Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Winter Skincare Saviours...

Hello strangers...
I've had a busy few months so please excuse my disappearance, but I'm back... for now!

Anyway, here we go...

Winter has well and truly set in, and over the past month or so I've been putting my skincare to the ultimate test, as I've been working outside in the worst imaginable weather conditions... As a result my face has been suffering and was pretty much falling off.

To try and save my face I've been trying to keep up a good skincare routine, and slowly but surely it's getting there, so, I thought I would share with you my 'skincare saviours'...

I'll start with this lovely Reve de Miel lip balm by NUXE...

My lips probably suffer the most in cold weather and I really struggle to stop them cracking and getting sore. I'd seen this lip balm being raved about in a few blogs, but I always thought it seemed quite expensive (£9.50 from NUXE) and I couldn't possibly need anymore lip balms, I already own far too many! 

Well, I was wrong... Everyone with chapped lips NEEDS this lip balm in their life!
The formula itself is quite thick and feels really luxurious, it's also matte so you don't get that shiny Vaseline look on your lips. 
I love that it comes in a glass jar, it just looks so nice, and feels like a luxury product!
In my opinion I think it's more of a lip treatment than a lip balm and I just keep it on my bedside table and slather it on before bed, which seems to works perfectly well for me... But obviously use it how you please!

Personally I think that this is a must over the winter months if you suffer from dry lips, and although £9.50 does seem a bit steep for a lip balm, you do get ALOT of product so it will last a long time!

Next up is the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser, with shea butter for dry/ sensitive skin, I never get on well with foaming cleansers no matter what time of the year, as the vast majority make my skin feel so dry and tight! But I also find them the easiest way to remove my makeup properly when I'm in the shower, so when I discovered this product a few years ago I was over the moon! 

It has a quite creamy formula which forms a little bit of a lather when mixed with water, it doesn't get as 'foamy' as your average soap product but I love it, it leaves my skin feeling lovely and clean but soft... and it doesn't sting your eyes which is always a bonus!!
I believe they also do different versions of this for other skin types as well.
(£14.40 from

Now onto the Michael Todd Enzyme Exfoliant Scrub, this is a mild scrub which uses fruit enzymes and tiny micro beads to gently remove dead skin cells and reveal a smoother, brighter complexion. It definitely lives up to it's claims as my face always feels so smooth after using this, I generally just gently massage it around my face then leave it on for about a minute to let the fruit enzymes do their thing, before I rinse it off. 

Personally I think exfoliating is one of the most important parts of skincare, especially in winter, as the cold weather can make the skin dry and flakey, so it's important to make sure that you get rid of the dead skin to keep your skin looking its best!

Overall its just a nice product, smells nice, feels nice, makes your skin nice (how many times can I say nice?) The only downside is that its an American brand so this can make it a little more expensive as you have to get it sent from the US. But saying that the shipping costs are actually very reasonable so it's not bad at all!
($18 roughly £11 from Michael Todd)

Moving on to the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner, now, I don't religiously use a toner, I find that a lot of them are pretty useless and don't really do very much. BUT it seems that a new generation of toners have been born recently that include lots of skincare goodness, such as exfoliating fruit acids, like this toner. I already raved about this product in another post so I wont repeat myself, but here's a LINK to that if you want to know more!

Recently I've just been using this once or twice every week on the days that I don't use my other exfoliator, just because I like both products and I can't decide which I prefer, forever indecisive!
(£20 from

Almost there... Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream. I am forever changing moisturisers but at the moment I'm getting on quite well with this one. It is very much a 'no frills' moisturiser in the sense that is doesn't claim to do anything miraculous and the packaging is very clinical, but it does it's job and that's what matters most to me! 

It is aimed at dehydrated/ prematurely ageing skin, but I'd say it would suit most normal to combination to dry skin types that are in need of a bit of extra moisture in the winter months! 
It's just a really good moisturiser, nothing much more to say about it!
(£29.70 50ml from Beauty Flash)

Finally the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask... 
Now, I've only had this for a few weeks but I can already tell that it's amazing! I'd been on my 'to buy' list for a while, then when I got a voucher from Space NK (Thanks Lynn!!) I didn't really have an excuse not to buy it! The mask on its own is £30 but I noticed that there was a gift set including the full size mask with a few other mini products for only £2 more, so it was a bit of a no brainer... I love a good deal!!

