Sunday, 30 January 2011

I Need Help! Please Help Me Choose My Next Mascara!

Hi ladies - I have a challenge for you today and I need your advice.  For the past few months  I've been using Inimitable Intense Mascara by Chanel.  I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it, but it's finally beginning to dry up, so it's time to choose my next mascara.


I had a rummage in my beauty drawer which contains unopened products and backups - I knew I had a couple of unopened mascaras in there - I was gobsmacked to find seven, yes SEVEN unused backup mascaras!  I had no idea I had so many. 


Four of them are full-sized mascaras: Avon Supershock, Eyeko Big Eyes and No. 7 Exceptional Definition, along with a freebe from a magazine.  I'm going to give to free one to Give and Makeup, but I've heard good things about all the other ones, so I'm excited to try them out.  I know I bought the Eyeko and No. 7 mascaras myself, but I think the Avon Supershock was a gift.


I also have three decent sized mini mascaras that were gifts with purchases: Lancome Hypnose Precious Cells, No. 7 Lash 360 and Clinique High Impact Mascara.  I've used the Lash 360 before, but I've not tried the others.  I think I'm going to take one of these on holiday with me in March - I just have to decide which.

So ladies, I want your advice.  Which full-size mascara shall I try next, and which mini shall I take on holiday with me?  I'm really interested to hear your thoughts if you've tried, loved or loathed any of these. 

For your information, my lashes are long but have no curl to them, they don't hold a curl at all, and are currently in a natural, un-tinted and un-permed state, so I have lots of lighter lashes I need to cover up. 

Please help me if you can!  Thanks for reading, and for your wisdom!  xx

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Beauty Diet Update – How am I Doing?

Well I’m nearly a month into my Beauty Diet and Project 15 Pan and I have a few updates for you.  I’ve used up my Liz Earle shampoo and conditioner, and finished both of my facial exfoliators.  I was sad to use up the shampoo and conditioner, as I really rated both products, despite initially taking a few goes to get to grips with the shampoo.  I won’t do a review of these here, as they’ve been a popular choice with the blogging community and I’m sure you’ve read any reviews on them.  Suffice to say,  I will be repurchasing them in the future, and I cut the tube of conditioner to get three extra applications from it.  I was hoping that the exfoliators, along with a dermabrasion scrub I have would last me until the end of February.  However, I clearly didn’t have as much as I thought left, so I’ve finally finished my ‘bad’ exfoliators after about 6 months of use. 


Before I started my Beauty Diet, I did have two Christmas gift sets on order from The Sanctuary (at £9 each, they were a bargain).  They both contain facial scrubs, and I can nick my boyfriends facial scrub which I love, so I'm not going to run out any time soon! 


One of my goals was to not buy any shower gels for a whole year.  I thought that this would be a tough challenge.  However, we’re nearly at the end of January and I’m still on my first shower gel, which wasn’t a large bottle,  and I usually have two showers a day!  At this rate, this challenge is going to be a piece of cake!  


I try to use up my ‘worst’ shower gels first, so at the end of the year I’m left with my most luxurious.  I chose what I assumed to be a cheap and chemically shower gel I received in a gift set at Christmas, toffee apple body wash.  However, I’m seriously impressed with my choice!  It smells lovely, it produces loads of lovely thick suds, and despite its bright blue colour, it doesn’t irritate my skin at all (something I’m prone to).  The gift set I received it in also contained a chocolate shower gel, a toffee apple and a chocolate body lotion, a soap that looks and smells like chocolate and a sponge that looks like a piece of chocolate cake.  I had assumed it was a very cheap pressie, but clearly I was wrong.  Looking at the packaging, it is a Boots product, so I can’t wait to try out the other bits in the gift set.

I’ve nearly finished using up two body moisturisers, which I already had on the go before I began this challenge, but I’m not quite there.   I’ve been trying to moisturise my body every night before bed, but I have slipped a few times.

In terms of my spending, I haven’t been completely saintly, but I’ve been pretty good.  I did purchase Across the Universe nail polish by Deborah Lippmann (£16), but after the lengths I went to get it, I’ll forgive myself that!  I also purchased 8 bottles of Diet Coke to take advantage of Nails Inc polishes offer.  Although this cost just over £9, I do drink lots of Diet Coke, so I don’t actually count this as breaking my Beauty Diet!  I have also spent all my boots points (around £18) – it’s astonishing how many essentials I’ve needed this month – everything seems to have run out at the same time.  Toothpaste, deodorant, cotton wool, plasters, paracetamol, tampons, savlon and I’ve no points left! 

Today I took the decision to buy some products in Boots that I really needed.  First of all I got some Flexitol Heal Balm, as my feet are currently in a terrible state, and have got to the stage where they are actually painful.  I have inherited bad feet from my Mother, and I’m not pleased!  If there was one part of my body I could swap, it would definitely be my feet.  I also purchased some Scholl Skin Softening Cream, as I find that this also works a treat.  I’ve no idea why I got both products – I just couldn’t chose I suppose. 


