Friday, 28 February 2014

Why Neom candles are so much nicer than Diptyque

I was in London at the weekend and I'd tweeted several times expressing my intent to buy a Diptyque candle; I'd seen them on various different blogs - each review raving about how good they were and how wonderful they smelt. I was expecting great things, especially for the £20 price tag for the smallest candle. I walked into the home department of Selfridges and started picking up each candle to see which one was my favourite. I smelt each one several times, but none of them jumped out at me as being an outstanding scent; Feu de Bois was one which I found particularly 'odd' shall we say - why would you want a log fire smell in your house, when you don't have a log fire? Some of them were nice but not '£20 for a small candle' nice, I considered Baies, Pomander and Ambre but then I turned around and realised there was a Neom stand; another candle brand I've been dying to try for ages. 
Neom pride themselves on using only organic and natural ingredients in their candle, whereas it's actually quite difficult to find out what Diptyque put into their candles - which suggests to me that they're synthetic (please correct me if I'm wrong, and point me in the direction of some information about this!). I went around the Neom stand smelling their candles, their fragrances are equally as strong and bold as Diptyque and some of them I really did not like but I finally found one which stood out to me as being the perfect home fragrance for me. The travel candles are £5 cheaper than the small Diptyque candles but they do have a shorter burn time (Diptyque mini candles burn for around 30 hours, Neom travel candles will burn for around 20 hours) so this was a bit of a deal breaker for me - I had to have the Neom one instead.
Neom Serenity Travel Candle £15
I chose 'Serenity' which is vanilla and sandalwood; it's not as overpowering as some of the others I smelled. Vanilla can sometimes be a little overbearing in a candle but the sandalwood seems to tone it down to a gorgeously soft relaxing scent. Neom only make their candles with vegetable wax and pure essential oils which means that they burn without releasing harmful chemicals, toxins or soot. The black ring you usually get round a candle - yep that's due to all the artificial ingredients in a candle, and you're breathing all those artificial toxins too. 
I've burnt mine for 12 hours so far and there has been no sight of any soot or blackening of the glass - it's burnt so cleanly; I've never seen a candle burn so clean! I have my travel candle in my front room which isn't a big room but maybe a little too big for a travel candle as they are more suited to small rooms such as bathrooms. Nevertheless the candle enveloped the room with the beautiful scent of a spicy kind of vanilla. For a small candle it packed a punch in terms of the scent it emitted; it fragranced the room far better than any Yankee Candle I've had.
Don't get me wrong, Neom is an expensive brand and I'm not normally one for spending a fortune on candle; I often think you'd get more enjoyment out of burning £5 notes but with this I have really been converted to organic candles. The essential oils content is so apparent and I absolutely love it. When I've finished this I just know I'll want to buy a 3 wick candle, it's a luxury that I'm going to make sure I save money for!
I do wonder whether some people buy Diptyque because they actually like the candles or whether they buy them just to say they have a Diptyque candle and they can take pretty blog photographs with it - surely people wouldn't be so daft?!
 Have you tried Diptyque or Neom?
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Thursday, 27 February 2014

TRESemmé Platinum Strength Deep Conditioning Treatment

I've haven't used a good hair masque for absolutely ages, I've just been sticking to a simple haircare routine; shampoo, conditioner and a bit of dry shampoo if I've needed it. I asked on twitter if anyone could recommend a good intensive hair treatment, a couple of people suggested the TRESemmé Platinum Strength Hair Masque, given that there was 1/3 off this in Superdrug I thought I'd give it a try. I have blonde hair which is subject to colouring and heat damage so it can start to look damaged and dull very easily, I need something that is going to inject my hair with moisture and restore some life and shine. I've been using Tigi S Factor Serious Conditioner every other wash and then using this TRESemmé one twice a week.

The claim on the bottle is that it could 'visibly repair up to 2 years of damage', but upon looking a the small print this claim is only applicable if you are using the whole system; ie. shampoo, conditioner and treatment. I also find it quite difficult to believe that it can repair severely damaged hair, I would imagine that once your hair is split you cannot repair that... but I could be wrong?

tresemme platinum strength hair mask

My thoughts: After using this for a good 3/4 weeks I have felt a difference in the feel of my hair and how manageable it is. My ends felt very dry when I was just using a regular but by using quite an intense conditioner more frequently (the Tigi S factor one and this one) but they now feel much better and I can see a visible difference the ends of my hair aren't as visibly split and it feel much softer immediately after drying (before, it tended to look very frizzy). My hair is quite thick and using a 50p sized amount on the bottom half of my hair weigh my hair down at all, although I wouldn't recommend using it on your roots because it would be far too heavy I think. I would also air on the side of caution if you have very fine hair as this may be a little too much for your hair.

I do think this is good for a high street hair treatment but I don't think it matches Morocconoil light treatment which I haven't repurchased for a long time due to it being expensive; if you're looking for a nice conditioning treatment at a good price then I'd definitely recommend this TRESemmé one.
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Friday, 21 February 2014

Tangle Angel Brush Review

The Tangle Angel and its innovative design make it easier to manage knotty hair keeping it silky smooth and easy to style. Tangle Teezers seem to be the go-to detangling brush among most beauty bloggers but just recently I was kindly sent a new detangling brush, which for me beats Tangle Teezer on lots of points - a lack of awareness of the Tangle Angel has to be the only reason for it not being the favoured detangling brush. Suitable for all hair types, this is not only a detangling brush but it can also be used as a blow drying brush because its bristles are heat resistant (the fact that you couldn't use the tangle teezer with heat was one of its biggest downfalls in my opinion). It comes in five different colours; pink, blue, pearl, silver and black and is possibly the cutest brush design you've ever seen - it reminds me of something that might come with a Barbie doll!




