Monday, 31 October 2011

October Empties

I cannot believe that October is over!  It's shocking how quickly this year has gone!  Anyway, for the first time ever, I've collected all my empties for the month, so that I can do an empties post.

I got through quite a bit this month!

Hair care

James Brown Photo Fabulous Intensive Treatment
James Brown Photo Fabulous Moisturising Conditioner - a review of both these products is to come shortly. I wasn't really wowed by either product, but for some reason I've accidentally repurchased both!  Whoops!

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Shampoo - this was in my travel kit and I brought it back from holiday.  I've always quite liked it.
Umberto Giannini Calm Curls Shampoo - I hated this, rubbish product, stupid and fidly packaging, couldn't use it up fast enough, will not repurchase!
Umberto Giannini Flirty Curls Scrunching Jelly - conversely, I love this and have a big tube of it on the go as well.
L'Occitane Conditioner (I think it might be Repairing for Dry Damaged Hair) - I liked this, smelt lovely and made my hair feel nice.  I only got two applications out of it though.

Body Care

Prija Shower Gel with Ginsing - this was just a freebie from a hotel that I used on holiday, but it was really lovely stuff.  I've got some bubble bath from the hotel as well, so am looking forward to using that up.
The Sanctuary Body Scrub - I love their signature smell and I find this to be a reasonable scrub.  I wouldn't seek this out, but would be more than happy to receive it again in a gift set.
Avon Moisturising Cream, Como Shambala Moisturiser and Sweet Treat Boutique Chocolate Moisturiser - I reveiwed all three of these here.

Face Care

The Sanctuary Fresh-Faced Purifying Wash - This wasn't anything special, but did its job
Temple Spa Shadows of the Soul Eye Treatment - just an eye cream, I've used this before and like it, not too heavy
Origins Gin-Zing Refreshing Eye Cream - again, I liked this, it felt nice on the skin without over-loading it with product
Murad Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector - I reviewed this ages ago here, and liked it.  I probably wouldn't buy it again though, as it's a bit pricy.

That's it for me this month, I'll save up my empties for next month as well!

Thanks for reading! xx

Saturday, 29 October 2011

My Cats

Apparently, according to Temporary Secretary's Post, it's National Cat Day today.  I thought this this was a great excuse to post some shamlessly gratuitous pictures of my cats.  So if you don't like cats, look away!  If you do, enjoy!

I've had them since they were kittens, and they're now 5 years old!  One is a total poser and I can take a picture of her whenever I like... the other always runs away from the camera - can you tell which is which???!

Thanks for reading! xx

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Blog Shout Out - Beauty Balm

Hi ladies.  I thought I'd do a shout out for a new blog I've been following recently - it's Beauty Balm which is run by the lovely Sandra.

Sandra's clearly a well-informed beauty addict, writing interesting and informative reviews on a range of beauty related products.  Very handily, she also keeps all her followers up to date with special offers, vouchers and magazine freebies!

I suggest if you've not been over to Beauty Balm yet, you go and check it out!

Are there any new blogs that you've been following recently?  Feel free to leave me some links!

Thanks for reading! xx

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Houston We Have a Problem Body Moisturiser Challenge - Update #1

A few weeks ago I blogged about my body moisturiser collection which had spiralled out of control!  I had 26 moisturisers just sitting around, taking up space, unused and unloved.  I decided to take action and get moisturising!  I have been religiously moisturing every night since my original post, apart from one night when I was ill and another when I was really tired (and maybe I had a G&T or two).

So here are my 3 empties so far.  They are Como Shambala (which I got from a Glossy Box) Avon Rich Moisture Body Cream (which I think I got on an offer with an Avon order) and Sweet Treat Boutique Chocolate Body Cream.

I thought I'd do a mini review of all of them as I've been ploughing through them!

Como Shambala is a really lovely product.  It's more of a lotion than a body cream, and although light, is easily absorbed and gives long lasting moisturising.  This is one I'd consider using again, although the herby smell doesn't really do much for me.

The Avon Body Cream was horrid!  Luckily I'd used most of it up already.  However, it's thick, gloopy and not easy to absorb - it just tends to sit on my skin.  I've been moisturising last thing at night, and as an example of how much I dislike this, I went running first thing one morning having used this the night before.  I didn't shower before running, I just got up (brushed my teeth and dressed) and went.  It was quite a cold morning and I was running 10 miles, but after 3 miles I started to sweat and rather than normal sweat, I was sweating out the body cream!  I felt absolutely disgusting and itchy all over my body and I felt like I couldn't cool myself down as all my pores were blocked - it was horrible!  I definitely wouldn't use this again, even on an offer!

