Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Nars Mini Haul

Despite loving everything I’ve tried from Nars I only have a handful of Nars products in my makeup drawers. When I got an email from Space NK saying that my N.Dulge birthday treat was a mini Nars Satin Pencil in Rikugien I couldn't help but see this as a sign from the Makeup Gods that I needed to treat myself to a couple of products.

Nars Blush in Doucheur - I originally bought this soft pink brown blush to use as a more subtle contour colour but it’s so pretty on the cheeks on its own. It gives a bit more warmth and looks really nice and natural, I can see this quickly becoming my go-to everyday blush.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex Machine - I’ve heard such great things about these little lip pencils and I was certainly not disappointed. This colour is a classic your lips but better but with a bit more mauve. I’ve had this on every day since I bought it - it seems to go with everything! It feels comfortable on the lips despite it being a matte finish and the staying power is great. My only issue is the fact that you need to sharpen them, it’s great that it’s more hygienic than the likes of Clinique Chubby Sticks but it just seems a bit more of a faff and I feel as thought you would be wasting more of the product.

Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien - What an amazing little gift! It’s very clever that marketers are offering gifts and discount codes for birthdays but I love how this little offer wasn’t exclusive to making a purchase - definitely makes me feel as though they’re interesting in giving great service on a more personal level as opposed to just making a sale (I’m aware that that is obviously their end goal but it least it didn’t feel as pushy). The satin version of the Nars lip pencils leave the lips more hydrated and give a balm like finish. Colour wise it is actually quite similar to Sex Machine although this leans more on the rose toned side of the your lips but better scale. 

What do you think about exclusive birthday offers? What’s your favourite product from Nars?

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Autumn Wishlist #2 - Candles

As much as I firmly believe that candle burning is a year long affair, in Autumn I definitely up the ante. Fruity, woody, spicy or sweet, I don’t discriminate but at this time of year you really can’t beat something a bit richer. When it comes to variety, John Lewis is one of the best and when it comes to candles it certainly doesn’t disappoint. It stocks everything from Jo Malone and Diptyque to Yankee Candle and Cowshed so there’s something to suit everyone. I’m normally pretty loyal to Jo Malone for candles but after spending a lot longer than I’d care to admit browsing through the candles on the John Lewis website, I’ve managed to whittle it down to a top 5 which I’ll be keeping an eye out for next time I’m in store. 

First things first, Diptyque was the brand I was originally looking at before I got side tracked. I’ve heard so much about the Figuier scent and although it sounds lovely, it was the Ambre candle that made my finger twitch at “add to basket”. With eucalyptus, bark and crushed leaves it sounds as though it would be the perfect addition to a dark autumn night. 

 I was a big fan of the Neom Tranquility Candle, I sometimes find lavender scented candles to be a bit too sickly but it balanced well with the sweet basil and jasmine so I would be excited to try out some of their other scents. The Christmas Wish Organic Scented Candle caught my eye with it’s mandarin, cinnamon and tonka bean scent - definitely christmas in a jar. 

Although I always admire the Molten Brown gift sets I’ve never actually tried anything from the brand. The Yuan Zhi Forte scented candle caught my eye, not for the name, but for the indian ginger, tangerine and cedar wood scent. 

I’m not familiar with Tom Dixon but I really like how these are something a bit different from the typical glass jar. This gift set contains 3 different scents - London “smell of red brick and London parks with crocuses and nettles, and the salty smell of the Thames at Dagenham”; Royalty “reminiscence of tea time with a pot of Earl Grey, scones with strawberry jam and the drive home in a ‘52 Bentley with tatty leather seats” and Orientalist “faint memory of an Indian wedding with rose petal garlands- giant cinnamon sticks on the beach stalls and the musky smells of the Chinese herbal market”. 

Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir is my all time favourite candle so I really couldn’t miss this one out - “rich fruits, white flowers and elegant woods into the air, you can bring to life a mood that is intimate and comforting”. Perfect description. Need I say more? 