I also decided to buy some new shampoo.  Once I’d finished my Liz Earle, I moved onto a some bottles of shampoo and conditioner from The White Company.  However, they did absolutely nothing for my hair.  The shampoo smelt like an old fashioned perfume (not in a good way) and the conditioner didn’t penetrate my hair at all.  I decided that I couldn’t stand a whole month of using them!  I’m going to leave them at my parent’s house next time I visit as ‘emergency’ shampoo and conditioner, as I’m frequently in London overnight, but I like to travel light and usually never bring either product.  As neither of my parents use conditioner, if I do decide I need to wash my hair, I usually end up having to buy a full sized bottle (hence the conditioner mountain). 

I bought a shampoo by Naked.  I’ve not tried this brand before, but I’ve seen some rave reviews from other bloggers, so I thought I’d give it a go, particularly as it’s free of parabens, sulphate, nasties etc.  It cost a very reasonable £4.06, although there was a 2 for £6 offer on in Boots (which I resisted).  I’ve no idea why I bought the shampoo for long and straight hair.  Although my hair is now shoulder length, it’s far from straight.  I think something took leave of my senses in Boots today...

So, I’ve slipped a bit – I’ve spent around £30 on essentials and one luxury purchase and another £9 on Diet Coke (with free nail polish) and £18 worth of Boots points.  That’s actually quite a lot of money and it makes me realise how much I usually fritter away on beauty bits and pieces.  I’m not going to be too hard on myself in February, as I’ll definitely want to get some things in preparation for my holidays.  However, I hope to not buy any beauty products until my payday on 26th February. 

I will update separately on my Project 15 Pan.  Sorry for rambling on! Thanks for reading!  xx

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Angela Langford Natural and Organic Skincare Products - My Thoughts

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for ages, but I suppose it’s better late than never!  You may remember that way back in November I decided to trial some Angela Langford Natural and Organic Skincare Products after I received some free tester products following a blog promotion.  I received Sweet Cheeks Daily Facial Wash, Perfect Pores, Anti-Ageing, Plumping & Pore-Perfecting Specialist Face Serum and Balanced & Beautiful Kiwi & Rosehip Face Oil, which were personally selected by Angela based on the information I’d sent her based on my skin.  Angela also sent me information sheets on all the products and a little note about why she’d selected them.

Well, I’ve now used up all the products, so it’s finally time for me to review them...






Firstly, I really liked Sweet Cheeks Daily Facial Wash.  It has a fresh, almost lemony smell, amongst other natural aromas.  I found that it cleaned my face really well without being at all drying or giving and feelings of tightness, which was essential as I was using this in the freezing November and December we had.  The little bottle I received lasted almost a month, so I could see a larger bottle being pretty good value at £15.45 for 100ml.

The second product I tried, I absolutely loved.  It was the Perfect Pores, Anti-Ageing, Plumping & Pore-Perfecting Specialist Face Serum – sounds like a tongue-twister doesn’t it?  This worked very well with my skin.  Just a couple of pumps were needed to cover my whole face and neck, as the formula is slippy.  I find that my skin soaks up some serums straight away, and they don’t tend to have any moisturising effect.  However, this serum seemed to be soaked up by my skin AND to moisturise – just what I’m looking for in a serum, personally.  There was no stinging or irritation from this serum, something I do find with some brands.  I’ve also found that my skin is looking good after using this.  I’m always sceptical of anything that claims to be anti-ageing (but I live in hope), but I do think that the minor lines I have seem to be less visible, and my skin is looking more ‘plumped’ so that’s a very good thing! 

Like all of Angela’s products I’ve tried, it has a natural and organic smell – there’s nothing synthetic of perfumed about it.  It has an almost nostalgic smell, reminding me of when I used to mash up flower petals in water to make ‘perfume’ when I was a little girl!  I’ve already re-purchased a full-size of this serum.  The current price is £26.55, which is very reasonable for such a nice product.

The final product was the Balanced & Beautiful Kiwi & Rosehip Face Oil.  I was looking forward to trying this, as I had enjoyed using facial oils in my teenage years, but hadn’t used one since.  At first, though, I didn’t get on with it at all!  I found that although it left my skin feeling soft and very well-moisturised, and not at all oily, it didn’t work at all as a makeup base, and I found my foundation slipping pretty quickly after applying it.  I tried using a primer, but it didn’t seem to make much difference.  I do generally wear a pretty heavy foundation, concealer and powder combo, so it may work better if you keep your base much lighter. I also found that if I got some of the oil on my lips, it would give me an unpleasant taste for about an hour. 

