Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Winter Skincare: Lush Let the Good Times Roll

As someone who eats popcorn almost every day of the week, it was a very safe bet that I'd run straight down to Lush as soon as I heard that the latest cleanser in the Christmas 2012 collection had popcorn in it.  I expected it to be pretty good (I mean it had to be with my favourite food included!) but I didn't expect to love it quite as much as I do...

Lush Let The Good Times Roll

The first thing you notice about Let the Good Times Roll is the amazing smell, like really good salted caramel, cinnamon, and lovely wholesome corn (gourmand scents are totally my thing).  I tend to use it in my shower on a morning a few times a week, mixing a small amount with water to create a paste and gently massaging into my face.  The cleanser has a fine grain texture so exfoliates really nicely, and rinses off to leave my skin feeling baby-soft, and not at all stripped.  

I love how the scent of the product lingers on the skin, but not in an overpowering way.  My fiance is obviously a fan too as he started using the cleanser a few days after I bought it and we're already onto our second tub.  I'm very much hoping that Lush put this into their permanent collection; I will be a very sad blogger if a day arrives when I can no longer buy more of this lovely stuff.  In fact just in case they're thinking of not making it permanent I might have to go make some enquiries/start a petition/organise a sit-in at my local store (at least with the latter I can buy more Lush goodies at the same time).  Wish me luck!

What Lush products would you be willing to stage some form of non-violent protest for?

Update 15th January 2013: I've just discovered Lush are still selling Let the Good Times Roll on their website, you can find it here. If I wasn't just about to start the spending ban tomorrow (my post on that is here) I'd be rushing out to buy some more straight away.  It's my birthday soon though, maybe some kind member of my family will buy it as a gift for me!  

Friday, 7 December 2012

Hello (again) World!

Or I should say hello again my teeny weeny little corner of the world!

It's been a shamefully long time since I've been able to post anything on here, and I'd like to apologise for that to my followers, but you know, sometimes the rest of life has plans for you that send you off on a different course for a while.  There's been an awful lot going on these past few weeks, particularly with work but also more recently with a rather sick kitty.  Basically, when I haven't been working or fulfilling family obligations, I've been playing nursemaid, making regular trips to the vet, and just generally worrying.

I can tentatively say that my big old cat Harvey is on the mend now (definitely a weight off my mind) so despite it being well on the way to Christmas, I've still got that little extra bit of mental capacity back to get on to my blog again.  I've got plenty of things stacked up to talk about too, lots of make-up, skincare and a little bit of fashion so look out for some posts from me very soon.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Autumn Beauty Haul

So I had a weekend to myself recently (my fiance was busy with various sports) and with nothing much going on at home, I decided to head to Leeds to do a bit of shopping.

Getting anywhere near the beauty halls over there is always a bit dangerous for me (read, my bank account) but I had a few things in mind I wanted to get, and didn't veer too wildly away from it.  I think I got some pretty fabulous things anyway.

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation, MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo, Illamasqua Lipstick in Magnetism
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation - I think every beauty addict in the world has tried this foundation before me, but in this case I absolutely do not mind jumping on the beauty bandwagon.  I've only worn it a couple of times so far, and I must say I'm pretty much in love with it, it's so comfortable to wear and it's surprisingly easy to create a flawless finish.
MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo - This really is exactly how everyone described it to me; the perfect blue-red shade of lipstick.  The texture is incredibly matte, so you need to have well prepped lips to wear it, but boy is it worth it, it makes my teeth look whiter and doesn't move for a quite a few hours
Illamasqua Lipstick in Magnetism - My first lipstick from Illamasqua and part of their latest collection, Generation Q.  The shade is described as a deep raspberry pink and it is precisely that.  I was surprised at how smooth the texture of this lipstick is and the pigmentation is amazing.  I can see myself wearing this a lot this Autumn.

