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Saturday, 31 January 2015

La Roche Posay Serozinc: worth the hype?

I'd read about this product on so many blogs (including the amazing skincare expert Caroline Hirons'), but until recently, it wasn't readily available in the UK. You can now pick it up from here and as I was ordering some other bits a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a go.

The spray contains just 3 ingredients, which are thermal spring water, zinc sulphate and astringent sodium chloride. Zinc oxide is known for its skincare benefits on blemish prone skin, helping to keep it clear. La Roche Posay claim that the ingredients in serozinc 'target blemishes, marks and excess oiliness'. Sounds good to me.

I already use an exfoliating, acid toner. At the moment that is the Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix pads. Caroline recommends to use Serozinc as a secondary toner before any serums and/ or moisturisers, so that is what I've been doing for the last few weeks. I close my eyes and mist it over my face, leaving it to sink in for a couple of minutes then patting off the excess before continuing with my skincare routine. It might seem like a hassle to add in the extra step but as it's in spray form it literally takes 2 seconds to apply.

So what has it done for my skin? skin is generally clear-ish these days, except for during 'that time of the month', when my chin normally decides to erupt and I have some painful little 'friends' (thank you mother nature!). Although I did get a couple of little spots last time around, I must say that they were smaller than usual and disappeared more quickly, as if they didn't have the chance to develop into anything bigger. I hadn't used any spot treatments on them either, which is usually a necessity. So the zinc definitely seems to be helping my skin.

I have also read about people with drier skins using this because it is also good for soothing irritation (which fits with the clearing blemishes aspects of it) and for a little bit of hydration before moisurising. It definitely does inject some moisture because a few times I have left it to sink in then gone off to do something else and realised later that I actually forgot to put my moisturiser on. This probably wouldn't happen if you have dry skin as opposed to oily like me, but it just demonstrates that it does lightly moisturise. I imagine this is down to the thermal spring water.

Overall, I'm very happy with what it's doing for my skin and I will be continuing to use it. I can definitely see the benefits of it and why it is so popular in the blogging world. If the effects continue, I can see myself repurchasing it when this one starts to run low.
Have you tried serozinc? What do you think?

Em x

Friday, 30 January 2015

A Boots Beyonce Bargain

Although mostly sold out online, there are definitely some January sale bargains still be had in Boots stores! My local store, which is quite a large one on a retail park, had a LOT of these sets left when I popped in a couple of days ago, along with quite a lot of other perfume and aftershave gift sets. The slightly cheaper. celebrity type fragrances had 70% off.

This set of Beyonce perfumes comes with a set of 4 10ml EDP sprays that are ideal for carrying around with me. I love a good mini for my handbag. I of course like more expensive/ luxurious perfumes (Marc Jacobs, I'm looking at you!) but I don't always want to carry around something expensive in case of breakage or feeling like I'm wasting it spritzing away at work (I work with kids...I'm sure they don't care what I smell like lol). Sometimes even if I spray on a more expensive perfume in the morning, I will top up with something cheaper later in the day. Alternatively, if you're looking for a a budget friendly perfume to buy, these are a good bet. They worked out at a whole £8.40 for the set/ £2.10 per tube with the 70% off, so they ticked all the boxes.

Across the 4, there is a good range of scents. Pulse is a fresh, citrus/ vanilla scent, heat rush is a juicy, Summery, fruity one, Rise is a musky, floral type of scent (which for some reason reminds me of something from Lush, although I can't place what ) and Heat is a fruity number with a bit of musk thrown in, but isn't too heavy.

Have you tried Beyonce's perfumes? Do you have the same attitude to wearing expensive perfumes at work? Are there any slightly cheaper fragrances that you like?

Em x

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Wearing Your PJs to Work (Well, Nearly...)

I realise that black trousers are not the most exciting item of clothing but they are something I often wear for work and I just switch up the tops I wear them with. I recently discovered the most comfortable work trousers I have ever worn. I ordered them from ASOS and have since ordered a 2nd pair. They are wide legged, jersey trousers and wearing them is quite literally as comfortable as wearing pyjama bottoms. Dressed up with a smart blouse, they look smart enough for me to wear to work. I have to move around a lot so comfort is just as important as style where work is concerned if you ask me. I got mine from the curve range here for £22 but you can find similar in the standard range here for £25. I can usually buy from both ranges size wise but I went for the slightly cheaper option as they're pretty much the same and made from the same fabric (95% viscose and 5% elastane).

What do you think? Is comfort as important as style for you when you're at work?

 Em x

Beauty Empties #5

I seem to have finished an awful lot of things lately. I have been making an effort to use some things up so it's no surprise really. I don't mean I've been using twice as much of everything, but just sticking with the things that are almost empty. There's one thing I'm throwing away half full because I wasn't impressed and the rest of it's stuff I go through and repurchase all the time.