However, I have been won over by this oil.  During the freezing weather, I found that using it in the evenings as a substitute for a night cream really helped to sort out my skin and keep it moisturised and flake-free.  I also tried using it underneath a normal day moisturiser, and that seemed to sort out the makeup slippage problem, whilst giving an impressive amount of moisturising.  So despite my initial issues with this, I have been totally won over.  I would also add that my little sample lasted for ages – I only ran out of it a couple of weeks ago, despite using it at least once at day.­­­­­­ At £22.55 for a full size 25ml bottle, I think this is excellent value, and I’ve got this on my list to repurchase.

I think this range of products is a great discovery.  I love the fact that you get a personal service from the products’ creator, that it is an independent, and for me, a local brand and the fact that the products are natural and organic with no nasties.  I do think that it’s important to support local and independent beauty brands, particularly those that produce really nice and innovative products.  I’ve really liked the products I’ve tried so far, despite the issues I initially had with the oil.  I was sent a couple more samples free when I ordered the full sized serum, so I’m looking forward to trying them out as well.  You can still receive your own free samples from the range, you just have to cover the postage and packaging charge.

Do you have any favourite local or independent beauty discoveries?

Thanks for reading! xx

Saturday, 15 January 2011

I take it back...

OK, it appears that you can now buy some, but not all the Deborah Lippmann polishes online from House of Fraser here.  You couldn't buy them before online.



Across the Universe is not in stock and Happy Birthday is not there.  I'm quite lusting Marquee Moon, but then I love Television and it's one of my favourite songs.  Must resist!

NOTD - Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe

Well, after the saga of getting hold of this polish, the stunning Across the Universe by Deborah Lippmann, I've now had a chance to apply it - what do you think?






It's a beautiful polish, that builds up layer upon layer to create a stunning, multi-dimensional glitter look.  The first coat was very thin, with sparse glitter and a transparent black/blue coloured base.  However, I kept painting on layers to get the effect you  can see, with the glitter appearing to recede to give the 'galaxy' effect and the base coat darkening to an opaque midnight blue.  I think this is four layers, but I could've got away with three.  I painted my nails in poor, artificial light, and initially I wasn't happy with the results.  However, when I saw the effect this morning in daylight, I totally changed my mind and I love it!

The polish was easy to work with and apply, the brush was manouverable and it dried relatively quickly.  However, I do appear to have some duvet-smudged nails, but I think this is because I painted so many layers on. I should've added a top coat before taking the pics.

I'm very pleased I bought this, and I can see that this will be a favourite for special occasions and when I just need a bit of glamorous glitter.  I did break my beauty diet to buy this, but I'm going to forgive myself for that, as I've been searching for it for two months!  It cost £16.

Deborah Lippmann polishes are supposedly available at House of Fraser Apothecarys across the country.  They were in stock in the Victoria Street branch in London, and Charlie reports that they are in stock in Exeter.  I'd advise ringing first before making a special trip to get one though.

Thanks for reading!  xx

Friday, 14 January 2011

It's Only Available in London...

WARNING - this is a bit of rant!

I've recently been on a bit of a quest to get my hands on Across the Universe, the beautiful nail polish by Deborah Lippmann.  These were 'apparently' available in House of Fraser Apothecary departments throughout the country.  However, I have been to House of Frasers in Bath, Bristol, Cardiff (hello - Cardiff is a Capital City) and finally Victoria Street in London before I managed to get my hands on it today.  It wasn't available online, so this has been a bit of a mission.


I'm lucky that I work all over the country, so I haven't made a special trip to any of these stores other than the one in Bristol.  However, it has made me think about the London-centric attitude of the beauty industry.  Admittedly, the availability of products around the country has improved vastly over recent years, and with internet shopping, ladies all over the country can get products delivered to their door.  However, so many products are still launched exclusively at London stores before the rest of the nation is allowed to buy them.  I mean, can I buy Illamasqua in Bristol?  I can't - they don't sell it anywhere, despite having Debenhams, Harvey Nicks, HoF and John Lewis.  And how many products are exclusive to Selfridges (especially Chanel)?  A lot, and there is no Selfridges near me. Bristol was terrible for shopping before Cabot Circus opened, but it's certainly a lot better now.  Before I moved to Bristol, I lived in Brighton which is great  for shopping and easy to go for a shopping trip to London as well, and I grew up in London, so I was spoilt for choice then.

As I've said before, I do frequently visit central London for work - it sometimes feel like I commute to London daily - so this doesn't necessarily apply to me.  However, I realise that I am very lucky that my work pays for my jaunts to browse high end beauty products.  And I should add that I don't take the p**s with work time either - I pop in to Selfridges or Illamasqua or HoF on what would be my lunch break.  However, despite Bristol being relatively close to London and quick to get to, it's still extremely expensive to go for a quick shopping trip.  You wouldn't pay upwards of £70 in travel/parking to go shopping in your local town centre - you're likely to draw the line at £10 I reckon. 

