Saturday, 31 August 2013

August Empties

I have to admit, I'm not generally one for using things up, it's rare that I find a product that I really love and when I don't I tend to flit between different products.

This month I have actually managed to use up a grand total of... (drum roll please!)... three products! This is actually quite an achievement for me, I was helped by the increasing number of things on my mental wishlist that blogging has introduced me to. Using up one product means it's compulsory to find a replacement right?

Boots Dry Shampoo Paradise Island
I try not to wash my hair more often than once every other day so I regularly use dry shampoo to freshen my hair, I've generally used Batiste in the past but I don't find it to be amazing and it's not particularly cheap. I saw the new Boots dry shampoo that, at £2.29 for 200ml, is slightly cheaper than Batiste, at £2.99, and decided to give it a go.

The Boots Paradise Island Dry Shampoo is a good dupe for the Bastiste range and I actually think it smells a lot better than some of the Batiste dry shampoos. If you love Batiste, I'd definitely recommend giving the Boots version a try. As I was looking for something a bit better than Batiste, that would make my hair look generally fresher and not just less oily, I'm still on my quest to find my perfect dry shampoo.

Would I repurchase? No, I'm sure there are much better products out there and I'm currently enjoying trying out the Lee Stafford Dry Shampoo.

Remove It Benefit Makeup Remover
This was a bit of a spontaneous purchase when I was picking up some bits from a Benefit counter a while ago. For the price I expected something amazing, I'm not sure what but I definitely thought I would use it and have a 'wow' moment. Unfortunately it did its job, removed makeup and waterproof mascara well, but nothing extra.

Would I repurchase? No, for £16.50 for less than 200ml (177.4ml to be exact...) I'm sure there are much better/cheaper products out there.

No7 Stay Perfect Liquid Foundation - Calico
I'm rather in love with my Smashbox foundation but I like to have a cheaper brand to hand for less special occassions (like when I'm working a five hour shift and amazing staying power and a flawless look isn't essential). I actually really like the No7 Stay Perfect, it has a good coverage and lasted well even on my combination skin.

Would I repurchase? Definitely, in fact I already have. It's a great everyday foundation and I think £14 is a really reasonable price.

Have you tried any of these products?


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

My Top Lush Products

My mum’s loved Lush for as long as I can remember, her birthdays and Christmases always mean a house filled with the gorgeous smells of lush bath bombs. I used to get so excited when I was allowed to choose a bath bomb for my own bath, there’s just something so relaxing about jumping into a bath full of coloured water with a wonderful scent. I soon began receiving Lush bath bombs and soaps for my own birthday and Christmas presents and would carefully choose some treats for myself using my pocket money.

Lush was the first beauty brand that I got into, as I got older I became more experimental with my choices and began to purchase products other than the famous Lush bath bombs. I have now developed better knowledge of the skincare and beauty world and use a much wider variety of products and brands but there is still something about Lush that keeps me going back.
Here are my top five Lush products that I just keep buying:

Big Shampoo - £11.50
This shampoo is great, it leaves my hair feeling so soft and silky, the main ingredient is sea salt which gives it an unusual texture but it works up an amazing lather on hair and goes a long way. I have frizzy long hair which means it needs quite an intense shampoo and conditioner with all sorts of unnatural ingredients that help to tame and hydrate my locks, but there’s something really refreshing about having a bit of a hair detox and using a completely natural product on it every once in a while. Unfortunately I haven’t found Big’s perfect partner in a Lush conditioner yet!

This isn't the full size bar, I've broken at least two pieces off to use already!

The Comforter - £4.50
In my opinion this is definitely the best smelling bath bomb, well technically it’s a bubble bar which is even better because you can get more than one use from it. The whole idea of the bubble bar is, as the name suggests, to be comforting, I don’t very often have a bath (I shower though, promise!) but when I do I pop a bit of The Comforter in and enjoy relaxing for a bit.

You Snap the Whip - £6.25
Like The Comforter, the amazing smell was the first thing to attract me to this body butter, it has a strong blackcurrant scent. I was surprised that this was classed as a body butter as I tend to use it as an exfoliator but it does have great moisturising ingredients. Using the body butter bar leads to a messy charcoaled shower experience but it’s definitely worth it.

