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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Beauty Empties, Reviews and Fails #17

I had a MASSIVE load of empties...I should really have done this post sooner but it didn't happen. are the beauty products I've used up and also a few bits that were a fail so I wanted to throw away, with mini reviews of each. There are also some things I came across when tidying up that should have been thrown out a while ago. Here we go...


1. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream Fragrance Free used to be a favourite of mine but the last little bit of the tube has been sitting in a drawer for months unused. It used to be my favourite lip balm but has since been replaced by Nuxe Reve de Miel which I prefer so I don't think I'll be repurchasing. This is well past the date it should have been used by so it's got to go.

2. B Pure Sensitive Micellar Cleansing Wipes are a great option if you like face wipes. I sometimes use them to get the bulk of my face makeup off quickly or in emergencies. I wouldn't recommend using them as your only cleansing method (I wash my face after) but these ones don't sting my skin and have plenty of liquid in them. They are a bargainous £1 from Superdug here. I already have a couple more packets.

3. Murad Oil Control Mattifier SPF15 is great if you have oily skin. It really does control oil underneath makeup so I mostly use it on long days or in the warmer months when I need more oil control. I had forgotten about this tube and the date on it wasn't far away so I got it used up but I will be saving my newer tube that I bought half price not too long ago for when the weather gets warmer.

4.Garnier Simply Essentials 2 in 1 Makeup Remover is my favourite eye makeup remover that I've been through many bottles of and continue to use. It removes makeup quickly and isn't too oily.

5. Garnier Micellar Water is great for taking off the bulk of my makeup and is something I always have a bottle of. Like with the wipes, I still wash my face afterwards to make sure all the makeup is off my face and my skin is completely clean.

6. Superdrug Naturally Radiant Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser is a really nice budget cleanser. I use it or a similar product as my 2nd cleanse in the evening. It is nice and creamy and non drying while leaving my skin feeling really clean. I am currently using the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser as an alternative but have no doubt I will buy this one again.

7. Nip & Fab Deep Cleansing Fix is a pretty similar product to the the Superdrug one. It claims to be multipurpose but I just used it as a cleanser.  I ended up getting this by accident after ASOS made a mistake with their product pictures. I enjoyed it but wished it was in a squeeze tube as it would be more hygienic, so I will probably stick to other things.

8. Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme are Glycolic and Salicylic pads that I use as an acidic toner step. They are great for oily/ blemish prone skin, helping to keep it clear. I would use them again but am currently using the FAB pads instead (see my review in my last post here).

9. Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Pads are pretty much as above but glycolic only and a bit weaker, so good for keeping skin smooth. Again I would happily use them again but again am using the FAB ones at the moment.

10. La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat is a gel-cream type moisturiser that is nice under makeup on oilier skins because it sinks in quickly and doesn't make me look more shiny than I already get. I am already using another tube.

11. Simple Soothing Eye Balm is something I always have a tube of. It's a plain eye cream that doesn't sting, sinks in nicely so it's good for under makeup and wakes my eyes up in the morning.

Bath and Body

1. Boots Extracts Body Wash, Scrub and Body Butter were a huge disappointment. I bought them a while ago because of their amazing smell but the body wash didn't really foam up very well, even with a shower puff, the scrub sort of stuck together in lumps instead of spreading out properly and the body butter didn't sink in very well. I tried to make them work a few times but they're going in the bin at least two thirds full after sitting there unused for they're not strictly speaking an 'empty' but I thought I'd mention anyway.

2. Nivea Invisible Antiperspirant is a non-marking antiperspirant. It works and doesn't mark my clothes and is something I'd happily use again...I'm currently using the Sure equivalent.

3. Nivea Age Defying Hand Cream (mini) was something I received in a gift set and kept in my handbag. It wasn't a bad hand cream but isn't special enough to make me want to repurchase it, especially when I have a stash of hand cream that needs using up.