Tangle Angel* £15.99 Tangle Angel Website

What I love about the Tangle Angel:
- It has two places in which you can grip it; on the handle for everyday use and around the wings for a more controlled grip.
- Contoured bristles which detangle the hair on several levels rather than just tackling the first couple of layers.
- Heat resistant bristles mean that you can use it with heat styling tools - this is a massive plus for me because you can just use one brush for all instead of having to switch up half way through.
- Anti-static properties mean that it reduces flyaway hair when brushing.
I've been absolutely loving using this, it detangles really well and I love, love, love the fact that you can use it with heat tools without the bristles becoming mishapen. If you were to buy two separate professional brushes; one for detangling and one for blow drying and styling, you'd be spending at least £20-25 whereas this one is only £15.99 and it does both things. I would recommend this brush 100% to anyone who has hair that is hard to manage or that breaks easily with regular brushing. Tangle Angel also do a similar brush for children called the Tangle Cherub which has all the features of the Angel but in a smaller compact size.
Which brush are you using at the moment?
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Thursday, 20 February 2014

Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment review

There's been quite a bit of a pattern on my blog just recently with regard to skincare, I've been trying lots of things to get my skin as clear as it could possibly be; I've addressed active spots & scarring so the last thing on my list is blackheads. The absolute bain of my life, believe me. I have always suffered with blackheads on my nose and chin and they can make applying makeup in those areas an absolute nightmare, I long for a smooth canvas to apply foundation to. 

Glam Glow is one of the more expensive face masks on the market, at £39.99 for a 34g tub it isn't suitable for everyones pocket but I've been dying to try it for ages so I decided to buy a 2.1ml sample sachet which involves a lot less of a financial commitment at around £4 on eBay. Let's face it, almost £40 is a big commitment for something which might not work or you might only use once and never use it again.

Glam Glow Super Mud has been massively hyped up both by bloggers and magazines and it's claim is that it will clear up lots of common skin concerns such as spots, blackheads, visible pores, razor burns and even ingrown hairs. It helps to brighten and even complexion, de-clogs and minimises pores while speeding up the healing process of your skin. A full pot of this should give you 17 applications or 1000 on the spot treatments.
 

The mask is actually really thin, which isn't what I expect from a clay mask; when I saw how small the sachet was I didn't think it'd cover my nose let alone my whole face. A little goes a long way with this mask though and it's really easy to cover most of your face with very little product. It is really dark in colour and has some little bits in it which feel a bit like a scrub (I believe these 'bits' are tiny pieces of leaf). It dries quite quickly and feels ever so slightly tingly whilst doing so. 



Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment uses 'Pore Matrix' technology with Activated-X charcoal which is a carbon which absorbs and attracts toxic mass upto 500 times its volume meaning that it can attract substances from from the toughest areas of your face. It also contains K-17 clay which extracts and holds on to excess sebum (awful word), bacteria and toxins. These two ingredients create the 'Pore Matrix' which shows extraction areas in the darker spots, ready to be washed away with clean, warm water. The look of the mask when it's been on for 15 minutes can be seen below; it looks pretty gross because it highlights my problem area which is my nose and surrounding area but I actually quite like that it does this because it makes me feel like it's actually doing something. Most clay masks just dry up and go really really tight. Although they look it, these areas don't feel wet - they're actually completely dry.

 
I left this to work its magic for 15-20 minutes and I wiped it away with warm water and a flannel. It comes off incredibly easily; probably the easiest face mask I've ever taken off. It left my skin feeling really smooth even after just one application. My nose wasn't completely smooth; I could still feel some of the rough black heads but for a first application I was really impressed. I applied La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Plus afterwards and it tingled a little bit, which made me think that my pores were still open from the product extracting the oil from them. 2 days later my nose still feels very smooth which impresses me because usually treatments which seem to work wonders for my nose don't have long lasting effects.

I am so tempted by the full sized tub of this, the only thing stopping me is the price; I should have got it when Beauty Mart had their sale on but I just never thought on... kicking myself now! £40 is just such a big commitment for me, I don't have money trees in my back garden unfortunately!

Have you tried any face masks from Glam Glow?
 
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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Heal Gel Face used for acne scarring and redness - review

Last month I posted about the fact that I'd been using Salcura Antiac to help fight blemishes, which helped massively with the persistant breakouts I kept having on my cheeks and on my jawline. It had managed to get rid of the offending blemishes but I was still left with redness and scarring where they had attacked my face. I also had a bit of dryness on my cheeks from the aftermath of spots which I was looking to sort out. 

The much talked about Heal Gel Face is actually an aqueous gel containing the best ingredients to soothe, repair and protect your skin. It's a base layer treatment to help replenish dehydrated skin and restore elasticity; I don't have a problem with my skins elasticity as I am only 23 but I do think my skin is dehydrated. I have tried Hydraluron which is to be used underneath your normal moisturiser but Heal Gel can be used on its own with similar results. It was the fact that this is said to be great for acne scarring and redness that really caught my eye though, and so many bloggers have been raving about it so it must be good, right?