Caca Rouge - £8.25
I’m rather precious about my long hair and the thought of using chemical dyes terrifies me so henna is the perfect product for me to use to give my hair colour a bit of a boost. I use the Caca Rouge as my hair is so dark that the others don’t make much of a difference. Applying the henna is quite a messy and long process that is near impossible to do without help, but I love the slightly red tint it gives my hair. The ingredients added to henna to make Caca Rouge (including cocoa butter) are great for hair and my hair is so soft and shiny once I’ve used the henna.

Mint Julips Lip Scrub - £5.50
This scrub is great; it’s actually the only lip scrub that I’ve ever come across. I love using it before applying lipstick, especially in the winter when my lips tend to get a little rough. The best thing about this scrub is that you can lick it off after and it tastes great!
Apologies for the photo from the Lush website, I've managed to misplace my Mint Julips for now, sadsad face!

What are your Lush favourties?


Monday, 26 August 2013

Giveaway - Smashbox Try It Kit!

On Friday my blog will be one month old so, with it also being Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK, I decided it's a great opportunity for me to host my blog's first ever giveaway.

I'm excited to thank my current readers and get to know some more bloggers and readers. To enter you just need to fill in the Rafflecopter form below, you will receive one entry for following via Bloglovin, one for following via GFC, one for following on twitter, two for tweeting about the giveaway and two for mentioning the giveaway on your blog.

I spent so long deciding what to include in the giveaway (I now have plenty of ideas for future giveaways) but I eventually decided on the Smashbox Try It Kit. I love all the Smashbox products I have tried and the box contains a really good combination of products for you to try out.

The giveaway is open to UK residents only but I hope to host an international giveaway soon.

You can do as many or as few entries as you like (you could just follow on Twitter etc).

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Getting Fit For... Winter

I missed out on the traditional 'getting fit for summer' so I'm going for my very own 'getting fit for winter'. There's reason for my madness I promise!

You probably know that I'm studying law at university, I've always had a fascination with the subject and have really enjoyed the work experience that I have been lucky enough to have done. The thing is I also really really love working closely with people who I feel I can really help and whose lives I can make even a tiny difference to.

SO... I'm looking into other careers where I can work with a wide range of people, one day I'd love to work with young offenders or as a probabtion officer but that's just not the sort of thing you can walk out of uni into (not that anything really is at the moment).

I've applied to volunteer at a prison and am currently applying to be a Special Constable (a volunteer policewoman) to get some experience in the kind of thing I'd like to do. To be a Special Constable a certain level of fitness is required, I wouldn't consider myself to be unfit as such but there's certainly room for improvement!

 This post needed a picture so here's m doing some aqua aerobics with my sister and dad in St Lucia!

I used to trampoline, play netball and go to aerobics classes, then university took over and I just ran out of time. I find motivation really difficult in the gym so I decided to try out a few group excercise classes and see if I can find a perfect match. Over the next few weeks I hope to try aerobics, cycling, step aerobics, circuit training, aqua fitness and outdoor fitness. After each session I will write a review and keep you updated with how I'm getting on.

Have you tried any fitness classes?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Review: Sanctuary Spa 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask

I've never been one to buy a face mask tube before, usually I buy single use sachets and never really stick to the same one. I was intrigued by the Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask's claims:

As well as purifying, the mask also rebalances the skin’s oil levels to clarify, cleanse and leave skin with a silky touch, essential oil of myrrh helps soothe and calm. 

Purifying and rebalancing oil levels seemed like the perfect treat for my spot-prone combination skin, the idea of a thermal mask was also an incentive.

The mask is quite thick and heats as soon as it is rubbed into the skin. I thought that the thermal aspect may be a little disappointing but I was actually really surprised at how warm the mask got.

The mask does have a plasticy smell that I wasn't expecting as it is something that I have never noticed with face masks before, I think the smell is probably due to the thermal property of the mask and is noticable but not overpowering or enough to ruin the relaxing experience.

The name suggests that the face mask should be left on for five minutes, I got a bit carried away and left it on for fifteen minutes, it was still easy to remove with a face cloth and warm water but it had lost its warmth by the time I took it off.

The mask left my skin really really soft and the warmth felt like it was great for cleansing pores. I'm interested to see what sort of long term effect the mask has on my skin after regular use but for now I'll really enjoy using it as a relaxing treat.

