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Beauty & Other Things
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  • 03/15/13--15:45: MakeUp Picnic on Bloglovin
  • Hi peeps, just a quick one if you'd like to follow my blog on Bloglovin, here's the link:


    Thank you xx

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    I am somewhat intrigued by this whole BB phenomenon and have dabbled in a few variants, the latest of which is The Body Shop's All-In-One BB Cream*.

    I think of BB creams as some sort of tinted moisturiser hybrid and to be honest saying 'BB' on the packaging does not mean much to me but I do appreciate new formulations and will happily explore the actual product.

    The Body Shop's offering is a light cream texture that has colour-adapting technology, that releases pigments when blended into the skin, supposedly matching your skin colour well.

    This comes in 3 shades (01, 02 & 03), and I have the BB Cream for medium skin tone (02) 

    It starts off as a light, white-ish cream and once you start blending it the colour changes and blends into the skin.

    My skin is yellow-toned and I feel this shade goes a bit too tan/a tiny bit orange on my skin (you can see this a little in the pics).

    The formula feels quite hydrating and a bit dewy-finished, so if you have drier skin this may be better as I use a bit of powder on top as my skin is a bit combination in places.
    This offers little in the way of coverage - it evens things out a bit but as it's sheer doesn't do much to cover my acne marks so I use a separate concealer on those. This falls a little short on perfecting qualities as I feel I get a better evenness when using a tinted moisturiser product.
    On a positive note my blush seems to stay better on top of this which is an issue I have when using blusher over some foundations.

    Overall this doesn't blow me away as I like a bit more coverage and the colour isn't quite right on me.

    *PR Sample

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    My hair and scalp has been an increased priority the past year or so since I noticed my hair was thinning a bit and generally has less volume. I have been trying to remedy this internally but I'm using topical products to help the progress along. Currently I'm using the John Master Organics Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment and Volumizer for thinning hair.

    My hair is slightly on the finer side, wavy andmy scalp is quite sensitive and can get easily irritated by the wrong shampoo or using overly stripping products (or eating too much crap!), so as well as helping the thinning, I like using scalp specific products as they do seem to calm it and promote a healthier scalp.

    The John Masters Organics Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment and Volumizer for thinning hair is 'a unique combination of 19 certified-organic herbs andessential oils improve the scalp by promoting nutrient intake, stimulating circulation, balancing sebum production and eliminating free radicals. Select ingredients work to enhance hair volume and shine. Safe for colour-treated hair'.

    Key ingredients:

    Thyme - scalp stimulant; antiseptic
    Irish moss - natural detoxifier
    Arnica - healing to the scalp; anti-inflammatory
    Che qian zi - reduces inflammation
    Gotu kola - anti-inflammatory; anti-irritant

    I use this on damp hair after washing and conditioning. I section the hair and spray a small amount at the roots then style as normal.
    What I notice with this it that it does seem to give my hair a bit more substance and volume at the roots so it doesn't appear as fine. With continual use I think my hair does feel better so for me it's doing what it says on the tin. For scalp comfort I personally prefer the Philip Kingsley Scalp Toneras that has a bit more cooling, soothing feeling, but overall I like the John Masters more for the volumising element.
    I was a bit critical of Phylia de M.'s Connect as that is rather pricey for the amount you get but the John Masters product works out almost the same if you're comparing by mls as the Connect is £45 for 120ml and this is around £21 for 59ml.

    I really can't put either product against each other as I like them both and feel they are both unique in their approach to hair health. 

    Aqua (water), glycerin, sorbitol, panthenol (vitamin B), centillica asiatica (gotu kola) extract,* chondrus crispus (irish moss) extract,* plantago asiatica (chegian zi) extract,* arctium lappa (burdock root) extract,* hydrolyzed wheat protein, urticia dioica (nettle) extract,* yucca schidigera (yucca) extract,* hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate, arnica montana (arnica) extract,* anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract,* hyaluronic acid, camellia sinensis (white tea) extract,* lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract,* calendula officinalis (calendula) extract,* tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), carica papaya (papaya) extract, cucumis sativa (cucumber) extract,* soy protein, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil,* triticum vulgare (wheat germ) oil,* thymus vulgaris (thyme) oil,* linum usitatissimum (flax seed) oil,* rosmarinus officinalus (rosemary) oil*

    * Certified Organic

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  • 04/04/13--13:01: GlamGlow Mud Mask

  • When it comes to facial masks, I am a bit of a devotee of Ren's fabulous face mask offerings, but I'm always on the look out for other effective masks, especially clay ones as many brands I've tried just don't cut the mustard. I want the ritual and the results!

    Luckily this mask is much more than it's swanky packaging. GlamGlow mud mask is quite a potent concoction, it is clay based but has a fine pumice-y/earthy texture and also bits of green tea in it that give it an exfoliator feel. Because of this texture, I find that I have to be quite gentle when applying it so that I am not rubbing the skin.

    The mask does dry and it goes tight so you can definitely feel it on the skin as it's a slightly cool, tingly and quite active sensation. The first time I used this it did feel a little stingy on the first few seconds but I had used another treatment product beforehand which I didn't need as this packs a punch on it's own. I would proceed with caution if you have sensitive or dry skin as this might feel like too much.
    I leave on for around 10 minutes and it removes quite easily with water but as I'm removing I let the water soften the mask and then I massage it a little and then rinse off.

    This makes my skin a bit brighter and much smoother, and I do not encounter any redness after use but because the mask is drying, I make sure to give it nourishment by following up with a hydrating serum and moisturiser.