Illamasqua Gleam in Aurora and Illamasqua Blusher in Ambition
Illamasqua Gleam in Aurora - I think I've found the perfect highlighter for me in this little compact.  It's champagne colour suits my skin perfectly, and the creamy texture blends seamlessly and doesn't appear 'frosty' like a lot of highlighters do.  It's part of Illamasqua's latest collection, Generation Q, but I really hope it sticks around.
Illamasqua Blusher in Ambition - If the fab MUA at Illamasqua hadn't pointed this out I would totally have passed it by and would have missed a pretty amazing blusher.  It looks quite neutral in the pan with a good dose of shimmer but on the skin it has lovely berry tones, very like Sin by Nars, and so far looks great with a lot of of my autumn berry shades of lipstick.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Real Techniques Blush Brush
Real Techniques Stippling Brush - I couldn't resist adding to my Real Techniques brush collection when I saw them on 3 for 2 in Boots.  I chose the stippling brush since I heard it can be great for liquid foundation but is also really good at blending highly pigmented cream or powder foundations.  I'm sure it'll be great quality, just like the other Real Techniques brushes.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush - I tend to use my Buffing Brush for foundation most days, but again I've heard great things about this brush and can't wait to give it a try.
Real Techniques Blush Brush - This is a repurchase for me.  I got the first one a few months ago, and use it daily for bronzer, and I've been using this second one for my blushers.  It doesn't disappoint!

That's it for this haul, I think I've bought more than enough to keep me going for this season, and I'm definitely looking forward to using everything.

What have you been buying for Autumn? 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

She Said Beauty Box - September 2012

So it's been a good few month's since the last time I tried a beauty box in fact I think the last one I had was the Glossybox from June.  You know the one, it had that make-up brush included (now one of my cats' favourite toys) along with some other things that I promptly gave away/never touched again.

I was pretty disillusioned with the whole idea of beauty boxes after that one but was tempted to try She Said Beauty for a few reasons.  A: I came across a discount code for a 3 month subscription, B: I'd had a couple of the beauty boxes before and liked them (in fact I don't know why I stopped them) and C: I'd seen consistently good reviews of She Said Beauty from other bloggers.

Now for reasons unbeknown, my September box took quite a long time to turn up but as per their reputation, She Said Beauty were fab at answering my queries and were more than willing to send a replacement box.  When the box did turn up I was very pleased with the month's theme (Skincare September) and rather happy with the contents too.  Here's what came:

Ginerva Green Tea Whitening Marvel Gel - Not a brand I'd ever tried or heard of before, but I'm always keen to try something new.  According to She Said Beauty the gel is a gentle but effective exfoliator.  I'm looking forward to trying it next time I have myself a facial day.
Collection Primed & Ready Smoothing Make-up Primer (Full size 18ml) - I know a lot of people aren't keen on getting high street products in a beauty box but when it comes to Collection I definitely don't mind as they've been doing some great products recently.  I've used this primer a couple of times since I got the box and it's really made my foundation smoother to apply.  The only gripe I have is that it seemed to highlight a bit of a dry patch I had on my cheek (when I really needed to exfoliate).  I'd still use it use it semi regularly though.
Collection Fix Me Up Long Lasting Make-Up Fixer (Full size 18ml) - Haven't tried this yet, but on my next night out I'll definitely give it a go.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (Full size 30ml) - I was really excited to see this cleanser included in the box.  I've wanted to try it for a while now as it has a great reputation for removing makeup.  Here's hoping it doesn't disappoint.
Amie Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask (Full size 15ml sachet) - As my skin tends to lean towards dehydrated at this time of year I wouldn't use a clay mask on it, but my fiance (who has oily skin) definitely would so I've donated this clay mask to him!

Now, this She Said Beauty box came with a rather random "SSB Treat", a bag of PopChips.  Whilst unexpected, they definitely weren't unwanted and made quite a good 1 Weight Watchers pro point snack.  I don't think I'd welcome something similar in every box though.

Overall, I'm really pleased with this month's box and am looking forward to getting the October 2012 box.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Diet & Exercise Update

I really feel like this post would have been better prefaced with 'Lack of...' as I haven't been doing much of anything recently, but maybe that would have been a bit defeatist of me.

I've had an excellent excuse for being a lazy sod when I think about it, what with moving house and having a very busy time at work.  I've been getting home on a night thoroughly exhausted and ready for a big plate of food and a good snooze.  Of course this has meant I've fallen off the wagon with the diet and exercise routine in the most spectacular style, but now I'm ready to pick myself up, and claw my way back to it.

As usual it really needs to start with the diet for me, so I've gone back to Weight Watchers today, got myself weighed (not too much damage done) and am psyched and ready to start again.

Exercise could be a little trickier to get started with though, I already cycle to work and back every day, and I don't live near a good (and reasonably priced) gym anymore, so I'm a bit stuck for ideas at the moment.  I will have to get my thinking cap on before my instinct to hibernate for the Autumn and Winter kicks in.