The Sweat Treat Boutique Chocolate Body Cream was from a Christmas gift set last year.  I quite liked its consistency, absorption and moisturising properties, but I wasn't bowled over by the smell.  Although I like real chocolate, I don't like chocolate cake or anything flavoured with chocolate (even if it is with real chocolate).  The body cream smells like chocolate cake and that put me off a bit!  On the day I finished using this, I actually spotted one the same for sale in a local charity shop for 50p - I decided I didn't need a re-stock!

I'm well on my way to using up a few more as well, so I'll update again soon!

So of the 26 I originally had, I threw one bad one away, and I've used up 3, making only 22 left of my target to get down to 16 by Christmas.  However, I have been bad and bought a new gift set which includes a body moisturiser - doh!  So I'm back up to 23 - 7 to go!  I think I might need to think about moisturing twice a day to get through them all!

Thanks for reading! xx

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Glasgow Beauty Haul!

Hi ladies.  I managed a little haul on my holiday - well who can resist when you're staying in Glasgow which is one of the best cities for shopping in the UK!  I think it's right up there with Brighton and London (my two fave shopping places) and we were staying right in the city centre, so were walking past the shops all the time.

First off, I popped into Topshop and picked up some nail polish in Celestial and a Topshop Lip Marker in Berry - both lovely shades.  I've not tried the nail polish yet, but I quite like the Lip Marker.  I'll do a proper review of it shortly.

In Urban Outfitters, I got a Models Own Nail Art Pen - I'm looking forward to trying this out as I've not really ever done any nail art before.  Leopard print nails, here I come!

In Boots I headed for No. 7 (waving my vouchers), 17.  I got the 17 Purple Magnetic Nail Polish - I'm looking forward to trying this out!  I think I must've got the last one in the country as it was the only one on the stand, and I've looked in many different branches of Boots to find it!  I got the No. 7 Poppy King Lipstick in Seduction.  This looks really dark brown in the tube and even darker in the photos, but actually swatches a really wearable colour.  I wasn't even going to bother swatching it, but I'm glad I did, as it was my favourite in the Poppy King range. I also got a No. 7 nail polish, but I can't remember what the colour is right now!

I have been lemming Facets of Fuchsia by Revlon for ages, so was really pleased to pick it up! I also had a voucher with £2 off, so I could indulge!  I couldn't resist Revlon's Super Lustrous Lip Stick in Skyline Pink, also from their new collection.  It's very pale for me, but I might try to work it 60's style.

In Primani I got some Cherry Coke Lip Balm.  I've already got Coca Cola Lip Balm and I love it!  Tastes and smells just like coke!  I also picked up a navy blue glitter eyeliner - at 50p, I couldn't resist!

L-R Revlon Skyline Pink Lipstick, No. 7 Poppy King Seduction Lipstick, Topshop Lip Marker in Berry

So that's my beauty haul.  If I get round to it, I'll do a post of my clothing haul - it is extensive.  I stocked up on loads of knitwear - I love knitwear, autumn's my favourite season for clothing!

Thanks for reading! xx

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sample Sunday - Guerlain Lingerie De Peau Foundation

Well, I was meaning to do a regular Sample Sunday post, but I've not done one for about 3 weeks now!  Anyway, there's no time like the present to start using up my samples, so today I'm reviewing Lingerie De Peau by Guerlain.  It's described as an "Invisible Skin-Fusion Foundation".

Ignoring the fact that it is clearly the wrong colour (orange) for me, and I couldn't make the colour work with my very fair skin, it is a very nice foundation.  It was easy to blend and apply, felt super-soft and silky on my skin and gave me a good coverage on my blemishes.  Had it been the right colour, it would've looked natural and dewy without being shiny.  A little went a long way as well - I reckon there were at least 3 applications from the sachet I had, although I threw the rest away, being the wrong colour and all.

I'm slightly cheating here, and this is a pre-prepared Sample Sunday from two weeks ago, so I'm pleased to say I can comment on the lasting power of the Lingerie De Peau.  It lasted all day and didn't budge at all or collect in the (minor) creases in my neck.  I was still orange by bed time!