I can safely say that I have been converted from randomly selecting single use sachet masks, at £10.50 this mask is great value for money.

What's your favourtie face mask?


Saturday, 24 August 2013

NOTD: Models Own Hot Stuff - Mirrorball

I have a thing for sparkly nails, they can make any polish that little bit more exciting. I recently had Barry M Prickly Pear under a glitter blue OPI polish and when that started looking a little worse for wear I couldn't help but create a similar style with different colours, I can be more adventurous, I promise!

So here's Models Own Hot Stuff - Mirrorball over a Boots manicure pink polish. I love the glitter colours of Hot Stuff so wanted quite a pale base that would really show them off.

Hot Stuff is a great polish, it took a bit of patience to get the glitter relatively even as the polish is quite thick but a bit of patience is worth it for the finish. I always use a top coat as most polishes would be gone in secondsif I didn't, thanks to my job, but if you're inclined to give the top coat stage a miss, Hot Stuff would still look great.

Unfortunately I realised I was in a bit of a rush to leave for work after doing my nails so I attempted to put my hair up with not quite dry nails, needless to say it all went a bit wrong and I had to take it all off. My impatience does mean that there may be another NOTD post very soon though!

What Models Own polishes do you use?


Friday, 23 August 2013

Foody Friday - Goats Cheese Pasta

I have my dad to thank for this amazing recipe, it's now one of my favourite meals and it's so quick and easy to make, which of course makes it even better! This recipe serves two but can easily be adapted.

75g Butter (or alternative)
1-2tsp Crushed Chilli (adjust to taste)
2tsp Rosemary
220g Green Beans
150g Pasta
125g Soft Goats Cheese (make sure you get the type that is in my picture)
30g Pine Nuts

  • Boil the pasta in a large pan.
  • Melt the butter in a small pan and add the chilli and rosemary. Leave on a low heat for 2-3 minutes before adding the green beans, cook green beans until soft.
  • Toast the pine nuts under the grill until golden brown.
  • Remove green beans from heat when they are soft.
  • When pasta is cooked, drain and return to the large pan.
  • Add the butter mixture to the pasta and mix.
  • Stir the goats cheese into the pasta until mixed well.
  • Serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts.
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Review: Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips

I've been wanting to try pore strips for a while and, after watching a few Youtube reviews yesterday, I decided to take the plunge and give them a go. I chose to use Bioré strips, as there seems to be little choice in the UK (drugstore brands, T-Zone or Bioré) and I had heard most good reviews about Bioré.

Pore strips work by removing dirt from and unclogging pores, although many sources suggest that they don't actually reach deep-down dirt they do claim to reduce the appearance of blackheads and, overtime, make pores appear smaller. I have the unfortunate gift of a nose full of glorious blackheads so I was keen to discovered whether the pore strips would live up to their claims and make my blackheads at least a little less prominent.

There seems to be a lot of pore strip controversy in the skincare world, some people claim that they are amazing and their go-to product when it comes to lessening the appearance of blackheads, yet others believe that they are an awful product that does nothing but strip surface dirt and enlarge pores. As the dirt that is removed from pores by the pore strips tends to be tear-drop shaped, I can see how dirt removal may result in pores being stretched, however pores can also become enlarged as a result of being clogged - can we win when it comes to avoiding enlarged pores?! Perhaps not!

I enlisted my boyfriend, Russell, to provide a 'not so dirty porey' perspective, as I probably have about 10 times more blackheads than he does and I doubt I provide a true representation of the population!

Bioré pore strips should be applied to a clean face over a wet nose and left on for between 10 and 15 minutes, until hard.

The strips are soft when first applied and harden as they dry. The Bioré instructions warn that the strips should be removed promptly when they become hard. We left the strips on for around 15 minutes, they were hard when we removed them and probably could have been removed a little earlier, I wouldn't recommend leaving them on for too long as they may become painful to remove!

Removing the strip wasn't particualrly painful, it did make my eyes water a bit, but nothing like the pain of waxing. I was quite disgusted at what my used strip looked like so if you'd rather not know, don't scroll any further down.

Drumroll please...