What's your favourite type of exercise in the colder months?

Sunday, 9 September 2012

My new home....

For the last week or two I've been living in an absolute pigsty, and not just because of my naturally messy tendencies.  No, my fiance and I have been packing up our things to move house.

I actually can't believe how much stuff we had squirreled away in various nooks and crannies, but over a few days it all got wrapped and packed ready for the big move.  Wrapping my makeup and skincare stash was obviously quite a big concern, but I had a traincase that I'd almost forgotten about and was able to pack it all away safely.

Anyway, yesterday the big move came, and we got all of our things safely to our new home.  I'm so excited to be living in this new house finally, and my fiance and I are glad to have some more room for to live in and to be able to have people over.

Over the next few days we've got various workmen coming to sort broadband (mine) and sky TV (his); and once that's sorted I've got some major home related shopping to do.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Liebster Award!

So yesterday the very sweet Lucy from LucyLoves nominated me for a Liebster Award, a recognition of up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  Before I get into the questions and rules, I just wanted to say thank you to Lucy and I'd definitely recommend you check out her blog here.

The Rules
1. Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves
2. They must also answer the 11 questions the tagger has set for them
3. They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag
4. They must then choose 11 bloggers to tag with less than 200 followers
5. These lucky bloggers must be told
6. There are no tags backs

11 Things About Me
1. I have 3 cats at home, I think it's too many but I love them all!
2. I very rarely drink, but when I do I like a good bourbon.
3. I don't have a middle name, my mam thought they were old fashioned.
4. I grew up in Newcastle.
5. When I'm angry (or drunk) my geordie accent can return in full force.
6. Jim never fixed it for me to become a mermaid like I wanted, damn it!
7. I love Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy and many more works of genius since.
8. I watch far too much TV and way too many films.
9. I caved and created a Facebook account a couple of years ago but I've never used it.
10. I reread some of my favourite books at least once a year.
11. I'm addicted to peach iced tea.

Questions from LucyLoves

1. If you have any, when did you buy your first high-end product and what was it?
My first high end product was a Bobbi Brown lip gloss many moons ago when I was about 15.  My mum took me for a makeover at the department store she worked at, and so my obsession with makeup began.
2. If you had to take two beauty products to a desert island, what would they be?
An SPF/tinted moisturiser and eyeliner.
3. What is your most favourite place to shop?
Selfridges in Manchester, it has everything a girl could need,
4. What is your favourite season? Why?
Autumn, because there are still lovely bright sunny days but it's much more comfortable and i can wear my scarves again!
5. What was your most used nail varnish in August?
Mint Candy Apple by Essie.
6. What one superpower would you like to have if you could?
I'd like to be super intelligent, can't imagine there's anything you couldn't do, or you'd just go nuts.
7. If you could buy one beauty product right now, regardless of price, what would it be?
A Clarisonic.  I've wanted to try one for a while but just can't justify spending that much money on one.
8. Would you rather... Get all of your clothes bought for you for the rest of your life (anything you want) but never be able to wear makeup again... or get makeup bought for you for the rest of your life, but have to wear very basic unflattering clothes?
Oooh a hard one.  I think I'd have to get the makeup bought for me, because at least my face would look nice :-)
9. What is the one type of food you couldn't live without?
At the moment it's Japanese style.  Love Wagamama and their Katsu curry.
10. Would you move to anywhere else in the world if you could?
Without a shadow of a doubt!  I'd love to live in New Zealand or Canada.
11. What is your most listened to song of all time?
Probably This Old Heart of Mine by the Isley Brothers.  It's one of my Mam's favourite songs, I've heard it thousands of times and it always brings back good memories.

Questions for my nominees
1. What is your favourite high end and high street brand and why?
2. What is your favourite high end and high street product and why?
3. Heels or flats, and why?
4. What's your favourite book?
5. What's your favourite perfume?
6. Do you have any pets?
7. What's your favourite blog?
8. Bright nails or dark nails?
9. If you could pursue any profession what would it be?
10. What is your favourite thing to eat?
11. If you could travel to another country to buy clothes or beauty products, which country would it be and why?