Herbal Essesnces Fresh balance shampoo and conditioner. I like the shampoo from this range so thought I'd try the conditioner to, which turned out to be just ok. I should have known since the range is aimed at more oily hair. I prefer to use an oily hair or clarifying shampoo with a conditioner for dry hair so the lengths get plenty of moisture and I get rid of the oil from my roots. I 'll buy the shampoo again but not the conditioner.

Batiste tropical. An old favourite I buy time and time again, cheap and does the job, no much more to say!

Macadamia oil. This is one of my favourite hair oils. It's quite serum-like in texture and doesn't weigh my hair down even if I use a lot. It helps keep my hair healthy (my hairdresser always comments on what good condition it's in) and I've just opened a new bottle.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. This is something I've used on and off for years. It's a great evening cleanser for me. It leaves my skin really clean without being dried out and it seems to help clear my skin whenever I'm having any spot issues. I've got a new one on the go.

Clearasil stayclear face wash. I bought this when I was in need of a face wash and couldn't get hold of my usual Neutrogena pink grapefruit one. I've used this before so know it's something I can go back to although it's not my preferred one. This has salicylic acid in it, which is something I go for in a morning time face wash. It is nice and creamy and doesn't dry out the skin, I WOULD NOT, I repeat WOULD NOT recommend the standard clearasil range, which strips your skin of all moisture, but the stayclear range is much more mild.

St Ives Apricot Scrub for blemish prone skin. I used to really like this and I still think it's ok, but only if you're going to be super careful with it. I like to use a physical scrub once a week but this one is a VERY scrubby scrub with very large particles that can do more harm than good if you're not careful. I already have the nip and fab glycolic scrub, which is much more fine and more gentle. I've decided that I much prefer that one so I'll stick with it for now.

Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit visibly clear wash. This is actually half full because it was just too drying and stripping on my skin. I really like the creamy version and picked this up when I couldn't find it, which was a mistake. I used it a couple of times then used it to clean some brushes to try to use it up but didn't even like it for that. Would I buy it again? Definitely not.

Garnier Micellar water. This is something I use and repurchase all the time, it's great for removing the bulk of your makeup before cleansing and it's cheap too.

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix serum. This was featured in a review post here. Its exfoliating properties help to keep my skin clear and smooth and I've already started on another.

La Roche Posay Mat moisturiser. This is a gel-cream moisturiser that is ideal for under makeup on my oily/ combination skin. This is something I've repurchased many times and will continue to do so.

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix exfoliating pads. I use these as a toner and again, they help to chemically exfoliate to keep my skin clear and smooth. Great product that I've bought a few times now and will continue to do so.

The Body Shop Coconut shower gel. I love the smell of the coconut range from the Body Shop, it's one of my favourites. I do wish that this would foam up a bit more-I felt like I had to use a lot. Despite that, I will probably buy it again at some point since it matches the scrub and body butter, both of which I love. Not just yet, however, because I'm trying to work my way through a mountain of bath and body products.

Sanctuary Relax foaming bath soak. This smells gorgeous and nourishes my skin. I have a couple of back ups after finding it cheap in B and M. It's been discontinued in Boots but is still currently available on the Debenhams site for now, so I'm not sure whether I will be able to repurchase it when I do run out. I will if I can, though.

ASDA shave gel-did the job and smells quite nice but there's not a lot to say about it really!

Garnier Mineral deodorant-again did the job! I'm not that fussy with deodorants although I prefer the ones designed to not leave marks on clothes. I normally just pick up one from Garnier, Nivea, Dove or Sure, whichever's on offer at the time.

Sleek brow stylist in light. This is my favourite brow product and I'm already well into another one. You can see my review of it here.

Seventeen Falsifeye HD mascara. I love this mascara and already have another ready to open when I've finished the tube of Benefit They're Real I am trying to finish. Those 2 mascaras give a very similar effect but are very different prices! You can see my review and comparison here.

Revlon Colorstay foundation. This is my day to day foundation that I've worn on and off for years,. It lasts really well on oily skin and is a good colour match. Its something I've repurchased over and over.

Bourjois java rice powder. This lasted me absolutely forever because I only use it to set my under eye concealer. It' pink toned and has a subtle shimmer to it to keep my under eye concealer glowy while setting it. Personally I wouldn't use it all over with my combo/ oily skin but it might be good to give dry skins a glow if you still want to use a powder to set your makeup. I have repurchased.

Urban Decay primer potion. This is still my 'holy grail' eye primer. It makes my eye shadows last all day without fail.

Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm. This is my absolute favourite lip balm. I use it morning and night and my lips never get chapped as a result, even in this appalling weather we're having in the UK at the moment! (honestly, my little car nearly got blown off the motorway yesterday, slightly scary!). Anyway, it's amazing stuff and I'm now on my 3rd tub.

Which beauty products have you used up lately? What would you recommend I try or avoid?