4. Ted Baker Bubble Bath (mini) was from a Christmas gift set and it was nice. I'm not sure I'd buy it for myself but it had a nice, quite delicate scent and made plenty of bubbles.

5. Gilette Satin Care Shave Gel (travel size) had been lying around for a long time. I have used it for travelling with but there was very little left in it so I just wanted to use it up. There's not a huge difference between shave gels if you ask me but the Gilette ones do seem to be a bit more moisturising.

6. The Body Shop Almond Body Butter made it into my best beauty buys of 2015 post because I really did enjoy it and it's super moisturising. I would definitely buy it again if it's still available (I can't find it on the website) but am trying to work my way through my stash of bath and body products at the moment.

7. The Body Shop Strawberry Body Butter (mini) smells nice but is a bit more of an artificial smell. There are other Body Shop scents I prefer so I don't think I'd buy this one again but I like the Body Butters in general.


1. Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo (large 400ml can) smells like coconuts and helps me go a day longer between washes if I don't have time to wash my hair. Batiste is one of my essentials.

2. Batiste Eden Dry Shampoo (200ml can) was another nice scent but I'm pretty sure it was a limited edition that you can't get any more. It was just as good as any other Batiste.

3. Aussie Miracle Hair Insurance Leave In Conditioner was a really nice leave in conditioner that I use as a detangler after I get out of the shower. I feel like it adds a lot of moisture. I have another of these that I believe I picked up discounted when Aussie were changing their lines so I'll be using that one next.

4. Percy and Reed Finishing Polish is a great style finisher. I like to scrunch it into waves and curls for a bit of hold and frizz control.


1. Stila In The Light Palette is a great neutral palette that works out good value when you consider the price of their individual shadows. I really did get a lot of use out of this palette and there is just a little of the darker shades left, which I'm not going to use on their own. I'm letting it go and wasn't going to repurchase but I received an email telling me it is currently half price on the Stila website here and caved. It's a bargain for £12.50, especially because it comes with a really nice dark brown eye liner as well.

2. Sleek Brow Stylist is my favourite brown pencil. I've been through loads of these and have got another one on the go.

3. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer is my favourite concealer for any redness/ breakouts as it's high coverage and long lasting. It's something I've bought over and over and continue to use.

4. Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer has a lighter texture and I like to use it under my eyes. It's not long since I used one up because I lost this one after using more than half of it, opened another then this turned up. I've now started on another.

5. Revlon Colorstay Foundation (normal-oily skin formula) has been my favourite everyday foundation for years. It lasts well on oily skin and the shade 'Buff' is the best colour match I've ever found in a 'drugstore' foundation. Definite repurchase.

6. Bourjois Rice Powder is a pinkish powder with a bit of glow/ shimmer to it. I was using it to set and brighten up under my eyes but I recently caught sight of myself in daylight and thought it just looked a bit too I'm not sure whether I will buy it again.

7. Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray is something I finished a long time ago but somehow the empty spray had found its way into my makeup drawers. I wouldn't buy this again because it was a bit too drying even on my oily skin.


1. Ralph Lauren Pony Collection Pink 50ml is a nice fruity perfume that I already replaced in the January sales.

2. Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir 30ml is a sweet fruity/ vanilla type scent that I really hubby knew this and kindly bought me a new bottle for valentine's day :-)

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Which beauty products have you used up lately?

Em x

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

FAB (First Aid Beauty) Skincare: Worth the Price Tag?

I've thought about trying some skincare things from First Aid Beauty for a while now after reading good things online, especially after I saw the amazing Caroline Hirons mention the Facial Radiance Pads. Although I have a little collection of tried and tested skincare products and change some steps depending on how my skin is feeling, I don't try new skincare products very often because my skin sometimes doesn't react well, but I saw these in the January sale on BeautyBay and couldn't resist. They came as two bundles (as pictured) and each bundle was around the £15 mark, so basically £5 per product. This was an absolute bargain, with some of them being over £20 each! As you can imagine, they sold out super quickly at that price so I was lucky to get my hands on them. It basically meant I could try out some more pricey products at 'drugstore' prices to see if they were worth the price tag and I've been testing them out for a good few weeks now.