And finally, my nominees are...
1. Beauty School Drop-in
2. KateLily Daze
3. Jenny Loves
4. heyit'slulu
5. littlebitofbeautyy
6. MissFashion1994
7. Sam Teeeee
8. Daisycakes
9. Confessions of a Canadian Wallflower
10. Henriette Capulet
11. Lipsticked Louise

I hope all my nominees enjoy doing this tag :)

Monday, 3 September 2012

August Favourites

Only my second favourites post, and only a couple of days late!  Here's what I've loved in August...

Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, Lush Eau Roma Water, Figs and Rouge Coco Vanilla 100% Organic Balm
Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil - I reviewed this lovely light golden oil a few days ago, here.  I wouldn't be without it now but can't wait to try other Trilogy products.
Lush Eau Roma Water - Despite having lots of toners to choose from in my skincare stash, I often find myself reaching for this toner.  It's really gentle and I find the addition of rose water in particular to be very soothing on my skin.
Figs & Rouge Coco Vanilla 100% Organic Balm - It was the smell of this that I fell in love with initially, but it's the effectiveness that keeps me coming back for more.  The texture of these balms is strangely grainy when you first apply them but this melts quickly on the lips leaving you feeling very well moisturised.  I've used this on dry skin on my elbows and legs too and couldn't fault it.

MAC Studio Sculpt SPF15 Foundation, Avon Supershock Max, Nars Bronzer in Laguna and Real Techniques Brushes
MAC Studio Sculpt SPF15 Foundation in NC25 - I only bought this foundation a week into August but I've used it almost every day since then.  The gel texture was a bit weird at first but I've got used to it now and really love it.
Avon Supershock Max - I'm completely in love with this mascara and I've already bought a back-up.  I have reasonably long lashes already, and while using this lengthens them slightly, it's the volumising effect that's kept me using it.
Nars Bronzer in Laguna - I actually can't even describe how much I adore this bronzer.  It's perfect for contouring and for just warming up my face a touch when I'm feeling a little pale.  
Real Techniques Brushes - It's impossible to pick one outright favourite from my collection of Real Techniques brushes.  I use them probably five or six of them every day and the others come into play fairly regularly too.  They wash beautifully and dry so quickly, they're pretty much perfect to me.

Essie Nail Polish in Mint Candy Apple, Barry M Nail Paint in Aqua Green, Model's Own Hedkandi Nail Polish in Ibiza Mix
Essie Nail Polish in Mint Candy Apple - My go to summer shade, even in the lacklustre summer we've just had!  A couple of coats and my nails feel fabulous, it looks great with a tan too!
Barry M Nail Paint in Aqua Green #285 - I haven't worn this for ages and just found it in my nail polish drawer again a few weeks ago.  I wear it only one way, on an accent nail over Essie's Mint Candy Apple.  It looks pretty awesome.
Model's Own Hedkandi Nail Polish in Ibiza Mix - One of the items I won in the lovely wifelifebeautyxo's recent giveaway (I posted about it here).  I've only had this polish a short time but I'm completely smitten, just look at all that chunky glitter!

So that's all there is to my favourites for August 2012.  What were your favourite products of the month?

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Desk Beauty Essentials

With the weather being so unpredictable at the moment, the little bag of tricks I take to work with me every day could quite easily start to brim over with lotions and potions.  I try my best to keep the amount I cart around to a minimum, but there are a few things I have to have with me to look and feel fresh throughout a long day at the office.

Hand Cleansing Gel - Desks can be dirty places so this is an absolute essential.  If I'm going to be touching my face or having something to eat I want my hands to be squeaky clean.  My current favourite antibacterial gel is Hand Maid by Soap & Glory (£2.50 from Boots, but often in 3 for 2 offers), I love it for its fresh fruity scent.

Hand Cream - Handling lots of paper and washing my hands a lot always leaves them feeling dry so a good hand cream is never far from my reach.  My favourite at the moment is Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter (£6.25 from Lush), a little goes a long way with this stuff, it moisturises really well and smells amazing, like lemon sherberts!

Facial Toner/Spritz - By the afternoon when I'm feeling a bit tired and a bit hot, I like to give my face a squirt of a nice toner.  It helps to freshen me up and keep me feeling lively for the remainder of the day.  The current bottle I carry around with me is Caudalie Beauty Elixir (£9.90 from Feel Unique).  I did a full review of it not long ago here.

Lip Balm - When I'm at work I like to have a tube of lip balm with me rather than a tub or tin for obvious hygiene reasons.  Having fuller lips, it's also really important to keep them hydrated.  My lip balm of choice for work is Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (£3.69 from Boots).  I particularly love it for its minty fresh scent.