    Personally I don't think it's quite as effective for spots, although I've come to the conclusion that those buggers are best dealt with a 'kill them with kindness' approach so rather then trying to dry them out, I use oils and creams that have nourishing, anti-inflammatory ingredients.

    The packaging has a nice, weighty feel and is a bit razzle-dazzle although I quite like that:)

    Aqua (Water), Montmorillonite (Volcanic Minerals), Kaolin (French Sea Clay), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (Purified Clay), Polyethylene, Pumice (Micro Volcanic Rock), Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea Leaf), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract (Chamomile), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (Marigold), Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract (Cucumber), Hedara Helix Extract (Ivy), Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract (Comfrey Herb), Lavandula Hybrida Oil (Lavender), Glycerin (Vegetable), Parfum, [Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool], Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea.

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    In the past I have used several products from The Body Shop's Vitamin E range, although never the moisturiser so I was interested to see how I fared with this as I feel a bit more willing to experiment as my skin has improved on the acne front these past few months.

    The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream is part of their range of skin products containing vitamins to help 'hydrate and protect' the skin and 'leave it soft and healthy-looking'.

    The texture of the cream feels light and absorbs quickly so at first I wasn't exactly hopeful that this would provide adequate hydration as in the colder months I normally lean towards moisturisers for normal to dry or sensitive skin as even though I'm a little combo, I'm also dehydrated and apart from my t-zone, the rest of my face can feel a little dry in this changeable weather.

    To my surprise this provides just the right amount of hydration without feeling I have much on my skin and I find that it works well when layering with other products as the formula is light.

    Overall a good moisturiser, but it does leave me craving a little something extra in my skincare as now I'm in my late 20's (approaching 30 in July!) I have been taking a few more preventative measures skincare wise.

    Aqua (Solvent/Diluent), Isopropyl Palmitate (Emollient), Sorbitol (Humectant), Lanolin (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), Cetyl Esters (Emollient), Steareth-2 (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Ceresin (Stabiliser), Triethanolamine (pH Adjuster), Tocopheryl Acetate (Antioxidant), Steareth-20 (Emulsifier), Carbomer (Viscosity Modifier), Methylparaben (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate (Solvent), Butylparaben (Preservative), Ethylparaben (Preservative), Hydroxycitronellal (Fragrance Ingredient), Isobutylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Geraniol (Fragrance Ingredient), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Citronellol (Fragrance Ingredient), Cinnamyl Alcohol (Fragrance Ingredient), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone (Fragrance Ingredient), CI 14700 (Colour).

    *PR sample*

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  • 04/15/13--13:02: Shower Time Selection

  • When it comes to shower and bath products, I'm all about the scent and tend to go for products that are uplifting and refreshing for everyday use, with lovely textures so thought I'd share my current selection.

    Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Body Wash

    I love Intelligent Nutrients, ever since I first used their Harmonic shampoo I was completely taken by them, so when they recently brought out the matching body wash, I did not hesitate to give it a whirl.
    This has the same light, creamy texture as the shampoo and also the same beautifully refreshing scent from the peppermint, spearmint, rosemary and menthol.
    Cleans well without stripping the skin of moisture. Wonderful stuff!


    Madara Fresh Mint Soap

    This is my first foray into Madara and so far I am liking this lovely and gentle soap. Madara is a Latvian natural skincare brand, that uses ingredients from the Baltic region in it's products and is free from synthetic ingredients, perfumes and preservatives.

    This one has a slightly lighter texture, sort a gel like soap but again it doesn't strip the skin and effectively cleans with a fresh mint scent. I don't think its as complex or aromatic as the Intelligent Nutrients, but it's honest in it's simplicity and does a good job. I use this one as a hand soap as well.


    Nourish Uplifting Shower Gel

    When I saw this on online, I was taken by the cheery yellow packaging and by the 'uplifting' in the name, and this certainly lives up to that. This contains high omega shea butter to nourish the skin yet it doesn't overwhelm and washes cleanly. A good consistent gel texture with a wonderful sweet citrus scent, this just makes me happy when I use it, what more could I ask for?

    What I'm liking about the Nourish range is that the price points are rather reasonable for the quality of the products with many of the formulas containing over 90% organic ingredients. For body products I have mostly converted to natural brands, but I probably don't venture as high price-wise as I would with my skincare so it's nice to have a brand that is a bit more purse-friendly.


    Life NK Jump Start Sugar Scrub

    This was a bit of an impulse buy from Space NK as I was taken in by their bold typographic packaging and the zingy grapefruit scent.
    A lovely simple scrub which a good gel-like consistency that feels refreshing and rinses away easily without any greasiness.
    The only gripe I have is with the packaging - the texture of the scrub is quite thick and the hole in the tube small so you have to really squeeze it - I'm taking the scissors to this as I find it a bit annoying!


    *All products purchased by me*

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    The MuLondon Face washes have been on my radar since their launch but seeing as I had a load of cleansers I wanted to use up first I've only recently got round to giving them a go.

    There are 3 different cleanser types:

    Rose - dry, irritated or sensitive skin types
    Lavender - all skin types, including dry and sensitive
    Fragrance free - all skin types, especially sensitive

    I am rather crazy for rose in skincare so naturally I went for the rose variant. MuLondon uses organic and steam distilled Rose Otto oil (30 roses are used to make one drop of oil). Rose is beautifully healing and soothing for the skin as well as giving the cleanser a wonderful fragrant rose scent.
    Along with the Rose Otto, Rosehip extract is used which is a great repairer and helps with scarring and wrinkles as well as rehydrating the skin.

    The base of this cleanser is an organic castile soap, free of synthetic detergents (like SLS) so it gently cleanses the skin without stripping it.