Quite frankly, why should we have to go to London to buy certain products?  They should be available everywhere.  There are probably plently of beauty addicts living in the Scottish highlands and other remote parts of the nation who are prepared to part with the cash to buy high end cosmetics.  It's not an easy thing to hop on a train and travel several hundred miles just to buy a particular lipstick.

I suppose that this is the beauty of blogs and in particular, swatches.  Many websites are notoriously unreliable for swatches, so at least seeing other bloggers' experiences and photographs of products allows you to purchase online without being totally blind.  Whilst this is great, nothing beats swatching a product in person, particularly when it's very expensive, and I don't want to go to London to do that!

Anyway, if you do live in London, I'm jealous of you having lots of beauty delights on your doorstep - I just think they should be available elsewhere as well.  Being a 'proper' Londoner myself, although now in exile, the London-centric nature of things has taken a bit of time to dawn on me, despite working in the retail property industry (hence my frequent visits to London!).  Anyway, sorry for my rant!  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?  Is it because all the beauty companies are based in the big smoke?

Quick Weight Loss Update

Hi everyone.  Just wanted to do a quick weight loss post, as I've not had a chance to do any 'proper' blogging this week - I've been so manic and have spent the last 3 days in London without good internet access.

I weighed in on Monday and the good news is, I'm down 2lb! 

That's in the right direction and on target so far.  I was so full of good intentions this week for exercise.  However, I stubbed my toe VERY BADLY on Monday and could hardly walk on Tuesday - at first I thought I'd broken my toe.  It's still very swollen and bruised, but I can now walk without too much pain.  However, my intention to go out running has been put back a few days, as I don't want to push it!  The last few days have been spent lugging a massive suitcase around London (if you've been commuting and seen a woman limping a bit and then getting stuck in the tube barrier time and time again - it was probably me!).  I've probably had more exercise the last three days than the week before, but my eating habits have been more erratic.

I've decided to follow the new Weight Watcher Pro Points plan.  I have serious doubts about it because I seem to be eating far more than usual.  I liked following the old points plan; it worked for me and I chose really healthy options.  However, I do seem to have more flexibility with the Pro Points plan, as I can eat more fruit when I'm hungry.  I'm willing to give it a go for a couple of months and see how I do.

I am worried that if I don't step up my exercise, I'll hit a weight loss plateau.  I've broken through my psychologic weight barrier (10 stone) and am now a few pounds under that barrier.  I basically haven't been as light as I am currently for about ten years.  Although that's really good, I remember I was never happy with my weight in my early twenties, and I struggled to lose any more without a serious committment to exercise.  I have weighed as little as 9 stone, but I was 18 at the time and ran 5 miles a day then! 

I know that genetics and body type is a factor in how much weight you can actually lose, so to get to 9 stone or less (which is my goal) now will be a difficult achievement.  However, genetically, I have exactly the same body type as both my sisters, who both weigh between 8 to 8.5 stone.  I think they've been blessed with much faster metabolisms than me... However, they are both curvey, but slim at the same time.  So, as far as I see it, there's no reason for me not to be at or slightly under 9 stone genetically.  It's down to me being lazy in cooking and exercise!

So the plan for the weekend is to do quite a bit of walking, and then next week, to start to do some running.  I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with running.  I love it when I can run several miles and it's the best exercise for weight loss.  However, I get frustrated when I'm starting off training and often push myself too hard.  I've also had many running related injuries over the years which have stopped me training over and over again.  A physio once told me that I had a terrible skeleton for running, but it was only due to my mega inner-thigh muscle control which prevented me from getting seriously injured!  I took that as a complement!

Are you doing a post-Christmas exercise or diet challenge?  How's it going?

Thanks for reading!  xx

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Beauty Diet and Project 15 Pan Update

Just a quick update to show you all the empties I've accumulated over the last week - there's quite a few of them!  These were all products I already had on the go and most only had one application left, but I made a concious effort to actually use them up so rather than them taking up space, they can be recycled.  You will see that I do try to use up all the products, so I've taken the scissors to one of the tubes!


Also finished is my Hello Kitty shower get - that's lasted almost two months!  I'm not sure whether to keep the bottle (which was completely impractical but looks cute) or to chuck it.  It was a pressie from Mr TBBB and it is cute, but I am a woman in my 30s, so how much do I really need it in my life?  I'm not a Hello Kitty devotee, so perhaps I should chuck it...hmmm.