In terms of quality and performance, based on one application, I can see this is a great foundation, with the potention to edge my current favourite Teint Miracle by Lancome.  However, at £35.50 at House of Fraser, this is £10 more expensive than Teint Miracle and I think very expensive.  I would want a reasonably sized sample in my actual skin colour to try before deciding to buy.  However, it has lept onto my wish-list -  just in time for my Christmas present list actually!

Have you tried this fancy foundation?  What did you think?

Thanks for reading! xx

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Quick Holiday Face of the Day

I'm back from my holiday in Glasgow and The Lakes!  I had a fantastic time, although it wasn't very relaxing after my half marathon last week - I drove there and back and we did a lot of walking!  I was packed all the wrong things - I know that Scotland has a reputation for being cold, but it never has been when I've been before, even in November.  And last Sunday, I was running in Cardiff in 15 degrees sunshine - I didn't think I'd need a hat, gloves and winter coat 2 days later.  Well ladies, I was WRONG!  Luckily, we were staying in the centre of Glasgow, which is fantastic for shopping so I was able to pick up a few essentials (and non-essentials) - a haul post will follow shortly.

Anyway, I took a huge bag of makeup, but hardly ended up using any of it - in cold weather, I just didn't fancy doing a full face, and for the last few days in the Lakes, I would've looked ridiculous stamping around in my hiking gear in the rain wearing eyeliner!  I did manage to do one full face whilst I was in Glasgow, but kept it simple - here it is.

Lancome Teinte Miracle in 010
Mac Studio Finish Concealer in NC20
Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil
Mac Cream Blush in Lady Blush
Benefit High Beam

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Nars Strada Eyeshadow
Mac Smoulder Eyeline
No 7 Exceptional Definition Mascara

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Nude Pink

I keep meaning to do a proper review and swatches of Nars Strada - I will do it soon, I promise.  Sorry about my wet hair, and half dressed state!

Thanks for reading! xx

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Cardiff Half Marathon

Since I've neglected my Marathon Girl blog, I thought I'd share here.  Today I completed the Cardiff Half Marathon which is part of my preparation for the marathon I'm planning to run next April.  I ran the route in 2 hours, 14 minutes and 50 seconds which was much better than I had expected.

My training hadn't completely gone to plan and I'd been ill last week, so I just wanted to beat the last time I set for a half marathon, way back in 1999, of 2 hours and 27 minutes.  To be fair, I'd been even iller in the run up to that half marathon, but I was younger and fitter, so it was great to smash that time today - I'd really wanted to get under 2 hours and 15 minutes, but I didn't think I could do - so I was really pleased I did!

I didn't beat my personal best half marathon - that was set in 1997 in a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 57 seconds, but I was only 18 then and had done plenty of training.  I was very pleased to see I was only 3 minutes off my personal best!

One thing I think helped was being mentally stronger now,  than when I was younger.  In both my two past half marathons I've had to walk for at least a mile or so.  However today, I ran every step of the way, even if I was running very slowly!

As for the course and organisation, it wasn't the greatest I've been to. I think the organisers have their work cut out, starting from Cardiff Bay as they can't really contain the runners and spectators very well in such a large space.  However, it was very annoying during the run that the Lucozade station had run out of bottles and I was only about mid-way through the field and at the end, the only size t-shirt was an XL!  About 4 miles of the course were on an elevated roadway and that was very tough going - it never seemed to end.  After I finished this part, the course got easier towards the end, thankfully!

Well, I'm off for a bit of a holiday tomorrow, so no posts from me for a week or so!

Thanks for reading! xx

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Montagne Jeunesse - Hot Chocolate Orange Face Masque

Well apparently this week is National Chocolate Week - there's a week for everything now isn't there, but this is one that appeals to me!  Anyway, to celebrate, Montagne Jeunesse have released a new luxurious hot chocolate face masque and they sent me one to try for myself.

I've been a long time user of Montagne Jeunesse masques, as they're cheap and a nice little luxury - I used to have one as my treat when I was a poor student.  I have tried and liked their chocolate ones before and also some of their self-warming masques. However, Ive not tried a chocolate masque that also warms, so I was really looking forward to it.

Not edible - but it looks so good!

The masque itself is thick and oozes out of the packet which has an easy tear strip, looking like chocolate spread and smelling just like chocolate orange - heaven!  I found it easy to apply to my face, and went for it, smearing it on thickly.  I actually usually get two applications from a single packet of Montagne Jeunesse masque, but although I could have saved enough for a second application, I decided to use it all up in one go.  As soon as it was applied to my skin it started to warm up which is a very nice sensation, coupled with the chocolate orange smell.