It's safe to say I definitely achieved more than Russell did, as soon as I removed the strip I could see the difference in the appearance of blackheads across my nose. I would use the strips again but, at £7.99 for 6 strips, I wouldn't do so particularly regularly. The instructions warn against using the strips more regularly than once every three days, I think I would actually use them once every week or two.

Ultimately, dirt will always return to pores, and pore strips alone won't completely rid you of blackheads but I have to say pore strips are very satisfying. If you don't particularly suffer from blackheads I doubt pore strips will make a massive difference and you may prefer to stay away from them as the positives will be unlikely to outweigh the negative opinions. If your nose is blackhead city like mine, pore strips are definitely worth a try!

Have you used pore strips?
What are your opinions?


Monday, 19 August 2013

Review: Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub

As soon as I smelt the Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub exfoliator I fell in love, it has an amazing sweet maple syrup oaty smell (if I didn't know better I would probably be tempted to eat it...). I've read some reviews that say the smell is too sickly sweet, I think that the sweetness is just right, but maybe I'm just an extra sweet kind of person!

Aside from the wonderful smell, the Breakfast Scrub has some other great features. We all know that exfoliators can be drying but the scrub contains shea butter, as well as all the scrubbing ingredients, which is a great moisturiser. There is also something really reassuring about how the scrub takes on a milky consistency when it is mixed with water, almost proof that it's hydrating as well as exfoliating the skin.

The scrub is really quite thick which gives it quite a luxurious feel and I much prefer the packaging to that of the cylinders of the other Soap & Glory scrubs. The bowl shaped pot contains 300ml and costs £8.00, it's not the cheapest body scrub but there are also plenty that are more expensive. One pot goes a long way as it lathers well for a scrub and I definitely think it is well worth the money.

I use the scrub around three times a week and I find it leaves my skin looking and feeling really soft. I sometimes think it would be great if the smell stayed for longer but it's probably a good thing that it doesn't as it's so distinctive that it would interfere with any other fragrances used.

I will definitely buy this again when it eventually runs out, it seems to be really moisturising and exfoliates well without being too harsh. I don't fake tan often, but if I do this is the perfect pre-tan exfoliator and the gorgeous smell makes up for the infamous fake tan scent.

This product has definitely reassured me that Soap & Glory isn't just about great smells and jazzy packaging!

What's your favourite Soap & Glory product?


Sunday, 18 August 2013

My Week in Pictures

Okay, so this is a bit of a cheat week in pictures, it's more like 'Since I Started Blogging In Pictures' but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it. But here you go...

- Flavalanche frozen yoghurt - Gromit spotting - dinner in London - my babies -
- The Burger Joint - tea and cake in the park -


What's In My Beauty Products #1 - Jojoba Oil

I've been wanting to do a 'What's In My Beauty Products?' series of posts since I started my blog, how many times do you look at a product and think 'wow, that looks great, it's got x in it' but not actually know what x is or does? I certainly do, so I'll be researching various beauty ingredients and sharing my findings with you each week.

The reason it took me a while to write this post is that I just didn't know where to start, there are so many ingredients that crop up in many beauty products and claim to do amazing things and I discovered even more when I started researching a couple!

I finally decided that I’m going to start with jojoba oil; it’s in quite a range of products, especially those with more natural ingredients and I’ve seen it sold in its pure form in health food stores like Holland and Barratt.

First things first, I feel that I should point out that jojoba is pronounced ‘hoh-hoh-buh’ (yes, I’ve been pronouncing it jo-jo-bah for years, oops!) and that jojoba oil is not actually an oil, it just got that name because it has oil-like properties. Jojoba oil is the liquid wax produced by the jojoba plant’s seeds and, refined, it is colourless and oudorless.

Jojoba oil became more widely used in the cosmetic industry in the 1970s when, following the US ban on importing whale oil in 1971, it was discovered that jojoba oil is in fact superior to whale oil for many cosmetic applications.

Jojoba oil is structurally and chemically similar to the skin’s natural sebum so it is readily accepted by the skin as a moisturiser and can be used on both the hair and body in its pure form.

Jojoba oil is naturally high in iodine (don’t worry, not high enough to be toxic) and will not clog pores, so is great for spot-prone skin. The oil is also high in antioxidants (they help to prevent and repair damage to the body’s tissue), non-toxic, non-allergenic and is even thought by some to have anti-aging properties.