Em x

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Maybelline Colour Drama Lip Pencils

I picked up these Maybelline colour drama lip pencils on my latest trip to Boots (I refuse to write color, it just looks wrong haha). I've been meaning to try them for a little while but for some reason just hadn't got around to it. They were on a buy one get one half price offer so I thought it was the perfect opportunity!

If you are a makeup junkie like me, you will know that the makeup market has been flooded with chunky pencil style lip products over the last year or two. These, however, are quite different to most of the others I own in that they are more of a full on, pigmented lipstick rather than a sheer wash of colour. They have been compared to the NARS velvet matte lip pencils, which I can understand to a certain extent (I own NARS' deep red shade, cruella). However, I do think that the Maybelline ones are more creamy and therefore more of a satin-matte than a true matte. This does mean that they won't last quite as long on as the NARS version, but it also means that they aren't as drying. I was actually quite amazed at how creamy the 'Keep it Classy' shade is in particular. For something in pencil form, its texture is more like a traditional lipstick in a bullet. I do find with the NARS that I like to put a lip balm underneath but I don't feel the need to with these. There's also the fact that the Maybelline ones are £4.99 from Boots or Superdrug, but the NARS version will cost you a whopping £18.00.

I like the shade selection of the Maybelline version. I picked up the shades 'In with coral' (left of the swatches above) and 'keep it classy' (left swatch). Keep it classy is a lovely berry/ plum shade and is ideal for people like me who don't always find it very easy to wear a red. I feel like these sort of shades are easier to wear than a red on fair skin but have a similar, dramatic effect without being quite so harsh. In with coral is actually brighter on than I originally thought it was (those shop lights can be deceptive can't they?) and it looks a bit brighter in real life than it does in the photos too (damn you Winter light!). It's verging on neon really so is not for the faint hearted. I think this one will be a fun shade to wear in the Summer, though. I must admit that when I swatched the more nude shades, I wasn't so fussed on the texture of them. Some of them had chunks of shimmer in, which I also wasn't a fan of.

Overall, I think these are a really good buy and are very good value for what they offer. I'd definitely recommend them. The more bold shades definitely appealed to me more, firstly because I prefer my more nude shades to be more glossy and on the sheer side and also the texture was far preferable.

Have you tried the Maybelline colour drama lip pencils? What do you think of them?

Em x

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

January Beauty Favourites

Here are the beauty things I've loved using the most this month...

Too Faced chocolate bar palette. I love this palette and have used it a lot this month. I find it more wearable on my skin tone than the Urban Decay naked palette (sorry naked palette, I still love you, I promise!). I particularly love the gold and burgundy shades.

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction palette. This has all the basics in it-a matte highlight shade, a mid brown for my crease, a dark brown for the outer corner, a white slightly shimmery shade to highlight my inner corner and a black that I sometimes use as a liner. I've been enjoying pairing this palette with a shimmery shade for my lid from my single eye shadows.

Soap and Glory sexy mother pucker gloss stick in the shade nudist. I have banged on about how much I love these enough times, but this month I've been using this shade in particular a lot for work-it's a good neutral shade that is 'work appropriate' and goes with anything. This one's almost empty and I have a new one at the ready. It's very rare that I finish lip products because they seem to last forever but I've used up 2 of these in other shades already, which shows just how much I like them.

Clinique cheek pop  in the shade plum pop. This was very well used over the Summer but I recently picked it up again and have been using it pretty much every day since. I love that it's not shimmery but is almost matte with a slight sheen to it. It's hard to explain but it's a very flattering finish for oily skinned girls.

Soap and glory kohl power eye liner in shade cocoa bean. This is a nice dark brown shade that gives enough definition but isn't as harsh as black. It slides on very easily and lasts really well-it's one of those pencils similar to the texture of Urban Decay 24/7 pencil, Rimmel scandaleyes and the likes.

Maybelline Superstay nail polishes. These stay on my nails for around 4 days, which is longer than most polishes. I only really get 2 from most others (I think I'm quite hard on my nails). Plus I love the flat, wide brush that makes it easy to be neat and they are quite opaque. With some of them you could maybe get away with 1 coat, but they're all opaque in two. I now own 5 shades, 4 of which are pictured above (I seem to have misplaced one). You can see the mint shade in more detail here.

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir. I absolutely love this perfume. I had a little rollerball of it already but picked up a gift set half price in the post-Christmas sales and I've been wearing it a lot. I'm not sure what it is, but there's a subtle difference between this and the original viva la juicy and I must say that I much prefer this one at the moment.

The Body Shop coconut range. The body butter pictured is representative of the range because I actually finished up the scrub and shower gel and thrown away the packaging (you will see the shower gel in my next empties post). I just have a bit of the body butter left but not a lot. I just love the scent of these, it's incredible! I smell like a pina colada! haha.

Which beauty products have you been enjoying lately?