Heal Gel Face* £48.00 Cult Beauty 
My thoughts: I've been using this every single day since the day I received it, morning and night I've been using it in place of my usual moisturiser and before I apply La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Plus. A pump and a half is enough for my whole face and I make sure that I massage this in properly so that it can get to work without having to 'soak in' first. The formula is so lightweight and non-greasy, as I said you only need a small amount to cover your face and the pump action dispenser means that you needn't waste a drop. After using this for over a month I have seen a noticeable difference in the redness on my cheeks, they look much less angry and I never feel any tightness - which can be a symptom of dehydrated skin. As with most new skincare products, I worry that it'll break me out but I've only had one active spot appear in the time I've been using this and I don't think that Heal Gel is to blame at all. On the whole my face feels a lot smoother and I've found that I feel much more confident without makeup; the redness hasn't completely disappeared but it is well on its way. 
There's no denying that it is an expensive product, and the no-nonsense packaging doesn't infer that it should be priced high end bracket. The development and the ingredients are what warrant the expensive price tag, and it is said to also help a lot with eczema and psoriasis as well as targeting fine lines and wrinkles. I can't speak for these benefits but this has lots of reviews elsewhere from people like Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo who said that Nic had used it on her cesarean scar with very pleasing results! I'm not suggesting that you rush out and splurge on this if your pocket doesn't allow for it but if you do have trouble with acne scarring and dehydrated skin and you can afford this, I would recommend trying it.
Have you tried anything from Heal Gel?
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Monday, 17 February 2014

Rimmel Pink Rose Blush

blush and brush

rimmel pink rose blush

If you read my haul post the other day you will have seen that I got a Rimmel blush for the bargain price of  £2.50 (usually £3.99), recently I've been more of a bronzer kind of person but I thought I'd give this blush a try because it looked like a really gorgeous rose gold blush. The first thing that strikes me is how small the blush actually is, you can see that the Real Techniques blush brush is actually bigger than the pan itself which is a little weird because I'm used to being able to swish the brush in the product whereas with this you have to kind of swirl it on the spot to load the brush. The product itself has a Union Jack etched onto it, I'm a sucker for any kind of little details so I love that. It's the first time I think I've ever used a high street blush since I was very young so I was looking forward to seeing what Rimmel had to offer.

My thoughts: It's surprisingly soft and pigmented considering it's a high street blush, and just as I imagined it's a really nice rose gold tone. I'm not one for barbie pink blush so I really like this, it's perfect for everyday use because it just gives a flush of colour on the cheeks; it's got a slight shimmer to it but nothing too much. I'm not sure it's totally brought me away from using bronzer but if you're looking for a new blusher and you don't want to spend a fortune then I'd definitely consider Rimmel. High street brands aren't often talked about when it comes to blushes, I think we tend to believe that they can't be any good if they cost less than £15.

Do you have a favourite high street blush?

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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Lush Handy Gurugu Hand Cream Review

So for Christmas my step-sister, Shikha, asked what I would like for Christmas, I always struggle to think off the top of my head what I would actually like so I just said 'get me anything from Lush' which I think is a pretty safe bet no matter who's asking! You could literally buy me anything from Lush and I would love it I think. One of the things she bought me was a tub of 'Handy Gurugu' hand cream; Lush is heavily featured on lots of beauty blogs but it's usually bath products or face masks, I don't think I've ever seen a Lush hand cream reviewed on any of the blogs I read - so here we go.

lush handy gurugu

lush handy gurugu

Lush customers had been crying out for a more intense hand cream, and this is what they came up with; it's a 'powerful super moisturiser for extra dry hands'. My hands aren't excessively dry but they have suffered a little this winter so I've been using hand cream a lot more than previous years. The product is incredibly thick for a hand cream - it's a good job it's in a tub because I do not think this bad boy would be in a position to be squeezed out of a tube. It does not move in the pot at all, it looks solid and you have to kind of scoop a bit off the top with your finger to use it. It contains a blend of creamy nut butters, chamomile and evening primrose oil to provide instant relief to dry, sore and irritated hands. 

I've been using this after I have washed my hands or had my hands wet in the kitchen sink and I really love it. Despite the fact that it looks really thick in the tub, it melts into your hands effortlessly and leaves them feeling really soft and nourished and the smell isn't at all overpowering, I think it's actually quite comforting. If you have extra dry hands then a good idea would be to apply an extra thick layer before you go to bed and wears some sleep gloves; I would imagine this could work wonders! There's 100g in the pot, I've been using it over a month and barely made a dent in it so although it looks quite small tub, a little goes a long way! The only thing I don't like about it is the fact that it's in a pot, which is why I only use it when I've washed my hands; using it on the go could mean you're dipping your fingers in it and leaving it less than hygienic... 

Overall I would recommend this to anyone with very dry hands, I usually buy my Dad and my Nana (who both get dry, sore hands) a tube of Body Shop Hemp hand cream but I think this would be a nice little change for them. At over £7 a tub it's not cheap but I believe if something works, paying a little extra won't hurt.

Have you tried a Lush hand cream?

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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Tigi S Factor Serious Lustre Nourishment Set

If you've been reading my blog for a good while, you'll know that I'm a bit of a haircare junkie; always looking for the next big thing to give me silky smooth, shiny locks. Blonde hair has to be the worst hair colour to try and get a shine on but over the past 3 years of being blonde it has become my mission. I've tried lots of different shampoos, some costing a fortune, others costing the measly sum of £1... and I have to admit that haircare is probably my favourite thing to put to the test. 