So, we’ve discovered that jojoba oil is probably best and most widely used for moisturising and here are a few products that make use of jojoba’s properties:

Boots Botanics Hydrating Day Cream

Wilkinson Sword Extreme 3 Beauty Disposable Razors

Clarins Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream

Have you tried products with jojoba? What do you think?


Friday, 16 August 2013

Foody Friday - Cranberry and White Chocolate Flapjack

I love flapjack but the same old plain or raisin variety gets a bit boring so I thought I'd create something a bit more exciting, and here is it!

175g Butter
175g Golden Syrup
175g Muscovado Sugar
350g Oats
75g Cranberries
50g White Chocolate

  • Preheat the oven to 150°C, Gas Mark 2.
  • Start to melt the butter in a large pan and grease and line a 20cmx20cm cake tin.
  • Once the butter has started to melt, add the syrup and sugar until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
  • Stir the oats into the syrup mixture and mix well.
  • Add the cranberries to the mixture and mix.

  • Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin before turning out onto a chopping board and cutting into portions.
  • When the flapjack is completely cool, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the flapjack pieces using a spoon.
  • Leave the chocolate to set.
  • Enjoy!


My Fragrance Direct Parcel

The postman delivered my Fragrance Direct parcel today - happy Jade! I was really surprised that I received it so soon, I chose standard delivery (£1.99) for my order to arrive 5-7 days after dispatch. I placed my order on Friday the 9th, it was dispatched on Monday the 12th and delivery was originally attempted on Wednesday the 14th - great prices and great delivery, this could be my new favourite site!

The products were packed well and everything arrived in great condition and not a ridiuclously oversized box - environmental points for Fragrance Direct!

If you read my original Fragrance Direct post, you may notice that I snuck in an extra product before I finalised the order. The 7 Way Nail Buffer was £0.99 and I've never used a buffer before so I thought I'd give it a go.

From my experiences so far I'd definitely recommend Fragrance Direct, I'm just waiting for them to have some exciting Essie Nail Polishes now.

Have you used any of these products?
What do you want to see a review of?


London Haul

As promised, here's my London Haul post! I didn't actually manage to shop anywhere unique to London (sobsob), my friend and I got far too distracted looking at the cute puppies in Harrods and maxing out her bank card in Oxford Street Primark. I'm definitely going to have to go back to London before the summer is over, there's so much more shopping to be done! But for now here's my recent haul.

I found this in the sale racks of Topshop, as soon as I saw the lace detail and the colour I fell in love. It's great to wear with sandles in the summer and I'm hoping to style it with black opaque tights, black heels and a blazer so I can wear it in the winter too.

I was looking for the leggings I posted in my London Wishlist post, unfortunately it turns out they have been discontinued, determined to get my hands on a pair of black Topshop leggings, (they seem to be the only brand of leggings that haven't got so thin that my underwear can be seen through them!) I tried these on. The leggings are great, I was initially put off by the high waist but it's really not a problem, if anything it feels like it acts as a tummy tucking feature!

After my first experience with Barry M Nail Paints a couple of weeks ago I was excited to pick up some summery pastel colours. 

I'm excited to try the Gelly range and see how 'hi-shine' it really is.

I visited the Benefit counter to repurchase Erase Paste to cover the circles under my eyes, my last pot had finally almost run out and I'd had it almost two years (yucky yuck!). The first assistant showed me the Erase Paste and Fakeup and the assistant who helped me with Brow Zings introduced me to Boi-ing - dilemma! I chose boi-ing as I felt that it had better coverage than Fakeup and was told that it is less likely to crease than Erase Paste.

I noticed this on the Benefit counter in my local boots the other day so I asked the Benefit assistant if I could try it, she did an amazing job and my brows looked great after. Hopefully I can do a job as good as the Benefit assistant!

Boots Metal Free Hair Bands
Probably my least exciting purchase!

Primark Anti-Bacterial Hand Wipes - £1
I love having these in my hand bag and the car.

I hope you enjoyed the haul post - have you tried any of these products?
Reviews will come soon!


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Liebster Award

I just got in from work to a lovely suprise from Megan (Megan Roisinn), she nominated me for the Liebster Award, obviously work isn't the most exciting thing in the world so this certainly made my evening more cheerful!