Lipstick & Powder Compact - Simply because I never know when I'll need to touch up my makeup for a meeting.  My current powder is MAC Studio Careblend (£20 from MAC) and my lipstick depends entirely on what I've picked up that morning.

The last, and by far the most critical, desk must-have for me is a big bottle of water.  I easily get through a litre and a half during the working day, so rather than buy bottles all the time, I've invested in a bottle with a filer integrated into the cap.  Good for me and for the environment!

What are your desk essentials?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil

When it comes to the world of natural skincare products, Trilogy is one of those brands I’d always wanted to try, but had never seen in a skincare shop or department store until I went to Newcastle at the beginning of July (you can find my haul post here).

Founded by two sisters in 2002, Trilogy’s passion for high performance natural skincare and commitment to sustainability and the environment is very clear and counts amongst the many reasons I wanted to try the brand.  Now I’ve had a chance to sample a few products from their range, I really regret not seeking them out sooner.

Probably Trilogy’s best known product (and the one I’ve been thoroughly trying out) is the Certified Organic Rosehip Oil.  Rosehip oil in general is quite well known to be high in essential fatty acids and vitamins A and C, and looking at Trilogy’s website (here), their oil has had some pretty impressive results in clinical trials; reducing the appearance of scars by 41%, stretch marks by 43% and wrinkles by 23%.  I was very excited to try it!

Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil

The oil itself is golden in colour, very lightweight, has no distinctive odour and a few drops in the hand go a very long way.  I’ve used it every day since I bought it as part of my evening skincare routine, applying the oil in upward strokes before my moisturiser, and found it absorbs very quickly, and in 6 weeks I’ve used around ¼ of my 20ml bottle.  The packaging, a dark glass bottle, feels quite luxurious and almost apothecary-like and the glass dropper makes it very easy to use just the right amount.  I’ve been using the oil on my face, neck and décolleté, so while there are certainly no stretch marks to contend with, I do have a few fine lines and scars that I hoped the oil would work on (I was a very clumsy child!).

As I haven’t been using the oil both morning and night as is suggested I hadn’t expected speedy results so I was really surprised to notice my skin looking much brighter and quite a bit healthier about 10 days into using it.  Still using it every day, this effect hasn’t diminished at all and if anything, my skin feels plumper and better hydrated.  My skin tends to be normal to dry, and while in the past some facial oils have given me congestion after a few days application, I haven’t experienced anything like that with the Trilogy oil.  I’ve even started using it on my body, mixing a couple of drops in with my usual body moisturiser.

My long term hope is that using the oil will plump out some of the fine lines on my forehead and improve the appearance of some scars I have from cold sores (and one or two from falling over and bashing myself as a little ‘un) but even with the results I’ve had so far I’m very impressed and will definitely repurchase.  Next time I’m going for the 45ml bottle, along with a few other goodies from their range.

Have you tried Trilogy products before?

What is your favourite natural skincare brand?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

I won a giveaway!

The lovely Hayley at wifelifebeautyxo held a giveaway recently to celebrate reaching 100 followers, and last week I was lucky enough to be picked out as the winner!

I'm so pleased with the little bundle of goodies I received today (the post office were lightning fast with the delivery) and just want to say a big thank you to Hayley, the parcel was wrapped so safely and the card I received was really sweet.

Here is what arrived today...

MUA Undressed Eyeshadow Palette, Lipstick, Model's Own Hedkandi Nail Polish in Ibiza Mix
MUA Undressed Eyeshadow Palette - I hadn't expected how fan-flippin-tastic this palette would be.  I've swatched all of the shades, the pigmentation is great and the colours look really wearable for every day.

Model's Own Hedkani Nail Polish in Ibiza Mix - Love, love, love it!  I can't wait until I actually have some time to put this on properly.  The mix of chunky and small glitter in different colours is just fab!

MUA Lipstick in Shade 3 - The first lipstick by MUA I've ever tried.  It's a beautiful shade of bright-deep pink, and the texture is surprisingly smooth on the lips.  I'm really quite impressed and I can see me reaching for this over my usual favourite (Rebel by MAC) quite often.

I'm completely over the moon with what I won, and getting all of this through the post has inspired me to run my own giveaway soon.  Watch this space!
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