Well ladies, you will be proud of me.  I have undertaken not one, but two trips where shopping temptation was shoved in my face, but I was strong and resisted!  On Friday I had to go to Cardiff city centre for work - no meetings or anything, I just needed some photos and to check the location of a couple of shops.  I don't know Cardiff very well, but whilst I was wandering around, I spotted House of Fraser.  I'm on a mission to get my hands on Across The Universe nail polish from Deborah Lippmann sold in their Apocatherie section, so without even thinking about it I popped in.  However, like the Bristol and Bath HoF, they didn't have any Lippmann polishes, so I left empty handed.  I did have to storm past the Tom Ford counter and slip out a side door because, although I've made loads of comments that I wouldn't shell out £36 for a Tom Ford lippy, in reality, I so would!  Yesterday my friend asked me to go round the charity shops with her to pick up any bargains.  I did spot a brand new tunic from Next that was very 'me' for £8.  However, I resisted and I only forked out a fiver on my lunch.

I did have £18 worth of Boots points, which I thought would keep me going for ages in essentials.  However I now have less than a tenner left after buying essentials I needed: earplugs, tampons, savlon, ibruprofen and lunch one day (bad girl).  I don't think I need any more bits this week though.



I've been making a big effort to use up the makeup products I selected for Project 15 Pan.  I can see that some will be easier to use up than others!  I'm getting through my foundations and face powder, but eyeliner really does last forever, despite going for a kohl-heavy look everyday this week!  I've also been sporting a fetching blue eyeshadow look daily, which is completely destroyed by lunchtime as the Elf Eyelid Primer I'm using up doesn't work at all with my eyes!  Hopefully some of them will run out soon...

Thanks for reading!  xx

Sample Sunday - The Body Shop Papaya Body Scrub

When I was a teenager, I used to regularly buy body scrubs from The Body Shop, but they were slightly budget busting, so I stopped buying them when I hit my twenties, and haven't bought any since, although I'm sure I'd find them much more reasonable now.  I was lucky enough to get sample sachets of different body scrubs when I won Computer Girl's giveaway last year, and I decided to try out the Papaya scrub today.


The first thing I noticed was the wonderful, fruity smell.  Whilst I wouldn't have chosen a fruity smell myself, it was very pleasant and not at all over-powering or artificial.  The scrub itself was very 'scrubby', which I personally really like.  There was enough in the packet to scrub my arms, legs and chest, so plenty in there for a full-body application. 

The packet says that it contains 'papaya seed oil to moisturise'.  I was slightly apprehensive about this, as I generally dislike scrubs which leave a residue, or oil behind.  I prefer to moisturise separately, and I just want a scrub to scrub!  But I didn't have to worry - my skin felt very soft afterwards, but there was no residue left on my skin, so this is definitely a product which needs an additional moisturiser - a good thing!

So this one gets a Bristol Beauty Blog thumbs up.  I'm pleased to note that there are a couple more samples of Body Shop body scrubs in my sample stash and I also received a full size Body Shop body scrub for Christmas, so I can get back into the habit of using them. 

Do you prefer 'scrubby' body scrubs, or the ones which moisturise as well?

Thanks for reading!  xx

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Mac Creme Cup and All That Glitters

This post is a bit belated, but back in November I was lucky enough to win Julie's fantastic giveaway which was for a Mac lipstick and eyeshadow of my choice.  What a great giveaway, and thank you very much Julie!  You should go and look at her fab blog, Musings of a Make Up Maniac if you've not seen it before.


I chose Creme Cup lipstick and All That Glitters eyeshadow as my prizes.

Taken with flash - this is a more accurate colour than without

Creme Cup, with a clear gloss over the top

Creme Cup is a lovely, almost sheer, pinky colour - it's girly without being too 'Barbie'. I think it'll be a perfect shade for spring and summer, although I have been wearing over the Christmas holidays as well.  It's a Cremesheen lipstick - this is the first Mac Cremesheen lipstick I've owned.  I've seen a few blog articles saying that Cremesheen lippies have a tendancy to melt and mis-shape in the summer.  Have you had this problem?


Despite its name, All That Glitters is not a glittery eyeshadow.  It's a pretty beige colour, tending towards golden, and it does have a sheen on the eye.  It's a very useful, everyday colour that I've been getting plenty of use from.  Like all Mac shadows, its quality is excellent, and it lasts a long time without creasing.

With flash - All That Glitters (top) Creme Cup (bottom)

Without flash - All That Glitters (top) Creme Cup (bottom)

I'm really pleased that I chose both of these colours.  Both are useful, everyday shades that I know I'll get plenty of wear from, rather than a dramatic or outlandish colour that I'd use once in a blue moon!  So thank you so much Julie for having the giveaway!

Thanks for reading!  xx

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Clinique Strawberry Fudge Holiday Palette

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of Clinique eyeshadows.  I think they're often overlooked in the blogging world, and as they're such good quality, I'm thinking of starting a one-woman mission to promote them!