Recently I was sent the 'Serious Lustre' set by Tigi S Factor which contains two products; a 'Serious Conditioner' and a 'Smoothing Lusterizer' both packaged together in a cute little white bag (gotta love a bag that I can cram a load of products in reuse). This is the ultimate duo to fight frizz and rescue dry and damaged hair... I use heat styling on my hair pretty much every day so you could say that the ends of my hair are a tad dry and damaged; the amount of hair which falls out on a daily basis is quite alarming to be honest.

tigi s factor serious lustre set

tigi s factor
Tigi S Factor "Serious" Conditioner
First of all, I love intensive conditioners; there's no better feeling than washing your hair and popping a treatment on let it work its magic. The S factor "serious" conditioner contains sunflower seed oil to give your hair the injection of moisture it needs to get it looking shiny and healthy
My thoughts: I like how this dispenses out of the tube, it comes out of a long tapered end which means that you get just the right amount of product out without wasting any. The conditioner is really thick and creamy, I use it once every other wash on the bottom half of my hair and after about a week of use I started to be able to see a difference. I leave it on for between 3 and 5 minutes when I apply it and it leaves my hair really manageable to style and it doesn't seem to break as easily.

Tigi S Factor Smoothing Lusterizer

This is to be used on either wet or dry hair in place of a serum and is packed with cyclomethicone to target and eliminate frizz from root to tip. 
My thoughts: The main thing I absolutely love about this is the smell, it smells exactly like strawberries and cream... it's sooo nice! I use this on my hair both when it's wet and I find that using a 5p sized amount is perfect. I still prefer my frizz ease serum for when my hair is dry but using this on wet hair has made my hair really soft, shiny and manageable... also how cool is the shape of the bottle?!

If you're looking for a set to 'rescue' damaged hair then I'd definitely look into this because not only do the products work, they also work out to be a bargain in this gift set because if you buy them individually from the Tigi S Factor range it would cost double the price of this gift set. The individual products are bigger but I think if you're looking to try something from the range this is ideal, these work out at just over £11 each which I think is very reasonable for luxury hair products!
What are your favourite hair treatments?
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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Rimmel Mini Haul & ASOS Discount Code

If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen me tweet about ASOS and their reduced Rimmel products, I went on to find that lots of their Rimmel stock was reduced by at least a couple of pounds which makes quite a difference considering their full price is very affordable. I ordered three things last night at 7pm and because I paid for ASOS premier they were with me by 2pm today... how ace is that?! 

rimmel products

Rimmel Lasting Finish Soft Colour Mono Blush in 'Pink Rose' £3.99 £2.50

Who doesn't need a rose gold blush in their collection? At £2.50 you really can't complain either, the pan is very small I think but when you consider how long it takes you to get through bigger blushes (such as NARS), does it really matter? This is really nicely pigmented and a gorgeous, I might even do a full review! 

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in 'Silky Beige' £3.99 £2.50

As you probably already know, this product pretty much holds 'holy grail' status for me, I've posted about it numerous times and I stand by the fact that Rimmel Stay Matte is one of the best value pressed powders on the high street so it made sense to buy one when it was cheap even though I have lots left in my current pan.

Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in 'Hazel' £2.99 £2.00

I seem to have misplaced my MAC lingering brow pencil so I thought I'd have a dabble in the high street. Upon first impressions this isn't a patch on the MAC one because it's not anywhere near as soft but the pigmentation is ok so I'm going to give it a go for a while instead of Benefit Brow-zings

I'm still browsing the ASOS website as I type this because I'm tempted to buy more; last night the discount code wasn't active so I'm thinking that another 15% off justifies some more purchases. The discount code is FINAL15 for 15% off (excludes certain brands) so get shopping!!

Let me know if you buy anything!

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The Blogger made me do it tag

This has been sat in my 'drafts' for quite a while now, I did it instantly when I saw it on Sailor Jennie's blog. I actually really like doing tags, I don't know why I don't do them more often! It was originally made by Daniella at Famous in Japan, isn't she clever?!

Who are your most influential bloggers? Who are the ones that you really rely on for reviews and swatches? 
I find it really difficult to pin the ‘most influential blogger’ title on one individual, because I rely on different people for different things. I would say that when it comes to skincare I rely quite heavily on Caroline Hirons’ blog, she’s a fountain of skincare knowledge. When it comes to makeup I will usually go to The Sunday Girl for shade swatches and Bamboozle Beauty Blog for foundation recommendations, because we’re quite similar in skin type.

 Do you buy a product solely as a result of one review from a favourite blog, or do you look for more reviews from others?
I generally look for reviews from others, I’m not much of an impulse buyer anymore because I simply can’t afford to. Having said that, if I saw a product which dramatically reduced the appearance of acne I would be on it so quick! And come to think of it I have bought some products just because Caroline Hirons told me to....



What is your favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs? 
It has to be the Urban Decay Naked palette; one of my first big splurgy buys and I’ve never looked back, well I say I never looked back; I have actually bought it twice because my dog chewed my first one when he was a puppy!

urban decay naked palette

What is your least favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs? 
Probably MAC MSF in Soft and Gentle, I really want it to work for me but I just don’t get the use out of it that I thought I would. I keep saying I'm going to try again with it but I just keep forgetting it's there!

 Name 5 products you have bought recently as a result of blogs?
YSL Shocking Mascara – overrated in my opinion.
Becca products from Fragrance Direct – if it hadn’t have been for blogs I wouldn’t have known about these bargains.
GHD Hair brush – I didn’t technically buy this, my dad bought me it for my birthday but I asked for it because I’d seen it so many times on different blogs.
Viva La Juicy Perfume – Again, this was a Christmas present but I asked for it because I’d seen it on Sprinkle of Glitter.
Maybelline Brow Drama – Actually on recommendations from Instagram (I would imagine a lot of my followers are bloggers) and I absolutely love it, I use it every single day.

