Friday, 28 February 2014

Instagram: February 2014

Love my new Ray-Ban glasses • Cute heart-shaped dip bowls, perfect for small doses of sugar • Getting back on the fitness track • Bedside table details, including Hector the Owl lamp • I went crazy this month with kitchen accessories - love this vintage teaspoon • Dad's birthday lunch in Horsham - I had the nicest burger ever and then we shared the pudding platter • Baby cuddles with my cousin's four-week-old baby Evie • Bargains in the Topshop sale • Finally, blue skies • Dressing table in Spring with white and purple tulips • Foxes is one of my new favourite music discoveries - she's fab!

How was your February?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Nuxe Pamper Hamper

Hi everyone! Today I have something a little bit different for you. I don't normally do many wish list posts but I was recently contacted by Nuxe UK asking if I would like to take part in their first blogger competition. I absolutely love the brand (their lip balm is so dreamy) so I pretty much jumped at the chance to enter. The ultimate prize is a Nuxe pamper hamper worth over £250, plus two runner-up prizes! All you have to do is compile a wish list of Nuxe products that you would like to try for Spring. And seeing as it seems as though Spring has finally sprung (hooray!) I figured I would post my contribution on a gorgeous sunny day. As I write this I can hear my neighbours mowing their lawns - isn't that just a fabulous sound after experiencing so much horrid weather recently? 

So, come on, let's recover from Winter and get prepped for Spring with some lovely natural skincare products!

I adore this lip balm, and it's going on the wish list because it's so fabulous. We're getting into warmer weather but Spring still brings harsh winds in the UK so a nourishing lip balm is a must for me. Predominately for dry or chapped lips, this best-seller has a rich, luxurious texture that feels as if it's doing you some good. The scent is delicious too - it's like rubbing soothing honey on your lips! The product is also great to use at night as a repair treatment, on dry parts of the face, and to soften cuticles before a manicure. The perfect multi-purpose product all held in a handy little glass jar.

I don't know about you but I tend to neglect myself a little throughout the Winter months, what with all that indulgence, so this product really interests me. It's purpose is to reduce embedded cellulite by providing a triple overall contouring action - in other words, rejuvenate your Winter skin and get rid of your bumpy bits. On application, light correcting pigments are said to smooth the skin surface in an instant. The serum melts onto the skin immediately to leave it incredibly soft. The skin's orange-peel appearance is visibly reduced by 74%, as concluded in recent studies. The serum encourages fat breakdown with the help of plant caffeine, fat evacuation with micro-algae, and brazilian mimosa and glaucine extract sculpt and shape waist, hips, and thighs. It all sounds great to me, so it makes the wish list!

To go with nourishing lips, we need a nourishing day cream (and night cream, which I also recommend!). This product has a rich texture, and replenishes, restores, soothes and protects the skin from external aggression. Skin is intensely nourished and comfort is restored after use in the morning, applied to your freshly cleansed face. You can also add honey to the cream and use it as a face mask - genius!

This multi-use dry oil contains a gorgeous golden shimmer in order to get a head start on that Summer olive skin! You can use this on your face, hair and body but what's most important here is that it has a built-in shimmer for that sought-after radiant effect. 95.2% (very specific, huh?) of the ingredients derive from natural origins. It is a unique combination of 30% precious plant oils and vitamin E to nourish, repair, and soften in one single step. Your face and body are left feeling soft and silky, and your hair is left supple, soft with added shine. It sounds divine - and I'd be happy to place this on my dressing table as a prop because that packaging is so luxurious! I'm positive that a sunny Spring day would enhance those warm golden shimmer particles, too.

And finally, what is Spring without a fresh-faced look? This tinted moisturiser is available in three different shades: Natural Radiance, Golden Radiance, and Tanned Glow. I much prefer using tinted moisturisers in the Spring/Summer months because I want the natural tan of my face to show and find foundation way too heavy in the heat. This product has a light creamy texture, and combines plant active ingredients and mineral pigments for an ultra-natural glow and a "bare skin" effect. It seems to be a great all-rounder if you're blessed with clear skin!

So those are my Nuxe pamper picks for the Spring months ahead. If you would like to enter this competition, all you have to do is a have a nosey at the Nuxe website and decide on which products you think would be appropriate for Spring, pop them in a wish list post on your blog, and tweet the link to @NuxeUK with the hashtag #NuxePamperHamper. The competition ends on Monday 10th March 2014, so there is still plenty of time to get your entry in!