It claims to reduce fine lines, renew your complexion, improve skin tone, combat congestion etc etc. Basically make your skin look brighter and more radiant. It does seem to be living up to its claims so far, as even after the first use I did notice a difference in my skin! 
It's definitely a good pick me up for your skin when it's looking a bit dull and feeling sorry for itself, 
and I must admit I do like a nice luxury face mask to make me feel all pampered and relaxed :) 

(AND it came in the cool gift packaging!!!) 

Ciao for now!

A x

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Sleek Makeup Blush By 3...

I will start by saying that I really LOVE the Sleek Makeup Blushes, personally I think they are just as good if not better than a lot of the high end expensive ones that I own, and they are always a permanent fixture in my makeup bag!

These 'blush BY 3' palettes have been out a while now, when they were released I was very interested in trying them but they were always sold out of the colours I wanted my in local Superdrug, then I guess I just forgot about them all together! 

So when I was watching my usual YouTube beauty videos and I saw Zoella mention these palettes, I immediately started looking online to see where I could purchase them (My local Superdrug no longer has Sleek Makeup, how very rude!!)... 

Anyway I ended up buying the one called 'Lace' as the palette contains oranges and corals which are perfect for summer! 

(L-R Chantilly, Guipure, Crochet)

The colours are all named after types of lace (If that wasn't already obvious by the name of the palette...) 

Chantilly is a matte orange shade which may look unwearable at first glance but if you use a small amount it looks lovely and summery and really brightens your complexion! 

Guipure is a peachy pink shade with gold shimmer, it is VERY similar to the famous NARS 'Orgasm' blush (Yes, that is the name of it... very naughty ha!) I swatched both side by side and there is very little difference (see below)! So a great cheaper alternative as the NARS blush on its own costs £21.50!

(Sleek 'Guipure' on the left, NARS 'Orgasm' on the right)

Crochet is a bright matte coral shade which again when used sparingly creates a pretty summery flush!

To apply these I literally just touch my blusher brush on the powder then swirl my brush in the lid/mirror to evenly coat the brush with product and apply in light circular motions to the apples of my cheeks! I've been loving mixing the orange and coral shade together with just a dab of each, then I've been using Guipure to highlight the tops of my cheekbones and a touch on my brow bone!
(I use the Real Techniques Contour brush to apply blush, just FYI)

I think this is a fantastic product, all of the colours in this particular palette work really well together and I am definitely looking forward to trying another colour variation! I will say that the matte shades are a touch too powdery, but this does not affect the quality at all, the colours are still very pigmented, you just need to make sure you tap off the excess before applying it!
I also love the packaging very minimalistic and ermmm... well, Sleek? And it's great that it comes with a mirror too, perfect for travelling!

Completely worth £10 in my opinion! 
I bought mine off Ebay for the same price but most larger Superdrug stores sell Sleek Makeup!

A x

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Maybelline Baby Lips...

The Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balms have been out in the USA for a while now and they are always raved about over there...
So, when they were finally released in the UK a few weeks ago I was so excited to try them, I am a massive lover of lip balms as I ALWAYS have dry lips, and I always find it a bonus when they combine lip balms with a hint of colour!
So already, before I had even tried them, they were looking like they were going to be right up my alley!

Unfortunately, when I went into my local Boots and Superdrug they did not have them in yet, so I decided to order them from the Boots online website as they were on 3 for 2!
I am already thinking I will be going back to buy the other 3 as I can't bear to not have the full set!

(L-R Mint Fresh, Peach Kiss, Pink Punch)

In the collection there are three colourless formulas and three tinted formulas, as you can see I chose two colours and one colourless, they claim to give intense care, 8 hour hydration and nourishing for baby soft lips... they are all priced at £2.99 each.

Mint Fresh...  This is one of the colourless versions which includes SPF20, it has a lovely subtle mint scent and leaves a slight tingle on the lips when first applied, the formula feels really hydrating and comfortable on the lips, which is obviously very important in a lip balm! So, thumbs up so far!