    I've had a good experience using their Hemp moisturiser, but there was a part of me that was a little hesitant about this cleanser as (a) it is made from castille soap and I've used other cleansers with this as an ingredient and I wasn't particularly keen; and (b) it is foaming. But MuLondon is unlike those others and indeed these doubts were soon case aside after I used this cleanser, it feels unlike any cleanser I've used before.

    Once you dispense some of the product in your hands it looks like a light foam but as soon as you start massaging it, it produces a light, creamy lather that feels lovely and soft on the skin, no soapy bubbles!

    On the face of it this seems like a simple cleanser, but as I have found with their moisturiser, this still is remarkably effective. It leaves the skin feeling soft and has a little bit of a calming and clarifying effect. Initially it does have a little bit of a squeaky-clean feel once rinsed (which I'm not keen on in particular), but I found that if I've used nourishing products like oils and serums at night or during the day, then once I've cleansed my skin I get less of this sensation, and am left with more of a natural feel.

    This makes a great morning cleanser but I think it works even better as part of a double cleanse. In the evenings I've been removing my makeup with organic jojoba oil and a warm washcloth (I always use a separate product to remove makeup) then following up with the MuLondon cleanser and it works a treat.

    Aqua (Water), Potassium Sunflowerate (Saponified Sunflower Oil)*, Potassium Cocoate (Saponified Coconut Oil)*, Glycerin (vegetable, naturally occurring)*, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate (Potassium Salts), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Rosa Damascena (Rose Otto Essential Oil)*, Rosa Canina (Rosehip Extract)*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Extract)*    *Certified Organic Ingredients


    The cleansers come in a trial size (50ml) and the full size (150ml).

    I purchased this from mulondon.com

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  • 05/09/13--14:40: Imedeen Derma One Review

  • Back at the beginning of February, British Beauty Blogger did a post on starting a trial of Imedeen skin supplements and it piqued my interest as I take quite a few supplements but not anything of this nature for my skin.

    Something I was not aware of is that Imedeen do Derma Scan skin scanning so you can see at a deeper level how good your skin is. The scan is free and open to anyone, and at the end of the assessment, you get a 15 day trial pack.

    I find these sorts of things fascinating and I like seeing exactly what condition my skin is in rather then guessing so I booked in for a Derma Scan back in February which was carried out by Emma. She scanned the skin (it's done on the forearm, not on the face) and I was surprised to hear that my skin was a little better than average. For reference I am 29 and my skin is acne-prone (this has calmed down somewhat over the past year), combination/dehydrated, acne scarred (my main issue) so I wasn't expecting much!

    Emma recommended the Derma One which helps to 'combat loss of radiance and moisture associated with the first signs of ageing' and contains an 'exclusive Marine Complex™, vitamin C and zinc, the formula contributing to the protection of cells from oxidative stress, supports normal collagen formation and helping to maintain healthy skin'.

    I went away with my trial pack and started taking the supplements straight away that same day. You take 2 a day and they are small so easy to swallow.  Typically it takes 12-24 weeks to see results which is what I was expecting so I was rather surprised when I looked in the mirror a couple of days later and was like 'no way!'
    It was a minuscule change but my skin appeared somehow improved - my acne scars seemed a tiny bit refined, fractionally smoother maybe and my skin seemed softer. Thinking it was maybe my imagination, I didn't think too much of it but it wasn't until a work colleague commented several days later and asked what had I been doing as my skin had more of a 'glow'. I really could not believe that someone had noticed a change and that I was seeing results so fast.

    Even after this I still was curious to see proof and the opportunity came about again when I went to the Vitality Show in March and Imedeen were there, along with the Derma Scan, so I had the scan again and here was the result:

    The black line on the left side represents the epidermis - the top part of the skin you can see and touch, and on the right the coloured dots represent collagen, elastin and moisture retaining elements in the invisible dermal layer. The darker the colour and the more evenly distributed the dots, the better the quality of the skin.

    Derma Scan on 9th February 2013
    Derma Scan on 23rd March 2013
    The first pic is the 'before' scan, and you can see that the area is not as densely packed with coloured dots. In the second 'after' pic you can clearly see a marked improvement in the density of the skin - in values it went from 45 to 67.

    I am so pleased with these results and after I finished my trial pack I did go out and buy 6 months supply from Boots (thank goodness for 3 for 2!). 

    It's been exactly 3 months today since I started taking Imedeen and I'm hoping with prolonged use that my skin will continue to improve and that my acne scarring will be less visible. So far, so good!

    Thanks to BBB for bringing Imedeen to my attention and the lovely Emma at Imedeen!

    *I am not a beauty/healthcare professional and am not affiliated with Imedeen. Opinions are my own. 
     As with any supplementation, it is advisable to seek professional advice beforehand*

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  • 03/19/14--02:12: Back to Blogging
  • I have been absent from blogging for almost a year (how time flies!), a small break turning into a much longer absence. I had not intended to neglect my blog for so long and I have certainly missed posting so am attempting to restart things and have had a little layout refresh (which I don't think I'm done tweaking with just yet).

    In my blog silence I've used up quite a few products that I will be reviewing in the weeks to come and have plenty of newness to share so I'm hoping to get those posts up as well.

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  • 03/19/14--03:30: NARS Sheer Glow in Barcelona

  • My first post back is a review of a much loved product - NARS Sheer Glow foundation. This initially came onto my radar years ago when Lollipop26 (now Buy Now Blog Later) raved about it on her blog/youtube channel.

    I have been using this for a while now (I've just finished my bottle) and have to say that for me this foundation has definitely lived up to the hype.