Em x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Cargo Vintage Escape and Let's Meet in Paris palettes

If you read my recent post abut these Cargo palettes appearing on the Fragrance Direct website, you will know that I was considering buying them. I ended up ordering both for a bargainous £12.99 each (the full price is £35 each). They have now gone up to £19.99 on Fragrance Direct as their sale has finished but even so, they're still a bargain, especially when the Let's Meet in Paris palette is still being sold on the Debenhams website for the full £35.

First, we have the vintage escapes palette, which is the more neutral of the two. The packaging has a nice leather type finish which feels like it will last well since you could easily wipe it clean if it gets grubby in your makeup bag.The shade names are Autumn themed. 

The lightest 2 shades, Harvest Moon and Crisp, are barely visible in the swatches above but that is because they are so similar to my skin tone. I did the swatches on the inside of my arm, which is slightly paler than my face, so I know that I could easily use these as highlight shades and for blending things out. Withered leaves is an interesting shade because although its green, it's somehow still quite neutral-it's almost like it has a touch of brown in it which makes it more wearable. The palette has a mix of shimmer and matte shades and the pigmentation is great. The shadows have a nice, creamy texture and are easy to work with. All of the swatches you see in this post are on bare skin with no base so you can see what the shadows are like on their own. I think I'll get a lot of use from this palette.

Secondly is the Let's Meet in Paris palette. I love the design on the packaging of this one, although it's perhaps not as long wearing as the Vintage Escapes palette. This is more colourful palette of the two, although it does still have some neutral shades, meaning that you can mix colour and neutrals to make them more wearable. 

Although I've got no complaints about the pigmentation, some of the shades that have glitter in them such as the dark green, dark purple and black are slightly more dry in texture than the others. These would benefit from a slightly tacky base underneath them such as a MAC paint pot or a Maybelline eye tattoo etc, to make sure they really stick to the skin.Something I do wish about this one is that 1 or 2 more of the shades were matte because I like to combine different finishes, ususally putting a matte shade into my crease. The shadows in this palette are mostly shimmers and glitters and there is only really 1 matte shade, which is the shade baguette on the far left bottom row. Adding some more mattes would make it even better in my opinion.

Overall, though, I think this is a great palette for people who like a smokey eye and want to add a bit of colour into the mix. This is how I would wear more colourful eye shadow-it's much more wearable in the form of a smoky eye. I imagine that I will mostly use this for nights out etc but I do think you could get a day time look from it, too, if you wanted to.

Both of the palettes come with quite a nice double ended brush, with a standard flat eye shadow brush on one end and an angled brush on the other. I think the flat side could be a bit more stiff/ sturdy  to enable you to really pack on the colour with it but it's not one of those useless brushes that normally comes in palettes and is nice and soft. I could definitely use it if I had nothing else to hand.

You can find both of the palettes here for £19.99.

Have you tried any Cargo eye palettes? What do you think? 

Em x

Friday, 23 January 2015

Mint Sparkle

I painted my nails today with a combination I love so I thought I'd share it. I'm loving the Maybelline Superstay nail polishes at the moment (expect to see them in my January favourites post) and 'Mint For Life' is no exception. I've had enough of Winter shades now and am finding myself wanting to start the transition into Spring, gravitating towards pastels. On top, I added Deborah Lippmann's 'Stairway to Heaven', which is such a pretty iridescent glitter that I actually wore on top of a pale pink on our wedding day.

What do you think?

Em x

Thursday, 22 January 2015

15 Beauty Hacks Every Girl Should Know

1. If you have wavy hair like mine, this is my favourite way to style it...rough dry it then sleep with your hair twisted into a bun. If you want to you can add a product to give it some hold first, but my hair doesn't need it. It just brings out the waves/ curls when you take it down in the morning. I sleep with my hair in a bun most nights for this reason.

2. Did you know that most people actually use hair pins (or bobby pins/  hair grips, whatever you want to call them) upside down? Most people put them into the hair with the wavy side facing upwards. In fact, they're meant to be used wavy side down as it that side gives better grip.

3. You can also put your hair grips on a piece of kitchen towel and spray them with hairspray if you still have trouble with them staying in your hair-the slightly sticky pins will stay much better!

 4. If you run out of shave gel, slather hair conditioner on your legs. It works a treat because it gives plenty of slip, resulting in a nice close shave.

5. If your nail polish is beginning to chip and you don't have time to completely re-do it, add some sparkle. Adding a glitter covers up any chips and helps you to get another day or two from your manicure.

6. Make nail polish dry faster by soaking your fingers in cold water.

7. Keep your lipstick off your teeth by putting your finger in your mouth and pulling it out like you're making a popping noise-the excess that would have been on your teeth will come off onto your finger instead.

8. For fuller looking lips, pop a bit of a light shimmery eye shadow or cheek highlighter in the centre of your lips, over your lipstick.

9. Got mascara on your face makeup or eye shadow? Leave it to dry then just swipe it away with a cotton bud-it should just flick off instead of smudging around and making a mess, like it would do if you tried to clean it up when wet.