Peach Kiss... This is supposedly one of the tinted versions, however, on my lips it does not show up as having any colour, just a slight sparkle, so I'm not as impressed with this one! The formula also does not seem quite as hydrating and soothing as the colourless ones! 

Pink Punch...  Again this is one of the tinted versions, it leaves a subtle light pink colour to the lips which is really nice for during the day, as with Peach Kiss, the formula is not as hydrating as the colourless ones. But I think I can forgive that seen as the colour is so pretty!

So, mixed feelings about these... 
It seems to me that the colourless formulas are more moisturising plus they have the added bonus of including SPF20, so they are a great choice if you are looking for a good lip balm.
I was slightly disappointed with the colour Peach Kiss as it seemed to have virtually no colour payoff other than a bit of sparkle. 
But, I do really like Pink Punch, I think this will get the most use out of the bunch, I just really wish they had made it as moisturising and included SPF like the colourless formulas!!

I will probably pick up the other three just to make my mind up properly about them... Overall I think they are well priced and great for the money but I do still prefer my Apivita Lip Balm/ Tints as they are just that little bit more hydrating! (I included these in my February Favs here).

Thanks for reading :)

A x

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The 30 Day Shred...

I recently bought Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred as I had heard a lot of good things about it and I've been on a little bit of a health kick lately so I thought why not give it a try! 

I don't particularly want to lose masses of weight I am more aiming to tone up and strengthen my muscles (and secretly hoping for a six pack... ha)

The DVD consists of 3 levels, for the first 10 days you do level 1, followed by level 2 for the next 10 days, then level 3 for the final 10 days, each level gets progressively more difficult.
The workout itself is 20 minute long and is based around Jillian's 3-2-1 interval system (3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio and 1 minute abs) this is apparently the best way to start seeing results quickly! 

The workouts are supposed to be completed everyday for 30 days, but I also like to go to the gym so I just do this on the days in between the gym (that's not cheating, right?), but I guess if you were really hardcore you could do both in a day?!

What will you need?

All you need is the DVD (obviously...) I bought mine from Amazon for £5
A set of hand weights, I use 2kg weights, but if you are a complete beginner I would maybe opt for a lighter weight, such as 1kg, as the workout includes quite a lot of repetitions. 
Lastly an exercise/ yoga mat, I bought my weights and mat from Argos so it worked out quite cheap!
But if you are on a tight budget I guess you could manage without using a mat, as long as you're not on a hard floor, and you could substitute the weights for two tins of beans or something?! Be imaginative! 

First Impressions...

I've only done 3 days worth so far and alternated the days with the gym! But I am really liking it and I tell you what it must be working because I'm aching all over! God help me when I have to move on to the next levels! 
I also really like how the workout is structured and I think Jillian is really motivational so it makes you want to push through even when you feel like you just want to collapse in a heap on the floor!

So, I would definitely recommend this to anyone, no matter what your fitness levels are, the good thing about it is that each of the exercises can be modified depending on your ability. 
It's also great for fitting into a busy lifestyle as it's pretty easy to find 20 mins in your day, and it can be done in the comfort of your own home!

Hope some of you have found this helpful/ useful, I've had quite a few people ask me about it lately so I thought it would be good to pop it into a blog post...
I'll keep you updated :)

P.S. I am also trying to eat a little bit healthier too as I think that is going to be the best way to see results, as your diet and exercise do go hand in hand. For me this is more of a lifestyle change more than anything, I think it's best to commit to eating healthier in general, rather than doing Fad diets, as they're rarely effective long term and it can't be good for your body to crash diet!

A x

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Bourjois Colour Boost Glossy Lipstick...

Over the past couple of weeks I've picked up a few little bits of makeup from Boots and Superdrug, most of which are new releases, so here is the first post of what could be many...

These Color Boost Glossy Lipstick's are Bourjois' newest addition, and I can't help but think that they look a lot like the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains (see my review here) and the Clinique Chubby Sticks, in that the packaging is almost identical, and the product has the same crayon shape. 
However, the formula itself isn't really the same at all, these are much more sheer and glossy, more like a tinted lip balm rather than a lipstick! I bought 3 because they were on 3 for 2, and I OBVIOUSLY couldn't just buy one! There are only 4 colours in the collection at the moment, the other colour was a cherry red called Red Sunshine (which I may have to pick up shortly, as I can't have it feeling left out can I?!).