Monday, 24 February 2014

400 Follower Giveaway

Hi everyone, I hope you're all well! Earlier this month I reached a milestone on Bloglovin' and now over 400 of you lovely people follow this blog! I'm absolutely amazed and I can't thank you enough for your readership and support. I started out this blog as a little hobby where I could share my thoughts and passions about beauty and the like, but now I feel like it means so much more to me than that. Over the past year I feel as if I've grown as a person and it's great knowing that my blog has grown too - in every sense of the word!

As a massive thank-you to all of you I have decided to launch a very pink giveaway to celebrate!

The prize includes:
Catseye London Comic Woman Wash Bag*
Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash
Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter
Victoria's Secret Fragrance Mist in Forever Pink
Nails Inc Polish in Brompton Place
Tanya Burr Lipgloss in Just Peachy
Yankee Candles in Lemon Lavender, Fresh Cut Roses, and Lake Sunset
A MAC Lipstick of your choice
And I've also decided to throw in a MAC eyeshadow of your choice too (not pictured)

The rules:
UK residents only
You must be following me on Bloglovin' to enter (I'll check!)
You must leave me a comment on this post telling me which MAC lipstick and eyeshadow you would like to receive should you win
The competition closes at 12am on the 31st March 2014
The winner will be picked at random, and if they do not contact me within 48 hours I will pick another winner
I will announce the winner both on here and on my Twitter so it might be good to follow me there too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*I was given permission to use this PR sample in this giveaway. All other prizes were/will be bought with my own money.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

DIOR Diorshow Extase Mascara

Every once in a while you're in the market for a new mascara. I feel like I've tried them all - from budget to blow-out - and I can't help but feel disappointed nine times out of ten. They're either too clumpy and give me unattractive spider lashes or they smudge and flake all under my eye. I took a bit of a risk on Dior. I've not tried any of their products before, but after doing my research I finally decided on the Extase Instant Lash Plumping Mascara. I really willed this to work for me. I mean, my trusty YSL Babydoll was being put on the back burner for this product, for goodness sake! 

But, I'm delighted to tell you that I'm so glad that it exceeded my expectations.

Diorshow Extase is a sublime blend of a lash-plumping volume formula and an exclusive Couture brush. The packaging is pretty and sophisticated; I do love a bit of gold in my makeup bag! It features a "tiered" brush which is supposed to represent the tiered couture dresses created by the House of Dior. It's designed for performance and contains an exclusive duo of fibres: the black elastomer fibres brush out and define the lashes for panoramic fringe, and the gold nylon fibres hold and deposit the formula, generously coating each lash for outstanding volume. The product comes in three different shades: black, brown, or plum. I don't think I've ever bought a coloured mascara - or even a brown one (am I missing out here?) so I went for the safer option.

As you can see from the before and after photographs, it is clear to see that this mascara delivers with length the best. I think the volume comes after. This is after two coats of the product but I went on to apply a few more just to see if the formula built up nicely without any unnecessary clumping, and it was okay but not fantastic. I would definitely recommend using a lash comb with any mascara to avoid this. However, I will say that my lashes were thicker and, let me tell you, the product does not budge once applied. I get so annoyed when I've finished my eye makeup, setting powder under the eye and all, and then my mascara smudges. Well, not this guy! This may be the first mascara I've tried that I've had absolutely no smudging, flaking or fall down so for that I cannot fault it!

Have you tried any Dior mascaras? If so, what did you think?

DIOR Diorshow Extase Mascara retails at £23, but is available from Escentual for £19.55

Friday, 21 February 2014

Catseye London

I was recently contacted by the lovely Rosanna from Catseye London, who thought that my blog would be a good place to introduce some of their wonderful products. After having a browse of their website I was promptly sent three selected products to have a look at, and I'm excited to share them with you all!

First, a little information about the company itself. Catseye London launched in 2004 with a capsule collection of quirky prints on various fashion and beauty accessories. From the beginning, the idea has been to have a good dose of humour in all their designs while still making the customer stand out from the crowd. The designs vary from cute animals (so many pugs!) to glamorous vintage ladies, so there is indeed something for everyone! The stock is reworked twice a year, with brand new designs introduced so the accessories are as up to date as the latest fashion trends. The company has grown in popularity over the years, with collections in the UK, Europe, Japan, and most recently, the USA.