Do you have any other candle recommendations?

Friday, 26 September 2014

5 Product Face - Work Edition

I really like sleep. It's one of my favourite things in the world. Unfortunately having to work tends to get in the way of my relationship with sleep (the full being a grown up thing causes so much hassle). Lately, without even realising it, I've whittled down my basic makeup routine for work to 5 products helping me get those extra 5 minutes in bed. Although I still work in fashion and beauty, working for an online company means that I no longer have to show up to work with a full face of makeup (which my skin is definitely thankful for) so I tend to keep everything natural.

1. Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturiser - perfect for throwing on with fingers to even out skin tone. Although it has a light coverage the staying power is decent.
2. Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Pale Pink -  as an oily skinned gal, I find that cream blush lasts a lot longer on my skin than powder, so for work I tend to opt for Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge. This pink colour gives a subtle flush to the cheeks and is perfect for every day wear. I pop a little on the apple then blend using a Real Techniques Stippling Brush. This can also be used on the lips as a stain although I tend to just use a tinted lip balm.
3. Benefit Gimme Brow - I'm still on the hunt for that perfect brown pencil but in the meantime, Benefit Gimme Brown is great for giving my brows a bit of colour and some added definition.
4. Mac Eyeshadow in Patina - I blend this into my crease with a Mac 217. Although it's subtle I feel adding a bit of eyeshadow just makes me look a bit more put together (and hopefully gives the impression that I have spent more than 3 minutes doing my makeup).
5. Lancome Hypnose Mascara - lengthens and defines without looking too overdone (although it layers really well and can definitely keep up with the best "big lash" mascaras).

What's your makeup routine like for work?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Essie Bahama Mama - The Perfect Purple?

I’m sure a day will come where I’m not talking about an Essie polish but I’m afraid today is not that day. Although the weather doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing in Scotland, I’m fully embracing the Autumn colours. Bahama Mama is described as a “warm, rich plum purple” and it definitely is just that. I have a serious obsession with the colour purple and this polish is one of my faves. I find it a lot more wearable than lilacs and bright purples (although I certainly don’t discriminate) as it’s more of a berry toned plum/purple. I’m sure this it Bahama Mama well and truly back into the nail polish rotation. 

While I'm talking about nail polishes, I also wanted to mention Coloristiq. They're essentially Love Film but for nail polish and will be stocking Essie, OPI and China Glaze. They're about to launch and if you register now you get your first month for free! Have a look here for more information about how this works.

What do you think of Bahama Mama? What’s your favourite purple polish?

Monday, 22 September 2014

Attention Shoppers - Debenhams Mega Week

Oh how I love Mega Week at Debenhams. 10% off beauty and fragrance, up to 25% off womans wear, menswear and home - what's not to love? If you're looking to add some Autumn items into your wardrobe or makeup bag, now is the perfect time to take advantage of that extra discount.

Online now and instores from tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Would You Know if Someone Was Having a Stoke?

There are approximately 152,000 stroke a year in the UK. That is more than 1 every 5 minutes.
(From Stoke.org)

What is a stroke?
A stroke is caused when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, this is either due to a blockage or a bleed.

Are some people more at risk?
Yes, preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol can increase chances of having a stroke, as can life style factors such as diet, drugs, alcohol, smoking and how active you are. 

Checking for Symptoms - FAST

Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have dropped
Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift one or both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness
Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake
Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms

Other signs and symptoms may include:

numbness or weakness resulting in complete paralysis of one side of the body
sudden loss of vision 
communication problems, difficulty talking and understanding what others are saying 
problems with balance and coordination 
difficulty swallowing 
sudden and severe headache, unlike any the person has had before, especially if associated with neck stiffness
blacking out (in severe cases)
(from NHS