(L-R Peach on the Beach, Orange Punch, Fuchsia Libre)

I actually quite like that these are semi opaque as it make them very wearable when you want something nice and easy to throw on in this warm weather! I also think the colour range is great and very summer appropriate, so Bourjois definitely gets top marks for all that! The formula is lovely and moisturising with a glossy finish, but it's not sticky at all, and there is also the added bonus of SPF 15 to protect your lips.

However, despite the 10 hour claim, on me they are not particularly long lasting, with maybe two hours wear before it needed reapplying. The colour does tend to stay on a lot better around the edges of the lips but after a few hours a lot of the colour disappears off the inner part, but that could just be me! 
I don't mind reapplying lipstick every now and again so it's not a massive bug bear for me, but for those people that like to apply lipstick in the morning and have it stay put all day, this is probably not the product for you! 

The peachy pink shade doesn't really suit my colouring but it is still a lovely colour none the less! The other colours, however, are gorgeous and I've been loving wearing them for a pop of colour during the day... 

They are £7.99 and currently on 3 for 2 in Boots so I would definitely recommend checking them out!!

A x

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Sunday, 14 July 2013

June Favourites...

Garnier Summerbody 

The majority of June was pretty rubbish weather wise so I felt like my skin needed a bit of boost, as ghostly white is not a great look in the summer!

I'm not a massive fan of fake tan myself as I find it needs a lot of maintenance to say looking nice and natural, plus it goes patchy after a few days and it stains your bed... I just find it a bit of a faff to be honest, unless I'm going somewhere special!
Anyway, gradual tanners are more my kinda thing, it's a moisturiser that contains a bit of fake tan, so that you can gradually build up and maintain a natural looking tan.
I have the 'Deep Sun Kissed Look' but you can also buy the 'Light Sun Kissed Look' version if you are super pale, I have been applying it once or twice a week just to add a little bit of a glow to my skin.
I like this one in particular because it gives a nice even result and smells nice! I have tried a few others, such as Johnsons and Dove but they either don't smell very nice, feel sticky or leave streaks!

£7.15 for the large 400ml size (Currently half price at Superdrug)

Moroccan Oil

My hair has been so dry lately (probably because I really need to get it cut) so this stuff has been a lifesaver for stopping my hair from looking scraggly!

I put one or two pumps onto damp hair, after i've washed it, just through the mid lengths and ends.
I am almost running out of it now (Nooooo), which i'm really sad about as it's really expensive (around £30) and I can't bring myself to buy another bottle!
I recently tried the Tresemme Liquid Gold to see if it was a good replacement, but it is just no where near as good unfortunately!
Maybe it really is one of those things that you get what you pay for, as the Macademia Oil is similar in price and I love that one too!
I am still going to look for a cheaper alternative though... Next on my list is L'Oreal Mythic Oil! 

La Roche Posay Nutritic Intense Moisturiser

I bought this moisturiser a few months ago but I didn't realise how much I liked it until I started to run out!
It doesn't really do anything particularly magical but it smells pleasant, keeps my skin moisturised, it's not too thick or greasy, it doesn't aggravate my skin when my eczema flares up, it sits well under makeup and the price isn't too bad either! So it ticks all the boxes for me!
The brand also do a 'Riche' version of this moisturiser for excessively dry problematic skin, so I may think about purchasing that when winter comes around, as my skin tends to need a bit more needy when it's cold.

£15.50 for 50ml (Currently 20% off at

I've also been loving Nars Sheer Glow Foundation (see review here) and Clarins Exfoliating Toner (see review here) but I only bought them half way through June so I haven't been using them for the whole month, plus I've already mentioned them anyway!

So, I will leave you with a pretty picture of these gorgeous flowers in my garden! I've been loving all of this sun in July! Lets hope it stays all summer, fingers crossed!!

A x

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Friday, 5 July 2013

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner...

