Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Sample Summary #8

1) Clinique, Repairwear Uplifting Cream
Full size: £50 for 50ml

I love it when brands give you proper sized samples of their products that you can squeeze more than one and a half applications out of. Even more so when they’re tailored to my skin type. Hello, combination skin, that’s me! I have to admit that for a cream that’s aimed at combination skin, this was very thick and quite rich, though. And my usual tactic of using it as a night cream couldn’t be applied, as it’s a cream with SPF, so it would only be wasted on a night.

Apart from that it’s a lovely moisturiser which keeps my face nice and hydrated. The richness can be balanced out with the use of the right products, but it’s not something I’m raring to go out and buy.

2) La Sultane De Saba, Body Lotion With Argan Oil
Full size: £26.50 for 200ml

I knew I wouldn’t like this as soon as I saw it in my Birchbox and reality hasn’t been far off my expectations. The oriental scent of this body lotion is just not up my street at all. To top it off it comes out sticky and runny, though to be fair once I let the lotion absorb into my skin properly it made it wonderfully soft.
Nevertheless, I have no time for body lotions that make me dance about naked in the bathroom in the hopes that it will sink in sometime today. And try to squeeze out thick body lotion out of a tiny tub made of hard plastic while your hands are all greasy and oily. The sample went flying, bounced off every single wall leaving behind a sticky trail of destruction, before being thrown in the bin. So much for that.

3) RMK, Cleansing Balm
Full size: £29 for 100g

Can a beauty product ever be life changing? I believe this one can. Before this sample, I’d never tried a cleansing balm before, but boy am I smitten. The delicious rose scent sends me off into a heavenly dream land, the texture melts on my skin like silk and removes every last little scrap of dirt and make-up. I actually WANT to clean my skin, even after a late (/early) night out, which is something that’s never happened before.
Oh and my skin absolutely loves this. So much so that I can even skip the foundation most days. I’ve still got a few other cleansers on the go right now, but once they run out, this is a definite, DEFINITE repurchase.

4) Sanctuary, 30 Day Thermal Clay Mask
Full size: £27.50 for 75ml and 50ml respectively

The sachet size of this sample is fairly deceiving. I expected one or two applications out of these, but ended up with five. Not bad. The two-step process had me applying a serum all over my face first and then topping it off with the clay mask.
The mask heated up on my skin, which was a very pleasant sensation and came off easily and without any off the mess associated with clay masks. As for the dramatic skin transformation promised on the description card, I honestly have to say I didn’t see any of it. Yeah, my skin felt nice after it, but no better or worse than after just washing my face in the evenings. Maybe it would work better for other skin types, but for me it was something I’ll leave on the shelf.

5) Yu-Be, Moisturizing Skin Cream
Full size: £19.50 for 70g

Looks like we’re a bit Birchbox heavy with the sample reviews this time around, eh? I used this cream as a lip balm first, as I loved the instant hit of moisture that it gives, without leaving any sticky feeling, so that I could still apply lipstick over the top without sacrificing colour intensity. Turns out that it didn’t work that well in the long term, as after a week or so, it started giving my lips a scary white cast which made me look positively dead. I also found that my lips got sort of addicted to it and I had to slather it on more and more, or else they would dry out very fast.
Nevertheless, this cream really did come into its own when I caught a nasty cold and my entire nose went red, scaly and irritated. Heaven, I tell you, heaven! It soothed my chapped skin instantly without running or greasing my face up like some other creams do. There was no stinging or burning and it just felt like a god send. Would I repurchase? Maybe for the winter months, to calm skin that’s so dry it’s painful or when I tend to get the sniffles a lot more often. For the summer, however, I think I’ll just stick to regular moisturiser and lip balm.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter Review

Apparently there are people who don't moisturise their skin every day, or so I've heard....
In all seriousness, though, if you can get away with it then good for you! Me, on the other hand - if I skipped just a day of slathering myself in lotion, my skin would soon resemble that of a dragon. It's fair to say I'm addicted to body butters. Take your runny lotions and milks and drown kittens in them for all I care (whoaaa, did I really just say that? Poor kittens), I need thick, gloopy butters for my skin.

For a long time Body Shop butters were the one and only for me, but in the past year or two I've come to realise that other brands bring out products that are just as good or perhaps even better and there's been a lot of body butter adultery going on (sorry, body shop!). This one I received in a gift set for Christmas and by the time this review's come around the tub was already long gone.