So, as I said before, I was sent three items to take a closer look at. Each product came in a grey drawstring bag with the company logo emblazoned on the front, which can totally be reused for other things! I really love the kooky designs. The comic book girl was an obvious favourite so I picked up the large wash bag and an A4 pouch. I also loved the chef bird range, of which I was sent the tea tray.

Overall I'm really impressed with both the products and the service. The wash bag was much bigger than expected - it's actually huge! I think it would be great for a weekend away, or just put on display in your bathroom. The tea tray was such a quirky design that I couldn't resist it, and I'm seriously thinking about purchasing the storage tins and oven gloves to complete the collection - more kitchen accessories please! The A4 pouch is a practical choice for me to take to university. I may as well look a bit more colourful as I'm sat slaving away in the library all day!

For some designs you will see a return to stock but for others their policy is "once they're gone, they're gone". Don't worry though, they always update the collections with brand new designs. My advice to you would be if you see something that you like then grab it while you can!

What do you think of Catseye London? Does anything take your fancy?

*PR Samples

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Tanya Burr Lipglosses

Happy Thursday everybody! I'm on Reading Week from university this week with the intention of getting a big chunk of my dissertation done. Consider that objective failed until further notice... Not good really. I wish I was more motivated and less of a procrastinator! I am however much more focused on getting some decent posts out to my lovely followers old and new. Speaking of which, I'm excited to tell you that I recently reached 400+ followers and will be promptly holding a giveaway on the blog! More information on that soon, but for now let's get onto today's post.

Tanya Burr was one of the first beauty bloggers and YouTubers I ever followed, so when she revealed that she was releasing a range of lipglosses and nail polishes in the New Year I was absolutely pumped. I really admire her - she seems so happy and dedicated all the time, and never fails to bring a smile to my face whenever I watch her vlogs or makeup tutorials!

The range includes 10 nail polishes and 12 lipglosses - two of which I'm going to review today. All the products have really cute names; a personal touch that I would come to expect from someone as adorable as Tanya! I've not tried any of her nail polishes, but I really want to get my hands on Little Duck (a lovely duck egg blue) and Mini Marshmallows (a girly baby pink)!

The two lipglosses I initially chose to try were Afternoon Tea and Chic, but I've since bought Picnic In The Park and Just Peachy because I'm really impressed with these products. Spring and Summer are always going to be the seasons of gloss, with most makeup artists at NYFW and LFW donning their models with shiny lips for the months ahead so I think it's the perfect time for Tanya to have released these! The shades range from beautiful sheer peaches to dramatic vampy reds, with crémes and shimmers featuring throughout the spectrum. Each tube comes with a handy lip brush applicator for a "glossy wet look with long lasting shine".

Afternoon Tea is subtle shimmer lipgloss in a beautiful coral pink shade. The swatch above was just one coat, and I appreciate that I don't have the best lips in the world, but I do really like how you can wear these glosses without putting lipstick on beforehand. I think this colour is pretty ideal for sweeping across the lips and popping out to the shops or running your errands. It's simple yet classy at the same time.

Chic is a sheer créme lipgloss in what I would describe as a cloudy peach shade. Again, the swatch is just one coat of colour and gives the lips a lovely subtle shine. Like its namesake, the lipgloss is very wearable with your favourite casual outfit to give it a chic edge. Personally, I think peachy shades suit my lips and skintone better than pinks or reds so this is my favourite of the two!

Have you tried any of Tanya Burr's products? What did you think of them?

Tanya Burr Lipglosses retail at £6.99, and are available from Feel Unique.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Skincare Saviours

Hello all! It's been a little while since I last posted, and even longer since I last posted about skincare. I haven't really been switching my routine up recently as I've found a few products that are really working for my skin - and I only mean a few! The following are my skin saviours:

Used all over the face when I can feel an achy spot on the horizon, lurking under the skin's surface just waiting for the perfect moment to break through (usually the night before a special occasion of course), Effaclar Duo [+] can be an absolute lifesaver! An improved formula to the original - and much loved - Effaclar Duo, the product now helps to prevent red marks and dark spots that hang about after the actual blemish has cleared. The texture is creamier than the original and, once applied, soothes the skin to diffuse any inflammation and eradicate so much more than your average spot. It can also be used with or without your everyday moisturiser; I personally find it quite moisturising on its own. It's not a product that I use daily, because I'm not prone to these breakouts, but it's definitely a skin product I couldn't do without in my time of need.