I bought this from the Escentual website a few weeks ago (£20) as I had heard a lot of good things about it, and I'm a sucker for a good exfoliator!

I've been using it for less than two weeks and I've seen a difference in my skin already, my scars from past breakouts have started to fade and my skin seems so much smoother! Hurray! 

For those that don't know there are two types of exfoliation, mechanical/physical and chemical.

Mechanical exfoliation involves physically scrubbing the skin with something abrasive, such as a cloth, sponge or a product that contains tiny beads/particles. This is the type of exfoliation I generally prefer as I like the feeling of scrubbing away the dead skin cells! 

Chemical exfoliators contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) which reduce the adhesion of the cells in the top layer of skin revealing a brighter clearer looking skin. These type of products are basically a very mild version of a chemical peel. I know you're probably thinking "WHAT?! acid on the face?! Is she insane?!" but over the counter products only contain acids in very low concentrations and so it only penetrates the very top layer of skin. This type of exfoliation is best suited to acne skin types as sometimes physical exfoliation can aggravate the acne more, making it worse, whereas a chemical exfoliator can just be wiped across the skin, without disturbing the breakouts.

This particular product is a chemical exfoliator, which contains Tamarin fruit acids (AHAs) to remove dead skin cells and boost cell renewal and White Nettle extract to tighten pores.
On the box it states that you should only use twice a week, but I think that is probably just a precaution for people with very sensitive skin, as I've been using it almost everyday and my face hasn't melted off yet...

I don't see why using it daily would be a problem anyway as it is only very mild, maybe if your skin is supersensitive you should use it as recommended, but otherwise I don't really see the issue!
I tend to apply it after cleansing/removing my makeup in the evening then wait 10 mins or so before applying my moisturiser just to let it soak into the skin properly. It does have a slightly syrupy texture so I'm not sure how well it would sit under makeup if applied in the morning, so I'm sticking to applying in the evenings.

As I said before, it seems to have worked great for me, my skin feels lovely and smooth and my pigmentation is reduced, so I'm very happy with it! I'm not sure it will completely replace my physical exfoliating scrubs and I do like the feeling of a good scrub, but it has definitely found itself a place in my skincare routine!

A x

(Here's a picture I took on my phone of myself first thing in the morning, I know I don't have a before photo but trust me this is the best my skin has looked in a longtime without makeup on! Just need to find something for those dark circles now....)

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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

London Haul...

It's been a few weeks now since I went down to London, but I only realised the other day that I didn't show you guys all the makeup that I purchased while I was down there... So here's a quick peek for those that were interested :)

Guru Makeup Emporium, London
(This is where my prosthetics workshop was held, it is a professional makeup supplies shop, so while I was there I picked up a few things for my kit)

Ben Nye Neutral Set Powder & Banana Powder
Prosaide Adhesive
Ben Nye Charcoal Powder
Bloody Marvellous Thick Liquid Blood
Lion 9 hair nets
Makeup International Super Matte Anti-Shine
Kryolan Supracolour Palette

M.A.C. Pro Store, London
(I have a pro card which entitles me to 35% off, so I couldn't really not buy anything, could I?!)

Pro Lip Palette - Preferred Pinks
Pro Pan Eyeshadows - Smut, Sumptuous Olive, Charcoal Brown, Sketch
Single Eyeshadow - Concrete (for eyebrows)
Mac Blot Powder - Medium Dark

Selfridges, Oxford Street

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation - Figi (Light 5)
(See my review here)

Inglot, Westfield Centre
(I signed up for a pro card while I was there so that I could get 20% off)

Freedom System Eyeshadow Palette - This works like the MAC pro palettes in that you can choose any eyeshadow combinations you want to put in the palette. It's £25 (full price) for 5 eyeshadows and the palette, which I didn't think was too bad considering MAC pro eyeshadows are £10 each and you pay extra for the palette!

Boots, Westfield Centre
(I needed to buy a new mascara and all the makeup was on buy one get one half price)

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara
Maxfactor Miracle Touch Cream Blush

Harrods, London
(I nipped in to buy a Father's day gift and ended up in the perfume section, as you do)

Emporio Armani Diamonds 50ml

So, it was a successful trip, wouldn't you say?!

A x

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