I'm very slapdash with face masques and applied it all over my lips - I can confirm that, as it says on the packet, you're not supposed to eat it - it doesn't taste anything like chocolate! Once applied, I left it on for about 10 minutes, during which time it cooled down, but stayed in place on my face with no drips without drying. Then came the messy bit - removing the masque (I've used chocolate face masques before, so I was prepared)!  Seriously, the product gets everywhere!  I would recommend removing it in the shower so that you can just wash it all away - I also used a black flannel so it wouldn't stain my usual white one.  It's easy to clean up, but for me the mess is the only downside of this product.

I was left with very clean, soft feeling skin and my skin still feels good today.  I think that this is an excellent little treat at a low price, and I love the combination of the warmth and chocolate orange smell.  It's definitely a winter warmer and would make a great stocking filler, particularly for chocoholics and teenagers and, well, any woman (yes, I'm thinking about Christmas already)!

As a bonus, Montagne Jeunesse masques are suitable for vegetarians and they prefer to use natural products.

Have you tried a chocolate facemask before?

Thanks for reading! xx
Obligatory blogger in a face masque shot...

DISCLAIMER: This item was provided free of charge for review purposes.  This has not influenced my review in any way - I always express my honest opinion on any product I review.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Nails Inc Gossip Girl Inspired NOTD - Chanel Black Pearl and GOSH Rainbow

I've seen quite a few posts over the last few days about the new Nails Inc Gossip Girl collection.  Basically, these are a nail colour with a sparkly, foiled over-glaze, sold at an eye-watering £20 for a set with the two polishes.  There are three colours to choose from, although I think they all look pretty similar to me!

I was reading Le Petit Jardin de Liloo's post on the new collection, where she mentioned that the over-glazes are very similar to Rainbow by GOSH (which is sadly now discontinued).  I do own Rainbow (I think I got one of the last bottles in the country), and I decided to use it to create my own Nails Inc Gossip Girl inspired/dupe nail look.

All the Gossip Girl colours are dark, in blue, black and deep maroon.  I don't own a pure black nail colour, but I do have Black Pearl by Chanel which is blackish/dark green/petrol, so I used this as a base colour.  I used two coats of Black Pearl and then put on a coat of Rainbow.

I'd not used Rainbow for ages and had forgotten how lovely it is - it has large flakes of foiled glitter in green, yellow and red depending on the light - you can see all the colours on the same nail.  It also dries smoothly (unlike some other foiled glitter polishes) and for some reason, I think it dries very quickly and speeds up all the undercoats drying as well.  It acts as a tough top coat, lasting for ages.

If you've got Rainbow, you can easily recreate the Gossip Girl Nails Inc polishes look using cheaper nail polishes - you definitely don't need to spend £20 to get this look!

Other than these sets, has anyone found a good dupe for Rainbow?  I'd be really interested to find out!

Thanks for reading! xx

Friday, 7 October 2011

Boots Better Than Half Price Offers Are Back! Today's is the Boss Orange Beauty Set

I popped into the tiny Boots next to my office to grab a sandwich at lunchtime today, and they had a poster at the till offering the Boss Orange Beauty Set for £29.50, instead of its usual £59.99.  Hopefully this is the start of the weekly better than half price offers that Boots were running last year leading up to Christmas.  I bought a lot of Christmas presents and treats for myself using these offers last year. 

My local Boots didn't have any of the sets in stock, but as soon as I was back in the office, I ordered it for delivery to the store (for free).

The Boss Orange Beauty Set contains: Boss Orange Eau de Toilette 50ml, Boss Orange Body Lotion and Shower Gel both 50ml and Boss Orange compact mirror, 4 makeup brushes with pouch & cosmetics bag.  Given that 50ml of Boss Orange on its own is £38, at £29.50 for this set it is a bargain!

Last year I ummed and ahhed about getting Boss Orange or Boss Orange Sunset for Christmas as I loved them both - I eventually went  for Orange Sunset, but I've had my eye out for any deals on Boss Orange as I wanted that as well - so this deal is perfect for me.

The offer is valid until 13th October, when no doubt another better than half price offer will be revealed - I'm not sure if my wallet can stand it!