I was sent this to try at the end of last year and I feel like it really helps my cheek redness. The fragrance-free cream effectively alleviates the symptoms of redness, dryness, visible spider veins and itchiness. It works to restore the natural skin barrier, provides daily protection from UVA rays, reduces reoccurrence, and calms, hydrates and softens the skin. I hadn't heard of Dermalex prior to being sent this, but it turns out they do a whole host of treatment creams for problematic skin including rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. They also have a blog which you can read here

I use the Effaclar A.I. in conjunction with the Duo [+] treatment. This is more of a spot treatment as you're only supposed to apply it to targeted areas of the skin. It targets individual blemishes, helping to reduce their appearance and prevent residual marks. 

This little beauty had a whole post of its own last year, and I still use it to this day whenever I have a flare up of ugly red spots. The main ingredient in the blemish treatment gel is salicylic acid, which helps to fight spots when they appear as well as fade acne scarring. Once applied, the gel tingles on the skin and in a matter of hours my blemishes are less red and painful - and after a couple of liberal applications throughout the day, a few days later they're sure to be gone. By far one of the best spot treatments I have come to discover!

On a slight side note, but still on the subject of skincare, I'd also like to ask you guys what you think about cleansing balms. I have yet to try one but I'm looking to invest. I'm torn between Clinique's Take The Day Off and Emma Hardie's Cleansing Balm. Have you tried either? I'd love to know your opinions!

*PR Sample

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Spare A Thought This Valentine's

Some people get really into Valentine's Day, not to mention the bombardment of media that rears its ugly head during this time of year. I mean, everywhere you look there's some kind of advertisement or romantic "deal" which is set to tempt us (and our wallets) into falling into their arms like a lovesick puppy. I'm not a traditional romantic. I don't think I've ever really celebrated a Valentine's Day - even when I have been in a relationship! But I have to say it's not something that I miss particularly. Why do you have to wait until the 14th February to tell someone that you love them, when there's a whole other 364 days of the year to do so?

However, this Valentine's Day I can say that I actually have a date. It's going to be something really casual, and somewhat ironic really. I don't know whether V-Day is the perfect time to have your first date with someone but I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Even though I'm going out this February 14th, I still very much consider myself a single pringle! So I'm suggesting that us singletons don't get bogged down with self-pity - let's celebrate the day/night ourselves!

Buy yourself that lovely bouquet of flowers 
It doesn't have to be anything fancy or romantic - I really love buying pretty pink tulips from Tesco for a fiver! I do this most weeks and arrange them in a clear glass vase on my dressing table in my bedroom. There's nothing like having fresh flowers in the house, plus it makes me feel like spring has sprung. And god knows we're due some sunshine!

Treat yo'self! 
Have a pamper night. Pour yourself a glass of wine or five! Run yourself a relaxing bubble bath with your must-have Lush product, pop on a face mask, and stick on your favourite Netflix show. No one said you can't eat a box of heart-shaped chocolates while you're at it too!

Spend the night with the ones who matter to you
And by that I mean stick on your favourite Ryan Gosling movie and chow down on plenty of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. My picks would be Drive, or the ever-romantic The Notebook with double - maybe triple - helpings of Phish Food. Alternatively, round up your other single friends and hit the town!

So there we are: something a little bit different for you lovely readers. I didn't really fancy doing a gift guide for him/her, just because I've seen so many this past week; and I hadn't seen anything about the people who are flying solo this Valentine's. 

So yes, enjoy yourselves whatever you're doing this Friday. Do it your way and I'm sure you'll be having so much more fun than 80% of the couples out there!

Photo credit: Google

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Macadamia Deep Repair Masque

Every once in a while you come across a product that you absolutely fall in love with, and find yourself saying in your head "my god, why didn't I invest sooner?", and "I better stock up in case of an apocalypse..." For me, this product comes in the form of a 250ml tub of pure hair glory.

The Macadamia Deep Repair Masque has been a consistent saviour for me on many a hair 'mare. Used twice-weekly in place of your regular conditioner, this hair treatment will penetrate and rebuild damaged hair for improved shine and elasticity. Enriched with macadamia (duh!) and argon oils, the masque provides deep nourishment and long-lasting conditioning to promise the ultimate hair reconstruction.