 Have you ever given into a blogger hype? If so, which hype?
I fell for a lot when I first started blogging, now not so much, I now tend to read into more reviews etc. but the hyped products I’ve fallen for include: Caudalie Beauty Elixir, MUFE HD Foundation, Revlon Lip Butters, Maybelline Baby Lips, Benefit Porefessional…

revlon lip balms

Have you ever avoided a blogger hype? If so, which hype?
The Urban Decay Naked 2,3 and Basics palette and I’m sooo proud of myself for this (although admittedly, I keep thinking about buying the Naked 3). Also never bothered with a Clarisonic, even though I umm-ed and ahh-ed for absolutely ages, I couldn’t justify the price.

Is everything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items you buy without checking out a review? 
I sometimes buy stuff if I like the look of it, but this usually only applies to high street stuff, you won’t often find me splurging on something I haven’t properly researched first.

I tag you all to do this, I really enjoyed doing it… please let me know in the comments below if you decide to do it.
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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

My Body Butter Collection

Is it just me or do you seem to get lots of body butters at Christmas time? They seem to be in so many of the lovely gift sets I receive and before I know it I've got a massive oversupply of body butters! I thought I'd share my little collection with you today and tell you a little bit about each.
body butter stack
Treacle Moon 'Her Mango Thoughts' - I actually did a full review of this around this time last year, I was raving about how much I loved using it, this is my second tub as I grabbed it when they were on offer in Tesco. To me it smells just like Lilt and it even though it's really thick it absorbs really quickly into my skin leaving it feeling lovely!
Caudalie Vine Body Butter - This is the most luxurious of the 4 body butters, for me it's ideal as an after sun product because it relieves tight feeling skin, it's lightly perfumed and packed full of grape and shea butter... I think the packaging is also really nice, simple but pretty.
Ted Baker Body Souffle - The largest of the 4 tubs, this one holds 300ml of product and it's full to the brim. It's the thinnest in consistency of the 4 because it's a 'souffle' but seems to leave a bit more of a greasy residue than the others. This tub will last absolutely ages though so 
Champneys Skin Comforting Body Butter - A 300ml pot of this is only £5 at the moment in Boots so if you're in the market for a body butter and you can find one in store, I'd highly recommend this one for the money. It has more of a mature scent but one that reminds me of being in a spa; it's more of a powdery scent rather than a perfumed or fruity scent. It's quite a thin consistency for a body butter but I find that it's perfect for melting into your skin after a hot bath/shower. 
So I suppose you could say that I've currently got enough body butters to moisturise a small army, but who doesn't like a bit of choice?! I actually can't believe that none of these are from the Body Shop, when I think 'Body Butter' I automatically think of that brand but for some reason I don't actually own any!
Do you have a favourite body butter?
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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Balancing your blog and your work/personal life

Tonights #FBLchat on twitter was all about striking that balance between working/education and blogging, for the majority of people blogging is a hobby and a secondary income (if generating any income at all) so it's a popular topic of conversation between bloggers who are struggling to find the time to work and blog and have a little bit of a life aswell. In an ideal world we'd all like to be able to make a living from our blogs because we love it so much but for those times when you still have to go to work/school/college/uni... here are a few tips:
to do list 1. Schedule - I know many of you do this already but for me it has been the key to blogging for the past couple of years, I will usually write posts really late at night when I have time but I don't think posting them at 11pm is the best idea because the vast majority of my audience will be in bed and by the time morning comes my post will have been pushed down most peoples feeds and my post might be missed or forgotten about. If you use Blogger the option to schedule is on the right hand side of the page, you can set a date and a time for your post to go live; I usually post mine at 10am on whichever day I choose but you might have a time in mind when you think it will be seen by the most people... maybe 7.30pm when people have settled down to chill out?

2. Choose specific times/days to post - I think this strategy is actually more popular in Youtubers; you tend to find a lot of YouTube personalities will pick a particular day to post so they know exactly where they are in terms of what they need to do and their audience know when to expect a video. For example Jenna Marbles usually posts on a Wednesday and although she might do the odd video in between, her readers know to expect a video every week on that one day. If you really do struggle to produce content more than once a week then this would be a great idea for you. 
3. Brainstorm - Whenever an idea for a blog post comes into your head make a note of it, doesn't matter where, just write it down so you don't sit down to blog and think 'ohh I had such a good idea but I forgot what it was'. I usually come up with ideas right before I go to sleep so I just write them in the notes section of my phone.
4. Blog in bulk - if you find that you have an afternoon free try and write lots of blog posts all at once, then all you need to do is find time to take photographs... the same goes for photographs, if you have free time and there's some really good natural light coming into your house then get your camera out and get snapping away! You'll be so glad of the photos you've taken when you're stuck for time and natural daylight. 
Word of warning - when I say 'blog in bulk' I don't mean write lots of meaningless posts with a few words and a picture, your readers will notice when you can't really be bothered to write and I always say quality over quantity! 