    I had this applied on counter - Sheer Glow on one side and Sheer Matte on other and went away to see how they both looked later on that day. At first I preferred how Sheer Matte looked, but it was actually the Sheer Glow that wore better as the day progressed so a while later I purchased this in Barcelona.

    I find Barcelona to be a perfect shade as it's got a good yellow tone that's really great for evening out the skin and toning down any redness (which I have from old acne marks).

    The texture is a runny liquid, so for a me a foundation brush is the best method of applying; my favourite brushes to use with this are Lancome's foundation brush, Ruby and Millie foundation brush, Louise Young LY34 and the MAC 159 (a fab brush for a more airbrushed look).

    Application is smooth, and blends into a natural finish that's not matte but has a very tiny amount of radiance. The coverage is medium (not sheer as the name may suggest) and buildable which I like as I prefer better coverage. Even though it's not quite full coverage (as some of my darker marks show through a little), it's one of those bases where I don't feel the need to use a concealer afterwards, so often I skip it, and sometimes I skip the powder too.

    Another thing I like is that the better coverage doesn't make the finish look flat; if you've used something like Makeup Forever HD or Laura Mercier Silk Creme (both of which I quite liked), they do not enliven the skin as much so I compensate by using more radiance powders and bronzers to lift the finish.

    Bare-faced on the left (just moisturiser), Sheer Glow applied on the right.

    This definitely is my go-to when I want a more flawless look that doesn't oxidise (I hate it when bases turn orange) and I've worn it day-to-day, going out and is my default base for special occasions.

    Overall a great, fail-safe option, which I'm now missing since finishing about a week ago.

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    La Roche Posay is one of those no nonsense French pharmacy brands that seems to do exactly what they say on the pack. One of their newer product offerings, the Cicaplast Mains cream is no exception and my forever dry hands could not be more grateful! I've encountered some quite lovely, fragrant hand creams that are generally okay but many do not seem to hold up well and require frequent reapplication. LRP truly functions as a does-all saviour as it's light, non-greasy, and has no discernible fragrance.

    As you can see it's a kind of clear-ish balmy cream texture that sinks in quickly without a trace.

    The formula is hardworking as this has 30% concentration of glycerine to give a more lasting soothing effect. It also includes 4% Niacinamide which provides an antihistamine effect and helps to reduce inflammation and cracking.

    Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Glycol, Niacinamide, Glyceryl Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Sodium Polyacrylate, Caprylyl Glycol.

    Overall super effective and a snip at £6.50 for 50ml as only a little is needed due to the concentrated formula.

    I bought this from Escentual where they currently have up to a third off French pharmacy brands throughout March.


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    Brand new on left, the last drops on right (hence the pinkish tone from polish colour)

    A fast drying topcoat is a must-have in my manicure arsenal and for quite a while Seche Vite was my go-to, but I think my SV days are well and truly behind me now since discovering Dior's Top Coat Abricot.

    In the past I've had the old incarnation of this topcoat but Dior's manicure offerings have had a makeover since then so I was eager to try their revamped line. I purchased this last September from duty-free and I have just finished it now so it was well overdue a rave.

    As with all Dior's polishes, this comes in an elegantly packaged bottle with the removable cap, and the same type of brush as the colour products. The consistency is medium so it glides over the nail well (almost feels a tiny bit gel like), smoothing any slight imperfections in the polish (which is handy if I've used a less-than perfect formula underneath).

    It would get a little annoying when halfway through a bottle of Seche Vite the consistency would become gloopy but as the formula is forgiving I would still persist in using it until I really could not make it work which was usually when it came to the last 1/4. Having used a few fast dry topcoats it seems to be the norm for the formula to thicken up.
    The Dior is no exception, but it doesn't get completely gloopy like Seche Vite so even though the formula did thicken up I was able to use up all of it where as with other brands I would throw them away when I still had 1/4 bottle left.


    Dries fast
    Shiny finish
    Slightly smooths finish of manicure
    Prolongs manicure wear (I get much better wear with this than any other topcoat I've used)
    Peeling minimal (depends on the polish but it seems the really thick formulas are more likely to peel. Peeling was an issue I had with SV).
    Formula does not get gloopy


    Not super-duper shiny like Seche Vite
    Expensive at £18 (although Escentual seem to stock it for considerably less)

    I've already bought a replacement and a back-up for this from Escentual, so I think I'll be good on the topcoat front this year!

    Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Heptane, Nitrocellulose, Acrylates / Dimethicone Copolymer, Isopropyl Alcohol, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Benzophenone-3, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil.

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    A while back when I wanted to purchase Jojoba oil and some empty bottles to decant skin and body products into, I came across Naturally Thinking, an essential oil, aromatherapy and spa bodycare product site that stocks a wide range of oils, cosmetic bases, packaging and ready-made skin and body products. There is a lot of information on the site, as well as thorough details on the product pages of base components, origins etc so it's a great place if you're looking to concoct your own creations.

    What I love about this site is that many of the oils and base products come in different size options and at reasonable prices so it works out quite cost effective, especially if you are buying the large sizes.  Here's what I purchased:

    Rose Pure Organic Floral Water
    I adore rose products so I bought this to mix with powder based masks and to use as an all round toner and refresher. Naturally Thinking source the roses from the Bulgarian Valley of the Roses, and is 100% pure with no preservatives or alcohol added.  This is the 1 litre size which was £10, which I think is a bargain.

    SLS Free Shower Gel
    This is one of the bodycare bases and is a simple mild shower gel that you can add your own essential oils to suit your mood. Again this is the 1 litre size and was £10.