10. Use a light coloured eye liner to on the inner rims of your eyes to make you look awake no matter how tired you are. I like the Rimmel Scandaleyes pencil in the shade nude.

11. Another trick for looking more awake-apply a light shimmery eye shadow around the inner corners of your eyes. This makes my eyes look so much brighter.

12. Use an old toothbrush to clean out the filter of your hairdryer.

13. Create your own leave in conditioner by diluting your normal conditioner (around 1 part conditioner to 3 parts water) in a spray bottle.

14. Hand cream works well for de-frizzing hair-rub the majority into your hands then lightly smooth your hands over your hair with the remnants. Just don't go over board to avoid a greasy mess.

15. If you have trouble applying eye liner, colour in the edge opposite to the plastic cushion on your eyelash curler. When you curl your lashes, a perfect line of eye liner will be left behind on your lid.

Do you have any other beauty hacks you think I should know?

Em x

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The LBS (little black skirt)

 I recently picked up this Butterfly by Matthew Williamson skirt from Debenhams after seeing it in the sale knocked down from £45 to £13.50 (link). I recently realised that other than the few Summer maxi skirts I own, I'm not really a skirt person-for some reason, I always go for a dress or a top and trousers.

However, I love the pleating detail in the skirt. It starts as very fine pleats and then goes into slightly larger pleats towards the bottom. It has a wide elasticated band at the waist so is still comfortable while being stylish. The lined chiffon type fabric is all swishy and girly. It goes perfectly with my sparkly sequinned cami and heels for an evening outfit or I could pair it with a nice blouse and black tights for work. In fact, I think it's a very useful item to have in your wardrobe!

What do you think? Do you have the perfect Little Black Skirt?

Em x

No 7 high shine lip pencils

I popped these into my Boots basket online when I was doing some online January sales shopping. They came in a little gift set that was originally £8 and went down to £4. I thought for that price I would give them a go as I really enjoy a sheer, moisturising lipstick/ pencil type product for everyday use. I don't have the type of job where I can stop and check my makeup all the time so I like something that I can slap on without a mirror and these are just that! You might be aware that I've mentioned the Soap and Glory gloss sticks on this blog several times because I love them so much, and these are quite a similar product.

I'm pretty sure that these are the shades daydreamer and delicate pink but I can't see the shade names on them, which is a bit of a shame-hopefully the full size ones have the shade names on. Daydreamer is a nude shade while delicate pink is more pinky shade. They are really quite sheer but do give a hint of colour and can be built up if you swipe them backwards and forwards across your lips a few times. They feel very moisturising, so are great for everyday purposes during the Winter months especially. They have both made their way into the makeup bag that gets carried around in my handbag.

You can find the full size versions here for £9 but they are currently on a buy one get one half price offer. They're definitely something I will consider picking up more shades of, especially the next time they're doing the free £5 no 7 vouchers, which would bring them down to £4.

Have you tried the No 7 High Shine Lip Pencils? What do you think?

Em x

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The £35 eye shadow palette for £12.99!

I just spotted these palettes from Cargo on the fragrance direct website and thought they were such a bargain! I've never tried any cargo eye shadows (I think I owned a mascara and a blush from them in the past, but that's about it) but from looking at swatches on the online, the pigmentation looks pretty damn amazing! I'm pretty sure that these are both limited edition palettes but the 'Let's meet in Paris' palette is still available on the Debenhams website for £35 so it's obviously still current/ being sold in stores. I'm so tempted by the vintage escapes's so hard to resist a bargain...a girl can never have too many neutral eye shadows, right?! haha. The 'Let's Meet in Paris' palette looks lovely too for the girl who likes a smokey eye.

Have you tried Cargo cosmetics?

Em x

Friday, 16 January 2015

Maybelline Divine Wine

Here's what I painted my nails with yesterday. Sorry for the stubby looking index finger-it's so annoying when all of your nails are at a good length and you break one! I originally saw Amelia Liana on youtube mention the Maybelline Superstay polishes and how well they lasted . As someone whose nail polish normally only lasts about 2 day (even the more expensive ones), I was very interested in trying these. I would say they last 7 days on my nails without chipping, but I do normally get around 4 with just a little tip wear, which for me is pretty impressive. I was really impressed with how opaque this was one was, too! I did two coats but I think you could get away with one really if you were in rush. On my ring fingers, I topped it with Models Own 'Magenta Divine', which is a gorgeous glitter polish. I also have a gorgeous mint green shade from the Superstay range called 'Mint for Life', which I thought would be perfect for Spring (if you couldn't tell, I'm looking forward to Spring already, it;s my favourite season!). 

What do you think? 

Em x

Monday, 12 January 2015

My Jar of Happy Things

It's been about a week since I posted anything here because everything has felt so busy lately with getting back to normality after the Christmas break. Anyway, I digress...