In the First Bundle (pictured above), there are three products that all say they are suitable for sensitive skin. First is the Face Cleanser which is a simple cleanser in a tube. It cleans my skin nicely without drying it out and I suspect it would be nice on all skin types. My combo-oily skin is quite happy with it but I don't think it would be too harsh on dryer skins either. It does say it removes makeup but it isn't as thick and creamy as a hot cloth cleanser and I therefore prefer to use this either in the morning or on evenings when I have been wearing not much or no makeup.

The Facial Radiance Pads are a chemical exfoliant, containing glycolic and lactic acids. Both of these ingredients help cell turnover and I find help to smooth the skin, make pores less noticeable and help to keep breakouts at bay. FAB say that these pads are gentle enough to use every day. I have been using the Nip & Fab glycolic pads and extreme night pads for quite a while and these are a similar type of product. I am enjoying the FAB ones but for me personally, I don't think they do a better job than the Nip & Fab ones, which are subtantially cheaper (when paying full price for either product). I therefore think I would only pick these up again on offer. However, if you have particularly sensitive or dry skin that doesn't get on well with alcohol in your products then I can see that being alcohol free would be an advantage and perhaps the FAB ones would be worth considering.

The Ultra Repair Cream is quite a thick cream designed for dry skin, which I don't have on my face. It is, however, designed to be used on face and body so I have been using it on my body and hands, focusing on any dryer areas. I have really been enjoying it for that purpose and it does a good job. It is, however, on the pricey side as a product to be used as a body cream when it's not on sale (full price £22) and there are other, more budget friendly products that I like for doing the same job. If you have dry skin on your face then it might be a bit more worth the price.

The second bundle contained three products from FAB's Skin Rescue range, which is designed for oily/ blemish prone skin. It included the Deep Cleanser with Red Clay, Daily Face Cream and the Blemish Control Pads.

The Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay is a red gel type cleanser and I can see why it's aimed more at oily skin in that it is a little more stripping and deep cleansing (although not overly drying on my combo-oily skin).The texture is slightly strange for a cleanser actually, it sort of feels like smearing a peel off mask on your face initially (a very thick gel). This is something I would reach for if my skin was feeling a overly oily or a bit congested. It's definitely not something I would use on an everyday basis as I generally prefer to use something a bit more gentle. I have been enjoying using it once or twice a week though, and I do feel like it makes me less oily so I would consider repurchasing this one.

The Daily Face Cream is an oil free moisturiser that, as they say, is suitable for oilier skins because it is quite lightweight. It's a nice moisturiser but is something I could easily replace with  cheaper product. It's nice for the price I paid, but I'm not wowed enough to pay full price for it.

The Blemish Control Pads contain, amongst other things, tea tree oil and salicylic acid to help control spots.  I tested these out around 'that time of the month', when I always seem to get a few spots. They did seem to help clear things up but then so do the Nip & Fab extreme pads, which contain glycolic and salicylic and are normally substantially cheaper.

Overall, I am enjoying these products and am glad I tried them. I would quite happily pick them up if I found them on a good offer again and I would consider full price for the skin rescue deep cleanser, which was my favourite of the bunch. However, for me personally, most of the products are not worth the full price tag, mostly because I already know of cheaper products that work for my skin just as well. If you have particularly sensitive skin then I think the original range may be worth looking into because it does seem to be nice and gentle. If you are looking to spend a bit more on skincare, then it is a nice range, but I am only willing to spend more if a product is going to be substantially better than something more budget friendly, if that makes sense.

You can find the FAB skincare range via Beauty Bay here (where most items have a little bit of money off at the moment). 

Have you tried FAB skincare? What do you think?