    Naturally Thinking also have a huge array of packaging, from glass, aluminium and plastic bottles and jars to foamer bottles and different closures from only a few pence. It's worth noting that you have to purchase the lids/caps/atomisers separately as there are different options for each bottle/jar. 
    I bought a little plastic atomiser spray bottle to decant the rose water for spritzing on the go and a larger aluminium one to keep around the house.
    There's no minimum order but there is a postage charge for delivery which is £3.95 for mainland UK (free over £80) although if you're local you can collect for free from their stores. They offer shipping to outside of the UK as well.

    I've purchased a couple of times from them now and I've been very happy with the service and quality of the products (their Organic golden, cold-pressed Jojoba oil is gorgeous!) so I'd definitely recommend checking them out.

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    I love my Shu Uemura eyelash curlers, these are my 2nd repurchase, but I didn't really want to fork out for replacing them again when the pads got worn. You only get one extra pad with Shu so I searched around for some replacement pads and came across these ones by Seki Edge.

    They come in a pack of 4 and are silicone rubber pads that are crafted in Japan and are very similar quality to the Shu ones. Size wise they are labelled on the pack as 35mm length and putting them next to the Shu the size is exactly the same. The only difference I can tell is the top of the Seki Edge pad is a tiny fraction more curved than the Shu. Performance wise they feel virtually the same to me and I like that they are white so I can see better when they need cleaning and replacing.

    Placed inside my Shu Uemura curlers

    I don't like the thought of throwing away my curlers when I run out of pads so these are a much more budget friendly alternative at around £2.50 for the pack.

    I bought these from Amazon:


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  • 03/28/14--02:30: OPI Mod About You

  • OPI Mod About You is a shade I've seen so much love for over the past few years from other bloggers but I had never really looked into until more recently. Thinking about it, even though I have a few OPI shades, it's not a brand I've gotten a great deal from even though I have loved the purchases I have made so far. Maybe it's because I like seeing nail colours in person and OPI generally is not as easily accessible locally to me.

    Mod About You is a gorgeous, very slightly lavender toned baby pink shade that has good coverage with complete opacity in 2 coats. I like the consistency as it's not tippex like or a thick formula which is something I find on occasion with paler shades.

    It's a lovely spring shade and I'm starting to get why it's a favourite.

    I purchased this from Ulta (when abroad).

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  • 04/07/14--13:21: Pai Echium Eye Cream

  • Eye creams to me are not the most exciting element of my skincare ritual, but it's one step I would not skip. Since turning 30 last year, I find I need a little bit more hydration from my skincare, and my current eye cream of choice is Pai's Echium Eye Cream.

    This is a lovely light cream texture, that absorbs well without greasiness and gives an immediate hydrating feel to the skin. I find this very handy post makeup removal and/or cleansing as my eye area can get a bit dry and this cream sorts this right out, no doubt due to the gentle yet effective ingredients such as Echium Seed Extract which is rich in Omegas 3 & 6 that attribute to the nourishing and soothing effect. Fine lines are also given a helping hand with Gamma Linolenic Acid and Steridonic Acid.

    I tend to stick to the same eye cream for both morning and evening and this works well during the day under my makeup, and is nourishing and replenishing for night use.

    I think Pai do creams really well - I am a sucker for lush textures and after their Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream, the Echium Eye Cream is my next favourite Pai product, it is a lovely all-rounder.

    Ingredients: aqua, argania spinosa kernel oil* (argan oil), prunus armeniaca kernel oil* (apricot kernel oil), carthamus tinctorius seed oil* (thistle oil), cetearyl alcohol (coconut derived emulsifier), glycerin* (vegetable glycerine), butyrospermum parkii butter* (shea butter), echium plantagineum seed oil (echium extract), rosa canina seed extract* (rosehip seed oil), cetearyl glucoside (corn-derived emulsifier), pelargonium graveolens oil* (geranium oil), citrus sinensis peel oil* (orange oil), jasminum officinale flower extract* (jasmine oil), helianthus annuus seed oil* (sunflower oil ), mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin e), sodium levulinate (corn extract), sodium anisate (basil extract), sodium lauroyl lactylate (from coconut oil), glyceryl stearate citrate (from sustainable palm oil), lactic acid (from sugar beet)
    Naturally occurring in essential oils: citronellol*, d-limonene*, geraniol*, linalool*

    *Certified Organic by the Soil Association (Organically produced 74% of product).

    Just a note that I have the previous packaging as the new one has 15ml instead of 10ml.


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    My fine flat locks need some oomph when it comes to the volumising department and a product that I have just finished every last drop of is Phyto's Phytovolume Actif spray.

    It's quite telling when I use up a hair styling product as in the past I've found it a bit of a chore to properly style my hair and I'd often buy products for them to just sit unused. Unfortunately with my fairly recent foray into ombre-ing and also growing my hair long I've had to up the ante in caring for my tresses so I've been making more of an effort with styling too.

    The Phytovolume is my go-to when I blow dry so after towel drying my hair, I just spritz near the roots and lift up sections and spray underneath, from root to mid lengths. It's a light liquid spray that doesn't weigh my hair down and if I overdo it slightly, once I blow dry I cannot detect any residue. It has a nice volume effect and helps to give a slight lift and thicken the hair so it feels like I have a bit more fullness. It is heat activated but I've also used this when naturally drying my hair and it still gives a bit of volume.

    This contains wheat proteins and amino acids that help to thicken the diameter of each hair and is silicone, sulfate and paraben free.

    Overall I've been really happy with this as it's a great volumising product without feeling like you have lots of product in your hair.

    I bought this from feelunique.com

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  • 04/14/14--03:30: S5 Replenish Serum

  • S5 Skincare's Replenishing Serum has got to be one of the most silkiest oils I have ever used, it is a ridiculously smooth consistency that I have been loving using in the evenings, especially after a clay mask as it's very nourishing and excellent for massaging in.