I’ve been pretty absent from the world of blogging this week as unfortunately my gran had a stoke. She was dealt with very quickly and the paramedics, doctors and nurses were fantastic with her - in the grand scheme of things she was a very luck lady. She’s out of hospital and is definitely on the mend (she even insisted on voting on Thursday!). I thought today I would take a step back from beauty and highlight some of the key symptoms of a stoke, I don't mean to sound morbid but you never know, it could save someone's life.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel - Radiant Skin in a Bottle

After running out of my REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, I fancied trying something a bit different (I am pretending to be a blogger after all) and picked up the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. This mask uses Papaya and Pineapple fruit enzymes to brighten and clarify the skin while using more soothing ingredients like Milk Protein and Marine algae to moisturise and repair the skin. This is actually the first Elemis product I’ve tried so I had high hopes.

The first thing I noticed when I started using this mask was the amazing smell – I’ve found that very few products I’ve bought recently actually smell like the ingredients so I was pleasantly surprised when this did actually smell like papaya (if you’ve had a look at my recent empties posts, I’m sure you’ll have gathered that I’m a fan). I left this on for just under 15 minutes as the mask recommends and wiped it off using a flannel to brighter looking skin. My pores looked smaller; my skin tone looked more even which made my skin look clearer and my skin felt clean but still hydrated and comfortable. To compare it with the REN Glycolactic Mask, I would say that this mask feels like a slightly milder baby sister while giving similar results making it the perfect option for those with more sensitive skin. The prices are very similar with the REN mask sitting at £30 and Elemis mask sitting at £29.50 on Look Fantastic (full price this is £31).  

I’ve definitely been impressed with this little Elemis number and next time I see a gap in my skincare shelf (or I’m feeling a bit spendy) I’ll be heading over the Elemis counter. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Empties #2

I've been continuing my one woman mission to use up the half empty products which have been cluttering my bedroom and bathroom. I have another big batch so at least I'm making progress! 

Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil - I first bought this oil when I was working on counter so I was wearing a lot more makeup than I normally would on a day-to-day basis. I was looking for something that would take Estee Lauder Double Wear off quickly and without taking half of my skin off (if you’ve worn Double Wear you’ll know what I mean). I picked this up after hearing about how it was hydrating and would help protect the skins natural moisture barriers while being lightweight and non-comedogenic and I has certainly not disappointed. It takes everything off quickly, leaves my skin feeling clean but hydrated and smells amazing. And this bottle has lasted for absolutely ages. I had a backup waiting. 

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask - If you’re a blog reader I’m sure I don’t need to explain this one. It uses natural fruit acids to get rid of dead skin leaving skin looking brighter and clearer it’s perfect for skin that’s a little congested. It’s one of the few products that I think you can instantly notice a difference in your skin. I really enjoyed using it but I fancied trying something different so I bought Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel (full review coming up). I would buy this again though.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye - a great little eye cream with all the same features as the serum (fights all key signs of ageing, sweeps away free radicals, hydrates and helps repair the skin from previous damage). It feels amazing on the skin and I always notice the difference when I use something else. At £40, I don’t feel it’s quite a necessity for a 22 year old but certainly I would repurchase if there was an offer or Gift with Purchase. 

Estee Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator - this is great for eyes that are prone to dark circles and puffiness. The dark circle correcting complex works on the underlying causes so although the formula helps instantly brighten the eyes, it is helping on the long terms basis. I really liked using this and it was always an eye cream I used to recommend on counter but I can’t say I really need the help with dark circles and puffiness yet and I do think £40 is a bit much for it so I’m not sure I would buy this again. 

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex II - magic in a bottle. It repairs your skin at a cellular level and helps leave skin looking more radiant, clearer and hydrated. Definitely my favourite skincare product. I have an extra one from my Lauder days, but I would definitely buy this myself in the future. I love the little brown bottle.

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic - this has been my go-to hydrating toner for the while. I think this is my third bottle actually. It gives the skin a little extra hydration helps soothe and brighten the skin. I have a spray bottle which I just top up with the normal bottle. I have already repurchased. 

Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp - my favourite shampoo. Nothing keeps the psoriasis on my scalp under control like this bad boy. It leaves my hair feeling clean, my scalp feeling comfortable and doesn’t dry out my hair. I already repurchased this.

Nizoral Dandruff Shampoo - I bought this after Vivianna Does Makeup said she uses it when she gets a psoriasis flare up on her scalp. I can’t say I actually noticed very much of a difference with this, it certainly left my hair feeling very clean but I don’t think it actually did much for my scalp. I found it pretty drying, so I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing any time soon.

L’Oreal Hair Expertise Ever Riche Mask - I’ve had this sitting in my bathroom for well over a year. Although it did hydrate, I found it left my hair feeling heavy. I won’t be repurchasing.

Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Mineral Hair Rescue Masque - another one I’ve had sitting in my bathroom. I loved the smell of this and I enjoyed using it, it didn’t leave my hair feeling heavy but still hydrated my hair - it’s nice but it’s just not amazing. I think if this was on offer I would pick this up again though.

Ojon Rare Blends Deep Conditioner - I’ve spoken about my love for this mask here. Without a doubt my favourite mask and I still haven’t found anything that comes close. I stocked up on this before I left Lauder, so I have another 2 in my cupboard.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime for Damaged Hair - I mentioned this in a previous post about hair oils. I really liked this oil, it was light enough that I could use it to give my hair a little moisture moist between washes as well as pre and post shampoo. I would buy this again.

The Body Shop Papaya Body Butter - Another one bites the dust. This was featured in my last empties and I mentioned in a previous post that I’m well stocked up on this stuff. 

Mac Brush Cleanser - I use this every couple of days to give my makeup brushes a clean between washes. It cleans brushes and leaves them feeling clean and soft. I already repurchased. 

Clarins Body Lift Cellulite Control - I bought this last year before going on holiday last year in an attempt to firm up my legs and calm down the cellulite. I used it religiously for a good 8 weeks and I actually did notice a bit of a difference (this was at the height of running phase though). I started using this again before going to Portugal and I can’t say I noticed quite the same results. I think I’d have to do more research into similar products before buying again.

What have you finished recently?

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Salon Smooth Hair - Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm

I’m forever trying to find something that’ll keep my unruly hair from frightening small children without spending a small fortune. I’ve went through a couple of the Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balms over the years and it’s one that I find myself going back to whenever it’s on offer in Boots (it’s on offer for a third off quite often). After going blonder before going on holiday then a week in the sun and in the pool, my hair has been needing all the help it can get.

Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm

This treatment is said to “deeply conditions and rescues thirsty, damaged and over-styled hair” and it certainly does just that. Although I love the traditional post-shampoo conditioning treatments, I’ve always found pre-shampoo treatments to be an easy, fuss-free option for giving your hair a treat. It’s perfect for popping it on when you get in from work before getting on with sorting dinner etc. 

Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm

The texture of this treatment is a little odd, in the tub it’s a solid wax - almost like solid coconut oil but it’s very easy to scoop up and once you start rubbing it into your hands to heat it up it melts into an oil. I section my hair and take a small scoop each in order to evenly distribute the product. It recommends leaving this on for up to 20 minutes but I normally leave it on for an hour or so and I’ve been known to pop it on before bed, scraping my hair into a pineapple. The results are always fantastic and it leaves my hair smelling incredible. It doesn’t leave my hair feeling heavy and my hair is a lot more manageable. Definitely a thumbs up from me. 

Have you tried Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Autumn Wishlist #1 - Coats

Autumn Coats
1 - 2 - 3
4 - 5 - 6

I love September. It marks the return of jumpers, boots and all things cosy (and my birthday!). I seem to have inherited my mother's obsession with coats and get far too excited when the new season starts to come in. Miss Selfridge in particular seems to be excelling with their selection of gorgeous coats, although it is still early days.

Have you started looking for an Autumn coat?