As you might guess from the fact that this is made for very dry skin, this stuff's tough. It's the thickest body butter that I've ever come across, which isn't greasy. I have no idea how that works, but somehow it does. Think hardened Philadelphia cheese instead of an actual knob of butter if you want to get an idea of the texture.
It does take an awful lot of elbow grease to get this stuff over your skin, but a little extra workout here and there doesn't hurt now that bikini season is getting a lot closer. It also takes a few minutes to sink in, so not one if you're in a big rush. We all know the pain of trying to get into skinny jeans right after you've buttered yourself up. It's hilarious for anyone who's watching, though.

If you're willing to see past these little blips, then you shall be rewarded with absolutely gorgeous skin. The type that has you stroking yourself all day long like some sort of creep. The type that makes people who accidentally brush past you turn around saying things like, "GOSH, your skin is so soooooft".
And the smell.... oh, dear me, the smell. I once read on a beauty blog that the scent reminds them of Miss Dior Cherie and I have to agree wholeheartedly. If you love it, you're sorted, as chances are it will layer beautifully with whatever perfume you put over it, but if it's not your type of scent, then stay away, as this will make your skin smell all day long. Even though I don't see why anybody wouldn't love the scent. Or body butters. Mmmmmmh, body butters....

At £10.50 for 300ml this one's a cult product for a reason.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

NSpa Coconut Bath Fizzer

A grocery shop in Asda is never complete without:

1) A magazine or two or three
2) A stop at the cake and dessert stand
3) A little something from NSpa

I love the packaging of this little bath bomb, it looks like an oversized, giant bonbon!
Unlike bath bombs from the likes of Lush, you'd be ill advised to split this one into several portions. Just dunk it into hot water, watch it fizz away for a few seconds and get in on the fun!

I have to admit I was a tad disappointed with my bathing experience, however. There's no exciting colours, swirls or random mermaids appearing in your bath, but that's not a problem as such.
The scent is faintly coconutty, but disappears after about two or three minutes leaving you with... well, just hot water. Or maybe it's just me getting used to the smell extraordinarily quickly.

At £1.60 a pop I'm more than happy to give the other scents a go, though. Maybe Vanilla or Turkish Delight will fare a little better?

Monday, 15 April 2013

Birchbox April 2013

There seems to be a reoccurring theme that whenever I get a delivery, it ought to be either just as I'm about to head out for a run, or just as I'm stepping into the shower. So, naturally, this month's Birchbox arrived just as I was leaving the door and I was way too excited to just leave it, so off came my trainers and my jacket and my headphones and god knows what else.

This month's theme is "In Bloom" and considering the warm weather that's suddenly hit us yesterday and caused all the trees on my road to magically explode into pink fluffiness, it couldn't have been a better choice!

1) Gerda Spillman | Renaissance Age Serum
Full size: £69 / Sample value: £6.90

Whoops, looks like a had a little silly moment and took a picture of the back side of the sample. But don't worry, the front is fairly unspectacular, so you're not missing much. I'm feeling much less rebellious against anti ageing products these days, so even though it is minuscule, I'll happily give this serum sample a go. It smells absolutely divine, but unfortunately it's going to have to wait on the back-up shelf until I've used up my current serum. And at almost £70 for the full size it would have to be beyond amazing for me to purchase it after the sample runs out!

2) La Societe Parisienne De Savons | Savon Maya
Full size: £8.50 / Sample value: £8.50

This was the first item I spotted as I opened the drawstring bag and it got me beyond excited. Just look at how gorgeous the packaging is! Then I realised it was soap.

Now, nothing against soap, but I'm just not a person that tends to appreciate it. I use shower gel in the shower and hand wash to wash my hands. Soap is slippy, harsh on the skin and always leaves this mucky, slimy residue on the soap dish. Having said that the scent of this one is absolutely beautiful, so it would be a shame to just leave it laying around. Nevertheless, this is more of an item I'd gift to my nan instead of buying it for myself.