    This particular serum is targeted for dry and scarred skin as it is rich in Omegas 3, 5, 6, & 7 that help dryness, elasticity and scarring. My skin is normal to combination with dehydration and is blemish-prone with scarring left from past acne.

    S5 Replenishing Serum has Arctic Sea Buckthorn Oil which is naturally rich in Omega 7 and Omega 3. I take PharmaNord's Omega 7 Sea Buckthorn Oil supplement and I find it excellent for my skin and it has helped improve my acne so I hold this ingredient in high regard and was excited to see it included in this serum.

    This also contains High Altitude Rosehip oil which is rich in vitamin A that helps to regenerate and heal the skin; Desert Pomegranate Oil which has anti-oxidant properties and helps reduce inflammation and accelerate cellular regeneration; and lastly Desert Argan Oil which is rich in Omega 6, 9 and tocopherol.

    One thing that takes a little getting used to is the scent as even though it's naturally derived, it is unusually strong although after a while I don't notice it as much as when I first started using it.
    Even though this is plenty nourishing on it's own, I prefer it under a moisturiser as I feel it kind of seals in the goodness of the serum and as you only need a few drops I have found this has lasted quite a while.  
    Overall this has been a beautifully healing oil that hasn't aggravated my skin but helps to calm it and as the name states is 'replenishing', especially when I feel like I need something extra.

    Coco-Caprylate, Rosa Rubigiosa Seed Oil*, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil*, Punica Granatum Seed Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Parfum (Natural, Low Allergen Fragrance), Tocopherol. *ingredients from organic farming

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    The & Other Stories store in London is a lovely set-up, I like how the beauty section is laid out so that you feel invited to come and have a play with all the products (and having a large sink close at hand to wash off when you run out of skin to swatch on is a nice touch). About a month ago I was browsing beauty, having quite the swatching session going on and I came across this little blush in the shade Canvas Taupe and immediately my mind sprang to my beloved NARS Douceur blush, as it has that similar dusty rose tone. I always get a lot of use out of these sort of shades so off I went to the checkout.

    I was curious to see how Canvas Taupe measured up to NARS Douceur, as this has probably got to be one of my all time favourite blushes, it's just one of those shades that you don't need to think about as it goes with just about any makeup look.

    Side by side they look incredibly similar, Douceur appears ever so slightly warmer (as you can see I have made quite a dent), but it's only when swatched you can see more of a difference.

    Top - & Other Stories Canvas Taupe, Bottom - NARS Douceur

    Top - & Other Stories Canvas Taupe, Bottom - NARS Douceur

    On the top is the & Other Stories Canvas Taupe which on the skin shows up as a little paler and pinker in tone. Douceur below is slightly deeper and warmer which works better on my skin tone as it shows up more where as Canvas Taupe is a touch pale, although as it blends in nicely I do still use it.

    Texture wise both are nice and smooth (although I think as my Douceur has been used a lot the texture has gone a bit drier now then when it was new). Wear wise the NARS wins hands-down as it lasts longer and fades evenly where as Canvas Taupe goes a little patchy.

    Despite the wear I do like Canvas Taupe and there are a couple of other shades I would quite like to get, and Douceur, no doubt requires a repurchase!



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  • 04/29/14--14:26: YÜLI Panacea Elixir Review

  • YÜLI is a natural skincare brand from the USA I came across last year and it stood out to me as the products are high performance yet use clean, high quality and pure grade ingredients in an innovative and advanced way. The products are created in small batches in YÜLI's lab located on their farm and this attention to every detail creates a line that is highly potent and effective. 

    Clean brands have come a long way in recent years, there are some exciting brands emerging that are challenging the natural skincare arena and YÜLI to me is definitely amongst those brands that are doing things differently. The aesthetic is minimalist (which I love) and it means business!

    I placed an order for two of their products, the Panacea Elixir and the Cell Perfecto PM (review of this to come).

    The Panacea Elixir is a toner for normal to combination, oily and blemish-prone skin. The base of the elixir is crafted from 'organic and wild-crafted botanical hydrosols and flower water that contain living nutrients and are incredibly active'.

    YÜLI describe this toner as a 'multitasking toner that rebalances skin, refines skin texture, primes skin's delivery system for corrective regeneration, delivers intense lasting hydration, and decongests skin of excess sebum, toxins, & waste. Made from the finest botanicals collected from around the world, this toner truly is a cure-all!'

    With the promising sounding description and ingredients I had high expectations for this product, but unfortunately was left feeling a little disappointed as this for me was a bit underwhelming. It is nice for a toner, feels gentle, hydrating but I was expecting a little something extra, to take it from the realms of ordinary to something I want to absolutely rave about. I haven't found a great many toners that I really get the urge to repurchase (Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Trilogy Hydrating Mist and Liz Earle Skin Tonic are amongst my repurchased toner list).

    It comes in a handy spray bottle and 3 different sizes - 10ml trial ($12), 50ml ($36) and 100ml ($68).

    D-Aloe barbadenis, R. damascena (Rose) hydrolat*, H. italicum (Helichrysum) hydrolat*, L. angustifolia (Lavender) hydrolat*, H. virginiana (Witch Hazel) hydrolat^^, A. millefolium (Yarrow) hydrolat^^, frequency enhanced water, C. sativus (Cucumber) extract, N. officinale (Watercress) extract*,Papaya Enzymes, Trace minerals complex, Colloidal silver

    * Organic
    ^^ Wildcrafted

    Despite my slight disappointment with this toner, I am still curious to try their other 2 variants (Cocoon and Metamorphic).
    I bought this directly from the US site (so was stung by customs and Royal Mail handling fee), but YÜLI is also available from amazingy.com which ships from Germany.