5. Stay active on social media - Even if you're not writing blog posts, let your readers know that you're still alive and kicking, try not to leave your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook dormant even if you can't find the time to write a blog post because people will still love to talk to you and see your face on the 'blogging scene'.
6. Don't stress - I know this can be easier said than done but don't let your blog stress you out, if you can't post then you simply cannot post, don't let it get you down or make you unhappy because a hobby is not worth that. I know lots of you are keen for your blog to succeed but you must keep it as something you enjoy, don't let it become a chore because something you once loved will become something you loath and all your hard work could go to waste.
7. Ask for guest posters - If you're going through a particularly busy period in your life then it might be an idea to ask people to guest post for you, even if you just have one once a week it will create content and also help your fellow bloggers get a bit of exposure. Guest posts are usually reserved for when bloggers are on holiday but there's no rule to say you can't do them anytime you want!

Do you find it difficult to balance your blog and your work/personal life?
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Slimming World Journey Update

So I've been doing the Slimming World plan since the end of September 2013 and I feel like I have come so far since then so I thought I'd write a little blog post to update you on my progress and to show you some of the things that I love to eat and STILL lose weight! I'm now in week 22 and feeling the benefits of losing weight in so many ways, I knew I was ready for it and I knew I could get my head into the Slimming World plan because it's so easy. 
So far I have lost 2 stone 11.5 pounds... in the last 22 weeks there have only been 2 occasions where I have gained weight; my birthday week which I put 2lb on and last week when I put on 0.5lb. I don't think that's bad going at all, I've had a few maintains but overall my average weightloss per week has been 2lb. It doesn't feel like I've been on Slimming World for nearly half a year, and I think that's because it's not a drag, it's not a total pain to be doing. You can still live your life and lose weight at the same time. I'm never hungry and I mean NEVER, I eat properly and my plate is always full of food. I even have chocolate.
Here are a few of my favourite things to eat...
slimming world sausage and mash
 Sausage and Mash - Using Tesco Healthy Living cumberland sausages (1 syn each) and Bisto beef gravy (1.5 syns for 100ml). 

slimming world ocean salad
 Huge Ocean Salad, couple of syns in the extra light mayo but mixed that with tomato puree (free) to give me a very low syn seafood sauce.


slimming world spaghetti bolognese
 Spaghetti bolognese made with extra lean mince and a jar of Dolmio (half a jar is 5.5 syns). So easy and so delicious; I don't like the spag bols made using SW recipes so I'm more than willing to use some syns on this.


slimming world chicken kiev
 These chicken breasts are packed with garlic in the middle which is absolutely gorgeous and feels so naughty... but it's not! They're from Iceland's new 'Posh Grub' range and they're 2.5 syns for both breasts! Served with actifry chips (used fry light instead of oil) and a big salad.

slimming world stew
Who doesn't love a big bowl of stew in this horrible weather, I can eat this until it comes out of my ears because it's complete free as I used a stock pot instead of gravy granules and it was absolutely beautiful. Packed with superfree foods and really comforting.

cadburys chocolate
Here we have 10 syns worth of chocolate, some Cadbury Bubbles bar and some Cadbury Caramel. It might not seem like much but if you really enjoy chocolate it's well worth the syns, I've learnt that chocolate is not for chewing it's for savouring!

reeses peanut butter cups
 My all time favourite - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, these are 3 syns per cup and worth every single syn in my opinion!

slimming world chicken jalfrezi
Finally when I'm really craving a takeaway (which isn't a good idea if you want to stay within your syns for the day) I go to Iceland and pick up one of these Chicken Jalfrezi frozen ready meals, it doesn't come with rice it's just the curry but they're only £1.50 and it's 3.5 syns of pure luxury when you haven't eaten a curry for ages! You can make curries using Slimming World recipes but I find these are quite complicated and I don't always have time for that!
So there were are these are a few of things I eat, and I've still lost almost 3 stone!! I think I've decided that my ultimate goal is 5 stone so I've got just over 2 to go... Hopefully I'll have lost at least another stone before I go to Florida in May as I expect some serious damage will be done during those 2 weeks!!
Are any of you following a healthy eating plan?
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Beauty releases I'm excited about...

I haven't been 'excited' about any beauty releases for quite a while now but there are a few things which have caught my eye recently and I thought I'd share them with you as I figured you might not have heard about them.
new beauty releases
MAC Maleficent Collection (due for release in the US May 2014)
I completely missed the MAC Villainous Villains collection which was released in 2010 with the amazing Disney cartoon print packaging so when I heard that they were releasing some 'Maleficent' pieces to accompany the upcoming film starring Angelina Jolie. There's not much information about it at this time but I can imagine that some of the pieces will be gorgeous... if I can find an exact date of release for this and I'm in America I will be dragging my husband to a store to get some because I reckon it'll sell out in no time!
OPI Glitter Off nail base (due for release March/April 2014)
Like a lot of people, I love the look of glitter polish but getting it off your nails is an absolute pain, it takes a lot of soaking and rubbing to get it off properly and sometimes when I'm applying nail polish I just aren't ready for that removal commitment. OPI are bringing out a base which allows you to paint on top of it with glitter polish and just peel it right off when you're doing, leaving a lovely clean nail ready for whatever other colours you want to throw at it. I daresay there's already a base which allows you to peel off glitter nail polish but I haven't found it yet so I'm very excited about this!
Are there any upcoming beauty releases that you're excited about?
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Monday, 10 February 2014