3) Mirenesse | Glossy Kiss
Full size: £17.50 / Sample value: £17.50

This was the other product that stood out to me right away as I opened my box this month. I've never heard of Mirenesse, but pencil lip products are having a big moment right now and I'm excited to give this one a go. It's a full sized product, so I'll be getting plenty of use out of it. The colour I got (14. Perfect Kiss) is also really, really pretty. A fire-engine red studded with a light gold shimmer, absolutely gorgeous! From a quick swatch I can see that application is soft and very glossy, so this seems to be a winner!
Random side note: I keep accidentally writing "Glossy Kill" instead of "Glossy Kiss". Just to show what's on my mind these days...

4) Weleda | Skin Food
Full size: £8.95 / Sample value: £1.19

Considering what an institution Weleda has become, especially concerning natural skincare, I'm almost ashamed to say that I've never tried any of their products. Skin Food seems to be one of those cult creams, which I've heard loads and loads about and finally I get my mitts on a sample to try it for myself!

I do, however, struggle a little with multi-purpose balms like this, as I never know what to actually use them for. Give me a choice of options and I'll sit there fretting and eventually go without anything. I'm thinking of trying this on my feet, as my heels are pretty much the only dry skin area I have at the moment.

5) Green & Spring | Relaxing Conditioner
Full size: £16 / Sample Value: £2.67

I love the design of this little bottle, it's so cute! In this box you'd randomly get either the shampoo or the conditioner and I have to admit that I'm a little peeved, as I much prefer using the same brand shampoo and conditioner together. But oh well...
The scent of this is a tad strong for my tastes - you can really, REALLY smell the lavender and the rosemary that have gone into the product, but I imagine it would leave a beautiful lingering scent on the hair after washing. This is another product that will certainly get used up.

Lifestyle Extra: Birchbox | Paname Paris Mirror
Full size: £7.50 / Sample value: £7.50

Oh, c'mon. You gotta be kidding me. This is literally one of the worst compact mirrors I have ever seen in my life. It weighs about a gram and doesn't even have a lid! If I put this in my handbag it would get ruined within seconds. I don't know who they're trying to fool with the supposed £7.50 price tag, but yeah, good luck selling a mirrored badge for that price. I absolutely hate it when beauty boxes make their own shoddy tools and try to sell them as luxury beauty samples. At least Birchbox had the decency to include this as an extra instead of one of the actual five samples. But I would have much rather received a single tea bag or something, rather than this rubbish. Rant over.

So, my second Birchbox has been full of ups and downs to be honest with you. The only real highlight is the lip crayon, though I will certainly use every single product and I really like the fact that they're all brands I haven't tried before. The inclusion of two full sized products is also a bonus.
The soap on the other hand was a bit of a disappointment, even though it was one of the two full sized products and the mirror... let's no longer talk about the mirror.
The total value of this box comes in at £44.26 for those of you who are interested.

Sunday Catch-Up #11

Enjoying the sunshine with ELLE and a glass of wine // Amazing ramen almost cured my cold // 2 new necklaces from Camden market // New handbag bought in the sale // This week's mags // First ever fast day // Lobster feast - this was probably the nicest meal I've ever had in my life // Back to blogging! // Funniest fortune cookies ever // Drinking cocktails out of a popcorn bucket

Oh my goodness, has it really been over a month since I last posted one of these? It's not even that life hasn't been eventful enough, it's just that I'm still pretty rubbish at taking pictures of all the things I get up to, as I tend to be too busy, well... getting up to things.

This last week's been a bit manic and stressful, but fun nonetheless - even if I did manage to catch a cold which pretty much knocked me out for all of Saturday. I've been out exploring, drinking and having heaps of fun, while at the same time planning a flat move, a big-ass surprise party and dealing with lots of other life's little issues.

After splashing out on an amazing meal at Burger & Lobster my jeans did start feeling a little tight, however, so I decided it's time to do something about my weight again. I bought a copy of the Fast Diet book and have to admit that intermittent fasting does sound very appealing to me. I tried it for a day this week, but I've been too stressed to properly pay attention to what I'm eating for the other days, so I wanna put a little bit more effort in next week.

Oh and the sun's been out today, would you believe it? Obviously I didn't move anywhere without the roof down on my car with the music blasting off into the streets. It feels amazing, absolutely amazing.

What have you been up to this week?

Saturday, 13 April 2013

What's In My Handbag?

I can't tell you how long I've been itching to do this type of post. Let's be honest, who doesn't love a snoop around other people's things? I sure know I love reading on other girls' blogs what they deem essential enough to carry with them on a day to day basis.
So after I treated myself to a new everyday bag in the River Island sale, now's finally the time!