Em x

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Super Sparkly Shoes

I went for a wander around town on Friday and came home with these amazing was literally like love at first sight, I kid you not. I am not normally someone who casually drops £65 on an impulse purchase but being a magpie, I literally could not resist these.They are covered in diamantes and the lights in store meant they were twinkling away. They seem to sparkle all the colours of the rainbow and the fabric underneath is lovely nude shade. I thought would look great with skinnies and a plain top...really casual with a little bit of sparkle on my feet!

They are called 'Jamie' and are from Carvela by Kurt Geiger. They were marked down from £110 to £65 in Debenhams. I have a few pairs of shoes from this brand now as they just seem to make some really lovely ones.

The only thing I wish about this brand is that they did half sizes...I can get away with a 7 in sandals and boots but in slip on type shoes I really need a 6 and a half or they tend to slip/ rub at the back.This is a bit of a side note but if you suffer from this too, these are my favourite heel grips. They really stick to the insides of your shoes and don't end up stuck to your foot like so many I've tried, plus they are thicker than standard ones so take up more space in the shoe.

You can find the Carvela 'Jamie' shoes online here and also via House of Fraser for the same price here.

What do you think? Do you like shoes with sparkle?

Em x

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Luminous Landscapes: A Festival of Light

On Friday evening, I went along to an event called Luminous Landscapes at the Festival Gardens which is right alongside the River Mersey in Liverpool. I felt that it was mostly aimed at families with most people having children with them but I went with my husband in tow instead haha.

This was the first time that the organisers (The Liverpool Lantern Company) have held an event here, with their previous events being held at Sefton Park. This did mean that the event was ticketed and cost £6.25 per adult when it was previously free. However, I felt that it was well worth the cost and it was a bit better organised rather than the free for all at the park where it was difficult to see what was going on. Going from advice from people on their facebook page, we used public transport to get there due to the limited parking available and took a flask along with us because it did get pretty cold!

It was a magical evening of lanterns, illuminated puppets and interactive theatre. It was lovely to see children being allowed to interact with actors and touch the puppets. There were also ticketed lantern making workshops in the run up to the event, at which children could make their own little lantern to light the way. The trail we followed was dimly lit by the lanterns but it definitely added an extra dimension for kids. We took a torch instead, which came handy for reading the programme as we were walking around.

The idea was that humans changed place with insects to enable us to see the natural world from a new perspective. There was also a serious message to the event, with it being based around environmental issues such as 'reduce, reuse, recycle' and the need to look after our surroundings.

Although this event is now all booked up, The Liverpool Lantern Company seem to hold events reasonably regularly and I would definitely recommend checking them out.

Em x

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Worth The Hype? TheBalm Mary Lou-Manizer

TheBalm's May Lou-Manizer is one of those products that has been on my mental wishlist for absolutely ages but I have never managed to justify buying. I have tried a few of the brand's blushes, all of which are amazing so I was pretty sure I would like this highlighter too. However, I knew that it was a strong highlighting product and half wondered if it would be too much on my combo-oily skin...but I recently had an Amazon voucher to spend and decided to just go for it.

Firstly I would like to say how much I love the packaging. It's so cute and fun with the blonde pinup 'convict' on the front of the compact. The compact itself feels like nice quality and comes with a mirror inside.

The product itself?! It really is so smooth, pigmented and gorgeous (see swatch below!). Personally, I use it with my MAC 188 stippling brush or my Real Techniques setting brush (nothing too dense) on my cheekbones to avoid applying to much. Having oily skin, I always worry that anything overly shimmery or shiny on my face will make me look oily but it's sooo pretty even when used in moderation. If you are someone who loves that really highlighted look, you will also love it because you can easily get a more subtle or really strong highlighted look from it. 