I've noticed the Liebster Award on other blogs but wasn't entirely sure of it's history so I did a quick google search and found a wonderful explanation by Sopphey (Sopphey Says). Basically liebster is German for dearest and the Liebster Award is a chain style nomination award that started in 2010. The rules seem to have changed over time but the idea remains the same - spread the award to bloggers who aren't yet that well established to spread the love and to help get their blog recognised.

The rules I received with the nomination from Megan are as follows:
1. You must link back to the person that nominated you.
2. You must answer the 11 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3. You must pick 11 bloggers to be nominated for the award with under 200 followers.
4. You must come up with 11 questions for you nominees to answer.
5. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.

So here are my answers...

Name something you never leave your house without (not your keys, phone or purse).
I do sometimes leave the house without it, but I take my Nook (ebook) anywhere where there may be an opportunity for some reading.

What is the name of your newest friend?
Chelsea, a wonderful girl I work with.

What do your favourite socks look like?
This is such a boring answer - I don't wear socks. I really don't like socks, I hate how the poke out and get in the way! Okay, I do wear socks when I wear trainers for excercising, so my 'favourite' and only socks are double layer trainer socks (they stop you getting blisters).

Have you ever seen a shooting star?
I thought I did with one of my best friends, sadly it turned out she was actually only pointing to random things in the sky to create a romantic atmosphere as we were on a double date :(.

Do your friends and family know about your blog?
My boyfriend does, he reads all my posts! :)
My sister started following my blog twitter today so I'm guessing she does too. I haven't started publicising my blog to my family and friends yet!  

What's the craziest colour you've ever died your hair?
I'm so precious about my hair and my hair's so dark it would take a massive chemical beating to make it in any kind of crazy colour, so just good old henna reddy brown.

How do you take your tea?
Strong! No sugar, a little milk.

If you could sum yourself up with an item of clothing what would you pick?
A dress! Especially this dress that I picked up whilst I was in London (sneak peak of the haul post I'll be posting later). I love everything about dresses. And how I sum myself up as a dress, I wear them at every opportunity.

What's your oldest favourite film?
Schindler's List, I've loved that film for as long as I can remember.
What colour are your bedroom walls?
I live in a rented house as the moment so my walls are (drum roll please......) cream. I can't wait to have a deep purple accent wall to complement my black and purple accessories when I have my very own home though!

If you could choose a musician to swap lives with who would you pick?
I was thinking only yesterday about how I wouldn't like to be famous, that eliminates most musicians unless I'd like to swap lives with the lady who plays the accodian in the pub I used to work at. Ignoring fame I'd love to swap lives with Beyoncé, I don't think that choice requires an explanation! Preferably a swap to before she cut all her gorgeous hair off though...

And here are my questions:
What achievement are you most proud of?
Were you naughty or a goody two-shoes at school?
One lesson you've learned since you started blogging?
Which country would you most like to visit?
What's your guilty food pleasure?
And your guilty TV pleasure?
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you choose?
If you have children, what's one characteristic of yours that you would want them to have?
One item that loads of bloggers rave about but you haven't tried yet?
If you could have any job what would it be?

Are you a spender or a saver?

My nominees - I struggled finding eleven blogs to nominate, I didn't want to nominate people who had already been nominated this year. Here are my five nominees for the moment, there may be more coming soon!

Laura Thinks About
My Mint Nails

Monday, 12 August 2013

London Wishlist

I'm with my boyfriend visiting his parents in London for a couple of days and I'm excited to meet one of my best friends tomorrow for a much needed shopping session.

I've put together a small wishlist of things I hope to purchase, hopefully I'll come back with a 'few' extra things as well, I just can't help myself!

Petite Grey Ethnic Print Midi Dress - New Look - £14.99
Erase Paste - Benefit - £18.50
Lazy Days A5 Wiro Notebook - Paperchase - £8.00
Petite Black Ponte Panel Leggings - Topshop - £18.00
No7 High Shine Lip Crayon - Boots - £9.00
Bobble Round Necklace Gold - Accessorize - £10.00

I'll do a haul post over the next few days and show you what I manage to get properly.

Where's your favourite place to shop in London?

Sunday, 11 August 2013

No7 Real Women Campaign - Yay or Nay?