After shampooing and towel drying the hair, take a small amount and work it through with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb. You can also add some of the Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment to the masque application for ultra-repair, which is something I tend to do if I feel my hair needs a little more help! Leave the masque to soak in for 5-10 minutes then rinse off with warm water. If I'm feeling lazy I'll just apply in the shower and rinse off while I'm in there - just to make life a bit easier. 

I've been using this product for the best part of six months now - sometimes more than the recommended bi-weekly ritual (naughty!) because I love it so much. It smells gorgeous, is a workable texture to slap on the scalp and comb through the hair, and has so many beneficial ingredients. My hair is proper bleached out and can be really dry, despite using all the deep conditioners going. After having my roots done a couple of weeks ago I used this masque in replace of my usual conditioner and it improved the quality of my hair tenfold! It was so manageable and easy to comb, and it felt so incredibly soft to the touch - lovely!

You can purchase the deep repair masque in the sample size, 1 oz, 3.3 oz, or 8.5 oz. My tub is the biggest, and I clearly have a bit of an obsession as I'm onto my third tub!

The Macadamia Deep Repair Masque retails at £22.90 (250ml tub) and is available from Feel Unique.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Birthday Gifts

Hi everyone, hope you're all having a good week! Today I have for you a bit of a photo-heavy post, but I really wanted to share with you guys some of the lovely gifts I received for my birthday last month! I just want to say that I'm not here to brag in any way; I'm incredibly grateful for what I received, especially as I didn't think I was getting anything to open on the day! So, with that in mind, here are some of the gorgeous gifts...

If you saw my Birthday Wishlist, you will be aware that I had these beautifully simplistic Ray-Ban glasses playing on my mind for the longest time. My opticians don't carry any Ray-Ban glasses so I had to go looking elsewhere. I found this pair on a website called Fashion Eyewear and I love them so much! They took a little while to arrive; I think I ordered them on the 20th January, and they arrived yesterday (3rd February) but it was down to importing the frames from Italy and then fitting the prescription lenses. I also had anti-scratch/anti-glare and ultra-thin lenses down in my order so I'm sure that also added some time (and money) onto the delivery. The only problem that I've discovered is that because they are a unisex style they keep falling off my nose when I look down, but that's nothing a little tightening won't fix when I next go into my local Specsavers! These glasses were a gift from my parents.

My brother surprised me early in the morning with this amazing Game of Thrones Season 1 and 2 Box Set! I absolutely love Game of Thrones, but I was really shocked that my brother knew to get me this so it was a lovely little surprise. The box is really sleek and fancy, with a disc for every 2 episodes, an episode guide, and beautiful stills from the show on the box. I had to get one of my favourite characters, Daenerys Targaryen, into one of the photographs! I seriously think it's one of the best TV shows around at the moment, and I can't wait for Season 4!

With some of the money I received, I went on a bit of a MAC splurge! The eyeshadows probably look familiar; that's because they made up the final month of my MAC Pro Palette Project. The shades are Blackberry (matte), Sable (frost) and Mythology (lustre). I also bought the Rubenesque Paint Pot, lipstick in Syrup, and my new favourite setter, Fix +

Along with some goodies for my car (including the Yankee Candle Midsummers Night car jar), I also had a pretty little glittery box of sampler votive Yankee Candles, complete with a glass votive holder! The candles themselves smell gorgeous! The ones in the homemade box were Wild Passion Fruit, Midnight Jasmine, and Mango Peach Salsa. My favourite has to be Mango Peach Salsa: a real zingy scent that reminds me of hot holidays - perfect for the summer. I'll definitely be buying a bigger size in time for the sunshine!

I may have saved the best until last - the food! Our town recently opened Wagamama (about a week before my birthday) so I was dead-set on going there for lunch. It was absolutely packed as you'd expect but the food is just amazing! We shared some pulled pork gyoza - which I wished I bought my own plate of because wow they're the best - followed by some wok-fried greens (bok choi and broccoli with garlic and soy) and I just had to have the chicken Katsu curry of course! The meal was delicious, albeit a bit pricey but a yummy birthday treat nonetheless. I'm now just constantly tempted to drop in and order more gyoza to takeaway!

*Gifted Items
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