I also love to use it as an eye shadow (which it does mention on the packaging). On the eyes, it's just stunning. I like to use it over my eyelid with some matte browns in the crease or in the inner corner of my eye, which makes me look really wide awake. If you wanted a really simple, fresh faced look then just this across the lid with a bit of mascara would be lovely. I think the level of pigmentation and the gorgeous champagne shade are what makes it work really well as an eye shadow too.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this product! You need such a small amount that I think it will last me forever and a day. The cheapest I can find it at the moment is via FeelUnique here, where there is currently 10% off the usual £17.50 price tag.

Have you tried this or any other products from TheBalm? What do you think?

Em x

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Review: Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick (Serenity)

I bought the Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in 'Serenity' after seeing it in a few blog posts over recent months. It just looked like such a beautiful colour and I loved the sound of a hydrating matte-I was hoping for lasting power without drying my lips out.

I will say that since I bought it, I was doing a bit of research about the company and there seems to be quite a lot of drama between them and some bloggers and youtubers...I'm not about to comment on that as I didn't look into it any further so I don't know much about it...but what I do know is that I bagged myself a really quite lovely lippy for under a tenner.

The product comes with a doe foot type applicator. It is very pigmented so a little goes a long way (I don't have to dip back in, what's on the applicator is enough for both lips).I love the pink-brown-nude shade, which works well for an every day look or also works nicely with my signature smokey eyes for evening wear. It's a darker nude once dried down (which takes a few minutes) so although it looks good on my fair skin because it doesn't wash me out like some paler nudes can, I also think it would look good on more olive/ tan skin tones.

So does it live up to the claim of being non drying? Absolutely! It dried down to the point were I didn't feel like it was going anywhere but it didn't dry my lips out at all, which is pretty unusual because I don't get on very well with many liquid lipsticks since I am someone who likes moisturising/ non drying lip products.I found that it lasted about four hours when during this time, I ate a meal. Some of it was still there but it needed touching up around the centre of my lips so not bad at all.

You can find the Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipsticks via Beauty Bay for £9.50 here (free delivery over £15).

Have you tried anything from Gerard Cosmetics? What do you think?

Em x

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

My Favourite Lip Gloss: Two New Shades!

I'm not sure whether I've ever actually mentioned them on the blog but I should have done because they're fantastic...Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors. I'm not a big lip gloss wearer...quite a change really because up until the last few years I was pretty much a lip gloss only wearer and didn't own many lipsticks at all (anyone else go through a phase of being absolutely obsessed with the Lancome Juicy Tubes?). However, these days, I can't abide sticky, gloopy stuff on my lips that my hair is going to stick to and I also like a bit of moisture in my everyday lip products. The lip perfectors are the perfect solution!

They have a yummy vanilla taste and are lightly pigmented, moisturising glosses. They really do improve the condition of my lips if they're not feeling great so this product is actually like a lip balm-gloss hybrid.They are totally non sticky and just feel nice and smooth and balm-like on. They give just enough colour to wear without a lipstick, although if you're someone who likes your lip products super pigmented, these probably won't be for you. Personally, I like something more on the sheer side for day to day wear at work etc, mostly because they are much lower maintenance when I don't have the time for checking my lippy is still in tact all the time. These wear off nicely and in a non-obvious way.

So...imagine my delight when Clarins released two new shades with their Spring 2016 collection! I picked up their two new shades, 07 Toffee Pink Shimmer and 08 Plum Shimmer via Debenhams here for £18 each but they should available anywhere Clarins is sold. I have added these to the four I already owned and I genuinely love each and every one of them. Although £18 is a bit on the pricey side for a gloss, I think these are worth it for the added moisturising benefits and non-stick factor. You get a pretty decent 12ml in each so you are getting plenty of product for your money too.

Have you tried the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors? What do you think?

Em x

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Zoeva Rose Golden Brushes

I have wanted to try some of Zoeva's brushes for the longest time and have always admired the beautiful rose golden range. I finally got around to ordering some from BeautyBay a few weeks ago so I thought it was time I wrote a review.