Following in the footsteps of Dove's 'Campaign for Real Beauty' and M&S' real women ad campaign, No7 have launched their latest campaign alongside their famous buy one get one half price offer starring four 'real' women. The profiles of the women, an Advertising Executive, Banking Compliance Officer, Charity Programme Manager and a Solicitor are available on the No7 website and include the story of each woman as they were transformed by No7. Each 'real woman' was given a signature colour look which is displayed in store alongside look cards telling you how to achieve that look yourself.

Don't get me wrong, I think using 'real women' more in ad campaigns is great, after all, we're not all tall and slim with luscious locks and perfect skin, but there's something about the new No7 campaign that I find difficult to relate to. I can deal with the women all being that bit older than I am, I'm sure many models used in advertising campaigns aren't my age and No7 would have to have countless 'real women' to appeal to everyone if age was an issue.

I think it's the profiles that create the barrier for me, I'm not (yet) in a high end job and I haven't been stuck in a makeup rut, I'm just a 20 year old who enjoys looking her best. All of a sudden I can't help but think about No7 being the brand it was before its 2005 relaunch, something that my mum used and where I would pick up a nail polish if the colour took my fancy, not the go-to brand for good value makeup staples that it had established itself as following its 2012 'younger audience' relaunch.

The real woman theme worked for Dove, with skincare it's the product being sold and what it's capable of, not a final look. Dove received massive media attention for being the first brand to take such a bold step in the direction of inner beauty and I'm sure anyone who wasn't aware of their wide range of products before their campaign was afterwards.

I'm interested to see how the No7 campaign is received by the media, if it's noticed at all. I by no means think that it's a bad idea, many customers will be able to directly relate to one of the featured women and the look cards will encourage customers to buy into a whole look as opposed to single producrs.

The campaign hasn't put me off as a customer, I still can't wait to get my hands on of one of their lip crayons and their gorgeous lilac nail colour but I look forward to a future campaign that really captures my attention!

If you're interested, here's the tv ad.

What do you think of the No7 campaign?
Do you think real beauty is important?

Friday, 9 August 2013

How have I not discovered this site before?!

I was reading Miss Makeup Magpie's blog and came across her Fragrance Direct Haul, when I saw how much she managed to get so cheaply I knew I had to check the site out.

Despite the name, Fragrance Direct stock cosmetics, skincare, haircare and gifts as well as frangrance, they have sold directly to the public since 1993 and now sell discounted products through their website and their store in Cheshire.

The Fragrance Direct website states that they are able to offer great prices due to their low overheads (only one store etc), however many of their products do seem to be discontinued lines. Unless you're one to only buy the 'lastest thing', there's no reason not to buy discontinued lines if you're after a bargain (unless you're likely to get very upset when you fall in love with a product and find you can't replace your empty).

The site is really easy to use, with plenty of filter and sorting options to display the products (you'll find you'll need to use this unless you have hours to spare as there are so many products available). I mostly sorted products by discount high-low as I wasn't after anything in particular and some products are only reduced by a small amount.

I chose four items to purchase and was plesantly surprised when I placed my order and found that postage prices are reasonable, £1.99 for standard delivery (5-7 days after dispatch), £2.99 for express delivery (2-4 days) and £7.99 for next day delivery.

When browsing the internet for information on Fragrance Direct, I came across a similar site, Cosmetic Fairy but I found it a lot more difficult to browse as there aren't many options for sorting products and the filters don't seem to work very well. Needless to say I lost my patience with Cosmetic Fairy and didn't order anything!
I'm excited for my parcel to arrive, I did choose standard delivery as I'll be a away quite a bit over the next couple of weeks so I probably won't be able to receive the delivery anyway. I'll do another post when everything's arrived but won't be doing reviews on the discontinued items (I wouldn't want to get you all excited about something you can't buy anymore!).

Have you used Fragrance Direct?
What's your favourite discount cosmetic site?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Spotlight on the Infamous Face Wipe

My last two posts were about food, as much as I enjoy eating and baking I thought it was time for another beauty related post.

Face wipes are often shunned by beauty and skincare lovers and for good reasons, but is there really no place for the lonely face wipe in a skincare routine?