Anyway, I had £20 worth of Debenhams Beauty Points just before Christmas so I decided to treat myself to either the Clinique Strawberry Fudge Holiday Palette, or the Lancome L'Wren Scott Palette.  The L'Wren Scott Palette was sold out, so I went for the Clinique one, and I'm so glad I did.


The palette contains a pink blush and three eyeshadow shades.  There's a light pink, a darker berry pink and an unusual brown colour, with a hint of pink in it.  In the pan, the eyeshadow shades look pretty, but nothing special.  But when swatched and on the eye, they transform into the most gorgeous colours.  In particular, the lighter pink colour is shot through with a golden shimmer which adds a new dimension to the eyes. I've included a few pictures of the swatches in different lights so you can see the golden shimmer effect.





I've been using the lighter pink over the lid, the darker berry pink in the crease and the brown for eyeliner and even for my brows.  The colours are so easy to use and very wearable, despite the shimmer - I've been using this almost everyday since I bought it and did my Christmas day eyes with it.

I'm not that impressed by the blusher, but I'm not a fan of Clinique blushers generally, so I didn't expect to be.  It's a perfectly useful pink blush, but it doesn't wow me.  The palette is beautifully and solidly packaged and comes with a reasonable couple of brushes (fine for travelling) and a decent mirror.

At £25, this may be a little steep, but if you have £20 of points sloshing around, it's a bargain!  If you can still get your hands on it, I'd highly recommend it.  I did end up getting the  L'Wren Scott palette as well (that was with Advantage Points and before my beauty diet) and I'm less impressed with it.  I'll review it separately later, but in my opinion, the Clinique palette is far better value, better quality and my top pick!

Thanks for reading!  xx

Monday, 3 January 2011

Beach Bum and Bikini Count Down

OK, so I was going to go on a post-Christmas diet anyway, but now I've booked my holiday, the diet is now urgent!

We were planning to go to America for two weeks in March and go to the New Orelans Mardi Gras and then to Austin for a music festival.  Once we started looking to book it properly, the prices were getting ridiculous, so we had a bit of a rethink.  In the end we settled for booking an all inclusive holiday at a 4* beach resort in Cuba - a completely different type of holiday, but actually less than half the price of visiting the states (and much less hassle as well - I was not looking forward to going through customs). 


I'm actually looking forward to going to Cuba more than I was to going to America - now it's booked I can't wait!

However, as it's a beach resort, this gives me just under 9 weeks to get bikini ready - aggghhh!  I'm sure I've put back on all the weight I lost in the weight loss challenge over the Christmas period!  I'm also going to have to spend some of the money I've saved (and will continue to save by doing my Beauty Diet and Project 15 Pan) to buy some bikinis.  I own only one black tankini thing, and it's 5 years old - I don't really do beach holidays.  Also, as I am rather blessed in the boob department, I have to buy bikinis at Bravissimo or expensive department stores, so they're not the cheapest either.

Anyway, once I've weighed myself tomorrow morning, I'm starting a new diet and exercise challenge.  The thought of spending two weeks in bikinis is shocking me into getting on with it!  I'm planning to lose a stone in the 9 weeks I have left.  I'm not going to run a challenge like I did  before Christmas, but I know a lot of you are also kick-starting the diet, so good luck to you all!

I'm going to do some posts on my weight loss progress in case you're interested.  It's back to Weight Watchers for me!

Are you also on a post-Christmas diet?  What are your goals?

Thanks for reading!  xx

The Beauty Diet Reboot Part Two - Makeup, Project 15 Pan

Yesterday I embarked on a new Beauty Diet for a new year and focussed on my toiletries.  Today I'm going to address my makeup items, which are spiralling out of control. 

I’ve decided that I have so much makeup, I’m going to do take up the Project 10 Pan idea.  Only I’m going to expand it a bit to Project 15 Pan and I’m going to totally finish all the products included before buying anymore.  Some of them have already hit pan, but there’s still loads left, so I’m not going to waste them!



The products included are:

Mac Prep + Prime face primer
No 7 Organza eye palette
A random No 7 eye shadow sample
A Clinique blusher with a broken case
Rimmel kohl eyeliner
Chanel Inimitable Intense mascara
Elf minty lipgloss in Boston
Elf eyelid primer
No 7 liplicious lipgloss
Rimmel pressed powder
Revlon Photoready Foundation
Elf concealer palette
NYC Perfect and Reflect concealer palette
No 7 Intelligent Colour Foundation
No 7 Colour Calming Makeup Base

I find it really hard to use up certain makeup products.  I don’t remember the last time I used up a lipstick, I hardly ever finish an eyeshadow and I rarely make a dent into my blushers.  Foundations, concealers and powders I tend to get through fairly quickly, so I’m confident that I’ll finish these soon.