I chose to pick up four eye brushes: the 231 Luxe Petit Crease, 225 Luxe Eye Blender, 230 Luxe Pencil and 227 Luxe Soft Definer. The 227 is pretty similar to my MAC 217 so if you like the shape of that one I'd say you'd like this one. The 230 is similar to my MAC 219, but I would say that the Zoeva version is just slightly more pointed and therefore slightly more precise. The 231 is a crease brush with a tapered tip that I find great for applying colour precisely to the crease/ outer v of the eye. The 225 is a blending brush with a rounder shape.

I just love the peachy handles and rose gold detailing on these brushes, they're so beautiful that I almost feel bad using them! haha. They feel like good quality and the bristles are soft. Each brush works well for the purposes I want them to. They work just as well as my MAC brushes, which considering they are less than half the price, is just brilliant! I believe each brush I picked up was £7.50 here.

I also love how much attention Zoeva have paid to the packaging, just look at these boxes! I think if you were going to give someone some brushes as a gift then the way this range is packaged would make them look extra special.

I love these brushes and am really glad I picked them up.

Have you tried any Zoeva makeup brushes? Are there any you'd recommend?

Em x

DIY Cold Remedy: Honey, Lemon and Ginger Drink

I mentioned in my January fashion & lifestyle favourites post that I have been drinking a honey, lemon and ginger drink to sooth cold symptoms and I really do think it helped me feel better. The kick of the ginger unbungs you (a bit like how eating something spicy would really) and has been used for thoudsands of years as an immune system booster. The honey soothes the throat and everyone needs a bit of vitamin c when they're ill. I thought I'd share it since we're not out of cold and flu season yet so this is how I make it...

1. Use the finest holes on a grater to grate about a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger. You can use a little less if you're not a fan but it will have less of an effect. Personally I love the taste of ginger anyway so it doesn't bother me. You could peel it first if you want to but I don't bother because it's not going to stay in your drink.

2. Pour 1 cup of boiling water on the ginger, give it a mix and leave to stand for 2-3 minutes. I measure out the water in the mug I'm going to use then pour it into a jug with the ginger. You are in effect making a sort of ginger tea.

3. While you are waiting, squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the mug. Add 2 heaped teaspoons of honey and mix together.

4. After the 2-3 minutes, pour the ginger 'tea' into the cup through a sieve. Throw away the ginger mush left in the sieve and enjoy your drink!

Have you ever tried this for a cold? Do you have any other remedies that make you feel better?

Em x

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

January 2016 Beauty Favourites

Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors were my most used lip product this month, mostly because I have been ill for a lot of the month and as a result, my lips have been so dry! These give a little bit of colour, gloss and a moisture hit and are easy to top up without even using a mirror during the day. Shade 01 Rose Shimmer has not left my handbag. These are an oldie but a goody...and I may have just ordered the two new shades they came out with for this space. They are £18 each and I bought mine from Boots here.

For the same reason, I picked up Blistex Relief Cream from Superdrug (£2.65 here). Normally the Nuxe Reve de Miel is my go to but my lips were so incredibly dry that nothing was working. Blistex, however, sorted them right out within 2-3 applications-amazing for the price!

To make myself look a bit more alive, I have been using TheBalm Fratboy blush, which is a gorgeous pinky peach shade that just seems to brighten my face up. Again it is not something new to me, but it's something I tend to reach for whenever I need to make myself look more awake (the cheapest I can find it is via Amazon here). To go along with it I have been using the Revolution Radiant Lights Palette for a bit of highlight on my cheekbones (£8 via Superdrug here). The highlighters in this are just lovely and it's a much more affordable alternative to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders.

I picked up four of the Makeup Geek Eye Shadows this month and I have been really impressed by them! You can see my full review here and find them via BeautyBay here.

In the same order, I also picked up the Zoeva Nude Spectrum Palette which is just as amazing (see my full review here and find it here) and a few of the stunning Zoeva Rose Golden eye brushes (review coming soon but again availble through BeautyBay here).

What were you favourite beauty products in January?

Em x