I've been lusting after this bag for ages, but when I saw it in the sale yesterday for £20 instead of £40, I realised that I just HAD to have it! I love the pastel mint green colour, which instantly says "spring time" to me, toughened up with studs and black leather trims. The thing that I was unsure about the most, was whether or not it would be big enough to hold all the stuff I carry, but it turns out there's more than enough room!

Ready to take a look?


I hate being bored and not utilising every minute waiting or walking around for something entertaining, so I've always got my phone on me, as well as my Urbanears headphones so I can listen to my music. The headphones fold away neatly into a little package whenever I'm done listening, so I don't have to worry about tangly wires. I'm not going to lie - iPhone batteries are shocking and towards the end of the day I'll find myself frantically trying everything I can to preserve battery life.
I also tend to always carry either my Kindle or a travel sized magazine - I just love reading! My Kindle is one of the old versions with electronic ink technology rather than a lit up screen. I actually prefer this one, as reading from bright screens for longer periods always gives me a headache. With this one I can read all day and I'll be fine!

Essentials and random bits

I tend to always have some sort of random leaflets or vouchers flying around in my bag and they're usually in a much worse state than these. These two are actually piercing and tattoo aftercare instructions, which I've kept so I remember the address of the studios where I had my last piercings and my last tattoo done.
My purse is from Accessorize and I instantly fell in love with the forest green quilted suede and the cute owl decoration. What I don't like is that you can't fit too much cash in it, as any more than around five pound coins will make it snap open all the time.
Keys - quite obvious, as without them I wouldn't get into our flat or into my car. My key rings are a mini cuddly lobster, a USB stick and a souvenir from Madame Tussaud's in Blackpool. I've also covered my keys in rubber racoons, just because I can.
Pen and tissues are two things that are always, always, always needed and that I find myself constantly replenishing, as other people tend to use them more than me.
Rizlas. Don't ask me why they're there, considering I don't even smoke. Someone gave them to me once and now I try to get rid of them by giving them out to smokers.
My little calendar is used mainly to write down my work hours and not much else, as I tend to use my phone to keep organised with dates and events.

Beauty bits part I

I never used to carry hand cream with me until I got this cute little mini tub from Atrixo. Now I frequently find myself slathering it on whenever I get a few hands-free minutes, as it works great at instantly relieving dry skin.
That No7 lipstick is from a limited edition spring collection from about 3 years ago, but it's my favourite, most flattering nude ever. You can see it's battered on the outside, as the packaging is made from cardboard, but I love it to pieces, even though it's getting smaller and smaller every day - sob....
The Mickey Mouse lip balm I bought while on holiday in Orlando and I carry it for more of a sentimental reason. As a balm it performs alright-ish, though it does have a lovely strawberry scent.
The red pouch contains three mini sized make-up brushes by Elizabeth Arden (1 powder, 2 eye shadow). I love the fact that you can just seal them in their bag so they don't get mucky or spread powder all around the inside of your hand bag.
Compeed blister plasters are a godsend for anyone who loves shoes that look pretty, but don't feel quite so pretty on the feet.
The Lee Stafford powder is something I'll use in a pinch if my hair has gone terribly flat or greasy. You shake a little on the roots, then use your fingertips to fluff up your mane, much like dry shampoo in a shaker. Unfortunately, it tends to leave a bit of an itchy residue, so I'll only use it in emergencies.
Lemon drops are for those moments when I need fresh breath or just feel like something sweet in my mouth. I usually have a pack of chewing gum in my bag as well, but I've just finished my last one!
My little travel brush comes in handy when the weather is dead set on ruining my hair as soon as I leave the house, or if it's been one of those nights where I was too, errr... "tired" to walk home and crashed at a friend's.
Rimmel Stay Matte powder is absolutely fabulous for touch-ups on the go whenever my skin gets shiny. I find that if I blot beforehand I rarely every need more than one touch-up, no matter how long my day goes on for.
And finally, I have a little Dermalogica pouch to carry small bits in that would get lost otherwise. This came in a Glossybox aaaaaages ago.