This little 'jar of happy things' project was totally inspired by Zoe from mammafulzo, so definitely go and have a look at her post :-). Zoe had the brilliant idea of taking a jar and using it to collect all of your happy memories throughout the year so that at the end of it, you can look back at all the good things that happened. I have been writing down each happy thing that I want to put into the jar along with the date and popping it in. This could be anything at all no matter how small, like someone being kind to you, a trip to the cinema/ to see a concert or spending time with someone you love. Then again it could also be something bigger like a holiday, a new job or passing exams.

It's such a simple idea but so amazing, I thought. I didn't feel like 2014 was the best year for me, not the worst but not the best. There was nothing that really stood out about it to make it a good year and being honest, my work situation (rubbishy temp work for way too long despite spending 4 years studying and training for my chosen career) has been getting me down. However, I think that if I had a jar full of the little memories to look back on then maybe I would think differently. I feel like it will somehow make the little things count a bit more. Sometimes the little things are important!

The jar I used I actually already had. I bought quite a few to do a DIY sweetie buffet at our wedding in 2013 and have used these for various things since/ stored the rest knowing they's come in handy for something. I'm pretty sure it was from B&M but you can use any jar you like-a Kilner style jar from the kitchen supermarket aisle would do the job!

What do you think?

Em x

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Using oils on oily skin

What?! Oil?! On oily skin?! Yes, that's what I thought, too, when I first read about this product. Clarins Lotus oil is a facial oil that is actually designed for oily or combination skin (I have the latter-the usual oily t zone and more normal cheeks). I've been using it for a while now. When I first bought it, I enjoyed using it as a once or twice a week skin treat. However, with the colder weather, I've really got into using it in place of an evening moisturiser.

So...what does it do for my skin? Well firstly, it seems to balance it in that it makes the oily areas less oily (who would have thought?) and hydrates the drier areas of my face. I don't claim to be a skincare expert but having read a bit about this online, it began to make more sense. If you strip the oil from your skin, it will feel the need to produce more and more of its own oil to replenish itself. Providing it with nourishment in the form of an oil does the opposite-it is nourished and therefore doesn't need to produce as much of its own oil. For me, it also seems to help blemishes clear up more quickly. I still use a spot treatment, but afterwards I used to find that this could leave a little dry patch. Using an oil eliminates that problem and seems to help marks to fade more quickly-my skin scars quite easily so anything that helps is amazing!

You only need the smallest amount of it, too, so this bottle is going to last such a long time even if you use it every night. It has a nifty little dropper inside the lid which makes it so much less messy than an oil could be. I put about 5 drops into the palm of my hand then rub my hands together and pat it into my skin. I smooth anything that's left on my hands onto my neck.

I can't fail to mention the smell. It's literally like having a little aromatherapy session before bed. I even like to cup my hands over my face and really breathe the scent in once I've patted it onto my face. It's so relaxing before you go to sleep!

I would definitely keep this to evening use because it would be too heavy for during the day when I'm usually wearing make up, but I genuinely feel like it's doing my skin some good! You can find it anywhere you can buy Clarins for £32. It seems quite pricey for 30ml but I don't mind when it lasts so long and you can often get discounts on it online, which is what I did. have 20.15% off everything at the moment with the code ESCENTUAL2015 and you can find the oil here.

Have you tried any facial oils for oily skin? What did you think? Are there any you would recommend?

Em x

Monday, 5 January 2015

Bomb Cosmetics

As my mentioned in one of my sales shopping posts here, I recently picked up a gift set from Bomb Cosmetics. The one I chose was the 'Love Rocks' set but I've also tried the brand before. The first time I came across it was a couple of years ago, in a cute little gift shop in Llandudno. I had gone for a little break away in Wales with my husband and decided to try the chocolate ballotin collection and the raspberry blower shower butter, which both smell amazing! When I came home and looked it up I found that they actually have a website ( where you can buy the products, as well as them being stocked on Amazon and also in Clintons card shops (which is where I got the Love Rocks set from). Since then, I've picked up a few of their sets as gifts but nothing really for myself so I thought I'd tell you a bit more about the Love Rocks set.

Firstly, all of the gift sets come beautifully wrapped, which is part of what makes them such lovely gifts, as well as the contents, of course. Inside this one, there are 5 items: love buds bath mallow, pink rosebud heart bath blaster, feel the love bath creamer , crazy cupid soap and Summer of love bath blaster.

The bath mallows and bath creamers both contain cocoa butter and as you can see from the picture above, make the bath look sort of milky and the water feel very moisturising. I really like this in a bath bomb because it actually feels like it's doing something for my skin. The bath blasters are more like your standard bath bombs to make you smell nice. Unlike the bath mallows and creamers, they also come wrapped because they are a little more crumbly in texture and prone to breaking. I don't usually use soap bars in the bath, but the one in this set smells so nice that I used it in combination with each of the other products. Some of the bath bombs have bits of dried flowers in them, which I'm normally not a fan of, but it wasn't too much so although I would prefer them without, it's something I can overlook.