Win Your Valentines Wish List from Links of London

I saw this little competition on the Links of London website to win £1000 worth of Links of London jewellery, to enter all you need to do is create a blog post or a Pinterest board with your Valentines wishlist, made up of pieces from Links of London up to the value of £1000. I've chosen three things that I'd really like to receive this Valentines Day (in my dreams... obviously).
links of london valentines wishlist
Mayfair Black Crystal Watch £325
I've wanted a really nice watch for long enough, the past two Christmases have seen me 'umm' and 'ahh' about several different rose gold watches. I love this one by Links of London; the black strap, large face and gorgeous rose gold and crystal detailing make it perfect for both day and night time wear. 
Entwine Ring £250
I only own two rings: my engagement and wedding ring. I'd really love a nice ring for my right hand because it's looking a bit bare and unloved. I love the design of this cocktail ring, the white sapphire stones give it a perfect twinkle to wear to any occasion.
Leather Stackable Jewellery Box £120
I don't actually own a jewellery box, there I said it... all my gorgeous jewellery is left to fend for itself around the house which won't do for much longer! Who knew Links of London did jewellery boxes... well I didn't but this cream leather one would look amazing on my new dressing table.
So there we have, my Links of London Valentines wishlist, I'm just going to go and sit with my fingers crossed that I win this amazing prize to put my bare wrist, right hand and neglected jewellery out of their misery!
This competition is open to the general public; for more information follow this link
Have you seen anything you fancy from Links of London? Please link me if you take part in this competition!
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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Discover a new blogger/youtuber #1

I don't do this anywhere near as much as I should do but just recently I've discovered some real gems in the blogging/youtube world and I thought I'd share them with you...

Liza is a relatable glamour-puss, she's gorgeously pretty and does some of the most amazing makeup looks. She has one blog to share her fashion and beauty loves; Glam Beautys and a separate blog Glam Bambini to share her escapades with her baby boy, Vinny, among other lifey bits and pieces. She always looks flawless and also does some great videos over on her YouTube channel.


Some of you will probably be thinking 'what?! you've only just heard of Hannah Maggs' ... yep I have only just discovered her blog and youtube channel. I passed about 2 hours last night watching different videos on her YouTube channel and I can honestly say I think she's a really lovely inspirational woman. She takes her readers through her turbulent times in Draw My Life (tissues at the ready) and shares some of the 'highlights' of the birth of her baby boy Grayson in her Birthing Video. Hannah is also a make up artist, she shares all her makeup tips, tricks and reviews on her blog. She seems so down to earth, so lovely, so my kind of lady.

Katie seems like one of the most down to earth bloggers ever, and she's a fellow Yorkshire girl which I also love about her. She's got gorgeously pastel pink hair and a lipstick collection to die for, she's sure to get you hooked on her YouTube channel and her Blog. One of my favourite posts by Katie was about her struggle with weightloss, being overweight for most of my life I find it quite 'comforting' (if that's the word to use), that there are other ladies who share my problem.



I'll be honest with you and say that I don't follow that many 'mainstream' fashion blogs, purely because a lot of the clothes featured aren't available in my size (I pray for the day I can get back into a 14, seriously) but Claire's posts never fail to catch my eye when they pop up on my dashboard, I always end up clicking for a little look and I will very often comment. The outfits she puts together are amazing, they are always so flattering but yet they look so effortless; the black jumpsuit in her latest post... how beautiful!!? She also does a weekly snapshot post which I absolutely love and read every single time it pops up in my feed. 


This post has literally taken me about 2/3 weeks to write, I read so many blogs that it really is difficult to try and narrow it down to a few to feature in a post like this. I have full intentions of making this at least a monthly post, so you never know, your blog could be up here next :)

Tell me... which are your favourite blogs/vlogs?

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Saturday, 8 February 2014

Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeshadow Stick in 'Bulletproof Biege'

Rimmel have brought some cracking products out over the past year or so; one of my favourite high street collections has to be Rimmel 'Scandaleyes'. I've got their Scandaleyes Waterproof Eyeliners in two shades which I absolutely love, so it made sense to try something else from the Scandaleyes collection. I decided on one of their eyeshadow sticks in 'Bulletproof Beige' because it looked like the kind of shade that I'd get quite a lot of use out of and the crayon style applicator isn't something I've ever tried in eye products, I generally tend to stick with brush application. 
rimmel scandaleyes shadow stick in bulletproof beige
Rimmel Scandaleyes Eye Shadow Stick 'Bulletproof Beige' £3.49

The first thing I'm going to say about this is do not be fooled by the photos shown online, both on sites like Boots and also the Rimmel website. This is a lot more gold toned than they show it to be, I wouldn't call it 'biege' because it's a lot more yellow toned than I expect beige to be; I expect beige to be more pink toned. Nevertheless I still bought this because it was the lightest of the shades available. I tend to wear a lot of neutral shades on my eyes, because I feel that they suit me the best so I figured that this could work well as a base colour instead of using a primer.

bulletproof beige swatch

. To be totally honest I'm not struck on this at all, when applying it really dragged my eyelid which isn't pleasant and didn't make for a very smooth application meaning that it looked like a cheap cream eyeshadow. I know you're probably thinking 'well it is a cheap cream eyeshadow' but I really do expect better from Rimmel; I expect an eyeshadow stick to be creamy and easy to apply but this is quite the opposite, you can just tell it's high street. Having said that, I do think this would be good for precision application but it's just not good for an all over colour. 

I'm not going to give up on Rimmel Scandaleyes products, I do want to try the shadow paint because it looks much easier to apply; I saw Nic Haste from Pixiwoo applying it for her Katy Perry 'Who You Love' tutorial and it looked really nice!