I’ve put all the products included in this challenge in their own makeup bag that will become my bag of choice.  There are some new products coming out later in the spring that I really want.  However, I’m not buying them until the Project 15 Pan is completed and I will be strict with myself.  I won’t be buying any more makeup products until this is completed, and that includes my major weakness, nail polishes.  I certainly don’t need any more of them!

I will be updating regularly with how my challenge is progressing.  Are you thinking of doing something similar?

Thanks for reading! xx

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Sample Sunday - Chanel Hydramax + Active Serum

I received this sample in the summer from Chanel when I joined in the mad rush to purchase Paradoxal, but I'd not tried it out until this week.  I've been using it for a few days now, but it is Sunday, and it was a sample, so I think it qualifies for my Sample Sunday review.


According to the Boots website:

"An ultra-hydrating serum for dry or very dry skin goes to the source of skin's hydration needs. At the heart of the formula: CERATONIA PFA* powerfully stimulates hydration; a Hydrabarrier System™ locks it in, resulting in healthy-looking, smooth, supple skin. Enriched with Aquaperfyl™, a complex of moisture-boosting components, this silky serum sinks in on contact for immediate dry-skin relief."
 
 By the way, the Chanel website says pretty much the same thing.  

I thought that this would be an excellent winter serum, a little treat for me with the cold weather currently playing havoc with my skin.  However, so far, I've not been very impressed with this at all.  I generally find that posh serums can usually be used very sparingly.  That's not the case with this serum - I need about the same amount to thoroughly moisturise my face as I do with my usual No 7 Protect and Perfect serum.  I've nearly finished the 5ml tube having only used it about 4 times, whereas I got nearly a month's worth of application from the Murad serum sample I tried last year.
 
The Hydramax Active Serum is a slightly medicinal blue colour (and inoffensive chemically smell) and it also slightly stings my face when I apply it, although not as badly as the Murad serum did.  It sinks in pretty well, but it doesn't make my skin feel particularly well moisturised; infact, on the moisturising front, I'm disappointed with this serum.  It doesn't make much difference at all.  I'd rather be using a cheaper and better moisturiser rather than this expensive one which doesn't seem to do much at all.  My skin feels no better and there are no visible anti-aging benefits I've noticed.

If you clicked through to the Boots website, you'll have seen the price of a 50ml bottle.  Yes, it's a gobsmackingly expensive £70!!!  That's a huge price for a product which I think is distinctly average. 

So I'm sorry Chanel, but this gets a Bristol Beauty Blog thumbs down.  It's too expensive, doesn't go a long way, doesn't suit my skin and isn't very moisturising.

Thanks for reading!  xx

The Beauty Diet Reboot for 2011 – Part One, Toiletries

You may remember that last year I tried to use up lots of beauty products I had kicking around in an attempt to save money and to rid myself of lots of half empty bottles and make some space in my cupboards.  It was all going so well... I made big inroads into my moisturiser stash (which was once at an overwhelming 38 moisturisers), I finally used up one of my evil exfoliators, and I didn’t buy myself a single shower gel for the whole of 2010 (I’m just using up the very last mini bottle of shower gel from last year).  Woohoo, I had some space in my cupboard and was feeling cleansed. 

But then I started to slip a bit... I just ignored my restriction on buying makeup, splashed out at Origins one day, and began to buy more bits.  I realised I had four different face washes on the go, three exfoliators (and I only really like one of them), two face masques, and a load of half used body lotions floating around.

These are just shower gels/bubble baths

These are all my body lotions, butters, foot and hand creams

And then the Christmas smellies haul came.  At first I thought that it hadn’t been a good Christmas for beauty bits.  But I tried to put them all away in my cupboards (and the Christmas smellies were swelled with some bargain sale gift sets by this time, with more on order as I type this), I realised that I was back to square one.  A quick tot up reveals the following stash, some of which I already had:

11 shower gels/bubble baths (same difference as I use bubble bath in the shower)
4  body scrubs
4 bath puff thingies and 1 sponge (I did need a new bath puff anyway)
8 soaps and 1 liquid soap
11 body lotions *
4 body butters *
4 hand creams *
2 foot creams *
4 face washes on the go
3 facial scrubs on the go
One shampoo and conditioner on the go, two conditioners in reserve, and a further shampoo and conditioner set
A whole load of half used haircare products (some of which should really go in the bin)
A whole load of half used moisturisers, serums, oils and random samples
Two half used gradual self tanners and one full sized fake tan
I also have loads of samples of eyemakeup remover as well as two full sized bottles
Sample stash – ever growing again, despite my Sample Sunday efforts last year.

* These are unused lotions, butters and creams – I have more on the go as well.