Avon Clearskin Blackhead Clearing Daily Cleanser

Back in the mists of time, when I was a student, I used to share a flat with a gay guy who was always receiving gifts of beauty lotions and potions from women.  One girl even bought him the complete Clinique 3 step system as a present - she was a student as well (clearly a rich one)!  He was always nicking the products I kept lying around in the bathroom - I once caught him making a cup of tea with a face mask on - my face mask!  Anyway, his Mum used to keep him well-stocked in Avon goodies and would regularly give him the Clearskin Blackhead Clearing Daily Cleanser (as well as other products from the range).  So, I used to steal this off him as payback and it quickly became my favourite exfoliator.  I continued purchasing this for several years, it being my HG scrub, until I stopped buying it, and I'm not sure why.

A few months ago I put a little order in with Avon, and like old times, this product was on offer - I couldn't resist, for old time's sake.  Afterall, it had been my favourite product.  I was keenly anticipating it, remembering the scrub with just the right amount of scratchyness, a densely packed formula with small scrub particles that attacked my skin in just the right places without any redness or flare up. The formula was so thick it was almost paste-like, so only a tiny amount was needed, mixed with water - it used to last for ages. I'm very fussy about facial exfoliators, and I have rarely found any that have lived up to this one, so I was really happy to have bought it again.

Except, I don't like it any more.  It is no longer densely packed, it's more of a gel-like consistency, the particles feel larger, more sparse and too course for my skin, and it is slightly too scratchy for me.  OK, I'm using it up, but I'm sorely disappointed by it - I had such fond memories of my favourite scrub.

I'm not sure whether Avon have changed the formulation of the product, or whether I'm just remembering the product with a golden glow!  I suspect that Avon have changed, as I've rarely found a scrub that compares to my memories of using this of old, whereas I can think of numerous high street and high end scrubs that are vastly superior to its current formulation.

So a big thumbs down for this - I won't be repurchasing it again.  It's a shame, as I'd hoped to rekindle my old love of this product.

Have you found your HG exfoliator yet?

Thanks for reading! xx

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Accessorize Baked Bronzer Duo - Laguna and GOSH Natural Touch Cream Blush in Peachy Rush

These are a couple of items I bought in Brighton last week, so I thought I'd review them and show you some swatches.

First off, are Accessorize allowed to call their bronzer "Laguna"?  Surely that's a blatant rip-off of Nars?  I've not tried the Nars one, so I can't compare the two, but I was looking for a baked bronzer, and this one appealed to me as the colours were cooler toned and less orange than most bronzers, so when I saw the name I thought I'd have it. It cost £6 from Superdrug.

There are two different colours in the pan, a darker and lighter one.  They are both pretty pigmented, so I've fallen foul of using too much bronzer a few times since I bought it.  I've found that just a quick swirl round the pan (mixing the two colours together) gives plenty of product to bronze my whole face.  I think I prefer the lighter colour on its own, as I'm slightly scared of over-doing it, but I do like both mixed together.  I'd steer clear of using the darker shade alone (but I am really pale).

L to R: Darker colour alone, blended, lighter colour alone

L to R: Darker colour alone, blended, lighter colour alone

I quite like this bronzer.  I don't think it'll become an all-time favourite, as it's not the easiest product to blend and work with, but I do like it and like the glow and contouring it gives to my face without too much shimmer.

I really like cream blushes, but I only have a couple of Mac ones, so I thought I'd try a less expensive one.  I really want an Illamasqua one in a similar colour to this blush, so I thought this would be a sort of dupe.

I really like the colour, but I'm less impressed with the product.  It's a bit too slippy and watery without much pigment.  It sort of disappears on my skin, so I have to load on several layers to get a good colour, and then I stray into danger territory of having too much blush!  Although it's slippy, it's not that blendable and it fades into my face during the day.

I'm pretty disappointed with this blush actually - I was expecting better  as it wasn't the cheapest cream blush on the market (costing £7.49 at Superdrug).  I think I'll steer clear of these blushes in the future, maybe trying Topshop Cream Blushes (if I can ever find a store selling them) or forking out for Mac and Illamasqua.

Here are the least horrific pictures of me modelling both items for your viewing pleasure - if you look closely, you will note my rubbish blending of the blush!

What's your favourite cream blush?  Mine is a very old blush and lip combo from The Body Shop I used to use about ten years ago - I wish they still made it!

Thanks for reading! xx


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