What are your favourite Scandaleyes products?
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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Seventeen Lasting Fix Nail Polish in 'Midnight Sapphire'

Today I'm bringing you a nail polish which I bought the other day on another one of my trips to Boots, I had a voucher for £1 off a £5 spend on makeup... how could I let that expire without using it up?! I've been looking for a budget navy nail polish ever since I've seen navy shades on the likes of Sam from Pixiwoos, Sam was wearing an OPI shade which usually retail at about £11.95. I love OPI nail polishes, don't get me wrong, but I've been on a bit of a high street rampage at the moment, determined not to spend a fortune on the stuff I want. I looked at all the stands in Boots and the only Navy shade which stood out to me was one from Seventeen which is one of Boots own brands.

seventeen lasting fix nail polish midnight sapphire
Seventeen Lasting Fix Nail Polish in 'Midnight Sapphire' £2.99 Boots
Although I really wanted to try a navy shade, I was a bit worried that a dark colour would make my nails look short and stubby but I actually really like how it looks. It looks classy and shiny, I think. The applicator brush is just a regular size which for me makes application a little more difficult, I like wider brushes which you often find with Rimmel polishes. It also says that you should get up to 5 days wear with this, you don't and it's as simple as that. I applied this last night and by 1pm this afternoon it was already chipped and I hadn't done anything out of the ordinary with my fingers. Having said that, for £2.99 I don't expect miracles and I'm willing to overlook this because I do really like the shade.
What is your favourite blue nail polish?
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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Get Ready with Me - Minimal Makeup for Blemished Skin

I did a really quick YouTube video this morning while I was getting ready, it wasn't a 'staged' makeup application this is literally what I have worn all day, nothing added or taken off. I only wear minimal makeup most days and it literally takes me 5/10 minutes to do. I do have blemished and scarred skin but the products I use mean that it doesn't take me forever and a day to cover problem areas. I've sped it up into just a 2 minute video and added a bit of music to it. I hope you enjoy watching and please feel free to suggest any other videos you'd like me to film... also don't forget to subscribe if you like it!




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Monday, 3 February 2014

Pre-drinks with Gallo Moscato and Spiced Orange Punch Recipe

If you follow me on twitter and instagram, then you'll know that on Saturday night I ventured out on the town with some friends to celebrate a birthday. I don't often go out but when I do I like to make sure I drink something that I actually enjoy; I had some pre-drinks at my friend Rebecca's house and I decided to take a bottle of Gallo Moscato. I usually wouldn't drink white wine because most are too dry for me but Moscato is gorgeously sweet; more of a dessert wine which is much easier to drink than dry white wines such as Pinot Grigio. 

Gallo Moscato
Gallo Moscato* £6.99 all major retailers

I'm normally a rose wine kind of girl but Moscato is a really light, refreshing, sweet white wine with peach, citrus, pineapple and orange blossom. It's really palatable and doesn't have a really strong alcohol content (8.5%) making it ideal to try if you're not normally a wine kind of person. You can even use it to make a warming Spiced Orange Blossom Punch to help keep you warm during these chilly winter/spring evenings:

What you need:
2 bottles oGallo Family Vineyards Moscato
Half a lemon, half an orange & 4 kumquats
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of orange blossom water
80g sugar
6 whole allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
Twist of orange zest and physalis

Method:
Thinly slice the lemon, orange and kumquats, discarding any seeds. Quarter the orange slices.
Put the fruit into a pan and add honey, sugar, orange blossom and allspice. 
With a knife, cut the cinnamon sticks lengthwise into thinner strips & add to the pan.
Add two cups of water to the pan, bring to boil over high heat then reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes
Pour both bottles of Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato into the hot citrus base and heat until steaming for about 8 minutes
Pour into martini glasses with a twist of orange zest and a physalis for garnish.

Moscato would definitely be my number one choice of white wine, what is your favourite wine?

ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY
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Saturday, 1 February 2014

All Used Up #7

I haven't done an empties post in far too long, mainly because I use things and end up throwing them in the bin but I finally accumulated enough empties bottles and tubs to write a decent empties post. 


Gucci Guilty featured in the shopping my stash post earlier in the month and it's taken me until now to use this up, i'm really pleased it's gone now, not because I don't like it but because it frees up a little bit of space on the side! My perfume collection got a bit out of control after Christmas so I don't feel like I'm hoarding them anymore. I've mentioned Rimmel Stay Matte Powder quite a few times this month, this is probably my 4th or 5th used up one because it's part of my every day makeup routine, I rebought it the other week and I always make sure I've got a back up. The only trouble with it is that it cracks and breaks up when you get so far down the pan which is annoying! The Lancome Hydrazen Neurocalm cream is only a sample size pot; I got it in a gift with purchase a while ago when I bought some Lancome foundation. I really enjoyed using this, it calms down redness and provides the moisture I need but the price tag is just a tad out of what I can afford (around £40) so for now I won't be purchasing the full size. No.7 Beautifully Matte foundation is what I've been using every day/night for a good couple of months now and I absolutely love it, I can't believe I've finally found a drugstore foundation that suits my skin, covers great and doesn't break me out. I'm now onto my second bottle of it and I doubt it'll be my last. Deodorant is obviously a daily essential, the brand doesn't really matter to me too much, I just buy whatever is on offer but I do really like using this Sure Bright one; it smells nice and the bottle is pretty too, if all deodorants were the same price I'd probably choose this one over others.

So there's my first empties post of 2014, 1 month down... 12 more to go!
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