above I've used up every single drop of this and wouldn't hesitate to repurchase it in a heart beat. I might even go as far as saying that this is possibly the best body scrub I've ever used!

Palmer's Cocoa Body Scrub retails at £4.99 a tub.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sunday Catch-Up #23

Time to lace up those trainers again Rawr, alphabites! Most awesome phone case ever
Time to start running again // Rawr, Alphabites! // Best phone case ever

Trifle conveyor belt Guess what I've just joined
Trifle conveyor belt // Getting serious about shaping up

Hah, this week seems to be a study in contradictions. There we have a conveyor belt of almost-ready trifles and at the same time I laced up my running shoes again and to top it all off joined a gym as well. Now that the days are getting longer I find it much easier to be motivated to work out and look after myself. Cold, dark weather just makes me want to lounge around on my sofa drinking wine and eating chocolate. It was definitely time for an overhaul!

It's been quite a monumental week in many respects, as I've also quit my job on Saturday. Now I want to shape up and do all those things I never had the time to do before I start my new job. Tomorrow's project is finally sorting out our garden. Seeing as it's almost April it's about time!

How's your week been?


Face of the Day #03

Quite a few of these products are the exact same as last month's - either because they just refuse to get used up despite daily wear, such as the Omorovicza BB cream or the Artdeco brow gel, or because they're so awesome that I don't want to use anything else, such as the HD brow palette or the Seventeen concealer. I also dug out this Elizabeth Arden palette that had been gathering dust in the bottom of my make-up drawer for ages. I also couldn't resist buying another Rimmel Colour Rush balm and have been wearing it pretty much every single day since.


Like I said above, the face products I used here are almost identical to the ones from my last post. I started off with the Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20 blended in with my fingers, some Seventeen Phwoarr Paint tapped under the eyes and on any blemishes applied with a flat, dense concealer brush and then set everything with the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder.
On my cheeks I swept the blusher out of my Elizabeth Arden palette, called Golden Rose. As the name would suggest it's a rather beautiful rose gold shade with just the right amount of shimmer in it. It's quite a bit like the infamous Nars Orgasm blush, but with decidedly less glitter.


On my brows I used the tiniest amount of brow powder out of my HD Brows palette in Foxy and set it all again with my Artdeco Clear Lash & Brow Gel, which has a seemingly never ending little bit left in the tube. On my eyelids I applied the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Permanent Taupe. I find that it works best applied with just your finger, as brushes tend to just absorb too much product. I did however use a fluffy brush just to blend out the edges. Now for the sparkly bit! The Elizabeth Arden eyeshadow in Mink works rather beautifully to add some dimension to the otherwise quite flat cream shadow. I then finished it off with the black Lancome Le Crayon Khol on the inner waterline and top lashline and a slick of the A La Carte Cosmetics Divine Lash Mascara - two more products that never seem to end.


It just had to be another Rimmel Colour Rush balm - this time in Give Me Cuddles. I just love the way these feel soft and moisturising on your lips, but leave a stain that will even last through a meal or hours of sipping drinks. I'm already considering which shade I should buy next.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Sample Summary #12

Full size: £22.50
Rating: 2/5

I know I always complain about body lotions that are designed to go with a perfume, as they tend to do nothing to my skin other than leave a sticky film on my body - but recently I've kind of softened up a little bit and decided to change by outlook a little. I suppose that their aim is not primarily to moisturise, but instead to make sure a certain scent lingers on the skin just a bit longer than it would without. Having said that, at £22.50 a pop, I feel like it's not that outrageous to demand just a little bit more from a body lotion.
As for the scent, it's a mix of woody and floral notes which is quite young and easy to wear. I think you could safely say that if you like other CK fragrances, chances are you'll be a fan of this one, too.

Full size: £35.50
Rating: 2/5

Another perfumed body lotion and again I could pretty much just repeat what I've already said above. The scent, however, is absolutely gorgeous and manages to be fruity, but somehow still sophisticated. I'm no good at describing scents and it's been a while since I used this up, so I'll spare you my pathetic attempts, but I'd certainly consider treating myself to the perfume after sampling this!

Full size: £8.99
Rating: 4.5/5

As with most foundation samples the shade I had was too dark for my skin tone, but I was determined to try it out, as I'd heard quite a lot of bloggers rave about this foundation. So, with some serious neck and chest blending I gave it a go and was pretty damn impressed. The foundation gives good coverage with a semi-matte finish. You know the kind where your skin looks matte and even, but not dead? Yeah, that one. It felt really light on the skin which is always something I look out for and managed to stay on my face all throughout a sweaty underground rock gig! The only thing that lets it down a little is the very limited shade selection and I'm not sure I'd be able to find a decent match for my skin tone - otherwise I'd most certainly love to try a whole bottle of this!