Beauty bits part II

We all love the Great British weather - most of the time it rains, but occasionally it doesn't and chances are that when the sun does decide to get out I'll be unprepared. That's why I tend to have a little pump vial of sunscreen on me at all times, cause you never know. Now, wasn't there supposed to be a heat wave coming our way this weekend....???
The nail file is pretty self explanatory - I'm extremely clumsy and tend to catch my nails on pretty much anything once they get past a certain length, so my little glass file helps to do some damage control. The clumsiness also explains the plaster. Actually, I should probably just carry a first aid kit with me at all times, that would probably be the safest options.
The tablets are various pain killers - headaches, period pains, you name it.... if it becomes unbearable, then at least I'm prepared, but again this is something that I give out more than I use myself.
The little gem stone is a bit of a good luck charm - we all have our quirks, don't we?
My little red Clinique gloss came in a magazine ages ago and I keep forgetting that I have it, but it actually feels really lovely on the lips.
Hair pins and rubber bands are for those days when I thought I'd tamed my hair, but it then decides to do its own thing halfway through the day. Or if it suddenly becomes hot. Yeah... no.
And finally my slinky little Agnes B pocket mirror which I must've had for about 10 years but it still looks brand spanking new unlike everything else in my bag. Must be magic.

I hope you enjoyed snooping through my handbag and if you've got a post of this type on your blog then please leave a link below so I can satisfy my curiosity!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

April Wish List

April Wish List

Aloha Pastel Palm Tree Print Sweater, Glamorous, £36 // Neon Green Pink and Gold Stud Chain Bracelet Stack, New Look, £6.99 // Tropical Print Blouse, H&M £9.99 // Animal Cutoff Runner Shorts, Topshop, £15 // Coral Cut Out Sleeveless Skater Dress, River Island, £32 // Rose Gold Watch With Blue Face, Marc By Marc Jacobs, £229 // Neon Tie Dye Skater Dress, Topshop, £29 // Swallow Head Band, Made, £25

This month's lust list may be a tad late, but boy has it managed to grow. Anyone who's read a single fashion post on my blog will know that I'm obsessed with prints. Animal print, tropical print, galaxy print, whatever, as long as it's bright and colourful!
I honestly cannot wait for this supposed heat wave to hit this weekend and to get some bright and light spring clothes out. I want to be a hippie and let my hair down, wear tie dye and headbands and friendship bracelets and hang out with my friends in the park. And when it's time to grow up and get back to reality I want to slick on this gorgeous Marc Jacobs watch and feel like I'm a proper lady.
A girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Review

You know something's good when I keep mentioning it whenever talking about other products, or even just about my hair in general. I can't believe it's taken me this long to actually write up a full length review - I'm on my fourth tub so far and it's become a staple, can't-live-without-it product in my hair care regime.

I've always been a big fan of hair masks, as my hair is naturally quite dry, frizzy and prone to breakage and split ends. Unfortunately, many drugstore hair masks will leave me with an instant hit of moisture and softness, but a day later my hair will be brittle and rough again, with each application being less effective than the previous one.

The moment I tried this, I knew it would be different. The texture is thick and gloopy, as you'd expect from a deep conditioner, though it didn't have quite as much slip as some other products I've tried. As a result, it doesn't slide off hair while I let it do its work in the shower, but still washes out easily enough.
I love the fact that 3 minutes is honestly enough for this to work its magic, though you can make it more potent by leaving it in for longer. I tend to use this every other hair wash, washing my hair straight away, then applying some 3 Minute Miracle and then I proceed to do all my other showery bits, like exfoliating and shaving.

The result is some seriously glossy, thick and just healthy hair. It just seems to undo whatever bad things I've thrown at my tresses and turn them into the best possible condition they can be. As a matter of fact, it really came into its own when my hair went through FOUR bleaches (don't try this at home) to get it to the blonde I have right now. I fully expected it to snap off my head entirely, but with diligent use of 3 Minute Miracle it's as if it's never been chemically treated at all. Even my hair dresser couldn't believe how thick and healthy my hair is after everything it's been through.

Now, I can't help but mention the packaging. The product comes in a squeezy tube without a lid - it just sort of has a little, errr... glory hole at the bottom. It comes out easily enough, is easy to dose right and never spills or leaves a mess, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I want to take this on holiday with me, as I can just imagine it going everywhere in a suitcase.
On another side note, the smell is gorgeous and I've had quite a few compliments on how good my hair smells after using this.

It's fair to say I'm utterly addicted, but at £4.99 for a 250ml tub which lasts around the two month mark, it's an affordable addiction to have.