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  • 05/25/14--12:34: Holiday Beauty Buys
  • Even though I don't need any more opportunities to buy more beauty bits, I cannot go on holiday without getting something so when I was away for a couple of weeks recently in Canada and the US, there were a few things on my wishlist to get.

    I had my eye on the MAC 286 brush for some time, it seemed like the perfect brush for blending undereye concealer and that's exactly what I've been using it for. It has a good firmness so it doesn't flop about but still is soft and workable. The duo fibres lend themselves well to getting diffused and naturally blended edges.

    Walgreens was right across the street from the hotel we were staying at in Las Vegas so it turned into a midnight trip (as they are open 24hrs). Even though there is an incredible selection of drugstore lines, I only bought Maybelline's Color Tattoo Shimmering Seas (115) which is a limited edition shade in a beautiful golden beige with aqua shimmer to it. I already have a few of these eyeshadows and love the formula so I know this will get a lot of use. I now wish I'd picked up the other LE shade as well as this swatches much nicer than how it looks from outside.
    Maybelline's Color Elixir gloss in Celestial Coral (010) is a beautiful medium coral pink semi-sheer gloss. As there are no testers I chose a 'safe' colour that I know I will use.

    Even though Sephora now ship to the UK there is nothing like seeing the products in person and the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in Honeymoon Honey has been on my list since testing it in Toronto on holiday last year. It is quite a unique formula that feels light, hydrating and cooling, with a natural flush of colour.

    Another item I tested last year and have had on my mind since then is TokyoMilk's Tainted Love Shea Butter Handcreme. It's really the scent that took me in with his hand cream as it is fragranced with Dark Vanilla Bean, Orchid, White Tea and Sandalwood so it's a slightly more deeper and sensual scent that I love. The formula itself is quite light and silky and absorbs easily into the skin.

    Makeup Forever Smoky Lash and Anastasia Brow Wiz are products I've wanted to try for ages and Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo Invisible Spray is a product Liana Beauty mentioned on her blog that had me curious as it's meant to be completely invisible. I haven't yet found a dry shampoo I've been completely happy with so have high hopes for this.

    I was holding out on buying the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushes until my holiday as I had tested them previously and Diffused Heat was the one I was immediately drawn to as it's a lovely radiant brightening shade with good payoff.

    I hadn't intended to get anything from Bath and Body Works but my sister was eager to get these Anti-Bacterial Hand Gels so naturally curiosity got the better of me and I also picked up several of these cute little bursts of scent for on the go use.

    Some last minute duty-free buys were a cosmetic bag and and fragrance mist from Victoria's Secret. I really like the choice of toiletry bags they have and this one is such a lovely tropical print and has two handy clear zip compartments. Bombshells in Bloom Fragrance Mist is a nice, sweet floral fruity scent that's perfect for my bag.

    L-R: Celestial Coral, Brow Wiz in Granite, Shimmering Seas, Honeymoon Honey, Diffused Heat

    L-R: Celestial Coral, Brow Wiz in Granite, Shimmering Seas, Honeymoon Honey, Diffused Heat

    I'll leave you with one of my favourite things in Las Vegas. Day or night, these fountains are stunning.

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    Continuing on reviews of products that I've completely used up, this next (very) overdue post is a review of EX1 Cosmetics Mineral Powder Foundation.

    Mineral foundation is one makeup product I have to have in my stash, it's like a safety net for my acne-prone skin as even though I love my liquids, I can't go wrong with a good mineral base.

    EX1 is quite a new brand and one I'd not heard of before until Caroline Hirons mentioned it on her blog. I had a discount code for Beauty Expert and needed a replacement so purchased the shade M300 which is a perfect fit for my NC40/42 skin.

    EX1 Cosmetics Mineral Powder Foundation M300

    EX1 Cosmetics Mineral Powder Foundation M300 - heavy swatch (sorry for the blurred pic)

    EX1 Cosmetics Mineral Powder Foundation M300 - blended out
    It's a light mineral powder consistency that doesn't feel overly fine or flyaway like a HD powder. As a foundation this product did not do it for me as it's too sheer and offers hardly any coverage but it does excel as a finishing powder to give a natural look and set my makeup.

    Mica, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Squalane (derived from olive oil), Zinc Stearate, Magnesium Carbonate, Lauroyl Lysine, Glyceryl Caprylate, P-Anisic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Calcium Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Tourmaline [+/- (May Contain) Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Ci 77019 (Mica), 77491, 77492, 77499 (Iron Oxides), 77007 (Ultramarine Blue), 77742 (Manganese Violet), 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens), 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide), 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), 75470 (Carmine), 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), 15850 (Red 7 Lake), 45410 (Red 28 Lake).

    I bought this from www.beautyexpert.co.uk

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    I think I'm finally getting to a place with my skin that I know mostly how to keep it in check. For reference I now have normal skin, slightly combo in places, recovering from post acne marks and scarring. The past couple of years my acne has subsided considerably to a point where my skin is mostly clear with smaller blemishes and the odd larger one now and then.

    I'm 31 and upped the game with my treatment products these past few years so I thought I'd run through my favourite skin saviours - all of these I'd recommend in a heartbeat as they each excel in their own ways.

    Murad Acne & Wrinkle Reducer
    I spoken about this product before and it's still up there as a good blemish buster. I like this on occasions when I have larger, redder bumps as it helps to bring them down and also softens fines lines as well. I've used this all over my face at night with no issue.