According to the website, Bomb Cosmetics products contain essential oils, natural emolients such as cocoa and shea butters, olive and coconut oil. They are paraben free if that is something you are concerned about. They do not test their products or ingredients on animals. They also say that they try to minimise unessecary packaging and use recycled materials where they do need to use it. All of their products are handmade. They sound like a really good environmentally friendly company to me and definitely rival Lush while also being slightly cheaper!

Overall, I have really enjoyed this set! I've used up 2 bath bombs and some of the soap so far and I'm looking forward to using the rest. You can find it here for £14.99, or pop into your nearest Clinton's, where I got mine for £6.  It's also worth a look around their website as they still have some sale items left! Even at full prices, they are a cheaper alternative to Lush and just as nice.

Have you tried Bomb Cosmetics? What do you think of the brand?

Em x

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Beauty Empties #4

Ted Baker Body Souffle
I quite enjoyed the scent of this, it was quite a warm, spicy sort of smell so I like using it in the colder months. Having said that, I didn't feel like it did anything amazing for my skin, it was just OK. It came as part of a gift set I received at Christmas 2013 so it took my quite a while to get around to using it. I'm not sure if you can buy it individually but it wasn't anything amazing so I wouldn't go out of my way to repurchase it anyway because there are other products I prefer.

Sanctuary Revive Invigorating Hydra-tonic
I've spoken about how much I love Sanctuary as a brand before and this product was no exception. It is a body moisturiser that is very runny and more of a sort of gel-serum texture than a cream. It has a very refreshing scent and sinks in quickly so it's perfect for using in the morning when you want to give your skin some moisture after a shower but want to be able to get dressed quickly afterwards. It's available from Debenhams for £10.25 here, or I recently picked up another bottle for around £4 from B&M so it's worth a look if you have one near you.

Sanctuary Revive Invigorating Body Rub
This is from the same line as the hydra-tonic and has the same citrusey, refreshing scent so is something I tended to use when I was having a shower in the morning time. It is somewhere between a shower gel and a scrub so is great when you're in a rush and don't have time to do both steps. You can find it on the Debenhams site here for £8.25.

The Body Shop Coconut Body Scrub
The Body Shop coconut range smells amazing! Their scrubs are really quite scrubby so this is something I used in the shower once a week to really smooth my skin. I'm still working my through the shower gel and body butter in the coconut range and can't get enough of the fruity smell. I would definitely buy this again but right now I have a lot of bath and body things to use up, including new things I got for Christmas and in the sales, so I won't be picking this up again just yet.

There are a quite few things I used up that I use all the time so have mentioned before. There's no point me going into loads of detail with these except that they are the products I use all the time because they never let me down. I would repurchase all of these.
  • Large can of Batiste in the blush scent
  • Sure crystal deodorant
  • Percy and Reed finishing polish
  • Rimmel Stay Matte powder in shade peach glow x 2
  • Garnier essentials 2 in 1 make up remover
  • L'oreal absolute makeup remover eye and lip (I prefer the Garnier one but this is a close second if I can't get hold of the Garnier)
  • Garnier Micellar water
  • 2 x cheap face wipes from Home Bargains-these are great just for getting the bulk of your makeup off before washing your face
  • Pampers baby wipes-I use these for removing swatches from hands etc
  • Kleenex shine absorbing sheets-my favourite oil blotting sheets that have sadly been discontinued but I can still get them online or in Home Bargains.

As usual, it seems like a lot when I write it down! What have you used up lately and would you repurchase?

Em x

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Deborah Lippmann Let's Go Crazy

I love Deborah Lippmann for their glitter polishes, they do the best glitters hands down. I like them so much that I wore one of them, 'Stairway to heaven', over a pale pink on my wedding day. They are pretty expensive as nail polishes go at £16, but I've built a little collection by picking them up discounted in TK Maxx and online here and there. You can see my thoughts on the shade 'candy shop here.

You might have seen in my recent sales shopping posts that I recently picked up the shade 'Let's Go Crazy' from for the bargain price of £8.79 (they still have some Lippmann polishes left in the sale so it's worth a look!). Just like the rest of the brand's glitters, I love it. It's a dark purple that looks almost black in some lights, laced with multi-coloured small and large hexagonal glitter pieces, beautiful! I am wearing 2 coats in the above picture, topped with Butter London's 'Hardwear' top coat.

Have you tried Deborah Lippmann polishes? Are there any shades you would recommend?

Em x

Friday, 2 January 2015

Multi-purpose Beauty Products

Burt's Bees Almond Hand Cream: I've been meaning to mention this on the blog since I picked it up a few weeks ago and fell in love. It's a SUPER thick cream in a jar-it's almost hard so you have to scoop it out, but changes consistency when it warms up on your skin, so it's still easy to rub in. It does leave a residue so it's not one to use on your hands during the day but it's SO moisturising if your pop it on before you go to bed. I also like to use this one on my elbows and other dry patches as a super thick concentrated body cream and it works wonders!