Full size: £18
Rating: 3.5/5

On to a few beauty box samples that I've been using over the past few weeks. Unfortunately the packaging of this sample meant that I only managed to scrape out about half of the product, but what I did manage to use was simply divine. The cream has a light, almost mousse like texture, but feels deeply moisturising on the skin without leaving behind a greasy layer. You can see your skin soften almost instantly. The scent is quite delicate and reminds me a little bit of almond milk. It's pleasant but subtle. However, I just don't feel like the £18 price tag is justified, as there are a lot of really great body lotions out there that perform just as well and cost about half as much. I think this one would make a really great gift, though, as it just feels so luxurious to use.

Full size: £15
Rating: 1/5

This isn't strictly speaking a sample, but rather a two week vitamin course, but as I received it in a beauty box and didn't feel like it deserved a post on its own, I thought I'd squeeze it in with these.
Now, I firmly believe that a lot of our appearance is based on what we put in our bodies, rather than just on what we slap on the outside. I took two of these supplements every day religiously for two weeks and, well... nothing changed. I tried to look for some sort of improvement in my skin, hair or nails, but it just wasn't there. Hey, maybe my diet is already so healthy that the vitamins didn't make a difference (... stress the "maybe"...), but I can't help but feel that rather than spend £15 on pills every two weeks, you'd be much better off cutting down on processed foods, alcohol and cigarettes and instead upping your water intake and eating more fresh fruit and veg.

Full size: £12
Rating: 4/5

I honestly don't know what I would do with my life if it wasn't for dry shampoo. Not only does it mean more time in bed and healthier strands as I don't have to wash my hair every day, but there's also nothing quite like it to give a little bit of texture to my layered hair. Yet sometimes it can leave my hair literally a bit straw like and this is where this little gem comes in. It is literally like softness in a can and a quick spray leaves my hair refreshed but still glossy and smooth. The lid comes off the packaging all the time which is a bit annoying and obviously it doesn't replace washing your hair regularly, but for lazy days this is absolutely perfect.

Full size: £17.85
Rating: 2/5

I was filled with dread when I got this sample. Memories of my teenage years came flooding back with images of crispy, mousse filled roots and frizzy curls. My hair was bad - really, really bad back then and I feel like my insistence on regularly using copious amounts of hair mousse was partly to blame. Sure enough, I completely OD'ed upon first application (hey, that nozzle is hard to control!) and was left with hair so sticky I was forced to rewash it. The mousse almost landed in the bin, but I decided to give it another chance, carefully eyeing up that rebellious nozzle. Used in moderation, it did give my hair just a tiny bit more body, but nothing that would really make me take note. I did use it up completely, but it's certainly not a product I'd look into purchasing.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sunday Catch-Up #22

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Among the worst feelings in the world // Saw gyros stand in Camden, had to have some // Picnic by the lake

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K.O.'ed Ninja // Blurry friday night red lip selfie // Spring is definitely coming

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Greasy, filthy pub lunch - yes, please! // So addicted to these, had to get another colour // Little puppy enjoying the sunshine

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Waiting for Eskimo Callboy // Glasses with eye brows - why not I guess? // Love those Cheap Monday sunnies

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Little Fragrance Direct order // Random chilli in my miushrooms

I unashamedly skipped last week's Sunday Catch-Up, as I'd taken all of 3 pictures all week and hadn't really done anything worth mentioning, so thought I'd rather not bore you with a "I went to work and I made some food" type of post.

This week on the other hand was a lot more interesting. I popped back down to London for two days during the week, first and foremost to go to a gig at the Underworld. Eskimo Callboy are a pretty unknown band, so the gig was tiny which meant that I got to the front row and was probably about 5 inches away from the two vocalists from my favourite band for the whole set - how many people can say that, huh? We also left with another drumstick to add to our now growing collection - we might just need to get a cabinet to start displaying them!

The following day I popped down to the Trafalgar Hotel for the Specsavers SS14 launch. I immediately fell in love with the Cheap Monday models for their pared down, edgy design. Red or Dead had frames with detachable, interchangeable eye brows and while it's a cool idea I don't think that even I could pull these off (says the girl who wears lime green skinny jeans with a yellow dinosaur T-Shirt and bright pink bracelets).

We popped back to Camden afterwards for a bit of Camden food and a few more metal plaques for our living room.

The weather has been stellar this past week, so our Cocker Spaniel / Boxer cross puppy Ninja has been enjoying lots of long walks at the park or further afield. We even got in a romantic picnic by the lake which honestly felt like a little mini vacation.

How's your week been?