I’ve managed to fit most of these in my cupboards, just about.  All my body creams have been relegated to a (large) box somewhere else as they simply wouldn’t fit it!  I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed by them all again, so I thought I’d restart the Beauty Diet to challenge myself to get through them all and stop buying any new things unless I need them.  So here are my challenges for the upcoming months:

Shower gels – Use up all the ones I have and not buy any new ones for another whole year!  This is a very tough challenge, but there are some very large bottles there, so I hope to meet it.  I also know I’ll acquire various shower gels over the year from hotels I stay in and maybe for my birthday, so it may be possible.

Body scrubs – actually get into the habit of using these regularly and use them up.

Body creams/lotions – continue with my daily moisturising to reduce the huge stash I have.  I want to get to as near as zero as possible by the end of the year.

Face washes – I’ve got 4 on the go, although not much of any of them left.  I need to actually use these up before buying any more.  I’m hoping that what I have left will last me until the end of February before buying any more.

Facial scrubs – With three on the go, I need to actually use them up.  One is meh, one is OK and the other is a dermabrasion scrub that I only use occasionally.  So I hope the meh and OK one will last me to the end of February before I need to buy any more.

Shampoo and conditioner – I think I’ve got enough shampoo to last me until the end of February (but possibly not), so I’m going to try to stretch it to then.  I reckon I’ve got enough conditioner until the end of April, so I’m not buying any more until then.

Facial Moisturiser etc – I’m not going to be super-strict with moisturisers as I do have sensitive skin and certain things react badly to me.  Also I change products dependent on the weather.  However, I think I have enough products to last me until the end of March, when I’ll probably be looking for a lighter moisturiser anyway by then. 

Eyeshadow remover – I think I’ve enough of this to last me until the end of March.

Haircare products – I’m going to sort these out, bin any horrible products (and actually do it), and use up the ones I currently have.  I’m nearly out of Moroccan Oil, but I’m not going to buy anymore until I’ve used everything else up, so if I want it, I’ll have to ration it!  I’ve got some pricey L’Oreal Professional bits that I haven’t even used, so I will use these first.

Fake tanners – In 2010 I didn’t use any fake tan at all.  I know I should probably chuck out the fake tans I do have, but I’m tempted to see if they are OK still.  It might be my New Year’s resolution to be tanned and gorgeous! 

Samples – Yes Sample Sunday is back on... starting today!  A post will follow shortly.

So there are my challenges for the year for toiletries.  You probably all have the same problems as me, keeping on top of your stash, and I know that some of you are also challenging yourself to a similar challenge – good luck if you are!  For me, I have such limited space in the flat and I’m a bit of a neat freak, so I do get a bit anxious if my products are spilling out everywhere – it unsettles me! 

I also need to save some money.  We’re planning a big and expensive holiday to America at the beginning of March, so I need to save the pennies for the trip.  You will see that many of my challenges end around then, so hopefully I won’t need to buy any more products until I’ve saved for the holiday.  So this challenge is tied in with not spending any money until March. I’m also planning a clothes shopping ban until then, a book shopping ban (well maybe not, I have some Amazon vouchers still), a buying lunch from a shop ban, a buying nice coffee ban, and a makeup ban.  But I’ll take about my makeup plans in a separate post to come...

For things I do need, I have £18 worth of Boots points on my card.  I did have £75 worth of points, but I spent most of that treating myself over Christmas.  I reckon this will cover essentials for the next couple of months.  If I need something, I’ll buy it, but I won’t be randomly spending.

I intend to update this challenge weekly so that I stay on track.  I will be confessing any occasions I fall off the wagon!

Have you had a good Christmas haul of smellies?  Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount you have as well?  Let me know if you’re contemplating a similar challenge!

Thanks for reading (my very rambling) post!  xx

Saturday, 1 January 2011

NYE Nails of the Day - Accessorize Shade 38

I picked up this Accessorize nail polish whilst out shopping the other day.  It's shade 38 and it cost a very reasonable £4 for such a gorgeous colour.  It's like a glittery peacock, combining green, purple and blue shades, like the colours of petrol mixed in water.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be my New Year Eve nail polish.






I must say that I don't like the application at all.  The brush is too stubby and difficult to work with and it's really hard to apply.  I also hate the quality of the polish.  Within a few hours of application, I had a horrible chip on my other hand and have since developed a few more, despite using a good quality top coat.  I've also found that another shade of Accessorize polish I have chips really badly (which is why I haven't bothered doing a NOTD on it yet).

Saying that, my left hand has remained intact for photography purposes and still looks pretty good.  I used a ridge filler as a base coat, two coats of Shade 38 and a top coat.  Drying time was ages as well.

So, on the plus side, I love the colour (and there is a good range of other unusual colours), but I hate the application and the quality is awful.  For £4, there are much better quality polishes out there, but if you fall in love with one of the colours, it's not too much to pay for a cheap polish that'll just about last 24 hours.

Have you tried these polishes yet?  Have you had better experiences than me?

Thanks for reading!  xx

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