Hair conditioner: Did you know that hair conditioner is actually really good for shaving your legs? I read this tip in a magazine years ago and tried it out of interest. You actually get a really nice smooth, close shave with hair conditioner (strange but true!) so no need to panic if you've run out of shave gel!

MAC vanilla pigment:I think everyone should own MAC vanilla pigment....well everyone who's a make up junkie like me haha. I love it for using on the inner corner of my eyes (makes you look wide awake and bright eyed even if you're far from it!), as a cheek highlight, a tiny bit patted onto the centre of the lips over lipstick to make your lips look really full or even mixed into your everyday body lotion to give your decolletage a lovely glow. The MAC pigments last SO long as you need such a small amount. I have a mini one from a set a long time ago and I've never needed to buy the full size.

Lip and cheek tints and creams: These are great if you are trying to keep the make up you're carrying to a minimum. I also quite like the idea of matching your cheeks and lips-obviously the shade will look different on your lips due to them being a darker shade than the rest of your skin, but it means that you can match the tone without having to think about it. I like the Benefit ones for my oily skin (posetint in particular for my skin tone) but Stila convertible colours are great for drier skin types.

Highlighter and Bronzer as eye shadow: Sometimes I like to use highlighter and bronzer for my cheeks on my eyes, too. It's give a simple, fresh look that again, helps condense your make up bag. I like using the sleek contour kit in the shade light on my cheeks and eyes.

Eye shadow as blush: Got a pink eye shadow you won't ever wear? As much as I love the Too Faced chocolate bar palette, there's that one pink shade in there that I jut can't pull off. I tried pink eye shadow as a teen and it makes me look like an albino rabbit, or like I've been crying for hours. Not flattering. I have used that shade with some success, however, on my cheeks so if I have that palette with me, I don't need to bring a blush.I wouldn't recommend using a blush as eye shadow necessarily though, just because eyes are much more sensitive than eyes and you don't know if the ingredients will agree with them!

Dr Bronner's Magic Soap: Dr Bronner's magic soap can be used for numerous things so it's such a handy product to have. It can be used as a body wash, hand wash, shampoo (which I personally haven't tried but it says so on the bottle), for shaving, a brush cleanser (which is what I mainly buy it for). It can even supposedly be used as a household cleaning product and for washing your dog! I have the peppermint variety.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream: This stuff is great for lips, elbows, any other dry patches of skin and cuticles. I like to put it on at night and let in sit on the area/ soak in for best results.

Have you tried these products? Are there any other multi-purpose beauty products you would recommend?

Em x

Thursday, 1 January 2015

How To: Beauty De-clutter

January is the time for Spring cleaning and your make up and beauty products are no exception. I've recently had a clear out myself so thought I would share my tips...

Clean your brushes. We know we should be doing this anyway but personally I seem to slip with it over the festive season when everything has been so busy. For spot cleaning day to day, I like the MAC brush cleaner but for a deeper clean, I like to use Dr Bronner's soap. If there's anything really stubborn that won't come out, a tiny amount of olive oil does the trick. Just wash it out with the soap afterwards to avoid it ending up on your face.

Give your palettes a clean up. Palettes have a habit of getting messy so I like to give them a wipe between the products to get rid of excess powder etc. A make up wipe or a damp cloth does the job.

Throw out old products. Powder products you can afford to keep for a long time as they don't carry bacteria or change consistency the way that liquids and creams do. Generally speaking, I don't like having foundations or lip glosses for more than about 12 months, 6 months for mascaras because your eyes are particularly sensitive and prone to infection. Keep lookout for any changes in consistency or scent that might show you that a product is past its best.

Downsize. I like to go through my make up and other beauty products and decide if there's anything I'm not likely to use, whether that's because it didn't suit me, wasn't the right shade or I just didn't like it. I normally pass those things to a family member to try if it's in good condition.I wouldn't pass on things like mascaras and lipglosses with a wand applicator because they're not very sanitary to be sharing. For powders and lipsticks, you can also clean them with something like BeautySoClean spray or alcohol if you want to. My mum, sister and I wouldn't mind if each other had used something a few times because we're close family but it's obviously up to you and your family/ friends how happy you are about sharing products.

Organise. You're more likely to use everything you have if it's organised. Personally I have an everyday make up bag that contains the things I'm currently using most. Everything else is organised into categories e.g. blush, bronzers/ highlighters, eye shadow, lipstick etc. This makes it easy to find what I'm looking for and therefore to use it. I have the acrylic drawers from Muji that everyone else on the internet seems to have but they work really well for me. I use a large letter holder for palettes and the Cosmetic cups from Interdesign to store my make up brushes and lip and eye liners. You can find those here and here. It all sits on top of my chest of drawers. I must admit that I dream of a glamorous dressing table but for now I don't really have the space so this is a practical way I can store my stash without taking up any extra floor space.

Have you got any tips on make up organisation and de-cluttering?

Em x