The thought of a face wipe instantly takes me back to when I was younger and hadn't quite got to grips with good skincare (using blemish sticks was actually about the extent of my 'routine' back then) I would remove makeup daily with a face wipe, sometimes even a baby wipe, urrghhh. I only have memories of the rough wipe, goodness knows how I didn't question what it was doing to my poor skin.

Removing makeup is best done with a micellar water or makeup remover followed by a cleanser, and for some a toner, although this is becoming more and more redundant in the everyday beauty routine. Using a good quality makeup remover with soft cotton pads requires less 'scrubbing', which is better for the skin, especially the delicate eye area.

So, what is the point of face wipes? Most beauty brands have face wipes in at least one of their ranges, some are realistic and recommend using them after a late night out or a workout at the gym, but some do seem to suggest that they're a great product for removing makeup and even waterproof mascara.

If you have the time to remove makeup properly, do it, if not, make some time. If all else fails I doubt makeup wipes will do you any serious damage, but you should question all the goodness of cleansing products that you're missing out on.

Ultimately I'll always stick to a proper makeup removal routine, even when I don't get in from work until midnight I make sure I keep it up.  I do, however, think that face wipes can have their uses, removing makeup with a wipe after a late night is definitely better than not removing it at all and, if you can't face going to the gym without makeup on, a post workout refreshing wipe would be very welcome.

What do you think of the humble face wipe?

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Ginger Cake Recipe

I love to bake, I find it so relaxing (eating the finished product isn't too bad either). I've been waiting to share this ginger cake recipe with you, I was first given the recipe back in secondary school and was so proud of myself when I baked it at home for my parents. The ginger cake doesn't call for too many ingredients and is relatively quick to make.

This is still one of my 'go-to' recipes, it tastes great and keeps well for a few days.

It's great plain or with lemon glacé icing drizzled over, any other icing would probably be too much as the cake itself is very dense.

75g soft unsalted butter
200g self raising flour
50g caster sugar
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g golden syrup
1 egg
4 tbsp milk (plus a little extra if required)

Loaf tin (or other cake tin of a similar size)
Mixing bowl
Small bowl/jug
Wooden spoon
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (gas mark 3) and grease and line the baking tin.
  • Put the margarine, sugar and golden syrup into the pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into the mixing bowl and mix. Make a well in the centre.
  • Beat the egg and 3tbsp milk in a jug and pour into the well with the contents of the pan.
  • Mix into a thick batter and add more milk if required.
  • Transfer the mixture to the tin and level the mixture.
  • Bake for around 35 minutes (until an inserted knife comes out clean and the cake bounces back if pushed).
  • Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin, finish cooling on a cooling rack.
Unfortunately when making glacé icing I tend to make up the quantities as I go along so I can't tell you exactly what I used, although the Silverspoon website suggests 125g icing sugar (sieved, else you'll end up with lumpy icing!) to 1tbsp water. I then add lemon juice to taste. Drizzle over the cooled cake.


Do you have a treasured childhood recipe?

My New Favourite Snack

I can't get enough of the Barbecue Popchips, I wouldn't say they're quite 'guilt free' but I feel better about eating them than most other snacks available for my lunch break.

Someone I work with kept raving about the sweet and salty Katy's Kettle Corn flavour, he kept telling me that it's just like when you mix sweet and salted popcorn together at the cinema... do people even do that?!

Lo and behold when I went to get Popchips yesterday there were no barbecue ones to be seen, either everyone else had realised just how yummy they are or my friend had hidden them all out the back...

I reluctantly picked up a bag of Katy's Kettle Corn (and some Sour Cream & Onion Popchips, just in case I had to take the taste away!), I have to say I was actually really intrigued and tried them straight away and they are so good!

I can't really describe the taste, apart from 'sweet and salty popcorn', but it really does work.

Before you all run out and get yourself a bag (if you haven't already tried them) here's a few Katy's Kettle Corn Popchip facts:
-There are 128 calories per bag, a bag of Walkers Ready Salted has 133 calories (so no big difference there)
-A bag of Katy's Kettle Corn has 3.9g of fat whereas a bag of Walkers Ready Salted has 8.5g
-Katy Perry created the Katy's Kettle Corn 'flavour'.

Apologies for the photo of the empty bag, I couldn't wait long enough to take a photo before I tucked in!

What's your favourite 'not so guilty' snack?