    Sunday Riley Good Genes
    My love of Sunday Riley has begun with this amazing product. It is a little multi-tasker that at first seems quite unassuming as it's a light creamy serum that doesn't feel potent on the skin, but when used at night, the next morning it seems to have refined and brightened the skin and also brought blemishes down or gotten rid of them without pulling a sweat. I had ummed and aahhed for a while before buying this as it is at the top range of what I'd spend on a single product, but reading others glowing reviews and a Beauty Expert discount code swayed me into it, and I'm glad I took the plunge as it's a valuable product in my skincare arsenal.

    May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon
    This was something I tried a sample of and it was immediate love. May Lindstrom uses the most exquisite natural ingredients and it's really telling in her products. This divine smelling balm includes Blue Tansy, Virgin Marula and Baobab oils as well as a whole host of other gorgeously pure ingredients. It's is a light blue coloured concentrated balm that upon contact with the warmth of the skin melts into a light oily texture. It completely soothes and calms the skin, reduces inflammation and evens the look and overall quality of the skin. You only need the tiniest amount of product so it doesn't feel in any way greasy or overwhelming but quite the opposite. I like using this post face mask or at night in place of a night cream, but it's one of those products that has a multiple amount of uses. I also have May Lindstrom's Clean Dirt and found that her products last a while so despite the high price tag (this was a treat to myself for passing my driving test), I'm confident the Blue Cocoon will last me ages before needing replenishment.

    Cane + Austin Anti-Blemish Treatment Pads
    When I first purchased these I was not really taken with them, I thought they were possibly a waste of money but as you can see I have finished my pot up of these pads and done a complete 180 from my initial assessment. To start with I was using them everyday but I think it was possibly too much so I only used them when I had more congested or uneven skin as the combination of 5% Glycolic and 2% Salicyclic Acids is quite potent and really helps to bring blemishes down. I would sweep a pad over my face, leave it to do it's thing for about 30mins, then follow up with a soothing or less active product (I like The Blue Cocoon or Ren's V-Cense Night Cream after this). It does sting a tiny bit initially upon application, but understandably so as it is a little powerhouse of a product.

    This Works In Transit First Aid
    As the packaging says this is 'brilliant in a crisis' and I would have to agree with this statement as it's one of those rescue products that is great for when I don't know what's up with my skin. On the odd occasion I've had some irritation or freak array of blemishes appear that I know need killing with kindness, this is does the trick nicely as it's a natural blend of oils with antiseptic qualities.

    Balance Me Congested Skin Serum
    I don't think I've ever spoken about Balance Me considering I've liked just about everything I've used from them (their cleansers are my fave picks from them) and this product is no different. This one I like to use in the day as the light gel serum texture works well underneath my moisturiser and is non-drying so good for use under makeup. It is gentle but works quietly to bring blemishes down and soothe skin. It's pleasant to use and smells lovely with a refreshing citrus scent.

    As you can see I like a good selection and these definitely fit the bill. I'd love to hear your recs - what are your favourite skin saviours?

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  • 09/20/14--10:38: Chanel Le Vernis - 631 Orage

  • The Chanel Autumn collection Etats Poetiques has some absolutely gorgeous items and the nail colour in Orage (631) is a stand-out product for me.

    I can't resist a good grey as it's one shade I've found I like wearing all year round. Up until recently this grey had been the LE Dior polish in Perfecto, but Orage has joined my family of greys and it's very much a welcome addition as this toes the line perfectly in being a proper dark grey without looking like black.

    The formula applies really nicely, with the colour gliding over the nail with ease although 2 coats are
    required for complete coverage. 

    Overall it's absolute love for Orage and it has gone straight into my favourite nail polish stash.

    I bought this from House of Fraser.

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  • 09/30/14--14:08: Dior Manicure Essentials
  • I spoke of my love for Dior's Top Coat Abricot a while back here, and since then I've been using a few other bits from their manicure range.

    Gel Coat
    Quite a few brands are coming out with gel like formulas, and Dior's offering is a lovely gel top coat that perfects the look of the polish underneath. This is a little bit thicker than the Top Coat Abricot but has a similar glide over the nails that is great for polishes that don't apply so well as it smooths the finish of the colour underneath.
    This prolongs the wear of my polish a bit longer than the Top Coat Abricot but does not dry through quickly, so I only use this if I have time to spend on my nails.
    It's very shiny (maybe a touch less then Shellac), but as a top coat it works well to keep nails looking perfect for longer.

    Diorlisse 500 in Pink Petal
    This is a ridge filler/base coat with a subtle hint of natural nude pink that slightly smooths the look of the nails. Even though I use this as a base coat, I like it more on it's own as it gives a lovely naturally polished look.

    Top Coat Abricot
    This is my 3rd bottle of this top coat (4th if I count the old version) and I don't see myself switching  anytime soon, for me this is pretty much HG status. It's shiny, dries fast, doesn't peel, prolongs colour wear and has minimal shrinkage. It does get gloopy towards the end of the bottle, but not as bad a Seche vite which goes gloopy halfway through. With Dior I can use up the whole bottle even when it gets a bit gloopy as the formula is quite forgiving. 

    Dissolvant Abricot
    This one was a bit of an impulse buy from Escentual as I was stocking up on other bits and curiousity got the better of me. This chic little 50ml bottle is a decent enough polish remover, but certainly not worth the price I paid as most drugstore brands do the same job. I would say some stubborn formulas take a bit more work then even a cheaper brand. I'm sticking with the excellent Zoya Remove + which I've just repurchased the salon size bottle.

    Overall Dior's manicure range is a strong one, most of the products are repurchase-worthy, the star amongst them being the Top Coat Apricot.